I concluded my important tasks of the day on 8th afternoon and I was longing for some sleep. As I rested on the bed closing my eyes, a while later, I slipped into subtle meditation with this vivid image of Shri Mahavatar Babaji emerging before my eyes.
The picture had a very calming Prussian blue background and this particular colour also gives a very mystique aura to the personage of Babaji, at least to me it seems so. The mere presence and thought of revered Babaji instills a sense of protection and security within me. I feel that He is ever present, silently watching over me like a mother bird in the sky. There is an unquestionable assurance of safety and shelter in the celestial love that He emanates for his disciples. Implicit trust resides in the hidden caves of my heart for the unending love that He showers for me and my dear ones. So when his emergence was being indicated, I simply became peaceful and relaxed.
Without making me wait, He began to communicate by murmuring, “My dear child, I am keeping an eye on you. I am aware that even amidst frenzied days, you are collecting your thoughts on and off to write the next article on renunciation. You have also read a few pages of Holy Sri Bhagwad Gita to recollect what you have imbibed some years back. Lahiri Mahasaya was my foremost disciple. I want you to dedicate one article in his memory and honour”.
Now alongside with this ongoing communication, I also had the privilege of having a mental picture of Lahiri Mahasaya with his blissful face and unblinking half closed eyes, as though he was oblivious to the crazy world and was in peace in spite of the chaotic nature of the maddening world that one lives in. I was very intrigued by the fact that Babaji had virtually scanned my mind and was peeping inside its concurring developments overtly. It is true that in the last few days, I have been randomly getting some glimpses and mental images of Lahiri Mahasaya on and off which assured me that something auspicious was about to take place. And I was wondering what could be its connotation. On those words of Babaji, I immediately connected the chain of developments and waited in anticipation as to what was coming up next.
Babaji continued, “I know that recently a desire has germinated in your heart of paying homage to Lahiri Mahasaya by visiting his samadhi. I will fulfill your wish this time. Though you have gone to Haridwar several times but never even knew that the body of my beloved disciple rests there. Your time had not come then, but this time you will pay homage to him.”
Well, before I put all my thoughts into words, I will first of all pay my obeisance to Yogavatar Lahiri Mahasaya right here. My humble prayer at his holy feet to guide me to write this post and I also seek his divine blessings for myself and all the sincere seekers for quick spiritual progression and ascent.
To start on, a brief life sketch of this great mahayogi of India becomes essential at this juncture.
Shyama Charan Lahiri was born in Bengal in the year 1828 on September, the 30th in a pious Brahmin family. The family worshipped Lord Shiva, the lord of Yoga and they also had a Shiva temple in the house. At the age of three or four, he was often found sitting in certain yoga postures effortlessly.
The family later moved to Banaras, an ancient city on the banks of holy Ganga, after their house and the Shiva temple were lost to shifting of the course of a nearby river. Very early on, he showed signs of a gifted boy by being a linguistic. He received instructions in Sanskrit, Bengali, Urdu, French as well as English. He studied Vedas, listened eagerly to the scriptural discussions of learned Brahmins and also recited the shlokas from Gita. Bathing in Ganges, reciting shlokas and worshipping were a part of his daily routine. At appropriate time he got married and became a house holder. His work as an accountant in Military engineering dept of the English govt took him all over India. After the death of his father, he took on the responsibilities of the entire family and also bought a house for them in Banaras.
In 1861, Lahiri Mahasaya was transferred to Ranikhet, in the foothills of the Himalayas. One afternoon, while rambling in the hills, he heard a distant voice calling out his name on Drongiri mountain. After climbing a bit further, he found his lost guru Sri Mahavatar Babaji on a spot on one of the ledges. Babaji smiled mysteriously and called him ‘Gangadhar’, his name of previous life. He awakened his memory of past life by touching his forehead gently. He then initiated him in the ancient science and technique of Kriya yoga. He asked him to revive this lost spiritual science and technique of salvation in modern world and to remain a householder, whereas Lahiri Mahasaya wanted to renounce the world after meeting his beloved master of past life. So much was his love and adoration for his exalted master.
On the contrary, Babaji asked him to be a karam yogi and give knowledge and guide people from his home. And that’s what he did all his life after meeting his teacher. At his house, he initiated countless people into Kriya Yoga from all walks of life and religions. Over time, more and more people flocked to receive his teachings of Kriya. He organized many study groups and he gave religious discourses on Bhagwat Gita too.
He continued his job as an accountant and supported his family. He was a Master of Kriya Yoga and retired on a modest pension. More and more visitors came to see him as time passed and he seldom left his sitting room available to all who sought his guidance and darshan. He attained a very high state of ecstasy, a state of super consciousness or samadhi. He had overpowered sleep and he would be found sitting in an interlocked lotus posture all night giving spiritual knowledge to deserving people. He led a harmoniously balanced life of a great householder and became an inspiration to thousands of men and women.
Dear friends, I wish to reveal a fact to you that initially Babaji had instructed Lahiri Mahsaya to be strict in passing on and unraveling the holy science of meditation to only the qualified students. But at this point, Lahiri Mahasaya pleaded to Babaji to permit him to initiate and communicate Kriya deeksha to householders too who were sincere seekers, although at first they may not be able to vow themselves to complete inner renunciation. He argued that if Kriya was withheld from them, they would never attempt the road to freedom.
Babaji agreed to his plea and said, “So be it. Give Kriya to all those who humbly ask for help. And that divine wish has been expressed through you.” Mahavatar Babaji also said after a moment of silence, “Repeat this to each of your disciple the majestic promise from Bhagwat Gita that even a little practice of this dharma will save you from great fear of suffering of reoccurring cycles of life and death”. So it is only because of Lahiri Mahasaya’s kindness and compassionate gesture that all the householders began receiving the initiation of Kriya in modern times otherwise this secretive science was in the hands of rishis and sages and was passed on from teacher to disciple. My pranam to this Yoga avatar!!
Now to come back to what happened on that providential afternoon, Babaji also said this to me, “Tell all that I like a karamyogi, and not a karam sannayasi. You must also add a few related verses from Bhagwad Gita for all to know about what I have told you. Karamyogi is a person who neither relinquishes his duties nor renounces the world. A Karamyogi is a person who performs all his actions with his mind united with God while a karam sannayasi is a person who is indifferent or disinterested towards his personal or familial duties. He relinquishes his assigned duties. Some may even become isolated from the world in search of truth and peace. Renunciation is not the solution.
We must act but with intelligence and wisdom. Our whole life is nothing but our ‘prarabdh’ (destiny) and we must live upto our prarabdh with a sense of detachment and that is sannayas. The mind must be nullified of worldly attachments to attain purity of thoughts and mind.
Simultaneously, we must do actions to enhance and brighten our future. We must have desire to improve our lives by alleviating our present level of consciousness. We must renounce not actions but the desire of fruit of our actions.
This life is given to us to improve our present life. Exclude unnecessary details – instead lead a simple, progressive and pious life. It is through karmas that we can refine our nature towards immortality, deathless state and infinity. Until then, we should progress and cultivate our spiritual nature.”
As per Mahavatar Babaji’s counsel, I am now quoting a few apt verses from Bhagwad Gita Chapter V verse 10, 11, &12 to further substantiate our point of discussion today.
Brahmanadhaya karmani sanga tyaktva karoti ya I
Lipyate na sa papen padmapatramivambhasa II 10
He who acts offering all actions to God and shaking off all attachment remains untouched by sins as the lotus leaf by water.
Kayen mansa budhaya kewalayirindriyairapi I
Yogin karam kurvanti sanga tyaktavatmashudhaye II 11
The karamyogi performs actions only with his senses, mind, intellect and body as well, withdrawing his feeling of mine and shaking off sense of attachment for the sake of self- purification of inner self.
Yukta karmafalam tyaktva shantimaproti naishtikim I
Ayukta kamkaren fale sakto nibadhyate II
Offering the fruit of action to God, the karamyogi attains everlasting peace in the form of God realization, whereas he who works with a selfish motive, being attached to the fruit of actions through desires gets tied down.
(To be continued)A note- Our whole life is nothing but our ‘prarabdh’ (destiny) and we must live upto our prarabdh with a sense of detachment and that is sannayas or renunciation. This thought has been explained explicitly earlier in’ Create your destiny’ and later in What is renunciation?-II
For intensive reading, refer chapter- 34 Materializing a palace in the Himalayas and ch-35 The Christlike life of Lahiri Mahasaya in Autobiography of a yogi by Sri Paramhansa Yogananada.
(Picture of Larihi Mahasaya-google images)