David, Ben Yosef, Har-Zion, who writes under the pen name Prabhuji, is a writer, a painter, and avadhūta mystic. In 2011, he chose to retire from society and lead the life of a hermit. He spends his days in solitude, praying, studying, writing, painting, and meditating in silence and contemplation.
Prabhuji, H.H. Avadhūta Bhaktivedānta Yogācārya Ramakrishnananda Bābājī Mahārāja, was inspired in his evolutionary process by four holy masters: H.D.G. Bhaktikavi Atulānanda Ācārya Swami Mahārāja, disciple of H.D.G. A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, H.D.G. Avadhūta Śrī Brahmānanda Bābājī Mahārāja, disciple of H.D.G. Avadhūta Śrī Mastarāma Bābājī Mahārāja, his father, Hacham Yosef Har-Zion ZT”L, and Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz ZT”L, disciple of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
He 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 sparked his search for the Truth, or the Ultimate Reality. For more than fifty years, he has dedicated himself to explore and practice various religions, philosophies, and spiritual paths. He has devoted his life to deepening the early transformative experience that marked the beginning of his process of involution. For Prabhuji, awakening at the level of consciousness, or the transcendence of the egoic phenomenon, is the next step in humanity’s evolution. He considers that the essence of every religion is self-knowledge. His syncretic vision speaks of the recognition of consciousness. Prabhuji does not proselytize. He considers any effort to convince others to be an attempt to control through manipulation.
Prabhuji is a recognized authority on Eastern wisdom. He is known for his erudition in the Vaidika and Tāntrika aspects of Hinduism and in 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 philosophy with Jonathan Ramos, who is a philosopher, historian, researcher, professor at the Catholic University of Salta, and author of four books: Philosophical Revelations, Antiquity in Poems, History and Concept of Authority in Christianity, and Foundations of the Christian Religion.
Prabhuji also studied philosophy with Dr. Alejandro Cavallazzi Sánchez, who holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the Universidad Panamericana, a master’s degree in philosophy from the Universidad Iberoamericana, and a doctorate in philosophy from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He was a professor and researcher at the Universidad del Valle, Colombia, and is the co-author of Philosophy in the 20th Century: A Bibliographic Map.
Prabhuji especially delved in 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.
Certainly, his first spiritual master and guide was his own father, Hacham Yosef Har-Zion ZT”L, Jewish mystic, philosopher, and great Taoist researcher, who from an early age supported him in his quest. As the son of a senior police sergeant, his father grew up with strict discipline. In response to the way he was raised, he decided to give his children 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 used to engage in conversations about spirituality and religion for days on end until late at 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 love of his father, who wanted to give his son what he never had.
On his own initiative, Prabhuji began to study Eastern philosophy and religions at an early age, and to practice karate. While other children his age were watching TV or reading magazines, Prabhuji entertained himself by reading The Tao Te Ching, Upanishads, The Discourses of the Buddha, or The Dhammapada. During his adolescence, no one interfered with his decisions. He traveled all over Chile in search of interesting people to learn from.
It was in 1976 that he met H.D.G. Bhaktikavi Atulānanda Ācārya Swami. Gurudeva Atulānanda taught him the path of Kṛṣṇa devotion, or bhakti yoga. Years later, he was officially accepted as his disciple. He received the first initiation and the brāhmaṇa initiation. Finally, he was initiated into the sacred renounced order called sannyāsa within the line of disciplic succession Brahmā Gauḍīya Saṁpradāya.
In 1996, in Rishikesh, India, he met H.D.G. Avadhūta Śrī Brahmānanda Bābājī Mahārāja with whom he did deep studies of Advaita Vedanta and meditation. Guru Mahārāja formally initiated him as a disciple and guided him in the first steps on the sacred path of avadhūta.
His many teachers include significant spiritual and religious people of the stature of 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.
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 prominent disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda: H.H. Atulānanda Ācārya 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. The wisdom of tantra was awakened in Prabhuji by H.G. Mātājī Rīnā Śarmā in India.
Several authorities of prestigious religious and spiritual institutions from India have honored Prabhuji with titles and diplomas. He was given the title Kṛṣṇa Bhakta by H.H. Swami Viṣṇu Devānanda, 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. On March 21, 2021, 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. This title was given to him by the honorable Jiva Institute in Vrindavan, India.
The sannyāsa initiation was given to him by H.H. Swami Jyotirmayānanda Sarasvatī, the founder of the Yoga Research Foundation, H.H. Kīrtanānanda Swami, H.H. B.A. Paramadvaiti Mahārāja, and H.H. Bhaktivedānta Atulānanda Ācārya. Finally, in 2011, he renounced the sannyāsa in order to be initiated into the highly elevated order avadhūta bābājī directly by his Guru Mahārāja, His Holiness Śrī Brahmānanda Bābājī Mahārāja, thus becoming part of 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 finished 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.
Bhāvātīta-caitanyam Yoga is the result of efforts to improve his own practice and teaching. It is a system based solely 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. Bhāvātīta-caitanyam 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 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 Hacham 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.
From his earliest childhood, 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 knowledge of philately and his extensive wisdom in theology and oriental philosophy, he created Meditative Philately or Philatelic Yoga.
For many years he lived in Israel, where he deepened his studies in Hebrew and Judaism. One of his main masters and sources of inspiration was Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz ZT”L, whom he met in 1997. The 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.
The Prabhuji Mission was founded in 2003 with the aim of preserving his vision and literary work. For fifteen years (1995–2010), Prabhuji accepted a few monastic disciples who expressly requested to be initiated. In 2010, he stopped accepting monastic disciples, followers, devotees, or visitors. Currently, he only guides a small number of serious disciples who have decided to stay with their master.
In 2011, the Prabhuji Ashram (monastery) was founded in the Catskills Mountains in Upstate New York, USA. The Prabhuji Ashram is the headquarters of the Prabhuji Mission and the hermitage of Prabhuji and his monastic disciples. 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 and inner searching.
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.
Prabhuji’s vast literary contribution 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, Īśāvāsya Upanishad, The diamond sūtra commented by Prabhuji, and others.