About Bhagavan Nityananda
Bhagavan Nityananda was born in South India. Little is known about his childhood and upbringing. His mother was a serving woman who worked for the lawyer, Ishwar Iyer. The latter became very attached to the young Nityananda (then called Ramana) and raised him with love.
Ramana left home at an early age to search for God-realisation. After some years he returned to his village. Now his yogic attainment was palpable. There are many miracle stories from these years, many reported healings and displays of occult powers. He gained a reputation in South India as an adept yogi and holy man.
After extensive wandering, Nityananda came to the Western state of Maharashtra. The area where he stayed was a sacred place, but a wilderness. He eventually settled near some hot springs and an ancient Shiva temple about 50 miles from Mumbai. The town of Ganeshpuri sprang up around him as the focal point. Over time his reputation as a great seer with the ability to awaken the Consciousness of seekers spread.
Today, he is recognised as a true avadhuta, an exalted being reminiscent of the great Vedic seers. He and two other great modern yogis, Akkalkot Swami (Swami Samartha) and Sai Baba of Shirdi, are often mentioned as three of the most extraordinary and mysterious Siddhas (perfected masters) of recent years.
There is no real biography of Bhagavan Nityananda. Instead, his life history is like Puranic myth. He seems more in touch with the impersonal than with personhood. Nonetheless, there is no denying the immense impact he has had on thousands of people.
Bhagavan Nityananda gave no formal talks and no systematic teaching. His method of instruction was purely energetic: he radiated Shakti (spiritual energy), thereby awakening devotees. Fortunately, a devotee named Tulsi Amma recorded some of his incidental remarks and teachings in the 1920s. This has come down to us as The Chidakash Gita, ‘The Song of Consciousness’.
The Chidakash Gita is more or less the only direct teaching we have from Bhagavan Nityananda. It is a unique expression of a consciousness poised far beyond the ordinary and provides a satisfying answer to the question, ‘What would Bhagavan Nityananda’s teachings sound like?’ Although the language of The Chidakash Gita is enigmatic and unusual, it clearly emphasises spiritual practice and discipline with a view to realisation of the Self. Bhagavan Nityananda makes use of everyday images, especially from cooking and travel, to give an uncanny picture of the state of a Siddha.
See: The Chidakash Gita
Bhagavan Nityananda's murti
Although Bhagavan Nityananda did not give formal programs, his physical presence was powerful. So too are his photographic images. The late Mumbai photographer, M.D. Suvarna, took thousands of photographs of Bhagavan. Later, some of the more majestic poses were translated into statues, which grace ashrams and temples around the world. A powerful murti (enlivened statue) was installed above Bhagavan's grave in his samadhi shrine in Ganeshpuri in 1971. Another remarkable one is in the ashram of Swami Muktananda one kilometre away. There are many others and the number continues to increase.