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Famous Like Me > Actor > S > Swami Satchidananda

Profile of Swami Satchidananda on Famous Like Me

Name: Swami Satchidananda  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 22nd December 1914
Place of Birth: Chettipalayamm, India
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Swami Satchidananda on the cover of his biography

Swami Satchidananda (1914–2002) was an Indian religious figure who gained fame and followers in the West, especially in the United States.

Satchidananda was born in the Tamil Nadu region of southern India in 1914 to privileged and observant Hindu parents who named their son Ramaswamy. Like other children from religious families, young Ramaswamy loved to play guru and disciple with his friends. He did not become involved in spiritual matters immediately after growing up. he was A strikingly handsome, chain-smoking manager at India’s National Electric Works, he fell in love, married, and settled down to raise a family. But as with so many other worldly things, he would say that he never felt wholly attached during his five years as a householder, or as the father of two sons by the time his wife died a few years later.

After his wife’s death, Ramaswamy left his children with his mother and went off on a spiritual quest that took him to mountaintops and deep into jungles and forests. For years, Ramaswamy searched out men revered as sages and saints, and spiritual masters said to be 160 years old.

He was ordained by his guru, Sri Swami Sivananda.

After serving his guru for many years, in 1966 he visited New York City at the request of a U.S. disciple, the artist Peter Max. Soon after his initial visit, Swamiji, as he was known, formally moved to the United States and became a citizen. From his new home he spread his teachings of yoga and enlightenment.

Satchidananda first came to public attention as the opening speaker at the Woodstock music and arts festival in 1969. Over the years he wrote numerous books and gave hundreds of lectures. He also ordained a number of western disciples into the holy order of sanyasa. He was the founder of the Integral Yoga Institute, and in 1986 opened the LOTUS, the Light of Truth Universal Shrine at Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia.

In 1991, Joy Zuckerman, a former swami and member of Yogaville, alleged that Satchidananda sexually molested many women members. More such protests erupted that year, and according to the Montreal Mirror: "The swami did not speak to the demonstrators, and reportedly responds to questions about the accusations with the exhortation to have faith in his leadership or leave the group." Following this, his former secretary also accused him of sexual improprieties. His response, as quoted in Village Voice newspaper in 1976 was: "Don't judge me, I am your guru. If you choose to believe it you can leave right now. Or, if you have faith, you can stay and continue in my service." While none of the people involved in these claims ever filed either criminal or civil charges against Swami Satchidananda or his organization, additional charges continued to be made. In 1999, another family alleged that their daughter has been brainwashed to remain at Yogaville and to not speak with her family. They stated that she was forced to marry a swami who was thirty years her elder. In 2001, a daughter alleged that her mother had been brainwashed by the group, refused to speak with her family, and was forced to marry a man who was at least twenty years younger than her.

When these families made their stories public, Integral Yoga threatened a lawsuit. They then took action to remove the websites that hosted the claims about Satchidananda and Yogaville. The families won the legal action.

That same year, on August 19, 2002, Satchidananda died from a ruptured thoracic aneurysm in his native Tamil Nadu, India. However, Integral Yoga and Yogaville continue.

Satchidananda's well-known disciples included Allen Ginsberg, Alice Coltrane, Jeff Goldblum, Carol King, Peter Max, and Scott Shaw.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Swami Satchidananda