Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) was born on December 22, 1914 in South India. In 1949, he met his Guru—His Holiness Sri Swami Sivanandaji of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh. He received his initiation into Sannyas (monkhood), from his spiritual master and was given the name Swami Satchidananda.
So began a new level of dynamic service for Sri Gurudev. Sri Swami Sivanandaji recognized the gift that his newly-initiated swami had for touching the lives of others and soon sent Swami Satchidananda to serve in various parts of India and Sri Lanka. In 1966, Sri Gurudev was invited to Europe by filmmaker Conrad Rooks and at the end of this visit, pop artist Peter Max hosted Sri Gurudev in New York. The intended two-day visit extended to five months as he was surrounded by hundreds of students, eager for his teachings and guidance. In 1969, he opened the Woodstock Festival. The peaceful atmosphere that prevailed throughout the event has often been attributed to his message and blessings.
Sri Gurudev is the founder and guiding light for the Integral Yoga® Institutes and
Centers, located throughout the world. Integral Yoga, as taught by Sri Gurudev, 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. The teachings of Swami Satchidananda have spread into the mainstream and thousands of people now teach Yoga. Integral Yoga is the foundation for Dr. Dean Ornish’s landmark work in reversing heart disease and Dr. Michael Lerner’s noted Commonweal Cancer Help Program (CCHP).
In 1979, Sri Gurudev was inspired to establish Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville® in Virginia, USA. Based on his teachings, it is a place where people of different faiths and backgrounds can come to realize their essential oneness. Yogaville is the home of the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS). This unique interfaith shrine honors the Spirit that unites all the world religions, while celebrating their diversity. People from all over the world come there to meditate and pray.
Not limited to any one organization, religion or country, Sri Gurudev received invitations from around the world to speak about the way to peace. He was invited to share his message of peace with many world leaders and dignitaries, and received numerous honors for his public service. Among them were the prestigious Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award presented at the United Nations in 1994 and the U Thant Peace Award presented on behalf of the Peace Meditation at the UN in 2002. In addition, he served on the advisory boards of many world peace and interfaith organizations.
Sri Gurudev is the author of many books, including Integral Yoga Hatha, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, To Know Your Self, 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, and the film, Living Yoga: The Life and Teachings of Swami Satchidananda.
In August 2002, Sri Gurudev entered Mahasamadhi, the God-realized soul’s conscious final exit from the body. His Mahasamadhi Shrine, known as Chidambaram, is located at Yogaville.