Lahiri Mahasaya was born on September 30, 1828, in the village of Ghurni in Bengal, India. At the age of thirty-three, while walking one day in the Himalayan foothills near Ranikhet, he met his guru, Mahavatar Babaji. It was a divine reunion of two who had been together in many lives past; at an awakening touch of blessing, Lahiri Mahasaya became engulfed in a spiritual aura of divine realization that was never to leave him.
Mahavatar Babaji initiated him in the science of Kriya Yoga and instructed him to bestow the sacred technique on all sincere seekers. Lahiri Mahasaya returned to his home in Banaras to fulfil this mission. As the first to teach the lost ancient Kriya science in contemporary times, he is renowned as a seminal figure in the renaissance of yoga that began in modern India in the latter part of the nineteenth century and continues to this day.
A significant feature of Lahiri Mahasaya’s life was his gift of Kriya initiation to those of every faith. Not Hindus only, but Moslems and Christians were among his foremost disciples. Monists and dualists, those of various faiths or of no established faith, were impartially received and instructed by the universal guru. One of his highly advanced chelas was Abdul Gufoor Khan, a Moslem.
Lahiri Mahasaya, belonging himself to the highest or Brahmin caste, made courageous efforts to dissolve the rigid caste bigotry of his time. Those from every walk of life found shelter under the master’s omnipresent wings. Like all other God-inspired prophets, Lahiri Mahasaya gave new hope to the outcasts and the downtrodden of society.
“Remember that you belong to no one and that no one belongs to you. Reflect that some day you will suddenly have to leave everything in this world — so make the acquaintance of God now,” the great guru told his disciples. “Prepare yourself for the coming astral journey of death by riding daily in a balloon of divine perception. Through delusion you are perceiving yourself as a bundle of flesh and bones, which at best is a nest of troubles.* Meditate unceasingly, that you quickly behold yourself as the Infinite Essence, free from every form of misery. Cease being a prisoner of the body; using the secret key of Kriya, learn to escape into Spirit.”