Sushil & Sunita Vakil
the denizens of this world may follow myriad cultures and religions, the eternal
master is only ONE, by whatever name we may call him. God is the supreme Guru,
but we are not physically and spiritually
attuned to seek God, wrapped as we are, in a thick shroud of the worldly vices.
So God speaks through his chosen ones, his
spiritual disciples who teach the seekers of God, ways of realising him and
consequently leading a more fulfilling life. They show us the much needed
guiding light for the attainment of our divine purpose.
the many followers of God, Mahayogi Gagangiriji Maharaj has a profound
uniqueness in the way that he has transcended all those mighty realms of
spirituality in such a short span of time. His illuminated inner being lending
its ethereal light to the suffering multitudes of humanity. His message of
spirituality and love has got universal appeal. He treats all persons as God's
own creations and does not divide humanity on the basis of caste, creed and
religion. All men are equal in his eyes.
Gagangiriji is on a different plane than other yogis, in the sense that he gives
more importance to the soul than the mortal body, that is anyway no more than an
outer garb for the immortal treasure within. People who have the good fortune of
listening to him, experience vibrations of divine pleasure and a serene peace
within. Whoever has come in personal contact with the Mahayogi, has been touched
by his overflowing love for mankind and his devotion to the service of his
fellowmen. He does not hesitate in serving the lowliest of the lowly and the
poorest of the poor. He is performing a divinely assigned job. His message is
simple - strive to reach God through meditation and self-realisation and don't
stop midway in the quest for truth.
Sri Gagangiri Maharaj, who is as revered and worshipped as Emperor Chalukya
Pulakeshi, hails from Patankar family. His original personal name is Sripad and
he hails from village Mandure in Patan district of South Maharashtra. At the age
of 7, he left his home and was sent to a relatively well known place
Battees-shirala. This cult has Math of Nathsampradaya, which has a wide
following all over India and has about 1600 establishments.
Gagangiri Maharaj as a youthful sanyasi, also moved about with mahants (senior
sages) right up to the Himalayas. During pilgrimages, he learnt yoga and several
occult and religious practices. He travelled far and wide, and finally he
reached Badrika Ashram in Himachal Pradesh. This place has ice-clad mountains,
embedded in which is a place known as Vyas Gumpha. Gagangiri Maharaj was
extremely tired as a result of his peregrinations and decided to settle in a
cave. When he was relaxing, a sage wearing saffron robes came there from the
mountains. He sprinkled water from his Kamandalu, on the face of Gagangiri
Maharaj. He also gave him some kind of green grass to eat which resembled
coriander leaves. He said, "You will now attain the state of salvation and
you shall be responsible for the welfare of humanity, and you shall go to South.
Accordingly Maharaj moved from the Valley. He experienced a lot of difficulties
and arrived at Rishikesh. Swamiji then decided to move all over India alone on
foot and accordingly his journey started. Attired in saffron robes of a sanyasi,
he was revered by people.
1932, the Raja of Kolhapur had been to Dajipur jungle for hunting. Swamiji, who
had accompanied him, stayed back in the jungle, where he lived from 1932 to
1940. He spent these years in meditation and deep reflection.
did penance at a number of places. During monsoon, he stayed in the cave at
Garbhagiri, Gagangiri. He did penance in a pond near the river at Sangashi,
Vazar, Vesraf etc. Later he went to Vidyadurg in the Konkan area, from where he
reached Bombay by steamer. During 1945 to 1950, he stayed in Dadi Hirji Parsi
graveyards near the temple of Maruti at Shidi near Walkeshwar. Similarly, he did
penance in the barren, rocky beach at Breach Candy, Mahalaxmi, Ban Ganga etc.
During this period, several rulers and princes such as Sayajirao Gaikwad,
Madhavrao Shinde, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Rajaram Maharaj (Kolhapur),
Bavdekar Sarkar and Bhausaheb Pant Amatya, Maharani Tarabi (Sayajirao Gaikwad's
daughter) and a number of ruling families of Kolhapur came for his blessings.
Maharaj built small shelters for himself in the caves of trees as his dwelling
place. Usually, he would select a tree with abundant supply of fruit and
vegetables. In order to protect himself from rains, he would devise some kind of
clothes made from the bark of trees, such as Kumbha, Apte & Palas. As more
and more people benefitted by his meditation, more and more people starting
worshipping him and respecting him and his reputation spread all around.
Ministers like Yeshvantrao Chavan, Balasaheb Desai, Rajaram Bapu Patil, Kapse
and several respected officers used to worship him.
of all the preoccupations in respect of the society, Swamiji continued his
penance for over 60 years, uninterrupted. Even in old age, he continued
meditation while breathing, submerged in water in sunshine for the whole day.
His lifestyle can be described in words as Aesha Ekantwasi Yogiraja: Sadhali
Jeevankal! Living alone,
sleeping on the banks of rivers, listening to the flowing of the river water,
drying the entire body by solar radiation, sleeping on rock, meditating
continuously staying absolutely still under water, keeping mind completely at
rest, keeping all the physical desires under control and having only clean,
hygienic pious wholesome pure and acceptable food. All this is the life of the
perfect yogi. When you attain such a state of mind and body (which is called the
17th state) all the secretions that spring from mouth flow backwards emitting
nectar. Hence a yogi does not need to have any food. Living in jungles,
mountains, river banks provide enough loneliness so that a yogi achieves 'Siddha'
state. This helps him to take care of the misdeeds and sins of the people around
him. When life of Paramatma and Brahma become one, a yogi lives very happily and
life for him is 'Anandvan' (Park of Happiness). Finally he attains salvation.
Even people who have committed lot of sins are benefitted when they come in
contact with such a person of divine gifts. He is the embodiment of knowledge
Pyaremohan Wazir - An ardent disciple of Swamiji:
is a dedicated and ardent disciple of Swami gagangiriji Maharaj. He hails from a
KP family of Mumbai. Ashish, after completing his education in 1983, decided to
serve Gagangiriji Maharaj and in this spiritual pursuit, he is serving day and
night since then. In a conversation with Susil Vakil and Sunita Vakil, few
months back at the Khapoli Ashram, Ashish confided that it is a great blessing
in disguise to be with a saint like Gagangiriji Maharaj. He further said,
"One may get the darshan of Maharaj or one may be able to discuss one's
problems with him, but to be with him while he is meditating, is of prime
importance." Gagangiri Maharaj explains the details of yoga to Ashish, who
notes the Maharaja's words in detail. Sometimes
the words carry a deeper meaning than the sayings of learned men and have a lot
of creativity in them. Only people who have a divine wisdom can understand the
words, phrases and teachings of Gagangiri Maharaj and can fill in the blanks in
his phrases. Ashish further adds that Gagangiri Maharaj pours out knowledge as
though he is the Ganges of knowledge, which continuously flows and spreads fresh
and new knowledge.
shares his personal experience with every body as to how he came in contact with
Swami Gagangiriji Maharaj and experienced a 'Kayakalp'. "At that point of
life, I was drifting like a rutherless boat in the sea of life. Though I did
believe in supremacy of God, I could not find a guru who could lead me to my
goal. I had chance encounters with many gurus at different stages, but none
could quench my thirst for true knowledge and nobody touched the inner cords of
my soul. I desperately prayed to God to show me the way and Swamiji came to me,
touching my soul and transforming me completely. I changed in many ways and was
able to let go the 'I' in my vocabulary. Thus began my long spiritual journey of
'Atmabodh' or self-realisation with the help of great benefactor Shri Shri
being the youngest disciple of Mahayogi Gagangiriji Maharaj, has composed and
recorded all the words and phrases he shared with him during his meditation at
Gaganpad, Ambolgad, Dajipur, Vesraf, Himalayas and other places. Ashish has
presented the discourses and every word of Maharaj ji in a number of books
authored by him. The books give an insight into the spiritual journey of the
great Yogi and his divine knowledge.
Kashur Gazette, New Delhi.
March 15-21, 2003.