yogis remain in one place, generally little known until their last physical
years. It is the devotee who must travel to the yogi for darshan. Swamiji
would say that after the yogi takes mahasamadhi, the yogis’ disciples do the
traveling, having received blessings, powers and instructions to go into the
world. This pattern repeated itself in the West when Ramakrishna sent
Vivekananda, when Sri Yukteswar sent Yogananda, and when Nityananda sent
Muktananda. With Shivabalayogi, the yogi himself traveled to devotees.
During the three decades after his completion of tapas,
Shivabalayogi traveled regularly and extensively at the invitation of local
devotees. Swamiji conducted meditation and bhajan programs in a seemingly
endless list of cities, towns and villages throughout South and North India:
Madras, Bombay, Mangalore, Mysore, Jaipur, Delhi, Ambala, Lucknow, Jhansi
and Bhubhaneshwar to name only a few of the larger places. He established
ashrams in Dodballapur, Bangalore, Sambhar Lake in Rajastan, Dehradun,
Anantapur, Hyderabad, Hindupur, Guntur, Venkatapuram and Agra. In the first
eighteen years after his tapas, Shivabalayogi undertook seven all-India
tours and visited Sri Lanka repeatedly.
traveled mostly by car accompanied by a handful of devotees chosen in the
early 1960’s to make his extensive travels possible. Many were young men
from the Adivarapupeta area and about the same age as Swamiji. They were
chosen for their ability to physically protect Swamiji.
There were no rest stops. Afternoons and evenings were packed
with programs, and Shri Swamiji would sit with devotees and give darshan
late into the night. If there was some free time, Swamiji was likely to ask
for a picnic to be organized for the devotees. He visited temples to bless
the deities. He visited homes where devotees ceremonially bathed his feet.
He consecrated the foundations of countless temples, homes and businesses.
He made himself endlessly available to devotees, both the sincere and those
whose primary motives seemed to be material or social status.
he gave meditation programs. He would visit a place and give initiation to
large numbers of people, morning, afternoon, and evening, each meditation
period being about one hour. He would sit in samadhi and meditate with the
people sitting in front of him. In the evening there were bhajans followed
by an announcement that if people had anything to ask Swamiji, they could go
up and ask. People brought Swamiji every problem imaginable. He gave each a
patient hearing and he typically put some vibhuti on a tray and made as if
blowing on it. He would then give the vibhuti to the devotee with
instructions on its use: perhaps drink it with warm water, keep it on the
person, wear some between the eyebrows, or rub it on the affected body part.
All were welcome to receive his darshan, and he never permitted anyone to
said that all places were the same to him, but devotees knew that each
ashram had its own character and purpose. Bangalore is the largest ashram,
and Swamiji was there for his birthday and tapas anniversary celebrations.
He would be in Adivarapupeta each Mahashivaratri, Anantapur for Vijayadasami
(the celebration of the Divine Mother usually in September), Dehradun during
the hot months of the summer, and Guntur for Sri Rama Navami, the
celebration of Rama and Sita’s wedding. The Bannerghatta Road ashram in
Bangalore was where Swamiji honored his mother Parvatamma at her samadhi
each August 15th.