Baba Lokenath Brahmachari (31 August 1730 – 2 June 1890)
He was born as Lokenath Ghosal in Chaurasi Chakla, Barasat district, West Bengal to Kamaladevi and Ramnarayan Ghosal. Later in life, he was also known as Baba Lokenath. Lokenath means the Lord of Lokas (all the astral worlds) and the people who inhabit Earth. He was the fourth and youngest child. His parents followed the ancient tradition of dedicating one of the children to the sannyasa mode of life, dedicating him to divine service. He lived in Bengal and also in a village, Baradi, in Bangladesh.
Baba Lokenath was 11 years old when he went to live with a householder yogī named Guru Bhagwan Ganguly, who lived in the nearby village Kochua. Gurudev could see the divinity within this child, so he took him on as his disciple and initiated him into the Gayatri Mahamantra. Shortly after the sacred thread ceremony, Gurudev and Baba Lokenath went to Kalighat Kali Temple in Kolkata.
There, they found many ascetics living in the jungles around the temples. While there, Baba Lokenath experienced the most difficult yogic practices including ashtanga yoga and techniques of hatha yoga, observing the vow of celibacy, and fasting. After more than thirty to forty years of this guided body-and-mind-purifying yogic practice in the jungles, Baba Lokenath could reach the deepest levels of the divine in samadhi.
The Himalayas was where Baba Lokenath attained to the state of nirvikalpa samadhi, which is complete oneness with the divine. He reached this level of enlightenment after 50 years of meditation, when he was 90 years old. Throughout his years, he traveled by foot to Israel, Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula, and Persia. He made 3 pilgrimages to Mecca. During one of the pilgrimages to Baradi, near Dhaka in Bangladesh, a wealthy family made a hermitage for him. This hermitage eventually became an ashram. Baba Lokenath accepted the sacred thread of the Brahmins and wore saffron robes. This is where he obtained the addition to his name, Baba. He performed miracles and gave wisdom of the divine to the devotees who sought his blessings there.
Lokenath left his body in 1890, while meditating in a trance with his eyes open. Before he attained final samadhi, he said, “I am eternal, I am deathless. After this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Whoever will seek my refuge, will always receive my Grace.”
Baba Lokenath is regarded as the divine incarnation of jnana yoga, bhakti yoga, karma yoga, and ashtanga yoga. He became the manifestation the systhesis of these yogas as the living inwardness and full personification of Sanatana Dharma. His teachings were simple, reaching out to the common man. He advocated love, devotion, and shraddha and in one’s inner absolute self.
Baba Lokenath, after attaining enlightenment had said, “I have seen only myself. I am bound by my own karma. The materialistic world is bound by the tongue and the sex organ. He who can restrain these two is fit to attain enlightenment.”
Baba Lokenath also shared this gem of wisdom, “I have everything in me. What you need in life, you have only to take. Do not think that with the death of this body everything will come to an end. I shall be as available to you as ever when I was in my physical body. Only the body will be burnt to ashes. That I, which is not the body, will never perish. I am the Changeless, Immutable One who is never lost nor finished. Wherever and whenever anybody needs my help, I shall be available forever after.”
Today, Lokenath is revered in Bengal in most households as a local deity, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He would assure his devotees with the words:
Rane Bane Jole Jongole, Jokhone Bipode Poribe, Amake Smoron Korio, Amie Rokkha Koribo.
“Whenever you are in danger, whether in war, forest, ocean or jungle, just think of me and I shall protect you.”
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