How Mahesh Yogi became world’s foremost Guru

Author Bhavdeep Kang
Mahesh Verma, the third of four children, was then a student of Allahabad University, majoring in Physics and Mathematics. One day, the twenty-three-year-old was at home in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) on a break when he was told about a holy man visiting the district. Mahesh met him and was completely smitten.

Dissatisfied with what he had learnt in college, he was “searching for something complete whereby I could understand everything.” The swami, Mahesh was convinced, had all the answers. Over his parent’s objections, he offered himself as a disciple. Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, however, insisted he get his degrees and obtained his parents’ permission. Both tasks accomplished, he took a vow of “Brahmacharya” or celibacy and joined his guru at Joshimath, in the Himalayas, where he served him with complete dedication and was rewarded with permission to retire to a cave and practice “Sadhana” or deep spiritual contemplation.

Many years later, the Maharishi would say that he had learnt the secret of “swift and deep meditation” from Swami Brahmananda even before he became a Brahmchari. If so, his period in seclusion may have helped him perfect it. After he emerged from isolation, he became private secretary to the handling his correspondence and delivering occasional lectures in remote towns and villages. Immersed as he was in the “serene perfume of spirituality” wafting from his “radiant” guru, Mahesh was entirely unprepared for his departure from the world.
The swami’s death, in May of 1953, was the second turning point in Mahesh’s life. Paul Mason, his biographer, describes how it set him on course to become the world’s foremost preacher-teacher. Hours before the Shankaracharya succumbed, he summoned his disciples.
He told Mahesh that his mission was to free the human race of its miseries. The technique he had imparted to Mahesh, a long-forgotten and much misunderstood method of self-realisation, was appropriate for householders who couldn’t renounce their responsibilities to pursue (deliverance from the unending cycle of life and death). It would be Mahesh’s Job to bring spiritual succor to the humanity through this unique form of meditation. He counselled his disciple to put aside worries about money, to travel and dedicate himself to bettering the human condition.

The Shankaracharya was succeeded by another disciple, Shantanad Swami. Mahesh did not qualify, says Mason, because he was not a Brahmin (priest/teacher, according to the Varna or caste hierarchy). Mahesh, undeterred by this small disappointment, embarked on the long Journey his preceptor had ordained, first travelling to Uttarkashi, a mountainous haven situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. There, at the Gyan Mandir, he found a room with a small subterranean cave and spent a year-and-a-half in meditation.Then, duly prepared for his guru-given mission, he left for in Tamil Nadu. Why he picked that particular destination, he did not know . He toured south India extensively, finally reaching Tiruvananthapuram in Kerala, where he began giving public discourses.

[ Excerpted with permission from “Gurus : Stories of India's Leading Babas” by Bhavdeep Kang,
Westland Books, June 2016. Views expressed are writer’s personal ]
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