H.H. Sri Swami Satchidananda is the founder of Integral Yoga. A self-realized yoga master, Sri Gurudev worked tirelessly for world peace and received several prestigious awards for this work during his lifetime.
Born in India, in 1914, to a pious, landowning family, during his early years Gurudev was exposed to the teachings of many of the great Indian sages and wandering monks who travelled through his village. Even as a child, he displayed many spiritual tendencies and paid no attention to the rules of the caste system. As a young man Gurudev attended agricultural college and then worked in the automobile and other technical industries. His full-time spiritual quest started in earnest at the age of 28, following the death of his wife.
Sri Gurudev travelled around India, studying with various spiritual teachers, including the great sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi. Eventually he travelled to Rishikesh in the Himalayas and there found his Guru in Master Sivananda, who initiated him as a yogic Monk (sannyasin) on Guru Poornima in 1949, giving him the name Satchidananda Saraswati.
The name, Satchidananda, is comprised of three Sanskrit words, Sat, Chit, Ananda which translate as Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. This yogic term describes the True Nature of our existence, as realized by a fully liberated yogi. This state of being is the goal of all the yogic practices.
Sri Swami Satchidananda was encouraged by his Guru to go out into the world and teach. Initially based in Sri Lanka as head of Satchidananda Tapovanam (Ashram). In addition, he served and organized Yoga centers in India and throughout East Asia. Then in 1966 he was invited to travel to New York by the artist Peter Max, who was interested in Gurudev’s teachings. Initially Gurudev planned to stay in the USA for only a couple of weeks, but the teachings he offered were in such demand that he eventually agreed to stay on a more permanent basis. Gurudev became an American citizen and founded his Ashram, Yogaville in Virginia. This community still exists, with the focus of making Gurudev’s teachings of harmony and inner Peace available to all.
Sri Gurudev is perhaps most well-known by many for being the opening speaker at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. The peace and love which prevailed at this festival is often attributed largely to his presence.
During his lifetime, Sri Swami Satchidananda worked tirelessly to spread the teachings of Yoga. An author of many books he also held office in many international Yoga organizations and ecumenical groups. His message was simple: “Truth is One, Paths are Many, Let us Live in Peace and Joy.” In 1986 he opened the LOTUS (Light of Truth Universal Shrine) an ecumenical shrine at Yogaville. Gurudev considered the LOTUS to be the most important part of his life’s work. Open to all, it is dedicated to the Light, which is a symbol shared by all faiths and traditions.
On August 19, 2002, Sri Gurdev entered mahasamadhi - leaving his body - after speaking at a peace conference in Chennai. Shortly before this he told all his disciples, "I will always be with you in Spirit. Even if my body is not there, you will never be without me."
Integral Yoga is now a worldwide organization which continues to educate yogis around the world.
For more information on
HH Sri Swami Satchidananda visit http://swamisatchidananda.org/
To find out more about Integral Yoga and the Ashram in Virginia, USA: http://www.yogaville.org/
For information on Ingtegral Yoga across Europe: www.integralyogaeurope.com
For Integral Yoga Centres in the UK: www.integralyogadorset.org