Gallery of: Loknath Baba

History of Loknath Baba

Born in 1730 in a hamlet about 20 miles north of the city of Calcutta, his incredible life, the level of his mastery, his teachings, and the magnitude and depth of his compassion for all humanity are as relevant to us today as they were to those in his lifetime.

Baba made astounding assurances to all in his promises to anyone who calls on him in a time of trouble.

Baba’s Promises: “Whenever you are in danger, whether in war, forest, ocean or jungle, remember Me. I shall save you.

“You may not know me. You may not realize who I am. Just pray to me with a little touch of your heart, and I shall free you from gripping sorrows and miseries.

“I willingly revel myself to you so that you can reach me. Otherwise it would be impossible.

“No power on heaven or earth can damage the devotees who take shelter under me, for there is no one greater than I who can touch you.

“I can do whatever I like. It is only your lack of trust, your non-belief that keeps your desires unfulfilled.

“For those who with love and devotion surrender to me, if they are in trouble, my heart melts. This is my compassion. And with my compassion, my power flows out to them, freeing them from miseries and unhappiness.

“I am Eternal. I am Deathless. I AM.”

Who is Baba Lokenath to make such promises?In West Bengal and Bangladesh, where Baba spent the last 26 years of his life dispensing his grace and infinite compassion, millions revere Baba to this day. Any devotee who has invoked Baba’s promises will attest to how immediately any call for help is answered. As one devotee recently said to a U.S. visitor to Kolkata, “Baba is as real to us as you are standing here talking to me.”

A Life Dedicated to the Divine from Birth Baba is one of those rare souls whose entire life was dedicated to the Divine. His parents offered their newborn son to God with their promise to raise him to become a sannyasin (Hindu Monk). At the tender age of eleven, he left home to fulfill that destiny, accompanied by his boyhood friend Benimadhav and his beloved master, Bhagwan Ganguly, a renowned Vedic scholar of the time.

Most yogis focus on a particular yogic path, that of Jnana (discriminating knowledge), Karma (selfless action), Bhakti (devotional surrender) or Ashtanga (Patanjali’s) Yoga to lead them to Ultimate Reality. Baba, however, diligently practiced and integrated all four under the loving tutelage of his master.

After 80 years of inconceivably intense austerities, prolonged fasting that lasted years as part of his highly advanced hatha yoga practice and mastering Raja Yoga in the jungles of the plains and in the Himalayas, Baba attained enlightenment of the highest order. He was 90 and his master was 150. Baba’s mastery was at every level of being and form. Attaining total Divinity in human form, which the name Lokenath (master of the worlds) denotes, he became the living synthesis of yoga and the essence of the universal religion of Divine Love, the Sanatana Dharma.

Bridging the Divide Between Religions As with all true Masters, Baba’s life is a consciously embodied teaching of the great, eternal truths. One key dimension of his mission was to bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims and to counter the conflicts arising from rampant religious dogmatism. So, after attaining enlightenment, Baba, Benimadhav and Guru Bhagwan set out on foot for Kabul, Mecca and Medina from India walking hundreds of miles. They lived and studied the Koran for several years in Kabul with Mullasadi, a renowned poet and writer of commentaries on the Koran. This is unheard of in the lives of yogis of India.

Large numbers of Islamic seekers were naturally drawn to Lokenath by his strong spiritual presence and by his subtle mastery and knowledge of the Koran. They came to him as a Realized Master, surrendering to his spiritual guidance through their own path of Islam. It gratified and amazed them to see a Hindu yogi from the Himalayas who had such profound wisdom and command of the deepest secrets of Islam. Local Islamic religious teachers, won over by his childlike innocence, his sublime love and wisdom, gave him their love and support as well.

At Baradi, Islamic and Hindu devotees have always come together as a congenial spiritual family, unified through Baba’s encompassing example and love. That continues to this day, as millions of all faiths come together at Baba’s ashram each year, offering a living example of what is possible for the rest of the world.

Walking the EarthAfter his beloved master’s passing, Baba had a deep urge to explore the farthest reaches of the Earth. Over the next 30 to 40 years, he literally walked the earth with Benimadhav and the famed Trailanga Swami from Varanasi. Personally and physically blessing the endless array of the Earth’s manifestations of the Divine with his is pure and unified consciousness, Baba traveled extensively in Arabia, Palestine, Persia and Europe. Traveling into the deep north, passing through Siberia and northern Russia into the “Land of No-Sun,” they then spent 20 years meditating in the ice and snow.

The Mission at Baradi Returning from his amazing travels, he finally came to a village called Baradi, in Bangladesh, and gradually revealed his Compassion and love for all. The ashram, his hermitage, became the holy pilgrim of Hindus and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, nay of all faith traditions of the world.

To the legions of his householder followers Baba said, “For more than a hundred years, I have traveled through the hills and mountains and have amassed spiritual treasures. You shall sit at home and enjoy the fruits of my austerities.” This is the height of compassion for all beyond the lines of religious barriers.

Whenever anyone asked Baba for a boon, whether spiritual or material, it was granted. To the seeker of wealth, Baba gave wealth. To seekers of spirituality, he gave spiritual inspiration and guidance. The hungry received food; the homeless received shelter. Evildoers were transformed into devout seekers and saints. Countless infertile women became mothers through his grace, while those who could not suckle their children were miraculously enabled to do so. Those suffering from incurable and terminal diseases who took refuge under his benign influence found themselves healed.

“When I see that the pains of your suffering have become almost intolerable for you,” Baba said, “I cannot bear to see you suffering any longer…. I cannot remain indifferent…. Who else but me will cure you of your painful diseases?”

Baba did not advise those living in the world to abandon their responsibilities to pursue the spiritual path. He recognized and taught the impracticality of giving up worldly senses prematurely. As he said to one devotee, “I have asked you to finish up your karma through enjoyment… You can attain peace through pleasure with a sense of control and respect for scriptural injunctions…. If you do this, the prarabdha, the tendencies with which you were born, will be burned away.”

To another devotee, he said, ”When you have deep-seated desires in your mind, even if you take sannyas and live under the trees, you will not attain sanyas. (a state of equanimity and God vision)” This only shows the practicality of his teachings relevant to the modern times.

During the day, Baba would sit in the ashram with the doors of his thatched cottage open, welcoming the multitudes with all their mundane problems and showering them with blessings. No one went away empty handed.

Baba had conquered sleep. He once told one of his close disciples, “I don’t allow sleep to come to me, if I allow, this body will fall (die), as I am living beyond the threshold of prarabdha (destined time of life). Nobody ever saw Baba sleeping; he had no bed other than a small plank of flat wooden board, which Baba used occasionally to recline. At night, the doors of his cottage was closed to the householders or visitors, for then he played the role of Master to the highly evolved yogis of the Himalayas and Tibet who would come to him in their astral bodies to take lessons in advanced yoga leaving their bodies in the caves. Thus, he became known as the Yogi of Yogis, the Yogeshwara.

Baba’s compassion for humanity, whatever their state of spiritual attainment, is inexhaustible. “Ask what you want,” Baba often tells devotees, even today, when he appears to them, “I am Kalpataru, the Wish Fulfilling Tree. Whatever you ask for will be given.”

Baba’s Love of Animals Human beings were not the only recipients of Baba’s boundless love and compassion. To Baba, each and every creation is itself the very manifestation of Divinity. Nothing was unworthy of his enlightened, loving attention.

On his way to Baradi from the northern regions, Baba spent months caring for the cubs of a distressed tigress. He absolutely delighted in personally feeding the ants at the ashram and called them “my family.” And when he ate, he would call to the birds to come and sit in his matted hair or on his lap to be fed. He once called a king cobra into the ashram to feed it milk, and then offered the remainder to devotees as Prasad (holy food). On another occasion, he stopped a tiger pursuing a gang of young men who had come to the ashram to do him harm, converting them into devotees by quietly instructing the tiger to never come back to the ashram. It quietly retreated into the forest. Baba almost knew the language of all animals!!

Teachings Baba’s teachings always emphasized devotion and trust in one’s Guru, (Teacher) and the power of Guru Kripa (Grace of the Master) As a truly surrendered disciple who grasped the gift of the Satguru in his own life, Baba cried like a child whenever he spoke of his Guru and the sacrifices that Guru Ganguly had made to bring him to enlightenment.

Baba taught in simple words “ Always remember the command of your Guru. The instruction is the Guru himself”. He emphasized continual vigilance of one’s own mind, that through continual self-assessment and the grace of the Guru, one is brought to innate, pure intelligence, to conscious connection and harmony with the subtlest aspects of Cosmic Design.

Quotes from Baba Lokenath “The essence of yoga lies in your feeling for the Divine. The deeper the feeling, the more you are brought to a state of Oneness with the Beloved, who gradually manifests in your heart as the sole Doer of all your activities. Then you will realize that you have become the Gita (Spiritual Scripture).”

“Divine Grace has such a natural transforming influence that the devotee need not renounce anything forcibly.”

“To the true devotee of the Lord, love and devotion are all important. Immersed in love, the true devotee is always flooded with Divine ecstasy, and material trifles lose their power and significance.”

“I cannot find fault with anyone. Whatever I see, good or bad, it is all Divine.”

“Whenever people come to me with depressed hearts, full of misery and anguish, I see the Beloved in them. I lose myself, entranced with the Divine. In the meantime, the Lord fulfills the desires of the devotees. The devotees see me and think of me as the doer, but I know that He alone is the Doer, the One bestowing all mercy and Grace.”

“The One is everywhere. There is no second. Who will show kindness to whom? Have you ever seen a person in this world who is unkind to himself? I do not find the existence of anything other than Me in this entire creation.”

Lokenath’s Eternal Presence Even today, almost a hundred twenty years after Baba Lokenath’s Mahasamadhi, seekers of Truth on the path of Yoga receive Divine visions of Baba and are blessed with his instructions for their spiritual advancement. If you wish to have Baba’s darshan and the ray of his unlimited mercy, you can receive it by praying to him with trust and devotion. You can invoke his promises for protection and guidance regarding any need or crisis, physical or spiritual.

Baba’s presence is eternal. He is as fully alive and available to us today as he ever was. His final words before his Mahasamadhi are for all devotees, at all times, of all faiths.

“I shall always be available to you. Have trust in my presence. You will always receive my grace. Where can I go? In the very Existence, I AM . Those who will feel a deep urge for me and to receive my Grace will always receive my Grace. I Am Eternal. I Am Deathless.”

Baba is Born:

Baba Lokenath was born on Janmasthami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, in 1730 (18th Bhadra, 1137) to a Brahmin family in the village of Chaurasi Chakla, a couple of miles away from Calcutta. His father, Ramnarayan Ghosal's sole wish in life was to dedicate one child to the path of renunciation to liberate the family. So when the fourth son was born to his wife Kamaladevi, he knew that the time had come for him to initiate his boy to the service of the Almighty.

Education & Training:

Accordingly, he ventured to a nearby village of Kochuya and pleaded with Pandit Bhagawan Ganguly to be his son's guru and teach him the Shastras rich in Vedic wisdom. At the age of 11, young Lokenath left home with his guru. His first sojourn was the Kalighat Temple, then for 25 years he lived in the forests, selflessly serving his master and practising the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali along with the most difficult Hatha Yoga.

Penance & Enlightenment:

Baba Lokenath was nearly seven feet tall with little flesh on him. Denying the needs of his physical self, he negated sleep, never closed his eyes or even blinked. He went about stark naked and in that state he braved the chill of the Himalayas and immersed himself in profound meditation or samadhi for nearly five decades. Finally, the light of self-realization dawned on him at the age of 90.

Baba's Travels on Foot:

After his enlightenment he traveled extensively on foot to Afghanistan, Persia, Arabia and Israel, making three pilgrimages to Mecca. When he came to the small town Baradi near Dhaka, a wealthy family built him a small hermitage, which became his ashram. He was then 136 years of age. There he put on a sacred thread and clothed himself in saffron robes. For the rest of his life he bestowed miracles and celestial wisdom on all who came to him to seek blessing.

Baba's Teachings:

His teachings were infused with simplicity that endeared the common man. He preached love and devotion and an unwavering faith in God and in one's deeper, immutable self. For him nothing is but Self. After attaining siddhi or enlightenment he said: "I have seen only Myself. I am bound by my own karma. The materialistic world is bound by the tongue and the sex organ. He who can restrain these two is fit to attain siddhi (enlightenment)."

Baba Leaves His Physical Body:

On the 19th day of Jyestha, 1297 (June 3, 1890), at 11:45 am, the Baba was seated in his usual Gomukh yoga asana. He went into a trance with his eyes open, and while still meditation, the Baba left his physical body forever. He was aged 160. He said, before death: "I am eternal, I am deathless. After this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Whoever will seek my refuge, will always receive my grace".

"In Danger, Remember Me":

It is believed that Baba Lokenath appeared in a vision to Suddhananda Brahamachari in 1978, over 100 years after he died, commanding him to write his life story, and he wrote the Baba's biography entitled "In Danger, Remember Me". Today, Lokenath Brahmachari is the household deity of millions of Bengali families on both sides of the border.

Sri Sri Loknath Brahmachari is the Divine incarnation of Purna Brahma, the preacher of the principles of the Gita. He is the bright light that drives away the darkness of ignorance enveloping the millions. Like the holy river Ganga, his wisdom and grace is ever-flowing, in which the devoted need only to immerse himself and drink a little of the nectar of his love in order to experience that spiritual bliss and eternal peace.

Here we have devotedly tried to present to you only a few insignificant fruits from that huge tree of Baba's Divine wisdom. Come one, come all - contemplate on these holy sayings of the Baba, and share these insightful perceptions with your family and friends.

For more than a hundred years I have travelled far and wide through hills and forests and have collected enough treasures; these you shall have the benefit of while sitting at home.

Your material life, your desires for everything material and your natural tendency for yearning material happiness - all these have been divinely designed to take you to a plane of higher evolution.

Be it the desire for the transient objects of material life, or be it the desire for the Divine Grace and the highest state of spiritual oneness - can you deny the fact that behind both is that same element of desiring?

Everything that exists in the Cosmos, I feel it existing within my serf; I have become like that vast limitless expanse existing in eternity.

When ignorant people see me in my ordinary human form, they consider me likewise. They do not realize that I am the Paramount Being, the Paramaatman - the one that pervades the Universe.

The Gita is not some reading material that needs to be read regularly as a routine. You must become the Gita - that is the whole purpose of the Gita.

The Gita is a melody; it is a song. No music lover just reads the music. He must need to listen to it to realize its rhythm and harmony. The Eternal Lord has been singing this divine song from time immemorial in the hearts of millions. But we are always busy thinking about the past, doing the present and dreaming about the future, hence we never hear this song.

See the children - see how natural and unconditional their love and devotion is for their mother. There is no hypocrisy, no false vanity. With such simplicity and trust you must surrender yourself to the Divine Authority. Demand from Him as purely as the child demands from his parents. Pray to Him as if He is the only one you can totally trust, as if He is the one on whom you can exert all your rights. Only then will you realize that you have come so much closer to Him, that he is not far from you - in fact, you will comprehend that He is the one sitting deep in your heart.

Renunciation comes through acceptance of everything that life has to offer to you; detachment comes through your love for the Divine.

Your eyes cannot see beyond the skin of a person - so you judge him by his spoken words and his external form. I see Him in everybody. Hence, whatever I see, good or bad, it is He. He is pure and perfect. Therefore, whomever I see, appears pure and perfect to me. Everything is beautiful to me.

The difference between Bhog and Upabhog is like that between the husband of a woman and her lover. Upabhog is illicit pleasure; pleasure without proper control and without the sanction of the scriptures. When you transgress the injunctions of the scriptures and enjoy the life of senses - that is Upabhog. Upabhog can never give you mental peace and happiness. However, you can attain spiritual peace of mind through Bhog, which is pleasure with a sense of control and in accordance with the shaastras. Through Bhog, you can even experience His Divine Grace.

I only ask you to perform all your actions consciously. Do whatever you like but do it consciously and with a sense of awareness. Once you become conscious and aware, you will find that your conscience prevents you from doing any evil deed.

Any such deed that brings you a sense of repentance and grief after it is done is a sin; any action that creates a peaceful and happy state of mind is a virtue.

If ever you should feel a sense of gratitude toward me, give some alms to the poor. Whatever you may give to the poor, neglected and downtrodden brethren of yours with true love, I shall always receive it.

The three shots that cause all the sorrow and misery in this world are - insulting words, loss of wealth, loss of most near and dear ones. One who bears with patience the pain of all these three shots will be able to conquer death.

Darkness disappears with the rising sun. The thief runs away when the householder awakens. Likewise, contemplate on the higher qualities and the lower instincts in you will run away, and your body will become the temple of the Divine.