Shivabalayogi Maharaj

Average: 3.3 (42 votes)
Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Swamiji, Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj
Sanatana Dharma,Meditation
Main Countries of Activity: 
India, USA
Date of Birth: 
January 24, 1935
Place of Birth: 
Adivarapupeta, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
March 28, 1994
Other Related Gurus: 
Shivabalananda, Steve Sadleir, Swami Ken, Sri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj - a disciple guru, M.P. Singh


Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj was born to a poor but respected family of weavers in the south Indian village of Adivarapupeta on January 24, 1935, and was given the name of Satyaraju. For thousands of years, this part of India had been steeped in the lore and spiritual practices devoted to Lord Shiva.

While possessed of a dynamic personality, Satyaraju gave little indication of his future destiny until he was 14, when Lord Shiva manifested to the boy in the form of an imposing seven-foot ascetic. Shiva touched the boy between the eyebows (the third eye) and he immediately experienced samadhi (enlightenment).

This event marked the beginning of an intense spiritual discipline called tapas in which Shivabalayogi meditated in samadhi for 23 hours every day for eight years, mastering the powers of the four directions, then at least 12 hours every day for four more years. Throughout his twelve-year tapas, there were periods when he stayed in samadhi continuously for months at a time

His practice was brutally hard on his body, including the time a neighboring boy threw a burning kerosene rag on him and another when he was bitten by a cobra.

Upon completion of his twelve-year tapas, Shivabalayogi attained full God (Self) realization. Divine Guru Shiva and Parvati appeared and asked teh yogi what it was that he wanted. Shivabalayogi replied that he had no particular desire, and that because his guru had put him into tapas, he should now tell him what to do.

Thus began the worldwide mission of Sri Shivabalayogi. From 1963 onward he traveled throughout India, founding many ashrams and giving initiation and blessings to millions of people. In 1987, he came to the West, paying several visits over the next several years to Europe and the United States. During these visits, he bestowed the gift of initiation into meditation (dhyana) on thousands.

Swamiji was asked, "What is Swamiji’s teaching?" He simply said these words, “Dhyana. Vibhuti. Bhajan. Bhava samadhi.” [Meditation. Blessed ash. Spiritual song. Divine trance.]

Shivabalayogi dropped his physical body on March 28, 1994, two months after he predicted that he would be with his devotees another forty years. Swamiji always insisted that yogis do not "die" in the ordinary sense. They remain ever present and, if their work in the world is incomplete, they will continue it using astral bodies. See Mahasamadhi.

Swamiji's continuing presence can be quite obvious. To the extent a yogi's presence is "concentrated" in certain places or bodies, Shivabalayogi remains physically present in each Samadhi consecrated to him, in the bodies of his devotees (his successors) and even at the places he visited over his extensive travels throughout India and the world.

Most devotees never met Swamiji in his own physical body, yet so often they feel Swamiji's presence more powerfully than those who did. He was once asked why someone who was around Swamiji less often had more experiences of him, Swamiji explained, "The difference comes because those who are close to Swamiji feel a kind of love towards Swamiji. You feel he’s your Swamiji. Whereas the one who’s away from Swamiji, they are feeling like Swamiji, Swamiji, Swamiji, Swamiji with their mind. That’s the difference." Their stronger desire for Swamiji pulls Swamiji closer. He often assured devotees that his presence would be stronger after he dropped his own physical form.

Divine Play, the Silent Teaching of Shivabalayogi


There is no equivalent for the word "tapas" in the English language. It is translated most frequently as "penance," but that word does not accurately describe the spiritual discipline wherein a person meditates in samadhi for at least 12 hours a day for an extended period of time. A Yogi is a man or woman who has completed tapas under the guidance of a guru.
Sri Shivabalayogi had no personal desire for God-realization when he was made to sit in yuga tapas, a 12-year cycle of tapas, by his divine guru, Lord Shiva. It was done solely for the benefit of the world. The tapas shakti, or spiritual power, that Sri Shivabalayogi attained enabled him to initiate and guide seekers on the yogic path of dhyan and to give bhava samadhi to increase faith and devotion, as well as heal physical and mental ailments.

When Sri Shivabalayogi completed his yuga tapas in 1961, Lord Shiva told him that he would also be made to sit in tapas from time to time when the need arose. He completed a year-long tapas at the instruction of his guru beginning on August 7, 1968, as well as periods of forty-days of tapas during the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971. By sitting in tapas during crucial moments, Sri Shivabalayogi was able to reduce or prevent conflicts that threatened mankind. He said that, "If there is a lot of danger in the country or the world, then Swamiji will sit in tapas."

A yogi has access to a limitless source of spiritual power. During the period in which tapas is performed, this immense energy is harnessed and distributed to the world. The powerful vibrations reduce tensions, change the minds of those in power, and further the progress of those on the spiritual path. The collective consciousness is raised and catastrophes are averted or mitigated.

Sri Shivabalayogi has also performed tapas in his present form of Sri Swamiji. When Sri Swamiji began his present cycle of teaching in 1998, he told his American devotees that an extremely difficult time lay ahead for mankind, beginning in the near future. He later announced that he wished to conduct a year of tapas in the United States. He would do so at the donated property in North Carolina, a wooded area on the outskirts of Durham. During the 2000 tour, Sri Swami and his devotees looked at modular homes. Over the next few months, a design was selected which was large enough for both the tapas and meditation programs.

When Sri Swamiji arrived from India on May 31, 2001, to start his next tour, he said that his tapas would begin on August 22, no matter what. Work on the house progressed rapidly, though delays caused by rain meant that, for the first month, Sri Swamiji meditated in an RV on a nearby property. Sri Swamiji's urgency to start tapas on time had seemed remarkable to those around him. Less than three weeks after he started came the terrible new of the September 11 attacks which began the current time of troubles that he predicted.

For the next year, Sri Swamiji meditated every day from 5:00 a.m. to about 5:00 p.m. After a month, he moved to his new house, which is now the site of the Ganesh Place ashram. His nourishment was virtually non-existent-one or two glasses of milk a day, a small amount of tea with honey, and some nutritional supplements. During the year he was attended by devotees, spoke at most in whispers, and his weight gradually dropped to half its original amount. He completed his tapas as planned on August 22, 2002. Devotees came from all over the world for the great celebration which followed. A week later a radiantly happy but much slimmer Sri Swamiji returned to India as his devotees exulted at the tremendous work that he had accomplished on behalf of mankind.


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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

In the Footsteps of the Yogi: The 1999 U.S. Tour of Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj

by Swami Satyananda, Richard C. Cook


In the pages of this book Swamiji gives instructions on how to practice dhyan the benefits and results of doing so the meaning of the Guru devotee relationship the role of bhaku or devotion in spiritual practice and the purposes of his mission He does this against the background of the extraordinary drama he enacted for three months in the company of his devotees during the 1999 tour Book jacket One of the greatest of all spiritual masters comes frequently to teach in America today He is Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj Swamiji is that rarest of beings a true God Realized yogi When Swamiji was fourteen Lord Shiva appeared before him and placed him in samadhi in which he meditated virtually without ceasing for twelve years This process is called tapas which Swamiji completed on August 7 1961 From then on he initiated millions of people in India into the yogic meditation known as dhyan and has made several trips for this purpose to the U S and Europe Swamiji dropped his physical body through mahasamadhi in yoga nidra also called yogic sleep on March 28 1994 and immediately merged his atman or soul with that of a devotee he had been preparing for this service It is in the body of this devotee that Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj continues to fulfill his mission both in India and the West This is a true and remarkable story The editor has spent much of his available time during the last three years at Swamiji s side working for him at his meditation programs or sitting with him in darshan Swamiji is not a spiritual teacher in the ordinary sense of the term Swamiji is a Guru at the highest level a Sadguru and a uniquely wise compassionate and loving person The shakti or divine energy he radiates has to be experienced to be believed Swamiji s spiritual power often manifested through Guru leela or divine play awakens the seeker to the Self within To be with Swamiji is to experience the reality of the divine spiritual

Pro Opinions

fountain of love and affection

santthosh kumaar's picture

He was more a hata yogi with a large following of government officers and politicians. A very calm and soothing natured fountain of love and affection.

Shivabalayogi, Amma, Anandi Ma and other Gurus

sadhak77's picture

I don't want to label this a pro or a con - so I put it in the pro category.
These and other Gurus are said to be Self-Realized.