The practice of Siddha Yoga first began with Bhagawan Nityananda, a prominent Indian figure known as a saint as well as a guru. Nityananda named Swami Muktananda to follow in his footsteps of this movement. Known as Baba to his apostles, it is this man who began calling the practice Siddha Yoga.
Swami Muktananda expanded the following of Siddha Yoga, and the group of practitioners in Ganeshpuri increased in number and took on the name Gurudev Siddha Peeth. Siddha Yoga’s expansion was the result of yogi in India as well as those that visited Swami Muktananda’s community in the Catskill Mountains, just north of NYC, named for his ashram: Nityananda.
Swami Muktananda traveled with a Hindu woman from Bombay, a disciple who served as his interpreter. Malti Shetty – called Gurumayi Chidvilasananda during this time – was appointed co-guru, along with his brother Subhash Shetty, known in the practice as Mahamandaleshwar Swami Nityanand. During the month of May in the year 1982, the two individuals became known to those in the Siddha Yoga community as the primary spiritual leaders.
Following the death of Swami Muktananda, his brothers ran the Siddha Yoga practice. Trouble arose shortly after the successors came into power, and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda took over the practice. She has continued her leadership, as Muktananda had wished, to this very day.