Sri Yukteswar (1855 – 1936) was a Spiritual Master from India, who was originally named Priya Nath Karar. Sri Yukteswar took his monastic name when he became a Swami of the Giri order. Sri Yukteswar was also the Guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda named Sri Yukteswar a Jnanvatar or ‘Incarnation of Wisdom.” See Sri Yukteswar in Autobiography of a Yogi
Sri Yukteswar was born into a relatively wealthy Indian family. He inherited some properties which enabled him to later buy his own hermitages. Sri Yukteswar married and led an ordinary life but his wife died early. However on meeting his Guru Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar started to practise intense spiritual practices. Lahiri Mahasaya initiated him into Kriya Yoga and would later give Sri Yukteswar permission to initiate others. Practising Kriya Yoga with great sincerity Sri Yukteswar was able to attain a profound state of spiritual realisation.
Sri Yukteswar was a Spiritual Master of great sincerity and sought to direct his disciples through strict discipline. Yogananda said of his Guru that if he did not speak with such sincerity he would have had many more disciples. (Yogananda would take a more forgiving attitude ‘Yogananda’ means ‘incarnation of divine love’)
Sri Yukteswar was asked by Babaji to write a book showing the underlying similarities between Hinduism and Christianity. This book was called ‘The Holy Science’ and is an in depth look at the underlying harmony between the Bible and Hindu scriptures. There is a story that Sri Yukteswar wrote a very perceptive commentary on the Bible, however this was given to a French gentleman who never returned it.
Sri Yukteswar also studied deeply astrology and wrote about the different cycles or Yugas. Other famous disciples of Sri Yukteswar included Sri Satyananda and Paramahansa Hariharananda. Sri Yukteswar entered Mahasamadhi(A Yogi’s conscious departure from his body) at the age of 81.
Much of what we know about Sri Yukteswar comes from Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. Yogananda writes with great reverence, love and gratitude for his Master.