Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj
Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj is both ageless and eternally young. Sometimes he is formless, while at other times, he appears before his disciples in any form he wishes to liberate humanity from its worldly fetters.
Adoringly addressed by various names, such as Mahamuni, Tryambaka Baba, Shiva Baba and Badua Baba, Babaji Maharaj cannot be described with any historical or scriptural certainty. His works are divine, shrouded in a mystery that eludes precise detail. Time has failed to reveal the facts about his birth, identity and life. He is primordial, mahakal and immortal, not remaining captive to the bounds of time and space. He is supreme and unparalleled among all saints and sages. He assumes an all-compassionate, beautiful, luminous form to provide an experience of new life to confused, grieving, fearful, despondent and doubtful people, showing them the highway to Self-realisation.
Babaji Maharaj remains engrossed in deep meditation in the dense forests, caves and snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas, at the same time keeping a watchful gaze on earnest seekers on their paths to the Ultimate. His divine play of miraculous appearance and disappearance, as narrated by his disciples Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Pranavananda, Swami Shriyukteshwar, Hamsa Swami Kevalananda, Paramahamsa Yogananda and Paramahamsa Hariharananda, is his unique way of guiding disciples on the path of divinity toward rapid liberation.
There is a scintillating account of his propping up Lahiri Mahasaya from infancy to ascension to godhood, like a bird shelters its offspring under protective wings. He initiated Lahiri Mahasaya into the liberating and sacrosanct techniques of Kriya Yoga. By Mahavatar Babaji’s limitless divine power, Lahiri Mahasaya entered the deepest level of Self-realisation, the state of nirvikalpa samadhi. Crossing the successive stages of Self-knowledge, he remained anchored for seven days in the deathless realm of brahma loka. The compassionate Babaji Maharaj instructed him to go back to the world and perform his worldly duties as an ideal yogi householder, blazing the path of liberation for worldly people and sannyasis alike who earnestly sought Self-realisation. In this way Babaji taught that liberation was no longer the monopoly of a few select sannyasis, and that worldly people could attain godhood without abandoning their duties. By seeking the soul at every moment during all activities, we can achieve Self-realisation.
Babaji Maharaj tested the depth of love and determination of an American devotee who was searching for him along the inaccessible crags of the Himalayas. Glimpsing Babaji Maharaj, the devotee’s face lit up with joy, and tears streamed down his face. The devotee implored Babaji Maharaj to accept him as his disciple. Babaji Maharaj sternly declined, and the American devotee suddenly jumped from the cliff into a rocky chasm below the ledge. Babaji Maharaj instructed his disciples to collect the corpse. With Babaji’s divine touch, the American devotee came back to life and was accorded the rare privilege of being Babaji Maharaj’s disciple.
Like a director who remains in the background instructing the actors, Shri Babaji Maharaj oversees the worldly stage, appearing only rarely. At Kumbha Mela, he addressed Priyanath (Swami Shriyukteshwar), the dear and close disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, as “Swamiji,” to Priyanath’s utter astonishment. He instructed Priyanath to write a book combining the essence of Indian metaphysics with that of the West, promising to meet him the day it was finished. True to his word, Babaji Maharaj visited him on the day the assigned work was completed, as Priyanath exited his bath in the Ganga at Shri Rampur.
Lahiri Mahasaya, Babaji Maharaj and his sister, Mataji, appeared from a flash of light at the Dasahwamedha bathing ghat to Ramgopal, who had been told go there by his guru, Lahiri Mahasaya. When Babaji Maharaj desired to shed his body, his sister Mataji said, “As there is no difference between being ensconced in Brahma and the deathless form, pledge before me that you will never relinquish your body form for the liberation of the entire human race.” Listening to her prayer, as a hallmark of his great compassion, he promised it would be so.
Babaji Maharaj’s divine majesties and the cosmic enactment of his dream are endless. He roams forever in the vast ethereal canvas of divinity, transcending limitations of worldly distinctions such as caste, class, religion, culture, history and geography. He brought the message of Kriya Yoga to the West through Paramahamsa Yogananda and Paramahamsa Hariharananda, who were brought by his direction into close contact with Swami Shriyukteshwar for spiritual grooming and stewardship. He appeared before Paramahamsa Yogananda before Yoganandaji's voyage to the West.
The earnest prayer of Brahmachari Rabinarayan (Paramahamsa Hariharananda) to glimpse Mahavatar Babaji’s form was benignly answered when Babaji appeared to him in Puri Karar Ashram in 1949. Pleased with Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji’s high spiritual attainment, Babaji Maharaj inspired him to visit the West in order to propagate Kriya Yoga.