Pūjya Swami Dayananda Saraswati(1930 – 2010)
A personification of love,
a sage of eternal wisdom
and a global messenger of peace and prosperity
Pūjya Swami Dayananda Saraswati was born in Manjakuddi in Tanjavur on the 15th of August, in the year 1930. He was named Natarajan, by his parents Shrimati Valaambal and Shrimad Gopal Ayer. After completing his school education, Natarajan left for Madras in search of a livelihood where he made himself proficient in typewriting and took to learning journalism.
Meeting with Swami Chinmayananda
It was at Madras, in 1952, that Natarajan met Swami Chinmayanandaji, a sanyasi with fire and inspiration. Inspired, he joined the Veda Pāṭhaśāla to learn chanting of the Vedas. Within a year Natarajan was fully involved with the activities of the newly formed Chinmaya Mission and was made its secretary. He was also the editor of Chinmaya mission magazines. Natarajan spent some time studying under Swami Pranavananda in Andhra Pradesh who stressed to him to look upon Vedānta as a ‘pramāṇa’, as the only means for self-knowledge.
He was given sannyasa by Swami Chinmayanda and ordained Swami Dayananda in 1962. He moved to Rishikesh and stayed in a grass hut in Puranijadi. He had come to the Gaṅga in search of spiritual wisdom. He studied the Brahma Sūtra Bhāṣya under the guidance of Swami Tārananda Giriji. He stayed there for three years. When Swami Chinmayanda’s ill health did not permit to carry out the work of the Chinmaya mission, Swami Dayananda took up the task of helping his guru organize his mission and began conducting yajñās on the Gita and the Upaniṣads inspiring the masses. These activities kept Swami Dayananda occupied until 1972.
Sharing the Spiritual Wisdom
The next two decades were spent in travelling across the globe covering hundreds and thousands of miles sharing the spiritual wisdom that he gained over the years by addressing large gatherings of people and thru teaching residential courses in Vedānta and Samaskṛtam to seekers of truth.
Wherever he went, he won hearts and captured minds. People loved him for his vast knowledge of not only the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad Gītā but also the religious texts and practices of other faiths, not to speak of modern literature.
Pūjya Swamiji ceaselessly spread the message of Sanātana Dharma around the world to inspire humankind towards spiritual wisdom and culture of this great ancient land. Like a master craftsman, Pūjya Swamiji used all the tools of a great teacher to transform an individual into a man of wisdom.
Arsha Vidhya Gurukulam
Teaching Vedānta Courses
His penchant for speaking the truth plainly without mincing his words made people think of ideologies not thought of hitherto. The ever-increasing number of disciples resulted in the starting of the Ārsha Vidyā Gurukulam in Saylorsburg, USA in 1985 and at Anaikatti in Coimbatore district, India, in the year 1990.
Besides the one at Rishikesh, Pūjya Swamiji lived in these Gurukulams for years, teaching Vedānta and Samaskṛtam to the various seekers of truth. A spiritual genius of commanding intellect and power, Pūjya Swami Dayananda Saraswati has designed and taught many residential courses on Vedānta and Samaskṛtam to students across the world from different geographical, spiritual, cultural and economic backgrounds.
AIM for Seva
His mounting compassion for the people of India, inspired him to initiate a movement called the ‘All India Movement for Seva’, AIM for Seva under the auspices of the Ācārya Sabha, a Hindu Dharma that comprises of almost all the important Pīṭhams and Maṭhas in the country. The vision of ‘AIM for Seva’ is to become a movement of the people. Transforming and uniting the society through care that promotes self-sufficiency and maintains the dignity of the needy. In this manner, AIM for Seva’s goal is to establish social, economic and cultural strength within the country by bridging the gap between the mainstream society and people living in remote areas.
An erudite scholar, an eminent teacher and a versatile genius, Pūjya Swami Dayananda is a saint with a multifaceted personality. A disciplinarian and an incisive philosopher. Pūjya Swami Dayananda has been gifted with a sensitivity and cultural diversity and his far sight has left even the intellectual spellbound. His selfless love is visible in all his actions and his boundless compassion and generosity has helped many in distress.
To see him unfold the vision of the law creates a desire to worship the divine.
To hear his resounding voice creates a desire to learn the Vedic mantras.
To watch his composure, creates an inner desire to have the same inner absorption.
(Adapted from Jitesh-Joshi’s YouTube video footage dated Nov 27, 2008 & Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati – A brief biography by N.Avinashalingam; 2016)