In Yogananda’s Autobiography
of a Yogi we read about a historic event at the Kumbha Mela (a religious
fair that occurs every several years), when Babaji made Sri Yukteswar
a swami. This happened in 1894, during Lahiri Mahasaya’s life, according
to The Holy Science.
Further on in Autobiography
of a Yogi we read that Sri Yukteswar was later formally and officially
initiated in Bodh Gaya: “After my wife died, I joined the Swami Order
and received the new name of Yukteswar Giri.” That event, as we read,
happened after Lahiri Mahasaya’s death — after September, 1895 — as
Yogananda indicates in a footnote, explaining that “Yukteswar” was
his guru’s monastic name, and was “not received by my guru during
Lahiri Mahasaya’s lifetime.”
Studying these quotes, we
realize with surprise that when Babaji made Sri Yukteswar a swami at
the Kumbha Mela, his wife was still alive: he was still a married man!
Babaji, then, made Sri Yukteswar a “married swami”! Sri Yukteswar,
back then, called himself more fittingly, “Priya Nath Swami.” This
was a name he also used when presenting himself in his book, The
Holy Science. Priya Nath was his family name.
Swami Prajnananda wrote:
“Swami Shriyukteswarji was initiated into sannyas by Swami Krishna
Dayal Giri of Bodhgaya, on Guru Purnima (full moon day) of July in 1906.”
Sri Yukteswar presented himself as a married swami for twelve years.
Interestingly too, Yogananda
made Rajarshi Janakananda a swami, giving him in 1951 the orange robe
and a swami name, complete with vow and ceremony, while Rajarshi was
a married man. His wife Frieda died after him. She, according to Durga
Ma’s book, was the reason why Rajarshi ended up being buried not in
Los Angeles, next to his Guru, but in Kansas. In short, Paramhansa Yogananda
made Rajarshi, too, a “married swami.”
Our line of gurus, then — Babaji,
Lahiri Mahasaya, and Paramhansa Yogananda — didn’t follow the more
orthodox definitions of what it means to be a swami.