Shankarananda (Shiva Yoga)

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Swami Shankarananda
Mahamandaleshwar Swami Shankarananda in Ganeshpuri.jpg
Born (1942-03-14)March 14, 1942
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, USA
Guru Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa

Mahamandaleshwar Swami Shankarananda (born 1942) is an American-born guru in the lineage of Bhagavan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri. The gurus of this lineage are noted for their reputation to be able to awaken the kundalini energy of seekers by means of shaktipat. Swami Shankarananda is an author and authority on the philosophy and practice of Kashmir Shaivism. He emphasises spiritual practice (sadhana), especially meditation, mantra and self-inquiry. He is a prominent[1][2] spiritual teacher in Australia, where he founded the Shiva Ashram, a residential spiritual school where about 40 seekers live and members of the wider public visit for programs, retreats and courses. He is also a spokesperson for Hinduism in interfaith dialogue.


Born Russell Michael Kruckman, son of artist Herbert ("Herb") (1904–1998) and school teacher Selma (1908–1998). He was a Pulitzer scholar at Columbia University, New York, where he played on Columbia's US Champion intercollegiate chess team, earning the title of US Chess Master. He taught Shakespeare and English Literature at Indiana University. In 1970, a decisive encounter with the American yogi Ram Dass inspired him to go to India where he met his guru, Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa, the disciple of Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri.[3]

He spent 12 years studying with Muktananda, the first three of which were spent at his ashram in Ganeshpuri. To this day, Shankarananda makes regular visits with large groups of devotees to the town of Ganeshpuri, the seat of his lineage.

In 1974 he was initiated by his guru to awaken people spiritually via shaktipat diksha (initiation). Muktananda wrote of Shankarananda, "He is able to carry my message to everyone. Has the power to make people experience the divine presence." Since that time, Shankarananda has headed ashrams in Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, New York and Melbourne.

In 1977, at the request of his guru, he was initiated into the Saraswati order of monks by Mahamandaleshwar Swami Brahmananda.

In 1991 he founded the Shiva School of Meditation and Yoga in Melbourne with the assistance of Swami Bhairavi Ananda (Devi Ma), who is the co-director. They established a residential ashram[4] on the MorningtonPeninsula


Swami Shankarananda places great importance on lineage, saying that a guru should come from an authentic lineage. He belongs to the shaktipat tradition (see below) of Bhagavan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri.

Teachings and philosophy[edit]

Kashmir Shaivism[edit]

Shankarananda came into contact with Kashmir Shaivism through his teacher, Swami Muktananda.


As a spokesperson for interfaith in Australia, Shankarananda actively promotes interfaith dialogue and regularly participates in interfaith conferences and symposia.[5][6] He is also the Hindu representative on the advisory board of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Interreligious Dialogue and he is the patron of the Hindu Community Council of Victoria (HCCV). He was invited to be a major speaker at the Parliament of the World's Religions held in Melbourne, 2009.


Swami Shankarananda is the author of six books, four of which are listed below.

  • Happy for No Good Reason, Information Australia, Melbourne, 2000.
    ISBN 1-86350-314-5 (National Library of Australia Catalogue)
  • Consciousness Is Everything: The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism, Shaktipat Press, Melbourne, 2003.
    ISBN 0-9750995-0-7 (National Library of Australia Catalogue)
  • Carrot in My Ear: Questions and Answers on Living with Awareness, Shaktipat Press, Melbourne, 2004.
    ISBN 0-9750995-2-3 (National Library of Australia Catalogue)
  • Self-Inquiry: Using Your Awareness to Unblock Your Life, Shaktipat Press, Melbourne, 2008.
    ISBN 978-0-9750995-3-7 (National Library of Australia Catalogue)


External links[edit]