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

“If you want to know this subject, come to me, sit down for twelve years and do tapas.”

Bhava & Trance Swamis (Part 2)

  The Need for a Physical Form

There is a human need for an embodied teacher.  It is true of most things we learn in life, whether at home, in school, or on the job.  The need expands in spiritual life.  Shivabalayogi suggested a profound spiritual need.  He warned that we can get only so far without the guidance of one who has been there and beyond.

Once in each lifetime, he said, a physical connection is made.  Even in the life of Shivabalayogi, God materialized long enough to physically touch fourteen-year-old Sathyaraju.  In the lives of his devotees, we are touched by the divine in many ways, but the most obvious is Shivabalayogi’s touch, his astral presence on the devotee giving his initiation into meditation.

The teacher-pupil and guru-disciple relationships may be necessary, but they present opportunities for misuse by both master and student.  Shivabalayogi attracted many who ordinarily were adverse to god-men because Swamiji so obviously embodied uncompromising and selfless qualities.  But we as devotees have limitations, and we can project them onto even the best of teachers.

It is love to believe that the guru is special, but it is human weakness to need others to feel the same way.  It is humility to recognize that we know little and can learn much, but it is a weakness to ignore our inner guidance in favor of someone else telling us what to think and do.  This question of where is the balance goes to the heart of who is Shivabalayogi, what is his mission, and what is our part in it.

During and after the mahasamadhi, there was much communication from trance swamis.  Some assured devotees of Shivabalayogi’s continued availability through bhava samadhi, or an even a more powerful presence through shakti rupa.  There was mixed hope, belief and assumptions that The Living Yogi meant, or at least included, bhava samadhi, and that the mission would continue to be led by a newly incarnated version or versions of Shivabalayogi as trance swami.

Some found the object of their devotion in trance swamis.  Their beloved Shivabalayogi had returned, and people had experiences that confirmed their hopes and beliefs.  They could serve the bhava samadhi form as they had wanted to serve Shivabalayogi.  They could get answers to their questions, and they could be reassured of Shivabalayogi’s love for them.

Many devotees who ordinarily would be quite hostile towards bhava samadhi, when they experienced the presence on a trance swami, recognized Shivabalayogi.  But bhava samadhi did not become a unifying force for Shivabalayogi devotees.  Many were offended when trance swamis dressed like Swamiji and began to claim his authority to conduct meditation and bhajan programs.  Trance swamis were threatened, and some were physically assaulted.  Tensions arose among those who were devoted to Swamiji’s presence in bhava, those who were devoted to meditation, and those who were simply traditionalists and felt most comfortable worshipping Shivabalayogi as a god no longer in anyone’s body.


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