Lord Lakulisha as described by Swami Kripalvananda (Bapuji)
Lord Lakulisha as described by Swami Kripalvananda (Bapuji)
On January 4th, 1971, after observing twelve years of continuous silence, Swami Śrī Kripalvanandji (1913 – 1981 CE) gave a speech to an audience in the United States. An excerpt of that momentous talk is included here because of its relevance to our discussion on Lord Lakulisa (Lakulish) that will follow through the course of this thesis. I have chosen to include this direct translation[i] of the words of Kripalvanandji so that the reader may have the primary source information from a modern-day eyewitness of the entity known as Lakulisa.
“Today, after twelve years, I am giving up silence. For this reason and in order to purify my soul, I shall relate some of the events concerning the great men who have determined my life…
…Concerning the inspiring life of my Sanyās Guru, Śrī Shantanandji Maharajshri. Concerning the inspiring life of him who showed me the way to yoga, Śrī Gurudev Pranavanandji Maharaj, I said nothing. I first saw him when I was nineteen years old. I was born in a Våishńav (Devotees of Krishńa) family.
Through my mother and father, I had a basic religious training and, through the strength of that alone, was attracted to live a life in pursuit of God. However, the necessary strength needed for this pursuit, I did not have. In childhood, I had a love of chanting mantras and meditating, thus, I used to serve God. Concerning God, I have never experienced the slightest doubts; I have lived convinced that God exists.
Those who suggest that God does not exist, have lost their way. Their vision is common. There is no quest for Truth. When I was meditating, I searched for Truth. However, in those days, I was a self-interested server and, from time to time, even prayed to God to give me such and such. At the age of nineteen, when I arrived in Bombay, I began to feel an intense contempt for my purposeless existence. I asked myself: ‘What reason is there for a life without ideals?’
I had no protection over my head except that of God. In despair, rather than lead such a pathetic life, I thought it was preferable to die. I tried to commit suicide four times without success. Although I was very determined, some event would turn up to change my resolution at the last minute. After coming to Bombay, I was more determined than ever to end my life.
I used to find great joy in worshipping the child Krishńa. Being born into a Brahmin family, after the Sacred Thread Ceremony, I used to repeat my Gāyatrī Mantra. I was thought of as being clever and intelligent and was always in my studies, for in the acquiring of knowledge I was ahead of everybody.
I used to repeat this Sarasvati Mantra frequently. The belief that the worship of Shiva was the highest form of worship was given to me by an old gentleman. When I went to Bombay, I continued to worship Shiva. At the same time, I repeated the Gāyatrī Mantra, the Śrī Krishńa Mantras, which I had learned from my family, and other mantras. In Bhuleshwar, there is a dovecot and next to it is a small Mātājī Temple.
I used to go there every night at the time of the performing of the āratī (Singing the praises of the Lord while waving a lighted lamp). Also, I used to go to the Mahadev Baug. As a Shakti worshipper, I leaned toward Lakshmi and prayed more to her, but I always ended by lovingly paying my respects to Śrī Narayana. The gentleman who had drawn me toward Shakti (Divine Mother) worship had frequently told me that the joy in believing God to be the Mother was not to be found in any other faith, and this seemed to me to be very true.
On the day that I decided I would definitely commit suicide. I went to the Bhuleshwar Mātājī Temple. The Āratī was in progress and I joined in. Before me was a vision of the Holy Mother and behind that, Chowpatty Sandhurst Bridge. Beneath the bridge, the electric trains ran swiftly, and I saw my body being crushed. I must have had this vision because of my extreme thoughts of suicide, and, at the time, I made a firm resolution to make the vision come true.
Suppressing the vision, I prayed to the Mother with tear-filled eyes: ‘Mother, why dost thou permit me to lead such a pointless life, why dost thou not swallow me into thy feet?’ The āratī was over and everyone had left but I stood there crying. The priest knew me and tried to console me, but my tears would not cease. At that moment, Śrī Gurudev entered the Temple. He wore a towel around his waist and in his hand was a water-pot. This was our first meeting.
He took my hand and held me close to him and patted my head lovingly and said: ‘My son, come with me.’ His kind words brought peace to me. The astonishing thing was that, although he was a total stranger, he aroused within me feelings of boundless confidence. I followed him out of the temple, and we walked along the road that goes past the dovecot and leads to the larger temple.
We came to a shop which was closed, and Śrī Gurudev sat down on some planks near it. He motioned me to do the same. Then, in a very serious voice, he said: ‘Remove from your mind the thought of ending your life; suicide is contemptible.’ Until then, whatever astonishing things I had seen, heard or experienced were far outdone by this. That an unknown person could know another person’s most secret thoughts and who could clear them up in such an appropriate way, was something beyond my understanding.
In my childhood, I used to read about magic, and I came in contact with people who knew about such things, but I never had the slightest belief in it. That there could be nothing with a material basis was my firm belief. Nonetheless, I continued to watch others experiment and read about them. I had the good fortune to sit at the feet of Śrī Gurudev for more than a year and during this period became acquainted with the innumerable unusual powers within him.
Today, I can say that if any yogi in the world performs before me an unusual miracle, I shall not bat an eyelid, for in my guru, who shone like the sun, I have seen far greater powers. I believe him to be an avatar of the Lord Shiva. Before parting from me, he told me innumerable times: ‘My son, until you complete the Yoga Cycle, don’t write my biography.’ This wish of his is still respected. Were I to do so, the reader would believe that it was a story of my imagination.
I am his very beloved chief disciple. With his good blessings, I have no doubt that I will complete the Yoga Cycle. ‘My son, remove from your mind the thought of ending your life; suicide is contemptible.’ When he said these words, I hid my astonishment and looked at him. His gentle and sparkling eyes were filled with love and he was smiling. There was no reason for me to be cunning.
Nonetheless, dismissing the truth of what he was saying, I replied: ‘This idea of yours is false, I have no thoughts of committing suicide.’ Śrī Gurudev’s eyes filled with pity and he said very quietly: ‘My son, you are a devotee, it does not become you to take refuge in an untruth. Tonight, you were planning to commit suicide by throwing yourself under an electric train at Sandhurst Bridge.’
I was tremendously affected by this statement. As Lord Krishńa defeated Kalyanag, so in the same way Śrī Gurudev defeated me. I was not inferior to Kalyanag, I had been a student of science and therefore nothing could influence my mind suddenly. Rather, I gave more importance to purity and innocence than to miracles. Yet this pure innocent man seemed to be miraculous too.
To sit at the feet of such a great man was a matter of pride and I kneeled before him in complete faith and, admitting that I had lied, I repeatedly asked his forgiveness. He said: ‘You spoke an untruth against your nature, I have forgiven you. Tomorrow is Thursday, meet me at such and such a place between three and six in the evening.’ I was asked not to reveal the name of the place.
After that, Guruji left me, and I, looking forward to the arrival of the next day, gave up all thoughts of committing suicide. I made an attempt to be with Guruji between three and six, but I left half an hour late. On the way, it occurred to me that Guruji would be giving darshan (visitation with a guru or a deity) during that time and those who arrived late would be sent away disappointed. When I arrived, the doors were still open.
Guruji had, for the past four months, been telling his pupils that, on a certain day, at a certain time, a new youth would arrive, and he would become his chief disciple. When I reached there, everyone was waiting expectantly. I had left home very enthusiastically and, as I wanted to worship at Guruji’s feet, I had bought a garland for a rupee. The garland had a beautiful perfume which pleased the mind, but I was not rich and paying a rupee for it was very dear.
After the events of the previous night, I felt an extreme reverence for Guruji, but the wish to be his disciple arose only later. It is not like me to accept anyone as a Guru; I am rather obstinate in this respect. I have many such innocent pupils who have, from the first meeting, believed me to be their Guru, Father or God. Since my nature is not to believe in anything without experience, I do not look upon strangers with anxiety and treat them in an unprejudiced way.
Beloved Guruji, for the most part, used to sit concentrating in one position, with about fifteen to twenty pupils around him. After two or three days, he would say one or two sentences in Hindi. Everyone waited eagerly to hear his words. He had been there for six months. On entering the solemn room, I put the garland around Guruji’s neck. He signaled with his hand that I should sit down by his side, which I did.
When I glanced around, I realized that the others were all seated on the bare floor without mats. Their dress indicated that they were fairly well off, which made me feel somewhat nervous. With a compassionate look, Guruji said: ‘Swami (in certain parts of India, Swami is a title of respect like Mr. or Sri), you have arrived. My son, it is very good.’ His kind words made me feel proud. My nervousness vanished and the word ‘Swami’ flattered me.
I was of rather dark complexion and I thought that it was because of this that Guruji had addressed me as Swami. Making an exhibition of my cleverness, I said that I was not a Madrasi but a Gujurati. Guruji, with a smile, answered: ‘No son, I did not call you Swami because I thought you were a Madrasi, but because I thought you were a sanyāsi (renunciate or ascetic on the path of yoga).’
I could not quite accept this and, contradicting him said: ‘Pardon me, but it does not seem that I shall become a sanyāsi. The present alone gives an indication of that. To begin with, I have no inclination to be a sanyāsi and secondly, I haven’t the purity. The world being so dear to me, I can live only within it. If, ignoring my mind filled with material desires, I become a sanyāsi, I will be one in name only and not in spirit.
It is true that the life of a sanyāsi is on a higher plane than that of a worldly man, but in spite of that, the ordinary life of a worldly man is more important in my eyes. The sanyāsi lives a closed life. He does not toil and is dependent on others for support. Rather than live thus, I would prefer to work.’
With his eyes half closed, looking down at the floor, Guruji had sat listening and when I stopped he said: ‘It is true, our sanyāsis here beg and ask for alms, but, beloved son, these alms are not a collection of beggings but a collection of offerings. The act of begging is not begging but the receiving of an offering, a secret gift, through which they seek to be freed from this life. Their gentle natures give a clear example of holy men.’
On that day, I could not follow the meaning of the argument, but today I can say that I understand. Ending the conversation, Guruji urged me: ‘If you wished so, you could stay with me.’ The doors of my future flew open; I used to stay with a relative where I managed somehow to eat, although quite often it was difficult. At that time, in the Bombay restaurants, one could get a rice thali (a metal or leaf plate on which all food is placed) for two annas, which could satisfy one.
The idea that I could escape from this brought peace to my mind. Moreover, in serving this unusually powerful sanyāsi, I would be able to acquire the knowledge of yoga. This thought brought great delight to my mind. In response to Guruji’s invitation, I arrived the next day with my trunk of clothes. . .
… Truly, I was fortunate. In my life, I had suffered many sorrows; since knowing Guruji, the joy I experienced was out of this world. I have never found such happiness elsewhere and I don’t think I ever could…
… In my spiritual preparation, I regarded Guruji as my spiritual Father. Later, I regarded him as a Guru and now, as God. After eight months, he said to me: ‘I am going to try and give you training for Sanyās.’ ‘Training for sanyās?’ I said in astonishment.
‘Yes, training for Sanyās. Is that worse than suicide?’ In this way, he reminded me of the past; I was embarrassed. Then I said ‘Guruji, I have tremendous desire for women, wealth, fame. How shall I become a true sanyāsi? I have complete faith in your word, but when I consider my mental state, I get very discouraged. What could be more beautiful than your giving me training for Sanyās?’
The fact that you have made me your chief disciple has been my great good fortune. But answer me one question. How can a crow become a swan?’ He replied: ‘My son, whether you are a crow or a swan, the answer you will get when, in your soul, the spirit of the sanyās and the delight of the yogic acts is born.’ This answer brought peace to my mind…
… With the training for Sanyās, he also gave me training in Yoga. He had said: ‘Today, I shall teach you something about the ancient practice of Yoga and make you a Yogacharya. I give you the choicest blessings. You will be one of the incomparable Yogacharyas of the world.’
(After his initial training, when Śrī Gurudev Pranavanandji Maharaj was about to permanently depart from Swami Kripalvanandji, the guru instructed his disciple that he would not personally give him Sanyās Diksha (initiation by a guru where disciple accepts the life of a renunciate and receives saffron colored clothing), but that he would receive that honor when he met a cow-loving saint at some point in the future. Swamiji goes on in his talk as follows.)
…This I do not believe to be coincidence, but a celestial design. After taking Sanyās training from Guruji without saffron robes, I lived in society for more than eight years. Suddenly one day, my illusions concerning society were broken, and I went out to seek Sanyās. I took the saffron robes and instructions from Swami Shantanandji Maharaj, thus Guruji’s predictions came true.
… Now I am going to talk about my already commenced activities. I am a seeker of salvation. Solitude and meditation alone are very dear to me.
In spite of that, God has pushed me into a stream of activity. When I went to Kayavarohan (a small village in Gujurat state) for the first time, I realized that this was an ultra-ancient, great place of worship. I heard about it, read its history, went around it and saw each and every temple. That same night, during my meditation, I got the inspiration for the rebirth of this holy place. I am not a believer in courage, but I am a great believer in God, and I believed that God had willed me.
… (Referring to the people of the village of Malav, Gujurat where Kripalvanandji lived for nine or ten years in an ashram.) Truly, the love, service and dedication of this village can never be forgotten. When I told them, after the Festival of my Birthday: ‘I am going to live in Kayavarohan,’ they were very sad. I, too, felt very sad at the thought of leaving.
Many said: ‘Bapuji, it will not suit you there.’ I assured them I had no wish to go anywhere, but that God had willed me to tend the shrine of Kayavarohan and so I had to go. Hearing this, they were silent, and to console them, I explained that Kayavarohan was the seat of the most ancient shrine. Not only that, it was one of the most important places in Aryan culture.
I have studied this shrine from a yogic point of view. Its glory cannot be described in words. According to my understanding, the number of such shrines remaining in India today can be counted on the fingers of one hand. These great shrines, during the Aryan civilization, developed and maintained a very sacred religion and pure culture throughout the country.
In the surroundings of these great shrines are all the Holy Essences of that age. It is the Holy Essences which have inspired me to carry out this service. It was there in Kayavarohan that the great sage Vishwamitra perceived, propounded, and made famous the Gāyatrī mantra. The great Rishis, Lagoo and Arti, also meditated there.
At that time, it was known as Meghavati; only in Bhagwan Lakulishji’s time did it become known as Kayavarohan. Bhagwan Lakulishji, who is the twenty-eighth avatar of Lord Shiva, was not only born there but also lived and worked at the Holy Shrine. I first went to Kayavarohan in the 1950’s, during the month of Magshar, and learned about its illustrious history.
On beholding Lord Brahma in the form of the Jyotirling Lord Lakulish, I was fulfilled but almost fainted, for I saw my beloved Gurudev Pranvandji. Lord Lakulish is a contemporary of Lord Krishńa. Many scholars date the time of Lord Krishńa as being around 5,000 years ago. Although Lord Lakulish dates back that far and my beloved Guru is of the present, their bodily outline is the same.
I had sat at my Guru’s feet for a year and a quarter and the difference in his appearance from then, to when I saw him again in Rishikesh, was the difference between earth and sky. How he appeared to me at Rishikesh was what I saw in the Jyotirling. The same dwarfish body, the same outline of face, the same eyes; I could not be mistaken.
During the evening, on the day that I had seen the Jyotirling, I sat in meditation. It was a very superior meditation, and from it, I received the inspiration to build a magnificent abode for God and a great universal institution for the scholarship of Sanskrit. It was also revealed to me during the same meditation that this particular Ling was a ‘Jyotirling’ ((phallic devotional form or idol located in a place where Shiva appeared as a pillar of light).
In India, in ancient times, there were said to be only twelve Jyotirlings and, to find an explanation for the thirteenth, I investigated. I turned the pages of history books and, thanks to God, solved the problem. During the Dvaparyug, the great sage Vishvamitra had made the Meghavati shrine ‘Kashi’ (Home of Salvation). For this reason, the Lingum made famous at this shrine had to be a Jyotirling.
It was into this lingum that Bhagwan Lakulish was merged, after finishing the work of his Avatarship. That is why one feels, one sees his outline at the front of the Jyotirling. I also discovered that the management of the shrines of all twelve Jyotirlings were carried out by the Assembly of Disciples of Lord Lakulish for fifteen hundred years.
The principal acharyas of that assembly used to live at Kayavarohan, teaching only suitable disciples about the Holy Shastras and rituals; establishing them in turn as acharyas. Thus, only the disciples who had become acharyas stayed in the shrines with Jyotirlings and spread the religion.
It was, therefore, inconceivable to conclude that the shrine, which managed all the shrines of the twelve Jyotirlings, should not itself have a Jyotirling. One had to assume therefore, that, in Kayavarohan, there must be a hidden Jyotirling. It is this very same Brabma Jyotirling which had been found 100 years ago, buried in a field.
When the 1008th chief of the Dvarka Temple, Śrī Sachidanandji, came to lay the foundation stone of the Temple of Lord Brahmeshwar, in Kayavarohan, he said: ‘Once I wondered why the Lings of the twelve shrines were called Jyotirlings and what was so unusual about them. On investigating, I found that only the linga made from fallen stars are called Jyotirlings.’
On hearing this, I was filled with joy, for the Brahmeshwar Jyotirling is made from the substance of a fallen star. Moreover, the famous sculptor, Śrī Prabhasaukarbhai Sompura, wished to take this Jyotirling to display it in the new Somnath Temple. From this, one also sees how great this Jyotirling is.”
In a talk given in the United States on July 2, 1977, Swami Śrī Kripalvanandji gives us more information on the Jyotirling found in the Temple of Lord Brahmeshwar in Kayavarohan.[ii]
“The idol that you see is the idol of my beloved Gurudev. We can say that historically he appeared on this earth about 2,000 years ago. According to Puranas, his appearance may be said to be 5,000 years ago. In the woods in the natural beauty places of Ancient India, the study and the practice of yoga is done so much in such depth and detail that has not been done in any other part of the world.
This great master was a great Maharshi, means a great yogi, and later on he was recognized as an incarnation of Shiva himself. The last incarnation of Lord Shiva, the 28th incarnation was Dadaji (Lakulisa), my guru. You may question, then, if he was born about 2,000 years ago or 5,000 years ago, how could he be my guru?
There have been such yogis in India, those who have been able to keep their bodies in its original condition and that body is called the divine body. That body is indestructable, unchangeable, immortal. The great master, having such a body, can leave that body whenever he desires to do so.
The scriptures of India tell us to how to recognize the liberated masters. They say that one who goes beyond birth and death is complete yogi. Everybody is born and it is out of control. Nobody can stop that. But death could be stopped. If birth is one end of the life; then death is another end of life. And if death is one end, then immortality has to be another end. This is scientific law. If the condition between birth and death could be sustained and could be maintained, then it could be maintained for a long time.
Why do such yogis have so much attraction for a body? Really, they are not very attracted by the body. They have no attraction or attachment to the body whatsoever. They try to know the most secret Atmatattva, that means the essence of the soul, to its highest possible extent. Death and disease come in the way of the fulfillment of that desire. That is why this search remains incomplete…
…One who has attained to the divine body is a complete yogi, or a perfect yogi. One becomes established in samādhi (complete absorption in a state of super-consciousness) only when the life energy, which is within us, becomes steady and remains within. When this energy reaches into the top chakra, the thousand petal chakra, if you want to call, at such time yogi enters into samādhi and he is very much like a child in the mother’s womb, means there is no breathing at all at that time.
If all the doctors of the world were called to examine such a yogi, they would check and they would say this is a dead body, he’s not alive. But such a yogi is not dead, he has reached immortality. So, after he finishes, whenever he decides, he can come down again.
The end of samādhi is that he enters into the samādhi state in a natural way at all times which is known as sahaj samādhi. He may be eating, he may be walking, he may be performing any actions, but he is constantly in samādhi. This is the most supreme science of the world.
Such a saint does not come into society to serve society. Do you think that when day comes that the sun comes down from the sky and enters everybody’s home? No. He doesn’t have that necessity to do so. By being thousands of miles away, he gives the light to everyone. Such a yogi who may be staying far away but, sitting far away, he can give to the entire world whatever is necessary, or he wishes to give…
…The whole world is one big building, one big residence. We are all one family. I may point here, here, here, wherever I may point, but it is one body. Such a body has been attained by beloved Gurudev. I am so fortunate that I have seen that divine body. And that is why I have been able to be on this path.
In this idol, there are many different secrets. It is not just a statue of stone. It is the secret book of yoga. In order to understand it you have to do the yoga sādhanā (spiritual practice utilizing the tools of yoga) …
… It was found 110 years ago, in the earth. The name of that tīrtha is Kayavarohan. A tīrtha is a sacred place of pilgrimage. There are many sacred pilgrimage places in India, but this is of the most supreme importance. There are about eight to ten such high sacred places in India. In such supreme tīrthas, usually the great master has been born and he has done his līlā, meaning that he lived his divine life in that part of the country…
…In India there are four yugas (meaning epoch ages) that are described in Indian scriptures. The first yuga is known as age of truth and the last age is called Kali yuga, age of darkness. This place has been famous in all those four ages. That tīrtha is very powerful spiritually.
Lord Lakulish was born in that spot. Its name was given Kayavarohan for a very specific reason. The meaning of it is, to descend into the body. One who descends into the body, or can descend into the body, is called a yogi. One who can descend into the body and can attain new divine body is a true yogi.
So, Lord Lakulish, after attaining such divine body, had spread the message all across India. After that, his very bright disciples had maintained that message for at least 1500 years. In India everywhere, yoga was spread from that center. That was the main center of yoga.
So, we can easily imagine that this particular idol must have entered under the ground for that specific purpose, to maintain or protect the secrets of yoga, preserve the secrets of yoga. In this idol the most secrets of yoga, the most powerful secrets of yoga, are hidden…
…So now I will tell you the story as to how this idol was found.
One day a very innocent farmer was going to his farm. He was the devotee of Lord Shiva, so he was uttering the words of ‘Lord Shiva, Shiva, Shiva’, and was moving with his bullock plow. As if that day Lord Shiva wanted to come out from the earth.
This farmer went to his field. He wanted to plow the field, so he placed his plow in a specific place and he started plowing the field. As he was moving forward, the plow stopped in one spot.
This farmer was questioning, why did it stop? Then he looked down towards the earth. He felt that there is something. So, he removed the plow, placed it on the side. And he felt that it was something like an idol.
So, soon, he brought an instrument to dig the earth. And he started digging from all sides. The statue is very big, it is almost that high. There is statue of the Lord in the front and lingam is right behind him. As he started digging the land, he was filled with great joy in his heart. He was greatly pleased. He completely took out the idol.
That idol is so heavy and so big that no one individual can even move it. That statue is not made from an ordinary stone. It is made from meteorite, so it is made from the stone coming from the sky, from the star, celestial.
He was extremely happy, and he started thinking about what he should do next. He felt that it was a very beautiful idol and he felt great faith in it. He looked all around. He saw flowers, a flower vine. He went there and brought some flowers and then he placed those flowers at the feet of the idol…
…This farmer ran into the town and told everybody that there is a great big idol I have found in my field. This message spread all over the town. Everybody went in a large crowd and singing with the drums and cymbals. The towns all around get this message, and in a short time thousands of people collected. Everybody saw this idol and they were all surprised.
Only when you see that original statue you will understand. It is very beautiful. The people established the lingam in a chariot and brought it into the town. That town has one specialty, that wherever you dig, you find lingam or little statue and other things which are very important to archaeologists. Then they established this idol in a very small temple.
People came from all around for darshan. But again, as an effect of time, after two or three years it all again became quiet. People did feel that this was most unusual idol and yet nobody was able to do anything about it. Because that was the most known place, it was the place that was most revered in India.
In last 100 years or so, that tīrtha, that sacred place, was forgotten, then no pilgrims were coming there. Even though its past history was very bright, the place wasn’t that bright anymore, as if the tīrtha had lost its power. So, the lamps of fame had become faint. And there were not those who could understand its value.
Where there was such a divine idol there was complete darkness, as if God himself was waiting for somebody. And there was one accident. I was called in that town one day for giving a spiritual discourse. I never used to go anywhere for one day lecture. I don’t know why, but I said yes for that one lecture.
I arrived there. I gave a talk. And they told me that this is another Kashi. Kashi is the present day very high pilgrimage place in India. The highest educational, spiritual educational center is Kashi in India. The flow of Sanātan Dharma (The eternal universal aspect of religion) of the Aryan civilization was flowing from there. This was another tīrtha that could compete with that one.
They said this was another Kashi, so I was surprised. The most surprising thing was that my birthplace was only ten miles from it. I was surprised that this tīrtha is so close to my birthplace and I don’t know anything about it. So, I said, come on, I will come with you for darshan (to see, witness, or have spiritual perception) everywhere in this tīrtha.
With me were some of the leaders, four or five leaders of the town. They were telling me the history of this place and they were pointing the historical places. And I was greatly surprised listening to the history. The leaders and the guides were really very intelligent. What was worth showing me, they showed me last.
After taking me everywhere, there were hundreds of temples that came from excavations. After showing all those things, they brought me to the temple where this idol of Lakulisa was established.
I entered the temple and looked at this idol of Bhagwan (God). I could not believe, or I was so surprised that there was no end to my surprise. I was so surprised that in front of that lingum was the statue of my own guru. Of whose every part of the body I was familiar with, because I had been at his feet when I was only 19 years old and he had lots of love for me, and I loved him very much.
Whenever I was disappointed in some way, he used to just take me to his chest and hug me. But at that time his body was different. At that time, he was old, rather he had entered the body of an old swami. At that time, I could not imagine that there could be somebody else’s body and somebody else’s soul had entered into it.
After some time, I became swami and then I was in Himalayan Mountain area. There is one very pious tīrtha called Rishikesh. There are many yogis who live there. I was a new swami dressed in a swami’s dress. One day I went far way to a place on top of a small hill to cut the branch of a tree, which is customary brush in India. As I started cutting the branch for the brush, I saw an individual walking down from the hill.
He had simply a little cloth wrapped around his waist. Then I did not pay any attention to it because there were many sadhus who move in that land. As I was cutting that branch, I heard the sound from the back, ‘Swami’. I looked back.
That voice was of my Gurudev whom I had met when I was 19 years old. And the body was different than when I had seen. And this body that I saw second time, was just like this. That is the divine body. There is such a power in that body that it can take any form or even can enter into a dead body also.
He was only 18 years old. I could not understand because only my Gurudev used to address me by the name Swami. When I looked at him, he smiled, his eyes were twinkling, I felt that this is Gurudev.
I forgot to bow down to him. I hugged him. I hugged him all. He stroked his hand over my head and on my body and I just kept on weeping. Then I remembered that I had not bowed down at his feet.
‘Gurudev, please excuse me.’ Then I bowed down at his feet. Gurudev was wearing cloth only on the waist and the rest of the body was open, bare. It was wintertime, and my body was covered with lots of woolen clothes. How could I even give him my clothes for him to sit? So, he sat on the stone.
Once I had asked him, ‘Gurudev, how does the divine body look?’ Then (at that time) he had told me, ‘Some day you would be able to see it.’ Then I asked, Gurudev, ‘Is this the divine body?’
He said, ‘Yes, this is the divine body.’
I asked Gurudev, ‘How many years old is it?’
‘My son, you will have to find it out.’
Then I asked Gurudev, ‘How would I be able to find out?’
I did not imagine then that I would have the opportunity to see such a divine body.
When I first saw this idol in Kayavarohan, I felt like I would faint. It really impressed deeply on my mind. The tears started rolling from my eyes. I felt like I would collapse, so I started taking support of the wall.
Then gradually by the support of the wall I prayed and then did sashtanga dhandavat pranām, meaning to lie down flat on the tummy, in a straight position.
The leaders of town who were accompanying me were greatly surprised. They said, ‘What happened to this swami?’
After a few moments, I stood up. (Afterwards), I arrived at my residence, took a bath and I entered my meditation room. I sat on my meditation seat and as usual I prayed to the Lord.
At that very moment a great spark of meditation took place. And suddenly I attained to that stage where I was striving to reach at that time. The history that the leaders of the town had told me, appeared in front of my eyes in meditation. I felt as if I were seeing a true happening.
Such an experience is not very difficult. If the true meditation experience was given to this group, many of you would have this kind of experience. Then only you would feel what I have said is true.
Then my mind went into such a state of consciousness, it almost painted the entire history in front of me. In that land, there hasn’t been just one yogi, but many, many great yogis. And Vishvamitra, Atri, and Brighu are some of the most famous yogis.
I saw, there was a magnificent city of Kayavarohan and Lord Lakulish is in that city. When in the end, this scene was about to finish, I received the inspirational voice (of Lakulisa) saying, “My son, you have to reestablish the glory of this tīrtha”.
In these two discourses given by Swami Śrī Kripalvanandji in the 1970’s, we are given a number of intimate details of the personal experiences of a yogi that had committed more than fifty years of his life to spiritual discipline. Moreover, we must take note that his chosen subject for his first discourse after twelve years of observed silence was to give the details of his first fantastic experiences with his guru, Swami Pranavanandji. Although Swami Kripalvanandji is later given Sanyāsi Diksha by Swami Shantanandji, it is the true identity of Swami Pranavanandji that is of interest for this thesis.
Swami Kripalvanandji makes it clear that the divine entity, who appeared as an eighteen-year old yogi, that he met while he was in Rishikesh, was none other than his original sixty year old guru Swami Pranavanandji who had last seen many years before at the age of nineteen. In other discourses[iii], Swami Kripalvanandji connects the dots of this seeming impossible scenario.
“The twenty-year old Kripalvanandji asks Pranavanandji, “Is this your divine body?”
His guru, Swami Pranavanandji replies, “No, this body is sixty years old. It may look only forty, but that is due to purification through yoga sādhanā . Nevertheless, it still shows the effects of age.”
“Are you sixty years old then?”
“No, only one and three-quarters years old.”
“How can your body be sixty years old, but you are only one and three-quarters years old?”
“My son, my age in this body is only one and three-quarters years, but you will realize this only in the future, not now. Remember the day you cried so loudly about not getting a photograph of me? I let you see this body amidst a subtle light through your inner eye. I told you then that the body you see with your inner eye, as well as that which you see with your physical eyes, is not my true form.”
“Is the Divine Body, then, like that of a one and three [quarter year old child? Is your true form a Divine Body?”
“The Divine body resembles a youth of nineteen years. My true form is like that.”
“Then it’s my age! When will I see your true form?”
“Sometime in the future but be patient. Everything must happen at its destined time and not before. That is only proper.”
The Guru continued, “… the Divine Body can perform any work effortlessly. But, it’s best to use the form that suits the work. Ordinary work requires an ordinary form. Extraordinary work requires an extraordinary form. I have come here to do ordinary work; hence I have this ordinary though purified body… There are different methods (of taking a body). He can create a new body by willing it, or he can enter into another person’s body and take possession of it. If the other person is dead, the Siddha (Perfected Yogi with a divine body and advanced spiritual powers) can revive the body when he enters it. If the other person is living, the Siddha can control the soul of the other person and accomplish the goal he desires through it. Both of these methods are called parākāya pravesh (transmigration). The third method is incarnation. If a Siddha yogi wishes to spend an entire lifetime on earth working for the welfare of other souls, then he takes birth in the house of holy parents and obtains a new body…A dead body is unholy, but a Siddha does not enter any unclean dead body. He only enters the body of a person who has attained bodily purification. Such a purified body does not decompose immediately after death. As soon as the soul leaves the body, in the next moment the Siddha yogi enters it. Since the body is dead only for a moment, it remains pure as before. Even this method of transmigration, therefore, is worthy.”
The disciple asks, “If this body is not your true form, then how did you acquire it?”
“By transmigration into a purified body that had died…Swami, you will not be able to understand all of this right now. Yogic experiences and powers can only be understood after you have progressed in sādhanā. You will understand in the future.”
“Will I have to wait many years to see your true form?”
“Yes…You will have to leave this ashram and me as well. You will not be able to see and know my true form in this place.”
“Where will I come to know?”
“In my field – shivakshetra.”
“Where is that?”
“You will find that out in the future as well.”
“Gurudev! It’s exasperating to have to wait for everything to be clarified in the future. Perhaps I am not ready to see your true form now, but can’t I even know the place where I will see your true form?”
“Let me answer your question in a Sanskrit sloka (verse). When you understand it, you may consider yourself as ready. The sloka goes as follows:”
Aham. Yogatma vishrut nana rupadharo harah chatushputra siddhakshetra ashtavinshavatarah.
(Roughly translates as: I, a high soul, one who assumes various forms, Shiva, one who has four sons, the abode of the siddhas, the 28th incarnation).”
Swami Kripalvanandji has filled in the gaps.[iv] We now can connect the dots by reviewing his first-hand accounts as follows:
- Kripalvanandji experiences a number of miraculous events in meeting his 60-year old guru Pranavanandji.
- His guru explains that his current form is only temporary for the specific purpose of meeting and teaching Kripalvanandji.
- He has taken over the body of another saint for the past one and three-quarters years.
- His true form is that of a Divine Body (similar in appearance to an 18 or 19-year old).
- Kripalvanandji practices yoga for many years and purifies his body until quite unexpectedly he meets a young yogi in Rishikesh, who he knows inwardly to be his guru Pranavanandji in his Divine form.
- Many years later, Kripalvanandji visits the morti of Lord Lakulisa in Kayavarohan that is hundreds of years old and recognizes the image to be identical to Pranavanandji in his Divine form causing him to weep uncontrollably.
- Immediately after his profound experience with the idol of Lord Lakulisa, Kripalvanandji has a leap in his meditation experience and receives a verbal command from his guru as follows. “My son, you have to reestablish the glory of this tīrtha”.
Taken collectively, we can establish that Lord Lakulisa having been present before the construction of his idol is many centuries old. And that same Lord Lakulisa appeared to Kripalvanandji in Rishikesh in the twentieth century. And Kripalvanandji makes the clear connection that this same Lakulisa is the one who entered the purified body of a saint who died to become Swami Pranavanandji and teach his new disciple, Kripalvanandji, the secrets of yoga.
As we move forward into an exploration of the reports of Lord Lakulisa over time, let us keep in mind his direct teaching to Swami Śrī Kripalvanandji:
Aham yogatma vishrut nana rupadharo harah chatushputra siddhakshetra ashtavinshavatarah.
I, a high soul, one who assumes various forms, Shiva, one who has four sons, the abode of the siddhas, the 28th incarnation.
[i] The Lakulish Lineage of Swami Kripalu website. “Coming Out of Silence” speech 1971 and “Darshan on the Reappearance of Lord Lakulish” speech 1977. Available online at https://swamikripalu.yoga/teachings/lectures. Last accessed 01/26/2020.
[iii] Mundahl, J (Ed.). A Sunrise of Joy: The Lost Darshans of Swami Kripalu. Rhinebeck. Red Elixir. 2012. Pp. 17-20.
[iv] Muni, Swami Rajarshi. Infinite Grace. Revised Edition. Limbdi: Life Mission Publications. 2013. Pp. 1-145.