Swami Abhishiktananda

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Fast Facts
Henri le Saux3.gif
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Dom Henri Le Saux
Spiritual Teacher
Christian meditative, Advaita Vedanta
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
30 august 1910
Place of Birth: 
Saint-Briac, Bretagne, France
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
7 december 1973
Ancestor Gurus: 
Other Related Gurus: 
Swami Gnanananda, Sri Swami Ajatananda Saraswati (Swami Abhishiktananda's disciple)


Henri Le Saux, known as Abhishiktananda or Swami Abhishiktananda (lit. 'the bliss of the annointed one of the Lord'), was a Frenchman, an old- fashioned priest of Breton seafaring stock, who had spent his early monkish days as a Benedictine monk in the monastery of Kergonan near Briac. His coming to India in 1948 was the fulfilment of a dream that had lingered round his consciousness since he was a novice - he wanted to bring Benedictine life to India. Abhistikanankda lived at Shantivanam, an ashram in Tamil Nadu he had founded with another French Catholic priest, Fr Monchanin

Henri Le Saux was born in France in 1910 and entered a Benedictine monastery in 1929. As early as 1934, he felt his monastic calling should be fulfilled in India, but many years passed before this was possible. Finally, he discovered another French Priest, Father Jules Monchanin, (already in India since 1939) who had a similar aspiration. In 1948, in a most unusual act by the Church, Fr Le Saux was granted an indult of exclaustration (allowing him to leave the enclosure and confines of monastic life) and permitted to join Fr Monchanin. In 1950, they founded a small ashram named Shantivanam, in Trichinopoly, on the banks of the Cauvery River.

Sometime thereafter, Henri Le Saux was stunned by his experience meeting the great Indian sage Ramana Maharshi. Here was a devoted, loyal son of the Church, a Benedictine monk, given to years of Lectio Divina, and the Holy Eucharist in Latin, experiencing the totality of divinity in the presence of a silent Indian Saint. Shortly thereafter, Ramana Maharshi took samadhi (passed on) and the questions surrounding this experience of his were to ferment within the young Le Saux, and drive his enquiry for the remainder of his life.

"OM the mystery of the Spirit. But ultimately there is no name for the Father, for the Father can never be known in himself. He is known only through his self-manifestation in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. The Father is that last or fourth part of the OM, which is pure Silence."

In 1953, Fr. Le Saux met the renowned Advaita master and disciple of Ramana Maharshi, H.W.L. Poonja, (Papaji), who became an important teacher for him. Later on, he met Sw. Gnanananda, a guru in the Advaita Vedanta tradition who lived near the holy mountain of Arunachala, and Le Saux became a formal disciple of his.

After Fr Monchanin died in 1957, Abhishiktananda was drawn toward North India and the Himalayas. In 1961-62 he build a small hermitage beside the holy river Ganges, in Uttarkashi, in the heart of the Himalayas. Until 1968, he alternated between there and Shantivanam and after that, made Uttarkashi his home until he died of a heart attack, at a hospital in Indore, during 1973.



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