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

Gurus, Obedience & Ashrams

Bhava Samadhi

Explaining Swamiji’s
Use of Spiritual Experiences

The book Swamiji recommended

Perspectives on the Mission Today

About this Writer’s Corner


news about Swamiji & devotees




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  Telling the Truth
—  Yogis Don't Spin the Truth

  Recognizing Mahatmas
—  Get to Know Them

  Yogis with Ego 
—  Not Everyone Who Completes Tapas Is without Ego

  Spiritual Leaders’ Powers 
—  Not All that Glitters Is Gold

  Old & New Devotees 
—  Making Way for the New

  Silent Teaching 
—  Swamiji Discouraged Using Words to Teach Meditation or Describe Spiritual Experiences

  Swamiji Doesn’t Forget  —  Remembering His Devotees

  A Yogi’s Dramas  —  The Shiva in Shivabalayogi

  Associations with the Famous  —  If Swamiji is famous, it is because he has done twelve years of tapas

  Guru Brothers & Sisters  —  It Makes Sense Only If You Add It All Up

  Gurus, Obedience & Ashrams  —  A true yogi doesn’t tell others what to do; ashrams are for devotees.

If Swamiji is famous, it is because he has done twelve years of tapas.

Comparisons Giving Offense

Shivarudrabalayogi, when he was simply Seenu, told me a story about Adinarayana who was the Secretary of the Bangalore Trust for many years and served Swamiji very faithfully.  You can read more about Adinarayana in Soul Connections.

Ramakrishna Paramahansa

The story Seenu told me had to do with the Ramakrishna Mission just down the street from the Dehradun ashram.  Ramakrishna Paramahansa is a well known and highly revered saint not only in India, but throughout the world.

Adinarayana, like many devotees, knew that Shivabalayogi admitted being Ramakrishna in a prior life.  Being an enthusiastic devote of Shivabalayogi, Adinarayana went to the Ramakrishna mission to tell people that their guru had reincarnated and was visiting just up the street.  He explained that the astrological nadis confirm that Shivabalayogi was an reincarnation of Ramakrishna.  He expected the Ramakrishna devotees would be interested in the reincarnation of their master, but they weren’t.

Adinarayana returned to Swamiji disappointed.  When he told Swamiji, Swamiji was vexed.  “Why are you telling them this?  It should be left to each devotee as to how they see Swamiji and what they believe.  If Swamiji is famous, it is because he has done twelve years of tapas.  Swamiji has never used Ramakrishna’s name to become famous.”

Shivabalayogi Madras 1964

Shivabalayogi at a program in Madras, December 26 1964.  A picture of Shiva is facing Swamiji, leaning against the back of the tiger head.

Shivabalayogi’s Rights to Associate

Shivabalayogi’s own guru is Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.  When Shivabalayogi completed tapas, Shiva and Parvati merged with him.  He had every right to equate himself with Shiva and Parvati, yet he very intentionally refused to do so.

The name Guru gave Swamiji was Shivabalayogishwara, which means “Lord of Yogis Dedicated to Shiva and Parvati.”  “Ishwara” (Lord) is also a name of Shiva.  Shivabalayogi shortened the name in to prevent any suggestion that he was equating himself with God.

Shivabalayogi did use images of his Divine Guru.  Often when he sat on a formal asana, he had a picture of Shiva facing him.  It was intended for Swamiji.  The crowd generally would not be able to see it.

Give No Offense

A true yogi is a yogi.  There is no need for a yogi to be associated with anyone else who may be famous, or even associated with any spiritual lineage.  The yogi simply is.

“All yogis belong to a single line.  They are all the same and they are all connected together.  They do not have lines or branches or anything like that.”

Ken and Elisha organized the first U.S. tours for Shivabalayogi.  They put the first flyer together, which became the model for all the advertising for Swamiji’s programs.  Elisha had an idea of promoting Shivabalayogi by having his photograph displayed with images of other great yogis, like Jesus, Buddha, Ramakrishna, Lahiri Mahasaya, and even Mohammed (a veiled face), or symbols representing the major religions of the world.  In Seattle, we had the Shivabalayogi Center for Meditation.  We also thought of putting up pictures of other yogis.  Our idea was to transcend any particular spiritual line by emphasizing that Shivabalayogi incorporated them all.

Swamiji would not agree.  He very strongly discouraged the idea of associating and promoting Shivabalayogi with other famous yogis.  The reasons he gave were simple.  There was no need, and making such associations can give offense to devotees of the other yogis.


Adinarayana’s attempt to attract Ramakrishna devotees to Shivabalayogi was well intentioned, but it probably offended some of the Ramakrishna devotees.

It is the same with Shivabalayogi devotees offended by claims that someone is the same as Shivabalayogi, or is his spiritual successor.