The 1700s were a time of great political turmoil. Corruption was rampant, as was economic disparity. Sri Yogi Nareyana Yathindra’s birth in this period of upheaval hinted at the role the learned sage would play in righting moral wrongs and restoring balance in society.

Sri Yogi Nareyana was born in 1726 in Kaiwara, to Kondappa and Muddamma, a couple from the Telugu speaking ‘Banajiga’ community. Sri Nareyana’s father, Kondappa, was a traditional bangle seller and his mother was a homemaker. The birth of their son, after several years of hardship was, to the couple, the answer to their most ardent prayers and a true blessing from the Almighty. In gratitude, they chose to name him ‘Nareyana,’ after Lord Vishnu, who is also known by the same name.

Growing up, Sri Nareyana was quite unlike other children his age. He was often found sitting in deep

meditation in the temples of Sri Amara Nareyana and Sri Bheemalingeshwara. His avid interest in bhajans, puranas and keerthanas was startling for a child of his age.

Although a rather serious and introspective person by nature, Sri Nareyana thoroughly enjoyed folk entertainment like dances and street plays. In particular, he drew great pleasure from Hari and Shiva Kathas, retellings of Lord Vishnu’s life, set to music and song. Not only did these stories impart valuable lessons that left a lasting impression on Sri Nareyana, they also greatly kindled his religiosity.