“Whenever you are in danger, – whether in the middle of the ocean, or in the midst of the battlefield, or in the deepest jungle – think of me and I will deliver you to safety.”
These are the words from the very lips of that great Maharshi – the greatest yogi ever born – Yogavatar Baba Lokenath Brahmachari. He is the Living Gita; he is the Purnavatar; he is the divine synthesis of Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and Ashtanga Yoga. He is the Holy incarnation of the universal religion of love and compassion as preached by the Bhagvadgita.
Born in the year 1730, Sri Sri Lokenath Brahmachari was the fourth son of Ram Narayan Ghosal and Kamala Devi. Ram Narayan was a deeply religious person and had decided that his first-born son would be dedicated to the life of austerity. But motherly love was too great a bond for Kamala Devi to break and she could give up neither her first born, nor the second born, not even the third born. At last, the divine scheme of things was at play when the forth son was born to her. With the baby in her lap, whose body was glowing with a divine radiance, she knew that at last the time was ripe for the fulfilment of her husband’s greatest wish. She knew that she could not bind this child with the fetters of her own attachment, so she let him follow the path of spiritual awakening.
In the neighbouring village lived Sri Bhagwan Ganguly, a householder (Grihi) sanyasi and a scholar of great reputation. Ram Narayan approached this great person to become the Acharya Guru of Lokenath and perform the sacred thread ceremony and to lead his son to the path of spiritual deliverance. So, when Lokenath reached eleven years of age, Guru Bhagwan chose the most auspicious day to initiate him as well as his bosom friend, Benimadhav. The three of them then left home to live in the jungles. Travelling for many miles, they came to Kalighat, near Calcutta (now Kolkata), a holy pilgrim site in eastern India, and the seat of Shakti. At that time, the place was full of sadhus and sanyasis, with long matted hair, and wearing loincloths. Lokenath and his friend started feeling at home right from the beginning in the midst of these holy men – who never told them anything even when they would disturb them in their meditation by pulling at their hair and their loincloths.
Then one day, having learnt that they too were destined to become like these sanyasis, Lokenath asked his guru to take them away from this place immediately because he wanted to sever all ties with his family, who knew where they were and were still sending them money and clothes for them. So the three of them moved away from Kalighat and went into deeper jungles.
Like a loving mother did Guru Bhagwan prepare the two boys for the hard life of austerity and renunciation. Under his able guidance, the boys, in addition to the practice of deep meditation, also observed various fasting vows that lasted – starting from a single day – to two days, then for three, five, nine and twelve days and then a fortnight. When the fasting lasted for a full month, twice in a row, Benimadhav could not complete his vow the second time, while Lokenath could do it easily. During the long years that these vows were being observed, Guru Bhagwan took complete care of his two disciples, from begging alms, to preparing their food, and even attending to their calls of nature. Afterwards, Baba Lokenath would always speak of his Guru with tears in his eyes and his voiced choked with emotion.
In accordance with the injunction of the Shastras that a sanyasi should visit his native place of birth after practising meditation and renunciation for twelve years, Lokenath and Benimadhav returned to their birthplace with (ruru Bhagwan Ganguly. Now at his native place, Baba Lokenath found himself gradually being engulfed into the web of Maha-Maya and the scheme of sensual indulgence as arranged by the Divine Mother. Many a day passed and never once did Guru Bhagwan remonstrate Lokenath for his behaviour, neither did he ask him to break his attachment and come away. Like the great teacher and proficient reader of the human mind that he was, Guru Bhagwan waited patiently for the time when Lokenath would have had enough of the test of the Divine Maya and would, of his own accord, tear himself away from his worldly attachments.
When the time was ripe, the three mendicants were once again on the road, this time towards that heavenly abode of peace and tranquillity, the peaceful abode of the spiritual seekers – the Great Himalayas. It was here that Baba Loknath attained his Enlightenment, that state of being one with the universe and its Creator. After spending fifty years among the snows of the Himalayas, Loknath, along with his Guru and his friend, proceeded towards Mecca and Medina, wishing to study the Holy Koran under an able teacher. Walking all the way, they reached Kabul, where they stayed for some time with Mullahsadi, who was known for his poetry and his brilliant commentaries of the Koran. From Kabul, the three yogis went to Mecca and thence to Medina. While walking through the desert to Medina, they met with Abdul Gaffar who was himself a yogi of high attainment. Baba Loknath would later say the following about this great man –
“I have travelled extensively all over the world and could find only two real Brahmans beside myself- one is Abdul Gaffar, and the other – Trailangya Swami.”
He would also say about himself – “I am a MusalmarT, Such are the subtle ways in which Baba Loknath taught us the universality of all great religions.”
While staying at Mecca, Guru Bhagwan decided it was time for him to leave his old and worn out mortal body behind and for that purpose, they came back to Varanasi, the holiest of all pilgrim sites, on the bank of the River Ganga. Here, Guru Bhagwan placed Ihe caring of Loknath and Benimadhav into the hands of Sri Hithlal Mishra, also known popularly as Trailangya Swami. Thus being free from his only worry in the world – that of placing his two beloved disciples under an able teacher and guide – Guru Bhagwan left his physical body while in deep meditation at Manikarnika Ghat.
After Guru Bhagwan passed away, the great yogis – Loknath, Benimadhav and Trailangya Swami, went on foot to visit the western world. According to Baba Loknath, their travels to the west were only limited by the sea. They went through various parts of Europe, Persia, Arabia, Afghanistan and other places, only to return to the loving lap of the Himalayas. Now Baba Loknath had this urge to follow the route that the Pancha Pandavas took during Maha-Prasthan. The three yogis walked through the Himalayas, visited the Manasarovar and went still northwards, crossing the borders of Siberia, until they reached the land of “no-sun”. Here they stayed for a long time and then came down to the plains. It was at this time that first Trailangya Swami, in China, and then Benimadhav, in Assam, parted ways with Baba Loknath and went on their own separate ways.
Baba Loknath was all alone when he walked into the village of Daudkandi in Tripura, where, through his divine grace, he rescued a man called Dengu Karmakar from the clutches of death. Dengu instantly became an ardent devotee of Baba Loknath, and it was he who was responsible for bringing Baba to Baradi, which was Dengu’s home. He gave Loknath a place to stay in his home, despite the admonitions of his family members.
Baradi was destined to become the seal of Baba1 s divine play, because it was here that Loknath revealed his divinity and infinite grace to the people of the world, everybody in and around Baradi used to consider him a naked madman and would not take him seriously. One day, a few Brahmins were busily preparing the sacred thread and in the process, the thread became knotted, they could not untangle the knots and started to quarrel among themselves. Baba Loknath appeared before them and asked them if they were real Brahmins, then why do they not know the technique of untying the sacred thread. The Brahmins reacted sharply to this remonstration from someone whom they thought was a madman and wanted to dismiss him. But still, they felt the authority and divine radiance that glowed through his words and felt compelled to do his bidding. Two of the Brahmins began to pull at the ends of the entangled thread while Baba Loknath chanted the Gayatri Mahamantra in the purest pronunciation, and to everybody’s amazement the thread unravelled itself completely, without a single knot.
The news of this incident spread far and wide and the truth of Baba Loknath’s great attainment and his spiritual power was at last revealed to the whole world. People in large numbers began to flock to Baradi to have a darshan of the great yogavatar.
Baba stayed with Dengu at his home until the end of Dengu’s life. When he died, his family members started once more to object to his staying in their home. Baba, in his usual indifferent and compassionate nature told everybody that – “the world is my home and I am at home anywhere in the world'”, and would have left Baradi for some place else, had it not been for the Nag family. They were the richest landlords of Baradi and very devoted to Baba. They came forward this time and wanted to build an ashram for Baba to stay permanently in Baradi, if only he would permit it. Baba gave his permission but on one condition – the ashram should be built on untaxed land. Such a place was found to the east of Baradi Market – it was untaxed because it used to the cremation ground at one time. The ashram was built there, modelled after the hermitage of ancient rishis. After Baba moved there, the Nags requested him to put on some clothing, and so it was that after almost a hundred and forty years of living as a naked sadhu, Baba put the sacred thread around his neck and attired himself with a saffron robe. He then took his seat in the ashram in his yogic posture of Gomukhasana and began to spread his divine grace and spiritual treasures to the people of the world.
“I am eternal. I am deathless.” – Baba always said this to his devotees. He said, “After I leave this mortal body, I will live in the hearts of millions”. So it was that in the year 1890, on the 2nd of June, (18th Jaisthya), Baba entered into Mahasamadhi, the final journey to the beyond.
Baba’s body was carried outside and put upon the funeral pyre made of sandalwood. Hundreds of devotees gathered together to see the last rites of Baba and covered his body with their offerings. Then the pyre was lit and Baba’s mortal body was consumed in the fire
“I am the very existence. I will be always available to you. Have trust in my presence and you will always receive my grace.”