- See Vishnu.Narayanananda, Swami (1902–1968) pioneer Hindu teacher in ScandinaviaSwami Narayanananda established VEDANTA cen-ters throughout Europe and North America.He was born in Coorg, a village in the state of Karnataka, in southern India. A bright boy, from an early age he showed a marked tendency to spiritual matters. He never married and at the age of 27 took the vows of the renounced life (san-nyas) and began searching for a GURU. His pilgrim-age around India eventually took him to the Belur Math of the VEDANTA/RAMAKRISHNA MAT H AND MISSION, where he met Swami Shivananda, who became his teacher. Several years later, he was instructed by his guru to spend time alone in the Himalayas to strengthen his spiritual practice. In February 1933 he had a deep spiritual experience, which he described as merging into the formless aspect of God, that is, nirvikalpa samadhi.He remained in seclusion until the partition of India in 1947. The violence of the period con-vinced him to dedicate his life to helping people; he left his retreat and began to accept disciples. In 1955, as a step toward building a more formal fol-lowing, his devotees established a printing press and began to publish Narayananda’s writings. It would be another 12 years, however, before the swami would consent to incorporating an organi-zation, the Narayanananda Universal Yoga Trust. The first ASHRAM was opened in Denmark in 1967. The first ashram in the United States was opened in Chicago in the early 1970s.Initially, the leaders of the rapidly expanding movement were all monks who had trained with Narayanananda in India, but in the course of the 1970s a number of Westerners took vows of san-nyas and took on leadership roles. As in India, the monks live a life of celibacy and follow a spiritual discipline that includes twice-daily MEDITATION sessions with the community and the practice of HATHA YOGA.Narayanananda died in 1988. His movement continues from its international headquarters in Gylling, Denmark, and the ashram in Chicago. K 306 NarayanaThe various centers offer a range of instruction in hatha yoga and the teachings of Narayanananda.Further reading: Swami Narayanananda, The Ideal Life and Moksha (Freedom) (Gylling, Denmark: N. U. Yoga Trust & Ashrama, 1979); ———, The Mysteries of Man, Mind, and Mind-Functions: A Masterly Treatise on Psychology (Rishikesh: Narayanananda Universal Yoga Trust, 1965); ———, A Personal Guide to Sama-dhi (Rishikesh: Narayanananda Universal Yoga Trust, 1966); ———, The Primal Power in Man: Or, the Kundalini Shakti (Rishikesh: Narayanananda Univer-sal Yoga Trust, 1970); ———, The Secrets of Prana, Pranayama and Yoga-Asanas (Gylling, Denmark: N. U. Yoga Trust & Ashrama, 1979).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.