More on Paramahamsa Hariharananda
aka Robindranath Bhattacharya, Brahmachari Robinarayan,
a visitor's critique 
(see also
+ve Visitor Feedback, unrelated to this critique)

A correspondent has supplied the following scurrilous material (anonymously, chez Yahoo) alleging certain exaggerated lineage claims and factional maneuverings. This came not long after an earlier (and signed) note i put up now removed at the author's request attempting to resolve rumours of different standards of Kriya taught by Hariharananda and Yogananda. Two rebuttals of specific points from devotees of Hariharanandaji follow, with internal links from those specific points, indicated by [Rebut 1] and [Rebut 2]. And note that Rebut 2 itself now contains further rebuttal.

According to Swami Satyeswarananda Vidyaratna, Babaji Paramahansa Hariharananda was not a real disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda's guru Swami Sri Yukteswar. [Rebut 1]

[Sarlo adds: Satyeswarananda maintains a large and detailed Guru-Parampara page wherein all the "principal" successors of Kriya Mahavatar Babaji's lineage, via Lahiri Mahasaya are charted. There is a similar lineage chart at Kriya Yoga Gurus, with links to lots of other sites. In addition, one of H's main disciples, Swami Sarveshwarananda, maintains a site with a fair bit of Kriya history.

In the first two sites, H is listed not as a disciple of Sri Yukteswar but of one of his heirs, either Satyananda or Yogananda. According to the third, H was initiated by Sri Yukteshwar but spent little time with him.

And, a further complexification, added here Mar '08: Satyeswarananda also has an anti-page for P'hansa Yogananda, based largely on material from Sailendra Das Gupta's book. Many currents in the Kriya Wars.]


Rabindranath Bhattacharya was a brahmachari of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society but received Kriya Yoga initiation from Swami Satyananda Giri, who was at that time principal of the school owned by Self-Realization Fellowship [Rebut 2] and was an active member of the organization until he and others severed themselves from it and formed Sevayatan. ( Please refer to Kriya Yoga and Swami Sri Yukteshvar at Yoganiketan. This breaking away is also narrated in the book Mejda: the Family and Early Life of Paramahansa Yogananda.)
[Sarlo: Some conflict between Satyananada and Yogananda apparently dates from this time, so there may be differing accounts.]

As well, after Sri Yukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda became the president of Sadhu Sabha. When Yogananda died, Swami Satyananda Giri, who had been Swami Sri Yukteswar's righthandman in India while Yogananda was in America, took over, then Satyananda chose Brahmachari Rabinarayan (later to be Paramahansa Hariharananda) to succeed him as president.

Thus Brahmachari Rabinarayan became the caretaker of Swami Sri Yukteswar's Karar Ashram. Since Paramahansa Yogananda was among the principal heirs of Swami Sri Yukteswar's properties ("I will give you my Ashram and everything I possess." - Autobiography of a Yogi) Self-Realization Fellowship sued Brahmachari Rabinarayan for the Ashram.
[Sarlo: Apparently this court case is ongoing, with Karar in limbo between H's org and SRF. This dispute may well account for some of the claims being made here.]

As a way to gain more authority or leverage over the property Brahmachari Rabinarayan (then Swami Hariharananda), staging an elaborate social function complete with important religious and political guests with full media coverage, added to his credentials the claim of direct discipleship with Swami Sri Yukteswar thus placing himself in equal footing with his real gurus Paramahansa Yogananda and Swami Satyananda Giri. The "Paramahansa" title, unlike Yogananda's, was also self-given.

Almost every Kriya Yoga practitioner in India, specially the older Bengali ones, is aware of this fact except of course the followers of Paramahansa Hariharananda and his successor Paramahansa Prajnananda.

I must also note that Paramahansa Prajnananda was only the second choice successor. The first choice successor was Paramahansa Atmananda, a medical doctor, who, after finding-out the real story, brought it up with his guru and brother disciples. He was then kicked-out of Paramahansa Hariharananda's organization and charged with financial misappropriations.
[Rebut 1]

Paramahansa Atmananda, embarassed by the bogusness of his guru, started his own organization that does not at all mention the previous Hariharananda connection.
[Sarlo: Paramahansa Atmananda's site is not on the web anymore except as archived by Archive.org. Many links there were non-functional, but  another archived page was supplied by my correspondent, wherein PA claims to offer the Kriya Yoga of Lahiri and Babaji but does not mention H, fwiw.]

Swami Sarveshwarananda of hariharananda.org, one of the Pillars of Paramahansa Hariharananda's Kriya Yoga Institute, also severed from the organization and started his own teaching mission and foundation after his guru's death. He does not recognize Prajnananda's leadership because he knows that Hariharananda would just pick any Indian disciple as successor after Paramahansa Atmananda left the org. He knows that Prajnananda's leadership is not that special. Sarveshwarananda is actually one of the most loyal disciples of Hariharananda.

Regarding "levels" of Kriya Yoga, there are many ramifications and techniques within the system, but they are all divided into four degrees or levels nonetheless. It is clearly stated in the Autobiography:

"As Kriya Yoga is capable of many subdivisions, Lahiri Mahasaya wisely sifted out four steps which he discerned to be those which contained the essential marrow, and which were of the highest value in actual practice." - from a footnote of Chapter 35, Original 1946 Edition

To say that Paramahansa Hariharananda taught higher degrees or levels than the original four would mean that he altered the system by further dividing or adding other elements. If it is true that he "realized" higher methods then it would imply that his organization is now teaching something more advanced than what Lahiri Mahasaya and later Paramahansa Yogananda taught.
[Rebut 1]

The poster quoted at Pointed Comments
[and since removed] said that Yogananda also "realized" up to 6th degree of Kriya like Hariharananda even before he came to the West. The caveat is that there is no 6th Kriya, not even a 5th Kriya. There are only 4 degrees per Lahiri Mahasaya. Lahiri Mahasaya, though long gone, is still the absolute authority in Kriya. Even Paramahansa Hariharananda's successors will not argue with this.

[Sarlo: The dispute about how many "true Kriyas" there are, 4 or 6, may be more  a dispute over classification than reflecting any real differences. Another correspondent has weighed in saying there are 12, but making clear it is subdivision, not additional "higher" Kriyas he is talking about.]

Swami Sri Yukteswar only taught 3rd Kriya to three persons, Paramahansa Hariharananda (who was never a direct disciple of Sri Yukteswar) excluded, and the 4th Kriya to only two persons. Swami Satyananda Giri who, according to Paramahansa Hariharananda, taught him 4th Kriya was pretty disappointed with his claims and made-up stories (like an elaborately made-up intimacy between him and Sri Yukteswar written in his books) and denied having taught him anything save casual consultations with regards to the First and Second Kriyas that he received from Self-Realization Fellowship. [Rebut 2]

[Sarlo: FWIW, another correspondent has weighed in to point out that PH says on his website that he received the 1st Kriya from Shriyukteshwarji, and the 2nd Kriya from Yogananda. Subsequent Kriyas were received from Bhupendranath and Satyananda.]

Note that Self-Realization Fellowship admitted in later versions of the Autobiography to have made a 3rd and 4th Kriya out of the original 3rd. This means that Paramahansa Yogananda, though initiated in Purna Kriya Yoga, did not include the original 4th Kriya in the written lessons.

Paramahansa Hariharananda was never regarded or taken seriously by those in the know as a real Kriya Yoga guru or authority. [Rebut 2]

To verify the veracity of what I have said please refer to:

Autobiography of a Yogi (1946)
Autobiography of a Yogi (1993)


(These to back-up what I said about Paramahansa Yogananda being the heir of Sri Yukteswar's properties: "I will give you my hermitages and all I possess." - Swami Sri Yukteswar to Mukunda (later, Yogananda), Chapter 10 of Autobiography of a Yogi.

The 1946 Autobiography is the clearest online reference supporting the idea if Yogananda being Sri Yukteswar's spiritual and material heir. Sri Yukteswar was a renunciate and his possessions belong to his org which Yogananda also inherited. 

Autobiography also confirms that Lahiri Mahasaya only taught 4 degrees or steps, so anyone claiming to teach more than 4 is in effect altering by further subdivision and/or addition what Lahiri Mahasaya originally taught.)

KRIYA Finding the True Path, Swami Satyeswarananda

(Here Satyeswarananda covers the matter of inheritance in depth even including the claim of Sri Yukteswar's nephew, whom SRF paid and managed to made silent. Karar Ashram is the only property of Sri Yukteswar that hasn't been recovered by SRF. The court case is still open.)

Kriya Yoga and Swami Sri Yukteshvar, Sailendra Das Gupta (free online books at yoganiketan.net

(Yoganiketan is cited to support what has been said that Swami Sri Yukteswar only gave 3rd and 4th Kriya to two or three people. The persons whom Hariharananda claimed to have gotten the higher Kriyas from are not included in the list of those who were given higher Kriyas by Swami Sri Yukteswar. [Rebut 2] Please read thru the last chapters of Kriya Yoga and Swami Sri Yukteshvar.)


[Sarlo: The more i look at the various Kriya Lineage arguments swirling around, the more i get an impression of struggle in the Kriya world over ideology, real estate and "true successorship," among other things. It is complex and byzantine and may eventually merit its own page.]

It is already time for Paramahansa Harihanarananda's organization to come clean and admit the truth. Claiming that your guru is a direct disciple of Swami Sri Yukteswar did help in your propagation activities but does being a Kriyaban and being ordained Swami mean if you are all living a lie? This is not for the poor victims but for the leaders of the organization.

I would recommend all those who are contemplating in receiving initiation and joining Paramahansa Prajnananda's organization to request to see even one photograph of Paramahansa Hariharananda and Swami Sri Yukteswar together, a facsimile of a letter written to Paramahansa Hariharananda by Swami Sri Yukteswar that can be verified, any token of goodwill given by Swami Sri Yukteswar to Paramahansa Hariharananda with dedication that can be verified, etc. It is extremely easy to weave stories and tall claims but where is the evidence? Every single initiated disciple of Swami Sri Yukteswar has pictures of them together, pictures are in vogue in India in those days. Thousands have been deceived by Paramahansa Hariharananda.


Rebuttal 1, from another correspondent who wishes to remain anon:

I read your article concerning Hariharananda.

I meditated with him for 20 years.
He claims to be Sri Yukteswar's disciple. Sri Yukteswar has appeared to him many times to give advice and brought him something after his death.
Who appears to you throughout your life is your guru!
Whether he met him in the flesh once or twice, i do not know for sure.
Hariharananda claims Sri Yukteswar read his palm and asked him to stay at Puri ashram.

Probably, Sri Yukteswar did not have the whole system. 
Him and Yogananda did not need it, they got samadhi easily.
There are 6 levels of technique. 
Hariharananda learned 4th-6th kriya from a disciple of Lahiris, Bhupendranath Sanyal, who is mentioned in the autobiography. Swami Sanyals ashram is also in Puri. Also, Lahiri's grandson was a friend of Hariharananda and like him very much. 5th & 6th kriya are concerned with penetrating the pineal gland.
Hariharananda was a master of the meditation technique and filled with divine power.
Swami Atmananda stayed with me, he was a good friend, and a lot of politics took place. I some it up by saying what happened was not black and white; there are two side to every story.
Hariharananda devoted his life to teaching meditation.
During dinner, or sitting in an airport, he was teaching meditation and meditating.
All the best

[Sarlo: And yet another anon testimonial (rebuttal of the rebuttal?):]

I just wanted to give you an update on the Kriya discussion. I have been given initiation into Kriya by the Hariharananda line of Kriya yogis. Through conversations with several people and also through reviewing writings of past Kriya Yogis, it has become clear to me that this line of "Original Kriya" is anything but that. 

I cannot begin to guess why a person would do what was done, but here are the facts:

1) What that group is teaching is NOT the Kriya Yoga of Lahiri Mahasaya. In fact, it bears almost no resemblance to it. If you become acquainted with their techniques, you will find that they in many ways contradict the Kriya writings of the great Kriya Yogis - Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sriyukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Pranabananda, Sanyal Mahasaya, Swami Satyananda, and others. When I brought this up with an acharya of that line, he had no answer for me. 

2) I spoke to an SRF brother who knew Hariharananda when he was an SRF minister, and he confirmed to me, in as kind words as possible, that he had strayed from the path.

3) I have met another Master of Sriyukteswar's India lineage, who confirmed to me that H has defrauded many souls.

While the growth of that organization has led to the deception of countless people, I cannot judge the effectiveness of the techniques espoused by that line. It is possible that many receive some spiritual benefit from them, as any meditation is better than no meditation at all, and that sincere seekers will find God no matter what course they take. However, having met a "Master" of that lineage in India, I will say that I have doubts about the efficacy of those particular techniques. 

There is also another practicioner and disciple of [X] who concurred with the above, but I don't want to put him in the spotlight.

It is true that Yogananda did modify Kriya somewhat for the US, but the basic components are the same. The other lineages will agree with this. But H's "Kriya" is completely different from everyone else's, in form and function. That was really all the proof I needed. I don't think many other people who have stakes in this argument have actually taken initiation from the different groups, so I just thought I'd let you know quietly what the facts are. 


Rebuttal 2, from another correspondent who wishes to remain anon. NB now includes a "rebuttal of the rebuttal" from my original critical correspondent, in Navy:

I read the critique of Paramahamsa Hariharananda and would like to offer rebuttals of several of the claims.

Claim 1: "Rabindranath Bhattacharya was a brahmachari of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society but received Kriya Yoga initiation from Swami Satyananda Giri, who was at the time principal of the school owned by Self-Realization Fellowship..."

Rebuttal: In 1951 Yogananda wrote a letter to P. Hariharananda (then Brahmachari Robynarayan) empowering him to initiate others into Kriya Yoga (this letter can be found in P. Hariharananda's book "Kriya Yoga"). In this letter Yogananda instructs P. Hariharananda to initiate others only after they had received the Hang-Sau and Om meditation technique. Regarding this, Yogananda also says, "Contact Prokas about the technique--I will instruct office to also send you the form to follow." This seems to be a pretty good indication that P. Hariharananda did not know these two meditation techniques, which incidentally, are only taught be Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society (SRF/YSS). Furthermore, they are a pre-requisite to learning Kriya from SRF/YSS. So anyone who learned Kriya from SRF/YSS would have to have known these techniques. It therefore seems unlikely that P. Hariharananda received First Kriya from SRF/YSS as claimed.

[R of R:] As I was reading these supposed "rebuttals" I became somewhat amused by the basic lack of comprehension of the person defending this crook Hariharananda.

First of all no one is claiming that Hariharananda received First Kriya from SRF/YSS. I, the first critic, clearly stated that SRF/YSS Brahmachari Rabinarayan (soon to be Hariharananda) received Kriya Yoga from Swami Satyananda Giri who at that time was YSS member and principal of the school owned by the organization.

If Brahmachari Rabinarayan was not an SRF/YSS Brahmachari then what monastic organization was he a Brahmachari of at that time? If he, for example, belonged to a different organization or has just embraced brahmacharya as a solitary or independent practitioner then how come Yogananda sent him a letter giving him directives on how to initiate others into Kriya Yoga according to the system followed by SRF/YSS?

It is very obvious that he was in fact an SRF/YSS Brahmachari who was being permitted to initiate in the First Kriya technique by the head of the organization and being told to do it following the rules of the organization.

Hong Sau was a technique taught by no other than Sri Yukteswar himself, not necessarily as a pre-Kriya practice but as an secular alternative specially for those who are not ready to receive Kriya Yoga. Rabinarayan's ignorance of it is clear evidence that he was not a disciple of Sri Yukteswar. The Aum technique, the second prerequisite, evolved from a technique that Yogananda learned from Radhasoami. Both these techniques, however, were not standard Kriya Yoga preparation techniques until Yogananda standardized the Western and Eastern systems to parallel each other.


Claim 2: "Satyananda Giri who, according to Paramahamsa Hariharananda, taught him 4th Kriya was pretty disappointed with his claims and made-up stories (like an elaborately made-up intimacy between him and Sri Yukteswar written in his books) and denied having taught him anything save casual consultations with regards to the First and Second Kriyas that he received from Self-Realization Fellowship."

Rebuttal: Let us first clear up an erroneous comment. P. Hariharananda never claimed to have received 4th Kriya from Swami Satyananda. He claims to have received 3rd Kriya from Swami Satyananda and 4th - 6th Kriya from Bhupendranath Sannyal. Secondly, if Satyananda thought so lowly of P. Hariharananda, why would he put him in charge of Karar Ashram? Would he put someone in charge of an entire ashram with whom he had only had "casual consultations"? 

[R of R:] Hariharananda's claims, because invented, differ depending when he have said it, where he have said it, and to whom. It is no wonder that his disciples are also liars. But let me address the point that was raised. If Satyananda thought so lowly of Hariharananda why would he put him in charge of Karar Ashram? The answer is quite simple, he never did nor had he any power to do so. Hariharananda just squatted at Karar Ashram, he refused to leave the place. Up to this point there is still a pending lawsuit between Self-Realization Fellowship and Hariharananda's organization over Karar Ashram.

Karar Ashram is either the property of Sri Yukteswar's family, of Yogananda (who, according to Autobiography of a Yogi, was pronounced heir to all of Sri Yukteswar's possessions), or of the community. It was never in the disposal of Swami Satyananda. It was at the time that Hariharananda declared himself as a direct disciple of Sri Yukteswar in order to justify his illegal occupation of Karar Ashram that Satyananda realized how evil (and possibly insane) he truly was. But before they were allies, since they were both YSS monks and, later on, YSS breakaways.

If the person defending Hariharananda would insist on his argument that Hariharananda's illegal takeover of Karar Ashram is evidence that he was Sri Yukteswar's successor then may I ask him/her if Swami Yogeswarananda's presence in Karar Ashram today is evidence that he is, as he claims, Harihararanda's successor (see kararashram.com)? What ever happened to Prajnanananda's own claim of successorship? Why is he not the lord of Karar Ashram and head of Sadhu Sabha? Like father like son.


Claim 3: The persons whom Hariharananda claimed to have gotten the higher Kriyas from are not included in the list of those who were given higher Kriyas by Swami Sri Yukteswar."

Rebuttal: As noted above, P. Hariharananda received 4th - 6th Kriya from Bhupendranath Sannyal, a disciple of Lahiri Mahashaya, not Swami Sri Yukteswar. Furthermore, P. Hariharananda received 3rd Kriya from Swami Satyananda who did receive 3rd Kriya from Swami Sri Yukteswar. Furthermore, as noted above, Yogananda authorized P. Hariharananda to teach Kriya. I highly doubt Yogananda would authorize someone only knew second Kriya to teach Kriya to others. I also highly doubt that Swami Satyananda would put someone in charge of Karar Ashram who only knew second Kriya. 


[R of R:] First point, Satyananda never put Hariharananda in charge of Karar Ashram, that has already been explained. Second point Yogananda authorized Brahmachari Rabinarayan to initiate others into the First Kriya in the same way that he authorized other YSS (yogacharya) monks to do the same, and he authorized him not as an independent teacher but as a servant working under YSS. Third point, you do not need to know up to the fourth Kriya in order to be given authority to initiate under SRF/YSS in those times. Peggy Deitz only knew up to the First Kriya but was given permission to initiate, the same with Mildred Hamilton who only knew up to the Second Kriya.

Lastly, Bhupendranath Sannyal never taught those invented higher kriyas. Up to now there is a living lineage of Bhupendranath Sannyal and so this claim can be checked. Let the spiritual descendants of Bhupendranath Sannyal and Hariharananda compare Kriyas to settle this issue once and for all. Bhupendranath Sannyal never initiated Harihararanda in anything.


Claim 4: "Paramahansa Hariharananda was never regarded or taken seriously by those in the know as a real Kriya Yoga guru or authority."

Rebuttal: P. Hariharananda was empowered to teach Kriya Yoga by none other than Yogananda himself. If Yogananda did not take him seriously he would not have allowed him to teach Kriya. In Yogananda's letter to P. Hariharananda he writes, "I am very pleased with the work you are doing at Puri."


[R of R:] Yes, he was empowered by Yogananda to initiate others in First Kriya as a YSS brahmachari, not as a self-proclaimed Paramahansa and "guru" of a copycat organization (I chuckled merrily when I saw that Harihararanda calls his main US Ashram as "
Mother Center " and that he named one of his benefactor student/victim as Rajarsi Peterananda). Yogananda also did told him, "I am very pleased with the work you are doing at Puri." What was the scam artist Rabinarayan doing at Puri during that time? Serving Yogananda's organization of course!

If he was really Sri Yukteswar's successor like Yogananda then why did he need Yogananda's, his fellow disciple's, permission before he can give others the First Kriya? It is just ridiculous. It is all very clear. He was a YSS monk who broke away and took advantage of Yogananda's death and the schism of that time to siege Karar Ashram and to claim that he was a disciple of Sri Yukteswar. He was old enough to be a young man during Sri Yukteswar's time, he was a resident at Karar Ashram, Sri Yukteswar was dead and therefore cannot speak the truth, and so those who know nothing about the real history, specially the young people, found no problem believing him. Plain and simple.

But please feel free to dispute me by showing any physical evidence like a photograph or a letter proving conclusively that him and Sri Yukteswar were ever together or that they at least knew each other back then, even a verifiable testimony of someone who witnessed his discipleship will do. A letter coming from Yogananda telling Hariharananda that he can now teach the First Kriya following SRF/YSS standard rules only further proves that he was indeed an SRF/YSS Brahmachari.

And perhaps there are more sides to this story. Contact

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