He was born in 1978 into a Hindu family, and it quickly became clear, that he was not an ordinary child. Since his early years, he lived in the conscious presence of God and the Saints. He was not very interested in the typical affairs of a child, but instead spent every free minute praying, visiting temples and performing rituals.
At the age of five he was for the first time visited by his Guru Mahavatar Babaji. Many miracles and phenomena occurred around him, and his wisdom and loving character indicated that He was endowed with spiritual greatness. Over time, his unique personality began to attract more and more people who visited him seeking his blessing and advice - firstly only in Mauritius, then also in other countries as he started to travel on a regular basis. After finishing his schooling he began to completely follow his vocation as a spiritual teacher and he accepted invitations to various parts of the world.
The amazing time of birth and the extraordinary childhood of Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda
Extraordinary childhood of a realized master, amazing early days of Paramahamsa Swami Vishwananda
Extraordinary and amazing childhood of a realized master Swami Vishwananda, Meeting his Guru Babaji
Extraordinary childhood of realized master, experiences with a satguru in bhakti path of devotion
In 1998 he visited Europe for the first time and some of his new friends, who often later became his disciples, started in return to visit him in Mauritius. While until then his Hindu side was predominant, often singing bhajans deep into the night, the Christian side now also was awakened. As of 1999 he dived deeply into it – as it is his nature with whatever he does -, he put to the background the Eastern side of his spiritual being for some time, and he subsequently started to have some Christian mystical experiences. That time also marked the beginning of an extraordinary love for the Christian Saints and their message, which is imbued with unconditional love and acceptance. In due course he began to gather relics, with the goal of bringing them and their life story back more strongly to human consciousness by making them available for veneration.
There is a deep connection that Swami Vishwananda feels for Christian Saints as well as spiritual Masters from the East. He studies their lives and teachings and passes on this knowledge to others. It gives him great joy to sing their songs, to tell their life stories, and to spend time painting icons of Saints, whose lives are an example of true devotion and surrender to God and also a source of inspiration to spiritual aspirants. The painting of icons, as well as the practice of various ceremonies, prayers and singing all help to deepen our inner connection with the individual Saint or Divine aspect to which the activity is dedicated.
Over the years, a group of talented musicians and painters formed itself around him - together they have performed, composed and recorded many songs and painted dozens of beautiful icons.
“Saints love everyone in the same way. They see that everybody is part of God and His creation. For them the question about race, culture or religion doesn’t rise. We should take their example. Our planet and all life on it were created through love, preserved through love and will return to love.”
As Swami Vishwananda embraces all religions and cultures, over the years the two traditions of East and West found a harmonious balance. Swami's natural ease in connecting elements from western tradition with Hindu spirituality, gives people access to a very personal experience with the Divine, regardless of culture, gender or age. Now it has become very normal for people around him to celebrate the Divine in a multi-dimensional fashion, appreciating the richness of our collective spiritual heritage.
In 2000/2001, Swami Vishwananda set up, in his home country Mauritius, a Chapel for the Holy Mother adjacent to a Temple dedicated to the Indian Saint Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. Since then, other spiritual centres across the globe have developed.
“We are all brothers and sisters and come from the same God. Our true identity, hidden behind our emotions and thoughts of daily life, is our soul, our own true Self. To achieve outer unity with all our brothers and sisters, we have to achieve unity within, between body, mind and soul.
We have to accept and love ourselves the way we are now, with our physical body, emotions and thoughts and at the same time strive for the Soul. Mankind needs to remember that all people come from the same source and all will go back to the same source.”
End of 2004 a property in a rural area of Germany in a tiny village called Steffenshof was purchased, and Swami with a handful of friends and disciples in effect started his first spiritual center outside of Mauritius. At first it was simply the home of some of his European family and friends. Then quickly it transformed itself into an Ashram, as Swami Vishwananda in 2005 initiated many men and women into a traditional monastic order for people who had decided to dedicate their lives formost to God.
From 2005 onwards he began visiting numerous countries in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia to convey his message of universal God Love.
Swami took his friends and family through all shades and colours of spirituality. He dived into Krishna consciousness, then into Christ consciousness and along with that connecting with many Saints, only to move back to a phase of focusing on Sri Chaithanya, Mother Mary, Shiva, Sufism, Divine Mother Durga, Hanuman, Shirdi Sai Baba… the list could be continued.
Early 2006, Swami Vishwananda founded a spiritual order inside the Bhakti Marga family, which embraced both Hindu and Christian elements. The community orientated itself after the teachings of Holy Scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible and other timeless teachings of various Sages and Saints.
“Through the ages many teachers, many Saints & Sages have lived. Their message was in its essence always the same, yet wrapped in different words, languages & traditions. What we lack in this world are not the teachings on God-realisation;
what we lack is people’s will to really go within and put the teachings into practice. Especially in today’s world, there exist a lot of distractions that lead to ‘outer attachments’ that are finite and cause suffering again and again when lost.
People should become aware of the ‘inner attachments’ that are eternal and cause no suffering. God is always there – like the sun shining through a window. It is up to us to draw the curtains and open the window.”
The order was in many ways traditional, and included elements of rules and structures that classical orders bring along. Along with that came within the Bhakti Marga family a tendency to put Swami on a pedestal.
In the autumn of 2008 he dissolved the order. After His disciples had now experienced this traditional model of a monastic order and Guru Disciple Relationship, Swami changed his approach. Not everyone felt comfortable with this change, as it was not in line with expectations people may have had, but it was not a random act. He wanted to dissolve the traditional monastic order which ironically he had helped bring about, in order to create a different kind of spiritual community based more on self responsibility and more in line with the modern age. A community with less emphasis on the external guru (often on a pedestal) and more on the members/residents in search of the “divinity within” guided by an external guru, who helps balance the consciousness of the disciples and devotees (see section “an unusual Guru”, and also “About the Guru Disciple & Teacher Student Relationship”.
All this happened in the middle of moving from Steffenshof to a bigger location closer to Frankfurt /Wiesbaden in a town named Springen. After the Steffenshof period, Springen marks the beginning of a new chapter and era. In order to achieve this transition Swami had to take himself off the pedestal on which many followers had put him, to enable his disciples/devotees to look for the “divinity within” as opposed to projecting all their concepts of “divinity” primarily onto the external guru (see “About the Guru Disciple & Teacher Student Relationship”). This signified a radical departure from the traditional guru/disciple relationship. In so doing some disciples were supported to go above duality of good/bad, light/dark, joy/sorrow to the Divine Love within their hearts. In retrospect, this intense time was good for putting the focus more on the inner encounter with one’s own Self.
Daily life at the center changed significantly thereafter. There was less fixation on Swami, and a more natural and balanced way of honouring his presence. There were no longer outer rules (other than those needed for living in a community) and along with that more clarity regarding one of the big misunderstandings of the spiritual path, the true meaning of celibacy, which according to the Vedic tradition is to focus within, rather than an external restriction of worldly activity and enjoyment. Daily spiritual life became relaxed, light-hearted and joyful again, and people were left to go within, to listen to their own Self, their inner Guru and their hearts.
Springen could be described as an open spiritual center, for people of all ages, creeds and backgrounds, who like to devote their live to love of God. Some of the residents lead a life of a monk or nun (but without the confinement of an outer order, some are in a relationship, some have families, some work in the center, some outside the center, but every resident and non-resident is fully self-responsible on a spiritual and material level. And more importantly, all residents and non-residents are connected by their inner goal of moving closer to God within themselves. Springen is situated in a specific location but its principle of a new way of experiencing the guru disciple relationship is experienced by a worldwide non geographical community linked to Springen.
Central to the work of Swami Vishwananda, is providing and teaching various spiritual techniques and practises which help to cultivate Bhakti within the spiritual aspirant. Such practises include Darshan (blessing), regular prayer, ceremonies such as Yagna and Abishekam, meditation, singing, and Yoga practises as well as Mudras and Mantras.
“The greatest joy of a Master is to see the disciples grow spiritually and really become Masters themselves.”
In spring 2007 Swami introduced on behalf of Mahavatar Babaji the meditation and yoga techniques of Atma Kriya and OM Healing. These techniques represent a very important element in his work of supporting people on their spiritual path and he initiated a broad base of teachers over the subsequent two years. As of summer 2009 40 teachers in three continents are now passing on the techniques. (click here for more information).
Often Swami Vishwananda points out that one needs a lot of patience and perseverance on the spiritual path and that no quick results are to be expected – the same for daily life. He does not wish people to be dependant on him; rather he wants them to trust God and the Guru (teacher) within their own Self.
“We should always use our common sense. It is of no use to take off and ‘fly around’, we have to stay grounded and also do our work on this earth. We have to proceed patiently and with respect to the Divine and to ourselves.”
It is Swami Vishwananda’s wish to help others to find the way to their own inner divine light. Many people asking for his advice in spiritual matters as well as in daily life are deeply touched in their hearts when meeting him. He encourages everyone to follow the intuition of one’s own heart. As much as He can be seen as a Divine being, He is a human being who loves God with all his heart, and has the ability to bring God closer to others in a very direct and simple way.
To find this real Love, and realize this deep connection with God within oneself, we must practice bhakti, devotion. When you surrender yourself full heartedly and say, “God I want You. Reveal Yourself to me!” – then God will reveal Himself. He cannot say No to you, because your Self cannot hide from yourself. This higher consciousness, that you have deep inside of you, can be revealed when your mind is centred on God. So yearn for God. Call from deep inside your heart, ‘God reveal Yourself to me! I know You are deep inside somewhere. From time to time, I do feel You. I know You are here. But I would like to feel You constantly; all the time.’ Isn’t that what each one of you wants, to feel the Love of God all the time?”
“All kinds of expectations bring pain. Because the one real expectation, the real thing that our soul wants, is the True Love of God. And this ‘True Love of God’, we can only find through devotion within our heart.
You can go to a Master and the Master can show you the way. But it’s upon each one of you to really desire God. To really yearn for God.
Because as long as you don’t yearn for God, as long as you don’t really want Him, you will always be searching. You will always put one foot in one place and the other foot in another place.
**the quotes are taken from various Swami’s speeches