Vishnu Digambar

Ma and Vishnu Digambar sat at the feet of Sri Neem Karoli Baba in India together in 1973. After Baba’s Mahasamadhi, they lived as chela with their master Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati in her ashram in Florida. In 1981 Ma completes her path and returns to Germany. Here Ma and Vishnu are missing a satsang, as they had always lived in communities. They start inviting people they know over for Indian food and Vishnu Digambar cooks for everyone.

Some of these people became and continue to be Ma’s chela to this day. Vishnu Digambar founded the Kashi Yoga School in Ulm and for many people he remains unforgettable as their yoga teacher.

Ma repeatedly speaks of how grateful she is to Vishnu Digambar that he was able to step back on a personal level and open the door to their home, to their family and to their lives. Until his passing on January 2, 2009, Vishnu Digambar accompanied Ma as a chela, spiritual companion and husband. Every year on this date, we come together to remember him and sing the Hanuman Chalisa together twelve times, the mantra to Lord Hanuman that he loved so much. 

He shared everything with us so that we could meet Ma, and we thank Vishnu Digambar from the bottom of our hearts. His legacy to us chela is that guilt and shame must come to an end.

In 2005 we had asked Vishnu for an interview for the SatsangLeela, from which the following excerpt is a snapshot of Vishnu’s life at Baba’s feet.

I remember it was said that Maharajji had come out.

We all ran over there, Maharajji sat on the ground next to the new temple and I sat behind Him, slightly to the left behind Maharajji. I felt a bit safer there, not directly in front of Baba.

So Maharajji was talking, here with construction workers, calling people over and giving orders, Maharajji has been very busy, suddenly Baba turns round and takes my wrist and puts it on his thigh. I became very stiff. I was very embarrassed to touch Maharajji. I hadn't touched His feet yet and had only kept my distance and now my hand was on His thigh. What does Baba want from me? I pulled it back, but as soon as it was back on my thigh, His hand came back and it was on His thigh again. This happened again, I tried to get away and Baba took my hand a third time.

At that point, all resistance was broken. When Maharajji got up and walked away, leaving us behind, I had the desire to hug every man who came my way. I've always found it incredibly difficult to touch men. My father instilled in me an incredible fear of homosexuality. And it was almost impossible for me to hold a man in my arms; apart from shaking hands, I didn't really do anything with men. Suddenly I had my hand on Baba's thigh.That was one of the first teachings.

Well, it went from one day to the next.

Somewhere I must have largely lost my awareness of the outside world. I was actually just reveling in this insane love for Baba and wanted nothing more than to be with Him every minute and if I couldn't be with Him, I wanted to wait until I could be with Baba again.

I didn't notice much, I can still remember the sounds in Vrindavan, the kirtan that came from the temple, the melodies that were played, the Hanuman temple that I visited several times a day, the Hanuman Chalisa that we sang there. And that whenever I went round the temple – when you bow in the temple, you go round once clockwise – I would always lean my head against the wall at the back, then it was like falling into a universe (Vishnu laughs).

That was beautiful. It was very, very fulfilling.

Die folgende Geschichte mit Sri Neem Karoli Baba stammt von Vishnu’s langjährigem Freund Ramgiri:

I remember sitting right next to Maharajji with my friend Vishnu Digambar immediately to my left. For two days Baba had not paid me any attention. It was dreadful.

I lived entirely for his love and as of yet I was not able to find its source within me.

Instead waves of jealousy and dejection were stirred up to a mighty storm. In these externally so peaceful surroundings, sitting at the guru’s feet surrounded by my closest friends in the world, I felt completely alone and abandoned. Of course all he had done was not to feed my sense of self-importance for two days!

Vishnu on the other hand had received all the attention and this had plunged me into the bowels of hell.

He sat there, his face beaming and his lap full of prasad.

I had not received a single morsel. Obviously that proved that I was completely unloved and unworthy.

Not even here I could open to love! There was no hope for me and if I had any sense, I should just go and kill myself!

And then Vishnu took one of the apples Maharajji had given him and gave it to me. My experience of this moment was that Vishnu and happiness were thousands of miles away and his arm reached through an infinite tunnel from heaven into the hell of my loneliness.

Out of that tunnel of my self-imposed isolation the apple dropped into my lap and I was connected again.

— Ramgiri Braun, HeartSourcing: Finding Our Way to Love and Liberation