The Life Story of Swami Keshwanandaji Maharaj Part 3

There was a great saint called Bilvamangala Thakur who wrote many verses and songs full of love for Krishna. He would call on Krishna and Krishna would appear. Sri Thakur walked the streets of Vrindavan praying his Japa. No one ever knew the circumstances of his death. For 800 years – eight hundred years! – the old blind Thakur was often seen walking the banks of the Yamuna River, and also in Mathura. The villagers called him “Old Man River” and to see him was always a sign of blessing.


Whether by divine design or by force of some supernatural power (Siddhi) many saints have the gift of manifesting their astral forms or materializing them in the sight of others, even after many years of bodily death. The Puranas say that the Rishi Narayana perpetually inhabits the region of the Himalayas where the Badrinarayan temple is situated. Similar reports inform that Vyasadeva – the compiler of the Vedic scriptures – appeared visibly to Sri Sankaracharya. It is said that Baba Sri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak, was also seen on rare occasions in his radiant body in perfect shape. Many of those who manifest the gift of materializing their astral forms have not experienced physical death they have simply disappeared in the Light; as in the case of the Shaiva Saint, Sri Vallalar and the Vaishnava Saint Thiruppanalvar.


Swami Keshavananda was the first disciple to have such a meeting – not through visions or dreams, but “flesh and bone” – with the Guru of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, whom Lahiri affectionately called Babaji. The experience happened without being sought. Was he Vyasa, Narayana Rishi or Lord Shiva himself? Nobody knows. While walking the trails of the Himalayas for 38 years, Swami Keshavananda encountered many advanced yogis, however, he could ensure Babaji was not like the yogis who adopted the disgusting practice of leaving the old body to then go into the young body of someone recently deceased, nor did he seek the “Fountain Of Youth” through sadhana

After a meeting like this, the soul does not separate, anything in this world. The memories of the relationship with the Guru pervades the mind cultivating the exercise of contemplation. Many times the remembrance smaranan of that meeting would come to bless his meditation. With the loving bhava of the Guru’s presence warms the heart with such vigor, the flow of spiritual current in the spine becomes strong and continuous. It is an experience that affects the whole person and gives rise to a new life. The practice of contemplation – smaranam – enables God (in the form of Guru) to dwell in the heart of the disciple, and allows you to keep a new relationship with Him. Not only does the disciple know (realize) Him, The disciple sees and realizes “to live in Him.”

The adherence of Sri Keshavananda to the path of Kriya Yoga was carried out faithfully. Swami followed the instruction of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya – in his vision and spirituality. Had someone else taught Kriya Yoga to him, had he learned from a book or even a shastra (ancient scriptures), maybe the adherence would not bear fruit. The Kriya Yoga path – and in fact, any path – prescribing to the adherence of technical or spiritual practices, also means adherence to the Guru, his ideas, his teachings and his Saintly disciples.

Many reasons exist explaining why one hundred percent adherence to the Guru is often impossible. It is rare for one to experience the perfect meeting or to be in agreement of ideas and spirituality; not even Sri Keshavananda had this perfect agreement with Sri Lahiri Mahasaya; but the experience of faith Śraddhā – is able to eliminate the barriers and allows you to establish a relationship with the Guru so you access to the highest possibilities of spiritual life. After the faith experience, the figure of the Guru and His disciples and His teachings becomes object of smaranam. This spiritual exercise should not be below or above the yogi techniques, but should be as Garuda’s wings – the mystical eagle of Vishnu – who leads the soul to Vaikuntha – the spiritual realm.


Swami Keshavananda fixed his dwelling place in the holy city of Haridwar, where Babaji planted a Banyan for him. He received many disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya seeking an intense practice of Kriya Yoga. Here, they built an ashram for the beloved Swami.

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A few years later, an English colonel tried to expropriate the Swami and his disciples with the intent of building a watchtower for the purpose of observing a nearby dam. The Colonel requested an eviction notice to his superiors in London by telegraph, which was the means of long distance communication at that time. The court official who was drafting the order looked up and there in front of him stood a middle-aged man with gray beard, wearing a faded saffron-colored coat. His skin was dark olive and the long braids of hair down to his waist looked strange, but what appeared even stranger were the thick dreadlocks on top of his head. The court official was unable to avoid becoming startled by his sudden appearance. He had heard about the sadhus of India, but what would a sadhu be doing in London?

The sadhu smiled at the official and then speaking perfect English asked the officer to change the eviction orders. The official nodded affirmatively, without understanding anything, but said he would send a telegraphic message informing the English colonel in India.

When the colonel who was also without understanding received the message, he quickly, and angrily rushed to the ashram. On arrival what the colonel saw was the Swami in a reverent attitude toward a Banyan tree. How could he have gone and returned to London in such a short time?


— I would not have planted this Banyan if I knew you would have to leave. The Banyan is a symbol of our eternal friendship; from this tree will be born other trees and this ashram will remain here for many generations to come, although difficult times occur …


The Voice of Babaji came to him clear and bright through the ajña-chakra.

Then while meditating, Swami saw a mass of light appear 6 inches above his head, and his consciousness merged into it as a drop in the ocean without loss of individuality (Jiva). Traveling through the Light of Consciousness, he began to see, as if through a smoke screen, chairs, furniture, people …


Muttering, the court official said to the 3 or 4 British Government’s senior military officers:

— Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Swami that resides on the land that Colonel M. wants to appropriate …

Greeting the Swami with a slight nod of the head, the General told him, gently,

— Do not worry anymore about this eviction order — taking the piece of paper in his hands, the General tore it in half. – Please, you can return peacefully to your country.

Thanking the General with hands together in pranam, Swami turned and took one final look at the room he was standing in while his body was disintegrating into a cloud of atoms …



The English colonel received a communication from his superior officers informing him it was impractical and unnecessary to build a watchtower there and that he needed to seek another place a few miles away.

Full of curiosity the Colonel risked asking:

— Did the Swami pay you a visit in London recently?

— Yes, he was just here, again…

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Author: Yogi Professor Ramdas Prabhuji, Disciple of Shri Maheshwari Prasad Dubeyji in Shri Panchanan Lineage of Lahiri Mahasaya Kriya Yoga.

We Appreciate and Thank Nancy Swanson for Text Review!

See the Photo Gallery of Shri Keshavanandaji Ashram at Haridwar, More than 100 Photographs, Also Pictures of Shri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya’s Samadhi Sthala… Click the Link Below

Shri Keshavanandaji Ashram Haridwar, Photo Gallery

Shri Keshavanandaji Ashram at Haridwar India. Here, Shri Keshavanadaji, direct disciple of Shri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya did Kriya Yoga Sadhana here for a long time. This is a small and peaceful Ashram with lot of greenery and has rich vibrations for Kriya Yoga practice.
This is on Delhi – Haridwar highway, just after Shankaracharya Chowk in Haridwar, on main highway. You will find Holy Ganga on both side.

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