Sunday, September 27, 2009


Guru Ramlalji Siyag, 82, one of India’s contemporary saints, has gifted the world with a unique form of Yoga derived from ancient India’s rich Vedic (Hindu) spiritual heritage. Founder-patron of Adhyatma Vigyan Satsang Kendra (AVSK), a Jodhpur-based spiritual organization, Guru Siyag currently lives in the sand-blown city of Bikaner in India’s north-western desert state of Rajasthan.
Revered by thousands of disciples all over India, Guru Siyag has been spear-heading a quiet spiritual revolution since the mid 1980s, when inexplicable experiences prompted him to give up the ordinary material life he was leading until then, and to begin a new quest for bringing about a practical transformation of mankind.

Blessed with divine powers that were bestowed upon him in the wake of mysterious spiritual experiences in the late 1960s, Guru Siyag has freed countless people from physical and mental agonies and led them onto the path of self-discovery and realization of God. He is reverentially addressed as ‘Gurudev’, an honorific that equates him with God.

Guru Siyag was born into a poor peasant family in Palana, a small village with a typical agrarian backdrop 25 km to the north of the city of Bikaner, on November 24, 1926. Gurudev’s childhood was marked by an intense struggle for survival — made more difficult by the sudden demise of his father when he was barely 3 years old. Gurudev’s mother, a woman of grit with spiritual leanings, worked as domestic help to feed her lone child and continue their precarious existence. As there was no one else in his family to take care of him while his mother was at work, Gurudev had to be shifted to a local orphanage during this period. Despite the privations he suffered there, Gurudev managed to go to a local school and finish high school level studies. However, when he turned 18, his mother’s old age compelled Gurudev to give up any dreams he may have entertained of college education, and to take up a clerk’s job with the Indian Railways.

Gurudev with his family
Life in Bikaner, a backwaters town then, revolved around the railway junction there, which generated jobs through movement of cargo and travelers during the British rule. Honest to the core, young Siyag worked hard and long hours to make a living. His cheerful demeanor, honesty and dedication to work won him respect and admiration not just among fellow workers but also among managers in the higher echelons of the local railway network. He soon got married and started a family. In the years that followed, he eventually had five children — a daughter and four sons

The winter of 1967 proved to be a watershed in Gurudev’s life. His humdrum life was suddenly upset when he was seized by an inexplicable fear of death though he wasn’t down with any illness at all. A local soothsayer told Gurudev that he was under ‘Markesh Dasha’ — a constellation of planets casting a spell of death. The only way to escape ‘imminent death’, some local Hindu clerics told him, was to invoke the blessings of Goddess ‘Gayatri’ through a special ritual. Gayatri, the Goddess of cosmic light, alone could rescue him from the clutches of death, he was told. Though a believer, Gurudev wasn’t given to ritualistic practices. He didn’t really care much about rituals. For him, the struggle for survival was too intense to find time to pore over scriptures or do the rounds of temples. But fear of death compelled him reluctantly to submit to this recourse. He was advised to perform a Havan — lighting of a sacred fire — and to chant the Gayatri Mantra daily every morning. For the invocation to be complete and offer him the divine protective shield, he was told, he would have to conduct the ritual until he had finished chanting the mantra 125,000 times.
In the October of 1967, Gurudev began the ritual in earnest during Navratri, a 9-day festival, dedicated to the feminine divine Shakti. He would get up in the wee hours of morning every day and chant the sacred Gayatri Mantra over ‘Havan’ for a couple of hours before getting ready to go to the office. The pressure of illogical panic that had seized was so intense that he performed the daily ritual with utmost sincerity and concentration. It took him three months to complete the ritual. Recalling those days, Gurudev was to comment later that it was as if a divine force had propelled him into an artificial state of fear only to change his mundane life that he had led until then and to goad him unto the spiritual path.
The day he finished the ritual, Gurudev went to bed that night thinking he would wake up during the normal morning hour the next day now that he was through with the arduous Gayatri worship. However, having got used to rising early, he woke up in the wee hours next morning. Just as he opened his eyes and sat up in the bed, he felt the inside of his body light up with an immensely bright white light. It was a kind of bright light that he couldn’t compare with any other — not even with sunlight. He noticed that the light illuminated his body from inside. The light was neither warm nor cold; it just brought a wave of soothing peace. He was soon immersed completely in a state of joy and bliss that he had never known to exist. The Light, gave him an inner vision. Gurudev saw that despite the clear bright light that illuminated his body from inside, he couldn’t detect the presence of his organs, as if his body was a mere empty shell!
Having worked occasionally as a helper in the railway hospital’s mortuary where doctors performed post mortems on deceased patients, Gurudev had known the placement of various internal organs, muscles and bones in a human body. And yet he could see none of it inside his own body! He soon became aware of a buzzing sound as if a swarm of bees were creating a racket over a honeycomb. When he focused on the sound, he realized it was emanating from the center of the naval. As he concentrated he noticed, too, to his astonishment that the buzzing was nothing but the Gayatri mantra being repeated at an amazingly high speed resolution, making it sound like the buzzing of bees! He was to learn much later that the Gayatri Mantra that he previously chanted through willful efforts had now become established as a non-stop, self-run process, linking him permanently to the divine force. He later realized he was initiated into Yoga by the Feminine Divine herself!

The divine glow brought another discovery for Gurudev. He realized that behind the fa├žade of his identity and existence in the material world, he was a very different entity altogether. He was neither bound by his physical limitations nor was his personal awareness restricted to the physical world that he inhabited. He felt as if his personal being had expanded so vastly that he could embrace the whole universe. In fact, he felt he was the universe and he could feel the vibrations of all the animate and inanimate beings inhabited it as if they were his own. He realized too through this unique experience that he was indeed what the ancient Vedic seers had called Bramhan, the all pervading, changeless and amorphous divine force.

Just as Gurudev was marveling at this extraordinary experience and was afloat on the waves of joy, peace and love; the fantastic vision broke off as suddenly as it had occurred. Apparently, the gurgling sound of water suddenly gushing out of an open tap in the bathroom close to his bed had disturbed the trance-like state he was in. The vision didn’t recur though he craved for the experience and lay awake in the wee hours over next several days.
The sudden retreat into the mundane physical world was too disconcerting for Gurudev. He felt as if his own vast being was compressed into a small insignificant form and crammed into an unfamiliar and hostile world weighed down by un-evolved beings
For days later, Gurudev mulled over the amazing vision he had experienced that Navratri morning. He just couldn’t believe that anyone could live without internal organs. And yet what he had experienced during the vision was so real he simply couldn’t reject it as a hallucination. He was to learn years later that what he had experienced was the projection of a not-too-distant future when human bodies would be much lighter and brighter than their grosser form today! He had experienced the awesome future awaiting human race!
It was comforting for Gurudev to realize soon that the Gayatri worship had indeed freed him from the fear of death that had stalked him earlier. He realized too that the material difficulties that had dogged him constantly until then had also begun to ease with a passage of time. But it dawned on him soon that life was no longer the same. The mundane realities of life — eating, sleeping, working and taking care of familial duties — no longer interested him as deeply as they did before the Navratri incident. He noticed another change. Although he was not given to telling lies, he now realized that he felt a compelling urge to speak the truth even in routine life no matter if those around him found it palatable or not.
Because of his integrity, the fellow workers in his office had elected Gurudev their leader in the local railway employees union. His uncompromising stand on what he perceived to be the truth while dealing with union issues endeared him to fellow workers but dismayed several of his colleagues on the union’s governing council as well as the managers.

Corrupt union officials and managers found it difficult to co-opt Gurudev in their manipulative practices that often went against the interest of the workers and robbed them off their rightful dues. This led to growing hostilities in the office while struggle for survival became even harder. He lived with his family in a small, cramped one-room tenement on the railway campus. In the summer when temperature hovered above 45 degrees centigrade, life became unbearable for him and his family members as he couldn’t afford to buy a ceiling fan to cool his tenement. The railways did provide certain class of employees with ceiling fans on the basis of their seniority. Gurudev didn’t qualify for this benefit. Officials would often drop hints for him to compromise his principles to get such benefits out of turn. But he would refuse them outright.

In the months that followed, Gurudev became very restive; he lost interest in material life. His casual belief in God gradually turned into a firm faith. He now spent more time in divine worship and meditation. As he grew introspective he began to wonder about life itself. Thoughts like “who really am I? Why am I here, where am I going?” began to haunt him day in and day out. When he consulted some pundits well-versed in the Holy Scriptures about the changes in his outlook brought on by the Gayatri worship, he was told that he had indeed been blessed by the Goddess with a Siddhi, special divine powers. They however advised him to use those powers to get himself out of material difficulties he was constantly facing.

Baba Shri Gangainathji

Gurudev politely declined to heed their advice. He believed that God had not changed his life and put him on the spiritual path so that he could make money and lead a comfortable material life. If God had tuned him to divinity, Gurudev realized, He must have done so for a special purpose and that He would show the way ahead too. During his spiritual pursuits in the ensuing months, Gurudev came upon the philosophy propounded by Swami Vivekananda, one of 20th century’s greatest spiritual figures, who led the revival of the Hindu spiritual heritage not just in India but also in America and Europe. Swamiji’s emphasis on the practical transformation of humanity through Vedic principles that offered universal application inspired Gurudev and lifted his spirits. Vivekananda strongly advocated practice of Vedic philosophy through the revival of Guru-disciple system which alone, he believed, could lead to spiritual evolution around the world.

Heeding Swami Vivekananda’s advice, Gurudev began search for a Guru in right earnest. He felt frustrated when he couldn’t find one. So anxious was he over this that he ignored the strong urge he felt during meditation to visit an Ashram at Jamsar, a small village 20 k. m. away from Bikaner. However as the inner urge he felt became stronger, it was in April 1983 that he visited the Ashram. He was welcomed by Baba Gangainathji, the presiding monk with a compassionate look in his eyes.

Apparently, there was nothing extraordinary about their meeting. But Baba’s compassionate gaze stayed with Gurudev even after he left the Ashram, prompting him to visit Baba’s holy abode a few days later again. It was during the second visit, when Gurudev bowed and touched Baba’s feet, that the master touched Gurudev’s head by way of blessing. The moment Baba touched Gurudev, he felt a tremendous vibration like a bolt of lightning passing though his body. This was Baba’s way of giving Diksha, initiating Gurudev in the unique form of Siddha Yoga. No words were exchanged as Gurudev left the Ashram soon. Little did Gurudev realize then that he had just met the Guru he was searching for and that his life had once again been changed forever.
The mental turmoil He felt grew worse by May-June 1983. The state of turmoil that Gurudev was in, continued even after the Ashram visit. By August end in 1983, it grew so worse that Gurudev could no longer attend to work in the office and he stayed away without applying for leave. Then came a big jolt! On December 31, 1983 at 5 a.m., entire north-west India was rocked by a severe earthquake. Seconds before the earth shook, Gurudev was jolted out of deep slumber in the wee hours that morning by a strange shock. Gurudev was to learn later that it was precisely the moment when Baba Gangainathji had passed away. ( To read more about Gangainathji Click Here)
Baba’s passing away didn’t affect Gurudev in any noticeable way although he was to realize later that in Baba’s death, he was orphaned once again since his father’s death decades earlier. However, soon afterward, he began to feel a strange inner urge to visit Baba’s Samadhi (tomb), which he dismissed as the tricks his mind played on him. Gurudev’s behavior became eccentric as inner anxieties now assailed him with greater ferocity while he continued to stay off work. He retreated to his native village Palana, where worries about how to feed his wife and children virtually drove him mad.

Once when he was walking down the road in a summer afternoon, a local youth sitting under a tree called him out. What he told Gurudev sounded very strange.

Gangainathji 's Samadhi
The youth said Baba Gangainathji had been pestering him to get Gurudev to visit His Jamsar Samadhi. When Gurudev countered that Baba was no longer alive and that he could not therefore have met him, the youth said the monk has been appearing in his dream to give him the command. Taking this for a divine call, Gurudev visited Baba’s Samadhi and offered prayers there.

A cardinal principle in the Hindu thought is that soul is eternal, and that it is the body that dies when a person passes away. It is also believed that a spiritual master or a saint continues to guide his disciples even after leaving his mortal body. The Samadhi of a saint is therefore revered as the fount of divine blessings. Little wonder that following his visit to Baba’s Samadhi, Gurudev felt that the dark clouds of anxiety were gradually clearing off.

As his meditation grew stronger, Gurudev began receiving inner messages from Baba, guiding him through the turbulent waters that lay ahead. It soon became clear to Gurudev beyond doubt that it was Baba Gangainathji who was the Guru he was looking for. Gurudev also realized that despite leaving his mortal body, Baba could guide him on the spiritual path without any hindrance and with potent force. The process of receiving inner messages was unlike any other experience that Gurudev had had in communicating with the other person. No words were communicated unlike the populist depiction of divine communication in mythological stories and films. A crystal clear thought would simply cross Gurudev’s mind without any effort on his part to expect it, telling him what precisely he needed to understand or do under certain circumstances. It was like a ray of light rippling through the dark water to the surface and to illuminate the way ahead.
Baba soon made Gurudev realize that he was not destined to lead a mundane life. It was made clear to him on numerous occasions during deep meditations that Gurudev was ordained to lead a Spiritual Revolution to Transform the Entire Mankind. The transformation that Gurudev was undergoing himself was in fact meant to prepare him for that onerous task ahead. Gurudev was to learn years later through the teachings Sri Aurobindo, of one of India’s greatest spiritual masters in the 20th century, that divine transformation of one human being would eventually herald the transformation of the entire mankind as that enlightened person would lead the way. Gurudev was told in no uncertain word that he was the chosen one for this mission although his own sense of modesty and the trying circumstances that he found himself in made it harder for him to believe this divine prophesy.

It was during these turbulent times in 1984 that Gurudev was visited by yet another strange happening, whose implications could impact humanity in the years ahead. One night after he retired to bed in a restive mood, he had vision in a dream. In the vision, he was shown a passage from what he could vaguely perceive to be a holy book, with the voice of an adapt saying “Thou art that; thou art that”. The next morning, Gurudev mulled over the strange vision and tried to think if what he saw in the dream was a vision or just a strange dream; nor could he understand the meaning of words “Thou art that” which He had never heard before. Since the passage was in Hindi, Gurudev could recall some words in the passage, but they made no sense to him.
A couple of days later, Gurudev’s youngest son, Rajendra, brought home an old dog-eared book. While walking home from his school, the young boy felt a strange urge to pick up the book when he noticed it lying abandoned in a cobbler’s shop by the roadside, and gave it to Gurudev later. As Gurudev turned the pages of the book with no particular interest, he was jolted in to attention when he noticed a passage in one of the pages. It was exactly the passage that he was shown in the dream. He read the book over and again for a few days later, but couldn’t fathom what it was about. All he could gather was that the book, meant for children, was illustrated with pictures to explain to them in simple terms the Christian faith. Not being very religious himself, Gurudev was not conversant deeply with the Hindu scriptures, much less be aware of philosophy of other faiths.

Though the dream remained a puzzle for him, Gurudev began experiencing a new calm. He returned to Bikaner from Palana, where he had taken a refuge following mental turmoil, reported back to work and resumed normal duties in the office. Strangely, no one took any serious objection to his long unofficial absence from work, which would have normally led to his being fired from the job. It was as if he had never deserted his job at all. This was two years after he had first prayed at the Samadhi of Guru Baba Gangainathji.
Once back in Bikaner, Gurudev asked around in his social circle if Christians followed any holy book like the Hindus did the Bhagwat Geeta. It was then that he learnt about Bible. He was told the passage from the holy book, which was shown to him in the vision, formed a part of the gospels in Bible written by St. John, and that what I had seen in the dream were chapters – 15:26-27 and 16:7-15. Later a friend, who had taken a short course in Bible to familiarize himself with the holy book, presented Gurudev with a Hindi version in a booklet form. Reading the booklet gave Gurudev some idea about Christianity. However, being a follower of the Hindu faith, Gurudev thought it irrelevant to pursue Bible any further and lost interest in the subject.
However, the inner messages and the voice soon returned with renewed urgency, urging Gurudev repeatedly to read Bible in original English. He managed to borrow a copy of Bible from a friend who was a Lecturer in a local Law college. Reading The Bible in English didn’t prove to be of any help either; he didn’t find the passage in the book that he was shown in his dream. Giving up, Gurudev returned the book and dropped the subject once again, thinking it was the end of the dread episode. But that was not to be. The inner urgings returned now with greater intensity. Making queries once again, he learned something that surprised him; Christianity was divided among many sects, two main among them are Catholics and Protestants. While Bible he had read earlier was followed by Catholics the one followed by Protestants contained the passage from St. John’s Gospels that he was shown in the dream.

With Baba’s blessings, Gurudev did mange to get a copy of Protestant Bible and read the Gospel part that he was being constantly goaded to. The relevant part of Gospels contained a prophesy made by none other than Jesus Himself of the advent of the Comforter, who, He prophesied, would save only the truly faithful from certain death while the rest of humanity faced terrible divine retribution in a global calamity brought on by war and famine in the 21st century! Gurudev was to learn later that the Old Testamnet, the first part of the Bible that the Jewish people follow, contains similar prophesy by prophet Malachi about the advent of the Comforter, whom He describes as E-li’jah. Reading prophesies from the Holy book followed by both the Christians and Jewish people made Gurudev realize that they are somehow linked to the preaching offered by Lord Krishna in the Geeta thousands of years ago that preceded Christianity and Judaism.
Reading further about what the Comforter is prophesied to do, convinced Gurudev that somehow he had a role to play in the realization of these prophesies through the inner Yoga that he was learning during deep meditation since the Navratri incident. (Please see Section: ‘Fulfilling World Prophesies’)

During his meditations since his return to Bikaner and resuming the office work, Gurudev received Aadesh (command) from Baba during mediations that he should quit his job and dedicate himself fully to the spiritual mission entrusted to him. So, it was at the urging from Baba that Gurudev quit job through voluntary retirement on June 30, 1986, nearly seven years before reaching his superannuation age. Gurudev was to comment later, “I was serving the railways earlier; now I am serving my Guru. This is a lifelong job which I can never quit. I have left the worries of the material needs for my family entirely to Him. I am my Guru’s faithful servant; whatever I may gain or lose in this mission will be according to His wish.”
Baba also conferred Gurudom on his chosen disciple and directed him to initiate people into Siddha Yoga as his disciples. Gurudev started initiating people into Siddha Yoga through Diksha programs initially in Jodhpur and few other cities in Rajasthan. Those who came to Gurudev and became his disciples, experienced an amazing positive change in their lives; they found their diseases/ chronic ailments cured, and felt spiritual awakening through chanting of the divine mantra that Gurudev gave them during these programs and the meditation they did along with the chanting. As word about Gurudev’s unique Siddha Yoga and healing powers spread like wild fire, Gurudev was invited to other cities and towns to conduct Diksha programs. No discrimination was ever made on the basis of caste, color, race or religion for the people to avail of Gurudev’s blessings.

Gurudev has since then traveled to different cities in India and put thousands of people on to the path of Spiritual Evolution and good health. However, Gurudev says that he is only half way through his mission. He believes that until he reaches out to people across the globe in the western hemisphere to motivate them to join the spiritual path that Baba Gangainathji has shown, there will be no real peace and prosperity in the world. “Spiritualism of the East needs to join hands with the materialism of the West, without which world will never be without conflicts and discord. It is this spiritual union of East and West that I have set out to accomplish to usher in lasting peace in the world,” says Gurudev.

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