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Hariharananda Giri : biography

27 May 1907 - 03 December 2002

Swami Hariharananda Giri () (27 May 1907 - 3 December 2002), was an Indian yogi and guru who taught in India as well as in western countries. He was born as Rabindranath Bhattacharya in the hamlet of Habibpur, on the bank of the river Ganges, in the district of Nadia, West Bengal, 65 km from Kolkata.

He was the head of the Kriya Yoga Institute, USA. According to an opinion piece published in the Times of India, Hariharananda was a direct disciple of Yukteswar Giri.


Swami Hariharananda Giri, affectionately known as "Baba" to his students, was known as a Kriya Yogi in the lineage of Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Yukteswar Giri, and Paramahamsa Yogananda.

Hariharananda's father Haripada Bhattacharya, an affluent community landlord was a Brahmin. Hariharananda's mother, Nabin Kali, was a woman from the village of Birnagar, Nadia and came from a Brahmin family. Nabin Kali and Haripada had eleven children, five sons and six daughters. Rabindranath (Rabi in short) was the youngest son and later came to be known as Paramahamsa Hariharananda.

According to a disciple, at the age of twelve Rabi took initiation in the path of Jnana Yoga from a certain Shri Bijoy Krishna Chattopadhyaya, after visiting him a couple of times in the company of his brother Pareshnath and brother-in-law, both disciples of his. A disciple of Trailanga Swami of Benares, Bijoy Krishna Chattopadhyaya was known as "Howrah Thakur" because he lived in the Howrah suburb of Kolkata.

In 1932, Rabi went to meet the Kriya master, Swami Shriyukteshwar Giri, who initiated him into Kriya Yoga, in his Serampore ashram, West Bengal. Shriyukteshwarji taught him cosmic astrology, and entreated him to come and live in his Karar Ashram at Puri, in Odisha.

In 1935, he met Paramahamsa Yogananda, and received the second Kriya initiation from him. In 1938, he renounced the material life and entered his guru's ashram in Puri, starting the life of an ascetic monk as Brahmachari Rabinarayan.

He received the third Kriya initiation from Swami Satyananda Giri in 1941, the head of Karar Ashram and childhood friend of Paramahamsa Yogananda.

In the period of 1943-1945 he received fourth, fifth and sixth Kriya initiations from Shri Bhupendranath Sanyal Mahasaya, a direct disciple of Shri Lahiri Mahasaya.

In 1951 he got written permission from Paramahamsa Yogananda to initiate and teach Kriya Yoga. He also was empowered by Shri Bhupendranath Sanyal Mahasaya to give dikshas (Kriya initiations).

On May 27, 1959 he took formal monastic vows from the Shankaracharya of Puri Srimad Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha and was named Swami Hariharananda Giri.

From 1960 to 1974, Swami Hariharananda toured all over India to spread the message of Kriya Yoga. In 1971 he became the fourth president (sadhusabhapati) of Karar Ashram Official Website of Karar Ashram and succeeded Swami Satyananda Giri . The year 1974 marked his first journey to the West, where he would return every year. His travels took him all over Europe, South America, the United States, and Canada where he established centers and ashrams.

Swami Hariharananda resided at the ashram he founded at Homestead, in Florida, for several years prior to his death in Miami in December 2002 and was buried at Balighai, in Odisha, that same month. Video-biography of a Yogi First chapter online, production by Thorsten Dreyer, Kopenhagen.


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