Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj Birthday Commemoration
24 January 2013 - Dehradun Ashram
The first event of the day of celebrations began as sunlight started to appear over the Shivalik Mountains with a walk down the steps of the Ashram gardens to the meditation hut at the foot of the slopes where Shri Guru Maharaj used to go for a walk and sit with devotees.
On those occasions Babaji would run up and down with containers of hot water to serve His Guru and His devotees. The difference now being there are concrete steps to aid progress rather than the loose stones and soil on the steep incline during those early days – and we didn't have to carry heavy or hot containers.
Babaji led the way as we followed well wrapped against the chilled morning air. The Maha Mrityunjay Stotram was gently chanted by Babaji to the shivalingham installed just over a year ago in the meditation hut under the ever watchful image of Swamiji. Afterwards we steadily retraced our steps, passing the trees planted on the hillside by devotees over the past few years to help protect the grounds and replace some of the many trees lost in the past.
Back at the top of the Ashram a puja was performed to the statues of Lord Ganesha, Shivabalayogi Maharaj, a Shivalingham and Dhakshinamurti and then in the Main Darshan Hall which had been decorated by devotees the previous evening. Swamiji's Dais in particular was garlanded with many orange, yellow and red marigolds. The bright display of color, the heavy scent of incense mixed with the ringing of bells and singing of Aarati presented a powerful impression on the senses as all were focused on the act of devotion on this special day of celebration to Swamiji, the Realized Master who had made it all possible.
The next activity was the homa (fire sacrifice) performed for the happiness of all beings in all the worlds around the fire pit in the Ashram courtyard. The chanting and offering to the fire being another way of focusing the mind single-pointedly, just as in meditation.
Just past midday the homa ceremony ended and everyone moved into the Darshan Hall to sing bhajans. After several bhajans from devotees Babaji took the harmonium and led the assembled group through two bhajans ending with 'O Maha Yogisha Aaja' and then leading the singing of Swamiji's Aarati, with everyone following with great passion and devotion.
Babaji spoke to everyone assembled. He told us all that, though Swamiji is not in the physical body He is still very much with us all. He appears to many in thoughts, dreams and meditations guiding and inspiring us all to keep up the practice and to be dedicated and sincere.
Babaji also spoke of Maharani Kailash Kumari Devi who had so generously and selflessly donated the entire property and grounds to Swamiji's Mission, from the frontage on Rajpur Road all the way back, down the slope to the bottom of the hill and the banks of the riverbed. All was given to the Trustees to be cared for and maintained for the benefit and use of all Swamiji's devotees. She was such a great, sincere devotee of Swamiji that Swamiji Himself called her 'Maa' – a rare and special indication of her status.
The event closed with a mass feeding in the garden, as people sat in the warm sun and felt the glow both from the sunshine without and the devotion within.
Below are a selection of photos from the events. Please click on the images to view them in full size.