Baba

Photo, Google Images:  Swami Paramahansa Hariharananda Giri

Small of stature,
and calm of voice,
his demeanor sweet,
gentle and wise.
 
Long hair, thinning,
accepting, brown,
soft, eyes with
large bags underneath.
 
Fluffy, white beard
that smelled of
sandalwood, always
with a mala around his neck.
 
Ochre clothing he wore
like the swami he was,
with kumkum paste
denoting his third eye.
 
Initiating those
who were sincere,
he led them in the
ways of kriya yoga.
 
Continuing the
teachings as had
the lineage before,
with reverent devotion.

He addressed me
as ‘Mother’ or
‘Gayle Ma’, always
bestowing respect.
 
I was honored to
serve this man
of God, preparing his
dal and basmati rice.
 
Demonstrating the
“breathless state”, a
group of students
were left in awe.
 
He touched my
heart, he touched
my soul…I want
to bow a thousand times.

For several years, after I left the ashram life, I studied with Swami Paramanhansa Hariharananda Giri, affectionately known as, Baba, by his students.  He was a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yoganada, the founder of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and author of “Autobiography of a Yogi.”  They were teachers of kriya yoga, continuing on the lineage of those before them.  Baba had been initiated by Yogananda and lived in his ashram in Puri, Orissa, India.

Victoria invites us to describe character at dVerse Poets:  http://dversepoets.com/2012/08/23/meeting-the-bar-writing-characters/

Sharing this with Souldipper Amy for Occupy Blogosphere:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-august-23-2012/

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47 Comments

  1. My son is into yoga himself so your words resonated with me. I specially like how deeply he influenced you with:

    He touched my
    heart, he touched
    my soul…I want
    to bow a thousand times.

    Like

    Reply
    • He did influence me in such an important way…a very special blessing to have known him like I did. Thank you, Grace.

      Like

      Reply
  2. The entire piece was a kind of namaste. I sense the peace you learned to have from him and the joy of the present. What an “enlightening” poem!

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  3. I love this!

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  4. I have read a little of the life and sayings of Paramahansa Yoganada. Tended to lean towards these faiths more and more the older I grow. There seems to be so much more truth in them than the usual organised religion has to offer. I’m open to any and all enlightenment which teaches to ignore the ego and is all about love. This is a lovely tribute to a man you so obviously had much love and respect for.

    Like

    Reply
    • Once I became aware of these teachings while still a teenager, there was no turning back for me. I’m very eclectic in my ‘beliefs’…open to all that resonates as good within me. Thanks for sharing your experience with me, Bren…I feel like you do. Yes, he was a very special being…I learned a lot from him.

      Like

      Reply
  5. Your poem makes me want to know more about this man which, I believe, is a function of characterization. His face and your words reflect the result of his spiritual practice.

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    Reply
    • I’m glad it made you curious about him. I feel very blessed to have been in his company in such a personal way…I think you “got” what I was trying to convey.

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      Reply
  6. “I was honored to
    serve this man
    of God, preparing his
    dal and basmati rice.”

    A powerful relationship, that lets you put down ego without fearing abuse. How freeing. I too would bow and bow. I would learn how to bow.

    Like

    Reply
    • To a man such as this…bowing came very naturally…but like you said, in a freeing, joyful way…not demeaned or lorded over…and not demanded. Yes, you just might learn to bow.

      Thank you, Susan.

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      Reply
  7. ha…was writing and my computer died….funny i call my wife baba…smiles….i love all the detail you put into this really bringing him to life..and it being an honor to serve him…says much of his character…and of you as well…..great capture…

    Like

    Reply
    • Oh, that is funny…and cute, Brian. Yes, such an honor…and he was so humble…what a treasure of a human being. Thank you…

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      Reply
  8. he sounds like an interesting and wise man for sure.. good to have that kind of fellowship and touch each others lives

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    Reply
  9. Gayle, now I have a better understanding of the well from which you so obviously dip. Thank you.

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    Reply
  10. serenity, they exude a sense of calmness, of peace. absolutely, soul-touching.

    Like

    Reply
  11. am not much of a fan of baba’s but your write here conveys your sentiments beautifully…very nicely expressed !

    Like

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear that…I only had positive experiences with him… But thanks for coming by and sharing a comment…I appreciate that.

      Like

      Reply
  12. Fascinating. Beautifully described. I’ve read and ‘got involved’ in Buddhism and also other faiths (including Christianity). Sometimes I think of religions in their higher states as if they are paths leading to a mountain summit – when you get to the top there’s only room for one to stand on it, and you can see all the other paths which have led you there, although, as an individual you may have followed only one.

    Like

    Reply
    • I’ve gotten involved in Buddhism as my latest interest too…started out with Christianity through my parents influence. I like your view of religions from a higher state of different pathways leading to the same “summit.” I feel the same way about different paths… Thank you for sharing this, dfb.

      Like

      Reply
  13. You describe him well, but, importantly, leave us alone with the mystery of him.

    Like

    Reply
  14. hypercryptical

     /  August 24, 2012

    He touched my
    heart, he touched
    my soul…I want
    to bow a thousand times.

    A wonderful description of a man who reached into you and found your inner peace.

    Anna :o]

    Like

    Reply
  15. An illustration of an ideal lived

    Like

    Reply
  16. What a joy to have known this man.

    Like

    Reply
  17. Thanks a lot for commenting on my post, so that I could reach here. Autobiography of a yogi is one of my most favorite books. And although I have not met baba as I am not in to spiritual stuffs that much, but some of my family members are very close to him. And let me tell you, I was born and brought up in the same place where Baba lived. I hope that place is called as Balighai Aashram. Do correct me if I am wrong!

    Like

    Reply
    • Sorry for the typing mistake, I meant to say I was born and brought up in same state, where Baba lived. Do read same state instead of same place in the above comment.

      Like

      Reply
      • That book is one of my favorite books too. So interesting to learn that some of your family members were close to him. I believe it was called Karar Ashram that was Yogananda’s ashram. But there is a Balighai Ashram too that he was associated with….don’t know very much about all the centers or ashrams affiliated with them. He passed away in December of 2002 in the state that I live in…Florida in the U.S.

        Thanks for sharing, Arindam!

        Like

        Reply
  18. Beautiful – this is a wonderful portrait

    Like

    Reply
  19. Oh, thank you, Marousia.

    Like

    Reply
  20. SilverGardenia

     /  August 24, 2012

    Lovely poem. Thanks for sharing your teacher with us.

    Like

    Reply
  21. A very interesting man. I’m happy that you had the time to spend with him.

    Like

    Reply
  22. Not too sure what’s happening but your link at dVerse isn’t working Gayle.

    Like

    Reply
  23. What an honor, Gayle, to study under this gentle, wise man. Even without the picture, your poem described his essense perfectly. I could picture him perfectly.

    Like

    Reply
    • Yes, an amazing honor. I’m glad my description came through clearly. It was a profound time in my life…he was so caring and kind.

      Like

      Reply
  24. ‘He touched my
    heart, he touched
    my soul…I want
    to bow a thousand times,’

    What a blessing in your life, Gayle. Serenely shared.

    Like

    Reply

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