Swami Nigamananda
स्वामी निगमानंद

(Paramahansa Shrimad Swami Nigamananda Saraswati Deva)
Born 18 August 1880(1880-08-18)
Kutabpur, Nadia district (Now in Bangladesh)
Died 29 November 1935(1935-11-29) (aged 55)
Birth name Nalinikanta Bhattacharya
Titles/honours Paramahansa, Sadguru
Guru Bamakhepa, Sachidananda Saraswati, Sumeru Das Ji, Gouri Devi
Philosophy Tantra, Jnana (Vedanta), Yoga, Prema or Bhakti
Quotation My dear children! Life in the household is beset with many trials and tribulations. In spite of all these turmoils it has one advantage to provide - it can bring opportunities for realization of God and self.

Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa (18 August 1880[1]— 29 November 1935[2]) (Bengali: স্বামী নিগমানন্দ পরমহংস, Oriya: ସ୍ବାମୀ ନିଗମାନଂଦ ପରମହଂସ, Hindi: स्वामी निगमानंद परमहंस , was born into a Brahmin family, in the hamlet of Kutabpur in Nadia district (at present Meherpur district in Bangladesh). His followers idealized him as their worshiped and beloved thakura(ठाकुर).

Nigamananda was a sannyasi of the Shankar's cult. After his ordination as a sannyasi, he came to be known as Paribrajakacharya Paramahansa Srimat Swami Nigamananda Saraswati Deva(परिब्राजकाचार्य परमहंस श्रीमद स्वामी निगमानंद सरस्वती देव).[3]

Nigamananda also was a sadguru[4][5] and a sadhu from India.[6] He was a yogi and a hindu spiritual leader, well known in Eastern India.[7] He was also an Indian hindu guru,[8] a hindu philosopher, associated with the shakti cult,[9] and was viewed as a perfect spiritual master for tantra, gyan, yoga and prema or bhakti [10][11][12]

In 1930 Indian spiritual writer, social reformer Durga Charan Mohanty met Swami Nigamananda at Nilachala Kutir Puri and recognized him as sadguru for the first time in Orissa. [13] He wrote a lot of books for Nilachala Saraswata Sangha Puri, founded by Swami Nigamananda in 1934, and translated Swamiji's writings from Bengali to Oriya language. Under Mohanty's encouragement, more than hundred Nigamananda ashrams have been opened at difference places of Orissa, which are running now. He continued to spread the message of Swami Nigamananda till his worldly departure on 7 Dec 1985 at Biratunga.

Swami Nigamananda's followers believe that he achieved siddhi (perfection) in four different sadhanas (spiritual disciplines): tantra, gyan, yoga and prema.[1][14] Based on these experiences, he wrote five books in the Bengali language: Brahamcharya Sadhana (ब्रह्मचर्य साधन), Yogi Guru (योगिगुरु), Gyani Guru (ज्ञानीगुरु), Tantrika Guru (तांत्रिकगुरु), and Premika Guru (प्रेमिकगुरु).[15][16][17][18](These books are now widely available in Oriya, written by Durga Charan Mohanty).

Nigamananda reportedly experienced the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.[19]



Childhood, studies and service life (1880 — 1901)

कुतबपुर-Kutabpur(Gurudham), the birth place of Swami Nigamananda in dist.Nadia

At his birth, Nigamananda was named Nalinikanta[20] (নলিনীকান্ত, ନଳିନୀକାଂତ, नलिनीकांत - meaning in Hindi: Lotus or Water), per the wishes of his father, Bhuban Mohan Bhattacharya,[21] and the advice of his father's guru, Swami Bhaskarananda Saraswati. At the age of thirteen (1893) he lost his mother "Manikya Sundari Devi", who died of cholera, causing him to fall into depression.[22][23] In 1894-95 he passed the student scholarship examination and studied at Meherpur High School. In 1895 he took admission at Dhaka Asanulla Engineering College for studying survey. In 1897 his father married him to a thirteen year old girl named "Sudhansubala Devi" of Halisahar. He completed his study in 1899 and joined a service in the District Board of Dinajpur, the estate of Rani Rashmoni to earn his sustenance.[24] As noted, at the end of Vadra, 1901 (approximately five years after marriage) when he was serving as the supervisor of the Narayanpur Estate (Zamindari),[1][22][25] in one night suddenly Nalinikanta saw the shadowy image of "Sudhansubala Devi"(his wife) standing at the table glowering and silent while she was supposed to be away at Kutabpur(Nalinikanta's village) at that time. He went to Kutabpur to inquire and came to know that "Sudhansubala Devi" had died just an hour before he saw her image at Narayanpur(Nalinikanta's work place), again an emotional blow to Nalinikanta. He attempted to reach his wife through occult science, but in vain.[26]

Turning point

This incident further drew him inwards. Before he had conclusion that death is the ultimate end of an individual. After this incident Nalinikanta started believing that there must be life after death.[1] Nalinikanta became desperate to know all about the elusive phenomenons of life and death. These began to worry him all the time. This inquiry took him in Chennai to the Theosophical Society at Adyar.[27] He ascertained all the hypotheses and exercises that theosophy could offer and through a medium, was able to talk to Sudhansubala Devi(his wife) but Nalinikanta could not see her physically. With the experience, he was not satisfied at all. He came to know by a discussion with the members of the Society that the knowledge about the phenomena of "life and death" was the perquisite of the Hindu yogis. With such realization he began to search a true yogi who would fulfill his desire to meet his dead wife and teach him more about "life after death".

Spiritual experience (1902 — 1905)

"Nalinikanta" took to asceticism and named after Nigamananda in 1904 (on the 11th Vadra in 1309 BS) [13]

As noted, one night in his dreams Nalinikanta saw a sadhu with a brilliant aura around him. He woke up to find the sadhu actually standing beside his bed. The sadhu handed him a leaf with a mantra written on it and then vanished. Nalinikanta asked many to understand the meaning of the mantra. Finally he met Bamakhepa, a famous tantrik, of Tara Pitha, Birbhum district.[22][23][28] Nalinikanta took initiation from him and was directed to chant said mantra for 21 days.[29] Under Bamakhepa’s guidance he had physical darshan of Maa Tara Devi in the form of "Sudhansubala Devi".[23] This darshan led him to another mystery. He saw Tara Devi coming out of his body and again mingling with him. To solve this mystery, Bamakshepa advised him to attain the knowledge of Advaita from a vedantic guru. In 1902 Nigamananda traveled again to search a jnani guru.[22] and met "Satchidananda Saraswati", who was a guru from vedantic order, at the holy place of Pushkar in the state of Rajasthan(India). He instantaneously realized that "Satchidananda Saraswati" was the sadhu who had given him the tara mantra in his dream. Nalinikanta became his disciple,[1][30] and learned all the theories of Brahma (god as the formless one), Brahma Sutras and Vedanta, was initiated by the Satchidananda into renunciation and according to the principle changed his name to Nigamananda.[31]

Satchidananda directed Nigamananda to undertake pilgrimages to the four institutions (Char Dham) of religious seats and realize for himself the significance of each, as the Hindus held these places of worship as very dear to them for their sacredness.[32] After pilgrimages, he arrived back to the ashram.

On his arrival at the ashram, Sachidanand reviewed Nigamananda’s Pilgrimages and said : My boy! You have travelled widely and seen the religious places and acquired knowledge and experience. All that I had to teach you has been accomplished but it is for you now to put my teachings in to practice. You have to experience for yourself the truth of your being and this can only be done through concerted efforts as well as the practice and observance of you Yogic principles. Thus you now have to seek out a guru who will provide you the proper guidance in this line. [33]

I had ramble like a mad chap caring little for bodily comforts for God and Guru. God never descended for a moment to assist me. The day I traced my Guru and received His blessings, things turned in my favour. Prior to that although I had undertaken various practices they did not yield any result. As soon as I come under the guidance of my Gurudev whatever practices I followed, I got success in each of them. It is therefore very importance that a blessing of guru is very essential for success in spiritual sadhana - SWAMI NIGAMANANDA [1][34][35]

Again Nigamananda went out to seek a guru. In 1903 he met a "yogi guru" (yoga master) - whom he called "Sumeru Das Ji" (otherwise know as Koot Hoomi Lal Singh or Kuthumi). Under Sumeru Das Ji's guidance he learned the secrets of yoga.[36] After hard practice Nigamananda was able to master savikalpa samadhi (the trance in which the Yogi loses his body consciousness and acquires a transcendental consciousness while his individual identity is still retained) in the month of Poush,1904 . Soon after Nigamananda desired to experience the state of Nirvikalpa - the most advanced of Yogic Samadhis. Nigamananda followers are believe that he did enter by way of this Samadhi and was returned into his body with the residual consciousness of "I am the Master or Guru" at Kamakshya, in Guwahati Assam (Nilachal Hill) .[1][22][37] and in yoga he had visualized and practically understood in his own body the Vedic knowledge he had learned from his guru, Satchidananda.[38][39][40][41]

As noted, in 1904, it was Kashi (now known as Varanasi, in U.P., India), one night Goddess Annapurna appeared in his dream and said,[30] his knowledge is limited to formless God and not gone beyond that, hence he was still unfulfilled or incomplete. Nigamananda was awakened from his slumber and soon he became alive to the facts of the case as indicated to him by Goddess Annapurna.[1] So he went to Gouri Devi, (a siddhayogini). She accepted him as a disciple and taught him bhakti or prem (eternal nature of divine love play) to realize this physical world as the transformation of god in bhava sadhana.[37][42]

As Swami Nigamananda through a long and continued search discovered his Guru, same principle was followed by many of his disciples to find him out. A few such stories are narrated by his disciples.[30][43][44]

Recognition as paramahamsa (1904)

Nigamananda went to Allahabad to see Kumbha Mela in 1904 and learned that his master Sachidandand was in the area, staying with Sankaracarya of Sringeri Matha and become anxious to see his guru. Nigamananda went to Sankaracarya's camp, where he found the mahant (superior) sitting on an elevated throne surrounded by 125 sadhus, including his guru "Sachidananda". Seeing him, Nigamananda went to first pay his respects to his guru, and only afterwards to the higher-ranking mahant. The sadhus were upset by this perceived disrespect in not honoring the "mahant" first, but in response Nigamananda quoted the scripture : Manathaha Shri Jagannatha Madguru Shri Jagadguru Madatma Sarvabhutatma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha (मनाथह श्री जगन्नाथ मदगुरु श्री जगदगुरु मदात्मा सर्वभूतात्मा तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः) and said My guru is highest in whole world.[30][45][46] Nigamananda further explained to the "sadhu" assemblies that on the basis of the Vedanta philosophy there was no difference between his "Guru" (Shri Sachidanand Saraswati) and "Jagadguru" (Shri Shankarcharya).[47][48]

Jagadguru Sankaracarya endorsed this response and recognized Nigamananda as one who had achieved spiritual enlightenment.[30] According to instruction of Jagadguru, Nigamananda was conferred with the title paramahansa, then came to known as "Paribrajakacharay Paramahansa Shree Mad Swami Nigamananda Saraswati Deva"(परिब्राजकचार्य परमहंस श्री मद स्वामी निगमानंद सरस्वती देव).[30][37][49]

Death (1935)

Swami Nigamananda spent the last fourteen years of his life in Puri, Orissa.[50] He died in Calcutta on 29 November 1935.[51]

Swami Nigamananda's followers have continued to honor his memory, and gather together on, annual congregation (sammilani),[52] ceremonial occasions. In 1997, a fire broke out at a gathering of 12,000 who had come together to commemorate Swami Nigamananda at Madhuban grounds, on the outskirts of Baripada in Orissa. The fire and ensuing stampede killed 177 devotees.[53] His ashram at Halisahar,[54][55][56] and Sundarbans are places of pilgrimage.[57]


Swami Nigamananda's mission was:

  • (1) To propagate Sanatana Dharma, i.e. spiritual foundation of the Hindu religion, (सनातन धर्म प्रचार)
  • (2) To spread the right kind of education among people (and publish spiritual literature with emphasis on character building), (सत् शिक्षा बिश्तार) and
  • (3) To provide service to all created beings, in general, with the attitude of serving the indwelling God (नर देहे नारायण सेवा ).[58]

In order to realize these objectives he enjoined upon his devotees to:

  • (1) Lead an ideal family life (Adarsha Grihastha Jeevan Gathan (आदर्श गृहस्थ जीवन गठन)
  • (2) Combine the power of spiritual associations (Sangha Shakti Pratishta) (संघ शक्ति प्रतिष्ठा)
  • (3) Sharing or exchanging of spiritual feelings (Bhava Binimaya) (भाव बिनिमय )[37][59][60]

In order to achieve the above objectives he initiated several thousand interested men and women of all walks of life and taught them his unique spiritual practices devoid of any sectarian bias in the form of a complete package of worship, prayer and meditation. He encouraged his disciples to meet periodically in groups (Sangha) of three or more for offering prayer and worship to the Guru, exchanging spiritual experiences, chanting of "jayaguru"(जयगुरु ଜୟଗୁରୁ)[37] (a non-sectarian word meaning "Glory due to the Master", which he invented), reading spiritual books and dwelling on the ideas therein, devising ways and means for the management of the Math and the Ashrams and pledging to lead the life of a spiritually inspired ideal householder. He had advised his disciples that, the glory of God or Guru is experienced through the medium of these syllable, "Jayaguru" one can reach at God through this name since God is the Guru or Master of the Universe. People belonging to any sect or creed can accept this name without any detriment to their progress in the religious life.

Philosophy and teachings

Lord Shri Krishna had told Arjuna about the relationship between Guru and God during the course of His teaching. He had used the word "AHAM" when He meant Himself as Guru and "TAT" when He meant God. He mentioned God in the following verses: tat-prasadat param santim sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam (Bhagvad Gita 18.62).[61]

Nigamananda was a Sanyasi of the Shankar's cult. The Vedanta philosophy due to the Shankaracharya had been studied by Nigamananda after he was initiated as a Samnyasi of that Order.[1]

Swami Nigamananda's core teaching were, guru and istha are one and identical and to follow the ideals of Lord Shankar and the path of Lord Gaurang. Though he also indicated the philosophical treaties propounded by Lord Shankar is hard to be practiced by the people of this age but it is easier to tread the path of devotion shown by Lord Gaurang. His view was Shankar and Gaurang which is a sweet combination of Gyan and Bhakti can lead the world in the right way.[41][62]

According to Swami Chetanananda Saraswati, Nigamananda's philosophy and teachings as described below:

Avatar and Sadguru

According to view of "Chetanananda Saraswati", Swami Nigamananda never admitted that he was God-incarnate or an Avatar(अवतार) although many of his disciples fancied to identify him as one.[1] He stated that an incarnation is an exclusive descent of God on earth to uphold spiritual order in a region, country or even the whole world. Although he could, the Avatar ordinarily does not enlighten or guide individuals, per se. Through his agency righteousness is established and demoniac forces are destroyed at large. Swami Nigamananda wanted that he should be treated as a Sadguru (a perfect spiritual Master, also one form of God) who, on account of his long quest over succession of births and deaths, attained to the knowledge of his Swaroop स्वरुप (true or potential nature, i.e., supreme universal consciousness). There is scriptural evidence to show that Gautam himself had to pass through many births before acquiring the qualities to realise the truth and become the great Buddha![63] Swami Nigamananda further pointed out that an "Avatar" does not always remain in the state of super-human consciousness so as to be able to take part in Leela i.e. divine play![64]

Sadguru, Jagadguru and God[37]

According to Swami Nigamananda the disciple should take his Guru (a Sadguru, of course) to be the Jagadguru (or the World Master, the Purushottama) and not an ordinary human being, in tune with Lord Krishna's statement in the Bhagavadgeeta :

He who truely knows My birth and activities to be divine is not born again but attains to Me - Bhagavadgeeta (4.9).[65]

Also like in Patanjali's aphorism: "By contemplating on the form of one who has no attachments, concentration of mind is attained", Swami Nigamananda advised his disciples to meditate on his physical form such that all the admirable qualities and attributes in him would get automatically transferred into their beings and fashion their souls.[34] Further he assured that because he had, by triple modes of spiritual practice, simultaneously experienced the nature of Brahman(ब्रह्म), Paramatma(परमात्मा) (supreme universal self) and Bhagawan(भगवान) (Personal and universal Godhead) as the ultimate spiritual goals of the seekers, his true disciples also would simultaneously have such experience. That, he said, "was his only expectation from his disciples and he would love to wait for the day to see that fulfilled".[66]

Order of Spiritual Attainments

According to Swami Nigamananda, the theory of self realization requires expanding the individual self to the status of the supreme universal self and it can be directly practiced only by the most competent among the aspirant Samyasis by means of precise intellectual inquiry, analysis and deep meditation, although the service to the Master holds the key to success in such pursuits as well.[67] However, Nigamananda pointed out that true transcendental divine love and ecstasy could be properly experienced by the most fortunate ones only after they had attained monistic realisation of the supreme as declared by Lord Krishna himself in the Bhagavadgeeta:

Having realized the state of oneness with the supreme self or Parabrahman and attaining tranquility in spirit, the aspirant neither grieves nor desires and regarding all beings as alike he attains supreme devotion to Me - Bhagavadgeeta (18.54).[68]

Reconciliation of Monistic and Dualistic Pursuits

Unlike some other saints who recognized and preached a diversity of equally valid doctrines for self / God realisation and as many valid paths to attain to those, Swami Nigamananda suggested the realisation of oneness of self and the supreme universal self (or Parabrahman-परंब्रह्म) as the true and the highest goal of human life.[33]

And the path leading to it, in the case of most aspirants, is one of true devotion for the perfect spiritual Master (Sadguru) who initiates them. Rendering personal Service to the Master and invoking his grace through prayers, chanting and simple meditation are the chief modes of spiritual practice for them. They will thus, not only acquire non-dualistic realization knowing, for sure, that their Master is a realised soul (Brahmajnani-ब्रह्मज्ञानी) and trying to live up to his teachings, but also experience bliss due to intense love for him in course of time, when they are enabled to participate in his Leela (love play-लिला) for helping others to achieve self/God realisation.

Swami Nigamananda pointed out that the path shown by Gouranga Mahaprabhu who practiced and preached unconditional devotion and love for God was rather narrow, in as much as it was directed to Sri Krishna as the only God. In order to broad-base that path, Swami Nigamananda suggested to take the Master as an embodiment of Sri Krishna (or any other deity whom the aspirant loved), in which case the guide himself becomes his goal. In this way Swami Nigamananda convincingly formulated a reconciliation of the two apparently contradictory creeds, one due to the great Shankaracharya, the founder of the monistic school of Vedanta philosophy and the other due to Gauranga Mahaprabhu who advocated the principle and practice of apparent duality between the devotee and God. After all, Swami Nigamananda pointed out that in the path of devotion and love the aspirant has to subdue or tame his ego adequately and hence he attains to the same stage as that of the monistic aspirant whose ego loses its identity on attaining to his goal. In the former case, the individuality of the devotee is reduced to a trifling, overpowered by personal god-consciousness, whereas in the latter the aspirant loses his self-consciousness in the ocean of impersonal universal consciousness.[41]

Jnanachakra [1]

Nigamananda pointed out that although the doctrine of monistic vedanta philosophy treats the supreme reality in terms of oneness of individual and universal consciousness, it does not systematically explain the structure of the material creation which, on the other hand, is done by Samkhya philosophy.[1]

But this latter does not treat the supreme reality as well. Similarly, whereas Christianity emphasises on service and surrender as means to god realization, the Indian philosophy of Poorva Mimamsa prescribes various ritualistic actions for the attainment of personal and collective happiness despite cycles of birth and death.

By means of a Jnanachakra(ज्ञानचक्र)[69] chart (the spheres of spiritual cosmology) which he visualized and presented in a pictorial form, Swami Nigamananda identified different layers of human consciousness inter-woven in the microcosm (body) and the macrocosm (the universe) and pointed out the levels which the aspirants of different spiritual orders and sects may ultimately reach. In this chart he placed Sri Krishna and Sri Radha (or the Guru-गुरु and Yogamaya-योगमाया) in the transition between the non qualified (Nirguna) Brahman (निर्गुण ब्रह्म) [1] and qualified (Saguna) Brahman (सगुण ब्रह्म),[41][70] which he called as the Nitya or the Bhavaloka (भाव लोक).[71] (Yogamaya is a form of divine power,[41] which incessantly attracts the earth-bound souls and helps them realise their true blissful nature and participate in the divine play).

A Paramahamsa can be accepted as a perfect man and is to be considered as the God-man. At this he remains in "Chinmaya" form i.e. eternal body and becomes the fountain of love (Prem).[72][73]

Other key teachings

  • To be able to get spiritually liberated one needs the help of a liberated person (a Master Sadguru or simply Guru). In the Hindu scriptures that person is known as the Guru. Without his grace or favor none can make any progress in the path leading to liberation. Also he who has attained the ultimate reality (Paramatman or Brahman) as one and the same as himself (the Atman) is the Guru.[74]
  • The Guru who helps in getting one liberated cannot be equated in importance to formal learning, pilgrimage or divinity. If we do not offer our deep devotion and love to Him, who else then is fit for getting our utmost respect?
  • The Guru indeed is the embodiment of the essence of what the Vedanta teaches – the individual self (the Atman) is one and the same as the cosmic self (Paramatman or Brahman).
  • A Sadguru never curses anyone. Even if He appears to be angry, that too is going to do good to the disciple. The advantage of depending on a Sadguru is unique. One doesn’t have the same advantage depending even on God because God never materializes to give instructions. The Guru in practice provides the required guidance leading the disciple to the ultimate goal.
  • The Guru and the disciple are inseparable in a way. The Guru cannot exist without being a part of a true disciple’s personality or character.
  • There are two pathways to attain spiritual liberation: one is by initiation into and observing the austerities of samnyas yoga and the other – by service rendered to a Sadguru Who has had realization of Brahman. The former is extremely arduous a path – the disciple must die in a sense even while he remains in his body. In other words, he has to loose his body consciousness. But if one unconditionally loves the Guru by way of rendering service to him sincerely, spiritual liberation may be obtained relatively easy.
  • Nothing substantial can be achieved without Guru’s grace. I have been wandering far and wide like a bird as if with its voice box mutilated but have not had God coming and helping me. But the day I was able to have the grace or the benefit of the Guru (Who is God in human form), I started making real progress.
  • The Guru, ‘the mantra’ that he gives during initiation and the disciple’s choicest divinity (or Ista) are one and the same. Unless the Guru becomes the choicest divinity the mantra received from Him looses its power.[75][76]
  • Acquisition of disciples through initiation is not Guru’s profession; it is the inspiration of His heart. The Guru initiates takes care and guides the disciple hoping that one day the disciple will get spiritually enlightened.
  • The Guru is the embodiment of both the monistic (or non-dual) ideology due to the Great Shankaracharya and love divine as preached by Sri Sri Gouranga Mahaprahbu. If the disciple submits himself to the Guru his latent characteristic attitude is bound to unfold. Spiritual life based on such a universal (non-sectarian) and sweet relationship between the Guru and the disciple can help harmonize the diverse faiths in the world.[41]

Yoga, theories and techniques

Few Nigamananda's taught as noted by Durga Charan Mohanty are furnished here:

Theory of jibanamukta upasana

One of Nigamananda's major concepts was the theory of Jibanamukta Upasana(जीवनमुक्त उपासना), which he believed could lead the sadhaka to quick self-realisation.[77][78][79]

Karmic theory

According to Swami Nigamananda, Karma is of three kinds viz. Kriyaman, Sanchita and Prarbdha. When the results of one's labour is enjoyed during his life time is called Kriyaman; if he dies before enjoying the fruits of his labour, it is called Sanchita Karma or accumulated labour. As he takes rebirth to enjoy the balance of accumulated Karma of the past life this is called Prarbdha. By virtue of one's Sadhana, the effects of Kriyaman and Sanchita can be wiped out during one's own life but it is not possible to erase out the effects of Prarbdha Karma. So long as a person is possessed with worldly ambitions he is sure to take the endless journey of birth and death. Jivtma leaves the gross body to travel sometime in the astral world which is called the spirit world or Pret Lok. After undergoing some of its Karmic effects, it returns to the gross world with a gross body for the fulfillment of his further desires that he had during his last incarnation. How it moves from one world to another being ignorant of the same is a matter of great mystery. Yogies can perceive the mystery clearly and tell the past Sanskar of Jiva.[80][81][82][83]

Theory of process of thinking on death

Swami Nigamananda's insight into the mysteries of death would remain as a guideline for them to tread the path of virtue and justice and face the dragon of death without the least fear.

You are not to live here for ever. Someday you will have to depart from this world. If you prepare yourself to face death you have to realise what death is, what exists after death and what happens to the soul when it makes its exit from this body. Man need not fear death since it is a process of promotion to a better life - Swami Nigamananda[78]

Swami Nigamananda said, one should remember all the time that he has to die one day. We do not know at what moment death will visit us. Before working on good or evil deeds one should also remember that he has to die one day and that day is not very far off. Death will drive out from one's mind the anxiety for sense pleasure and evil thoughts. Man would refrain from committing any act of injustice on poor if he thinks of this. Attachment to wealth and relations will then fail to dominate the feelings of man. All the earthly matters to which man is tied so much will continue to remain as they are even after his departure from this world. Only the spiritual wealth that has been earned during one's life time remains as an asset to the individuals. Those who have acquired wealth and learning by virtue of their intellect and have puffed with pride on account of this will submit to the God of death meekly when that particular hour comes. Being drunk with pride, some persons ill-treat their fellow brethren who have been ill placed in their life without giving the least thought that they will be paid back in the same coins at an appropriate time with compound interest. A day is awaiting for them when they will be left in the deserted crematory ground with the beasts and birds around who will joyously waiting to feast upon his flesh and worn-out tissues. Their inert bodies will lie there in silent submission to these beings. If one thinks of this all the evil thoughts will disappear from his mind. Those who are blind to the truth of life and have plunged themselves in the temporary pleasures of the world will be able to change their course of life if the foregoing lines get into their mind. Those of you have become wise enough and quite alert to the truth will not be afraid of death and they will accept it as a passage to the superior world.[78][84]


Swami Nigamananda had written a great deal on Yoga, the theories and techniques can be found in his book "Yogi Guru".[85][86][87] Out of them few produced here:

Hatha yoga and Laya yoga

According to Swami Nigamananda the practice of Hatha Yoga can be carried out when the body is made fit for the purpose the body should be cleansed first of the impurities through Sat Sadhna i.e. the six elementary practices of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is completely different from Laya Yoga. The practices of Hatha Yoga can make the body strong which can enable it to survive for a period of about four hundred years or more, whereas Laya Yoga helps the aspirant to attain union with the supreme. If the body is not kept purified both externally and internally through the practices of Hatha Yoga, the succeeding steps of Laya Yoga would yield no result.[88][89]

Dharana and dhyan

Swami Nigamananda taught that, since the breathing system is closely connected with the intricate workings of the mind, practice of Pranayama leads to regulate the breath and thereby maintains tranquility of mind. Mind is subjected to forces of disturbed thoughts owing to the irregularity in the process of breathing. He said I had applied myself to the higher practices of Yoga, thereafter, i.e. Dharana and Dhyan (mediation). The Sadhaka is likely to peril his life if he does not take assistance of another during these advance practices. During the practices of Dharana, the Sadhaka experiences his own progress and when the estimated height in Sadhana is achieved, he enters into the successive step of progress. While being absorbed in the practice of Dhyan, the Sadhaka may cross over to the state of Samadhi and it is not predictable when he is to stumble across this state of consciousness. Till the experience of Samadhi, the Sadhaka goes on groping in the darkness where Guru comes to his aid to steer him through the difficult passages of Yoga.[89][90]

Sampragyant samadhi

Nigamananda pointed out that if earlier practices are perfected, the succeeding steps yield good and a biding results. These practices are under one's own control. At that state the Sadhaka would enter in to Samadhi is a matter of his own experience and could experience the awakening of Kundalini. The upward and downward motion of Kundalini [89][91] is called Sampragyant Samadhi.[89][92]


Institutions founded

Garohill Yoga Ashram

Nigamananda founded his first Yoga Ashram in 1905 (1312 BS) at Kodaldhoa in Garo Hills, which is called now "Garohill-Yogashrama"(गारोहिल योगाश्रम). His famous yoga book "Yogi Guru" (योगिगुरु), was written and composed here in 14 days of time as noted.[1][18][93][94]

Saraswata Matha

Shanti Ashram now know as "Assam Bangiya Saraswata Matha" Established by Swami Nigamananda in 1912 ES[95]

Nigamananda founded "Shanti Ashram"(शांति आश्रम) in 1912 at Jorhat to fulfill his three missons i.e. To propagate Sanatana Dharma (spreading eternal religion), spreading true education and serve everybody as god incarnate,

He took a plot of land of Jorhat in Sibsagar district and founded this ashram there on Akshaya Tritiya, in the month of Baishakh (in 1319 BS according to Bengal calendar). This was called “Shanti Ashram” or Saraswata Matha(सारस्वत मठ),which went by the name of Assam-Bengal Saraswata Matha (आसाम बंगीय सारस्वत मठ) in the later years.[96][97]

Rishi Vidyalaya was an important school founded under this Matha for Yoga training to students.[25][98][99]


Swami Nigamananda initiated ten of his devout disciples into Samnyas in the tradition of the "Saraswati" by order due to the great Sankaracharya, the juniormost among whom were "Swami Nirvanananda Saraswati" [100] (an erudite scholar, philosopher and writer who became famous as Anirvan later on) and "Swami Prajnananda Saraswati". Swearing in Swami Prajnanandaji as the Mahant and Trustee of the "Saraswat Matha and Ashrama Establishments".[101] Swami Nigamananda retired and resided in Nilachala Kutir in Puri for several years, till 1935 CE.

100 Years of Saraswata Matha (1912–2011)
Swami Nigamananda's monastic organization Assam Bangiya Saraswata Matha at (Kokilamukh) Jorhat, India (2011)'

This Institution(Shanti Ashram) or "Saraswata Matha" founded by Swami Nigamananda in 1912(1319 BS) now steped into hundred years of its life on Akshaya Tritiya Baishakh, 2011 (1418 BS), i.e. 6 May 2011.[13]

He expressed his views stating that this Matha is very dear to my heart, I can sacrifice my life hundred times for the sake of this Matha [102]

Nilachala Saraswata Sangha

Swami Nigamananda retired form his work and resided in Nilachala Kutir, Puri, Orissa. Puri is a holy city of the Hindus as a part of the Char Dham pilgrimages also known as city of Lord Jagannath. Nigamananda believed Lord Jagannath as "symbol of truth" and liked very much to the culture of Lord Jagannatha of Puri, as it embodies in itself the culture of truth, unity and integrity.[103][104] He spent his rest 12 years of life in Puri.

The day 24 August 1934(Friday), fullmoon day (Sravan Purnima) Friday,Nilachala Saraswata Sangha (NSS - नीलाचल सारस्वत संघ - ନୀଳାଚଳ ସାରସ୍ବତ ସଂଘ ପୁରୀ ) was established by Swami Nigamananda himself at Nilachala Kutir(नीलाचल कुटीर-ନୀଳାଚଳ କୁଟିର), Puri.[105][106][107] The Oriya devotees gathered there to celebrate his birthday. He advised these people to form a religious circle among them. As per his wishes some devotees started an association for religious talk and thus "Nilachala Saraswata Sangha" (the Sangha)[107] came into existence by the gradual growth of the group discussion and prayer, to fulfill the triple objectives as, (1)leading an Ideal family life, (2)establishment of combined power and (3)sharing of feelings.[59]

Guru Braham Ashrams

Swami Nigamananda established Guru Brahama Ashrams(गुरु ब्रह्म आश्रम) where people from any faith can come here and pray god in his own way.

He instituted five Ashrams in five divisions of undivided Bengal, they are Purba Bangala Saraswat Ashram at Moinamati, Comilla (Bangala Desh), now at Tripura,[108] Madhya Bangala Saraswat Ashram at Kalni, Dacca, now Purbasthali Bardhaman district,[109] Uttar Bangala Saraswat Ashram at Bogra, Pachima Bangala Saraswat Ashram at Kharkusama, Midnapore,[110] Dakhina Bangala Saraswat Ashram at Halisahar, 24 Paragans.[111][112]

Swami Nigamananda installed Jagat Gurus Ashan(जगत गुरु आसन), in the year 1915 at Kokilamukh, Jorhat, Assam.[113] and established many Ashrams and made thousands of disciples in the Guru-shishya tradition.[114]

Other foundations

Followers of Nigamananda run numerous schools and educational institutions in India.


Saraswata Granthavali

Sanatana Dharma Patrika-Arya Darapan [115]

Swami Nigamananda had written and published a series of Bengali books, called "Saraswata Granthavali" (सारस्वत ग्रंथावली). These are : "Brahmacharya Sadhan"(ब्रह्मचर्य साधन), "Yogiguru"(योगिगुरु), "Tantrikguru"(तांत्रिकगुरु), "Jnaniguru" (ज्ञानीगुरु), and "Premikguru"(प्रेमिकगुरु) which dealt with the fundamentals of theory and practical methods of almost all the modes of sadhana (spiritual practice) prevalent in Sanatan Dharma.[15][116][117] Nigamanananda's followers believe that, these books are useful to any faith follower on the earth and if practiced carefully will lead a man to definite success in spiritual pursuit. By D C Mohanty's pioneer effort these books were translated from Bengali to Oriya.[118]

Arya Darpan

Nigamananda also published Arya Darpan(आर्य दर्पण),[119][120] a monthly magazine on sanatana dharma and believed to be intended for disseminating non-sectarian spiritual knowledge among the masses who are apt to be misguided by narrow religious faith lacking in a rational basis. Many essays on important topics relating to religious and scriptural matters have been included in this magazine.

Thakurer Chithi

Advising to his desciples, Nigamananda had written numerous letters, out of them hundred letters are collected and stored in a book called "Thakurer Chithi"(ठाकुरेर चिठी). This information is being published in a Calcutta based magazine Modern Review, founded by Ramananda Chatterjee, on 26 December 1938.[121]

Other few Nigamananda collection of spiritual books are 'Maayer Kripa'(मायेर कृपा),[122] "Vedanta Vivek"(वेदांत विवेक)[123] and "Tattvamala"(तत्वमाला).

Bhakta Sammilani

Swami Nigamananda (in middle) along with disciples in Bhakta Sammilani 1922

Swami Nigamananda introduced among his devotees, both householders and Samnyasis to annually meet in a conference which was called Bhakta Sammilani (भक्त सम्मिलनी),[34] congregation of devotees, in order to strengthen the various prayer groups, discuss the need for having the Guru in one's life, review the well-being of "Samnyasis" living in the ashrams, help solve problems pertaining to them and the ashrams as a whole, provide welfare services, such as schools, if any, for the communities and finally to organise spiritual meetings in order to hold lectures by enlightened speakers on contemporary problems of public spiritual life. All these activities are intended, Nigamananda pointed out, to help in the spiritual advancement of the disciples such that they will be able to attain peace and true happiness in life.[1]

He categorized the "Bhakta Sammilani" into two parts one is Sarbabhouma i.e. Country wide (सर्बभौम भक्त सम्मिलनी) and other is Pradeshika i.e. State wide(प्रादेशिक भक्त सम्मिलनी) The first Sarbabhouma Bhakta Sammilani was established by Swami Nigamananda at Kokilamukh, Jorhat, Assam in 1915,[1] and first "Pradeshika Bhakta Sammilani" was held in the year 1947 by "Nilachala Saraswata Sangha, Puri" at Ankoli in the district of Ganjam, Orissa during full moon day of Maagha.[124]

Swami Nigamananda had instructed to each of his disciples and devotees to assemble in the Sammilani every year to enjoy the divine pleasures from the eternal fount of bliss that overflows from the assembly of devotees. He had also introduced for the women disciples a different prayer day in the Annual "Sammilani" where they alone could participate and exchange their views."

He said in one of "sammilani" as noted that my devotees are fully aware that I am pleased to see them congregated in this Sammilani, once in a year during the X-mas. Such gathering would bring fame to the Maths and it would also do good to the world at large [125]

See also


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  97. ^ Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (February 2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. pp. 38. ISBN 9780816054589. Retrieved 18 March 2011.  Swami Nigamananda's Ashram at Jorhat (Assam)
  98. ^ Religious movements in modern Bengal Author-Benoy Gopal Ray, Visva-Bharati, 1965, Rishi Vidyalaya have been founded to train up students.... Page -102
  99. ^ Shree Shree Thakur Nigamananda-Oriya Jeevani,CHAPTER-"SARASWATA MATHA" Writer: Durgacharan Mohanty, Banmali Das, Nilanchala Saraswata Sangha, Puri
  100. ^ Sirajul Islam; Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (2003). Banglapedia: national encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. p. 215. ISBN 9789843205766. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  101. ^ Encyclopedia of World Religions(Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Page-79)
  102. ^ Swami Nigamananda's Quote on his "Saraswata Matha"
  103. ^ Sachindra Kumar Maity (1 January 1997). Professor A.L. Basham, my Guruji and problems and perspectives of ancient Indian history and culture. Abhinav Publications. pp. 378–. ISBN 9788170173267. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  104. ^ Ramprasad Mishra; Lakṣmīṅkarā (1995). Advayasiddhi, the Tāntric view of Lakṣmīṅkarā. Kant Publications. p. 41. ISBN 9788186218006. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  105. ^ Nilachala Saraswata Sangha, Authors=Mamata Swain,Jagannath Lenka,Minati Mallick,Coauthors=North Orissa University. P. G. Dept. of Economics, India. Ministry of Women and Child Development|title=Gender perspective in disaster management,Publisher=Serials Publications|lISBN=9788183871211, Search String "Nilachal Saraswat", Page=228
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  107. ^ a b Mamata Swain; Jagannath Lenka; Minati Mallick; North Orissa University. P. G. Dept. of Economics, India. Ministry of Women and Child Development (2007). Gender perspective in disaster management. Nilachala Saraswata Sangha, Puri: Serials Publications. p. 228. ISBN 9788183871211. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  108. ^ Purba Bangala Saraswat Ashram
  109. ^ Madhya Bangala Saraswat Ashram
  110. ^ Pachima Bangala Saraswat Ashram
  111. ^ Dakhina Bangala Saraswat Ashram
  112. ^ BENGLA PEDIA-Encyclopedia of Bangladesh
  113. ^ Religious movements in modern Bengal Author-Benoy Gopal Ray, Visva-Bharati, 1965,The main center is situated at Kokilamukha (Assam).... Page -102
  114. ^ Press Institute of India; Press Trust of India (1997). Data India. Press Institute of India. p. 159. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  115. ^ Nigamananda Arya Darpan-निगमानंद आर्य दर्पण Press in India, Volume 49, Publisher=Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India. Page 358. (Sr.4542)]
  116. ^ Bangala Pedia Nigamananda wrote several books on ascetic philosophy and tantricism
  117. ^ Swami Rama (1 July 1999). Living with the Himalayan Masters. Himalayan Institute Press. pp. 424–. ISBN 9780893891565. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  118. ^ Amulya Kumar Tripathy; P. C. Tripathy; Jayadeva (2006). Sri Durga Charan Mohanty. ed (in ORIYA). The Gita Govinda of Sri Jayadev. Yogi Guru (1968) Premika Guru (1983) Oriya Translator: DC MOHANTY (Sri Durga Charan Mohanty). (Biratunga,Puri). Puri: Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India. pp. Search String "D C Mohanty". Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  119. ^ Swami Nigamananda's Sanatan Dharama Patrika Arya Darpan at
  120. ^ Press in India (1963 - Language Arts & Disciplines). Part 2. 1963. pp. 505 (Sr.607). Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  121. ^ Ramananda Chatterjee; Thakurer Chithi (ठाकुरेर चिठी) (A collection of 100 letters written by Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa to his disciples (1941). The Modern review. Prabasi Press Private, Ltd.. p. 337. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  122. ^ The madness of the saints: ecstatic religion in Bengal By June McDaniel(isbn=9780226557236) 'Nigamananda Saraswati -Mayer Krpa' Page-310 (Sr.185)
  123. ^ Sibajiban Bhattacharya; American Institute of Indian Studies (1970). The Encyclopedia of Indian philosophies. Vedanta Vivek"(वेदांत विवेक), Sr.6667. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 544. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  124. ^ (Events) - Swami Nigamananda's Sarbabhouma Bhakta Sammilani & PradeshikaBhakta Sammilani
  125. ^ Swami, Nigamananda; Durga Charan Mohanty. "Swami Nigamananda's BHAKTA SAMMILANI". Bhakta Sammilani Oriya book written by Durga Charan Mohanty. Assam Bangiya Saraswata Matha. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 

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  • Premika Guru Author: Paramhansa, Nigamananda, West Bengal Public Library Network
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