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 did not care about anybody, only the truth.”

Shivabalayogi told the truth.  Even when it was inconvenient, or upsetting, or bad manners.  He spoke the truth.

Take Swamiji’s childhood for example.  He was a naughty boy.  He readily admitted it and he enjoyed telling us stories about just how naughty he was.  He didn’t make up stories about being a perfect child from a perfect family.

He didn’t leave out what good mannered, religious devotees feared might offend social convention.  He wasn’t bothered about social conventions.  If it was time to scold someone for misconduct — past or possible future — he would do it in public.

In the large meditation hall at the Bangalore ashram, in front of devotees who had gathered there from around India, he scolded and shouted at his own family members for misbehavior.  I was at a public program in the Seattle area when he angrily shouted at a woman for interfering in something that was none of her business.  It was a very strange thing to happen at a spiritual program, and not very good marketing.

Some of us were not so good at listening, so the loving guru talked louder.  Some people were troubled by the guru’s show of anger.  However, those who reserved judgment and sensed that Swamiji might have a purpose actually felt a sense of blessing.  The angrier he appeared, the more bliss such devotees experienced.

Shivabalayogi Dehradun

Read Swamiji’s own stories about his CHILDHOOD

In Santa Fe they organized a conversation with Swamiji that was professionally video-taped and scheduled for broadcast on local television.  Santa Fe has a large community that supports the Dalai Lama.  In fact, the Dalia Lama had just visited Santa Fe to bless a new Tibetan monastery.  It would have been a great opportunity for Swamiji to appeal to a new audience.  Trouble was, one of the first questions was leading.  The fellow wanted Shivabalayogi to validate that it was good when a country, Tibet, is ruled by a monk, the Dalai Lama.  This got Swamiji extremely angry.

See, this went to the core of what Swamiji was trying to get people to understand.  Spirituality mixed with politics is religion.  Swamiji didn’t hold back and the fellow wouldn’t listen to what Swamiji was trying to say.  Pretty much the whole time was taken up with this heated, conventionally unpleasant exchange.  The television program never aired.

Shivabalayogi never worried about popularity.  He never let English notions of polite behavior get in the way of the truth.

It’s not spiritual powers, or a calm demeanor, or eloquent speaking and writing, or telling people what they want to hear that makes a true saint.  A true saint is one who has no ego and speaks the truth fearlessly.

In traditional cultures, one’s word was considered precious.  The worth and honor of a person lay in telling the truth.  Spiritual traditions emphasized ancient truth, the sanatana dharma.

Telling the truth is so basic, yet we as a culture practice seem to practice it so little.  Nowadays, we are so used to advertising and politicians and religions and popular culture that we compromise between small and big untruths, and different shades of grey.  But if someone cannot be trusted on small things, how can you trust them on the big stuff?  Shivabalayogi never compromised on the truth.

“Shiva chose Swamiji even though he was very naughty.  Swamiji did not care about anybody, only the truth.  Even today he is like that.  Sometimes people get upset or sad when he gives an outspoken reply.  It is for their own benefit.  After some time they will come to understand why.  Swami did not know when he sat in tapas what it was.  He was forcefully sat by his guru Bhagavan.  Now he understands.  That is why Swamiji is explaining everything to you.”