Even in childhood, Nityananda seemed to be in an unusually advanced spiritual state, which gave rise to the belief that he was born enlightened. He was eventually given the name Nityananda, which means, “always in bliss”.
Before the age of twenty, Nityananda became a wandering yogi, spending time on yogic studies and practices in the Himalayas and other places. By 1920, he was back in southern India.
Settled in southern India, Nityananda gained a reputation for creating miracles and wonderful cures. He started building an ashram near Kanhangad, Kerala state. The local police thought he must be producing counterfeit money to pay for the building, so Nityananda took them to a crocodile-infested pool in the jungle. He dived in and then produced handfuls of money, which was apparently enough to satisfy the police. The beautiful hill temple and Ashram in Kanhangad are now pilgrim centres. The Guruvan, a forest in the hills nearby where Bhagawan sat on penance, is now a pilgrim retreat.
By 1923, Nityananda had wandered to the Tansa Valley in Maharashtra state. There, his reputation as a miracle worker attracted people from as far away as Mumbai, though he never took credit for any miracles. He said, “Everything that happens, happens automatically by the will of God.” Nityananda gave a great deal of help to the local adivasis, who were despised by the population at large. Nityananda set up a school, as well as providing food and clothing for them.1 2 3 4 5