Nilachala Saraswata Sngha
'Nilachala Saraswata Sngha(NSS), Puri' was founded by Swami Nigamananda Paramhans Dev exclusively for his Oriya-speaking household devotees on 24th August 1934, the full moon day of the Indian month of Sravana at Nilachal Kutir, his eternal abode at Puri on the Eastern sea-coast. That day was incidentally his birthday. The Oriya devotees gathered there to celebrate his birthday and pay him their regards. Swami Nigamananda felt a divine urge from within to form this Sangha as expressed by him before the devotees there. The main purpose was to unite his handful of Oriya devotees then for his worship jointly at a common place and to foster a common bond among them as his disciples and devotees. After forming the Sangha and naming it as Nilachal Saraswat Sangha, Swami Nigamananda categorically told the members to lead an ideal household life on the lines of his teachings, keep his image or photographs in the house and worship it as Guru as per their oriya traditions and share their spiritual experiences among themselves without any reservation. The devotees were also advised to have a weekly congregation specially on Sundays at a suitable place for joint worship of the Guru, discuss his ideas and read his books.
NSS was started with very few members. Most of them were then the school students. After their studies, they were scattered but were meeting without fail at Nilachal Kutir, Puri on the occasion of the birth day celebration of their Guru. Swami Nigamananda told them that his devotees were there in this part of the country and they would gradually join this Sangha. The words of the Saddguru were unfailing. This happened after the Oriya biography of Swami Nigamananda was published in the year 1942 AD. After reading this book, many people were attracted towards this Sadguru and became his devotee owing allegiance to NSS which he founded for Oriya devotees primarily.
The first Secretary of the Sangha was Shri Banamali Dash, an eminent lawyer, social worker and a dignitary of Puri, a disciple of Swami Nigamananda who subsequently became its President.
NSS is now a registered body under the Societies Registration Act of India. It has a registered 'Bye-law' which contains details of its organizational structure and positions created for its effective management. It's registered Head-quarter is at Shri Nigamananda Smruti Mandir, Swargadwar, Puri, Orissa, India whereas its working office at present is at Satsikshya Mandir, A/4, Unit-9, Bhubaneswar-751022, Orissa, India. NSS has a Governing Body consisting of 9 members. This body is aided in its decision-making process and administration of NSS by an 'Advisory Board' comprising representatives from all its branches called 'Sakha Sangha'. The role and functions of these two bodies have been clearly defined in the 'Bye-Law' of NSS. President of the Governing Body is the head of NSS.
At present, NSS has more than 150 branches (Sakha Sangha) in different parts of the Orissa State for the convenience of the collective worship of Shri Guru Maharaja by the devotees at a nearby place. Some branches have 'Pathachakras' which are units of small groups of devotees for joint worship and study of books published by NSS. Outside Orissa, NSS has a number of branches such as New Delhi, Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc, to mention a few. It has also crossed the boundary of India with its branch in United States of America. Each branch has a Managerial Body to look after its day-to-day management. The NSS has now about 4000 approved family worship centers at the houses of member-devotees which are called 'Gruhasanas' with an image of Guru installed in it for providing opportunity for daily worship of Shri Guru at the family level where Shri Shri Guru Maharaj is considered not only as a member of the family but its head. Such Gruhasanas are places for spiritual practices of individual members of NSS also.
The NSS has a wing for the women devotees which has been named 'Nilachala Saraswata Mahila Sangha(NSMS). It is also a registered body under the Societies Registration Act. It has also a Governing Body consisting of 9 members. The NSMS functions under the control of the NSS. At the branch (Sakha Sangha) level, there are also 'Mahila Sanghas' which function under the control of branch Sangha. The women devotees of the Sakha Sangha congregate on a particular day at stipulated intervals for collective worship separately. Many branches of NSS have now wings for the young devotees called 'Sevak Sanghas' or 'Kishore Sanghas' which also meet separately for worship under the control of the branch. There are also wings at some branches for the unmarried girls for separate worship by them under the control of the branch called 'Kumari Sanghas'.
The NSS which had a humble beginning with a handful of devotees in the year 1934 A.D. has grown in size, strength and structure over the years due to the grace of Shri Shri Guru Maharaj and has now about 10,000 devotees and is an important religious organization in the State of Orissa and India.
The NSS issues annual identity cards to its members containing the text of daily prayers before the Guru and some do's and don'ts. The NSS believes in the eternal existence of Shri Shri Guru Maharaj, Swami Nigamananda Saraswati Dev. Each member of NSS accepts Swami Nigamananda as their only Guru and Ista and gives affirmation to NSS that is or she will be fully guided by the directions of the NSS. As per the 'Bye-Law' of NSS, only household devotees of Swami Nigamananda will be its members.
Being a religious organization, NSS undertakes a number of religious activities throughout the year both at the Central and branch levels. The birthday of Shri Shri Guru Maharaj is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the devotees at Nilachal Kutir, Puri. NSS observes its annual day on the next day at Smruti Mandir, Puri. It organizes many educative programs at Satsikshya Mandir, Bhubaneswar every year for the executive members of branches who look after management of these bodies. NSS has since published Oriya translations of all the books written by Swami Nigamananda. It has also several other publications to its credit for the benefit of the devotees. It also brings out a quarterly religious journal in Oriya, 'The Sangha Sevak' containing discussions on the life and teachings of Swami Nigamananda and writings on various other religious matters. Each branch of NSS holds weekly congregations of devotees for collective worship of the Guru, discussions on the life and teachings of the Guru, reading of books, sharing spiritual experiences and exchange of emotions. Branches also organize several functions on various festive days.
NSS organizes an annual conference of its devotees at various places in Orissa at the time of the full moon day of the month of Magha which provides a forum for meeting of all the devotees both male and female belonging to NSS to worship the Guru Maharaj collectively, exchange ideas and share spiritual experiences among them. This annual conference is called the Utkal Pradeshik Bhakta Sammilani where discussions are held on living an ideal household life and Sangha Saktir Pratistha (matters relating to NSS and organization of groups of devotees for collective worship) with Bhaba Binimay ( interchange of emotions). Devotees derive great pleasure in attending it and meeting other devotees from various places once in a year. This conference also helps in the propagation of the teachings and ideas of Shri Shri Guru Maharaj among the local people where it is held.
The NSS guide their member devotees on the path of their spiritual progress and in attainment of Chitta Sudhi and helps in the fulfillment of the mission of Swami Nigamananda in Orissa in propagating the Eternal Religion, spreading Satsikshya and Siva Jnane Jiva Seva (serving the humanity) in various ways. Its member-strength is increasing from year to year and will continue to do so.