One of the greatest gurus of all time was Lahiri Mahasaya, originally known as Shyama Charan Lahiri, who hailed from Banaras and was the exemplar of balanced living that could lead to the highest exalted states. Lahiri Mahasaya was a householder like most people are, but he was able to raise the levels of his consciousness to attain God realization, even in the midst of the humdrum of daily life.
Lahiri Mahasaya was the foremost disciple of the peerless deathless saint, Mahavatar Baba ji, and he himself was the guru of Swami Sri YukteswarGiri, who in turn was the guru of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the Autobiography of a Yogi.
This classic Autobiography outlines in detail the main events in the life of LahiriMahasaya, one of which boggles the mind of readers even today. The ‘wrongly sent’ telegram which resulted in the transfer of Lahiri Mahasaya to Ranikhet and his aimless wanderings in the crags of the Himalayas which led to his astonishing encounter with Babaji, are now the stuff of legends. His interactions with Babaji are highly inspirational to all who have been fortunate enough to read the Autobiography of a Yogi.
Lahiri Mahasaya’s life exemplified the virtues of a balanced, yet focussed, approach to God realization. He inspired millions also through his astounding miraculous feats which uplifted the lives of simple followers like Ramu, the blind devotee and Abhoya, a childless lady. A British gentleman who was his employer also benefited from Lahiri Mahasaya’s spiritual prowess as his ailing wife recovered quite magically, though thousands of miles away.
Yet, the most compelling and path breaking contribution of the great saint’s life was his pivotal role in the revival of the lost science of Kriya Yoga through the blessings of Mahavatar Babaji. Lahiri Mahasaya became the harbinger and the chief protagonist of the subtle spread of the all-important Kriya Yoga technique amongst truth seekers of the modern era.
Yoganandaji who founded YogodaSatsanga Society of India and Self-Realization Fellowship was unendingly inspired by his Paramguru, Lahiri Mahasaya. Even as a babe in the arms of his dear mother, he was blessed by the great guru who memorably stated, “Little mother, thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God’s kingdom.”
Yoganandaji’s teachings revolve around the philosophy of the great scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible, and have been beautifully encapsulated in his How to Live Lessons as well as his numerous publications. His emphasis on the need for all human beings to ultimately attain a direct personal experience of God is the gist of his message for the masses. It was Lahiri Mahasaya who paved the way for these landmark teachings to find their way to the hearts of common men and women when he beseeched Babaji to allow him to impart knowledge of Kriya Yoga to all earnest devotees.
Lahiri Mahasaya’s birth anniversary (Avirbhav Divas) falls on September 30 and his MahasamadhiDivas on September 26.
The very fact that millions today follow the path of Kriya yoga in this modern era is a testimony to the life of the great Yogavatar of India, Lahiri Mahasaya, who saw humble beginnings in the small town of Ghurni but became known as one of the most elevated saints to have ever lived on this earth.