If we are to look at enlightenment perhaps we should look at some men who were supposed to be enlightened in our age. Two of these were considered the messiah, one I met others were quite close to people I have known who certainly thought they were enlightened. They are all Indian.
The Krishnamurti I saw in 1974 is not the same Krishnamurti who said this:
““People call me an ‘enlightened man’ — I detest that term — they can’t find any other word to describe the way I am functioning. At the same time, I point out that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all. I say that because all my life I’ve searched and wanted to be an enlightened man, and I discovered that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all, and so the question whether a particular person is enlightened or not does not arise. I don’t give a hoot for a sixth-century-BC Buddha, let alone all the other claimants we have in our midst. They are a bunch of exploiters, thriving on the gullibility of the people. There is no power outside of man. Man has created God out of fear. So the problem is fear and not God.” — U.G. Krishnamurti
So we need to look at that too!
“Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti (9 July 1918 – 22 March 2007), known as U. G. Krishnamurti, was an Indian man who questioned enlightenment. Although many considered him an “enlightened” person, Krishnamurti often referred to his state of being as the “natural state”. He claimed that the demand for enlightenment was the only thing standing in the way of enlightenment itself, if enlightenment existed at all.
He rejected the very basis of thought and in doing so negated all systems of thought and knowledge. Hence he explained his assertions were experiential and not speculative.
Tell them that there is nothing to understand.
He was unrelated to his contemporary Jiddu Krishnamurti, although the two men had a number of meetings” Wikipedia
This next one Jiddu was considered enlightened by many Eastern and Western ‘wise’ people. When I met him I thought he probably was and the meeting spurred on my intentions so was definitely helpful.
“Jiddu Krishnamurti (/’dʒɪduː ˌkrɪʃnə’mɜːrti/;11 May 1895 – 17 February 1986) was a philosopher, speaker and writer. In his early life he was groomed to be the new World Teacher but later rejected this mantle and withdrew from the Theosophy organization behind it. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasised that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.
Krishnamurti was born in British India. In early adolescence he had a chance encounter with prominent occultist and theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater in the grounds of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Madras. He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Besant and Leadbeater, leaders of the Society at the time, who believed him to be a ‘vehicle’ for an expected World Teacher. As a young man, he disavowed this idea and dissolved the Order of the Star in the East, an organisation that had been established to support it.
He said he had no allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life travelling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals” Wikipedia
Krishnamurti kindly left us a record of what it felt like becoming ‘enlightened’. So we may as well take a look at that too:
“First I realized that I had to harmonize all my other bodies with the Buddhic plane (the highest plane of consciousness) and to bring about this happy combination I had to find out what my ego wanted on the Buddhic plane. To harmonize the various bodies I had to keep them vibrating at the same rate as the Buddhic, and to do this I had to find out what was the vital interest of the Buddhic.
With ease which rather astonished me I found the main interest on that high plane was to serve the Lord Maitreya and the Masters. With that idea clear in my physical mind I had to direct and control the other bodies to act and to think the same as one the noble and spiritual plane. During that period of less than three weeks, I concentrated to keep in mind the image of the Lord Maitreya throughout the entire day, and I found no difficulty in doing this. I found that I was getting calmer and more serene. My whole outlook on life was changed.
Then, on the 17th of August, I felt acute pain at the nape of my neck and I had to cut down my meditation to fifteen minutes. The pain instead of getting better as I had hoped grew worse. The climax was reached on the 19th. I could not think, nor was I able to do anything, and I was forced by friends here to retire to bed. Then I became almost unconscious, though I was well aware of what was happening around me.
I came to myself at about noon each day. On the first day while I was in that state and more conscious of the things around me, I had the first most extraordinary experience. There was a man mending the road; that man was myself; the pickaxe he had was myself; the very stone which he was breaking up was a part of me; the tender blade of grass was my very being, and the three beside the man was myself. I almost could feel and think like the roadmender, and I could feel the wind passing through the tree, and the little ant on the blade of grass I could feel. The birds, the dust, and the very noise were a part of me. Just then there was a car passing by at some distance; I was the driver, the engine, and the tires; as the car went further away from me, I was going away from myself. I was in everything, or rather everything was in me, inanimate and animate, the mountain, the worm, and all breathing things.
All day long I remained in this happy condition. I could not eat anything, and again at about six I began to lose my physical body, and naturally the physical elemental did what it liked; I was semi-conscious.
The morning of the next day (the 20th) was almost the same as the previous day, and I could not tolerate too many people in the room. I could feel them in rather a curious way and their vibrations got on my nerves. That evening at about the same hour of six I felt worse than ever. I wanted nobody near me nor anybody to touch me. I was feeling extremely tire and weak. I think I was weeping from mere exhaustion and lack of physical control. My head was pretty bad and the top part felt as though many needles were being driven in. While I was in this state I felt that the bed in which I was lying, the same one as on the previous day, was dirty and filthy beyond imagination and I could not lie in it.
Suddenly I found myself sitting on the floor and Nitya and Rosalind asking me to get into bed. I asked them not to touch me and cried out that the bed was not clean. I went on like this for some time till eventually I wandered out on the verandah and sat a few moments exhausted and slightly calmer. I began to come to myself and finally Mr. Warrington asked me to go under the pepper tree which is near the house.
There I sat crosslegged in the meditation posture. When I had sat thus for some time, I felt myself going out of my body, I saw myself sitting down with the delicate tender leaves of the tree over me. I was facing the east. In front of me was my body and over my head I saw the Star, bright and clear.
Then I could feel the vibrations of the Lord Buddha; I beheld Lord Maitreya and Master K. H**. I was so happy, calm and at peace. I could still see my body and I was hovering near it. There was such profound calmness both in the air and within myself, the calmness of the bottom of a deep unfathomable lake. Like the lake, I felt my physical body, with its mind and emotions, could be ruffled on the surface but nothing, nay nothing, could disturb the calmness of my soul.
The presence of the mighty Beings was with me for some time and then They were gone. I was supremely happy, for I had seen. Nothing could ever be the same. I have drunk at the clear and pure waters at the source of the fountain of life and my thirst was appeased. Never more could I be thirsty, never more could I be in utter darkness. I have seen the Light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering; it is not for myself, but for the world. I have stood on the mountain top and gazed at the mighty Beings. Never can I be in utter darkness; I have seen the glorious and healing light.The fountain of Truth has been revealed to me and the darkness has been dispersed. Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated.
an excerpt from Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening by Mary Luytens
“…As a result of her mother’s interest in theosophy, Mary met Krishnamurti when she was a child: she knew him from 1911 until his death in 1986” Wikipedia
* *“Ingram Smith says that in a conversation with him, Krishnamurti told him how one day he had walked through the image of a Mahatma and since then had never seen one again.
Krishnaji went on to say that under Leadbeater’s direction he rose at four o’clock in the traditional manner and meditated, and that sometimes Kuthumi [the Mahatma K.H.] was present and a conversation took place. Then one morning just after sunrise – Krishnamurti was seated in the lotus posture facing east – Kuthumi appeared in the doorway. Until that day, talking with K.H. had been enough. “That day I wanted more than talk. I wanted not only to feel his presence, hear his voice, but to actually touch him, make sensual contact. Until that day he had been a voice, a presence standing in the doorway. It was a morning when the sun came clear into the room. Kuthumi was standing with his back to the light. I got up, walked to him and through him. I turned. There was no one there. He had disappeared. There was nothing there. And … I did not ever see him again.” (Smith 1989: 20-21)”
We will look at that later but here is the next:
“Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (born Chandra Mohan Jain, 11 December 1931 – 19 January 1990), also known as Osho, Acharya Rajneesh, or simply Rajneesh, was an Indian “Godman“ and leader of the Rajneesh movement. During his lifetime he was viewed as a controversial mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher. In the 1960s he travelled throughout India as a public speaker and was a vocal critic of socialism, Mahatma Gandhi, and Hindu religious orthodoxy. He advocated a more open attitude towards human sexuality, earning him the sobriquet “sex guru” in the Indian and later international press, although this attitude became more acceptable with time.
In 1970 Rajneesh spent time in Bombay initiating followers known as “neo-sannyasins.” During this period he expanded his spiritual teachings and through his discourses gave an original insight into the writings of religious traditions, mystics, and philosophers from around the world. In 1974 Rajneesh relocated to Pune where a foundation and ashram was established to offer a variety of “transformational tools” for both Indian and international visitors. By the late 1970s, tension between the ruling Janata Party government of Morarji Desai and the movement led to a curbing of the ashram’s development.
In 1981 efforts refocused on activities in America and Rajneesh relocated to a facility known as Rajneeshpuram in Wasco County, Oregon. Almost immediately the movement ran into conflict with county residents and the State government and a succession of legal battles concerning the ashram’s construction and continued development curtailed its success. In 1985, following the investigation of serious crimes including the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack, and an assassination plot to murder US Attorney Charles H. Turner, Rajneesh alleged that his personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela and her close supporters had been responsible. He was later deported from the United States in accordance with an Alford plea bargain.
After his deportation twenty-one countries denied him entry, and he ultimately returned to India, and a reinvigorated Pune ashram, where he died in 1990. His ashram is today known as the Osho International Meditation Resort. His syncretic teachings emphasise the importance of meditation, awareness, love, celebration, courage, creativity, and humor—qualities that he viewed as being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious tradition, and socialisation. Rajneesh’s teachings have had a notable impact on Western New Age thought, and their popularity has increased markedly since his death.” Wikipedia
Now I have put these people first because Rajneesh, or Osho as he is now called claimed that Krishnamurti was his only equal. When Rajneesh arrived in the US he said that he was the messiah the Americans had longed for while Krishnamurti was always saying he was not the messiah that his supporters wanted him to be, thought that he was. Krishnamurti considered Rajneesh to be a charlatan and even called him a criminal which in a technical sense he was. Rajneesh was a valium addict and also addicted to laughing gas which he took through a rubber tube mixed with pure oxygen. Neither was what I would call a hidden master and both lived in the public eye supported by their followers. I will discuss Krishnamurti’s enlightenment experience later here but would point out we all come to it in different ways.
This man was at the Glastonbury festival I attended in 1971 He was still a boy at the time. A nice man I knew followed him and claimed that he enlightened him with a touch of his hand.
“Prem Pal Singh Rawat (Hindi: प्रेम पाल सिंह रावत), born 10 December 1957, is an Indian American also known as Maharaji, and formerly as Guru Maharaj Ji and Balyogeshwar. Rawat’s teachings include a meditation practice he calls “Knowledge”, and peace education based on the discovery of personal resources such as inner strength, choice, appreciation and hope.
Rawat is the youngest son of Hans Ji Maharaj, an Indian guru and the founder of the Divya Sandesh Parishad (later known as Divine Light Mission, or DLM) After his father’s death, eight-year-old Rawat became the new “Satguru” (True Master). At age 13 Rawat travelled to the West, soon taking up residence in the United States. Many young adults took interest in the claim that Rawat could impart direct knowledge of God to his followers. News media were nonplussed by his youth and supposed divine status, and he was criticized for a lack of intellectual content in his public discourses, and for leading an opulent lifestyle. Tens of thousands were initiated in Knowledge techniques, and hundreds of DLM centers opened worldwide. Some Western followers took up communal life in dozens of ashrams, guided by DLM “Mahatmas“.
In November 1973, the Millennium ’73 festival was held in the Houston Astrodome, and although this was near the height of Rawat’s media fame, attendance was far lower than expected. When he turned 16, Rawat became emancipated and got married. He cut ties to his mother and eldest brother, and with the original Indian DLM organization. He retained control of the DLM everywhere else (at this point it was established in 55 countries).
In the early 1980s, he began to discard direct references to religion in his speeches and closed the ashrams. The name of the DLM was changed to Elan Vital. From 1980 to the present, Rawat has continued to travel extensively.
In 2001 he established “The Prem Rawat Foundation” to fund his work and humanitarian efforts. Rawat continues to speak for large and/or select audiences worldwide, and on several occasions has received significant recognition for his work and message of peace.” Wikipedia
We need to look at his father who started the sect his son took over. Parents are notorious for stating that their own children are messiahs or enlightened masters. They almost never are although many in the east would say that their followers . even masters or deities may return to be brought up by them.
“Hans Ram Singh Rawat, known as Shri Hans Ji Maharaj (9 November 1900 – 19 July 1966), was born in Gadh-ki-Sedhia, north-east of Haridwar in present-day Uttarakhand, India. His parents were Ranjit Singh Rawat and Kalindi Devi. He was considered a Satguru by his students who called him affectionally “Shri Maharaji” or just “Guru Maharaji.”
He had a daughter from his first wife Sinduri Devi, and four sons from his second wife Rajeshwari Devi, later known among followers as “Mata Ji” and “Shri Mataji”.
At the age of eight, not long after starting at the village school, Hans Ji’s mother died. From that time he was raised by his aunt. As a young adult he visited many holy men in the nearby mountains and pilgrimage towns in the area now the Pakistani provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan and Punjab. He was reportedly disenchanted with these and turned to the Arya Samaj, a popular movement formed to remove caste prejudices and idolatry from Hinduism.
The search for work led Hans Ji to Lahore, the capital of the former Sikh kingdom. During this time he made his first contact with Sri Swarupanand Ji, a guru in the lineage of Advait Mat, from Guna. In 1923, Swarupanand taught Hans the techniques of Knowledge or kriyas, an experience of which Sri Hans later said: “I was given no mantra, but experienced Knowledge. I experienced the music and light of my heart. My mind was focused within”. Three years later, in 1926, Swarupanand Ji asked him to start teaching others the techniques of Knowledge, and for the subsequent 10 years Sri Hans travelled through what is today Pakistan and northern India. A strong bond of teacher/disciple was formed between them which Swarupanand reportedly referred to as follows: “I am in Hans’ heart and Hans is in my heart”.
In 1936, Sri Swarupanand Ji died in Nangli Sahib, a village near the north town of Meerut. Reported indications from Swarupanand about Hans’ succession were later contested by a group of mahatmas who noted that Hans Ji had married Sinduri Devi from a neighbouring village in the district of Garwal, making him a “householder”, a status that in their view as renunciates was not acceptable. After the rift, Sri Hans was left with only a handful of people to help him continue his work. Sri Hans branched out on his own with the understanding that he had his teacher’s blessings, and continued teaching throughout the Indian sub-continent.
That same year, he started presenting his message and teaching in the small town of Najibabad, near Haridwar. His talks at the time were strongly influenced by the egalitarian and reformist philosophy of the Arya Samaj, and he reportedly accepted anyone as his student, irrespective of caste, religion or status. This was an unusual stance for an Indian teacher, and it drew its share of criticism from traditional Hindus. During this year he published a book Hans Yog Prakash as a first step to broadening the dissemination of his message.
During the next years, Hans Ji travelled by foot and by train to towns and villages across north India, speaking at small, impromptu gatherings at train stations, or under a tree in the village grounds. By the late 1930s, Sri Hans Ji had begun visiting Delhi, teaching workers at the Delhi Cloth Mills. He travelled constantly between Haridwar and Delhi, often staying at followers’ houses at Paharganj and Connaught Place, behind the new Delhi center.
In 1944, as the number of students grew, Sri Hans Ji purchased a small, two-floor house on the bank of the Ganges canal outside Haridwar, and named it “Prem Nagar” (“Town of Love”). The mahatmas who were helping him in a full-time capacity lived there with him in the tradition of the gurukul. Four years later, he reportedly purchased his first car, a green Austin Somerset, that assisted him in visiting nearby towns and villages in his effort to reach more people.
Sri Hans Ji and his first wife, Sinduri Devi, had a daughter, Savitri, but after that Sinduri Devi was unable to have more children. As a consequence of that, and based on an understanding that Swarupanand reportedly had told him that “one day he [Hans Ji] will have a son who would play an important role”, he took a second wife in Rajeshwari Devi in 1946. Unlike his first wife, Rajeshwari Devi would in time become known as Mata Ji and play a prominent role in her husband’s work. In 1951, their first son was born (Satpal), followed by three more in 1953 (Mahi Pal), 1955 (Dharam Pal), and 1957 (Prem Pal), named affectionately by Sri Hans “Sant Ji”.
As Sri Hans Ji Maharaj’s message was spreading throughout northern India, several initiatives were taken to facilitate his work, including the publishing of a monthly magazine named Hansadesh in 1951, and the formation of the Divine Light Mission (DLM). For nearly 30 years Sri Hans Ji Maharaj disseminated his message without any formal organisation. After resisting suggestions for such an organisation, he finally gave in to growing pressure, and the Divine Light Mission was registered in Patna in 1960, to develop and structure the growing activities across India. The mission aims discussed are that “in principle all religions are one” and that the understanding that “peace is indivisible” and achievable by individuals and that “disgruntled individuals and dissatisfied nations can never promote lasting peace in the world.” It also discusses some humanitarian initiatives.
By the early 1960s there were students in most large cities, towns and villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan, as well as within the Indian communities in South Africa. Meetings were still small, and Sri Hans’ close relationship with his students continued. In 1963, the first of many large public programs was held in the Ram Lila grounds in New Delhi, reportedly attended by 15,000. In 1964, an event took place on Gandhi Maidan in the heart of old Delhi that attracted even larger crowds. Several ashrams were opened during that time, including a small one in Rajasthan and another larger one called Satlok (“Place of Truth”) located between Delhi and Haridwar.
In 1965, Sri Hans attended a religious conference in New Delhi’s Constitution Club that was chaired by the then Speaker of the India Parliament, Mr. Ayengar. That year Sri Hans flew for the first time when he visited his students in Jammu, Kashmir.
On 18 July 1966, while visiting a small ashram in Alwar, Sri Hans fell ill, and the same day returned to Delhi by car. It is reported that he died at 3 a.m. the following morning. Three days later, in a procession led by his family and many grieving mahatmas, his ashes were taken to his home in Haridwar.” wikipedia
Enlightenment cannot be passed on by touching someone on the head. But it is a good business teaching that it can. Neither are hidden masters. Nor is the next. Again I knew men who trained under this guru and sincerely ‘believed’ that they received enlightenment through his teachings.
“Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (12 January 1918 – 5 February 2008) was born Mahesh Prasad Varma and became known as Maharishi (meaning “great seer”) and Yogi as an adult. He developed the Transcendental Meditation technique and was the leader and guru of a worldwide organization that has been characterized in multiple ways including as a new religious movement and as non-religious.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi became a disciple and assistant of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) of Jyotirmath in the Indian Himalayas. The Maharishi credits Brahmananda Saraswati with inspiring his teachings. In 1955, the Maharishi began to introduce his Transcendental Deep Meditation (later renamed Transcendental Meditation) to India and the world. His first global tour began in 1958. His devotees referred to him as His Holiness, and because he often laughed in TV interviews he was sometimes referred to as the “giggling guru.”
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Maharishi achieved fame as the guru to the Beatles, The Beach Boys and other celebrities. In the late 1970s, he started the TM-Sidhi programme that claimed to offer practitioners the ability to levitate and to create world peace. The Maharishi’s Natural Law Party was founded in 1992, and ran campaigns in dozens of countries. He moved to near Vlodrop, the Netherlands, in the same year. In 2000, he created the Global Country of World Peace, a non-profit organization, and appointed its leaders. In 2008, the Maharishi announced his retirement from all administrative activities and went into silence until his death three weeks later.
The Maharishi is reported to have trained more than 40,000 TM teachers, taught the Transcendental Meditation technique to “more than five million people” and founded thousands of teaching centers and hundreds of colleges, universities and schools, while TM websites report tens of thousands learned the TM-Sidhi programme. His initiatives include schools and universities with campuses in several countries including India, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The Maharishi, his family and close associates created charitable organisations and for-profit businesses including health clinics, mail-order health supplements and organic farms. The reported value of the Maharishi’s organization has ranged from the millions to billions of U.S. dollars and in 2008, the organization placed the value of their United States assets at about $300 million.”
There is no doubt that Maharishi did extraordinary things and was responsible for a much deeper understanding of eastern practices in the west.
“Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi Sai Baba was a Indian spiritual master who was regarded by his devotees as a saint, fakir, and satguru, according to their individual proclivities and beliefs. He was revered by both his Hindu and Muslim devotees, and during, as well as after, his life it remained uncertain if he was a Muslim or a Hindu. This, however, was of no consequence to Sai Baba. He stressed the importance of surrender to the true Satguru, who, having trod the path to divine consciousness, will lead the disciple through the jungle of spiritual training.
Sai Baba is known by people around the world. He had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was realization of the self. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. He gave no distinction based on religion or caste. Sai Baba’s teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: he gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived, practised both Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and was buried in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams, “Sabka Malik Ek” (“One God governs all”), is associated with Hinduism and Islam He also said, “Listen to me and your prayer shall be answered”. He always uttered “Allah Malik“ (“God is King”).
Sai Baba’s real name and birth place are unknown. Some people believe that he was born on September 28, 1835, though there are no authentic information to prove it. When asked about his past, he often gave elusive responses. The name “Sai” was given to him upon his arrival at Shirdi, a town in the West Indian state of Maharashtra. The word “Sai” refers to a religious mendicant. In several Indian and Middle Eastern languages the term “Baba” is an honorific signifying grandfather, father, old man or sir. Thus Sai Baba denotes holy father, saintly father or (venerable) poor old man. Some of Sai Baba’s disciples became famous as spiritual figures and saints, such as Mahalsapati, a priest of the Khandoba temple in Shirdi, and Upasni Maharaj. He was revered by other saints, such as Saint Bidkar Maharaj, Saint Gangagir, Saint Janakidas Maharaj, and Sati Godavari Mataji. Sai Baba referred to several saints as ‘my brothers’, especially the disciples of Swami Samartha of Akkalkot.”
Sai Baba’s materialisations of vibhuti (holy ash) and other small objects such as rings, necklaces, and watches, along with reports of miraculous healings, resurrections, clairvoyance, bilocation, and alleged omnipotence and omniscience, were a source of both fame and controversy. His devotees considered them signs of his divinity, while sceptics viewed them as simple conjuring tricks. He further faced accusations over the years of sexual abuse and fraud, which he rejected as smear campaigns.
The Sathya Sai Organisation, founded by Sathya Sai Baba “to enable its members to undertake service activities as a means to spiritual advancement”, has over 1,200 Sathya Sai Centres (branches) in 126 countries. Through this organisation, Sathya Sai Baba established a network of free hospitals, clinics, drinking water projects, auditoriums, ashrams and schools”
Baba also did extraordinary things and was much loved. He was a skilled conjuror and used his skills to astound his followers, attracted billions in donations and spent much on helping poor communities. The next one may be mythical.
““Mahavatar Babaji (IPA: [Mahāvatār Bābājī]; born 30 November 203 CE) is the name given to an Indian saint and yogi by Lahiri Mahasaya and several of his disciples who met Mahavatar Babaji between 1861 and 1935. Some of these meetings were described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, including a first hand telling of Yogananda’s own meeting with Mahavatar Babaji. Another first hand account was given by Yukteswar Giri in his book The Holy Science. According to Sri M’s autobiography (Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master) Sri Guru Babaji, i.e., Mahavatar Babaji was Lord Shiva. In the second last chapter of his book, he mentions Sri Guru Babaji changing his form to Lord Shiva. All of these accounts, along with additional meetings with Mahavatar Babaji, are described in various biographies of those mentioned by Yogananda.
Mahavatar Babaji’s given name is unknown, so those who met him during that period all called him by the title first given to him by Lahirī. “Mahavatar” means “great avatar”, and “Babaji” simply means “revered father”. Some of the encounters included two or more witnesses—discussions between those who met Mahavatar Babaji indicate that they all met the same person.” Wikipedia
Finally I must include the guru of other people I have known.
“Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Bengali: অভয়চরণারবিন্দ ভক্তিবেদান্ত স্বামী প্রভুপাদ; Abhoy Charonarobindo Bhoktibedanto Swamy Probhupad; Sanskrit: अभय चरणारविन्द भक्तिवेदान्त स्वामी प्रभुपाद, IAST: abhaya-caraṇaravinda bhakti-vedānta svāmī prabhupāda; 1 September 1896 – 14 November 1977) was a Gaudiya Vaishnava spiritual teacher (guru) and the founder preceptor (acharya) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement“. His mission was to propagate Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a school of Vaishnavite Hinduism that had been taught to him by his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, throughout the world. Born Abhay Charan De in Calcutta, he was educated at the prestigious local Scottish Church College. Before adopting the life of a pious renunciant (vanaprastha) in 1950, he was married with children and owned a small pharmaceutical business.
In 1959 he took a vow of renunciation (sannyasa) and started writing commentaries on Vaishnava scriptures. In his later years, as a traveling Vaishnava monk, he became an influential communicator of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology to India and specifically to the West through his leadership of ISKCON, founded in 1966. As the founder of ISKCON, he “emerged as a major figure of the Western counterculture, initiating thousands of young Americans.” Despite attacks from anti-cult groups, he received a favorable welcome from many religious scholars, such as J. Stillson Judah, Harvey Cox, Larry Shinn and Thomas Hopkins, who praised Bhaktivedanta Swami’s translations and defended the group against distorted media images and misinterpretations. In respect to his achievements, religious leaders from other Gaudiya Vaishnava movements have also given him credit.
He has been described as a charismatic leader, in the sense used by sociologist Max Weber, as he was successful in acquiring followers in the United States, Europe, India and elsewhere. After his death in 1977, ISKCON, the society he founded based on a type of Hindu Krishnaism using the Bhagavata Purana as a central scripture, continued to grow and is respected in India, though there have been disputes about leadership among his followers. In February 2014, ISKCON’s news agency reported to have reached a milestone of distributing over half a billion books authored by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, since 1965” Wikipedia
So above we can see some of the most well known gurus of the last century, men who created large followings and inspired many people in the west and in their own country – India. They were all ‘charismatic’, all knowledgeable and all taught. They were all highly successful too and none were ‘hidden masters’. It is much simpler and more effective to do this yourself and not to sell the product. Doing that creates all sorts of problems and you have to take responsibility for the karma or actions of your followers. That is why they do it as they expect the karma to be positive, a credit to them. When or before they die they realise that it is anything but.
So I have said that I will look at what happened to Krishnamurti. As an impressionable youth he had a spirit master he called Master K H. he said that when he walked through him that he never saw him again. Almost certainly he knew why. I used to talk to a spirit master too. Most of us do and we call this one God, Jesus or various other names. The spirit speaks to us and may even guide us. But one day lying in my bath and visualising myself as a small boy in deep trouble, about to be beaten, I involuntarily called to him ‘Don’t worry Johnnie it will be all right‘. That was no my enlightening moment as such but came shortly before it. It was the realisation that I was my own spirit master, that the person at the end of my life spoke to the boy. The one who testifies against us when we die can become us if we allow that. This is what happened to Krishnamurti. He claimed that he received enlightenment before that happened which would not be possible, just an odd experience leading up to it i it came at all. You will note that when becoming enlightened he is still in thrall to Master KH, who is himself but unrealised at that time.
I will record again my enlightening moment as I have deleted it. It was in 1988 shortly after my father died.We were living in a converted warehouse on the Thames next door to the Mayflower Pub from which wharf the Pilgrims had departed for America. On a sparkling summer morning I distinctly imagined my father speaking to me again. He seemed to be saying that I should go down to the Thames foreshore to find a great treasure which would be near something purple. Imagining the word ‘treasure’ I wasted no time and took a trowel and bucket with me just in case. I climbed down the warehouse steps to the beach if one could call the smelly mud shore that and looked around for this purple sign.
An hour later I was still looking, the tide was coming in and I was becoming quite disillusioned with my little fantasy. I then found a bit of lilac coloured plastic, but nothing valuable near it. At that moment some youths caught my eye. With my back to the river and some fifty yards from the steps I saw a gang of young men making their way over to me. Now Rotherhithe is not the safest place to be at the best of times. Even our wreck of a car was being regularly vandalised there and instead of finding treasure I began to suspect that I was to be mugged. In a panic I scooped the plastic and a few handfuls of shingle, in which I could see some lead and an old broken clay pipe covered in stinking mud, into the bucket and ran.
It was some days later that I thought to look in the bucket which I had put under our sink and which was attracting complaints. Apart from the sewage mud which I washed away there was the broken clay pipe, a piece of lead and a few stones. One was white and had sand stuck to it but as I washed this away a nose, an eye and part of a third eye became visible in the limestone. At which point I heard him say ‘this is the day and way of your enlightenment’. This little object is now my greatest treasure. It also has a link with Egypt as I found a hieroglyph that matched it exactly and which means ‘smell’ and ‘be happy’. Here is my ‘third eye’:
I am sure your way will be different to mine. But it can be done without sitting cross legged under some tree.