Swami Sivananda Saraswati first envisioned a yoga gurukul when he established the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Rishikesh. This inspiration was carried forward by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who established the Ganga Darshan complex in Munger. Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, with the blessings of his predecessors, went on to found Bihar Yoga Bharati.
Bihar Yoga Bharati has its roots in the ancient past. Thousands of years ago, the state of Bihar was the home of two great spiritual universities. The university at Nalanda at one time housed more than 10,000 students, monks and scholars, many coming from far-off lands to study there. It was also famous for its library, which was ten storeys high. The university at Vikramshila, near Bhagalpur, emphasized the study of tantra.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati founded the Bihar School of Yoga (BSY) in 1963 in order to carry out the mission given to him by his guru to spread the message of yoga from door to door and from shore to shore. Under the banner of BSY, he propagated yoga for people of all ages from all countries, races, religions and cultures. Under his guidance, the ancient science of yoga was taught on a scientific basis with clarity and vision. Today BSY has become internationally recognized and respected as a teaching institution of the highest standard. Bihar Yoga Bharati is thus a natural continuation of the teaching activities of BSY.
After Swami Satyananda Saraswati entered the stage of kshetra sannyasa (renunciation of the establishment) in 1988, the responsibility of realizing the vision of Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda was passed on to Swami Niranjanananda. For five years he developed Ganga Darshan and laid the groundwork for the realization of his guru’s vision. In 1994 he founded and established BYB as a registered and accredited institution for yogic sciences at Ganga Darshan.
The institute was formally inaugurated on 8th September 1995, the 108th birthday of Swami Sivananda, and the first courses started soon thereafter. The institute was granted the status of a deemed university by the Central Government in 2000, thus becoming the world’s first yoga university offering postgraduate courses in the faculties of Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Psychology and Applied Yogic Sciences, along with diploma and certificate courses. Since 2006, BYB has been functioning as an institute for advanced studies in yogic sciences in its own Yoga Vidya campus adjoining Ganga Darshan.