The Power of Spirit through the Practice of Yoga
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Nityananda Institute is named for the great Indian saint, Bhagavan Nityananda. Nityananda, whose name means "bliss of the eternal," lived in southwest India from around the turn of the 20th century until 1961. Details of his early life are difficult to verify, but from the 1920s until his passing, he was surrounded by an ever-increasing number of disciples and devotees. By the late 1930s he was established in Ganeshpuri in the countryside near Bombay and an active ashram developed around him.
Nityananda would come into a small room in this ashram which was lit by a few bare electric light bulbs, and sit there quietly with his eyes open. People would come from all distances to see him because, in India, the mere viewing of a spiritual teacher, called darshan, is considered a profound and important blessing. Nityananda would sit in this space with his eyes open, simply establishing a connection with each visitor according to his or her capacity to experience and sustain that contact.
Nityananda was well known in the districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, where he is revered to this day as a great saint. In its essence, Nityananda's teaching is profoundly simple. Like the ancient sages of many traditions, he said that anyone who merges the individual into the universal is an enlightened person. To realize the universal nature of one's own individual consciousness is the goal of sadhana (spiritual practice). However, it is hard to describe Nityananda's greatness to most Westerners since his most profound achievements were internal. He never explicitly identified himself with a particular spiritual practice or tradition. In fact, he rarely spoke at all. The thousands of people who came to see him did so because in him they experienced the miracle of pure consciousness in human form. Such a holy person is called an avadhut. Timeless and eternal, the avadhut is a direct link to the absolute, encompassing all teachers who precede him and all who follow.
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