The Appearance of Lakulisha

Yesterday, I chanced to come upon an old book I had been looking for a while back and had given up on finding, thinking it was surely lost for good. This book has no author’s name or other information, just a cover with the title, Giver of Grace, and the sub-title, Stories From The Lineage. It just starts right out and goes on for a hundred pages or so.

Giver of Grace is the English translation of my sadguru’s name, Kripalu, so it is clear that these stories come from him. His gracious and powerful legacy has been the greatest boon of my life. So that I can share this with you in some small way, I have decided to share some of these stories with you with the occasional comment or observation.

Jaya Gurudeva!

The Appearance of Lakulisha

While attempting to end his life, Kripalu had his first meeting with Lakulisha. Lakulisha intervened, coming to him in the form of an old sanyasi. For one and a quarter years, he taught Kripalu at an ashram in Bombay. During that time, Lakulisha remained in the form of the old sanyasi, and never told Kripalu his name. However, he assured Kripalu that after Kripalu became a swami, he would appear to him in his true form.

Kripalu did indeed take swami vows, and in the Himalayas ten years later, Lakulisha came to Kripalu again. This time Lakulisha came in his true form, his immortal Divine Body.

Kripalu continued to live a life of service, and in 1950, Lakulisha came to him again and told him it was time to begin meditating ten hours a day.

In 1955, through another divine ‘accident’, the true name of Lakulisha was revealed to him. How this happened is the subject of this story.

Kripalu has written many bhajans (songs to God). His way of sharing his experiences was to sing the bhajan, then tell the story and spiritual principles contained in the song. This story of Lakulisha comes from the bhajan, “To Appear”. Kripalu called it an historical bhajan because it tells the history of the appearance of the statue (murti) of Lord Lakulisha, Kripalu’s beloved gurudeva. Historically, according to the Puranas, Lakulisha first appeared on earth two thousand years ago. He was a great yogi and was later recognized as the twenty-eighth reincarnation of Lord Shiva.


Shiva is one of the Hindu trinity, Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Shiva (transformer), which are often seen as mythological characters. However, according to my lineage, both Shiva and Vishnu were living persons of long, long ago who reached the highest yoga (though I don’t know if the word yoga was in use at that time or not, but you get the drift).

This highest of accomplishments ends the necessity for further incarnations in this world, through ascension if one is going to carry on in some another plane of existence, or Divine Body if one is going to stick around to give us struggling mortals a boost. For Lakulisha, it was Divine Body, the “true form” mentioned in the story.

For most of us, the concept of Divine Body gives immortality new meaning, yet it is spoken of by Paul in his own terms in his letters to the Corinthians, with Christ as its ultimate demonstration. It is mentioned in other places in the Bible as well, but I am not one who has the kind of memory needed to spout book and verse, so you’re on you own here.

If you would like to do a little sleuthing on an excerpt from I Corinthians, read the post, Sleuthing Scripture 2 – Decoding Scriptural Teachings. To add to your sleuthing adventure, consider the meaning of the name, Lakulisha. Lakulisha means “master-bearer of the club”. You’ll have to think esoterically about this club business, so I’ll leave you to it.

Durga Ma

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