In Autobiography of a Yogi, the tale of Lahiri Mahasaya's first encounter with Babaji, as told by Swami Kebalananda and Sri Yukteswar, unfolds with Lahiri Mahasaya being mysteriously summoned to Ranikhet in the Himalayas. This seemingly mundane transfer was the first step towards a spiritual revelation that would profoundly impact his life.
A Divine Call in the Himalayas
While exploring the Himalayan hills, Lahiri Mahasaya hears his name called in the wilderness, leading him to a remote clearing adorned with caves. Here he meets a young man with an uncanny resemblance to himself. This man, revealing himself to be Babaji, welcomes Lahiri Mahasaya into a cave, triggering memories of a past life connection between them.
The Revelation of a Past Life
In the cave, Babaji gently awakens Lahiri Mahasaya's memories of a previous life where he had been Babaji's disciple. This realization fills Lahiri with overwhelming joy and devotion, as he recalls his past incarnation spent in the same cave under Babaji's guidance.
Babaji's Cosmic Play and Initiation
Babaji reveals that he orchestrated Lahiri's transfer to Ranikhet and demonstrates his divine powers by materializing a majestic golden palace. This palace, a manifestation of Babaji's will, serves as the venue for Lahiri's initiation into Kriya Yoga, fulfilling a deep-seated desire of Lahiri Mahasaya for a grandeur spiritual experience.
The Dematerialization of the Palace
After the initiation ceremony, the splendid palace and its gardens vanish, reiterating the ephemeral nature of material manifestations. Babaji emphasizes the idea that the divine encompasses both the spiritual and the mundane, and the true essence of reality lies beyond physical forms.
Babaji's Profound Teachings
Babaji imparts essential spiritual lessons to Lahiri Mahasaya, emphasizing the importance of fulfilling one's duties in the world while remaining inwardly detached. He instructs Lahiri Mahasaya to return to his worldly responsibilities, assuring him that spiritual liberation is not confined to hermits but is accessible to all, including householders.
The Universal Accessibility of Kriya Yoga
In a significant moment, Babaji relaxes the stringent rules for Kriya Yoga discipleship, allowing Lahiri Mahasaya to impart this sacred knowledge more widely. This decision marks a pivotal moment in making spiritual practices more accessible to earnest seekers worldwide.
Lasting Impact and Final Blessings in Autobiography of a Yogi
The chapter concludes with Lahiri Mahasaya's return to his normal life, enriched by the profound experiences and teachings of Babaji. He carries with him the wisdom and blessings of his divine encounter, ready to share the spiritual riches with the world.
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