Saturday, January 7, 2012

Long pilgrimage, the wonderful story of the Sivapuri Baba. By Gaby

Before I introduce the Sivapuri Baba to those who do not yet know him, I will let his words speak for him:

The Baba at 121 years!
"God has sent Wisdom with you. Wisdom is your friend, your mother. Wisdom plays with Desire and by their unlawful contact they gave birth to Mind. This Mind marries a girl named Chapalata (restlessness) and by this he got the five senses. This Mind has got another wife too, whose name is Hope (expectations) and by this second wife he got two sons namely Anger and Greed. Thus a family is set up and they make a home to live in this body. This unlawful playing of Wisdom and Desire is Avidya (ignorance). And in course of time, as Mind experiences fears and anxieties through the five senses, he becomes much distracted or disturbed, and then turns back to his mother Wisdom and cries for help. Wisdom then comes and consult YOU, meaning Soul, who then tells her you should renounce your family and to remain in communion with YOU or Soul. This communion with Soul, is what we call Realization or Bodha"

From Budhanilkantha, Katmandu, one can walk to Shivapuri easily. At the top you can find the place where the Sivaprui Baba had his hut. The place is loaded with strong vibes, No wonder one would like to settle here for Sadhana. You can also visit his Samadhi in a small forest behind the airport and the golf-course a place called Dhruvasthali. Nothing really special here, just a profound calm and silence, something that quickly invades your meditation.

Born in 1826 in Kerala, he completed his education under his grand father and Guru tutelage. At the age of 18 he becomes Samnyasin and followed his grand father in the forest. After the death of his grandfather, he took the final vows and became Govindananda Bharati, only to return to the forest in complete solitude for the next 20 years. But he had made a promise to his gran father to accomplish a pilgrimage around the world after having reached Rtambhara Prajna or Absolute Realization of God. The pilgrimage was to last another 50 or so years traveling the world, mostly on foot, meeting Queen Victoria, Theodore Roosevelt and many other world leaders. He ended the pilgrimage by finally settling in Nepal, near Kathmandu on the Sivapuri peak, at the age of 100 year where he started to be known as the Sivapuri Baba. The author wrote the book after several interview with the Baba when he was far past 100 years. He died at the age of 137. His teaching are amazingly simple, it was the teaching of "Right Life" or Swadharma that the Baba emphasized most.

Baba-ji tree trunk hut, the large tree has now fallen
Nowadays, when modern self-titled-yogi flock on the beaches of Goa for a new age version of Yoga, you can still find in the Himalayan forest some traditional yogi (they don't call themselves yogi...). In the last month, I was lucky enough to meet "Baba-ji" (the terms just mean father but is used in respect) who has been in the forest for over 18 years, the first 5 living in a tree trunk, Baba-ji is 53, from Haryana (India) tall and really handsome, long haired and long bearded, we exchanged a few lines (in English, yes) then tea and I was invited for lunch. During our discussion we talk about self-inquiry and the nature of the human soul.

More recently I met another amazing soul in the person of a Swami who has lived in his Sivapuri forest hut for 22 years before starting building an ashram on the more accessible slope of Budhanilkantha. Swami-ji is 88 and has long white dreadlocks, his eyes are sparkling, his English his impeccable but he also speaks Bengali (he is from Bengal) Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit, he is a musician, writer, philosopher, painter and let's stop here as I can already hear you ask, "But how do you learn all this staying alone in a forest?".

Both these saint men exude vitality, happiness, wit and by no means show their age as they are so active and fit. Many modern yogis under the comfortable excuse of following a "tantric" or an "integral" route are often critic of the renouncers. But meet Baba-ji or Swami-ji and you will start asking yourself who has renounced what? Materialism is the renouncement of Life they would probably tell you as the Hindu proverb goes "They who Live have all things, they who withhold have nothing".

Don't look for the truth in Goa or to Rishikesh, the self declared "Capital of Yoga", serious seekers come to the Himalayas and get the book:

"Long Pilgrimage, The Life and Teaching of Sri Govindanda Bharati known as the Shivapuri Baba" from John G. Bennett, ISBN 99946-956-7-3, really worth reading...


  1. I want read it. Been an admirer of Gurdjieff and Bennett for years now...

  2. Great!!!!! Now The Book In