“Surely this must be the cave itself! It matches every description given in Autobiography of a Yogi.” We were listening, enthralled, to a remarkable tale of the search for Babaji’s cave, the existence of which was revealed to the world by Paramhansa Yogananda in that book.
It was Indu Bhan, one of Swami Kriyananda’s dearest friends in India, who told us the story. Indu, his mother Rani, and two companions, having read about Babaji’s cave, set off hoping to find it, or, more properly, to find Babaji himself. After arriving at Ranikhet, the nearest town, they asked if anyone knew the location of this cave on Drongiri Mountain. One inquiry led to the next, and the next, until after a week they found someone able to draw them a crude map. As they were preparing to leave, however, Indu was warned not to go to the region because two man-eating lions were terrorizing the area.
He reported this to Rani, who with the ancient wisdom of Indian mothers said, “You are still young and have your life ahead of you. I can understand why you are afraid. I, on the other hand, am old and don’t fear death. I will go alone.” So, of course, the entire party set off the next day.
As soon as they left, a man with a rifle appeared, and then a second one, asking if they could accompany them for their protection. When they came to a rushing stream, a huge fellow suddenly appeared on the other side and built a bridge of stones allowing them to cross safely. Aided step-by-step on their long and difficult journey, they finally found the cave. But, unfortunately, Babaji was not there.
Then they were told that a very holy man lived in an even higher and more remote spot, so they set off in great hopes. As they arrived at his little hut, he greeted them saying, “I am not the Babaji you are seeking.” After reciting details of their journey, he answered many unasked questions. As evening approached, they became anxious, but he said, “You can’t leave without taking food. Don’t worry about wild animals. You will be safe.” He then proceeded to feed six people out of a pot hardly bigger than one’s fist. They heard later that he had recently fed 140 men from this same pot.
They retraced their steps back down the mountainside. As they left Ranikhet by train to return to New Delhi, Rani looked out the window and saw Babaji on the platform of the station silently blessing them. Since she alone could see him, she mentally said, “I won’t believe it is you unless I see you again at the next station (several miles away). As they came to the next platform, there again was the holy Babaji.
Upon arriving home they sent maps back to devotees in America of the route to the cave. It is because of these early explorers that many pilgrims today make their way to this remote cave, surely one of the most sacred spots on earth.
In the search for the Divine,