Shri Yukteswar Giri

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Priyanath Karar, Preonath Karar, Sriyukteswar Giri, Sriyukteshvar Giri, Wisdom Incarnate
Kriya Yoga
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
May 10, 1855
Place of Birth: 
Priyanath Karar in Serampore, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
March 9, 1936


Sri Yukteswar Giri is the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda.

Sri Yukteswar was a Jyotisha (traditional astrologer), a yogi, and a believer in the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible. He was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya of Varanasi and a member of the Giri branch of the swami order.

Early Life

He was born Priyanath Karar in Serampore, India to Kshetranath Karar and Kadambini. Priyanath lost his father at a young age, and took on much of the responsibility for managing his family's land holdings. A bright student, he passed the entrance exams and enrolled in Srirampur Christian Missionary College, where he developed an interest in the Bible. This interest would later express itself in his book, The Holy Science, which discusses the unity behind the scientific principles underlying Yoga and the Bible. He also attended Calcutta Medical College for almost two years.

After leaving college, Priyanath married and had a daughter. His wife died a few years after their marriage, and he eventually was formally intitiated into the monastic Swami order as "Sriyukteshvar Giri" (note: thus 'Sri' is not a separate honorific, but part of his given name).

In 1884, Priyanath met Lahiri Mahasaya, who became his Guru and initiated him into the path of Kriya Yoga. Sri Yukteswar spent a great deal of time in the next several years in the company of his guru, often visiting Lahiri Mahasaya in Benares. In 1894, while attending the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, he met the Guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, Mahavatar Babaji, who asked Sri Yukteswar to write a book comparing Hindu scriptures and the Christian bible. Mahavatar Babaji also bestowed on Sri Yukteswar the title of 'Swami' at that meeting. Sri Yukteswar completed the requested book in 1894, naming it Kaivalya Darsanam, or The Holy Science.

Spiritual Life

Sri Yukteswar converted his large two-story family home in Serampore into an ashram, named "Priyadham", where he resided with students and disciples. In 1903, he also established an ashram in the seaside town of Puri, naming it "Kararashram". From these two ashrams, Sri Yukteswar taught students, and began an organization named "Sadhu Sabha".

An interest in education resulted in Sri Yukteswar developing a syllabus for schools, on the subjects of physics, physiology, geography, astronomy, and astrology He also wrote a book for Bengalis on learning basic English and Hindi called "First Book", and wrote a basic book on astrology. Later, he became interested in the education of women, which was uncommon in Bengal at that time.

Sri Yukteswar was especially skilled in Jyotisha (Indian astrology), and prescribed various astrological gemstones and bangles to his students. He also studied astronomy and science, as evidenced in the formulation of his Yuga theory in The Holy Science.

Sri Yukteswar and his disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda

He had only a few long-term disciples, but in 1910, the young Mukunda Lal Ghosh would become Sri Yukteswar’s most well known disciple, eventually spreading the teachings of Kriya Yoga throughout the world as Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda attributed Sri Yukteswar’s small number of disciples to his strict training methods, which Yogananda said “cannot be described as other than drastic”.

Sri Yukteswar left his mortal coil at his Puri ashram on March 9, 1936.


Regarding the role of the Guru, Sri Yukteswar said:

Look, there is no point in blindly believing that after I touch you, you will be saved, or that a chariot from heaven will be waiting for you. Because of the guru's attainment, the sanctifying touch becomes a helper in the blossoming of Knowledge, and being respectful towards having acquired this blessing, you must yourself become a sage, and proceed on the path to elevate your Soul by applying the techniques of sadhana given by the guru.

The Holy Science

Sri Yukteswar wrote The Holy Science in 1894. The work introduced many ideas that were revolutionary for the time — for instance Sri Yukteswar broke from Hindu tradition in stating that the earth is not in the age of Kali Yuga, but has advanced to Dwapara Yuga. His proof was based on a new perspective of the precession of the equinoxes. He also introduced the idea that the sun takes a ‘star for its dual’, and revolves around it in a period of 24,000 years, which accounts for the precession of the equinox.

The theory of the Sun's binary companion expounded by Sri Yukteswar in The Holy Science has attracted the attention of David Frawley, who has written about it in several of his books. According to Frawley, the theory offers a better estimate of the age of Rama and Krishna and other important historical Indian figures than other dating methods, which estimate some of these figures to have lived millions of years ago — belying accepted human history.



Yogada Satsang Society of India

It is a lovely center in Calcutta on the banks of the river where you can read information about Shri Yuketswar and Yogananada, buy books, attend meditation sessions and lectures.

See Yogananada guru profile for details

Calcutta, West Bengal , India
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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

The Holy Science (Self-Realization Fellowship)

by Swami Sri Yukteswar


This extraordinary treatise explores parallel passages from the Bible and the Hindu scriptures to reveal the essential unity of all religions. Swami Sri Yukteswar is renowned as the revered guru of the great pioneer of yoga in the West, Paramahansa Yogananda (author of Autobiography of a Yogi). In this remarkable work - composed in the year 1894 at the request of the great Indian sage, Mahavatar Babaji - Sri Yukteswar outlines the universal path that every human being must travel to enlightenment. He also explains the vast recurring cycles of history - the yugas that mark the upward ascent of human consciousness over millenniums - amid the ever-changing panorama of turbulent world events.

Pro Opinions

perfect master in the field of yoga

santthosh kumaar's picture

His life and his personality is real inspiration to the yogic seekers. His book holy science is the master piece.He was a perfect grand master in the field of kriya yoga.

The Disciplinarian.....

archana.anchal's picture

He played the role of a disciplinarian for his disciples, but always taken care of them as a mother.........