The Living Yogi


Swamiji’s Ashram at Nedigal

Shri Ramanatham Naidu of Sholinghur town and Shri Gurappa Naidu of Mittoor village nearby, invited Swamiji to come over to their area on the border between Chitoor in Andhra Pradesh and Tirutani in Tamilnadu, to preside over a Chandi Homa. This was in the year 1982. Swamiji accepted their invitation and they organized the program at Kotha Khandrigai village. Their publicity was exemplary as it reached all the nearby villages and towns through posters pasted on to buses that plied in the area. 

A huge crowd from all the nearby villages and towns gathered at Kotha Khandrigai village when Swamiji went there. A few people who had Swamiji’s darshan at that program started visiting Swamiji’s ashram in Bangalore regularly during Swamiji’s birthday function on the 24th of January and the Tapas Anniversary on the 07th of August every year. Two such devotees – Chenna Rajulu Naidu and Pani Naidu, brothers from the village of Diguva Nedigal, used to conduct regular bhajan and annadaanam (feeding) programs at their house every Thursday in honour of Swamiji. Another such devotee by the name of Munivelu Reddy, used to conduct a similar program in a Hanuman Temple at his village of Pudhu Keechalam every Saturday.

Chenna Rajulu Naidu and Pani Naidu met Dasari Jagadish Kumar at Aadhivaarapupeta during the Mahaashivaraathri celebrations in 1998. They invited Jagadish and fellow devotees from Bangalore to come over to their village and conduct Swamiji’s meditation and bhajan programs. Accordingly, a few devotees of Swamiji from Bangalore travelled to Nedigal, stayed there and conducted programs at Diguva Nedigal and nearby villages. A lot of villagers used to attend these programs and a number of local devotees, particularly children, used to experience trance during the bhajans at these programs. More programs were organized in subsequent years and Miss. Yashoda also joined along with the bhajan team of Aadhivaarapupeta. 

In the year 2001, Jagadish received a phone call from Pani Naidu informing him that a local devotee is willing to donate a piece of land for the construction of an ashram for Swamiji in their village. Jagadish was asked to come over to Nedigal and get the land registered in the name of Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj International Trust, and build an ashram there. Jagadish was surprised as to why a poor farmer of that village is willing to donate his land for the ashram. This is how it happened.

One of the programs was conducted in the village named Eguva Nedigal a few months back. At the insistence of Pani Naidu, a local villager by the name of Ramdas Naidu, who was not very spiritually inclined, reluctantly sat for the meditation class. During the bhajans that followed, Ramdas apparently experienced trance and enjoyed it very much. From that time, he started attending the weekly program at Pani’s house and was experiencing trance. Ramdas enjoyed the trance so much that he asked for a bhajan program to be conducted every day. Pani and his brother told him that they could hardly afford to conduct the bhajan and feeding program once a week. They told Ramdas that if a daily program has to be conducted, then an ashram will have to be built. Ramdas was so eager to have the bhajans that he immediately offered his land to build an ashram. The brothers explained to Ramdas that an ashram cannot be built on his land. First, he will have to donate his land to Swamiji’s trust, so that an ashram can be built from donations made to that trust. Ramdas agreed readily and offered to donate 25 cents of his agricultural land to Swamiji’s trust. 

Jagadish, as one of the Managing Trustees, wanted to visit Nedigal, meet Ramdas, ascertain that his intention to donate was genuine, take a look at the land and then decide on accepting the donation and register the land in the name of the trust. Ramdas wanted to donate the corner piece of his land bounded by the main road and the road to Eedhalakuppam. The land on the other side of the Eedhalakuppam road is the local graveyard and crematorium. However, Swamiji appeared in his dream one night and asked him to donate a piece of his land that is a little away from that road. 

On the next visit to Nedigal, Jagadish met Ramdas and his family, took a look at the land offered by Ramdas, but waited for almost two years just to check if Ramdas would change his mind. The two acres of land that he owned was the only means of livelihood for Ramdas, his aged mother, his wife and two children. On persistent calls from Pani and as Ramdas appeared firm in his intention to donate, finally, in the year 2003, Jagadish decided to accept the donation and a date was fixed in October 2003 for the registration of the land in the name of the International Trust. 

A few days before the registration date, Swamiji instructed Maheswaran, Yasodha’s elder brother from Sri Lanka, who was at Aadhivaarapupeta on his annual visit, to get in touch with Jagadish as he is about to conduct an important event. Maheswaran called Jagadish while on tour of the temples in Tamilnadu, along with his siblings. Jagadish and a few of his fellow devotees from Bangalore were about to leave Bangalore for Nedigal that evening for the registration. He asked Maheswaran and his siblings to come to Bangalore and join them. They all travelled to Nedigal that night. 

The next day, Ramdas registered the land in the name of Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj International Trust at Palipat in the presence of several local devotees of Swamiji, devotees from Bangalore, Maheswaran and his brother Dr. Tharmaseelan and his elder sister Sarasa from London. That evening, a meeting of all devotees was called for to discuss plans for the development of the ashram. During the meeting, Yashoda’s sister Sarasa suggested that if annadaanam can be conducted regularly, then the ashram will develop fast. 

The local devotees readily agreed to conduct meditation, bhajan and annadaanam program at the ashram site itself every Sunday. There was no building there. It was an empty site. No electricity or water. Yet, local devotees – young and old, enthusiastically set up a tent there the next Sunday itself, set up a framed photograph of Swamiji, carried vessels and brought water from the village – about a kilometre away, bought all the groceries, put up wood stoves and started the cooking. A meditation and bhajan program was conducted, and all the devotees who came partook of the prasadam at the annadaanam conducted on the empty land. 

Devotees collected donations and soon a borewell was dug for water and a pump installed. Electrical connections were obtained in the name of the ashram. As per the plan, a small building was constructed with a kitchen, a store room, a bath room and a toilet. The Sunday evening annadaanam continued without break right from that first day.

In about four years, a plan was prepared for a regular building. A big hall has been built for conducting the meditation and bhajan program. Rooms have been built for accommodating visiting devotees. 

The Nedigal ashram of Swamiji is located adjacent to the two-lane main road connecting Palipat and Tirutani. Buses ply on this road regularly throughout the day making it convenient for devotees from several nearby villages to visit the ashram. It is set in the midst of sugarcane fields and mango orchards, far enough from the main village to provide a silent and peaceful atmosphere. Surrounded by hills on all sides, it provides a wonderful scenery.

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