Biographical Information for
H. H. Sri Swami Satchidananda
Designer and Founder of the
Light Of Truth Universal Shrine
H. H. Sri Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) is respected worldwide as one of the major pioneers of the interfaith movement and as one of the most respected Yoga Masters of our time. Sri Gurudev's teachings and spirit guide us toward a life of peace and to religious harmony among all people. Invited to come to the West in 1966, Sri Gurudev was quickly embraced by young Americans looking for lasting peace during the turbulent 1960's. In 1969, he opened the Woodstock Festival. The peaceful atmosphere that prevailed throughout the event was often attributed to his message and blessings.
Sri Gurudev was ordained as a monk in 1949 by his master, His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda Maharaj, founder of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India. From the beginning of his spiritual service, Sri Gurudev was a leader in the interfaith movement. His motto, "Truth is One, Paths are Many," is an essential part of his teachings.
Sri Gurudev founded and is the guiding light for Integral Yoga® International. 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. 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. Today more than 50 Integral Yoga Institutes and Integral Yoga Teaching Centers throughout the United States and abroad offer classes and training programs in all aspects of Integral Yoga.
In 1979, Sri Gurudev was inspired to establish Satchidananda Ashram—Yogaville®. 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.
For more than fifty years, Sri Gurudev sponsored interfaith worship services and conferences. His teachings advocate respecting and honoring all faiths and he was invited to share his message of peace with many world leaders and dignitaries. Over the years, Sri Gurudev received many honors for his public service. Among recent awards: the 1994 Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award presented at the United Nations and in April 2002 the prestigious U Thant Peace Award. 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, 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.
In August 2002, Sri Gurudev entered Mahasamadhi (a God-realized soul's conscious final exit from the body). Chidambaram, his Mahasamadhi shrine in Yogaville is open for prayer and meditation.