Babaji's Existence.......................

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What is known about Babaji's existence was first disclosed to the modern public by a famous Indian householder saint (the guru of Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda's guru,) named Lahiri Mahasaya, whom Babaji initiated into Kriya Yoga and enlightened in 1861. Details of this auspicious meeting and of Babaji's existence were given wider publication by Yogananda in his Autobiography. He describes Babaji as capable of doing anything at any moment of whatever magnitude. In Autobiography he writes of these lilas (Sanskrit for "God's play"), such as Babaji's materialising a palace in the Himalayas out of his thought waves, appearing from and disappearing into light at will, instant healing and bringing the dead back to life.

Although Babaji appeared to him several times, Yogananda was unaware that during the very period of which he wrote, Babaji was in fact appearing in a human form. Between the years 1800 and 1922, one of his names was Haidakhan Baba, because he spent much time in the little village of Haidakhan in the Himalayan foothills. He was also known as Shiva Baba.
In his 19th century Haidakhan Baba form, Babaji was renowned in the Himalayan area for his supernatural powers and divine presence. Many stories are told of his raising the dead, healing, sitting in fires, and, after hours or days, emerging untouched; appearing in several places at the same time, offering gifts of out-of-season food, writing in unknown ancient languages. In 1922 he visited the raja of Ashkot, who, when Babaji left, helped carry his palanquin out of the city. At the merger of the two rivers nearby, Babaji, promising to return one day for the salvation of mankind, entered the water. Eyewitness accounts state he sat in yogic posture, turned into light, and disappeared.

During the following 48 years Babaji occasionally appeared to devotees but did not seem to maintain a physical body. Those however who called upon him with faith and devotion were blessed with appearances and visions, as numerous stories from this period tell. Perhaps the most ardent of Babaji's devotees at that time was a great saint called Mahendra Baba. He spent virtually his whole life in search, worship, and service of Babaji. Babaji had appeared to him on his fifth birthday and handed him candy. Never could he forget this divine figure. After completing his schooling, be spent the next 25 years searching for Babaji in Tibet, Nepal and India, and performing prayers and extreme austerities. Finally, in 1949, in the Himalayan hill town of Almora, he saw a picture of Haidakhan Baba in his previous form. Mahendra Baba recognised that supernatural being who had disappeared 27 years earlier as the figure from his childhood experience. Babaji afterwards reappeared to Mahendra Baba, enlightened him, and instructed him to prepare for his return to the world in mortal form. Mahendra Baba then spent the following twenty years repairing and rebuilding Haidakhan Baba's old temples and ashrams in northern India and gathering, informing and spiritually instructing devotees in preparation for Babaji's return.

Mahendra Baba was not the only one who foretold the coming of Mahavatar Babaji in the year 1970. Some others also received revelatory information about Babaji's reappearance, and published detailed Hindi language accounts of what was to come. In 1970, a North Indian man had a dream in which his long deceased father told him to go to a cave in Haidakhan, saying Babaji had appeared. He went, and found a youth-like holy man there. It was Babaji.

The pictures taken in the first years after his appearance strongly resemble the facial outline of Babaji given by Lahiri Mahasaya, subsequently sketched and appearing in Yogananda's book.