Who was Haidakhanwale Baba?
For the thousands who have read Paramahansa Yoganand’s AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI, the title MAHAVATAR BABAJI is a familiar one. A MAHAVATAR is a human manifestation of the Divine, not born of woman, and can take whatever form at whichever moment, and live at any spot for any period of time, depending on the dictates of His divine nature. Also referred to as Siddha Purusha (siddha: one who has conquered and tethered Nature through divine perfection; purusha: person, man), He is beyond physical death, a magnetic energy free to roam through the universe with or without shape.
One of Mahavatar Babaji’s physical manifestations was the Hairakhanwale Babaji. So called because of the small village of Hairakhan where he made Himself available to the public and settled down first between 1840 and 1922, (disappearing, it is believed, in a ball of light), and then briefly between 1970 and early 1984. To seekers, He often acknowledged without the slightest trace of self-consciousness, that he was the Shiva Mahavatar Babaji talked about in the above book. Having no known parents, he appeared as a youth of about eighteen in the year 1970, displaying incomparable wisdom and divine powers, visible to local villagers sometimes as an old long-bearded man, sometimes as a yoFung long-bearded man, and sometimes as a clean-shaven youth. If two persons spoke with Him, they could at the very moment, see him both as an old or a young man. With no apparent evidence of being “literate or educated”, He nonetheless displayed a profound knowledge of the scriptures, fluently quoting from them in both Sanskrit and Hindi. Even when he ate almost nothing for several months, his energy appeared boundless and ethereal.
Late in September 1970, He walked with a few persons to the top of the Kumaon Mount Kailash, and seated Himself yogi-fashion in a small, old temple for forty-five days without leaving His seat – meditating most of the time, talking little. It is here that he started to teach the message he had brought for the world – lead lives based on Truth, Simplicity and Love. This He said, was the essence of all religions. When a person decided to live by these three precepts, it was impossible then to nurture hatred, greed, anger, lust, jealousy and selfishness, and the accompanying violence these temperamental traits breed. Hundreds of people came that October to celebrate the nine-day religious festival of Navaratri (nine days dedicated to the Divine Mother) with Him on Mount Kailash.
His coming had been foretold by a twentieth century Indian saint Mahendra Baba, who had been healed as a child by a vision of Babaji and the Divine Mother. Mahendra Baba, when still a lad in school, was also taught yogic knowledge by Babaji in a subtle form. The saint renounced the world after completing his education, searching for his guru throughout the length and breadth of the country. After two decades, he was led back to the Kumaon Hills where Babaji appeared to him in a locked room in a remote mountain retreat. He was informed that while he would not be able to see the guru’s new manifestation during his life-time, his disciples would be able to “break bread” with him. After this appearance, Mahendra Baba began to prepare devotees for Shri Babaji’s return. Describing the Guru’s physical form, he prophesied that Babaji would reappear in 1970. And so it came to pass. Babaji strode the universe like the proverbial colossus, dovetailing the entire universe under his endless compassion and benignity. Given his natural omnipresence and omniscience, He did not exhibit any wish to establish a great personal following. His mission was to broadcast His message to the world. Extremely reticent for the first several years of his appearance, the last five years of his physical presence saw him begin to give little instructive talks – infrequently at first, and then more often. His speeches reflected His awareness of Himself as a manifestation of the supreme divine – and he often referred to Himself as Shri Mahaprabhuji (Supreme Master). He did not expect people to worship him as a manifestation, and often referred to His human form as “this body is nothing, it is here only to serve people.” Shri Babaji left His mortal body on St. Valentine’s Day – February 14, 1984. He came, lived what he preached, preached what he lived, and having completed his mission, left. He came to show mankind how to live, and serve man at the highest level. Even as He was getting ready to discard his physical frame, on 13th February, 1984, He told some visitors, “the mahakranti (great revolution) must come because everyone thinks in terms of ‘I’ and ‘my’ and wants to be superior and arrogant – no one wants to be humble and self effacing.” The great revolution that He came to inspire was one of thinking and feeling – of mind and heart – but it could not happen without a physical, material revolution that would destroy the old society and patterns of thought.
Original Hairakhan Temple
It’s a sacred site, 27 km east of the base town of Haldwani in District Nainital in the Uttaranchal hills. Across the river from the ashram is the famed cave (gufa) where He is believed to have meditated for untold years. The hypothesis is that the words describing the name Haidiyakhandi are “words from the Lord’s own mouth, manifested deep within the heart and written down, so that the world should be benefited.”
Break-down of the word Haidiyakhandi
The first letter “HAI”: – H and AI represents the seed of ether (akasa). Ether, like space, is all-pervading. Both Lord Hari (Visnu) and Lord Hara (Siva) assumed this first letter “H”. The Supreme Divine has been coming to earth time and again, assuming the seed of the letter “H”. As Haidiyakhandi, the Divine incarnated on earth for the welfare of mankind. “Whenever the Lord has incarnated on earth, He has done so in conjunction with His eternal Energy (Sakti): Lakshmi-Narayana, Gauri-Shankara; Sita-Rama; Radha-Krishna. Shri Babaji, in His last incarnation, came with Mother Amba. “AI” is the seed of pure Energy. “H” is the seed which is in the sounds of the root mantras (divine syllables) Aim, Hrim, Klim, Srim. The Lord in whose heart the Divine Mother dwells is Lord Haidiyakhandi: together they are represented by the sound “H” and “AI.”
The sound “D”: Lord Sambasadasiva is also the player of the “damru” (drum). The sound of the damru is symbolized by the letter “D”. The letter has been assumed by the Lord appearing as Lord Haidiyakhandi. The letter also represents the seed of “danda” (staff) carried by the Lord – this incarnation is also known as Lakulin, one who carried a “lakuti” (staff). This manifestation of Shri Babaji is refered to in the Siva Purana. Temple where He is worshipped is still existent near the city of Baroda, in Kayavarohan, in the Indian State of Gujarat.
The sound “YA”: These next letters in Haidiyakhandi stand for the one who protects the whole of creation. “Y” and “A” denote Yati – rishi (sage,seer). A rishi is he who is detached, living in solitude in the mountains or forests. “A” is also the seed syllable representing the divine Mother – compassionate, caring and looking on all suffering with the eyes of mercy. The Lord assumed this sound and appeared as Haidiyakhandi.
The sound “KHAN”: “When the universe came into existence, Lord Shiva appeared as a flame represented by the sound “KHAN”. In this form, He gave Lord Brahma and Lord Hari (Vishnu) the task of creating and maintaining the universe. He also appeared to the mythical devotee Prahlada from the “Khamba” (pillar), coming as the Narasimha (Lord Vishnu’s fourth incarnation). He came now assuming the letters “KHAN” as Haidiyakhandi.
The sound “D” and “I”: combines two aspects of the Divine — “D” as in “dar” (fear). For those full of fear, who have lost their way in the kali yuga (the dark age). To make them fearless, He has taken the form of Haidiyakhandi. “I” is the Supreme, the Absolute Lord – formless but has taken form to bring joy and bliss to those who believe in Him.
The word “Haidiyakhandi” may be used as a mantra (divine syllable) with or without the sound of OM. The name represents the five great elements. It is used in the practice of tantra (practice by repetition of syllables and meditation), puja (ritual worship) and yagna (fire worship). The name represents the mysteries of manifestation – and so BABA HAIDYAKHAN in whom She “who resides in the Lotus of the Lord’s heart” has been assumed. That primordial energy – the Mother — who according to the ancient Hindu scriptures is the active principle in the static Absolute, giving rise, through it’s inherent pressure, to the first movement in Space (the minutest energy particle), thereby setting in motion the entire process of creation.