The night before the twelfth
anniversary, Lord Shiva materialized before the yogi in the same
form he typically had throughout the previous twelve years, in the
form of a handsome, well built jangama devara ascetic. A
dazzling light flashed like lightning from the guru’s body. Instead
of the dark hued jangama devara, there stood before him the
snow white and sublime form of Lord Shiva, Shankara Bhagavan. His
guru finally revealed his true form to Swamiji.
Shankara Bhagavan was accompanied by
his divine consort, the Goddess Mother Parvati. The gods conversed
affectionately with Swamiji, whom they looked upon both as their
disciple and their child. Shankara Bhagavan told the yogi that his
tapas was over. “You may go wherever you like and do whatever you
wish,” said Lord Shiva. Swamiji replied that he had no wish to go
anywhere or do anything in particular.
Lord Shiva asked, “You may ask for
anything and it shall be granted to you.”
Again Swamiji replied that he desired
nothing and he would do whatever Lord Shiva wanted. “I did not
do this tapas on my own. You made me do this. Tell me why you made
me do this tapas. Tell me what you want me to do henceforth. If you
do not want me to do anything in particular, then I will return to
my old life.”
Well pleased with this answer,
Shankara Bhagavan told him that his mission would be to awaken the
dormant spirituality in people. He would serve the public in general
and help those on the spiritual path to gain liberation from the
illusion of creation. To accomplish this mission, the yogi should
travel and give darshan to the people to wean them away from
materialism and bring them onto the path of spirituality. He should
initiate those who seek God into dhyana yoga (the path of
meditation) and guide them so they can gain liberation in this life.
He should comfort those who grieve and heal the sick by giving them
vibhuti, ash blessed with spiritual and healing powers.
Finally, Shankara Bhagavan said that he would make his disciple sit
in tapas from time to time as the need may arise in the future.
Shiva and Parvati gave the yogi a new
name: “Shiva-Bala-Yogishwara” meaning “Lord of Yogis devoted to
Shiva and Parvati.” “Bala” is one of the names of Mother Parvati.
The great yogi did not want people to think that he equated himself
with his divine guru or claimed divinity. “Ishwara” means “Lord” and
also refers to God, so Swamiji adopted the shorter name of “Shiva-Bala-Yogi”,
which together with “Bala-Yogi” and “Shiva-Yogi” were already being
used by devotees. Most often, he referred to himself in the third
person as “Swami” or “Swamiji,” indicating that he did not associate
himself with his own physical body.
It was during this sakshatkara
(realization) of the highest forms of Lord Shiva and Parvati that
Ardhanarishwara merged with the yogi’s body. Ardhanarishwara is the
combined form of Shiva and Parvati, both the masculine and feminine
aspects manifested in the same body. Lord Shiva merged into the
yogi’s left side and Divine Mother Devi merged into his right. From
that time on, Shivabalayogi exhibited in his own body the
ardhanarishwara swarupa (the form of Ardhanarishwara) thus
signifying the union of male and female aspects of God in his own
An enormous crowd of people, some
estimated at more than one hundred thousand, gathered in
Adivarapupeta from the nearby villages and from distant places. Each
Mahashivaratri, Shri Swamiji used to be carried to the top of the
tapas building and sit under its dome to give darshan. On this
occasion, the crowd was much too vast and Shri Swamiji would not be
easily seen if he were sitting inside the building’s second floor.
So the villagers constructed a platform in front of the meditation
building made of rough wooden poles and palm leaves tied together
with hemp rope.
Shivabalayogi was to appear in the
afternoon at around three o’clock. His tapas had begun with the
cosmic sound of Om miraculously emanating from a palmyra fruit.
Twelve years later, his completion of tapas was marked by the same
sacred sound of Om, only this time emanating from Shivabalayogi’s
holy body. The melodious sound originated from an involuntary
expression through his divinely transformed body.
The doors of the meditation temple
were thrown open and as the yogi came out, a mighty roar went up
from the assembled multitude. Considerably weakened by lack of
nourishment during the two month long samadhi, Shri Shri Shri
Shivabalayogi Maharaj had to be helped and carried up the stairs to
the high wooden platform where his dais was prepared. As the yogi
came into full view of the vast assembly, a thunderous cheering
broke out. The surrounding countryside reverberated to the shouts of
jai (meaning victory) from a hundred thousand throats.
Standing there with eyes closed, in a
semi-conscious state of spiritual ecstasy, Shivabalayogi silently
showered his blessings on the people who had come for his darshan.
The people who pushed and jostled to get a closer view saw a yogi
whose skin had become beautifully fair and shone with an
indescribable luster. His body, though weakened by the rigors of his
intense tapas, visibly exuded peace and spiritual grace. His face
was so divine that one was compelled to stare, but at the same time
even with his eyes half closed, one could not withstand the intense
power of his look.
The surge of the crowd threatened to
collapse the platform and push people into the nearby reservoir.
Shivabalayogi opened his eyes, looked around and gazed steadily at
the crowd. The gathering became quiet and steady. Jostling, pushing
and pressing suddenly stopped as if by miracle. A portion of the
platform had partially collapsed, but the structure held firmly
throughout the rest of the day. Later when some devotees asked Shri
Swamiji why it had stopped falling down the way it had, he said that
was when he had opened his eyes completely. Through his mere glance,
Shivabalayogi had controlled the crowd to prevent any accident or