When Janglidas was sixteen, he went to Bhamburde (near Puna). A saint by the name of Tekawadekar Maharaj lived there, a disciple of Jangli Maharaj in a former life. In that life Jangli Maharaj told Tekawadekar that he would recognize him by a certain special gesture (swastika-mudra). When Janglidas appeared before Tekawadekar and made this gesture, the disciple recognized in Janglidas his old-time guru.
Janglidas received his initiation and was given the Guru mantra (a traditional mantra passed from the guru to the disciple in the line of his Masters). Next, he was sent to the town of Yeola – the same town in the Nasik District where Swami Muktananda had meditated before he settled down in Ganeshpuri. It was in Yeola, too, where a saint by the name of Somgiri Maharaj went into sanjivan samadhi. Janglidas started an intensive spiritual discipline there. Among other things, he stayed in a walled-up room, without any food and water. Afterwards he set off on a pilgrimage, walking around India, giving advice and blessing thousands of people. Omgurudev (Janglidas is called by this name, too) began the work of the restoration of temples. The first one was an old temple at Divshi (in the Satara District), then other temples followed. Janglidas also founded many schools, where the standard education program was expanded by yoga classes, meditation and applied ethics based on universal values. Furthermore, to help the sick and the suffering, a medical clinic was opened on his initiative. Among other things, blood-giving actions are organized there on a regular basis, free medical consultations, and so on. Also, from the time when his first ashram was opened, charity work has been carried on there, and every visitor can have some food in the ashram kitchen. Five to ten hundred free meals are given here every day.
Thousands of devotees gather for satsangs, which are meetings with the Guru. In Janglidas Maharaj’ ashrams and schools no symbols of any religion can be seen. No elaborate rituals or ceremonies are held. Many outstanding yogis and yoginis are Omgurudev’s disciples, for example Dharmananda Maharaj, Jagat Mata and Bharat Mata. The teaching of Omgurudev is relatively simple: you should keep your mind concentrated through unceasingly repeating the mantra given by the Guru and contemplating the nature of the Self (atma chintan).
Nowadays dozens of thousands of devotees in all major cities of India cannot wait for the visit of this small, silent saint. They meditate Dharmananda Maharaj
Other Saints Who Living With Babaji
Dharmananda Maharaj was born in 1948 in a small village of Sulkur, situated about forty kilometers from the city of Kolhapur, near the border of the Karnataka state. He is the oldest child in the family and has four brothers and four sisters. His father was a respected village carpenter. His two younger brothers are of the same profession, too. Dharmananda Maharaj’ family tradition was singing religious songs – bhajans. At the beginning there were no signs that the eldest son would become a sadhu, because, like his brothers, he got married and has a son. Dharmananda Maharaj first met Omgurudev Janglidas Maharaj in 1971 in his native village of Sulkur, where Janglidas was carrying out his first public program in an ancient temple of Hanuman.
Shyamsundar, the third son of Dharmananda’s parents is now a well- known bhajan singer. In the course of his career he won many radio and TV prizes. Presently he has a twenty seven-year old son who was born with a severe problem with his legs. When the son was three years old, the complications caused by gangrene were so serious that doctors suggested amputation. The parents did not want to accept that and took the boy child to Janglidas for help. Omgurudev cured Shyamsundar’s little son in the course of two months, but at the same time he told them: “I will give you one, but I will also take one”, meaning that he would take Dharmananda from his parents for spiritual life.
One day in the village of Sulkur Dharmananda and his two friends heard a voice of an invisible person who instructed them to go to a certain tree and see what was there. All three of them went to the indicated tree. There they found three plates filled with food and three notes placed upon the plates. The notes said that each of them should become a sanyasin (a spiritual person) and take the proper vows. They hastily ate the food and quickly ran away from the place, frightened by the voice speaking to them from nowhere. However, only Dharmananda became a sanyasin.
At the beginning Dharmananda did not practice his meditation intensively, but in the years 1984-86 he lived in Naganath Mandir, situated not far away from the present ashram in Valivalde, on the outskirts of Kolhapur. Many times he meditated there incessantly from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and then, after a short break he additionally sat in meditation during the night. His wife and young son were then staying in his native village of Sulkur. At that time, on Janglidas’ command, Dharmananda organized Panchagni (tapasya of five fires) several times for Janglidas’ women disciples: Hindu Mata, Jagat Mata, Maha Devi Mata and Bharat Mata. He, too, underwent the Panchagni tapasya, but it lasted for one day only. Then, some time later, when he was on a visit in Sulkur, a man brought him a message from Omgurudev, commanding him to burn 16 man of wood (one man is a weight unit equal to about 100 kg) on his head. It meant that Dharmananda had to burn 1600 kg of wood on his head, and he knew that during one Panchagni day only 100 kg was used. Dharmananda did not believe that he would survive this ordeal, and inwardly prepared himself for death. However, it did not even cross his mind that he might not obey his guru’s command. For two days he thought how to execute it, till at last an idea occurred to him to dig a hole in the ground, deep enough to contain his body sitting in padmasana; a steel plate was to be put 15 cm above his head. It was agreed that the wood-burning would take place in Sulkur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Two persons were chosen to keep the fire burning and to pull Dharmananda out of the hole after the practice was finished. Before this ordeal by fire Dharmananda had to sign a document at the police station, stating that he has decided to submit to this tapasya all by himself, without any external pressure. On the day of the ordeal all the villagers gathered around the fire to watch it and to pray to Janglidas for its successful ending. In the morning, when the steel plate was removed, “baked” Dharmananda was found; his body lost its water completely and weighed the inconceivable 5 kg, while his normal weight was 72 kg. The man, who was assigned the job of pulling Dharmananda out of the hole, wanting to see if he was still alive, touched his body and left signs on his thigh, visible till the present time.
When asked if he had felt the heat, Dharmananda said that at the beginning, when he was entering the samadhi state, he had felt a little heat, but after a while everything was all right.
In 1982 Dharmananda, Omgurudev and many other sadhus from the ashram set off on a big pilgrimage all around India, southwards to Rameshwaram, and northwards to the Himalayas. As many as 20 cars traveled in the pilgrimage caravan. During the journey South one of the cars broke down and it was necessary to stop at a repair shop. While the vehicle was repaired, Dharmananda went to a restaurant to have some tea. A tall and nearly naked man approached him there, as if appearing from nowhere. At the beginning, Dharmananda did not realize who he was, but he quickly recognized him - it was nobody else but the great Jangli Maharaj himself. Jangli looked more or less the same as on our website photograph. Dharmananda embraced him, bowed to him, and they started talking. When Jangli learned that the cavalcade of 20 cars was going to the Rameshwaram temple, he gave Dharmananda 1 rupee and 25 pice for abishek there. After the car had been repaired, the cavalcade set off on the road once again, and Dharmananda’s car was the last one in the line. And here some strange thing happened, because for 3 km, Janglidas’ hand was seen in the open car window, holding the money.
Since 1994 Dharmananda has been running an Omgurudev ashram in Valivade on the outskirts of Kolhapur. Some young students live in the ashram; they attend the university during the week, and take part in the meditation practice in the mornings and in the evenings. Dharmananda’s son, now grown up, has a wife and three sons, and is the ashram manager; his wife and his son’s wife help run the ashram kitchen. It is worth knowing that in the Hindu tradition the sanyasin’s closest family generally become his devotees, and normal family relations cease to exist. Dharmananda’s wife, mother, son and grandson address him as their Guru and not as the family member.
Dharmananda has an enormous spiritual charisma, he lives very spontaneously and often takes part in public programs, where he gives lectures and sings bhajans. Although his younger brother is a professional classic singer, it seems that due to the power of Dharmananda’s spiritual practice, the bhajans sung by Dharmananda are much more inspiring.
Bharat Mata came into the world in 1962 as Babutai More. Her parents ran a small farm in a little village, near the town of Karad in the south of the Maharashtra state. Bharat Mata was the oldest among her siblings. From early childhood her favorite pastime has been meditation in the local Shiva temples.
The first of the many important spiritual events (that we know about) in Bharat Mata’s life took place when she was 7 years old. She saw in her dream an unknown yogi who had given her a darshan (darshan is “seeing” a divine person, connected with receiving his/her blessing), leaving her with an indelible memory. Years passed one after another, and her parents, in accordance with the local custom, arranged the marriage of their 11 years old daughter. Bharat Mata was not interested in the new role imposed upon her. Some time later she started leaving her family home to meditate in various Shiva temples. Once she went to a neighboring village and in an old Shiva temple there started a 21- day seclusion, meditating unceasingly, without eating and drinking. This practice was accompanied by some extraordinary events, e.g. a big cobra appeared in a tree that grew in front of the temple (a cobra is in Indian culture a symbol of the Kundalini energy, and also a main attribute of Shiva), and remained there until Bharat Mata left the temple, where a crowd of local inhabitants had gathered, awaiting her darshan. In that deep meditation the young woman-yogi sensed that 22 stone boards lay hidden under the temple floor, with human figures engraved in them. Soon, historians, guided by her directions, dug out the sculptures, and declared that they came from the period of the Pandava brothers (Krishna’s times), which is to say that they are 5000 years old. This event was widely discussed in the contemporary press of the Maharashtra state. Now several sculptures remain exposed at the place they were found.
When Bharat Mata was about 14 years old, she again experienced meeting the unknown yogi in her dream. The yogi told her to visit him in one of the caves on the AgaShiv Mountain (there are about 110 carved Buddhist caves there). When she told her parents about her dream, it turned out that all three of them had dreamt the same dream. It was decided to investigate the truth of the message. The villagers did not know about any yogi meditating on the AgaShiv. However, when they got to the indicated place, it had turned out that Janglidas Maharaj was awaiting them there. Bharat Mata then stayed at the feet of Omgurudev, and for the first six months did not leave her teacher, meditating together with him in the caves and doing more and more difficult spiritual exercises at his command. From that time comes a mystical poem written in the honor of Bharat Mata by Babaji (in truth, it was only then that he gave her this spiritual name).
One year, in a small mountain village situated in the jungle near Karad, a lion started to show up, attacking the adults and carrying away the children. The villagers were unable to deal with this threat. The envoys from the local elders went to Janglidas to ask his help. In answer to their plea, Omgurudev sent Bharat Mata back with them. The young yogini meditated in the cave, inhabited by the wild beast for about 90 days. Not the slightest harm was done to her. The lion stopped to show up in the village and soon disappeared from the area for good.
When Bharat Mata was asked why the dangerous wild animals do not attack her, she explained that during the meditation she reached such a deep level of oneness with nature, that it was impossible for any animal to harm her – it is as with the tiger who will not bite its own tail or paw (we know a very similar story from the Old Testament tale about Daniel …)
In other circumstances numerous witnesses saw grown-up tigers in the direct vicinity of Bharat Mata, who were nestled close to her like little kittens.
Mataji is sometimes asked for help, too, when a snake wanders to the village or into somebody’s house. She then takes the animal in her hands (she says she is giving it darshan) and carries it away to a safe place.
During her sadhana Bharat Mata underwent numerous tapasyas – yogic spiritual exercises, full of severe renouncements. Performed on Guru’s command and under his spiritual guidance and protection, they are often connected with unusual transcendence of the limitations of human body and mind.
During such exercises there is an intense accumulation of “tapas”, that is spiritual fire – the energy that can be used for increasing the depth of meditation; sometimes it is accompanied by the appearance of siddhis – supernatural yogic powers. Tapasya can also be performed for the benefit of people in need who ask for help.
In spite of cultural and linguistic difficulties I have been able to find out a few details concerning Bharat Mata’s tapasya practices.
In the eighties, Mataji, together with other women disciples of Omgurudev, underwent the Panchagni ceremony (tapasya of five fires) several times. Another Bharat Mata’s tapasya consisted of 90 days’ meditation, during which she remained submerged neck-deep in water. Another time she was buried neck–deep in the earth. A few years ago she carried out an unusual practice, when sitting on a large stone near her kutir (hermitage) – she remained in meditation for a month without any breaks or sleep.
Now Bharat Mata spends most of the year in a simple mountain hermitage on the mountain slope, not far from her native village. There, in solitude, she performs tapasyas for several months, and the days when she ends her exercises are a great holiday in the lives of the inhabitants of the nearby villages and her many devotees who come from Puna and Bombay.
Besides the periods of tapasya, Mataji leads an ascetic life, filled with meditation, and with her presence and spiritual guidance serves many people coming to her for blessing or help. Limiting her needs to a minimum, she does not take any food for many months, and she only drinks Indian chai (tea with herbs, sugar and milk). Three-four hours’ sleep a day is enough for her, even during journeys. Fully devoted to her Master, she sees in him a source of her own power, and gives darshans through his grace. Wonderful, pure meditation aura can be felt around her. The depth of silence that surrounds Bharat Mata is thrilling. In this special atmosphere eyes easily look within, and the mind enters into meditation spontaneously.
Jagat Mata was born in 1941 at Karadga, a large village situated in the south of the Maharashtra state, a few kilometres from its border with Karnataka. About 1822 a great saint, Jangli Maharaj, came to live in this village for 7 years. He founded one of his major ashrams there. The ashram is filled with his spiritual energy up to the present day.
Jagat Mata is one of the first disciples of Omgurudev. Initially she lived a normal life of a married country woman. However, quite early in her life she started to have a visions of Omgurudev, whom she met only after many years. Jagat Mata has two sons who now have their own families and live in Karadga. When Jagat Mata moved to the ashram for good, her husband became a sadhu, too, and started to live in Janglidas’ ashrams.
In the early eighties Jagat Mata, together with other matas, began practising Panchiagni tapasya (the ceremony of five fires). During her sadhana she underwent many ceremonies of five fires (Panchiagni). Nowadays she stays in the main ashram at Kokamthan, where she meets (at darshans) many devotees of her guru, Janglidas Maharaj, and practices very deep meditations (samadhi). Together with Omgurudev and other disciples, she goes to all satsangs, where often thousands of devotees gather.
Jagat Mata conducts many other sublime activities, such as educational work.. She organizes, among other things, meetings for married women. These are very colorful ceremonies, where women attempt to see positive qualities in their husbands’ personalities and to expose them in front of other participants. The effects of these activities cannot be overestimated, as thanks to them families live in great harmony.
The ceremonies presented at the ashram are part of old Indian tradition and culture. They astound us with their up-to-date value, depth and wisdom. The Western psychology expressed them, relatively recently, in the form of the positive thinking theory.
Living on the grounds of the Kokamtham ashram, Jagat Mata stays among the students of Gurukula. Her daily presence among the young people, as well as her presence at the school ceremonies, has a very positive influence on them.
Jagat Mata’s family (two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren), who live in Karadga, visit her at the ashram. Jagat Mata speaks about these visits quite willingly and in a very beautiful way, making the truth about the role of the woman–mother more evident. Watching her activities, one can realise the edifying truth, that sainthood is available also for those who perform the so-called common family duties.
All who visit Jagat Mata can feel the great power of her meditation, even after a short stay in this yogini’s presence.