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INSPIRERS

Adi Shankaracharya

Swami Shankaracharya

Satyananda Yoga/BiharSchool of Yoga draws inspiration from Adi Shankaracharya, the codifier of the Dashnami Sannyasa Tradition, and from the three spiritual masters who make up the current Satyananda Yoga lineage: Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati, Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati and Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, and Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati. 

Adi Shankaracharya was born in the 8th Century AD. He is recognized to be the undisputed spiritual leader of India. He established the Dashnami (10) Sannyasa tradition in order to unify the various and diverse groups of sannyasins which were scattered throughout the country, bringing them all under the banner of sanaatan dharma. 

Swami Sivananda

Swami Sivananda

Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born at Pattamadai, (Tamil Nadu) in 1887. After serving as a medical doctor in Malaya, he renounced his practice to search for his Guru in the foothills of the Himalayas. He settled in the sacred valley of Rishikesh and was initiated into the Dashnami Sannyasa tradition in 1924 by Swami Vishwananda Saraswati. He wrote hundreds of books and articles on yoga and spirituality to maintain and introduce yogic values in the minds of the general public. His emphasis was on breaking down the barriers which separated the needy from the teachings that could help them, whether this took the form of yoga for health, peace of mind or spiritual aspiration. This ideology continues to guide the work of the Satyananda branch of his lineage. 

To this end Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati toured India extensively, inspiring people to practice yoga and lead a divine life. He founded the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh in 1936, the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945, the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948 and the Sivananda Eye Hospital in 1957 and attained Maha Samadhi on 14th July 1963.

As a major spiritual voice of his time, Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati guided thousands of spiritual seekers, disciples and aspirants all over the world. 

Swami Satyananda

Swami Satyananda

Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati was born in 1923 at Almora (Uttaranchal) into a family of farmers. His ancestors were warriors and many of his kith and kin down the line, including his father, served in the army and police force. However, it became evident that Sri Swamiji had a different bent of mind, as he began to have spiritual experiences at the age of six led him to many saints of that time such as Anandamayi Ma. Sri Swamiji also met a tantric bhairavi, Sukhman Giri, who gave him shaktipat and directed him to find a guru in order to stabilize his spiritual experiences.  

In 1943, at the age of 20, he renounced his home and went in search of a guru. This search ultimately led him to Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati at Rishikesh, who initiated him into the Dashnam Order of Sannyasa on 12th September 1947 on the banks of the Ganges and gave him the name of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. In those early years at Rishikesh, Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati immersed himself in guru seva. At that time the ashram was still in its infancy, life at the ashram was hard. All the sannyasins had to go out for bhiksha or alms as the ashram did not have a mess or kitchen. Of that glorious time when he lived and served his guru, Sri Swamiji says that it was a period of total communion and surrender to the guru tattwa, whereby he felt that just to hear, speak of or see Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati was yoga. But most of all through his nishkama seva he gained an enlightened understanding of the secrets of spiritual life and became an authority on yoga, tantra, Vedanta, Samkhya and kundalini yoga. Sri Swami Sivananda said of Swami Satyananda, “Few would exhibit such intense vairagya at such an early age. Swami Satyananda is full of Nachiketa vairagya.” 

Swami Niranjanananda

Swami Niranjanananda


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 establish Satyananda Yoga ashrams and centres in Europe, Australia, North and South America. 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 1995 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 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 ably combines tradition with modernity as he continues to nurture and spread his guru’s mission from his base at Munger. 

Swami Satyasangananda

Swami Satyasangananda

Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati, popularly known as Swami Satsangi, was born in 1953, in the small town of Chandernagore, West Bengal, India. Although from childhood she had a completely modern education and upbringing, she opted for the traditional life of renunciation and sannyasa after she had a series of inner awakenings at an early age, which led her to her guru, Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. She was initiated into the Dashnami tradition of sannyasa on 6 July 1982 at Ganga Darshan, Munger.  She travelled extensively and ceaselessly with Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati on his tours in India and abroad, which gave her immense exposure and contributed to her development into a scholar with deep insight into the yogic and tantric traditions as well as modern sciences and philosophies. A truly inspirational teacher and gifted writer, Swami Satsangi is the author of major texts on yoga and tantra, such as Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra: The Ascent, Karma Sannyasa, Light on the Guru and Disciple Relationship and her latest, The Descent, a commentary on Adi Guru Shankaracharya’s famous poem of divine ecstasy, Sri Saundarya Lahari. One of her most acclaimed books, Tattwa Shuddhi: The Tantric Science of Inner Purification, outlines an essential practice for inner experience which she herself developed and presented. Her ability to articulate ancient teachings from yogic, tantric and vedic texts and bring these into a modern context makes Swami Satsangi an ideal teacher to transmit the wisdom of her guru’s teachings. 

In 1989 when her guru Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati, ordained by an inner mandate he received in meditation, went to live in seclusion at a remote rural village in Jharkhand known as Rikhia, Swami Satyasangananda was the person who located the place he saw in his vision and negotiated the purchase of the land, which was to become the tapobhoomi of Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. At that time Rikhia was a poor, nondescript, unknown village in one of India’s poorest states. No roads, no electricity, no phones, no shops, no traffic, no trace of the 21st century, that was the Rikhia she entered in 1989, to prepare for the arrival of her guru. Since that time Swami Satsangi has dedicated herself to fulfilling her guru’s vision of uplifting the neglected, impoverished and downtrodden villagers in the surrounding areas of the ashram, by implementing the cardinal teachings of Paramguru Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati: Serve, Love, Give. Her tireless and unceasing efforts, which are carried out under the banner of Sivananda Math, an institution founded by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati in 1987 at Munger in memory of his guru, have transformed the entire area into a vibrant centre of spirituality where people throng in large numbers for spiritual solace. On January 1st 2007, she was appointed as the Peethadhishwari of Rikhiapeeth by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Presently she resides at Rikhia, and is dedicated to implementing Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati’s three precepts of serve, love and give, working tirelessly for the material and spiritual upliftment of the local community, who are the neighbours of her guru. She travels nationally and internationally carrying the light of Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati’s and Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s teachings to all.