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Growing number of Foreigner Sadhus in India


It has been over hundred twenty years since Vivekanand address the World Religion conference on 15th September 1893 , in Chicago with his unique salutation of ‘Brothers & Sisters of America’. That one address was a landmark in official recognition of Indian spirituality in modern era. Indian spirituality was known even before that an had influx of wise men coming to India, over  the long period of time in history.

Throughout the history elite group of learned  people across globe  have been deeply inspired by Indian philosophy and thinking. Vivekanada’s visit to America and later on Yogananda’s visit to US and his world famous book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ has been instrumental in bringing people closer to Indian spirituality. In more recent times, Srila Prabhupada’s Bhakti movement in West has brought many spiritual seekers to India.

Neem Karoli Baba has world wide renowned and famous personalities like Julia Roberts,Steve Jobs & Mark Zuckerberg consider him as a great yogi & Guru.

The wider reach of these Saints and Philosophers has been face of Indian spirituality in western world.

However more recently  trend to travel has taken the return route, Inspired by the various Indian spiritual masters and the books on Indian Philosophy,  many spiritual seekers came to Indian in search of spirituality. Some of them were travelers, tourists and few other were more serious and chose the ultimate path of total renunciation and took Sanyasa and became monks of high order. Deeply immersed in their drive for spiritual quest nothing could bar them from being one with  their spiritual motherland India.


They didn’t know the local language, they were not ware of the customs not had any means to make any earning yet they left their cozy and affluent western lives and became true children of Mother India.

Popularly termed as ‘Foreigner Sadhus’. They are usually quite a charm in local Indian masses and often seen with a lot of curiosity and bewilderment of the general public at large.Often they are looked upon as non serious and part timers in Sanyasi attire, some of the have dug really  deep into ancient  Indian culture and have reached great level of spiritual progress as well. With their devotion , dedication, grit and thirst for knowledge they have reached far from where they started and are here to be reckoned with integral  part of growing  craze for  Vedic culture now.

We have tried to cover few ascetics here of western origin here with the links to their webpages(if it is available).

Acharya Mangalananda:

Acharya Mangalananda is from San Diego, California . He lives in Novato, California . He is currently a teacher in a school at Omkareshwar.
Acharya Mangalanada says about himself thus on his Facebook page (public info ):

“Where is the “self” to write anything about? Does anything exist separate from Ma?

I am an American living in India for many years. I teach in our ashram village school, and I travel three months a year in Europe and US singing concerts and giving classes to raise money for our school. I love people and see all as forms of Ma. I worship the Divine Mother and try to see Her in all forms. I mix freely with all and am everyone’s friend.

I am a direct disciple of Sri Anandamayi Ma, and received mantra diksha from Ma, traveling all over north India with Her.”

Mangalananda is the author of ‘OM MA: Anandamayi Ma’, a short life sketch of one of the twentieth century’s greatest saints. The book contains never before published stories, including the author’s own memories of his time with Ma.

Acharya Mangalananda also performs Bhajans and spiritual meetings along with his group in India and abroad.

His website is :

Radhanath Swami:

Radhanath Swami was born Richard Slavin in Chicago in the year 1950.  He was drawn to spirituality from his very early childhood. He preferred to sit on ground while eating adn had strong aversion to non vegetarian food, which he claims were the seeds of karma from his previous births. He grew fond of hippy culture in his young age of sixties and went to a tour of Europe which his hippie friend.  He landed up in Greece finally, where while meditating in cave on sea shore he heard his inner voice to go to India. He traveled to India via famous hippie route ta that time via Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan,  Pakistan to India. He met met many great spiritual master in his journey through India and detailed all these experiences in his book title ” Journey Home”.

He eventually found his Guru Srila Prabhupada and took diksha from Him. He became Sanyasi later on and  was conferred Title of Swami and received his monastic name Radhanath. He is addressed as Radhanath Swami now and currently lives in Mumbai.

His website is::

His books are : The Journey Within: Exploring the Path of Bhakti , The Journey Home

Swami Bodhichitananda Saraswati :

Swami Bodhichitananda Saraswati is from North Carolina from United states and studied Architecture from North carolina university. He has been a member of Swami Sivananda – Divine Life Society , He is Kriya Yogi who has lived in the Indian Himalayas since 1991.

He received monastic vows from the Self-Realization Fellowship, founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in California, and from Sri Swami Chidananda Saraswati, Rishikesh, in 1999.

He was a personal assistant to Swami Chidananda, and had many roles at the Divine Life Society.

His Kriya Yoga Guru is a Himalayan Yogi, Swami Jnanananda Giri, who walked to India in 1952 after reading Autobiography of a Yogi.

Swami Bodhichitananda primarily teaches Kriya Yoga of Babaji, Integral and Evolutionary Spirituality.

His 35 years of yoga experience gives him much inner knowledge that he shares in a simple and joyful with all students.

Swamiji is a lifelong student of the Great Saints, Yogis and Holy Men of all spiritual traditions; always learning, not an expert. His special interests and teaching skills are in Kriya Yoga, both from the tradition of Paramahansa Yogananda and H.H. Swami Sivananda, especially Raja Yoga, as well as all traditional Yogic knowledge and practice coming from Swami Sivananda and the Yogic traditions of India.


By invitations from spiritual communities, ashrams, yoga centers, individuals, etc., Swami Bodhichitananda tours during the Indian summer monsoons in Europe & sometimes the USA, conducting meditation retreats, spiritual discourses, etc.

He is founder of the Himalayan Yogi’s Ashram, Rishikesh.

AshramIts mission as an ashram and spiritual retreat is to promote Indian spiritual knowledge and culture, embrace all religions and saints of the world, and for a means to gain direct knowledge and experience of Truth.

His website is :

Baba Rampuri :

Baba Rampuri, born William A. Gans (July 14, 1950), is an American born Sadhu. He is one of the first westerners to become a Naga Sadhu and was initiated into Sanyas in 1970. He also wrote a book about his expereinec adn journey to become a Sadhu and his sanyasi life in the book  titled as ‘Autobiography of a Sadhu: A Journey into Mystic India’ originally published in 2005 as Baba: Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Yogi, which has also been translated into German, Russian, Czech, Croatian, and Serbian. He was initiated as Naga Sannyasis after traveling to India on a spiritual quest from his native California in 1969, at the age of 18.

Baba Rampuri is currently Mahant at Shri Panch Dashnam June Akhara.

His website is :

Yogi Baba Prem ::

Yogi Baba Prem Th.D. (Religious) is an international lecturer, author, teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, and Vedic Astrologer. Known for his tremendous love for the Vedas. He has studied and practiced yoga/ meditation over 25 years, and has focused on Raj-Kundalini and Vedic Yoga systems. He is one of the few practitioners of Rishi Yoga. As well as Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology and Sanskrit. He has has been formally recognized with the titles: Yogi, Acharya, Yogacharya, Veda Visharada and Veda Kovid. He is an ordained minister.

Having taught yoga and meditation for over 25 years, his kundalini first awoke in 1987 and he has taught thousands of students about the kundalini. He is one of the few westerners to receive the traditional title of Veda Visharada, having trained for many years in the traditional gurukual system. He has studied Sanskrit; the language many ancient texts were written in.

He was acknowledged a master of Shakti yoga and has taught Raja and Kundalini yoga systems since the 80s. He is also versed in Karma, Bhakti and Naad Yoga systems as well. He us one of the few practitioners in the world of Rishi Yoga. Rishi Yoga is part of the Vedic Yoga tradition and both are amongst the least known systems outside of India and is probably oldest system that has been recorded.

He has home study programs for practicing Vedic Yoga, and provide private instruction on the practice of Vedic Yoga. He also teaches Jnana Yoga and other systems, depending on student’s needs. He is said to be a direct disciple of  Mahavatar Babaji and his Vedic teacher is Pandit Vamadeva Shastri.

His books are:

1.Yoga Roots
2.An Introduction to Astrological a Yoga
3.Yogic Secrets of the Vedas: Exploring the Roots of Yoga and Ayurvedic by Yogi Baba Prem Tom Beal (2011-03-10)
4.From Earth to Heaven: Secrets of Yoga, Goddess and Spirituality

5.Understanding the Kundalini


“Baba Prem is one of the best trained and most articulate spokesmen of Hindu Dharma born in the West. He brings to his teachings a deep study and practice of Yoga, Ayurveda and Jyotish as well as a clear understanding of the principles of Sanatana Dharma and the cultural heritage of India.”
–Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)

“it is rare to meet a westerner that has knowledge such as Yogi Baba Prem does pertaining to these teachings.”
–Sri Shivabalayogi

Website :

Swami Atmalokananda::

Swami Atmalokananda has manged activities at Vivekananda Monastery 1983 Belur Math served Vireshwarananda. He is from Chicago , Illinois and lives in Michigan. Swami Atmalokananda was Born on February 21, 1953. He has been Swami for 45 years, A Modern Mystic with a Mission Heart for Humanity and the World, worshiping the Divinity in All and the Dignity in all Life.

–  Trustee and Swami in Charge at Friends of Mothers Trust Ashram, Lakeshore Interfaith Community

–   Former Swami and Manager at Vivekananda Monastery & Retreat

–  Currently lives in  : Ganges, Michigan

–  He is  originally from: Chicago, Illinois

His was also know as Minister Rev Glenn Davenport. He runs Lakeshore interfaith Institue.The Interfaith Institute, located at Mother’s Trust / Mother’s Place is a community of monastic residents, clergy, dedicated individuals, and an interfaith spiritual community, working together for the common good of people from various faiths, religions and spiritual backgrounds. The Institute maintains a strong commitment to the integrity of each religion and faith tradition, and believes that each can better remain true to itself by honoring the truths inherent in all traditions. The Interfaith Institute believes in the validity of all religions as paths to Truth. We strive to foster the harmony of body, mind and spirit while celebrating the wholeness and oneness of all. Community members welcome all at Mother’s Place and do their best to make it a center to heal, to educate, to transform and to enlighten.

His website is ::

Swami Shankardev Saraswati::

Medical Doctor, Yoga Therapist, Yoga Acharya, Author, International Speaker and Co-founder of Big Shakti with Jayne Stevenson

–  Studied at University of Sydney , Bihar Yoga Bharti / Bihar School Of Yoga , Bihar Yoga Bharathi  & at  Bihar School of Yoga

–  He currently Lives in Sydney, Australia

  • Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati is a western medical doctor, Yoga Acharya (authority), Yoga Therapist, author and teacher.His  Co-founder Director, Jayne Stevenson,  is a writer and filmmaker with a passion for healing and spirituality.

    He says about his spiritual journey as follows:

    ” I read my first book on yoga and meditation when I was 13 years old. The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa tells the story of a young boy who enters a Tibetan Monastery and undergoes rigorous training to become a spiritual adept. This story awoke a deep longing and set the course for my life.

    Today, I am a western medical doctor, yoga Acharya (authority), yoga therapist, psychotherapist, author and teacher. My work integrates western mind-body medicine and psychotherapy with eastern methods of mind-body development and awakening consciousness. In my medical practice and through Skype and telephone consultations I treat chronic physical and psychological diseases by combining western medicine with yoga, yoga-tantra, Ayurveda, and other systems of self-development.

    After attaining my medical degree in 1976, I travelled to India to study at the Bihar School of Yoga, where I remained for 10 years. During this time I wrote several books on yoga and yoga therapy. I returned to Australia in 1985 to research the physiology of yoga at the University of New South Wales, completing a Master of Science degree in 1990.

    Over the last 40 years, I have travelled widely through many countries, learning and teaching esoteric Eastern traditions. I have been privileged to meet and study with many wonderful gurus, teachers and mentors and have made many spiritual friends. As a result, I have had a broad range of both inner and outer experiences, and many wonderful synchronicities.

    These experiences have convinced me of the validity of yoga and meditation as incredibly potent ways of rejuvenating ourselves, of uplifting our minds and hearts, and awakening greater insight into the nature of life and the world we live in.”

    Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati’s qualifications include following:
  • Qualifications

    1976 – MB, BS (Medical Doctor) Sydney University (MD equivalent)
    1981 – Yoga Acharya (Master of Yoga) IYFM, Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, Bihar
    1990 – MSc (Master of Science) University of NSW
    1991 – Cert Ayurvedic Studies, The Ayurvedic Institute, Albuquerque, NM, USA
    2003 – Diploma of Medical Hypnosis, College of Medical Hypnosis
    2010 – Cert Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, Australia

    His books are::

    Published by the Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, Bihar, India:
    Yogic Management of Asthma and Diabetes
    The Effects of Yoga on Hypertension
    The Practice of Yoga for the Digestive System

    Contributed to the book:
    Kundalini Tantra (Bihar School of Yoga)

His website is :

Swami Pranavananda::

–   Director, now semi-retired at Christian Fabre Textiles Pvt Ltd

–    Former  Fashion Designer

–  Studied at LYCEE HENRI IV BEZIERS , Ecole primaire Louis Blanc,  Ecole Lakanal, Beziers

Swami Pranavananad , is originally from From Béziers, France and now lives in Chennai, India.

A Frenchman by birth and an Indian by heart, Pranavananda Brahmendra Avadutta Swamigal is in India for the past 30 years. After many years of practice of Ashtanga Yoga, he was given sannyas dhiksha by his first Guru Vedananda Swamigal under instructions of his true Guru Sarveswara Swamigal in 1988.He intense tapas in Thiruvanamalai, Thiruchengode, Agasthia Malai and finally in Viruduchalam (all these places being in Tamil Nadu, South India) as well as in Kashi (Varanasi) and Rishikesh (both places in North India).

In one of his intense meditations after a prolonged tapas (penance) Swamiji had a clear vision of Lord Shiva in the form of Jyothirlingeshwara. From that moment onwards he had no rest until he found the perfect place to built a hermitage and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Jyothirlingeshwar and to devote his time to the practice of Tapas and service to the surrounding tribals inhabiting these beautiful and unspoilt Hills.

Swamiji is a Hindu Monk of the Avadhuta Order whose Parampara Guru was Swami Sadashiva of Pudukkottai whose Samadhi circa 1750 is at Nerur, 11km from Karur, Tamil Nadu. He spends 10 days per month at his Hermitage/Ashram (Kudil in Tamil) and 20 days of the month he works in semi-retirement with Christian Fabre Textiles Pvt Ltd, based in Chennai.

According to a promise made to his Guruji who gave him Sannyas Dhiksha in 1988, Swami Pranavananda cannot ask for Donations from the Public. Hence, he actively sells some spiritual products on his websites,  the proceeds of which will go towards the promotion of  organic way of living. He also  envisages to build a school from the proceeds of the selling of products  and run it for the underprivileged Tribals of our Kolli Hills in Tamilnadu.

His Autobiography is : The Holy CEO/An Autobiography

His websites are : , ,

Ma Nithya Brahmanjnana::

–   Worked at Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam

–   Studied at Nithyananda Meditation University – Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam

–   Studied TCM, NHD at Shanghai University

–   Went to Champlain High School

–   Currently Lives in Varanasi, India

–   Originally from from Ottawa, Ontario

She is a sanyasini and follower of Swami Nityananda. She quotes herself as follows:

” Everything is Sacred
I am
No body
I do not end
At this skin
who am I
there is no mine
to attach to”

She  worked at

Parama Karuna Devi::

Mataji Param Karna Devi is the founder of Jagannatha Vallabha Research Center.

A  sannyasini, a writer, a teacher and a social worker, she has been studying and practicing Vedic philosophy and sadhana since 1970. Born in an European family of Catholic tradition, she converted to Hinduism in 1978, moving into an ashram to engage exclusively in the study and practice of Vedic spirituality. She has actively worked at the translation and publication of the literary works of the founder or the movement, as well as at the personal service of the Deities in the temple and in teaching.

Subsequently, she traveled around the Indian subcontinent, from the Himalayan foothills to the extreme south, visiting Vrindavana, Mathura, Dvaraka, Gujarat and Rajasthan, Herakhan, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Prayaga, Calcutta, West Bengal, Tripura, Manipur, Orissa and especially Jagannatha Puri, Tirupati, Kanchipuram and Tamil Nadu, Madras, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Trishur, Udupi, Guruvayur, Mangalore, Bangalore and Bombay. In a cultural and spiritual full immersion, she lived as a local person among the local people, attending the traditional Hindu temples and meeting many extraordinary personalities at a very high level in the religious field.

In 1994 she moved to Jagannatha Puri in Orissa, where she establishes the Jagannatha Vallabha Vedic Research Center in 1995. In 1996 she is appointed as member of the Organizing Committee for the Gopala Utsava at the orthodox Hindu temple of Sakshi Gopala, and subsequently she is invited to many conferences, congresses and other cultural and academic events, by  Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti,  Academy of Yoga and Oriental Studies, Utkala University, Jagannatha Sanskrit Vidyalaya and Karma Kanda Vedic Gurukula.

Under  the tutelage of Bhagavan Mishra (deula purohita of Sri Jagannatha Puri Mandir), Jagannatha Mahapatra (mukti mandapa brahmana of Sri Jagannatha Puri Mandir) and other prominent personalities of the orthodox Hindu community in Puri, she enters the traditional purification ceremonies called suddhi, prayaschitta, vratyastoma and diksha, which officialize her affiliation to orthodox Vedic Hinduism.

She has translated and compiled many religious and spiritual texts, regularly publishes articles and discussions on Internet and corresponds with her students from various nationalities.

Her books are following:

Introduction to Vedic knowledge: volume 4: The secondary Vedas

Introduction to Vedic knowledge: volume 3: The fifth Veda

Introduction to Vedic knowledge: volume 2: The four original Vedas

Introduction to Vedic Knowledge: The study of Vedic scriptures along history (Volume 1)

Introduction to Vedic Knowledge

Introduzione alla conoscenza vedica, primo volume (Italian Edition)

Prasnottara ratna malika: The precious necklace of questions and answers

Her website is :

Bhaktananda Yogi::

–  YOGA MASTER,SPIRITUAL GURU,ACHARYA at Vedanta-Yoga universal Spirituality

–   He is a  Yoga Teacher & Former General Counsel at Awareness Consulting

–  He worked as consultant at Yoga My Life (School in Shillong) ,

–  He also worked at AKHANDA YOGA DHAM TRUST (NGO in Rishikesh) , PANCHBRAHMAN,  Mind power Plus (NGO in in Secunderabad), The Vedas.

–  Studied at Facultad de Lenguas Extranjeras ,Studied Pedagogy at Instituto Superior Pedagogico, English language at MARXIMO GORKI INSTITUTE (ISPLE) , Annamalai University & studied at E.E.N. Instituut

–  He has been associted with Instituto Maximo Gorki , S B A C High School Bajwara, Hoshiarpur,  Jai Hind Inter College Charthawal Muzaffarnagar

Bhaktanand Yogi  is originally from He is Originally from Cárdenas, Matanzas, Cuba & currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.Bhaktanand Yogi was  Born on July 13, 1955. He Graduated from MARXIMO GORKI INSTITUTE (ISPLE) in 1975.He has been teaching Hatha ,Raja,Gnana,Karma and Bhakti Yoga for over 40 years. Apart from  teaching yoga he also teaches  other Spiritual Traditionsa as well.He knwo many languages including  Spanish , English , Italian, French, Português (idioma), Cubaba dialect (Taino), Deutsch.

He runs an organization Vedanta-Yoga universal Spirituality  in Toronto, Ontario.He promotes  Universal Spirituality,with most traditions as a whole through the organization.They have  special emphasis on two of the Classical Philosophical schools (Darshanas) of Hinduism,namely,Yoga and Vedanta.

Swami Swarupananda- James-E-de-Jarnette

….More shortly on him

  • Ma Durgananda
  • Arvinda Mcclean
  • Lakshmi nath
  • Kalindi Devi
  • Maha Bhakti Brahmi (Caro Chioli)
  • Nandikara Kaula
  • Swamini Tapasyananda::

    Swamini Tapasyananda lives in  New York.

    She promotes following websites:, ,

All of them are actively following Indian spiritual system and have become more Indian than we might have expected from any foreigner. The list is only a small fraction of  the growing number of foreigners seeking the blessings of spiritual heritage of Mother India.

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