A Jnanavatar’s Life Chiselled for the Ages: Swami Sri Yuktewarji’s 168th Birth Anniversary

By Sandhya S. Nayar

“Look Fear in the Face and it will Cease to Trouble You!” Affirmed ‘The Lion of Bengal’, Jnanavatar Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri; the divine guru of ‘The Father of Yoga in the West’ Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. In the spiritual classic ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ Yoganandji delves into the unfathomable nature of his guru saying he fitted the Vedic definition of a man of God: ‘Softer than the flower where kindness is concerned, stronger than the thunder where principles are at stake’.

Born Priya Nath Karar on May 10, 1855 in Serampore, Bengal, he became the disciple of the exalted yogi Lahiri Mahasaya of Benaras. Later he joined the Swami Order and received the new name of Sri Yukteswar Giri. Intellectual and spiritual education being his lifelong interest, he turned his ancestral mansion into a hermitage of learning. All the chelas under his care were meticulously trained to be ‘the living liaisons of Western and Eastern virtues.’

Being a perfectionist, his methods were often drastic, as Yoganandji confesses, “I shook many times under the weight of his disciplinary hammer.” Understandably the Master was not sought after by superficial students, but the wise, though minuscule in number, deeply revered him.

When those students craving an easy path or an ‘ego balm’ from the stoic master fled from the hermitage, he would comment wryly; “Tender inner weaknesses, revolting at mild touches of censure, are like diseased parts of the body recoiling before even delicate handling.”

Though his verbal assaults, ‘never wrathful but impersonal with wisdom,’ were only on students who had asked him to discipline them. He often encouraged them with the words; “Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” Those disciples who took the training in the right spirit eventually discerned a deeply loving heart under the guise of fiery sternness.

“Roam in the world as a lion of self-control; don’t let the frogs of sense weakness kick you around!” Was his clarion call to his disciples.

The Master vehemently advocated to his disciples that no outward forms of honour mattered except one’s ‘steady, daily spiritual advancement.’ He reminded them to practise the highly advanced spiritual technique of Kriya Yoga.

It was during a Kumbh Mela that Mahavatar Babaji, the deathless Himalayan Master, had requested Sri Yukteswarji to write ‘The Holy Science’ a short book on the underlying harmony between Christian and Hindu scriptures. Furthering his great role in the ‘coming harmonious exchange between Orient and Occident’ Babaji promised to send him a disciple to be trained for yoga dissemination in the West. The illustrious disciple was Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, who later on established Yogoda Satsanga Society of India at Ranchi, and Self Realization Fellowship in California, which continue to illumine both the East and the West with the ineffable light of Kriya Yoga since its inception more than a century ago.

Yoganandji expressed his great reverence for his beloved Guru with this tribute; “I often reflected that my majestic master could easily have been an emperor or world-shaking warrior had his mind been centered on fame or worldly achievement. He had chosen instead to storm those inner citadels of wrath and egotism whose fall is the height of a man.”


Further info.: yssofindia.org



DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of Sambad English.

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