By Sandhya S. Nayar
“I shall never leave my physical body. It will always remain visible to at least a small number of people on this earth.” Thus, promised Mahavatar Babaji, ’the Yogi-Christ of Modern India’, as accounted in the spiritual classic ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.
It was through the hallowed pages of this book that the world first came to know of the exalted, ever-living Avatar Babaji. Until then either through divine decree or profound humility, the secluded Master lived in perfect obscurity in the Northern Himalayan crags near Badrinarayan, retaining his physical form for centuries, perhaps for millenniums.
The deathless Master is untouched by the ravages of Time, and appears to be a youth of not more than twenty-five; his beautiful form radiating an aura of inconceivable effulgence.
The wonderous Master moves with a small group of highly advanced disciples in the Himalayan solitudes. The unattached Master’s cryptic words, “Dera danda uthao” (“Let us lift our camp and staff”) is the signal for the group to depart from that place in instantaneous astral travel.
In January 1894 at the Prayagraj Kumbha Mela, Babaji had approached Swami Sri Yukteswarji and promised to send him a disciple to be trained in the Kriya Yoga tradition. That special disciple was Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda who later established Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship which have been instrumental in the dissemination of the ancient Kriya Yoga science for more than a century in a spirit of divine service.
Before embarking on his sacred mission to the West, Yoganandji felt the need for divine assurance. As he writes in his Autobiography; “My heart was set to go to America, but even more strongly was it resolved to hear the solace of divine permission.”
On 25 July 1920 from early dawn Yoganandji began to shake up the ether with his fervent prayers. When his divine communion reached its pinnacle, there was a knock on the door of his Kolkata home. The omnipresent Himalayan Master appeared to his young chela like ‘the Sunburst of a thousand suns.’ “Yes, I am Babaji.” He spoke melodiously in Hindi to the dazed youth. “Our Heavenly Father has heard your prayer. He commands me to tell you: Follow the behests of your guru and go to America. Fear not; you shall be protected.” This experience gives testimony to Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya’s conviction, “Whenever anyone utters with reverence the name of Babaji, that devotee attracts an instant spiritual blessing.”
To commemorate that eventful day every year on July 25, devotees from all over the world celebrate it as Babaji Smriti Diwas.
Years later in 1963 Babaji had appeared in all his glory to Sri Daya Mata, the third president of YSS/SRF when she was on a pilgrimage to the sacred cave near Dwarahat, in the Himalayas where Babaji was believed to have lived for some time. It was also the holy site where he had initiated Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasayaji in the lost science of Kriya Yoga. To Daya Mataji’s sweet query about the Master’s true essence, Babaji had responded with an overwhelming effulgence of divine love; “My nature is love for it is love alone that can change this world.” Further information: yssofindia.org