Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu — Param Pujya Sant Shri Asharamji, endearingly called ‘Bapu’, is a Self-Realized Saint from India. Pujya Bapuji preaches the existence of One Supreme Conscious in every human being; be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or anyone else. Bapuji represents a Confluence of Bhakti Yoga, Gyan Yoga & Karma Yoga.
India is considered the land of saints and seekers of spiritual realization. From time immemorial there has been an anxious groping after the unknown reality throughout the nation. In one way or another, efforts have been made to see God face to face. All the resources of human mind, both emotional and intellectual sides, have made efforts to obtain the sacred bliss of Atman – the peace which is beyond all material understanding. From the Vedic times till date, luminaries like Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Buddha, Nanak, Sankara, RamaKrishna, Ramanuja, Vivekananda & many others incarnated in India, our country is essentially the land of saints & sages.
Child Asumal is born
The God is inscrutable and His Leela(s) (pass-times) are even more so. When God decides to come down to make the world rise out of ignorance, He, in his compassion, assumes an embodied form; and blessed are those whom He selects as His parents. Shri Thaumal Sirumalani and his consort Mehgiba were indeed so blessed. This child incarnated in the village of Berani, district Nawabshah, Sindh state of unpartitioned India on the sixth day of Chaitra-vad, Vikram Samvat 1998. He was named Asumal.
The day Asumal was born, a merchant stopped by Shri Thaumalji’s house & said that day before all of a sudden he had a strong feeling that a great saintly child shall be born in Thaumalji’s family. Therefore he brought a swing for this special child. Many saints & needy started coming for alms to the door of the benevolent Thaumal everyday.
There was a myth in the society that a child born after three sisters brings trouble & misfortune to the family; but instead this family earned more respect, fortune & happiness.
When Asumal was three years old the spiritual teacher of their family, Shri Parasuramji Maharaj, visited their house and professed that this boy Asumal is not an ordinary child & he will be a great saint and show light of spiritualism to people living in ignorance.
As a child, Asumal was quite inclined towards religious epics. Like the parents of many other great saints Asumal’s parents were adorned with the hearts that shone with purity, nobility and great reverence to teachers and saints. Mother is always the very first teacher of a child. Asumal would listen to stories of Ramayana, Bhagavata and other scriptures from his mother. The first seed of spiritual life was sown in his life during this period.
One day mother Mehgiba dressed up Asumal in clothes embroidered with silver and gold colored thread (zari) and shining diamonds. Asumal was overwhelmed with this new dress. He kept gazing at the blanket of stars in the night and said, “O Sky! I’m not at all less than you. I’m wearing clothes embroidered with shining diamonds similar to that of yours.” Thus, right from early childhood, one could see a different positive vigor and self-confidence in Asumal’s attitude…
Asumal, started displaying glimpses of prodigious memory at the young age of three. He would often accompany his elder brother to school. Once the teacher asked the students to narrate the poem which was taught a day before, Asumal at such a young age stood up and narrated the complete poem without any mistake. Everyone was surprised.
Due to the unfortunate partition of India the whole family had to migrate from Sindh in Pakistan to Mani Nagar near Ahmedabad, in Gujarat.
Asumal started going to school again in Mani Nagar. Six year old Asumal was very brilliant in studies. During the recess time, when other children used to play, Asumal would sit under a tree for meditation. The teachers used to praise Asumal for being very cheerful, pure-hearted and intelligent. Teachers used to call him Hansmukh bhai (the one who keeps smiling always). While leaving for school, Shri Thaumal used to fill Asumal’s pocket with cashews, pistachios and almonds. Asumal would share these nuts with all other students. At home, Asumal would serve his father by massaging his feet at night.
Mother is the first Guru of a child. Mother Mehgiba developed Asumal’s interest in dhyaan-bhajan (meditation and prayers) right from his early childhood. Mehgiba would put makkhan-mishri (sweetened butter) in front of Asumal when he would be sitting for meditation with his eyes closed. She would tell Asumal to open his eyes and see what prasad (blessed food) God had sent for him. Asumal would keep sitting in deep meditation for long hours in a small room. When the neighbors would come to meet Mehgiba, finding Asumal meditating so profoundly, they would attract Mehgiba’s attention towards him. Inspired by the neighbors, Mehgiba would ask Asumal to do less of meditation, but nothing could move Asumal’s determination.
When Asumal saw that school education could be used merely for the purpose of winning bread and fulfilling worldly enjoyment, he became disenchanted to education. Nevertheless he continued going to school. Whenever there was any time to spare, he would go to a lonely place and meditate.
Youth and Spiritual Quest
At a very young age Asumal lost his father and the family business started dwindling. Asumal had to discontinue his education and shoulder on the family’s responsibility along with his elder brother. Asumal’s presence in the business improved the profits, but his mind was far away from the business. He always yearned for spiritual knowledge.
After his father’s demise Asumal’s discrimination towards life intensified. He increased the time for mediation and realized that God alone is one reality & essence of life. His concentration increased greatly due to regular, pure meditation and unknowingly all siddhis (mystical powers) attended upon him at the tender age of ten years. No one could stop the fire of renunciation that was enveloping him completely. As Asumal grew into youth his meditation and search for Truth intensified. Asumal’s growing detachment to the world worried his family and they decided to get him married. Asumal’s family got him engaged.
“Granite walls however high are not high enough to shut out fate, Iron chains however strong are not strong enough to trap a free bird.”
Asumal kept postponing marriage for two & half years. Eventually, his family fixed up a date for marriage. He did not want to be entangled in the bondage of marriage so he ran away from home eight days before marriage. Members of family & friends started searching for Asumal, they found him in Ashok Ashram of Bharuch & dragged him back to home. Asumal was married to Lakshmi Devi.
He told his wife, “I don’t want to be enmesh myself into this samsara. I want to be free like Shuka, Buddha, Shankara. So don’t obstruct me in my way.” Lakshmi Devi did gave her assent. Even a golden chain could not bind a free bird.
Asumal joined a Sanskrit School in order to grow more spiritually. He used to sleep in the school at night away from his wife & practice celibacy (Brahmacharya) sincerely. Four days before exam he was highly influenced by a shloka which meant that, “The one who has disowned expectations & materialistic desires & has adopted the desire less state, the penances & worship of such a person has reached completion.” His desire to attain God got intensified. He made up his mind to break from family so as to realize God.
Its pleasures are as birds that are light and fly;
Men live and die and whirl upon the wheel and hug and kiss it’s spokes of agony;
It’s tier of tears, it’s nave of nothingness.
I have been yearning to know if these were the eternal lot of men.”
These were the thoughts that were going on in the mind of Asumal when he renounced the world.
After leaving his dominions, Asumal went from place to place and at nights slept on the grass, homeless and alone. He did intense spiritual practices in deep forests, on hills, in deep caves, in various great temples.
At Kedarnath, the Pujari blessed Asumal to become a millionaire, but Asumal did not appreciate this. He worshipped again & made a pledge to attain God.
Asumal then went to Vrindavan, the land of Lord Krishna. Here he was inspired to go to the Ashram of the Great Guru, Swami Shri Lilashahji Maharaj. He had to wait for 40 days in the Ashram to get the glimpse of Gurudev. There he stayed and served his SadGuru with true devotion. He waged war with so many troubles. He used to take just Moong Dal as food, sleep in a small 4.5 feet room. SadGurudev made Asumal go through several hardships for another 30 days & then finally Asumal was blessed. Swami Shri Lilashahji Maharaj asked him to go back to home & continue his spiritual practices at home.
He came back to his Ahmedabad home. But his mind was attuned to only self-realization. No one can stop a man who is on his way to Paramapada (Ultimate Realization). He passed 13 days at his home but he became so restless that he made up his mind to leave his home again in quest of supreme beatitude.
He left his home and started doing intense spiritual sadhana on the banks of river Narmada at Moti Koral. A local saint Shri Lalji Maharaj got impressed by Asumal’s intense spiritual practices. Lalji Maharaj made arrangements for Asumal to stay in Datt Kutir of Ram Niwas (Lalji Maharaj’s Ashram). Asumal started the 40 day Anushthan here.
One day while Asumal was meditating in the bank of river Narmada, heavy rain poured. Asumal did not want to stop his meditation. He went to a nearby fisherman’s hut, and there he sat in meditation, soon he merged himself in deep meditation. Sometime later, the owner of the house came outside to attend his natural call & he saw our Asumal. He thought Asumal to be a thief and collected all the fishermen in the neighborhood. Everybody in the near vicinity came with their weapons, sticks and swords etc. But Asumal was deeply merged in meditation. After some time he slowly opened his eyes and saw many people around him with all kinds of weapons, making noise. But who can do anything to a person who has conquered all sensory tendencies, like evil, animosity.
All people that came there gazed at him in wonder and beheld him with respect. They realized that he is a great saint doing meditation. Asumal immediately left that place with heavenly dignity. All these people asked for forgiveness & looked upon him with great reverence and esteem.
When Asumal’s wife and mother came to know that he was staying at Moti Koral they visited him. They requested him to come back. But Asumal told them without completing the Anushthan he cannot come. He successfully completed the Anushthan. The whole village & Shri Lalji Maharaj himself came to the railway station to see them off to Ahmedabad. As soon as the train started moving from Miyagaon junction, Asumal jumped out and boarded a train towards Bombay.
Asumal reached Bombay (Mumbai) & went for darshan of SadGurudev Lilashahji Maharaj. It was the second day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashwin Samvat 2021, when after seeing his disciple’s great yearning to attain the truth and his intense and resolute will against all odds, the great Guru showered Purna Guru Kripa on him at the young age of 23. Swami Lilashahji blessed Asumal with ultimate knowledge, thereafter Asumal became merged in samadhifor two and half days. Sadhak Asumal was transformed into Swami Shri Asharamji Maharaj by the golden touch of SadGurudev (master). Asumal got enlightenment.
The end of sadhana was reached at last. The human being became a divine being.
Asumal started seeing the one supreme being in all. With SadGuru’s grace Asharamji discovered the absolute truth. Affinity for the world disappeared. Each moment of life was overflowing with the divine realization of existence of One in All. The stage beyond pride & material attractions was reached. The final destination where the Jiva becomes one with Parmatma was reached. The blissful state where nothing can separate one from God was finally attained.
Purna Guru Kripa Mili, Purna Guru Ka Gyan Asumal Se Ho Gaye Sai Asharam…
Pujya Lilashahji Maharaj instructed Asharamji to serve the humanity by staying as a householder.
After Self-Realization Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu stayed in solitude for seven years. Pujya Shri used to stay fully immersed in the bliss of the Atman (Brahmanand Masti) & give religious discourse to all those who came for darshan (meet & see Bapuji). Pujya Shri spent His solitude in various places like Deesa, Naareshwar Dhaam, the Himalayas, Mt. Abu & so on…
Stay in Deesa
By the commands of SadGuru, Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu started living in the Ashram of Deesa village near Palanpur in Gujarat. Pujya Shri used to stay closed inside a secluded small room throughout the day & go to Banas river in the mornings & evenings. One day while coming back from the Banas river, Pujya Shri saw a dead cow surrounded by several villagers in front of the Deesa Ashram. Swamiji gave some water to one villager to sprinkle it on the cow & quietly left the place. To the amazement of all, as soon as the water was sprinkled on the cow, it turned alive.
Sometimes Pujya Shri used to go for alms to the village during his stay in Deesa. One day when he went to a house & said, ‘Narayan Hari”, the woman of the house insulted Pujya Shri & used foul language. She did not know that a Self-Realized saint had come to her door. Pujya Shri remained calm & said to His inner self, “Now see God in the person who is insulting you!” The woman was surprised by the tranquility of Pujya Shri.
Once a businessman named Chandiram came to Deesa Ashram to get blessings from Swami Lilashahji Maharaj before getting married for the third time to a young 18 year old girl. His earlier two wives were already dead. Pujya Shri gave a divine look & said to him, “Why should you go for this marriage? I would get you married to God!” Chandiram’s life changed all of a sudden. His lust simply vanished & instead of getting married, he started out his spiritual journey. Now he is better known as Mahant Chandiram & is a resident of Ashram.
A householder named Shivlal had a hotel in Deesa. One day he heard about Pujya Shri from his friend & went for darshan. Shivlal had heard that this saint stayed in a closed room for days. On his way to see Pujya Shri, he was wondering what this saint used to eat staying in a closed room. To his utter surprise, Pujya Shri came to know what was going on in his mind & while giving discourse Swamiji mentioned that nobody needs to worry about what he ate. Shivlal came to know that Bapu is Antaryami (one who can read mind & knows everything). Shivlal became a follower & now he is a resident of Ashram.
One day Pujya Shri saw a lame laborer near the river. This man was very upset as he had been fired from his job. Pujya Shri not only assured him that he would get his job back but also made him cross the river by carrying him on the shoulders. This man was bewildered when his employer accepted him back, offered a simpler job with increased salary.
Several people got rid of their age old addictions for alcohol, tobacco & non-veg food here at Deesa after listening to Pujya Shri’s satsang. People troubled with life found solace in Pujya Shri’s words & several well-established people realized the importance of spiritualism.
…But the folks of Deesa could not recognize Bapuji’s divinity. Once after satsang Pujya Shri jokingly said, “A saint and a materialistic person are alike, isn’t it?” The audience did not understand this statement & started replying in affirmation. Pujya Shri got up immediately, removed the cloth which was wrapped around his body, & made his journey onwards in under shorts. People asked for forgiveness but a saint has no affinity for the world. The actions of a saint cannot be interpreted by a common man (Fakiri Masti)…
Life as a Householder
Pujya Shri met Swami Lilashahji in Haridwar in Vikram Samvat 2028, & by the commands of SadGuru, in order to provide a good example to common householders, Swamiji entered the life of a householder. It was the day of Guru Poornima in Vikram Samvat 2028 when Pujya Shri reached Ahmedabad after staying in solitude for seven years. Bapuji lead a life similar to that of saints like Kabir and Ekanath. Bapuji chose a peaceful place in the Motera village on the banks of Sabarmati river. Later on some of the devotees constructed a small room for Swamiji which is very well known as “Moksha Kutir”. Though the village of Motera was very famous for its thieves and bootleggers, Bapuji lived there submerged in the joy of communion with Atman.
The fragrance of this beautiful spiritual flower spread in all directions inviting to sip the nectar. Thousands of people started coming to Motera to get solace from their worldly afflictions and to get peace at the feet of Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu.
Slowly that place has become a great spiritual center. It is now called Sant Shri Asharamji Ashram. All sections of people come there to get peace and spiritual solace. Many new Ashrams & Yoga Vedanta Samiti’s have also evolved since then. The Ashram conducts several spiritual retreats, yoga camps & humanitarian work.
Divine personalities like Krishna, Buddha, Rama, Jesus and Mohamed influence the lives of millions of people for centuries. Their influence is not limited by time. Nay, it undergoes a process of time enlargement : with the passage of centuries the Flurry of these prophets, instead of decreasing, goes on increasing.
Each saint or world teacher comes as the embodiment of the dominant ideal of a particular age, and his life becomes the highest moral standard and ideal for the people of that age.
Man has been continually discovering new ways of exploiting nature and improving the means of production of food, clothing, other necessities and also the means of transport and travel. Each epoch with its changed condition, throws new challenges to the people. These external challenges can be met only by mobilizing the inner spiritual resources of the people. It is through ideas and ideals that the inner energies of man get mobilized. Certain charismatic individuals who become masters of new religions or new religious movements develop the new ideals necessary for each epoch.
It is to this class of saints and world teachers that Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu belongs. Swamiji’s advent was a historical necessity. There was the need for a charismatic individual who could create and vitalize the basic ideals of the present age. Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu’s exemplary life has fulfilled this requirement. Pujya Bapuji is the source of energy which is emitting great Vedantic ideals in the present age for the welfare of mankind.
Beyond the bare rudiments of literacy, Shri Asharamji Bapu never had formal education. Most of Swamiji’s youth was spent in the intense practice of spiritual sadhana. Pujya Shri virtually lived the life of a monk depending solely on God’s grace. How can such a man be regarded as the ideal man for the modern age which idealizes film stars, sportsmen, politicians, and now for a change, miracle-working yogis? See any newspaper, or magazine and you will find almost every page displaying pictures of men and women in all kinds of dress and posture who project idealized pictures of contemporary society. No other age ever allowed lust and greed to dominate the minds of the people so completely as the modern age has done. Everything in modern society is valued for the sake of money. Can Shri Asharamji Bapu who is a sage become the ideal for the people of such a society?
The answer is that an ideal stands for perfection & imperfect individuals cannot give these ideals. Western cultures consider beauty, truth and goodness as the criteria of perfection. However physical beauty is only skin deep, and is as evanescent as youth itself. Truth is sought through science, to another mystery beyond. The basis of goodness is unselfish love, but in the market oriented culture of modern society unselfishness is the scarcest commodity.
Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu is the embodiment of this ancient Vedantic ideal of perfection. The ideal person according to Vedanta is one who after attaining liberation for himself strives for the liberation of others. Such a fully illuminated soul is called a Rishi. It is as a perfect Rishi that Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu is said to be the ideal man for modern age.