Sannyasini Yogini Maiya



I was born at 9:37 PM on 8th July, 1950. My maternal grandmother used to go daily to Swami Kripalvandnji’s (Bapuji’s) ashram to help with the chores. When she went there on the 9th morning, she found Bapuji in a pleasant mood and told him so. “Why do you appear so pleased today?” she asked him. He replied, “Bhagvan Lakulishji has given me darshan at midnight last night and instructed me to start the yoga practice he taught me. What news of Suman?” Grandmother replied, “She has given birth to her second daughter at 9:37 last night”.  “That is my Asha. Name her Ashalata”. My birth planet was Capricorn so that name was appropriate.


My father decided to enrol me in school when I turned five years of age. But schools opened in June whereas I was born in July and thus had not turned fully five when schools opened. So I was admitted to the 1st standard in July as a result of proceedings started on an application moved by my father. I read in that school from the 1st to the 4th Class. After that I joined a Government school and studied there from the 5th Class up to matriculation.  I next applied for admission into a science college. The old history repeated here too for I was not yet fully sixteen years (the official admission date for admission to College) and I once again had to wait till July for a delayed admission into college.


I studied Zoology for two years at the College at Rajpipla with microbiology as my subsidiary subject and passed my B. Sc. exams I next appeared for an entrance test for admission in the Science College at Baroda and was admitted there with Embryology as my main subject and Physiology and Biology as my subsidiaries. I discontinued further studies here after one year of M. Sc.


In 1975, Bapuji and Rajarshi Muniji came to Rajpipla for a Dhyan shibir. I joined the Dhyan shibir. I used to do sadhana regularly. When the shibir was over, one of my professors asked Bapuji, “Since how many years have you been doing sadhana?” Bapuji was observing silence at that time, so, as was his practice, he wrote on a slate, “I have been doing sadhana for as many years as the age of my Asha,” and passed on the slate to Rajarshi Muniji. Muniji read what Bapuji had written and said, “This is not correct”. With a gesture, Bapuji inquired what the mistake was and Muniji replied that a yogi’s daughter was more properly named ‘Yogini’ than Asha.


Thereafter I never left doing sadhana. If I experienced any difficulty, I used to write to Rajarshi Muniji, and he would guide me. During this time, my younger brother got admission in the Homeopathy Medical College at Savli. He was not very much at home with the English language, and therefore failed in the first year. So my father asked me to go to Savli and teach him. I had crumpled up all my certificates and thrown them away, but fortunately my mother had picked them up, ironed them out and preserved them. When I told my father that I did not have my various certificates, my mother promptly produced them and that is how I came to gain admission in the same Homeopathy College at Savli as my brother.


In due course, both of us became doctors and started a hospital at Rajpipla. My elder sister and brother-in-law were gynaecologists and were running a hospital at Dhoraji. Later on my brother-in-law started a new hospital at Junagadh. He was advised by an astrologer that if he ran the hospital with a Capricornian then the hospital would run well. So he called me to Junagadh but I declined because our own hospital was still only 15 days into its existence. Eventually, however, my mother persuaded me to go and my brother too had no objection.


At Junagadh, there was an operation scheduled on the very first day. My brother-in-law asked me to call an assistant from Dhoraji to autoclave the instruments. I told him there was no need for it, since I knew how to do so. I finished the autoclaving of the instruments during the night, and assisted my brother-in-law in the operation the next day. I could handle the work because I had read up on the procedure during the night. Since I am ambidextrous, I had no difficulty in handling my part of the work quite nicely.


In this way, about 30 months passed at Junagadh. By this time, my sister’s new house in Junagadh was ready. So she came to Junagadh and I went back to Dhoraji. I practiced there for a little over 7 years. After that, I left the practice and we disposed of the hospital at Dhoraji. I returned to Rajpipla in time to join the Yoga diploma shibir in progress there, and passed at the first position in the class.


I had made many requests to Swami Rajarshi Muniji to initiate me into sannyas, but he said, “I am nobody’s Guru and I have no disciples. However, take your family’s permission and stay in the ashram, and I shall give you sannyas diksha when I think the time is right. You will have to wait for a long time”.


When Bapuji was to go to America, there was a function at Kayavarohan, and I was leading the singing of the dhun from the stage. Bapuji called me and asked if I was learning music. I informed him that I had successfully completed 3 years of music training. Bapuji next inquired if I was using a tanpura as accompaniment. I informed him that my father had procured a tanpura for me but I had sold it. Next Bapuji inquired if I was doing sadhana. I informed him that I was practicing regularly. When Bapuji inquired the duration of my daily sadhana, I replied that I was practicing for 8 hours. Bapuji cautioned me that such long sadhana hours would create difficulties for me since this is a very difficult practice, and advised that I may limit my sadhana to 3 hours daily. Of this, one hour was to be devoted to asanas, another hour to pranayam and the third hour to sadhana. I inquired that since I wanted to take Sannyas initiation, why should I limit the sadhana to only 3 hours? In response, Bapuji advised me to discontinue sadhana for the time being. I asked him what I should do if I found difficulty in my practice. Swami Rajarshi Muniji was sitting beside Bapuji so he put his hand on Muniji and said, “take guidance from Rajarshi and none else”.


When the diploma shibir was over, Muniji instructed me to take permission of my family and come to the ashram to receive initiation. I wrote to my people at home, as also to my sister and brother-in-law. My grandfather and sister and brother-in-law explained to my mother that the path of Sannyas is an exalted path and I should be allowed to go. My mother came to Borsad on Guru Poornima day and said to Muniji, “I entrust my daughter to you. She is no longer my daughter, but yours”. Muniji replied, “You are a mother and therefore she is your daughter first, and mine thereafter. You can meet her in the ashram but she will not return home now”. My mother asked Muniji not to give me saffron robes during her lifetime.


On Dusshehra day 1991, Swami Rajarshi Muniji initiated me into Sannyas. On 31st January, 1992, he gave me Yoga Initiation. Within 5 days of that, Khechri Mudra began to manifest in my sadhana. Since then I am regularly doing 10 hours daily sadhana of Khechri Mudra. If there is some other work of the ashram and I have to limit my sadhana, I make the necessary compromises, but still put in anything between 3 to 8 hours in my daily sadhana. I take one meal a day and a glass of milk in the morning and evening. I have received complete guidance from Muniji.


In 1996, Muniji started travelling for establishing the LIFE Mission Culture Centres. Initially for one month, I accompanied Muniji on his tours. After that he suggested that he and I undertake separate tours so that more work could be done. I inquired from Muniji that while I could establish the culture centres, how could I give Mantra Initiation, since I had not yet accomplished the yoni mudra. Muniji corrected my impression by advising that Khechri Mudra could not start without first accomplishing the yoni mudra, and since I was doing the sadhana of Khechri Mudra, it was to be understood that I had accomplished the Yoni Mudra too. Muniji went on to say that he authorized me to give Mantra Initiation since I was qualified to do so. Accordingly I have been travelling since the last 16 years for the establishment of LIFE Mission Culture Centres.