Since its official launch in 2005, Bhakti Marga has organically grown under the ever-present guidance and support of Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda. His Divine Love, tireless dedication, and accessibility have inspired thousands around the world to come together in support of His mission and to live His teachings in their daily lives.
Here are a few highlights of the journey so far.
2005 Bhakti Marga Mission Launched
The Bhakti Marga organisation was created to help Paramahamsa Vishwananda fulfil His mission of 'opening the hearts of mankind'. This mission was officially launched on Paramahamsa Vishwananda's 27th birthday.
Spiritual Order Established
The first brahmacharis (monks) and brahmacharinis (nuns) were initiated into the Bhakti Marga Spiritual Order in 2005.
The first Swamis were initiated in 2008, and in 2011, Paramahamsa Vishwananda began expanding upon the Vaishnava traditions by initiating women as Swaminis.
Those who wish to follow His teachings and acknowledge Paramahamsa Vishwananda as their guru may also take devotee initiation.
Seeds of Community
A group of early devotees chose to buy several small houses and live together in the tiny village of Steffenshof, Germany. This was the first ashram for Bhakti Marga and together the devotees helped their Master grow His mission.
Through extensive international travels, Paramahamsa Vishwananda began to attract a diverse group of followers who found great value in gathering together to worship, sing, study, and support one other on the bhakti path.
Painting was established as a spiritual practice from the time that the first ashram was established.
Music has always played a major role in both daily prayers and major events. Together, they are the foundation of the Devotional Arts we know today, and will always be an integral part of the path of living bhakti.
Our bhakti path uniquely blends the Sri Sampradaya temple rituals together with classic Vedic hymns. These heart-touching devotional love songs glorify and deepen our connection with the Divine deities we serve.
2007 Yoga & Meditation Practices
Meditation and yogic practices help to still the mind and purify the negativity that keeps us from advancing on the spiritual path.
With the blessing of His guru Mahavatar Babaji, Paramahamsa Vishwananda introduced Atma Kriya Yoga, OM Chanting, and Babaji Surya Namaskar to help practitioners turn inward to focus their mind and body on the Divine.
Life is successful when God's blessing is upon it and a temple inauguration is a powerful blessing for everyone involved. Paramahamsa Vishwananda continually travels the globe to open temples all over the world.
Bhakti Marga temples around the world offer prayer services to uplift participants and to celebrate the love of God. Community prayers are stronger than personal prayers since they benefit not only the participants, but all who come in contact with them.
2008 Launch of Bhakti Marga Publications
Paramahamsa Vishwananda's wisdom fills dozens of books, CDs, and DVDs. What started with His Just Love collection of talks and Q&A books, grew to include commentaries on five prominent scriptures.
Over the years, other Bhakti Marga titles have been added to the library. See our publications page for a full selection of our 20+ titles, many of which are available in print, ebook and multiple languages.
2013 Maha Kumbh Mela Pilgrimage
Many firsts were recorded when Paramahamsa Vishwananda led a large group of white western pilgrims, the majority of whom were women, into the baths of the Maha Kumbha Mela.
Historically, it was unheard of to have both white men and women in the river bathing with the sadhus all at the same time. And, it was the first time that the so-called untouchables were permitted to take a bath in the holy rivers.
Another first occurred when Paramahamsa Vishwananda, a Vaishnava, rode together on the same chariot with a Shaivite. It had also been thousands of years since both groups bathed together in the same spot on the same day.
Shree Peetha Nilaya, the flagship ashram of Bhakti Marga, opened its doors to guests in June. To this day, it remains a hub of activity as an international gathering place for bhaktas to come to learn, selflessly serve and celebrate the Divine.
Bhakti Marga has a growing number of country ashrams opening up around the world. These centres are usually home to one or more Swamis or Swaminis, as well as brahmacharis (monks) and brahmacharinis(nuns) who have chosen to dedicate their lives to serving God, guru and the mission.
National ashrams offer a more intimate gathering place for people to come together to learn and grow, and support each other on the spiritual path.
Beginning this year, Paramahamsa Vishwananda started to give commentaries on the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Sri Guru Gita. These teachings provide the philosophical foundation for our bhakti path.
Throughout the hundreds of satsangs that He gives, Paramahamsa Vishwananda shines new light on ancient knowledge in a way that helps everyone rise above the challenges of today's world.
2015 10-Year Anniversary
Bhakti Marga celebrated it's 10-year anniversary with a three-day music festival attended by more then 2500 people from every corner of the globe. The festival was such a success, it was turned into an annual event called the Just Love Festival.
2016 Just Love Festival
The Just Love Festival has become Europe's largest spiritual festival and is an annual celebration attended by thousands. The festival attracts world-class musicians and caters to a wide audience, giving everyone an uplifting experience of Divine Love.
The family-friendly event hosts a wide variety of devotional music, a playful Holi colour toss, creative art programs, homemade vegetarian cuisine, inspiring spiritual talks, and much more.
A New Home in Vrindavan, India
Opening the Shree Giridhar Dham ashram and temple in Vrindavan gave the devotees of Paramahamsa Vishwananda the opportunity to come and experience the never-ending lila of Radha and Krishna for themselves. These timeless lovers represent the eternal relationship between the Soul and its Beloved Lord.
2018 The Jubilee of Love
The Jubilee of Love was a 10-day extravaganza celebrating Paramahamsa Vishwananda's 40th Appearance Day, the opening of the Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir, and the 3-day Just Love Festival. The event brought in guests and dignitaries from all over the world.
The Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir Opens
In a joyful 4-day ceremony, the Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir opened as a testament to bhakti. It was designed to saturate the senses with the Divine on every level: art, scriptures, music, worship practices, the lives of saints, and a community of lovers of the Lord.
The artwork alone, inspired by the pastimes of the Lord as told in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam, is enough to merit a visit.
Those at a distance may also take part via daily livestreams of morning prayers, satsangs (spiritual Q&A), and evening aratis.
Saints of India Museum
The Saints of India Museum opened to display an impressive array of more than 1000 relics collected from the most esteemed and revered saints in all of Hinduism. Paramahamsa Vishwananda created this one-of-a-kind museum to honour the saints, sages, and yogis for their contribution to humanity, and to invite the world to be inspired by their extraordinary lives.
2020 Online Events
With the onset of travel restrictions due to the global pandemic, people could no longer come to Paramahamsa Vishwananda personally for His blessing (darshan).
His response was to go directly into people's homes by offering online darshans, live chanting of the Divine Name, and satsangs (spiritual Q&A) through regular livestreams.
Changes were also made to festivals, educational programs and trainings to allow the world to attend online.
Decade of Love
The story of the first 10 years of Paramahamsa Vishwananda's mission of Love. Tons of photos, devotee's experiences, and the story of how the entire mission unfolded and grew.