New Thought Library is an online public library with free eBook and audio downloads.
Links to downloads for Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda are at the bottom of this web page
This library should make your reading, research and writing projects easier.
Fully processed books have yellow page scan links to check text accuracy.
File numbers for .jpg and .htm files etc... match the original page numbers for accuracy and ease of use.
This enables writers to create reference links for research or publication. Use it, send in additions and keep in mind that your support means more free books, better processing and more downloads.
Rama is Raised From the Dead
"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus. .
. . When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death,
but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.'"1
was expounding the Christian scriptures one sunny morning on the
balcony of his Serampore hermitage. Besides a few of Master's other
disciples, I was present with a small group of my Ranchi students.
this passage Jesus calls himself the Son of God. Though he was truly
united with God, his reference here has a deep impersonal significance,"
my guru explained. "The Son of God is the Christ or Divine
Consciousness in man. No mortal can glorify God. The only
honor that man can pay his Creator is to seek Him; man cannot glorify
an Abstraction that he does not know. The 'glory' or nimbus around
the head of the saints is a symbolic witness of their capacity to render divine homage."
went on to read the marvelous story of Lazarus' resurrection. At
its conclusion Master fell into a long silence, the sacred book
open on his knee.
was privileged to behold a similar miracle." My guru finally
spoke with solemn unction. "Lahiri Mahasaya resurrected one
of my friends from the dead."
The young lads
at my side smiled with keen interest. There was enough of the boy
in me, too, to enjoy not only the philosophy but, in particular,
any story I could get Sri Yukteswar to relate about his wondrous
experiences with his guru.
Rama and I were inseparable," Master began. "Because he
was shy and reclusive, he chose to visit our guru Lahiri Mahasaya
only during the hours of midnight and dawn, when the crowd of daytime
disciples was absent. As Rama's closest friend, I served as a spiritual
vent through which he let out the wealth of his spiritual perceptions.
I found inspiration in his ideal companionship." My guru's
face softened with memories.
was suddenly put to a severe test," Sri Yukteswar continued.
"He contracted the disease of Asiatic cholera. As our master
never objected to the services of physicians at times of serious
illness, two specialists were summoned. Amidst the frantic rush
of ministering to the stricken man, I was deeply praying to Lahiri
Mahasaya for help. I hurried to his home and sobbed out the story.
are seeing Rama. He will be well.' My guru smiled jovially.
with a light heart to my friend's bedside, only to find him in a
last more than one or two hours,' one of the physicians told me
with a gesture of despair. Once more I hastened to Lahiri Mahasaya.
are conscientious men. I am sure Rama will be well.' The master
dismissed me blithely.
place I found both doctors gone. One had left me a note: 'We have
done our best, but his case is hopeless.'
was indeed the picture of a dying man. I did not understand how
Lahiri Mahasaya's words could fail to come true, yet the sight of
Rama's rapidly ebbing life kept suggesting to my mind: 'All is over
now.' Tossing thus on the seas of faith and apprehensive doubt,
I ministered to my friend as best I could. He roused
himself to cry out:
run to Master and tell him I am gone. Ask him to bless my body before
its last rites.' With these words Rama sighed heavily and gave up
for an hour by his beloved form. Always a lover of quiet, now he
had attained the utter stillness of death. Another disciple came
in; I asked him to remain in the house until I returned. Half-dazed,
I trudged back to my guru.
Rama now?' Lahiri Mahasaya's face was wreathed in smiles.
you will soon see how he is,' I blurted out emotionally. 'In a few
hours you will see his body, before it is carried to the crematory
grounds.' I broke down and moaned openly.
control yourself. Sit calmly and meditate.' My guru retired into samadhi. The afternoon and night passed in unbroken silence;
I struggled unsuccessfully to regain an inner composure.
Lahiri Mahasaya glanced at me consolingly. 'I see you are still
disturbed. Why didn't you explain yesterday that you expected me
to give Rama tangible aid in the form of some medicine?' The master
pointed to a cup-shaped lamp containing crude castor oil. 'Fill
a little bottle from the lamp; put seven drops into Rama's mouth.'
I remonstrated, 'he has been dead since yesterday noon. Of what
use is the oil now?'
mind; just do as I ask.' Lahiri Mahasaya's cheerful mood was incomprehensible;
I was still in the unassuaged agony of bereavement. Pouring out
a small amount of oil, I departed for Rama's house.
my friend's body rigid in the death-clasp. Paying no attention to
his ghastly condition, I opened his lips with my right finger and
managed, with my left hand and the help of the cork, to put the
oil drop by drop over his clenched teeth.
seventh drop touched his cold lips, Rama shivered violently. His
muscles vibrated from head to foot as he sat up wonderingly.
Lahiri Mahasaya in a blaze of light,' he cried. 'He shone like the
sun. "Arise; forsake your sleep," he commanded me. "Come
with Yukteswar to see me."'
scarcely believe my eyes when Rama dressed himself and was strong
enough after that fatal sickness to walk to the home of our guru.
There he prostrated himself before Lahiri Mahasaya with tears of
was beside himself with mirth. His eyes twinkled at me
he said, 'surely henceforth you will not fail to carry with you
a bottle of castor oil! Whenever you see a corpse, just administer
the oil! Why, seven drops of lamp oil must surely foil the power
you are ridiculing me. I don't understand; please point out the
nature of my error.'
told you twice that Rama would be well; yet you could not fully
believe me,' Lahiri Mahasaya explained. 'I did not mean the doctors
would be able to cure him; I remarked only that they were in attendance.
There was no causal connection between my two statements. I didn't
want to interfere with the physicians; they have to live, too.'
In a voice resounding with joy, my guru added, 'Always know that
the inexhaustible Paramatman4 can heal anyone,
doctor or no doctor.'
my mistake,' I acknowledged remorsefully. 'I know now that your
simple word is binding on the whole cosmos.'"
As Sri Yukteswar
finished the awesome story, one of the spellbound listeners ventured
a question that, from a child, was doubly understandable.
he said, "why did your guru use castor oil?"
giving the oil had no meaning except that I expected something material
and Lahiri Mahasaya chose the near-by oil as an objective symbol
for awakening my greater faith. The master allowed Rama to die,
because I had partially doubted. But the divine guru knew that inasmuch
as he had said the disciple would be well, the healing must take
place, even though he had to cure Rama of death, a disease usually
dismissed the little group, and motioned me to a blanket seat at
he said with unusual gravity, "you have been surrounded from
birth by direct disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya. The great master lived
his sublime life in partial seclusion, and steadfastly refused to
permit his followers to build any organization around his teachings.
He made, nevertheless, a significant prediction.
fifty years after my passing,' he said, 'my life will be written
because of a deep interest in yoga which the West will manifest.
The yogic message will encircle the globe, and aid in establishing
that brotherhood of man which results from direct perception of
the One Father.'
Yogananda," Sri Yukteswar went on, "you must do your part
in spreading that message, and in writing that sacred life."
after Lahiri Mahasaya's passing in 1895 culminated in 1945, the
year of completion of this present book. I cannot but be struck
by the coincidence that the year 1945 has also ushered in a new
age --- the era of revolutionary atomic energies. All thoughtful minds
turn as never before to the urgent problems of peace and brotherhood,
lest the continued use of physical force banish all men along with
Though the human
race and its works disappear tracelessly by time or bomb, the sun
does not falter in its course; the stars keep their invariable vigil.
Cosmic law cannot be stayed or changed, and man would do well to
put himself in harmony with it. If the cosmos is against might,
if the sun wars not with the planets but retires at dueful time
to give the stars their little sway, what avails our mailed fist?
Shall any peace indeed come out of it? Not cruelty but good will
arms the universal sinews; a humanity at peace will know the endless
fruits of victory, sweeter to the taste than any nurtured on the
soil of blood.
League of Nations will be a natural, nameless league of human hearts.
The broad sympathies and discerning insight needed for the healing
of earthly woes cannot flow from a mere intellectual consideration
of man's diversities, but from knowledge of man's sole unity --- his
kinship with God. Toward realization of the world's highest ideal --- peace
through brotherhood --- may yoga, the science of personal contact with
the Divine, spread in time to all men in all lands.
India's civilization is ancient above any other, few historians
have noted that her feat of national survival is by no means an
accident, but a logical incident in the devotion to eternal verities
which India has offered through her best men in every generation.
By sheer continuity of being, by intransitivity before the ages --- can
dusty scholars truly tell us how many? --- India has given the worthiest
answer of any people to the challenge of time.
Biblical story5 of Abraham's plea to the Lord that the city of Sodom be spared if
ten righteous men could be found therein, and the divine reply:
"I will not destroy it for ten's sake," gains new meaning
in the light of India's escape from the oblivion of Babylon, Egypt
and other mighty nations who were once her contemporaries. The Lord's
answer clearly shows that a land lives, not by its material achievements,
but in its masterpieces of man.
Let the divine
words be heard again, in this twentieth century, twice dyed in blood
ere half over: No nation that can produce ten men, great in the
eyes of the Unbribable Judge, shall know extinction. Heeding such
persuasions, India has proved herself not witless against the thousand
cunnings of time. Self-realized masters in every century have hallowed
her soil; modern Christlike sages, like Lahiri Mahasaya and his
disciple Sri Yukteswar, rise up to proclaim that the science of
yoga is more vital than any material advances to man's happiness
and to a nation's longevity.
information about the life of Lahiri Mahasaya and his universal
doctrine has ever appeared in print. For three decades in India,
America, and Europe, I have found a deep and sincere interest in
his message of liberating yoga; a written account of the master's
life, even as he foretold, is now needed in the West, where lives
of the great modern yogis are little known.
but one or two small pamphlets in English has been written on the
guru's life. One biography in Bengali, Sri Sri6 Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya, appeared in 1941. It was written
by my disciple, Swami Satyananda, who for many years has been the acharya (spiritual preceptor) at our Vidyalaya in Ranchi.
I have translated a few passages from his book and have incorporated
them into this section devoted to Lahiri Mahasaya.
It was into a pious Brahmin family of ancient lineage that Lahiri Mahasaya was born September 30, 1828. His birthplace
was the village of Ghurni in the Nadia district near Krishnagar,
Bengal. He was the youngest son of Muktakashi, the second wife of
the esteemed Gaur Mohan Lahiri. (His first wife, after the birth
of three sons, had died during a pilgrimage.) The boy's mother passed
away during his childhood; little about her is known except the
revealing fact that she was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva,7 scripturally designated as the "King of Yogis."
The boy Lahiri,
whose given name was Shyama Charan, spent his early years in the
ancestral home at Nadia. At the age of three or four he was often
observed sitting under the sands in the posture of a yogi, his body
completely hidden except for the head.
The Lahiri estate
was destroyed in the winter of 1833, when the near-by Jalangi River
changed its course and disappeared into the depths of the Ganges.
One of the Shiva temples founded by the Lahiris went into the river
along with the family home. A devotee rescued the stone image of
Lord Shiva from the swirling waters and placed it in a new temple,
now well-known as the Ghurni Shiva Site.
Gaur Mohan Lahiri
and his family left Nadia and became residents of Benares, where
the father immediately erected a Shiva temple. He conducted his
household along the lines of Vedic discipline, with regular observance
of ceremonial worship, acts of charity, and scriptural study. Just
and open-minded, however, he did not ignore the beneficial current
of modern ideas.
boy Lahiri took lessons in Hindi and Urdu in Benares study-groups.
He attended a school conducted by Joy Narayan Ghosal, receiving
instruction in Sanskrit, Bengali, French, and English. Applying
himself to a close study of the Vedas, the young yogi listened
eagerly to scriptural discussions by learned Brahmins, including
a Marhatta pundit named Nag-Bhatta.
was a kind, gentle, and courageous youth, beloved by all his companions.
With a well-proportioned, bright, and powerful body, he excelled
in swimming and in many skillful activities.
In 1846 Shyama
Charan Lahiri was married to Srimati Kashi Moni, daughter of Sri
Debnarayan Sanyal. A model Indian housewife, Kashi Moni cheerfully
carried on her home duties and the traditional householder's obligation
to serve guests and the poor. Two saintly sons, Tincouri and Ducouri,
blessed the union.
At the age of
23, in 1851, Lahiri Mahasaya took the post of accountant in the
Military Engineering Department of the English government. He received
many promotions during the time of his service. Thus not only was
he a master before God's eyes, but also a success in the little
human drama where he played his given role as an office worker in
As the offices
of the Army Department were shifted, Lahiri Mahasaya was transferred
to Gazipur, Mirjapur, Danapur, Naini Tal, Benares, and other localities.
After the death of his father, Lahiri had to assume the entire responsibility
of his family, for whom he bought a quiet residence in the Garudeswar
Mohulla neighborhood of Benares.
was in his thirty-third year that Lahiri Mahasaya saw fulfillment
of the purpose for which he had been reincarnated on earth. The
ash-hidden flame, long smouldering, received its opportunity to
burst into flame. A divine decree, resting beyond the gaze of human
beings, works mysteriously to bring all things into outer manifestation
at the proper time. He met his great guru, Babaji, near Ranikhet,
and was initiated by him into Kriya Yoga.
auspicious event did not happen to him alone; it was a fortunate
moment for all the human race, many of whom were later privileged
to receive the soul-awakening gift of Kriya. The lost, or
long-vanished, highest art of yoga was again being brought to light.
Many spiritually thirsty men and women eventually found their way
to the cool waters of Kriya Yoga. Just as in the Hindu legend,
where Mother Ganges offers her divine draught to the parched devotee
Bhagirath, so the celestial flood of Kriya rolled from the
secret fastnesses of the Himalayas into the dusty haunts of men.
1 John 11:1-4.
Return to text
A cholera victim is often rational and fully conscious right up
to the moment of death.
Return to text
The god of death.
Return to text
Literally, "Supreme soul."
Return to text
Return to text
Sri, a prefix meaning "holy," is attached (generally twice
or thrice) to names of great Indian teachers.
Return to text
One of the trinity of Godhead-Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva-whose universal
work is, respectively, that of creation, preservation, and dissolution-restoration.
Shiva (sometimes spelled Siva), represented in mythology as the
Lord of Renunciates, appears in visions to His devotees under various
aspects, such as Mahadeva, the matted-haired Ascetic, and Nataraja,
the Cosmic Dancer.
Return to text
Links to Additional Media for Keep A True Lent by Charles Fillmore such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.