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Nepal's Shivapuri Forest

A friend of mine from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Varindra Vitachi, an award-winning journalist who at the time was deputy director of UNICEF, told me an intriguing story. This is all from memory of a story that occurred 35 years ago, so don't hold me to the details. I can't remember the exact date of the event... maybe the late 1950s.

As the story goes, in Nepal's Shivapuri Forest there was an obscure (at the time) holy man known as the Shivapuri Baba. The old man lived in the forest and was seldom seen except for his irregular visits to a certain spot on the edge of the forest. It was customary for writers, philosophers and seekers from all over the world to gather at the place to hear the Shivapuri Baba speak. Vitachi told me he was present at one such meeting when something quite unexpected happened. As "the Baba" spoke, a giant, hair-covered manlike creature appeared on a cliff behind and above him. The creature just stood there looking down at the group. The old Baba smiled and said something to the effect, "Not to worry, he and his kind are the guardians of the forests all over the world." At that point the creature turned and disappeared into the woods, leaving the group of sophisticates in stunned silence.

I never forgot the story. Vitachi, who was a neighbor of Arthur C. Clarke's, was a keen observer and a very credible source. He died in the 1980s. Another man I knew in the early 1960s, the late respected British mathematician, J. G. Bennett, later wrote a book about the Shivapuri Baba titled: The Long Pilgrimage, Life and Teaching of Shivapuri Baba. Bennett passed away in 1975.

© Writer-author-researcher Peter Guttilla, California February, 2001