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1. Paramahansa Yogananda on Kriya yoga

2. Yogi S.A.Ramaiah Biography
3. Swami Kriyananda on Kriya Yoga
4. About Kriya founder Babaji

Paramhansa Yogananda on Kriya Yoga

From The Essence of Self-Realization

My guru, Sri Yukteswar, liked a chant that I have translated, two lines from which go, "Pranayama be thy
religion. Pranayama will give thee salvation."

Pranayama means control of the energy in the body, and its direction upward through the spine to the
brain and to the Christ center between the eyebrows. This alone is the pathway of awakening. It isn't a
matter of dogma or belief. It is simply the way we were all made by God.

The consciousness enters the body by way of the brain and the spine. When the sperm and ovum unite
to create the physical body, they do so at what becomes the medulla oblongata, at the base of the
brain. From this medulla, the life force moves out into the brain, down the spine and into the nervous
system, then on to the muscles, etc., creating the body.

The way out of the body, then, is to reverse this process. The difficulty in doing so lies in the fact that
the life force is already conditioned by birth to continue its outward direction—through the senses and
onward to the environment as it is perceived through the senses. Thus, we think to possess the world
and to enjoy it through the body.

We can never experience anything outside ourselves, however, except vicariously, as the senses report
their impressions to the brain. We may try to expand our understanding of the world by study, or our
enjoyment of it through sense pleasures. The fact remains, we can never know anything except through
the medium of the senses, so long as the life force remains trapped in the body.

There is a way out, however. It is for the life-force to merge with the cosmic energy; for the
consciousness to merge in the infinite consciousness.

The way to accomplish this end is to withdraw the life force from the senses, and center it in the spine;
to direct it upward through the spine to the brain, and thence out through the Christ center between
the eyebrows.
The ego is centered in the medulla oblongata. This is the negative pole of self-consciousness. The
positive pole is situated at the Christ center. Concentration at this center—in the spiritual eye, the seat
of spiritual vision—projects the consciousness beyond the ego into Infinity.

The spine is the highway to the Infinite. Your own body is the temple of God. It is within your own self
that God must be realized. Whatever places of pilgrimage you visit outwardly, and whatever outward
rituals you perform, the ultimate "'pilgrimage" must be within. And the ultimate religious rite must be
the offering of your life-force on the altar of inner God-communion.

That was why Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." "'He spoke," the
Bible adds, "'of the temple of his body." (John 2:19, 21) This is the path of Kriya Yoga.

Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah

Apostle of Tamil Kriya Yoga Siddhantham

by M. Govindan Satchidananda

On May 9, 1923, in the ancestral mansion of S.A. Annamalai Chettiar, a young woman, Thaivani Achi,
gave birth to her second son, Ramaiah, which means "Ram worshipping Shiva." S.A. Annamalai Chettiar,
two years before, had flown the first private airplane from England to India. He had his own private
airport near his home. His family was the wealthiest in all of south India, having amassed a forune as
merchant bankers and traders throughout southeast Asia over the previous several hundred years. Their
home, "Ananda Vilas." ("the place of bliss") was the second largest in the village of mansions,
Kanadukathan, in an area known as "Chettinad" 60 kilometers north of Madurai, the ancient capital of
Tamil Nadu. Chettinad was inhabited primarily by the Nattukottai Chettiar clan of several hundred
families. The Chettiars were south east Asia's first bankers, and their commercial empire encompassed
south India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam, Burma and Indonesia. They had also financed the
construction of most of the large temples in south India, with their colossal gopuram towers, over the
past several hundred years. The present finance minister of the Government of India, P. Chidambaram is
Yogi Ramaiah's cousin, and he has built his career on a solid reputation for honesty and acumen with
regards to financial affairs. S. Annamalai, the young father's own father, was a great philanthropist and
businessman; his brother, Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, had made his fortune importing teak from India
to south India, and his palatial home, measuring hundreds of meters in size, and situated next to Ananda
Vilas included a thirteen car garage. He had since become a leading industrialist. But his brother, the
young father of Ramaiah was more interested in airplanes, fast cars, race horses, gambling and spending
his father's money. Ramaiah's mother was a devout young woman, also a Chettiar, with a strong interest
in spirituality and mysticism. She was a disciple of "Chela Swami," an enigmatic "childlike saint," and
sadhu, or holyman, who would wander into their home every now and then. Completely naked, village
boys would sometimes treat him like a madman, throwing stones at him. But no one could ever
determine why he was always smiling; the village boys would give to him some bananas, or massage his
feet in reverence, and he would smile; then some of them might make fun of him or try to tease him,
and he would only smile in response. No one knew where he lived or where he would go when he
disappeared for weeks or months; he would come and go like the wind. But Thaivani Achi was devoted
to him.
Young Ramaiah was educated by tutors and enjoyed the life of a member of the most elite circle in
colonial India. He played golf, wore English clothes, and traveled frequently by motor car 300 kilometers
north to Madras, where his father owned most of the seaside property for nearly a mile south of San
Thome Cathedral. Ramaiah was interested in science and Tamil literature. While his father gambled
away the family's fortune, Ramaiah prepared himself for a university education. His father wanted him
to go into business, like all good Chettiars, but Ramaiah was adamant. When he was admitted to the
University of Madras, Presidency College, the most prestigious institution in south India in 1940, he
appealed to his father for permission to major in the subject of geology, with a minor in Tamil studies.
After some heated discussion, and after the intercession of Ramaiah's mother, S.A. Annamalai relented
and gave his consent.

Ramaiah excelled in his studies and in 1944 he graduated at the very top of his class. He applied for post
graduate studies in geology at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, and was accepted. His father
opposed this proposal, insisting that Ramaiah begin a career in the family's business empire. Finally,
Ramaiah succeeded in convincing his father that he should be allowed to go to America, but before
doing so, but on condition that he get married first. Betrothed since several years to Solachi, a young
woman whose wealthy family lived in the mansion across the street from Ananda Vilas, the marriage
was celebrated and Ramaiah and his young bride began to make preparations for a long sea journey to
America. However, fate intervened and Ramaiah contracted bone tuberculosis. The best English
physicians were brought in to treat him, but as bone tuberculosis was and still is an incurable disease,
the most they could accomplish was to arrest its further spread beyond his legs. They did so by
imprisoning him in a plaster body cast, extending from his feet to his neck.By immobilizing his body in
this way, the further development of the disease was expected to be arrested. He remained in this
situation, hanging from the bed posts and suspended in air, for six years. His family left him alone with
his young bride and a few servants, at their seaside cottage, at number 2, Arulananda Mudali Street,
(now Arulandam Street), San Thome, Mylapore, Madras.

While most persons would probably have succumbed in despair to such an unimaginable condition,
Ramaiah had a source of strength which enabled him to survive this difficult period. His mother had
given to him an innate love for spirituality, and so rather than seeing his situation as a curse, he realized
that he could use it to explore the inner realms of his soul. Being an avid reader, Ramaiah studied the
classics of Indian spiritual literature. He was particularly impressed with the poems of Ramalinga
Swamigal and the writings of Sri Aurobindo. His family had served Ramana Maharshi for three
generations, and he could appreciate his method of Vichara Atman. Unable to move or engage in any
normal activity, he also began to practice meditation seriously, and whenever possible, he would send
his chauffeur with an invitation to famous sadhus or gurus who were visiting the area. Intrigued by the
sincerity of this young man, encased as he was in a plaster body cast, they would come and train him in
the art of meditation and breathing. Unable to explore the external world, he turned his attention to the
inner world. Without other distractions, he made rapid progress. One of the sadhus, who had the most
influence upon him was a middle aged man named "Prasanananda Guru." He was a famous "tapaswi" an
ascetic who could remain motionless for many weeks, locked in meditation or trance. He was sometimes
summoned by the chieftains of drought stricken areas because of his ability to make it rain. In 1948, he
ended a three year drought in Chettinad, after sitting for 48 days at the Brahmanoor Kali temple, one
kilometer outside of the village, performing yogic tapas, or intensive meditation. At the end of one
"mandala" of 48 days, the rain came in torrents. Since that time drought has never returned to this area.

Another of Ramaiah's early gurus was Omkara Swami, a former postal worker, who had become a
famous "tapaswi," who would sit without moving for 48 or 96 days without a break, locked in samadhi
trance. They shared with Ramaiah their intimate knowledge of yogic sadhana. In 1952, Ramaiah wrote
and published a biography of Omkara Swami, entitled "A Blissful Saint." They maintained a friendship
until the latter's passing in the 1960's.

On March 10, 1952, the day that Yogananda attained mahasamadhi in the USA, Mauna Swami, a colorful
sadhu and disciple of Shirdi Sai Baba came to the San Thome home of Ramaiah, and after demonstrating
his clairvoyant powers, predicted with great assurance that Ramaiah would soon be healed. But before
this could occur, Ramaiah succumbed to despair, and one night decided to end his life by holding his
breath. Then, as he was doing so, he suddenly heard a voice say: "Do not take your life! Give it to me!"
Startled, he took a deep breath, wondering who could this be. Then he realized that it must be the
mysterious figure whom he had begun to see in meditation after the visit of Mouna Swami. The first
time this occurred, he had a vision of Shirdi Sai Baba, wearing his characteristic orange head cloth. He
eagerly asked Shirdi Sai Baba: "Are you my guru?" The reply came: "No, but I will reveal to you who is
your guru." Just then, he saw for the first time his guru "Babaji."

The next morning, Ramaiah awoke with the realization that he had been healed. The English doctor was
summoned and the body cast was removed. To the astonishment of everyone, the doctor's examination
revealed that the dreaded disease had disappeared. During the following days Ramaiah regained the use
of his legs. He also began chanting softly the name "Babaji" and then "Om Babaji" and "Om Kriya Babaji"
and finally the five syllableed "panchakra" mantra "Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum," with utter gratitude
and delight.

One day shortly thereafter, he came across a newspaper advertisement for a new book about the
renowned saint "Satuguru Rama Devi," entitled "9 Boag Road," which was the address of her residence
in Madras. The author was V.T. Neelakantan, a noted journalist. Ramaiah penned a postcard to the
latter, requesting a copy of the book and addressing him with "Dear Atman." Upon receipt, the
journalist thought that the sender of the postcard must be a "money bag," that is, some idle wealthy
person, but out of curiosity, he decided to pay him a visit in San Thome.

Thus began a friendship and collaboration which lasted nearly fifteen years. V.T. Neelakantan had been
receiving frequest late night visitations by the same mysterious figure, Babaji, in his puja room in
Egmore, Madras. Babaji soon revealed to Neelakantan that he was to work closely with Ramaiah to
establish a yoga society in his name, "Kriya Babaji Sangah," and to write and publish his teachings in a
series of books. Over the next two years, during late night visitations to V.T. Neelakantan's home, Babaji
dictated several books to V.T. N., "my child," as Babaji called him: "The Voice of Babaji and Myticism
Unlocked," "Masterkey to Alls Ills," and "Death of Death." V.T.N., then 52 years old, had been the foreign
correspondent for several years before and during the second world war, both in Japan and London, for
one of India's leading newspapers's, the Indian Express. Because of this, he had also become a
confidante to Pandit Nehru, President of the Congress Party, and subsequently India's first Prime
Minister when India became independent from Great Britain in 1947. Before the war, for more than
fifteen years he had also worked side by side with Annie Besant, the longtime President of the
Theosophical Society, and the successor to Madame Blavatsky, who trained him in the occult. He was
also married and the father of four sons and a daughter. At the end of the 1940's he left his family for
two years, and went to the Himalayas as a renunciant, where he studied with Swami Sivananda and
other saints.

On October 10, 1952, "Kriya Babaji Sangah" was officially founded, and regular lectures, meditation
classes and other public activities were organized at the San Thome home of Ramaiah. Ramaiah was the
President, and V.T. N. was the "Acharya." Press equipment was acquired and a Kriya Yoga Magazine was
published several times a year. More books were also written, despite V.T.N. 's fragile health. Ramaiah
wrote the introductions, and V.T.N. wrote down the dictations from Babaji. Babaji began directing the
sadhana of V.T.N., Ramaiah and Solachi, with specific instructions regarding meditation and mantras in

Babaji also began appearing to Ramaiah and in 1954 Babaji summoned him to Badrinath in the
Himalayas. He was asked by Babaji to go outside the temple village, situated at a height of 3,500 meters
or 10,500 feet, taking nothing, and wearing only a loincloth. Ramaiah, then 31 years old, wandered
north up the valley through which the Alakanantha River, a principle source of the Ganges, flowed from
its glacier One day, he came across two sadhus, sitting on a flat rock. One smiled at him, the other
frowned and began hurling verbal insults at him. "How could a dark skinned south India dare to wander
here, dressed only in a loin cloth," he mocked. Ramaiah went up a little higher beyond the catcalls of the
sadhu, and sat down on a rock and began to meditate. Several hours passed. Suddenly, he heard
someone approaching and urging him to come down to the village for food. Ramaiah indicated to him
that he would not, and that he should be left alone. Several more hours past; it was dark, when
suddenly, the same sahu, who had smiled at him, returned, and began forcing food into his mouth. "Jai
Babaji" he thought. "Even here, in this cold, desolate and treeless place, Babaji takes care to feed me."

After three days of wandering, Babaji revealed himself physically to Ramaiah and began to train him in
the sacred science of Kriya Yoga. Over the next several months, in his cave beside the glacial lake known
as Santopanth Tal, thirty kilometers north of Badrinath, Ramaiah learned a complete system of 144
Kriyas, or techniques, involving breathing, yoga postures, meditation and mantras. He also enjoyed the
fellowship of Babaji's principle disciples, Annai Nagalakshmi Deviyar, also known as Mataji, and Dadaji,
who was known as Swami Pranavanandar, in his previous incarnation, as well as other close disciples of
the great Satguru. Among other things, Babaji also taught him how to withstand the cold temperature
with a breathing exercise.

After several months in the Himalayas, upon his return to Madras in 1955, Ramaiah committed himself
to a very rigorous "tapas" or intensive period of practice, during which time he worshipped the Divine
Mother in the form of Kali, in her most fearsome form. In order to purify oneself of desires and to
overcome such limitations as fear and anger, the worship of Kali is considered to be especially effective.
She personifies "detachment" from the ego's attachments, symbolized by the heads she lops off. While
Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, dryly recommends vairagya or detachment as the principle method of
classical Raja Yoga, such a practice assumes a personal form when one engages oneself seriously in
ascetic tapas. Sitting still in a room for many days on end, human nature rebels, and only complete
surrender to the Divine, in the form of Mother Nature, Kali, it seemed, would enable him to overcome
his ego's resistance. Tap means "to heat" and tapas means "straightening by fire," or "voluntary self-
challenge." It is the original term for "Yoga." It begins with an expression of a vow, for example, not to
leave a place, or not to eat, or not to speak, etc. for a set period, for example, one "mandala" of 48 days.
Jesus Christ's 40 days in the wilderness was a form of tapas. Having completed his tapas, Ramaiah was
born anew; he had experienced deep states of stillness, known as samadhi, and would hereafter be
known as "Yogi Ramaiah." He was also given several important assignments by Babaji: to begin the study
of physiotherapy and yoga therapy in order to help those who like himself, were handicapped; to begin
teaching Kriya Yoga both in India and abroad; and to begin to research and gather the writings of the
Babaji's gurus, Boganathar and Agastyar.
Yogi Ramaiah, along with Solachi moved to Bombay where he enrolled in the program to become a
physiotherapist at G.S. Medical College and Hospital, the largest in that city. He also studied and applied
yogasanas successfully to the treatment of his patients. About 1961, towards the end of his studies
there, he asked his professors for permission to conduct clinical experiments. He told them that he
believed that he could cure over 20 different types of functional disorders through the use of yoga
alone, including diabetes, hypertension, appendicitis and infertility, all within three months time.
Permission was granted and the patients were selected by the attending physicians. For three months
he worked with these patients every day, guiding and encouraging them in their practice of yoga, and
allied regimens of diet and sun treatment. After three months, to the amazement of the physicians, all
of the patients had become well. In recognition, he was awared an honorary diploma. Preferring not to
wait any longer to complete the academic requirements, he returned to Madras, where he founded a
free clinic for the poor in San Thome, specializing in the handicapped, as well as a department of
orthopedic rehabilitation in Adyar, Madras. He operated the free clinic for nearly ten years. The
orthopedic rehabilitation department continues its operations to this day on Mount Road, just north of
the Adyar bridge. In 1985, the author visited with Yogi Ramaiah the G.S. Medical College, and
demonstrated the 18 yoganasanas while Yogi Ramaiah lectured to over 500 professional staff members
in the auditorium. His successful use of Yoga was still remembered by the senior staff.

From 1956 Yogi Ramaiah and Solachi began traveling to Sri Lanka, Malyasia and Viet Nam, where he
would conduct lectures, yogasana classes, and initiations into Kriya Yoga, as well as free medical camps
for the handicapped. One devotee, an engineer, living at no. 51 Arasady Road, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka,
recounted to the author, in 1980, how he had seen Yogi Ramaiah many times in his dreams prior to their
first meeting. In 1958, Sri Lanka was rocked by its first communal riots between the Tamils and

These occurred while Yogi Ramaiah was conducting his third annual "Parliament of World Religions and
Yoga." An ecumenical conference attended by local leaders of various religious groups. One participant
was Swami Satchidananda, representing the Divine Life Society, founded by Swami Sivananda. A Tamil
from Coimbatore, he was deeply impressed by Yogi Ramaiah and his efforts for ecumenism. Thus began
a lifelong friendship. When, in 1967, Swami Satchidananda left for America, he stopped at Yogi
Ramaiah's seaside ashram in San Thome to receive his blessings. Yogi Ramaiah took him to the airport
and gave him a royal sendoff. After Yogi Ramaiah himself moved to New York City, in 1968, they often
attended one another's functions. For example, the graduation ceremony for students of the Tamil
language course conducted at Yogi Ramaiah's ashram at 112 East 7th Street, N.Y.C. and the Parliament
of World Religions and Yoga at Rutgers University in 1969. In Sri Lanka, in 1958, the Prime Minister came
to the last day of the Parliament to personally thank Yogi Ramaiah and the other speakers for helping to
quell the riots with the speeches promoting inter religious understanding.

In Malaysia in the early 1960's, Yogi Ramaiah and Solachi found many persons interested in Kriya Yoga.
Solachi had received as part of her marriage dowry, a large rubber plantation from her family. Yogi
Ramaiah's great grandfather had his life miraculously saved at the end of the 19th century by a
mysterious yogi, subsequently identified as Babaji. Yogi Ramaiah's father-in-law, Dr. Alagappa Chettiar,
had founded a college in Pallatur, 8 kilometers from Kanadukathan, where Yogi Ramaiah used to teach
Yoga. He loved Yogi Ramaiah very much. But after his death, the families of the young couple began
condemning their itinerant lifestyle and interest in Yoga, and the absence of any children. It was
unheard of for young persons to become so seriously engaged in Yoga, unless they renounced
everything as sannyasins. Fearing this, quarrels heated up and Solachi fell seriously ill. During her
convalescence, she moved back into her mother's home in Kanadukathan. Relations with her son-in-law
deteriorated, and during the final days of her life, in 1962, the greedy mother tricked her daughter
Solachi into signing over all of her properties to herself, stole her jewelry, and refused Yogi Ramaiah
access to his wife. After her death, Yogi Ramaiah's mother-in-law compounded the tragedy by bribing a
judge in Malaysia to give her title to all of her daughter's property there.

About this time, Yogi Ramaiah decided to break with his own family. His mother had passed away, and
his father was a materialist and actively opposed to Yogi Ramaiah's activities involving Yoga. Disparaging
remarks were made, and finally Yogi Ramaiah decided that he must break away from his family once and
for all. Rather than wait for his share of the joint family property, normally distributed after the demise
of one's parents, he negotiated a settlement which gave him enough money to purchase a large house
in Kanadukathan, at 13 AR Street. For several years, it had been used as a hotel for local college
students. During the 1970's Yogi Ramaiah renovated it, and built within its walls several sacred edifices:
a shrine to Babaji, a shrine to the lady Siddha Avvai, containing over a thousand palm leaf manuscripts
written by the Yoga Siddhas, which he had collected over many years from private collectors and
museums while wandering all over Tamil Nadu; and shrines to Mataji and Dadaji. A beautiful gopuram
tower with images of the 18 Yoga Siddhas was constructed over the front gate. Despite his practice of
Yoga, however, Yogi Ramaiah remained scarred by his family, and as we shall see subsequently, he later
concentrated considerable efforts into rehabilitating his reputation with his family.

Yogi Ramaiah wrote and published a book on the 18 Yoga postures, profusely illustrated with
photographs, as well as a book entitled "Songs of the 18 Siddhas," in 1968, with selections from the
palm leaf manuscripts he had collected. Babaji, he related, had given him the assignment to see that
their works were published one day. His close friend, the Tamil poet and renowned yogi disciple of Sri
Aurobindo, Yogi Shuddhananda Bharatiyar, wrote a beautiful introduction to this work. In subsequent
years, Yogi Ramaiah had the writings of Boganthar transcribed from the palm leaf manuscripts, and then
published in Tamil, in a modern book form, in several volumes, beginning in 1979. He had over the years
also continued to publish a Kriya Yoga magazine, with the assistance of V.T. Neelakantan, However, their
long collaboration came to an end around 1967 when they had a personal falling out. The reasons for
the falling out are unknown to this author, as Yogi Ramaiah avoided making any comments about V.T.N.,
even when questioned by the author in 1972. (In 2003, however, the author obtained information from
V.T.N.'s sons about his later years. V.T.N. continued to be devoted to Babaji and to practice regularly
mantra sadhana in particular until his passing in 1983, in Madras; V.T.N.'s wife expired in 1992. He lived
a quiet, private life until the end; there was no reconciliation with Yogi Ramaiah).

In 1967 Yogi Ramaiah went to Malaysia and then to Australia where he conducted initations in Kriya
Yoga. One student, Filinea Andlinger owned a piece of property several hours drive from Sydney, and on
it there was a large cave. Babaji did intensive tapas in this cave, according to an account which Babaji
related to Yogi Ramaiah.

In early 1968 Yogi Ramaiah moved to the United States. When he arrived in New York City he had
expected to be able to work as a physiotherapist, but his academic credentials were not recognized. So,
he decided to acquire American professional qualifications as soon as possible, by enrolling in courses in
prosthetics and orthotics. Until then, however, he lived in primitive conditions in an abandoned building
on East 5th Street, in lower Manhattan, and worked part time in a bookstore. He began giving talks and
classes related to yoga, which attracted local young people. It was the "summer of love" in New York
City, and the Haight Ashbury of San Francisco. Young people were looking for new ways to "get high"
and psychedelics and Yoga were entering the consciousness of the new generation. He encouraged his
new bearded young students to give up drugs, to practice Yoga and to get a job. A small community of
followers formed around him, and several apartments were rented to house them and the activities of
his newly formed "American Babaji Yoga Sangam." Its first President, Dolph Schiffren managed to obtain
a permanent residency "green card" for Yogi Ramaiah, as the Founder-Minister of this new non-profit
organization. They also acquired their first property in America, a 30 acre partially wooded lot, in
Richville, N.Y., at an auction, sight unseen, for $3,000. While it was a seven hour drive from N.Y.C. it
would serve them during summer retreats. The early followers included Dolph Schiffren, his wife
Barbara, Mary Chiarmante and her partner Richard, as well as Lloyd and Teri Ruza. Subsequently, Leslie
Stella, Andrea Auden, Ronald and Anne Stevenson, Donna Alu, Michael Bruce, Michael Weiss, Cher
Manne, and the author, as well as David Mann, brother of the famous Hollywood producer, Michael
Mann, and Mark Denner.

Before moving to California in the summer of 1970, Yogi Ramaiah took Dolph and Barbara with him to
Madras, where they were to conduct classes and develop the center. In September 1970, Yogi Ramaiah
moved to Downey, California, where he lived with the author and four other students in a small
apartment on Longworth Boulevard. He subsequently moved into a small house with the same students
on Chester Street in Norwalk, and enrolled in the Prosthetics and Orthotics ("P & O" ) studies at nearby
Cerritos College, and began bringing home artificial legs and braces to work on. He also began
conducting lectures and yoga classes. Charles Berner invited him, as well as several other well known
yogis, including Yogi Bhajan, Swami Satchidananda, and Swami Vishnudevanda to a meeting to discuss
the organization of the first "kumba mehla" in North America. He envisaged six jumbo jets bringing a
couple of thousand Indian sadhus to a farmer's field in Oregon. The author attended several meetings
intended to organize the logistics, but the proposal succumbed under the weight of its grandiosity.
However, Yogi Bhajan invited Yogi Ramaiah to his home, just off Sunset Boulevard, in Hollywood, for a
private meeting. The author accompanied him. It was s memorable occasion. Yogi Bhajan, the Sikh
master, over six feet tall, and weighing over 250 pounds at least, with his regal attire, white turban,
sitting next to the dimunitive Yogi Ramaiah, who was dressed like his idol, Mahatma Gandhi, with a
khadi homespun dhoti draped from his waist, and a towel draped over his shoulders. Their only
resemblance was their big beards and glowing eyes. For nearly half an hour no words were exchanged.
They sat in silence, while the author wondered what was going on. Afterwards, a few pleasantries were
exchanged and we departed. A couple of weeks later, during a public meeting of Sikh devotees, Yogi
Bhajan told the crowd that he had met a great saint, Yogi Ramaiah. The author then realized that their
communication had been at the deepest possible level. When I once asked who to consult with regards
to Kundalini, if he was available, he recommended Yogi Bhajan. Thus began a long term friendship. In
December of 1970, Yogi Bhajan was one of the principal speakers at the "Parliament of World Religions
and Yoga" held at UCLA. The author enjoyed inviting most of the speakers who attended. When we
moved into our new ashram, Yogi Bhajan attended the dedication ceremony. Commenting on how many
gray hairs were already in Yogi Ramaiah's beard, I recall him lamenting about how he had just returned
from taking his first group of American Sikh disciples to Amritsar, in the Punjab, and how they had given
him so many gray hairs. As disciples "You are millstones around our necks" he told us, and exhorted us
to remain faithful to our path.

Over several months in early 1971, Yogi Ramaiah initiated into the 144 Kriyas, twelve of his students,
those who were living in the centers he had established in California, New York, Washington, D.C.,
Baltimore and New Jersey. Before being accepted for this training they had to practice the Kriya Yoga
techniques they had already received during the first and second initiations, for at least 56 hours per
week, and for 52 weeks. They also had to submit records of their employment, weekly day of fasting and
silence, and other disciplines. Yogi Ramaiah knew how to inspire and motivate us to excel in our yogic
sadhanas. The author and most of his dedicated students loved the practices. "Simple living and high
thinking" was one of his motto's and we felt sanctified by all that he did for us. He also organized a
pilgrimage to Mount Shasta, in northern California, and several retreats and many lectures, where he
spoke with great inspiration on "Tamil Yoga Siddhantham, the teachings of the 18 Yoga Siddhas.

Throughout his life, Yogiyar felt that he had been often betrayed, both by family members and his
students. He had an unbending nature, and authoritative and controlling ways. He knew best, and he did
not appreciate anyone questioning his wisdom or ways of doing things. He seemed to pride himself on
being able to "crush the ego" of his various students, as if this was the most effective means to
liberation. We appreciated his ability to reveal our "shadow side." Unlike some gurus, who treat their
students in only the most respectful and loving manner, Yogiyar, as we called him affectionately,
avoided the confusion which that approach entailed. He did not love us as we were as persons,with all
of our hang-ups, but he did love who we truly are. By chipping away at the outer personal attachments
and idiosyncracies, he helped us to realize our deeper, true Self. As students, we accepted this
approach, which involved many painful rebukes, long sessions of karma yoga involving manual labor or
routine activities for hours on end. He seldom acknowledged our talents, at least not personally, and
refused to delegate more than the most menial of tasks. Organizationally, he appeared to nearly always
do the opposite of what would be most effective, eschewing recognition and becoming more than a
small collection of students devoted to the practice of Kriya Yoga and to the work, which included
working on ourselves. For example, during his retreats, rather than collecting one fixed amount at the
beginning of the retreat, he would send various students around during the first or second night, while
the students were sleeping, with requests to contribute $5 to "the dog fund," or $20 for "the building
fund," or $15 for "the car fund." So, each time one had to reach for one's wallet, one got another lesson
in "detachment." However, if you did not realize that the game he played was "catch the ego" you could
easily get hurt and quickly leave. Those who stayed did so by developing a good sense of humor.

Yogiyar also placed a premium on education, and encouraged all of his students to go back to school,
and seek more qualifications. Many of his students were drop outs, but he motivated them to make a
contribution to society, particularly in the field of health. Several of them became qualified orthotists or
prosthetists: Edmund Ayyappa has for many years been the Director of Research, in Orthotics, at the
Veterans Administration in Long Beach, California, and has developed many innovative electronically
controlled artificial limbs. Ronald Stevenson and John Adamski founded their own P& O Clinics in
Virginia and Chicago, respectively. Others became nurses. As the author had already some qualifications
from the School of Foreign Service, Yogi Ramaiah asked him to go to Washington, D.C. in 1973, after one
year in India, and to take the civil service exams; he subsequently advised him to accept a position as a
civilian economist in the Pentagon, in 1972, where he worked for four years. Yogiyar himself obtained
his diplomas in Orthotics and Prosthetics, and worked for several years as a P & O laboratory technician,
making and fitting artificial limbs and braces. In this capacity, he also began visiting migrant worker
camps in the Imperial Valley in 1973, with a portable P & O workshop in a small house trailer.
Consequently, finding that the hot desert climate resembled that of his ancestral home in India, he
purchased a 10 acre plot in the Imperial Valley, with an old farm house, and began spending much of his
time there. He obtained a position as an instructor at the local Imperial Valley College, at a time when
Yoga was relatively unknown. He would conduct his classes in his India dhoti, and a white lab coat, and
would teach the college students how to improve their health and well being through Yoga postures and
breathing. After about eight years there however, opposition to him from fundamentalist Christians at
the college, combined with his frequent travel obligations ended his tenure there, but he obtained a
position at Arizona State College, one and a half hours away in Yuma, Arizona. The author signed
mortgage papers to purchase a small farmhouse on five acres of land, on the southern outskirts of town.
During this time, we began to make fun of Yogiyar's business card, which mentioned more and more
qualifications and academic positions, as his educational experience developed. He later earned a
doctorate degree from Pacific Western University, by correspondence, and had himself photographed in
a studio in "cap and gown." While he often seemed unable to engage in social chatter with
acquaintances, and did not seem to care that his appearance was totally foreign to strangers, his
business card seemed to play an important means for him to tell those he met for the first time that he
was someone who was not so strange after all.

During his three decades in the USA, where he became a citizen in 1975, he gave thousands of lectures
and demonstrations related to Yoga Therapy, in hospitals and before medical conferences. Some
considered him to be a "gadfly" or "social conscience" at such conferences because of his efforts to raise
their standards. At the P & O conferences, in particular, he made a concerted effort to raise the
mentality and professionalism among its members. Even in the 1970's the average P & O workshop
displayed "girly" calendars on the walls, and the conferences were mostly about alcohol. So Yogiyar
inspired several of his women students, including Suzanne Fournier to become professional prosthetists
and orthotists. To the medical professionals at all levels he emphasized that the most important
element in treating patients was "to love the person," not the drugs or the technology. He himself
treated the worse cases, persons without any arms or legs, or severely deformed, with so much of love,
as if they were the Master himself, with great care and confidence that he could do something for them.

He loved animals, and maintained a menagerie of dogs, cats, goats, and cows at the Yuma and Imperial
Valley Centers. Even at the Richville, New York center, he insisted that we maintain a huge white
Charolais bull for many years. While it was burden for us to care for, it was we felt, important to treat
them with reverence, especially when our neighbors saw them only as a source of food. "Sacred cows"
as in India, were more than a memory for us. They were one element of his aspiration to bring Indian
culture to the West. Our dress, our eating habits, the ways in which we slept on the floor, went to the
toilet, bathed, and even avoided most furniture, and especially television, was all part of a social
experiment, if not a social mini-invasion of a materialistic culture. He was not about to become like his
neighbors, and if you were his student, and wanted to live in one of the centers he established, you had
to conform to his cultural ways. There was also a very practical reason for this requirement: when we
were sent to live and practice and work in India, we were well adapted, and could live there for years
without difficulty. This was of course at a time when India had little in the way of modern Western
conveniences, and consequently, it was ordinarily very difficult for Westerners to live there. He focused
his attention on training a few persons who could blend with his energies, do the sadhana and help him
fulfill the assignments which he received from Babaji. He also indicated that he was planting "seeds"
which might take hundreds of years to produce fruit. These "seeds" would sprout in the collective
consciousness and culture of western society for decades to follow. When asked by the author once
how America would be in the middle of the 21st century he cooly replied that it would "level up with
India spiritually." His actions were often not motivated by near term gains, but long term effects on the
planet as a whole. While his motivations appeared at times enigmatic, they were usually grounded in
the ancient principles of Yogic culture.

Unlike most teachers, Yogiyar financed his activities in a non-commercial manner. For nearly three
decades, the initiation seminars for example, which last several days, involved a donation of only $16.
All of the regular and extraordinary expenses, however, were paid for by the one or two dozen students
living in the half dozen centers he had established in North America. He made it very difficult for anyone
to become a resident, but once they had proven their capacity to live a disciplined and dedicated life, he
demanded much from them. They were required to pay from their modest salaries, working often two
jobs to make ends meet, the amounts required to support his extensive travel, automobile, telephone
and utility bills, and extraordinary projects book printing. Rather than asking the public or new students
to pay for his trainings, the residents of his centers basically subsidized his mission, and the public. It was
karma yoga, selfless service, and taught the residents the blessing of giving from the heart, and
detachment from material possessions. He also refused to do what he called establish a "trading post"
offering books, pictures and paraphanelia to students. The entire emphasis of his residential centers was
to provide an environment wherein its residents could practice Kriya Yoga eight hours per day, after
working in gainful employment eight hours a day, and take care of their physical needs and do karma
yoga the remaining eight hours per day. This schedule enabled the residents to become extremely
dynamic and to concentrate on Yogic practice without distraction. Only once per week, was the public
allowed to visit the centers for the purpose of attending free public yoga asana classes. This was the
antithesis of the Yoga studio phenomena which gradually became the norm elsewhere. He wanted his
students to integrate the practice of Yoga in their daily life, and not to commercialize it or to make it a
means of earning one's living.

One of Yogi Ramaiah's avowed means of "helping" his students was what he referred to "ego-crushing."
He was a master of orchestrating situations in such a way that students would come face to face with
their ego's reactions: anger, resentment, jealousy, doubt, insecurity, pride and just about every other
conceivable human limitation. For example, he would oblige two residents to live together in one of his
centers. One of them had the I.Q. of 85 and the other an I.Q. of 150. He would put the dumb one in
charge of the center, but then when things would get fouled up, he would blame the smart one. He also
avoid praising any of his students. Sometimes, one would hear him say things, like why can't you be as
good as so and so," but this was always for its effect on the one being scolded. He would boost the ones
who lacked confidence for example, to return to formal studies at the university, and he would deflate
the pretensions of those who were over confident or prideful. He could be merciless in skewering the
ego. This approach, while very controversial, requires the absolute integrity of the teacher. If it is self-
serving, then it is abusive. Ultimately, it is purifying, but one has to be committed to the process of
"letting go" of whatever comes up in the way of reactions. Ultimately, this leads to freedome from the
the samaskaras, or habitual tendencies, and to Self-realization. But interestingly enough, it is not a
method which is mentioned in any of the Yoga Siddha's texts, such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or the
Tirumandiram. It is part of the Tantric tradition of honoring the guru, as a means of realizing the guru
within. If however, it involves only one ego submitting to the will of another ego, it is merely an exercise
in power. It finds its true value as a part of the "game of consciousness" wherein one uses the
relationship to realize the Self, the Seer, as opposed to the the Seen, and everything with form. The
"guru" is a principle of nature which leads one from the darkness of ignorance to the light of
consciousness; it can manifest through events, situations, and people, but when it manifests
consistently through an individual, we can say that this person is a "guru." One should not make the
mistake of confusing the person, with the 'guru principle," however. The person is a vehicle, and
sometimes the vehicle has flaws. The student must not give away his power to anyone, but must honor
the "guru principle" working through whomever or whatever brings wisdom to him. This is also why
Yogiyar could often say "I am not a guru," but also accept being honored as such.

Despite his eccentricities, Yogiyar was charming, and we loved him dearly. He would spend hours on the
telephone listening to some of his students on the other side of the country pouring our their problems.
He regularly slept only three hours a night, refusing to even eat his dinner until "Master's work was
done," which was usually around 3 a.m. We would rotate as his personal assistant every two weeks,
arriving fortified and prepared for non-stop karma yoga sessions, and leave exhausted. His level of
energy was nothing short of incredible. When the pressure of work, sadhana, karma yoga, and ego
crushing became too much, occasionally, someone would drop out. Perhaps they just wanted an easier
way. Our number became fewer, and Yogiyar, as we called him affectionately, made it even more
difficult for newcomers to join the dozen or so centers he had established around the USA. As our
numbers decreased, the burden increased on the remaining students, in terms of maintaining the

He was a remarkable person. Once, during a cross country pilgrimage, we stopped for the night on Pike's
Peak, Colorado. Yogiyar announced that he was going off into the forest to meditate alone, and that no
one should follow him. Overcome by curiosity, the author did follow him, and hiding behind a tree,
witnessed him sit down in meditation posture, cross his arms, roll up his eyes, and disappear into a ball
of light which resembled the sun! The author pinched himself several times, and rubbed his own eyes, to
make sure that he was not dreaming. After a half an hour, the ball of light slowly faded, and the familiar
form of Yogiyar returned. He got up, and as he began to walk back towards our camp, spotted the
author and rebuked him for having disobeyed him. When the author subsequently asked him what he
had been doing, Yogiyar told him that he was "planting seeds" in various places, which he expected
would grow into important centers of spiritual life some day in the future.

On many occasions Yogiyar also revealed his "siddhis" or yogic miraculous powers. This occurred in the
course of our interactions with him. He had an ability to know exactly what we were thinking, to visit us
during our dreams, and to tell us what we had been doing in private during the previous days, when we
were off on our own. But he never made a show of his powers. And he would not allow us to stay with
him for more than a few weeks, in most cases. He would send us off to various parts of the country or
abroad, to practice and to work, and to become strong. In this way, the author worked in a variety of
jobs, and started or developed several centers in countries as far flung and England, Australia, Malaysia,
India, Sri Lanka and various cities in the USA and Canada.

At the Parliament, in Sri Lanka in 1958, he demonstrated his ability to stop his pulse in one arm, while
doubling the pulse in the other arm, while delivering a lecture to the assembly. Two physicians held his
arms and reported on this following the demonstration. In 1967, in Australia, he demonstrated the
breathless state of samadhi, in a medical laborartory. Before going into this deep trance state, he
requested that the attending physician avoid any efforts to revive him. But, this request was ignored
when the doctor found that Yogo Ramaiah's heartbeat, breathing a pulse had all gone to zero. The
doctor injected him with a syrninge a substance to stimulate his heart, and he nearly died in the process
of coming back to life so suddenly. After this, Babaji told him to avoid such demonstrations in the future.

His greatest "siddhi" however, was perhaps his remarkable devotion and love for Babaji. This was
palpable, and when he would lecture it was as if the great Master himself spoke through Yogiyar. He
would chant with heartfelt devotion "Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum," throughout the day. He frequently
referred things to Babaji, or mentioned in passing how Babaji had revealed certain things to him. Babaji
was the center of his life, and he made Babaji the center of our lives. He worked tirelessly to serve Babaji
in everyone who came to him. Whether it was through classes, individual counseling, group activities,
lectures or the organization of centers and ashrams where we could practice Kriya Yoga undisturbed, his
heart and mind were focused on service. Through his example, we also learned how Babaji taught him.
He often mentioned that Babaji would not "spoon feed to him" the personal lessons he needed to learn,
but tell him "to find out" himself, when faced with certain questions. In this way we came to understand
that Yogiyar had his own limitations, but as an elder student of Babaji, there was much to emulate in
him. A good sense of humor went a long way in accepting his ways, or admonishments. Even if we could
not understand why he dealt with us in certain ways, we knew that he loved us. Sometimes, he could
not pretend to be stern, and would crack a smile, in the midst of some admonishment; and we would
know that he was doing it for effect. His dramatic scenes left their impression on us. When giving
personal instructions over the phone, he would usually repeat the same thing over again several times,
in order to impress upon our subconscious the lesson he sought to convey.

From 1954 to the present, every year, with Babaj's guidance and inspiration, Yogi Ramaiah organized an
annual Parliament of World Religions and Yoga, alternating usually between a new site in India and the
West. At these two to three day conferences, which were open to the public free of charge, fifteen to
twenty speakers from various faiths shared in turn their beliefs and practices, and educated the public
as to their religious or spiritual path. They included Christian fundamentalists, Buddhist monks, Jewish
rabbis, American Indians, Yogis and Swamis, Catholic priests and even new age spiritual teachers. Their
theme was "unity in diversity" and they served as a powerful antidote to that most common of spiritual
diseases: religious fanaticism. It is a remarkable achievement to have continued this service for so long
and so well.

Yogi Ramaiah also exhibited a strong characteristic of his Chettiar ancestry: a need to build shrines.
Aside from the one mentioned above in Kanadukathan, he also built a small shrine to Babaji in the San
Thome ashram, in the early 1960's, a small yantra shrine on Bear Mountain, in New York in 1968, an
underground yantra shrine on Mount Shasta in 1970, a shrine to Ayyappa Swami in Imperial Valley,
California in 1972, a relatively large shrine, out of granite in 1974 on the birthplace of Babaji in Porto
Novo, Tamil Nadu, a large shrine to Muruga, at Richville, in upstate New York in 1975, another shrine to
Babaji in 1977 in Washington, D.C. and a shrine to the Divine Mother Kali in Long Island, N.Y. in 1983,
and subsequently moved to Grahamsville, N.Y. in the Catskills. In 1987 he also built a large beautiful
shrine to Palaniandavar (Muruga) on top of a hill at the campus of his college in Athanoor, Tamil Nadu.
In 1983 he built his most important shrine ever, at his ashram in Yuma, Arizona. It housed the granite
murthis or statues of the 18 Yoga Siddhas which he had been requisitioning for more than a dozen years
from Mahabalipuram, just south of Madras. It was his most ambitious construction project to date.
Knowing fully well that it would lie on a major earthquake fault, he had it built upon a concrete pile
foundation, sunk deep into the earth, using cement with the hardness of dams. For nearly forty days he
went practically without sleep, during its construction, so concerned was he that it be free of any defect.
When it was completed, a grand celebration was organized, and newspapers throughout Arizona carried
feature length news reports and many photographs of the exotic looking temple. Then, a couple of
weeks later, he had a major heart attack. The strain of the work had finally caught up with him. He
underwent quintuple bypass surgery at the Sinai Hospital in West Los Angeles. The surgeon, later told us
that his arteries were not blocked, but that they were remarkably delicate.

During his convalescence, Yogiyar began to make some changes not only in his lifestyle but also in his
organization. He announced the formation of a Board of Directors who would take over responsibility
for the administration of the various centers and ashrams, upon his death; he also took the author aside
one night, and under a lamp post dictated to him a list of conditions to fulfill in order to assume
responsibility for initiating others into the 144 Kriyas. He has never asked anyone else, before or since,
to fulfill this responsibility. It took the author three years to fulfill these conditions, which involved
strenuous sadhanas and other disciplines. When Yogiyar had confirmed their fulfillment, he asked
author to simply "wait."

In 1980 and 1981, Yogiyar sent the author to India and then to Sri Lanka. After completing some
assignments with regards to publications of the writings of Boganathar, he encouraged him to live
quietly at a secluded retreat, on the beach in Dehiwala, just south of Colombo. There was little to do, so
the author vowed to dedicate all of his time to intensive sadhana in silence there. The first three months
were difficult, because the mind was not able to distract itself in reading or work, but then night and day
became as one, and an ineffable peace began to permeate his consciousness. After eleven months, Yogi
Ramaiah came. The author did not want to end his tapas. Yogiyar insisted that he must return to
America, where he had a lot of work to do. But, to his pleasant surprise, the peace which he had gained
there remained always easily accessible. For this, he remains ever grateful. But before leaving he
dedicated a small shrine to Babaji which had been constructed at Katirgama, on the spot where Babaji
attained nirvikalpa samadhi, under the tutelage of Boganathar, and he dedicated a new seaside ashram
at 59 Peters Lane, Dehiwala, built with the assistance of Murugesu Candaswamy, and the former Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court, Dr. H.W. Tambiah, the honorary chairman of our Lanka Babaji Yoga

In 1985, the author accompanied Yogiyar on a two week tour of medical facilities in the People's
Republic of China. They were a strange sight to the Chinese, who were, at that time, almost all, still
attired in their drab "Maoist" suits. We ate only rice and stringy broccoli three times a day, so
unprepared were our hosts for vegetarians! Later that year, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences,
he was invited to present a talk on Yoga along with several other distinguished speakers at a one day
conference on meditation.. On the speakers platform he was flanked by the His Holiness, the Dalai
Lama, a yong spiritual teacher Sri Ravi Shankar, a famous Jain monk, and the then Minister of Home
Affairs and future Prime Minister, Niramsinha Rao. When the Dalai Lama spoke haltingly, after each
sentence, he would pause, and ask his assistant, a translator, whether what he had said in English, was
correct. It was very charming. After speaking for only 15 of his allotted 45 minutes, the young Sri Ravi
Shankar, who was at that time, practically unknown to the public, announced that he would respectfully
give his remaining time to Yogi Ramaiah. Yogiyar spoke long and eloquently about Yoga Siddhantham
and Babaji, and the need to integrate our spiritual life, through meditation into all areas of our life.
Naramsinha Rao, greatly impressed the author when he said: "The reason why I meditate every day is
because it allows me to accept more and more responsibility."

In late 1985, the author organized the arrangements for 30 students from America to attend with
Yogiyar, the Maha Kumba Mehla in Hardwar, for 48 days, between February and April 1986. We resided
at the Tourist Bungalow by the Ganges, and every day enjoyed the company of thousands of sadhus and
devotees who participated in record numbers at this extraordinary event, the greatest in 60 years.
Afterwards, we all went to Badrinath, and enjoyed doing sadhana there in the sacred places associated
with Babaji.

In 1986, Yogi Ramaiah sold our centers in New York City and New Orleans, and with the proceeds from
the sale purchased 145 acres of land five kilometers from the village of Kanadukathan with the help of
two students, Meenakshisundaran of the USA, and Murugesu Candaswamy of Sri Lanka. After the
ground breaking ceremony for each of the nine buildings he hoped to build there, as part of a proposed
Yoga Rehabilitation Hospital and College, he left the author to administer the construction, assuring that
the work done by the contractors was according to our requirements. It was a daunting assignment.
During previous visits to India, rationing of materials and bureaucracy always made construction
projects such as the reconstruction of the San Thome ashram or Kanadukathan ashram very
problematic. It was desert scrub land, remote from any human habitations, with no water for more than
a kilometer. Fifty women coolies were engaged to transport water in buckets on their heads, so that
cement mortar could be mixed. In nine months, nine building went up, to the amazement of the author.
The Minister of Industries for the State of Tamil Nadu came and inaugurated the complex. When the
author returned to Canada a few months later, he made an application to the Canadian Agency for
International Development for a grant to support the new Rehabilitation center in India. The Canadian
government sent an aid officer to the complex in India, and made a report. While the facilities were
beautiful and well equipped, even with ambulances, he reported, there was no administration. Sadly,
our application for a grant was declined. The author began to wonder whether Yogiyar's unwillingness
to delegate and his need to control everything was again becoming his greatest obstacle. Even before
the complex was built, he and others had pleaded with Yogiyar not to build it in such an out of the way
place. It would serve its purposes, we felt, only near a more populated area. Yogiyar was adamant that it
be built only near Kanadukathan, and indicated that this was because he needed to prove something to
his family. The pattern of family karma had not yet been exhausted, but a few years later, Yogiyar was
accepted back into his family. They invited him to their functions and he was allowed to occupy one of
the rooms in Ananda Vilas, the room where he was born.

In 1986, Yogi Ramaiah sold our centers in New York City and New Orleans, and with the proceeds from
the sale purchased 145 acres of land five kilometers from the village of Kanadukathan with the help of
two students, Meenakshisundaran of the USA, and Murugesu Candaswamy of Sri Lanka. After the
ground breaking ceremony for each of the nine buildings he hoped to build there, as part of a proposed
Yoga Rehabilitation Hospital and College, he left the author to administer the construction, assuring that
the work done by the contractors was according to our requirements. It was a daunting assignment.
During previous visits to India, rationing of materials and bureaucracy always made construction
projects such as the reconstruction of the San Thome ashram or Kanadukathan ashram very
problematic. It was desert scrub land, remote from any human habitations, with no water for more than
a kilometer. Fifty women coolies were engaged to transport water in buckets on their heads, so that
cement mortar could be mixed. In nine months, nine building went up, to the amazement of the author.
The Minister of Industries for the State of Tamil Nadu came and inaugurated the complex. When the
author returned to Canada a few months later, he made an application to the Canadian Agency for
International Development for a grant to support the new Rehabilitation center in India. The Canadian
government sent an aid officer to the complex in India, and made a report. While the facilities were
beautiful and well equipped, even with ambulances, he reported, there was no administration. Sadly,
our application for a grant was declined. The author began to wonder whether Yogiyar's unwillingness
to delegate and his need to control everything was again becoming his greatest obstacle. Even before
the complex was built, he and others had pleaded with Yogiyar not to build it in such an out of the way
place. It would serve its purposes, we felt, only near a more populated area. Yogiyar was adamant that it
be built only near Kanadukathan, and indicated that this was because he needed to prove something to
his family. The pattern of family karma had not yet been exhausted, but a few years later, Yogiyar was
accepted back into his family. They invited him to their functions and he was allowed to occupy one of
the rooms in Ananda Vilas, the room where he was born.

Some may wonder why Babaji would have showered so much grace on his close disciples, V.T.
Neelakantan and Yogi Ramaiah, and then allowed their relationship to fall apart after fifteen years, and
for the latter to continue as he did. They ignore the fact that even Babaji allows those who are close to
him to learn their own lessons, and to work through their karmic tendencies. Babaji's disciples are not
robots, with samskaras erased, and enlightenment implanted by their Satguru. While romantic
autobiographies and polished biographies written by devotees usually avoid mention of the humanness
if not failings of their cherished subjects, such accounts do more damage than good. They give the false,
and romantic notion that the spiritual path is filled with miracles, that the guru will give us
enlightenment, and that human nature does not resist vehemently our efforts to become divine. This is
why, in writing this piece, the author has attempted to avoid varnishing the truth of things, and to
recount the humanness, the enigmatic, and the problematic, in the biography of Yogi Ramaiah, while
avoiding judgment as to why? In recent years, some have criticized him, and doubted him, but they have
done so without even knowing the person, nor anything of his life, and his struggles. I hope that this
account will cause them to pause, and to reflect more deeply upon their own human nature, before
"casting stones" towards others. May his life, and his example, in its entireity, serve as a lesson for us all.

Copyright January2005 M. Govindan. All rights reserved.

Swami Kriyananda

Talk by Swami Kriyananda: Yoga for the New Age

Online Articles

This talk was given on December 30, 2003, in honour of Mr. O. P. Ghai, at India International Centre,
New Delhi

I'm particularly honoured to be able to speak on the occasion of Mr. O.P. Ghai's life, his passing, and his
greatness as a human being, because we share the same values. I have devoted my entire life to just
what he talked about. Forty-four years ago, in 1959, I came to Delhi with the thought of founding a
centre here. The purpose of that centre was to create a place where people could affirm and celebrate
the unity of religions, the oneness of all faiths-just what Mr. Ghai believed in. My reason for seeking the
unity of religions is that underlying what they all try to do, there is one basic purpose. That is for
individuals to know themselves-to know who they are in relation to a higher and greater reality.

This centre was for me a very big thing. I was able, after months of effort and a great deal of struggle, to
get permission of Nehru himself. He walked the land that I wanted in the Green Belt area, near Birla
Mandir, and he gave his approval. A great saint, Neem Karoli Baba, said, "It will come up." By contrast,
my own organisation was horrified at what I had done. I couldn't understand it. They were sectarian,
unfortunately, as most people are. Being sectarian, they were afraid of anything that perhaps would not
be under their absolute and rigid control. They threw me out on my ear, as we say in America, and for
many years I didn't know what God wanted of me, because I thought this project was something so

But, in fact, as always happens whenever we go through a great test and believe in God, and do it for
God, it is not the tragedy that it seems. It was my greatest good fortune, and perhaps the most
auspicious event of my life, when that happened. This is because, in the meantime, I have been able to
build a base of seven communities in Italy and America, with a total of about a thousand resident
members. We are dedicated to these principles. We not only practice principles, we seek to experience
those principles through the practice of yoga and through communion with God every day, and not just
having beliefs. People believed the world was flat, but that did not make it so. Believing in God Himself
does not matter, it is what you experience of Him that does matter. Our endeavour, humble but sincere,
has been to experience God in our lives.

For many years friends like Mr. Inder Jit and others have urged me to come back to India and take up
that work, but I said, "No, not unless I feel my Guru wants it." Finally, just two months ago, I felt that
now the time has come. I am 78 years old now. That is not an age at which people can normally be
expected to do a new work, especially in a new country. But I have a large team of people who work
with me now. They are very competent. My way of management is to empower, not to take power and
use them for my glory, but to help them all. I believe in letting people make their own mistakes. In that
way they learn. So we have very competent teachers and leaders in many communities. I have a good
team. They have come here to do this work in India that I was not able to do then. This work, about
which Neem Karoli Baba seemed to be wrong, now is finally bearing fruit and it looks like it will happen.

My effort in this world has been partly what Mr. O. P. Ghai brought to the world; partly to bring in the
practices of yoga to make these things real experience and not just beliefs; and partly-entirely, really-to
spread my Guru's mission. And what was that mission? It was specifically to usher in a new age. It is very
clear, especially to somebody like me who has lived for most of the last century, that we are in a new
age. I grew up in Romania, and when I was a child, if an airplane flew overhead we would go out and
wave at it, it was so unusual. When my father was brought back to America every three years, we went
by ship. There were no planes going across the Atlantic in those days. Our radio was a large piece of
furniture, and to get BBC in London from Romania involved turning the dial and getting sounds like,
"Ow, ow , ow, this is BB . . . ow, ow." It was very difficult to hear anything. Someone visited us in
Bucharest from the U.S. and told us about television. I thought that such a thing was impossible.

Back in 1949, Popular Science magazine, I think it was, stated that one day computers would weigh as
little as one ton! Even in 1979 the president of IBM predicted that they would never have computers so
small that they would be in the home. Look how this world has changed! Not very long ago, in the
1920s, astronomers still believed that the sun was the centre of the whole universe. Think how fast
things have changed. Back in the 1930s when I was in school in England, a teacher told me, "Do you
know that there are other star systems like ours? All the stars we see are only one star system, and
there are maybe two or even three other galaxies!" Now we know that there are something like 100
billion, and who's counting?

This world, as we know it today, is not at all what it used to be, what our grandparents knew. My
grandparents were in what we know in America as the Oklahoma Land Rush, when they opened up the
Oklahoma Territory and they went in to claim land for themselves. That was not so long ago. How the
world has changed. With this change has come an extraordinary complication in people's lives. We no
longer know whether our values are valid or not. I remember in 1962 I read an article in Span magazine,
which was the U.S. Information Service magazine in India. I was amazed to see how modern scientific
discoveries have caused people who think deeply to question whether there is any value in life at all. We
find that people today doubt their most fundamental values. What we are really facing today is the
confusion between old ways of looking at things and new ways. Copernicus, only four or five centuries
ago, announced his discovery that this world is not the centre of everything. Now we find that there is
no centre in anything. People don't know what this means.

There is always a balance between West and East, and there is a very important shift now. What India,
and yoga specifically, has taught is that you are the centre of the universe. In a universe where you can't
find a centre, suddenly you begin to discover meaning in one of the most ancient teachings: "Centre
everywhere, circumference nowhere." The centre of everything is right in every atom. It's in you. If you
want to know anything in the universe you have to begin by knowing yourself. This is why the ancient
Greeks have the saying, "Know thyself."

In this, the West has gotten completely confused. Since the whole world has taken its modern values
from the West, everybody is confused. They begin to think that there are no values, there is no truth,
there is no meaning in life. Many young children have committed suicide, because learning this kind of
teaching in school they come to think that life is useless, and, losing any sense of direction, they kill
themselves. It's a terrible disease, this modern philosophy.

But yoga has the answer to all this. Yoga can teach you that from your centre there are certain things
that you can comprehend that will help you to get meaning out of everything. I wrote a book called Out
of the Labyrinth, which shows how we must begin with ourselves and ask ourselves a few basic
questions. One of the most important is, "Does it work?" All these abstract theories-if they don't work,
what meaning have they? What is the use of them?

What does work? A very interesting point is one I brought out in another book of mine, Hope for a
Better World! Adam Smith pointed out-perfectly correctly-that everybody thinks first of himself, tries to
seek his own gains, his own benefits. People, hearing this, were outraged, saying, "This is un-Christian.
This is against the teachings of religion." Really, Smith's point is just too evident to doubt. But the
question has not been explored completely enough.

I take the example of a small town with two bakers. One of them we'll call William Baker. The other one,
who has his bakery shop down the street, we'll call Joe Crumpet. William Baker thinks only in terms of,
"What can I get?" With every customer who comes in, he thinks, "What am I going to earn from this
man?" That is the kind of philosophy it seems Adam Smith was recommending. Let us say that Joe
Crumpet, on the other hand, likes his customers. He is happy to see them, and thinks, "What can I give
to you?" not, "What can I take from you?" If you look at these two people you will see inevitably that
William Baker is not a happy man. Joe Crumpet is happy. People want to go to Joe Crumpet because
they feel welcome. They don't want to go to William Baker because they don't feel welcome.

I was in Taormina, Sicily a few years ago. I was looking for a hat. I asked a shopkeeper there, "What hat
do your customers like the best?" She responded, "Oh, I don't care; I just take their money and tell them
goodbye." I said, "You have to work in this shop for eight hours a day. If you have that attitude, can you
be happy just thinking of these people as statistics? Why don't you think in terms of making friends with
them?" This seemed like a pretty impudent thing for me to say, but I did say it, as I felt that this poor
lady didn't understand something important in life. The next year I went back there and she greeted me
with open arms. She was so happy to see me. I'd evidently really made an impression. Our hotel had
given us a bottle of wine, and I don't drink wine. I went and gave the bottle to this lady. She kissed me
on the cheek and she was weeping.

Life is so wonderful. Someone said to me just the other day, "I think what you're teaching is very good,
but I have to do my work eight hours a day. How can I use that teaching? How can I seek
Satchidanandam?" I said, "Why don't you seek it while you are working? Why wait till you get home and
shut your meditation room door and sit to meditate? Why not enjoy what you are doing? Why not bring
Satchidanandam into your daily activity?"
Bring ananda into your daily activity. That's why we've called our communities, "Ananda." This is what
religion is all about-not how to separate God from daily life, but how to bring God into daily life. It is
wonderful to see people when they come to visit our communities, because they come from the cities,
they come with their faces lined with tension and stress. After only a weekend you see them relaxed and
smiling. If they stay there a week they feel as if they had been reborn. It is God who gives you a rebirth.
You don't do it. We don't do it. But you can remind people of who they really are.

There are two ways of looking at the universe. One is with dark glasses, the other is with clear glasses. If
you can look on life with a kindly eye, you see friends everywhere. I had a wonderful experience in Paris
some years ago. It was my birthday and I wanted to go to a concert. I got to the church where the
concert was held, and it was completely full. They were turning people away. I said to the person at the
door, "But this is my birthday!" He then brought me in and seated me behind the altar in such a way
that I was facing the audience of 700 people. It was a wonderful concert, full of joy. After the concert, a
woman came up to me on the Metro, the subway, and said, "Don't you remember me? I was in the
audience." I said no. With 700 people was I supposed to remember her? She had felt a joy in me that
she recognized in herself. That made us kindred. She sat down next to me in the Metro, and told me the
problems she was having in her home, with her daughter, telling me the sort of things you would never
tell to any stranger. You find that when you have that attitude, wherever you go you make friends. You
don't find strangers, if you can reach this point where you feel that everybody is your own family, your
own self.

That is what yoga can give to the world. In this world, people don't know whether the Bible is right,
whether the Koran is right, or the Gita is right, or all these other shastras and teachings are right. They
seem to be different, and in some ways, there are differences. You find that underneath all of that there
is a similarity that touches everybody. These teachings begin with you. Don't think about the
abstractions-how many angels there are in heaven-it doesn't matter a damn. But if you can find peace of
heart through your religion, why bother with terrorism, why bother with blowing up World Trade
Centers, why bother with all the stupid acts people are committing these days, thinking they are going
to go to heaven. I think that if the average person found himself in heaven, it would be hell for him. He is
so used to fighting and arguing, he would be utterly miserable. He would have nobody to fight with
anymore. People want disharmony because they are used to it. But if we create harmony in ourselves,
we don't have to go to swarg to find it. We have it right here. And you can find it even here in Delhi. Find
that bliss within. Yoga is important in this respect. It is not just a teaching.

You have three basic philosophies in India. One is Sankhya, which tells you the need to seek truth. The
next is Yoga which tells you how to seek truth. Finally comes Vedanta which teaches you what the truth
is. "Aham brahm asmi" is a vedantic saying. But it doesn't have any great meaning if you don't feel it. If
you say, "Everything is Brahma and I am Brahma, but where is my next meal?" if you get angry because
somebody spilled coffee on your tie, then there is something wrong. Yoga is the important thing
because it tells you how to do it. It is important to know that you want it. That is the first sutra of
Patanjali: "Now we come to the study of yoga." After the study of Sankhya, you say, "Well, what do I do
about it?" And that takes you to yoga.

There are of course many kinds of yoga, but the classic goal is to get into your own spine. Do you know
why it is that every religion speaks of heaven as up above and hell down below? People on the other
side of the world speak of heaven as in a direction opposite to what we think of as up. This is because
they are not talking of objective things; they are talking of their own bodies. When you feel well, when
you feel happy, we have words for it: You say you are "uplifted," "high," "like flying." Every language, I
imagine-I only speak nine-speaks of an upward movement for feeling good and a downward movement
for feeling bad. You don't ever find people slouching, looking down, and saying, "I feel so happy." The
very feeling of being happy makes you start looking up. And you don't find people looking up and saying,
"I'm so miserable." These are definite directions.

Yoga teaches that there is a corresponding reality between you and what you are trying to accomplish in
life. It doesn't matter how your neighbours treat you. Everything you are trying to accomplish is not in
relation to other people. This is the great delusion that has been put on man. Even as babies our energy
goes outward. The inward movement that takes place when we die is something that we need to
practice all the time. We need to withdraw our energy into the Self. Our real search for happiness is a
search for our inner Self. The happier we are inside, the more the whole world looks beautiful. The more
unhappy we are, the more we think the whole world stinks. We want to find that movement inwardly
which can change our level of consciousness. It is so simple. The trouble with spiritual teachings is that
they are so simple and man is basically complex. Man can't return easily to simplicity. He can hold that
thought for a moment, but then starts thinking other things. Somebody is peaceful in the office and
everyone around him feels his peace, and asks him, "Why are you so peaceful?" He says, " I meditate
every day and I practice the presence of God." And they say, "Yes, fine, but it is probably because you
eat bran for breakfast." They can't get it into their heads that a simple change of consciousness will
change your entire life.

I began my work without knowing anything. I have never studied the subjects I am considered to be an
expert in. The reason is, quite simply, that I have experienced them, I have lived them. Many large
corporations in America have bought my book, The Art of Creative Leadership, and shared it with their
staffs, in the hundreds. I have never read a book on leadership. I think that is why it is a good book. I
have not written from theory; I have written from actual experience. It is the same with everything else I
have done. Even the music I have written has come from experience. Try to gain experience in life. Ask
yourself this simple question: not, "Is it logical?" but, "Does it work?" I read a book not long ago, called,
Books that Changed the World. It includes people like Darwin, Freud, Smith, and Machiavelli-all these
people who have undermined the faith of humanity. I have asked the simple question in addressing each
one, "But, does it work?" You find in every case that it doesn't. Look at Freud. How many saints has that
man produced? I think it is very simple. The sum is zero. How many happy people has he produced? I
think probably zero, except that happiness being a relative term, you can't always be sure. Somebody
may say he is happy because he is less miserable than he used to be. Darwin is one of the basic dogmas
of our age. But he doesn't bring in the most fundamental thing, which is consciousness.

Always my question is, "Does it work?" That is the question that brought me to yoga. I read Yogananda's
book, Autobiography of a Yogi in New York. I had just put my mother on a ship to go to Egypt, to join my
father who was posted there by his company. I was free. Free, but desperate. I wanted to know what life
is all about. I wanted to know whether there is a God and what He is like. I didn't know anything about
Indian philosophy. I went uptown in New York City, and there I discovered Autobiography of a Yogi. I
read that book without stop. One week later I was going cross country, four days and four nights-
America is a big country-all the way to Los Angeles. There I met Yogananda. This was in 1948. I was 22
years old.

I was a typical, arrogant, young American male. I didn't think I would ever say these words to anybody,
but when I met him, I said, "I want to be your disciple." Sudden decisions usually don't remain. This
remained all my life. Never for a moment have I doubted he was my guru. Finally in my life I had met a
great man. One great man can inspire others to seek that greatness. This is what we need today. We
need to aspire to human greatness.

How many newspapers have I read in which half the parliament got up and stormed out in disharmony,
arguing, and bickering! In our community, which is now 35 years old, I cannot remember a single
meeting that did not end in complete harmony. I think that is the kind of example that is needed today.
China and Russia have killed something like a hundred million of their own people since 1917. That is a
hard thing to believe, but it is true. Killing their own people just because they didn't agree! I happened
to meet J. P. Narayan on a train. I didn't even know who he was, but I found that we had the same ideas.
He used to be the number two man in the government, but he left government because, he said, "These
things can't be imposed on people. We have to inspire people to want them." It has to come up from a
grassroots level. This is what we have done in our communities, too-to try to create examples that other
people will find inspiring and decide, "Why don't we do that, too?" So it is that people come from great
distances-India, Taiwan, China, Japan, all over the West, even Africa-everywhere. They come to find out,
"Why does this place work?" It works because we believe in changing ourselves. We are not interested
in converting others. I've always said, "I don't want to convert anyone, except to his own higher Self."
When people come and see an example that makes them think, "Maybe I could be happy. Maybe I could
learn to like others. Maybe I could be peaceful."-when you see examples of it actually working-that's
when people say, "Yes, let me try it." If we want to change the world, this is how it must begin.

I think in this context the most important contribution that India has to make to the world is yoga. I
don't mean yoga asanas. I mean becoming centred in yourself, learning to raise your energy and to unite
it with the higher consciousness. You can do it. The most criminal person in the world has God in him if
he would only know it. If he would learn to raise his consciousness he would change. Many years ago I
was a young man, twenty-three, and I fell into a mood. I couldn't talk myself out of this mood. Every
time I tried to reason, my reason would show me all the reasons why I should be in a mood. Then I
asked myself, "Do you like being in this mood?"-"No, I don't like this mood at all." I said, "Then what are
you going to do about it?"-"Well, I am going to try to change. If I can't reason my way out of it, I'll try to
change my level of consciousness."

I sat down in my little meditation room. I put my mind very strongly at the point between the eyebrows.
Five minutes is all it took. All of a sudden I saw the world in a completely different light. I saw my life in a
completely different light. I saw all the reason in the world why people had done things the way they
had. I realized that my whole understanding of life was different. We can do that ourselves. Don't think
that the world will change for you. But, if you change, not only can you find that the world looks better,
but you will see that somehow it reacts differently. Somehow it wants to act differently with you.

An interesting example was one time in 1955 when I was going to fly from London to Paris. I was a little
worried because I was standing in line behind a man who had excess baggage. He was furious and
demanded to see the manager. The angrier he got the more determined the clerk was to make him pay
extra. I had many more bags than the man in front of me! I prayed, "Divine Mother, help me." I came to
the clerk, thinking, "Divine Mother is in this form," and looked at him with a smile. He looked at me and
looked at my bags, and just said, "Oh, okay."

The world changes in response to who you are. And if it doesn't, then at least you don't lose your peace
of mind. When I was thrown out of my organisation I figured it would be very easy to be bitter. Then I
would lose twice, because I would also become bitter and unhappy. Why not just love? I discovered that
by loving I was happier. I don't worry about how others treat me. That doesn't matter to me, because I
have my own peace. You can change the world, to the extent that you will ever be able to, the more you
change yourself. The wonderful thing is that every great master who has come into this world has had
enemies, has had opposition. But it doesn't matter anymore. You just realise that in every play there has
to be a villain. It would be very boring if it were always the same. But you can be peaceful always. The
great avatars, the great masters, always forgave. They did it for a very selfish reason, you might say:
They were happy when they forgave. The truth is that in that state you see that all really are your own.
You don't have to reason it through. You love them no matter how they treat you.

Yoga for a new age I think is a very, very important thing. The more that people can be brought to know
the world from their own centre, the more they will be able to emanate peace. This is what Mahatma
Gandhi was trying to say. If we are peaceful, then we can change the whole world. Then there is no wish
to do harm to anybody. Those who wish you harm are only hurting themselves. They can't hurt you.
Your attitude changes other people. This is true when we bring God and religion into it. Without religion,
humanity is like a body without a head. We have to bring the head in, and that is the soul-the inner,
guiding spirit. Without that, humanity is lost. But, thank God there is that.

We need to show people not just beliefs. Science has brought us the way to prove what it states. Many
years ago people thought the world was flat. Then Columbus went to America and discovered that it
wasn't. I've always wondered why people thought that way. When you see a ship in the distance, you
first see the mast, then you see the deck, then finally the whole ship. There is a curvature in the ocean.
Nobody thought of that. I don't know why.

There are truths staring us in the face, but they won't change you. You can change yourself. You read
about the New Age, and about how different everything will be. We have found enough outer changes
already to realize that these are not changing man. There was a book by Edward Bellamy, Looking
Backward. In the book, he fell asleep and woke up after a hundred years. In the late 1900s he woke up
and found that every home had a radio with music that came from a central station. He said, "I can't
imagine anything more wonderful. Having music in every home is my ideal of perfection." Well, you and
I live in that kind of world. Is it any better? If anything, it may be a lot worse. Things are not going to
make you perfect. This is one of the great superstitions that the West has imposed on the world, that
somehow happiness will come from things. It will never come from things. You must make yourself

This is where the East and the West need to be combined. Don't take too much from the West.
Remember that your values are always going to be, as they were in ancient times, in your own self. Yoga
can bring you back to that. Yoga can give you the compass that you need, where the understanding is
always turned toward the truth. It can give you that direction that you need in order to remain
unshaken in this time of change. I believe that we are coming to a time of great change. I don't think
you've see anything yet. I think there will be a great economic upheaval. I think there will be great wars
and troubles-all a part of the shakedown. But we are in a new age. My guru's guru said that we are in
fact in Dwapara Yuga, not Kali Yuga. This new age is an age of energy-an age in which energy can be
used benignly, not destructively. I urge you to take these things seriously. Don't take too much from the
West. Don't take too many values from the West. Look into your own culture and realise what you've
got right here, because the West needs it and needs it badly.

Who is Babaji?

In 1946, Paramahansa Yogananda, one of modern India's greatest yogis, revealed in his classic
"Autobiography of a Yogi," the existence of a Christ-like saint, an immortal yogi, Mahavatar Babaji.
Yogananda related how Babaji had for centuries lived in the Himalayas guiding many spiritual teachers
at a distance, usually without their even knowing it. Babaji was a great siddha, one who had overcome
ordinary human limitations, and who worked silently, behind the scenes for the spiritual evolution of all
humanity. Paramahansa Yogananda also revealed that it was Babaji who taught a powerful series of
yogic techniques, know as "Kriya Yoga," to Lahiri Mahasaya, around 1861, and who subsequently
initiated many others, including Yogananda`s own Christ-like guru, Sri Yukteswar, some thirty years
later. Yogananda spent 10 years with his guru before Babaji himself appeared to him, and directed him
to bring the sacred science of Kriya to the West. Yogananda fulfilled this sacred mission from 1920 to
1952, when he left his body and attained the yogic state of mahasamadhi.

As a final tribute to the efficacy of Kriya Yoga and the blessings of his lineage, the body of Yogananda did
not deteriorate during the 21 days it lay exposed, before being interred in a crypt in Los Angeles. March
7, 2002 marked the 50th anniversary of Yogananda's remarkable passing. When his remains were
transferred to a permanent "samadhi" shrine in March, 2002, millions around the world remembered
with gratitude what Yogananda's legacy has given to them.

In South India, Babaji had been preparing, since 1942, two souls for the task of disseminating his Kriya
Yoga: S.A.A. Ramaiah, a young graduate student in geology at the University of Madras and V.T.
Neelakantan, a famous journalist, and close student of Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical
Society and mentor of Krishnamurti. Babaji appeared to each of them independently and then brought
them together in order to work for his Mission. In 1952 and 1953 Babaji dictated three books to
V.T.Neelakantan: "The Voice of Babaji and Mysticism Unlocked," "Babaji's Masterkey to All Ills," and
"Babaji's Death of Death." Babaji revealed to them his origins, his tradition, and his Kriya Yoga. They
founded on October 17, 1952, at the request of Babaji, a new organization, "Kriya Babaji Sangah,"
dedicated to the teaching of Babaji's Kriya Yoga. The books created a sensation at the time of their
publication and distribution throughout India. The SRF (Self Realization Fellowship) attempted to have
them and the Kriya Babaji Sangah suppressed, and it took the intervention of the then Prime Minister of
India, Pandit Nehru, who was a friend of V.T. Neelakantan, to end their efforts. In 2003, Babaji's Kriya
Yoga Order of Acharyas reprinted these three books in one volume called "The Voice of Babaji."

It is in the "Masterkey of All Ills," that Babaji reveals his answer to the question "Who Am I". In essence,
this reveals, that when we know ultimately who we are, we will know who Babaji is. That is, Babaji does
not identify with a limited human personality, or series of life events, or even his divinely transformed
body. However, in writings he also revealed for the first time a number of precious details about his life
story, in order to outline for us a path to Self-realization, which anyone may aspire to. These details have
been subsequently documented in the book "Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition."

Babaji was given the name "Nagaraj," which means "serpent king," referring to "kundalini," our great
divine potential power and consciousness. He was born on the 30th day of November 203 A.D., in a
small coastal village now known as Parangipettai, in Tamil Nadu, India, near where the Cauvery River
flows into the Indian Ocean. His birth coincided with the ascendancy (Nakshatra) of the star of Rohini,
under which Krishna was also born. The birth took place during the celebration of Kartikai Deepam, the
Festival of Lights, the night before the new moon during the Tamil month of Kartikai. His parents were
Nambudri Brahmins who had immigrated there from the Malabar coast on the western side of south
India. His father was the priest in the Shiva temple of this village, which is today a temple dedicated to
Muruga, Shiva's son.

At the age of 5, Nagaraj was kidnapped by a trader and taken as a slave to what is today Calcutta. A rich
merchant purchased him, only to give him his freedom. He joined a small band of wandering monks, and
with them became learned in the sacred religious and philosophical literature of India. However, he was
not satisfied. Hearing of the existence of a great siddha, or perfected master, named Agastyar, in the
south, he made a pilgrimage to the sacred temple of Katirgama, near the southern most tip of Ceylon,
the large island just south of peninsular India. There he met a disciple of Agastyar, whose name was
Boganathar. He studied "dhyana," or meditation, intensively and "Siddhantham," the philosophy of the
Siddhas, with Boganathar for four years. He experienced "sarvihelpa samadhi," or cognitive absorption,
and had the vision of Lord Muruga, the deity of the Katirgama temple.

At the age of 15, Boganathar sent him to his own guru, the legendary Agastyar, who was know to be
living near to Courtrallam, in Tamil Nadu. After performing intensive yogic practices at Courtrallam for
48 days, Agastyar revealed himself, and initiated him into Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, a powerful
breathing technique. He directed the boy Nagaraj to go to Badrinath, high in the Himalayas, and to
practice all that he had learned, intensively, to become a "siddha." Over the next 18 months, Nagaraj
lived alone in a cave practicing the yogic techniques which Boganathar and Agastyar has taught him. In
so doing, he surrendered his ego, all the way down to the level of the cells in his body, to the Divine,
which descended into him. He became a siddha, one who has surrendered to the power and
consciousness of the Divine! His body was no longer subject to the ravages of disease and death.
Transformed, as a Mah or great siddha, he dedicated himself to the upliftment of suffering humanity.

Since that time, Babaji has continued to guide and inspire some of history`s greatest saints and many
spiritual teachers, in the fulfillment of their mission. These include Adi Shankaracharya, the great 9th
century A.D. reformer of Hinduism, and Kabir, the 15th century saint beloved by both the Hindus and
Muslims. Both are said to have been personally initiated by Babaji, and refer to him in their writings.

He has maintained the remarkable appearance of a youth of about 16 years of age. During the 19th
century Madame Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society, identified him as the Matreiya, the
living Buddha, or World Teacher for the coming era, described in C.W. Leadbetter's "Masters and the
Path." In 1861, Babaji revived Kriya Yoga, which Patanjali refers to in his famous "Yoga-Sutras." Patanjali
wrote this classic text of yoga about the 3rd century A.D. In it he defines Kriya Yoga in II.1 as "constant
practice (particularly by the cultivation of detachment), self-study and devotion to the Lord." However,
along with what Patanjali described as Kriya Yoga, Babaji added the teachings of the tantra, which
includes the cultivation of "kundalini," the great potential power and consciousness, through the use of
breathing, mantras and devotional practices. His modern synthesis of "Kriya Yoga," includes a rich
variety of techniques.

During a six month period in 1954, at his ashram near Badrinath, in the Garwhal Himalayas, Babaji
initiated S.A.A. Ramaiah into a complete system of 144 Kriyas, or practical techniques, involving
postures, breathing, meditation, mantras and devotional techniques. The latter blossomed as a yogi,
and began a worldwide mission to bring this system, referred to as "Babaji`s Kriya Yoga" to thousands of
aspirants. In 1970 to 1971 he initiated the author, M. Govindan, into all 144 Kriyas. M. Govindan
practiced these intensively on the average for eight hours per day for 18 years under Yogi Ramaiah's
guidance in India, the USA and Canada. In 1983, Yogi Ramaiah gave him rigorous conditions to fulfill to
begin initiating others. After fulfilling these, Babaji himself appeared to Govindan in 1988 and directed
him to go and teach His Kriya Yoga to others.

Babaji gradually reveals himself to his devotees and disciples, capturing their hearts in various types of
personal devotional relationships in which he guides them in their development. His relationship with
each of us is unique and according to our individual needs and nature. He is our personal Guru. As our
hearts expand our communion with Him culminates with the "universal vision of love," wherein one
witnesses Babaji in everything.

Fortunately, Babaji has at times come out from behind the veils of anonymity which he finds so useful
for his work. Babaji has appeared to Swami Satyaswarananda in the Kumaon Hills of the Himalayas, in
the early 1970`s and given him the assignment of translating and publishing the writings of Lahiri
Mahasaya. This he has done in a series, the "Sanskrit Classics," from his home in San Diego, California.
Shibendu Lahiri, one of the great-grandsons of Lahiri Mahasaya, also claims to have been visited by
Babaji, at his home, in the late 1980's. Babaji is said to have blessed him in his efforts to teach Kriya Yoga
all over the world. Babaji gave his "darshan" on the vital plane to the author, M. Govindan, in October
1999, on two occasions. This occurred 30 kilometers north of Badrinath, at an altitude of nearly 5,000
meters, at the source of the Alakananta River. During these visitations, Babaji appeared as a radiant
youth, with copper colored hair, clad in a simple white "dhoti" or waist cloth, and allowed Govindan to
touch his feet.

One cannot really know who Babaji is, or even begin to conceive of his grandeur, without appreciating
the culture of the Siddhas from which he has emerged. Rather than seeking an other worldly escape in
some heaven, after realizing the presence of the Divine within, the Siddhas sought to surrender their
entire being to It, and to allow It to manifest at all levels. They sought a complete transformation of our
human nature.

"Thirumandiram," by the Siddha Thirumoolar, written in the 2nd to 4th century A.D. in 3,000 gemlike
verses, reveals the breath and depth of the Siddhas attainments. Our research has revealed that
Thirumoolar was a brother disciple of Boganathar, Babaji's guru, and of Patanjali, one of the most well
known sources of Yoga. While most of the Siddha's literature has not been translated outside of their
native language of Tamil and Sanskrit, there exist a few good studies, most notably Dr. Kamil Zvelibil's
"Poets of the Powers," and Professor David Gordon White"s "The Alchemical Body." Both of these
academic works demonstrate at length the remarkable attainments of the Siddhas, and reveal that
Babaji was not some unique extraterrestrial. He manifests what Sri Aurobindo referred to and aspired to
for all humanity: "the supramental transformation" of our human nature, perhaps the next step in our
evolutionary process. As such, he is not our savior. Nor is he the founder of some religion. He does not
seek our adulation or even our recognition. Like all of the Siddhas, he has surrendered completely to the
Supreme Being, the Supreme Abstraction, and as a divine instrument, brings down into this murky world
the clear light of consciousness, unconditional joy and supreme peace. May everyone achieve this
greatest human potential.