The Direct Line of Great Masters by Paramhansa Yogananda

Inner Culture, March 1937

As children are like their parents, so disciples tend to resemble their gurus (spiritual instructors). For this reason, the member of Self-Realization Fellowship (Yogoda Sat-Sanga) are very fortunate in having the interest and direct teachings of some of the greatest Masters and Gurus of the world.

My own Master, Sri Yukteswarji, was one of the greatest wise men of India of his time, if not of all times before him. He had such acute intellectual perception as well as intuitive insight that he surpassed everyone in being able to detect interpolated errors in the great scriptures of the world.

I saw many Christlike miracles performed by my Master. Unlike charlatans, who claim to have miraculous powers but possess none, Sri Yukteswarji was very conservative and avoided display in anything. His miracles came forth most mysteriously and yet very tangibly whenever there arose a situation which human methods could not meet. He had a miraculous power of healing. He was one of the greatest astrologers of his time, but also possessed the intuitive power to know people’s destiny.

His Resurrection

His greatest miracle was accomplished in his resurrection and reappearance to me. Two years ago, he appeared in a vision which I had in America, saying “I have waited for you fifteen years. Unless you come at once, I will give up my body.” So, after fifteen years, I hurried to India where, after a few months, Guru Sri Yukteswarji kept his tryst with immortality. He passed on in Maha-Samadhi [Mahasamadhi??] at Puri on March 9, 1936. His life and amazing resurrection, and the life of his Master, Lahiri Mahasaya, are being written by me now.

My Master’s Guru

Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya, the Guru-preceptor of Sri Yukteswarji, was better known as Lahiri Mahasaya. He was a super-man in the world, but not of the world. He was the Yogavatar of India, the incarnation of God who reclaimed that state by step-by-step methods of meditation, and who also showed others how, by following these methods of meditation, they could bring about a sure, scientific union (Yoga) with God. No prophet preceding him had accomplished, as he did, the simplification of the entire Yoga system of Patanjali (the greatest exponent of Yoga) and of Chrishna’s teachings in the Bhagavad Gita into a number of the most uncomplicated and greatest self-realization-producing techniques.

Yoga signifies scientific union with God, and Avatar means God descended in flesh. In all souls God descends and manifests variously as potential incarnations of God. In the prophet, the descended God ascends and brings out the hidden divine potentiality, finding himself a perfect incarnation of God.

Lahiri Mahasaya was such a perfected, resurrected incarnation of God (as all true sons of God are). He was in the world, married, with the responsibility of three children; yet he was a Christ in every way. The entire religious world, all truth-seeking people lost in the jungles of theological and denominational beliefs, can find in Lahiri Mahasaya’s technique a method to bring definite, ever-increasing self-realization and to free them from theological stagnation.

Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya, by his exemplary life, created many Christs and gave the step-by-step methods of Self-Realization (the Ladder of Self-Realization) which enables all to climb to the high abode of complete freedom. Lahiri Mahasaya was a Christ in the jungle of material civilization. He could perform all the miracles of Jesus Christ.

Lahiri Mahasaya was the greatest married saint, like “King Janaka” of India, and like the Yogi Jesus Christ of miraculous powers, combined in one life. Lahiri Mahasaya’s techniques and life kindle the greatest hope and courage in the ordinary business men of the East and West, that they also may try to reclaim the lost kingdom of God, which is the birthright of all individual souls. His ceaseless God-contact and matter-transcending nature made him the inspiration of all renunciates.

Lahiri Mahasaya’s Guru

The great Babaji was the Guru-preceptor of Lahiri Mahasaya Very little is known about Babaji’s life. We hear that he is several hundred years old and looks almost exactly like Lahiri Mahasaya, only much younger in appearance. We are told that once Babaji wanted to give up his body. One of his advanced disciples objected. Babaji reasoned, “What is the difference if I keep a dream body or not? I am alive evermore with or without a body.” Then the great disciple of Babaji asked, “Honored Guru-preceptor, if it is the same with you to keep your body or dissolve it in the cosmic stream, why not keep it just for a change?” Babaji answered that he would do so, and vanished. That is why it is said he is never going to give up his physical body.

Swami Keshabananda of Brindaban, disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, speaks of meeting Babaji in Badri Narayan Himalayas, India. Swami Keshabananda hinted a message from Babaji to me when I visited Keshabanandaji’s hermitage in Brindabon, India. Swami Keshabananda specially urged, “Yogananda, sometime you must see Badri Narayan Himalayas, for there I met Babaji.”

Swami Keshabanandaji often travels by foot in the depths of the Himalayas. Once, while he was traveling in the Himalayan jungles, he met a tiger who became frozen with fear through Keshabanandaji’s magnetism.

Great Masters’ Interest in America

Babaji is in constant communion with Christ. Together they throw out vibrations for the redemption of the world. It was Babaji who predicted, to my Master, Sri Yukteswarji, that I would go to America to spread the message of India’s sages. Sri Yukteswarji was asked by Babaji to write “The Holy Science,” (which shows the union of the scientific principles underlying Yoga and the Christian Bible) and send to America the unified message of Christianity and Yoga as Self-Realization through fellowship of all religions, or Yogoda Sat-Sanga. I was financed by Bhagavati Charan, my earthly father and disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya to spread this gospel in America. Babaji also predicted that there were many “would-be saints in America,” and one wonderful soul in this great country has already been honored with that title, St. Lynn.

I am also writing the life of the great Babaji as I heard the story from my own Master, Sri Yukteswarji. It was Babaji who first honored Sri Yukteswarji with the title of “Swami” (Master). He received his formal initiation into the Swami Order from the Mohunt of Bodh-Gaya.



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