O P Sharma
This 272-pages book in English entitled : “Autobiography of a Bhogi-A Life with Babaji” is a charming narrative by Raghuvir Charan Chaudhary, a Dutch man whose real name is Albert Claude Boll, who had “unique spiritual experience” of living in the renowned Babaji’s Ashram at Herakhan, Uttrakhand in India. This main ashram is situated in the serene and spiritual location at Herakhan Vishwa Maha Dham in Uttrakhand, which is considered sacred place of Divine Light by lakhs of devotees both within the country and abroad. There is presently a wide network of Babaji’s Ashrams across the globe devoted to spread the immortal spiritual message worldwide.
The author of this book has shared his spiritual journey in Babaji’s Ashram during the brief period from 1981 until His Samadhi in 1984 and wrote this book just after 37 years. This is graphic account of his life in the Ashram and the inner thoughts of the Divine Babaji depicted in this book make inspiring, informative and interesting reading. Raghuvir Charan Choudhary was one the close devotees, who often accompanied Babaji during his frequent visits to numerous holy places or to meet the devotees. He has vividly drawn the picture of spiritual message and tried to fathom and describe the inner-most faith of the devotees. He himself had opportunity of being under full command of Babaji and earned bountiful inspiration and blessings.
Interestingly, the title of the book has similarity to another very famous and valuable book: ” Autobiography of a Yogi” authored by Paramhansa Yogananda. But there is more to it than meets the eye. The writer of the under review book, Raghuvir Charan Chaudhary is quite clear that while a yogi’s are focused on the Divine inside themselves, and follow path of spiritual practices, avoiding all distractions, seeking inner silence while as a ” bhogi” is concerned with the external side of life and in particular the joys of that life. Putting himself in the latter category, Raghuvir Charan Chaudhary claims to have sense of gratification through beauty, food and drink, sex and all that; one may perceive as pleasures in life. Undoubtedly, later this foreign disciple-devotee has acquired an “intimate touch of spirituality”. The writer expressed and opined about Babaji that whatever he learned and experienced about Him and being with Him from 1981 till the Samadhi of the Babaji in 1984 is ” prize possession”.
The author has made an interesting mention of a visit of film-star, Shammi Kapoor of Bollywood, Mumbai to the Ashram when thousands of people from Haldwani flocked to Havan kund and witnessed marriage of Aditya and Preeti of Kapoor family whom Babaji blessed . This story has added interesting feature in this book. There has been adequate sidelights on daily routine of sadhana, kirtan, Babaji’s darshan to devotees and other spiritual pursuits,
The writer narrates the stories connected with Babaji, some of which are funny, few very interesting and others convey his teachings but mainly it was purely simple practices and super-natural deeds in Babaji’s life-time which form the real message of this highly spiritual saint for the mankind. His message is ” We are One” and often said ” I am in You”. He effectively preached his eternal message through “sadhna and rare deeds” and supreme divinity. His followers rose to millions across the globe with deep imprints on devotees. It may be mentioned that many other disciples and devotees of Babaji have also penned their sublime experiences and acts of faiths in their books and enlightened the readers. Overall, there is managing committee called ” the Haiduyakhandi Samaj” which manages the proud legacy of Babaji.
Babaji’s slogan is truth, simplicity and love. Karma Yoga is one of main teachings for humanity. Note the essence of his message: ” Everyone must engage in some sort of activity in this material world. But actions can either bind one to this world or liberate one from it. By acting for the pleasure of the Supreme without selfish motives, one can be liberated from Karma.”
Yet another of his teaching is aptly put as follows: “Man’s mind is very fast, faster than the wind. By doing work while repeating God’s name, your mind becomes cleansed of thorns and useless, negative thoughts cannot enter. To uplift the man, for the progress of the whole humanity, karma is a great sadhana . All of you, therefore, should continue to make progress through karma.” This is hard fact of life and beyond eternity.
This particular book is a decent production which is printed finely on a quality paper by the Thompson Press, Delhi in India this year and added to the literature on the life and spiritual message of Babaji . It is a true personal narration of a foreign devotee whose life-style was significantly transformed and spiritually uplifted. His unique experiences will certainly benefit millions of others. A number of rare photographs further add to the merit of this finely printed book. For the convenience of readers, glossary of Hindustani words has been explained in English. Going through it is itself an illuminating and uplifting learning experience. Such a book, reflecting the spiritual wealth of our ancient nation must be read by one and all of us.
Starline Syndicate Service