Muktananda
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Muktananda was born in 1908 near Mangalore in Karnataka State, India into a wealthy family. His birth name was Krishna. At 15 he encountered Bhagavan Nityananda, a wandering avadhoot who profoundly changed his life. He studied under Siddharudha Swami at Hubli, where he learned Sanskrit, Vedanta and all branches of yoga, and took the initiation of sannyasa, becoming Swami Muktananda. He then began wandering India on foot.


In 1947 Muktananda went to Ganeshpuri to receive the darshan of Bhagavan Nityananda. He received shaktipat initiation from him in the early morning of August 15 of that year. Swami Muktananda often said that his spiritual journey didn't truly begin until he received shaktipat from the holy man Bhagavan Nityananda. According to his description, it was a profound and sublime experience.

 


August 15, 1947 Nityananda stood facing me directly. He looked into my eyes again. Watching carefully, I saw a ray of light entering me from his pupils. It felt hot like burning fever. Its light was dazzling, like that of a high-powered bulb. As that ray emanating from Bhagavan Nityananda's pupils penetrated mine, I was thrilled with amazement, joy, and fear. I was beholding its color and chanting Guru Om. It was a full unbroken beam of divine radiance. Its color kept changing from molten gold to saffron to a shade deeper than the blue of a shining star. I stood utterly transfixed. He sat down and said in his aphoristic fashion, "All mantras... one. Each... from Om. Om Namah Shivaya Om... should think, Shivo'ham, I am Shiva... Shiva-Shiva...Shivo'ham...should be internal repetition. Internal...superior to external".


Muktananda spent the next eight years living and meditating in a little hut in Yeola. He wrote about his sadhana and kundalini-related meditation experiences, in his autobiography published in 1978. In 1956, Nityananda gave Muktananda a small piece of land at Gavdevi, near Ganeshpuri, on which Muktananda developed an ashram.


In the 1970s, on behalf of his guru Bhagavan Nityananda, Muktananda brought the tradition of Siddha Yoga to the West, giving shaktipat initiation to thousands of spiritual seekers.
Muktananda established Gurudev Siddha Peeth as a public trust in India to administer the work there, and founded the SYDA Foundation in the United States to administer the global work of Siddha Yoga meditation. He wrote many books; sixteen are still kept in print by the SYDA Foundation.

In May 1982, Muktananda appointed two successors as joint leaders of the movement, Swami Chidvilasananda, his former translator, and her brother Mahamandaleshwar Nityananda, who later resigned and formed his own group. Muktananda died in October 1982 and is buried at Ganeshpuri, where the Gurudev Siddha Peeth ashram houses his samādhi shrine.

 



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