Jagadguru About Mahavatar Babaji
Throughout the centuries I have revealed myself to the few whom I choose to carry my Message of Living Light of Love to those of mankind whom I am working with throughout their cycles of incarnations on Earth. – Jagadguru Maha Avatar Babaji
Current World View of Babaji:
babajiJagadguru Maha Avatar Babaji is an enigma who eludes definition or comprehension. Many words have been written about Babaji in many languages and projected into the airwaves of various media in present day. We attempt to explain and share experiences we have had with Babaji, both spiritual/mystical through visions, dreams and meditation and physical encounters, mostly in the Himalayan Mountains of India. Many have tried to understand one’s own fascination and mysterious love for Babaji; it seems to rise up from the essence, the soul, like water spraying from a fountain imbedded in misty memory, some knowing brought forward from way back in antiquity. Some have construed that trying to understand Jagadguru Babaji is like attempting to bring the formless God into the solidarity of world view.
From Unity With The Divine, Utpalavati writes in the Foreword: “Throughout human history the eternally snow-capped peaks of the sacred Himalayan Mountains of India traditionally have been known as the home of the Immortal Gods. Those spiritually blessed mountains are the home sphere of the eternal, youthful form and spirit of the Physical-Light-Being known as Jagadguru Maha Avatar Babaji. For centuries many have encountered the Immortal Babaji and subsequently identified him by various names. The names most attributed to him in present day are Jagadguru Maha Avatar Babaji and the Immortal Babaji. Jagad means world and guru means teacher—world teacher. Maha means great and Avatar means the decent of divinity into physical form—Maha Avatar. Babaji means revered father and immortal means one who lives forever—World Teacher, Immortal Jagadguru Maha Avatar Babaji.
”Babaji may appear human at will and is reported to take many forms that have the ability to be in one or more places simultaneously. Maha Avatar is an Immortal Universal Being and he does not exclusively adhere to any singular tradition, religion, country, race or creed. He embraces with great unconditional love all spiritual traditions, all of creation and all consciousness as One. All the forms of Babaji come and go at will. Many people throughout the ages have interacted with him in the etheric, in seemingly physical form and in dreams, visions and meditations. All of Babaji’s forms exemplify divine attributes and he invariably bestows blessings and teachings to those whom he chooses to encounter.
“Traditionally Babaji’s mission includes assisting humankind to evolve at its own velocity into realizing Oneness-God. The resulting Universal Love Vibration will transform and return this world and its living beings into the original Divine blueprint of paradise on Earth—the prophetic Golden Era. Many have experienced that whenever one speaks with reverence the name of Babaji that person receives an instant spiritual blessing. Babaji offers humanity a glimpse of Divinity in physical form. He provides a conscious example of mankind’s own potential for transforming himself from maya, illusion, into the Divine Immortal that Babaji has exemplified down through the centuries—an eternal bridge between the Divine and mankind.”
In His Own Words:
Babaji writes in Unity With The Divine: “The various names attributed to me developed from certain divinely selected humans who came into contact with what appears to be my physical form roaming the mountain crags of the Himalayas in India and in the vicinity of those high mountain regions.
“Many synonyms for life exist in all Earth languages. For instance, from ancient times in Hinduism there have been thousands of stories of the Gods with many faces and names. Ganesha, the elephant-faced God has been given many attributes. Humans pray to obtain those same characterizes in their own lives. It is believed that Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. And so the psychological components of human anatomy allow the individual to attune his awareness to the attributes of Ganesha and during prayer, meditation or puja worship he may align with the Divine Principle exemplified in Ganesha and indeed obstacles may be transmuted. In a similar development to Ganesha, throughout the centuries, man has given me many names.
“I serve the Divine in the capacity of Good Will Ambassador to the world populations throughout the cycle of time in which you presently are living, the Kali Yuga, time of ignorance or darkness (now completing and simultaneously merging into the next age known as the Golden Age, the Sathya Age—the age of Truth). Throughout the centuries I have revealed myself to the few whom I choose to carry my message of Living Light of Love to those of mankind whom I am working with throughout their cycles of incarnations on Earth.”
Mahavatar Babaji is the name given to an Indian saint by Lahiri Mahasaya and several of his disciples who met Mahavatar Babaji between 1861 and 1935. Some of these meetings were described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi (1946), including a first hand telling of Yogananda’s own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji.Another first hand account was given by Sri Yukteswar Giri in his book The Holy Science.All of these accounts, along with additional meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, are described in various biographies of those mentioned by Yogananda.
Mahavatar Babaji’s given 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.”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.
There are very few accounts of Babaji’s childhood. One source of information is book Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition by Marshall Govindan.According to Govindan, Babaji was named Nagaraj (king of serpents) by his parents.
Yogis S.A.A. Ramaiah and V.T. Neelakantan claim that in 1953 Mahavatar Babaji told them that he had been born on 30 November 203 CE in a small coastal village now known as Parangipettai, in Tamil Nadu, India.
According to Govindan’s book, Babaji Nagaraj’s father was the priest of the village’s temple. Babaji revealed only those details which he believed to be formative as well as potentially instructive to his disciples. Govindan mentioned one jackfruit incident like this: “One time Nagaraj’s mother had got one rare jackfruit for family feast and put it aside. Babaji was only 4 years old that time. He found jackfruit when his mother was not around and ate it all. When mother came to know about it, she flew in blind rage and stuffed a cloth inside Babaji’s mouth, nearly suffocating him. Fortunately, Babaji survived. Later on he thanked God for showing him that she was to be loved without attachment or illusion. His Love for his mother became unconditional and detached.”
When Nagaraj was about 5 years old, someone kidnapped him and sold him as a slave at Calcutta (Now Kolkata). His new owner however was a kind man and he freed Nagaraj shortly thereafter. Nagaraj then joined a small group of wandering sanyasin due to their radiant faces and love for God. During next few years, he wandered from place to place, studying holy scriptures like Vedas, Upanishad, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Bhagvad Gita.
Quest for self realisation
According to Marshall Govindan’s book, at the age of eleven, he made a difficult journey by foot and boat with group of ascetics to Katirgama, Sri Lanka. Nagaraj met Siddha Bhogarnathar and became his disciple. Nagaraj performed intensive yogic sadhana for long with him. Bhogarnather inspired Nagaraj to seek initiation into Kriya Kundalini Pranayam from Siddha Agastya. Babaji became disciple of Siddha Agastya. Nagaraj got initiated into secrets of Kriya Kundalini Pranayama or “Vasi Yogam”. Babaji made long pilgrimage to Badrinath and spent eighteen months practising yogic kriya taught to him by Siddha Agastya and Bhogarnathar. Babaji attained self-realization shortly thereafter.
Reports of meetings, 1861-1966
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 of Dunagiri above Ranikhet, he heard a voice calling his name. Following the voice up the mountain, he met a “tall, divinely radiant sadhu.”He was amazed to find that the sadhu knew his name.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.”
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.
Lahiri Mahasaya had many meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, recounted in several books, including Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi,Yogiraj Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya (Lahiri’s biography)and Purana Purusha: Yogiraj Sri Shama Churn Lahiri,among others.
Disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya
Several disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya also said they 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.
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.Others who met Babaji also commented on the resemblance.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.Sri Yukteswar had two more meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, including one in the presence of Lahiri Mahasaya.
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.
Keshabananda, 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. 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.”
Other disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya who reported meetings with Mahavatar Babaji include Kebalananda Giri and Ram Gopal Muzumdar, who recounted meeting Mahavatar Babaji and his sister, whom he called Mataji.In addition, a disciple of Trailanga Swami, Shankari Mata (also called Shankari Mai Jiew) met Mahavatar Babaji while visiting Lahiri Mahasaya
Legendary powers and age have been attributed to Mahavatar Babaji by the disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya. 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 to 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 1800s, according to Pranabananda.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.”
According to Yogananda’s autobiography, he has a sister called Mataji (meaning “Holy Mother”) who also has lived throughout the centuries. Her level of spiritual attainment is comparable to her brother’s, and she lives in a state of spiritual ecstasy in an underground cave. Although only three pages in the book are dedicated to her, she is described by Ram Gopal as “young and surpassingly lovely”as well as a “glorious woman.”
Lahiri Mahasaya wrote in his diary that Mahavatar Babaji was Lord Krishna.Two disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda report that he also stated Mahavatar Babaji was Krishna in a former lifetime.Yogananda also frequently prayed out loud to “Babaji-Krishna.”
Modern claims and popular references
Mahavatar Babaji was one of the many people featured on the cover of The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
In Book 3 of Conversations with God (1998), by Neale Donald Walsch, it is suggested that Babaji may at one time have resurrected himself from the dead.
The 2002 Tamil film Baba written by Rajinikanth was based on Babaji. Swami Maheshwarananda writes in his book The hidden power in humans, that the Guru of the legendary Babaji is Sri Alakh Puriji.