“You have been chosen to bring spiritual solace through Kriya Yoga to numerous earnest seekers. The millions who are encumbered by family ties and heavy worldly duties will take new heart from you, a householder like themselves. You must guide them to see that the highest yogic attainments are not barred to the family man… From your balanced life, they will understand that liberation is dependent on inner, rather than outer, renunciations.”Mahavatar Babaji to Lahiri Mahasaya

Lahiri Mahasaya was the guru of Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, and thus the param-guru of Paramhansa Yogananda. Lahiri Mahasaya was chosen by his guru Mahavatar Babaji to disseminate the teachings of Kriya Yoga to the world. A fully liberated soul, Lahiri Mahasaya was yet a married householder with numerous responsibilities. His harmonious life served as a beacon of hope and inspiration to show men with worldly responsibilities how they too could tread the path of Enlightenment.

For his role in bringing the high teachings of Kriya Yoga to the masses and thereby opening the doors of yoga freedom to all men, Paramhansa Yogananda bestowed on Lahri Mahasasya the title of “Yogavatar,” or Incarnation of Yoga.

Lahiri Mahasaya lived most of his life in Benares, until his conscious passing in 1895. He was also the guru of Paramhahsa Yogananda’s parents, and prophesized that Paramahansa Yogananda would be a “Spiritual Engine,” carrying many souls to God’s kingdom.

Lahiri Mahasaya’s Mahasamadhi

Swami Keshabananda narrated to Paramhansa Yogananda the conscious passing of Lahiri Mahasaya:

“A few days before my guru relinquished his body,” Keshabananda told me, “he materialized himself before me as I sat in my hermitage at Hardwar.
“‘Come at once to Benares.’ With these words Lahiri Mahasaya vanished.
“I entrained immediately for Benares. At my guru’s home I found many disciples assembled. For hours that day the master expounded the Gita; then he addressed us simply.
“‘I am going home.’
“Sobs of anguish broke out like an irresistible torrent.
“‘Be comforted; I shall rise again.’ After this utterance Lahiri Mahasaya thrice turned his body around in a circle, faced the north in his lotus posture, and gloriously entered the final maha-samadhi (The last meditation, during which a master, who knows beforehand when the final hour is about to strike for the physical body, merges himself in the Cosmic AUM).