The Early Story of Bhagavan
The Consciousness Period
Deeply moved by the state of the world, Sri Bhagavan VaShi Baba had an intense longing to find the answer to the proverbial questions that so many great beings had dedicated their lives to. To what reason do we owe this human existence? Why is there this unbearable suffering? What is our ultimate purpose?
Searching fervently through all the great religions and spiritual traditions his questions were not answered. Until he discovered the mysticism of Yoga and the holy men of India. Elated by the clarity and rationality of Yogic knowledge, he realized that to fully fathom a means of change in this world one would need to have an enlightened mind. VaShi Baba, then known as Bhagavan Das, discovered his Guru in the well known south indian sage and irrefutable holy man, Sri Ramana Maharishi. At the time he was searching relentlessly for his Guru, approaching countless saints and teachers full of devotion and sincerity, however, he was consistently denied. It was as if they all knew his higher calling and ultimate destination.
This led to a series of auspicious happenings that confirmed his fervent search for his Guru, leading him to the feet ofSri Ramana Maharishi. Also endearingly known as “Bhagavan”, Sri Ramana was known far and wide as a perfect expression of the Absolute. Quoted as “A sage among the masses in troubled times,” he spoke the simple yet profound message of inquiry into the nature of the Self, through the view of non dual philosophy. Through direct mind to mind transmission Bhagavan received Guru Diksha from Ramana eventually leading him to a fully enlightened consciousness. Guided to Vashistas Gufa (cave) in India he there received the final instruction from Bhagavan known as tivra madhya saktipata or "Supreme Medium Grace". A rare spiritual illumination and liberation transmitted directly from Shiva, without initiation or instruction from an exterior guru.
Upon arrival at the ashram where the cave was located, he was greeted by a swami visiting the ashram. Swami Shantananda, also a disciple of Sri Ramana. When Baba introduced himself as Bhagavan Das, Shantananda, well knowing the inner potential and defining moment to come, told him to drop the “Das”. No longer would this devoted seeker be the slave (Das) of God, he would become merged with the master. Bhagavan entered the cave a disciple of Ramana and emerged from there a fully enlightened being, one with his master and the embodiment of Bhagavan (great lord or supreme being.)
An enlightened mind is the state of being in which one merges with that which is real and eternal, no longer blinded by the ego centered, irrational view of the world or nature of the mind. Recorded throughout history many Yogis, Sages, and Saints have sought and attained this divine state of mind, yet despite their intense efforts, none made any lasting impact influential enough to fully counteract the declining trajectory of the world caused by humanity. Often these great beings shunned or rejected family life and led reclusive lives to the point of negating the body, embracing the view that the world was not real and the only point of life was to be liberated from this samsara (world of suffering) of existence. This was however not the case with Bhagavans realization.
The Shakti Period
Within the same era of Ramana, a well-known Saint, AnandiMayiMa was living as a feminine representation of enlightenment. As much as Ramana embodied the full manifestation of unwavering steadiness and exact discipline within life, so did AnandiMayiMa embody the spontaneous expression of the divine mother, spending years traveling and awakening Shakti energy in devotees and people everywhere. It was said that she was the divine mother herself.
Bhagavans inspiration for merging the conscious stillness of Ramana’s experience and Anadima’s active energetic Shakti movement came from the naturally born feeling that life force was not separate from awareness, but rather the co-existence of both consciousness and energy were and are inseparable creating the foundation of all life and manifestation.
Through this profound experience of an enlightened mind, Bhagavan saw that the fullness within enlightenment was not still and lifeless but completely dynamic and filled with the movement of Shakti. In this era of the ashram history he begin “calling in the Shakti” to invoke this life principle. At the time the ashram community would hold nightly Sri Shakti pujas and many people were coming to feel this radiant vibration as it permeated the very air and space of the hermitage. There were only a few dwellings at the hermitage and the temple at the time was very small. Yet the little temple was often said to noticeably vibrate as the pujas were performed. Some visitors who came decided to never leave…
When Sri Mirabai Ishwari Devi, Bhagavans first disciple, first heard the VaShi teachings she surrendered herself to the Guru. She came from no formal spiritual training or Yoga experience but saw the full magnitude of who Bhagavan was and to this day is a living example of seeing the Guru. Living as a fully enlightened Yogini who is practicing to attaining the divine body she also presides as the head of the ashram, acting as the Shakti Amman, and raises her family with the compassion and discipline of a truly accomplished being.
As seen within procreation and all aspects of life the two principles of consciousness and energy together produce a third, what we commonly refer to as manifestation or elemental matter (Tattvas). These elements are constantly in motion as witnessed within the body and the known universe. The purification of these and their balance are crucial for the vitality, and longevity of any organism.
Bhagavan VaShi Baba, who was also a master Vaidya, highly skilled in the traditional Ayurvedic and Indian healing methods, knew that this elemental principle was key for the sustainability and enhancement of all life. On his first spiritual voyage to India in Tiruvanamalai at Ramanashram Bhagavan met his Kaya Kalpa Guru, who initiated him into the secrets of the elements and Kaya Kalpa healing. Sri Siddha Nath was at the time 89 years old though he looked no older than 35. This Diksha transmission would plant the seed for bodily transmutation attained through Yoga and what later would become the healing practice offered at the Hermitage “VaShi Kaya Kalpa”, the path of rejuvenation of air and light. Sri Siddha Nath imparted to Bhagavan the secrets of inner alchemy that had been used to perfect and enhance the bodies of great masters and to extend the life of saints and rulers in order to lengthen the quality and time of their lives.
Though each Guru was prominent and influential as stepping posts to this ultimate truth of life, one stood above all, personifying the very goal and heart desire that Bhagavan fervently sought out through his entire quest. The meeting of this great being was the awe-inspiring paradigm shift that would define the mission of the Hermitage and ultimately offer the possibility of change for all beings.
The Story of Bhusunda
Yoga Vashista has a compilation of stories that are analogical depictions of teachings to enlighten the mind of Rama as taught by his Guru, Sage Vashistha. Bhagavan was very fond of this book on his path to enlightenment as it was the most highly recommended by Sri Ramana. In the middle of the book is a story dedicated to Yogi Bhusunda who is the longest lived Yogi. At the heart of Bhagavans mission was to find the truth of what it means to be a true human being. Living our true purpose would result in a reversal of the destructive path humanity is on.
This teaching is unlike any form of spirituality that is purported in the modern day and though there are a few known Yogis that braved the path of full divinization, the qualities of Bhusunda stand to this day high above the rest. Noted by other premier Yogis and great scholars as the oldest lived being and therefore the wisest among all Chiranjivis he is said to have lived even through all times of cosmic dissolution. Because of his Sadhana (practice) he can balance the elements of nature and resume his form upon the next creation cycle.
Through this scripture, Bhagavan received darshan from Bhusunda that revealed to him the solution to our global dilemma. Within each choice we can influence this world as we have since time immemorial. We know not what our full potential holds and are creating the ever-increasing downfall of our species and ultimately the planet. On the other side of the coin lies the opportunity to create the awakening that has the power to shake the mold we have become so accustomed to.
Bhusunda teaches that the foundation of life lies within this “choice”. The purpose of existence is to place the attention on what and who we are. This identity is enhanced and expanded through the practice of pranayama. Through its undulations within and outside of the body it is responsible for the transmutation of the practicing Yogi and the emanation of this possibility to all beings.
There is one answer to what it means to be a human being, the ultimately crucial role that we play in the circle of life and the full expression of what Yoga is, linking this ancient practice to the heart and soul of human existence and our full expression of life.