Lineage of Kriya Masters
Throughout the history of creation, the divine teachings of Kriya Yoga were introduced and lost countless times, in accordance with the different cycles of human consciousness.
The contemporary re-introduction of Kriya Yoga began in 1861 in a remote mountain cave in northern India, and has been since then transmitted through an unbroken lineage of realized masters.
Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj
This Kalpayogi ("Supreme Yogi") is a great incarnation of God who is deemed immortal. He travels in the astral plane and projects a human form at will to appear to a few highly realized disciples. Our Gurudev Baba Hariharananda spent nearly eleven year in silence and seclusion in the Karar ashram in Puri before obtaining Babaji's holy vision, darshan, and blessings, ashirbad. Babaji guides the whole of humanity from the distance and is very rarely observed in human form. He came to Lahiri Mahasaya to reintroduce the lost ancient yogic science, and he gave it the name "Kriya Yoga" for this age. The only known authentic, direct disciple of Babaji is Lahiri Mahasaya.
Shri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-1895)
Known as a Yogavatar ("Incarnation of Yoga"), Lahiri Mahasaya was a supervisor, married with children, working for the construction department of the Railway Company in Varanasi. One day in 1861 his office sent him by "mistake" (in fact a transfer brought about by the mystical power of Babaji himself) to the Ranikhet mountains, where Babaji appeared to him and initiated him into Kriya Yoga, and gave him the mission to spread it to the world. He chose Lahiri Mahasaya partly to demonstrate that humble grihastas (householders) can attain the highest level of realization — that it was not confined only to sannyasins (monks and hermits). In fact when a few years later the great Trailanga Swami — the roaming naked saint — heard that Lahiri Mahasaya was on his way to pay his respects to him, he immediately stood up in joy and embraced him. After Lahiri Baba left, one of the Swami's disciple asked the saint why he — a supreme sannyasin — showed so much respect to a simple householder. Trailanga Swami replied "He has attained the yoga stage while remaining a householder, for which I had to discard even my loincloth!" Lahiri Baba is today known as the "Father of modern Kriya Yoga", as he initiated and guided thousands of devotees while remaining in his family and at his job.
Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri (1855-1936)
This great Jñanavatar ("Incarnation of Knowledge") was originally a householder named Priyanath Karar. He later renounced the world and became known as Swami Shriyukteshwarji. He was one of the foremost disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya, and was vastly learned in astronomy, astrology and mathematics. He wrote commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and, at the behest of Babaji himself, a luminous book exposing the similarities between Hindu and Christian teachings (The Holy Science).
He founded an ashram in Serampore, in the suburbs of Calcutta, and later the Karar Ashram in Puri, in the state of Orissa, where he initiated and guided thousands of disciples.
Among Swami Shriyukteshwar’s many direct disciples are:
- Paramahamsa Yogananda
- Swami Satyananda Giri
- Swami Narayan Giri (a.k.a. Prabhuji)
- Acharya Motilal Mukherjee
- Acharya Bijoy Kumar Chatterjee
- Paramahamsa Hariharananda
Shrimat Bhupendranath Sanyal (1877-1962)
Bhupendranath Sanyal Mahasaya was one of the youngest disciples of Lahiri Baba, having received initiation at age fifteen and being made yogacharya at age eighteen. As a householder, greatly advanced in spirituality, he founded an ashram called Gurudham in Puri, Orissa, and another called Mandar in Bhagalpur, Bihar. Author of many books, his writings are precious gems of spirituality. He is most famous for his profound knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita about which he wrote a metaphorical interpretation in the light of Kriya Yoga, in three volumes.Baba Hariharananda received initiation into the 4th, 5th and (final) sixth kriya from him in Puri.
Among Bhupendranath Sanyal’s many direct disciples are:
- Acharya Nikhil Dey
- Acharya Sailendranath Mukherjee
- Acharya Jwala Prasad Tiwari
- Acharya Sunil Kumar Ghosh
- Paramahamsa Hariharananda
Paramahamsa Yogananda (1893 - 1952)
Known as a Premavatar ("Incarnation of Love"), Paramahamsa Yogananda was the pioneer of Kriya Yoga in the west. Originally known as Mukunda Lal Gosh, he trained with Swami Shriyukteshwar from 1909 to 1920, before receiving the divine command from Babaji Maharaj to travel to the West and spread the message of Kriya Yoga worldwide. It was in California that he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship. He returned to his beloved in India only in 1935 to be re-united with his guru Shriyukteshwarji shortly before the latter's demise. He returned to the West in 1936 where he remained until his mahasamadhi in 1952, sharing the teachings of Kriya Yoga to millions of people worldwide through his lectures, correspondence courses, books, and initiations.
His Autobiography of a Yogi is one of the most well-known spiritual classics in the world.
Among Paramahamsa Yogananda's many direct disciples are:
- J. Swami Atmananda Giri
- Swami Vidyananda Giri
- Yogacharya J. Lynn (a.k.a. Rajarshi Janakananda)
- Sister Faye Wright (a.k.a. Daya Mata)
- Roy Eugene Davis
- Yogacharya Donald Walters (a.k.a. Swami Kriyananda)
- Sister Gyanamata
- Yogacharya Oliver Black
- Yogacharya Bob Raymer
- Paramahamsa Hariharananda
Swami Satyananda Giri (1896-1971)
Young Manmohan Mazumdar was a childhood friend of Paramahamsa Yogananda, and was later known as Swami Satyananda. He was a highly educated (B.S. Honors in Philosophy) and spiritually advanced monk disciple of Shriyukteshwarji. He was head of the Ranchi School and later served as sadhu sabhapati (president) of the Karar Ashram founded by Shriyukteshwar and remained thus until he left his physical form in 1971. He established an organization called Sevayatan (Satsanga Mission) in Jharagram in the Medinipur district of Bengal, and looked after the social and spiritual upliftment of the local population, especially the poor and villagers. He will always be remembered as a simple, noble and loving soul of the highest realization. He appointed Paramahamsa Hariharananda to be President of the Karar Ashram after his death.
Among Swami Satyananda's many direct disciples are:
Paramahamsa Hariharananda (1907-2002)
Last of the lineage is the Karunavatar ("Incarnation of Compassion") of this age. From his earliest childhood he was drawn to the spiritual life, and showed remarkable intellectual talents. He had the heart of Buddha, the willpower of Moses, the compassion of Jesus, the penetrating mind of Shankara... and above all, he was Hariharananda. He had memorized and understood all of the major scriptures including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Holy Bible, the Qu'ran and the Torah.
Paramahamsa Hariharananda was also a rare yogi. He had obtained the highest yogic state, the pulselessness and breathlessness state — also known as nirvikalpa samadhi — a fact observed by numerous medical doctors. Paramahamsa Hariharananda was completely free from any religious dogma or sectarian belief. His outlook was reflected in his scientific approach of the teaching of Kriya Yoga. His whole life was oriented and focused on teaching spirituality. To meet and receive his blessing was an opportunity that will be long cherished and remembered.
Among Paramahamsa Hariharananda's many direct disciples are:
- Swami Premananda Giri
- Br. Swarupananda Giri
- Rajarshi Raghabanand Nayak
- Rajarshi Peter van Breukelen
- Swami Prajñanananda Giri
- Swami Brahmananda Giri
- Swami Shuddhananda Giri
- Swami Vidyadhishananda Giri
- Yogi Sarveshwarananda Giri
- Swami Mangalananda Giri