Trailinga Swami’s next move was to Kashi in Benaras, where he stayed for more than 150 years. From Kashi come many wonderful accounts of Trailinga Swami’s compassionate and truthful character.
One such story is about a leper for whom Trailinga sang stutis (Sanskrit hymns of Praise) and offered Bilvapatra, a leaf associated with the worship of Lord Shiva. After his worship of this man, Trailinga Swami requested him to shower at the Lolark Kund, always keeping the bilvapatra on his head. Now the Lolark Kund is special for its auspicious waters, and when the leper washed as per the instructions of the Swami, his leprosy was cured.
Another story took place at the Hanuman Ghat. A local woman performed Shiva Puja there every day. One time, seeing a naked man there, she cursed his nudity and asked him why he didn’t live in the jungle with the other animals. The man simply ignored her and continued peacefully on his path. That night, Shiva revealed in a dream that because of her insults to him earlier in the day, her worship would not bear any fruit.
Furthermore, only that naked man, Trailinga Swami, would be the one who granted her the fruit for which she was worshiping. Her purpose for doing the puja was to find a cure for her husband’s stomach ulcers. In the morning she searched and searched for the Saint, and when she finally found him, she asked for his forgiveness. Trailinga Swami happily blessed her, and gave her some ashes for her husband’s cure. Applying the ashes to her bewildered husband, she found that he was cured immediately.
The story is told of an angry ticket collector who told the naked sadhu to get down from the train. “You can’t avail the train service without a ticket!” He was told. The train was stopped between two stations waiting for a clearance from a crossing guard, when the Swami got down. He stomped off in agitated mood in the direction of the next train.
One crippled man called to him from the next compartment, “Hey, Babaji! Take me with you!”
With seemingly great anger, Swami kicked the lame man, and continued on towards the next station, a few miles from there. When the lame man got up from the ground, much to his amazement, he was able to walk. He threw down his crutch with a shout of triumph and ran after the Swami, shouting with joy at his recovery.
The Swami reached the station, and took his seat underneath a large tree. Meanwhile the crossing guard gave the signal, but the train refused to move. People started to walk to the station, rather than sit in the hot sun waiting for the train. When they reached the station, they saw the Swami comfortably reposed under a tree, and they all wondered how he knew the train wouldn’t be able to move, and that everyone would have to walk to the station.
The engineers worked on the train all afternoon, but they couldn’t find out any difficulty. The mechanics came from the station, but they, too, were mystified by the train’s failure. Even when the master mechanics and engineers arrived from the nearest city, all of them were bewildered with the train’s inability to move. No one could even offer an explanation.
Then the crippled man, who had been cured from the swift kick of Trailinga Swami, told everyone that the train won’t run because of the insult shown to that great saint. After he was thrown off the train, the machine refused to run. “Just ask the Swami to come again on board, and you’ll see if the train won’t go.”
“Well,” reasoned all the officials, “We’ve tried everything else. No one has a better explanation. Go, call him to come.”
No sooner did Trailinga Swami board the train, than the engine started up, and the train moved off swiftly towards the station.
At a certain King’s palace on the Ganges, a Queen was bathing in the Ganges River, when she saw the naked Trailinga Swami. She screamed in alarm. As a result, the King ordered the soldiers to capture the sadhu so he could punish him appropriately.
When Trailinga Swami was caught, the towns-people, knowing of his spiritual powers, warned the King, but the warnings went unheeded. The King’s decision was that the whole town would curse the man repeatedly. That night the King had a dream of Lord Shiva. Shiva complained of the King’s abuse and demanded that he leave Kashi and never return again. In the morning an agitated and fearful King looked for the abused Saint and begged for forgiveness, which the Saint readily gave without condition.
In many stories of Trailinga Swami, it was not usual for him to float atop the waters of the Ganges, and then suddenly disappear, avoiding the overzealous crowds, only to resurface at some other location downstream. Once the King of Ujain visited Benares, and when leaving by boat, he noticed a naked man floating on the top of the water. The man floated towards the boat and was brought on board. The naked man was none other than Trailinga Swami. Trailinga Swami asked to see the king’s sword and, after admiring it, he simply threw it in the Ganges with the levity of a small child. The King became very angry and decided to punish this crazy man. Then Trailinga Swami jumped in the waters, and pulling out two identical swords from the water asked the king, “Oh King, which one is yours?”
The King stood there meekly unable to see any difference between the two swords, to which Trailinga Swami retorted, “Foolish King, you thought your sword was so important, but still you can’t tell the difference from another one. You are a container full of delusion and ego. That sword is not yours forever; you cannot take it with you. But your karma will go with you everywhere. Then why are you so angry about this sword? Why bother yourself with anger?”
Trailinga Swami gave the King his sword and threw the other one back into the water. The upset King asked forgiveness from Trailinga Swami, and without a second’s hesitation, Trailinga Swami granted it, and then he again jumped into the river.
Once at Asi Ghat, Trailinga Swami saw a woman weeping for her husband who had died of snakebite. As was the tradition for death from snakebites, the funeral group attempted to throw the whole body into the Ganges, rather than to cremate it. Trailinga Swami approached the body, applied some clay to the wound, and quickly jumped into the Ganges. The dead man slowly came to life, and for weeks the talk at the Ghat revolved only around Swamiji’s miracles.
The British officers saw Trailinga Swami’s nudity as a social disgrace, and frequently complained to the magistrate, who finally arrested him. The policemen, who tried to bring him before the magistrate, told a tale that seemed highly impossible. Trailing Swami simply disappeared before their very eyes! A huge search party was summoned to search for him, but while they were out looking, he returned alone. He was laughing hilariously. Someone informed the magistrate that Trailing Swami was no ordinary human, and that in his spiritual greatness, he saw everything as equal.
Apprised of this information that the Swami regarded everything as equal, the clever magistrate asked if the Swami would eat his food. He knew fully well that meat was forbidden to a Hindu Saint. The Saint without any hesitation, responded affirmatively and added that the magistrate should eat his food also. Agreeing to the exchange, the magistrate served a plate of meat, which the Swami ate with gusto.
After eating his meat, Trailinga Swami squatted and defecated into the palm of his hand: the “food” for the magistrate. The magistrate began to swear and curse in offensive tones, when he observed that the offering had totally become sandal paste. Convinced of Trailinga’s spiritual power, the magistrate protected him from that time onwards, and is reported to have given him protection throughout the district.
When the magistrate was transferred to another district, a new magistrate came, who also reacted to Trailinga Swami’s nakedness by arresting and jailing him. The following day, the magistrate visited the prisoner. Much to his surprise, the magistrate found the prisoner outside the jail. He could not find out who let this man out of the cell. Angered, the magistrate demanded that Trailinga Swami tell him how he had escaped. In a simple, effortless way, Trailinga Swami said, “Early in the morning, I had the desire to urinate.”
This infuriated the magistrate and he locked Trailinga Swami up again, but this time even more securely. Trailinga Swami managed to follow the magistrate outside, even despite extra security attempts. Trailinga Swami told the magistrate, “Sir, you are quite guilty of ignorance. This world has infinite possibilities and all-pervasive consciousness, things about which you know nothing. You can’t bind anyone who has reached the heights of yoga. Why do you disturb me, if you can’t do anything to me? Where is your power now?”
Enlightened by the prisoner’s words, the magistrate recognized the power and depth of this man, and ordered all the officials of the town to respect Trailinga Swami wherever he went, and to leave him alone.