The Unwelcomed Guest
A persistent devotee once beseeched Baba to attend a dinner that was part of the last ceremonial rites for his late father. Baba never left the ashram for social events and no one ever insisted that He attend them in person. This devotee, however, refused to accept that, so Baba promised to attend. On the day of the dinner, the devotee received all of his guests. His entire attention was preoccupied, however, anticipating his most important guest, Baba Lokenath. He longed to see Baba. He restlessly watched as all of his guests arrived, feasted, and then left one by one. There was no sign of Baba. That night he became very depressed. He could not believe that Baba would break His promise. He condemned himself thinking that he must be a sinner. Why else would his master fail him? The next morning, he visited Baba, prostrated himself, and asked Baba why He had not come, since he had expected Baba with all his heart. Baba replied that He had gone to the house, but instead of being welcomed, He had been driven out. The devotee was shocked. He could only remember being gracious to all of his guests. Baba then said, “A dog tried to take some sweets from your storage room. Not once but three times you beat the dog with a stick and drove it away.” Baba showed him the bruises and said, “I was the dog. I visited you in the form of a dog. If you cannot recognize me, what am I to do?” The devotee then fell at Baba’s feet and asked forgiveness. Baba was teaching a lesson in the importance of acknowledging the Divine manifestation of every creature and in the necessity of observing kindness and goodness to all in the spirit of worship.
In His life, Baba Lokenath was a perfect disciple, humbly surrendered at the lotus feet of His beloved Guru. Baba was granted enlightenment of the highest order after 80 years of intense austerities in the jungles of the lower plains and in the snow-covered regions of the Himalayas. His compassion was evident after He became enlightened, when Baba discovered that He had surpassed His Guru. Despite having led Lokenath to the exalted state, Guru Bhagwan Ganguly had not yet attained liberation. Lokenath was stricken with sadness and filled with compassion when He realized this. He wept for His Master. Understanding Lokenath’s tears, Guru Bhagwan smiled tenderly and reassured his disciple there was only cause for joy. Guru Bhagwan announced that He would shed his old body soon and then return quickly to Lokenath as a disciple. Lokenath could then lead him to enlightenment. Upon hearing Guru Bhagwan’s plan, Lokenath was overwhelmed with gratitude and agreed. Weeping with joy, Lokenath prostrated at His Master’s feet.
From his earliest days, Lokenath’s family exposed Him to the highest principles of the vedas. They wanted to allow spiritual knowledge to develop in him, along with a sense of renunciation and love for God. He never went to school for a formal, secular education, despite His destiny to one day become an Incarnation of Wisdom. When He was 11 years old, Lokenath received initiation from His Guru, Bhagwan Ganguly, and left home to live the life of a spiritual renunciate.
Guru Bhagwan knew the magnitude of enlightenment Lokenath was to attain. For a period of thirty to forty years, the Guru guided Lokenath in the practices of the necessary yogic disciplines and hatha yoga. When Baba became interested in practicing raja yoga, His Gurudev tested His perfection of hatha yoga. After demonstrating that He could cook sweet rice pudding in a pot placed between His upper thighs, Lokenath began lessons in raja yoga. Lengthy and rigorous vows of fasting were regularly observed for thirty to forty years. Under the guidance of His beloved Guru, Baba withstood repeated, almost inconceivable austerities.
These yoga practices were a comprehensive training for Baba’s soul. When Lokenath asked about the need to study scripture, His Gurudev replied that He should not waste time acquiring borrowed knowledge from books. Instead, Guru Bhagwan advised him to utilize the practice of yoga, “If You know who You are, You will come to know everything. There is nothing in this external, manifested world which is not within you. Believe My words; there is no truth without, because your atman is ‘sarvatbhutatman,’ the Atman seated in the hearts of all creatures. In You is the dormant seed form of all the knowledge, power and wealth of this entire creation. Why should You leave the diamond and waste time on pieces of glass?”
Each Creation is Great in Itself
One day, Baba was visited by a pundit from a local school who proceeded to lecture Him on the scriptures. As the pundit was talking, a crow began making an unpleasant sound which the pundit found intolerable. He threw a stone to make the crow fly away only to have the bird return immediately to the same branch and resume making noise. To Baba, the bird was freely expressing the beauty of its existence through its own sound. When the pundit tried to drive it away a second time, Baba interfered. “You have driven away the crow because the sound seemed very unpleasant to your ears, but your sound, too, seems to Me equally unpleasant and disturbing.”The pundit was shocked because a crow is a crow and man is the master, superior to all creatures. 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, Conscious Awareness, Be Angry but Do Not Become Blind with Anger, Practice What You Preach
On the 19th day of Jaistha, 1297 (1st June, 1890), Sunday, at 11:45 am, Baba Lokenath was meditating when he went into a trance with his eyes open, and while still in meditation, left his physical body forever. He was aged 160. He had made a promise before his death:
“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.”
Born: No documented evidence exists about the date of birth of Lokenath. Disciples believe it on August 31, 1730
Left the body abode: June 1, 1890
Birth Place: West Begal
Known as: Mahayogi Shivavatar Baba
Known for: Jnana Yoga,Karma Yoga,Bhakthi Yoga,and Ashtanga Yoga,Hatha Yoga
Guru: Bhagwan Ganguly
Quote: Whenever you are in danger, – whether in the middle of the ocean, or in the midst of the battlefield, or in the deepest jungle – think of me and I will deliver you to safety
Ashram: The Ashram is in Baradi Sonargaon Upazila in Narayanganj District under Dhaka Division. The temple is 35 kilometers from Dhaka.