I came across the name Babaji in my high school days. I was reading a comic book on Paramahamsa Yogananda and found that Babaji guided Yukteshwar (Yogananda's guru) as well as Yogananda himself.
After that, I forgot about Babaji though the name lingered because of the unique legend associated with it. Can you believe that a physically immortal being exists? Or that Babaji has existed for 1800 years ? Or that he appears as a youth in his twenties to guide his disciples ?
I have a copy of Paramahamsa Yogananda's "An autobiography of a Yogi" but haven't had the time to read it. One of the claims in this book was that even Sri Shankara was a disciple of Babaji. An interesting claim by the maintainers of this web page is that Shankara has mentioned this in his writings. Now, I know that Shankara has not mentioned this at all. If Babaji was Shankara's guru (and Babaji was supposed to be more than 600 years old when Shankara lived and taught),wouldn't Shankara dedicate everything to him? So the claim of Babaji being Shankara's guru seems far-fetched.
This is a very interesting legend, though. I feel that it is our innate desire to be immortal in our physical frames that has caused this legend to propagate and flourish. God is everywhere but there is no need for Him to be physically present (though He can do that) in a certain form. Plenty of great seers and saints have walked the earth and not even a fraction of these people (even the accomplished ones) mentions Babaji's name.
This legend received another shot in the arm from Rajanikanth's Tamil movie Baba. In this movie, Rajanikanth plays a rebellious youth - who is supposed to be a reincarnation of one of Babaji's disciples. Babaji is also shown in the movie as talking to his disciple. It is a romantic notion but too stretched for it to be true.
The story mentioned in this web page of Babaji Nagaraj is again far fetched. But as the author mentions - the unbelievers never believe and the believers never cease to. I am in the middle on this. Certain good people have mentioned this name and they never lie. So if we take their word, we can believe in Babaji. I suppose life would become more interesting if such a person as Babaji existed.
The Himalayas become more interesting when we learn about all these legends. As it is, it is so beautiful and spiritually elevating. With all the legends associated with the Himalayas - like Shiva's abode Kailasa being in the Himalayas, the sage Veda Vyasa's Ashrama being in the Himalayas, the origin of the Ganga river, the route taken by YudhiShThira to attain to heaven - I've just mentioned a few - and of course with the possibility of seeing a legendary and intriguing and powerful personality as Babaji - the Himalayas become simply irresistible. This story has made me think of a trip to the Himalayas.
Hinduism and Himalayas have been inseparable with almost every legend originating in the Himalayas. Parvati's father is the Himalaya range itsefl. Shiva lives in the Himalayas. There are supposed to be a lot of sages and yogis that have become deathless. We also have many temples and stories devoted to the Himalayas. It is probably the most spiritually tuned place in the world. All important Ashramas have a branch in the Himalayas.
I suppose I have rambled enough for now. Time for me to get back to work.
|| iti sham ||