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Mahavatar Babaji

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Mahavatar Babaji is the name given to an Indian saint and yogi 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, including a first hand telling of Yogananda’s own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji.Another first hand account was given by Yukteswar Giri in his book The Holy Science. According to Sri M’s autobiography (Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master) Sri Guru Babaji, i.e., Mahavatar Babaji was Lord Shiva. In the second last chapter of his book, he mentions Sri Guru Babaji changing his form to Lord Shiva. All of these accounts, along with additional meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, are described in various biographies of those mentioned by Yogananda. Paramahansa Yogananda has written in Autobiography of a Yogithat the deathless avatar has resided for untold years in the remote Himalayan regions of India, revealing himself only rarely to a blessed few.

It is Mahavatar Babaji who revived in this age the lost scientific meditation technique of Kriya Yoga. In bestowing Kriya initiation on his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya, Babaji said, “The Kriya Yoga that I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century is a revival of the same science that Krishna gave millenniums ago to Arjuna; and that was later known to Patanjali and Christ, and to St. John, St. Paul, and other disciples.”

Shortly before Paramahansa Yogananda left for America in 1920, Mahavatar Babaji came to Yogananda’s home in Calcutta, where the young monk sat deeply praying for divine assurance regarding the mission he was about to undertake. Babaji said to him: “Follow the behest of your guru and go to America. Fear not; you shall be protected. You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West.”

Mahavatar Babaji’s given name is unknown, so those who met him during that period all called him by the title first given to him by Lahirī. “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.

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