A disciple of the deathless avatar, Babaji, it was Lahiri Mahasaya who asked his guru whether the ancient science of Kriya Yoga could be made available to all souls who sincerely seek God and not just to those who renounce the world, as was customary in days gone by. (‘Lahiri’ was his surname; his disciples added ‘Mahasaya’ which means ‘great-minded one’.)

Lahiri was not an initiate in the Swami order. Rather, he was married with two sons and worked as an accountant. His entire life is a wonderful example of one who adhered to the noble yogic ideal of living ‘in the world’ yet with complete dedication to the highest spiritual truths. The Param-guru of Paramhansa Yogananda, Lahiri Mahasaya foresaw the role of Yogananda in awakening the world to the values of Self-realisation, declaring him as a ‘spiritual engine’ who would ‘bring many souls to God’.