Paramahamsa Hariharananda was born on May 27th,
1907 in Habibpur, West Bengal, India. He spent his life studying,
teaching, and fulfilling his mission to share the philosophy and
technique of Kriya Yoga with the people of the world until his
death on December 3, 2002 at the age of 95.
Born as Rabindranath Bhattacharya and known affectionately
as "Baba" (father) to his spiritual children, followers
say he showed an extraordinary spiritual destiny from his most
By age 4 ½, it is claimed that he had
already memorized all the puja mantras of Hinduism by simply hearing
his father, Sri Haripada Bhattacharya, recite them a few times.
Under the guidance of his father, he quickly mastered Vedic astrology,
astronomy, and palmistry. At age twelve, he took initiation in
the path of Jnana Yoga from renowned realized master Sri Bijoy
In 1932, he went to meet the great Kriya master,
Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri. Pleased by the divine propensities of
young Rabinarayan, Shriyukteshwarji initiated him into Kriya Yoga,
taught him Cosmic Astrology, and entreated him to move in and
take charge of the famous Karar Ashram in Puri, Orissa.
In 1935, he met Paramahamsa Yogananda, and received
the second Kriya initiation from him. In 1938, he renounced the
material life and entered his master's ashram in Puri, Orissa,
starting the life of an ascetic monk as Brahmachari Rabinarayan.
He received the third Kriya initiation from Swami
Satyananda Giri in 1941, and from 1943 to 1945 the last higher
Kriya initiations were given by Shrimat Bhupendranath Sanyal,
the householder disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya.
After living a strict spiritual practice of sincere
meditation and maintaining silence for many years, in 1949 he
obtained the vision of the eternal yogi Babaji Maharaj who blessed
him and prophesized that his mission would be to spread the message
of the Kriya Yoga masters to the East and West.
1951, he was empowered by Paramahamsa Yogananda to initiate others
into Kriya Yoga. Thus, he started his long missionary work that
took him to the length and breath of his beloved India.
On May 27, 1959 he took formal monastic vows
from the Shankaracharya of Puri and was reborn as Swami Hariharananda
The year 1974 marked his first journey to the
West, where he would return every year and spread the message
of divine love through conscious awareness of the God within.
His travels took him all over Europe, South America, the United
States, and Canada where he established centers and ashrams. He
remained extensively in the West after 1990 and his work continues
from headquarters on three continents: Vienna, Austria; Miami,
USA ; and Jagatpur, Orissa, India.
The philosophy of Kriya Yoga develops inner peace
through breath control. Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji taught that
the mind is the cause of bondage, restlessness, and unhappiness,
yet the mind is also the source of peace, bliss, and joy. The
untrained mind is the biggest obstacle to calmness. Each person
needs to know his or her state of mind. In the ancient science
of Kriya Yoga, it is taught that breath and mind are correlated
and causally connected. Each state like passion, worry, anxiety,
tension has a corresponding style of breathing. When the breath
is slow and rhythmic, the mind is calm and quiet. Kriya Yoga claims
to be non-sectarian and is practiced by people of all religions.
Paramahamsa Hariharananda was well versed in
the holy scriptures of India, the Holy Bible, Torah, Qur'an, Buddhist
scriptures, and teachings of all religions. He illuminated their
meaning by providing divine interpretations in a new metaphorical
way. His writings include "Kriya Yoga: The Scientific Process
of Soul-Culture", "The Bhagavad Gita In the Light of
Kriya Yoga: A Rare Metaphorical Explanation for God-Realization",
and numerous other publications.
According to his followers, Paramahamsa Hariharananda
attained the highest state of samadhi, the Nirvikalpa Samadhi,
that is the pulseless and breathless state.
Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji's life and his teachings
have been an example for his students and successor, Paramahamsa
Prajnanananda, who continues to spread his message all over the
world. Through the charitable arm of the organization in India,
Prajnana Mission he and students work to develop centers and ashrams,
construct free medical institutions called "Hariharananda
Charitable Health Centers" with a mobile dental and medical
ambulance, fund libraries in schools, open a residential school
for impoverished children, rebuild village homes destroyed in
cyclones in Orissa, India, and travel the world teaching Kriya
Among Paramahamsa Hariharananda's many direct
disciples and authorized yogacharyas are: Swami Premananda Giri,
Br. Swarupananda Giri, Rajarshi Raghabanand Nayak, Rajarshi Peter
van Breukelen, Paramahamsa Prajñanananda Giri, Swami Brahmananda
Giri (d. 2006), Swami Shuddhananda Giri, Swami Vidyadhishananda
Giri, Swami Sarveshwarananda Giri, and Swami Mangalananda Giri.