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..
  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 31 December, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Oh Babaji, the Protector, the basis of all life, Who is self-existent, Who is free from all pains and Whose contact frees the soul from all troubles, Who pervades the Universe and sustains all, the Creator and Energizer of the whole Universe, the Giver of happiness, Who is worthy of acceptance, the most excellent, Who is Pure and the Purifier of all, let us embrace that very Babaji, so that He may direct our mental faculties in the right direction
    He liberates you if you but think of Him. Surrender yourself directly and without a second thought to him. He will ordain the best for you and you need not ask for it
    Wish you all a Happy 2010.

  • Raghavendra 8 January, 2010 at 11:21 am

    hello everyone this is my first time in this site and I’m extremely happy , I wanted to know more about our divine soul , sri sri sri Mahavatarbabaji , can any one you pls let me as to is their any babaji “s ashram in bangalore , and address of babjis ashram in palampur . Pls help me , so tha I can get some divine blessings of tha holy almighty .. I actually saw babaji in a movie but dint know any thing about babji , but some how managed to get some details about babaji …. and I wanted to from those of you who saw babji , as to did you ppl see the almighty in himalayas and is babji still in himalayas , how can one find him , and can u meet sri amara jyothi babji in palampur ashram .. Pls do answer me .. Hope to find response … Thank u

  • Satish 27 January, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Guys

    If you want to connect with Babaji spiritually, click the following link

  • Satish 28 January, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Hi again

    Has anyone visited Babaji’s ashram in Badrinath?
    Gowri Shankar Peeta is Babaji’s ashram near Badrinath in the Himalayas. The ashram is surrounded by tall rock cliffs on all sides, with a row of caves by their side. The largest cave belongs to Babaji. There are two waterfalls opposite this cave in a corner. There is a small group of residents in the ashram. They use the largest waterfall for bathing and the smaller one for drinking. Though there is no visible light source, even in night, the whole area is well lit. No one can approach the ashram closer than a mile, without Babaji’s permission or concurrence.

  • R.Chandrashekar 29 January, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Hi Satish

    A group of us interested in visiting Mahavatar Babaji’s ashram has been looking for some details of where His ashram is situated. Your posting has some details as I see. Can you give more details if you have so that we can be guided by that and land there. Is it easily accessible or we have to walk for long distance. we shall be having some old and women also in our team. Kindly guide if you have details.Kindly email to

    Mumbai India

  • Satish 29 January, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Hi Chandrashekhar

    The best person to answer this question would be Dr. N Rajgopal of Mindscope, email –, website –

    He’s been in contact with Babaji for quite some time and may help you in getting the exact location for Gowri Shankar Peeta.



  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 29 January, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Dear Chandrashekar, Babaji Ashram is some were in china how can you go there. Moreover you can go there if only Babaji is willing and still if want to explore you will stuck up some where. Just follow the foot path of your guru then you are safe and in right path.

  • Satish 29 January, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Chandrashekar

    I think that Babaji’s hidden ashram is in the Garwhal Himalayas near Badrinath and not in China.
    Why don’t you ask Dr. N Rajgopal and he’ll guide you correctly?

  • natarajan 31 January, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Babaji is learnt to have born to a brahmin family at ‘Parangipet’ close to Chidambatam ,TN. There is also a Tamil Mag dedicated to Babaji.

    There have been 18 noted ‘Siddargal’ (Sidhas) or great rishi’s from TamilNadu . you could even visit all 18 sidda’s shrine near Chennai which is founded recently.

    Though out T.Nadu you find temples and holy places especially around Kumbakonam, Tanjavur and Trichy areas which also houses 9 temples for the respective planets including one for Shani at Thirunallar ,Karaikal, Pondicherry!

    ‘Arunachala’ (Thiruvanamali) is yet an other abode of Shiva and one among the ‘panchabootha sthalas’ representing Agni. Here there are Rishis in every possible roopa, it is said.

    The Arunachala hill it self is worshiped as Shiva!
    Refer to Bagavan Ramana maharshi’s quotes and Arunachala Mahathmium and Skandha puranam .

    It is learnt that about 20 lakhs visit here during New moon days to go around Arunachala. One can go on this way…..

  • Satish 2 February, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Hi all
    Another good website to visit is where Babaji passes on messages to mankind via Swami Vishwananda

  • natarajan 14 February, 2010 at 1:06 am
  • Satish 14 February, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Natarajan, I’d heard that Hairakhan Baba was not the real Mahavtar Babaji.

  • natarajan 14 February, 2010 at 1:21 am
  • Satish 14 February, 2010 at 1:22 am
  • Gautam 14 February, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I do not think anyone of us is qualified to judge whether Haidakhan is real and who is the real Mahavatar Babaji. Satish the link that you gave has a comment by a gentleman who seems disturbed to prove a point for which he has no ground.

    Let us not involve ourselves in trivial debates and concentrate on the higher truth.


  • Satish 14 February, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Gautam

    You are correct – no one can prove whether Haidakhan Baba’s real or not.

    Let us share this blog only on Mahavtar Babaji.

    I’d read the following interesting article on internet in one of the forums on Babaji

    Actually around 1968, I met an engineer from Geological survey of India who told us that the survey team met with a babaji in the remote part of central India who could speak French, German and many other languages fluently with very little accent (I have posted this in this forum somewhere). There was a French speaking German in the team that talked to the Baba. The Baba claimed he talked to Napoleon and I think another name in 1400 AD (I can not remember)….

    Life is full of mysteries…

  • Satish 14 February, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Babaji’s visual appearance: he appears to be a youth of not more than twenty-five. Fair-skinned, of medium build and height, his beautiful, strong body radiates a perceptible glow. His eyes are dark, calm, and tender; his long lustrous hair is copper-coloured.
    The most important clue to recognize him is by his raised toes of both the legs

  • Satish 15 February, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Another interesting article on how Guru Gyan Swami met Babaji

  • Satish 16 February, 2010 at 9:39 pm
  • natarajan 16 February, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Debate about who is Babaji , in my opinion should go on… so that the mistary of it remains a divine faith.

    Suspense should not only create curiosity but also reverence here?

    well, here is another site with the question as to who HE is:

    when i had a chance to meet an elderly lady (who had knownBabaji) and asked her to comment on all the photos of Babaji available to us through the net, she replied to leave every thing as it is and not to indulge in any probing!

  • Usha 17 February, 2010 at 2:18 am

    I really cannot believe how we can probe into certain truths which is beyond our contemplation. If our mum says that “He is your father” we actually believe. We do not ask a second question to our mum and ask her prove the same. Likewise certain truths are to be accepted as such. There is no answer to such trivial things. It is advisable to drop the discussion. Instead concentrate on how to achieve kriya yoga practice in our lives for our betterment, mental peace and health.

  • Manisha Singhal 18 February, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Dear all,

    I am glad to go through so many books which revolve around babaji and are blessed by Swami Amar Jyoti Babaji. the website:


  • Satish 18 February, 2010 at 7:22 pm
  • SAHADEV JAMDAR 26 February, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Sahadev said…
    Maha Avatar Babaji – Omni Present Ageless Saint of the Universe
    follow kriyayoga
    for details click…

  • NKumarreshan 27 February, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    “AKBNA” Aum Kriya Babaji Nama Aum
    Dear Every One,
    Last February 2010,12th, I was in haridwar for Kumbamela 2010, and took a dip in ganga holy river, and that nite i put up in a hotel there, I had a vision of Maha Avatar Babaji Nagaraj in my hotel room at around 3am morning till 6am morning. He sits on floor and talking to me whre i see his lips and arms are moving. But i’cant hear him what is he saying. But i could understand that, he is comunicating to me someting. Ofcourse i’m very happy to have the ageless Mahavatar’s darsanam, but i cant understand what exactly is he trying to tell me, any could advise me?

  • Satish 28 February, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    An interesting ebook on Haidakhan Babaji

  • dinesh 9 March, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Thanks to Babaji He is Be with me

    U can also see him by inner mind ,

    and i want to know about kriya yoga is any body know abt this pls mail me.

  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 10 April, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Though one has shaken off all vices, secured all virtues, renounced all relatives, and observed all the austerities prescribed by the scriptures, can one reach eternal bliss unless one meets the jnana Guru? (Guru Vachaka Kovai, 321)

  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 17 April, 2010 at 4:43 am

    This is Mahamuni Babaji, the Divine Himalayan Yogi, he does not give darsan so easily. Being able to see him is seeing the supreme Being. He lives in everybody in between the eyebrows; he is near for extremely very few people at the same time he is far away for many. That is the truth.

  • Anjimetiy Balaji NagaRaj 5 June, 2010 at 4:46 am

    The One (Real Self) becomes threefold; to the devotee He is God; to the seeker of Illumination He becomes the Guru; when the mind becomes still in the heart He Himself becomes (manifest as) the Real Self. (Guru Ramana Vachana Mala, 120)

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