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.

Swamiji Discouraged Using Words
to Teach Meditation or to Describe Spiritual Experiences

One difference between Shivabalayogi and spiritual teachers is that Swamiji never talked to the audience at his public programs.

General Hanut summarized it elegantly in his 1981 biography of Shivabalayogi, “Spiritual Ministration”

“A large majority of those who visit saints and sadhus, go there not only for their darshan, but also to gain enlightenment by listening to their ‘Pravachan’ (spiritual talks or lectures).  The sadhus also, by and large, cater this public hankering by giving talks and discourses.  Therefore, devotees who come for Sri Swamiji’s darshan and are not yet familiar with his methods, are somewhat non-plussed to find that Sri Swamiji gives no spiritual discourses.”

Sadhus, saints and disciples lecture and write books to attract and hold an audience.  Shivabalayogi, like Ramana Maharshi, Nityananda, Shirdi Sai Baba, and other yogis, taught in silence.  They didn’t need to talk.  Their presence was that powerful.

Every public program that Shivabalayogi conducted consisted of silent teaching and practical experiences:  darshan, meditation, bhajans (bhava) and vibhuti.  There were no lectures or discourses.  He taught in silence.  Swamiji didn’t write books or commentaries.  He gave experiences, typically through his astral presence (bhava samadhi).

There were no messages from Swamiji on special occasions like his birthday, Guru Purnima or Christmas.  He gave no talks, writings or teachings on the goal of spirituality or the moral, dietary or mental health elements of the spiritual path.

Program in Anantapur.

Even when we asked him questions in private conversations, he never indulged our curiosity about the details, stages or attributes of meditation or other spiritual experiences.  Those who were around Shivabalayogi know that his typical response to such questions was blunt.  Meditate and you will understand.  When he did respond, his answers were short and direct.  Questions about the goal of meditation were not answered with philosophy or a description of union with God.  The goal was to reduce tension.

“A yogi always has to be silent.  Only by being silent he can control.  Even whatever he talked now, it is because you asked him the questions.  Otherwise he does not talk about all this at all.”

Over three decades of giving meditation to the public, Swamiji went out of his way to discourage worrying about the rules or stages of meditation.  The meditation instructions that he required to be read out loud after initiation expressly state that there are no rules about time, place, posture, diet, cleanliness or anything else that spiritual teachers tend to lecture about.

“You can meditate at any time.  You can use any posture you like.  You can sit on a chair or a bed.  You could also sit on the floor.  There are no restrictions at all.”

I remember the occasional person who wanted to conduct classes to teach Swamiji’s meditation.  He discouraged each of them.

Swamiji explained that talking about spiritual subjects could interfere with our experience.  When someone asked Swamiji to describe what samadhi was like, he replied:

“Read the history of Swami and you will come to know.  If you reach that stage, then talking about it would be good to pull you up.  What is the use of telling you about it now?  If Swami tells you about samadhi now you will think of that in your meditation instead of doing your meditation.  If you really reach the state of samadhi then it will be up to Swami to guide and tell you how to go forward from there.”

“If you have preconceptions, you will get stuck with those ideas.  You will get discouraged if you have not reached that stage yet.  That is wrong.”