Haidakhan Babaji

Haidakhan Babaji, simply called Babaji by his students and devotees, was a religious teacher who appeared near the village of Haidakhan[a] in northern India (Uttarakhand) and taught publicly from 1970 until his death in 1984. He has a following in the Western world, and two ashrams in India.

Haidakhan Babaji
One of the first photos of Haidakhan Babaji 1970.jpg
Haidakhan Babaji
Died14 February 1984 (1984-02-15)
Years active1970 - 1984


According to "The Teachings of Babaji," Haidakhan Babaji "appeared" in June 1970 in a cave at the foot of the Kumaon Mount Kailash, across the River Ganges, near a remote village called Hairakhan, in the Nainital District of Uttrakhand, India. His followers maintain that Haidakhan Babaji is a Mahavatar – "a human manifestation of God, not born from woman."[B 1]

It is reported that starting in late September 1970 Haidakhan Babaji spent forty-five days meditating in a small temple on the top of the Kumaon Mount Kailash "without leaving his seat."[B 1] In September 1971, Haidakhan Babaji, in a sworn testimony, convinced the judge of the court in Haldwani that he was the "Old Hariakhan Baba",[B 2] thought to be active in that region in the years 1860–1922, and that he had the right to use the ashrams in Kathgaria and Haidakhan.[B 3] In 1971 Haidakhan Babaji started travelling across India, proclaiming his Message, performing sacred ceremonies, such as yagna, and attracting more devotees. This included celebrities, such as Shammi Kapoor,[B 4] and gradually more Westerners.[B 5]

Though some of his followers[B 6] believed he was immortal, Haidakhan Babaji died on 14 February 1984; local sources said it appeared to be of heart failure. He was buried in Haidakhan Ashram. This is how Babaji foretold and explained his death:

My body is meant to dry up one day. This body is nothing; it is here only to serve people. (…) Even my own body has come only to perform a duty to serve all human and all living things.[B 7]


Haidakhan Babaji maintained that: "All religions are incorporated in the principle of Truth, Simplicity and Love".[B 8] In his living years he taught intensively the importance to live a simple life with loving principles in truth. Although worshipped according to local customs, Haidakhan Babaji explained that he came to restore Sanatana Dharma rather than Hindu Dharma (Hinduism). Sanatan Dharma can be understood as a primordial religion reflecting natural laws established at the beginning of the Creation.[B 9] He explained further: "I have come to guide humanity to a higher path. I do not belong to any particular religion, but respect all religions. I seek the elevation of all mankind. "[B 10]

He stressed the unity of all religions as expressed in the following words: "In any town there is always a central place; all the roads in the town or from out of town lead to that central place. Similarly, all religions lead to one point, and that is God Himself; and therefore following any religion you will ultimately reach God."[B 11] He said: "We are all one with each other and with God."[B 12] Haidakhan Babaji said: "You should seek harmony in everything you do. I am harmony. Thank you for your love."[B 13][B 14] Haidakhan Babaji proclaimed: "One can follow any religion, one can follow any practice or path, but one must be humane."[B 15] He said: "The world now is in a state of turmoil. It is suffering from three kinds of pain – physical, mental, spiritual – and there is only one way of being cured from these. We have to root out inhumanity and replace it with humanity. (…)"[B 16] He also made the following statement: "The only true man is one who practices 'humanism.' (…) this is the only way to success in life."[B 17]

Babaji talked about the importance of hard work and proper performance of one's duty so often that Karma Yoga should be considered the central element of his teachings. Babaji used to say that: "Work is worship"[B 18] and that hard work is the best spiritual practice. On another occasion he said: "If you are engaged in doing good deeds and go on doing good acts, you will have good sleep, good appetite and bad thoughts will not cross your mind. Otherwise, you will always be criticizing others. In inaction, your minds will always be engaged in thinking critically of others. Karma – activity – is the only thing which can drive out all evils".[B 19] Babaji also taught that "perfection in work" was the real meaning of Kriya Yoga.[B 20]

Nama Japa, the repetition of God's Name, was a fundamental part of Haidakhan Babaji's teachings. He explained that God's name is the most powerful sound of the Creation – "more powerful than a thousand atomic and hydrogen bombs."[B 21] – and that this is the only real thing. Haidakhan Babaji especially recommended the use of the mantra "Oṃ namaḥ śivāy" (Sanskrit: ॐ नमः शिवाय् )[B 22] – because of its protective qualities,[B 23] but also stated that one can use any God's name "his religion teaches."[B 24] The mantra is always written internationally simplified as "Om Namah Shivay" in books about Babaji written in English or other languages.[B 25]

Haidakhan Babaji warned his followers about the forthcoming Great Revolution or Maha Kranti. He described Maha Kranti as involving "earthquakes, floods, accidents, collisions and wars (...)."[B 26] In the context of these upcoming calamities, he called for courage: "Walk on with courage and bravery. Go on working to improve humankind and establish the Path of Truth. (…) Fight for truth! To face life you must have great courage every day".[B 27] Haidakhan Babaji urged his followers to be "inspired." He stated: "Everything in this world is 'PHURO' – transient. It has no reality. True reality is to proceed on the path of truth, to keep the company of saintly people, and to render service to men."[B 28]

Babaji advocated on behalf of the less-fortunate. He stated: "you should look to the areas of your countries where people are poverty-stricken and helpless and then do all you can to raise their standard of living, teaching them cleanliness and high morals. To serve the needy truly and from the heart is true service to God. (...)"[B 29]

Spiritual routineEdit

Babaji would typically start his day around 3:00 am, with a bath, often in the cold River Ganges, which was followed by meditation or a fire ceremony. Around 5:00 am he would see his devotees for ceremonial chandan (placing a mark on forehead), followed by morning Aarti (devotional singing) around 6:00 am. Then until noon everybody would be engaged in some form of karma yoga. At noon the only meal of the day was being served, followed by more karma yoga in the afternoon. Sometimes a more elaborate ceremony such as the fire ritual havan would be performed around the noon time.[B 30] In the afternoon, Babaji would sometimes see the devotees for individual audiences, known as darshan. Then there would be another bath, followed by the evening Aarti. After the evening Aarti, Babaji was giving short speeches that were recorded in "The Teachings of Babaji."[B 31]


Babaji maintained that he was identical with the Hairakhan Baba (also spelled as Hariakhan or Heriakhan) who lived around Hairakhan in the years 1860–1922.[B 32] He suggested a few times that he was identical with Mahavatar Babaji described in Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi.[B 33] This claim is apparently disputed by the Self-Realization Fellowship, the society founded by Yogananda.[B 34] Gaura Devi recorded Babaji as saying: "I am no one's Guru, but I am the Guru of gurus."[B 35]

Guru for WesternersEdit

Image of the deity Haidakhandeshwari in the temple of the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram near Crestone, Colorado

Babaji was introduced to many Westerners by Leonard Orr, an exponent of immortalism and a founder of the breathwork practice of rebirthing. Orr maintained that Babaji was an immortal; his belief system was shaken by Babaji's death from a heart attack in 1984.[1] His cult is widespread in the Western world, with followings in countries including Austria,[2] Germany,[3] Italy,[4] Sweden,[5] Switzerland,[6] the United Kingdom,[7] and the United States, where the "Yogananda/Babaji Lineage" was established in multiple centres[b] by the time of the first American Hindu census in 2011.[8] An ashram dedicated to Babaji, the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, with a temple to the goddess Lakshmi, was founded in Crestone, Colorado in 1989.[9] The musician Gopal Hari and his wife Ambika formed a group named Goma, performing Haidakhandi chants on their albums River of Grace and Sacred Source, and a third album of the Haidakhandi Aarati (service of worship).[10]

Haidakhandi SamajEdit

In India, the Haidakhandi Samaj, with ashrams at Haidakhan village and at Chilliyanaula (Chilianola), provides both communal living and to spread Babaji's message. The Haidakhan ashram, called "Haidakhan Vishwa Mahadham", offers medical and dental services. The Chilliyanaula ashram, called "Anandpuri Ashram", offers free cataract surgery, an ear, nose, and throat clinic, and dental services.[11]


  1. ^ Haidakhan is also spelt at times as Hairakhan because the central sound, ḍ, in the name does not exist in English and is something between the R and D sound.
  2. ^ These include the Haidakhan Samaj in the United States; the other centres would be related only if a connection with Yogananda's Babaji is assumed.[8]


Primary and devotionalEdit

  1. ^ a b Antonov 2008, foreword
  2. ^ Hari Das Baba. (2017). Hariakhan Baba: Known, unknown. Kindle.
  3. ^ Shyam 1990, pp. 125–135
  4. ^ Shyam 1990, p. 158
  5. ^ See e.g. Devi 2001 and "Guru for Westerners" below.
  6. ^ See for instance: Orr, Leonard, 1988, 1995.
  7. ^ Antonov 2008, 2 February 1983
  8. ^ Antonov 2008, 25 December 1981
  9. ^ Antonov 2008, 25 March 1983
  10. ^ Antonov 2008, 29 July 1983
  11. ^ Antonov 2008, 24 December 1981
  12. ^ Antonov 2008, 2 April 1980
  13. ^ Antonov 2008, 12 April 1980
  14. ^ For further details, see Shyam 1990
  15. ^ Antonov 2008, 22 January 1983
  16. ^ Antonov 2008, 23 September 1983
  17. ^ Antonov 2008, 29 October 1983
  18. ^ Antonov 2008, 23 October 1981
  19. ^ Antonov 2008, 17 November 1983
  20. ^ Antonov 2008, 10 November 1983
  21. ^ Antonov 2008, 26 December 1982
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ E.g. "Chant OM NAMAH SHIVAY and you can defy death." Antonov 2008, 28 July 1979
  24. ^ Devi 1990, p. 6 Babaji's Teachings
  25. ^ Maria Gabriele Wosien: Ich bin Du – Botschaften des Meisters vom Himalaya, G. Reichel Verlag, ISBN 3-926388-23-4
  26. ^ Antonov 2008, 26 July 1979
  27. ^ Antonov 2008, 16 January 1983
  28. ^ Antonov 2008, 31 August 1983
  29. ^ Antonov 2008, 20 April 1983
  30. ^ http://sanskrit.org/the-fire-ritual-havanhoma/
  31. ^ For more description of daily routines around Babaji see also Devi 1990, pp. 63–67, 73
  32. ^ Antonov 2008, Foreword See also Shyam 1990, pp. 50–65
  33. ^ Antonov 2008, Foreword
  34. ^ Shyam 1990, p. xvi
  35. ^ Devi 1990, p. 9 Babaji’s Teachings


  1. ^ Christof Dada, Catharine (22 December 2017). "The physical Immortalist and the Guru who Died". Body and Religion. Equinox Publishing. 1 (2): 169–184. doi:10.1558/bar.32181. ISSN 2057-5831.
  2. ^ "Hindus and Hindu Religious Traditions in Austria". Handbook of Hinduism in Europe (2 vols). Brill. 7 July 2020. pp. 806–832. doi:10.1163/9789004432284_029. ISBN 978-90-04-43228-4.
  3. ^ Bergunder, Michael; Stiftungen, Franckesche (2006). Westliche Formen des Hinduismus in Deutschland: eine Übersicht. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-3-931479-76-3.
  4. ^ "Hinduism in Italy". Handbook of Hinduism in Europe (2 vols). Brill. 7 July 2020. pp. 1098–1140. doi:10.1163/9789004432284_045. ISBN 978-90-04-43228-4.
  5. ^ "Hinduism in Sweden". Handbook of Hinduism in Europe (2 vols). Brill. 2020. pp. 1466–1485. doi:10.1163/9789004432284_062. ISBN 978-90-04-43228-4.
  6. ^ Mayer, Jean-François (1993). Les nouvelles voies spirituelles: enquête sur la religiosité parallèle en Suisse. L'AGE D'HOMME. pp. 16ff. ISBN 978-2-8251-0412-5.
  7. ^ Wildcroft, Theodora (2020). Post-Lineage Yoga : from Guru to #metoo. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing. pp. 20, 49, 123, 130. ISBN 978-1-78179-940-6.
  8. ^ a b Melton, J. Gordon; Jones, Constance A. (7 April 2011). "Reflections on Hindu Demographics in America: An Initial Report on the First American Hindu Census" (PDF). Association for the Study of Religion, Economics & Culture. p. 16. Retrieved 7 April 2021. Yogananda/Babaji Lineage: Self Realization Fellowship, Amrita Foundation, Ananda Church of Self Realization, CSA (Roy Eugene Davis), Cross and the Lotus, Haidakhan Samaj, Hariharananda Mission West, Hamsa Yoga Sangh, International Babaji Kriya Yoga Sangam (S. A. A. Ramaiah), Kriya Yoga Ashram (Swami Shankarananda Giri), Kriya Yoga International, Kriyayoga of Babaji (Guru Gyan swami), Self Enquiry Life fellowship, Temple of Kriya Yoga
  9. ^ "About Us". Babaji Ashram. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  10. ^ Hari, Gopal; Ambika. "Goma: Music". Goma. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  11. ^ "About Haidakhandi Samaj". Retrieved 7 April 2021.


  • Antonov, Vladimir (2008). The Teachings of Babaji (Kindle ed.).
  • Babaji Mahavatar. The Descent of Eternity into Time. (1983). Shri Hairakhan Baba Prachar Sangh Foundation. Amsterdam. NL. ISBN 90-70867-01-X
  • Devi, Gaura (1990). Babaji's Teachings. Allahabad: Haidakhandi Samaj.
  • Devi, Gaura (2001). Fire of Transformation. My life with Babaji. Devon, England: Nymet Press. ISBN 0-9541839-0-8.
  • Orr, Leonard. (1988). Physical Immortality : The Science of Everlasting Life. ISBN 0-945793-01-4
  • Orr, Leonard. (1995). Babaji: The Angel of the Lord. ISBN 0-945793-18-9
  • Shyam, Radhe (1990). I Am Harmony. A Book About Babaji. Crestone, Colorado: Spanish Creek Publications. ISBN 0-9626421-0-X.
  • The Teachings of Babaji. (1983, 1984, 1988). Haidakhan, Uttar Pradesh: Haidakhandi Samaj.

Further readingEdit

  • Berry, David. (1986). Have Guru Darshan. VHS and DVD film. DB Productions.
  • Caddy, Renata. (2012). Encounters with Babaji, Master of the Himalayas. Findhorn Press. ISBN 978-1-84409-574-2
  • Churchill, Pola. (1997). Shiva Mahavatar Babaji. Los Angeles: Churchill Publications.
  • Datt, Jai. (2014). Babaji - Only Love - 55 Late Portraits. Kindle edition.
  • Farasiotis, Dionysios. (2011). "The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisos". St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. ISBN 978-1-887904-16-2
  • Giridhari Lal Mishra. (2011). From Age to Age: Stories of Haidakhan Babaji. Powell's Books. ISBN 0578085461
  • Goodman, Shdema Shivani. (1990). Babaji, Meeting with Truth at Haidakhan Vishwa Mahadham. ISBN 9780874180398
  • Minett, Gunnel. (1986). Babaji – Shri Haidakhan Wale Baba. Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Lal, Arvind. (2018). "Corporate Yogi: My journey as a Spiritual Seeker and an Accidental Entrepreneur." HarperCollins India. ISBN 935277678X
  • Mahendra Baba. (2016). Arti to Babaji Mahavatar: Flames of Divine Love by the Haidakhandi's. Kindle edition.
  • Malhotra, Ashok. (2013). The Babaji Affair. ISBN 978-1492329558
  • Mckellar, Geri. (2014). How to find your inner glow. A meditation with Babaji. Kindle and paperback editions.
  • Moriarty, Joe. (1984). All Our Teachers. The Melodies of Babaji. Tape recording.
  • Pritam (Piotr Rajski). (2004). Unity Beyond Division. Haidakhan Babaji's Message to the World. ISBN 0-9685539-3-1.
  • Pritam (Piotr Rajski). (2020). Truth, Simplicity and Love. Essential Haidakhan Babaji. ISBN 978-0-9812582-2-5.
  • Ray, Markus; Ray, Sondra. (2016). Babaji: My Miraculous Meeting with a Maha Avatar. ISBN 10-1683488040
  • Ray, Markus; Ray, Sondra. (2020). The Perfection of Babaji. Kindle edition.
  • Reichel, Gertraud. (1988). Babaji – the Unfathomable. 108 Encounters. Weilersbach, Germany.
  • Romola Butalia Sri Babaji: Immortal Yogi of the Himalayas. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 8120832574
  • Taylor, Peter (2004). Shiva's Rainbow. Ethos-UK. ISBN 0-9547064-0-4
  • Wosien, Maria-Gabriele. (1990). Babaji – Message from the Himalayas. Reichel Verlag. ISBN 978-3926388148
  • Wosien, Maria-Gabriele (2020). Babaji - I am You (Kindle ed.). Reichel Verlag.

External linksEdit