The founder – Prabhuji
Prabhuji is a writer, painter, avadhūta mystic, and the creator of the “Retroprogressive Yoga”. In 2011, he chose to retire from society and lead the life of a hermit. Since then, his days have been spent in solitude, praying, writing, painting, and meditating in silence and contemplation.
Prabhuji is the sole disciple of H.D.G. Avadhūta Śrī Brahmānanda Bābājī Mahārāja, who is called by Prabhuji Guru Mahārāja, and who is himself a disciple of H.D.G. Avadhūta Śrī Mastarāma Bābājī Mahārāja.
Guru Mahārāja appointed Prabhuji the successor of the lineage and conferred upon him the responsibility of continuing the line of disciplic succession of avadhūtas, or the sacred paramparā, officially designating him as guru and successor Ācārya with the name H.H. Avadhūta Bhaktivedānta Yogācārya Ramakrishnananda Bābājī Mahārāja.
Prabhuji’s Hinduism is so broad, universal, and pluralistic that at times, living up to his title of avadhūta, his teachings transcend the boundaries of his own religion. He believes that the essence of every religion is self-knowledge. The essence of his syncretic vision, Retroprogressive Yoga, is the recognition of consciousness. For him, awakening at the level of consciousness, or the transcendence of the egoic phenomenon, is the next step in humanity’s evolution.
Prabhuji was born on March 21, 1958, in Santiago, the capital of the Republic of Chile. When he was eight years old, he had a mystical experience that motivated his search for the Truth, or the Ultimate Reality, transforming his life into an authentic inner and outer pilgrimage. He has completely devoted his life to deepening the early transformative experience that marked the beginning of his process of involution. For more than fifty years, he has dedicated himself to exploring and practicing various religions, philosophies, and spiritual paths. He has absorbed the teachings of great yogis, pastors, rabbis, monks, gurus, and saints whom he personally visited during his years of search. Living in various places, he has traveled the world thirsting for Truth.
Prabhuji is a recognized authority on Eastern wisdom. He is known for his erudition in the Vaidika and Tāntrika aspects of Hinduism and all branches of yoga (jñāna, karma, bhakti, haṭha, rāja, kuṇḍalinī, tantra, mantra, and others). He has an inclusive attitude toward all religions and is intimately familiar with Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism, Sikhism, Jainism, Shintoism, Bahaism, and the Mapuche religion, among others. He learned about the Druze religion directly from Salach Abbas and Kamil Shchadi.
His curiosity for western thought led him to venture into the field of philosophy. He studied with his uncle, Jorge Balazs, philosopher, and author of The Golden Deer. He also studied with Jonathan Ramos, who is a philosopher, historian, researcher, and professor at the Catholic University of Salta. He also studied with Dr. Alejandro Cavallazzi Sánchez.
Prabhuji focused especially on aesthetics, metaphysics, the philosophy of life, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of being. He holds a doctorate in Vaishnava philosophy from the respected Jiva Institute in Vrindavan, India, and a doctorate in yogic philosophy from the Yoga Samskrutum University.
His profound studies, his masters’ blessings, his research into the sacred scriptures, and his vast teaching experience have earned him international recognition in the field of religion and spirituality.
His spiritual search led him to study with different masters of various traditions and to travel far from his native Chile, to places as distant as Israel, India, and the USA. He has studied Hebrew and Sanskrit to deepen his understanding of the holy scriptures.
His father, Yosef Har-Zion, grew up under strict discipline because he was the son of a senior police sergeant. As a reaction to the education he received, Yosef decided to raise his own children with complete freedom and unconditional love. Prabhuji grew up without any pressure from his parents. During his early years, his father showed his son the same love regardless of his successes or failures at school. When Prabhuji decided to drop out of school in the seventh grade to devote himself to his spiritual quest, his family accepted his decision with deep respect. From the time his son was ten years old, Yosef talked to him about Hebrew spirituality. They engaged in conversations about philosophy and religion for days on end and late into the night. Yosef supported him in whatever he wanted to do in his life and his search for Truth. Prabhuji was the authentic project of freedom and unconditional love of his father.
On his own initiative, Prabhuji began to study Eastern philosophy and religions at an early age in a self-taught way and to practice karate. During his adolescence, no one interfered with his decisions. He traveled all over Chile in search of interesting people to learn from.
In Chile in 1976, Prabhuji met his H.D.G. Bhaktikavi Atulānanda Ācārya Swami, with whom he began the initial stage of his involutionary process. In those days, Atulānanda Swami was a young brahmacārī who held the position of president of the ISKCON temple at Eyzaguirre 2404, Puente Alto, Santiago, Chile.
Years later, Prabhuji was accepted by him officially as his disciple and received his first initiation and brāhmaṇa initiation. Finally, he was initiated by him into the sacred order of renunciation called sannyāsa within the Brahma Gauḍīya Saṁpradāya line of disciplic succession. Atulānanda Swami assisted Prabhuji in his first steps in the wisdom of bhakti yoga.
Prabhuji wanted to confirm his sannyāsa initiation with the line of Advaita Vedanta. His sannyāsa-dīkṣā was confirmed by H.H. Swami Jyotirmayānanda Sarasvatī, founder of the Yoga Research Foundation and disciple of H.H. Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh.
In 1984, he learned and began to practice the Transcendental Meditation technique of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In 1988, he took the kriyā-yoga course of Paramahaṁsa Yogananda, being officially initiated into the technique of kriyā-yoga by the Self-Realization Fellowship.
He met his guru in Rishikesh, India, in 1996. The meeting with H.D.G. Avadhūta Śrī Brahmānanda Bābājī Mahārāja marks the end of a quest that began with his mystical experience at the age of 8 and also marks the beginning of the most intense stage of Prabhuji’s retrogressive process. Under the guidance of Guru Mahārāja, as Prabhuji would call him, he deepened in Advaita Vedanta and grew in meditation. The enlightened bābājī formally initiated him into the māhā-mantra as his disciple and guided him in his first steps toward the sacred level of avadhūta. With Guru Mahārāja, Prabhuji entered the mature stage of his involutionary process.
Beside his dikṣā-guru, Prabhuji studied with important spiritual and religious personalities, such as H.H. Swami Dayananda Sarasvatī, H.H. Swami Viṣṇu Devānanda Sarasvatī, H.H. Swami Jyotirmayānanda Sarasvatī, H.H. Swami Pratyagbodhānanda, H.H. Swami Swahananda of the Ramakrishna Mission, and H.H. Swami Viditātmānanda of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.
The wisdom of tantra was awakened in Prabhuji by H.G. Mātājī Rīnā Śarmā in India.
In Vrindavan, he did in-depth studies on the path of bhakti yoga with H.H. Narahari Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, disciple of H.H. Nityananda Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja of Vraja.
He also studied with some disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda: H.H. Kapīndra Swami, H.H. Paramadvaiti Mahārāja, H.H. Jagajīvana Dāsa, H.H. Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Gosvāmī, H.H. Bhagavān Dāsa Mahārāja, and H.H. Kīrtanānanda Swami, among others.
Prabhuji has been honored by many leaders of prestigious religious and spiritual institutions in India with various titles and diplomas. He was given the honorable title Kṛṣṇa Bhakta by H.H. Swami Viṣṇu Devānanda (the only title of Bhakti Yoga given by Swami Viṣṇu), a disciple of H.H. Swami Śivānanda Sarasvatī and the founder of the Sivananda Organization. He was given the title Bhaktivedānta by H.H. B.A. Paramadvaiti Mahārāja, the founder of Vrinda. He was given the title Yogācārya by H.H. Swami Viṣṇu Devānanda, the Paramanand Institute of Yoga Sciences and Research of Indore, India, the International Yoga Federation, the Indian Association of Yoga, and the Shri Shankarananda Yogashram of Mysore, India. He received the respectable title Śrī Śrī Rādhā Śyam Sunder Pāda-Padma Bhakta Śiromaṇi directly from H.H. Satyanārāyaṇa Dāsa Bābājī Mahant of the Chatu Vaiṣṇava Saṁpradāya.
By order of his guru, in 2011 he renounced the order of sannyāsa to accept initiation into the highest order of avadhūta bābājī directly by his Guru Mahārāja, His Divine Grace Śrī Brahmānanda Bābājī Mahārāja, thus entering an ancient disciplic line of avadhūtas. A few months before leaving his body, his spiritual master appointed him Master Ācārya, empowering him to continue the millennial avadhūtas paramparā, or line of disciplic succession. With this appointment, Prabhuji is the official representative of the line of this disciplic succession for the present generation.
Prabhuji spent more than forty years studying hatha yoga with prestigious masters in the field of classical and traditional yoga, such as H.H. Bapuji, H.H. Swami Viṣṇu Devānanda Sarasvatī, H.H. Swami Jyotirmayānanda Sarasvatī, H.H. Swami Satchidananda Sarasvatī, H.H. Swami Vignanananda Sarasvatī, and Śrī Madana-mohana.
He attended several systematic hatha yoga teacher training courses at prestigious institutions until he achieved the level of Master Ācārya. He has completed studies at the following institutions: the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta, the Ananda Ashram, the Yoga Research Foundation, the Integral Yoga Academy, the Patanjala Yoga Kendra, the Ma Yoga Shakti International Mission, the Prana Yoga Organization, the Rishikesh Yoga Peeth, the Swami Sivananda Yoga Research Center, and the Swami Sivananda Yogasana Research Center.
Prabhuji is a member of the Indian Association of Yoga, Yoga Alliance ERYT 500 and YACEP, the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and the International Yoga Federation. In 2014, the International Yoga Federation honored him with the position of Honorary Member of the World Yoga Council.
His interest in the complex anatomy of the human body led him to study chiropractic at the prestigious Institute of Health of the Back and Extremities in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 1993, he received a diploma from Dr. Sheinerman, the founder and director of the institute. Later, he earned a massage therapist diploma at the Academy of Western Galilee. The knowledge acquired in this field deepened his understanding of hatha yoga and contributed to the creation of his own method.
“Retroprogressive Hatha Yoga” is the result of efforts to improve his own practice and teaching. It is a system based especially on the teachings of his gurus and the sacred scriptures. Prabhuji has systematized different traditional yoga techniques to create a methodology suitable for the Western public. Retroprogressive Yoga aims for experiencing our true nature. It promotes balance, health, and flexibility through proper diet, cleansing techniques, preparations (āyojanas), sequences (vinyāsas), postures (asanas), breathing exercises (prāṇayama), relaxation (śavāsana), meditation (dhyāna), and exercises with locks (bandhas) and seals (mudras) to direct and empower prāṇa.
Since his childhood and throughout his life, Prabhuji has been an enthusiastic admirer, student, and practitioner of classic karate-do. From the age of 13, he studied different styles in Chile, such as kenpo and kung-fu, but specialized in the most traditional Japanese style of Shotokan. He received the rank of black belt (third dan) from Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi (ninth dan). He also learned from Sensei Takahashi (seventh dan) and practiced Shorin Ryu style with Sensei Enrique Daniel Welcher (seventh dan), who granted him the rank of black belt (second dan). Through karate-do, he delved into Buddhism and gained additional knowledge about the physics of motion. Prabhuji is a member of the Funakoshi’s Shotokan Karate Association.
He grew up in an artistic environment. His father, the renowned Chilean painter Yosef Har-Zion ZT”L, motivated him to devote himself to art from an early age. Thus, Prabhuji’s love for painting was developed from a young age. His abstract paintings reflect the depths of the spirit.
Since he was a young boy, he has been especially attracted to and curious about postal stamps, postcards, mailboxes, postal transportation systems, and all mail-related activities. During his life, he has delved into the study of philately and has taken every opportunity to visit post offices in different cities and countries. This interest and passion transformed him into a professional philatelist, a stamp distributor authorized by the American Philatelic Society, and a member of the following societies: the Royal Philatelic Society London, the Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria, the United States Stamp Society, the Great Britain Philatelic Society, the American Philatelic Society, the Society of Israel Philatelists, the Society for Hungarian Philately, the National Philatelic Society UK, the Fort Orange Stamp Club, the American Stamp Dealers Association, the US Philatelic Classics Society, and FILABRAS – Associação dos Filatelistas Brasileiros.
Based on his deep knowledge of philately and his vast wisdom in theology and oriental philosophy, Prabhuji created “Meditative Philately” or “Philatelic Yoga,” a spiritual practice that uses philately—which is the field of collecting, sorting, and studying postage stamps—as the basis for the practice of attention, concentration, observation, and meditation. Meditative Philately is inspired by the ancient Hindu maṇḍala meditation and it can lead the practitioner to elevated states of consciousness, deep relaxation, and concentration that promotes the recognition of consciousness. Prabhuji wrote his thesis on this new type of yoga, “Meditative Philately,” attracting the interest of the Indian academic community due to its innovative approach of connecting meditation with different hobbies and activities. For this thesis, he was honored with a PhD in Yogic Philosophy from the Yoga Samskrutum University.
He lived in Israel for many years, where he deepened his studies in Hebrew and Judaism. One of his main teachers and sources of inspiration was Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz ZT”L, whom he met in 1997. This great saint guided him for several years in the intricate paths of the Torah and Chassidism. The two developed a very intimate and deep relationship. In addition, Prabhuji studied the Talmud with Rabbi Raphael Rapaport Shlit”a (Ponovich), Chassidism with Rabbi Israel Lifshitz Shlit”a, and delved into the Torah with Rabbi Daniel Sandler Shlit”a. Prabhuji is a great devotee of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu ZT “L, by whom he was personally blessed.
Prabhuji visited the USA in 2000 and during his stay in New York, he realized that it was the most appropriate country he had ever known to found a non-profit religious organization to preserve his teachings and literary work. He was particularly attracted by the pluralism and respectful attitude of American society toward freedom of religion. He was impressed by the deep respect of both the public and the government for religious minorities. After consulting with his master and requesting his blessings, in 2001 Prabhuji relocated to the United States. In 2003, the Prabhuji Mission was born, a Hindu church aimed at preserving Prabhuji’s universal and pluralistic vision of Hinduism and his “Retroprogressive Yoga.”
Although Prabhuji’s emphasis has not been on attracting followers, for 15 years (1995–2010), Prabhuji considered the requests of a few people to become monastic disciples. Those who chose to see Prabhuji as their spiritual master voluntarily accepted vows of poverty and life-long dedication to spiritual practice (sadhāna), religious devotion (bhakti), and selfless service (seva). Although Prabhuji no longer accepts new disciples, he continues to guide the small group of veteran avadhūtas of the Ramakrishnananda Monastic Order that he founded.
In 2011, Prabhuji founded the Avadhutashram (monastery) in the Catskills Mountains in upstate New York, USA. The Avadhutashram is the headquarters of the Prabhuji Mission and the hermitage of Prabhuji and his monastic disciples, the avadhūtas of the Ramakrishnananda Monastic Order. The ashram organizes humanitarian projects such as the Prabhuji Food Distribution Program and the Prabhuji Toy Distribution Program. Prabhuji operates various humanitarian projects, inspired in his experience that “to serve the part is to serve the Whole.”
In January 2012, Prabhuji’s health forced him to officially renounce public life and stop managing the mission. Since then, he has lived in solitude, completely away from the public, writing and absorbed in contemplation. He shares his experience and wisdom in books and filmed talks. His message does not promote collective spirituality, but individual inner searching.
In 2022, Prabhuji founded the “Institute of Retroprogressive Yoga” in which his most senior disciples can systematically share Prabhuji’s teachings and message through video conferences.
Prabhuji is a respected member of the American Philosophical Association, the American Association of Philosophy Teachers, the American Association of University Professors, the Southwestern Philosophical Society, the Authors Guild, the National Writers Union, PEN America, the International Writers Association, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, and the National Writers Association.
The vast literary contribution of Prabhuji, Avadhūta Bhaktivedānta Yogācārya Ramakrishnananda Bābājī Mahārāja, includes books in Spanish, English, and Hebrew, including Kundalini Yoga: The Power is in you, What is, as it is, Bhakti-Yoga: The Path of Love, Tantra: Liberation in the World, Experimenting with the Truth, Advaita Vedanta: Be the Self, commentaries on the Īśāvāsya Upanishad and the aDiamond Sūtra, and others.
To know more about Prabhuji, read his books and watch his lectures please visit his official website: