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Told by Swami Sri Yukteswar in Autobiography of a Yogi.
“In the quiet of night I busied myself over a comparison of the Bible and the scriptures of Sanatan Dharma. Quoting the words of the blessed Lord Jesus, I showed that his teachings were in essence one with the revelations of the Vedas. To my relief, my book was finished in a short time; I realized that this speedy blessing was due to the grace of my Param-Guru-Maharaj. The chapters first appeared in the Sadhusambad journal; later they were privately printed as a book by one of my Kidderpore disciples.
“The morning after I had concluded my literary efforts,” Master continued, “I went to the Rai Ghat here to bathe in the Ganges. The ghat was deserted; I stood still for awhile, enjoying the sunny peace. After a dip in the sparkling waters, I started for home. The only sound in the silence was that of my Ganges-drenched cloth, swish-swashing with every step. As I passed beyond the site of the large banyan tree near the river bank, a strong impulse urged me to look back. There, under the shade of the banyan, and surrounded by a few disciples, sat the great Babaji!
“‘Greetings, Swamiji!’ The beautiful voice of the master rang out to assure me I was not dreaming. ‘I see you have successfully completed your book. As I promised, I am here to thank you.’
“With a fast-beating heart, I prostrated myself fully at his feet. ‘Param-guruji,’ I said imploringly, ‘will you and your chelas not honor my near-by home with your presence?’
“The supreme guru smilingly declined. ‘No, child,’ he said, ‘we are people who like the shelter of trees; this spot is quite comfortable.’
“‘Please tarry awhile, Master.’ I gazed entreatingly at him. ‘I shall be back at once with some special sweetmeats.’
“When I returned in a few minutes with a dish of delicacies, lo! the lordly banyan no longer sheltered the celestial troupe. I searched all around the ghat, but in my heart I knew the little band had already fled on etheric wings.
“I was deeply hurt. ‘Even if we meet again, I would not care to talk to him,’ I assured myself. ‘He was unkind to leave me so suddenly.’ This was a wrath of love, of course, and nothing more.
“A few months later I visited Lahiri Mahasaya in Benares. As I entered his little parlor, my guru smiled in greeting.
“‘Welcome, Yukteswar,’ he said. ‘Did you just meet Babaji at the threshold of my room?’
“‘Why, no,’ I answered in surprise.
“‘Come here.’ Lahiri Mahasaya touched me gently on the forehead; at once I beheld, near the door, the form of Babaji, blooming like a perfect lotus.
“I remembered my old hurt, and did not bow. Lahiri Mahasaya looked at me in astonishment.
“The divine guru gazed at me with fathomless eyes. ‘You are annoyed with me.’
“‘Sir, why shouldn’t I be?’ I answered. ‘Out of the air you came with your magic group, and into the thin air you vanished.’
“‘I told you I would see you, but didn’t say how long I would remain.’ Babaji laughed softly. ‘You were full of excitement. I assure you that I was fairly extinguished in the ether by the gust of your restlessness.’
“I was instantly satisfied by this unflattering explanation. I knelt at his feet; the supreme guru patted me kindly on the shoulder.
“‘Child, you must meditate more,’ he said. ‘Your gaze is not yet faultless—you could not see me hiding behind the sunlight.’ With these words in the voice of a celestial flute, Babaji disappeared into the hidden radiance.”
Told by Swami Kebalananda in Autobiography of a Yogi.
His disciples were sitting one night around a huge fire which was blazing for a sacred Vedic ceremony. The master suddenly seized a burning log and lightly struck the bare shoulder of a chela who was close to the fire.
“Sir, how cruel!” Lahiri Mahasaya, who was present, made this remonstrance.
“Would you rather have seen him burned to ashes before your eyes, according to the decree of his past karma?”
With these words Babaji placed his healing hand on the chela’s disfigured shoulder. “I have freed you tonight from painful death. The karmic law has been satisfied through your slight suffering by fire.”
Told by Lahiri Mahasaya in Autobiography of a Yogi.
“My first meeting with Babaji took place in my thirty-third year,” Lahiri Mahasaya had said. “In the autumn of 1861 I was stationed in Danapur as a government accountant in the Military Engineering Department. One morning the office manager summoned me.
“‘Lahiri,’ he said, ‘a telegram has just come from our main office. You are to be transferred to Ranikhet, where an army post is now being established.’
“With one servant, I set out on the 500-mile trip. Traveling by horse and buggy, we arrived in thirty days at the Himalayan site of Ranikhet.
“My office duties were not onerous; I was able to spend many hours roaming in the magnificent hills. A rumor reached me that great saints blessed the region with their presence; I felt a strong desire to see them. During a ramble one early afternoon, I was astounded to hear a distant voice calling my name. I continued my vigorous upward climb on Drongiri Mountain. A slight uneasiness beset me at the thought that I might not be able to retrace my steps before darkness had descended over the jungle.
“I finally reached a small clearing whose sides were dotted with caves. On one of the rocky ledges stood a smiling young man, extending his hand in welcome. I noticed with astonishment that, except for his copper-colored hair, he bore a remarkable resemblance to myself.
“‘Lahiri, you have come!’ The saint addressed me affectionately in Hindi. ‘Rest here in this cave. It was I who called you.’
“I entered a neat little grotto which contained several woolen blankets and a few kamandulus (begging bowls).
“‘Lahiri, do you remember that seat?’ The yogi pointed to a folded blanket in one corner.
“‘No, sir.’ Somewhat dazed at the strangeness of my adventure, I added, ‘I must leave now, before nightfall. I have business in the morning at my office.’
“The mysterious saint replied in English, ‘The office was brought for you, and not you for the office.’
“I was dumbfounded that this forest ascetic should not only speak English but also paraphrase the words of Christ.
“‘I see my telegram took effect.’ The yogi’s remark was incomprehensible to me; I inquired his meaning.
“‘I refer to the telegram that summoned you to these isolated parts. It was I who silently suggested to the mind of your superior officer that you be transferred to Ranikhet. When one feels his unity with mankind, all minds become transmitting stations through which he can work at will.’ He added gently, ‘Lahiri, surely this cave seems familiar to you?’
“As I maintained a bewildered silence, the saint approached and struck me gently on the forehead. At his magnetic touch, a wondrous current swept through my brain, releasing the sweet seed-memories of my previous life.
“‘I remember!’ My voice was half-choked with joyous sobs. ‘You are my guru Babaji, who has belonged to me always! Scenes of the past arise vividly in my mind; here in this cave I spent many years of my last incarnation!’ As ineffable recollections overwhelmed me, I tearfully embraced my master’s feet.
“‘For more than three decades I have waited for you here—waited for you to return to me!’ Babaji’s voice rang with celestial love. ‘You slipped away and vanished into the tumultuous waves of the life beyond death. The magic wand of your karma touched you, and you were gone! Though you lost sight of me, never did I lose sight of you! I pursued you over the luminescent astral sea where the glorious angels sail. Through gloom, storm, upheaval, and light I followed you, like a mother bird guarding her young. As you lived out your human term of womb-life, and emerged a babe, my eye was ever on you. When you covered your tiny form in the lotus posture under the Nadia sands in your childhood, I was invisibly present! Patiently, month after month, year after year, I have watched over you, waiting for this perfect day. Now you are with me! Lo, here is your cave, loved of yore! I have kept it ever clean and ready for you. Here is your hallowed asana-blanket, where you daily sat to fill your expanding heart with God! Behold there your bowl, from which you often drank the nectar prepared by me! See how I have kept the brass cup brightly polished, that you might drink again therefrom! My own, do you now understand?’
“‘My guru, what can I say?’ I murmured brokenly. ‘Where has one ever heard of such deathless love?’ I gazed long and ecstatically on my eternal treasure, my guru in life and death.
Told by Lahiri Mahasaya in Autobiography of a Yogi.
Lahiri Mahasaya also related to Swami Kebalananda and Sri Yukteswar the story of another meeting with Babaji, under circumstances which recalled the guru’s promise: “I shall come whenever you need me.”
“The scene was a Kumbha Mela at Allahabad,” Lahiri Mahasaya told his disciples. “I had gone there during a short vacation from my office duties. As I wandered amidst the throng of monks and sadhus who had come from great distances to attend the holy festival, I noticed an ash-smeared ascetic who was holding a begging bowl. The thought arose in my mind that the man was hypocritical, wearing the outward symbols of renunciation without a corresponding inward grace.
“No sooner had I passed the ascetic than my astounded eye fell on Babaji. He was kneeling in front of a matted-haired anchorite.
“‘Guruji!’ I hastened to his side. ‘Sir, what are you doing here?’
“‘I am washing the feet of this renunciate, and then I shall clean his cooking utensils.’ Babaji smiled at me like a little child; I knew he was intimating that he wanted me to criticize no one, but to see the Lord as residing equally in all body-temples, whether of superior or inferior men. The great guru added, ‘By serving wise and ignorant sadhus, I am learning the greatest of virtues, pleasing to God above all others—humility.’”