Shankarananda (Shiva Yoga)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mahamandaleshwar Swami Shankarananda in Ganeshpuri.jpg

Mahamandaleshwar Swami Shankarananda (born 1942) is an American-born guru in the lineage of Bhagavan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri. Swami Shankarananda is the self-published author of several books on meditation and the philosophy and practice of Kashmir Shaivism. He emphasises spiritual practice (Sadhana), especially meditation, mantra and Self-inquiry. He is a spiritual teacher in Australia[1][2] where he founded a residential spiritual school (Shiva Ashram) , now called the Sri Nityananda Ashram where about 20 seekers live and members of the wider public visit for programs, retreats and courses. The former Shiva Ashram closed in 2015.[3][4]


Born Russell Michael Kruckman, son of artist Herbert ("Herb") (1904–1998) and school teacher Selma (1908–1998). He studied at Columbia University, New York, where he played on Columbia's US Champion intercollegiate chess team.[5] In 1970 he went to India where he met his guru, Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa, the disciple of Bhagavan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri.

In 1991 he founded a residential Ashram on the Mornington Peninsula.

Shankarananda has held several events with other teachers in his lineage[6] and, in 2009, launched a website that documents Bhagavan Nityananda, Swami Muktananda and the many gurus of his lineage.[7]

Shankarananda has participated in interfaith events.[8] He was the patron of the Hindu Community Council of Victoria (HCCV),[9] and he spoke at the Parliament of the World's Religions held in Melbourne, 2009.


In 2015, two newspapers reported on allegations of "secret sexual relations" between Shankarananda and around 40 women in the ashram community. Shankarananda apologised and acknowledged that he'd not considered the ramifications of his sexual 'tantric' practices.[10][11] On hearing the revelations, some members of the community stayed while others chose to leave. Yoga Australia suspended its accreditation of Shiva Ashram programs,[12] and the organization went into liquidation.[13] Shankaranda resigned as director but remained as spiritual head,[14] as well as retaining the main ashram property.[15] The property is now called Sri Nityananda Ashram, and Shankarananda continues to run regular programs for residents and the public.


  • Happy for No Good Reason, Information Australia, Melbourne, 2000. ISBN 1-86350-314-5
  • Consciousness Is Everything: The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism, Shaktipat Press, Melbourne, 2003. ISBN 0-9750995-0-7
  • Carrot in My Ear: Questions and Answers on Living with Awareness, Shaktipat Press, Melbourne, 2004. ISBN 0-9750995-2-3
  • Self-Inquiry: Using Your Awareness to Unblock Your Life, Shaktipat Press, Melbourne, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9750995-3-7
  • Ganeshpuri Days: Memoirs of a Western Yogi, Shaktipat Press, Melbourne, 2019. ISBN 978-164669081-7


  1. ^ "Garry and the Guru", Interview with Swami Shankarananda and Garry McDonald, Radio National Australia, 5 November 2000
  2. ^ "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
    "Look inwards to promote a peaceful world", by Yvonne Nicolas, The Age, Section: My Career, page 79, 05/05/2007
  3. ^ "Yoga school to be wound up", Keith Platt, Mornington Peninsula News, 27 April 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Ashram could wind up amid sex abuse allegations", Jane Lee, The Age, 28 March 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Chess Club wins Ivy League Crown", William D. Schwartz, Columbia Spectator, 23 February 1962. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Energy Rising", Yoga Journal Kathy Wyer (
  7. ^ Nityananda; The Living Tradition (
  8. ^ Tantra, consciousness and reality seminar, October 2004
    Third Catholic Interfaith Symposium, June, 2005
    Celebrating Rumi and Mystics of East and West, 2007
  9. ^ Clarification re Ganesh Play Controversy
  10. ^ "'Secret' sex shakes yoga school", Keith Platt, Mornington Peninsula News, 20 January 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Guru sex scandal at Mt Eliza yoga retreat", Miki Perkins, The Age, 20 January 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Ashram's licence suspended by Yoga Australia amid investigation into claims of sexual abuse against Mt Eliza swami" Eddie Morton, Mornington Peninsula Leader 26 March 2015, Retrieved 10 Jan 2016.
  13. ^ "Yoga school to be wound up", Keith Platt, Mornington Peninsula News, 27 April 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Guru sex scandal at Mt Eliza yoga retreat" Miki Perkins, The Age, 20 January 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Yoga school to be wound up", Keith Platt, Mornington Peninsula News, 27 April 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.