Teachings of Babaji
In the Kumaon foothills of the Indian Himalayas, the birthplace or home of many of India's great saints of the past and present, there lived Shri Hairakhan Wale Baba. To those who asked, Hairakhan Baba sometimes acknowledged that he is the Shiva Mahavatar Babaji, known to hundreds of thousands in the world through Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. A mahavatar is a human manifestation of God, not born of woman.
Shri Babaji (' Shri' is a title of respect; 'Baba' is a term used for a renunciate, or saint or a holy Father) appeared in June 1970 in a cave that has been holy for thousands of years at the foot of the Kumaon Mount Kailash, across the sacred river Gautama Ganga from a remote village called Hairakhan, in the Nainital District of Uttar Pradesh. He had no known parents or family, he appeared as a youth of 18 or so, yet he displayed great wisdom and power—divine powers from the start. Some Hairakhan villagers saw him as an old man with a long, white beard; others as a young man with a long beard; others as a beautiful young man with no beard. Two men spoke to him at the same time—one saw an old man with a beard, the other saw a young man with no beard. He was seen in different places at the same time. He knew the scriptures and could quote them in Sanskrit as well as in Hindi, yet there is no evidence of his having been 'educated'. He ate almost nothing for months on end—two or three years—yet his energy was boundless.
Late in September 1970, he walked to the top of Mount Kailash with a small group of men, seated himself yogi-fashion at the small, old temple there and sat for forty-five days without leaving his seat, meditating much of the time, talking occasionally, preparing and blessing fruits and vegetables to give to others and starting to teach the message he brought to the world. Hundreds of people came in October to celebrate the nine-day religious festival of Navaratri with him at the top of Mount Kailash.
His coming has been foretold—both by ancient scriptures and the preaching and prophesying of a 20th century Indian saint called Mahendra Baba, or Mahendra Maharaj. As a child, Mahendra Baba was healed by a vision of Babaji and the Divine Mother; he saw Babaji again on an early birthday when Babaji gave him sweets. As a boy just out of high school, Mahendra Baba met Babaji, in one of his previous human forms, and was taught yogic knowledge by Babaji for six days and nights. When Babaji left him, Mahendra. Baba did not know who he was or where to find him again. After completing his Master of Arts degree in philosophy, Mahendra Baba renounced the world and went searching for this guru—walking through the Himalayas in India, Nepal, Tibet and China. He then spent years at temples in the Indian states of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and developed a reputation as a saint. Only after twenty years or more of searching and waiting was he led back to the Kumaon Hills where Babaji appeared to him again, in a locked room in a remote mountain ashram.
After this appearance of Babaji, in the flesh, Mahendra Baba, at Babaji's instructions, began a mission of preparing for Shri Babaji's return to the world in human form. For many years he went around India, preaching that Babaji would return to transform the world by changing the hearts and minds of men. He described what Babaji would look like, including the scars on his right leg and left arm; he said that Babaji would come in 1970. Mahendra Baba restored old ashrams and temples, built new ones and prepared the worship service now used by Shri Babaji's devotees.
Mahendra Maharaj told his followers that Shri Babaji has been a human manifestation of God since man first learned about religion. Babaji has taught gurus and other religious teachers throughout history, always trying to turn man towards God and spiritual values. Through the ages he has appeared to teach people, manifesting a body for each appearance, rather than coming by human birth. Yogananda wrote of his and other people's experiences with this immortal Babaji in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
There are books in Hindi written about the previous manifestation of Hairakhan Baba, which lasted from about 1800 to 1922. Around the year 1800, he appeared to villagers not far from Hairakhan, out of a ball of light, and, in 1922, before a handful of followers, he disappeared into a ball of light. There are many recorded miracles—healing people, restoring the dead to life, feeding multitudes from a small portion of food, changing his form, being in two or more places at one time, feeding a sacred fire with water when ghee (clarified butter) was not available. But mostly, people flocked to him because they experienced him as a divine, wise, loving being far above the human level. Mountain villagers (educated and uneducated) Westerners, English bureaucrats and soldiers, Indian intelligentsia, rich and poor, people of all religions came to him. There are still people in Hairakhan and elsewhere in India, who remember the 'Old Hairakhan Baba' and experienced this manifestation as the same Being.
There are evidences of yet earlier manifestations. Tibetan monks came to Shri Babaji in 1972 and hailed him as 'Lama Baba' who had lived in Tibet about 500 years ago. There are stories of his appearance in Nepal as well as in India and Tibet. On two or three occasions, Babaji said he was one of the teachers of Jesus Christ.
Most of Shri Babaji's followers experience and worship him as a true, ageless manifestation of God. The big and little miracles he performed daily in the lives of his followers, his reading and responding to their thoughts before they were uttered, his healing, his guidance, his teachings are at a level beyond even advanced human ability. The dramatic, external miracles were infrequent; most of his miracles occurred in the minds, hearts and lives of his followers—miracles of understanding, guidance, teaching and support when, where and as needed.
Shri Babaji said that mankind is in great danger during the period of Kali Yuga—the Age of the rise of materialism and the decline of spiritual life. He foretold of widespread physical destruction and change and death in this decade. He said that those who truly worship God (in any of the ways man knows Him) and repeat His name and live in harmony with the Universe will be saved and that a new, humanitarian society of people who are focused on God will be formed.
In order to focus people's minds on God, Babaji taught people to repeat the ancient mantra OM NAMAHA SHIVAYA. It is a Sanskrit phrase which means something like 'I surrender to bow to/take refuge in God'. Repetition of Om Namaha Shivaya is a pathway to unity with the Supreme God. (The name of God used in this mantra is Lord Shiva Who is a Hindu conception of the one Supreme God. This mantra has been used for millennia and taught by saints and gurus in India and the West.) Constant repetition of a mantra (the repetition is called japa) focuses the mind on God, opens one's heart and mind to God, and stops or reduces the inherent tendency of one's mind to constantly plan, worry, day-dream or otherwise prattle away in really useless activity.
The main purpose of Shri Babaji's coming in a human manifestation at this time was to reform the hearts and minds of men. He came to remove confusion and evil from mankind. Babaji once said: "The mind can be purified only by japa. This is the only medicine for the disease of the mind. While your mind and heart are impure, how can God live in your heart ? The water to clean your heart is the Name of God. So teach everyone to repeat the name of God everywhere."
The mind that is generally focused on God's Name responds, when the need arises, spontaneously to perform its required functions quickly, easily and well. Babaji emphasized Om Namaha Shivaya but also gave other mantras on occasion: the essence of his instruction is 'Repeat God's name'. Shri Babaji said that when the great destruction comes to the world, those who believe in and worship God sincerely and especially those who repeat His Name(s), will be saved by the power of the mantra. "God's Names are more powerful than a thousand atomic and hydrogen bombs".
Although Shri Babaji lived in a Hindu culture and was worshipped through Hindu rituals daily, he was not attached to any particular religion. He stated that all religions can lead the sincere devotee to God. At Hairakhan, Shri Babaji was worshipped by Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, Moslems—even atheists found themselves bowing to him. He often reminded his followers that all mankind is one family—the Family of God. For those who asked about religion, he answered, "Follow the religion that is in your heart". He however, said at many times that. He had come to re-establish the principles of the Sanatan Dharma—the Eternal Religion, which was ageless and from which all other religions have taken their roots.
Even before his re-appearance in 1970, Babaji taught Mahendra Maharaj to preach that all lovers of God should lead lives based on Truth, Simplicity and Love. This, he said, is the essence of all religions. It is very difficult (to nurture hatred, greed, anger, lust, jealousy and selfishness and the violence they breed when a person tries hard to live in truth, simply and lovingly with all.
To all who came to see him he told over and over that karma yoga—unselfish work—dedicated to God is the best, easiest, most rewarding quickest way to God in this chaotic, confused era of change. At his ashram in Hairakhan, work morning and afternoon is a vital part of the daily schedule. There is time for meditation in the early morning, after a bath in the river, but Babaji insisted on several hours of karma yoga daily, during which time one is expected to work with constant repetition of the mantra.
"To follow and demonstrate the path of Truth, Simplicity and Love is man's supreme duty and the highest Yoga. Diligent work is a quality of this Path, for laziness is death on earth. Only by work can one claim victory over karma. All must strive to do their duty in the best way possible and not wander from that duty. Service to humanity is the first duty. During these times, inhumanity and laziness have increased, so it is important that you work hard and not lose heart. Be brave, be industrious: work hard and have courage."
Although Sri Babaji called many Westerners to him, by dreams, visions, pamphlets or simply through one friend telling another about him, he did not seek to establish a great personal following. His small ashram, four miles up a winding riverbed from the end of the nearest country road, could not accommodate the thousands who have flocked to other saints and gurus. But, though he made no general call for people to come to see him, he did want all the world to hear his message.
During the first year or two after his appearance, Shri Babaji hardly spoke at all in public. Although he engaged in easy conversation with people for the last eight or ten years of his mission, it was only in the last five years of his mission that he began to give little instructive talks to his devotees—very infrequently at first, then more often.
The talks came mostly after the evening worship service when his devotees sat around Babaji singing hymns (kirtan) and enjoying the powerful uplift of his presence. Babaji would stop the singing and speak. His talks were made in Hindi, so when he wanted foreign devotees to hear the message, Babaji called on some bilingual devotees to translate. The translators were not professional translators. Some devotees would take down the translation as it was given and the next day the translator and transcriber tried to recreate Babaji's speeches in English. In February 1983 Babaji gave permission to tape record the speeches, so the speeches from then on are fuller and more accurately translated. Although the speeches which this book contains are not perfect, literal translations, they do catch the flavor of Babaji's speech and they must present his message adequately because he approved this publication.
The book also contains a few speeches, made in the presence of Shri Babaji and at his request, by Shri Vishnu Datt Shastri and Amar Singh Yaday. 'Shastriji' is a scholar of the Vedas (the earliest Hindu Scriptures), a man whom Babaji calls the purest man on earth, and Babaji himself said that he inspires Shastriji to speak for him. There are also a few speeches made by the Governor of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and the Kumaon Commissioner (a senior administration officer of the state) in the presence of Shri Babaji.
These talks speak for themselves. However, the interpretation and understanding of Shri Babaji's words may not be so easy as a reader may at first assume. Those who have worked for Babaji at Hairakhan and elsewhere have come to realize something of the depth and subtlety of all of Babaji's words and actions. His words and acts were understood at different levels as a person experienced and later recalled them—the same words and acts touch different people in different ways. Beyond saying this, it is not possible to assist the reader in understanding Shri Babaji's message, except perhaps to note that the old methods of thought are not going to serve in the New Worldany better than the old patterns of societal action.
Shri Babaji's speeches reflected his consciousness of himself as a manifestation of God; he often called himself (in these talks) Shri Mahaprabhuji, a Hindi expression for the Supreme Master.
For those who know him as a manifestation, incarnation of God, these speeches present a consistent, powerful inspiring message from a loving God who seeks to guide His devotees through a time of chaos and destruction into a new "Promised Land"—a society based on high spiritual and moral values. Others have used some of these speeches to conclude and argue that Shri Babaji was just another scheming "Baba" with a plan to seek political power and material wealth. In the age-old tradition of gurus, Paramguru (the Supreme Guru) Shri Babaji spoke the Truth and leaves it up to the hearer or reader to make of it what he or she will.
Shri Babaji did not require people to see or worship him as a manifestation of God in order to come to him and be benefited by him. He himself said of his human form, "This body is nothing, it is here only to serve people".
Shri Babaji left his mortal body on St. Valentine's Day—February 14, 1984. Early in his mission, he had told two or three devotees that he would leave his body in 1984. Before he came, he told Mahendra Maharaj that he would come to give a message to mankind. He came he lived his message; he spoke his message; his message was published; and having completed this mission, he left. As the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, the Honourable C.P.N. Singh remarked, "There is no difference between His speech and His action."
This book contains his spoken message. The concepts in it are not new; you can find similar teachings in the old Hindu scriptures, the Bible, the Koran, the Guru Granth Sahib, Zoroastrian scriptures. But in a world which is focused almost entirely on material values and goals, this message, with its strong humanistic and spiritual emphasis, is a message of Revolution. Babaji frequently warned that a revolution (mahakranti) is coming. He told what it would be like and how to survive it. On the 13th of February 1984 he told some visitors. "The mahakranti must come because everyone thinks in terms of 'I' and 'my' and everyone wants to be big and no one wants to be small. The Revolution that he came to inspire is a revolution of thinking and feeling—of mind and heart—but he indicated that it could not take place without a physical, material revolution that would destroy the old society and patterns of thought.
He came to show mankind how to live, to serve Man on the highest level. Let him serve you. Read his message with an open mind and let him bless you.
First Edition 1983
Third Revised Edition 1990
© Haidakhandi Samaj
No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher
Published by Haidakhandi Samaj, Haidakhan Vishwa Mahadham, P.O. Haidakhan, District Nainital, U.P., India and Printed at Kitab Mahal (W. D.) P. Ltd., Allahabad.
Teachings of Babaji
26-July 1979 (Haidakhan)
28-July 1979 (Haidakhan)
10-April 1983 (Two Part)
10-April 1983 (Evening)