Lineage & Inspiration
Salutations to Adi Guru Yogishvara Lord Shiva, the primordial Master of Yoga and the God of all Gods!
Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom, learning and speech. According to tradition, Saraswati sannyasins were assigned the duty of preserving knowledge, so that it could be utilised by future generations. As sannyasins of the Saraswati tradition, it is our responsibility to understand and absorb as many different sciences, systems and branches of knowledge that exist in the world. Truth is one, but it is called by many names. Therefore, it is important to realise the link between different philosophies and systems of thought, and express them according to the need of humanity. To say that this path is better and that one not suitable is not the purpose or tradition of the Saraswati order. Having an integrated approach towards development and achievement in life is the main purpose of the tradition.
Adi Shankaracharya was born as Shankara about 788 AD in a Brahmin family in Kaladi village of Kerala. He was born to Sivaguru and Aryamba a number of years after their marriage. It is said that Aryamba had a vision of Lord Shiva, in which He promised her that He would incarnate Himself in the form of her first-born child. The life history of Adi Shankracharya tells us that he showed great intelligence from childhood. He mastered all the Vedas and the Vedanta in gurukul itself and could recite the epics and Puranas by heart.
Swami Sivananda was born as Kuppuswamy on 8th September 1887, in Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu. The third son of his parents, Kuppuswamy displayed great intelligence early on. While completing his medical studies in Tanjore, he started a medical journal called Ambrosia. After graduating in medicine, he practised in Malaysia for ten years. He always treated the poor free of cost.As time passed, he started feeling that medicine cured a person only at a superficial level, without touching their soul. Because he realized that people are affected by problems not only at a physical level, but also at the spiritual level, his spiritual quest made him leave Malaysia in 1923 and return home. In India, Kuppuswamy visited a variety of pilgrimage destinations. He met Swami Vishwananda Saraswati in Rishikesh in 1924 and took him as his Guru. Vishwananda initiated him into sanyas (asceticism) and gave the name of Swami Sivananda. Swami Vishnudevananda, the Mahant of Sri Kailas Ashram, performed the rest of the Viraja Homa ceremonies later. In 1927, Sivananda started a charitable dispensary at Lakshmanjula, where he treated pilgrims, holy men and the poor. Swami Sivananda left the world on 14 July 1963, on the bank of the Ganges, in Shivanandanagar.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati was born in the year 1923, in Almora town of Uttar Pradesh. At the tender age of six, Satyananda started having spontaneous psychic and spiritual experiences. During such events, he used to become completely unaware of his body for quite a long time. By the time he reached fifteen years of age, Satyananda started practicing Kundalini Yoga. In another two years, he began asking complex questions like 'what is the difference between perception and experience?' At nineteen years, he decided to find a Guru who would guide him towards the highest state of consciousness. In 1943 he met Yoga Master Swami Sivananda Saraswati in Rishikesh (Uttar Pradesh) and stayed with the Guru for three years. Thereafter, he was initiated by Sivananda Saraswati into the Dashnami order, as a Poorna as well as a Paramahamsa Sanyasi. He was then given the name of 'Swami Satyananda Saraswati'. Paramahamsa Satyananda completed his initial sanyas training of twelve years in 1956. This was followed by his initiation into Kriya Yoga, again by Swami Sivananda. Thereafter, he began to practice Parivrajaka (Mendicant) stage of sanyasa. During this period, Swami Satyananda Saraswati traveled all over the Indian subcontinent where he met numerous saints and learned more about the needs of society. Swamiji also spent years in seclusion, practicing and perfecting his Yoga Sadhana. Swami Satyananda Saraswati went on his first World Tour in 1968, under the guidance of his Guru. This was followed by several international and national tours, to promote the teaching of yoga. In July 1963, after Swami Sivananda Saraswati passed away, Swami Satyananda established the headquarters of his mission in Munger (Bihar). In subsequent years, he set up the Bihar School of Yoga, International Yoga Fellowship Movement, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation.
In 1973, Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati was recognized as an Adept (God realized Yogi). The International Yoga Convention was held to commemorate the Sanyasa Golden Jubilee renunciation of Swami Sivananda. It was here that renowned saints and sages of India accepted him as one of the principal experts in the filed of esoteric knowledge as well as the leading proponent of Yoga. In the years that he devoted to Yoga teaching, Swami Satyananda Saraswati mastered over eighty Yoga texts. He renounced teaching, in 1988, to take up the lifestyle of a Paramahamsa. After settling in the small village of Rikhia, he led a life of meditative seclusion and was involved in the practice of the severest of the Vedic Sadhanas, such as the Panch Agni Sadhana. He entered into Mahasamadhi on midnight the 5th of December, 2009.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati was born on 14th February, 1960. He was named the successor of Paramahamsa Satyananda, founder of Satyananda Yoga, in 1988 when the Swami retired to Rikhia. Born in Rajnandgaon, Madhya Pradesh, Swami Niranjanananda is considered by his followers to be a yogi from birth. He began his training at Bihar School of Yoga in India at the age of four. In 1971, at the age of ten, he toured extensively in Europe, America and Australia. This experience gave him a deep understanding of the Western mind and society. In 1983 he returned to India and was appointed the Head of Bihar School of Yoga. For the next eleven years, he spearheaded the research and development activities at Ganga Darshan, Shivananda Math and Yoga Research Foundation. In 1990, he was initiated in tradition of Paramahamsa and in 1993 he was chosen as the successor of Paramahamsa Satyananda. In 1993, he organised a World Yoga Convention on the occasion of the golden jubilee of Sannyasa of his guru. In 1994, he established Bihar Yoga Bharati as the centre for higher studies in the field of Yoga. Swami Niranjanananda is a modern master of yoga, whose understanding spans both the scientific Western culture and the mystical wisdom of the East. Swami Niranjananada has authored many classic books on yoga, tantra and the upanishads. He is a profound source of knowledge and wisdom on all aspects of yogic philosophy, practice and lifestyle. He has travelled far and wide to spread the message of his guru and to guide seekers throughout the world through 2009. He now has started a new phase of sannyasa life as per the command of his guru.