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Married Swamis
By Tyagi Jayadev

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.

Autobiography of a Yogi

A Renunciate Order for the New Age

Nayaswami Kriyananda

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