Bhagawan Nityananda

Sarva-pūjyam sadā pūrnam
Sva-prakāsam cid-ānandam
Nityānandam namāmyaham.

An object of worship for all, forever perfect, an embodiment of bliss, indivisible, shining by his own light, reveling in blissful consciousness – to that Nityananda I bow.

Introduction to Bhagawan Nityananda

There is so much that can be written about Bhagawan that I’ll limit myself to a few basic comments. To begin, Bhagawan was not an ordinary human being. What distinguishes him from other yogins, saints, and gurus is that he belonged to a very rare class of beings that are born enlightened (let’s define enlightenment as being fully aware, at all times, of one’s true nature as pure consciousness). Like a flame that does not flicker, Bhagawan was ever aware that he was pure awareness and that all of creation is in fact nothing but consciousness. Such beings are exceedingly rare and cannot be compared to yogins who have attained some measure of inner awareness through spiritual practice. In Bhagawan’s case, there was no spiritual effort connected to his inner state, which is why it was unwavering. These perfected beings are the only gurus whom we can truly count on as being enlightened to a degree where they cannot fall from their state. They descend to this world to assist others in their spiritual path and have no other motive for taking a body.

Bhagawan was found as a newborn lying in a jungle in Quilandy, Kerala, wrapped in a white cloth. He was picked up by an elderly woman who later gave him to another woman in her village named Unniamma. He was named Rama and after Unniamma died, Rama was placed under the care of Ishwar Iyer, a very pious and religious lawyer who lived near Quilandy. It was apparent early on to Ishwar that he was not raising an ordinary boy. Ishwar took Rama on holy pilgrimages across India, and when they were in Varanasi, Rama, at the age of 10, announced that they would be parting ways so that he could spend time in the Himalayas and wander the country.

Young-Nityananda-GarlandApproximately six years later, when Ishwar was on his deathbed, Rama returned to Quilandy. Ishwar (who had long recognized Rama as a divine soul) asked him to grant him a vision of his chosen deity, the sun god. Rama granted the vision and Ishwar, in a state of ecstasy, exclaimed: “You have brought ananda (bliss) to me. You are Nityananda (Eternal Bliss)! May you be Nityananda to all!” That is how Rama became know as Nityananda.

From then on Bhagawan traveled widely all over India, wandering around and living a mendicant’s life. He manifested many strange and miraculous behaviours, spoke little, and eased the suffering of those who came into contact with him, which resulted in him gaining a significant following of devotees. Eventually he settled in Kanhangad, in northern Kerala, where he built a small ashram. He continued wandering around India and settled in the tiny village of Ganeshpuri, a few hours north of Mumbai. There another ashram was built, and he remained in Ganeshpuri until his passing on August 8, 1961. Today in Ganeshpuri stands a beautiful temple which houses Bhagawan’s burial shrine, a beacon of light and grace visited by thousands of pilgrims a year.

Bhagawan-side-view200pxBhagawan was a very austere saint who led an utterly quiet existence, devoid of any need  for creature comforts (he slept by the road, in jungles, caves, or on slabs of concrete), wore nothing but a loincloth, and spoke little. It’s important to know that Bhagawan never engaged in any external acts of “mission building.” Those who followed him recognized him by his massive spiritual power, detected simply by entering into his presence or by coming across his photograph. Although he did direct the building of the meditation caves and ashram in Kanhangad, he promptly left after their construction to continue his solitary wanderings around india. In Ganeshpuri, which was little more than a jungle outpost when he arrived, a town sprung up around him in the most spontaneous fashion. Throughout his life he did not give lectures or teach high philosophy. He transmitted yoga by his mere presence in the way that only a soul who was already born perfect can do. As the saying goes, though he appeared to know nothing, he knew everything. When he did speak, usually in cryptic form, his abstruse statements revealed many secrets. Some of these were compiled by a devotee named Tulsi Amma and published as “The Chidakash Gita.”

In 2012 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Bhagawan’s merging back into the infinite and we offer our eternal gratitude for his presence on earth. Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha!

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