Categories: Hindu Sage and Saint

Lokenath: The Eternal Guide and Protector

Sri Sri Lokenath Baba, also known as Lokenath Brahmachari or simply Baba Lokenath, is one of the most revered spiritual leaders of Bengal (top 10 spiritual gurus of Bengal) and a mystic saint of global renown. Born in the 18th century, the incredible life of Lokenath Baba, filled with profound wisdom and spiritual practices, left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire countless devotees.

Sri Sri Lokenath Baba

Remarkably, Baba Lokenath foretold that a century after his death, he would be honored and worshipped widely. True to his prophecy, today his name resonates in nearly every Hindu Bengali home, where his idol graces family altars, and magnificent temples are erected in his honor. Devotees across the world bow to him, celebrating his life and teachings, thus fulfilling his vision in every sense.

Birth and Early Life

Baba Lokenath was born on Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, in 1730 (18th Bhadra, 1137), to a Brahmin family in the village of Chaurasi Chakla, near Kolkata, India. His father, Ramnarayan Ghosal, had a profound spiritual aspiration: to dedicate one of his children to the path of renunciation to liberate the family from worldly bonds. When his wife Kamaladevi gave birth to their fourth son, Ramnarayan felt it was the divine sign to initiate his son into a life of spiritual pursuit.

Education and Training

When Lokenath was 11 years old, Ramnarayan took him to the nearby village of Kochuya, where he pleaded with Pandit Bhagawan Ganguly to become Lokenath’s guru. The learned Pandit agreed, and young Lokenath left home to begin his spiritual training. His journey began with a visit to the Kalighat Temple in Kolkata. For 25 years, Lokenath lived in the forests, serving his master selflessly and engaging in rigorous spiritual practices. He dedicated himself to mastering the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali and the most challenging aspects of Hatha Yoga.

Penance and Enlightenment

Baba Lokenath, who grew to nearly seven feet tall and maintained a lean physique, was known for his extreme asceticism. He denied the needs of his physical body, abstaining from sleep and never closing his eyes, not even to blink. He roamed the Himalayas stark naked, enduring the severe cold, and immersed himself in profound meditation (samadhi) for nearly fifty years. This intense penance eventually led him to the light of self-realization at the age of 90.

Extensive Travels and Pilgrimages

Following his enlightenment, Baba Lokenath embarked on extensive travels on foot, journeying to Afghanistan, Persia, Arabia, and Israel. He made three pilgrimages to Mecca, demonstrating his universal approach to spirituality. His travels were not just spiritual quests but also efforts to spread his wisdom. When he reached the small town of Baradi near Dhaka, a wealthy family built him a small hermitage, which became his permanent ashram. At this stage, he was 136 years old. In his ashram, he donned the sacred thread and clothed himself in saffron robes. For the rest of his life, Baba Lokenath blessed and guided countless devotees, performing miracles and imparting divine wisdom.

Teachings of Baba Lokenath

Baba Lokenath’s teachings were marked by their simplicity and accessibility to the common man. He emphasized love, devotion, and unwavering faith in God and the deeper, immutable self. He often stated that for him, nothing existed but the Self. After attaining siddhi (enlightenment), he proclaimed, “I have seen only Myself. I am bound by my own karma. The materialistic world is bound by the tongue and the sex organ. He who can restrain these two is fit to attain siddhi (enlightenment).” His teachings focused on self-control, spiritual discipline, and the realization of one’s inner divinity.

Departure from the Physical Body

On the 19th day of Jyestha, 1297 (June 3, 1890), at 11:45 a.m., Baba Lokenath sat in his usual Gomukh yoga asana and entered a trance with his eyes open. While still in meditation, he left his physical body forever at the age of 160. Before his passing, he reassured his devotees, saying, “I am eternal, I am deathless. After this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Whoever will seek my refuge will always receive my grace.”

Legacy and Continued Reverence

More than a century after his death, Baba Lokenath’s legacy continues to thrive. In 1978, over 100 years after his passing, he appeared in a vision to Suddhananda Brahmachari, instructing him to write his life story. Obeying this divine command, Suddhananda Brahmachari penned the biography titled “In Danger, Remember Me.” Today, Lokenath Brahmachari is revered as a household deity by millions of Bengali families on both sides of the India-Bangladesh border. His teachings, life story, and divine grace continue to inspire and bless those who seek his guidance and refuge.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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