Babaji's name, date of birth, personal or background information were never disclosed. What we do know is that he was the revered Sadguru of Lahiri Mahasaya who initiated him into Kriya Yoga in the Dunagiri hills in the foothills of the Himalyas in 1861. Lahiri called him Babaji "revered father". Over the months that followed, Lahiri Mahasaya met with Babaji continuing to learn at the feet of his guru. Later Lahiri also brought some of his disciples to sit with his Sadguru. When asked his age by one of them, Babaji said he was 500 years old. Their written descriptions speak of Babaji as an ageless, radiant, beautiful, divine sadhu dressed in a simple dhoti. This timeless divine one is said to be alive today in the Himalayas helping humankind.
Shyama Charan Lahiri was born in Ghurnigram, Bengal, India, into the devout Brahmin family of Gour Mohan Charan and Muktahashi Mahasyaya in 1828. When he was 5 years old, his family moved to the holy city of Varanasi (Benares). Even at this young age, Lahiri was sometimes seen sitting in meditation.
In college, he studied the Vedas and many languages. He later became an accountant for the British Government in the Military Engineering Department. He married and began a family.
His work took him and his young family to many parts of India. In 1861, at the age of 33, while walking one day in the Dunagiri hills above Ranhiket, he heard his name being called. He followed a path until he came to a cave at the top of a mountain. Here he encountered a radiant sadhu whom he recognized as his guru from a past life. Babaji initiated him, reviving the ancient science of Kriya, and then instructed him to return to his work and family and initiate others. Initially Babaji told him that only renunciates could receive Kriya. However, after Lahiri Mahasaya pleaded with him, Babaji agreed that all sincere seekers could be initiated when ready.
Lahiri Mahasaya quietly went about his life and practicing Kriya. Others around him noticed that there was a change in him, a radiance, that seemed unaccounted for. Within eleven years he attained eternal tranquility and liberation while still in the world as noted in his diary. In time, those who approached him with sincere inquiry were secretly initiated into Kriya on a one to one basis. He continued to work for 25 years and then took a pension. In the midst of householder life and other worldly duties, Lahiri initiated and guided countless men and women of all casts and creeds, rich or poor, who came to him. In 1895, he entered into Mahasamadhi.
Panchanon Bhattacharya was born into the devout Brahmin family of Thakurdas and Jagadama Bhattacharya, in Calcutta, India, in 1853. His father served as a priest while at the same time working for the government. He died when Panchanon was very young. Years later, he moved to Deoghar, in the state of Bihar while also maintaining his family home in Calcutta.
His spiritual thirst in childhood, fostered in him by the grace of experiencing the divine radiance within him, lead him to become a renunciate monk at an early age. In his search for spiritual truth, he met Lahiri Mahasaya soon after Lahiri attained liberation. He received initiation into Kriya from him. Observing his gurdev living spiritual liberation in the midst of work and a busy family life, Panchanon realized that living as a renunciate was not necessary. He put aside his robes, got married and became a householder like his guru. He attained self realization in his early thirties in a shorter time than even his gurudev. Panchanon became Lahiri Mahasaya's chief disciple, authorized by Lahiri to initiate others on a one to one basis into Kriya at the age of 32. At times Lahiri sent sincere seekers to Panchanon for initiation and occasionally sent his own disciples to Panchanon for further guidance. The bond between guru and disciple was a deep and loving one.
Panchanon took on great responsibilities, freeing Lahiri Mahasaya so that he might write commentaries on the scriptures. Panchanon himself wrote books for Kriya disciples. He also had a love for roses, establishing a business for which he became known for the beautiful varieties he cultivated. But to Kriya initiates, his was the hand and heart that cultivated the garden of the soul and brought each one to fruition. This highly revered and much loved guru entered into Mahasamadhi in August 1919.
Nitayi Charan Bandhopadhyaya
Nitayi Charan Bandhopadhyaya was the son of Bamandev Bandhopadhyaya (Banerjee), a disciple of Panchanon Bhattacharya. He was born in 1894. When he was 13 years old, he went with his father to receive Kriya initiation from Panchanon Bhattacharya. However, he was so afraid of Panchanon that Panchanon instructed his father to initiate Nitayi himself.
Nitayi earned a B.A. degree, then took up a position with the Bengal Nagpur Railway. He married and had a son. His busy life as a householder was fully integrated with his spiritual life. He progressed rapidly in kriya and was given permission to initiate others. He also retired early and became a homeopath, dispensing care to all for the most minimal fee.
His home in the Sibpur area of Howrah, West Bengal was open to all his disciples. He was known to be a kind and gentle man who advised and guided his disciples in all things and was dedicated to doing all he could to remove the obstacles in their practice so that they might attain self-realization.
People came to him from many parts of India. He himself traveled to many poor communities dispensing medical care as well as reaching those individuals ready for initiation, thereby spreading the light of kriya wherever he went. He left his body on February 9, 1979.
Maheshwari Prasad Dubey
Maheshwari Prasad Dubey was born in Gorakhnath, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India to a Brahmin family in 1936. He was well versed in the Vedas and the Gita. He worked in Calcutta in the shipping Industry. He was married and had a family and lived as a householder.
He received Kriya initiation from Nitayi Charan Bandhopadhyaya. Nitayi lived in the Sibpur area of Howrah, West Bengal which is just across the river from Calcutta. They were constant companions. He was later authorized by Nitayi to initiate others.
While working and living as a householder, he initiated sincere seekers in Kriya on a one-to-one basis following the guru-para-param tradition as set down by Lahiri Mahasaya through Panchanon Bhattacharya and Nitayi Bandhopadhyaya (Banerjee). He left his body in 2004.
Ashok Kumar Singh
Ashok Kumar Singh was born in Patna, in the state of Bihar, India in 1940.
After receiving a degree in engineering, he came to the United States at the age of 21 and subsequently obtained a Master's Degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He married and had a family. He continues to work in his field and lives in California.
When he was a youth, his uncle visited and began speaking to him about who we are and what is everything we behold? Ashok experienced divine light as his uncle spoke to him initiating his search for spiritual truth and enlightenment. He was later introduced to the Lahiri Mahasaya / Panchanon Bhattacharya branch of Kriya Yoga by a relative in India. But then living in California, he could not find a link to this lineage. He was advised to join SRF near him in 1961 and he did, receiving initiation into kriyas from them. In 1974 while visiting in India, he was corrected in his pranayam by his uncle. His uncle's father was a disciple of Panchanon Bhattacharya. His uncle had grown up knowing Kriya by its practice and conversation in the family but was not initiated into Kriya Yoga until 1977 by Nitai Baba.
In 1998 Sri Maheswari Prasad Dubey came from India to stay with Ashok in California for seven months. During this time he received all of the kriyas from Dubeyji. He was authorized to initiate others into Kriya Yoga by his guru in 1999 and stayed in contact with him until his guru's mahasamadhi in 2004.
Following in the tradition of householder gurus established by Lahiri Mahasaya, Ashok is dedicated to initiating sincere seekers on a one-to-one basis into the original Kriya Yoga and guiding them to self-realization. According to him, Kriya Yoga is the highest order of Karma, Bhakti(devotional), and Gyan (intellectual) yoga as the practice leads us to direct communion with God and union with Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Copyright © 2011 Ashok Kumar Singh. All rights reserved.