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..
  • Dipak Satyashraya 22 August, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I am searching the rout to reach Budhi Ki Mathi & Amar Baba in Himalayas. Please help.

  • Gautam 24 August, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Do you mean Swami Amar Jyoti or some other Amar Baba?

  • dinesh 10 September, 2009 at 1:51 am

    i want talk to guruji and to see gurji pls any body help me

  • Vijjay jude stoker 13 September, 2009 at 7:18 am


    I am from bangalore and would want to visit babaji’s cave. Could some one guide me with the travel details to my emila id

    I too want to surrender myself to the all migity.

    Need help.


  • Gautam 13 September, 2009 at 11:26 am


    Feel free to go through my travelogue of my trip to the Cave or feel free to drop me a line.

  • dinesh 21 September, 2009 at 8:02 am

    i want to work in my netive place pls help

  • A. Anand 24 September, 2009 at 12:48 am

    There is a programme about the visit of Tamil actor Rajinikanth to the cave of Mahaavatar Babaji in Star Vijay, a TV channel in Tamil at 10 p.m from this mon (21/9/09) to thu (24/9/09). To know more about the Maha Avatar, one can go thro’ “The Autobiography Of a Yogi” by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda avalable in Sapna Book stores.

  • MKprakash 24 September, 2009 at 9:06 am

    i would like to know the routes from rishikesh to reach baba cave.
    pl tell me the places where we can stay between rishikesh – babaji cave.
    during which month is opt to go to caves.we are from south we
    do not know the climatic conditions and accomadation facilities.

  • Gautam 24 September, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Prakash, please see the relevant article and Anupamji’s comment on travel advice:

  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 1 October, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    hi gautam, did got any information about the below comment of
    82.swinny_sam said …
    i have heard that there is a place which is away from ranikhet about 150km ahead …and there is a mountain called BHATKOR PAHAR …and there is a British Rangers Bunglow out there just next to the riverside ….and there is a small temple under a tree and have heard that that place was that of babaji where he used to meditate for many years

  • Gautam 1 October, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I am not aware of any Britisher’s bungalow in the region unfortunately. May be someone else can shed light on it. I did visit the area though and I have talked about it in my article on this site.

  • Udaya 2 October, 2009 at 12:09 am

    This is amzingly great thing about Babaji and I met a Sidhar who also mentioned Babaji reincarnated several time and one such form is Dhavapaleshwar in Rishikesh and more details in sidharindia website

  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 2 October, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Dear Gautham, thanks for your replay, I saw your recent photo taken in the cave, When I zoom the energy circle I can see some image but not clear, can u tell me what image is that if u know.

  • k ashok kumar 8 October, 2009 at 4:36 am

    It is really amazing to read about swamiji, the baba , who is believed to be more than 1800 years old and is still visible to many of his devotees. I would be really greatfull if any one can give me his photograph so that I can be inspired by his ‘presence’

    Regards, May Babaji bless the entire humanity.

  • Dr Milon Mitra 9 October, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I just now saw Babaji. Here I was going through all the letters when suddenly my mind went blank and I saw him on my computer screen. I thought you must have fixed his photo in your website, or my brain is working overtime, or perhaps it is the effect of my regular meditation which has brought strange changes in my head. He smiled and slowly faded away. I will call him today in my meditation. Wish me best of luck. He is perhaps watching me. I do not like this feeling.

  • Gautam 9 October, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Ways of Providence are strange. May the sages guide you!

  • Dr Milon Mitra 10 October, 2009 at 12:46 am

    No, nothing happened in meditation last night. Perhaps meditation do not become fruitful when we are expectant.

  • Arun 14 October, 2009 at 7:28 pm


    You say that you have had a personal visitation from Babaji. Could you share your personal experience and the circumstances under which this happened to you? I havent read through the entire thread so if it captured let me know.

  • R.Subha 19 October, 2009 at 12:39 am


    I would like to know more about mahavatar babaji, and Any ashram is neary by chennai.
    Please mail me the address.

    Thank U

  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 21 October, 2009 at 7:46 am


    Tamil Nadu Headquarters:
    No.5/ 2 Arulanandam Street
    San Thome, (Mylapore), Chennai-600004
    Tamil Nadu,South India
    Phone:044- 24643630

  • shilpa 4 November, 2009 at 4:46 am

    hi Dr Milon Mitra ,

    can you please tell us about your experience ….how did it happen …when u saw how did u feel…can u elaborate.

    all those who are interested in going to babaji’s cave can plan to form a group….it would be nice if v can try to go together..what do u say? v can reach a commonplace and resume the journey together from there

  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 4 November, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Ms.Shilpa, U has given a good suggestion; if the timing is not suiting to all of them we can form batches every month.

  • a disciple 6 November, 2009 at 6:09 am

    namaskar to all,

    it was really fascinating to read what people thought about yogiraj amrjyoti ji………

    i have known swami ji since i was born……i.e 26 years now……….my experince……i dont need to meet ne more gurus or saints….i have seen 90+ yrs old saint bowing to him…….despite knowing him since i was born……i still wonder what he actually is?? he’s infinite to me……..i dnt wish to see ne miracles perfomed by swami ji………..just being with him is a mircale for me………when ever swami ji comes into my dreams..[ verry seldom though……may be bcoz i m nt a pure soul ]…..i feel so elated , without ne specific reason….

    simply lucky to have blessings of saint like swami ji in my life…………no matter how big the circle of his devotees is………his love fr each nd every of them is indivisible………..and those of you who expect a mircale always frm a saint….then frget it……coz the mircales which happen when u get associated with him are felt not described…..nd it was good to read about moose factory visit as i would some day ask swami ji about that……
    all those who have some experineces . please share…..

    god bless all………

  • lynn harper cheechoo 16 November, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Dear Disciple,

    Namaste, it is an honor to share with you….

    You may enjoy reading this article published in Wawatay News (First nations publication) it may be viewed online; Moose-Factory-to-India_17947

    Blessings and Love,

  • lynn harper cheechoo 16 November, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    or you may google, long steep road from moose factory to india wawatay news online.

    the article is inspired by our recent visit to the mahavtar babaji meditation center in palampur, through the grace of His holiness, Yogiraj swami amar jyoti ji

    lynn harper cheechoo
    moose factory

  • mahendramahadevihaidiakhandi 26 November, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Maha Prabuji called me to Him in 1979, spend 2 years at His Divine much love.. so much inner revelations.. endless blessings reaching out to all, embracing all… praise the Universe.. praise the universe…PRAISE THE UNIVERSE…for His love praises you!!

  • awanindra joshi 28 November, 2009 at 4:58 am

    nobody can express babaji . you all can feel his devine blessings every seconds. rest gossips are useless

  • Arvind Gaur 2 December, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Hi Please send me Information about Baba Ji Center in Delhi


  • Dr MILON MITRA 10 December, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Dear Shilpaji, In ref: to your letter of Nov4,2009. That night I was reading letters and enjoying the photos of Babaji’s cave etc. when slowly a faded image of Babaji appeared on the screen and became clear and smiled. I thought that the photo must have been put in the website. At that moment my head got lighted up in white light, a sharp current ran down from head to sole, and many unreal sounds appeared. I never yearned to see Babaji as I know that we are all GOD. I felt it as an intrusion to my privacy.

  • shilpa 30 December, 2009 at 10:34 am

    hi dear one
    babaji is my life , he is the only one who create whole world , water , earth, god, air, anything in this world .
    babaji =krishna
    & shiva means the main soul is babaji and the two form shiv & vishnu tatva of earth created by him to run the earth.what can i say babaji is babaji. i just love him without him i am nothing.

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