The Old Guard

Telling the Truth

Recognizing Mahatmas

Yogis with Ego

Spiritual Leaders’ Powers

Old & New Devotees

Silent Teaching

Swamiji Doesn’t Forget

A Yogi’s Dramas

Associations with the Famous

Guru Brothers & Sisters

Bhava Samadhi

Swamiji Gives Spiritual Experiences

The book Swamiji recommended

Perspectives on the Mission Today


About this Writer’s Corner


news about Swamiji & devotees




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A few days after I first met Swamiji, I was spending the weekend at the house in Portland, Oregon, where he was staying, and read his biography written by General Hanut Singh, Spiritual Ministration.  A few months later, I was helping set up public programs for Swamiji in Seattle.  Before long, we found out that Swamiji would engage in conversations, and we had all sorts of questions.  His answers were direct, often controversial, and always authentic.

I kept notes.  Then, with Swamiji’s permission, I tape recorded conversations and typed transcripts.  I organized the material by subject matter and sent a manuscript to Swamiji in Bangalore entitled Darshan.  He had his Indian devotees publish the rough draft and brought copies with him the next time he came to the United States.  Then he asked for Darshan to be combined with Spiritual Ministration and devotees’ experiences added.  That became Tapas Shakti, published in Bangalore on the occasion of Swamiji’s 57th birthday.

Swamiji kept encouraging me to collect more devotees’ experiences.  He told me he would drag me around India to visit all the ashrams for that purpose.  His mahasamadhi on March 28, 1994, intervened, but I did feel like I was being dragged around during five months of travel throughout India in 1996, visiting ashrams and devotees in South and North India, collecting history and experiences of Shivabalayogi.  That material, with other material I had collected visiting devotees in London and the United States, became Divine Play, written for a general Western audience, and Swamiji’s Treasure, which is more encyclopedic.


Bangalore, January 1993

Read more information about writing Divine Play.

Shivabalayogi came into my life in late 1987.  I attended his second public program in the United States.  That makes me a very junior devotee in terms of coming to him quite late in his earthly incarnation.  There are many devotees who knew him decades earlier and spent much more time with him.

Each devotee sees Swamiji a little differently, and each has his or her own experiences.  Swamiji behaved differently with different devotees and in different places.  He was like an elder in his native village of Adivarapupeta, more formal in the urban environment of Bangalore, and more relaxed and playful in Dehradun and its Himalayan surroundings.  With serious meditators, he stressed meditation even more than he usually did.  With others, he often spoke about the power of devotion (bhakti).

He was a mirror, reflecting each person uniquely.  He made each devotee feel like they were the special one.

During the time I spent with him in the U.S., we asked him a lot of questions.  When that question & answer material was published, Indian devotees asked why Swamiji hadn’t said so much to them.  He replied that Americans asked more questions.

So often talking with us, Swamiji complained how the histories of the many yogis who have blessed this world are altered after their death.  After the yogi is gone, the people who continue the mission develop organizations and write books.  When that happens, Swamiji explained, the story changes.

There are any number of reasons and motivations.  People may simply forget what happened.  In their devotion and enthusiasm, they may exaggerate what happened.  Devotees argue among themselves.  Some want to become the Guru.  Inconvenient parts of the story are deleted, and new stories made up.

In the U.S., we asked a lot of questions about Jesus.  I love history and I often wondered who Jesus really was.  Hearing Swamiji talk, I was motivated to preserve and write a reasonably accurate and complete account of Shivabalayogi’s life.

“You are with Swamiji now and know the truth, but after I am gone people can say whatever they want about Swamiji.”

Shivabalayogi was an unusually public yogi.  We know little about the spiritual penance of other yogis.  In contrast, Shivabalayogi’s twelve year tapas is documented by eyewitnesses and we have his own descriptions of many of his own experiences.  Unlike most yogis, Shivabalayogi traveled extensively conducting public programs attended by millions of people.

Shivabalayogi has inspired many devotees with profound spiritual experiences, deep meditation, ardent devotion, a desire to serve others.  You can read about a few examples of such devotees in the “Soul Connections” section of this website.

Much of what I know about Swamiji comes from talking with other devotees.  As time passes, the devotees who knew Shivabalayogi directly, the “Old Guard” if you will, become fewer.  Their experiences and their perspectives on Swamiji are priceless resources for others to understand what it is like to be around a yogi.  Devotees learn a lot from each other.

There is a lot we know about Shivabalayogi.  Many devotees got to know him.  As years go by, I wonder how much of the story will be remembered.

Detailed information on Shivabalayogi is available at the websites devoted to him:


Shivabalayogi Books

The Shiva Website
Detailed information about Swamiji.  The website that Shivabalayogi blessed.

The Shivabalayogi Website
His life, work & public programs, his words by subject, stories, & photo galleries.

Shivabalayogi Currents
A blog of current news
about Shivabalayogi devotees.

Books on Shivabalayogi
Tapas Shakti
Divine Play
Swamiji's Treasure