Meeting with Devraha Baba – the ageless Yogi

This is a chapter from my German book about meeting with the venerable Devraha Baba.

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. It was far too dangerous to cross the river. We should take the bridge, which was two kilometres upstream. A sadhu with matted hair piled high up on his head, translated this for us.

Baba waved us closer and asked me where I came from. He benignly nodded his head a few times. Then he murmured a Sanskrit mantra and asked us to repeat it line by line. Except for ‘Krishna Vasudevaya’ I didn’t understand a word.

Then he instructed the sadhu to give us sugar candies, so many, as we just managed to hold with both our hands. With difficulty we wrapped them into a shawl, including those, which had landed in the sand. Then Baba gave us his blessing and sent us away. He turned to others, who had come by car and carried a basket full of fruits to him.

Back in my room in the Tourist Bungalow I noticed that I liked Baba. In fact, I liked him very much. My heart jumped with joy at the thought that I would see him again the next day – almost as if I was in love, which seemed inexplicable.

From then on I went every morning to him. Sometimes I walked over the bridge, sometimes I waded through the river with the tall American and sometimes I got a lift by a car. On one of those lifts an elderly gentleman told me that his grandfather took him to Devraha Baba ever since he was a small boy. And his grandfather had assured him that, when he himself was a small boy, Baba looked already like a very old man.

Baba sat usually on the narrow wooden balcony that was supported by poles. One could only see his head with the unkempt, long hair and the aged bluish eyes. His arms were hanging down from the balustrade and he often raised his hand to give generously his blessings.

Occasionally he was not there. Then he was either in the small room behind the balcony or took a bath in the Ganges, and all of us, who had come for his darshan, were sitting in the burning sand, occasionally dipping a handkerchief into the river and placing it on our heads to cool down. Sometimes we waited for half an hour and not a single tree nearby to give shade. Most people quietly chanted “Siya Ram, Jai Siya Ram”. They could chant those names hundred, thousand and probably even million times without feeling tired.

Why did we wait so meekly? I couldn’t find an explanation. Yet I also didn’t want to leave, even though my mind played up at times and resisted the waiting, when the discomfort became too evident. I asked myself, why I took upon myself the heat, the waiting, the hot sand, just to see an old man? I wondered whether the others also faced such rebellious thoughts. Nobody left.

Then, when all of a sudden the door opened and Baba appeared on the veranda, a whisper went through the crowd and it surged towards him. The atmosphere was suddenly charged. The heat and the waiting were forgotten. He radiated strength, confidence and above all kindness and love, when he, like a father figure, compassionately inquired about the problems of his devotees or brushed them aside, whatever he felt was more appropriate.

It was an odd picture:
On one side there were cultured, often wealthy people, the ladies in silk and with lots of jewellery, and the car parked nearby by the chauffeur. And yet they were the supplicants, who with folded hands and barefoot tripped from one foot to the other to avoid burning their delicate soles in the hot sand and imploringly looked up to Baba, hoping, that his blessing would make their difficulties vanish and fearing, that maybe they won’t get what they wanted or that he would give them a short shrift in front of others and not spare time for them.

And on the other side up on the balcony there was the ancient Baba, naked, with unkempt hair, but free – free from fear, free from desires, free from the world and full of confidence and radiance.

No matter which problems his devotees had mentioned, his advice was basically always the same:

‘Trust fully in god, think of him, repeat his name, hand over your worries to him, and don’t be attached to the world, to family and money. Make god the centre in you life. Develop love for him and don’t be afraid, because everything is in his hand. Understand that the world has nothing worthwhile to offer to you. Find out who you really are. Realise that god and you cannot be separated.’ And:

‘Always tell the truth. Be righteous. Contribute to the welfare of society. Don’t harm anyone and help, wherever you can. If you honour dharma, dharma will protect you.’ And so on.

His devotees probably had heard this umpteen times. And yet they rushed to him whenever they got a chance to hear it again. Baba was by far not the only one, who gave this advice. During the Kumbh Mela I heard it being broadcasted via loudspeakers to the crowd from many platforms.

Often those sermons sounded like obtrusive advertisement on a fair. I realised that all depended on who gave the sermon. Was it someone who wanted to show off or who wanted to be helpful? Did he know what he talked about when he spoke about truth, trust in god and having no fear and desires or did he not know it and he himself was still full of desires and fear, didn’t quite trust god and knew about truth only by hearsay?

Regarding Devraha Baba, I felt he was genuine. I could sense that he wished us well and that he couldn’t quite understand why we take our problems so seriously and why we don’t just shake them off and laugh about them.

One day, Baba had disappeared. I saw it from my window in the Tourist Bungalow already before breakfast and didn’t want to believe it. The few sadhus, who stayed around him, had dismantled the hut before dawn and had moved with him to Varanasi. The sandy beach on the other side of the Ganges looked now deserted – far more deserted than it had looked if there had never been a hut in the first place.

Six years later, during the Maha Kumbh in 1986, I met him again at the same place. A steady stream of visitors made it to his hut throughout the day. One evening he gave an interview to All India Radio. The reporter had hoisted a microphone up to him on his veranda. Baba thundered into the microphone, his frail body full of strength and confidence. It was his usual advice: Trust in god completely and be a good human being. Then He will definitely look after you.

Some years later, in 1990, I stood in the queue in the dining hall in the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. A friend joined the young man in front of me and they started talking in English. Suddenly I listened to them intently. “Really? Devraha Baba has died?” I butted in. They nodded their head. “Yes. Devraha Baba has left his body.”

A film passed before my inner eye. I saw him sitting on his balcony in bright sunlight with long, unkempt hair, murmuring mantras and his hand raised for blessings. I was grateful that he had been here with us. And personally, I was especially grateful for a small episode:

It was in 1980 shortly before he had disappeared. It was the first and only time I took courage and spoke to him. I told Baba through his translator sadhu that I would like to stay longer in India – longer than the tourist visa allows. “Baba gives you his blessing”, the sadhu translated what Baba had said. Yet Baba didn’t seem to agree with the translation. He again spoke with a lot of gestures to the sadhu who then again turned to me and said: “Baba gives you his special blessing.”
By Maria Wirth

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.

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51 comments

  1. thanks a lot for sharing maam 🙂 u were lucky to meet him

  2. I am narrating our family’s personal story with Babaji

    My Grand-pa moved from Chennai & worked as a Sanskrit Prof in Allahabad Univ during 1960s & was a staunch vaishnavite. He used to have conversations with Babaji few times on vaishnava treatises…

    One day, Babaji told my grand-pa “Send that vedic scholar from Andhra, who has come to your house yesterday”. My grand-pa was taken aback on how Babaji came to know it… He quickly went to house and asked his friend to visit Babaji

    The vedic scholar went to meet Babaji, who upon seeing him, threw a small cloth that contained some money. He did not ask any questions, took the money, got Babaji’s blessing and went back to our home…

    Events unfolded later which made us understand the Saint. The vedic scholar had received a Government Award, which required him to travel to Delhi. He was suffering in acute poverty and somehow managed to come to my our house. But was too ashamed to ask my Grand-Pa for help to go to Delhi and was silently suffering.

    Also the small-cloth of money contained only coins. But the miracle was, it was exactly the amount required for train travel from Allahabad to Delhi and return journey of Delhi to his home-place in Andhra. Not a penny more, not a penny less !!!

    1. @ Ravi, thanks a lot for sharing this

    2. Maria Lozano · · Reply

      I am touched by this story. Thank you very much for sharing.

  3. Maria Lozano · · Reply

    Your good karmas Maria, gave you an opportunity that I dream of, that of encountering Mahatmas. It seems to me you found in him the simplicity, naturality, happiness and love of those truly attuned with Bhagavan. I am happy for you. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nirupam Shrivastava · · Reply

    Wow. I am so gald I came to this blog probably you know more about my country and mu culture than I do, but tha does not make me ashamed, it makes me proud. I will learn from you.Wonderful Wirth 🙂

  5. Radhika Nagrath · · Reply

    U are blessed Maria. Really blessed. Your body may have taken birth in Germany but your soul is drenched in Indianness. May we all stay blessed by these incarnarted yogis.

  6. Man, I am so Envious!

  7. Anuj Amin · · Reply

    In a constant noise of religious battles on TV and social media one can hardly find something worth spending most valuable thing Time! This blog is one of those rare things. I heartily thank author for the same. I take this as an opportunity to suggest a great book to fellow readers in which there’s a glimpse of Shri Devraha baba. Said book sheds light on many great yogis, the book is about a great yogi and his life journey among siddh yogis.

    “Journey With The Himalayan Masters” Autobiography of great yogi himself Swami Ram!

    I would love to share the book with anybody interested. Reading suggestions are highly appreciated.

    Jai Bharati!

    1. Padmanabh Sharan · · Reply

      Hi Anuj, Thanks for suggesting the book. I have been in constant search of people and communities who are associated with Devraha Baba. In this quest Maria’s blog has really satisfied me. This blog has really reflected the real love towards divine. Would really appreciate if you would suggest how to get the book you have suggested. Thanks.aran

      Padmanabh Sharan

      1. Hi

        Just drop your email here.

        Regards

        Anuj

  8. Jatin Shah · · Reply

    You really experience best of spiritual life

  9. Thanks for sharing with us this story. BTW when will your book be published?

    1. just a few months ago i got back the rights from the German publisher. so now i could publish it, as the (expanded, updated) translation is ready except for the last chapter, but have not yet done anything about it…
      is not priority at present

      1. Hi Maria,

        Please publish the book…please take it on priority for us. In fact I also got an opportunity to SEE Devraha Baba…in 1987…was around 10-11 years old then. Whole of my family had gone there…on reading your article I could easily recall one thing…..all the wait seemed nothing once Devraha Baba appeared on the horizon of his hut. So true of what you said!!!

        Please publish the book….it would be a strange pleasure to have something from a pursuer of Indian Yogis and spirituality…from someone who belongs to the land of Kant and Schophenhauer!!!

        Thanks and Regards
        Shekhar

  10. Dear Maria Wirth
    Thanks a ton for such meaningfull “Above About Devraha Baba”. I are regular in touch with Baba’s Samadhi Shrine Vrindavan. Kindly always share few blogs on him on monthly or quarterly basis if possible. stay in touch.
    Regards
    Kunal Kumar(kunalkumarnow)

  11. Dr Himanshu Kumar · · Reply

    It is mentioned in the bhavishya Purana that the people from the west will come and revive the ancient vedic religion in India and whole world.Maria is an incarnation of the erstwhile great indian yogis and yoginis which has sparked divine inspirations in her holy heart to write about such holy people

  12. Padmanabh Sharan · · Reply

    Thanks Maria for sharing this. I may not say that you were lucky to see him in person, rather say that undoubtedly you have the Grace of the Almighty that seeing Devraha Baba inculcated such a pure feeling in you of love and belonging. Because it is not you choose to visit or pay homage to such rare Yogi with such an intense and pure feeling, it is He who chooses one to be with Him and reside forever. All the Best for your endeavors and May the Divine keep Grace on you.Thanks.

    Padmanabh Sharan

  13. Mahendra Nath Singh · · Reply

    Respected Mariawirth; Many many thanks for acquainting the Vaishvanites about Yogi Samrat Shri Shri Devaraha Baba. The person who personally saw Him, is definitily a Holy Soul. You have got the Blessings from Him, God in the body of man. To know Him, one need Vision and Heavenly eyes. One can not see Him without total devotion as He is always among us but can not be seen/viewed with worldly eyes or thoughts.Once again, we all followers of Him are very very grateful to you for telling something about Him.—Mahendra N. Singh

  14. tapas · · Reply

    Nice to hear your experience.I love to meet saints of India.My guru has told story about Devaraha baba as he personally meet him.Today also many such true Yogis are there.I have meet few.

    1. rakesh Kumar singh · · Reply

      Hi Tapas sir I also have great aspiration to meet a true yogi to gain some knowledge from him can you please guide me in this regard I mean any address or name perhaps
      My mail id rakeshkumarsingh999@rediffmail.com

  15. I am a native of Deoria , wet my eyes reading this .

  16. Dear Ma’am,
    My mother’s family consider Devraha Baba as their guru. Glad that you had a chance to meet him and experience his presence.(BTW, I stumbled at your blog thanks to Quora.)

    Anshuman

  17. Abhishek Agrawal · · Reply

    Radhe Radhe

    it was pleasure reading your blog i belong to Mathura Vrindavan and was lucky that i stayed here only and heard many things abt. baba

    somebody told that even Indira Gandhi then prime minister of india went to meet baba and baba usually sits on his machaan and gave aashirwaad by his foot .

  18. Madam…I have another opportunity to read again your blog page. Your pages contain pleasant information for peace. Thank you! You appear to be a karma yogi!1

  19. Isaac Eshun · · Reply

    Wonderful. I have read and reread this article many times. Thanks for sharing it with us.God Bless

  20. Shubhangini Shetty · · Reply

    I started crying after reading this article. I think you are blessed to meet such a profound soul.

  21. You are so lucky to have seen true India and this happens when there are God’s wishes and blessings. As a Indian we can learn a lot from you. How can I meet you in person. Jai ho.

  22. cvbhossain · · Reply

    Hi , I am being a muslim deeply moved by his spiritual powers he possed. Our branch of sufism also had many noble souls like this baba. Dont mistake me, how he was clouded with hate politics mongsters like VHP to demolish a praying mosque which was used for political gain.

    1. Babri Masjid was not a “praying mosque” since long, at least since the 1940s when the gate was locked. Under the British it was already considered as a “disputed structure”, as Hindus always had maintained that a large Ram temple had been demolished to build the mosque. This was proven some years ago by ASI. I read, maybe you can find out whether it is true, that even the Moguls did not pray there, as a “suvar” (Varaha avatar in the form of a boar, one of the 10 avatars of Vishnu of whom Ram was the 7th ) was found carved on a stone, as the material from the temple was used to build the mosque.

      As you know, the place where Babri Mosque stood is claimed to be the birthplace of Sri Ram, so naturally it is important for Hindus, and it pains many of them that the murti of Ram is housed under a big plastic sheet. I remember that many years ago I suggested to some of my friends (one Muslim also among them) that it would be a nice gesture of Muslims to agree to build a mosque at another place (as this particular place is not important for them), and this might go a long way to improve the relation between the two communities, but all of my friends (mostly Hindus) were aghast at my suggestion. I realized it was politically incorrect, but I didn’t understand why.
      In India, only one mosque was destroyed since Independence. Yet so many (almost all I guess) temples have been destroyed in Pakistan and only recently again one in Bangladesh, yet there is no big shouting all over the world, as it happened in 1992 and many years after. Why is there this different approach? Is it that Muslims (and Christians, too) feel that Hindu Dharma is “wrong” and must not be allowed to gain any ground?

      I come from a Christian background which also is based on the blind belief that God has revealed the truth only to one person and all have to believe it, if not, they go to hell. It was such relief when I came to India, as here the one great supreme power is not seen as someone who is biased and hateful towards a big part of his creation (how could it possibly be?) but is that one (loving) awareness that permeates all. We truly are all one family.

      And if you go a little deeper, the knowledge of your ancestors (I assume you are Indian) was simply amazing.
      Did you see this article for example?
      https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/blind-spot-of-modern-science/

  23. Ranjeet Kummar · · Reply

    Blessed to hear from such a worthy man… All those people who have met Devraha baba are truly blessed.. Jai Devraha Baba😃

  24. Sukeerti · · Reply

    Dear maria liked your blog and glad to state you that devraha baba is still alive he has transformed his knowledge etc to devraha hans baba who reside in amravati vindhyachal district of uttar pradesh india you can visit him once again

  25. You are lucky maria.

  26. Please visit the link http://omprakashsinghpatna.blogspot.in/ to know about amazing experiences related to Devraha Baba and Devraha Hans Baba..

    Note: It is in Hindi

  27. cvbhossain · · Reply

    Dear maria thanks for your long reply. The question is not mosque or temple. today these monsters are asking for one mosque an spill to asking so many in future because they have power and corrupt the jurisdiction. Imagine how the gujurath carnage done in this 20th century taking out a unborn foetus from a muslim lady not in fields or secluded place (can be treated as criminal act) in Surath Railway station. There are many instances of communal riots through out India. They dont understands the meaning of spirtualism….Our devaraha baba also blessed them ….thats my point.

  28. santosh kumar · · Reply

    Dear Maria , read your write-up with sincere interest and deep concentration. I salute you ,for writing about our beloved devraha baba. Though I was unfortunate to see devraha baba ,I saw devraha hans baba who is carrying forward his legacy.

  29. Dear Hussein,
    Loved to sew how you love devraha baba, but at the same time you seem to have hate inside your heart, Babaji preached love god and forget about other pains.
    Another thing is imagine if you were a Hindu and thousands of your temples been broken and millions of Hindus been slaughtered by every sunni Muslim king except Akbar , then daily bombing …murders of non Muslims will you not be afraid as a Hindu or christian or Buddhist? …..the day sunni muslims will start loving others …they will be reciprocated with equal or even more love from others….anyways today I was just listening to devraha Babaji interview and I was like how well he know we normal people are so much into useless things like money…religious fighting …etc etc
    ..

  30. Hello. Good to hear abt your experience with babaji . Ur lucky that you got to meet him.. Devraha baba lived long . he was there during the time of the great saint tulsidas . Baba has said he met guru nanak also the first enlightened guru of the sikh panth which means he lived for atleast 500 years . no one knows before that how much babaji lived or when was he born . Baba said that ppl should not fight over religion and people should live in harmony . In 1900 King george 5ths brother was devraha babas devotee and disciple. He also said that one should study veda, shashtras and also puranas which are 18 compiled by maharishi ved vyas 4500 years ago after mahabharat war and after lord krishna left . The bhavishya puran has predicted most of the happenings till date .Baba adviced people to protect cows and stop its killing as entire divinity resides in it and that by protecting it lot of peace and prosperity will be there in our country . also spiritualy will increase and people of all religions in the country should not oppose the protection and all should live in harmony and unity .

  31. Dear Maria,
    The world had dismissed India (Hinduism) but slowly after experiencing, its acknowledging the greatness of this religion. There is no set rule here. You can search eternity yourself (Ahambrahamasmi – I am the divine flame). One has not to run anywhere. By studying the Hindu epics you will understand the Dharma (not ‘hinduism’ but Humanity). But, attaining spirituality one has to exercise himself – yes, it will take you to the pool but act of ‘drinking’ you will have to do yourself. Off-course, it has to be under supervision of a sad guru.

    Devraha Baba is one who is known to the world. There are innumerable if you search them in Himalayas even today.

    Regards.

  32. Kaushik Dubey · · Reply

    I would like to share a true-seen story which my grandfather told to me.
    Shree devraha baba used to travel on a large crocodile in Ayodhya’s Ghaghra river.
    All of my family is blessed by the Yogrishi Devrahaba ji..
    He always used to murmur a Mantra – “Om Namo Bhagwate Vashudevay, Om Krishnay Vashudevay, Harye Parmatmne, Prantah klesh Nashay Govindaya Namo Namah”.
    Maria Writh I welcome you at my home where everyday we All family organize a ‘Kirtan’ of Baba ji..

    1. thank you. yes, i heard this mantra from him. he made us repeat it each time. please see also some stories in other comments. Amazing.

    2. élisabeth london · · Reply

      Thanks to share this mantra

  33. Archan De · · Reply

    My mother and I were initiated by Him as disciples just about two months before He left His body.I am witness to His greatness which towers above others.

  34. Prema · · Reply

    Dear sister Maria
    All glories to our dear gurudev, Sri Devraha babaji.My story is very similar to yours.I heard of Babaji towards the end of Kumba mela 1985 but missed to see him then .Two years later when i was in Vrindavan somebody tok me one early morning on the other side of Yamuna tu the babajis Kutir.
    I saw Baba exactly in the same moment the sun was rising ,when he come out on the platform from his hut.I wil not go into the ditels of our meeting nor what hapen after that except that i literaly folowed baba til his departure.I got initiated on the auspicious day during the last Kumbha mela in Prayag he atended.
    I am confirming here that Devraha baba was a fuly liberated soul and a saint of a highest level probabely the last one of that greitness , see the very fast advancement of Kaly yuga
    Secondly and here i am transmiting the message of Baba and adressing my self to all those who my read this coment: Please do not loose you time,trust and devote your self fully to God,folow Devraha babas teachings and by the grace of God you my escape the clutches of Maya and reach Moksha.Ram nam,Ram nam….

  35. Devrah Baba after leaving his body assigned his tasks to Devraha Hans Baba who lives in vindhyachal near mirzapur. Devraha Hans Baba lives on top of machan like his guru Devraha Hans Baba is identicle to his guru Devraha Baba.

    1. Prof. Archan De · · Reply

      Neel, Baba had never declared that He assigned His tasks to any of His disciples.Being His direct disciple, I know several of His sadhu disciples.

  36. Hello Mariaji . what similarity is there in christianity and wat is hinduism has been written in a book by paramhans yoganand in america . its the bhagawad gita only with verses of bible where same truth is there . it is one of the best interpretation of gita . entire dialogue of lord krishna with arjun at kurukshetra regarding what krishna said about himself is about his formless aspect and yoganand being fully realised or god realised gave a correct interpretation . you may find it very eye opening . also others here in india who probably dont knw much abt yoganand and are reading this blog should definitely read it . It is named God talkes with arjuna . also the famous autobiography of a yogi one can read along with mans eternal quest by yoganand ! Also it is said that yogis leave from the third eye and very advanced beings leave from the top of their head . devraha baba left from the the sahastrar in samadhi . 5 mins before leaving the body baba said to near ones that im going back to vaikunth . !

  37. élisabeth london · · Reply

    I too had the great chance to receive Deorawah Baba darshan.
    He was staying on a raft, on the Ganga in Vanarasi.
    At that time I was wondering about staying in india to study hinduism and yoga, an as I met Him, he spoke; and through His words although I did not know the meaning, it was as if He was telling me that my place was where I came from, back to Europe.
    Which I did.

  38. Also see Barfani Dadaji age somewhat 216+ in amarkhantak Rajasthan M.p.

  39. I was just four year old when my Grand pa Along with the family of 20 people went to Deoria in 1980 .He blessed everyone and only gave me an apple in my hand and asked me to eat it though other childrens of my age group were also present over there. I have never understood about his kindness toward me….

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