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I first saw Sri Yogeshwar Brahmachari at the birthday celebration of Anandamayi Ma in 1971. He was sitting on the speakers’ platform along with Ma and many spiritual figures of Northern India. While the others looked around and often made some overt response to what was being said over the microphone, Yogeshwarji sat totally unmoving for hours with closed eyes and holding his yoga danda upright without the slightest movement. Quiet and unassuming, he yet stood out in all situations.
One very marked trait was his eyes. Sri Ramakrishna said:
“The mind of the yogi is always fixed on God, always absorbed in the Self. You can recognize such a man by merely looking at him. His eyes are wide open, with an indrawn look, like the eyes of the mother bird hatching her eggs. Her entire mind is fixed on the eggs, and there is a in-turned look in her eyes.”
That is exactly the look I always saw in the Brahmachari’s eyes. He spoke very familiarly and cordially with all who approached him, yet with great dignity, wisdom and intelligence; and all the time centered within. Yogeshwar means Lord of the Yogis and is a title of Shiva. But it fits Yogeshwar Brahmachari perfectly.
The monk with 23 gurus
He was in the spiritual line of Sri Ramakrishna, being a disciple of Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari, a disciple of Vijay Krishna Goswami, who was a disciple of Ramakrishna. However, Vijay Krishna Goswami was also a disciple of Babaji Brahmananda who is written about in Autobiography of a Yogi as Mahavatar Babaji. You may be surprised and perhaps horrified to learn that Yogeshwar Brahmachari had twenty-three gurus! But it certainly sat well on him and I saw no reason for objection.
One of his gurus was Tincouri Lahiri, a son of Yogiraj Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya. However he told me that when he went with Tincouri Lahiri to his ashram in Jagganath Puri he met the head of the ashram just across the lane: Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda. “I spent every moment of every day with him,” he told me. “I was completely mad for him.” Whether Sri Yukteswar was one of his gurus he never told me.
After the Russian Revolution the Communists did their utmost to seem legitimate and worthy of acceptation in the world community. One of their attempts was the calling of a World Students’ Congress in the new Soviet Union. Yogeshwar Brahmachari decided to attend so he could see what a militantly atheistic state could produce. He saw it.
And he went directly to Lenin (an aristocrat who had studied to be an Eastern Orthodox priest, and had put forth the possibility in the early days of the Soviet Union of establishing the Roman Catholic Church as the state religion) and challenged him on his atheistic ideas and the lack of freedom and morality they entailed.
He met with Lenin privately several times. Lenin’s secretary told him as he was leaving after the last session: “After you leave, he sits for hours staring at the wall of his office. I have no idea what you say to him, but it certainly affects him!”
Listen to more of The Monk That Challenged Lenin: Yogeshwar Brahmachari by Abbot George to discover:
- Why he remained a Brahmachari and never took full sannyasa
- How he reacted to being insulted and treated like an animal
- How he angered the famous monks by speaking the truth
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