Mahavtar Babaji – Ageless Sage

Mar 12 2007

The article below is taken from My write-up on my visit to Babaji’s Cave in Himalayas is here.

By Anjali Bagwe


Mahavatar Babaji, a Himalayan mahayogi said to be about 1,800 years old, is the founder of Kriya Yoga. The world first heard about him courtesy Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. Today, many cults are growing around his enigmatic persona. Mumbai-based Dr Ram Bhosle claims to have lived with him for six years.

Legend has it that the remote parts of the Himalayas are home to many rishis, tapasvis and siddhayogis—Eternal Masters engaged in singular methods of sadhana or disciplined practice dedicated to cosmic exploration and in guiding the destiny of humanity through the ages. They live in rough-hewn natural caves under glacial conditions. Some have ashrams amidst verdant greenery, located at a vibrational frequency at variance with the ‘normal’ three-dimensional one to keep intruders at bay. Their abode has been verily named Shambala, Gyan Ganj, or Siddha Loka.
In this phantasmagorical world of accomplished yogis, anything is possible. A siddha sadhak (realized master) may simply choose to take the form of an ancient tree to meditate undisturbed for hundreds of years. Others, when they venture beyond the confines of their rarefied sanctuaries, may fly through the air as themselves, or change into swans, geese, eagles, or even into animals, fish and insects. There are many creative ideas for teleportation, with some just travelling on beams of light from one place to another!

Exalted as these beings are, a distinct feature common to all is their complete identification with India and her Vedic heritage. When people attain a certain level in their sadhana, they automatically lose their narrow personal bonds of family, language, caste or province. Then the old terrain of the Motherland takes over, so that it matters not whether it is Kabir, Lahiri Mahasaya, Shirdi Sai Baba or Ramana Maharshi, they all belong to India. And they converse with each other using an argot common to the wandering sadhus (monks).

Thus it is that the venerable heritage of Gorakhnath and Machhindranath is claimed for its own by Garhwal, Konkan, Bundelkhand, Mewar and Coorg, and many a little girl in the remotest village of India is put to sleep to the refrain of “Chalo Machhinder, Gorakh Aaya…”

With his lithe and youthful figure, Mahavatar Babaji (whose feats have been reported by Paramahansa Yogananda in his Autobiography of a Yogi) is one such eternal master. He is the man with the 1,800-year-old immortal body. He’s also the founder of Kriya Yoga, a discipline involving purification of the body-mind organism through breath control techniques to aid longevity and spiritual evolution. ‘Mahavatar’ means ‘great incarnation’. He is also known as Mahakaya Babaji, the word ‘Mahakaya’ describing his immortal body. In some circles the Hare Khan Baba being referred to sounds suspiciously similar to Mahavatar Baba’s persona.

Tamil Incarnation

Babaji comes with sanitized packaging shorn of ash, rudraksha or kumkum tilak. Of course, there have been many Babajis over the decades claiming to be the Mahavatar. There’s a free-for-all on the Internet with the various Babaji Web pages multiplying rapidly to a current count of several thousand. Yet, the Self-Realization Fellowship established by Yogananda in California almost sounds as if it holds patent rights over the ‘Babaji lineage’.

After conquering the West within decades, it’s time for Babaji to return home to capture the interest of Indians who are still obsessed with pot-bellied gurus. A new international group called the Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas with a base of sorts in Pondicherry recently held kriya yoga seminars in major metropolitan cities across India. The Babaji they’re selling is the same kriya yogi, but he’s now positioned in a new Tamil incarnation as Babaji Nagaraj and never mind that he’s been a permanent resident of the Himalayas for 1,800 years.

A book claiming to present new information about Babaji, written by the Canadian guru and chief of the Kriya Yoga Order, Marshall Govindan, presents startling claims about the Tamil origins of many ancient rishis and siddhas, including Macchindranath and Gorakhnath. Welcome to the club! Tibet too claims them for its own, and the Gorkhas of Nepal and India claim to be the original descendants of Gorakhnath.

The seminar is a casual affair, particularly since the group of two conducting it has no organizational set up. There is very little planning. In two days, you are to learn 144 kriyas or breathing techniques, 18 yogasanas and numerous chants. That’s instant evolution. Devote 20 minutes daily to this and you zip past 50 lives’ worth of karmic atonement and time! Or so claims the venerable lady acharya from California. The 60 participants in Mumbai are administered a battery of short written assignments, duly checked by the acharya, or head, in the course of the seminar. Gleanings of wisdom pepper the proceedings. Participants are told that Sri Aurobindo was close to attaining an immortal body during his lifetime, but for the fact that he did not practice yogasanas.

The acharya presents charts on the macrobiotic diet, the staple no-nos of which are chocolates and meat. All this and more is discussed over a period of two days, inaugurating the advent of yet another New Age cult in India.

Master of Masters

Thankfully, there’s a lot more than that to Mahavatar Baba, who never left the shores of India and who’s way beyond the reach of puny intellectual property rights. He’s a patriotic yogi and keeper of ancient faith, whose mission for ages has been to stem the tide of barbaric conquerors overrunning India. He has often changed the course of Indian history, guided by otherwise immortal rishis, working way above insidious parochial divisions.

Babaji’s influence as a guru is said to have prevailed over the ages from Adi Shankaracharya and Kabir to more recent saints like Sai Baba of Shirdi, Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon and Swami Samartha of Akkalkot. The last three were reportedly firebrand revolutionaries who were given up for dead in the First War of Indian Independence in 1857. It is said that the first was a Muslim, while the other two were Hindus. They escaped to the Himalayas for sanctuary and were later given a spiritual initiation by Babaji. They eventually returned as illumined leaders of humanity.

Babaji mostly works in obscurity, even while serving as a spiritual mentor to scores of masters. He has guided the destiny of India and her people, yet he is perhaps one of the most accessible of siddhayogis to walk in our midst in recent times. Over two millennia, Babaji has continued to nurture hundreds of accomplished disciples.

One such disciple is an ageing healer, Dr Ram Bhosle, who lives and works in Mumbai. He is a world-renowned massage therapist who has treated illustrious patients like Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, among others. He has witnessed almost the entire 20th century, traveling abroad 160 times. A freedom fighter, he had several arrest warrants issued against him by the British during Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement and was forced to flee to the Himalayas. His escape route cut a long swathe across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Saurashtra, Sindh, Baluchistan, Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush mountains, before he finally reached the Himalayas.

Man of Miracles

It was there that he chanced upon Mahavatar Babaji. He ended up giving massage to Babaji, the latter offering him safe house initially for three months, and ultimately for a period of nearly six years to-date, spread over the intervening period. Dr Bhosle’s stories throw considerable light on the immortal master.

Once, when the two had taken shelter in a cave for the night, Babaji asked him to go and fetch milk. A fierce snowstorm was raging outside and Dr Bhosle thought the sage had gone mad. But when he gingerly walked a few paces beyond the cave’s entrance, merely out of deference to his host, he was surprised to find a pitcher of fresh milk, still warm to the touch, positioned on a ledge!

On another occasion, Babaji solicitously asked if he wanted a book to read. Unbelieving, Dr Bhosle asked for Bharatmuni’s ancient opus on dance, Natyashastra, which was procured for him. Babaji remarked that deep within the womb of the Himalayas was an unimaginable storehouse of ancient texts. He also revealed that four rooms in that great edifice were entirely devoted to astrology. Babaji also predicted that from 2001 onwards India would gradually return to supremacy in world affairs. Several decades ago, he had also forecast the end of all the political isms of the 20th century.

Like great yogis, Babaji can supposedly materialize, dematerialize and take on any form at will. He may choose to present himself as an old man, an animal or a bird. He once promised a devotee that he would attend a feast at the man’s house, but seemingly did not. When the man later questioned him, Babaji replied: “I was there. I was the dog whom you fed the leftovers.”

Babaji can travel anywhere in the universe. When he is too busy to do so, he sends specific instructions to his chosen disciples through birds. He’s taught a chosen few how to discern birdcalls, and it may well be that the pigeon stridently cooing at your window is actually a messenger from the great seer!

Wandering Soul

The Mahayogi can be stern when the situation so demands, even while displaying a great sense of humor and rare devilry at other times. He once instructed Dr Bhosle to perform underwater meditation at midnight in the sea off the Mumbai coastline to purify his healing energy. Often, Babaji walked by to supervise his disciple’s work, treading on the waves. He would chat for a while, and then walk away nonchalantly.

Babaji sometimes greeted his disciple with an unprintable epithet, as is often the custom in youth subcultures around the world. At one time, the ageing Dr Bhosle reacted with considerable anger, remonstrating that such swear words did not befit his status as a mahayogi. Babaji replied: “These words are just creations of grammar.” Mostly, the language spoken by the Master is incredibly creative, drawing from a fount of inspiring, lyrical Sanskrit words lending themselves beautifully to new improvisations in Hindi.

Interestingly, Babaji’s entourage of enlightened and immortal disciples includes yoginis who are over 600 years old. Babaji conveys the impression that he cherishes individuality and thoughtful dissension, rather than servile obedience.

The sage with the immortal body has walked the length and breadth of India and is inured to the ways of the seemingly berserk lone ascetics that are a law unto themselves. There is no field of knowledge that is beyond him and the transmutation of atoms is simply an entertaining pastime. One day, Babaji took his entourage to a crematorium. There, he picked up a skull and placing some faeces in it, he offered them to his disciples, ordering them to eat. All of them declined, except Dr Bhosle, who gingerly touched it with his tongue. To his amazement, the revolting stuff had transformed into the most delectable dish.

In the 1950s, Babaji had set up an ashram in the Himalayan heights above Badrinath. He eventually closed it down. A true wanderer, he is not to be found in any one place, whether in the Himalayas or elsewhere. Yet he is very much amongst us, in Mumbai or Delhi, as much as he is in Badrikashram. He encourages disciples to strive for their highest destiny. Neither God nor an angel, Babaji is more like the atmik guru, or the inner light.

Dr Bhosle sounds a note of caution—the masters are suprahuman, beyond the frailties of emotion, and they demand total commitment to the chosen path. It is of greatest importance to follow the light with determination, discernment and detachment. The wise doctor concludes: “There is no such thing in this world as miracles. Everything happens through science. Only a person who doesn’t understand science calls it a miracle.”

Article taken from

Comments So Far..
  • Nik 29 March, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    This is a great article and the most amazing part I liked was “Everything in this world happens coz of Sciene.. there are no miracles”

  • Perminder bassi 22 October, 2007 at 10:46 am

    i want to know more about the mahavtar babaji

  • latha 24 October, 2007 at 3:25 am

    This is a wonderful article still need information on Babaji’s period. we are from Universalmeditation Center and spreading sushumna nadi meditation to all. We are blessed by The Great Spiritual Masters.

  • latha 24 October, 2007 at 3:33 am

    while searching for info on The Great Master Mahavtar Babaji, I was just simply delighted by this page. A real wonderful work on masters. We are teaching Sushumna nadi Meditation for all without any charge. We want everyone to join this programme and enjoy the fruits of meditation. I wish this universe could learn this meditation and enjoy the real natural happiness.

  • rajwarasi 1 December, 2007 at 6:27 am

    very nice to read and know things in daily human life.

    but the only question is babaji can i meet him if so when?

    i saw rajanikanths film BABA and came to know many things about life and the true story of the great actor rajanikanth.

    so kindly help me in knowing much things about babaji pl.

  • T A RAMESH 11 January, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    There was another spiritual leader like Babaji near Pondicherry in a place called Vadalur and nobody knows even today how that spiritual leader by name vallalar disappeared himself by locking in one room! It is believed he is still living in the spiritual form to guide discerning people to attain spiritual ascent in life. Perhaps the Babaji could have come as Vallalar, did his job and disappeared after his mission!

  • Gautam 13 January, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Yes there are many stories that revolve around Babaji. The key is to not get deluded and concern ourselves with the intellectual differences, for the spirit of the sages is much beyond that.

  • chandu 16 January, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Hai, i am student. i belive in yogis and tapasvies. I want know about babaji. Plesase send information to my mail.

  • shahid karim 1 March, 2008 at 8:03 am

    i am very thankful to know about your mission ….

  • sk 2 March, 2008 at 11:34 am

    hey … nice article there ..

  • KAPIL MAHAJAN 11 March, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Hari anant Hari katha ananta, same is for Babaji.For me he is formless GOD in a identity.

  • Prof.P.J.Rao 11 March, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I am on among the many disciples of Sri Sri Sri Mahavtar Babaji and member of yogda sastang, Ranchi. I have experienced many unexpected events of joy in my life and some of them led me to the transformation of my life style in an amazing way. I wish that all should enjoy the real and natural happieness by keeping trust on our Babaji who can guide us in an aternally cosmic destiny.

  • NoRadioPlease 22 April, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Do you or others have any new/first hand information? Perhaps one could add Porto Novo research (Parangipettai, TN). For example, railway lines (the rails) have ‘Porto Novo’ stamped on them. There is a lighthouse there. I believe it was hit by the Tsunami, but recovered:
    People confuse him with a similar sounding name in puttaparthi, but BABAJI is FAR SUPERIOR and knew beforehand that others would claim themselves to be AVATARS, so he humbly calls himself MAHA AVATAR – and probably arranged the births of those who do call themselves as avatars!
    Well designed site BTW.

  • Gautam 22 April, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I have read about Porto Novo in Marshall Govindan’s book. I have some experiences but I don’t feel they are as great that I can talk about them, yet.

  • Deepak rana 14 May, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Its deepak and iam from Palampur (H.P) your artical about baba ji is realy very impressibe if you would like to know more about baba ji then you have to visit in Mahavtar baba ji asharam V.P.O Rajed(Kandbadi) Teh. Palampur distt Kangra (H.P)
    there you can meet with yogiraj Amar jyoti baba ji whom is only live direct diciple of baba ji in modern time.

    Deepak Rana

    Yoga Teacher

    • Tarun 7 October, 2014 at 2:05 am

      Hi Deepak I would like to meet Yogi raj in end 22 or 23 December 2014 will he be there and how can I do this please reply to me via email thanks

  • Mahesh 15 May, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Would like to know about Shri Maha Avtar Babaji, Any Ashram near by Mumbai where I can get some details about Shri Babaji
    I would like to know from where do you got details that Shree gajanan Maharaj , Swami Samartha From Akkalkot & Shri Sai Baba of shirdi are dead revolutionaries of First war of India Independence in 1857

    “The last three were reportedly firebrand revolutionaries who were given up for dead in the First War of Indian Independence in 1857.”

    Thanx & Regards
    Mahesh Sawant

  • Gautam 15 May, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Mahesh, you’ll have to askk Anjali that question who wrote the article. Personally, I do not agree with that point, there has been no mention of it anywhere.

  • lynn 20 May, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Greetings dear Friends,
    Yogiraj Amar Jyoti visited us in Moose Factory Ontario recently
    His divine presence still lingers.
    We were so blessed to have met him in this life.
    and hope to visit him soon in Palampur.
    Love and blessings to you All…..

  • Bala 25 May, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Very nice article about Mahavtar. What is kriya yoga?

  • lynn 25 May, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Dear Deepak

    You may be interested in reading this article describing Yogiraj Amar Jyoti’s visit to our community.

    In Unity,

  • santosh .purohit 19 June, 2008 at 12:39 am

    i have a strong feeling that i have met babaji in different forms.i have read a lot abt him and want to seek his blessings.i also want to join his special group of deciples who travel along with him.i know babaji is listning to me n hope n pray he hears my prayers,n bless me n the many strong deciples who r seeking him,for the betterment of this world.
    actually i m not writting a cooment but a request to babaji to accept me as his only goal in life is to seek his blessings.
    looking frwd fr yr bless

  • Gautam 19 June, 2008 at 1:02 am

    May you achieve the goal of self realization santosh. When the student is truly ready, master will surely appear.

  • kamal 27 June, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Would like to know about yogiraj swami AmarJyoti ji……

  • lynn 29 June, 2008 at 2:43 am

    o his beauty is intoxicating
    and to bask in his glow
    incomparable bliss
    no footprint or shadow does He leave
    and when a leaf falls to mark his presence
    i am left with the fragrance of eternity
    and a Love that knows no end

    o sweet enraptured light
    transforming my life
    radiant One
    shed a light from the sun
    lover of my soul
    leading me home…

  • Anuj Sharma 1 July, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Hello All,

    can any body confirm me.. Is Yogiraj Amar Jyoti Ji available on Guru Purnima in Palampur.

    Best Regards

  • Gautam 3 July, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Swami Amar Jyoti took Mahasamadhi back in June 2001. So you’re a bit late to search for him in flesh and blood. You can search him in spirit.

  • lynn 3 July, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Good evening Gautam,

    I was speaking of Yogiraj Amar Jyoti from Mahavatar Babaji Meditation center in Palampur. He is a Divine One, and comes from an ancient order of monks. He visited our Cree community in northern Ontario (Canada) this past October.

    Blessings to every-one…

  • Anuj Sharma 4 July, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Dear Gautam,

    I met him in rishikesh on 14th April 2008.


  • Gautam 4 July, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Must be 2 diff people with similar names. My seclusion with the human race doesn’t keep me in touch 🙂

  • kamal 11 July, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Yes Anuj, swami ji, available on Gurpoornima.
    Are you from delhi?
    Pl mail me at

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