The holy Saint was born in a small village in the state of Bikaner. Prom his childhood, he was naturally detached and when still young became a pupil of a Paramahansa Mahatma of the Nath school and studied Vedanta under him.
He then withdrew for a few years to practice meditation and samadhi. It was at this time that he is said to have met a great Light – whom we know to have been Swami Krishnanandji – whom he acknowledged as his Guru. With his permission he went to Kashi where he continued his meditations under a disciple of his Guru and completed his studies of Vedanta and the great classics Rishikesh under the Mahatma Dhanrajgiri. Swami Mangalnath was then acknowledged to be one of the greatest Mahatmas of the Himalayas and a scholar of surpassing eminence, wholly devoted to Shri Shankaracharya for his inspiration.
He went on a pilgrimage to Uttarkashi and remained for a long time in obscurity meditating in caves on mountain heights and spending his time in contemplation. No real account of his life at this stage is available, but we find him later in Rishikesh, surrounded by young monks, teaching. At this time it was his habit to go out early in the morning into the dense forests, returning to his hut late in the evening to teach . Sometimes he would remain away for days together. Mahatmas and pundits from far and near would wait indefinitely to catch even a glimpse of him, for he was reputed to be the holiest Saint of his time. At last he made himself available to all and in his Sat Sang, great scholars and leaders of men as well as maharajas and monks were present, amongst them often the well-known figure of the Founder of Benares University,
He had many women amongst his Brahmacharis, perhaps the most revered and outstanding personality was the teacher Jivinai, whose own pupils used to attend on the Saint personally. Swami Mangalnathji established special huts for the protection of cows and had his own herd which he cared for personally, the milk being distributed amongst the poor in the neighbourhood.
One of his great pupils was Swarupananda Swami, who was converted in his first interview with the Saint. It is said that this young monk had studied under a dualist teacher and when he came to Rishikesh approached Swami Mangalnathji, in great arrogance, hoping to confound him with the following question: “There are two theories in Vedanta, to which do you subscribe? Is empirical world the mental vrtti objectified or is the objective world a reality which the vrtti receives and reports to the jiva”? The saint, without a word, entered samadhi and by his grace the truth revealed itself to the young monk in one illuminating flash, so that he fell at the feet of the one who became then and there his Guru.
Swami Mangalnathji is said to have understood the western mind better than any other teacher of his time, he is said to have had a keen sense of humour; his every gesture was a lesson and his compassion was boundless.
He entered Videha-mukta in the year 1930, and it is recorded that after he left the body, his bramacharis met him on the banks of the Ganges, thus proving the mastery of natural laws by the emancipated yogi.
The following are a few sayings attributed to the Saint:”The world is an extension of our mind in and through God; both bondage end emancipation are also mental creations. Mind itself is a phenomenon in God. When the mind, detached from its creation sees its substratum, Self, it becomes illumined and’ merges itself in Bliss Infinite. This state is called Nirvana; it is the normal state of self. May all acquire it and be free in bliss.”
“Remember that the events and incidents of the world are moving pictures in the mind of Virat. They come and go and serve a purpose in the scheme that Virat lies. Do net be disappointed, do not be surprised, accept all. 0M.”
“A Yogi must think ‘ I am dead to the world of Maya and risen in the world of Atman. The world of maya is what enters the mind thorough the five senses and a creation of the mind itself. To consider it unreal is to be dead to it. To be ever alive in the contemplation of the Lord and in the service and attention to the Teachings, is to be risen in Atman.”
“There was a man who used to be afraid of snakes; so taken up was he with the snake idea that he suspected everything and even when food was offered him, looked for snakes in it. So persecuted, so torn with this idea was the man that his teacher came and gave him a hammer and said, “strike anything you think is a snake with this hammer and it will go.” Duality is the snake, the poor jiva is the man who thinks ’I am this ‘, I am that’ that is the snake idea which is more trouble than a real snake. Take the hammer of Sarvam Kalvidam Brahman”
– Verily all is Brahman – whenever a thought of duality or difference comes to you. Strike with the hammer of ‘Sarvam Kalvidam Brahman’ then sleep like an Avadhut, or like the son of a king, not the king, for he is full of cares and responsibilities, but the son of a king who has no cares and everything -provided for him. Before going to sleep dispel the phantom snake of duality with the hammer of ’All is Brahman.’