15th President, Ramakrishna Math and Mission
|Born||May 1919 
Swami Atmasthananda is the fifteenth president of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. He was born in 1919 at Sabajpur, near Dhaka. He received mantra diksha (spiritual initiation) from Swami Vijnanananda (a monastic disciple of Ramakrishna) in 1938 and joined the Ramakrishna Order at Belur Math on 3 January 1941 at the age of 22 years. In 1945, Swami Virajananda, the then President of the Order, gave him Brahmacharya vows, and in 1949 Sannyasa vows and the name Atmasthananda.
After serving the Order at Belur Math and the branches at Deoghar Vidyapith and Mayavati Advaita Ashrama, he got the opportunity to serve Swami Virajananda, the then President of the Order, for a long time. He spent several years in his holy company in the solitude of Shyamla Tal in the Himalayas. In 1952, he was posted to Ranchi TB Sanatorium branch as an Assistant Secretary. He worked hard to expand its services in many ways. He was sent to Rangoon (Yangon) Sevashrama as its Secretary in 1958. He developed the Sevashrama hospital and it soon became the best hospital of Burma (Myanmar) at that time. When military rulers took over Rangoon Sevashrama, he returned to India in 1965. He was posted to Rajkot branch as its head in 1966. The beautiful temple of Sri Ramakrishna at Rajkot Ashrama was built on his initiative.
He was elected a Trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and Member of the Governing Body of the Ramakrishna Mission in 1973. In 1975, he was appointed an Assistant Secretary of the twin organizations. He was also appointed Secretary of the relief operations of the Math and Mission. Under his stewardship, the Math and Mission conducted massive relief and rehabilitation operations in various parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. He became the General Secretary of the Math and Mission in 1992 and continued to be in that post for five years till 1997 when he became a Vice-President of the Order.
As a Vice-President of the Math and Mission, he travelled extensively in various parts of the country and visited many branches of the Order and some unaffiliated centres. In 1998, he visited various places in US, Canada, Japan and Singapore. He also went to Malaysia, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at different times. In all those places, he spread the message of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and Vedanta and also gave mantra diksha (spiritual initiation) to many seekers.
Atmasthananda was elected President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission on 3 December 2007. He is the 15th President of the Order.
In earlier days of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he wanted to become a monk. However, it is said that Swami Atmasthananda advised him otherwise and declined his proposal. Thus Narendra Modi came into politics.
Biographical Information on Swami Atmasthananda can be found here:
- The Contemplative Life, article by Swami Atmasthananda