I.

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 SwahAnandaji’s 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. SwahAnandaji’s disciples and admirers. We will celebrate Swami’s 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 Swahanandaji’s 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 Chandra’s 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”.

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

third. Vedachaitanya Vedanta Society Hollywood . 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. And as all of you know. he put a western nun in charge of our Ridgely Center. all these experiments were successes with a capital ‘S’.