Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Born at Pattamadai, (Tamil Nadu) in 1887, after serving as a medical doctor in Malaya, he renounced his practice in search for his Guru. He was initiated into the Dashnami Sannyasa tradition in 1924 by Swami Vishwananda Saraswati and eventually, he settled in the Himalayan valley of Rishikesh.
He was a yogi of great foresight and fortitude. He wrote prolifically on yoga and spirituality with the emphasis on breaking down the barriers which separated the needy from the teachings that could help them. This ideology continues to guide the work of the Satyananda Branch of his lineage.
He founded the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh, the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy, the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy and the Sivananda Eye Hospital.
As a major spiritual voice of his time, Swami Sivananda has been the inspiration to thousands of spiritual seekers, disciples and aspirants from across the world. He attained Maha Samadhi on 14th July, 1963.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Born in the Himalayan town of Almora in 1923, from an early age he had spiritual experiences, which led him to eventually meet his Guru Swami Sivananda Saraswati in 1943 in Rishikesh. There he adopted the Dashnami Sanyas way of life. For 12 years he lived in his Guru’s ashram as a dedicated Karma Yogi working on the principle of “work and be purified”.
In 1955 he left Rishikesh to live as a wandering mendicant to understand the needs of modern society. This laid the foundation of the International Yoga Fellowship in 1956 and the Bihar School of Yoga in 1964. He traveled worldwide to spread the message of Yoga from “door to door and shore to shore” to fulfil the mission given to him by his Guru.
Swami Satyananda authored many highly acclaimed books on yoga and spiritual life. He was the spiritual guide to thousands of aspirants and the inspiration behind many Yoga Centers in India and abroad.
In 1988 he renounced everything to live as a Paramahamsa Sannyasin performing higher spiritual sadhanas. This culminated in the foundation of Rikhiapeeth to help his neighbours, who were the poor, needy and underprivileged in the villages around Deoghar (Jharkand). He attained Maha Samadhi on 5th Dec 2009.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
Born in Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh) in 1960, since birth, he has been guided by his guru, Swami Satyananda Saraswati. At the age of four he came to live with his guru at the ashram at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger where he received training in yogic and spiritual sciences through Yoga Nidra.
In 1971 he was initiated into Dashnami Sannyasa. Thereafter, he lived overseas for eleven years mastering skills in varied areas, acquiring an understanding of different cultures and establishing Satyananda Yoga Ashrams and Centers in Europe, Australia, North and South America.
In 1983 he returned to India at the behest of his guru to guide the activities of Bihar School of Yoga, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation at Ganga Darshan Ashram in Munger. In 1990 he was initiated as a Paramahamsa Sannyasin and in 1995 anointed the spiritual preceptor in succession to Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
He established Bihar Yoga Bharati, the first university of Yoga in 1994, and the Yoga Publications Trust in 2000 in Munger. He also initiated a children’s yoga movement, Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal, in 1995. In addition to steering the activities at Munger, he travelled extensively to guide seekers around the world till 2009, when he received the command to embark on a new phase of sannyasa life.
Author of many classic books on Yoga, Tantra and the Upanishads, Swami Niranjan is a magnetic source of wisdom on all aspects of yogic philosophy, practice and lifestyle. He combines tradition with modernity as he continues to nurture and spread his guru’s mission from his base at Munger.
Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati
Born in 1953, in Chandornagore, West Bengal. She had a completely modern education and upbringing. A series of inner awakenings led her to her guru, Swami Satyananda, and to a life of sannyas.
From then on, she traveled ceaselessly with her guru in India and overseas and developed into a scholar with deep insights into the Yogic and Tantric traditions, as well as modern sciences and philosophies. She has authored several major texts.
In 1989, her guru Swami Satyananda was ordained by an inner mandate he received in meditation to live in seclusion at a remote rural village in Jharkhand known as Rikhia. Swami Satyasangananda located the place he saw in his vision. This became the tapobhoomi of Swami Satyananda. At that time Rikhia was a poor, nondescript, unknown village in one of India’s poorest states. The village that Swami Satyasangananda entered in 1989 to prepare for the arrival of her guru had no roads, no electricity, no phones, no shops, no traffic and no trace of the 21st century.
Since that time Swami Satyasangananda has dedicated herself to fulfilling her guru’s vision of uplifting the neglected, impoverished and downtrodden villagers in the areas surrounding the ashram, by implementing the cardinal teachings of Paramguru Swami Sivananda: “Serve, Love, Give”.
In her current role of Peethadeeshwari of Rikhia Ashram she manages a modern day Gurukul that aims to disseminate ancient spiritual knowledge of the Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas. The ashram offers householders an opportunity to experience ashram life and the joys of living in the spirit of renunciation, selfless service and samarpan.