I had landed in Haridwar in April 1980 at the Ardha Kumbh Mela on the advice of a photographer in Delhi without knowing what to expect. He had mentioned that a festival was being celebrated there, but I had no idea what type of festival it was and what amazing crowds it would attract. He had sent me into spiritual India and I am eternally grateful for that.
A few days after reaching Haridwar I met an impressive yogi.
I sat on the bank of the Ganges behind the Tourist Bungalow (now Alaknanda Hotel) and saw on the other side of the broad riverbed a wooden hut on poles, which was constructed on the sandy beach. An American, whom I knew from the Tourist Bungalow, waded through the Ganges straight towards me. “Would you like to see an extraordinary man? If yes, I help you cross the Ganges”, he offered. “Over there, in that hut, Devraha Baba is presently staying. He is supposed to be more than 300 years old and enlightened. He is one of those who know what life is all about. And it is always worthwhile to meet such people.”
Of course I was interested and we crossed the Ganges together. The river had appeared peaceful and calm from the bank, yet the current was amazingly strong and the stones on the ground were slippery. I was glad that my companion was over two meter tall, and gave the impression that there was nothing to fear.
Devraha Baba had watched us coming because he scolded us, when we reached him….
… Sorry, in the contract for my book I had agreed to truncate those articles on my blog which are covered in my book. There is a chapter on Devraha Baba in my book, so please, if you want to know more, read my book “Thank you India”.
Here are the links to buy it at Garuda Prakashan, the publisher. It will also be soon on Amazon.
The price for one book is Rs 499 in India (first link).
There is also an offer for a gift pack of 5 copies for Rs 1875, which means one book comes to Rs 375.(second link)
Here is some info about Devraha Baba from the internet:
Devraha Baba was from Deoria District in UP and was called, “The Ageless Yogi.” Nobody knows for sure how long he lived – at least 200 years, but probably much longer. The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad stated that his father had sat at the feet of Devraha Baba as a child in the middle of the nineteenth century, and Devraha Baba was already elderly at that time. An Allahabad High Court Barrister had stated that seven generations of his family had sat at the feet of Baba. One legend has it that Devraha had blessed Tulsidas (1532 – 1623). Devraha Baba himself allegedly claimed that he has lived for over 700 years.
Baba was observed staying under water unaided for half an hour. He also allegedly could be in two places simultaneously and understand the language of animals, control wild animals, heal people by his look or word, and tell the future.
Devraha Baba had supposedly predicted the time of his death five years in advance. His samadhi shrine is located across the Yamuna River from the pilgrimage city of Vrindavan.