Siddha Yoga is a spiritual group teaching traditional Hindu or yogic practices both in India and in the West. The group has an organizational foundation by the name of SYDA Foundation (a domestic not for profit corporation registered in in New York State), founded by the second guru of the Siddha Yoga lineage, Swami Muktananda (1908 – 1982). The guru who is the latest in the lineage of teachers of Siddha yoga is a woman, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda (born June 24, 1955 ). The group has its U.S. headquarters at a large country ashram called Shree Muktananda Ashram composed of two former resort hotels in South Fallsburg, New York State. Its original home remains the ashram called Gurudev Siddha Peeth at Ganeshpuri in rural Maharashtra, India.
- 1908 – Muktananda is born
- 1955 – Chidvilasananda is born
- 1956 – Muktananda founds Gurudev Siddha Peeth the main Siddha Yoga ashram, located in Ganeshpuri, India.
- 1961 – Bhagawan Nityananda dies.
- 1970 – 1981 Muktananda tours the West at his students’ invitation, three times.
- 1974 – Muktananda establishes SYDA Foundation
- 1979 – Muktananda founds Shree Nityananda Ashram which later becomes Shree Muktananda Ashram.
- 1982 – Muktananda dies, before his death he makes Chidvilasananda and her brother Swami Nityananda co-gurus of Siddha Yoga.
- 1985 – Nityananda steps down (amidst controversy, admitting to breaking his vows of celibacy). (He has since started his own group (Shanti Mandir) and he is now known as Mahamandeleshwar Swami Nityanand.)
The central tenet of Siddha Yoga is that the goal of seekers is to find the Self, inner consciousness, in all humans, and in everything. The aim of Siddha Yoga is to help every human being realize and experience that they and all other humans have an inner Self which is perfect and divine, and that a reachable goal is the end of human suffering and the attainment of supreme bliss.
Siddha Yoga’s core teachings are Muktananda’s two aphorisms, “God dwells within you as you,” and “See God in each other.”
The primary philosophical bases of Siddha Yoga are Kashmir Shaivism and Vedanta.
The main practices of Siddha Yoga include:
- Meditation – The form of meditation practiced is silent with attention focused on a mantra and/or on the flow of breath. The mantra most often used for meditation is the mantra Om Namah Shivaya.
- Chanting – Students chant sanskrit mantras which can either be Nama Sankirtana (chants that consist of short sanskrit phrases) or swadhyaya (chanting of longer texts). The texts that are chanted most commonly include the Guru Gita, morning and evening Arati, Shree Rudram, and the Kundalini Stavaha.
- seva – Students practice seva through volunteer work at either an ashram or a center in their city. Seva can also mean any service done as an offering to God.
- dakshina – Dakshina refers to a donation of money and/or material objects to the organization.
- Satsang refers to group meetings or programs, usually held weekly, at the ashrams or one of several hundred small Siddha Yoga meditation centers around the world. A typical satsang program will include talks by one or more students or a visiting swami, several periods of chanting (in sanskrit), and a period of meditation. The centers usually conclude the program with announcements and socializing.
- Maha Shivaratri
- Guru Purnima
References in Popular Culture
- Startup.com References in two scenes: One is a copy of a painting of the Goddess Lakshmi from the Shree Muktananda Ashram, the other is a scence where Kaleil is chanting the Guru Gita while driving.
- The Guru Reference is in a scene where the character Lexi is asking Swami Bu about the nature of his teachings. “Muktananda says, ‘See God in each other.'”
Some former members have accused the Siddha Yoga leadership of abusive behavior which is at odds with its teachings and wider accepted norms. William Rodarmor made these accusations public in â€śCoEvolution Quarterly” of winter 1983 in an article titled “The Secret Life of Swami Muktananda” 1
Lis Harris repeated and extended those in the “New Yorker” of November 14, 1994 in an article titled “O Guru, Guru, Guru” 2
The “Leaving Siddha Yoga” organization exists to support people wishing to leave.
- Brooks & Sabharathnam, Meditation Revolution: A History and Theology of the Siddha Yoga Lineage, Agama Press, 1997, ISBN 0965409600
- 1 Rodarmor, William, article “The Secret Life of Swami Muktananda.” , CoEvolution Quarterly, Winter 1983
- 2 Harris, Lis article, O Guru, Guru, Guru, The New Yorker,November 14, 1994
Press articles – Favorable
- Hinduism Today, “Baba Muktananda’s ‘Meditation Revolution’ Continues” October, 1992
- Hinduism Today, “Muktananda’s Legacy,” April, 1995
- Hinduism Today, “Your True Companion: The Self Within” by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, April 1997
- Hinduism Today, “Former SYDA Co-Guru Explains” January, 1986
Topics in Yoga
|Yogas:||Agni Yoga – Anahata Yoga – Anusara Yoga – Arhatic Yoga – Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) – Bikram Yoga – Hatha yoga – Integral yoga – Iyengar Yoga – Kriya yoga – Kundalini yoga – Natya Yoga – Sahaj Marg – Sahaja Yoga – Siddha Yoga – Six yogas of Naropa (Tumo) – Surat Shabd Yoga – Viniyoga – Yoga in Daily Life – Yoga Nidra|
|Texts:||Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Yoga Sutra – Gherand Samhita|
|Hinduism paths:||Bhakti yoga – Karma Yoga – Jnana Yoga – Raja Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga)|
|Raja Yoga limbs:||Yama – Niyama – Asana – Pranayama – Pratyahara – Dharana – Dhyana – Samadhi|
|Lists:||Yoga schools and their gurus – Hatha yoga postures|
|Related topics:||Ayurveda – Chakra – Tantra – Vedanta – Yoga as exercise|