BABAJI is actually a lovingly expression for grandfather in India.
However worldwide now Babaji is more seen as the immortal angelic being that is taking care of humanity by inspiring saints and regular people to guide humanity and spread the knowledge that God is present in the heart of every human being.
There are several manifestation of Babaji that will be separately addressed here.
"Everybody who calls me with reverence will receive an instant blessing"
Munindra Maharaj or Munindra Bhagwan and is also known as old Haidakhan Baba. Nothing is known when and where He came from. Only from stories in the second half of the 19th century we have some information. In the Kumoun region now part of Utrakhand in North India His name is well known amongst devout people and praises are sung in the most wonderful words in local language since He roamed by Himself this area. We know He stayed in places that are very small villages like: Siddhashram at Shitalakhet, Chhedu Ashram For a long time Kausani, Kakarighat (with Somwari Baba), Dwarahat and Herakhan where He built the original temple with the help of villagers. There is a small but very beautiful booklet written by the brother of Vishnu Datt Shastri containing many stories of Munindra Maharaj. It was published as Haidakhan Baba, Known and Unknown. Is was later republished by the American Samaj as From age to age (warmly recommended). In this manifestation He performed supernatural feats like reviving people from death, including Himself, bi locate, multiply food, sitting in fires, change water into ghee. He also worked as a labourer on the Bhimtal Dam, He helped a devotee build his house with His own bare hands, not for some days but for months. He was proclaimed to be the ultimate Divine manifestation by other great saints like Somwari Baba. After returning from a trip to Kailash in Tibet Babaji visited a local King around the border of India and Nepal. On leaving the local king offered his palanquin to Babaji while the king himself helped to carry it. Arriving at the river nearby Babaji told everybody to stay while He crossed the river, sat down in the middle and disappeared in a flash of light.
Maha Avatar Babaji
Maha Avatar Babaji’s name and fame was spread in a big way all around the world by Paramhansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi. Through this great book so many people were inspired to go deeper into Yoga and Vedic mysticism. It was first published shortly after WWII in 1946 and is now available in over 50 languages worldwide. Some amazing stories in this book about many great saints and yogi’s dazzled the western world for the first time where Maha Avatar Babaji is depicted as inspiring all these great saints.
Babaji makes short appearances with Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar and Paramahansa Yogananda himself. The first reported encounter with Mahavatar Babaji was in 1861 with Lahiri Mahāsaya while walking in the hills of Dunaghiri not far from Ranikhet. He heard a voice calling his name and met a "tall, divinely radiant yogi" that was Mahavatar Babaji. According to this and other accounts, Mahavatar Babaji always made brief visits, never giving his name or where he stayed or came from.
Some other famous yogis like Swami Pranabananda had also several encounters with Babaji that are recording in his books.
Many of these saints knew each other or of each other and the stories about Babaji were more or less from the same time period of around 1860 to 1935. Slightly later it is documented that Babaji appeared to Annie Bessant (President of the Theosophical Society and mentor of Krishnamurti) and Mr Ramaiah and V.T. Neelakantan, a famous journalist bringing them together for an important spiritual work in 1942. These stories are well known and documented, but most probably there have been more encounters with Maha Avatar Babaji with more inconspicuous and undocumented yogis.
There are also other stories of the illusive Babaji where he is born in 203 CE in Tamil Nadu with the name Nagarjan. In other narrations he was with Jesus (in his lost years) in the Himalaya, 2000 years back. It is told that he played an important part in the Mahabharata what goes back even further, and is therefore not documented.
This form of Babaji appeared in early spring of 1970 in the cave at the foot of Mount Adi Kailash at Herakhan in a youthful body that appeared to be around 20 years old. Soon after climbed to the top of this mountain and stayed there in motionless meditation for 45 days without eating or drinking. News about Him spread and people came from far and wide. Devotees from Mahendra Maharaj who were told that the Lord Himself would come, came from far and wide and the news of His return spread like lightning. Babaji told the villagers at that time that people would come from all over the world to Herakhan. They loved and respected Him but He was not believed until they started coming in bigger and bigger numbers.
There were some disputes about His authenticity that were affirmed by a miraculous court case as well as a confirmation by Shri Nantin Maharaj, an old highly respected saint of the Kumoan region. He appeared to have no education, perhaps not able to read or write, yet it quickly became clear that He knew the Veda’s at the tip of His tongue and spoke in Tibetan and Arabic languages. He said He came to re-establish Sanatan Dharma, His main message for humanity is to live in Truth Simplicity and Love, and He stressed that Karma Yoga is the main teaching for this day and age along with the repetition of the Maha Mantra Aum Namah Shivaya. Many temples and a few ashrams where established around the world. Most of what Babaji spoke in the 14 years He walked amongst us, is recorded in a small book named The Teachings of Babaji that is nicely reorganised now in a book named I am You. On the 14th of February 1984 He took Maha Samadhi in Herakhan Vishwa Mahadham.
Shri Mahendra Maharaj
Babaji was invoked into a physical body on this earth by the prayers of a great saint called Mahendra Maharaj also know as Shri Charanashit Maharaj. Sri Mahendra Maharaj was born in the province of Bihar in India, in a small town called Manka. At the age of six, when he was still a child, he suffered from an incurable disease. To save him from this disease, Shri Munindra Maharaj appeared before him and in the child's pure heart, the image of the saint remained imprinted. As he grew up, he kept thinking and meditating on the image of this saint in his heart. On the day of his ninth birthday his mother asked him to go to a sweet-shop and buy some sweets. She gave him some money and when he went to the sweet-shop, he saw the same saint whom he had seen when he was a six-year-old boy. The saint was Sri Munindra Maharaj, blessed him and told him, "Son, here are some sweets for you. Go home. Today is your birthday. I give you my blessings.”
When Mahendra Maharaj came home and gave the money back to his mother and also the sweets, she was very surprised and asked, "Who paid for them?” When he told her that there was a saint who paid she went to the sweet-shop to look for the saint, but he had already disappeared. From that day on, Mahendra Maharaj's heart was sad, always missing the saint, longing to meet him again. While he was still doing his studies, he left home as a sadhu and walked to a place called Mount Abu in Rajastan, a sanctuary of the Divine Mother called Ambaji. He remained for 22 years in this holy place doing penance, and always searching for his master. At the end of the 22 years the Divine Mother Amba appeared before Mahendra Maharaj, and told him: "My child, the guru you are looking for you will find in the Kumaon region, the foothills of the Himalayas. Go there and you will find your master. Mahendra Maharaj started walking, crossing one mountain top after another, always looking for his guru.
One day he came to a place called Shitlakhet where a teashop owner saw Mahendra Maharaja and realised that this was a great saint. Many years before Shri Munindra Baba used to visit the home of this man also. When Mahendra Maharaj came to his house he sat exactly where Munindra Maharaj used to sit. The teashop owner understood that something special was happening and an all night satsang erupted between these two devoted man. The next morning Mahendra Maharaj was brought to the Siddheswar temple nearby, where also Old Haidakhan Baba had stayed long before. His longing for Babaji became so strong that he locked himself into a room determined never to open it again. After a short while when he looked up, he saw Sri Babaji standing in full human form before him. He offered his pranam at His lotus feet. Babaji said to him, "Brahmachari, what is it you want?" So Mahendra Maharaj replied, "Oh Divine master, the way I am seeing You before me, I want all humanity to have your darshan. Come and make the world happy." To which Babaji replied: "Your desires will be fulfilled."
Then Mahendra Maharaj was in seventh heaven, ecstatic with joy, and after some time he left Siddhashram and went to Haldwani. In Haldwani he said to some people, "Now that the Lord is coming on this Earth, I have to go and do some work: I have to prepare the ground for His arrival. I have to prepare some literature so that people will know about Him.” He wrote many books but a must read for devotees is the Divya Kathamrit and Anupam Kripa].
In the Sadashiva Charitamrit it is written that when Lord Shiva decided to come to Earth to save humanity during Kali Yuga, he stated that He would go in the form of Haidakhan Babaji. Parvati answered that She would then incarnate as Mahendra Maharaj to assist the Lord in His mission.
From the above we can see that it was because of Mahendra Maharaj’s immense devotion and one pointed Sadhana that Babaji appeared to humanity in a human form. It is our understanding that to do His work Babaji does not need a physical body, however His devotees believe that all of humanity has benefitted immensely from Shri Babaji’s physical presence in the world for the 14 years 1970 to 1984.
Shri Mahendra Maharaj ki Jai !
Shri Muniraj Maharaj
Shri Muniraj Maharaj was born as Trilok Singh Kuwarbi in 1929 In Chiliyanoula close to Ranikhet in the Kumoan Region. Muniraj was the oldest brother of a rather large family. He was a successful business man and a local politician. His main business was in Haldwani. He was always spiritually active but in 1971 or 1972 He met Babaji and felt that he met his Guru. Being a very humble person Muniraj was mostly in the background but was extremely devoted to Babaji but was also relentless in his seva to Babaji’s devotees and works. A stop at his home or office in Haldwani would facilitate the best way to arrive in Herakhan organised by him. He was always supplying food and building material for the ashram and often financing this also.
Babaji said that Muniraj is a manifestation of lord Dattatreya and that making pranaam to him is like making to Babaji.
Shri Muniraj’s biggest duty started after Babaji’s Samadhi in 1984. He led Babaji’s family, expanded Herakhan and Chiliyanoula by 300%, inspired many ashrams and centres to be build and incited around the world. Babaji never left the continent but Muniraj went several times around the world inspiring people everywhere always pointing everybody towards Babaji’s lotus feet. Babaji’s ‘flock’ grew enormously and for many western devotees who came He was their guru, receiving names, mantras and practices and spread Babaji’s name and teachings worldwide. At 84 years after a very devoted life to Babaji he left His body in 2012 in Haldwani.
Shri Vishnu Datt Shastri
Shri Vishnu Datt Shastriji was born in 1908 In Rajghar, Rajastan, India. His father was the guru to the king of Alwar/ Rajghar. He was highly educated in Ayurveda, Vedic science and Sanskrit. He was a devotee of Shri Mahendra Maharaj since the 1950’s who urged him to give less importance to Ayurveda and take up writing which he slightly reluctantly did. Shastri ji wrote many books of which the most famous are the Sambasadashiva Charitamrit and the Haidakhandeshwari Saptasati. He was also instrumental in recognising Babaji in this form in 1970 as he was the only one who received a secret mantra from Mahendra Maharaj to confirm His authenticity. Amongst Babaji devotees Shastriji is also known as The voice of Babaji as he often spoke for Babaji or by instructions of. The 9th Chapter of the Sambasadashiva Charitamrit he wrote together with Babaji. In Babaji’s small kutir they slept both for about a year. Shastriji knew more about Babaji then anybody and was always extremely devoted. He was also a great guide helping the thousands of people who came after Babaji’s Maha Samadhi leading them to find Babaji in their heart. He left his body at the age of 97 at his home in Rajgarh in 2003.