Swami Vijnanananda

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Hari Prasanna Chatterjee
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
October 28, 1868
Place of Birth: 
Belgharia, Calcutta, Bengal, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
April 25, 1938


Swami Vijnanananda
(1868 - 1938)
Sri Ramakrishna one day challenged a young man to wrestle with him. The tall and hefty youth put him down in no time. And the wonder of wonders: The young man soon felt a power entering from Sri Ramakrishna's body into his own, making him completely powerless! This was how Hariprasanna had one of his early encounters with the Master.

Born on the 28th October 1868 in a respectable Brahmin family at Belgharia (Calcutta), Hariprasanna Chattopadhyaya (the pre-monastic name of Swami Vijnanananda) received a good education from his parents. He became an engineer and rose to the position of District Engineer in the erstwhile State of United Provinces, before renouncing the world.

From his very first visit, Sri Ramakrishna spotted him out as one belonging to the inner circle and a future monk. He took particular care to instill in him the ideal of brahmacharya or celibacy. His visits to Dakshineswar and contact with the Master laid a firm foundation for his spiritual life.

When the Master passed away, Hariprasanna who was still a student at Patna, had a strange vision in which he saw Sri Ramakrishna as if in flesh and blood, standing before him.

Since he had lost his father at early age and had to support his mother, he was obliged to take to government service, but kept in touch with the disciples of the Master, especially Narendra (Swami Vivekananda). Later -- in 1896, to be more precise -- he gave up the world and joined the Math then at Alambazar, and became `Swami Vijnanananda' after ordination.

Since he was an engineer with good experience in building construction, he was entrusted by Swami Vivekananda himself with the task of building the Math campus as also preparing suitable plans for a memorial temple of Sri Ramakrishna. So he prepared it in consultation with a noted European architect of Calcutta and Swamiji approved of the same. Due to the sudden demise of Swamiji and lack of funds, the project had to wait for a long time to be taken up. It was completed and dedicated by Swami Vijnanananda himself on the 14th of January 1938.

A group of young men in Allahabad had formed themselves into an association called `Brahmavadin Club' with a view to uplift themselves morally and spiritually. They had done so under the inspiration of a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna. This devotee had left Allahabad in 1900. As luck would have it, Swami Vijnanananda arrived at Allahabad in the same year as a wandering monk. The young men who were delighted to have a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna amongst them requested the Swami to live in the rented premises of their Club and guide them. The Swami agrees and lived there for nearly ten years, spending most of his time in austerity and study. He later on established a permanent branch of the Ramakrishna Math at Allahabad in 1910.

The Swami was a great scholar, not only in Sanskrit and religio-philosophical works but also in astronomy and astrology.

He was elected the President of the Ramakrishna Order in 1937 after the demise of Swami Akhandananda. He strove hard to complete the construction of the temple of Sri Ramakrishna at Belur Math, which he successfully did and dedicated in January 1938 as already indicated. He then returned to Allahabad and passed away on the 25th April the same year. The body was consigned to the sacred waters of the Triveni, at the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, and the invisible Saraswati.



One should not ask for anything from God, but remain satisfied with whatever He is pleased to give. If you ask for anything He will give a gift which is like a double-edged sword. Real welfare lies in using things properly; wrong use of things brings misfortune.

Whatever situation one may be in, one can, to some degree, server the motherland, serve the common people, and above all, sever God. Always have the good of the universe at heart and let this become a part of your daily prayer.

One reason for the decadence of our country is that in the name of religion, people put forward harmful theories, as a result of which, people lose their faith in religion itself. Simplicity, faithfulness and purity of heart are called for.

One who can detach his mind from material things will see the light of God and his presence in everything. Worldly attachment draws people away from God and scorch them in the wild fire of the world.


Pro Opinions

Divine Vision of Thakur


Revered Swami was the forth president of Ramakrishna Math and Mission as having been chosen through the Divine Power of Sri Ramakrishna for the fulfillment of a particular mission which was assigned t

david's picture

This is not an opinion

This is not an opinion, this is bio. We know that, why do u keep abusing the opinion system?

david | Fri, 06/11/2010 - 15:11

Opine the definiton of .......

What is the definition of opinion and why cannot be bio opinion? If you have studied the biography of this engineer disciple of Sri Ramakrishna then, on the basis of that understanding, one line thought which have been incorporate in it by me, may viewed as opinion of mine.

NIDHI PARKASH | Fri, 06/11/2010 - 16:50