Sri Yogananda Brahmachari Ji Maharaj
ri Yogananda Brahmachaari Ji Maharaj, birth name Dayaa Shankar,
was born in the suburb of Vairawal, a small town of Junagarh state in Gujrat,
at the end of the 19th century. The exact place and date of his birth is not
known since he was always reluctant to give proper details about his
childhood. Sriman Pandit Shankar Lal Audichya and Srimati Mahaadevi Ji
gave birth to this son : the sun of Kundalini Yoga : on the auspicious day of
His father died quite early and the family became poverty stricken.
Consequently his educational advancement was limited. His initial efforts of
earning his livelihood in Bombay with his uncle failed as he was totally
straightforward and honest in his dealings with people. In addition, he had a
genuine love for the company of saints and becoming a great Yogi himself.
His indifference towards the world gradually increased and ultimately, once
annoyed with his family members, he renounced his home in search of a
At that time, he was attracted to one Sri Trivikram Swami, a spiritual
master owning an Ashram near Prabhas Patan with many disciples. Dayaa
joined this Ashram in 1909 and started living there. In the front of that
Ashram, many stone-tokens of Lord Shiva were lying scattered un-
worshipped. The birds and dogs used to spoil them. Noticing this, Swami
ordered his disciples many times to remove all tokens and shrink them in the
holy river Godawari. But no disciple dared to obey him because of the fear of
vice and curse. Noticing this, Dayaa obeyed him and did this considering the
order of the Guru over and above all the religious sentiments and faiths.
Swami was extremely pleased by this. He embraced Dayaa and named him
“Yogananda” as a token of his blessings. He awarded a boon to Dayaa to
become a great famous Yogi in future and advised him to go in search of
some Yogi-master for learning Yoga.
Dayaa has heard much and very high about the importance of the
Divine Power Kundalini in Yoga and the automatic marvelous rewards of its
awakening. He had an ardent desire to know and experience all about this.
Following the advice of the Swami, Dayaa left that Ashram in search of some
competent Guru of Kundalini-yoga. For this, wandering in many places, he
reached Garudeshwar in 1911. There he heard about a famous Yogi, Sri
Swami Atmaanand Sarswati of Baanling Ashram, in Brahma Tirth near the
holy river Ganga. After testing and being satisfied with the capability of
Dayaa, Swami started to teach him Hath-yoga. Dayaa practiced many
postures and Pranayama (control of breath) under his guidance for 10 months.
With his tremendous practice, he became able to detain his breath for 45
minutes and get up in the sky in the posture. The Swami was extremely
pleased with him.
One day, while bathing in the river, Dayaa saw some fishes resting on
the bed of the river in deep waters. Just a question flashed in his mind that if
mere detaining of the breath and getting up high in the sky is the Yoga, then
these fishes and birds are perfect Yogis. More over, one can practice this at his
home also. Then why am I wandering here and there for such Yoga ? There is
nothing like Kundalini awakening in it. He expressed his feelings to Swami Ji
and asked him about the real Kundalini-oga. Swami Ji advised him to go to
Uttarkashi (Himalayas) in search of a Yogi well versed in Kundalini-Yoga.
Dayaa bowed him with great respect and left the Ashram with heavy heart.
Knowing nothing about the destination and contemplating how and
where to go, he proceeded towards south and reached the bank of holy river
Narmada in the beginning of 1913. He decided to go on circumambulation of
the holy river with the hope that he may come across some desired Yogi
during this pilgrimage. He was a firm devotee of Lord Shiva and preferred the
temple of his deity only to rest in the night. By the end of 1913, he reached a
monastery of Daakaur Ji in Gujraat region and asked permission to stay there
from the head of that hermitage. He gladly allowed lustrous young Dayaa to
stay there as long as he desired or also permanently; with a hidden desire that
Dayaa may become his disciple and his successor in future.
There was a big pool near that hermitage. On the bank of this pool
resided one 130 years aged Aghori (an ascetic of filthy cult) in his Dhooni
(incensory). Dayaa used to go and sit with him very often. One day, much
pleased with Dayaa, Aghori pressed his one neck-nerve and Dayaa began to
hear Anhad-naad (cosmic inner voices). Dayaa was much amazed and began
to enjoy this more and more time with great pleasure. The Aghori used to
preach and perswade Dayaa to become his disciple and learn his cult,
tempting him to teach how to fly in the sky along with many other
supernatural activities. But Dayaa hated this cult because the feaces are used
during its practice. Much frustrated and disappointed Aghori became
extremely furious. Dayaa ran to save himself, but Aghori hit his legs with a
burning wood-stick from his Dhooni. Dayaa fell down. Aghori seized him and
pressed again his neck-nerve. The Anhad-naad which Dayaa was enjoying,
stopped suddenly. Loosing this gain, Dayaa became fickle minded and much
By the grace of God and good luck of Dayaa, Krishnanand
Brahmachari (here in after called Babaa) reached and stayed in the same
monastery. Dayaa came to know that he is coming from Uttarkashi
(Himalayas). Extremely attracted by his glorious appearance, Dayaa told him
all about himself and his acute desire to learn Yoga. Babaa was also much
influenced by brillient young Dayaa and his spiritual quest in this young age.
By intuition, both realized their life-long fast relationship. Babaa agreed to
keep Dayaa with him and search a perfect Yogi who could satisfy him and
quench his thirst of search. Dayaa requested the Mahant to allow him to go
with Babaa. Hearing this, Mahant became very angry with Babaa and expelled
him from the Ashram accusing him for persuading to kidnap his beloved
disciple Dayaa. He locked Dayaa forcibly in a room. In the night, while all
were in deep sleep, Dayaa shifted door-part of the room, ran and reached
railway station where Babaa was waiting for him. They reached Haridwar-
Rishilesh in December 1913. On request, the head of Swargaashram allotted
them a cottage on the bank of the holy river Gangaa.
Babaa visited Uttarkaashi with Dayaa to meet his Guru Yogiraj
Ramashram Ji. He told his Guru about all the achievements of Dayaa by
practicing Hath Yoga and consulted him about some one expert in Kundalini
Yoga. He was much pleased to know the achievements and spiritual desires
of Dayaa in that very young age. He advised Dayaa to continue his practice
for life-long period with full faith and patience, because it is not so cheap and
easy to awake Kundalini and become a perfect Yogi and that he will reach
his goal some day or the other in due course of time. With this uncertain
version, Dayaa was disappointed and they returned back to the cottage in
While residing in Swargaashram with Babaa, he met one well learned
Brahmabchari Sharat who himself was practicing Kundalini-Yoga. Dayaa
loved and respected him like his Guru and was much benefited by his regular
company. He explained Dayaa all about Kundalini awakening, its marvelous
effects and rewards and assured him to help in the matter. He asked Dayaa to
go to Kaashi and meet one Sri Atma Prakaash Brahmachaari of Shankar Math
with his recommendation letter for initiating Dayaa and awake his Kundalini.
The same Brahmachaari Atma Prakash, became Sannyaasi Swami
Purushottam Tirth; Shankaraacharya of Goverdhan Math and founded one
Shankar Math in Uttarkaashi also. Babaa and Dayaa intended to go to Kaashi
(now Varanasi), but they did not have sufficient money for fare. Therefore
they traveled by train as well as on foot and reached Kaashi in November
They met Brahmachari Atma Prakash Ji who greeted them warmly and
asked the purpose of their visit. Babaa told him every thing in detail about
Dayaa and his desires. He assured Babaa to initiate Dayaa and satisfy him.
Babaa, being assured, left Dayaa in his custody and went to Bithoor for some
job. Brahmachari initiated Dayaa on one auspicious day. In-spite of daily
regular sitting and full efforts after initiation, no signs of Kundalini
awakening appeared for more than a month. Much worried Dayaa became
quite weak and disappointed. He called Babaa from Bithoor and informed the
position. Babaa scolded Brahmachari for his total failure in awakening
Kundalini and returned back to Swargaashram with Dayaa. He met Sharat
Brahmachari and narrated the whole instance to him. Brahmachari again
consoled Dayaa and told that our Guru H.H. Sri Swami Narayan Dev Tirth
resides in Binotia, district Faridpur. Have full faith and patience. You will
surely achieve your goal there.
During this years-long journey mostly on foot; they came across many
devotees and ascetics of different faiths; faced many odd and difficult
situations and at last reached Binotia, east Bengal, in February 1918. Swami
Narayan Dev Tirth, seeing one old man coming with a young boy, came
forward and welcomed them; gave a room to rest and food with love. After
providing complete rest, Swami asked them the purpose of their visit. As
usual, Babaa described all about Dayaa and his desires and asked Swami
straightforwardly : “If you have really some thing to give, then shower your
grace on my disciple. Otherwise; please do not confuse us any more because
we are fed up of confusions and misguides. The Swami replied : “I am not a
hypocrite. If your disciple remains unsatisfied here, it would mean that there
is some thing basically wrong with his state of consciousness. I assure you
that your disciple will get true light here beyond and doubt. Any how, you
have reached the right place”. The Swami was much attracted by the splendid
Babaa and young Dayaa and loved them.
Then, out of profound love, at first Swami initiated unwilling Babaa
forcibly on the auspicious day of “Basant-Panchmi” and, after 4 days, initiated
Dayaa also. The blocked treasure of spiritual experiences and supernatural
powers with in Dayaa was released as soon as his Kundalini was awakened by
initiation. He lay down flat on the feet of the Swami and prayed him with
overwhelming devotion. He received the right of initiating others (Gurupad)
also by his intellectual skill. Swami described his years-long search and
pains for receiving initiation from Swami Gangaadhar Tirh and said that I feel
proud to have a disciple like you. Further he said that this cult of Shaktipaat
initiation is very rare and secret. You should bring this in to light and spread
it by writing a book on this subject for the benefit of genuine aspirants.
Swami blessed Dayaa with the boon that he will become a perfect famous
Yogi, a spiritual light-tower and will hoist the flag of Kundalini Awakening
by Saktipaat Initiationin in the whole world. Here in after Dayaa Shankar
(Dayaa) was called Yoganand Brahmachari.
On the way back, they visited some holy places. Then Babaa told
Dayaa that my duty is fulfilled. Now I am relieved and going to Brindavan.
You should go to Swargaashram and engage yourself in intense Sadhanaa.
You have to spread the knowledge of this Shaktipaat initiation in the world
and write a book on this subject as desired by our Yogi Guru. Dayaa; now
Yoganand Brahmachari; obeyed Babaa and reached Rishikesh. He was much
interested in research of the supreme effects of Kundalini and its supernatural
powers. He shifted to Brahmapuri; a holy place in deep forests away from
Swargaashram on the bank of Gangaa; and engaged himself whole heartedly
in Yoga-Sadhana with penance. There he acquired many super natural powers
such as : to enter and come out of any other’s body; kill and revive any insect;
acquire any thing required by mere resolve; etc. He acquired mastery over
retention (Dhaarnaa) power and could activate even an inert and immovable
according to him. He could command ones breath, mind and activities and
stop them totally. For experimenting the effects and power of Shaktipaat
Initiation; he initiated many atheists and turned them into a theist. In his
search, he initiated many advocates, judges, multimillionaires; kings,
monarchs and specially those persons who did not believe in this cult of
Kundalini- awakening and Shaktipaat initiation.
He declared that every one; aspiring to shatter the chains of actions and
seeking salvation; will have to take refuge and come in the shelter of this
Divine power Kundalini. He can do so following his own religion. He initiated
many highly learned and Sanskrit language scholars. He initiated Swami
Vishnu Tirth on June 28/30, 1933 and many others awarding Gurupad (right
of initiating others) to some best of them. He was of the opinion that
physicians, doctors, astrologers, ritualistic and non-capable persons should
not be initiated. In 1920-21 he founded an Ashram at Mandu; in district
Bulandshahar; at the bank of holy river Gangaa and started a charitable
dispensary there for the poor villagers of the locality, but closed it after some
time by the order of Babaa. He circumambulated holy river Narmada once
again in 1928 as a token of his gratitude and thanks to her, to lord Shiva and
to all those persons who met and helped him in 1913-14 while he was
searching for and has achieved now i.e. the Kundalini-Yoga.
While staying with Babaa in Brindavan, he wrote the book
“Mahaayoga-Vigyan”; a famous master piece on the subject; fulfilling the
desire of Yogi-Guru. In 1934, Babaa suffered from fatal diarrhoea and could
not recover in spite of various treatments continuously. Prior to breathing
his last, he advised Dayaa to marry and adopt Grihasthaashram, because the
future would be all the more worse for the Sannyas-Ashram. Babaa cast his
mortal body on September 07, 1934 and merged in his deity lord Krishna.
Heavily aggrieved, Yoganand returned to Rishikesh. After a few months he
received another bad news that Yogi-Guru Narayan Dev Tirth has also left
his mortal body in the month of April, 1935. Now Yoganand felt himself like
an orphan. Realizing the absolute necessity of a Guru in life, he remembered
the same Sharat Brahmachari who introduced him to Kundalini Yoga and
Yogi Guru. Now he had become Swami Poornanand Giri and was residing in
his self-founded Bengali Shivaalaya in Rishikesh. He reached him and
surrendered himself as his disciple accepting him as Guru. Unfortunately
Swami Poornanand also merged in to the absolute on the day of lights i.e.
Deewali, in 1936 and Yoganand again remained without shelter of any Guru.
He received a plot of land with two rooms on it, in donation for
religious purposes, from Seth Deep Chand of M/s. Jhandoomal and sons,
Dehradun, in 1937. He founded Vigyan Bhawan Ashram on this plot, situated
on Pushkar Mandir Road, Rishikesh, and raised the buildings with the help
and money received in donation from his disciples. Here he initiated many
genuine aspirants of all categories in Shaktipaat. Considering the last advice
if Babaa, after contemplating for many years, he got married and became a
house-holder, but his family-life was not satisfactory and harmonious. Even
now he was using his old name on his letter-forms and used sign as Y.B. at the
end of his letters. Noticing this, his name was changed by his successor from
Yoganand Brahmachari to Yogendra Vigyani befitting to his present status of
a married person. He suffered from a severe typhoid fever for 18-20 days and,
in-spite of proper treatment, at last he cast his mortal body in the laps of his
successor Devendra Vigyani, on Friday, 26th June, 1959. His worthy disciples
and grand disciples are holding the beckon light of his spiritual knowledge
after him.. Iti Om.
--Devendra Vigyani : 30th January 2006.