SHANTITOWN


Sages 4


Swami Chidanand Saraswati

Swamiji is nicknamed "Muniji" from the Sanskrit word "mouna" which means silence because as a child, he spent years in seclusion without talking. He is the spiritual leader of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, easily the most prominent establishment in town, renowned for its daily Ganga Arati at sunset every day, a gathering of havan, a fire ceremony, kirtan and prayers on the banks of the Ganges River.  We first met Muniji in Los Angeles and we have visited him at his ashram in Rishikesh three times. It is a wonderful place that has by far the best food and  rooms of all the ashrams we have visited so far.




View the Ganga Arati.











Pilot Baba in the Himalayas

Mahamandaleshwar Somnath Giri is best known as Pilot Baba because he was a jet fighter  pilot for the Indian Air Force in the late 60's, early 70's  prior to his renunciation in 1972.  We first met at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Los Angeles and he invited us to visit him at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad in 2001. We spent time there in his camp while filming. We saw him again in Los Angeles in 2003 and he invited us to film his Samadhi that he was undertaking in the town of Dewas in central Madhya Pradesh. We also stayed in his camp at the Kumbh Mela in Ujjain and through him we were privileged to meet many great saints. We also visited his Ashrams in Nainital, Delhi and Haridwar. Pilot Baba is considered a very powerful yogi by his peers




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    Chetna Mata (L)

   Shradda Mata (R)




Chetna Mata, above and Shradda Mata, below, are disciples of Pilot Baba. They both have demonstrated under- ground samadhi in public on several occasions.



At the Kumbh Mela in Ujjain in 2004, they both took their vows of renunciation i a ceremony known as the Vidya Sanskar, which you can see here.

At the Ardh or half  Kumbh Mela in Allahabad in 2007, the Matas, as we like to refer to them, along with Yog Mata Keiko Aikawa were made Mandelshwars or cardinal figures in the Juna Akhara, the largest and oldest constituency of renunciates in India.