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Samnyaasis Outside the State
Sivapuri Baba - A Sage who Realised the Absolute Truth

I. A Short Life Sketch
1. Birth:

Sivapuri Baba was born on Moolam Nakshathram (star) in the month of Bhadra 1883, corresponding to AD 1826, as the son of Narayanan Nambudiripad of Oruvannur Mana, near Guruvayur, Kerala.

2. Childhood: He was named as Jayanthan. Since parents died early, his grandfather brought him up.

3. Brahmacharyam: As per custom, he entered the Brahmacharyam stage (Upanayanam) at the early age of 6 or 7, and started studying Vedams and Sanskrit. By the time he completed Brahmacharyam in 1840, sufficient knowledge had been acquired in Sanskrit, Vedams Braahmanams, Ayurvedam and Astrology.

4. Married Life: Immediately after completing his Brahmacharyam, he got married and was blessed with two sons and two daughters.

5. Rejection of Family : While in his twenties, Jayanthan Nambudiripad left his family so as to be free from the worldly ties. In search of the eternal truth, he reached Sringeri Mutth of Aadi Sankaracharya.

6. Spiritual Institution: He met Achuthan, a great scholar in Mathematics and Astrology and a teacher at the Mutth. Achuthan foresaw a great Samnyaasi in Jayanthan and accepted him as his student. The future Sivapuri Baba also accepted Achuthan as his Daadaaji (grandfather) and learnt from him, as much as a spiritual institution could provide.

7. The Last Wish of Daadaaji: Later, both he and Daadaaji left Sringeri Mutth and reached the shores of Narmada River for doing "Thapasya". One day Achuthan told him that he should undertake a pilgrimage around the world.

8. The End of Daadaaji: That was his last wish. A few days  later, Daadaaji breathed his last, leaving Jayanthan all alone.

9. The Great "Thapasya": Thereafter he  walked through the shore of the River Narmada and reached the thick forest where human contact was impossible. There, at a place of complete solitude, he began his great "Thapasya" in search of the absolute truth. For nearly 20 years, he observed deep meditation. He had lost count of time, seasons and years.

10. Realisation of the Absolute: During the last stages of this deep meditation with pointed objective of realisation of God, and with progressive elimination of all that can support and comfort the senses and the mind, he was blessed with the beatific vision or the final enlightenment, the "Ithambara prajna".

11. What Next ?: How can a man who had spent so many years in almost complete solitude, re-emerge into the world of reality? But in his case, the re-emergence was with more vigour, highest wisdom and great determination to execute the programmed decisions. Only an enlightened  soul could do it. He decided to undertake a long pilgrimage around the length and breadth of the world by foot, as per the last wish of his Daadaaji.

12. Bharat Darshan: Thus decided, from his forest retreat, he went to Gujarat in the west, Calcutta in the east, Kanyakumari in the south and the Himalayas in the north.

13. Non-attachment: After the "realisation", he was a fully liberated Samnyaasi who was above all the worldly ties. He influenced Aurobinda Ghosh at Baroda, taught Nirukalpa Samaadhi (practical) to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at Calcutta, and taught Astrology to B G Tilak at Pune. But he never accepted the position of a Guru (teacher) which connoted "attachments".

14. Samnyaasam: During the Indian pilgrimage, he accepted Samnyaasam from Sringeri Mutth and became "Govindaananda Bharathi".

15. In Afghanistan: After India, the world pilgrimage on foot began, starting with Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass. There he met Agakhan (Hassan Ali Shah), and lived with him for a few days.

16. The First Hindu to Visit Mecca: From Afghanistan, he went to Mecca through Persia, where he established contact with Shah Nassiruddin. During those times, entry to the holy city of Mecca was granted only to pure Muslims who surrendered wholly to God. But he had obtained a special permission due to his total submission to God, and his arguments - "God is the same for all. Mohammed was a prophet of God, and not God. Who is a pure Muslim? - He who is completely surrendered to God. I am fully surrendered to God." He spent a few months at Mecca in deep meditation.

17. From Mecca to Jerusalem and Rome: From Mecca he went to Rome via the holy land of Jerusalem, Istanbul and Athens. It is a wonder as to how he travelled on foot through the Arabian desert, which is daunting even for camels, and how he travelled across mountains, valleys and ranges over and over again through the Anatolian Steppe.

In those days, the holy city of Vatican was prohibited for non-Christians. But, Govindaananda Bharathi managed to stay for a few days at Vatican.

18. That Long Pilgrimage: That enlightened soul continued his pilgrimage on foot, covering countries of Europe, England, Greenland, Canada, United States, countries of South America, Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, etc., and finally reached back in India via Tibet and Nepal. Again he took a final pilgrimage of India. During this time, he visited Kerala and his own ancestral house where he found that nobody of his generation was living.

19. From the Poorest to the Emperor: In this great pilgrimage of super-human character, he visited more than 50 countries and the heads of nations. He visited queen Victoria as an adviser and the queen found him as a man beyond the curtain of death. In Germany, he stayed in the Garden of Wilhelm Kaiser II. While in Germany, once he told Einstein : "Absolutely speaking, only God exists. So, the question of adding one thing to another cannot be entertained. Relatively speaking, no two things or beings are exactly alike. Thus, to say that, 1 + 1 equals 2, is convincing and convenient, but not precise."

When he was introduced to the materialist George Bernard Shaw, Shaw said: "I hate Indian Samnyaasis who have no value for time." He immediately responded: "You are the slaves of time. We are much beyond the constraint of time".

But his stay was not confined only to big cities like London, Berlin or New York, or great houses. He used to wander on foot from village to village meeting all types of people.

20. Sivapuri Baba: When he returned after the long and great pilgrimage, he was about 99 years old. He, then decided to spend the rest of his life in the forest of Sivapuri, near Kathmandu, Nepal. Thereafter, Govindaananda Bharathi became Sivapuri Baba. Even after the age of 100, he often used to undertake pilgrimage to Kasi and other places, on foot.

21. At Dhruvasthali: At the age of 120, he shifted to Dhruvasthali - another forest retreat - nearly 1.5 km from Pasupathinath Temple, Kathmandu, due to cancer which he himself later cured with Yoga, after medical advice failed.

22. Mahaasamaadhi: On the morning of 28-01-1963 (Monday) at 6.15, he told his devotees : "Now I am going". he also gave his last advice : "Live right life; worship God; that is all, that is enough". Then he drank some water and rested on both his hands and breathed his last in the sitting position at 6.30.

II. Siddhis (Super-human Powers)
1. Astral Vision: Being a man who had realised the "Absolute Truth", Sivapuri Baba had astral vision and omnipotent power. But he was extremely calm and serene, and never felt tense or anxious. Very rarely did he use his powers, believing that it may create reactions and disturb the serenity. Yet it will be appropriate to mention a few of his super-human character.

2. Friendship with Wild Animals: In Sivapuri forest, wild animals like tiger used to terrify the visitors. But, Baba will say : "They will not harm you, if friendship is extended". Sometimes the tigers would take a few rounds of Babaji and return. Baba would often offer them sugar cane chips, which they would eat before retreating to the forest.

3. Meditation: Timilsina had served Babaji for nearly 37 years. One day Babaji asked him to bring provision from the market downhill, and then went into deep meditation. From the 10,000 ft. high Sivapuri, it would take 5 or 6 hours to reach the town. By the time Timilsina reached the town, he had high fever, and therefore, could not return for the next 9 or 10 days. Worrying what Baba would say for such a long delay, when he reached the Aasram, Baba was still in meditation. It was nearly a day later that Babaji opened his eyes, saw him, and asked : "Have you not gone yet?" He was not aware of the passage of time.

Even in the normal course, Babaji used to take meals only once or twice a month.

4. The Experience of the Maharaja of Travancore: When Babaji was in Kerala, he visited the Maharaja of Travancore. When they were talking, Babaji suddenly felt a shock. The Maharaja asked for the reason, and was told that at that moment, somebody expired in Nepal, 3,000 km away. The Maharaja was astonished when he confirmed it over the phone. Then the Maharaja asked him to predict when he (the Maharaja) will die. Babaji said such predictions are not appropriate, but when insisted, said : "A great son of Kerala will die in an accident and yours will be soon after." This prediction was true, the person referred to was Kumaran Asan.

III. Babaji's Teachings in Brief
1. Do the necessary duties for maintaining life, and think mostly of God.
2. Every thing can go against us till we know God.
3. God can be experienced, but never explained.
4. If God is seen and known, there are no more troubles; fears; pains and doubts are gone for ever.
5. Intensify your longing for God. Let the thought of God alone be in your mind; destroy all other thoughts. You will see God, and all    your problems are solved.

| Article No:5.2 | Last update of this article:5th August 2000 |
Article prepared by: Narasimhan Chemmangad, Chemmangad Mana, Kalpaka Street, Mele Pattambi - 679 306, Phone : 0492 - 612935

Sources of Information : 
1. Bennet J G - "Long Pilgrimage", Published from London. (The author is a journalist, writer and spiritualist.) Malayalam transaction of the book: "Sivapuri Baba", By Narasimhan Chemmangad, Price: Rs.55-00, [Publishers: Kurukshethra Prakasan Pvt. Ltd., Convent Road, Ernakulam - 682 035]. Copies can be had from either the author or the publishers.

2. The Nepal trip of Narasimhan Chemmangad, O P V Nambudiripad and O P Sankaranarayanan Nambudiripad, enquiring details on the life and teachings of Sivapuri Baba in 1997.

English Translation: K D Nambudripad

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