The picture of Mahavatar Babaji which we see now is not a photograph but it is a reproduction from a drawing by my father, Sananda Lal Ghosh. One day in 1935, Guruji asked my father to draw a picture of Babaji. My father at once started working on the sketch. I was present on the spot. I was sitting on one side of my father watching the drawing, and on the other side, sitting on a chair, Guruji described Babaji to my father as he had had the vision of Mahavatar Babaji.

So my father did this drawing hearing the description from Guruji, and when it was completed, Guruji was very pleased with my father. He said, “Gora, you have done a great job for me. This drawing is just like Mahavatar Babaji.”

My uncle Bishnu was a great bodybuilder. I heard from my father that my father was also an athlete in his school days. My father could run very fast, and later he was a bodybuilder also, like Bishnu, his brother. He had a good physique, my father, and Bishnu — both of them — but I heard from my father both of them learned yoga and physical culture exercises from Guruji when they were very young. Guruji taught them everything in physical culture, and in later years, Bishnu became the bodybuilder, my father became an artist and a painter, and of course, Guruji was an avatar.

And I found that also in 1935, when he was 43 years old, Guruji asked a running competition to be arranged in front of our house on the road. Among others, my father and uncle participated in this run. I was astonished to see Guruji run so fast that he was in front of many runners who were much younger than Guruji. They couldn’t run as fast as Guruji and he was 43 years old!

In that time when Guruji was with us, my father used to paint many portraits in the downstairs room during the day. A friend of my father’s used to come every day to our home just to learn painting from my father. But after being there for some minutes, say 15 – 20 minutes, in the mid-day, he used to sleep on the floor, just by my father’s side while my father used to paint.

So one day, when Guruji was coming home, that friend of my father’s was sleeping, lying down and sleeping. So after some time, Guruji asked my father, “Didn’t you ask your friend not to sleep in the daytime? How is it he’s sleeping?” So my father said, “I told him many times but he didn’t listen to me. He’s been following my painting for some time, but every day he sleeps here.”

The next day when Guruji was coming in again, he again found that friend sleeping, so Guruji quietly came in the room and he took some paints, artist’s paints, from my father and he put them on those ears, cheeks, and everywhere on the face of my father’s friend. Then in the afternoon when that man was going home, Guruji was chanting outside on the upstairs balcony, so he enjoyed what happened next.

As soon as the friend was out on the street, everyone in the neighborhood started laughing. When he finally realized something was wrong with him, he at once came inside and stood before a mirror and he saw his face. Then my father told him that his brother had done all of this. I wonder if he ever fell asleep again!

Once I heard from my father that when they were teenagers Guruji was very keen to visit many high saints. Whenever they used to come to Calcutta, Guruji would visit them. And he always used to take my father along with him. In those days Guruji had no money, so they used to walk mile after mile to visit the saints. One day as Guruji and my father were going out of 4 Garpar Road, Guruji pretended that he left something behind. Guruji wanted to teach him a lesson. You see, Guruji knew my father was a little bit restless, and because he had so many friends, he would sometimes forget Guruji and go off with his friends, leaving Guruji alone.

So Guruji said, “Okay, Gora, I forgot something in the house and I’m just coming back within the minute. You stay here,” and he asked my father to place his palm on the cement wall of the 4 Garpar Road house. So my father touched the wall and Guruji came inside the house. Then my father found his hand was stuck on the wall! He could not pick up the hand, so that my father could not go away somewhere.

So, in the meantime, a friend arrived there and said, “Gora, why are you standing there? Come with me.” And my father said, “My hand is stuck. I cannot come.” He pulled the hand, but he couldn’t pull the hand from the wall. He tried his utmost, but couldn’t. Then Guruji came back and said, “Om, peace, peace. Om, peace, shanti,” and the hand came off.

Another time when he did like that, my grandfather was coming home, and he found my father’s hand stuck there on the wall. He was surprised. He thought immediately that this was a trick of Yogananda. “Mukunda!”1 He came inside and asked Guruji, “Mukunda, you are doing a very bad thing. Why have you applied the power of God to your brother and with many others?” He never did that trick again.

  1. Yogananda’s boyhood name.