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Siva Shankar Baba Born into a village school master’s family, this individual’s unwavering honesty, hard work and perseverance fetched fame and affluence, rather, they came seeking this man to reward his steadfast abiding by Truth. Everything he involved himself in, flourished, he rose to steady prominence and became a name to reckon with, in business. And then, life took a 360 degree turn. On Jan 26, 1984, 48 days after He had performed the Kumbabishekam of the Ayyappa Temple He constructed in his Bungalow, He had a vision of Raghavendra Swami pointing out His dead body to Him. In that instant He realised the true nature of His soul. His heart brimmed over with love for the divine, and he renounced worldly life and set out in Quest for the Supreme soul. Mount Kailash (the Abode of Lord Siva), Sabarimala (where Lord Ayyappa is in penance) and the Mahendragiri forests that unlocks divine secrets for those who are destined to receive, and several other pilgrim centres bear with pride the loving footprints of this ardent seeker. At the Behest of Lord Muruga, He returned to his family, settled his two children and wife and then started his full time service to God and Spirituality. He has visited Kailash 12 times, Sabarimala 70 times and travels to Badri/Kedar almost every year. Understanding that life was a struggle for economically challenged people He established ‘Samratchana’ – the name says it all; this Sanskrit word means ‘Total Protection’ - - and pioneered some projects on the worldly plane to help them through life The SushilHari Group of Schools - with 6 hi-tech labs, including an astronomy lab with a telescope! - - offers the best of the Culturally Rich East and the Progressive Techniques of the West. Many of the teachers are volunteers with expertise in corporate firms, whose passion to serve has brought them on board in the school. This is the only School that has transcended all boundaries - - the application form does not have a column asking for one’s caste or religion. Mind Blowing but true - - this school offers fifty lakh merit scholarships per year covering all expenditure for the thirsty-for-education-children, its nominal fees that do not demand any capitation make it affordable to economically downtrodden. So it is with Praveena hospitals that offers free medical service to the rural poor. His Sree Ramarajya Commune is home to 300 families who live in a truly secular atmosphere, transcending religion, caste, gender and age. All are treated alike, with respect and love, as children of God. Everything is volunteer service here, and the Prime volunteer, exemplifying how service is to be rendered - - is Siva Shankar Baba. The organisation renders a plethora of services to the rural community, and anyone who attempts to utilise this noble venture. Many financial dilemmas in India arise from expenditure incurred during marriages. Well, Samratchana has a wonderful solution - - marriages can be conducted for free here, the hall is free, electricity and water free; and if one cannot afford, the organisation takes care of all arrangements including the wedding attire. As Baba puts it, ‘Why spend money on a one day function? Use it for your future. If you have in excess, then use it to help others live and thrive’. On the spiritual plane, Sree Ramarajya Commune hosts a Poorana Brahmam Temple (all manifestations of Vishnu and Siva), Church, Mosque, Buddha Temple, Mahavir Temple, a Vinayaka Temple with a 6 feet Vinayaka and a Durga Temple –. Durga is supposed to be a ferocious Goddess but obviously impacted by the genuineness of Love that Baba shares with all, this 10 ½ feet Durga sports an ‘I am there for you’ smile on her face. And, would you believe it, Vinayaka and Durga have abishekams performed via shower baths, and Durga Temple has three shower panels to fit the towering goddess. You will melt in the love energizing you from all the statues at Ramarajya, that it takes you by surprise that these are statues. Honestly one place everyone must visit! The shrines are architectural marvels. ‘Cleanliness is Godliness’ is visible in practice here, and only in these Temples can you sit relaxed in the vast space and be in peace with the divinity, unlike other temples where you would stand and seek elbow space. All festivals of all religions are celebrated at Sree Ramarajya. Every moment is a celebration of life achieved by The Founder’s Love and the Example He sets by His Life as His Message. Someone who accepts us for what we are and is always there for us, no matter where we are. Distance can never separate us from Him. Because He has seen the world and lived through normal material life, He gives us simple workable solutions on handling life and goes with us every step of life’s way. All we wanted in a friend, and so much more. Amazing how his one glance can infuse such tremendous zeal and confidence to deal with whatever life brings. A smile that illuminates every step of our path making life very easy. When He says ‘I will take care’, we wonder how that is possible, given the complex situations we face everyday, but He actually does take care, so effortlessly, that unless you reflect on how life has changed for the better since meeting Him, you may miss out on understanding what He has done for you. He is an experience that cannot be described. And He delivers! He is not clad in saffron robes of a sanyasi, but He epitomizes renunciation in the true sense of the word – being with the world and without it. His child like innocence and his zest for living in every moment, his spontaneous humour strike a chord deep within and our soul responds, emoting to someone who can be Himself without any pretences. This is Siva Shankar Baba. Ask Him what He can do for us, and he comes up with a remarkable answer ‘I can give you back yourself’! True, in this battle of life, we strive so hard towards being ourselves, and it is such a relief to know someone who can walk us through it - - our God Friend Siva Shankar Baba. He helps us to understand and become personifications of Bhagavad Gita!