The Kumaon region in India lies at the foot of the Himalayas. It is the birth place and abode of several of India’s greatest saints. It was here that the HAIDAKHAN WALE BABA resided, and instantly stated that He was the Shiva Mahavatar Babaji, referred to in the book AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI byParamahansa Yogananda. As a Maha Avatar, (human manifestation of the Divine not born of woman), Babaji has continually manifested on earth in a divine body since the beginning of creation.
One such manifestation of Babaji recorded in a number of books and witnessed by many local people, was sometime in the year 1800. He is remembered by several people even today. At the time, Babaji travelled extensively in the Kumaon region, gathering around him several devotees and disciples. Several unusual events such as changing His form, appearing simultaneously in different places and miraculous incidents of healing the sick and dying have been recorded.
Seating Himself on the surface of the water at the confluence of the Rivers Kali and Gori, and disappearing in a ball of light, He dematerialised this form in 1922. This event too was witnessed by several devotees. Several Tibetan lamas, who came to visit Him, recognised Him as Lama Baba who had lived in Tibet centuries ago. There are tales of his appearances in Nepal also.
Babaji appeared in 1970 in the historic holy cave situated at the foot of Kumaon Mount Adi Kailash at Haidakhan (a small village in the region). He materialised as a youth of eighteen or twenty years. His divine power was experienced by several people who saw Him simultaneously in different guises at different places. In September of that year, He further exhibited His yogic powers when he ascended Mount Kailash, and sat on the summit for forty five days without food or sleep.
Babaji spent most of this manifestation of fourteen years (1970-84) at Haidakhan where He established a beautiful spiritual ashram (abode) and built nine temples on the bank of the River Gautami Ganga. The Haidakhan area and the Kumaon Mount Kailash have for centuries been spiritually graced with the power of Lord Shiva’s tapasya (penance). The main temple at Haidakhan was constructed by the old Haidakhan Baba Himself. Babaji built several other temples and ashrams within India. Below Ranikhet, at a small village called Chilianaula, overlooking the snow-peaked Himalayas, He constructed a large and beautiful temple and ashram.
Thousands of disciples from various countries continue to receive Babaji’s blessings by being mystically inspired to come to the spiritual path through extraordinary events, dreams and visions. Many spiritual centres dedicated to Babaji have been established the world over. He had proclaimed that He had come to revive the eternal religion – The Sanatan Dharma – and to reform the very mentality of man, laying stress on three basic precepts of Dharma (inherent quality): TRUTH, SIMPLICITY and LOVE. He predicted that mankind was in danger during the period of Kali Yuga (the dark age) due to a steep rise in materialism and decline in spiritual values. He also predicted widespread physical destruction, revolution and change in this century. He said that only those who sincerely worship God, repeating His name and living in harmony, truth and love, would survive. “God’s name is more powerful than any atomic bomb,” He said. He promised a new world, a new age, a new religious kingdom after this destruction. Babaji, as the manifestation of Lord Shiva, emphasised constant repetition of the Maha Mantra (the greatest Divine utterance) OM NAMAH SHIVAY (I bow to Lord Shiva) to enable man to be constantly focused on the Almighty. Constant repetition (japa) of the Mantra leads to increase of faith and devotion. Babaji’s subtle presence continuously guides and inspires devotees to spread His eternal teachings far and wide, thereby touching every heart with His Divinity.
Babaji gave up His physical body on February 14, 1984. He had come to give a message to the world. Having embodied His teachings, and completed His mission, He left. Inscribed on a stone leading up the steps to the Haidakhan Temple is His last message: “I AM ALWAYS WITH YOU.”
Babaji emphasised selfless service to humanity as the highest form of Karma Yoga. He wished to improve the level of impoverished health of the Kumaon people. The Haidakhandi Samaj (society), in deference to Babaji’s wishes and with His supreme blessings,runs charitable hospitals on a non-profit basis. One at Haidakhan provides good, healthy, day-to-day medical facilities to all the villagers living around the ashram. The other, at Chilianaula, Ranikhet, is equipped with a full-time allopathic physician, an x-ray unit, a pathology laboratory, an eye care unit, dentistry and a complete Ayurveda unit. These facilities make it easy for people to obtain medical assistance quickly and economically.
Babaji emphasised equal respect and recognition to all religions. He said that to serve selflessly was the highest form of humanity. Babaji continues to bestow His love, blessings and Grace on one and all alike, irrespective of caste, creed, status, culture or nationality.