One of the most impressive amongst Yogis of this 20th century is Yogiraj Shri Vishuddhanand Paramahansa. The Yogiraj's seemingly unscientific and illogical miracles are in fact genuine yogic siddhis. It was in fact at first very difficult for my mind trained in logic and the physical science and believing implicity only in the rational order of the universe to accept the reality of such apparently irrational phenomena. Yet inwardly I felt from the elevating splendour of his presence, that the Yogiraj was by no means an imposter and that I had withnessed genuine miracles. Along with miraculous powers went deep love compassion and the God-knowledge that opens the door to a new-elevated vision of life. He had the wonderful powers of purity which liberates the soul, gives man control over the whole of nature and shows God into him.
The book describes a few of his numberless miracles relating to subjects like travel through space; bringing back the dead to life; converting one form of matter into another; producing scents, sweets and fruits; seeing things far distant; multiplying small amount of food etc. into large quantities; appearing simultaneously in several distant places at the same instant; healing the sick and deformed; telepathy; clair-voyance; pre-cognition' power to read minds to see through walls and go across them without hindrance' to foretell future events and even to mentally cause or change the motion of physical objects. These miracles go to prove his super-human powers by which he infused for the upliftment of society and alleviated its sufferings.
Paul Brunton, a British Journalist, has, in his book A Search in Secret India, stated about Baba as under-
"One of the most impressive amongst Yogis of this twentieth century is Yogiraj Shri Vishuddhanand Paramahansa (1853-1937). The Yogiraj's seemingly unscientific and illogical miracles are, in fact, genuine yogic siddhis. It was, in fact, at first very difficult for my mind, trained in logic and the physical science and believing implicitly only in the rational order of the universe, to accept the reality of such apparently irrational phenomena. Yet inwardly I felt, from the elevating splendour of his presence, that the yogiraj was by no means an imposter and that I had withnessed genuine miracle. Along with miraculous powers, went deep love, compassion and the God-knowledge that opens the door to a new elevated vision of life. He had the wonderful powers of the Holy Spirit, the power of purity which liberates the soul, gives man control over the whole of nature and shows God into him."
The book in hand describes a few of his numberless miracles relating to subjects like-travel through space; bringing back the dead to life; converting one form of matter into another; producing scents, sweets and fruits; seeing things far distant; multiplying small amount of food etc. into large quantities; appearing simultaneously in several distant places at the same instant; healing the sick and deformed; telepathy; clair-voyance; pre-cognition; power to read minds; to see through walls and go across them without hindrance; to foretell future events and even to mentally cause or change the motion of physical objects. These miracles go to prove to us mortals, his super-human powers by which he infused 'Confidence in Divinity' for the upliftment of society and alleviated its sufferings.
According to the Yogiraj-"Religion consists of realization; not of the reason, theories, documents, doctrines, scriptures and rituals-which all are only aids to religion. We have to realize religion through constant practice and this realization is a long process. There is no jumping steps, we have to work up the ladder step by step. To attain 'Realization', we have to pass through the concrete and then come to the abstract, like the children learn the alphabets through pictures.
Direct perception through practical demonstration is far superior to all the theoretical lectures, doctrines and documents in the world. And to that end only Baba used to exhibit miracles to his disciples.
The principles and doctrines, enshrined in the ancient stories in the Shastras and Puranas, enlighten and inspire us even today, guiding our decisions and policies with ideals that have remained unshaken over the centuries. Gurudeva used to swear by the truth of every word stated in the Shastras. He testified this on several occasions by actual demonstrations e.g. 'Brahmaji's sitting on the lotus sprouting from the naval, and the 'Virat-Roop-Darshan to Arjun by Lord Krishna at the time of Mahabharat' disciples, doubting the veracity of the statements in the scriptures.
From the age of fourteen, Baba spent the next twelve years under rigorous training in 'Yoga' and 'Natural Sciences' like Surya-Vijnan (Solar science), Chandra-Vijnan (Stellar Science), Vayu-Vijnan (Wind-Science), Nakshatra-Vijnan (Stellar Science), Shabda-Vijnan (Sound-science) and Kohana-Vijnan (Instant of Time Science) etc., in the very ancient secret Gyanganj Yogashram in Tibet, and attained excellence in all of them.
In later life too, he engaged himself in further research in Surya-Vijnan. He had a plan to bring the benefits of Solar Science in the service of humanity but the scheme had to be dropped on the advice from Gyanganj authorities, for reasons best known to them. Through Surya-Vijnan-the supermost amongst the natural sciences, all types of creation, animate and in-animate, is possible. The particular rays of the sun, required for the production of the desired articles, are focused by means of a magnifying lens on to a piece of cotton wool through proper technique and the object is formed. Many western Scientists, tourists and journalists have had the occasion to witness such creations. They have published their experiences in foreign journals.
Accomplishments like the ability to keep the audience spell bound through brilliant oratory of scriptures, intellectual excellence in elucidating very intricate principles of Philosophy, or easily getting into a state of emotional trance during Kirtan, dance or music, prove into insignificance in comparison to Baba's achievement through Surya-Vijnan. Shri Baba surprised an American by taking a stump of wood and converting just half as wood; when according to modern science wood cannot join with granite. Before another British journalist, Paul Brunton, he brought to life a dead sparrow through Surya-Vijnan. Many disciples including the author have personally witnessed 'Baba' creating diamonds, gold, pearl, coral, flowers, sweets, scents and what not, through Surya-Vijnan.
Shri Vishuddhanand was an exception amongst Yogis. Through his yogic power of Ichch-shakti, he planted grapes on the branch of a Jamun tree and that of a castor tree, and transformed an old Jawa-flower-tree into one of rose. While enunciating the principle of Rishi Patanjali-"Jatyantar parinamah prakrityapurat" viz. that one thing can be converted into another by transplanting into it the deficient particles of the latter after attracting the same from nature, he practically demonstrated conversion of a Rose flower into Jawa, a Jawa flower into a Coral and a Bela flower into a Sphatik (crystal ball). Similarly while explaining Mahima Siddhi to Pt. Gopinath Kaviraj, M.A., D. Litt., he expanded the little finger of his left hand to enormous size.
Except for arranging Kumari-Bhojan (feeding of little virgins) occasionally in the ashram, Baba never joined or encouraged congregations. He never held Bhandaras or Kirtanas. He did not encourage the Pre-bhava of the Vaishnavas, as he held the process to be full of pit-falls, where even the most vigilant aspirants are easily liable to slip into the trap of sensuality.
Bana shunned fruitless gossip. He would sit quietly for hours in the presence of his disciples, giving them time and opportunity for introspection and nam-japa. He was very kind, compassionate and generous at heart and helpful to one and all. He had developed the feelings of-friendship and happiness (instead of jealousy) at seeing the prosperity of others, and indifference to sin instead of hate and repulsion.
He had overcome his ego completely. He was never after name and fame and did not like making disciples indiscriminately. He declined to initiate Rajas, Maharajas and esteemed Literators, whose conduct and antecedents were not upto required mark.
However, thousands of people in very high positions, men of wealth and men of letter did receive initiation at his hands, though most of his disciples came from the poor, illiterate and middle class.
Baba was a great appreciator of fine qualities and good character in people. He particularly loved children and enjoyed their company and considered every Kumari as incarnation of Ma Mahashakrit Jagadamba. He played with them and showed them little tricks and miracles. He entertained them with jokes and funny stories with morals.
One day, a little girl of about eight years said-"Baba! Last night I saw a dream wherein I was carrying you in my lap". Baba had a hearty laugh. Then he took the girl inside a room. Here he became super-light by virtue of his anima siddhi and climbed on to her lap. After a little while, Baba resumed his moral weight. The child had to set him down as he was now too heavy for her to hold. On coming out of the room, she related this funny incident to the other children present.
In effect, Baba's greatness comprised of a combination of sweetness, affability, great super-natural powers to do things, supreme knowledge, compassion for all and assistance to the needy.
Baba used to say-"Attachment is the cause of unhappiness and this cycle of birth and death. Self-realization through the control of mind is the only way to salvation."
Yogiraj Shri Vishuddhanand's main emphasis was on 'Karma i.e. Kriya' viz Yogabhyas i.e. japa of mantra given by an enlightened Guru, who has had self-realization himself. Gurudeva used to insist that his disciples perform their Kriya properly, punctually at correct times, at a fixed place, regularly and without a break, with one-pointed attention, to realize the benefits accuring there form. He said-Peace and God-realization will then accrue in direct proportion to the effort and intensity put in by them into the Kriya.
His main aim was to wake up his disciples and devotees from the slumber cause by the Indriyas, which delude one first into thinking that they give one real happiness, to find later that the happiness was only transient and unreal. Only after a person realizes this fact, the pleasures of the Indriyas fail to attract him and he becomes passive and apathetic towards them and seeks self-realization.
Self-realization is possible only through constant practice of Yoga-Kriya. Through constancy in Kriya, one can change even his destiny. One's own sadhana (effort) and the Kripa (grace) of Maha-Shakti, both are necessary for success in God-realization. However, Sadhana by itself will beget Kripa and provide the needed prop in the form of a Guru (preceptor). God himself descends in the form of a real Guru, takes hold of the 'Being' and helps him in his salvation. One only needs to surrender completely to the Guru and act according to his instructions. This total unqualified surrender is the key to success.
Baba main stress was on Kriya-Karma. He would say Karmbhyo Namah i.e. Do it! Keep dong it!
Baba kept a constant vigil over his disciples. He knew from day-to-day nay moment-to-moment, what they were thinking, talking and doing, even when hundreds of miles away from them. In times of emergency he would even appear before them in physical or subtle astral form as appropriate, and help them out of a difficult situation e.g. in the form of a railway porter, a beggar or a mendicant etc.
Gurudeva had taken total responsibility for his disciples. He used to say-"I place each one of you in the state and situation needed for your advancement. I also given you and do for you just as much as is really necessary. The sole aim of life is to get back to your real self and get established permanently in your own conscious self. Man is suffering because he has got torn away from his moorings-his real self-the supreme-self. Once he is able to establish his contact with the self again, all his trouble and miseries will automatically come to an end."
Yogis never die. Shri Vishuddhanand Paramahansadeva passed away in July, 1937, but he presents himself even today in different forms, at so many places simultaneously before his disciples and devotees, to cure them of their illnesses, protect them against accidents and help them out of their predicaments and troubles. Many such instances are narrated in this book.
The book will interest three types of readers;
One- the many for whom the mysterious, marvelous miracles of life hold interest and appeal; two-the seekers after spiritual light who have not yet found what they seek. Many in both of these classes my not even have heard of yogiraj Vishuddhanand Paramahansadeva of Kashi, popularly known as Gandha Baba, let alone seen his miracles and felt his great influence. They will be more than inclined to doubt. Therefore, I have tried to present the facts as objectively as possible, keeping the devotional content to a minimum. The names and addresses of many eye-witnesses to the miracles described herein have been given so that the doubting ones may be able to contact them and get confirmation of the fantastic incredible experiences.
The third types of readers the devotees will perhaps feel that the presentation is too cold for them because the devotional element is minimal. But I beg them to remember that pure devotional literature is of interest to devotees only whereas in writing the book, I have been primarily concerned with conveying the Yogiraj's message to a much wider field.
The book has been written, in a logical, simple and understandable manner, giving the Yogi's life, teachings, principles and miracles, in the hope that it may benefit the weary world at large.
It has been divided into three parts, the first giving the life history of Shri Baba, the second giving the reminiscences of the disciples and devotees and the third, his teachings and principles as enunciated to his disciples at different times and places, grouped together under various heads under the title of Divya Katha i.e. 'Divine Talk'.
The art of biographical writing is not everybody's cup of tea. It needs a poet's heart, a journalist's pen and a painter's perspective to recreate life's memories into words, vividly describing and philosophizing over memorable past experiences of an individual's life relevant to human society. I possess none of the requisite attributes and am fully conscious of my shortcomings. I lay no claim to literary excellence or the competence to describe even an iota of the Lila of that great soul, through unusual scholarship either.
It appears only relevant to give here a few facts about Baba for a proper understanding of the personality of the great soul in the correct perspective.
1. Baba most frequently taught through actions and self example what most other preceptors tried to teach through words.
2. He could sometimes speak in parables, leaving his devotees to work out the answer.
3. He had the peculiar art of giving information to particular individuals in the midst of a group in a way that they alone could understand and not the other members of the group.
4. Another peculiarity of Baba was that instead of answering a question directly he would sometimes send the questioner to someone who is found to be reading the same very thing in a scripture and thus get an answer to his question.
5. Baba was living and operating in other worlds also besides this world in invisible forms.
6. Shri Baba had the power to guide the dead as well as those living.
7. He belonged to a hidden spiritual hierarchy. He traveled at will in subtle body and spoke of his travels over great distances of space and time to his disciples at time.
8. Even when in flesh in this earthly life, he was not confined to his physical body. It may truly be said of him that he is alive even now though he took his mahasamadhi in 1937.
9. He never spoke untruth and meaningless jargon. Only those who were familiar with his ways could make out the meaning of what he said or did and that took only when it was intended for their understanding.
10. He had the most detailed knowledge of distant events and circumstances, also, whether he directed the actions of some other person, or himself materialized in a distant place to play his part there, he could do so without interrupting his normal activities at his ashrams, at Kashi, Burdwan or Calcutta.
11. Baba used to say-"Having undertaken responsibility for you, I will never allow any of you disciples to escape from me. Only keep faith and I will do the rest. I will give you what you want if it be to your benefit and wish that you will in due time desire what I want to give you. Wherever you may be, think of me and I will be with you."
12. Baba exerted a tremendous influence over his devotees, causing a remarkable change in their life-style for their spiritual upliftment.
Readers would kindly forgive me for certain repetitions here and there. These are purposeful-either to emphasize a point or for the sake of completeness of the particular topic in hand.
The motivation to write this biography seems to have been provided by the Guru, Shri Vishuddhanand Paramahansa, himself and if even a few readers would benefit by it, the author will consider his effort adequately rewarded.
I shall be failing in my duty if I do not express my gratitude to my co-disciples, who supplied me the facts of their personal experiences with unfailing courtesy and have permitted me to use their names and addresses in testimony to the truths stated by them, most of which are stranger than fiction.
I most heartily thank Shri Purushottam Das Modi, of Vishwavidyalaya Prakashan, Varanasi, who has spared no pains in publishing this book in a befitting style His courtesy and manner have always been exemplary.
Inspite of the greatest care, misprints and erros still creep in and I shall be grateful to dear readers to call my attention to them and also offer their valuable suggestions for the improvement of the book in the next edition.
Biographies of great Sadhus and realised Souls are sources Of inspiration among the religious and philosophical-minded men who wish to elevate themselves from the daily wordly life routine to a life of divinity and calmness. Baba Vishuddhanandaji the master of Yoga and self-realization who lived in the first half of this century was an embodiment of Yoga and knowledge of reality combined with compassion for one and all. Babaji possessed the eight siddhis Anima, Mahima etc., and demonstrated the same to his admirers. Surya- Vijnan, Chandra- Vijnan, Nakshatra- Vijnan and Vayu- Vijnan worked at his command. Dr. Gopinath Kaviraj, deeply struck by his feats in his early years became his disciple all his life and got his initiation in Mantras. It is a pity that Independent India has not produced even one of Baba's type. Sri Babaji showed miracles, not for 'fame' but only to turn his admirers inward for self realization showing some miracles extraordinary, Sri Baba said to Kavirajji-'Mr. Kaviraj' don't be carried away by these miracles. They are unreal-non-existint. Do you not remember what Bhagwan Vishnu told Narada after showing the Visvarupa in the Sveta Dvip 'Narada! This is Maya (Visvarupa) which I created for you and you see with your own eyes. This is non-existent. Don't think I possess all the qualities of nature which were depicted in the Visvarupa' (Bharat 12).
Mr. Nandalal Gupta is an ardent disciple of Sri Babaji, having had the fortune of being in his company for about 2 years after direct initiation by Babaji. He must be congratulated for having translated the Hindi version of Sri Baba's biography into English, adding his own and other co-disciple's experiences too it for the sake of non-Hindi-knowing public, so that they too study and be benifitted by it. If the person who hears Sri Babaji's feats be thrilled, what shall he say of the surprise and thrill of the another and others who saw them with their own eyes.
Pen in hand, I paused to think how I could render in words a faint impression of Yogiraj Shri Vishuddhanand Paramahansadeva, the most inspiring and fascinating human being that I have known. As a Guru (master), he was soul personified, the over-soul- incarnate, while at the same time so graceful and surpassingly human - a quality that attracted us humans so much to him.
He combined an inscrutable mystery with an in-exhaustible variety. He enchanted and haunted, soothed and sustained. His loving touch chastened and exalted, transmuted and exhilirated. He was simple as a child and baffling as the sphinx. He held eternity in the hollow of his palm. He raised creatures of dust to the heights of emphyrean. In him indeed, incompatibles automatically reconciled themselves. Applied to him, the wildest hyperbole would look like a pale meiosis.
Such a one was Yogirajadhiraj Shri Vishuddhanand Paramahansadeva, popularly known as Gandha-Baba (Perfume- saint) to the world and as 'Baba' to his disciples.
Yogis of his calibre have been very few in this world, who could transmit spirituality with just a touch or a look and convert even the most degraded amongst men into saints in a matter of moments. Such Yogis are the teacher of all teachers, the highest manifestation of God in man. We cannot see God except through them and hence we worship them. It is the strength manifested from these hearts that keeps the bond of society intact.
Since ages India has been the home of true Yogis-people who have transcended the lower-self and have attained Siddhis (extra-sensory-perceptions) and Psycho-Kinesis i.e. the power of man's mind and will, to move objects at a distance, etc., what is common parlance are called 'miracles'. These powers and those who possess them, hold interest and appeal for many and attention for most, and hence this biography.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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