Sri Ramchandra of Shahjahanpur
Sri Ramchandra (1899–1983) is the founder of the system. He was also known affectionately as Babuji. He founded the new system of Raja Yoga around 1944 and called it the Natural Path. He lived an unostentatious life with his family in the town of Shajahanpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh, North India.
At age 22, he met his master Sri Ramchandra of Fategarh (1873–1931), a spiritual genius who “could bring a man to perfection simply at a glance”. His master brought back the technique of Pranahuti that was long lost in the history of time. Babuji perfected the technique of Pranahuti (Yogic Transmission) and discovered a set of subtle meditation techniques and the principles of living by practicing which a man can be brought to perfection. These components formed an integrated new system of raja yoga practice for realization of one’s true nature. He offered the system as a gift to his master and passed it to the generations to come.
Some of Pujya Babuji’s early spiritual experiences when he first met his master gave a glimpse of his profound inner spiritual life. He wrote in his letter to Dr. K. C. Varadachari, a renowned professor in South India and one of his fore most disciple:
"At the age of nine I felt a kind of thirst for Reality, and I remained extremely flustered, just like a man who is drowning in water. It continued for some time, but finding no solution I fixed my mind upon making myself deserving. . . . My fortune favoured me and I arrived at the holy feet of my Master, Samarth Guru Mahatma Ram Chandraji of Fatehgarh U.P., on 3rd June 1922. I was so spellbound by the effect of Master's force entering into me that I found myself compelled to gain it, rather than to study philosophy in which I was deeply interested. This meeting was, to me, one of the most important events which contributed to solve my problem of life. I commenced abhyas [practice] under his guidance and gave up pranayam which I had been practising for 7 years or so. A feeling of perfect satisfaction prevailed upon me when I was graced by his (Master's) first glance. . . . In 1924 I felt a ubiquitous force present in every animate and inanimate object and particle. I was drowned in a sea of wonder. I felt God pervading over everything, like broad day light."
As Pujya Sri K. C. Narayana wrote about his Master: "When Masters like Shri Ram Chandra are born, it is like descent of the Divine into human form which is essentially meant to disclose the Condition of being to which human souls should rise... The descent, enables us to understand that there is no opposition between spiritual life and worldly materialistic life... [he] points out the way by which men can rise from the animal to spiritual mode of existence by being an example... His life dramatizes as it were the essential constituents of human life ascending to the fulfillment of human destiny. He knew hunger and thirst, happiness and misery, solitude and desperation. He by overcoming them all, asks us to take courage in His example. He taught us by his actions how we can die to our separate individualised temporal selfness and come into union with timeless spirit."
Sri Ramchandra expounded his system largely from a yogic, personal experiential, and semi-metaphysical angle. He authored four books: Sri Ramchandra’s Commandments, Practice and Efficacy of Rajayoga, Reality at Dawn, and Towards Infinity. In these writings, he detailed the beginning or origin and the end state of spiritual evolution, the means (practices) for achieving it, the principles and logic for a spiritual way of living that is necessary for spiritual development. He also introduced the use of Pranahuti as the foundation for spiritual training in order to achieve direct awareness of Reality.