Shankarananda (Shiva Yoga)
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 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.
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 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
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. 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)
- "Garry and the Guru", Interview with Swami Shankarananda and Garry McDonald, Radio National Australia, 5 November 2000
- "Kaarin Fairfax", by Chris Beck, The Age, Section: A2, page 2, 17/05/2003
"Less ritual, more reality", by Chris Beck, The Age, Section: A3, page 2, 14/11/2003
"Breaking the guru hoodoo", By Michael Dwyer, The Age, Section: A2, page 4, 20/11/2004
"Natural mystic", By Samantha Lane, The Sunday Age, Section: Sport, p 10, 28 January 2007
"Look inwards to promote a peaceful world", by Yvonne Nicolas, The Age, Section: My Career, page 79, 05/05/2007
- "The Truth is Controversial", Andrew Cohen
- "Growing with the Guru, Self-Inquiry with Swami Shankarananda", Nancy Jackson, Australian Yoga Life, issue 16
- Faith in Troubled Times, Symposium for Religious Leaders, April 2004
Tantra, consciousness and reality seminar, October 2004
Third Catholic Interfaith Symposium, June, 2005
Working with the Mind and Emotions: Hindu and Buddhist perspectives, April 2006
Celebrating Rumi and Mystics of East and West, 2007
- Confessions of a Western Hindu, Hinduism Today, October 2005