SWAMI NIRANJANANANDA SARASWATI

“Perfection and success in yoga is seen in how one manages life with greater understanding, better awareness, through thoughtful and pure concepts and creative action.” - Swami Niranjan

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati was born in Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh) in 1960. Guided by his guru, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, from birth, at the age of four he came to live with him 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, and thereafter for eleven years he lived overseas, mastering skills in varied areas, acquiring an understanding of different cultures and helping propagate yoga in Europe, Australia, North and South America.

At the behest of his guru, he returned to India in 1983 to guide the activities of Bihar School of Yoga, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation at Ganga Darshan. In 1990 he was initiated as a paramahamsa sannyasin and in 1993 anointed 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 inspiring the activities at Munger, he travelled extensively to guide seekers around the world.

In 2008 he relinquished the presidency of the Bihar School of Yoga and all institutional responsibilities were handed to the next generation of yoga sevaks. Before his Mahasamadhi in 2009, Sri Swami Satyananda gave Swami Niranjanananda the mandate to explore the sannyasa lifestyle and to revive and expound the classical yoga vidya. 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 ably combines tradition with modernity as he continues to nurture and spread his guru’s mission from his base in Munger town.

In 2017, he was awarded the third highest civilian award of India, the Padma Bhushan, by the President of the Republic of India for meritorious work in yoga. Contribution to Yoga Practices.

Taking up where his guru Sri Swami Satyananda left off, Swami Niranjan has made an immense contribution to the practices of yoga. A rare combination of inherent practical wisdom, insight and incisive genius, the depth of Swami Niranjan’s contribution to the understanding of yoga, in particular dharana and jnana, is unfathomable.

He has given an unparalleled exposition of dharana, the stage of meditation following pratyahara and the sixth stage in the eightfold path of Sage Patanjali. Combining scriptural and personal experiential research, Swami Niranjan expounded upon a collection of dharana practices from ancient yogic, tantric and upanishadic texts. Published in 1993 his book Dharana Darshan systematized these practices and made them accessible for the first time. The practices are given in stages for safe, stable and sequential progression, with fully detailed explanations. All the obstacles, possible pitfalls, and ‘tricks of the trade’ are generously outlined with the infallible wisdom of experience.

Swami Niranjan elucidated the weighty subject of jnana yoga, making it palatable and accessible. He deftly rendered the high philosophy of Vedanta and the complex techniques of jnana into simple practices that can be applied by everyone. These practices bring more understanding and awareness into daily life, giving rise to a profound and powerful transformation.

Through scriptural research Swami Niranjan has revealed the previously unknown practice of yoga derived from vedic thought and tradition, laya yoga. A highly advanced practice, laya deals with the dissolution of the manifest nature and experience into the unmanifest and is seldom taught.

In the text Yoga Darshan Swami Niranjan has given a contemporary yogic vision of the Upanishads, presenting a picture that is both panoramic and precise. The different traditions and philosophies of yoga are identified and explained, along with clear expositions on the various branches and practices of yoga.

Yoga Capsule
Seeing the fast pace of modern life with its overwhelming demands on time, Swami Niranjan introduced a specific sequence of sadhana called the “yogic capsule”. This sadhana consists of practices that are simple to perform and take only 10-20 minutes to complete, and which give benefits on all levels of being for health, wellbeing and upliftment. Deftly combining insight, wisdom and compassion, Swami Niranjan pioneered an approach by which everyone can incorporate yoga easily and effectively into their daily lives and experience the benefits.