Mataji Kalyan Puriji
One of Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda's most devoted disciples, Mataji Kalyan Puriji, was born in Tyrol, Austria, as Katherina Schuler. From earliest childhood she was very spiritual. After completing university studies, she worked as a language professor but her real interest lay in her search for truth. She had taken a vow to serve mankind and had devoted her life to this principle. On her search for Self-realization, she met representatives from many different faiths and religions but still didn't find what she sought.
In 1975, an opportunity came for her to meet Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. Katherina and I went to a lecture on yoga that had been organised by Count Franz Hoyos in the Palffy Palace in Vienna. From the very first moment Katherina realized that here was that one for whom she had been searching — her spiritual Master.
Deeply impressed by the path and teachings of Sri Mahaprabhuji, she decided to follow the way of yoga under the guidance of Swamiji. She received mantra initiation, was given the spiritual name Kalyan Puri and began her yoga practice under Swamiji's direction. With her deep faith and sincere effort her development took place very quickly.
Kalyan Puri's warm heart, pure mind and sincere character were filled with great love for all living beings and soon she was one of the most active members and main organisers of the Sri Deep Madhavananda Ashram in Vienna. She was called Mataji, the "Ashram-Mother."
Her efforts in spreading Swamiji's message of "Yoga in Daily Life" were untiring. She travelled together with him several times to India, where she visited the holy places of Mahaprabhuji's time on earth and lived in the ashrams of Jaipur, Nipal, Kailash and Khatu.
In Swamiji's home village of Rupawas she met Swamiji's mother, whom she deeply revered. With her help, a meditation hall was constructed at Khatu Ashram so the devotees of Mahaprabhuji could pray and meditate before the shrine of his mahasamadhi.
In 1982, at the age of 72, Mataji Kalyan Puri left this world, but in loving memory she still lives in our hearts.
Kriyananda, Ing. Hans Hörschläger, Vienna, Austria
Words from Dr. Sheetal
Dr. Naresh Sheetal, an eye specialist living in Europe, is a great admirer of Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji and he wrote the following account of Mahaprabhuji and Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda.
OM Namah Shivaya, OM Namah Bhavate Vasudeva.
"OM I bow before God Shiva,
OM I pay my reverence to God Vishnu."
I place my life in the protection of this holy mantra.
Since my youth I have admired God Shiva and accordingly have fasted every Monday in his honour. The aim of my devotion to God has at all times been to see him one day and this longing was fulfilled by meeting Yogiraj Sri Swami Maheshwarananda. Through him the appearance of the Divine incarnation, Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji, came to me.
I emigrated to Austria from India and in December 1972 I was granted the post of guest Doctor in a respected Austrian clinic. In 1973 I married Chandralekha Sharma in India and took her back to Austria. At this time my employment contract was extended and I was given a considerable increase in salary.
In May 1975 my attention was drawn to an article in a daily paper which included the photo of an Indian Yogiraj. My wife and I were interested in meeting him and the picture of this Yogiraj remained imprinted on my mind. On July 2nd, 1975, my wife gave birth to our daughter. It was the day of Gurupurnima (the day set aside to honour the Masters of the spiritual lineage) and for that reason we called our daughter Kumari Purnima. Some months later we discovered that the Yogiraj seen in the newspaper was coming to the town of Graz and happily I made use of this opportunity to travel there with my family.
When we arrived I found Swamiji surrounded by a large number of European disciples and so I didn't have the chance for much personal conversation with him and therefore we arranged a time for a private meeting. From that time on we visited him often.
Still as before, I had not reached the aim I had before my mind's eye. In Swamiji's ashram I heard about Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji for the first time and was highly impressed by Swamiji's narrations about him. The longing to one day see Sri Mahaprabhuji grew within us and it was with this wish in her heart that my wife, Chandralekha, chose Swami Maheshwarananda as her Guru. On a full-moon day, Swamiji initiated her with Mahaprabhuji's mantra.
As immigrants in Austria we had to overcome certain difficulties and it happened that my employment contract in Schärding had expired and I was then out of work. I very much desired to meet Swamiji's Master, the venerated Satguru Paramhans Swami Madhavanandji and for this reason I returned to India in February 1979 to meet him in Jaipur. He gave me Mahaprabhuji's biography as a gift, from which I was then able to learn more about him. After a three-week stay I returned to Austria and after some time found temporary employment in the eye clinic at Zell am See.
In the meantime I had formed a friendship with a hotel proprietor. My wife and I used to visit him often — satsangs were held at his house. On one of these occasions we left his place quite late in the night and on the journey home our car ran out of petrol. It was terribly cold and snowing outside, but in the distance we could see the lights of some houses and so I decided to go there to get some petrol. My efforts were in vain and disappointed, I walked back to the car.
We saw no other possibility than to turn to Mahaprabhuji for help. My wife Chandralekha lapsed into meditation.
Suddenly a ray of light appeared to her and she had the feeling that Mahaprabhuji spoke to her.
"Don't worry, your car will safely take you home," were the words she heard.
Turning to me, she said, "Start the car. Mahaprabhuji's grace will guide us home."
I asked myself how the car could go anywhere without petrol but in spite of that I bowed before Mahaprabhuji and turned the ignition key.
To my great surprise the car started instantly and we arrived home safe and sound. We were extremely astonished at this miracle and very glad. Chandralekha went straight into her room and with tears thanked Mahaprabhuji in a prayer. It was at that time that I felt within me the stirrings of a strong longing to see Mahaprabhuji.
On our next visit to Vienna we had the opportunity to be present at a reception given by the Indian Embassy in honour of Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda and here Swamiji spoke before a large audience. Despite his full program, he received us warmly and invited us to sit with him and we were gladdened by his grace and magnanimity. After we had received his blessing we returned home again.
During a meditation it suddenly came to Chandralekha as if an odd storm would shake the doors and windows of the house and then Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji appeared to her, wearing a white garment. Happy on one hand, she was also a bit frightened at his sudden appearance.
Mahaprabhuji smiled kindly upon her and said, "My daughter, I am always with you. I have come to tell you that your life on earth will last another thirteen years. But you needn't worry. If you wish I will prolong your span of life."
Chandralekha was very happy to see Mahaprabhuji and tried to wake me but didn't succeed. The next morning she told me in detail about her vision and I was both astonished and sad that the vision of Mahaprabhuji was withheld from me. From then on I was pined with the yearning to see him.
In Mahaprabhuji's biography I read about the great significance of Guru mantra and on the 13th of March, 1980, I received mantra initiation from Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. In May 1980 our venerated Satguru, Paramhans Swami Madhavanandji, visited Europe. On this occasion great luck fell on all of us in receiving his blessing.
I had just been passing through a very difficult time and was again unemployed. The authorities had placed three conditions on my continued stay in Austria: I had to obtain the status of an Austrian citizen, my academic title had to be negotiated and accepted and I also had to pass several tests and examinations. As it stood I was unable to fulfil any of these conditions.
On a visit to Swamiji, he said to me, "Dr. Sahib, you are wrestling with three problems. I prayed to Mahaprabhuji that he may solve them and he said to me: 'I know everything that Dr. Sheetal requires and it will be fulfilled'."
I was surprised that Swamiji knew about this as I had never spoken to him about my problems. He had apparently come to know about it during meditation and assured me that through Gurudeva's blessing my difficulties would soon be solved.
Some days later I received a letter from the clinic at Zell am See and it contained the consent for employment. I was extremely happy. On the 17th of July, 1980, I once again entered my old post. Swami Maheshwarananda had also foretold that I would gain the status of an Austrian citizen and, as predicted this occurred on the 30th of July, 1980.
Mahaprabhuji's mercy is limitless and this I undoubtedly experienced once during an eye operation on a child in the eye clinic at Zell am See. Three other surgeons were assisting me and during the operation the eye began to bleed and I didn't know how to stop it. The assisting physicians also became more and more helpless and we had given up hope. It seemed certain that the child would lose his eye.
For a moment I put aside my instruments and quietly prayed to Mahaprabhuji, "Lord, I have called forth all my medical skills. Now I lay the fate of this child in your hands. Please save his eye."
Then I began further attempts to stop the bleeding and discovered that through slight pressure on a certain point of the eye, the bleeding completely stopped. Miraculously, the operation was successful and the child recovered full eyesight.
This incident impressed all my colleagues and the physicians who had assisted urged me to write an article about the technique I used and my experiences with it. I refused, because in my heart I knew very well that it was not the success of my technique, but a miracle of Mahaprabhuji.
Once I travelled to Puch near Hallein to attend a yoga seminar given by Swami Maheshwarananda. After satsang with Swamiji I wanted to begin my journey home when to my dismay I noticed that the petrol gauge was reading minimum in the fuel tank. The next petrol station was 40 kilometres away and I knew that the car wouldn't make the distance.
Swamiji realized my problems and encouraged me, "Think of Mahaprabhuji. Start the car and be certain that you will reach the petrol station."
I followed his advice, started the car and watched as the petrol indicator suddenly climbed up the gauge, as if someone had refilled the tank with petrol. And so it was that the car comfortably managed to reach the petrol station.
Through Mahaprabhuji's blessing many miracles also took place later in my life. One incident has been stamped deeply in my mind. My daughter Purnima had an unbearable earache and we had consulted several specialists, however none could help her. Finally the doctor decided to perform an operation on her ear.
When Purnima came to know of it she began to cry.
"Let me speak with Swamiji," she said.
Instantly I called Swamiji in the ashram and after first making inquiries about her ear, he asked me to give the telephone to Purnima.
God knows what words Swami Maheshwarananda spoke into Purnima's ear, but the pains immediately began to fade and soon after the conversation she left her bed and ran outside to play. The following day the physicians were astonished to see that the child was healed of her complaint. They examined the ear and found it completely sound. It is a fact that Mahaprabhuji's name is of unlimited power and effect.
I want to report another experience. On the 26th of January, 1981, I was meditating on Mahaprabhuji during the hour of brahma muhurta at four o'clock in the morning when I had a vision of a herd of animals, followed by a crowd of blind men and women, coming towards my house.
At the same time I heard a voice say, "Sheetal, open the door and serve the humans who in their ignorance are equal to that of animals and the blind. I have brought them to you."
Today I'm still sorry that I couldn't summon the courage to open the door. When, in the depths of my soul I became aware that it was Mahaprabhuji himself who had requested this of me, I regretted this fact even more.
I cried and prayed to Mahaprabhuji, "Lord of mercy, forgive me and once again bless me with your vision!"
In this way I prayed for two days and during meditation on the third day Mahaprabhuji appeared before me with a loving smile and spoke consolatory words.
"My son Sheetal, don't worry, I am always with you. All your wishes will be fulfilled."
Never will I forget the expression of his smiling face.
I feel too humble to tell of all the Divine miracles which I have experienced through Mahaprabhuji — they are countless. All my troubles were resolved by Mahaprabhuji's grace and through the blessings of Swamiji!
In the winter of 1980/81 I travelled with other European disciples to India, where I also had to take part in a professional conference on opthalmology in Bombay. It was my intention to visit my Satguru, Swami Madhavanandji and to pay my respects at the place of Mahaprabhuji's mahasamadhi. It was in March that I reached Jaipur Ashram and in Jaipur I carried out many eye operations. One of these was on the mother of Swami Maheshwarananda. Together with the other disciples I visited Kailash, the ashram of Sri Devpuriji (who was the incarnation of Lord Shiva) and from there I travelled with Swamiji to Bari Khatu to visit Sri Mahaprabhuji's mahasamadhi memorial. Here the evening prayer and satsang were especially impressive and afterwards we gathered on the terrace roof for meditation. It was during my meditation that I had a unique experience. On a moonless night, a single star radiated such a bright beam of light that one could have read under its brilliance. Its light however, only touched the building of the ashram. Sceptics may smile at these words but I saw this with my own eyes.
Immediately after this trip I returned to Austria and on my arrival found the letter I’d been waiting for, granting the necessary degree to open a surgery clinic. I was acknowledged as a Specialist of Opthalmology!
My dearest wish – to carry out the holy order of Mahaprabhuji, to restore sight to thousands of blind – was granted to me on December 28, 1983 when I opened my own clinic. I have received numerous letters that are testimony to the Divine blessing presiding over my work. In each room of my home are pictures of Mahaprabhuji. Whenever a patient comes to me, I also tell them that those things in life which may appear to be impossible, can certainly be realized through the grace and mercy of Mahaprabhuji.
Once a lady came to me whose son had been blind from birth due to an incurable illness. I was aware that medicine knew of no way to help this disease and so advised her to pray for Mahaprabhuji's help. She did so with complete devotion and miraculously the child was cured and he could see.
This occurred not as a result of my treatment, but through Mahaprabhuji's grace. Everyone who has the fortune of receiving Mahaprabhuji's grace is saved.
On my visit to India in 1979, Paramhans Swami Madhavananda had blessed me with the words, "You will have a handsome son."
This came true on February 12, 1982, when our son Naresh was born. He was only one year old when he said his first words standing before Mahaprabhuji's picture: "Jay, jay!" meaning "Victory! Victory!"
Perhaps he was born into our family to praise Mahaprabhuji, for it is through this child we feel even more strongly connected to Mahaprabhuji. The blessing of devotion which influences us and our children is the compassionate gift from Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji. In all my prayers I ask Mahaprabhuji to be allowed to be his devotee in all future lives.
Dr. Naresh Sheetal
Postscript to the first English edition of Mahaprabhuji's biography,
titled, The Living Light (Jaipur, 1982), from the translator,
Deborah Palmer Schober, USA.
Firstly, I would like to say that I call myself "translator" in the absence of having a better expression, for actually I didn't translate anything, I only wrote and formulated. The real translator of The Living Light is Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, whom we call Swamiji. All that has come into being is due to his true-to-life and vivid verbal translation (perhaps into a less "living" written portrayal).
The project had been planned long before my husband and I discovered Swamiji at the Sri Deep Madhavananda Ashram in Vienna. We soon learned that Swamiji was searching for someone to write down a version of Mahaprabhuji's life so that his European disciples could come to know of Swamiji's spiritual lineage. Full of joy, I pledged my assistance and little by little this great project of the complete translation emerged.
So it happened that we found ourselves in India again, just one year after we had entered the friendly rooms of the Vienna Ashram. For three months we attended to the complete revision and translation from Hindi into English of the biography of Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji. It was Swamiji's opinion that I would be more receptive to the spirit of this book and the reports therein if I were to see the places of Mahaprabhuji's life and work. It was also our hope that we would get to spend more time with Swamiji in India, as in Vienna his time is increasingly taken up with many duties.
When we arrived in India it was the middle of winter and so the weather was quite pleasant, the nights cool and the days no warmer than 20°C. Mostly Swamiji and I sat under a tree in the garden of the ashram to directly translate from Mahaprabhuji's Hindi biography written by Holy Guruji, Swami Madhavananda.
My husband Georg typed the manuscript on the typewriter, in the course of which he developed great skill in sitting cross-legged on the floor, with the typewriter balanced in front of him on a wooden harmonium box. Swamiji and I monopolised the only two chairs in the ashram.
Spring came in February in the second month of our stay and we came to taste the less friendly side of the desert. The sun was hot and scorching and so we moved ourselves and our work to Swamiji's room, where we at least had the cover of a roof between us and the sun. I'm very grateful that I had this chance to stay in India and would like to give an account of all my impressions but this would surely fill another book. However, there are some I would like to share with you because I think they are important.
Among other ashrams, we visited Mahaprabhuji's ashram in Bari Khatu, where he spent most of his life. It's the most peaceful and quiet place that I've ever seen and there I could most clearly feel Mahaprabhuji's presence. I know that he's everywhere, but my mind is overloaded and distracted due to daily impressions and so I can't always feel him. Here in the desert, several kilometres from the nearest village, there are no streets, no electricity, no telephone — no distractions at all. The atmosphere and his presence is tangible and especially strong, which contributed to the deepest meditations I have ever experienced.
Another trip took us to the ashram of Mahaprabhuji's Guru, Sri Devpuriji. Here, clearly visible, are the signs of where the floor collapsed under the fierce gaze of Sri Devpuriji. A tree grows from the floor, which is now the roof. On this day we were invited to the village for a meal and when the message of Swamiji's arrival spread, people gathered in crowds to see him.
One of these people was the mother of the baby that Sri Devpuriji had brought back to life nearly half a century ago. On my request she told the story once more and Swamiji translated for me. I wish that all readers could share in hearing proof of this event reported in this book.
Another incident comes to mind of the time we rented a small bus to visit various villages, schools and ashrams in the country. On one part of the journey we had just driven onto a rutted, gravelled road when the bus suddenly stopped. It turned out that the driver had inexplicably forgotten to fill the tank, so there we were, stranded in the middle of the desert, almost at our wit's end.
For a while we pushed the bus, but our energy and enthusiasm rapidly drained in the heat of the sun. Eventually we reached a kind of crossroads and decided to wait there for someone to pass by. No-one came and so we pushed the bus some more but finally had to give up on a slight rise that was too steep for us.
At this stage I was beginning to get a little worried. We had no water and things were pretty uncomfortable.
I had the thought that we could sit there for days before we were rescued when suddenly there appeared from nowhere a tractor with a trailer full of Indian women in colourful saris who had been working in the fields. The tractor stopped and Swamiji walked towards it and then everyone broke out into smiles and gestures of greeting, for the driver was none other than the son of Laka Ramji, a devotee of Mahaprabhuji.
The son immediately tried to help us in the most touching way. He took some fuel from his tractor (which was no easy task as he lacked the proper tools) and filled our tank. About an hour later we continued on our way. Should I call this a miracle?
The journey to India was for me a journey into a completely new world, another reality which I could hardly grasp. I'm also of the opinion that there are great differences between Indians, Europeans and Americans so how is it that we can expect the teachings of an Indian Saint to be relevant for us who belong in a totally different culture? Before answering, one must look beneath the surface and dive deep into that level of experience which is beyond all such differences. This level really exists and sometimes we can even succeed in communicating this level of experience.
Today if you go to India and look for Mahaprabhuji you will not find him because he already left this world more than twenty years ago. If you cut your hair, put on an orange dress and call yourself a sannyasi, still you'll get no closer. If you become involved in the study of Hindu philosophy without guidance you are sure to lose the spirit of true desire which is required to lead you to that treasure chamber of Gurudeva's blessing.
As Mahaprabhuji himself said, "You can't find God in the Himalayas, nor in the books of scholars, but only in the hearts of man and it is there you must search."
I hope that this book helps to broaden your knowledge and inspires you to seek your True Self. Now that you know one of the most sacred incarnations of God from this account, I hope that you have been awakened inside, for He lives there and it is there you will find Him.
Mrs. Deborah Palmer Schober, Michigan, USA
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