Biography of Lahiri Mahasaya
Lahiri Mahasaya was the guru of Sri Yukteswar Giri, who was the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. This article details the insightful
biography of Lahiri Mahasaya.
Lahiri was born in a Brahmin family in Bengal’s Nadia district. His parents were Gaur Mohan Lahiri and Muktakashi. Lahiri’s mother was a devout worshipper of Lord Shiva. But, she died when Lahiri was just a child. Even at a young age, Lahiri meditated a lot, often sitting in sand piled up to his neck. The young child’s ancestral home was destroyed in a flood, so his family shifted to Varanasi.
In his childhood, Lahiri studied English, Persian, Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi and Urdu at Government Sanskrit College. He also took a keen interest in studying the vedas. His daily routine included worship, chanting the vedas and bathing in the holy Ganges river.
Lahiri’s Professional Life
In the year 1846, Lahiri married Srimati Kashi Moni. The couple begot two sons and two daughters. Lahiri took up a job as accountant in the English government’s military engineering department to support his family. The job entailed travelling all over India. When Lahiri’s father died, he settled down in Varansi with his entire family.
In the year 1861, Lahiri was posted at Ranikhet in the Himalayan foothills. One day, as he was walking in the Himalayas, he heard somebody calling his name. He climbed higher up the hill and came upon Mahavatar Babaji, the immortal yogi-christ of India. Babaji taught Lahiri the techniques of kriya yoga and asked him to spread the message of kriya yoga.
Teaching Kriya Yoga
Lahiri went back to Varanasi and begain teaching kriya yoga to sincere seekers. He also began to give speeches on the Bhagavad Gita. Lahiri taught kriya yoga to even Christians and Moslems, not minding the prevalent bigotry of the era. He urged them to stick to their religion, using kriya techniques to reinforce their religious practices. Householders, sanyasis, postmen, gardeners and even maharajas flocked to him to learn kriya yoga.
Kriya yoga is a series of prananyama techniques that help to hasten the practitioner’s spiritual growth. His main advice to those who came to him with problems was to practice kriya yoga more often.
Arya Mission Institution
One of Lahiri’s disciples, Panchanon Bhattacharya, started the Arya Mission Institution in Calcutta to spread kriya yoga. This institution also published Lahiri’s commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and other spiritual tomes. Lahiri also printed small books in Hindi and Bengali, which contained verses from the Gita. He distributed these books for free, which was uncommon in that era. Lahiri Mahasaya attained mahasamadhi in September, 1895.