India’s Cultural Institute: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Throughout the years, Swami Satchidananda and the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan had extensive connections. They shared one another’s dedication to human welfare, a philosophy of education, Hindu values, and world peace. He became an advisor to the Bhavan in the USA and in the UK. He attended many events sponsored by Bhavan in the USA, UK, and India. As part of the effort to raise awareness of the contributions of Hindu wisdom, Indian NRIs, and many of the Bhavan’s projects, Sri Swamiji traveled with Bhavan delegations to meet with city mayors, governors, and ambassadors around the USA.
Swami Satchidananda receives Bhavan “Honorary Patron” award, presented by Sri C. S. Subramaniam; also pictured Mrs. Coretta Scott King
Swami Satchidananda was a friend and counselor to Indian children growing up in Western cultures. The Fine Arts Society (cofounded with Mrs. Rukmini Rasiah and with Padmarani Rasiah Cantu as dance master in 1984) was able to give these children direct experience of the richness of Indian culture through music and dance classes. In 1988, he established the Bharata Natyam Summer Camp, and invited Padma Bhusan V.P. and Shanta Dhananjayan to be its permanent instructors. Through the camp, the children learned Bharata Natyam, the ancient Indian dance form, as well as traditional chanting and forms of worship. They also spent many informal evenings asking him questions. As they shared their cares with him, he deepened their respect for their own heritage and encouraged them to feel that they belong to both the East and the West.
Fine Arts Society Aims:
- To propagate the Fine Arts of music, dance, drama, and others among people of all nations, races, and creeds, with respect for the various traditions and cultures of the world.
- To affirm the unity of art and religion.
- To promote peace and good will and emphasize harmony in its highest sense within and without.
Service in Sri Lanka
Satchidananda Thapovanam is set in a beautiful location along the historic Mahaveli river in Kandy, Sri Lanka and was established as Swami Satchidananda’s headquarters and main ashram when he served the Divine Life Societies throughout Sri Lanka, as well as many students of Yoga from 1952 through 1965. He made himself available for teaching Yoga, giving lectures on various aspects of Yoga philosophy, writing columns on Yoga subjects for various newspapers as well as being hosted on radio shows. He was instrumental in helping to bring Yoga and a healthier lifestyle to the tea estate owners and farmers throughout Sri Lanka. He also advocated for women’s rights and an end to dowry.
With the close of Swami Satchidananda’s active service in Sri Lanka, and after his move to the USA in 1966, the Thapovanam continued to serve as a place of gathering for various spiritual communities and events. Extensive renovations were recently completed and this beautiful ashram and retreat center’s doors are open in service to the people of Sri Lanka and visitors from all parts of the world.
South India: Integral Yoga Institute and
Satchidananda Jothi Nikethan
Situated amidst the landscape of Swami Satchidananda’s childhood and in the devotional ambiance of the Tamil people, the Integral Yoga Institute of Coimbatore has flourished for many years. The IYI offers Integral Yoga classes, Yoga teacher and specialized training programs, Yoga programs for children, and special events. At one such event, Sri Rajni Kant (a disciple of Swami Satchidananda and renowned actor) was a keynote speaker, with more than 15,000 people attending the festivities. The IYI also offers a Lifestyle Clinic, providing Yoga therapy, Naturopathy, and other modalities.
It was Swami Satchidananda’s dream to build a world-class residential school in the region where he grew up and went to school. In 1994, this dream was realized with the opening of Satchidananda Jothi Niketan International School (SJN) due to the dedication of Sri K. Ramaswamy (managing trustee of SJN and the Sri Swami Satchidananda Trust). SJN is a fully residential, CBSE co-ed school located at Kallar, at the foothills of the Nilgiris. The mission and vision of SJN are to: Support young minds to aspire to good values, knowledge, wisdom, sportsmanship, and universal sisterhood and brotherhood through teachings based on the principles of Swami Satchidananda and without compromising on the rich values, culture, and traditions of India. SJN aims to produce global leaders who are physically strong, mentally alert, intellectually sharp, emotionally stable, and spiritually enlightened to serve humanity with determination, dedication, discipline, and devotion. (photo: SJN students learn Hatha Yoga.)
LOTUS India is a permanent monument to celebrating the unity and the diversity of faiths, with the recognition of the importance of interfaith understanding and harmony. It is a replica of LOTUS Virginia. It stands on 1.09 acres of Swami Satchidananda’s family’s ancestral land in Chettipalayam. It is a temple dedicated to every soul’s unique journey toward the Divine. The construction of the Shrine was completed and dedicated on the Centenary of Swami Satchidananda (December 22, 2014) The chief guests included Sri Dr. K. Rosiah (Governor of Tamil Nadu), Padmasri D.R. Kaarthikeyan (former director, CBI), and Sri P. Rajkumar (Mayor of Coimbatore).