Founder and History of Movement
Occasionally such an individual is born who, by following his tradition correctly and completely, approaches perfection and becomes a symbol to the world. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami was such a man, a living example of awakening and wisdom, a leader recognized worldwide as one of Hinduism's foremost ministers. Gurudeva Suvaya Subramuniyaswami was the foremost exponent and teacher of Saiva Siddhanta in the West, a self-realized Western spiritual master of an age-old Saivite tradition. The name Subramuniya is from Sanskrit and is formed from subhra meaning, light; intuition, and muni, silent sage. Ya means restraint; religious meditation. Thus Subramuniya means a self-restrained soul who remains silent, or when he speaks, speaks out from intuition. Saiva Siddhanta, the name of the Gurudeva's Church is from the Sanskrit language as well and could be roughly rendered in English as The Church of God Siva's Revealed Truth.
Subramuniyaswami as born on January 5, 1927, in Oakland, California, and grew up near Lake Tahoe. He was orphaned by age 11 and raised by a family with deep connections to India. In his teenage years he was trained in classical Eastern and Western dance and in the disciplines of yoga, becoming the premier dancer of the San Francisco Ballet by age 19. Increasingly drawn to a spiritual life, he renounced his career at its height and sailed to India and Sri Lanka in 1947, on the first ship to sail to India following World War II. There he intensified his spiritual training under renowned yogis. In 1948, in the mountain caves of Jalani in central Sri Lanka, he fasted and meditated until he burst into enlightenment. Soon after that God Realization at just 21 years old, he met his satguru (teacher), Yogaswami, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The 72-year-old sage gave him his Hindu name, Subramuniya, and initiated him into the holy order.
Yogaswami, his teacher lived in Jaffna, Sri Lanka during the...