Uma Maheshwara: The Myth
In the beginning, according to the Vedas, The Word of God, Named Omkara, sounded and brought forth the material creation in two forms: Purusa and Prakriti. Also known today as Yin and Yang, Male and Female, Intuitive and Dynamic, these Two Creation Forces permeated the reality to form the manifest and non-manifest universe. In the Hindu Creation Myth, the dynamic, energetic, life force is called Maha-Shakti. The instigator, primal source, essence of that force is called Shiva. Together They are God, and in the stories travel under various names. Two of those alternative names are Uma and Maheshwara.
Uma Maheshwara: The Baba
Fast forward to the 1960s, a young Sannyasin begins a long period of wandering from his native desert state of Tamil Nadu in South India, to the cool plateaus of Pashupathinath in Kathmandhu, Nepal. His given name is Vinayaka Baba, Ganesh, first son of the Great Mom, Maha-Shakti. But like his Masters before Him, He has an alter-identity as well. He is Skanda, Kartikkeya, first Son of the Father, Shiva. Lord High General of the Hosts of God, He is the reliever of Fear, Six-faced innocent youth, forever 16 – the lotus born.
Once upon a midnight hour, the Baba is awakened with a call to His soul to come to the courtyard of the temple at Pashupati. There He receives His mission to exist for the well-being of the people, and presently sets out from his place at the Temple of Animal Souls, south across the great peaks that divide Nepal and India, to an obscure village in which He could settle and keep an eye on the world. That eye open and benevolent, He establishes the Ashram/Hospital Uma Maheshwara in the name of His Parents, installing the idols that would represent Them for the next half century, and there He stayed keeping vigilant watch over the universe.
Over the years, a few would come near to have the teachings whispered in their ear, just as according to myth, He would whisper the true nature of Self into God’s own ear. That is His purpose. He is the Father, the Preserver, The Creator and the Destroyer – but that’s a metaphysical lesson for another page. Babaji, was a great teacher, in the tradition of the Gyani, the Magi, the True Illuminati, the Bodhisattvas. He was both Guardian of the Gate and Master of the Garden. And if you were lucky enough to get close, you might just have found your own life illumined with the truth of what Is.
Uma Maheshwara: The Ashram
They say the ashram is where the Master is, in which case that means the ashram is now quite international, with a voice on several continents. In the beginning, however, the ashram was in Bosh, a tiny village in a tiny township called Sarsai, itself resting in a picturesque vale right out of a storybook. The Kullu Valley in Himachal state, meanders timelessly over the foothills of the Himalaya at 2700m.
Anything can be found in those hills – herbs, minerals, yoga, disease, violence, ignorance, love, hate – health, death – everything. And it was here that the Master of Life built His hermitage with the help of friends. First the Mother Temple – the Baba was nothing if not a devotee of the Mom. Then the Smaller Shiva temple in which the Linga was installed. For what is the Mother without the Father? Uma Maheshwara – Cosmic balance – the truth of us all.
It was not an ashram to draw large crowds like some of the more famous ashrams of the now notorious Satya Sai, or that Mother of Compassion down there in Kerala. Few ever learned of its existence – a true hermitage occupied by a not-quite-a-hermit kind of yogi. Actually he was quite accessible, but not many tend to have the, shall we say, patience, to see what Is. However, whether in the village, town, or city several kilometers down the left bank, the kids always have a special place; they are the truth, the innocence, the way. Didn’t he say, ‘Lest you become like the children, you shall not enter the kingdom of God.” Kids recognize the inherent Is. They see, they know without knowing. They saw the Baba, no matter his roar. They felt His aura, heard the peace right through the blaring cacophony of Hindi and Sanskrit bhajan that would greet the early mornings and evenings daily. They certainly saw the candy as the Master tossed it gingerly over their heads from the veranda of his shanty next door the temples. Today, the next generation enjoys the Mother temple as a kindergarten. The land has been given back to the community for free use. The Ashram, well, that moves on at the center of the hearts of those who carry on the Legacy of Uma Maheshwara.
Uma Maheshwara: The Legacy
It’s said that only one among millions might be ready to do something with the knowledge of reality. According to the Master, I was one of them. I heard there were about three-hundred of us, before there were 60, before there were 12. Personally, I only met a handful. The ashram never hosted crowds, nor did the Master gather us together in groups often – two or three times in my own experience. Occasionally one of the disciples might bring a band of brothers and sisters to visit the Father, but the tradition was handed down orally, in private, over many days, weeks, months and years.
I met the Master in 1995. It was my first trip to India during which I also sat with Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama. The trip was arranged by another student of His. I was just one among one of those groups of brothers and sisters brought up the mountain for an audience – but what I saw blew my mind out wider than most. That year I jumped headlong into the rabbit-hole, drank the blue-pill so to speak. When the Master spoke, I don’t why it was only I who could hear the ringing of the bell in my heart. When the Master danced, I don’t know why it was only I that saw the Dragon of the myth of Merlin. Perhaps it was that I was born into the tradition of Cabala; or maybe because I had already for years been skrying through the aethyrs of the metaphysical reality in search of the greater truth that enabled me to know it when I saw it. When I met the Master for the first time, I saw God walking around in a body and I spent the next two decades drinking from that well-spring as deeply as possible. He gave me the name Devananda, Angel of Bliss.
The Master taught me strictly, kindly, mercifully, broadly and deeply. He encouraged me to do what I do with a great interest, to analyze matters ten-thousand times before reaching a decision, to reduce my anger and rely on the body’s self-healing systems. He taught me about the nature of man, woman and God, the truth about religion, politics and metaphysics. He entrusted me with varied awareness with which by virtue of my disposition I was moved towards justice, health, sharing and protection. I used what I knew for the benefit of those around me – with love and blessings upon blessings for everyone. He taught me about non-discrimination and non-differentiation, just as the Lord knew it to be. He made me read, deeply and widely to know all manner of things. And He introduced me early on to another like Him, like Me, Shankar Baba – a spiritual man, a normal man, a family man.
If Vinayaka was like a father to me, Shankar was like an Uncle. Watching the two older men do tea, sit quietly or debate world affairs was a deep education. The Swamy was always consistent – I was not to run away to the jungle to be a sanyasin. Rather I should stay in my place, create a business and be a family man. That’s the way of things and following the way, like the Tao, is the Truth, and would only lead me to happiness. The Baba never lied.
The date is 2015 as of this writing. I am a spiritual man, a family man, a man with a business. I’m the living ashram, sharing what I’ve learned. My mission is for the earth and for the children, for my wife and daughter. Uma Maheshwara Yoga and Ayurveda is offered with Love and tons and tons of blessings upon blessings to all who come near. And the entire legacy of the Master’s teaching has been recorded, on audio, video, and the book is almost finished, too! “Two Idiots and a Man” is the title He gave to the book I’ve been writing for 20 years to share the teachings. And it will be available within just a few more minutes once the final edits are complete. Meanwhile, there is the UmaMaYA video library of the teachings, our online programs and even YouTube is feeling the love.
Kaoru (Devi Maitreya)
She is the Mom, the well-spring of compassion, my wife and reality-check. An innocent heart knowing little more than fun! She exists to serve the well-being of the worlds, nursing to health the suffering with her yoga therapy. Formally trained at Yoga Niketan, Japan in the arts of stress-management, yoga therapy and Yoga Sutra, and given the name Maitreya, Goddess of Compassion, she is Devi by the side of Deva. She discovered the true heart of Yoga deep in a cave at Thiruchender Temple in South India, home to Lord Muruga, the boy-king, Skanda almost a decade ago when We, as Uma and Mahesh traveled the South together. There we learned the arts of Ayurveda in Kerala and toured the Tamil bases at the behest of the Master. Her heart was turned inward and returning to Japan, she launched upon a career of yoga, health and service that found her first in a Hot Yoga studio before the teachings took her deeper into what eventually became her private practice.
Conscious Yoga was born out of a deep respect for the traditions of knowledge, love, freedom and innocence. With a mission to heal her family and herself first, she spread her wings in friendship, expanding her influence under the guidance of her mentors. Together Deva and Devi visited the Master, watching, listening and learning deeply. She drank from the waters and was given life. The Master answered every question she asked, teaching her with compassion and infinite patience, encouraging her to know the ways of the world she serves.
Peter (the Rock)
Standing on the edge of life, he lives in the tradition of the Gandarvan, the celestial artisans, plying their craft in service of the universe, lone artists living off the love of their art. A native Hungarian by birth, Peter has traveled the world in love with the human condition, discovering, loving, playing and reproducing the experience in paintings.
Keeping a small studio deep inside the Kullu valley, he can quickly catch a local bus to the heights of Rohtang and Leh-Ladakh where the sun-swept plains dance alive with mystic vision, reflected off the icy shears of the surrounding mountains.
Peter the painter of man, is also a photographer, a builder, a lover, a devotee of Nietzsche, a friend to any who might know him. And in the tradition of the mythic artisans, he, too, is possessed of something special – his charm – his mystique. He is Peter the Brave and Peter the Lighthearted. His magic is represented in the paintings, so have a look. Several are in the marketplace.
Whenever I came to town, Peter was always there with a smile. He often sat with us, listening and chatting with the Master, exchanging views. He is a noble soul, a student of another yogi down the way, Himself a Master on the Path. When Vinayaka passed, Peter bore the standard and built the case that would carry the Master’s staff to its final shrine. Peter the Rock, one of the Gang.
As Krishna was the charioteer for Arjuna, Ranju was charioteer for the Lord. For years he served closely as confidant and friend, entrusted with overseeing the Master’s medical and various life needs. Ranju is our man in the mountains now in charge of procurement. A racer and avid adventurer, he knows those hills like the back of his hand, speaks a dozen languages, mingles with the locals of every tribe just as easily as with the international community. He is our logistics support all over the country.
Ranju – leader of the gang, master of disguise – you never see him coming. He is as comfortable sitting on the hood of his car in the taxi stand, as he is sitting on a rock, with the rock, on top of the world; You might just as easily catch him schmoozing with the local ministers as with the local Babas. Loved and respected by everyone, he liaises effortlessly with every pillar of the community, the saddhus, the merchants, the farmers…Whatever we need, Ranju gets.
He was always a favorite of the Master’s, perhaps because of the innocence which shines forth from him – the Master kept him close, and like he did with all of His children, whispered the teachings into his ear. Ranju is also custodian of the knowledge; it rests in his soul. He is not a thinker or a teacher, but thoroughly one of the boys, a family man, a good, strong leader, dependable. He maintained the temple. Now he maintains the Shrine. His name is Rajeev Karwa and we’ll see some more of him around the site in the form of his local photography and products from the locals.
Uma Maheshwara is the God and Goddess at the heart of everything. Of course They is Eternal. The living Word lives in the hearts and minds and every sentient being, and the best friends of the Master carry on a living tradition in a myriad of ways. Some are teachers, like myself, Ayapa and Shivananda. Some are family men, others wanderers, babas, business owners, healers; one and all, we are they who have understood the innocence of normalcy – what it means to be alive in the miracle of this place. We have been entrusted with keeping this great guest house beautiful and ready for the coming generations.
Welcome to Uma Maheshwara! Through Yoga, Ayurveda and more, it is our aim to share a little of what we have received and simply spread the love, and blessings upon blessings to you and all those around you wherever you may be.
Jai Shankara! Jai Maa!
Om Namah Shivaya!
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih!