There is a general belief that Adi Shankara was initiated into Kriya Yoga by Mahavatar babaji who is said to be living in the Himalayas. But do we have any authentic reference from our ancient texts for it? Does Adi Shankara himself talk about Kriya Yoga for realizing Brahman?

  • 4
    'There is a general belief"....by who? Your statement is not supported by "Sankara-dig-vijaya' by Madhava-Vidyaranya, the most widely accepted account of Sankara's life. His guru was Govindapada. Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 9:23
  • 1
    @SwamiVishwananda sir if you ask a section of Kriya followers ( I don't know how to call and so I wrote general belief otherwise I would have been specific. I even heard from my friends) they also say Adi Shankara was initiated to Kriya. So I was looking for authentic reference from Shankara side also. Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 9:46
  • 3
    No he was not initiated into yoga and hence it is not mentioned in his biographies Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 8:51
  • 1
    If you believenthe kriya-yogis, not only Adi-Shankara, but Sri Krshna, Maa Kali --all are Kriyayogins(pl read the biography of Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri by Ashoke Mukhopadhyay that contains parts of His diaries and His commentary of Gita).That is possible. Because, every yoga works through sushumna and as the scruiptures say, everything including Devas reside in Susumna. But the lineage formally started with Sri Lahiri, and you wont get these in biographies of Adi Sankara. There is no authentic biography of Adi Shankara BTW.
    – user17294
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:07
  • And Paramhansa Yogananda told that He was first Arjuna, then William the great conqurer and then Shakespeare in previous births as mentioned in different yoga website. So it all depends on your capacity to believe:)
    – user17294
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:30

3 Answers 3


The reference of Babaji giving initiation to Adi Shankara is found in Autobiography of a Yogi. As per Paramahansa Yogananda, Mahavatar Babaji himself stated that he gave initiation to Adi Shankara.

Autobiography of a Yogi / Chapter 33 - Babaji, the Yogi-Christ of Modern India:

Babaji’s mission in India has been to assist prophets in carrying out their special dispensations. He thus qualifies for the scriptural classification of Mahavatar (Great Avatar). He has stated that he gave yoga initiation to Shankara, ancient founder of the Swami Order.

Though the initiation was not of Kriya Yoga as mentioned by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Autobiography of a Yogi / Chapter 26 - The Science of Kriya Yoga:

Kriya is an ancient science. Lahiri Mahasaya received it from his guru, Babaji, who rediscovered and clarified the technique after it had been lost in the Dark Ages. "The Kriya Yoga which I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century", Babaji told Lahiri Mahasaya, "is a revival of the same science which Krishna gave, millenniums ago, to Arjuna."

From the above, it is clear that Babaji indeed initiated Adi Shankara but not in Kriya Yoga as the knowledge of Kriya Yoga was first given by Babaji to Lahiri Mahasaya and not Adi Shankara.

  • Why Adi Shankara related texts doesnt mention about this Kriya Yoga? Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 15:15
  • Can you add the quote from Adi Shankara side related texts? By the way Babaji's real name birth place everything is actually mentioned in tamil sources!!! Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 15:37
  • @AkshayS Yeah it's mentioned on Wikipedia that his real name was Nagarajan and some people claiming his birth year to be 203 CE.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:19

Regarding Babaji Maharaj, late Satyacharan Lahiri, the grandson of Yogiraj Shyamacharan Lahiri writes:

We do not get any information about Babaji (the Guru of Yogiraj) from the sayings and diaries of Lahiri Mahasaya (Yogiraj)..Many people have been creating imaginary stories about Him, probably to become famous. They in this way are in fact demeaning that great Krishna-like incarnation. (Foreward of Puranapurusha Yogiraj Shyamacharan Lahiri by Ashoke Kumar Chattopadhyay.)

If Sri Lahiri's grandson, who himself was a yogi knew almost nothing about Babaji, who else would know it? I just think every such information about Babaji has to be taken with a grain of salt.


Adi Sankaracharya was born in 509 BCE. How can Mahavathar Babaji Whose Birth date is 203 CE give initiation to Adi Sankara. Adi Sankara has also told many times in his works that Yoga or Bakthi or Tantra will not bestow Moksha on a seeker.

  • 1
    You should cite some sources for dating.
    – Pandya
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 8:47
  • 1
    @AkshayS I don't think that is accurate representation of Shri Shankaracharya's view. He was of the opinion that only Yogam only Bhakthi or only Tantra without Brahmaikya gnana will not yield mukthi. There is a fine difference between the two. As far as I know Acharya he himself initiated his mother into Bhakthi yoga
    – user13262
    Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 17:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .