The Old Guard

Swamiji’s Example

Bhava Samadhi

The book that Swamiji recommended

His Presence

Not Religion; Eternal Truth

The Mission: Reduce Tension

The Shivabalayogi Story

Shivabalayogi on His Mission

Shivabalayogi’s Sabotage

The Living Example

The Cosmic Shivabalayogi

The Living Guru

The Living Miracle

Bhava & Trance Swamis

Meditation as the Mission

Diversity in the Mission

A Community of Devotees

Measuring the Mission

The Living Self

Lord of Yogis

An Army of Monkeys & Bears

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Perspectives on the Shivabalayogi Mission Today

“Swamiji is just going to teach you meditation and ask you to practice it.  He is not going to create a religion.”

Shivabalayogis Sabotage

  Obstacles to Conventional Organizations

Shivabalayogi made great predictions for the extent of his mission.  He also intentionally sabotaged it from a conventional perspective.

We can speculate that if his mission was to make meditation available for millions, he would have set up a movement with many disciples, well trained not only in meditation, but in organizational and leadership skills, to teach, guide and serve as positive examples.  He did nothing of the sort.

The few devotees that he publically initiated into tapas essentially failed.  Of the four we know about from the 1960’s, two were murdered, one he declared unsuccessful, and the fourth was successful, but disappointed Swamiji because he was more interested in developing his own ashram than serving his guru.

Swamiji repeatedly assured devotees that he was not going to set up a religion.

“Swamiji is just going to teach you meditation and ask you to practice it.  If one starts religious feelings then there will be trouble.  We already have religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.  Because of that there is trouble.  Swamiji wants to unite all those people.  He is not going to create a religion.”

Shivabalayogi encouraged individuals to pursue their own spiritual practices.  He discouraged the notion of a monolithic organization or belief system.

Shivabalayogi placed obstacles in the path of a conventional Shivabalayogi organization.  Although many ashrams were given to him, and although he took a keen interest in their development, he was somewhat lax about their management.  His largest ashram is in J. P. Nagar, Bangalore, yet at a time when he clearly indicated that he was about to drop his body, he intentionally left vacancies in the trust that was supposed to manage it.  He told some of the ashram devotees that he intended to name them as additional trustees, he called lawyers to amend the trust document, then he dropped the matter.  As a result, when he took mahasamadhi, there was only one trustee remaining and no provision to add more.

Nothing in any Shivabalayogi organization had been prepared for his mahasamadhi.  He left behind no designated successor, trustee or manager who could appoint new trustees or managers.  He established no order of monks, teachers, practitioners or any notion of even belonging to a group.  What he left behind was a legacy of apparent aversion to spiritual organizations.

Apparent because Shivabalayogi did set an example, and he did train devotees in how to work in the mission.  What he did not like were top-down organizations.  His example, and what he tried to teach to devotees who wanted to participate in his mission, was for decisions to be made by unanimous consensus in open meetings and equal voices.  He disapproved of majority votes because they invited compromises and coalitions that shut out broad participation and accommodation.  The function of his management was not to tell others what to do, but to serve others.

To understand this type of mission and organization requires delving deeper into the Shivabalayogi story.  It begins with the first and most obvious way in which Shivabalayogi remains The Living Yogi.  It is, quite simply, that the Shivabalayogi story lives on.  His life serves as a timeless example.


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