Baba Lokenath Brahmachari (1730-1890)
Just as no two flowers are alike, no two Enlightened Ones are ever the same.
Each is wonderfully unique, without artificiality. All knowledge and ignorance are transcended, absorbed in the blissful, egoless state of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence – Knowledge – Bliss Absolute). Like all great Enlightened Beings, Baba Lokenath’s life, promises and teachings offer every individual, in every moment, in every age and all time a fresh revelation of the ever-elusive Self.
His Birth and Dedication:
Baba Lokenath Brahmachari was born in 1730 (the date of birth is dipped in controversy) in a village called Chakla in Barasat district, a few miles to the north of the city of Kolkata. His father Ramnarayan Ghosal, a devout lover of God, believed in the age-old Hindu tradition of allowing one person from the family to become a renunciate monk and be totally dedicated to the Divine service. He convinced his wife Kamaladevi to dedicate one of their children to God. She agreed. But when she gave birth to three sons, she felt a natural attachment and could not keep her promise to her husband. But when she conceived the fourth child she had divine experiences all through her pregnancy, and her mind was also so much transformed that she could overcome that deep sense of attachment of a mother to her child and offered the child to Ramnarayan to be dedicated to God and His service as a sannyasi, a monk. The fourth child in the family of Ghosal was named ‘Lokenath’ which literary means, the Lord of Lokas (all the astral worlds) and the people who inhabit earth.
His Sadhana and Practice:
When Lokenath was 11 years old, Ramnarayan met a great householder yogi and renowned vedic scholar, Bhagwan Ganguly, who lived close by in the village called Kochua and prayed to him to take the total responsibility of his child and lead him on the path of sannyas and God realization.
Guru Bhagwan Ganguly could realize the divine providence of Lokenath’s birth so he readily agreed to initiate Lokenath and lead him further, but a unique event happened at this time. Lokenath’s playmate Benimadhav, who was of the same age as Lokenath, insisted that he too would renounce the world, and become a sannyasi along with his friend and leave home with Gurudev. His determination was so strong that Gurudev agreed to this earnest prayer of the boy and initiated both Lokenath and Benimadhav together in Gayatri Mahamantra. They left the village on the very day of sacred thread ceremony as Brahmacharins.
Gurudev brought both of them to Kalighat in Kolkata and gave them their initial training there among the many ascetics who lived in the jungles around the temple during those days.
Lokenath went through the most difficult yogic practices from ashtanga yoga to incredible feats of hatha yoga while living in the jungles and the plains, observing the vow of celibacy and fasting. This whole yogic practice of purifying the atoms of the body and tendencies of mind took more than 30 years, when Lokenath could reach to deepest absorptions in the divine in deep Samadhi. During this time he had the vision of his previous birth and his village. Gurudev took them to that village called Beruga in the district of Burdowan, and they found that everything that he realized during Samadhi was true.
His Enlightenment and Promise to His Gurudev:
Finally they all left for Himalayas and there Baba touched the highest peaks of spiritual illumination and attained to the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, which is complete oneness with the whole cosmos or the divine. He was 90 years old at this time of enlightenment.
The uniqueness of Baba’s life is when Baba attained to ultimate flowering he realized that his Gurudev was yet to be enlightened. Gurudev had given his whole life only to give the advance practices to his disciples. He told Lokenath that he would go to Varanasi, and there he would leave his mortal body and then come back in the next birth to him and then Lokenath would lead him to the state of moksha or nirvana. That was possibly one reason why a yogi of Baba’s stature, who usually stays back in the Himalayas and trains yogis and gurus to work in the plains for the emancipation of the suffering humanity, did come down and live in a small cottage at the hamlet of Baradi in Bangladesh. Baba even lived beyond the destined age by his infinite yogic powers only to wait for his guru to be born, to grow up and to tread the path that Baba would show him.
Yet another part of the uniqueness of Baba Lokenath’s life is his travel on foot to Mecca and to Afghanistan, Persia, and parts of western countries, and to the North Pole, sanctifying the land. He then came to Baradi where he lived for the last 26 years of his life.
Moving to Baradi and Service to Humanity:
Dengu Karmakar, whom Baba saved from being convicted and jailed, brought Baba Lokenath to the small village of Baradi, and subsequently when Dengu died, Baba moved to the present day ‘Baba Lokenath Ashram’ in a land adjacent to a cremation ground gifted to him by his devotees who were landlords of that place. Baba said in later years that he himself had built the small cottage, his hermitage, with his own hands with bamboo, hay and mud. When he came down from the Himalayas he had no clothes to cover his body, for a yogi of his stature needed no clothes, for he saw none other than himself in all others, so he was unclad like the empty sky for the need to clothe oneself comes with the existence of the other.
But in later years, during his Baradi stay, his devotees gave him sacred thread and clothes, which he wore around his body. As the words of his compassion, love and healing spread far and wide people thronged to the small hermitage of Baradi. It became the holy confluence of all religious communities, particularly the conflicting communities of Hindus and Muslims. He never left Baradi till his mahasamadhi. During this time countless people came to him and received his divine grace. His infinite yogic powers were manifested naturally whenever anyone came to him with a crying heart for healing and fulfillment of their wishes. He was considered the mythological Wish-fulfilling Tree. He never did any miracles, but like fragrance to flowers, miracles happened throughout his life, which became like the amazing stories of a living sage.
Both Hindus and Muslims and followers of other religions took shelter under his divine presence and he showed them the path of love and surrender, and the yogic path of self-introspection. He did not create any order of sannyasis, but trained the householders to reach the high state of yoga through his instructions and his yogic teachings. Though this love incarnate yogi was busy during the day entertaining all the petty wishes of the common people, yet at night in his cottage yogis from the Himalayas and Tibet would come to learn advanced yoga, leaving their physical bodies in their own caves.
When the time came for him to leave this temporal world he declared that he would willingly leave his mortal body on the 19th day of Jaistha (Bengali calendar) that happened to be 2nd June 1890, and transcend beyond the solar system to his eternal abode. In the presence of thousands of his devotees and a few disciples, on that fateful day, he sat in his gomukhasana posture and entered by will the state of mahasamadhi, which is the final retreat to the final Abode. During his lifetime no one saw Baba blinking his eyes, as he had non-blinking eyes, and even in his mahasamadhi his eyes remained open and his body in sitting posture. At the time of his mahasamadhi his body’s age was 160 years.
His eternal promises still ring in the hearts of his followers world over, and he is always there to fulfill his promises to his children, irrespective of caste, color, or creed. Thus spoke the great Master who always melted in infinite compassion, just before leaving his mortal body:
“I am eternal, I am deathless. After this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Whoever will seek my refuge, will always receive my Grace.”
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.
I willingly reveal myself to you. Therefore, you are in a position to reach me, or else it is impossible.
No power on heaven or earth can damage the devotees who take shelter under me. For there is none greater than me to punish you.
I can do whatever I like. It is only your lack of trust, your non-belief that keeps your desires unfulfilled.
For those who with love and devotion surrender to me, 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.
I am Eternal. I am Deathless. I AM.
For more than a hundred years, I have traveled through the hills and mountains and have amassed enough spiritual treasures. You shall sit at home and enjoy the fruits of my austerities.
My child, never miss the opportunity to meet the realized saints, for their blessings and presence will inspire deeper devotion and love for the divine and Guru. Satsang, being in the company of the holy ones, who live the truth is the greatest blessing of the Lord.
I have everything in me. What you need in life, you have only to take.
Each Creation is Great in Itself
To Baba, each and every creature is itself a manifestation of Divinity. He felt the same about the smallest ant as the highest being. As a result, hate had no place in His heart. Baba wants us to know that nothing should be looked down upon.
A Social System Where Love Rules
People from all walks of life came to Baba for guidance. They not only came for spiritual guidance, but for help with the complex problems of daily life. Baba was deeply interested in every problem and suggested appropriate actions. His suggestions always proved a blessing to both the seeker and to society at large. Baba advocated love and mutual respect among all classes, as well as interdependence, without exploitation of any class.
To the question, “What is the path to a happy and peaceful life?” Baba spontaneously replied, “Do whatever you like, but do it consciously, with a sense of awareness.” The questioner, however, continued, “If You give Me permission to do as I please, then what would You say if I hit somebody’s head with a stick?” Baba smiled and replied, “Do it and see. I asked you to perform all actions consciously. Once you become conscious and aware, you will find that your conscience will prevent you form hurting anyone.” The evils in society are perpetrated because awareness is absent. All evil actions are the result of unconsciousness.
To seekers of truth and bliss Baba gave another fruitful instruction. “If you intend to become spiritual, you must analyze your actions and thoughts each day before you go to bed at night. You must assess the good actions and evil actions and come to a firm resolution not to repeat evil actions anymore.” A seeker should try to practice all activities in a state of awareness. This is the most important “abhyasa-yoga” or spiritual practice for the aspirant. Most recurring actions that flow from lust, anger, greed, jealousy manifest only in a state of unawareness. The seeds of these tendencies lie dormant in the subconscious layers of the mind.
Be Angry but Do Not Become Blind with Anger
Baba also says, “Be angry but do not become blind with anger.” Never allow anger to possess you. Then it blinds you. When anger is given free rein, it bursts out and causes damage — not only to the person at whom the anger is directed, but also, more seriously, to the one who is angry. Let anger become conscious. Step back, be a witness to anger and its mechanisms, to what is appropriate and inappropriate in the situation. The show of appropriate anger in daily life may be inevitable. The parent chastising a child, the teacher reprimanding the student, may call out a display of anger in protective guidance. No one should be consumed by anger. Always work for the highest possible good. Then anger cannot possess or damage the mind or body, or thwart the purposes of the soul.
Practice What You Preach
One of the most important teachings of Baba is “First, practice yourself: then preach”. This brings spiritualty into the right perspective for the spiritual journey is one of walking the path and not intellectualizing and talking about the path. The great saints of India agreed that Baba Lokenath was the Yogi of yogis, and rarely a Himalayan Master of his stature would come down to the plains. Blessed are we to have had the divine privilege of hearing about him, taking his holy name, trusting in his promises and following the path of light that he leads us from within our inner sanctum of our spirit. Our salutation to this great Sage of Himalayan tradition on behalf of the team of Happy Ho, for it is these timeless Masters whose light shines through all the seekers who come to Happy Ho for light and love, peace and bliss.
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