He once wrote to the Libertarian Book Club in New York, and it was through this letter that my teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life got in touch with him in 1984. In the letters they sent back and forth, Swami Nirmalananda shared his ideas about anarchy. While the word typically refers to self-rule, not following what is imposed upon us by governments or corporations, Swami Nirmalananda had a more advanced interpretation of anarchy, that is Self-rule, to be ruled by the enlightened self. In 1986, Sharon Gannon and David Life went to visit him, and stayed with him for one week of intense study. It was then that my teachers were taught the mantra that we recite today: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. To him, the spiritual practice does not mean we stay away from politics. It means that because we are spiritual, we are urged even more to care about what happens to others.
And so it is, that Swami Nirmalananda changed many lives, including mine even though I never met him, because he lived as an example. And his choice to be the change he wishes to see in the world created a ripple effect that led Jivamukti Yoga to be born, and countless number of people worldwide to be inspired by the teachings of yoga beyond asana. The life he lived still reverberates to us until this day.