One more Yogi Story since We are on the subject of Amarnath, and I mentioned Sundarnath Baba, his guru.
I was sitting around the Dhuna (sacred fire but also used for cooking/warmth) in Badrinath outside the little hut Sundarnath used to live in, and Amarnath told me a rare story about his guru.
He said one day Sundarnath just said goodbye and disappeared into the Himalaya. Some said he must be dead, others that he was some kind of deathless yogi like the fabled BabaJi. Anyway, Amarnath had this photograph of the Iconic painting of Sundarnath Baba ji on his altar in his hut. (i don’t think a photo exists of this Baba but his painting hangs inside the temple in Badrinath)
One day Amarnath was cleaning his altar, years after Sundarnath’s disappearance. He somehow didn’t manage to put Sundarnath’s picture back up on the Puja (Altar) Not long after, Sundarnath Baba arrives, in the flesh! and tells Amarnath “You took my picture down” and then left, not to be seen again.
I inherited Amarnath Baba’s picture of Sundarnath (this is a picture of that Picture) which I should probably find a better temporary home for than the storage garage my sacred stuff is currently stored in.
I always kinda hope to get a stronger connection with his energy.
One day I was in Haridwar at the Ganga on one of the sacred ghats and a Yogi that looked so much like Sundarnath descended some stairs to the Ghat and when he saw me, I felt him intend something into the deeper spirit space and immediately got the download, “Give this Baba some money!” So I gave him ten times what I would ordinarily give an itinerant Baba but later wished I gave him ten times that much. I felt another pulse of prayer intention thanks from him when he received the cash and our paths parted.
Not saying that was Sundarnath but just one of those moments both divine and fleeting where there’s a magic in ordinary events down the rabbit hole. Taking note of Sundarnath’s image it’s impressive to run to such a being who isn’t just dressing the part.
I did just find this little bit of story of Sundarnath on the Web. Take for what it’s worth
“Raja Sundernath also called Sundarnath Siddha is a Nath yogi. The title “Sunder” or “Sundar” is a transliteration from the same Sanskrit word meaning “beautiful” – thus his name is Raja – “Royal One”, Sunder – “Beautiful”, Nath “Divine Lord”. Little is known about this being, but many mysteries and claims surround his life. He is held to be a Siddha-Avadhut-Avatar, somehow straddling these seemingly distinct three levels of yogic spiritual attainment.
He is believed to be found at Alkapuri in the Himalayas. Cryptic depictions of him hang as portraits throughout the ashrams scattered along the foothills of that region. The yogis inhabiting these ashrams claim him to be upwards of 600 years old. Another publication from a western writer, David Gordon White, reports on the presence of Sundarnath Siddha in the hills above Kathmandu, claiming him to be a 400 year old alchemist.
Regarding Raja Sundarnath, Yogiraj Gurunath has written in his autobiography Wings to Freedom:
I stood in awe, lost in the admiration of this divine yogi of the Gorakshanath lineage. He was recently, in 1924, the Mahant of the Goraknath temple at Gorakpur, and belongs to the DharamNath subsect of Goraknath yogis. Sundernath is the same yogi who entered the body of a South Indian cow-herd and became the Siddha Tirumoolar who wrote the famous treatise on yoga – Tirumantirum. He is still alive in his Sanjeevan body at Alkapuri on the Indo-China border. The Nath established in Svaroop Samadhi, truly the likes of whom saved India’s spiritual heritage from the fate that befell ancient Egypt, Babylon, China, Tibet and the Mayan civilization of South America.
When Sundernath performed tapas in a cave near Badrinath temple, the place reportedly vibrated with his spiritual intensity. One day some miscreants came into the cave and found Raja Sundernath in samadhi. To test his yogic state of trance they placed a burning charcoal on his thigh. The king of yogis didn’t budge for he was out of his body in samadhi.
Swami Sivananda writes… Sundarnathji was a very great Mahatma who lived a few years ago in Badri Narayan. He had no body-consciousness. He was a Sapta-Bhumika (seventh stage of Jnana) Turiyatita Jnani. He was a Yogi too. People have seen him being buried alive in snow up to his chest. Once some mischievous people burnt his leg with fire. Sundarnath said not a word. He always lived in Truth, in Brahman. What a glorious life it is to go above body-consciousness!..”