Paramhansa Yogananda’s Parents Become Disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya

By Abinash Babu


Bhagabati Charan Ghosh, Paramhansa Yogananda’s father.


Gyana Prabha Ghosh, Paramhansa Yogananda’s Mother

Years ago, before you were born, I asked my superior officer—your father—to give me a week’s leave from my Gorakhpur duties in order to visit my guru in Benares. Your father ridiculed my plan.

“Are you going to become a religious fanatic?” he inquired. “Concentrate on your office work if you want to forge ahead.”

Sadly walking home along a woodland path that day, I met your father in a palanquin. He dismissed his servants and conveyance, and fell into step beside me. Seeking to console me, he pointed out the advantages of striving for worldly success. But I heard him listlessly. My heart was repeating: “Lahiri Mahasaya! I cannot live without seeing you!”

“Our path took us to the edge of a tranquil field, where the rays of the late afternoon sun were still crowning the tall ripple of the wild grass. We paused in admiration. There in the field, only a few yards from us, the form of my great guru suddenly appeared!

“Bhagabati, you are too hard on your employee!” His voice was resonant in our astounded ears.

He vanished as mysteriously as he had come. On my knees I was exclaiming, “Lahiri Mahasaya! Lahiri Mahasaya!” Your father was motionless with stupefaction for a few moments.

“Abinash, not only do I give you leave, but I give myself leave to start for Benares tomorrow. I must know this great Lahiri Mahasaya, who is able to materialize himself at will in order to intercede for you! I will take my wife and ask this master to initiate us in his spiritual path. Will you guide us to him?”

“Of course.” Joy filled me at the miraculous answer to my prayer, and the quick, favorable turn of events.

The next evening your parents and I entrained for Benares. We took a horse cart the following day, and then had to walk through narrow lanes to my guru’s secluded home. Entering his little parlor, we bowed before the master, enlocked in his habitual lotus posture. He blinked his piercing eyes and leveled them on your father.

“Bhagabati, you are too hard on your employee!” His words were the same as those he had used two days before in the Gorakhpur field. He added, “I am glad that you have allowed Abinash to visit me, and that you and your wife have accompanied him.”

To their joy, he initiated your parents in the spiritual practice of Kriya Yoga. Your father and I, as brother disciples, have been close friends since the memorable day of the vision. Lahiri Mahasaya took a definite interest in your own birth. Your life shall surely be linked with his own: the master’s blessing never fails.

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