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..
  • kamal 11 July, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Dear lynn
    Oh yes swami ji, visited canada in oct 07.if you want to know more about Swami ji,
    Pl mail me at

  • dinesh juneja 17 July, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    me nd my family have knwn yogiraj swami amar jyoti for over a year now…v relly feel blessed..met swamiji delhi on 11th ws a wonderful experience..and amzin feel of positivity..wen he’s around..ever smilin…nd olwayss luvin u wid selflessness…amzin is d 17 yrs of age..n feel very lucky 2 knw him…
    Om Mahaavtar babay namah..god bless us ol on guru purnima…

  • Markand Trivedi 13 August, 2008 at 5:34 am

    I am also Yss Member and I am insearch of video clips of ranikhet ashram and other ashrams of Yogda Satsang Society across the world so if any person having video clips please please mail me for god shake I am from Gujarat Rajkot India

  • Raghav Gaur 27 August, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    hi Lynn, Anuj and Deepak ( Deepu)
    i am really excited to find both of you here. Lynn i must say you are really blessed that HH YOGIRAJ SRI AMAR JYOTI BABA JI visited moose factory. i have that legendary sanp as wallpaper. i know BABA JI from last 5 or 6 years. he may not be with you physically but he prooves that he is present by sending a gush of air filled with his fragrance, the fragrance that his body exudes. Lynn the day i read this news i was jumping with joy i was so happy for you and Cree people that i could not stop enjoying myself.

    and Gautam SRI AMAR JYOTI BABA JI is still in his physical abode i have recently met him in his ashram.

  • Raghav Gaur 27 August, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    hi Anuj,
    can you please throw some light on you meeting with the Master himself. how you met him in rishikesh what was the expereince like?????????????

  • lynn 28 August, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Greetings Raghav,

    Thank-you so much.
    I give thanks for the blessing of His presence every day of my life…
    I am happy the news of His visit to the Cree people brought such joy to you!
    Wonderful to know there are so many others who experience His divine fragrance…
    Recently He left a blue flower on my doorstep and one on my mother-in laws table to let us know He had come.
    When He is near i see a blue light
    Everywhere His feet have touched is holy ground and so often i go sit in the shagoogum ( long teepee ) behind our house to sit and feel his vibrations.

    What is legendary sanp?

    If you would like you can email me and i will share some photos with you from Sri Amar Jyoti Babaji’s visit to Moose Factory.

    Love to Every-One…

  • Hemant 28 August, 2008 at 11:30 am

    The reference of Akkalkot Swami in the context of 1857 war is incorrect because he came to Akkalkot sometime in 1852 and lived there for 26 years,before arriving in Akkalkot there are instances of his meeting with Shri Manik Prabhu who is also beleived to be Dattavatar.Before arriving in Akkalkot, the Swami was in Solapur and Mangalvedha in Maharashtra.Therefore I feel there is some error in the subject matter.Personally I feel that the great personalities like Babaji,akkalkot Swami, Sai Baba , Jesus are the personalities which are immortal as they have conquered death and for them they can hold any form and at any time at their will as they are the “Life” themselves.

  • lynn 28 August, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Greetings Hemant,

    Yes, that is beautiful.
    I feel these great Souls are all Brothers. We perceive them according to our nature and what is needed at the time to bring transformation in our lives.

    In Cree Tradition there is one called Weesaykeejak,
    he is known as the Trickster and can appear in a myriad of forms….
    Sometimes as a raven, sometimes as coyote or in human form.

  • Hemant 28 August, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Greetings Iynn.


    Swami Vivekanand said in the Parliament of religions on Sept 11, 1893 following words which are quite inspiring for any person aspiring to evolve himself to HIGHER SELF.
    The gist of the proceedings is as under from the site


    The delegates arose, one by one, and read prepared speeches, but the Hindu sannyasin was totally unprepared. He had never before addressed such an assembly. When he was asked to give his message he was seized with stage-fright, and requested the chairman to call on him a little later. Several times he postponed the summons. As he admitted later: ‘Of course my heart was fluttering and my tongue nearly dried up. I was so nervous that I could not venture to speak in the morning session.’

    At last he came to the rostrum and Dr. Barrows introduced him. Bowing to Sarasvati, the Goddess of Wisdom, he addressed the audience as ‘Sisters and Brothers of America.’ Instantly, thousands arose in their seats and gave him loud applause. They were deeply moved to see, at last, a man who discarded formal words and spoke to them with the natural and candid warmth of a brother.

    It took a full two minutes before the tumult subsided, and the Swami began his speech by thanking the youngest of the nations in the name of the most ancient monastic order in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins. The keynote of his address was universal toleration and acceptance. He told the audience how India, even in olden times, had given shelter to the religious refugees of other lands — for instance, the Israelites and the Zoroastrians — and he quoted from the scriptures the following two passages revealing the Hindu spirit of toleration:

    ‘As different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.’

    ‘Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him. All men are struggling through many paths which in the end lead to Me.’

    In conclusion he pleaded for the quick termination of sectarianism, bigotry, and fanaticism.



  • vishwa 31 August, 2008 at 5:20 am


    i want to know more about babaji ashram at kandbadi



  • Bhagwati 31 August, 2008 at 8:32 am

    That’s a very interesting article. To know that someone has personally experienced the presence of BABAji is thriling. Lots of foreigners these days, actually since always, feel they are qualified to teach his practices and to talk about him. Even the Indian/Hindu gurus its hard to say who is enlightened. India has many great Siddhas and they will take care of this great land of the Gods.

  • lynn 31 August, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Greetings Friends and Family,
    A Cree (Eeyou) elder once said when asked to elaborate on a vision, “I can only tell you what i have seen with my own eyes otherwise i might be lying.” Although it is changing now, Legends and wisdom teachings of the Native people are passed on through oral tradition (living breathing scriptures) as oppossed to the written word- that is how we do most of our learning. Upon Yogiraj Amar Jyoti’s request i wrote an article outlining the events and people that were present during His historic visit to Moose Factory that he might take back to India. i decided to submit a much edited version of the article to Wawatay News as i felt more people in our area could benefit from a glimpse of this great Soul who traveled all the way from India to meet the Cree people in our area…

    Native people in Canada have suffered the effects of colonialsm in much the same way our brothers and sisters in India have.

    Swami Amar Jyoti addressing the gathering in the shagookum one evening said, “We are like beads on a string sitting in this circle.”

    And so we are.

    Love to every-one…

  • lynn 1 September, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Dear Hemant,
    the teachings of vedanta must be very high indeed to inspire such radiance.
    many thanks…

  • balamurali 4 September, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    any body have babaji’s portrates.plz sent me

  • balamurali 4 September, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    any body have babaji’s portrates.plz sent

  • anupam dhar 5 September, 2008 at 7:58 am

    It is so spiritually invigorating to see such a voluminous response to merely a small article on Maha Avatara Babaji.
    This surely harkens good news for the worlds welfare.
    May Babaji bless all participants.

  • Powell 6 September, 2008 at 4:16 am

    I have read the Autobiography of a yogi. there are million PRANAM from me in the feet of MAHAWATAR BABAJI, LAHAURI MAHASHAYA, SRI SRI PARAMHANSA YOGANANDA, SRI SRI YUKTESHWAR GIRI JI.

  • Raghav Gaur 6 September, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    hi lynn,
    i really feel blessed to have a word with beautiful soul like you. i think that AMAR JYOTI BABA JI and MAHAVATAR BABA JI are two names of single person if you close your eyes and pray to MAHAVTAR BABA JI then SWAMI JI will come in picture and if you pay to AMAR JYOTI BABA JI MAHAVTAR BABA JI WILL APPEAR. the blue light you saw is the most experienced sign of HIS presence. if you have some more snaps of BABA JI then please oblige me by mailing them at lynn i am overwhelmed with joy i am so happy for you and your people. you have recieved the rarest blessing. in dia we have a prayer which says guru brahma guru vishnu guru devo maheshwara. that means guru is holy trinity, guru is the universe guru is my only god. i bow to his holy feet.

  • Hemant 10 September, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Dear Raghav Gaur

    Great.That shows the “oneness” or “advaita” in all great souls.The difference in the physical form is not real. The reality is these personalities have realised that they are the manifestation of the one and only one.


  • Raghav Gaur 17 September, 2008 at 4:38 am

    dear hemant
    all of us are like glass bottels scattered on ocean floor the type, colour and shape of glass is different but we all are same (the ocean). from inside and outside.
    raghav gaur

  • kpnair 24 September, 2008 at 8:53 am

    those who want to know more about baba ji can read the book the an autobiography of a yogi, i can bet you that will change your whole life

  • Gautam 24 September, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Agreed. Swami Ram, the great Himalayan sage also talks about Babaji in his book “Living with the Himalayan Masters”.

  • Maruthi 28 October, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Mahavatar Babaji is the sweeter most sound in this world.

  • sai das 31 October, 2008 at 2:20 am

    master of master

    I am afraid that section has grave mistakes about sai baba, swamy samartha and gajanan maharaj.

    truth about sai baba: found as a 16 year old lad under the neem tree (please read sai sat charitra). He left shirdi only for 3 years only to come back again. By pre-dating his birth year was narrowed down to 1838.

    The first world war was fought between 1914-1918 (1918 is when sai nath attaianed maha samathi after staying @ shirdi for more than 60 years) and swamy samartha and gajanan maharaj attained maha samathi way before that.

    Swamy samartha, sai baba are poorna duttavtars. Swamy samartha of akkalkot was none other than sri nrusimha saraswati of ganagapur.

    I hope that clears the confusion

  • sahil pupneja 15 November, 2008 at 10:41 am

    i am so happy after getting in sharan of maha avtaar babaji

  • sahil pupneja 15 November, 2008 at 10:43 am

    i am very happy after getting in sharan of mahaavtaar babaji

  • ARUN 17 November, 2008 at 10:47 am

    I am also the child of great mahavtar babaji and want to learn his kriya yog. I am feeling that life is going on so fast and I am empty. I pray to babaji to help me and take my soul with him to teach. May I know where is the ashram in palampur and any phone no. or photo of swami amar jyoti ji. pls ans anyone . mail me on

  • pratik 23 November, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    who said swami amar jyoti took mahasamadhi, i jst saw him on the occasion of shri satya sai baba’s birthday!!!!!

  • Ashok turki Dhar 26 November, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    SWAMI YOGIRAJ AMARJYOTI JI MAHARAJ has established an Ashram by the name
    The ashram is not only a pligrimage but is a sacred place
    for knowledge seekers like us and HE being the direct desciple
    of ever living — ever present — and ever shining &helpful
    … one has to go to the place to have a feeling and the serenity of the sacredness of the Ashram—& when we have the holy Darshan of Swami Amarjyoti we .
    should be lucky to have HIS darshan and hear wisdom from

  • PARVEEN KUMAR PUPNEJA 11 December, 2008 at 4:13 am


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