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Babaji as Yogananda says

All we know is that he is said to be very old. Different sources give different ages.He may look like anyone, like a shape-shifter. He may look like you and me.And he is so secretive that very few actually see him - fewer still may recognise him if they chance meet him.Our sources agree that the sadhu initiated Lahiri Mahasaya, also called Lahiri Baba (1828-95), into very secret kriya yoga on Drungiri Hill near Ranikhet in the Himalayas in 1861, and that Lahiri Baba initiated about 5000 persons.

Publicly known kriya teachings branch out from here.One of Lahiri Baba's followers came to be known as Yukteswar (1855-1936). He too spread kriya and was permitted to "guru" others, like some other followers of Lahiri Baba. It appears they taught similar basic techniques. But other elements of the "total pack" were added, modified, or removed.

It is said that Lahiri Baba taught more or less different kriya techniques to different followers to accommodate for differences among them.The world-famous Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) simplified, altered, and even removed parts of the kriya yoga that Lahiri Baba says are essential. Yogananda also spread kriya yoga in ways that went against the advised ways of Lahiri Baba, and changed the following into a mass movement. The accommodating Yogananda said he was in rapport with Jesus, used his teachings as shewbred for managing things among Christians - you know how upset or near-hysterical some Americans have shown they can get over Communism or even French fries (chips), but not the communist elements of early Christianity - they are put aside.Against massive, inbred intolerance he took to strange teachings of unity between Christianity and the Hinduism of Krishna. The said unity seldom fits well enough, in our opinion.In Yogananda's teachings vital elements of the kriya message are missing, the conditions of transmission are altered, and many vital elements are removed.

This goes along with the faith that his kriya is twelve times better than the one he set out with after being taught in the kriya tradition by his father Bhagabati Gosh, his Sanskrit tutor Keshabananda, and Yukteswar. The mentioned Goal is reached twelve times faster with Yogananda, he teaches - twelve times faster that the prospects his guru Yukteswar shows up.What is the price for the said 144 times better odds than the kriya of Yukteswar? Yogananda's kriya pledge binds a follower to him in gruesome ways the world may never have witnessed before. Much of his "guruing" seems questionable; small and gross inconsistencies and untrue statements mark parts of his teachings.

We document it elsewhere. At one time he used the catchword "scientific" to describe his taught methods, but he also dropped the "scientific" in moments his power policy or "monky business" could be at stake. Behind the whimsical-looking changes, severe submission of followers was maintained.Now the earlier Yogananda also permitted some rather freestanding followers to spread kriya yoga. A study reveals there are some differences among them as to how exactly to do it. Oliver Black, the Canadian Harinanda, Kriyananda, and others are known to differ a bit from the "mainstream" SRF kriya teachings. SRF, short for Self-Realization Fellowship, has suffered setbacks lately, in that one third of its monastics dropped out around 2000 in a local "exodus". The "quitters" were displeased.There are many who inform about and teach kriya outside the Yukteswar-Yogananda flock. Well done kriya research has been done on the kriya yoga that pertains to Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation, a school of yoga that branches out from the Bihar School of Paramhansa Satyananda. It may come as a surprise to some, but it does not seem that Babaji and Shyama Lahiri are into the Bihar Yoga school of Satyananda. There are many other kriya lines and kriya teachers. And to the degree that it is so, Babaji is not found at the bottom of all kriya either.

About the Spiritual Author

Tarun Choudhury

Kriya Yoga


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