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Life journey of an Indian yogi

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By Ayushman Sahu

The birth of Swami Nigamanada was extraordinary. His mother fasted for days while praying for his birth. When he was only about 6-years-old, he started with ritual and puja.

As he was born in a Bengali Brahmin family, once while he was performing the puja of goddess Durga, it is believed that he saw the goddess herself. He got scared and ran out of the house. When he told his mother about the incident, she explained to him how Durga is the mother of the whole universe.

He completed his studies in his mother’s house and after that, he married a 13-year-old girl at the age of 17. After 2 years of marriage, his wife died due to a disease. As a ritual, for years he kept a bowl of fruits for his late wife. He used to see the bowl for 3-4 hours, and then he saw that everything was left the same way.

When he was having the first bite, he heard his wife’s voice coming from the sky. She stated that she has become a soul. Then, he asked her that you didn’t have even a bite of the food. After a moment, she replied that a soul cannot do so. After this incident, Nigamanada family members asked him to marry another woman but he refused.

Then, a question came to his mind: what becomes of life after death. He went to different places to get to know the answer. His first teacher was Bamakhepa. Nigamanada sat and chanted for 21 days with him. After some time, Bamakhepa told him that my work is done with you, so now you can go to your next teacher.

Nigamanada searched for many days and then went to his friend‘s house. His friend told him that he needs to see an astrologer. He went to see the astrologer and there he realised that he was his next teacher, Satchidananda. He then directed Nigamanada to undertake pilgrimages to the four institutions (Char Dham).

Following this process, he went to the 4 institutions and widely travelled to seek knowledge. After this, as Bamakhepa did, Satchidananda said that he has got the know-how to proceed and find another teacher.

Again, he went to find his teacher. After some days, he found a yoga teacher, Sumeru Dasji. From his teachings, Nigamanada learnt yoga. Then, he thought that he was done. But in one of his dreams, he saw Annapurna Devi. She told him that his last teaching is still incomplete. After some time, he met Gouri Devi. Finally, he went to Allahabad to see the Kumbha Mela where he learnt that his master Satchidananda was in the area staying with Sankaracarya. He finally explained to him that there is no difference between a Guru and a Jagadguru. Then, Jagadguru Sankaracarya identified Nigamananda as one who had achieved spiritual enlightenment. 

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