From the time he was a little boy, Swami Satchidananda (then known as “Ramaswamy”) was deeply spiritual. Even as a young child, he spoke truths and displayed insights far beyond his years. His devotion to God was strong, and he looked at people of all castes and faiths with an equal eye, always recognizing the same light within every being. That recognition of the universal light equally present in all people remained as he grew to adulthood, became a businessman, and a husband.
Over the years, Swami Satchidananda was a frequent guest speaker and advisor to Indian communities around the world. In the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean islands, he became a principle advisor to Indian communities in planning their first temples and cultural centers, often suggesting that Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs combine their funds to build one facility that could be shared by all.
Swami Satchidananda began his public service when his Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda sent him on an All-India Tour in 1951. Then, in 1953, he was sent to Sri Lanka where he spent 13 years serving there. In 1959, Swami Satchidananda was invited to lecture in Hong Kong, and then in April of 1961, he was invited to make a more extensive Far Eastern tour, including Japan and the Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Over the next fifty years, he made 8 world tours, 20 European tours, and logged nearly two million miles of travel around the globe.
For nearly fifty years, Swami Satchidananda organized numerous interfaith programs, retreats, and conferences around the world. He built the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine, the world’s first interfaith shrine to contain altars for the major world faiths, and which honors the unity within the diversity of all faiths. In 2014, during his birth centennial year, he was recognized as an “interfaith visionary,” by the Interfaith Center of New York when he was posthumously awarded the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award.
Swami Satchidananda opened the Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel,
New York on August 15,1969 addressing a crowd of approximately 500,000.
“I am overwhelmed with joy to see the entire youth of America gathered here in the name of the fine art of music. In fact, through the music, we can work wonders. Music is a celestial sound and it is the sound that controls the whole universe, not atomic vibrations. Sound energy, sound power, is much, much greater than any other power in this world. And, one thing I would very much wish you all to remember is that with sound, we can make—and at the same time, break. Even in the war-field, to make the tender heart an animal, sound is used. Without that war band, that terrific sound, man will not become animal to kill his own brethren. So, that proves that you can break with sound, and if we care, we can make also.”