Kriya Yoga Gurus

“Due to the grace of this Kriya Yoga lineage, the tradition has been preserved, and maintained its relevance, through the lives of the Kriya teachers, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda, Roy Eugene Davis and their successors. Below is a brief introduction to the Kriya Yoga teachers of this lineage. For a more detailed account of their lives please see the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda and the book Paramahansa Yogananda: As I Knew Him by Roy Eugene Davis.   

Mahavatar Babaji

“…Babaji is considered the fountain head of our Kriya Yoga tradition, Mr. Davis has affirmed that he is not limited to this enlightenment tradition and works with all seekers, teachers and ministers who share the goal of nurturing the spiritual awareness of the planet. In his book Life Surrendered in God, Mr. Davis writes of Babaji, “He is fully illumined, with no karmic ties to the world, and embodied only to be a conduit through which enlivening forces can express to cleanse planetary consciousness.” 

The age of Babaji is unknown. It is said that he is an immortal yogi, able to manifest and dematerialize his body at will. Some have said Babaji is an incarnation of Krishna. He was said to have initiated Shankara (8th Century) and the poet saint Kabir (15th Century) into Kriya Yoga.  

Like Lahiri Mahasaya, other teachers within the Kriya Yoga lineage had met Babaji. Both Sri Yukteswar and Paramahansa Yogananda’s lives were touched by the presence of this great saint. For more details about Sri Yukteswar and Yogananda’s experiences with Babaji, please see the book Autobiography of a Yogi.”

The Kriya Yoga Podcast about Mahavatar Babaji

Lahiri Mahasaya

“Lahiri Mahasaya, born Shyama Charan Lahiri, was considered a householder, which meant that he married, had a family and worked in a secular job, while attending to his spiritual practices. Lahiri Mahasaya was also an enlightened spiritual teacher to an estimated 5000 people.

Lahiri Mahasaya

Lahiri Mahasaya worked during the day and attended to his family duties. At night he met with Kriya Yoga students, teaching them and guiding them in the proper practices of Kriya Yoga. Speaking of his family, it was not until after he met Babaji and began teaching that he and his wife, Kashimoni Devi, had five children, two sons and three daughters.   The title mahasaya means “one who is broad-minded” or “cosmic conscious.” This title was given to him by his devotees. Lahiri Mahasaya was not only broad-minded in a spiritual sense, but he was also broad-minded with an open and accepting attitude towards all religions. During his time as a spiritual teacher, he initiated men and women of various spiritual traditions into Kriya Yoga. It was his belief that it did not matter if one was a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc. If one followed any religion sincerely, while living a noble life and practicing Kriya Yoga, one could wake up spiritually in this lifetime.”

The Kriya Yoga Podcast about Lahiri Mahasaya

SriYukteswar Giri

“Born Priya Nath Karar, Swami Sri Yukteswar was a devoted student of Lahiri Mahasaya, and the teacher of Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda often referred to Swami Sri Yukteswar as a Jnanavatar. This title is made up of two words jnana and avatar.  Jnana is a word indicating higher wisdom, and the term avatar indicates that one is a divine representative. To be a Jnanavatar means one is a divine representative of higher wisdom. The name Yukteswar means that one is one with the aspect of God as a benefic ruling/guiding principle of nature.” 

Swami Sri Yukteswar

“Sri Yukteswar was known as an advanced astrologer with a profound grasp of Ayurveda. Many stories have been told of his healing powers and ability to properly intuit the needs of his students, and thereby help them. He was known for his insightful capacity to prescribe gemstones and bangles, as it related to his practice of astrology.”

“He had a penetrating mind and was a student, not only of the Bible, but of the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, astronomy and medicine. He had a keen interest in education and founded the Satsanga Sabha, an organization devoted to the study of spirituality.”

The Kriya Yoga Podcast about Swami Sri Yukteswar

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramhansa Yogananda meditating outside

“Yogananda is best known for his book Autobiography of a Yogi. In this book he describes his time in India and shares many stories of his encounters with yogis, saints and holy people. While the book itself contains many fantastic stories, the beauty of the text lies in the profound philosophy it subtly conveys with each story. When read with a discerning mind, one can find a well-spring of inspiration and guidance as it relates to walking the spiritual path. His writing Autobiography of a Yogi has been translated into over 50 languages and is considered one of the most important books of the twentieth century.”

“In his early adult years, much of his time was devoted to helping his guru’s organizational work thrive. Yogananda also had a keen interest in improving the educational system. With the blessing of his guru and the help of his brother disciples, he was able to found a school in Ranchi steeped in the wisdom of Vedic philosophy and Yoga.”

“When Yogananda became aware of his purpose to bring the teachings of Kriya Yoga to the Western world, he directed his energies to that goal with the same zeal he approached every aspect of his life. Strengthened by his guru’s training, Yogananda embarked on this mission to the West.”

The Kriya Yoga Podcast about Paramahansa Yogananda

Roy Eugene Davis

“Mr. Davis met Paramahansa Yogananda on December 23rd, 1949 at Self-Realization Headquarters. When speaking at retreats Mr. Davis would always describe his experience vividly, as if he was seeing it again for the first time. He said that after he arrived at SRF Headquarters, he had met Donald Walters (Kriyananada) who had asked him how he had heard of SRF and Yogananda. During this meeting, Yogananda had appeared out of a nearby elevator attended by Faye and Virginia Wright. Yogananda approached Mr. Davis and with a gentle handshake asked him how old he was, and if his parents knew he was there. After Mr. Davis assured him, Yogananda shared a gesture of blessing and said, “That’s good. I’ll talk with you again.” 

“After getting settled into his new quarters, the next day Mr. Davis attended the 6-hour holy season meditation with Yogananda and several hundred people. Mr. Davis then waited to meet with Paramahansa Yogananda. During this visit he told Yogananda that he wanted to be his disciple. Yogananda accepted Mr. Davis and told him he could stay.  Yogananda ended the visit by saying to Mr. Davis, “Read a little. Meditate more. Think of God all the time.” 

“Mr. Davis lovingly and fondly shared stories about his time with Paramahansa Yogananda. They were often the main content of his talks while presenting at Center for Spiritual Awareness retreats. As mentioned previously, the book Paramahansa Yogananda: As I Knew Him by Roy Eugene Davis, contains all the essential stories of Mr. Davis’s time with Yogananda.”

The Kriya Yoga Podcast about Roy Eugene Davis –

All excerpts are from An Essential Guide to Kriya Yoga Practice, Chapter 2.

Copyright © 2022 Ryan Kurczak. All rights reserved.

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