“Akhanda Mandalaakaaram, Vyaaptayam Yen Charaacharam;
Tatpadama Darshitam Yen, Tasmeva ShriGuruve Namah.”
One who is present in all living and nonliving beings in the whole universe; in whose lotus feet the God is seen, to that spiritual master I prostrate with utmost reverence.
The Braham Vidyalaya and Ashram was founded by Swamiji Maharaj in 1955, located on the North bank of River Ganges about 2 miles from Simri which is reached from Buxar via Bhojpur, Bihar. The Ashram is self-sufficient with its own water, sanitary, electricity, and farming.
The bestower of devotion, love, knowledge, and freedom from the bondage of life and death, the protector of down-trodden, the beloved of devotees, the kindest of the kind, the most merciful, Paramhans, supreme God like, SatGuru, Swamiji Shri Shivdharamaanandji Paramhans Maharaj (1908-1999) was of an elite lineage. Near Benaras around 1908, Swamiji incarnated mercifully as the Lord of their devotees for the welfare of the mankind. His parents expired in his early age. In the early childhood he witnessed God’s many miracles (leelaas) and impressed by these ‘Leelaas’ he left home at a very early age and traveled southeast of Benaras. He reached at the south bank of Ganges in Bihar. He sat in meditation on the bank of Ganges and soon went in to trance. When villagers of north Bihar and South Uttar Pradesh noticed him they prayed him for his darshan. From that time Swamiji advised all people and taught them the science of spirituality, awakening them and lifting them spiritually. As a matter of fact the only common blessing he used to give to all his devotees was “Rise” (Utha-Jaa). It was so natural that only those who aspire spiritual yearning did understand its deep meaning because it was given when the devotee prostrated in reverence to him. It was natural to get up from that position.
- Initiation: Devotees offer themselves for initiation and Swamiji advises them secretly in their right ear. One of the Mahatmas then explains the science of Braham Vidya or spiritual knowledge. Devotees are advised to pray and practice spiritual meditation.
As God is ONE, and the spirit in every individual is also one, therefore, Swamiji gave the same advice (Mantra) to any of these spirits. The differences in people are superficial and subservient to the spirit. It is the spirit in the body which is important and not the body itself. It is due to the spirit in the bodies that (even dead) bodies appear alive otherwise without it they are indeed dead. All these spirits are the part of ONE infinite spirit, God. So there may be as many different paths to reach God as there are people, but the ultimate path or the way leading to His door is ONE.
When spiritual knowledge is received from the spirit itself –God, the interested zealous automatically experiences the glimpses of Truth, just like mere going in to a perfume shop one experiences the smell of perfume without even buying it or opening the bottle of perfume. The very atmosphere is serene and pious. People automatically get answers to their doubts as they step forward upward to His darshan. Devotees effortlessly learn the “Ajapa Jaap” or chanting and automatically start shedding off vices thereby showing up their virtues. They learn the basic lessons of universal love and brotherhood and develop ‘Manavataa’ –the humanity, the very warp and weft of the high denier fabric of God realization. They become assets to their societies, nations and their households. Above all they get contentment and receive endless nectars of bliss and happiness for which everyone longs.
- Prayer: Aspirants of spiritual knowledge follow a disciplined life and pray the Lord at all the times. If they cannot do so then they pray at least two times a day –first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening.
- Worship: Most aspirants do worship at least two times a day –in the morning and evening. It is called Arti. It is sung aloud.
- Meditation: Meditation is similar to prayer except that the aspirants sit in a Padmaasana, Sidhhaasana, or Sukhaasana and meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord.
- Health and Yoga: After meditation aspirants should do some Yogaasna. These may be one or few of many. Personal hygiene and vegetarianism is stressed for good health.
- Services and Work: During Guru Purnima, Diwali, and Holi there is a special celebration and many devotees assemble at the main Ashram. There is a plenty of opportunity to serve them, Mahatmas, and Swamiji. Services can be done by performing physical work, talking and teaching fellow devotees sharing each others spiritual experience, and offering flowers and gifts in cash and kind.
B. Disciples and “Kutia’s”:
Swamiji had many disciples –both mahatmas who were living in various branches of the Ashram called “Kutia”, as well as other householder devotees.
- Disciples: Mahatmas are disciples or dedicated devotees who have renunciated (Sanyaas) householder life. In 1995 there were over 60 Mahatmas and countless devotees. Mahatma Darshananandji, Mahatma NamSatyanandji, Mahatma GyanVairagyanandji, Mahatma Satyanandji, Mahatma Vishveshwaranandji are to mention a few.
- Kutia’s: In 1995, Swamiji had a main Ashram in Chhot-ka-Rajpur. He had approximately 30 branches (Kutias) around the Country. These are at Balia, Raniganj, Parsupur, Chaukee, Bisampura, Dehgaavaa - Gazipur, Buxnaa –near Bhadara, Lahuau, Adasar, Bhabhania, Vevada near Chandoli, Hinoti, Mehdhi, Simri near Mirzapur, Haraiya near Robertganj, Jarvararia near Robertganj, Lucknow, and Benaras, all in Uttar Pradesh; Khalwa, Pokar, Tikaardi –near Gaya, Nandana near Bhabhua, Swapna Vatia, Bhitti, Lilari near Sasaram, and Patna in Bihar; Muraripur in Orrisa; Bombay; Bhuj in Gujarat; and at Makreda (Ajmer) in Rajasthan.
Over 60 ‘Sanyasi’ Mahatma at these centers (“Kutias”) pray the Lord and spread the word of God to all interested people irrespective of their age, gender, caste, color, religion, place of birth or citizenship, language, or any other differences. As a matter of fact there are some Moslem Mahatmas, Oriyaa Mahatma, and many noteworthy devotees from Punjab, Assam, Bengal, South India, and abroad. They are from all walks of life living in the supreme Ashram –the Grahasth-ashram. Among them are attorneys, college professors of mathematics, physics, and doctors of philosophy, university deans, college principals, engineers, medical doctors, businessmen, and politicians. These devotees pray the Lord and talk about spiritual sciences among themselves and public alike. People from all parts of India and abroad visited the main Ashram ‘Braham Vidyalay and Ashram’ at Chhot-Ka-Rajpur for seeing Swamiji (darshan) and taking advantages of his satsang pravachan.
One must do everything humanly possible to find the answer to the question "Who am I?" as early as possible in his or her life and certainly before the end of their life. It seems that the purpose and the reason of human life and birth is to do so. To do so is not selfish as long as having done so one helps others to do so.
Although the glory of a saint is infinite and can not be written in any words even if the whole universe is made as paper with all the oceans made as ink and all the forest made as pen, it is attempted in the following few verses:
- “Mahajano Yen Gatah Sa Panthaah”
The way is that by which great people have gone in the past.
- “Pragyaan Braham Tatvamasi; Aham Brahamaasmee; Ayamaatmaa Braham.”
Pure knowledge of God is the knower of the Truth -God; I am in God. My soul is God.
- “Koti Naam Sansaar Me, Taate Mukti Na Hoy;
Aadi Naam Jo Gupta Japa, Biralaa Bujhe Koy.”
There are millions of names of God in this world, none of them delivers us; secret chanting of the name of God which was in the beginning is useful but that is known by a few elite only. John said in Bible, “In the beginning there was Word (Aadi Naam), the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
- “Tantra Mantra Sab Jhootha Hai, Mat Koee Bharmo Sansaar;
Saar Shabad Jaane Bina, Koee Na Utaare Paar.”
All mantras and tantraas are false, O’ people please do not be lost in those; without knowing the True Word of God no one can help complete the journey.
- “Naam Milaave Roop Ko, Jo Jan Khojee Hoy;
Jab Yah Roop Hraday Base, Kshudhaa Rahe Nahi Koy.”
The name of a godly person enables you to meet that person if you are a real seeker searching hard; when you love that person immensely, only then all your hunger is satiated.
- “Raam Raam Sab Koee Kahe, Naam Na Chinye Koy;
Naam Chinye SatGuru Mile, Naam Kahaave Soy.”
Everybody says the word of god Raam Raam, but nobody (a few) knows the Name of the God; When one knows the name of God one meets with SatGuru, then one is known by that Name.
- “Maheshaanaam Paraadevaa, Mahimnaanaam Paraastutee;
Aghoraanaam Paramamantrasya, Naastitvam ParamoGuru.”
The biggest god’s name is Mahesh –the one who is biggest in all gods, the biggest prayer is singing His glory; the biggest Mantra is one which is not spoken, and the biggest guru is God who has no physical existence, yet omnipresent.
- “Shata Chakra Shodasaa Dhaaram, Traya Lakshyam Vyoma Pachakaaram;
Svadehena Jaanaati, Tasya Siddhi Katham Bhavat.”
There are six centers (Chakras) and sixteen places, there are three goals, and five elements; without knowing these in the body of the self or spirit or soul how can one achieve perfection?
- “Dhyaanam Moolam GuroMoortih, Poojaa Moolam Guroh Padama;
Mantraam Moolam Gurorvaakyaam, Moksha Moolam Guroh Krapaa.”
The fundamental of meditation is to meditate on the masters’ form, the fundamental of worship is to worship Lord’s lotus feet; the fundamental of all mantra is Guru’s advice and the basis of deliverance is only due to master’s kind blessing.
- “Jeeva Anek Ek ShriKantaa, Parabasa Jeeva Svabasa Bhagavantaa.” Tulsi Ramayan, Aranyakand.
There are many lives in this world but there is only one God. Lives are controlled by their actions but to realize God is in your self control.
- “Karandhaar SadGuru Dradha Naavaa, Durlabha Saaja Sulabha Kara Paavaa.” Tulsi Ramayan.
When the spiritual master becomes a sound boat and the skillful mariner, one obtains the most difficult and impossible task in an easily assimilating form.
- “Guru Reejhe So Keeje Kaamaa, Taa Peeche Reejhegaa Raamaa”
Perform those actions by which the spiritual master becomes happy, thereafter God will be happy, i.e., without a spiritual master one can usually never realize God.
- “No one can go to my Father unless through Me”.
Jesus in BibleClearly said in plain English, Jesus the spiritual master, the son of God, says that no one can realize God unless they go through me.
- “Raam Krishan Se Ko Badaa, Tinhun To Guru Kinha;
Teen Loka Hai Dhani, Guru Aage Aadheena.”
Who is bigger than Raama or Krishan? Even they had to have their spiritual master; the whole universe, earth, and heaven are strong and rich due to being under the command of the spiritual master.
Lord Rama’s spiritual master was Vashishtha while Krishna’s was Durvaasa, their ‘shiksha’ guru were Vishwamitra and Sandipani respectively. Both have never stopped acknowledging the glory of their spiritual masters. Rama said, “Guru Bashishtha Kula Poojya Hamare, Inhin Ki Kripaa Danuja Ran Maare; Guruhi Pranaam ManHiMan Keenhaa, Ati Laanghva Uthaee Dhanu Leenhaa; Pooje Guru Pada Kamala Bahoree, Keenhi Binaya Ur Preeti Na Thoree; Puni Puni Bandata Guru Charana, Deta Ashisha Muneesu; (Guru) Mantra Parama Laghu Jaasu Bas, Bidhi Hari Hara Sura Sarva; Tumaten (God) Adhika Guru hi Jaanee, Sakala Bhaayan Sevahi Saanmaanee; Ehi Sama Nipata Neecha Kou Naahin, Bada Bashishtha Sama Ko Jaga Maahee; Maathe Para Guru Muni Mithileshu, Hamahi Tumhahi Sapanehu Na Kalesoo; Guru Bina Bhava Nidhi
Taraee Na Koee, Jo Biranchi Shankar Sam Hoee;” its never ending.
- “SatGuru Shishya Kee Atmaa, Shishya SatGuru Kee Deha;
Lakhaa Jo Chaahe Alakha Ko, Inhi Me Lakha Le.”
The spiritual master is the soul of the disciple, the disciple is the body of the spiritual master; if one wants to know the unknown it can be known between these two. There is nothing other than this, as said “Jo Brahmaande So Pinde”
- “Akkal-O-Dila Dono Ko, Too Mere Tasavvar Me Lagaa;
Raaja Khula Jaayegaa Tujh Pe, Manjile Makasooda Kaa.” Gita
The knowledge and the heart both you engage in my prayer, the secret of the goal and purpose of human life will be unraveled to you. The same is as per Gazal Gita, “Sagun Braham Kaa Sugam Upaaya, So Me Tujhako Diyaa Bataay; Yagya Danaadi Karma Apaara, Mere Arpana Kara Kara Saaraa.” Krishna said in Gita, “Sarvadharmaanparityajya Maamekam Sharanam Braja, Aha Tvaa Sarvapaapebhyo Mokshayishyaami Maa Shuchah.” Leave everything come in my shelter, O Arjun, I will deliver you from all sins and sorrows. Kabir also said the same thing more or less, “Eka Ke Sadhe Saba Sadhe, Saba Sadhe Nahin Eka.”
- “Jo Baata Davaa Bhee Kara Na Sake, Voha Baata Duaa Se Hotee Hai;
Jab Murshid Kaamila Milataa Hai, To Baat Khudaa Se Hotee hai.”
What can not be cured by medicine, can be cured by blessing of a saint ‘Fakir’, when we meet a true spiritual master we begin talking with the God.
- “Har Jagah Mojuda Hai, Lekina Najara Aataa Nahee;
Yoga Saadhana Ke Binaa, Usako Koee Paataa Nahee,”
The God pervades everywhere but IT is not seen, without the practice of Yoga (unity) no one gets IT.
- “Idaa Peengalaa Sukhamanaa, Teena Base Ik Dhaaee;
Beni Sangama Tahaan Prayaaga, Mana Majjana Kare Tithaaee;
Santo Tahaan Niranjan Raama Hai, Gurugama Chinhe Virala Koee.”
There are three main ‘Naadis” –Idaa, Peengalaa, and Sushamnaa, but all three lies in only two and half; Prayaaga (Pra+ yaaga) is where all these three ‘Triveni’ meet, there the mind having cleansed rests; O’ Saints, there lives God, only exceptional devotees who merged with the God know the God.
- “Guru Brahmaa Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshavo;
Guru Shakshaata Par Brahma Tasme Shri Guruve Namah.”
The spiritual master is creator, the spiritual master is sustainer, the god in spiritual master is the supreme of all gods; the spiritual master is benevolent embodied God beyond God, I prostrate to such a spiritual master.*****HARI OM*****
There is a modest personal library of spiritual books (as of 1995) at Swamiji’s Ashram. These books are available to all devotees for reading.