Sri Swami Shankardasji.





Vincent J. Daczynski

Chapter 7

And Then There Was One

The samadhi of Sri Guru Tat Wale Baba.
The samadhi (tomb) of Sri Tat Wale Baba
adjoins Swami Shankardasji's sleeping room.

I was startled from my sleep early the following morning by the ruckus play of two small nocturnal creatures that found their way into the ashram cabin. It was still too dark to see. But, being wide-awake, I decided to make my way to the tomb of Tat Wale Baba. I crawled slowly along the floor toward the opening of the adjacent cave where the tomb was located. As I entered the cave I felt an awesome mystical power emanating from Tat Wale Baba's tomb. The power was so intense it was like the force of energy one would experience when approaching a blast furnace. I positioned myself in the cave, taking a seated posture, in front of the tomb. With the mystical energy infusing intensely into me I meditated, absorbing its influence. I quickly fell into a deep, very deep, state of meditation. My back remained straight, although unsupported. I sat motionless, as if frozen into a statue-like position by this unseen force. Five hours passed as if only a half-hour. I was aware of the onset of dawn and of Swami Shankardasji arising and taking care of his morning chores and meditation. Yet, I remained deeply entranced, overwhelmed by the profound inner peace of the meditation experience.

At about 8:00 a.m. I emerged from my meditation just when Swami Shankardasji was beginning his practice of asanas in the adjoining room. I watched Swami do his routine. He was an adept. His balance was perfect as he gracefully moved from one complex posture to another.

As I watched I admired Swami Shankardasji for his style of life. As a youth I had considered living a reclusive life as a yogi in a mountain retreat, away from the fast-paced rat-race world of material pursuits. Here was a man living the yogi life, dedicated to spiritual unfoldment. I watched his every move, vicariously experiencing his life. His life was very simple. There was no electricity or gas to supply artificial heat or light. Firewood lit in a small fireplace provided fire for cooking. Toilet was taken in the forest. A nearby perpetual waterfall provided a daily refreshing shower. A pipe leading from this cascade captured a sufficient flow and pressure of water to provide a steady flowing fountain at the ashram gate. Swami's diet was as simple as his life-style. Sometimes he would eat the leaves, roots and fruits provided by the ambient forest. Mostly, he prepared simple vegetarian meals of vegetables and grains. He ate sparingly, taking one or two light meals daily. Yet, he had a strong, muscular build. His life was unencumbered with such worldly essentials as automobiles, televisions, VCR's, and the wide array of consumer products the Western world just cannot do without. Swami was content with the little he had. Although short on material comforts, he was filled with compassion and love as he cared for his departed guru's ashram.