Satchidananda, Swami (1914– )
Disciple of the late Swami Sivananda and founder of Integral
Yoga International. He was born December 22, 1914, into
a wealthy family. He married, but his wife died only five years
later. Following World War II he began a wandering life that
led him for a brief period to the monastery of the Ramakrishna
order at Timpurraiturai, and then to Sivananda’s forest academy
at Rishikesh. He was initiated as a renunciate in 1949 and
emerged as Swami Satchidananda. He served as a professor of
raja and hatha yoga at the academy, the educational arm of the
Divine Life Society.
Toward the end of his life, Sivananda assigned different
parts of the world to his leading disciples and gave them a commission
to spread his yoga teaching around the globe. In 1953
Satchidananda settled in Sri Lanka, where he founded a branch
of the Divine Life Society and led in the spread of its work of
social service, so integral to Sivananda’s life and work.
Then in 1966 he undertook a global tour sponsored by artist
Peter Max, during which he visited the United States and
gained popularity in the counter culture. He became widely
recognized as a result of his making the opening address for
Woodstock. While in America, not part of his assigned territory,
he established the Integral Yoga Institute (now Integral Yoga
International) in New York. Shortly thereafter he broke with
the Divine Life Society and settled permanently in the United
States. As a master of hatha yoga, in 1970 he wrote what has become
one of the most popular yoga texts in the English language.
To his students he taught the integral yoga system of
Sivananda, which attempted to integrate the various branches
of yoga into a unified practice.
In the 1980s Satchidananda established a new headquarters
complex near Buckingham, Virginia, which included the Light
of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), a temple embodying the
universalist religious perspective taught by Satchidananda and
honoring all religious traditions. In his later years Satchidananda
was known for his busy schedule of writing and lecturing,
which he has since cut back.
Sources
Satchidananda, Swami. Beyond Words. New York Holt, Rinehart
and Winston, 1977.
———. The Glory of Sannyasa. Pomfret Center, Conn. Integral
Yoga Institute, 1975.
———. Integral Hatha Yoga. New York Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, 1970.
Satchidananda, Swami, et al. Living Yoga The Value of Yoga
in Today’s Life. New York Gordon and Beach Science Publishers,
1977.
———. Sri Satchtheidananda A Decade of Service. Pomfret
Center, Conn. Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, 1976.

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