Profile of Asaram Bapu
Asaram Bapu was born Asumal Sirumalani in 1941 to a rich family in Sindh, which was then located in Pakistan. Even at a young age, he radiated a calm peace, which propelled soothsayers to predict that he would become a renowned yogi.
After partition, Asumal’s family relocated to Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Tragedy struck when he was just 10, with his father’s demise. Asumal gave up studies and started working in a shop. Asumal’s family wanted him to marry, as child weddings were the norm in those days. But, Asumal ran away and sought refuge in an ashram. His family traced him and Asumal then married Lakshmi Devi.
Search for Self-realization
In 1968, Asumal left home and traveled to many pilgrim spots. Near Nainital, he met his guru Leelashah Maharaj. With Leelashah’s guidance, Asumal attained enlightenment. He had overcome all sorrow and grief, now there was only bliss.
For seven years, Asaram meditated in solitude. When he began to give discourses, he attracted a large audience. Asaram returned to Ahmedabad and constructed a cottage near the Sabarmati river. At this ashram, he began to teach devotion, divine love, yoga and vedanta. Asaram has even traveled to a lot of foreign countries to spread his message of universal love.
Ashram life is very simple at Asaram’s hermitage. In the morning, the inhabitants practise prayer, meditation and yoga. Idol worship is not given importance. Rather, the study of scriptures such as the vedas, the Gita and Yoga Vasistha is encouraged. The food is spartan and simple. Social service is performed generously by helping the needy, teaching poor children and conducting camps for tribals. Asaram’s family supports him whole-heartedly.
The ashram is planning a home for destitute people. It also hosts a prayer hall, cow sheds and an ayurvedic clinic. There is a special temple of silence, where people can be locked in, but are served regular meals. Here, you can contemplate, meditate or do other constructive endeavors in total silence and solitude.
Asaram Bapu favors a happy, healthy and simple lifestyle. He says that we live for love and peace, not unhappiness and strife. Asaram teaches his audience to eliminate negativity in their life. He aims to create a new Indian society, free from the trammels of western glamor. India is a spiritual land, but we must not lose this essence, he says. Asaram advocates chanting the soothing mantra “Om Namah Bhagvate Vasudevaya”. Apart from discourses, his ashram helps calamity-stricken locales by distributing food and free medicines.