12 Years in a Cave: A Sadhu’s Tapasya on the Banks of River Narmada

This story will sound like one from yesteryears. 12 years in a cave on the banks of Narmada. This is the story of a man who has found truth by his own experiments, probably the only way in which one can find peace. Following a master or any set practice and having a guru is a massive aid but any realised person will emphasise on finding the guru (truth) within. An outer guru is only a pointer to the truth within. And one’s own practice or Tapasya is the only way. Satyamacharya is an epitome of such Sadhana.  

Sitting with him on a March afternoon, Saraswati asked Guruji about his experiences in the cave. He said, “Words will never describe the experience. One has to go through it to know the real import. But for the sake of sharing, I’ll talk.” He goes on, “I could see everything. The first few months were extremely difficult. It was almost like I was going mad. There would be intense bouts of losing hope but after probably six months, things changed. Slowly, everything transformed. Everything became light. The cave became light. This body was radiating light. I could sense the subtlest of things and see what was happening or going to happen with every creature and human being in the villages around. There was no duality. There was everything in the nothingness of that cave.”

Satyamacharya/Guruji on the porch of Satyama Yogasthali

Early Years and the Spiritual Quest

Satyamacharya (Guruji) was born somewhere in North India in a conservative family. His family wanted to get him married off early but he had no such desire. One day, while in Delhi, he got a call from his family that his marriage was decided for the coming week! There was no scope of talking, the only choice he had, was to abscond and follow his quest. And so he did. 

He went to the Himalayas and wandered around in the state of Uttarakhand. After a few years of wandering in the mountains, he came to the banks of river Narmada for the Parikrama (the 3500km walk along the banks of the river). Here, he started walking from an ashram and he had barely walked 15 km when he came to the forests of Mandleshwar. Here, he found a strange kind of a calling and was inspired to spend more time. He found the place to be conducive for practice and asked the villagers around if they can dig him a small cave to which they agreed  and that was Guruji’s Parikrama! He ended up living in that cave for 12 years! 

Practice in the Cave

The practice was to be in the room and meditate. He would come out only once in a day at sunset when he would excrete, bathe, and eat. He had an arrangement with the villagers where one of them would come and hang a little bag of food on a tree outside. Guruji would have no interaction with anyone. Apart from this hour, he would be in his cave, in the darkness, completely with his inner self for the remaining 23 hours. This was his Tapasya for more than 3 years. This rule loosened a little for the next 9 years but he was mainly in meditation. He developed powers where he could go without a morsel of food for weeks together! He started sharing insights and the importance of fasting with some of the villagers who would come to meet him. And like this, 12 earth years passed. 

Once he felt the process had come to a conclusion, he decided to gradually step out in the world. He asked some of his close devotees to look for a place for his transition and this is when he came to Krishi Tirth in Bajwada, Nemawar. This is where I had the good fortune of meeting him. Over the next 5 years, we’ve been in regular touch and I go to visit him whenever there is a chance. 

Satyamacharya in the garden at Satyama Yogasthali
Satyamacharya in the garden at Satyama Yogasthali

Philosophy and Work at Satyama Yogasthali

He is currently based in a village named Bandera which is about 25km from Maheshwar and about 15 km from his cave in Mandleshwar. The ashram is located pretty much in the middle of the fields and is more like Guruji’s home. Called Satyama Yogasthali, it is open to seekers. Devotees from the village and around take care of his needs in terms of food and he blesses them from the fruits of his Tapasya and also advises on worldly matters whoever asks for it. 

An admirable quality his ashram has is that everyone works for their livelihood. Jhoole Foundation is now a well known organisation in the region and they do a lot of work for empowering women. There is a self help unit in the village where women are free to choose their hours of working. The unit makes beautiful garments which are sold via a couple of shops in India and some are exported too. The foundation engages in a lot of humanitarian work along with the Rotary Club. And one can see the changes on the ground. 

But this is apart from the purpose of this blog. While work and sustenance is important, the primary purpose for engaging with the world is the spiritual journey of seekers. Fasting and Meditation are the primary tools Satyamacharya suggests and he has extremely deep insights on the nature of body and mind which can help a seeker in transcending this limited earthly experience. Satyamacharya is open to meet seekers and guide on this beautiful journey of life. 

Reach out on [email protected] incase you need more information. May all be happy, may all be peaceful, may all be liberated. 

4 thoughts on “12 Years in a Cave: A Sadhu’s Tapasya on the Banks of River Narmada

  1. Wonderful writeup. Pls continue your saint’s stories. It would benefit a huge number of people.

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