When his mother died twelve years later, Trailinga Swami was freed from the debts of family karma, and being accountable to no one, he moved away to live the life of a wandering sadhu. He began his sadhana in the local cremation grounds, where he remained seeking wisdom for 20 years.
An order from God led him on a search for his Guru, Yogi Rattananda Saraswati. Together they made a spiritual pilgrimage on foot across the North and South of India, and ultimately came to Pushkar Lake. It was here that the yogi initiated Shivaram into sannyas dharma, and gave him the name Ganapati Saraswati. Shortly after the initiation, his guru left his body and Ganapati remained there and performed spiritual practices for 10 years more.
After the completion of this sadhana, he walked to Rameshwaram in South India. It is here that the first of a number of powerful miracles certified the depth of his yogic powers.
The story is told that he stopped and blessed the corpse of a young child amidst a large funeral procession. Much to the surprise of all the thousand or so mourners, the boy suddenly came to life. Without a word the saint disappeared.
Ganapati continued his pilgrimages throughout India and came to practice sadhana in Nepal’s deep forests. A Nepalese story tells of a King who was on a hunting safari in that region, and how, although a gifted marksman, could not seem to shoot a tiger. Despite repeated misses, the King insisted on getting the tiger and pursued it with all his might. The tiger chase brought the King to a yogi sitting amiably with the roaring beast.
The yogi gently stroked the frightened animal, while the King looked on in amazement. Yogi Ganapati beckoned the King closer to give him this marvelous advice, “Give up your fear, Oh King, for the tiger will not harm you. God has created everything. Give love, and He will give you love. Always remember this.”
Ganapati revealed the power of love in his simple yet heroic gesture. Later, the King returned to Kathmandu spreading news of the Saint and the tiger. Many people inspired with devotion traveled to the jungle for Ganapati’s blessings and His fame began to spread. One weeping widow dropped her dead child at the feet of the saint. Moved by compassion, Ganapati touched the corpse and revived it. Again, Ganapati disappeared without a trace.
One day, Trailinga Swami was sitting outside the Pashupatinath Temple of Lord Shiva in Kathmandu, Nepal. The King’s daughter had prepared a special garden of flowers with which to worship Shiva in a special puja for her marriage. With great devotion she performed the puja and put the garland on the Shiva lingam.
When she came out from the temple, she saw a naked sadhu wearing the same flower mala. “You should marry me!” he called to her, showing that he was wearing her mala.
She was abashed. “That crazy sadhu has stolen the flowers from my puja!” she called.
“Go in and see for yourself,” replied the Swami.
She went into the temple only to find the offered garland was still draped over the Shiva Lingam. Coming outside again, she saw that it was around the sadhu’s neck. It was in two places at the same time! Both on the Shiva Lingam and on the sadhu’s neck! How could that be?
“Go, go,” he said in benediction. “I accept your offering of worship. You’ll find a good husband.”
Returning to her home at the palace, she told her father of the extraordinary experience she had at the temple. “It must have been Trailinga Swami,” replied the King. “Just while you were praying in the temple, we received a proposal for your marriage from a most worthy prince.”
The princess was married and enjoyed a most blessed life.
At the Markendeya Ashram in Northern India, Ganapati performed sadhana along the banks of the Narmada River. There he encountered a powerful Saint of the region, known as Kaki Baba.
One day Kaki Baba saw a beautiful scene:
All the river’s water was milk, and the newly arrived Swami was drinking it.
Kaki Baba understood that Ganapati, now known as Trailinga Swami, had the power to drink the milk of the river, and that Mother Narmada provided this milk for Trailinga Swami. Also wishing to partake of the prasad, Kaki Baba went to the riverbank to drink, only to find the milk was just plain water.
The beloved Trailinga Swami stayed there for 8 years performing his sadhana in the area. Trailinga Swami used to sit outside during the worst storms, despite persistent pleas from his disciples. Continually he would tell them, “Don’t worry about me.”
One day he went out into the river to rescue a sinking boat single-handedly. Trailinga Swami knew that every one had the same potential to do anything, but sadhana enlivened that potential. He said: “Those who forget their own nature, their Godly essence, forget the power within themselves. Our real nature most often is mistaken by others. They prefer to believe in a miracle of the supernatural, rather than the inner strength of the powers that all of us possess.” For him, the boat rescue was merely another proof of the power of the God within.