Swami Bodhananda Saraswati

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Fast Facts
Swami Bodhananda.gif
Spiritual Teacher
Advaita Vedanta
Main Countries of Activity: 
India, USA
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Kerala, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Ancestor Gurus: 


His Holiness Swami Bodhananda Saraswati
is highly respected in America and India as an accomplished teacher of Vedanta and meditation. He was born in Mattatur, Kerala, 36 miles from Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya. His birthplace, spiritual fervor and experiences as a youth, seemed to destine him for the life of a sannyasin. At an early age he felt a spiritual calling, readily took to spiritual tapas, and, with a deep sense of compassion, vowed to help humanity. With this frame of mind, he completed his undergraduate degree in economics at Christ College, Irinjalkuda, Kerala. During his post-graduate year, his true calling interrupted further academic pursuits. The young aspirant set out in search of divine understanding, wandering throughout the Himalayas for a number of years. Finally, he settled in Kerala where, as a brahmachari, he joined the Saraswati order-one of ten sannyasa orders established by Adi Shankaracharya, the renowned 8th century Indian philosopher and exponent of Advaita Vedanta.

In 1978, after several years of intensive study, he embarked on his mission of teaching. His brilliance as both a student and teacher of Vedanta was apparent, and, in 1984, he was initiated into sannyas ashram-the crown of renunciation. His leadership capabilities were soon recognized, and in 1988 he was offered the honor of setting up a teacher training facility, Sandeepani, in Kerala. Many of his students from that era have become well-respected and accomplished swamis.

Presently, Swami Bodhananda is the Spiritual Founder and Director of 11 organizations and ashrams under the umbrella of the Sambodh Foundation, New Delhi, India (1991); the Bodhananda Research Foundation for Management and Leadership Studies, Trivandrum, Kerala, India (1994); and, The Sambodh Society, Inc. (1997), his American organization. Each ashram and/or organization is unique, tailored to the needs, interests and special capabilities of his devotees engaged therein. Through these organizations, and under Swamiji's guidance, his devotees receive scriptural knowledge, spiritual training and perform social service.

Swami Bodhananda is the author of several books: Meditation: The Awakening of Inner Powers, The Gita & Management, and a monograph titled, "Rishi Vision." Swamiji's Meditation book has recently been revised (2001) and is accompanied by a recording of several guided meditations that complement the text. His third major book, Self Unfoldment in An Interactive World (2001), is his most recent publication and presents an innovative rendering of this timeless topic. Many recordings of his lectures are also available, the most recent being a special Limited Edition of the Taittiriya Upanishad, recorded in April 2001, during a spring-time Himalayan retreat in the Sattal region of Utteranchal, India (formerly part of Uttar Pradesh).

In 1997, Swami Bodhananda began his mission in America. His first visits were to New York, Michigan, Illinois and California. At the end of this first tour, Swamiji and a group of devotees from both California and Michigan drafted the incorporation papers for The Sambodh Society, Inc.-a non-profit religious organization established for the purpose of teaching meditation and Vedanta.

Since that initial visit, Swamiji has returned annually to the US, teaching meditation, offering lectures in Vedantic wisdom, visiting and discoursing with his devotees across the continent. He has immersed himself in studying both the people and the culture of this continent, reading extensively and observing assiduously.

In the year 2000, Swamiji made his most extensive tour of the US and Canada, visiting devotees and friends of his Society in more than 25 major cities. At the end of this tour, in early November, a 32-acre parcel of wooded land near Kalamazoo, Michigan was purchased, establishing Swamiji's first center and headquarters in the United States.

Swami Bodhananda is an engaging speaker with a lively humor and a keen sense of observation. His knowledge of Vedanta is flawless. He is highly praised for his adaptive rendering of ancient Vedantic wisdom to the modern individual's needs and circumstances, helping people apply spiritual principles and practices to their immediate environment.

In America, Swamiji has given numerous public forums, lectures and meditation sessions in Hindu temples, Christian churches, libraries, homes, businesses and universities. His theme has been to infuse modern society with spiritual values and the individual with the knowledge of his/her spiritual identity. For serious-minded students of Vedanta, he has offered more extensive programs, week-long seminars and annual retreats on specific Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. He has given innumerable satsangs in devotees' homes, adorning practical life with spiritual wisdom and has offered illuminating talks on the lives and teachings of other great Vedantic seers such as Swami Vivekananda and Ramana Maharshi.

As a keen observer of humanity, Swamiji is quick to absorb cultural nuances and the idiomatic expressions of a region, and his presentations are replete with these observations, language usages and insights. As an avid reader, Swamiji keeps abreast of all that is current and is eager to engage the modern global person.

As a master of meditation, Swamiji adeptly blends his personal experience and knowledge of India's ancient wisdom tradition with modern studies in consciousness and psychology.

Some of Swamiji's most unique work integrates traditional, scripture-based Vedantic values with modern economics and corporate management. He has been characterized as a 'cutting edge' Swami, deeply imbued with the perennial philosophy of Vedanta and a living expression of its ideals.

Swamiji exemplifies the highest Vedantic ideals-remaining outwardly active in the world while remaining inwardly detached. Spiritually awakened, Swamiji inspires others to their fullest capacity through his all-pervading love for life and humanity, his wit, humor and capacity to enjoy, his deep spiritual vision, his spiritually inspired values and integrity, and his unique ability to see the ancient in the modern and convey that vision through his teaching. Swamiji is a living example of renunciation and fullness, having attained a most precious spiritual capstone-the capacity to see everything and everyone as an expression of that One integral, joyful whole.

More information at http://www.sambodh.com/


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