Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Muktananda Mean?

Muktananda (1908-1982 C.E.) was a famous yoga guru who founded the spiritual path of Siddha yoga.

He was born as Krishna Rau in 1908 in India. At the age of 15, he met his guru, Bhagavan Nityananda, and left home. He studied Sanskrit, yoga and Vedanta under Siddharudha Swami, and took the name of Swami Muktananda. After Siddharudha died, he started his 20-year long walk through India and learned from different gurus. In 1947 he arrived at Ganeshpuri and received a shaktipat initiation from Bhagavan Nityananda. As Muktananda said, this was the true start of his spiritual path.

Muktananda spent the following years meditating and writing about about his spiritual practices. In 1956, Bhagavan Nityananda gave Muktananda a piece of land to build his own ashram, thereby acknowledging his progress toward enlightenment. Until his death in 1982, he taught the spiritual path that he created and named it Siddha yoga.


Yogapedia Explains Muktananda

Muktananda's Siddha yoga path is based on a principle of shaktipat-diksha, which means that the kundalini shakti (primal energy) of the seeker can be awakened by the guru. Awakening kundalini shakti is said to help the seeker to move closer to spiritual liberation, or moksha.

Muktananda was considered a shaktipat guru because he was able to awaken kundalini very easily. He was even able to do this for newcomers; although, historically, it was reserved only for those with a long history of spiritual practice. His main teachings were that individuals should see God in each other and that God dwells within the self as the Self.

Muktananda established the SYDA Foundation and several Siddha yoga ashrams. He is also a founder of The Prison Project, which was created to bring Siddha yoga to prisons and imprisoned seekers.

The Siddha yoga path is now led by Muktananda's successor, Swami Chidvilasananda, who was appointed by Muktananda in 1982.

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Baba Muktananda

Swami Muktananda

Krishna Rau

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