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Swami Yatiswarananda (1889-1966) was a vice-president of Ramakrishna Order whose headquarter is in Belur Math. He was a disciple of Swami Brahmananda, a brother disciple of Swami Vivekananda and a direct disciple and spiritual son of Ramakrishna. He served in Philadelphia[1] propagating the message of Vedanta. He was the president of Bangalore centre of Ramakrishna Math. He founded an ashrama in Switzerland.

Brief Biography[edit]

Yatiswarananda was born as Suresh Chandra Bhattacharya in erstwhile Bengal. He joined Ramakrishna Order in Belur Math and got initiation from Swami Brahmananda, the first president of the Ramakrishna Order. During his early days as an itinerant monk he performed austerities on the banks of the rivers Kaveri and Tamraparni and on the seashore at Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu.[2]


He went to preach Vedanta in Europe and stayed in Wiesbaden in Germany. He spread the message of Vedanta in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Scandinavia, France and other European nations. When the Second World War broke out he left Europe and arrived in United States. He set up the Vedanta Centre of Philadelphia and worked as its in charge for seven years. He returned to India and settled in Bangalore. In 1951 after the death of Tyagishananda, the president of Bangalore Ramakrishna Math, Yatiswarananda became the president of Bangalore Ashrama. He was instrumental in setting up the Vivekananda Balaka Sangha, an institution devoted to education of young students. He also established the new temple in the Ashrama. Though not a president or vice president of Ramakrishna Order in Belur Math, Yatiswarananda was vested with the special power to initiate disciples by Shivananda, the second president of Ramakrishna Order.[3] Later he also became a Vice President of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. In 1965 upon the demise of President Madhavananda, Yatiswarananda was offered the president ship which he refused on account of his ill health. He took a very active role in organizing the Vivekananda Centenary Celebrations in 1963. He died in the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan in Kolkata in 1965.

Early life[edit]

Swami Yatiswarananda was born on 16 January 1889 in Nandanpur, district Pabna of East Bengal. His pre monastic life was Suresh Chandra Bhattacharya. He had his early education in Jalpaigudi and Bogra and he passed entrance examination from a school in Rangpur in Bangladesh. He studied in Rajshahi and cooch Behar colleges and then from Bangabasi college in Kolkata. He did his Bachelor of Arts (graduation) from Presidency College in Kolkata. He secured a gold medal for being the first in Sanskrit in Calcutta University.[4] He continued post graduate study in Chemistry but did not complete it. He joined the Ramakrishna Order in 1911 at the age of 22 and came in contact with eminent monks and direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, like Swami Brahmananda, Baburam Maharaj (Swami Premananda) and Swami Shivananda. He was initiated into Sannyasa (monkhood) in 1917 by Swami Brahmananda in Madras.

Monastic Life[edit]

Between 1921 and 1924 he was the editor of Prabuddha Bharata, in Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati. In 1924 he became the president of Ramakrishna Math, Bombay and continued till 1926. He remained the president of Sri Ramakrishna Math at Mylapore, Madras, between 1926 and 1933. In 1928 he was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of Ramakrishna Math and the Governing Body of Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math. In 1933 his first book, Universal Prayers was published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras. In 1933 at the invitation of the devotees he was deputed to Wiesbaden in the Rhineland (Germany) for preaching Vedanta philosophy to the interested people. He stayed in Wiesbaden and toured to St. Moris, Geneva and other places of Switzerland between 1935 and 1938. He extended his activities to Europe and preached Vedanta as propounded by Vivekananda and Ramakrishna in London, Paris, the Hague, and in Scandinavia. In 1935 his second book The Divine Life was published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras. When the war started in Europe, he left Germany for United States and in 1942 started a Vedanta centre in Philadelphia. He continued as the minister in charge of the Philadelphia centre till 1949 and then returned to India via Europe in 1950. In 1951 he became the president of Ramakrishna Ashrama in Bangalore after the demise of the then head Swami Tyagiswarananda. In 1952 he was authorized by the trustees of the Belur Math to give spiritual initiation. He continued as the head of Bangalore centre and traveled to Madras, Bombay, Rangoon, Malaysia, New Delhi, Nagpur and various other places where he initiated many people. He established the Vivekananda Balaka Sangha in Banaglore Ashrama and also actively encouraged a group of women devotees to join Sri Sarada Math. Two of his most notable woman disciples were Pravrajika Amalaprana, the general secretary of Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, and Pravrajika Saradaprana. In 1959 he undertook the construction and consecration of the new temple at Ramakrishna ashrama in Basavanagudi in Bangalore. In 1959 his book Adventures in Religious Life was published. In 1962 he was elected as the Vice President of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission and he continued with the post till his death. Because of ill health he declined the post of President of the Ramakrishna Order offered to him by the trustees after Madhavananda died in 1965. He himself died in Belur Math on 27 January 1966.

List of Books authored by Swami Yatiswarananda[edit]

  1. Meditation and Spiritual Life, pages 705, published by Advaita Ashrama.

A posthumous publication based on the class notes of his lectures, the book is divided as follows - Part One - The Spiritual Ideal Part Two - Spiritual Practice - i) Preparation ii) Techniques Part Three - Spiritual Experience Part Four - Spiritual Tidbits The book has been translated into Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. It was first published in 1979 from Bangalore ashrama.

  1. Universal Prayers, selected and translated verses from Sanskrit religious literature, page 261, first published in Nov 1933, from Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras.
  2. The Divine Life - This has 14 chapters like Self and the Body, The Ways of Spiritual and the Worldly, Moral Culture, the Path of Selfless Activity, the Way of the Ideal Man etc., containing Sanskrit verses from Gita, Puranas, Upanishads and other texts with English translations, first published in October 1935.
  3. Adventures in Religious Life, page 294
  4. Essentials of Spiritual Life, which is the introduction to the Divine Life made into a separate booklet
  5. How to seek God - based on his class notes collected by various devotees and later published in Vedanta Kesari.[5]


  1. ^ Sraddhananda, Swami (1982). The Story of an Epoch: Swami Virajananda and His Times. Sri Ramakrishna Math. p. 279.
  2. ^ Bhajanananda, Swami. "Reminiscences of Swami Yatiswaranandaji Maharaj". Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai. Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  3. ^ Swami Yatiswarananda as We Knew Him Volume 1. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai. p. 782. ISBN 978-81-7883-580-8.
  4. ^ Swami Yatiswarananda as We Knew Him Volume 2. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai. p. 1520. ISBN 978-81-7883-580-8.
  5. ^ Swami Yatiswarananda as We Knew Him Volume 2, Appendix 4. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai. p. 1520. ISBN 978-81-7883-580-8.

Related links[edit]