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Sri Swami Satchidananda

His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda is one of the most revered Yoga Masters of our time. A much-loved teacher, well known in the world for his combination of practical wisdom and spiritual insight, he has given his life to the service of humanity, demonstrating by his own example the means of finding abiding peace within one's life and within one's self. His message of peace within all people and harmony among all faiths and countries has been heard worldwide.

Born to a devout family in South India in 1914, Sri Swami Satchidananda spent his early years studying and working in such diverse fields as agriculture, cinematography, and electronics. He was successful in all of them, yet he chose to give up a personal life for a life dedicated to inner peace, spiritual knowledge and communion with God. He studied with some of India's greatest saints and sages: among them, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and his own spiritual master, the world-renowned Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj of Rishikesh, Himalayas.

When Sri Swami Satchidananda was asked to serve in Sri Lanka, it was not long before the first Satchidananda Ashram was founded by students who wanted to learn more from him. He spent thirteen years among them. In 1966, he was invited to visit the West, where his deep spiritual realization made a profound and lasting impression. Once again, he was soon surrounded by sincere students inspired to follow in his footsteps.

Sri Swami Satchidananda is the founder and spiritual guide for Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville and the worldwide Integral Yoga Institutes and Centers. Integral Yoga combines various methods of Yoga, including Hatha Yoga, selfless service, meditation, prayer, and a 5,000-year-old philosophy that helps one find the peace and joy within. Integral Yoga is the foundation for Dr. Dean Ornish's landmark work in reversing heart disease. Today, there are Integral Yoga branches and teachers throughout the world.

Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville-in Central Virginia-hosts more than 2,000 guests a year, 15 Teacher Training programs, and more than 50 inspiring programs throughout the year. A sample of the week-long and week-end workshops presented include: seasonal silent retreats, meditation retreats and instruction, Yoga and Psychotherapy, Self-Discovery through Hatha Yoga, Yoga teachers conferences, vegetarian cooking, and more.

Sri Swami Satchidananda had sponsored innumerable interfaith symposiums, retreats, and worship services all over the world. During private audiences, H.H. Pope Paul VI and H.H. Pope John Paul II praised these efforts to promote interfaith activities. He was invited to share his message of peace with such world leaders and dignitaries as: H.H. the Dalai Lama, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, UN Secretary-General U Thant, members of the U.S. Congress, and Presidents Carter, Bush, and Clinton.

Over the years, Sri Swami Satchidananda received many honors for his public service, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award and the Anti-Defamation League's Humanitarian Award. He was presented with the Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award at the United Nations in 1996. In April 2002, he was honored with the prestigious U Thant Peace Award. Previous recipients of this award include Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela. In addition, he served on the advisory boards of many world peace and interfaith organizations.

Sri Swami Satchidananda himself did not belong to any one faith, group or country. Dedicated to the principle that "Truth is One, Paths are Many," he went wherever he was asked to serve, bringing together people of all backgrounds and beliefs to learn respect for all the different paths and to realize their common spirit and the universality of their goal. He dreamed of a permanent place where all would be able to come together to individually realize that one Truth behind all the names and forms. The Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS) is such a place. Opened in July 1986, the Shrine-inspired and designed by Sri Swami Satchidananda-is located in the United States at Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville in Virginia. It is dedicated to the light of all faiths and to world peace and stands as a beautiful example of the universal teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda.

Sri Swami Satchidananda is the author of many books, including, Integral Yoga Hatha, To Know Your Self, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Living Gita, and The Golden Present. He is the subject of three biographies, Apostle of Peace, Portrait of a Modern Sage, and Boundless Giving: The Life and Service of Sri Swami Satchidananda.

H.H. Sri Swami Satchidananda attained Mahasamadhi (a God-realized soul's conscious final exit from the body) on 19 August 2002. Chidambaram, his Mahasamadhi Shrine, in Yogaville, is open for prayer and meditation.

LINK to YOGAVILLE Satchidananda Ashram