Who is Babaji?
by Marshall Govindan

In 1946, Paramahansa Yogananda, one of the great modern Indian yogis, revealed in his classic work "Autobiography of a Yogi", the existence of a crístic saint, a immortal yogi called Mahavatar Babaji. In his book, Yogananda told that Babaji lived for hundreds of years in Himalaya guiding many spiritual masters at the distance, a lot of times without them even knowing about that.

Babaji was a great Siddha that overcame the common human limitations, and that is working quietly at the back stages for all the humanity's spiritual development. Yogananda also revealed that Babaji taught powerful known yoga techniques like "Kriya Yoga" to Lahiri Mahasaya, about 1861. About 30 years later, Mahasaya initiated many other in Kriya Yoga techniques, including the own guru of Yogananda, Sri Yukteswar. Yogananda passed ten years with his guru before own Babaji appeared for him and it directed him to take the sacred science to the Occident. Yogananda completed his mission from 1920 to 1952, year in that he entered in mahasamadhi.

As a final tribute for Kriya Yoga efficiency and of the blessings of his lineage, his body didn't deteriorate during the 21 days in that it was exposed, before being buried in a crypt in Los Angeles. The 7 of March of 2002 mark the 50¼ birthday of the notable passage (exit of the physical body) of Yogananda. On that day, their mortal remains will be transferred for a shrine of permanent "samadhi", when mililons people all over the world will remember what the legacy of Yogananda left for them.

However, the presence and the continuous work of Babaji have been unknown for most of the people that got in touch with the successors of Yogananda. Yogananda left the care of their teachings with the organization that he founded: "Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) ". That organization published their writings and teachings in books and in a course for correspondence, and it continues organizing the initiations in Kriya Yoga developed by Yogananda.

In agreement with Dr. Lewis, a dentist of Boston that sponsored the work of Yogananda in the first years, after five years of effort in the United States, beginning in 1925, Yogananda began to adapt their teachings to the West. He felt that that was necessary to overcome the natural resistances of the Christians that distrusted the teachings of a Hindu swami. As result, Yogananda started to enjoy of immense popularity. He was one of the great pioneers of Yoga in the West and helped to overcome the ignorance and the resistance of many of their listeners. However, in their attempts of attracting western to the path of the Yoga, he focused mainly the accomplishment of miracles, and most of the readers of his autobiography ended seing a romantic vision of the path. Those readers were with unreal expectations and not prepared for the sincere practice that the apprentice of Yoga should reach.

In the original edition of the "Autobiography of a Yogi", before being edited strongly by the successors of SRF, the reader could appreciate the sweet and human side of Yogananda, and to still see Babaji as the last guru alive of the tradition. Yoganada said that nobody would happen to him as guru of SRF, but that hiscourse for correspondence would fill out this function. Ever since, references to Self-Realization Fellowship were increased more than 150 times and whole parts were removed of the book. In the last years, SRF if solemnity-redefined the religion, what contradicts everything that Yogananda taught on Yoga.

It can wonder because Yogananda didn't prepare and it didn't delegate the authority of his guru function the other ones. Instead of that, he selected a lessons series and it entrusted SRF of distributing them. Self-realization usually requests a personal transmission or, at least, a long personal association among a Solemnity-accomplished personality, and no an organization, and a very prepared applicant. Yogananda didn't give up SRF any copyright of any one of his writings.

After 6 years of judicial actions and millons of dollars payed in taxes, the Court of California, at the beginning of 2001, supported previous decissons of Supreme court of California that the family of Yogananda is, for right, the heiress of the copyrights of the writings of Yogananda. This and other facts not revealed here indicate that Yogananda knew that others could give continuity his work, but that Babaji, the alive guru of the tradition, would decide when, as and where.

Since 1942, Babji has prepared two persons for the task of disseminating his Kriya Yoga: S.A.A. Ramaiah, that was a youth student of geology of the university of Madras in the beginning of the decade of 40; and V.T. Neelakantan, a famous journalist, and close student of Annie Besant, President of the Theosophic Society and mentor of Jiddu Krishnamurti. In 1952 and 1953, Babaji dictated three books for the two: "The Voice of Babaji and the Mysticism Unlocked"; "Babaji's Masterkey to All Ills" and "Babaji's Death of Death."

Babaji appeared for each one of them independently and then it joined the two. To them Babaji revealed his origin, his tradition and his Kriya Yoga. On October 17, 1952, they founded at the request of Babaji, a new organization: "Kriya Babaji Sangah", dedicated to the teachings of Kriya Yoga of Babaji, so that it was authentic in relation to the original traditions. The books were a sensation at that time of the release and of the distribution in the India. SRF tried to suppress the books and Kriya Babaji Sangah, what took him then First Minister of the India, Pandit Nehru, that was friend of V.T. Neelakantan, to intervene, impeding that the members of SRF got what wanted. In "The Masterkey of All Ills", Babaji reveals his/her answer to the question: "Who am I? ".

In essence, that sentence reveals that when we know finally who are will know who is Babaji. That means that Babaji doesn't identify with a human personality or with series of events of the life, or even with his body transformed divinely. However, in the writings he reveals above also for the first time a precious number of details on his life and to delineate us the path of the Self-realization, which anybody can aspirate. Those details were documented subsequently in the book "Babaji and the 18 Kriya Yoga Tradition."

Babaji was given the name "Nagaraj", that he wants to say "king-serpent", referring to the energy Kundalini, our great potential of divine power and conscience. He was born in November 30 of the year 203 A.D., in a small village known as Parangipettai, in Tamil Nadu, India, close to where Rio Cauvery ends in the Indian Ocean. His birth coincided with the ascension (Nakshata) of the star of Rohini, the same under which Krishna had been born. His birth happened during Kartikai Deepam's celebration, the Festival of the Lights, in the night previous to the new moon, in the month Kartikai of the Tamil calendar . Their parents were Brahmins Nambudri that immigrated for Tamil Nadu came of the coast of Malabar, in the western part of the south of the India. His father was priest of the temple of Shiva of his city, that today is a dedicated temple Muruga, son of Shiva.

To the 5 years of age, Babaji was kidnapped by a merchant that intended to sell the boy as slave in Calcutta. A rich man bought him, but, in little time, it returned him to the freedom. After that, Babaji joined to a small group of monks that wandered and, with them, he became an erudite in religious subjects and philosophical literature of the India. However, he was not satisfied with that. Knowing about the existence of a great Siddha, or perfect master of name Agastyar, he went until the sacred temple of Katirgama, close to the most southern point of Ceylon (current Sri Lanka), a great close island to the south of the India. There he found Boganathar, a disciple of Agastyar. With him, he studied "Dhyana" intensively (or meditation), and "Siddhanantham", the philosophy of Siddhas, for four years. In that time, he tried the "sarvihelpa samadhi" (or cognitive absorption), and he had a vision of Lorde Muruga, the divinity of the Temple of Kartigama.

To the 15 years, Boganathar ordered him for his own guru, legendary Agastyar, that lived close to Courtrallan, in Tamil Nadu. After 48 days of intense practices of Yoga in Courtrallam, Agastyar was revealed to him and it initiated him in Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, a powerful breathing technique. He drove the boy Nagaraj Badrinath, a village in the high of Himalaya, to practice intensively everything that he had learned to turn a "Siddha". During the 18 following months, Babaji lived alone in a cave practicing the techniques of Yoga that Boganathar and Agastyar taught him. Making that, he yielded his ego towards the level of the cells of his body, to the Divine, that it went down to him. He became a siddha, one of the ones that was redeemed to the force and conscience of the Divine! His body was not more subject to diseases or to the death. Transformed, like a Maha or great Siddha, he is devoted the transformation of the humanity's suffering.

From that time, Babaji continues to guide and to inspire some of the great saints of the history and many spiritual masters, in the accomplishment of their miss›es. That includes Adi Shankaracharya, the great reformer of the Hinduism of the century 9 A.D., and Kabir, the saint of the century 15 A.D., lover so much for Hindus as for Muslims. Both were personally initiate for Babaji, and they refer to him in their writings.

Babaji maintains a notable appearance of a youth of about 16 years of age. In the century 19, Madame Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophic Society, identified him like Matreya, alive Buddha, or the Master of the new was, described in "Masters of the Path", of C.W. Leadbetter. The great contribution of Babaji for the modern world has been the re-establishment, since 1861, of Kriya Yoga, to which Patanjali refers in his/her famous "Yoga-Sutras". Patanjali wrote his classic text of Yoga about the century 3 A.D. In "Yoga-Sutras", he defines Kriya Yoga in the verse II.1 as the constant "practice (particularly for the cultivation of the detachment), solemnity-study and devotion to the Lord. However, with the one that Patanjali described like Kriya Yoga, Babaji added the teachings of the tantra, that include the cultivation of the "kundalini", the great power of energy and conscience, through the use of the breathing, mantras and devotional practice . His modern synthesis of "Kriya Yoga" includes a rich variety of techniques.

For the great majority, "Kriya Yoga" teachers today are just teaching some few techniques adapted that Yogananda taught to the Westerners in wide auditorium during their "initiations" of half hour. Some individuals, more enterprising and daring, are developing their own techniques, picked of several sources and calling them of "Kriya Yoga", with any connection of any species with Babaji and his lineage. However, love and devotion for Babaji are essential for a Kriya Yoga executes. In another way, the practice becomes mechanics and sterile. As a tree, unless the roots are nurtured, it will give little or almost any fruit. When teachers or organizations forget the source lives of their teachings, Babaji has to begin to work through new vehicles.

During a period of six months in 1954, in his close ashram Badrinath, in Garwhal Himalayas, Babaji began S.A.A. Ramaiah in a complete system of 144 Kriyas, or practical techniques, involving postures, breathing, meditation, mantras and techniques devocionais. Ramaiah became a yogi and it began his world mission of taking that system, known like "Kriya Yoga of Babaji" to thousands of applicants. From 1970 to 1971, he began the author of this text, Marshal Govindan, in 144 Kriyas. M. Govindan practiced Kriyas intensely for an average of eight hours a day for 18 years, under Yogi Ramaiah's orientation, in his ashrams in the India, United States and Canada. In 1983, Yogi Ramaiah submitted him the rigorous conditions so that he could also initiate other people. After having accomplished, Babaji appeared for Govindan in 1988 and he advised him to teach His Kriya Ioga the other.

Since 1989, Govindan already initiated about 7 thousand people in Kriya Yoga of Babaji. These are learned and practiced systematically, and if done regularly, they can produce in all of the levels an integrated transformation and gradual of the people. In that system, three initiation levels exist. During the first level, it is learned as he communicates with Babaji in Samyama Babaji's" "Kriya, that it involves a deep state of communion interns with Satguru. Babaji gradually is revealed their devotees and disciples, "capturing" their hearts in several types of personal relationships of devotion us which he guides them in his development. His relationship with each one of us is unique and varies in agreement with the needs and each individual's nature. He is our personal Guru. As our heart expands our communion with him culminates with an universal "vision of love", where it is possible to testify Babaji in all of the things.

Today, the existence and the person of Babaji became obscure for solemn pronouncements--of Self-Realization Fellowship and other--that Babaji no more it exists in the physical plan. To affirm that is the same as to say that Japan doesn't exist because I never saw it. The own promise of Babaji contained in the "Autobiography of a Yogi", it is that he would stay in the physical plan until the end of this era, in other words, from now on. Since the decade of 50, the politics of SRF has been to treat him as inaccessible of any way. In fact, Babaji became a historical baseboard note or, in the best of the hypotheses, something as a saint of the Catholic Church, instead of being the source lives and the unique guru of Kriya Yoga tradition.

In 1971, a youth with occult powers was discovered in a cave for residents of the village of Herakhan. Known like "Herakhan he Dribbles", he grew in popularity and it was promoted by Leonard Orr and Sondra Ray, the founders of the movement "rebirth", as anybody more than the Imortal Babaji. Today, their pictures appear in many places and their devotees made a lot of confusion. Herakhan Dribbles, that he died from poisoning in 1983, it never demanded to be Babaji. He lived a life based in their own rules that, however, they don't reflect the purity of Babaji, besides, he never taught Kriya Yoga. What wants that that man might have done of good, there was never reason to associate him with the Imortal Babaji. After it being pressed by their new North American representatives that asked him: Are "you Babaji? Are you Babaji? ", did he finally give up on denying and did he declare: "If like this you say, I should be Babaji". Our researches revealed later than he was a retired British employee's illegitimate son, Mr. Wilson, and of his maid Sikh. His family today lives in Ranikhet, and the residents of the city refer to him as "Wilson Dribbles". He was created since the five years by a notable master of Tantra, Naintal Dribbles, that he taught him as appearing in other people's dreams, besides other techniques common of Tantra. Own Naintal affirms to be Babaji. In the Occident, more naive people simply believe that just because a sadhu has some powers and because other they clamor him like Babaji, he should be Babaji.

At the beginning of the decade of 70, Babaji appeared for Swami Satyaswarananda in Mountains Kumaon of Himalaya, and he gave and him permission to translate and to publish Lahiri Mahasaya's writings. That was made of his house in San Diego, California, and it resulted in an entitled series "The Sanskirt Classics". Shibendu Lahiri, one of Lahiri Mahasaya's great grandchildren, also demands it was visited by Babaji in his house, in the end of the eighties. According to Shibendu, Babaji said to bless their efforts to teach Kriya Yoga for everyone. Babaji gave to him his"darshan" in the vital plan for M. Govindan (the author of this text), in October of 1999, in two ocasi›es. He happened to 30 quilometros of Badrinath, the altitude of the five thousand meters, in Rio Alakananta's source. During these visits, Babaji appeared as a radiant youth with hair color-of-copper, dress with a white "dhoti" and it allowed to the author to play their feet.

He gave to the author a lot of personal orientation and Their blessings in the teachers' of Kriya Yoga secular order, "Babaji's Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas", founded before by the author two years. It is not possible really to know who is Babaji, or at least to conceive his/her greatness, without appreciating the culture of Siddhas, of which he emerged. Instead of seeking a middle of escape of this world for some sky type or paradise, after accomplishing the presence of the Divine inside of itself, Siddhas surrendered to Him, and they allowed to manifest HIM in all of the levels. They reached a complete transformation of our human nature. "Thirumandiram", written by Siddha Tirumoolar between the century 2 and 4 d.C, in 3 thousand precious verses, reveals the fragrance and the depth of the realizations of Siddhas. Our research revealed that Thirumoolar was a disciple brother of Boganathar, the guru of Babaji, and of Patanjali, one of the more acquaintances sources of Yoga. While most of the literature of Siddhas was not translated of their native languages, Tamil and Sanscrit, some exist few good studies, among the more notables "Poet of the Powers", written by Dr. Kamil Zvelibil; and "The Alchemical Body", of Teacher David Gordon White. Those two academic works show the extension and the notable accomplishments of Siddhas, and they reveal that Babaji was not a Martian. He manifests what Sri Aurobindo referred and it aspirated for all the humanity: the transformation supramental" of our human nature, maybe the next step in our process evolucionário. In that way, he is not a redeemer. Nor the founder of some religion. He doesn't look for flattery or even our recognition. As all of Siddhas, he surrendered to the Supreme Being completely, to the Supreme Abstraction, and as divine instrument, brings for this shady world the light of the conscience, unconditional happiness and supreme peace. That all can receive this huge human potential .

Govindan, Marshall, "Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition, " 2nd edition, Hans Nietsch Verlag, Freiberg, 1999

Govindan, Marshall, "Kriya Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Siddhas: Translation, Commentary and Practice, " Kriya Yoga Publications, Quebec, Canada, 2001. Available from Yoga Verlag, Kempten, Germany

Govindan, Marshall, "How I became the disciple of Babaji, " 2nd edition, 1998. Kriya Yoga Publications. Available from Yoga Verlag, Kempten, Germany.

Sri Lanka Aurobindo, "The Synthesis of Yoga, " Sri Lanka Aurobindo Press, Pondicherry, India

Thirumoolar, Siddha, "Thirumandiram: Classic of Yoga and Tantra, " 2nd edition, 1998, published by Kriya Yoga Publications, distributed by Yoga Verlag, Kempten, Germany

White, David Gordon, "The Alchemical Body, " University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Yogananda, Paramahansa, "The Autobiography of Yogi" (German publisher: O.W. Barth). The original 1946 edition in English may be downloaded from the internet from which i the site of the Ananda Church of Self-Realization, founded by Swami Kriyananda, which successfully defended itself in the multi-million dollar lawsuit made by the SRF. The March 2001 final judgment by the Appellate Court of California may also be downloaded.

Zvelebil, Kamil, "Poets of the Powers, " 1971, Ryder, reprinted Integral by Publications, 1990. Distributed by Yoga Verlag, Kempten, Germany