Arya Sangha or Assembly of the Wise

The Lion's Roar: Siddhas of Lanka (4)

This was no everyday ascetic, but one who loved a drink and a cigar, says Manik Sandrasagra as he writes to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of the enigmatic German Swami Gauribala Swami.
Gauribala Swami: The greatest showman of them all. Photo ©  Dominic Sansoni
Gauribala Swami: The greatest showman of them all. Photo © Dominic Sansoni

There were several others who caught some aspects of the spirit of this remarkable man. Maggie Liddchi who had not met Gauribala Swami wrote a remarkably intuitive novel Earthman which is mostly about the relationship a western seeker had with him set in Jaffna and Kataragama. Richard Boyle and I purchased the screen rights of this book in 1974 and hired Sinhala screenwriter Tissa Abeysekera to write an English screenplay long before he was publicly acclaimed as a brilliant bi-lingual author. The film never got made for lack of funds.

Phillip K. Crowe, who was American Ambassador to Ceylon in the 1950's, writes about his meeting with Swami in Kataragama in Diversions of a Diplomat in Ceylon (1957).

Behind gold rimmed spectacles shone a pair of merry blue eyes.

"I have no money either," he said, "but money is neither important nor hard to come by."

The fact that one of the island's poorest men (in the monetary sense) was standing treat for the representative of the world's richest country, struck us at the same time and we laughed together.

His basic philosophy is hard to grasp but seems to centre on simply ‘being'. Freed from virtually all of the tensions and neuroses of modern life, he is sure he is leading an existence far more in harmony with God than most of his fellow men.

Freed from the wheel of things, he seemed a contented man and one to be envied.

Go to "The Lion's Roar: Siddhas of Lanka" Part 5

Courtesy: The Sunday Times (Colombo) of 9 September 2007

"The Lion's Roar: Siddhas of Lanka" Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |

Life and Times of German Swami | The Bohemian Swami