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Rakhadi Baba was born in Agaram village, Kalavai, near Kanchipuram. He was called Muniswamy and was one of an exceedingly poor family, with two brothers and three sisters. The boy attended no school due to poverty: he possessed neither shirt nor banian. By the age of six or seven he was working hard in the fields with a strong desire to earn and feed his parents. He could not tolerate their being hungry, with nothing to eat. When there was no work to be had he did not hesitate to stoop to theft, never for himself, always for his parents. When he was nine or ten he was stealing to feed the family of a friend as well. He was constantly and unmercifully beaten by his parents and other members of the family who sought to curb his wild ways. No one could  control  him  and neither could he stand the treatment he was getting so when he was not yet twelve years old he vanished from his village.

There is no record of how the child, leaving his family, beaten, half-starved and  with  nothing  on  but a  pair of drawers, reached Bangalore, nor of the events and obstacles on the way.  Once in  Bangalore  he  got  a job as  a  cleaner  in  a  hotel owned by a Tamil speaking Malayali. During the year he spent there the boy picked up Telugu and Malayalam. The following year he worked in Mysore as an assistant cook, and learned Kannada. He paid short visits to Kalavai from both Bangalore and Mysore; during the second of these visits the demise of his father took place quite unexpectedly. Thus, Baba was present to attend all  the traditional funeral rites particular to the comunity.

Swamiji reconstructs the calendar of these eventts and reckons that Baba was born in 1925. So he would have been thirteen or fourteen when he left home again and returned to Mysore. Even though he was not yet called Rakhadi Baba, he is referred to as Baba here. Baba next left Mysore for Sringeri where he met his first Guru. We do not know the name of the Brahmin Guru who was doing Tapas in Sringeri, we do know that he daily taught Baba the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, in simple language. Baba stayed in Sringeri for six months working in a hotel and with the money he earned he used to serve his Guru. The Guru was so good he would wait for the simple ofing Baba brought every day, though he could have had any  amount  of  fine  food  from other, prosperous, devotees.

Baba left Sringeri for Goa where  he added Konkani to his growing store of languages. It was then back to Sringeri from  where he entered  deep into the forest. He started doing Japa and meditation with the Bhava  his Guru had taught  him whilst teaching him the Gita and Upanishads.


all directions as Guru and the ears as Guru

all the Roopas as Guru, and the eyes as Guru,

the sense objects and senses both as Brahman.

The Self is Brahman.

The Self, the five  senses and the sense objects,

the whole Universe is Brahman..

He also used to do Pranava Japa and Japa of Panchakshari. While doing Pranava Japa, he would sometimes meditate on Self as ‘A’ - kara, senses as ‘U’ - kara and sense objects as ‘M’ - Kara and at other times on sense objects as ‘A’-kara, senses as U- kara and Self as ‘M’ - kara.

Swamiji  reconstructs  for  us  the  map of  Baba’s wanings over the next seven or eight years.    After  a  year in the forest  spent  in medtion, Baba was in  Ujjain for  a  year then  passed  a  year in Rishikesh  and another at Sri Jwalamukhi in Kangra. He stayed three years in Kulu  Valley  after that, by which time he was in his early twenties having spent almost twelve years in wandering and in Tapas. He came down from the Himalayas and stayed in the  Girnar forest for a final year before  his  momentous meeting  with  his  Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda.   Girnar,  in  the  region  sacred  to  Lord  Dattatreya was where Baba heard about Bhagvan Nityananda and experienced strong Bhavana that he must meet and speak to Bhagavan Nityananda. It was crucial to him that Bhagavan Nityananda should talk with him.He left Girnar and came to Vajreswari, near to Ganeshpuri and the Ashram of Bhagavan Nityananda. He was there for three days at the Samadhi of Dogari Baba, living on bhiksha and asking the Mother at Vajreswari to bless him that Bhagavan Nityananda should speak to him. At the first darshan there was a big crowd so Baba waited for it to disperse and was about to approach for darshan  when  another  huge  crowd  formed.

This time he was picked out spely by Bhagavan Nityananda who said in Hindi “Who are you? For what have you come here?”.

“I am the object”. Baba answered. “I have come here to dissolve in the Ocean”.

Swamiji, while giving a word-by-word account of this conversation, explains further, speaking just as though Swamiji were His Guru talking with His Guru, saying “You are the Ocean of Brahman - I have come to dissolve in you. I don’t know any subject. I am an object. You are the Subject”.

At the same time Swamiji remarks that never, in the actual conversation did Baba refer to Bhagavan Nityananda directly.

Swamiji takes up the original conversation again

Bhagavan Nityananda : Who  are  you?  What have you come here for?

Rakhadi Baba  : I am the object. I have come here to dissolve in the Ocean.

Bhagavan Nityananda :What is your opinion of ‘I’?

Rakhadi Baba  : The  hardened  and   thickened Ahamkara is ‘I’.

Bhagavan Nityananda : Who is the Ocean?

Rakhadi Baba  : The Guru is the Ocean.

Bhagavan Nityananda :Is the Guru Akara or Nirakara?

Rakhadi Baba  : The Guru is with Akara.

Bhagavan Nityananda : Then what is Nirakara?

Rakhadi Baba  : Nirakara is Brahman.

Bhagavan Nityananda : Then what is Akara?

Rakhadi Baba  : Akara  is  the  world,  but  the Akara of Nirakara is Guru.

Here Swamiji give a further explanation:

“The Guru alone can show the Almighty. The Proxmate Almighty is Guru".​​

The conversation between Bhagawan Nityananda and Rakhadi Baba went on:

Bhagavan Nityananda :Have you then found your Guru?     

Rakhadi Baba  : Having heard of the Akara that  has  come  down  as Guru,

                       I have come  all  the  away from Girnar forest and I find Karuna

                       talking to me. I am fortunate.

Baba made as if to leave but Bhagavan Nityananda stopped him, saying:

Bhagavan Nityananda : Where are you going?

Rakhadi Baba  : To any mandapa or under any tree.

Bhagavan Nityananda : If it is raining?

Rakhadi Baba  : Any hut, any shelter.

Bhagavan Nityananda : Do you know any arts?

Rakhadi Baba  : I know two. One is fighting. One is cooking.

Swamiji adds, “I will fight to eat or eat to fight”.

Still laughing, he speaks of a gleam that flickered in the eye of Bhagavan Nityananda when he heard Baba tell him of these skills.

Bhagavan Nityananda: We are in need of a cook. A hotel has been opened, just three months ago.

                                 There is no one here to feed the devotees.So join the hotel as a cook and serve your Guru.

Swamiji says, “When Baba heard the words ‘Your Guru’ he was filled with joy because he had been accepted and blessed by Bhagavan Nityananda”.

Baba asked directions from one of the attendants of Bhagavan Nityananda and went directly to the hotel which was being run by one Kutti Babu, a Kanarese. Baba began cooking immediately and remained for a month or so, both working and taking his rest in the hotel building. At night he was always in meditation, using the opportunity as great good fortune and shedding tears of devotion. He wanted to guard the inner silence zealously but the hotel would often be crowded and full of din, so he sought a separate place.

Ganeshpuri, the hotel and the Ashram of Bhagavan Nityananda were all on the more built-up side of the river Tansa where the road brought a constant stream of pilgrims to the feet of Bhagavan Nityananda. Baba crossed the river and came to a very big mango tree a few yards from the far bank. Under that tree he made his Kutir, a small hut, and started spending the nights there.

Baba made a practice of going to have Bhagavan Nityananda’s darshan every evening. He would come from cooking, take his bath and go for darshan, always quite unobtrusive amongst those around Bhagavan and exchanging no more than a very few words with him. Bhagavan Nityananda would often give Baba packets of sweets and other delicacies and sometimes a plate. Every week or ten days Baba would get plates and cups from Bhagavan Nityananda.

One early morning when Baba had just taken his bath and was about to set out for the hotel, suddenly Bhagavan Nityananda was there. He had crossed the river and was now walking towards Baba.

Bhagavan Nityananda : You are here

Rakhadi Baba  : No (A questioning look, appears in the eye of Bhagavan Nityananda) I am everywhere.

Bhagavan Nityananda : How?

Rakhadi Baba  : I am in my Guru Who is everywhere

Swamiji indicates the Bhava, “Baba was saying that he too was thus everywhere”.

The conversation continued.

Bhagavan Nityananda : Where are you hastening to go?

Rakhadi Baba  : To the place of my Tapas.

Bhagavan Nityananda : Oh! Which place is that?

Rakhadi Baba  : That is the shrine where I am asked to be. 


Bhagavan Nityananda : To worship any deity?

Rakhadi Baba  :  No,  to  feed  my Guru. (Pauses a moment)... who is coming in multifarious forms.

Bhagavan Nityananda : Then will this talk be a hindrance to your Tapas?

Rakhadi Baba  : No,  it’s  a  nectar,  which  gives  a boost for serving the devtees of  my Guru.

Here Bhagavan Nityananda abruptly walked away.

Baba spent three years in this way. Till evening he was cooking in the hotel, feeding the devotees and pilgrims and  then  going regularly for  darshan,  after  which he would remain in meditation.

Half way through this three year period Bhagavan Nityananda selected a place for him; it was quite close to the mango tree on the far side of the river, far from the crowds and the hustle and bustle. There are three hot springs on this  bank,  called Agni Kunda,  Surya Kunda  and Soma Kunda.  Of  these  Agni  Kunda  is  the  hottest.  It  is  scalding  and  cannot  be  touched  even  by  the  finger  tips.  Over time these Kundas with their health giving waters had been need and covered in rocks and rubble. With his own hands Bhagvan Nityananda cleared away all this debris and built three Kundas so that to this day people may bathe in the medicinal waters. This done, Bhagavan  Nityananda  constucted  a small building out of stone. It had a tiled roof, two small rooms and a verandah. The ground was uneven here so the verandah was lower by two feet and there was a pair of steps leading down to the house. When Baba came there to stay he made the Home Kunda in this sheltered hollow in front of the house. His nights were spent here until the time came for him to stop working at the hotel. He then spent all his time in this Kutir that his Guru had built for him.

Bhagavan  Nityananda  cleared  the  jungle  around and  consecrated  a  Siva  Lingam  in  a  small  mandapa for Baba. He gave Baba eleven acres of land for the maintenance of this Ashram and temple. Baba called a local man and made the land over to him. He was to farm it and provide Baba with bhiksha. Regularly, on Mondays, Baba would go to fetch the bhiksha from this farmer.


It was the night of Kartika Pournami. Bhagavan walked out of his Ashram without telling anyone where he was going. Moving with the long stride his devotees called ‘swift-as-wing’ he crossed the river by the boulders. It was midnight and at that moment Baba was sitting in meditation before the Homa kunda. Suddenly, his Guru appeared there. Bhagavan Nityananda took Baba straight to Agni Kunda and without a word threw him into the scalding water. Bhagavan Nityananda then chanted in his ears:    OM,   and said, “Now the Omkara is invoked in you and you are named Omkarananda”


This done, Bhagavan Nityananda instantly started walking away. Baba was on the point of following him when Bhagavan Nityananda said, “Follow my path but don’t follow me.”

This, the Kartika Pournami, the day of Poorna, Fullness, was the day of Baba’s initiation when he was named by his Guru: Omkarananda.

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