Mahavatar Babaji

Yogi-Christ of Modern India

The story of the sage who revived the science of Kriya Yoga — as revealed by Lahiri Mahasaya, Paramhansa Yogananda, and other saints.

Who Is Babaji?

No limiting facts about Babaji’s family or birthplace, dear to the annalist’s heart, have ever been discovered.…

Paramhansa Yogananda Autobiography of a Yogi, 1946 edition

The name babaji simply means “revered father.” Though the great master’s birth name and date are unknown, his subtle spiritual influence is felt throughout the world.

Autobiography of a Yogi book cover Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi first introduced the world to this mysterious master. Still alive and residing in the Himalayas for centuries or even thousands of years, Babaji’s mission in India has been to assist great spiritual teachers in carrying out their special dispensations. For this reason he is called a mahavatar, a great incarnation of God.

It was Babaji, too, who re-introduced the ancient science of Kriya Yoga, lost during the dark ages due to, as Paramhansa Yogananda said, “priestly secrecy and man’s indifference.”

Saints of East and West

These are a few of the masters that Yogananda said were assisted by Babaji.

Adi Shankaracharya Founder of the Ancient Swami Order

Yogananda said that Shankaracharya was so impressed with Babaji’s protection of a disciple that he asked to become a disciple himself.

Paramhansa Yogananda The Yogi Who Brought Yoga to the West

Kriya Yoga, the scientific technique of God-realization,” Babaji said to Yogananda, “will ultimately spread in all lands, and aid in harmonizing the nations through man’s personal, transcendental perception of the Infinite Father.”

Jesus Christ

The three wise men that visited Jesus Christ after his birth, Paramhansa Yogananda said, were Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and Mahavatar Babaji. In his travels to India, Jesus is said to have paid them a return visit.

Kabir Famous Medieval Poet-Saint

Like Shankaracharya, Kabir received yoga initiation from Babaji.

Kriya Yoga and Lahiri Mahasaya

Babaji was the guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, through whom the science of Kriya Yoga — a technique for spiritual liberation — once more began to spread throughout the world.

“The Kriya Yoga which I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century,” Babaji told Lahiri Mahasaya, “is a revival of the same science which Krishna gave, millenniums ago, to Arjuna, and which was later known to Patanjali, and to Christ, St. John, St. Paul, and other disciples.”

Kriya Yoga Spreads to the West

“Babaji is well aware of the trend of modern times,” Yogananda wrote, ”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.”

During Yogananda’s only recorded meeting with the great sage, Babaji told him, “You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West. Long ago I met your guru Yukteswar at a Kumbha Mela; I told him then I would send you to him for training.”

Through Yogananda, the technique of Kriya Yoga and the teachings of yoga have been shared with millions in the West.

Stories and Miracles

The peerless master moves with his group from place to place in the mountains. His small band contains two highly advanced American disciples. After Babaji has been in one locality for some time, he says: “Dera danda uthao.” (“Let us lift our camp and staff.”) He carries a symbolic danda (bamboo staff).

His words are the signal for moving with his group instantaneously to another place. He does not always employ this method of astral travel; sometimes he goes on foot from peak to peak.

Babaji can be seen or recognized by others only when he so desires. He is known to have appeared in many slightly different forms to various devotees — sometimes without beard and moustache, and sometimes with them. As his undecaying body requires no food, the master seldom eats. As a social courtesy to visiting disciples, he occasionally accepts fruits, or rice cooked in milk and clarified butter.

Two amazing incidents of Babaji’s life are known to me…

Swami Kebalananda in Autobiography of a Yogi

Answered Prayers

Though he has never appeared openly, Babaji answers prayers from devotees around the world. This story and two others are told in Chapter 36 of The New Path by Swami Kriyananda.

Pedro Gonzales Milan… told me of the first time he had read the Autobiography of a Yogi.

While reading, he came to the passage that read, “Whenever anyone utters with reverence the name of Babaji, that devotee attracts an instant spiritual blessing.”

He put the book down, moved to his depths. “If these words be true,” he thought, “I must prove them so! Babaji, heed the cry of my heart: Come to me!”

“Instantly,” he told me, “the room was filled with a glorious light and my heart, with bliss.”

Swami Kriyananda The New Path

Next Places to Visit

Autobiography of a Yogi (Free Online)

The book that introduced Mahavatar Babaji to the world. All of chapter 33 is dedicated to the deathless guru. Highly recommended.

Learn Kriya Yoga

“The easiest, most effective, and most scientific avenue of approach to the Infinite,” according to Yogananda.

Pilgrimages to Babaji’s Cave

Visit the cave and hillside where Lahiri Mahasaya is said to have met Babaji and received initiation into Kriya Yoga. Read the story of one miraculous pilgrimage.

Ages shall come and go—still the deathless master, beholding the drama of the centuries, shall be present on this stage terrestrial.

Ram Gopal Muzumdar in Autobiography of a Yogi