“Love bears. Love tolerates. Love is not resentful. Love requires patience. Love gives oneness. Love is kind. Love is sweet. Love is God. Without God, there is no Love.”
Paramahamsa Hariharananda was born as Rabindranath Bhattacharya in the hamlet of Habibpur of Nadia in Bengal, India, the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, on May 27, 1907. He was born into a wealthy family, to a Brahmin father, Haripada Bhattacharya, and a pious, generous, and loving mother, Nabin Kali Devi. His precocious memory for intricate mantras, hymns, and prayers in Sanskrit, which he learned while listening to his father even at the age of four, exhibited uncommon and marvelous perspicacity. Under the guidance of his father, he quickly mastered Vedic astrology, astronomy, and palmistry. When Rabi was twelve, Shri Bijoy Krishna Chattopadhyay, a renowned Self-realized master, initiated him into Jnana Yoga(path of knowledge) and later inspired him to meet Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri.
In 1932, Rabinarayan met Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri in the Serampore ashram and was initiated into Kriya Yoga. In Swami Shriyukteshwarji’s divine company, he crossed the stages of first Kriya. He then received second Kriya from Paramahamsa Yogananda after witnessing Yoganandaji’s samadhi during Yoganandaji’s return to India in 1935.Two years after the mahasamadhi of Swami Shriyukteshwarji in 1936, Rabinarayan stayed in a rented house near the seashore in Puri. Many people reported having seen the physical body of Swami Shriyukteshwarji after his worldly departure. Before Rabinarayan moved to Puri, he instructed a friend to find a house to rent there. His friend later realized that the old monk who directed him to rent a certain house near the sea, where Rabinarayan lived in for some time, was actually Swami Shriyukteshwarji. Later, Swami Shriyukteshwarji instructed Rabinarayan to henceforth live in the Karar Ashram. From that day onward, he lived in the ashram as Brahmachari Rabinarayan, leading an ascetic life, fulfilling the grand wish of Swami Shriyukteshwarji
In 1940, he mastered kechari, bhramari, and shambhavi. During this time, an effulgence of supernatural divine light started glowing around his body, producing ineffable awe and spiritual ecstasy in many. In 1940 and 1941, he learned third Kriya from Swami Satyananda Giri. From 1943 to 1945, the last higher Kriya initiations were given by Shrimat Bhupendranath Sanyal Mahasaya, a realized householder disciple of Shri Lahiri Mahasaya. In 1944, he was taught some intricacies of meditation and spiritual life by a mysterious, anonymous yogi. From 1946 to 1948, he attained different states of samadhi, including nirvikalpa samadhi.After following a strict spiritual practice of sincere meditation and maintaining silence for many years, Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj graced him with two long-cherished visits in 1949 at Karar Ashram, showering him with blessings and prophesizing that his mission would be to spread Kriya Yoga to the East and West.
In 1950, he was appointed by Paramahamsa Yogananda as the acharya of the Karar Ashram. From that day on, he worked tirelessly for the spiritual advancement of the disciples on the spiritual path. Aware of his spiritual attainment, in 1951 Paramahamsa Yogananda empowered Brahmachari Rabinarayan to initiate sincere seekers into Kriya Yoga. Thus, he started his long missionary work that took him to the length and breadth of his beloved India. He was also blessed with the highest spiritual attainment, the paramahamsa stage. On September 27, 1958, Mother Goddess Kali, his presiding deity, appeared before him with all effulgence of light and radiant splendor, instructing him to work ceaselessly for the spiritual uplifting of the world, assuring him of her blessings on his work teaching Kriya Yoga. On his fifty-second birthday on May 27, 1959, he was initiated into sannyasa by the world renowned sannyasi Jagadguru Bharati Krishna, the Shankaracharya of Gobardhana Peetha, Puri. Casting off his previous name Brahmachari Rabinarayan, he became Swami Hariharananda Giri.
Highly educated and well-versed in many languages, Paramahamsa Hariharananda mastered numerous religious scriptures such as the Bible, Torah, Quran, Buddhist texts, Vedas, Upanishads, Tantra, Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Sankar Darshan, Brahma Sutra, and more. 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. For integrating so many scriptures into Kriya Yoga, he earned high praise from all over the world as vishwa guru.
People from all walks of life, from farmers to educators, scientists, ministers, statesmen, civil servants, doctors, engineers, professors, lawyers, judges, musicians, singers, and artists have been privileged to become his disciples and follow his noble path.
He spent his long life studying, teaching, and fulfilling his mission to share the philosophy and technique of Kriya Yoga with the people of the world until leaving his mortal body in Miami, Florida, USA, on December 3, 2002, at 6.48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, at the age of 95. Paramahamsa Hariharananda’s life and teachings have been an example for his students and his worthy successor, Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, who continues to spread his loving message all over the world. The legacy of this great teacher lives on through the love and lives of his students.