Biography of Mahavatar Babaji
In Paramahamsa Yogananda’s autobiography, Mahavatar Babaji is revealed as an immortal yogi-christ who has lived in the Himalayas for centuries. Babaji means ‘respected father’. This article reveals the legend behind the life of Mahavatar Babaji.
Babaji’s Early Life
Babaji was born on 30, November, 203 A.D., in Parangipettai, a coastal village in Tamil Nadu. He was christened Nagaraj, meaning “serpet king” in reference to the coiled kundalini power inherent in all humans. Babaji’s birth coincided with Karthigai Deepam, which is the another festival of lights after Diwali.
When Babaji was five, a trader kidnapped him and sold him as a slave to a merchant in Calcutta. But, the merchant freed him out of compassion. Babaji joined a group of wandering ascetics, from whom he learned philosophical and religious texts.
Disciple of Boganathar
Babaji heard about an enlightened master called Agastyar who lived in south India. So, he traveled down south where he met Boganathar, a disciple of Agastyar. Under Boganathar, Babaji studied meditation and Siddha philosophy for a few years. Due to regular meditation, he reached advanced stages of samadhi and even experienced divine visions.
Babaji Meets Agastyar
When Babaji was 15, Boganathar sent him to Agastyar, who taught Babaji a breathing technique called kriya kundalini pranayama. Agastyar advised Babaji to practise deep meditation and pranayama in Himalayan seclusion. For 18 months, Babaji practiced yogic techniques in a Himalayan cave. As a result, he became a perfected Siddha and his body overcame the limitations of disease and even death.
Babaji’s Legendary Powers
Babaji is believed to have met spiritual teachers such as Adi Shankaracharya who lived in the 9th century A.D., and Kabir, a 15th century saint, who was loved by both Hindus and Muslims. Babaji is thus believed to be ageless.
Babaji’s Kriya Yoga
Babaji revived the ancient breathing technique of kriya yoga, which was made popular by Yogananda’s autobiography. Kriya yoga consists of pranayama techniques that help speed up spiritual development. By practising kriya yoga regularly, one can get profound tranquility and peace of mind. Yogananda revealed that Babaji taught the rules of kriya yoga to many saints and sages.