Swami Sivananda was a towering spiritual force in the yogic renaissance which developed in India in the first half of the 20th century. After serving as a doctor in Malaya, he returned to India to pursue his spiritual aspirations, and in 1924 was initiated into Dashnami Sannyasa in Rishikesh. He founded the Divine Life Society, toured India extensively, wrote hundreds of books and inspired thousands around the world to practice Yoga and lead a divine life. Swami Sivananda’s eightfold path of Yoga- Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Do good, Be good, Meditate, Realize- expresses his philosophy of service to humanity and continues to guide the work of the Bihar School of Yoga.
Swami Satyananda was initiated into Dashnami Sannayasa by his Guru Swami Sivananda, in 1947. After serving his Guru’s mission in Rishikesh for twelve years, he founded the International Yoga Fellowship in 1956 and the Bihar School of Yoga in 1963. From that base he took the teachings to the rest of the world, fulfilling the mandate of his Guru to ‘spread Yoga from door to door and shore to shore.’
Through his genius and compassion, many ancient complex and esoteric practices were systematized, simplified and made available to people of all ages, cultures and creeds. Swami Satyananda’s blend of charisma and pragmatism attracted multitudes of devotees wherever he went, giving rise to a global movement and creating a far-reaching network of ashrams, yoga centres and teacher. Meanwhile, the headquarters in Bihar continued to expand its many program, including the publishing division, producing numerous books that both preserve and disseminate the incredibly rich seam of practical wisdom which flows through this lineage.
A yogi from earliest childhood, Swami Niranjananda Saraswati joined the Bihar School of Yoga in 1964 and was initiated into Dashnami Sannyasa in 1971. At the age of eleven he was sent to live abroad by his Guru Swami Satyananda, giving him direct experience and understanding of people from a vast array of cultures and walks of life. Those years instilled in him a rare, cross-culture insight into human nature, enabling him to communicate and interact with the international community with familiarity, ease and humour.
Combined with his depth of spiritual and yogic knowledge, this background equipped Swami Niranjananda to guide the Bihar School of Yoga and the international yoga movement from 1983 until 2008, when he began handling over the administration to the next generation. During this time he also authored many classic books on Yoga, Tantra and the Upanishads and founded Bihar Yoga Bharati, the world-first yoga university, while continuing extensive national and international touring.
Following retirement from his role at the Bihar School of Yoga, Swami Niranjananda established Sannayasa Peeth for the development and training of Sannyasins, and for his own pursuit of the higher sadhanas os Sannyasa.
As the spiritual successor to Swami Satyananda, Swami Niranjananda continues to inspire aspirants around the world.