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Encyclopedia > Mahavatar Babaji
Mahavatar Babaji - a drawing from Autobiography of a Yogi, commissioned by Yogananda and based on his own meeting with Babaji

Mahavatar Babaji is the name given to an Indian yogi and holy man by Lahiri Mahasaya and several of his disciples[1] who met Mahavatar Babaji between 1861 and 1935. Some of these meetings were described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, including a first hand telling of Yogananda’s own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji.[2] Another first hand account was given by Sri Yukteswar Giri in his book The Holy Science.[3] All of these accounts, along with additional meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, are described in various biographies[4][5][6] of those mentioned by Yogananda. Image File history File links Babaji. ... Image File history File links Babaji. ... A sculpture of a Hindu yogi in the Birla Mandir, Delhi A yogi or yogin (in Sanskrit: योगी yogini is used as a feminine alternative) is a term for one who practices yoga. ... Shyama Charan Lahiri, best known as Lahiri Mahasaya (September 30, 1828 - September 26, 1895) was an Indian yogi and the guru of Sri Yukteswar Giri. ... Paramahansa Yogananda (Bengali: পরমহংস যোগানন্দ Pôromôhongsho Joganondo, Hindi: परमहंस योगानन्‍द; January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952), was an Indian yogi and guru. ... Autobiography of a Yogi is the autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda. ... Priya Nath Karar, known by his monastic name Sri Yukteswar Giri (May 10, 1855-March 9, 1936), was the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. ... The Holy Science is a book written by Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri in 1894, published in the United States by Self-Realization Fellowship, and in India by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. ...


Mahavatar Babaji’s real name and date of birth are not known, so those who met him during that period all called him by the title first given to him by Lahiri Mahasaya.[2][6] ‘Mahavatar’ means ‘great avatar’, and ‘Babaji’ simply means ‘revered father’. Some of the encounters included two or more witnesses — discussions between those who met Mahavatar Babaji indicate that they all met the same person.[2][5][4] Shyama Charan Lahiri, best known as Lahiri Mahasaya (September 30, 1828 - September 26, 1895) was an Indian yogi and the guru of Sri Yukteswar Giri. ...

Contents

Meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, 1861-1935

Lahiri Mahasaya

The first reported encounter with Mahavatar Babaji was in 1861, when Lahiri Mahasaya was posted to Ranikhet in his work as an accountant for the British government. One day while walking in the hills above Ranikhet, he heard a voice calling his name. Following the voice up the mountain, he met a “tall, divinely radiant sadhu.”[6] He was amazed to find that the sadhu knew his name.[6][2] This sadhu was Mahavatar Babaji.


Mahavatar Babaji told Lahiri Mahasaya that he was his Guru from the past, then initiated him into Kriya Yoga, and instructed Lahiri to initiate others. Lahiri wanted to remain with Mahavatar Babaji, who told him instead that he must return to the world to teach Kriya Yoga, and that “Kriya Yoga sadhana would spread through the people of the world through his (Lahiri’s) presence in the world.”[6] Kriya Yoga is a very specific system of Yoga that was revived in modern times by Lahiri Mahasaya, c 1861. ...


Lahiri Mahasaya reported that Mahavatar Babaji did not give his name or background, so Lahiri gave him the title “Mahavatar Babaji.” Many sadhus in India are called Babaji, and sometimes even “Babaji Maharaj”, which has caused confusion between Mahavatar Babaji and other sadhus with similar names.[6]


Lahiri Mahasaya had many meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, recounted in several books, including Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi,[2] Yogiraj Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya (Lahiri’s biography)[6], and Purana Purusha: Yogiraj Sri Shama Churn Lahiree,[7] among others.


Disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya

Several disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya also met Babaji. Through discussion with each other, and the fact that some of these encounters included two or more witnesses, they confirmed that the person they saw was the same sadhu that Lahiri called Mahavatar Babaji.[6][2][8]


In 1894, at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, Sri Yukteswar Giri, a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, met Mahavatar Babaji. He was surprised by the striking resemblance between Lahiri Mahasaya and Mahavatar Babaji.[5][2] Others who met Babaji also commented on the resemblance.[6] It was at this meeting that Mahavatar Babaji instructed Sri Yukteswar to write the book that was to become Kaivalya Darshanam, or The Holy Science.[3] Sri Yukteswar had two more meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, including one in the presence of Lahiri Mahasaya.[6][2][5] The 2001 Kumbh Mela. ...


Swami Pranabananda Giri, another disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, also met Mahavatar Babaji in the presence of Lahiri Mahasaya, at Lahiri’s home. Pranabananda asked Mahavatar Babaji his age. Mahavatar Babaji responded that he was about 500 years old at that time.[4]


Swami Keshabananda Giri, a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, tells of meeting Mahavatar Babaji in the mountains near Badrinath around 1935, after he became lost wandering in the mountains.[2] At that meeting, Pranabananda reported that Babaji gave him a message for Yogananda, that “I won’t see him this time, as he is eagerly hoping; but I shall see him on some other occasion.”[2]


Other disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya who reported meetings with Mahavatar Babaji include Swami Kebalananda Giri[9] and Ram Gopal Muzumdar, who recounted meeting Mahavatar Babaji and his sister, whom he called Mataji.[2][6] In addition, a woman disciple of Trailanga Swami, Shankari Mata (also called Shankari Mai Jiew) met Mahavatar Babaji while visiting Lahiri Mahasaya.[6][2]


Legends about Mahavatar Babaji

Legendary powers and age have been attributed to Mahavatar Babaji—by the disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya, and by additional unconfirmed stories told in modern times. These stories have led many to believe that Mahavatar Babaji is a legendary person, rather than a real sadhu that was seen by numerous witnesses from 1861-1935.


Paramahansa Yogananda, in his Autobiography, described Mahavatar Babaji’s role on earth:

The Mahavatar is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age. The work of these two fully-illumined masters–one with the body, and one without it–is to inspire the nations to forsake suicidal wars, race hatreds, religious sectarianism, and the boomerang-evils of materialism. Babaji is well aware of the trend of modern times, especially of the influence and complexities of Western civilization, and realizes the necessity of spreading the self-liberations of yoga equally in the West and in the East.

In addition, Babaji is reputed to be ageless, according to some accounts, and about 500 years old around the late 1800’s, according to Swami Pranabananda.[4] Yogananda reports that, according to the disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya, nobody knows Babaji’s age, family, place of birth, true name, or other details “dear to the annalist’s heart.”[2]


Mahavatar Babaji as Krishna

Lahiri Mahasaya wrote in his diary that Mahavatar Babaji was Lord Krishna.[7] Two disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda report that he also stated Mahavatar Babaji was Krishna in a former lifetime.[10][11] Yogananda also frequently prayed out loud to "Babaji-Krishna."[12] This article is about the Hindu deity. ...


Modern references and claims

Since the publication of Autobiography of a Yogi in 1946, many people have claimed that they had visions of Mahavatar Babaji. Some of these people offered more background about Babaji.


Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition by M. Govindan, claims to build upon the story of Mahavatar Babaji by giving new details, such as Mahavatar Babaji's birthdate (30th of November 203 A.D.), birthplace (Parangipettai, Tamil Nadu), youth, and attainment of the highest goal of physical immortality under the guidance of two great Siddha Masters of South India - Agastyar and Bogar. The book The Voice of Babaji: A Trilogy on Kriya Yoga narrates the meetings that brought this new information about the life of Babaji. This book is a modern reprint of three different books that were published in India along the 50's. Events Roman Emperor Septimius Severus rebuilds Byzantium. ... Parangipettai, historically called Porto Novo is a panchayat town in Cuddalore district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. ... Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ... This article is about living for infinite period of time. ... A Siddha in Sanskrit means One who is accomplished and refers to perfected masters who have transcended the Ahamkara (Ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies composed of dense Rajo-tama Gunas into pure Satvic light. ... Agastyar, also spelled Agathiar or Agasthiar, is considered as the first and foremost person of Siddha. ... Bogar was a legendary South Indian siddhar (herbal healer). ...


Also Swami Satyeswarananda said that he had several meetings with Babaji. Satyeswarananda is still alive. He published the book "Babaji: The Divine Himalayan Yogi" recording his experiences, and also "Babaji: Lahiri Mahasay : The Polestar of Kriya". His narration of the meeting of Babaji with Pranabananda contradicts other versions of it [4]. So Babaji could be much older than 500 years old. Satyeswarananda has also published several books of Lahiri Mahasaya.


Another saint who is identified with Mahavatar Babaji is Hariakhan Baba, a teacher who lived and taught from 1861 through 1924. This Babaji is discussed in the book Hariakhan Baba: Known and Unknown by Baba Hari Dasa. Several accounts were also written by an Indian holy man named Mahendra Baba, who identified him as being the same person as Mahavatar Babaji. Roy Eugene Davis, a direct personal disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda and former minister of the Self-Realization Fellowship Phoenix Temple, expressed a similar conclusion in his book Life Surrendered in God: The Philosophy and Practices of Kriya Yoga. Hariakhan Baba(ji) was a teacher who appeared and taught in many places in northern India near the Himalayas between 1861 and 1924. ... 1861 (MDCCCLXI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link with display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar) // January 1 - Benito Juárez captures Mexico City January 2 - Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia dies and is succeeded by... Year 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Paramahansa Yogananda (Bengali: পরমহংস যোগানন্দ Pôromôhongsho Joganondo, Hindi: परमहंस योगानन्‍द; January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952), was an Indian yogi and guru. ... Gateway to the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Hollywood (Los Angeles, California) The Self-Realization Fellowship is a religious organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1920 and based in Los Angeles, California. ...


Another teacher who is identified with Mahavatar Babaji has a similar name, Haidakhan Babaji. He lived in northern India and taught publicly from 1970 until his death in 1984. The spiritual teacher Leonard Orr wrote about his encounters with Haidakhan Babaji, and together with Sondra Ray, promoted him as being Mahavatar Babaji. Others that were with him also believed that Haidakhan Babaji was Mahavatar Babaji. [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20] Haidakhan Babaji, simply called Babaji by his students and devotees, was a teacher who was born in northern India and taught publicly from 1970–1984. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ... Leonard Orr (born circa 1938) is an American spiritual leader best known for developing Rebirthing-Breathwork, a system or technique of breathing that can help one to overcome the trauma of being born. ... Author of many books, Sondra Ray is best known as one of the pioneers Rebirthing-Breathwork, a system or technique of breathing that can help one to overcome the trauma of being born. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, Ram Gopal Muzumdar, Swami Kebalananda, Swami Pranabananda Giri
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Yogananda, Paramahansa, Autobiography of a Yogi, 2005. ISBN 978-1565892125.
  3. ^ a b Yukteswar Giri, Sri, The Holy Science. Yogoda Satsanga Society, 1949
  4. ^ a b c d e Mukhopadyay, Sri Jnananedranath, Srimad Swami Prananabananda Giri, Sri Jnananedranath Mukhopadyay Property Trust, 2001.
  5. ^ a b c d Satyananda Giri, Swami, Swami Sri Yukteshvar Giri Maharaj, from A Collection of Biographies of 4 Kriya Yoga Gurus, iUniverse Inc. 2006. ISBN 978-0595386758.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Satyananda Giri, Swami, Yogiraj Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasay, from A Collection of Biographies of 4 Kriya Yoga Gurus, iUniverse Inc. 2006. ISBN 978-0595386758.
  7. ^ a b Chatterjee, Ashoke Kumar, Purana Purusha: Yogiraj Sri Shama Churn Lahiri. Yogiraj Publications, 2004. ISBN 81-87563-01-X.
  8. ^ Satyananda, Swami, Yogacharya Shastri Mahasaya: A Short Biographical Sketch of Hamsaswami Kebalanandaji Maharaj.Yoganiketan, 2004.
  9. ^ Satyananda, Swami, Yogacharya Shastri Mahasaya: A Short Biographical Sketch of Hamsaswami Kebalanandaji Maharaj.Yoganiketan, 2004
  10. ^ Kriyananda, Swami: Conversations with Yogananda, page 347. Crystal Clarity Publishers, 2003. ISBN 156589202X
  11. ^ Sri Durga Mata: A Paramhansa Yogananda Trilogy of Divine Love, page 50, copyright Joan Wight, 1992. ISBN 0963583808
  12. ^ Yogananda, Paramahansa: various articles (Praecepta Lessons, Volume 1, by Swami Yogananda, 1934) and recordings (One Life Versus Reincarnation [CD]. ISBN 0876124392).
  13. ^ Shyam, Radhe, I Am Harmony.
  14. ^ Reichel, Gertraud, Babaji - Gateway to the Light.
  15. ^ Reichel, Gertraud, Message from the Himalayas.
  16. ^ Goodman, Shdema, Babaji: meeting with Truth.
  17. ^ Chaghatai, Ikram, BabaJi.
  18. ^ Minett, Gunnel, Babaji: Shri Haidakhan Wale Baba.
  19. ^ Churchill, Pola, Shiva Mahavatar Babaji.
  20. ^ Several authors, Babaji the unfathomable.

For other gurus called Satyananda, see Swami Satyananda (disambiguation). ...

See also

  • Autobiography of a Yogi on Wikisource:
    • Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 33: Babaji, the Yogi-Christ of Modern India
    • Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 34: Materializing a Palace in the Himalayas
    • Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 36: Babaji's Interest in the West

The original Wikisource logo. ...

External links

  • "In search of Babaji." from What is Enlightenment?

  Results from FactBites:
 
Mahavatar Hariakhan Babaji Maharaj - Deathless Saint of the Himalayas (5663 words)
Mahavatar Hariakhan Babaji Maharaj - Deathless Saint of the Himalayas
As soon as Babaji saw the man he informed him that as it was very hot, he was going to bathe in the cool waters of the lake and so he requested the man to help him by carrying his possessions to the edge of the lake.
Babaji explained that in Lahiri's former life, he had been his guru and that Lahiri had been his advanced disciple, meditating for decades under his guidance in one of the caves that surrounded the mountainous ledge.
Mahavatar            ... (5662 words)
Babaji told him he was just leaving to visit the Badrinath temple high on a peak in the Himalayas, and he invited Gumani to go with him.
As soon as Babaji saw the man he informed him that as it was very hot, he was going to bathe in the cool waters of the lake and so he requested the man to help him by carrying his possessions to the edge of the lake.
Babaji explained that in Lahiri's former life, he had been his guru and that Lahiri had been his advanced disciple, meditating for decades under his guidance in one of the caves that surrounded the mountainous ledge.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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