Adiswarananda, Spiritual Leader to Hundreds, Dies at 82
RELEASE - NOVEMBER 1, 2007
an unassuming townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side, neighboring
the Audubon Society, there one finds the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda
Center of New York, where spiritual leader Swami Adiswarananda
lovingly tended his flock for 35 years.
in stature, and exuding confidence in the ancient Vedic texts
he explicated, the Swami was known for his razor-sharp intellect,
sparkling sense of humor, and inner generosity.
conducted services and classes thrice-weekly, often taking
a few lines from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, and weaving
them into a personal discourse filled with practical tips
on modern living.
was widely read, and knew what was going on in every field
of endeavor, from medicine to computers. Despite his vast
knowledge, he remained a humble man who called little attention
to himself. A monk of the Ramakrishna Order, he did everything
in the name of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami
his ministry, services were a harmonious blend of East and
West - with organ music Sunday mornings, hymns to Sri Ramakrishna
Tuesday evenings, Vedic chanting on special occasions, and
residents who sometimes wandered into services were struck
by the austere beauty, the uplifting atmosphere, and the feeling
that truth-seekers of any religion were always welcome.
visitor remarked, "He was a spiritual giant and a brilliant
speaker. He would make you realize the truths of the Indian
sages in your heart, and make you want to live them. But what
I will miss most is his sense of humor and kindly manner.
He was a beautiful, noble soul."
news of his sudden illness was announced at Tuesday services,
many followers wept openly. Later, official word came that
after a massive brain hemorrhage on Monday, the Swami passed
peacefully into unconsciousness, and died Wednesday, October
31, 2007, 2:20 PM.
Adiswarananda was born in 1925 in West Bengal, India. After
being fully ordained as a monk in 1963, he served the Ramakrishna
Order in various capacities as a teacher of religious subjects,
and journal editor of Prabuddha Bharata at the Advaita Ashrama
at Mayavati, in the Himalayas. In 1968, he was sent to New
York to assist Swami Nikhilananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda
Center of New York. In 1973, Swami Adiswarananda assumed the
role of minister and spiritual leader of the Center.
authority on meditation, spiritual practice, Yoga and Vedanta
philosophy, he has written and edited several books, including
Meditation & Its Practices: A Definitive Guide to the
Techniques and Traditions of Meditation in Yoga and
Vedanta; The Spiritual Quest and the Way of Yoga: The
Goal, the Journey, and the Milestones; Vivekananda,
World Teacher: His Teachings on the Spiritual Unity of Humankind.
frequent speaker at colleges and cultural centers, he showed
a keen interest in interfaith activities, and sat on several
interfaith advisory boards. Speaking at the Cathedral of Saint
John the Divine on January 25, 1993, he said:
Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 envisioned
the harmony of religions and unity of humankind. One hundred
years have passed, yet the dream of unity and harmony continues
to prove elusive. Religious intolerance and misunderstanding
keep the world divided and stand in the way of a harmonious
world culture. Wherever we look, we find pain and suffering,
disunity and despair. The acts of hatred and violence, committed
in the name of God and religion, are disgraces of human history.
The need for unity and mutual understanding has never been
greater than it is today. We live in a world which is neither
Eastern nor Western, where every one of us is heir to all
of civilization. The vision of a new world order requires
a new world outlook, based upon respect for and understanding
of other religious traditions."
his own ministry, Swami Adiswarananda emphasized the need
to develop good character, to understand the nature of the
mind and the senses, to practice restraint and philosophical
discrimination, to work unselfishly, and to fix one's mind
was always an uncompromising truth-seeker, and never an object
of idolatry; but his followers loved and revered him, and
remember basking in the warmth of his inner light.
services will be held on Friday, November 2, at 12 noon, in
the chapel of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center at 17 East
94th Street, to be followed by cremation.
are welcome to attend services in honor of Revered Swami Adiswarananda.
further information, please contact:
more by Swami Adiswarananda:
Concentration and Meditation: The Message of Self-Knowledge