Bishnu Ghosh was widely considered one of the greatest Physical Culturalists of the 20th Century, a man way ahead of his time in the field of physical fitness. He was at the vanguard of the use of weightlifting and body building as means of physical training, and combined with Yoga techniques advancing the possibilities of the human body and mind, and improving and maintaining physical and mental health. At his Ghosh’s College many great Yogis, champions, and body builders were trained and developed, including the first Mr. Universe, Monotosh Roy. Bishnu Ghosh was a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, a philoshopher, as well as a great Hatha Yoga Master. He served on the faculty of Columbia University, and joined his brother Paramahansa Yogananda in the U.S. in 1925, helping him set up the now world-wide Self Realization Fellowship. Bishnu Ghosh would take his troupe of highly trained Yogis to do shows around the world demonstrating the power derived from Yoga practice by performing incredible and seemingly impossible feats. He served on the Indian Olympic Committee, and helped to introduce Yoga to Japan. His famous speech, given on Fuji TV, Tokyo, in 1968 has been played at the Graduation ceremonies for every Bikram’s Yoga Teacher Training since they began in 1994.
Bishnu Ghosh wrote the forward and helped his disciple Budda Bose author the book The Key to the Kingdom of Health, and together with Keshub Ch. Sen Gupta, B.A., put together the book Muscle Control and Barbell Excercise, in 1930. The latter can be found on the webpage: http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Sengupta/sen-intro.htm. Both are remarkable books with amazing photos of the techniques learned and practiced by great Yogis under the guidance of Bishnu Charan Ghosh.
Bishnu Ghosh’s most favorite, well known, and devoted disciple is Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram’s (or “Hot”) Yoga, and widely considered the most knowledgeable Yoga Teacher living today. Bikram began his study of Yoga with his guru at the age of 5. Under Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram became an unprecedented 3 time All-India National Yoga Champion from ages 12-14, and was given the name “Yogiraj” by Ghosh’s contemporary and friend, the great Yogi Swami Sivananda. Bikram also became a world champion weight-lifter during his teenage years. It was the last words of his guru to Bikram: “to continue his unfinished mission,” to spread the wisdom and techniques of India’s age old science of Yoga to Japan, to the West, and to the rest of the world, that has always been the blessing and force behind Bikram’s lifelong and successful effort to spread his Yoga worldwide.
Another great and well known Yogini who began and developed at the Ghosh’s College is Rajashree Choudhury, Bikram’s wife. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, under the guidance of her guru and disciple of Bishnu Ghosh, Dr. Prem Sundar Das, as well as Biswanath Ghosh, Rajashree became the only 5 time All-India National Yoga Champion, and has become the first person to receive an Indian Government and UNESCO accredited PhD. in Yoga Therapy. Rajashree was the initial inspiration behind Bikram’s famous Yoga Teacher Training program, and has developed into one of the foremost Yoga teachers in the world.
In 2003, Bikram sponsored and produced the first International Yoga Expo, in both Los Angeles and in Kolkata, honoring and celebrating the Centennial of his guru’s birth, which included the first International Hatha Yoga Asana Championship–Bishnu Ghosh Cup, which has been a growing annual event ever since, and with a goal progressing towards the inclusion of Yoga in the Olympics.
Visiting the Ghosh’s Yoga College in Kolkata, you would see on the walls the decades of photos of the great Yogis, who learned and trained there, including Bikram and Rajashree, as well as Paramahansa Yogananda and the great dignitaries who honored and visited the school.
It’s a proud and authentic lineage that all practitioners and teachers of Bikram Yoga are directly connected to, through their teachers, Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury.
Right around the corner from Ghosh’s Yoga College, in Kolkata, is the Ghosh family house where Yogananda, Bishnu Ghosh, and their brothers and sisters grew up, in the home of their parents, disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya. Bhagabati Ghosh (Yogananda’s and Bishnu Ghosh’s father) had bought the two houses, and given what’s now Ghosh’s Yoga College to Bishnu, and the family house to his third son, Sananda, an accomplished painter, whose granddaughter now caretakes the home as a museum of the family and Yogananda.