Swami Sri Yukteswar was born on May 10,1855, at Serampore in Bengal, India. Sri Yukteswar was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya and attained the spiritual stature of a Jnanavatar, or incarnation of wisdom.
Sri Yukteswar recognized that a synthesis of the spiritual heritage of the East with the science and technology of the West would do much to alleviate the material, psychological, and spiritual suffering of the modern world. These ideas were crystallized by his remarkable encounter with Mahavatar Babaji, the guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, in 1894.
“At my request, Swamiji,” Babaji said to him, “will you not write a short book on the underlying harmony between Christian and Hindu scriptures? Their basic unity is now obscured by men’s sectarian differences. Show by parallel references that the inspired sons of God have spoken the same truths.”
Sri Yukteswar recounted: “In the quiet of night I busied myself over a comparison of the Bible and the scriptures of Sanatan Dharma. Quoting the words of the blessed Lord Jesus, I showed that his teachings are in essence one with the revelations of the Vedas. Through the grace of my paramguru, my book, The Holy Science, was finished in a short time.”
It was to Swami Sri Yukteswar that Paramahansa Yogananda came as a youth. The great guru told his young disciple that, during their meeting in 1894, Mahavatar Babaji had informed him: “You, Swamiji, have a part to play in the coming harmonious exchange between Orient and Occident. Some years hence I shall send you a disciple whom you can train for yoga dissemination in the West. The vibrations there of many spiritually seeking souls come floodlike to me. I perceive potential saints in America and Europe, waiting to be awakened.”
After relating this, Sri Yukteswar told Yoganandaji, “My son, you are the disciple that, years ago, Babaji promised to send me.”
Under Sri Yukteswar’s spiritual training and discipline, Sri Yogananda was prepared to begin his worldwide mission in the West. Sri Yukteswar named Paramahansa Yogananda sole heir to his spiritual mantle and ashram properties.
Swami Sri Yukteswar entered mahasamadhi on March 9, 1936, during Paramahansaji’s visit to India after fifteen years in America.