Paramahamsa Hariharananda

life studying, teaching, and fulfilling his mission to share the philosophy and technique of Kriya Yoga with the people of the world until leaving his mortal body on December 3, 2002 at the age of 95.

This great master was a fully realized direct disciple of Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri, as well as a fountain of love, strength, and purity for the thousands of students he personally trained all over the world.

In India, the 100th anniversary of a yoga master's birth is of great importance. A year long series of events and celebrations, starting in India on 27th May, 2006 and ending on 27th May, 2007, will be held in his honor.

Students are preparing 100 celebrations worldwide to honor their master in his centenary year. Spiritual conferences on world peace and other humanitarian concerns, cultural exchanges, charitable projects, publications of the complete works of his writings and teachings, and instruction in the practice of Kriya Yoga are being planned.

Born as Rabindranath Bhattacharya, this great soul known affectionately as "Baba" (father) to his spiritual children, showed an extraordinary spiritual destiny from his most tender years.

By age 4 1/2, he had already memorized all the puja mantras of Hinduism by simply hearing his father, Shri Haripada Bhattacharya, recite them a few times. Under the guidance of his father, he quickly mastered Vedic astrology, astronomy, and palmistry. At age twelve, he took initiation in the path of jñana yoga from renowned realized master, Shri Bijoy Krishna Chattopadhyaya.

In 1932, he went to meet the great Kriya master, Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri. Pleased by the divine propensities of young Rabinarayan, Shriyukteshwarji initiated him into Kriya Yoga, taught him Cosmic Astrology, and entreated him to move in and take charge of the famous Karar Ashram in Puri, Orissa.

In 1935, he met Paramahamsa Yogananda, and received the second Kriya initiation from him. In 1938, he renounced the material life and entered his master's ashram in Puri, Orissa, starting the life of an ascetic monk as Brahmachari Rabinarayan.

He received the third Kriya initiation from Swami Satyananda Giri in 1941, and from 1943 to 1945 the last higher Kriya initiations were given by Shrimat Bhupendranath Sanyal, the pious householder disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya.

After living a strict spiritual practice of sincere meditation and maintaining silence for many years, in 1949 he obtained the vision of the eternal yogi Babaji Maharaj who blessed him and prophesized that his mission would be to spread the message of the Kriya Yoga masters to the East and West.

In 1951, he was empowered by Paramahamsa Yogananda to initiate others into Kriya Yoga. Thus, he started his long missionary work that took him to the length and breath of his beloved India.

On May 27, 1959 he took formal monastic vows from the Shankaracharya of Puri and was reborn as Swami Hariharananda Giri.

The year 1974 marked his first journey to the West, where he would return every year and spread the message of divine love through conscious awareness of the God within. His travels took him all over Europe, South America, the United States, and Canada where he established centers and ashrams. He remained extensively in the West after 1990 and his work continues from headquarters on three continents: Vienna, Austria; Miami, USA; and Jagatpur, Orissa, India.

Thousands of people in the West have been transformed by his divine presence. Through his holy presence, the student could perceive the triple divine qualities of divine light, divine sound, and a divine movement sensation in the whole body. Students gained a direct experience and perception of God.

The philosophy of Kriya Yoga develops inner peace through breath control. Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji taught that the mind is the cause of bondage, restlessness, and unhappiness, yet the mind is also the source of peace, bliss, and joy. The untrained mind is the biggest obstacle to calmness. Each person needs to know his or her state of mind. In the ancient science of Kriya Yoga, it is taught that breath and mind are correlated and causally connected. Each state like passion, worry, anxiety, tension has a corresponding style of breathing. When the breath is slow and rhythmic, the mind is calm and quiet. Kriya Yoga is non-sectarian and practiced by people of all religions.

Paramahamsa Hariharananda was well versed in the holy scriptures of India, the Holy Bible, Torah, Qur'an, Buddhist scriptures, and teachings of all religions. He illuminated their meaning by providing divine interpretations in a new metaphorical way. His writings include "Kriya Yoga: The Scientific Process of Soul-Culture", "The Bhagavad Gita In the Light of Kriya Yoga: A Rare Metaphorical Explanation for God-Realization", and numerous other publications.

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Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji's life and his teachings have been an example for his students and successor, Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, who continues to spread his loving message all over the world. Through the charitable arm of the organization in India, Prajnana Mission, he and students tirelessly work to develop centers and ashrams, construct free medical institutions called "Hariharananda Charitable Health Centers" with a mobile dental and medical ambulance, fund libraries in schools, open a residential school for impoverished children, rebuild village homes destroyed in the 1999 cyclone in Orissa, India, and travel the world teaching Kriya Yoga.

The legacy of this great teacher lives on through the love and lives of his students. Honoring his 100th birth year is another example of the love and spiritual depth of this divine incarnation.