Swami Purushottamanandaji Maharaj, the renowned grand disciple
of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and disciple of Swami Brahmanandaji
arrived at this Vashishtha Gufa in 1928. Since then he had been performing
'tapas' (austerities) occupying this cave for more than 25 yrs. 'til a small
Kutia was made for him near the cave's entrance. Still he is the amazing
inspired Gurudevji to several brilliant yogis like Swami Bhumananda Puri,
and Swami Nirvedananda Puri. It was in 1955 that Swami Jnanananda Giri
came to this ashram at Vashishtha Gufa and was to spend much time there
among other young swamis receiving the discourses of Maharajji from the
"Yoga Vashishtha Maha Puran" and many blessings. These stories one has
heard and discussed again and again with Swamiji over the years.
When Swami Purushottamanandji Maharaj first arrived at the Gufa
it was actually all surrounded with tall trees and jungle! And even now
there are wonderful huge trees at the Gufa's entrance.
For over 30 years he occupied this cave up to his Mahasamadhi on
Feb.13, 1961~ It was Maha Shivratri.
that a lion used to come daily at sunset from across the river and sleep at the
entrance of the cave while Maharajji used to stay inside at the farthest end
of the cave. This went on for about a year and then the lion stopped coming.
In the words of Swami Jnananandaji, "The charm of this forest retreat
was due to it's natural setting. Living there was in itself an austerity. One
slept on the river sand that cushioned the floor of the large cave. Cooking
was done on a wood fire, in the open, with only a sheet of canvas overhead
to give shelter from the rain and wind. Every sadhu knows only too well
that the fires of divine aspiration burn brightest when life is simple,
independent, and in touch with nature..."
Maharishi Vashishtha is one of the Saptrishis ( 7 great sages ) a Brahm
Rishi and manasputra of Lord Brahma, the Sadguru of his time possessing
20 kala's,(divine arts) with perfect knowledge of the full cosmos and of God!
After the death of his 100 sons he, along with his wife Arundhati, came
down from his Gurukul at the banks of the river Beas to journey South and
passed this way by the Ganga banks to perform tapas ( austerities) for a few
The Gufa itself is situated over 20 kms. North of Rishikesh and 10 kms.
South of Byasi on the main road to Devprayag. The cave itself is said to have
been sealed only in the last few years, that it went on for several kms. and that
Siddhas (divine beings) have been coming here to do tapas in their subtle
bodies since thousands of years. It is one of my favorite places in the India,
there is such beauty and a wondrous powerful energy here!!
One has only to follow the small light at the end of this long dark cave,
and sit silently before the great Shivlingam and white image of Vashishthaji,
and in moments one is swept up and away in the ecstatic vibrations and most
mystical experience of That Inner Depth which is beyond words!! It is a Pure
Grace that lifts one out of oneself and into the soul presence of the Divine.
And even if once this has happened, it is never forgotten and the way here
has been mapped-out in the heart forever!
This is the Grace of a Realized Saint.
Swami Purushottamanandji Maharaj.
Just North of Vashishtha Gufa was this amazing sight
of great light flooding Heavenly Grace!