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Maha Avatar Babaji

Our Shuksma President of the Yoga University of the Americas


The immortal siddha we now know as Babaji was born in 203 AD in the coastal village of Swythan Nathapuram, in Tamil Nadu, South India, later called Porto Nova and today known as Parangipettai. His parents, Jnanambal and Vedaranya Iyer, named him Nagaraj. Little is known of his first few years, but in 208, while playing at the local Muruga Temple, he was kidnapped by a seafaring Pathan with the intention of selling him into servitude.

Roughly two years later, while passing through Calcutta, he was purchased by a wealthy benefactor named Ramananda who soon set him free. Nagaraj traveled to Kasi and lived there for about three years, studying Sanskrit and Vedanta and becoming widely known as a protégé and child scholar. Unsatisfied, however, with the accumulation of knowledge and acclaim, in 214 he traveled to Prayag and joined a group of Palkudi Baba (saints that live only on milk). In 217, he traveled with them to Karthirigama, a Muruga shrine at the southern end of Sri Lanka. He spent the following two years there doing tapas, intensive yogic sadhana. Thus he was able to win the Grace of the great Nath Siddha Boganathar, who became his Jnana Guru, or Guru of Wisdom. This marks the transformation of Nagaraj from a Vedantin to a Siddhantin.

Therefore around 219 AD, Babaji went to Kutralam, in the Pothigai mountains of South India, thought to be near Agasthiyar’s ashram. After two years of tapas with no darshan of the great sage, Babaji vowed to continue his tapas and fast until death unless Agasthiyar appeared. It was only at the point of death that the great Siddha appeared and taught him the sacred breathing techniques known as Kriya Kundalini Pranayam. Supercharged by this pranayam practice, Babaji soon attained Soruba Samadhi—the complete divinization of His being that included physical perfection and immortality.

Since then Babaji (we call him “the Master”) has worked behind the scenes for the development of all beings. Adapting and crystallizing the techniques of the Tamil Yoga Siddhas, he created the tradition of Babaji’s Kriya Yoga. He has been the force behind a number of great spiritual heroes such as Adi Shankaracharya, Kabirdas, Lahiri Mahasaya, Kali Kambliwala, Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda, and most recently, Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah. The Master is still here working for all of our ultimate salvations. His ashram, Gauri ShankarPeetam, is in the Himalayas near Badrinath. May we all meet there one day. 

Please see the section on Dr. Manoharan's profile under,  Faculty Members page for his connection with Maha Avatar Babaji .......Aum.

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