Swami Hariharanada Bharti
By Swami Muktanand Puri
Some beings are born with circles of Light and Love around them. As they live they help others to develop love in their hearts and to remove the beasts of passion and the shards of darkness.
Such a being was Swami Hariharanada Bharti and unfortunately, a being I never could entirely understand while he was with me. Though I had the honour of loving him and been loved by him, for he loved one and all with an open heart that I can only strive to achieve. Great beings are distinguished by their capacity to not only love all but to lead with a vision, to share all that they have as well as to treat each being- human, animal, bird, crawler, worm as the embodiment of consciousness- of God. Swamiji had this high consciousness that each being is an embodiment of God and he treated everything with love and respect. This is the essence of all spiritual traditions, the Bhagvad Gita calls this Sam-bhava, to be established in equanimity, to relate to everything with the sameness of god consciousness.
Walking on this spiritual path, I have had the fortune of meeting with almost forty siddhas. One of the riches of India and her Heritage are the Yogis who often walk the streets of her lands with a treasure that almost none can measure up to. From among them Swami Hari shines as an outstanding example of a yogi, who was clean of heart, unselfish and dedicated to uplift others, a mystic who even though being in our midst hid himself so well that few of us were able to feel the magnitude of his spiritual wealth. Yet love is a treasure that is impossible to hide and the fragrance of its flowers blooms in the hearts of all his students.
Swami Hariharanda Bharti was a perfected yogi who in service of his Guru Swami Rama of the Himalayas built a Technical College and school in the Village of Malethi, the Garhwal Himalayas not very far from the Village of Swami Rama –Toli. Who despite living in the modern world retained his compassion, love, simplicity and never forgot his promise to his Guru, working selflessly even while very seriously ill till the very last to complete the dream of his Guru. Any price he paid to serve his Guru was very small to him, he did that lovingly. He would often joke that after I die people will say “How mad Swami Hari was”. Swami Hari – I say “You were so Mad”. Wish me his madness.
When I first met Swami Hari, it was at the Sadhana Mandir Ashram at Rishikesh. A simple loving monk. The first thing he did was to teach me to laugh. Not that pretentious, polite, restrained, modern laugh. It was the laughter of a free being, of one who has tasted the divine nectar of the gods, unrestrained, free, truly joyful. It was probably his visiting card, for anyone who heard him laugh would try to locate the source. He in turn would welcome all. No waiting, no pretences, no closed doors, no timing, only pure love.
During my time with him I shared some of the best time. It was his love and grace that helped me preserve my spiritual flame for he helped me nurture it to become a wild fire- As free and unrestrained as himself, to value freedom, love and vairagya. At every crossroad whenever I needed help he was there to help me through. It was just the assurance of his presence- go on, you are doing the right thing. Every day he would sit to meditate in the night from about 12 p.m. to the morning. He would drill into all of us
- Meditate deeply
- Develop Dhrishta Bhav (An attitude of an observer without involvement in the activities around you)
- Mast Raho (Learn to live in an attitude of joy and gratefulness to the divine, to recognize the divine within you and in others, and to maintain that state of joy.)
It possibly isn’t as much as the words or the teaching but the presence of such beings that has an effect on us. The child like nature, trusting, loving, giving, without any guile or pretences that makes one like a mirror look into oneself and see all the faults and guiles within our persona. And one says “Oh, my god, Is that really me?”. That starts the process of transformation.
One had to see Swami Hari to understand that without doubt this was a man of God. A man who personally knew god. One did not even have to ask him. He was dedicated to the form of God Shiv. A true Bhakt. He had lived in Tarkeshwar for a number of years. Tarkeshwar is a small temple in the midst of the Garhwal Himalayas. A living place of God. I have had opportunity to live in this place for some time and I would often say “There may or may not be Lord Shiv on Mount Kailash but here Lord Shiv is definitely present”. It was here that Swami Hari had direct experience of Lord Shiv twice.
In Swami Hari’s words “I knew that the form of Lord Shiv is a strict one and especially here in Tarkeshwar, but you know I am a cunning man. A father can beat his child but a grandfather always loves his Grandson. So I told Tarkeshwar Mahadev. See Mahadev I am scared of you. You are too strict so from now on I will call you dada (grandfather). And you please treat me like your Grandson. Such was my relationship with the lord at Tarkeshwar.
There was a time when after living there many years I continued to look after the temple. At one point in time I developed a strong desire to see Lord Shiv. I knew he was there but I just had to see him. I started saying “Do you really live here? Won’t you show yourself?” But what did it matter to God. After some time I became very emotional. You know how mad I am. So for a whole week as I kept cleaning the temple my heart pined to see him and I was filled with love and overcome with emotion. As I would clean the temple I would keep saying “You don’t want to show yourself because you are not like your picture. You have been living for a few thousand years and your whole face is covered with wrinkles, your nails have become long, your hair are probably white and at that you must have lost most of them. You must be very ugly that is why you do not show yourself.” I kept at that for a whole week in that very strongly emotional state (Bhakti Bhav) and then on the seventh or eighth day like a flash I saw him. He appeared at the altar exactly like his picture, young, beautiful, radiant. He was there for a few seconds and stood there blessing me in the Varda Mudra, the Trishul, the Kamandal and the Damru. And then he vanished. I fell to the altar in a swoon, weeping uncontrollably.” Thus Swami Hari had his darshan of god Shiv.
After Swamiji’s samadhi when Swami Hariharanda’s body was taken to Damgaleshwar, a holy place on the road to Malethi. The disciples who were present at his cremation saw a snake that appeared near the body of Swami Hari at this spot before the cremation and then vanished.
To the feet of such a great Yogi I offer a million lighted Lamps and infinite garlands of fragrant flowers. May his grace continue to help and guide others to be perfected.