Shri Upasani Baba has a distinctive place in the galaxy of holy men who have blessed our country. Not only was he a saint with vision, but he had the unique ability and amazing practical drive which enabled him to give concrete shape to his spiritual ideals.

The vision implies a progressive building up of the kingdom of God on earth. This kingdom is a slow and gradual growth and its consummation is sometimes beyond the limits of a fixed era. The noble ideals of this great sage found their peak of fulfillment much later, when the institution he planned and conceived and ultimately created started functioning with almost an eerie conformity to his dreams. The sculptor alone is able to visualize the possibility of a Venus De Milo or a Shri Krishna or any other image of Beauty in the inert block of marble before him. Similarly, the spiritual sculptor was able to foresee great potentialities in the women of Bharat. Holding this idea as his core of inspiration, Shri Upasani Baba evolved which was called the Kanya Kumari Sthan.

The Kanya Kumari Sthan is the unique contribution of Shri Upasani Baba. It is a great experiment in harnessing the female Shakti and has given a new dimension to Bharat’s spiritual endeavors. The sage had the intuition to recognize the innate chastity of the woman. His great plan was to select virgin girls at a tender age and to train them rigorously to achieve the unfettered state of spiritual enlightenment. Before these young novelties were initiated into the sacred order of Kanyahood, they were given a comprehensive training in Sanskrit and in memorizing and reciting the Vedas and other ancient Scriptures; moreover, the kanyas were also expected to imbibe the traditional spiritual philosophies of this ancient civilization which is Bharat.

Believing that spirituality aims at the integration of man’s whole being and a radical change into a higher level of consciousness where the aspirant becomes the perfect medium of both bliss and beauty, the Master carved out an arduous program by which the young girls would remain absorbed in the contemplation of the Divine throughout their waking hours. The emphasis was on the traditional path par excellence of the Kali Yuga. Gradually, the Sthan achieved the triumphant revival of the old Vedic atmosphere when women took a leading part in the spiritual regeneration of the country. This daring and courageous departure from the old orthodox customs of debarring women from religious rites and spiritual adventures brought down a storm of criticism and vile abuse on the reformer. Shri Upasani was persecuted endlessly and mispresented, but with unflinching courage and the spiritual power which is innate in him, Shri Baba was able to overcome all ignorant and bigotted opposition. Moreover, the dedication and purity of the Kanyas and their impeccable achievements could not assert themselves, impressing both the priest and the laity alike. Today, sequestered in the quite little village of Sakori (a village in Ahmednagar district) the Kanya Kumari Sthan stand as a proud monument of spiritual inspiration, a mighty creation of a mighty sage who dared to ‘dream dreams, no mortal ever dreamt before.’

Shri Upasani Baba’s Ashram has a threefold nucleus of inspiration: it has restored the women to her right pedestal; it has brought about a powerful renaissance of the traditional path of Bhakti, and last but not the least, it has served to create the enduring Guru-Parampara. In all the Kanyas, one sees the potential Divine evolving very fast, so that in time each one will become herself an infinite source of strength and inspiration. It is gratifying to know that the Sthan will never be without a spiritual realized successor.

But the credit of upholding Shri Upasani Baba’s ideals in all their immaculate purity and strength goes to his radiant successor -- Sati Godavari Mataji. Not only has the holy Mother maintained her Guru’s creation, but she has vivified it with lovely touches that emanate from her own transcendental stature!

The Kanya Kumari Sthan has today about 35 to 40 Kanyas working efficiently under Mother’s inspired guidance and tutelage.

Though the pre-occupation of this holy order is with the Kanyas and their spiritual evolution, both the Gurus show great concern for other bhaktas too. Men and women con go to be purified gradually so that they turn to God through the path of Devotion. Godavari Mataji always asserts that a spiritual career can be established by the householder too, for , the sancity of the home is embedded in our very culture.

Shri Upasani Baba’s life reads like an incredible romance. Born in Satna in 1870, in a family renowned for its spiritual culture, Shri Upasani, then known a Kasinath, gave early evidence of his supreme destiny. Even as a child he showed an unusual hunger for God and would often lose himself in meditation of the true self. His love for God was so painfully intense that it made him restless. He ignored his formal studies -- indeed he had no need for it, for like many other saints, he was Wisdom Incarnate. Upasani Baba developed a wanderlust, not to enliven his senses, but because he had an irresistible urge to find God.

In the period that he stayed at home, Baba studied Aurvedic medicine exhaustively, and his mastery over this science enabled him to minister to the sick and the ailing. But in 1890, during one of his wanderings, there came a crisis in Shri Upasani Baba’s life, because it was then that the realization of his exalted state came to him. Seeking sheer isolation, Baba lowered himself into a small nook in a precipice at Bhorgad, and as soon as he sat there a strange peace enveloped him, completely absorbing him in deep samadhi, and in this blissful state he remained immersed for a full year without moving or satisfying the natural wants of the body. The sage then experienced an ascetic union with the Creator.

The next great crisis followed in 1910 when his separation from God became so intolerable that Upasani Baba renounced all worldly considerations and repaired to a forest where he plunged into deep meditation. This time his samadhi was so profound that no thought of any kind, not even a spiritual one disturbed his consciousness. But when he emerged from this state, Baba found to his dismay that he could not breath. This respiratory trouble, however, ultimately proved to be a blessing, for, it led him to seek the help of Sai Baba, thus restoring to his Guru’s feet.

By this time Upasani Baba had attained the highest perfection, but he was not yet conscious of his supreme divinity. This is an alluring facet of the Avatar’s appearance that when he incarnates in human form, he brings upon himself a veil. When the moment is ripe the veil is removed from the Avatar’s consciousness and from that moment the Avatar consciously starts his role as the Avatar. This is Meher Baba’s brilliant elucidation of the Avatar’s transition from unconscious to conscious divinity.

The perfect Master, though established in God, was still pinning for his perfect disciple. When Godavari Mataji came to him, drawn thither by her inevitable destiny, Shri Upasani Baba knew that he had reached his culmination. In the year 1941, the great master gave up his body, but only after he was assured that what he had dreamt of and worked and striven for could now be safely entrusted to his successor. For, Baba knew that under Mother’s dynamic guidance, the Kanyas as well as the other bhaktas would be able to utilize the supreme opportunity afforded by human birth to realize the majesty, the power and the beauty of God.

Unlike his Guru Sai Baba and his successor Sati Godavari Mataji, Shri Upasani Baba was a dynamic preacher. Like Swami Vivekananda, he acted as a channel for spreading the Gospel of his Guru.Shri Sai Baba brought about a powerful renaissance of the path of Devotion, but the sage of Sakori gave the whole movement a definite orientation. Bhakti is not just ignorant sentimentalism; it is a rich emotion of the human heart, and it has to be moulded and developed into a disciplined sadhana. Shri Upasani Baba was essentially a scholar, and he probed deep into the ancient wisdom of Bharat to find out the comprehensive significence of bhakti established by the rishis of ancient Bharat. His profound studies or perhaps his innate wisdom soon led him to recogonize the importance of the word-symbol -- the intense and latent energies of sound vibrations. Occult sciences have reaveled to us that words are the most powerful agents of the mind, and in this discovery these sciences have but confirmed the wisdom which ancient India preached centuries ago.

The greatness of Shri Upasani Baba lies in the way he restored this neglected reservoir of wisdom. Bhakti can become a great power, and can create enlightenment through the medium of ‘Recitation’ -- the recitation of th ancient Vedas, Shastras, and Mantras. The utterance of God’s name may sound simple, but it is a highly evolved technique which has to be learnt and mastered through years of tapasya and scholarship. Recitations must be executed with precision and purity. Shri Upasani Baba’s name has acquired immortality because of his insight into this branch of knowledge. Shri Upasani was not contented with his own scholarship; he set about training almost ruthlessly those who were going to be the heirs to this great tradition. His sthan became an academy, a seat of learning and culture. The Kanyas developed into scholars under his initiative and guidance of their eminent Master.

The Master began to disseminate knowledge through his spontaneous sermons. The sermons that he delivered were prolific. He preached abou the relative and absolute aspects of Reality and of the innumerable conflicts and problems of man at all stages and levels of human existence. But Shri Upasani Baba was pre-eminently an Avatar of love and compassion; he was not just an intellectual philosopher. His primary concern, like that of his Master, was to awaken the masses and the intelligentsia from their moral and spiritual apathy. He, therefore, used a pragmatic approach which could appeal to sadhakas. He simplified his sermons, and in the process enriched them by introducing effective similes drawn from the daily chores of life, so that listeners could understand and be induced to practice what he preached. Shri Upasani Baba’s sermons are priceless gifts which he has lft behind for his bhaktas.His sermons are read and expounded in the Sthan every day by the Kanyas.

Shri Upasani Baba was a rigid discipliranian. He was exacting, uncompromisingly strict and almost harsh to all faults of omission and laziness. He really believed in the truth of the well known proverb “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. But these were surface-traits of his personality; deep within, Baba was full of love and his heart was overflowing with the tenderness and solicitude of a mother. Those who came in intimate contact with Baba sensed Baba’s essential traits of love and, therefore, they adored him despite his rough exterior. Shri Upasani Baba’s passion for austerities led him to impose fantastic restraints on his disciples, particularly on the Kanyas. He somehow hated any display of the elegant and the beautiful, either in attire or in modes of living -- and yet the temple that he erected as a symbol for the Kanyas is a structure of intense and exquisite beauty, almost touching in its tender lines and hues. The image of the Kanyas installed in the temple as a symbolic idol is also resplendent and beautiful. Such strange anomalies of character and personality make our sages and saints even more irresistable! Moreover, when the great one began to relize that his successor Godavari Mataji was not one bit inclined to preserve his austere way of life, he uttered no protest. He meekly accepted the inevitable, the complete transition to gracious and comfortable living which Mataji was subtly bringing into being. A little ruefully, but with a child-like helplessness, Baba said, “It is no use, this Mother will sweep away all my old-fashioned and orthodox restrictions with her indulgence!” Such simplicity and humility are hallmarks of true greatness, and they only srved to make the Master more lovable and loved. Besides, Baba was secure in his conviction that the changes would be only in the superficial ways of life. He knew that his exalted mission would not be sacrificed, but on the contrary it would be heightened by the holy Mother.