We are often inclined to focus on God as the Creator of the Universe and as our personal protector and savior. During every age, however, God also enters human form to embody Perfect Love, Compassion, Humility and Divinity for all humankind. Those manifestations of God in human form inspire and gently remind us that Divinity exists within each of us and that it is both our potential and our destiny to one day attain that same, perfect union with God. The world today is actively blessed by one of God's great Himalayan saints, Brahmarishi Baba Lokenath, who became God in Human Form after 80 years of yogic austerities. Baba Lokenath lived from 1730-1890. Such a life span, though difficult to grasp by the western mind, is not unheard of among great Yogis.
As an Embodiment of Love, Baba Lokenath promises us, "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." Baba Lokenath calls to us, reaching across the distance of a century, to uplift every dimension of our lives. He reaches out to us with intense love and compassion. He extends an active and intervening hand of grace to heal our ills and personal deficiencies, however large or small, however tenacious they may seem, however hopeless we may feel about them.
Baba Lokenath has said, "I can do whatever I like. It is only your lack of trust and lack of belief that keeps your desires unfulfilled. 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." In His life, Baba Lokenath was a perfect disciple, humbly surrendered at the lotus feet of His beloved Guru. Baba was granted enlightenment of the highest order after 80 years of intense austerities in the jungles of the lower plains and in the snow-covered regions of the Himalayas. His compassion was evident after He became enlightened, when Baba discovered that He had surpassed His Guru. Despite having led Lokenath to the exalted state, Guru Bhagwan Ganguly had not yet attained liberation. Lokenath was stricken with sadness and filled with compassion when He realized this. He wept for His Master. Understanding Lokenath's tears, Guru Bhagwan smiled tenderly and reassured his disciple there was only cause for joy. Guru Bhagwan announced that He would shed his old body soon and then return quickly to Lokenath as a disciple. Lokenath could then lead him to enlightenment. Upon hearing Guru Bhagwan's plan, Lokenath was overwhelmed with gratitude and agreed. Weeping with joy, Lokenath prostrated at His Master's feet.
Baba Lokenath's relationship with Guru Bhagwan is unique in its tenderness. It is rare, if not unprecedented, for the disciple to accept responsibility for leading the master to realization of Ultimate Reality. The reversal of the Guru and disciple roles, with the newly enlightened disciple immediately prostrating Himself at the unenlightened Guru's feet and the Guru requesting his disciple to lead him to enlightenment, is an exquisite and touching revelation of mutual, mirrored humility. It serves to remind us of the true selflessness of all genuine spiritual attainment, as well as of the endless, delicate and unpredictable beauty of divine unfoldment.
Baba Lokenath attained a state of Divinity which is beyond human comprehension. While most yogis focus on a particular yogic path of Jnana (the path of discriminating knowledge), Karma (the path of Selfless action), Bhakti (the Path of Devotional surrender to the Divine), or Ashtanga (Patanjali's) Yoga, Baba diligently practiced the principles of all four. Baba Lokenath is the Divine Incarnation of Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and Ashtanga Yoga. Mastering their respective disciplines, Baba became the incarnation of their synthesis, the living essence and full embodiment of the Universal Religion of Love, the Sanatana Dharma, which is taught in the Bhagavad 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'. Baba's mastery was at every level of being and form. He attained total divinity in human form, which His name, Lokenath (Master of the Worlds) denotes. Baba Lokenath realized Ultimate Perfection on the physical plane, the divinization of human form, which is the final and most difficult transformation, through an extraordinarily prolonged period of sadhana.
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."
From his earliest days, Lokenath's family exposed Him to the highest principles of the vedas. They wanted to allow spiritual knowledge to develop in him, along with a sense of renunciation and love for God. He never went to school for a formal, secular education, despite His destiny to one day become an Incarnation of Wisdom. When He was 11 years old, Lokenath received initiation from His Guru, Bhagwan Ganguly, and left home to live the life of a spiritual renunciate.
Guru Bhagwan knew the magnitude of enlightenment Lokenath was to attain. For a period of thirty to forty years, the Guru guided Lokenath in the practices of the necessary yogic disciplines and hatha yoga. When Baba became interested in practicing raja yoga, His Gurudev tested His perfection of hatha yoga. After demonstrating that He could cook sweet rice pudding in a pot placed between His upper thighs, Lokenath began lessons in raja yoga. Lengthy and rigorous vows of fasting were regularly observed for thirty to forty years. Under the guidance of His beloved Guru, Baba withstood repeated, almost inconceivable austerities.
These 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?"
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