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Karma Yogi, Sri Mangilalji Maheshwari

MangilaljiMaheshwariIn the Nagaur district of Rajasthan, in the village of Harsor, there lived a scholar named Sri Mangilalji, of the rich merchant family of Maheshwaris. Sri Mangilalji was very learned, being versed in the eight main languages of India: Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali and Punjabi. He was also a humble and wise man and his life was governed by but one passion — to see God. With this object he travelled throughout India, making pilgrimages and seeking out sadhus and swamis.

Again and again he would pose to them the yearning questions of his heart, "Have you seen God? How can I find him?"

And according to the beliefs of the persons whom he asked, he received many different answers.

He was told to fast, to recite certain mantras, make sacrifices or perform fire ceremonies and practise specific yoga techniques to ensure enlightenment. A bewildering variety of methods were recommended to him, many being in flagrant contradiction of each other, but not a single one led Sri Mangilalji to that for which he longed so passionately.

Eventually his search was so unrewarding that a great depression settled on him and he became resigned to the idea that if God were so impossible to find, then he must not exist at all. From then on he rejected the teachings of all swamis, yogis and holy scriptures. Fortunately, due to his good karma, he ultimately met some devotees of Mahaprabhuji who told him about their Guru. Their words brought life again to the longing in his heart for God.

Filled with spiritual desire, Sri Mangilalji travelled to Bari Khatu and when his eyes met the loving glance of Mahaprabhuji, his inner Self began to open and a feeling of profound contentment and joy poured through him. So it is when a true seeker of God meets with a soul who is One with the Supreme. The inner awakening takes place as naturally as the sun spreads its warmth and light.

In this moment Sri Mangilalji felt that his longing had been fulfilled and with folded hands, he requested Mahaprabhuji, "Lord, be merciful and accept me as your disciple."

The merciful Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji spoke and showered upon the devoted disciple the nectar of Divine wisdom in which the Divine power himself manifests his omnipotence and Omnipresence.

Sri Mangilalji was filled with such inner happiness that he sincerely begged to be ordained as swami.

Mahaprabhuji looked at him full of grace.

"My dear son, for you it is not necessary to dye your clothes another colour in order to seek and serve God. I have already coloured your heart with an orange hue. Do you still insist on the external vestment or is the inner Self enough?"

"O Ocean of Mercy!" Sri Mangilalji replied. "Of course it's not the swami's robe that I desire, but the inner God-realization."

"Don't confuse the two," Mahaprabhuji said, "for they do not necessarily go together. To find your Self and realize your Oneness with God, you don't have to become a swami or leave home to go wandering the Himalayas. God is everywhere and holds out his kind hand to each who truthfully seeks him, be he yogi, swami or one who stands in worldly life."

Mahaprabhuji raised his right hand and laid it on Mangilalji's head. He went into deep samadhi and saw visions of all the holy incarnations, among them Krishna, Rama, Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed, as well as those God-realized souls such as Shankar­a­charya, Dattatraiya, Chetanya Mahaprabhu and all Omniscient and Omni­present ones. He saw all of them within Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji and Mahaprabhuji in all of them.

Mahaprabhuji then gave Mangilalji a mantra, beginning with the sacred "OM SO HAM."

He taught him a kriya technique, then dismissed him with these words.

"At a place where you will be alone and undisturbed, you shall perform your sadhana. At Shivbagh Ashram there is a meditation cave especially built for yogis to practise in. You can go there. Nothing belongs to you. Hold onto Truth and remember God."

Sri Mangilalji went and practised faithfully as his Master had told him. For the three months of the Indian winter he remained in the cave and with Gurudeva's blessing, during that time he attained the Divine state of self realization.

Here I am reminded of a wonderful Indian folk tale about a hungry fox who passed under a coconut tree. Lying on the ground was a coconut and its smell was so enticing that the fox wanted to eat it. He began to roll it around with his paws and bite at it, but the husk was too hard for him to break. The smell, on the other hand, was so sweet that he could not stop trying. He couldn’t eat the coconut, but neither could he leave it alone.

Self-realization is like that coconut. Our mind is as desirous as the fox, but the wish alone cannot bring the sweet taste of the fruit. To reach this goal, two things are absolutely necessary: the ever-strong longing and desire, and the help of a Divine Master like Sri Mahaprabhuji. To open the hard shell the aspirant requires a tool and this comes in the presence and blessing of the Master. Through his grace alone can the tough nut of ignorance be forced open.  Only then can the disciple enjoy the fruit of wisdom and God realization. He becomes One with God and stands beyond space and time, eternal, immortal and Omnipresent.

Sri Mangilalji was always in a state of happy serenity and peace of mind — he was one with his inner Self. He continued to make spiritual progress (for attaining one step does not mean that one cannot still climb higher) and within six months he had attained the highest state of Omniscience.

He attracted numerous devotees who were inspired by him, just like the lamp need not invite the gnats, for as soon as the lamp is lit, the gnats gather around by themselves. So are spiritual seekers drawn to the Enlightened, for merely to catch a glimpse of such a one brings peace to their hearts.

Sri Mangilalji's mind was as silent and clear as a deep well and he radiated perfect peace. He knew the minds and hearts of those who came to him and he understood the language of the animals and birds. The spirit of his communion with Mahaprabhuji was so deep that he could anticipate all Gurudeva's wishes. To explain this sudden and great transformation to his friends, Sri Mangilalji sang a bhajan:



I found the true Guru and he has removed my doubts,
Before I met him I heard many voices saying,
"Pilgrimages! Fasts! Fire ceremonies!"
But Gurudeva has shown me the essence of all,
He opened my inner door
And showed me God dwelling in my heart,
The flame dissolved in the flame.

The flower is in the fragrance
And the fragrance is in the flower,
He pervades the heart.

When all my doubts were gone,
all karma was banished,
The internal and eternal are One,
Only the external is many,
Mangilal declares that Satguru showed me
the ineffable Purusha.

This bhajan of accomplished poetry in Hindi, grasped the true believers and many could then imagine the spiritual heights to which Sri Mangilalji had risen. 

The Story of the Jealous Sadhus

Unfortunately in this world there exists much negative energy and even the highest and most gentle of souls cannot escape its attack. Wherever Sri Mangilalji went, people would gather about him to request satsang or to seek his advice. The number of his devotees grew, but at the same time, as happens through man's ignorance, there was an increasing group who were jealous and envious of his success.

It is true that they could do him no real harm, but they acted as despicably as they could, offering their humblest obeisance to his face but slandering him behind his back. Others bribed a group of crude and illiterate sadhus to go to Mangilalji as seekers and try to expose him with challenging questions.

As it happened, a group of these sadhus once approached Sri Mangilalji during a satsang and immediately began to fire all sorts of belligerent questions at him. Eagerly they tried their best to antagonise and discredit him.

Sri Mangilalji only patiently waited until they had run out of steam.

"Brothers, be welcome!" he said with kindness. "Sit down here with me and take something to eat and drink."

Disarmed by this peaceful reception, the sadhus sat down and Mangilalji continued.

"You are religious men and as such ought to set an example for the world by greeting all living beings with love and kindness. If we, as God's servants, don't show humility and goodness, then what will ordinary people do?"

His quiet and peaceful manner made such an impression on the sadhus that their hearts melted and they were greatly ashamed of their previous evil intentions.

"Great Mangilalji, please forgive us! We came in ignorance thinking you were just an imposter, but in just these few minutes you have taught us so much. We wish to extend our thanks to you and your parents who gave birth to such a wise son. We also offer our humble respects to your Divine Master who has imparted to you such wisdom and patience. Dear sir, tell us what we now ought to do!"

In answer, Sri Mangilalji sang a bhajan:


Spiritual brothers, you must not procrastinate!
Turn your concentration to meditation,

The twenty-five workmen[1] demolish the barriers of doubts
And construct a roadway there,
The day is nearly done, so don't lose time!
Discipline is your coach, concentration your horse,
It is a long journey, urge your horse on!
Many rivers must be crossed along the way
But do not hesitate or be troubled in your mind,
Go along!

Mangilal says:
This is the only way you will reach that place,
Any other course will bring you great suffering,
Don't wait! Wake up and work for this!

All were deeply stirred by this spontaneous song.

Many of Mahaprabhuji's disciples were excellent poets and musicians. Religious songs are still very much used as a means of expression in India and an artist in this field is highly appreciated.

That envious group of men who had sent the sadhus to expose Mangilalji, watched all this from a short distance and seeing the turn of events became enraged.

"There is something strange about this!" they thought. "This swami has either hypnotised them or brandished magic formulas!"

Sri Mangilalji, aware of their thoughts, began to sing another song, this one intended for their ears:



I don't need hypnotic powers, O worldly men,
Why do you persist in doubt?
I only spoke true words,
I only gave them the epitome of truth,
Who will understand this?
Do I not know that hypnosis and magic are worthless?
How should I lie in wait to ensnare them?
I depend on nothing but the name of God,
Which I give to real devotees who come to me,
I teach Sat Sanatan Dharma.

I am telling you about liberation,
These words are swallowed by the Hansa,
Through true knowledge the mind becomes pure,
His concentration is aimed only towards God,
The goose becomes a swan flying to heaven,
The sound of Mahavakyas makes the worried happy
And frees the suffering from his pains.

I spoke to you with great softness,
With Bhakti and love of the truth,
Sri Mangilal says: A herald of the truth am I. 

Then the jealous ones realized that they had been unjust and felt ashamed of their wretched attempts to humble this wise and holy man.

Misdirected Asceticism

There are endless variations on the theme of ignorance. Undoubtedly it is true that we all want to find happiness but often we come up with the most peculiar and misguided ways imaginable to search for it.

Once some ascetics came to Mangilalji and were stating their method for attaining happiness.

"Except for cow's milk we take no food. We sleep with our heads down, suspended from a bar or tree branch. We have no attachment to family and are always in a state of bliss."

These ascetics gave no impression of being blissful so Mangilalji told them, "My brothers, without the guidance of a realized Master you will remain entangled in this ignorance. What you are doing is absurd! Liberation, true bliss, can only be achieved through the realization of the Divine."

Still the ascetics held to the validity of their view and a discussion took place which went back and forth.

Finally, Mangilalji sang them a bhajan:


It's not necessary to leave home,
Renounce your family and wear certain kinds of clothes,
It means nothing to torture the body by deprivation or
peculiar postures.

If you persist and go to extremes,
You may even die
And then you have wasted the precious chance to learn
in this lifetime.

There is no attainment of peace
Without Self knowledge,
And there is no Knowledge without the help of the Satguru.

After all their resistance, Sri Mangilalji gradually won the hearts of the ascetic sadhus and they became close friends. Abandoning their futile methods, they instead followed the initiation of Mangilalji and began to meditate. 

Addiction to Divine Love

Because of a few unfortunate examples, some people believe that yogis and swamis smoke hashish and take drugs. In reality, the ideals of yoga philosophy are absolutely contrary to this. Drugs are destructive of both body and mind and as such are inconsistent with the efforts undertaken by swamis and yogis to clean, purify and unfold consciousness. Drugs also create addiction, whereas the aim of yoga is freedom — liberation.

Once a group of misguided ones were talking with Sri Mangilalji and tried to convince him that he should meditate under the influence of these substances. They assured him that it would be a wonderful experience and that he would gain all kind of new insights.

Mangilalji only replied with a bhajan:


O brothers, became intoxicated with the Lord's name,
Why smoke marijuana and hashish, cocaine and opium
And weaken the body?
Why do you undergo so much suffering?
You will free yourself from this addiction with difficulty.

Intoxication of love is forever blissful,
It remains uniform always.

Concentrate your mind on God,
This will purify you from bad karmas.

I found my Gurudev, Mahaprabhu Deep Hari,
Who taught me this art of getting intoxicated,
Mangilal says: He has awakened Divine love in my heart.

In replay to a man who requested from Sri Mangilalji a loan of a thousand rupees, he also answered spontaneously with a bhajan


To earn money, go to the bazaar,
But if you long for liberation then you should knock
at the door of the Guru.

Everyone gets what he deserves,
Distinction between the ephemeral and the eternal,
You will gain through Satsang,
A vision of the Highest Truth, only by the grace
of the Guru,
The soul bursts into bloom when it reaches the
Divine home,
Through Hari it realizes Brahman,
God Realization fills it with love.

The study of the Vedas only imparts limited knowledge
But meeting with a Yogi destroys the ephemeral,
With the beginning you reach middle and end,
Through a Saint you find the essence of life,
The essence of life leads you to Divine Truth.

By finding Gurudeva you find the key,
Finding the key you will find the lock,
Finding the lock you will find the treasure,
Finding the treasure you will find the diamond,
Finding the diamond you will find the light,
Finding the light you will find the flame,
Finding the flame you will obtain power
Obtaining power you will obtain fearlessness,
Obtaining fearlessness you will reach your aim,
Reaching your aim you will experience the indescribable,
Experiencing the indescribable the brightness will appear to you,
With the appearing of the brightness your eyes will be opened,
By opening your eyes you will find the heart,
Finding the heart you will attain gentleness,
Attaining gentleness you will gain Ananda,
Gaining Ananda the Lotus will open,
By opening the Lotus there will open Mana and Buddhi,
By opening Mana and Buddhi you will gain knowledge,
Gaining knowledge you will realize the limitless,
Realizing the limitless you will recognize the principle,
Recognizing the principle, knower and knowledge will unite,
When knower and knowledge are united then you are in meditation,
Being in meditation great knowledge will be revealed to you,
Realizing great knowledge, science will be revealed to you,
Realizing science you will recognize the essence,
Recognizing the essence you will attain clarity,
Attaining clarity you will win love,
Winning love you will experience the Name,
Experiencing the Name you will recognize the form,
Recognizing the form you will recognize the formless,
Recognizing the formless you will recognize the manifestation,
Recognizing the manifestation you will recognize the source,
Recognizing the source you will attain Ananda,
Attaining Ananda you will attain Paramananda,
Attaining Paramananda you will receive Prasad,
Receiving Prasad you will reach the endlessness.

If you find God's devotee you will free yourself from all arguments,
By freeing yourself from all arguments you will find the essence,
Finding the essence the Hansa will awaken in you,
By awakening the Hansa you will find the pearls,
Finding the pearls you will attain liberation,
Attaining liberation you will come to the end,
Coming to the end you will gain Ananda,
Gaining Ananda you will find the moon,
Gaining the moon you will find the light,
Finding the light you will find the flame,
Finding the flame you will find the pearl-shell,
Finding the pearl-shell you will find the ruby,
Finding the ruby you will find Brahman,
Finding Brahman you will gain Ananda,
Gaining Ananda you will widen your vision,
By widening your vision, creation will be revealed to you,
By recognizing creation a rain of bliss will flow over you,
By the flow of bliss you will find the eight (i.e. the Chakras),
Finding the eight you will gain Divine Consciousness,
Gaining Divine Consciousness you will find Deep,
Finding Deep you will get liberation.

Mangilal says:
By meeting the liberator you will find the right technique,
Finding the right technique you will find all,
And the seeker will unite with Brahman. 

Once Sri Mangilalji was asked why bhakti was so difficult to achieve and he answered in a poem that bhakti was possible only for one who has gained control over the mind and thrown off the ego. This is very difficult, as sensual objects and sensual pleasures are everywhere to distract the mind and lead it astray. But by the grace of the merciful Sri Maha­prabhuji, nothing stands in the way of obtaining true bhakti.

A great number of wonderful bhajans have been transmitted by Sri Mangilalji. Their themes are self realization, God-realization and yoga and they praise the grace and mercy of Gurudeva Sri Mahaprabhuji. They have been collected in the book Sri Mangilal Bhajan Mala, which as yet has been published only in Hindi.

A Light in the Darkness

Now I shall tell about the end of Sri Mangilalji's life. He announced the hour of his departure one year in advance. A month before his samadhi he invited Mahaprabhuji to his village, Harsor, where they celebrated joyful satsangs together with many other happy devotees. One week before he left, the devotees gathered to sing bhajans and kirtans without interruption day and night.

The day on which he departed from this world, Sri Mangilalji practised his meditation and morning prayers as usual, then with folded hands took leave from all his family, friends and devotees. He only wished them a temporary farewell as he knew they would meet in the spiritual world of Gurudeva.

Then, bowing before Mahaprabhuji, he spoke.

"Mahaprabhuji, by Thy grace all my wishes have been fulfilled, but still one remains. You are the Light of the universe, the Almighty, merciful Master, the Ocean of Grace and liberator from all harm. In this dark age you have appeared to help and rescue us, but people are deluded by maya and do not recognise you. Because of this they are deprived of the blessing your existence brings to them, their suffering is so great! Lord, your name is Omnipotent and contains unlimited bliss, peace, glory and power. Your name Itself is the holy bija-mantra[2].

"My wish is this: To be reborn in this world so that I may bring people the gift of your holy name. Learning to worship your name they can achieve blissful happiness, in this world and the world beyond. In their ignorance many of your disciples see worldly pleasures as the highest goal in life and because of this they will be reborn in the West. Some already live there and others still will follow. If you grant me this wish, then I will spread your light to the whole world! This is the grace which I request of you."

"May it be as you wish," Mahaprabhuji replied, full of love. "Your soul has become one with the Supreme. Whoever unites with God becomes Shiva, the Highest Self. Your wish will be fulfilled in your next life and I will be with you then also."

After Mahaprabhuji had granted this promise, Sri Mangilalji bowed his head at Gurudeva's feet and Mahaprabhuji laid his hands upon Sri Mangilalji's head in blessing. Sri Mangilalji sang OM, whereupon the breath of life left his mortal frame through Brahma-Randhra and he became one with the Divine.

This occurred at ten o'clock in the morning and at exactly that time in Bola Guda (more than 200 kilometres away), Ram Singhji was standing in front of the ashram when he was surprised to suddenly see Sri Mangilalji beside him.

"How is it that you are here?" he asked, astonished. "I was led to believe that you would depart from this world today, at your home in Harsor. In fact, Sri Swami Shankar Puriji has gone there to be with you and I also wanted to go but my duty has kept me here."

"It doesn't matter," Sri Mangilalji replied with a serene smile. "In this world of maya, truth and untruth often flow together. Come, let us go into our ashram."

Sri Mangilalji pointed at the meditation cave.

"In this place I attained Self-realization and here my beloved Gurudeva also sat. This place is very dear to my heart and I request that when I leave this world a monument be placed here in my memory."

They talked on but then Ram Singhji excused himself.

"Please forgive me, but I must settle something important. I'll be back in a few minutes and then we can talk some more."

He began to walk away and after some metres turned to look back at Mangilalji but saw his form dissolve into light. Ram Singhji thought he had hallucinated this vision and for some time even looked around for Sri Mangilalji but could find no trace of him.

A day later Ram Singhji received a telegram in which he was informed of Sri Mangilalji's departure from the world at ten o'clock the previous day. He then realized that he had been witness to a miracle that Sri Mangilalji had accomplished through his spiritual power and for this Ram Singhji felt richly blessed.

Sri Mangilalji's life is a golden example for all those who live as householders with family and business responsibilities, that they too can attain the highest spiritual heights, generally thought possible only for renunciates.



[1]The twenty-five workmen include the following: the five tattvas, or elements (earth, water, fire, air and space), the five pranas, or energies (pran, apan, saman, vyan and udan), the five karma indriyas, or functions of action (mouth, hands, feet, sexual and anal organs), the five gyana indriyas, or senses of perception (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin): the four antah­karanas, or psychic functions (mind, intellect, consciousness and ego) and viveka, the power of distinction between reality and unreality.

[2]bija = "seed", bija mantra = essence of all mantras



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