07 August 2015

A Note

Sri Sivabala Yogi (24 Jan 1935 – 28 Mar 1994), better known as Sri Swamiji among his devotees, taught the path of Silence, a composite of all spiritual disciplines, that could, in effect, lead an aspirant to practise any path suitable to his or her nature. He was divinely ordained to do so after doing intense tapas (a special spiritual discipline) for twelve years (07 Aug 1949 – 07 Aug 1961). The essence of his teaching is that liberation is attained by making the mind silent through the practice of meditation on the self (atman dhyana), a variant of the path of Silence. Many saints teach in Silence but they usually explain their instruction, in words, to those who question them. Sri Swamiji’s uniqueness was that he taught in absolute (i.e. without any verbal instruction) Silence and he was generally very reluctant to break It. His usual response to most queries was the advice to do meditation (to know the answers). Curiously, not many devotees asked him questions on spiritual matters. At times, though not very often, he would make pithy remarks to help aspirants in their spiritual growth. All doubts are resolved, on their own, when the mind learns to be still. Some aspirants got the answers to their problems this way. A few others obtained cryptic replies, from Sri Swamiji, when they sought to clear their doubts. But, the majority of devotees, due to spiritual immaturity, could not appreciate that verbal instruction cannot match the one imparted in the eloquence of total Silence. They would much rather hear the teaching in words. The work that follows was initiated to satisfy this desire.  Apart from some answers given to specific questions raised by a few disciples, Sri Swamiji did not leave behind any codified teaching, which could satisfy the curiosity of the seekers of Truth. To do that, Sri Swamiji had directed Gurprasad to record his teaching in easy to understand language. It was revealed over a period of time, beginning in April 1977, and was reduced to writing from the summer of 1992 onwards. The teaching has now matured for wider dissemination.

Sri Swamiji’s instruction is a comprehensive guide for all those who want to know the Reality. This work, almost encyclopaedic in scope, covers all aspects of a spiritual quest from an aspirant’s point of view. The divine wisdom revealed here has been gleaned from his power of Silence. It is suitable for aspirants of different temperaments and grades since it embraces, in its wide sweep, all the main doctrines on the nature of Reality as well as the major paths leading to It. A yogi who has completed tapas successfully is a perfect satguru, capable of guiding others on all paths and even creating new ones. Sri Sivabala Yogi belonged to this class. He was a living embodiment of the supreme state of absolute Silence, very rarely achieved in bodily form even by accomplished yogis.

The work is in the form of questions and answers. Sri Swamiji has given the answers and the questioner is Gurprasad. This has not been mentioned against each question and answer to avoid repetition. Questions and answers have been numbered serially for each chapter and letters Q and A have been used to indicate them.

Indian spiritual tradition uses many words, mainly of Sanskrit origin, to express certain ideas and tenets. The present generation is not too familiar with them. A few of these words have been used in this work and, when employed, their connotation in a particular context has been explained in the text. It is not essential to know them for a proper understanding of Sri Swamiji’s teaching. However, a glossary of some commonly used words is given at the end of this work.

A brief life sketch of Sri Swamiji, along with a few questions on his life and divine mission, is given in the last chapter. Readers who are not familiar with his life story may like to read it first, though some of the answers would be better understood after going through the earlier portions. A reference made to Sri Swamiji in the text has been indicated by the words, the Guru; otherwise, the word, guru, has been used in a general sense.