Question: Why did Babaji do five years of tapas while His Guru, Swamiji, did twelve?
Before Babaji sat for five years of tapas, Baba was made to do tapas by beloved Guru, Swamiji Maharaj for twenty years. Baba meditated for at least 10 hrs daily, unknown to the outside world. Beloved Swamiji used to visit this ashram every year for two months or three months. In those days surrendered service was Baba's tapas. Later when Swamiji used to go away, Baba sat in meditation. In those days behind the ashram there used to be a forest area and underneath a mango tree, Baba always sat for tapas. Simply the world did not notice about this tapas.
Finally, when Swamiji appeared before Baba to ask him to sit for tapas, Swamiji said that because of Baba's surrendered service the mind has receded equal to seven years of tapas, so five years of tapas is needed to complete. This means that Baba's mind never got agitated, whatever the Guru wanted Baba to do. In addition, Baba was doing long quiet meditations.
Because in those days, Baba had to be serving, the Guru had asked Baba to wait to assume a Yogi's form until the appropriate time. The Divine Guru permitted in 1994 to go for nonstop five year tapas. In fact Swamiji used to say that His tapas was also complete after five years but He continued for twelve years because Divine Shiva wanted Him to do twelve years tapas.