I established my yoga academy in 93 on Shiva Ratri day. We had it registered officially and on every Shiva Ratri my disciples were coming from everywhere and we were celebrating it. We were fasting and doing puja and practicing 1000 pranayams. In 1998 I came to know that this is called Shiva Ratri which means the night of Shiva so we should keep awake all night and do something to Shiva. So I called five priests from my hometown and in this room I had this big Shiva Ling. So we did abhisek the whole night. Many disciples were gathered and continuous abhisek was going on. Abhisek is the pouring of the milk continuously uninterrupted and the priests were chanting mantras. Then exactly around midnight I heard a very deep surrounding voice: “Go to red Samadhi,” it was painted red then, “and do a ritual to purify the land” (that is called bhoomi puja). So I took two priests with me. I went there. It was very horrible looking. It was so fearsome that nobody was going there even in the daytime. So I went there about 12. Pandits were afraid but I forced them to do puja there and we came back after 20 minutes. Then in the morning, when we were doing the final thing, I again heard the same voice and that place appeared in my vision. The voice said: “I am waiting for you very long time. Now I want to live with you. Send somebody and have me picked up and I will remain with you.” So I immediately declared that they should search there. I told them the place: “Search and you will find a Shiva Lingam,” so they searched that day, the next day after Shiva Ratri, but they couldn’t find. But the next day – it was about 10:30 in the morning – it was found by two of my disciples. They brought it here. We weighed it – it was 39 kilos in weight – and we cleaned it. My sister took it up in my bedroom.

I had no money for repairs then suddenly some money came. We had that Samadhi repaired and I think on 26th of June we installed it there exactly where the king was cremated more than 100 years back.

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When I found the

lingam, I didn’t know how to do puja because I had never done puja in my life. I am a lazy man in that. I just gave the responsibility to Mahatmaji and I was going to the temple only once to do my ‘pranam’.

But he fell sick, having very high fever and everybody who was going inside the temple and touching it would get very high fever. They would start vomiting also.

Then after the two weeks I heard the same voice again: “I have come only for you; go to Pashupatinath and learn how to worship from the old priest there”.

I immediately went there and he told me how to do it. First thing he told me was to wear red. I was associating that color with tantra. I said: ‘Why?’, and he gave me a beautiful reason. He said: ‘When a Hindu girl is getting married according to the religion she is getting ‘parmeshwar’ in the form of the husband. She is considered fortunate and she has to wear red to show that. And you have found Shiva Ling, a natural stone. It is considered as if you have found ‘parmeshwar,’ you are fortunate – so wear red”. And he outlined the details of the puja. I came back and the old man died after two-three months. And so the king also. It was in ’98 and from the Diwali day I began to worship in the proper way.

The President of the Iskcon Temple was surprised – he could not believe that I have found a natural Shiva Lingam and I have installed it exactly on the cremation spot of the king. He told me that whoever will put a Shiva Lingam on the cremation spot will die within 24 hours.

One of my dogs died at the same time when we were installing the Shiva Lingam.

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I was feeling very odd in the beginning to wear red but now I like it. I think the color suits me also at the time of puja, I look good in that.

I was associating the red cloth with Tantra but it is associated with seeing God and being more fortunate than others. You see many people who think they are spiritual wear white. But the widows in India also wear white. Those who have lost their husbands. That means God has gone away from their life. So we like to look like married girls wearing red.

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For the first time in the history of this area – the holy place of worship of Vishnu or Krishna – the natural Shiva Lingam has been found on this holy mountain. So it might be the beginning of a great change in future. I can see lot of change starting here.

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There is a traditional story that some time a Shiva Ling will be found and will be installed on a Shmashan on a chitah – the exact spot where cremation takes place.

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And also there is another rumor circulating around among the villagers. It gives me a big ego boost of course. It is connected with the Govardhan Hill: by the curse of one Rishi it was going down underground one millimeter a day. And it was believed that when a king would die and would be cremated in Govardhan in his next incarnation he will come as a yogi and he will find a natural Shiva Lingam, he will install that on his own cremation spot and will worship it. Then the going down will stop. So it has stopped.

But it gives my ego a very big boost that I may have been a king in my previous life.

There is a big oil painting of the King Jaswant Singh and they say that my looks somehow resemble him. But he had a beard and moustache.

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It is believed in India that natural Shiva Lings form where Shiva appears in person. That is the only criterion – if you find a Shiva Ling, then Shiva was here…

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Some stones are worshipped because they are a part of the Govardhan place. You just put a stone and put some red colour on it and it becomes either Hanuman or Bhairav or anyone. All India recognises that. Anyone can do it – for asking for money it is very simple.

But natural Shiva Lingams are very rarely found.

Actually the word ‘ling’ has created a mystery that it is a fallic symbol. But if you go by the grammar, it is of female gender. And Shiva Lingam is not a male, not a female, not a eunuch. It is beyond these three. The symbol of Shiva.

And another point here is that your immortal substance inside is also called Shiva. So it also represents your inner immortal substance.

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Q: Guruji, I have one Shiva Ling. What do you suggest, is it a good idea to install it, can I put worship everyday?

Sh: Well, I will say if you install it you will have to look after it – better not to do it. It is a very strict discipline. So don’t do it.

Q: But you may give me proper instructions.

Sh: Even if you make it holy you will have to live near it all the time. If you go here and there who will look after that? It is not a joke, it is not a play. It is a very serious thing. It can break a person very easily. If you have installed a Shiva Lingam and there is a mistake in your puja immediately you will have that effect so it is better not to go into it.

Q: Sometimes they make collections of Shiva Lingams from different places.

Sh: It is not suggested that you should keep more than one Shiva Lingam at a place. Their energy will clash and you will face so many different problems.

Q: I saw in Varanasi lots of Shiva Lings standing close to each other.

Sh: So that is why Varanasi has a lot of problems, it is a crazy city. So it is not suggested. In Orissa in Bhuvaneswar there are 99,999 Shiva Lings and it is the most poor state in India always facing a lot of natural problems or famine, no crop is coming. No business, nothing. It is the worst state in India because there are 99,999 Shiva Lings — that’s all.

If you can worship it as it should be done – install it. Only for worship, not as a showpiece. In the beginning I was not knowing all these things but when I found this Shiva Ling I had to learn the way what to do and what not to do.

And also in Rajasthan you see the reverse case: there is only one Shiva Ling in a certain area. For miles there is no other temple and it is the most prosperous area I have ever seen. The land of kings, palaces everywhere. Everybody in that locality is a billionaire. One ling can change so much. More than one – you can see how much poor you can become.

Too much of puja is bad. First you learn thoroughly how it should be done, then do it. But never think that you can do it according to your will and it will give you good results. Every deity has a very different specific way of worship and you have to follow that.

Britishers were ruling India once upon a time and for their museums they took so many deities and so many things from temples and they were just put to display in museums. What happened to Britishers — their empire is lost. There were times when sun was not setting in their empire, now it is setting every day. So these are very dangerous things.

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Maybe Shiva has been looking at me from the very beginning. He is also our family deity. I mean he has been worshipped in our family for generations. Nobody did any ceremony in my family. My family belongs to the warrior type of family. Most of them were army officers and we were small time kings once. And we were defeated by the British, so our kingdom was lost. That is another story.

* * *

My family’s god is Shiva. There are many people whose family’s god is Bhairav, some has Shakti as their family goddess, some has Vishnu as their family god. So in India it is like that.

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Q: Guruji, is it so that everyone after attaining Samadhi will have to do pujas or it is not required?

Sh: No, it is not required. But if some God starts communicating — then only he or she will have to go through them.

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Q: So, is this your way of communicating with God?

Sh: He is communicating. He started it. I heard a voice saying where to find that thing (Shiva Ling). Then I again I heard the voice directing me to go to Pashupathinath and learned from there. He is communicating. And I am very happy to say that when I was going through problems my God appeared and stood by me to help me out. That gives a great confidence.

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The most of the yogis are after their immortal soul. It is God’s worry if he wants to appear in front of me or not, it is his decision. And usually God appears.

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I think we have to enlarge our consciousness and rise beyond different gods and different ways to worship them. We should realize the immortal substances inside us. And every god is after that. Use your own immortality which is inside you. Be friendly with it.

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Shiva is the first Guru of Yoga. So worshiping Shiva in a way is like serving your Guru.

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All gods want many, many devotees so they will feel like gods. Yogis will never be devotees — except Shiva because he is the first guru and most of the yogis are devoted only to their gurus. Gods are incidental to them.

If you feel like being devoted to something or somebody you will be devoted — but in religion first you are told to fear hell, and then they show a way out. So that devotion takes birth out of fear of hell or Satan, it may not be a true devotion.

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Q: Some people practice Kriya and shivaism at the same time – does it make them closer to Shiva?

Sh: A devotee will always remain a devotee and a disciple will always be closer. And whoever are official shivaits — it is not yoga, it is just a way of worshiping Shiva from another angle.

Q: When you started seeking your path was Shiva the main focus?

Sh: Only Yoga. And only Kriya yoga. Those who are coming to me somehow can relate with Shiva easily, I am not teaching shivaism at all, I am just doing what I am doing. But because the first guru is Shiva of yoga, naturally it is connected.

* * *

And I have been asked some silly questions. One American asked me: “If you have reached realization, why do you need to worship Shiva? Why do you always bow down to Shiva and to Babaji?”

I simply told him: “To keep my ego disciplined and humble”.

By doing this daily you know that there is somebody much higher than you.

* * *

I learnt this puja because Shiva is supposed to be the first guru of yoga. He is the giver of yoga to the humanity so in a way I am serving the guru also. Also there is a different point that when you are worshipping the first guru, your ego remains in balance and that is very important otherwise with practice like kriya yoga it is very easy to become full of ego that I am great, I am god myself. But when you are following this discipline ego remains under control. You are humble.

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I think for a Guru discipline is required more than a disciple. Because ego is a very simple thing and it can create so many problems if you are not disciplined then. A Guru needs to be more disciplined.

When you are worshipping a god and your Guru, you are going down to them. You are always aware there are higher powers looking at you.

When so many people are coming to see you and they are ready to serve you, it is very easy to think that you are almighty and you are the greatest of humans. It is a duty for a Guru to observe more spirit discipline than a disciple. Then everything goes in normal.

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Q: Does Shiva develop further and further as a yogi?

Sh: I am sure because he is always portrayed as sitting in Samadhi doing something. You never see Shiva relaxing or taking it easy, he is always in padmasan, always in siddhasan, always in samadhi.

Somebody asked me: “We see Shiva all the time mediating on something, what is he meditating on?” and I simply answered: “He is just thinking about people who are thinking of him”. That is reciprocal. The more people will think about Shiva the more he will in return think about them, so that’s why he is eternally in meditation, in samadhi.