Definition - What does Lahiri Mahasaya mean?
Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-1895) was an Indian yogi and guru who was a key figure in the renaissance of yoga in modern India. He is also commonly known as Yogiraj and Kashi Baba, though he was born Shyama Charan Lahiri, a member of the Brahmin caste.
Lahiri Mahasaya spread the teachings of Kriya yoga, which were passed on to him from his guru, Mahavatar Babaji. Babaji recognized that Lahiri’s role was to pass on the messages of Kriya yoga to the world. Central to his teachings were inner pranayama practices, which he believed would give students accelerated spiritual growth and a direct experience of the Truth.
Yogapedia explains Lahiri Mahasaya
Lahiri Mahasaya was an unusual Brahmin guru in that he initiated people from different backgrounds including Christians, Muslims and those from lower castes. He welcomed anyone who sought his spiritual guidance. Rather than living in a temple or monastery, he chose a domesticated lifestyle. He was married, raised a family and became an accountant. He demonstrated how to live the ideal life as a householder, while fully embracing a spiritual path and reaching the most enlightened states.
Lahiri wrote many spiritual texts, including commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita. He also printed books containing excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita, which he distributed for free to thousands of people. He granted one of his disciples permission to set up an institution to promote Kriya yoga in Kolkata. This institution was called the Arya Mission Institute, which went on to publish Lahiri’s work and other spiritual texts.
It is said that before he died, Lahiri gathered his disciples and told them, “I am going home. Be comforted; I shall rise again." He then entered mahasamadhi, consciously leaving his physical body at the moment of enlightenment.
Lahiri Mahasaya had many students who went on to become recognized as gurus in their own rights. He also taught the parents of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of "Autobiography of a Yogi," and prophesied when Yogananda was still an infant that he would become a yogi and “spiritual engine.” Through Yogananda, Mahasaya’s reputation and teachings were spread to the West.