Swami Kripalu too was born into a Brahmin family on January 13, 1913. His birthplace was Dabhoi in the Gujarat India. He was the fifth child in a family of nine. In 1920, at seven years of age Kripalu’s father passed away. His family struggled to make it financially. A young Kripalu devoted stayed to his studies, and worked odd jobs to help support the family. Then in seventh grade, at fourteen years old, Kripalu had to leave school. He was forced to go find work to help support his family. His love for learning and study never left him. As a young man he wrote and even published books of poetry. From there he went on to study, write, and compose music, songs and bhajans that would fill volumes. He moved to Bombay at eighteen to try and make a name for himself.
Yet by nineteen years old Kripalu had grown very depressed. His intentions had not manifested as he’d hoped. His heart was burdened by lack of love, success, and blessings. One evening Kripalu visited one of his favorite temples, that of the Divine Mother. After performing what he considered his last Arati, Kripalu decided to end his life. He would jump from a nearby bridge, that ran across a set of train tracks. As he saw his body and the train collide a hand touched his head. As he looked up he beheld a man of great spiritual presence. “ Follow me my son”, he said to Kripalu.
Kripalu did not know, that man was Lord Lakulish. An incarnation and Avatar of Lord Shiva. Who had taken up the body of a saintly man who had recently passed away. As the two walked through the town, the old man said to Kripalu. “ Tonight you were going to jump from that bridge. Suicide is forbidden. You are a true seeker, come see me tomorrow.” Kripalu did just that, and lived with his Guru for twenty one months at his ashram. During this time Kripalu’s Guru taught him Pranayam, Meditation, and Asana in the Kundalini Yoga tradition. After that time, Kripalu’s Guru vanished. During the years that followed Kripalu continued his practices, along with writing and composing music. In 1942 Kripalu took the vows of a sanyasi, and becomes a Swami.
In 1955 Kripalu is invited to speak in the town of Kayavarohan. A great spiritual Tirtah ( pilgrimage place ), with many temples and shrines. Upon entering one of those temples dedicated to Lord Brameshwar, there sat a large stone lingam. A farmer had recently discovered it buried in his field. Kripalu was overcome, he had seen this form before. It was his Guru, who’s image sat emblazoned on the front of the large stone idol. Lord Lakulish would later appear to Swami Kripalu and instruct him to revitalize Kayavarohan. Swami Kripalu would begin twelve years of silence and intense yogic sadhana ( practices ) in 1958. He would also begin the building and restoration ( at his Guru’s request ) of Kayavarohan as a major place of pilgrimage. The new Brameshwar temple was completed in 1974. Upon it’s dedication, the large stone lingam was placed in the temple. Soon after Lord Lakulish would appear again to Swami Kripalu. He would merge once more with the lingam, embedding his energy deep within.
In 1976 The Kripalu Center was created in his name. 1977 Swami Kripalu came to America to teach and spread his blessings there. He would spend four and a half years there. Maintaining his silence, breaking it only for special occasion, and to speak the word of God. He also carried on with his hourly/daily practices of yoga and meditation. Swami Kripalu returned to India in 1981. That year on December 29th he would leave his body. Entering the final stage of his yoga practice – Mahasamadhi.