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OM jananIm sAradA devIm Ramakrishnam jagat gurum Pada padme tvayo sritvA pranamAmI muhUrmuhu Revered Swamis and PravrAjikas, my humble pranams. Dear monks and devotees, namaskars. Welcome to Swami SwahAnandajis Memorial service. Today is a day for celebration. It is wonderful to see all of you assembled here today so many different generations of Rev. SwahAnandajis disciples and admirers. We will celebrate Swamis life through reminiscences, videos, and music. But first let us take a moment to turn off our cell phones. III. Now, I shall present the biography of Rev. Swami Swahanandaji Mj. Swami Vivekananda said, Great Leaders are born and not made. Similarly, it may be said that great saints arise from divine intervention. Swami Swahanandajis father, Nirmal Chandra Goswami, a disciple of Holy Mother, asked the Divine Mother for sannyasa. She replied, No my child, but two from your family will come. In the future, both Nirmal Chandras son, Swami SwahAnanda and grandson, Nishit Mj, would fulfill the divine words of the Holy Mother. Swami Swahananda was born on 29 June, 1921 in a village near Habiganj in British India, now Bangladesh, the youngest of three boys. His premonastic name was Bipadbhanjan Goswami. His young pious mother, was only 19 at the time of his birth. At a tender age, Bipadbhanjan frequented the Ramakrishna Math in Habiganj, and was drawn to holy company. Later, at the age of 14, he began correspondence with Revered Swami Akhandanandaji Mj, the then president of the order. In one letter, Akhanandandaji wrote to him, As you are becoming religious from your young days, whatever is good for you will automatically come into your life. And indeed this happened. In 1937, the tender age of 15, he went to Belur Math and received initiation from the then president, Sw. Vijnananadaji, a direct disciple of SRK. During this trip, he also met other great swamis including Swami Abhedanandaji, Swami Suddhanandaji and Premesh Mj. Premesh Mj and Gopesh Mj would mentor and inspire Swami Swahananda in his sadhu life. In one letter, Premesh Mj cautions Swahanandji, My fear is that you may become too religious yet in another, he inspires, Whatever you do and wherever you go, leave your mark. After receiving a double Masters in both English literature and English language, Bipadbhanjan joined the RKM Order in 1947, and was posted as a Superindependent at Vidya Mandir, Sarada Pith. Upon arriving, he asked the seniors, What do you expect us to do for the students, and Swami Shankaranandaji, then vice-president, replied, If you can teach them how to discriminate, rather than reacting, this will be enough.

In 1949, he was posted to Chennai. In 1952, Br. Durgachaitanya performed the Durga Puja at the Chennai Math. The Puja had been revived after a long gap, but would now become permanent in Chennai. In 1956, he received sannyasa and was given the name Swami SwahAnanda. He became the editor of Vedanta Kesari. He was a respected scholar, translating Chandogya Upansihad, Panchadasi, and writing numerous books on spirituality and Hinduism. In 1961, Maharaj became the youngest Swami to head the large New Delhi Center. During his time, 12 Brahmacharis joined under him. Half of them would later become heads of centers, thus earning Maharaj the nickname, King maker. Swami GautamAnandaji, Head of Chennai, was a Brahmachari under Maharaj in Delhi. He said during his last visit to Hollywood, I give 50% of the credit for my monastic life to Rev. Swahanandajiand the other 50% to Rev. Ranga-nAth-Anandaji Mj. In 1968, Maharaj was transferred to S.F. to serve as assistant to Sw. AshokAnandaji. In 1970, he became the first head of the Berkeley Center,. He started two new subcenters in San Jose and Stockton during this time. In 1976, he was transferred to Hollywood as the new head. Now, in the Great Master, sw. Saradananda writes that there are two personality types Vishnu and Shiva (and usually one fits into one of these two categories). Yet Revered Maharaj appeared to blend not only Vishnu and Shiva but even BrahmA in his character. On the one hand, he displayed the Asutosh aspect of Lord Shiva, being easily pleased and giving shelter. From the time he was in Delhi until the end of his life, he has given shelter to more than 40 monastics, both in India and America. Without this support, many may not be in the Order today. On the other hand, he demonstrated the BrahmA Vishnu aspect of sristi-vAdA creation. S.V. said, Expansion is life and contraction is death. Swami Shraddhanandaji once referred to Swami Swahanandaji as the emperor of Delhi. Now, he was elevated into the emperor of North America from coast to coast, sea to shining sea, from California to New York to Washington D.C., to in-between, asked or unasked, official or unofficial, he planted new Centers like seeds 17 in all. Maharaj once told, The easiest thing is to get rid of monastics which leaves an empty ashrama. More difficult, is inspiring others to join. But most difficult, is inspiring them to stay. Rev. Maharaj never saw the monastics in his care as workers of the Ashrama rather, he saw them as instruments to spread Swamijis message and SRKs infinite glory. By giving scope, Maharaj inspired them to manifest their full potential. Finally, just as S.V. was a pioneer in giving the gayatri mantra and sacred thread to the lower castes in India, a pioneer in permitting non-Brahmins to join a monastic Order in India, and taking it even one step further initiating Western males and females into sannyasa, Swami Swahanandaji was the bold follower of Swami Vivekananda. Three things he did first, he convinced the Authorities that people of Indian origin, born in America, should have the option to join in America, rather than having to return India and join second, he began posting western swamis to head sub centers at a time when they were hardly giving lectures elsewhere and

third, he put a western nun in charge of our Ridgely Center. And as all of you know, all these experiments were successes with a capital S. I would like to conclude with a quote from the Vivekacudamani: SANSKRIT QUOTE VERSE : VERSE 37: ayam swabhAva svata eva yat para It is the inherent nature of great souls to remove the suffering of others without even being asked. Br. Vedachaitanya Vedanta Society Hollywood