Satchidananda, Swami (1914-)

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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.


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.