According to the Yoga Shastras, a
medieval Indian textbook on the practice of yoga, a yogi is required to
master tapas facing each of the four directions, an austerity known as
dikh tapas, “dikh” meaning direction. Each particular direction
has its own specific mantra that is repeated while doing tapas in that
direction. Tapas is done in the same direction until siddhi is
attained. “Siddhi” means accomplishment or perfection and also implies
spiritual power. Dikh siddhi could be translated as victory of a
tapas in each of the four directions has its own characteristics. Tapas
in the eastern direction gives the yogi problems and difficulties of a
comparatively minor nature. Siddhi is gained soonest by doing tapas
facing east. North is the best direction for ease of meditation. The
yogi faces little or no problems or obstacles, enjoys good health, and
experiences ananda (bliss) during meditation. The western
direction is the most difficult for doing tapas and is fraught with
danger. The yogi must overcome seemingly insuperable mental obstacles
and endure almost unbearable physical afflictions. In addition, the yogi
is subjected to several tests. Tapas to the south is a neutral direction
having no particular benefit or obstacle. Meditation continues normally.
There is neither ananda nor ashanti (restlessness).
tapas for twelve years is known as yuga tapas. “Yuga” refers to
the period of twelve years, an amount of time that takes into account
the physical body, the movement of life current, and the effects of
doing the tapas. It is written in the Yoga Shastras that one who
attains dikh siddhi of all four directions (which Shivabalayogi
completed in eight years instead of the minimum sixteen) and completes
the twelve-year cycle of yuga tapas is known as a rishi or
sage. Such a person is a true yogi, a jnani yogi, one who has
attained God realization and the ultimate knowledge. Only such a person
can claim to be fully Self realized and fully God realized.
Shivabalayogi attained dikh siddhi
of all four directions in a little less than eight years, meditating
twenty-three hours every day. He mastered the east in four years; north
in two years, west in nine months, then south in fifteen months facing.
At the beginning of meditation in each direction, God appeared as guru
and initiated him through appropriate mantras, and when the spiritual
practice (sadhana) was completed — perfected — God appeared
before him as Lord Shiva. The first two years of tapas while facing
east, during the nine months he faced towards the west, and again during
the last year of tapas, he underwent especially severe trials and
tribulations. Yet Shivabalayogi persevered through tapas with perfect
equanimity, declining all medicine and treatments, resigning himself
solely to the protection of the divine guru.
After eight years of tapas, when he
successfully mastered all four directions, Shivabalayogi was twenty-two
years of age. Following his divine guru's instructions, he adopted the
following daily routine for another four years. From four in the morning
until four in the afternoon he meditated, mostly in samadhi. Then
devotees would come to the dhyana mandir for his darshan and to sing
bhajans. At midnight he had his daily bath, followed by about three
hours of rest until four in the morning.
For eight years Swamiji had restricted his
diet to no more than a measured quantity of milk which he drank after
his midnight bath. Now he began a diet of milk and fruit twice a day,
once early in the morning just before sitting for samadhi, and again in
the afternoon after he finished twelve hours of meditation.