Monday, July 25, 2011

The Amazing Baba Lokenath

The contents of this post have been extracted from various websites dedicated to this amazing saint. I have omitted the miracle stories and picked up only his life and words. During my recent visit to Sodhpur I was facinated by the fact that my great grand father (who could have seen Baba Lokenath) had built a temple dedicated to Baba Lokenath at Sodhpur. Today this temple is a major place.

His Life

Baba Lokenath Brahmachari was born on Janmastami, the 29th August 1730 in the village of Chaurasi Chakla, named as Kochua, a couple of miles from Kolkata. At the age of 11, young Lokenath left home with his guru Acharya Bhagawan Ganguly. He went to Kalighat Temple in Kolkata and then went on to live in the forests for 25 years and later on in the Himalayas, selflessly serving his master and practicing the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali along with the most difficult Hatha Yoga during 80 years of yogic austerities. Faithfully traversing the diverse paths and disciplines of Yoga, Lokenath eventually reached the pinnacle of Realization. He attained enlightenment, the state of being one with the Absolute at the age of ninety.

Baba Lokenath was nearly seven feet tall with little flesh on him. He had intense eyes and always radiated energy. Denying the needs of his physical self, he negated sleep, never closed his eyes or even blinked. He went about stark naked and in that state he braved the chill of the Himalayas and immersed himself in profound meditation or samadhi to attain siddhi.

After his enlightenment he traveled extensively on foot to Afghanistan, Persia, Arabia, Israel, China and the Northern continent. He made three pilgrimages to Mecca after understanding Islam. Later when he arrived at the small town Baradi near Dhaka, a small hermitage was built for him, which became his ashram. There finally he accepted to cloth himself, took on the saffron robes and lived for many more decades guiding his followers. His teachings were infused with simplicity that endeared the common man. He preached love and devotion and an unwavering faith in God and in one's deeper, immutable self. For him nothing is but self.

On the 1st June, 1890, Sunday, at 11:45 am, Baba Lokenath was meditating when he went into a trance with his eyes open, and while still in meditation, left his physical body forever. He was aged 160. Such a life span from 1730-1890, though difficult to grasp by the modern mind, is not unheard of among great Yogis.

His Enlightenment

There were a number of times when Baba did speak of his enlightened state. His expression of identification with the ultimate truth flows like devine music from the world beyond.

"Words are such poor vehicles to express the inner experience. Any attempt to reduce it to words only belittles the Ultimate Truth. It is like the mute trying to express the taste of nectar."

"Everything that exists in the infinite creation exists within myself. The whole Universe is within me. I am existence beyond space, time and causation. My existence is without beginning or end. I exist in eternal expansion. These words are not meant to be shared. That is the reason you see me spending time with the householders, granting their mundane demands. Do not think when I am busy with you all in worldly matters, that I lose touch with that blissful state. No. Whoever achieves that state can never fall from it. Nothing can ever again be seen in isolation. Everything is seen as the expression of the One. In variety is the taste of Unity."

"Because I eat, drink, attend to the call of nature and live like any one of you, you think of me as one like you. Your greatest mistake is to think of me as a body. How am I to explain who I am? Everyone is so involved in the fulfillment of small desires, so unconscious, so forgetful of the true 'I'.

There is also a Vedic text which explains Baba's state of Yoga: "The One Divine Being is hidden in all beings; He is omnipresent, the Indwelling Self of all beings, the witness, and the one who imparts consciousness, unconditioned and without qualities." (Svetasvatara Upanishad. 6.11)

Recalling His time in the Himalayas, Baba Lokenath said, "While in samadhi, heaps of snow would cover my
body and would melt away. In that sublime state I had no feeling of the existence of my body. I was in that state of samadhi for a long time. Then, finally the effortless state of the Ultimate Truth was revealed. In that state of consciousness, there was no difference between me, the rest of the cosmos and all its manifestations. The inner and the outer all merged into each other as an expression of ultimate bliss, absolute joy. There is no state beyond this to be achieved in human life with total effort and divine grace."

His teachings

Conscious Awareness

To the question, "What is the path to a happy and peaceful life?" Baba spontaneously replied, "Do whatever you like, but do it consciously, with a sense of awareness." The questioner, however, continued, "If you give me permission to do as I please, then what would you say if I hit somebody's head with a stick?" Baba smiled and replied, "Do it and see. I asked you to perform all actions consciously. Once you become conscious and aware, you will find that your conscience will prevent you from hurting anyone." The evils in society are perpetrated because awareness is absent. All evil actions are the result of unconsciousness. A seeker should try to practice all activities in a state of awareness. This is the most important "abhyasa-yoga" or spiritual practice for the aspirant. Most recurring actions that flow from lust, anger, greed, jealousy and the like manifest only in a state of unawareness. The seeds of these tendencies lie dormant in the subconscious layers of the mind.

To seekers of truth and bliss Baba gave another fruitful instruction. "If you intend to become spiritual, you must analyze your actions and thoughts each day before you go to bed at night. You must assess the good actions and evil actions and come to a firm resolution not to repeat evil actions anymore."

Be Angry but under control

Baba also says, "Be angry but do not become blind with anger." Never allow anger to possess you. Then it blinds you. When anger is given free rein, it bursts out and causes damage -- not only to the person at whom the anger is directed, but also, more seriously, at all levels of being to the one who is angry. Let anger become conscious. Step back, be a witness to anger and its mechanisms, to what is appropriate and inappropriate in the situation. The show of appropriate anger in daily life may be inevitable. The parent chastising a child, the teacher reprimanding the student, may call out a display of anger in protective guidance. No one should be consumed by anger. Remain a vehicle of appropriate and conscious expressions of anger, always working for the highest possible good. Then anger cannot possess or damage the mind or body, or thwart the purposes of the soul.

Become the Gita

Baba became the living essence and full embodiment of the Universal Religion of Love, the Sanatana Dharma, which is taught in the Bhagavad Gita. He says The Gita is not some reading material that needs to be read regularly as a routine. You must become the Gita - that is the whole purpose of the Gita.” From the essence of His exalted being, Baba emphasized to His devotees that the Bhagavad Gita is infinitely more than scripture. It is an eternal song meant to be sung through the medium of our lives. As the living example of His own teaching, Baba came to be called 'The Song of the Living Gita'.

Know yourself and that's enough

The yoga practices were a comprehensive training for Baba's soul. When Lokenath asked about the need to study scripture, his Gurudev replied that He should not waste time acquiring borrowed knowledge from books. Instead, Guru Bhagwan advised him to utilize the practice of yoga, "If You know who you are, you will come to know everything. There is nothing in this external, manifested world which is not within you. Believe my words; there is no truth without, because your atman is 'sarvatbhutatman,' the Atman seated in the hearts of all creatures. In you is the dormant seed form of all the knowledge, power and wealth of this entire creation. Why should you leave the diamond and waste time on pieces of glass?"

Divine Presence for all times to come

Today, Baba is no longer in his physical body. He is the Divine, all-pervading presence, the presence that works silently in the hearts of all who are devoted to Him. Baba said, “I have everything in me. What you need in life, you have only to take. Do not think that with the death of this body everything will come to an end. I shall be as available to you as ever when I was in my physical body. Only the body will be burnt to ashes. That 'I' which is not the body will never perish. I am the Changeless, Immutable One who is never lost nor finished. Where and whenever anybody needs my help, I shall be available forever after."

Love pure and unbiased

One day, Baba was visited by a pundit from a local school who proceeded to lecture him on the scriptures. As the pundit was talking, a crow began making an unpleasant sound which the pundit found intolerable. He threw a stone to make the crow fly away only to have the bird return immediately to the same branch and resume making noise. To Baba, the bird was freely expressing the beauty of its existence through its own sound. When the pundit tried to drive it away a second time, Baba interfered. "You have driven away the crow because the sound seemed very unpleasant to your ears, but your sound, too, seems to me equally unpleasant and disturbing." The pundit was shocked because a crow is a crow and man is the master, superior to all creatures. To Baba, each and every creature is itself a manifestation of divinity. He felt the same about the smallest ant as the highest being. As a result, hate had no place in his heart. Baba wants us to know that nothing should be looked down upon.

His words of wisdom, of love and compassion

"Whenever you are in danger, whether in war, forest, ocean or jungle, remember me. I shall save you. You may not know me. You may not realize who I am. Just pray to me with a little touch of your heart and I shall free you from gripping sorrows and miseries."

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

I willingly reveal myself to you. Therefore, you are in a position to reach me, or else, it is impossible.”

I am eternal, I am deathless. After this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Who so ever will seek my refuge, will always receive my Grace.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My child, never miss the opportunity to meet the realized saints, for their blessings and presence will inspire deeper devotion and love for the divine and Guru. Satsang, being in the company of the holy ones, who live the truth, is the greatest blessing of the Lord.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I have seen only myself. I am bound by my own karma. The materialistic world is bound by the tongue and the sex organ. He who can restrain these two is fit to attain siddhi (enlightenment)."

Monday, July 4, 2011


Live within limits, in restraint, within own minimum capability; be compassionate, with joy in the happiness of others, equanimous, loving kindness towards all beings.

Control over all six sense organs, in denial of sense pleasure, with full understanding of sense objects, in control of own reaction, do not entertain any craving or aversion, know their temporariness, their rise and fall.

Observe and understand own ego, its need for identity, existence and security, its falsity, non reality, do not indulge the me and mine thoughts, speak good, think positive.

Live in acceptance gratefulness and humility, all your needs are provided for, work with honesty, work to best of ability and leave the results to nature, trust your life to unfold whatever is good and necessary.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Do the thing which is compatible with your life

Keep doing that thing which is compatible to your life. Walking in the mountains, there can be many blockages like weather swings, rain, landslide, slippery paths and wild animals. Though walking in the mountains sounds simple, it is not so. It may not suit many. It may not suit someone all the time. But when something goes well for you, works for you then be thankful. Grateful and thankful to everything and everyone who helped to make it work for you. When you radiate gratefulness it is love for others that you are projecting. Love begets more love and you get love in return. Things continue to work well for you.

When things are not working for you, then possibly (a) you are involved in doing the wrong thing or (b) you are involved in doing things wrongly. One couple whom I met at Dhakuri during my trek, were from Bangalore. They had ventured for the first time on a trek and had a four men team of guide and porters with them. They arrived at Dhakuri when it was raining heavily. They wanted to go to Pindari but due to bad weather then decided to go to Kafni instead. They did not reach Kafni glacier due to rains and had to turn back to camp. They were having a bad time. Suddenly the man found that a task was waiting for him at Bangalore and they decided to prepone their return plans. I again met them at Dao and they were resigned and philosophical to the fact that it is the journey that is important and not the destination. They cancelled their train tickets took an early flight back. This was a very typical case of doing the wrong thing in life.

Your life has certain circumstances meant for you. Good or bad you cannot escape them. Your inner voice lets you know but you have to see and to listen. If things work well and you are at peace doing it, then it is meant for you. If you find such a space, be humble. When suddenly you face a tough time, accept that also humbly. Humility gives strength, humility gives detachment and detachment is strength. When you are involved in things meant for you and you are doing it the right way with humility and gratefulness, all life forms and all other energies with all their wishes and force will conspire to help you. Neither wealth nor fame is a criterion here, these are mere circumstances. The only criterion is peace of mind.

Finally be satisfied with what you get from life. Life always gives what you deserve never what you desire. So deserve first. During my time at Sunderdoong valley, I went upto Baloni Top and returned the same day. I did not visit Devikund nor did I go upto the Maiktoli base camp though it was all within reach. I was exhausted and neither was the weather promising. I realized that may never get another chance to see these places. But why should I feel bad about destinations I have not achieved. I feel at peace with all that I have achieved.


The traveler, who travels the road with no baggage, travels the happiest. Baggage means things which are mine, a metaphor for I me myself, the ego. Baggage means material things as well as psychological matters. They weigh down the traveler. The road goes up and down. While going up the baggage becomes a burden but after reaching the height the mood changes into euphoria with a sense of achievement. While coming down a loss in sense balance can translate into a bad fall and everything could come crashing down. All such extreme emotional swings happen only because of the baggage of me and mine that the traveler carries.

Sense of achievement comes from being able to retain all that which is me and mine while facing adversities thereby projecting a strong image. However such achievements and rejoicing are temporary and short lived. One achievement does not ensure the next achievement. The next movement can result in failure. One can get hurt on the road leading to extreme unhappiness. A deeper look would clearly show that it is the destruction of the baggage that makes the pain unbearable. The same argument holds true that failures are also not permanent. Therefore let the road go up and down, that should not be a cause to rejoice nor be sad. These are natural movements of the road and not anything related or centric to the traveler. Let them be.

Don’t permit any baggage to hamper your movements. Discard them. Try moving on the road without any baggage and experience the happiness, the lightness, the swiftness and easiness. This holds good whether you are moving on the mountain trek or on the road of life. Good luck.