The Himalayas have been a source of spiritual knowledge and inspiration since ancient times. It has been the abode or origin of numerous saints and mystics including the Great Buddha. Certainly if a divine location has to be chosen for that on the planet it has to be the Himalayas as the highest mountain chain of the world and also the most conducive to life and beauty. Earth is not paradise but bits of paradise lie scattered across the bosom of Mother Earth and some of these are in these sacred mountains.
In 1970, a youthful saint of around twenty, called Baba Hairakhan (also spelt Haidkhan) or Babaji lovingly by his disciples appeared in the Nainital District of Himalayas. He died in 1984 even as he had said while he lived that the body is meaningless and transient but the soul lives on. Through his public and early death, Baba Hairakhan also illustrated to his many disciples of Christian origin who had come to believe that Babaji would live forever in his present body that no physical body lives permanently. None has since the beginning of time. Many believe that he has appeared as a youthful saint in Central Himalayas since very ancient times repeatedly in new incarnations with different bodies. He himself mentioned some of these while he lived.
All are transient, but the soul survives and a soul dwelling in God may be called as a divine appearance or Avatar or Maha-Avatar in Himalayan parlance. It is something for disciples of Baba Hairakhan to determine if Babaji was an Avatar or not but this author does believe that he was most certainly a divine appearance that has appeared repeatedly in the Himalayas since ancient times.
While Baba Hairakhan lived, he lovingly and joyously clarified certain myths about yoga that were spreading in the world. It was a time when there was a great interest in yoga in the developed West for while they had attained material prosperity, peace was still elusive. Certain popular sects were propagating myths about yoga and using his name perhaps for commercial reasons that were dispelled by Babaji who was not into accumulating wealth or publicity like many others spiritual teachers of modern times who try to make a business even out of spirituality.
Some popular myths that Babaji dispelled were, that a certain type of yoga (there are many such practices of spiritual development or different yoga) that was called Kriya yoga by some sects was neither due to Babaji nor the ancient Hindu Scripture – The Bhagvat Gita (also spelt Bhagvad Gita) and no yoga discipline should be a secret unless it is perhaps for making money as a business. In this respect it may be noted, although the Bhagvat Gita describes yoga such as karma yoga for all as well as well as the yoga of renunciation or sanyas yoga for advanced mystics. Nowhere in Bhagvat Gita is there a mention of kriya yoga.
The first recorded mention of Kriya Yoga seems to be in the highly regarded ancient text on yoga by Patanjali. Chapter 2 of his text begins with that description The Kriya Yoga as described by Patanjali is not the Kriya Yoga described or practiced by some modern sects and teachers. No part of Kriya Yoga has anything to do with breathing techniques. Those are other yoga techniques but not kriya yoga as per the original description as well as Baba Hairakhan. According to Patanjali, a seeker may take up breathing as a useful part of yoga but kriya yoga by itself if practiced well is sufficient to attain the highest possible state of evolution.
What was taught by Baba Hairakhan is not a secret and may be regarded as a modern version of Kriya Yoga as taught by Patanjali in his ancient and original text on Yoga. The essential elements of the Kriya Yoga as defined by Patanjali and also taught by Baba Hairakhan first require the prerequisites of Love, Truth and Simplicity termed yama by Patanjali. This was to be followed by selfless work and service, knowledge of self through prayer and chanting of holy mantras to focus the mind, loving and trusting God. The mantra that Babaji recommended most was – Om Namah Shivay. He did say that this comes from his Hindu background and that others were free to choose any other sacred words they are familiar with from other religions if they like. That is Kriya Yoga by Babaji and also by Patanjali. It is as simple as that and no secret as far as Babaji was concerned.