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Mahavatar Babaji, the Founder of Kriya Yoga

The Babaji we refer to is the great and noble being who started the spiritual lineage of Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar, and Paramahansa Yogananda, of Self-Realization Fellowship renown. Babaji has also been called MahaAvatar Babaji, Shiva Babaji, Mahamuni Babaji, and Kriya Babaji Nagaraj. His physical body remains at the deathless age of sixteen years.

Babaji has lived for centuries in the Himalayan Mountains, appearing only to a small group of disciples. He is able to materialize and dematerialize his body at will and does so frequently.

Babaji was born on November 30, 203 A.D., in India. His name as a child was Nagaraj which means king of the serpents and which honors the primordial force of the kundalini Shakti. He was apparently born under a star configuration similar to that under which Lord Krishna was born. In Babaji’s early quest for self-realization, he finally found his guru, the great Siddha Yoga Master Boganathar, and became his disciple.

After intensive yoga practice, Boganathar inspired Babaji to seek Kriya Kundalini Pranayama from the legendary Siddha Master Agastyar. Agastyar was hard to find and extremely selective about the disciples he would take on. Babaji traveled to southern India and made a solemn vow to the Divine Mother that he would not leave the spot where he was sitting to meditate until Agastyar would initiate him into the secrets of yoga.

Babaji began to pray and meditate unceasingly. It would rain, then it would get hot, and insects would attack him, but he would not move. As doubts assaulted him, he would pray even harder. His physical body became emaciated, and pilgrims, recognizing the nobility of his quest, would occasionally feed him. Babaji was prepared to die in his physical body, if necessary, for he felt his life was over anyway if he didn’t get initiated by Agastyar.

After forty-eight days of unceasing prayer and meditation, being close to death, he repeated the name Agastyar over and over again. Suddenly Agastyar appeared out of the forest, gave Babaji food and drink, and initiated him into the secrets of Kriya Kundalini Pranayama Yoga. After intensive training, Agastyar directed Babaji to go into the upper ranges of the Himalayan Mountains and become the greatest Siddha (Perfect Master) the world had ever known. Babaji spent eighteen months practicing the Kriya Yoga techniques by himself. After eighteen months, he entered a state of Soruba Samadhi, or ascension and physical immortality.

Since that time, over seventeen hundred years ago, it has been Babaji’s mission to assist humanity in its quest for God-realization. It was Babaji who initiated Shankaracharya and Lahiri Mahasaya, which started the Self-Realization Fellowship lineage. Babaji has rekindled the science of Kriya Yoga and brought it back to the world after it had died out. Babaji has said that Krishna taught Kriya Yoga to Arjuna and that Patanjali and Jesus Christ knew of it. It was taught to St. John, St. Paul, and other disciples.

His great disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda has trained over one hundred thousand people in Kriya Yoga, including Mahatma Gandhi, Luther Burbank, and many others. Babaji began other spiritual lineages in India with which we of the West are less familiar.

Babaji has had a dynamic influence on this planet and its inhabitants, far beyond the little bit that has been written about him. His mission has been to assist the prophets, saints, and spiritual Masters in carrying out their special missions.

Babaji has also been very interested in spreading his teachings to the East and West. It was Babaji who told Paramahansa Yogananda to leave India and teach Kriya Yoga in the West. The interesting thing about Babaji is that he works behind the scenes with a small number of selected disciples in humble obscurity. Even though this is the case, his effect on this planet has been incredibly profound.

Many of the great spiritual Masters and teachers of our time have come from his teachings and guidance. Lahiri Mahasaya, the great spiritual Master and self-realized being said that any devotee who utters, with reverence, Babaji’s name will attract an instant blessing. Paramahansa Yogananda said that when Babaji appeared to him, he appeared no older than twenty-five, with no mark of age on his body. His immortal body requires no food.

Babaji appeared to Sri Yukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda’s guru, on a number of occasions. On one occasion, Babaji appeared and told Sri Yukteswar that at an early stage of his life, he would be sending him a disciple whom he wanted him to train and who would hence bring forth the science of Kriya Yoga to the West. Paramahansa Yogananda was the disciple who wrote the famous book “Autobiography of a Yogi.”

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