Tat Wale Baba
It was March 30, 1969. I was at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram, attending a course to become a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program. The ashram was located on a hill overlooking the Ganges, just about a kilometer below the retreat of Tat Wale Baba. News quickly spread that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had invited "the wise man of the mountains," Tat Wale Baba, to come visit us that afternoon.
By mid-afternoon several ochre-robed men made their way toward the lecture hall. Along with them was Tat Wale Baba, a muscular golden-brown-skinned Adonis. Also walking along with them were Maharishi’s course participants. Tat Wale Baba's features were much like that of an American Indian. He was naked except for an ochre loin cloth which was held around his waist with a brass chain. His black braided hair flowed down his back and was so long that, were it not carried by an attendant, it would have trailed along the ground. He exuded a radiant aura as he took a majestic cross-legged position on a small platform that was covered with a deerskin.
Maharishi and the others took their seats and we all waited anxiously to hear Sri Tat Wale Baba speak. Tat Wale Baba began his discourse in unstrained, forceful Hindi, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi translated.As he spoke I saw a dynamic, youthful man who appeared no older than in his mid-thirties, yet he was said to be about 120 years old. The exact date of Tat Wale Baba's birth is not known.
Tat Wale Baba was born of spiritual parents who were middle-class farmers in Punjab, India. Tat Wale Baba received little formal education, spending most of his early childhood assisting his parents with farm work. At about the age of eight or nine years Tat Wale Baba's innate spiritual nature led him to begin meditating. This he did ardently whenever time permitted between chores. As he grew into his teenage years Tat Wale Baba took on a mesomorphic stature. Because of his physical prowess his friends encouraged him to join the Army, which he did. He did not like military life. Sri Tat Wale Baba at age 75
Therefore, after just two months of military service he left and sought the reclusive, sadhu life-style for himself. His search for a guru to guide him was fulfilled when he met Sri Jagannath Dasji at Ayodhya. This guru named him Sri Mahavir Dash Ji. However, later, when Tat Wale Baba started wearing jute people called him Tat Wale, meaning "one who wears jute." The sobriquet stuck.Tat Wale Baba lived at the ashram with his guru for about three months during which time he was initiated into Raja Yoga. He then left in search of a reclusive retreat for himself. He was intutively led to Manikut mountain where he came upon an old, emaciated man with very long gata (hair) living in a secluded cave.
Tat Wale Baba approached the man and was invited to sit and talk. At the conclusion of their talk the old man left saying that his time was finished, and that he was going to the Himalayas to take mahasamadhi. He left the cave for Tat Wale Baba to occupy. The cave was conveniently located near a fresh water spring. Tat Wale Baba lived off kandamulo leaves and roots, and fruits he found in the ambient forest.
He preferred spending time in long meditations instead of doing asanas. His schedule of meditating was from 2:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. From 10:00 a.m. until noon he would eat and rest. Then, from noon until 4:00 p.m. he would again meditate. He would exercise for about two hours, until 6:00 p.m. For exercise he usually took long walks of about ten kilometers, collected firewood, and worked hard at expanding the dimensions of his cave.
People coming into the forest to gather leaves and sticks for sale in Rishikesh occasionally spotted Tat Wale Baba emerging from his retreat. Word soon spread that a yogi was taking long periods of silence in a cave. As a result, pilgrims began to come by the hundreds to try to visit Tat Wale Baba. Because of the demand for his time he altered his schedule to include some visitor time.
Tat Wale Baba had a cobra for a pet. He regularly fed it milk from a cup. The cobra liked to stay in the cave where Tat Wale Baba meditated. Tat Wale Baba is said to have contacted the King of the Cobras and asked that no cobra harm any of the people passing through the nearby jungle foothills. It is said that there have been no accounts of people being bitten by cobras in the area since then.
Tat Wale Baba was credited with performing miracles. There were three couples that could not bear children. Each couple came to see Tat Wale Baba, and from his blessings each had a child born to them. He also gave pilgrims darshan, performed healings, and gave spiritual guidance.
Further, Tat Wale Baba predicted his own death. He said that he would be shot to death. He said that a rogue, who was very jealous of him, and living nearby in the forest, would sneak up and shoot him in the back. He told this to his closest disciple on June 22, 1971, several years before he took his mahasamadhi. Also, just two days before he was shot, Tat Wale Baba reminded his disciple of this prediction. On December 2, 1974, as he went to take his bath at 4:00 a.m., Sri Tat Wale Baba was murdered by a crazy gunman. He was killed by a man operating a small ashram near Tat Wale Baba’s cave.
No known records exist of Tat Wale Baba’s age. However, a man who was a classmate of Tat Wale Baba's in elementary school, and who had seen Tat Wale Baba later in life, commented that Tat Wale Baba had stopped aging when he was about thirty-five years old. By assuming that Tat Wale Baba was of equal age as this classmate, Tat Wale Baba's year of birth was about 1890. That would place Tat Wale Baba's age at about eighty-five years when he was killed.
Had he not been killed perhaps he would have lived to his rumored age of 120.What gave Tat Wale Baba his youthfulness and stopped his aging at mid-life? Perhaps research done on long-term meditators provides a hint. According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience 16 (1): 5358, 1982, the longer people had been meditating the lower their biological age became as compared with their chronological age (as measured by blood pressure, and visual and auditory performance).
Sri Tat Wale Baba - at age 85
(This Chapter was excerpted from the free online photo biography about Sri Tat Wale Baba. To read the complete story about one of Indian’s greatest yogis please visit Tat Wale Baba.)
Note: Swami Shankardasji is the caretaker of the Tat Wale Baba ashram.
He asks that if anyone has a voice recording of Tat Wale Baba to kindly mail him a copy:
Sri Tat Wale Baba Ashram
Bhut Nath Gufa
Rishikesh 249302 (U.P.)
Website Content © 2004 by Vincent J. Daczynski.
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As a group, long-term meditators who had been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for more than 5 years were physiologically 12 years younger than their chronological age. Short-term Transcendental Meditators were physiologically 5 years younger than their chronological age. The study controlled for the effects of diet and exercise. Another study, which researched elderly meditators, was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57(6): 950-964, (1989). It reported that people in their eighties showed a marked improvement rather than deterioration in their mental and physical health and well-being over a three year period of practicing Transcendental Meditation. Benefits for the meditating elderly included: reversal of aging; increased longevity; increased cognitive flexibility (including increased learning ability and greater perceptual flexibility); increased word fluency; improvements in self-reported measures of behavioral flexibility and aging; greater sense of well-being; improved mental health; and reduction of blood pressure to more ideal levels.
Since Tat Wale Baba was an advanced meditator who spent most of his time in extended deep meditation, this may explain how he retained his youthfulness.
" Devo dizer-lhes que, vários anos antes da fundação do Instituto, enquanto eu preparava este programa e acertava todos seus detalhes, não somente precisei, para resolver diferentes problemas, pedir conselhos a alguns dos seres honoráveis e imparciais que tive a felicidade de encontrar ao acaso na minha vida — dos quais vários, diga-se de passagem, contrariamente à opinião geral quanto ao caráter rigoroso dos limites da vida humana, já tinham ultrapassado dois séculos de existência, alguns dentre eles até se mostrando bastante intrépidos para esperar dobrar o cabo do terceiro centenário." (do livro de Gurdjieff - A VIDA SÓ É REAL QUANDO "EU SOU" )