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The Power of Spirit through the Practice of Yoga

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The Rudranandra Ashram of Nityananda Institute is named for Swami Rudrananda. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Rudi had been actively pursuing his spiritual development for many years. In India at age 30, he was at a crossroads in his life when an associate took him to meet Nityananda at his ashram in Ganeshpuri. Rudi wrote, "My first meeting, in India in 1958, with the great Indian saint Bhagavan Nityananda, was of such depth that it changed the course of my life."

Rudi continued to study with Nityananda and after Nityananda's mahasamadhi in 1961, traveled regularly to Ganeshpuri to visit his shrine and to study with Swami Muktananda. In 1966, Swami Muktananda initiated Rudi as a Swami into the Saraswati order, naming him Rudrananda, or "bliss of Rudra," a fiery and early aspect of the Hindu god Shiva. One of the first Americans to be recognized as a Swami, Rudi came back to the United States and established many ashrams across North America and Europe.

Rudi was instrumental in exposing many Americans to the spirituality and rich cultures of the East. He had a deep respect and appreciation for these different spiritual and cultural traditions and saw a need for them to be presented in a way the West could comprehend. Though recognized as a Swami in India after many years of study, he was not as concerned with the form of Eastern tradition as he was with the content. Rudi saw the art and culture of Eastern spirituality as the symbol of something profound and universal, a truth that cut across all cultural boundaries. To that end, Rudi's teaching was direct and to the point, transmitting his profound understanding with a style that was uniquely his own.

The foundation of Rudi's teachings was based on a deep personal wish to grow spiritually. Rudi talked about this wish to his students constantly. He described how a sincere wish to grow would lead to a deep and intense feeling which, as it matured in an individual, would evolve quite naturally into a deep love of God and of life.

According to his teachings, a shift will happen as this wish to grow would be further transformed into a deep state of surrender. To grow spiritually, Rudi taught that we must live and work in the world from a deep internal state of surrender without any exceptions.

Rudi passed away in 1973. Before he died, he designated Swami Chetanananda as his successor. Swami Chetanananda established Nityananda Institute and the Rudrananda Ashram to carry on Rudi's work.


Talks by Rudi

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