Who is Babaji? What is an Avatar?
The world first became aware of Mahavatar Babaji [prophet] by name upon the publication of the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi ,” written by Babaji’s emissary Paramahansa Yogananda, whom He sent to the West in 1920 to spread the global unifying teachings of world religious Pluralism and the science of Kriya Yoga Meditation [ among other things] beyond the shores of sacred India. Yogananda not only came to teach, but also as a living example of that ideal personage, to aid others on their journey to salvation/ Samadhi/ cosmic consciousness, [union with reality.]
Note; If you plan to read the Autobiography of a Yogi, the only up to date and complete editions are the SRF ones with orange covers. There is also a digital version from Amazon by Self-Realization Fellowship. Other electronic and printed versions of the 1946 edition are pirated original editions are all out of date and incomplete. Only SRF orange cover editions are now as Paramahansa Yogananda wanted them.
The Master was changing/improving this book since its first edition, and left further instructions with His editors in chief for further changes, which they faithfully and accurately carried out.
Yogananda’s legacy from YSS/SRF remains accurate and intact. We are now left with an exceptional, reliable, & valuable sacred record of Yogananda’s final wishes for this great dispensation. Through Mahavatar Babaji’s teachings and living presence found in YSS/Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons course and other publications, we now have one of the worlds clearest spiritual dispensations on how to know truth and commune with the Real Self within – Reality.
It works! Yoganandaji left us all a gold mine. But we still need to do our share of serious deep digging ! He tells us that if we are not doing that digging in SRF publications with proper loyalty and meditation, we will not get the full results we seek.
“A siddha is a perfected being who has attained complete liberation in Spirit; he becomes a paramukta, “supremely free,” and can then RETURN TO EARTH AS AN AVATARA—as did KRISHNA, JESUS, and many other saviors of mankind through the ages. As often as virtue declines, a God-illumined soul comes to earth to draw virtue again to the fore (Gita IV-7-8). An avatar, or divine incarnation, HAS TWO PURPOSES ON EARTH– quantitative and qualitative. Quantitatively, he uplifts the general populace with his noble teachings of good against evil.
But the main purpose of an avatar is qualitative—to create other God realized souls, helping as many as possible to attain liberation. This latter is the very personal and private spiritual bond formed between guru and disciple, a union of loyal spiritual endeavor on the part of the disciple and divine blessings bestowed by the guru. Students are those who receive only a little light of truth. BUT DISCIPLES ARE THOSE WHO FOLLOW COMPLETELY AND STEADFASTLY, DEDICATED AND DEVOTED, UNTIL THEY HAVE FOUND THEIR OWN FREEDOM IN GOD.”
said Paramahansa Yogananda,
God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
© Self-Realization Fellowship Publishers LA USA
“Loyalty is the highest law.” Paramahansa Yogananda……………….>
One thing that should be cleared up in the first place, a matter widely and deeply misunderstood by many seekers and devotees of many paths – just who/what is an Avatar?
No matter how enamored you are about your teachers charisma or talk, that does not necessarily make him/her a true Guru or an Avatar. “We have many teachers such as mentors, books experiences, other persons – but only one Guru.” The Guru does not have to be an avatar, but why settle for less! Yet in the meantime, we will all be lead by self- transforming moves to those experiences that lead us one step at a time to that which unveils the Realization of the true Self. So it is quite natural that we are not all attracted to the same path, the same books etc.
What is their purpose and how does the Avatar really work? How can one tell who is and is not an Avatar? These details are clarified in Paramahansa Yogananda’s book “Autobiography of a Yogi.” Nowhere in the modern or ancient annals of world spiritual literature/scriptures is this more fully and clearly defined than in the sacred works left to the world by Paramahansa Yogananda and His mentors, especially in His “Autobiography of a Yogi.” Bhagavan Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Jesus the Christ, Adi Sankara, Lahiri Mahasaya, Moses, Swami Sri Yukteswar, Mohammed, and Abraham, are a few major examples of Avatars that ancient and modern history records. These great ones are also “Gurus” [living spiritual masters], another term that has been misaligned in modern popular jargon. A true Guru is not only an expert/teacher, as that is only one of his roles. His power to Personally and directly aid in the devotee’s self-transformation is unique, and their works before and after the death of the their own body is legendary. The true “living Gurus” are in a class well above “expert,” and have lived extraordinarily incredible lives. What they became and lived is what they taught us! They seek only to show us the way to true freedom. True Gurus and Avatars are not motivated by the obsessions of the ego. This true power to directly aid and help spiritual seekers is not possessed by priests and pseudo prophets. As when the pass on the will be just as dead as you are. They may impotently promise you heavenly rewards, but all the while they program you with darkness and bondage, the political programming of the many.
First of all – Avatars are extremely rare, if we had more than one in a century doing widespread public dispensations, that alone would indeed be very rare. Closer examination exposes so many false prophets. Saints, even great saints may not be in the class of “Avatar.” Yet it is a great egoistic exaggeration of so many devotees to imagine and boast that their teacher, guru, or mentor is an Avatar. Get Real! Your inflated ego “cannot even imagine the state of the avatars consciousness, ” said Yogananda.
Essentially, an Avatar is a person who in a previous incarnation on this planet had reached a fairly advanced level of cosmic consciousness. One who has returned, not under the normal compulsions of the cycles of births and deaths [reincarnation], but of His own free will. This incarnation is done not to serve any personal ambitions but only to work with the divine will [the wisdom guided directions of Reality [Brahman]. Usually being born into a very spiritual family at a time of great sociological transformational need going on in this world.
This does not include the many smaller teachers who work in the world. The new devotee can scarcely tell who is a spiritually live or dead teacher, so when he/she claims that the teacher is a Guru or an Avatar be very cautious. They seldom know what they are talking about.
As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, Ch4;v 7-8 “O Arjuna! Whenever virtue [dharma] declines and vice predominates, I incarnate as an Avatar. In visible form I appear from age to age to protect the virtuous and destroy evildoing in order to reestablish righteousness.” (c) “The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita,” SRF publishers LA USA.
As wonderful as the Gurus, Saints, and Mystics of all faiths are, the Avatar stands out as well beyond them in attainment – a veritable superman. The Avatar literally changes history on a vast scale, and brings forward the understanding and evolutionary speed of human consciousness. Some Avatars work with smaller groups of devotees or specific cultures, and leave a teaching to suit the needs of that particular culture. While others may do work on a vast cultural or global scale. Such an Avatar was Mahavatar Babaji as described in the orange covered Autobiography of a Yogi. No, there does not necessarily need to be prophetic declarations ahead of time, many of which are misinterpreted and already overused by desperate, overexcited, devotees. Although in the case of Paramahansa Yogananda there were prophecies at the time immediately after his birth in this lifetime.
Many claims have been made over recent decades by a number of persons about seeing/meeting Mahavatar Babaji.
These reports are often accompanied with the edict that “Babaji wants me [or whoever] to spread His teachings to mankind. Many of these claims are not clearly founded or even supported by their sources. Devotees beware – you wouldn’t know an Avatar if you tripped over one. Charisma, popularity, Self-claims, or even a large crowd of followers does not define the Avatar.
Yoganandaji himself put it most succinctly and wisely in His new scriptural dispensation for this age,
“The Second Coming of Christ; Resurrecting the Christ within you.” and in “The Yoga of Jesus.” SRF Publishers LA USA,
when He said; “ In titling this book “The Second Coming of Christ” I am not referring to a literal returning by Jesus to earth. He came two thousand years ago and, after imparting a universal path to God’s kingdom was crucified and resurrected: His reappearance to the masses now is not necessary for the fulfillment of His teachings. What is necessary of for the cosmic wisdom and divine perception of Jesus to speak again through each one’s own experience and understanding of the Infinite Christ Consciousness that was incarnate in Jesus. That will be his true second coming.” Page 10, (C) The Yoga of Jesus, SRF Publishers LA USA.
Herein lie one of the facts about Avatars. They never return for second coming public teaching debuts, to save or acknowledge those who imagine they know some god’s only correct interpretation of the truth of these matters. This is a fact of history – they never return in this way! Every divine incarnation in this world is unrepeated with a unique appearance and name. They deal with current issues in a particular culture, which never requires repeating the same message details, but only the principles.
Likewise, let us consider the Mahavatar Babaji situation. Through a lineage of Avatars as we can read about in the holy book “Autobiography of a Yogi”, this divine global dispensation was sent via Paramahansa Yogananda [as Humanity’s interface] with a clearly established succession and history to support it, not to mention the outstanding work and life of Paramahansa Yogananda in its own right. This clear record and resulting successes of Yogananda’s mission is incontestable and incomparable. He did Mahavatar Babaji proud as the saying goes, not requiring the resending of other persons of much lesser attainment to redo the mission so eminently fulfilled by Yogananda. It is also important to keep in mind that this dispensation is so advanced that it will not need redoing for many, many, millennia. When there is need for humanity to have a serious update. Other truly great souls will be here to do that in the distant future.
So, if someone comes along and claims that Babaji has told them to spread the teachings of Kriya Yoga etc, you can be sure that the only true situation here is that history is repeating itself. And if you should have a chance to study Yogananda’s clarification on this matter you will find that great Avatars do not have to make a second, third, or fourth launching of their works.
They are free of ego and not so incompetent as to choose the wrong person who would fail at such a large and important mission to the worlds’ peoples. In fact Babaji’s chief disciple, Lahiri Mahasaya advised all of his down line disciples not to start any organizations. Looking back now, having witnessed quality and fullness of Babaji’s great work through YSS/SRF over the last hundred years, it is evident that Paramahansa Yogananda was the right person at the right time in history to carry out this massive divine dispensation. This is why we can see that Lahiri Mahasaya did not want a dozen other devotees to interfere with the divine plan as we have seen it unfold via Yogananda through YSS/SRF.
Who said, “the best person to place in a powerful position of responsibility is the one who does not seek personal fame and power.” ? Alas, such a divine soul was Yogananda and His saintly successors of this great path.
It is good for the green seeker and devotee to remain a bit cautious until he/she learns begins to understand what/who a real Avatar is, and what it really means to have a “living spiritual master “[Guru]. More on – who is a living Master! later //////////////////
More links to study;