Birth and Childhood

Sri Sri Sri Balagangadharanatha Mahaswamiji was born as Gangadharaiah on 18th January 1945 in a humble but devoted family of Subhedars in Banandur, Bangalore District. The child grew and delighted the parents and charmed everybody in the village. In his early childhood days he would listen keenly to the mythological stories narrated by his grandfather.

 Gangadhariah was admitted to the village primary school where his teachers found him more than ordinary. He was kind-hearted and the other children in school and village enjoyed his company. At the age of 9, he finished his primary school and was admitted to middle school at Bidadi near Bangalore. The young Gangadhariah would walk from Banandur to Bidadi and back every day, a distance of 6 kilometers. The headmaster of the school noticed something special in the boy and offered to keep him at his home so that he could get more time for studies.

 At high school, young Gangadhariah studied Kannada, English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics but his mind was full of divine thoughts. He also took active part in sports and games. He joined National Cadet Corpse and participated in extracurricular activities. He was also a lover of nature. As a student, Gangadhariah would sit on a small hillock and muse on the ultimate purpose of life. He would meditate and remain in silence for a long time.

 Gandadhariah’s childhood days were momentous. Many knew he was evolving – a student in the classroom and a sage at the foot of the hill. A gradual identification of the individual with the divine developed, especially through the practice of meditation.