The first time I heard of Bhagawan Nithyananda was on Jan 3rd, 2010 when Mohanji posted his “Growing With the Master” blog post. Until then, the only Nithyananda I heard of was the contemporary Paramahamsa Nithyananda.
I thus I asked Mohanji bluntly: “And who is now this Nithyananda?” He told me that Bhagawan Nithyananda was a great Master, a real Avadhoota from Siddha Yoga tradition, who lived in the first half/mid of 20th century. Mohanji said that, speaking of Nithyananda, he simply felt the pull to mention this Master as well due to his amazing stature.
Furthermore, on 25 Jan, Mohanji posted “FAQ – The Loud Silence” in which he again mentioned Bhagawan Nithyananda (also known as Bade Baba, or ‘big Baba’, due to his height). I knew what this meant – Bade Baba’s presence was not leaving Mohanji’s inner space.
Little did I know that, on the subtle level, this “pull” from the great Master was his way of inviting Mohanji to visit his holy abode in Ganeshpuri…
The opportunity to do so opened up very soon – in Feb 2010, since we were able to club this trip to the already planned Shirdi Trip on Mohanji’s birthday, Feb 23rd. I was happy to visit another Shaivic Master’s samadhi shrine, and was open for an adventure without harbouring any expectations.
One thing is for sure – I never expected that the experiences at the abode of a Master I never heard of before would reveal to me so much about the true nature of our spiritual path. Indeed, it was like going home.
This is the story of how this leela happened :-):
There were several people who were supposed to join us, but, interestingly enough, in the end they all dropped off, except for Dr. Samata. Our merry trio was thus to head off to Ganeshpuri on 18 Feb, very early (3.30am) in order to reach our destination by 5am, as advised by Mr. Palival from Ganeshpuri.
We were asked to reach there in time to participate in the morning invocations of Guru Gita at Swami Muktananda’s samadhi (Swami Muktananda was the direct disciple of Bade Baba who carried his legacy across the world).
However, the taxi driver that Dr. Samata arranged got lost on the way, i.e. was not able to find our small hotel, and in the end reached almost an hour late! We were definitely not happy about it and prayed that, somehow, we reach on time for the invocation.
And that is EXACTLY what had happened – it was a miracle how we managed to reach so fast – as if we flew on the road. Moreover, upon entering the Ganeshpuri campus, we realized there are so many junctions and no signs to guide us which turn to make. The driver did not know the way either. However, guided by intuition and Master’s grace, we arrived straight to Bade Baba’s samadhi and then had to come back to a nearby samadhi of Swami Muktananda where Mr. Palival was waiting for us. Everything flowed with ease, the atmosphere was purely satwic and, to my great joy, we also had sufficient time for a warm cup of chai at the canteen before the Guru Gita chants started at 5.30 am.
As soon as we stepped into the hall and settled down (where many people were already seated neatly, with Guru Gita in their hands), the chanting began. It was as if they were waiting for us. The timing was so perfect. We immeditaely immersed ourselves into the bliss of Guru Gita (later on we bought a CD with Guru Gita chant in the voice of Gurumayi, direct disciple of Swami Muktananda – I play this CD almost every day now…)
I must say that, for me, this was an unprecedented experience. The collective chanting and the atmosphere was overwhelming. There were two Indian men and one western lady who chanted Guru Gita jointly (since it is like a Q&A between Lord Shiva and Parvati) – their voices were blending so perfectly that it sounded like the music was coming straight from the angelic realms! The female voice was especially divine – I loved it and simply soaked in it. The overall vibration level of the place was just superb – a true abode!
Soon after the chanting was over, Mr. Palival took us to a charming and silent Swamiji, another direct disciple of Swami Muktanada. We soon met this frail, unassuming, and yet so radiant and profound man – Swami Sevananda (since he politely requested us to avoid taking his pictures, we obliged and hence can share with you only the one below, taken from the back.)
Swami Sevananda escorted us to Nithyananda Samadhi. This was indeed amazing and totally unexpected. We felt honored. It became all the more evident to us, that our dear brother Dipak Haksar has conveyed the message of our arrival there in great detail, and the whole Ganeshpuri reciprocated to his love and deep affection.
Moreover, since the ‘coincidences’ and sincerity of people greeting us were so intense, it was clear to us that it was Bhagawan Nithyananda who was orchestrating it all. This trip indeed was His invitation without which nothing can actually take place (we were told that this happens to all those who are fortunate to somehow reach Ganeshpuri). We felt His divine presence in each little grass and stone of this divine abode – his energy, showered on us from the supraconscious realms, was so intense and unmistakable.
Swami Sevananda soon ‘handed us over’ to a lovely man called Rakesh, the Chief Administrator at the Nithyananda Samadhi. He again invited us for a cup of chai and radiated so much love that we felt deeply touched – oh that beautiful home-like feeling, inner sense of recognition…
His loving actions were way beyond common politeness. He felt especially connected with Mohanji – loving vibes were bursting out of both. He garlanded Mohanji, gifted him a scarf – he simply did not know in what other way to express his love.
I was just observing all this and my heart was expanding with joy. I also noticed that something was happening in my inner space. Several times I felt a distinct tickle on the top of my head and soon understood – it is Bade Baba, blessing us. Oh, what a giant. His presence was felt so clearly – the love that he showered us with made all of us so joyous that we didn’t know what to do with all that love :-).
We soon stepped outside, in front of Samadhi mandir…
… and Mr. rakesh took us for a tour to the most sacred places at Ganeshpuri:
As we entered Kailas Nivas, we again felt overwhelmed – I somehow felt that Bade Baba was above us like a cloud, merging with us, and guiding us to his most intimate places. It was amazing to see his personal items, touch his bed, favorite chair, see his photo images, feel his energy – we were indeed soaking in and breathing Bade Baba.
He opened all the rooms which are otherwise not opened, except for cleaning. It is usually not allowed to take photos at these sacred places, but Mr. Rakesh made an exception for us – after all, at one’s home, everything is allowed 🙂 It was indeed a “home coming” for all of us.
There was something so enchanting about the chair on which Bade Baba used to sit – it felt it was just yesterday that he sat there…
I was so thrilled and eager to learn more and more about the spiritual giant of Nithyananda – I did not know his stature was that great and was surprized that I never heard of him before.
It is a great honor to write a few words about this extraordinary Master, who, as Mohanji said, blessed the Earth by his presence.
Just like in case of Shirdi Sai Baba, nobody knows when and to whom he was born as a child – Bade Baba was found by a village lady called Unniamma, who had a dream of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva bathing on the banks of a river. That vivid dream woke her up around 3.30amin – she decided to go to her landlord’s house rather early. It was raining and, after the flash of lightning, she saw with her own eyes a child lying on a bund, with a big snake behind it, as if protecting the child. It was Unniamma who brought up this unusual child who was clearly different (e.g. he loved to play pranks, like diving into a lake and disappearing for some time; would expalin difficult philosophical concepts with great clarity and wisdom at a very young age, etc). When he was ten years old, he embarked on a pilgrimage to Kashi, many other holy places and then Himalayas. His wandering (Parivrajaka) lasted for about ten years. He then returned to Kerala for a while, and then went to Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma. Some time later, he returned to South India, where he soon became famous due to many miracles that he performed and various siddhis that he displayed (like materializing things, appearing at several places at the same time, living undergrouond for many days without oxygen, food and water, walking on water as if it is solid (like Jesus Christ), talking to animals and sharing his food plate with dogs and cats (who would, in front of him, blissfully eat together), etc.
He never stayed in one place for more than a few days, but, wherever he went, people flocked to see him. Just like Shirdi Baba, he distributed whatever was given to him before the day was over and never cared for fame.
There are many interesting stories from Bade Baba’s life – I’ll share one with you, just to give you a glimpse :-).
One day he got caught in a train without a ticket and was asked to get off the train immediately. He obeyed without any complaint and was soon seen standing on one leg on the train station (as always, wearing nothing but his langoti around the intimate parts), his arms folded, with a big radiant smile on his face. For quite some time, the train just wouldn’t move – all were startled because nothing was wrong with the engine and there was no obvious reason why the train would not start. Then a few passengers approached the T.C. and Engine Driver, saying: “That man you ordered out, he is a divine being. Please take him back in the train.” And sure enough, as soon as Nithyananda boarded the train, it started. 🙂
In 1923 he reached Mangalore. Surrounded by many devotees, at one point, he went into a Samadhi state and remained in the same for a long time. He was motionless, like a statue. Here’s a vivid description of what happened next: 🙂
Bade Baba’s Mahasamadhi was meant to happen at one place only – in Ganeshpuri, the only place where the wandering saint finally settled in 1940s and remained there till August 8th, 1961 – when he uttered the last words before taking Mahasamadhi: “Sadhu became Swami, Swami became Deva, and now it is Sthira Samadhi.”
This was the first booklet (in a cute format of a comic) that I read from all the goodies we bought at the galleria in Ganeshpuri. Unlike Mohanji, it was only then that I understood just how amazing is the stature of Bade Baba – I was so deeply touched and felt so grateful that I got to pay the homage to this extraordinary Satpurusha.
His abode, Ganeshpuri, is especially sanctified because of his continuous presence there at the latter stage of his life. I highly recommend to all who visit India to definitely come to this indescribably tranquil and serene abode of a Master, a great Siddha. As soon as you enter the temple you will undoubtedly feel the world slipping away and calmness and serenity descending on you. The blessed peace of most refined silence is tangible here. No voices are raised and people speak only when necessary.
And yet, the place is brimming with joy – one feels expanded from within, deeply enriched. A Master who operated fully from the being level till date transfers that experience to all those who visit Ganeshpuri with a heart full of gratitude.
There were so many amazing moments in Ganeshpuri that sometimes I had to pinch myself to believe all of this is really happening. Swami Sevananda, in his silent way, at one point invited us into the Samadhi Stan, which usually only priests enter. He also ordered a big mala and asked Mohanji to garland Bhagawan Nithyananda’s moorthy – I understood that he must have recognized something in Mohanji which prompted him to do this. Moreover, we were allowed to prostrate at the samadhi itself, which was followed by another surprize – Swami Sevananda paid money from his own pocket to arrange a Paada pooja for us -we were speechless. Those were such special, auspicious, sacred moments…
After this visit, I understood Mohanji much more, and understood our spiritual path with further clarity. Can it be that simple – to JUST BE, radiate That, maintain purity, serve unconditionally, and everything just falls into place – there are no patterns, no rigidity, no big plans, no second agendas.. The path of the Siddhas, blessed by many Great Ones. And here’s a definition of a Siddha guru:
“A Siddha Guru is a spiritual teacher, a master, whose identification with the supreme Self is uninterrupted. The unique and rare quality of a Siddha Guru is his/her capacity to awaken the spiritual energy (Kundalini) in seekers through Shaktipat.”
Hm… sounds rather familiar 🙂
All this was going on in my mind and brewing in my heart as we bathed in the energy of Ganeshpuri.
We also attended the noon Aarati after which Mr. Rakesh, Dr. Samata, Mohanji and I shared many laughs, expressing sheer joy.
Mohanji was in his ‘full element’, radiating so much love – and I could tell that Mr. Rakesh just could not let him go 🙂
After enjoying a wonderful Satwic lunch, in the company of our dear Swami Sevananda (who again appeared before us to make sure we are fully taken care of), we bought many lovely CDs, books, insense and essential oil fragrances in the Galleria.
Finally, Swami Sevananda took us to Muktananda Samadhi, which is not opened every day – we happened to visit Ganeshpuri during one of the two days in a week when it is open. Fortunately, not too many people were there, so we could sit there and meditate. Again, profound sensations in the inner space, expansion, joy… We then attended the noon Aarati, with our hearts overflowing…
It was so lovely to be in the company of Swami Sevananda, who shared with us many of his experience with Swami Muktananda and really showered us with love ( knowing that he has so many other responsibilities, we were truly honored by the amount of the time he gifted us). He was with us till the very last moment – in the end,he gave us the packets with prasad, sending us off lovingly.
Leaving the place that so felt like home, we made a vow that we will return when possible and stay at least for a few days, simply to be…
As we were leaving Ganeshpuri, I enjoyed sitting next to Mohanji in the car, observing how happy and deeply fulfilled he was – his entire being was smiling.
We could not agree more with the following sign that we read in Ganeshpuri:
“He [Bade Baba] is considered to fulfill anything and everything that a person wishes for in life, in a righteous way. It is an experience of all, that no one goes empty handed from His Great Pilgrimage.”
I must confess that I was not supposed to join Mohanji for this trip, since I started working only a few months ago and already took too many leaves. But it was Shirdi Baba and Bade Baba, I know, who made sure I don’t miss this experience. The very thought of their love and grace brings tears to my eyes instantly…….
With deep gratitude and surrender,