Just like Swami Samarth Ramdas and Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans, Shri Yukteshwar Giri is one of those great Saints of India who with his austerity, relinquishment and ideals of spiritual life had prepared such a disciple who came as an image of his thoughts and with his great work gave an inevitable contribution to the society. These people were always behind the scene and even after their death always guided their disciples and stood by him being his spiritual power. Shri Samarth Ramdas’s disciple was Shivaji, Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans’s disciple was Shri Vivekanand and Shri Yukteshwar Giri’s disciple was Paramhans Yogananda.
Shri Yukteshwar was born on 10th May 1855 at Shrirampur near Kolkata. His father was a rich businessman and his family name was Priyanath Kadar.He had not studied much in school and got married at a very young age.
After coming in contact with Shri Shyamacharan Lahiri, Shri Yukteshwar became his disciple and started taking education from him. In the month of January 1894, at the Kumbh mela at Prayag, he had a darshan of Shri Lahiri’s guru Mahavatar Babaji. That time when he was not even consecrated, Babaji addressed him as “Swamiji” and had said that, “After few years, I will send a disciple to you, whom you would have to educate in yoga for spreading the knowledge of Yoga in the West.” This disciple was Paramhans Yogananda.
Babaji also inspired him to write a book on the true unity shown in the Hindu and Christian religious books. After this, Shri Yukteshwar had also written a book named “Holy Science” where by noting Jesus Christ’s words, he had proved that there is no difference in the preaching of Jesus Christ and Vedas. At the completion of this book, once again he met Babaji who had come to bless him for his book. After the death of his wife, Shri Yukteshwar acquired asceticism in the Swami tradition and got the name Swami Yukteshwar Giri leaving his family name Priyanath Kadar. The house at Shrirampur, which was his paternal home, he converted it in to ashram and started teaching his disciples.
A man with unique personality, Shri Yukteshwar was such an amazing Guru that he had guided Shri Yoganand at every step and with his supernatural powers eliminated all the difficulties that came his way. Right from the beginning, he had told Shri Yoganand that he had to go to the western countries and make yoga prevalent there. While consecrating Yoganand, he made him wear silk cloth and told him, “Someday, you will go to West where silk clothes are preferred. As a mark of this, I have selected silk cloth for you in place of cotton.”
When Shri Yoganand was leaving for America, people on board of ship asked him to give a lecture. That time he could not speak in English and so he was just standing in front of spectators. Seeing his condition, people started laughing at him. Just then, Shri Yoganand recalled his guru and by the grace of his guru he spoke in English continuously for 45 minutes.
At the time of intermediate and B.A. exams, due to continuous spiritual worship, Shri Yoganand could not pay attention towards his studies but by the blessings of Shri Yukteshwar, with the studies of just few days surprisingly he passed his exams.
With his foresight, Shri Yukteshwar used to peep in to future and would devastate the troubles that were to come in future. Once, he had told Shri Yoganand that after one month he was going to have terrible pain in his liver which was going to stay for six months but if he would wear a band of gruhshanti, the pain would reduce from six months to twenty-four days. It happened and just as Shri Yukteshwar said, after thirty days Shri Yoganand had pain in his liver and by the blessings of Shri Yukteshwar, it went away in twenty four days. After this cure, Shri Yoganand always wore the band that his Guru had asked him to wear.
Once, while Shri Yukteshwar was in Kolkata, he physically appeared in front of Shri Yoganand in his room at Shrirampur and told him, “I am coming to Shrirampur in the 10 o’clock train. A small boy will be walking in front of me with a silver pot in his hand.” Shri Yoganand was shocked to see his guru physically in front of him when he was in Kolkata. Later, when he went to station to receive his guru, he saw that the train had just stopped and guru was walking behind a boy who was carrying a silver pot in his hand.
Shri Yukteshwar was an amazing, miraculous man. He had graced many people with his spiritual powers. He used to speak very little, was frank and non-hypocrite with a very practical outlook.
Shri Yukteshwar was considered as one of the greatest commentators of Geeta. He used to interpret Shastras (religious books) in detail and unique way. For violence, he said that any human is required to destroy harmful insects but it is not essential for him to get angry or have a feeling of enmity towards this. According to him, once thinking is as powerful as electric power or gravitational force. Human mind is the spark of the most powerful conscious.
Shri Yukteshwar rarely asked anyone to do his work as also never accepted service from any of his disciples unless and until the disciple came forward to serve him personally. In his speeches, he always gave special importance to Kriya-yoga (worship of Gods), peace, firm decision, bland diet and regular exercise.
Shri Yukteshwar was a godly Saint but he was so naïve, his conduct was so simple that very few people understood him to be a supernatural man.
After completing his goals on this earth, on 9th March 1936 at 7pm, Shri Yukteshwar left for his heavenly abode while at his ashram in Puri. Two months before he died, he had handed over everything to his favourite disciple Yoganand. To bring about scientific methods he had established “Saadhu Sabha” with the chief heads of various sects.
On reaching Puri from Kolkata when Shri Yoganand saw his guru’s body, he cried saying loudly, “The lion of Bengal has left.”
Shri Yoganand was so upset with his Guru’s body that on 19 June 1936 at 3pm in afternoon when he was meditating in the room of Hotel Regent in Mumbai, suddenly the room brightened up with light and he woke up from meditation and he saw Shri Yukteshwar physically standing in front of him. Seeing his disciple in pain, Shri Yukteshwar had personally come to cheer him. One of the lady devotees had also had a glimpse of him after he left for his heavenly abode.
Shri Yukteshwar was a divine soul and Life for him was just a medium to accomplish his spiritual works.