About Gurudev Siyag
Gurudev Ram Lalji Siyag, one of India’s contemporary saints, has gifted the world with a unique form of Yoga derived from ancient India’s rich Vedic spiritual heritage. The founder-patron of Adhyatma Vigyan Satsang Kendra (AVSK), a Jodhpur-based spiritual organization, Guru Siyag currently lives in the sand-blown city of Bikaner in India’s north-western desert state of Rajasthan. Revered by thousands of disciples all over India, Guru Siyag has been spear-heading a quiet spiritual revolution since the mid-1980s, when inexplicable experiences prompted him to give up the ordinary material life he was leading until then, and to begin a new quest for bringing about a practical transformation of mankind.
Humble Beginnings : Gurudev Siyag was born into a poor peasant family in Palana, a small village with a typical agrarian backdrop 25 km to the north of the city of Bikaner, on November 24, 1926. Gurudev’s childhood was marked by an intense struggle for survival — made more difficult by the sudden demise of his father when he was barely 3 years old. As there was no one else in his family to take care of him while his mother was at work, Gurudev had to be shifted to a local orphanage during this period. Gurudev managed to go to a local school and finish high school level studies. However, when he turned 18, his mother’s old age compelled Gurudev to give up any dreams he may have entertained of college education, and to take up a clerk’s job with the Indian Railways. He soon got married and started a family. In the years that followed, he eventually had five children — a daughter and four sons.
The winter of 1968 proved to be a watershed in Gurudev’s life. His humdrum life was suddenly upset when he was seized by an inexplicable fear of death though he wasn’t down with any illness. A soothsayer told Gurudev that he was under Markesh Dasha — a constellation of planets casting a spell of death. The only way to escape imminent death, some local Hindu clerics told him, was to invoke the blessings of Goddess Gayatri through a special ritual. Gayatri, the Goddess of cosmic light, alone could rescue him from the clutches of death, he was told. He was advised to perform a Havan — lighting of a sacred fire — and to chant the Gayatri Mantra daily every morning. For the invocation to be complete and offer him the divine protective shield, he was told, he would have to conduct the ritual until he had finished chanting the mantra 125,000 times.
In the October of 1968, Gurudev began the ritual in earnest during Navratri, a 9-day festival, dedicated to the feminine divine Shakti. He would rise in the wee hours of morning every day and chant the sacred Gayatri Mantra over Havan for a couple of hours before getting ready to go to the office. The pressure of illogical panic that had seized was so intense that he performed the daily ritual with utmost sincerity and concentration. It took him three months to complete the ritual. Recalling those days, Gurudev was to comment later that it was as if a divine force had propelled him into an artificial state of fear only to change the mundane life that he had led until then and to goad him unto the spiritual path.
Life-changing experience : The day he finished the ritual, Gurudev went to bed that night thinking he would wake up during the normal morning hour the next day now that he was through with the arduous Gayatri worship. However, having got used to rising early, he woke up in the wee hours next morning. Just as he opened his eyes and sat up in the bed, he felt the inside of his body light up with an immensely bright white light. It was a kind of bright light that he couldn’t compare with any other — not even with sunlight. He noticed that the light illuminated his body from the inside. The light was neither warm nor cold; it just brought a wave of soothing peace. He was soon immersed completely in a state of joy and bliss that he had never known to exist. The light, gave him an inner vision. Gurudev saw that despite the clear bright light that illuminated his body from the inside, he couldn’t detect the presence of his organs, as if his body were a mere empty shell!
Having worked occasionally as a helper in the railway hospital’s morgue, where doctors perform¬ed post mortems on deceased patients, Gurudev had known the placement of various internal organs, muscles and bones in a human body. And yet he could see none of it inside his own body! He soon became aware of a buzzing sound as if a swarm of bees were creating a racket over a honeycomb. When he focused on the sound, he realized it was emanating from the center of his navel. As he concentrated he noticed, too, to his astonishment that the buzzing was nothing but the Gayatri mantra being repeated at an amazingly high speed, making it sound like the buzzing of bees! He was to learn much later that the Gayatri Mantra that he’d previously chanted through willful efforts had now become established as a non-stop, self-run process, linking him permanently to the divine force.
The divine glow brought another discovery for Gurudev. He realized that behind the façade of his identity and existence in the material world, he was a very different entity altogether. He was neither bound by his physical limitations nor was his personal awareness restricted to the physical world that he inhabited. He felt as if his personal being had expanded so vastly that he could embrace the whole universe. In fact, he felt he was the universe and he could feel the vibrations of all the animate and inanimate beings inhabiting it as if they were his own. He realized too through this unique experience that he was indeed what the ancient Vedic seers had called Brahma, the all pervading, changeless and amorphous divine force.
Just as Gurudev was marveling at this extraordinary experience and was afloat on the waves of joy, peace and love; the fantastic vision broke off as suddenly as it had occurred. The gurgling sound of water suddenly gushing out of an open tap in the bathroom close to his bed had disturbed the trance-like state he was in.
When he consulted some pundits well-versed in the holy scriptures about this particular experience, he was told that he had indeed been blessed by the Goddess Gayatri with a Siddhi — special divine power. They however advised him to use this power to get himself out of material difficulties he was constantly facing.
Gurudev politely declined to heed their advice. He believed that God had not changed his life and put him on the spiritual path so that he could make money and lead a comfortable material life. If God had turned him to divinity, Gurudev realized, he must have done so for a special purpose and that he would show the way ahead too. During his spiritual pursuits in the ensuing months, Gurudev came upon the philosophy propounded by Swami Vivekananda, one of 20th century’s greatest spiritual figures, who led the revival of the Vedic spiritual heritage not just in India but also in America and Europe. Swamiji’s emphasis on the practical transformation of humanity through Vedic principles that offered universal application inspired Gurudev and lifted his spirits. Vivekananda strongly advocated practice of Vedic philosophy through the revival of Guru-disciple system which alone, he believed, could lead to spiritual evolution around the world.
Meeting with Baba Shri Gangainathji : Heeding Swami Vivekananda’s advice, Gurudev began search for a Guru in right earnest. One of Gurudev’s relatives suggested he go to Baba Shri Gangainathji, an ascetic yogi who lived in the village of Jamsar, 27 kilometers to the north of Bikaner. In April 1983 Gurudev visited the ashram.
There was nothing extraordinary about this first meeting – a group of people had gathered to meditate in Gangainathji’s presence. Gurudev sat at the back of this crowd simply observing. While there was no interaction between the two in this meeting, something prompted Gurudev to visit Baba’s ashram a few days later again. It was during the second visit, when Gurudev bowed and touched Baba’s feet, that the master touched Gurudev’s head by way of blessing. The moment Baba touched Gurudev, he felt a tremendous vibration like a bolt of lightning passing though his body. This was Baba’s way of giving Diksha, initiating Gurudev in the unique form of Siddha Yoga. No words were exchanged as Gurudev left the Ashram soon. Little did Gurudev realize then that he had just met the Guru he was searching for and that his life had taken a new turn.
Strange Events : As Gurudev’s involvement in his spiritual evolution deepened, his interest in his material life began to wane. But the pressing needs of his young family pushed him into a state of deep turmoil. The mental turmoil he felt grew worse by May-June 1983 and continued even after the ashram visit. By the end of August 1983, it grew so worse that Gurudev could no longer attend to work in the office and stayed away without applying for leave. Then came a big jolt! On December 31, 1983 at 5 a.m., the entire north-west of India was rocked by a severe earthquake. Seconds before the earth shook, Gurudev was jolted out of deep slumber in the wee hours that morning by a strange shock. Gurudev was to learn later that it was precisely the moment when Baba Gangainathji had left his mortal body.
A few days after this incident, when Gurudev was walking down the road, a local youth called out to him. What he told Gurudev sounded very strange. The youth said Baba Gangainathji had been pestering him to get Gurudev to visit His Jamsar Samadhi. When Gurudev countered that Baba was no longer alive and that he could not therefore have met him, the youth said the monk has been appearing in his dream to give him the command. Taking this for a divine call, Gurudev visited Baba’s Samadhi and offered prayers there.
A cardinal principle in the Vedic thought is that the soul is eternal, and that it is the body that dies when a person passes away. It is also believed that a spiritual master or a saint continues to guide his disciples even after leaving his mortal body. The samadhi of a saint is therefore revered as the fount of divine blessings.
Baba’s messages from the after world : As his meditation grew stronger, Gurudev began receiving inner messages from Baba, guiding him through the turbulent waters that lay ahead. It soon became clear to Gurudev beyond doubt that it was Baba Gangainathji who was the Guru he was looking for. Gurudev also realized that despite leaving his mortal body, Baba could guide him on the spiritual path without any hindrance and with potent force.
Baba soon made Gurudev realize that he was not destined to lead a mundane life. It was made clear to him on numerous occasions during deep meditation that Gurudev was ordained to lead a spiritual revolution to transform the entire mankind. The transformation that Gurudev was undergoing himself was in fact meant to prepare him for that onerous task ahead. Gurudev was to learn years later through the writings of Sri Aurobindo, of one of India’s yogis of the 20th century, that divine transformation of one human being would eventually herald the transformation of the entire mankind as that enlightened person would lead the way. Gurudev was told in no uncertain words that he was the chosen one for this mission.
Prophetic vision : It was during these turbulent times in 1984 that Gurudev was visited by yet another strange happening, whose implications could impact humanity in the years ahead. One night after he had retired to bed, he had a vision in a dream. In the vision, he was shown a passage from what he could vaguely perceive to be a holy book and a voice pronounced, “Thou art that; thou art that.” The next morning, Gurudev mulled over the strange vision and tried to understand if what he saw in the dream was a vision or just a strange dream and what the words “Thou art that” meant. Since the passage was in Hindi, Gurudev could recall some words in the passage, but they made no sense to him. .
A couple of days later, Gurudev’s youngest son, Rajendra, brought home an old dog-eared book. While walking home from school, the young boy felt a strange urge to pick up the book when he noticed it lying abandoned in a cobbler’s shop by the roadside. As Gurudev turned the pages of the book with no particular interest, he was jolted to attention when he noticed a passage in one of the pages. It was the same passage that he was shown in the dream. He read the book over and again for a few days, but couldn’t fathom what it was about. All he could gather was that the book, meant for children, was illustrated with pictures to explain to them in simple terms the Christian faith. Not being very religious himself, Gurudev was not conversant deeply with the Hindu scriptures, much less be aware of philosophy of other faiths.
Though the dream remained a puzzle for him, Gurudev began experiencing a new calm. He returned to Bikaner from Palana, where he had taken a refuge following his turmoil-ridden phase, reported back to work and resumed normal duties in the office. Strangely, no one took any serious objection to his long unofficial absence from work, which would have normally led to his being fired from the job. It was as if he had never deserted his job at all. This was two years after he had first prayed at the Samadhi of his Guru Baba Gangainathji.
Biblical Predictions : Once back in Bikaner, Gurudev asked around in his social circle if Christians followed any holy book like the Hindus did the Bhagwat Geeta. It was then that he learnt about the Bible. He was told the passage from the holy book, which was shown to him in the vision, formed a part of the gospels in the Bible written by St. John, and that what he had seen in the dream were chapters – 15:26-27 and 16:7-15. Later a friend, who had taken a short course in the Bible to familiarize himself with the holy book, presented Gurudev with a Hindi version in a booklet form. Reading the booklet gave Gurudev some idea about Christianity.
He managed to borrow a copy of the Bible from a friend who was a lecturer in a local law college. Reading the Bible in English didn’t prove to be of any help either; he didn’t find the passage he was looking for. Giving up, Gurudev returned the book and dropped the subject once again, thinking it was the end of the episode. But that was not to be. The inner urge returned now with greater intensity. Making queries once again, he learned something that surprised him; Christianity was divided among many sects, two main among them being Catholics and Protestants. While the Bible he had read earlier was followed by Catholics, the one followed by Protestants contained the passage from St. John’s Gospels that he was shown in the dream.
With Baba’s blessings, Gurudev did manage to get a copy of the Protestant Bible and read the Gospel that he was being constantly goaded to. The relevant part of Gospels contained a prophesy made by none other than Jesus himself of the advent of the Comforter, who, He prophesied, would save only the truly faithful from certain death while the rest of humanity faced terrible divine retribution in a global calamity brought on by war and famine in the 21st century! Gurudev was to learn later that the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible that Jewish people follow, contains similar prophesies made by prophet Malachi about the advent of the Messiah, whom He describes as E-li’jah. Reading prophesies from the Holy book followed by both the Christians and Jewish people made Gurudev realize that they were somehow linked to the preaching offered by Lord Krishna in the Geeta thousands of years ago that preceded Christianity and Judaism.
Assuming the role of a Siddha Guru : Reading further about what the Comforter is prophesied to do convinced Gurudev that somehow he had a role to play in the realization of these prophesies through the inner Yoga that he was learning during deep meditation since the Navratri incident.
During meditation, since his return to Bikaner and resuming the office work, Gurudev received an Aadesh (command) from Baba that he should quit his job and dedicate himself fully to the spiritual mission entrusted to him. Gurudev quit his job through voluntary retirement on June 30, 1986, nearly seven years before reaching his superannuation age. Gurudev was to comment later, “I was serving the railways earlier; now I am serving my Guru. This is a lifelong job that I can never quit. I have left the worries of the material needs for my family entirely to Him. I am my Guru’s faithful servant; whatever I may gain or lose in this mission will be according to His wish.”
Baba also conferred Gurudom on Guru Siyag and directed him to initiate people into Siddha Yoga as his disciples. Gurudev started initiating people into Siddha Yoga in 1990 through Diksha programs initially in Jodhpur and a few other cities in Rajasthan. Those who came to Gurudev and became his disciples, experienced an amazing positive change in their lives; they found their diseases/ chronic ailments cured, and felt spiritual awakening through chanting of the divine mantra that Gurudev gave them during these programs and the meditation they did along with the chanting. As word about Gurudev’s unique Siddha Yoga and healing powers spread like wild fire, Gurudev was invited to other cities and towns to conduct Diksha programs.
Gurudev has since then traveled to different cities in India and also to Israel and the United States of America and put thousands of people on to the path of Spiritual Evolution and good health. However, Gurudev says that he is only half way through his mission. He believes that until he reaches out to people across the globe in the western hemisphere to motivate them to join the spiritual path that Baba Gangainathji has shown, there will be no real peace and prosperity in the world. “Spiritualism of the East needs to join hands with the materialism of the West, without which the world will never see the end of conflicts and discord. It is this spiritual union of East and West that I have set out to accomplish to usher in lasting peace in the world,” says Gurudev.