about Swami Janananda

The life and work of Sadguru Janananda Swami

He was destined to meet Bhagwan through mysterious circumstances and then join his Master in the divine work. He committed a lifetime to Bhagwan’s will and mission.

Sadguru Shri Janananda Swami was an ardent devotee of Bhagwan Nithyananda who worked under the direct orders of Bhagwan. Upon the instructions of Bhagwan, he took care of the Nithyananda Ashram at Kanhangad. He looked after the Swami Nityananda Ashram completely at Kanhangad. Swami Janananda was referred to by Bhagwan as ‘Dattatreya Avatar’ (incarnation of Lord Dattatreya). Swami Janananda was a Karma Yogi, in discipline and action. Everything in Kanhangad Nithyananda Ashram and the Guruvanam were brought up to what it looks like today by Swami Janananda. For Swami ji, nothing was greater than the command of his Gurudeva and so he worked hard day and night. Despite his association with Bhagwan and Bhagwan having such high regards for him, Swamiji remained humbled and never was in the limelight for anything. He always kept the name of Bhagwan in forefront in everything that he carried out. Name, fame and glory in any form were far away from Swamiji’s life.

Kanhangad was one of Bhagwan’s greatest work mission in his this incarnation and he trusted entirely Swami Janananda with it and Swamiji very well kept up to it for nearly 90 years of his whole dedicated life to Kanhagad.

Life History of Swami Janananda

The Birth & Childhood of Swami Janananda

Sadguru Shri Janananda Swami was born in 1893 in Hejmadi, Moolky in South Kanara District in Karnataka, in the year. As a child Swamiji was physical very fit and robust. Football was his favourite game. One day when he was football with his friends, the ball rolled on to the road and as he went to collect the ball, a large dark man was standing there, who blessed the little boy. Little did little Janananda Swami realize that this was none other than Bhagwan Nithyananda.

Swami ji in Mumbai

Later sometime, Swamiji was attracted towards Mumbai in search of work and he soon found a job in a hotel in Mumbai. While cooking, he would often drift into deep states of trance and chant the name of God. In this state, sometimes the food items in the boiling oil would catch fire and it was only when the people around raised alarm that he would be shaken out of his trace. But then at those moments, often, he would pull out the burning food from the boiling oil with his bare hands in the presence of many shocked customers. But his hands remained unharmed and at times have minor burns which then would heal with his application of honey. The owner of the hotel began getting disturbed with such frequent occurrences often wondering if Swami Janananda was possessed by some evil spirit. He decided to take him one day to Shri. Balakrishna Maharaj in Mumbai, who was the disciple of Shri. Narasimha Maharaj, an occultist and a healer of physical and mental illnesses. But on seeing the lustre on Swami Janananda’s face, he told the perturbed hotel owner that the boy had the grace and vigour of a Maha Yogi and that the coming years would see it all unfolding in him. He advised Swami ji to go to Nasik, where was installed the sacred Padukas of Shri. Narasimha Maharaj and also visit Gangapur, the abode of Lord Dattatreya. Hearing this the hotel owner was shocked and fell at Swami Janananda’s feet and and revered him.

Swami ji in Nasik & Ganagapur

Swami Janananda remained aspiring for spiritual enlightenment through his natural state of Vairagya (detachment) and with a turmoiled mind headed towards Nasik in search of his liberation. On reaching Nasik, Swami ji began meditating deeply in a cave on the banks of the river Kapila. After that, he went to the Kalaram Temple in Nasik, where is installed the holy padukas of Shri. Narasimha Maharaj and Swami ji continued meditating there. The Brahmin priests of the temple, however, did not like a non-Brahmin worshiping the sacred place there. They asked him to move out stating that he was polluting the sanctity of the place. Swamiji promptly asked the Brahmin priests that if he had soiled the sanctity of the holy place, how were the Brahmins unable to bring back the sanctity of the place. This only agitated the priests further, who then lodged a complaint with the Police stating that he had unlawfully intruded their premises. The Police Inspector who arrived there was rather inspired by the divinity of Swami Janananda, who was lost in his deep meditational trance. The inspector bowed in reverence and suggested that the priests be regretful for their mistake. 

Miracles around Swami Janananda

Soon after that many miracles began happening around.

Once there happened to be a very heavy cyclone. Swami Janananda was inside the Kalaram Tempte, in which there were also 8 other pilgrims taking shelter. Swami ji sat in a corner and soon fell into meditative state. Meanwhile, the storm intensified and a lot of destruction happened. But then, suddenly, there was a flash of lightening and a thunderbolt. The lightening flashed through the temple door and the storm raged into the temple causing the walls to crack. The 8 pilgrims were instantly killed but Swami Janananda remained untouched and deep in meditation and unaware of anything that happened. He only regained his senses when the police woke him up while dispersing the crowd that were witness to this great miracle. All that Swami ji asked was why was he disturbed.

Another incident, it so happened that the administrative people of the temples in Nasik, who belonged to the Nath cult, were very jealous of Swami Janananda’s increasing popularity. Fearing that they would lose reverence from the people, began creating trouble for him in every possible way. They even went to the extent of keeping him deprived of food and water by threatening and not allowing devotees to visit him. They also tried every possible way to get rid of him from that place. Swamiji predicted that this was not good for them as even tried to drive him from there. After a few months, there happened to be a great flood and many of them got washed away in the floods. A famine followed this disaster, taking away huge toll of life. The Government soon ordered the evacuation of the city and during this process all the trouble makers of the cult had either perished in the natural disasters or had to leave the city forever.

Swami Janananda had travelled from Nask to Ganagapur by train and tried to take shelter in a choultry, but the inmates there were not very welcoming to him as they considered him an intruder into their space. He silently moved away from there and went towards the sacred river bank where there is a huge hill of sacred ashes that is believed to be the remnants of the Yagnas once performed by great Rishis in the past.

Swami ji went into a Hanuman Temple near this hill and resumed his meditation. He received food, fruits and milk from the pilgrims who came there to the temples. The temple priest soon saw him as an intruder who was attracting the crowd towards him and became eventually jealous of him. The priests got together and began troubling him by trying to bring many hurdles into his sadhna. Swami Janananda remained unperturbed and continued with his meditation. Soon his popularity increased multifold, with many visitors becoming his followers. During the rainy season, Swamiji would come down and settle in a small hut on the banks of the river.One day, when Swamiji was not in his hut, a sadhu named Golap Baba entered into his hut. When Swami Janananda returned, this sadhu refused to budge out. Swamiji in anger went and sat on one of the Agni Kundas, known as the Rudra Kunda. The very next moment the whole hut along with the sadhu was burnt to ashes, shocking the entire crowd there. Swamiji continued his meditation on the Rudra Kunda itself. This is why Bhagwan Nithyananda at times referred to Swami Janananda as Rudra or Agni. It is believed that Lord Dattatreya would often give darshan to Swamiji.

Meeting Bhagwan in Kanhangad

Thus, after meditating and spending a great amount of time in meditation in several such places, Swami Janananda reached Kanhangad at the time when Bhagwan Nithyananda was digging the 43 caves with his bare hands. Here, his whole life changed after meeting Bhagwan, which was a destined meet, that Bhagwan had very well known of. Swami ji joined Bhagwan in the digging of the caves. Due to Swamiji’s strong body that worked with great enthusiasm and vigour, Bhagwan would address him as Maruti (Hanuman) and refer to his crowbar as Hanuman’s Gadha (club), graciously mocking him to the devotees as “Maruti digging with his club.” This also symbolically can be referred to Hanuman’s intense devotion to his Lord – Rama, which was very obvious in his relationship with Bhagwan.

Bhagwan sends Swami ji to the Himalayas

He was soon, in 1938, instructed by Bhagwan to go to the Himalayas on pilgrimage for further penance and illumination. Swami Janananda soon began out barefoot, with a trident in his hand to help him navigate the snowy mountains of the Kailasha. He endured all the tests on the path that came to him in the form of nature’s fury and other trials and tribulations.

Once when he lost track of his trek, a divine woman wearing white offered him warm milk and guided him back on the right track and soon disappeared.

There are many Tibetian tribes living in the Himalayan range who are known as Lhamas who had ferocious dogs within their sheep stock, to attack any intruders in their area. Once Swami Janananda was badly abused by a tribal chief as Swami ji had unknowingly entered their territory. Due to the intense cold, Swamiji humbly asked for a cup of herbal tea that was brewing in front of the tribal chief surrounded by his people. This angered the tribal chief who was sitting amidst all the hung raw meat and huge vessels of boiling tea. He ordered his tribal men to throw the hot tea on Swami ji. Unpredictably, Swamiji just jumped over boldly over the chief’s head and helped himself with the tea. The shocked tribal men began throwing raw meat and snowballs on Swamiji, who told them that they would face similar repercussions of trying to drive him out of that place. Very soon, the Chinese invaded this territory and chased away the Lhamas and Tibetians out.

Reuniting with Bhagwan in Ganeshpuri

Swami Janananda continued meditating in the Himalayas and visited many places like Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Kailas, Manasarovar and other important holy places there. By this time, Bhagwan Nithyananda was in Ganeshpuri. Swami Janananda also reached Ganeshpuri with a deep longing to meet his Master there. After having endured all the cold of the Himalayas, his physical health had taken a toil, having taken a beat of the weather along with long grown hair and beard. When he reached Ganeshpuri and reached the Surya Kunda, without second thoughts Swami ji jumped into the boiling water that was hot enough to cook rice. Swami ji had no feet of its impact but instead mentioned himself that he felt stunned and cold as if he was thrown into a pool of icy water. He then sat there for meditation. Bhagwan Nithyananda was fully aware of this episode through his divine vision and so he sent his devotees to bring Swamiji to him. Bhagwan on seeing his dear disciple embraced him fondly and within moments Swami Janananda’s health was revived. It was then that Bhagwan initiated Swami ji and named him as JANANANDA.

Swami ji takes charge of Kanhangad Ashram

Bhagwan then instructed Swami Janananda to take complete charge of the Kanhagad ashram and to settle down there permanently. Swamiji Janananda followed Bhagwan’s ordered and moved to Kanhangad, staying there till his last breath. He had lived there and always giving the credit of everything to the grace of Bhagwan Nithyananda.

Swami ji converted the wilderness around the Kanhagad ashram to a very habitable tranquil space for visitors and seekers. Since 1955, Bhagwan would constantly send many disciples to Kanhangad. 

Swami Janananda worked hard to make Guruvan also habitable and reachable to people. Today what we see in Kanhangad and Guruvan is the divine outcome of the love, devotion and selfless work of Swami Janananda. The 49 acres in Guruvan was utilised to grow pepper, cashewnuts and betelnuts. At Kanhangad ashram, he built accommodation spaces for travelling sadhus and for visitors. He began free food for all visitors without any discrimination of caste, creed, sex, religion, cult or nationality. He specially began the free balbhojan (food for children), which was one of the foremost services recommended always by Bhagwan to all. His great enthusiasm for proper education soon manifested into the current establishment of Shri Nithyananda Polytechnic College in Kanhangad, that imparts Technical Education to students.

Swami ji’s daily life in Kanhangad

Janananda Swami’s rose early every morning, after which began his hectic ashram activities. He personally supervised the Bal Bhojan, walked through all the fields supervising the crops and trees’ cultivation and the workers on the fields. He also visited Guruvan and Kushal Nagar regularly. Everyday he gave darshan to all the devotees who visited him and also met pilgrims and sadhu-sanyasis. There were no discrimination between anyone in any form. He often gave talks on spirituality to the aspirants who came seeking his guidance. He offered solutions and advises to people who came to him with their sufferings and woes. He had also bore the responsibilities as the Founder of the Polytechnic College which was established in 1966.

Swami ji attended to his pujas daily thrice – morning, afternoon and night. He encouraged the people to celebrate the yearly festivals of Mahashivarathri, Guru Poornima and Datta Jayanthi, to invoke devotion and love in them.

His daily activity began and ended in the love and devotion and gratitude to Bhagwan Nithyananda.

Swami ji meets Bhagwan after 20 years!

Datta Guru Shri Janananda Baba had taken oath not to visit Ganeshpuri till Bhagwan Nityananda invited him.. And had waited for twenty years!

Devotees from Nashik united and pleaded Bhagwan Nithyananda to invite Datta Guru Janananda Baba to Ganeshpuri. Bhagwan Nityananda agreed and cordially invited Datta Guru Reverend Janananda Baba. He really agreed to this and prepared his trip to Ganeshpuri.. He had served meticulously for 20 years at Kahangad before he got this summon from Bhagwan Nityananda to visit Ganeshpuri.

Baba Janananda left to Mumbai from Mangalore via flight. Bhagwan Nityananda, sitting in Ganeshpuri, was telling his devotees the name of towns and villages the plane hovered above enroute to Mumbai.. He began telling to his congregation, that flight was passing over Bajpe, Malpe, Bhatkala, Karwar, Goa, Ratnagiri. He also informed flight would reach Mumbai around 06-00 AM. He directed the airport official who was his staunch devotee, to ensure that Baba Janananda’s car to directly pick Baba Janananda off the aircraft. This privilege was given only to the President and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at that time.

About 5000 devotees and fans had thronged to welcome and receive Baba Janananda at Mumbai airport. He was brought in a grand and vivid procession to Ganeshpuri with so much reverence and care. By the time Baba Janananda ensconced with the huge gathering reached Ganeshpuri, it was night 10 PM. And as he reached Kailash Bhavan, where Bhagwan Nityananda resides, a floral reception was showered upon Baba Janananda.. Thousands had flocked to have a glimpse of Baba Janananda. They prostrated to Baba Janananda in sheer reverence. Baba Janananda’s feet was swollen! As per Bhagwan Nityananda’s desire, he was made to reside there for three days

Swami ji’s Mahasamadhi

In October 1982, a few months before taking Mahasamadhi, he visited Ganeshpuri & performed puja in the Samadhi Temple of Bhagwan Nityananda. He stayed in Bangalorewala Building in Ganeshpuri for a few days, where he would gave darshan everyday, to thousands of devotees of Bhagwan and his own followers.

Sadguru Janananda Swami took Mahasamadhi on the very auspicious day of Datta Jayanti on 27th December, 1982. Janananda’s Swami’s Samadhi Temple is built at Kanhangad below the Nithyananda Temple, near the 43 holy caves. Like Bhagwan’s idol, this idol of Janananda Swami is also made of “Panchloha” and installed right above his samadhi,

Sadguru Swami Janananda had spent more than four decades of fruitful years of his sacred life in the selfless service of Bhagwan Nithyananda.

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