Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Origin and how I began.

Where did Babaji’s Kriya Yoga originate?  My teacher is M.G. Satchidananda. He was taught by Yogi Ramaiah; a direct disciple of Babaji. Read on to learn about this lineage and the story of my beginnings (including pizza and video games) on this path.

Babaji is a yogi of highest attainment called a “maha-siddaha”.  He has dedicated himself to the upliftment of suffering humanity. Throughout the ages he has called upon individuals to learn, master and disseminate the most appropriate yogic techniques for the present time.

The Lineage Explained

Babaji initiates S.A.A. Ramaiah

During a six-month period in 1954, Babaji initiated a great devotee, S.A.A. Ramaiah into a complete system of 144 Kriyas. These Kriyas, or practical techniques included postures, breathing, meditation, mantras, and devotional techniques.  Ramaiah blossomed into a yogi, known as Yogi Ramaiah, and began a mission to bring this system to the world.  He shared this system, referred to as “Babaji’s Kriya Yoga” to thousands of aspirants around the world.

M.G. Satchidananda

In 1970, Yogi Ramaiah initiated a young graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service named Marshall Govindan. He remained a disciple of Yogi Ramaiah until the end of 1988, assisting him in the establishment of 23 Kriya Yoga centers around the world.  Since 1989 Marshall Govindan, now known as M. G. Satchidananda, has personally initiated over 10,000 persons in Babaji’s Kriya Yoga, written many books and founded Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas. This lay order of more than 25 Kriya Yoga teachers operates in more than 20 countries and ashrams around the world.


In 2012, after practicing hatha yoga for a few years, I read “Kriya Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Siddhas,” by M. Govindan.  I experienced “ah ha moment after ah ha moment” as I read the pages that gave me a new understanding of yoga.  This imploded the concept of yoga, as I knew it, in our modern materialistic society.  As I read the pages that described ancient yoga and how Kriya Yoga techniques were practical steps toward the yogic reality, I knew that I must learn these techniques from a sincere practitioner.  I signed up for the first initiation offered by Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas and booked a flight to Seattle with great anticipation of learning these ancient techniques.

My Journey Begins

Babaji’s Kriya Yoga, Pizza and Video Games

I arrived in Seattle on a Friday afternoon and eagerly drove to my hotel in the rental car.  I had about 2 hours before the introductory lecture began at 7pm. Without much thought, I ordered up a pizza. I then engaged in some mindless play of “Clash of the Clans” on my smartphone.  This was one of my favorite ways to spend some down time. I was in the fast-paced grind of a career as a pediatric dentist. Raising four young children with my wife did not seem to provide much personal time. Thus, I had developed the habit of engaging in mindless gaming activity.

I navigated my way to Bastyr university near Seattle Washington to meet my teacher and listen to his introductory lecture.  I visualized a room full of excited students, a table filled with snacks and refreshments, some audio/visual equipment and posters and my teacher busy greeting everyone and engaged with last minute adjustments to his presentation equipment. 

The first encounter

As I walked down the basement hallways of the building, I began to smell incense.  However, I did not hear a bustling room full of voices anywhere.  I saw a small paper sign that read, “Babaji’s Kriya Yoga,” at a door and when I entered the room there were only 3 people. Two of the three people in the room were inconspicuous looking. A guy in baggy yoga pantsand a well-worn plain t-shirt greeted me. He fascinated me with his looks. I couldn’t stop staring at the massive bun of hair on top of his head and the long bushy beard that was tied in a knot.  He had some of the clearest and intentionally kind eyes I had ever seen. He greeted me and invited me to sit down on the floor with the others. 

It turned out I was only one of two students attending, the other gal in the room was the teachers’ girlfriend.  I was skeptical at this point as the whole thing seemed a little disorganized and unattended.  However, I knew I was called to attend for some reason, and I was still eager to learn these yoga techniques.

Meeting Skanda

The teacher introduced himself as Skanda. His birth name was Ed and he used his given a yogi name.  Skanda was an entertaining and engaging speaker with a great sense of humor.  Skanda began his lecture. He explained that we humans live and act in accordance with our desire to find happiness only to be disappointed time and time again.  Happiness always seems to be so elusive. Just when we find it, it seems that we can’t hold onto it.  Happiness is like trying to hold onto water in the cup of our hand. It just seems to slip between our fingers until it is lost.  He went on about this for a bit and then the strange moment of truth came to me.   

Skanda said something about how one even tries to find happiness by “eating pizza and playing video games.” He paused, looked into my eyes, and grinned.  It wasn’t as if he was judging me or scolding me. It was more of a playful look that was saying,

“Yeah, I know the program that you’re running.” “How in the hell does he know that I eat pizza and play video games when I am bored or discontent?”, I thought. 

He caught me red handed.  I was astonished and knew that he knew.  “Does this guy have yogi powers like I have read about in Autobiography of a Yogi?”  After that moment, I intuitively knew that this was the right guy to teach me, and I put my preconceived notions and judgements about him aside.

Beginning to practice

I returned home after the weekend seminar with a system of yogic techniques and a weekly schedule. Gradually, I began to integrate them into my daily life.  I had faith and trust in this system. With sincerity I practiced the routine, both routinely and at times sporadically for about 6 months.  Next, I participated in the 2nd initiation seminar which was taught by M.G. Satchidananda.  The teachings moved me and his humble and sincere guidance.  I was now practicing more intensively and was noticing the effect.  I was gradually becoming more calm and less disturbed when the daily challenges of life were pushing my buttons.  This gave me more determination on this path.

I proceeded to learn the balance of the 144 techniques of this system by attending the 3rd initiation.  I then completed the Kriya Hatha Yoga teacher training course the following summer. Next I joined the pilgrimage to Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Ashram, in the Himalayas, with M. G. Satchidananda the following year.  A year later I accepted the invitation to begin acharya training, under M. G. Satchidananda, to become a member of Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Order of Acharya’s. 

This training involved strict daily yoga practice and multiple trips to Quebec to teach side by side with M. G. Satchidananda.  I became a member of the Order of Acharya’s in 2019. My teacher gave me the name, “Dharmadas.” I use it in all my yogic teaching activities and as a reminder of some self-work to perform.

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