Pranams at the lotus feet of Gurudev Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj. Pujya Swami Chidanandaji is the current President of International Divine Life Society headquartered at Rishikesh. He is a direct disciple of Gurudev Swami Sivananda. At a very young age, Swami Chidananda met his Guru and dedicated his life to serving the Master and spreading His message of divine life throughout the world.
Swami Chidananda is a personification of saintliness, purity and compassion. He has influenced the lives of countless people all over the world through his mere presence.
Swamiji’s purvashram name was Sridhar Rao who was born in 1916 into a wealthy family in Karnataka. From childhood he had the positive influence of his uncle, his grandfather’s friend and his own parents. He was a brilliant student in school and completed his Bachelors degree in Arts.
He was naturally inclined towards a life of penance and service. He led a life of seclusion, service, intense study of spiritual literature, self-restraint, simplicity in food and dress, abandonment of all comforts and practice of austerities inspite of being in a wealthy family. He served the sick as though they were personifications of the Lord Himself. He had huts built on his vast lawns for lepers and served them as deities. He was deeply influenced by spiritual figures such as Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Gurudev himself.
The final decision to renounce came in 1943. He was already in correspondence with Swami Sivananda and obtained his permission to join the ashram. In 1949 he was initiated into the holy order of Sannyasa and given his name of Swami Chidananda Saraswati.
Since joining the Ashram, Swamiji has relentlessly served the humanity in many ways – by Jnana yagna in the form of lectures, writings and spiritual tours expounding the secret sciences of Yoga and Vedanta; by guiding Sadhakas; by Nishkama Seva – serving the inmates, the sick, the lepers without any feeling of separation between him and the person he was serving. He was the General Secretary of the Sivananda Ashram from 1948 up until 1963 and then was made the President. He carried on the duties of maintaining the big ashram most efficiently.
Most Worshipful and Revered Guru Maharaj, Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj has attained Mahasamadhi and merged into the Bliss Absolute at the age of 93 years on Thursday, 28th August 2008 at 8:12 PM. Though Beloved & Worshipful Holy Master H H Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj may not be with us physically, but through His Virat Swaroop, He will be inspiring, guiding and protecting His countless devotees and disciples who are busy serving the Mankind and struggling to achieve the realization of the absolute. OM Shanti !