Mahavatar Babaji is the name given to an Indian saint by Lahiri Mahasaya who met Mahavatar Babaji between 1861 and 1935. These meetings were described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, including Yogananda’s description of his own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji.
Yogananda described Mahavatar Babaji’s calling thusly: “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.”
Babaji is said to have been alive for thousands of years, living in caves in the Himalayas, appearing sometimes for some particular goal and always watching over the wellbeing of mankind. Many people saw him in both the 19th and the 20th centuries, appearing as a young man. His appearance seemed to vary even when observed by more than one person simultaneously. He spoke little, seldom ate or slept. He often appeared and disappeared suddenly. He had great strength was sometimes seen lifting huge rocks. Sometimes he was seen with several Tibetan Lamas wearing a Tibetan cap on his head. He spoke several languages including Nepali, Hindi, and Kurmachal. Whenever he talked to someone, he spoke to them in their own native language. He had siddhis (Yogic powers) and occasionally performed miracles, but usually people were atracted to him because of the bliss they experienced when in his presence.
According to Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah, “In the year 203 A. D. boy Nagaraj was born in what is now the seaport town of Porto Novo on the eastern coast of India. While still a youth he was kidnapped by a Pathan and taken north to Dacca. He was later released and migrated to Benares where he shone as a Sanskrit scholar of great eminence.
Discontent with this early success and destined for a greater end, he sailed by boat to the powerful shrine of Katarigama on the southern coast of Lanka. For 18 months he plunged into meditation where, with his astute intellect, he analyzed the different philosophical systems threadbare. Drawing inspiration from the great Siddha of Science, Boganathar, he was able to appreciate and understand the full significance of Siddhantha Yoga and Soruba Samadhi and he accepted the challenge of attaining this mystic goal….
Following the inner call, he wondered throughout South India and was extremely fortunate to be initiated into the mysteries of Kundalini Yoga by the great Tamil Siddha, Agastya Maharishi at Courtrallam. Now retiring to a lonely Himalayan cave, he remained absorbed in intensive Yogic sadhana for years at a stretch, finally to emerge LAUGHING AT THE LIMITATIONS OF DEATH.
There are two distinct ways of life – materialistic and spiritualistic. The former is mainly physical and followed extensively in the Western hemisphere and the latter is mainly mystic, prevalent in the Eastern hemisphere. Occidental materialism denies the independent existence of spirit and maintains that there is but one substance -MATTER. Oriental spiritualism, on the other hand, emphasizes that the spirit (or soul clothed with the sheaths of the mind) has a real, perhaps the only lasting existence apart from matter. The core of materialism is science, the quest of material TRUTH with the aid of a laboratory, while the core of spiritualism is Mysticism, the scientific art of realizing eternal TRUTH (Creator or Soul, call it what you may) and its message.
These two ways of life, one harping only on the creation and the other the Creator, are incomplete and the pages of history have proved beyond doubt their inadequacy to solve the vital problems of life and usher in the millennium. The scientific West has mastered the forces of the physical plane but is yet not happy, groping in the dark for PEACE, material and mental. On the other hand the mystic East which has produced Buddhas, Christs, Ramakrishnas and Sages has badly neglected the material aspect of existence to be subjugated and exploited by powerful material nations and denied their birthright of freedom which has prevented them for centuries from playing their rightful part in deciding the destiny of the globe.
It is with pleasure we note the change for the better in world thought today. The impact of western materialism on eastern spiritualism is profound and deep. Oriental politics is waking up from its age long slumber and westerners have started sitting meekly at the feet of mystic Masters in quest of eternal peace and bliss. Very slowly but steadily the world is taking to SCIENTIFIC MYSTICISM which is another name for Kriya Yoga.
Kriya Yoga, the most ancient system of Yoga…was revived by Kriya Babaji about 1794 years back. Kriya Yoga is a five-fold path of Kriya Hatha Yogum, Kriya Vasi Yogum (pranayam), Kriya Dhyana Yogum (meditation), Kriya Mantra Yogum and Kriya Bhakti Yogum (the Yoga of Love and Devotion).
Jnana means knowledge, mystic and material, and refers to Kriya philosophy. The proper outlook and mental background are essential for progress, otherwise the precious teachings of the Kriya Yogi will go to waste and fail to sprout like seeds sowed in barren ground. The flower-bed must be tilled and prepared to yield the beautiful blossoms of Kriya. Hence the aspirant must necessarily pass through the none-to-pleasant preliminary stage of being examined, studied, and trained by the Guru before being accepted.
Mantras are sacred formulae meant to be repeated over and over again; that is japa. The sadhak will have to chant these mantras till the end in view is attained to the satisfaction of the master. Mantra Sastra is a vast, scientific art with different-grades or steps.
After one attains mantra siddhi (perfection) one is fit for Dhyana and the aspirant is led step by step into the deeper mysteries of concentration to realize God and attain perfection.
The fourth facet of this soul-stirring Gospel is Kriya Kundalini Pranayam, a form of Raja Yoga which has been in existence for centuries and the technique varies from master to master….This Kriya technique should not be published and given recklessly…If practiced under an able experienced master the benefits are immense…
The last phase and climax of the sadhana is Sathguru Dheeksha (initiation and blessing by the Sathguru). A Guru (master) is one who has realized God and can dispel the darkness of ignorance. He can show the path to God whereas a Sathguru like KRIYA BABAJI of the Himalayas can actually show God to a fit disciple with a touch, glance, or mere wish. In the final stages the Kriya sadhak may reach the goal with one leap after receiving Sathguru Dheeksha.”
How much of Babaji’s history is mythos, and how much is historical fact is open to some debate. There appears to be evidence of several incarnations or physical rejuvenations. Many people report having a personal experience of Babaji coming to them. Sometimes a physical appearance, sometimes in a dream or some other psychic form. One can meditate or gaze upon his picture and get the sense of something beyond a two dimensional representation. I invite you to try this and see what comes your way. © 1997 – 2010 Keith E. Hall.