Shri Swamiji's 50th anniversary Tapas Purti celebrations and August tour 2011
On the 7th of August 2011, devotees around the world celebrated the auspicious occasion of Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj's 50th anniversary of Tapas completion. His Tapas was without doubt one of the most extraordinary in the history of this world, not only for the fact that He sat at the tender age of fourteen with no prior spiritual training, but also because of the severe circumstances under which He continued for the next twelve years with unswerving faith in His Divine Guru's words, until He emerged to the world as a Self Realised Yogi. The world will always remember Him for His Teachings, given so freely without any discrimination and for the compassion showered on all those that came to Him. In a world full of conflict and stress, His Life and Teachings are a beacon of hope on the path of Peace and Harmony. His presence remains undiminished in the hearts of all sincere devotees. Jai Shivabalayogi Maharaj!
Below are a selection of photos and brief descriptions of the programs that took place at the Dehradun Ashram and on Shri Babaji's tour in August for this auspicious occasion. Please click on the images to view them in full size.
With Shri Babaji travelling to Bangalore on the invitation of the trustees and devotees for the function at the head Ashram, local devotees, trustees and the Ashramites enthusiastically prepared for the big day in Dehradun itself. On the 6th night after bhajans and Aarati, they prepared the hall and Shri Swamiji's dais with beautiful flower decorations and strings of the auspicious mango leaves to line all doorways as a traditional welcome to the devotees. Early next morning all gathered for the worship ceremony at the temple downstairs and to Shri Swamiji's dais. Afterwards many devotees old and new gathered for the Homa, followed by bhajans in the main hall. The program ended with reading out Shri Babaji's message and dedication to His Beloved Master and the Aarati. All devotees joyously partook of the mahaprasadam after which a mass feeding was held. Many poor and needy were also fed. Devotees expressed their heartfelt emotions remembering the fondest memories of their times with Shri Swamiji and expressed solidarity and support for Ashram's ongoing struggle to maintain an atmosphere of peace and harmony for future generations to come and follow Shri Swamiji's Teachings and do sadhana. In the evening devotees gathered for meditation followed by bhajans and Aarati.
Shri Babaji was warmly welcomed to Bangalore and taken to the main Ashram by the trustees and senior devotees of Shri Swamiji. Many devotees, old and new, had gathered to pay their respects to the Great Yogi and for the first couple of evenings there were meditation sessions as well as a chance to ask questions where many doubts about spirituality and Shri Swamiji's Teachings were cleared. Many appreciated how accessible Babaji was, just like Shri Swamiji, always available to the devotees and ready to guide them. On the sixth evening and seventh morning beautiful programs had been organized by the working Chairman, Shri KB Vishwanath, and his team of dedicated trustees like Mr Doraiswami, Mr Mohan and Mr Madhu , all old devotees of Swamiji. A new Hanuman temple had been built on the Ashram premises and the trustees requested that Babaji bless the occasion and install the new idol by doing the necessary rituals and performing the Abishekam (ritual bath). Afterwards Babaji was also requested to perform the rituals for the installation of a new life size white marble statue of Shri Swamiji's in the Ashram's Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara temple. Swamiji's statue looks so magnificent, glowing alive with the devotion of the pujas performed. Devotees were in awe. Following this there was a Homa for which the final offering was done through Babaji, as Shri Swamiji's disciple and honored guest for the special function.
Later, Babaji addressed the devotees present, remembering the greatness of Shri Swamiji's Yuga Tapas and His Life of service to mankind. He emphasized that Swamiji and His Teachings were like a vast ocean which no one can limit. In every way He blesses the devotees. He was, is and will always be present in the hearts of sincere devotees, Babaji said. Another guest of honor, Retd Chief Justice of India, Shri Venkatachalaiah, a very humble senior devotee of Swamiji's, shared his experiences from the early days of staying with Swamiji at the Ashram and later expressed to Babaji how delighted he was on seeing that Babaji had completed Tapas and was so ably carrying on Shri Swamiji's legacy. On the 15th of August Babaji was present to bless the function held at the old Ashram in Banergetta Road to honor Shri Swamiji's Mother. Trustees and devotees were emotional when it came time for Babaji to leave and all expressed support for Babaji's efforts to spread Shri Swamiji's Teachings of meditation worldwide and in establishing Dehradun Ashram as a center for future generations to do sadhana.
Ashram in Y.N.Hosakote
Devotees of Shri Swamiji from this small town have been regularly coming to Bangalore for the functions. They had been requesting Babaji to visit them for a few years and this year through Swamiji's grace the program finally materialized. The devotees had been waiting eagerly. The reception was grand, just like they used to in Shri Swamiji's time. Babaji was received joyously by the large gathering with Mr Dhananjeya, who had first brought Swamiji to the town and established the Ashram, garlanding Babaji followed by the Aarati. The Ashram pujari (priest) then received Babaji with the purnakumbham with devotees carrying the traditional kalasham on their heads to escort Babaji. Both of these are traditional symbols of the Divine's absoluteness and used to convey the highest respect to the Master. Babaji was led by a procession through the town with the devotees seating Him on a raised dais with Shri Swamiji's photo. Upon reaching the Ashram Babaji offered His worship to His Beloved Master's idol. Afterwards Babaji addressed the crowds and spoke about the powerful meditation technique that Shri Swamiji had imparted so generously to the people of this world. Babaji then initiated the crowds to sit for a session of meditation which was followed by bhajans and Darshan. The beautiful program came to an end with a mass feeding of the blessed prasadam.
Muddireddypalli & Doddaballapur Ashrams
Shri Babaji's tour continued with visits to the Muddireddypalli (near Hindupur town) and Doddaballapur Ashrams where He has been visiting annually since 2005. Doddaballapur is the first place that Shri Swamiji travelled to after His Tapas and later became the place where He established His first Ashram. The organizers there know Babaji since before His Tapas and have always appreciated His humility and dedication to Shri Swamiji. At both places Babaji was received with the traditional washing of the feet (pada puja), garlanding and Aarati before being led to the main alter where Babaji performed a simple worship filled with devotion to Shri Swamiji. He spoke in their mother tongue sharing the simple words of wisdom of His beloved Master and freely giving the technique of meditation that Shri Swamiji taught to one and all. Meditation, bhajans and mass feeding were also conducted before the devotees bade their emotional farewell to Shri Babaji.
Chauapara TE, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
The August tour came to an end with Babaji visiting the beautiful tea estate where the senior manager, an old devotee of Shri Swamiji's, had organized programs over a couple of days. In the mornings devotees gathered to hear Babaji speak about Shri Swamiji, meditation and spirituality in general followed by a period of meditation and then a chance to ask questions. In the evenings bhajans, Aarati and Darshan took place followed by mass feeding. In the legacy of Shri Swamiji, poor and rich, young and old, sat side by side absorbing the golden words of wisdom and partaking of the Blessings of the great Master.