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1903 – 1970
Bishnu Charan Ghosh, one of the greatest and most influential yoga masters of the past century, guru of Bikram Choudhury. Ghosh, born in Lahore, India in 1903, was a celebrated physical culturist and the first to scientifically document Yoga’s ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body. Beginning in the 1920’s, he developed a school of Yoga that provides a unique blend of spiritual inspiration and a highly disciplined physical regimen.
Ghosh came from an extraordinary family. He was initiated into the field of yogic exercise and physical education by his guru and older brother, Paramahansa Yogananda, the world renowned Yogi and spiritual master. Yogananda founded the Self Realization Fellowship Center and his book, “Autobiography of a Yogi”, continues to be one of the best known and influential works of our time.
Ghosh developed a Yoga regimen that provides a unique blend of spiritual inspiration and highly disciplined physical exercise. His view of the human body as the temple of a living God has been a major force in the renaissance of Hatha Yoga in the West. In 1923, at the young age of 20, he founded the first Ghosh College of Physical Education in Calcutta and his fame quickly spread throughout India. Other schools were opened, first in India, and then in locations around the world.
In 1939, Ghosh came to the United States to educate people on the subject of yoga by giving demonstrations of amazing yoga feats. He lectured at Columbia University in New York, generating a great deal of interest in the field, and was widely acknowledged and respected in the academic community. In 1968 he went to Japan with his troupe and traveled all over the country giving lectures and yogic demonstrations. Ghosh’s were the first yoga exhibitions to be televised outside of India, and were seen and loved by millions of Japanese. He passed away in 1970. His legacy is being continued by his son, Biswanath Ghosh, the current director of the Ghosh College in Calcutta.
His students and disciples have gained worldwide recognition as yoga teachers and have won many titles, including the ‘Mr. Universe’ competition. One of them, Bikram Choudhury, has carried the message of the curative powers and benefits of yoga, and the possibility of a disease-free long life, around the world.
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1946-PresentThe Early Years
Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury is the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India™. Born in Calcutta in 1946, Bikram began Yoga at the age of four with India's most-renowned physical culturist at that time, Bishnu Ghosh, the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (Author of the most popular book on Yoga, The Autobiography of a Yogi, and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles).
Bikram practiced Yoga at least four to six hours every day at Ghosh's College of Physical Education in Calcutta. At the age of thirteen, he won the National India Yoga Championship. He was undefeated for the following three years and retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga Champion.
At seventeen, an injury to his knee during a weight-lifting accident brought the prediction from leading European doctors that he would never walk again. Not accepting their pronouncement, he had himself carried back to Bishnu Ghosh's school, for he knew that if anyone could help to heal his knee, it was his teacher. Six months later, his knee had totally recovered. Ghosh was a celebrated physical culturist and the first to scientifically document Yoga's ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body.