H.H. Swami Hridayananda Saraswati
(Yogiraj Handiya Baba)
Yogiraj Handiya Baba was born in 1850, in Bhagalpur, Bihar, on the bank of the holy river Ganga. Even as a child he would spend his time in chanting and meditation. He was married in his youth but lost his wife to sickness. He married a second wife who also died of the plague. Vowing not to remarry he left on pilgrimage, visiting all the important holy sites of India within a few years. While traveling along the Ganga, he met his master Naga Baba Swami Yogananda Saraswati, who initiated him into the esoteric practices of yoga, naming him Hridayananda (heart of bliss). Yogiraj then continued his pilgrimage along the Ganga and in 1880 settled in Allahabad, building a grass hut in a cremation ground near the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers. Here he engaged in intense yogic practice resulting in his illumination. As he always kept an earthen vessel (Handiya), he became popularly known as Handiya Baba. An expert in the advanced practices of yoga, Yogiraj could cure almost any disease through yogic exercises. He had only three sannyasi disciples; Swami Vishnudevananda Saraswati, Swami Bhagavatananda Saraswati and Swami Sahajananda Saraswati. Seated in lotus pose, Yogiraj left his physical body in 1954 at the age of 104.
Life and Teachings
Click the link below to view the English translation of Swami Vishnudevananda's short biographical work on his guru, Handiya Baba. Our heartfelt gratitude to Brahmachari Tejasananda Chaitanya for making this material accessible through his archival work at http://www.goddessdevotion.com/lineage-tradition/yogiraj-handiya-baba/ .