Swami Sarvadevananda, the minister and spiritual leader of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India. The Order is one of the largest and most respected religious orders in India today. Inspired by the great Bengali saint, Ramakrishna, the Order was formed in 1897 with two goals in mind: spiritual enlightenment and service to God in human form. As a result, it has its own hospitals, clinics, orphanages, homes for the elderly, schools, and training institutes. Whenever disaster has struck, the Ramakrishna Mission has been there to offer relief from famine, epidemic, fire, flood, earthquake, cyclone, and communal disturbances.
Swami was initiated by Swami Shankarananda, the 7th President of the Order, in 1961. He joined the monastery at Belur Math, the Order’s headquarters in Kolkata in 1965 and completed his monastic training while serving in various capacities, including working in a camp for refugees who barely escaped with their lives during the Bangladesh war in 1971. The Swami lived near Belur Math from 1960 onward and thus had the opportunity to come in contact with many monks who were initiated by Holy Mother (Sri Sarada Devi), Swami Brahmananda, Swami Shivananda, and other direct disciples of Ramakrishna.
He spent the next two decades at Saradapitha, a major educational and technical training institution in Kolkata, imparting Vedantic spiritual values as part of the high school and university level curriculum.
Swami became the head of the Ramakrishna Mission of Sikra in 1988. While there, he initiated literacy and health programs for hundreds of underprivileged villagers and performed relief and rehabilitation work for the homeless.
In 1993, Swami Sarvadevananda was posted to the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood where he served as assistant minister until 2012. When his predecessor, Swami Swahananda, passed away in October, 2012, he became the minister and spiritual leader of the Vedanta Society.
In addition to regular lectures and classes, he addresses schools, colleges and other religious groups throughout Southern California and other parts of the United States whenever called upon. He represents the Vedanta Society as a delegate on the Interreligious Council of Southern California and the Hindu-Catholic and Hindu-Episcopal Dialogue of Los Angeles and serves as one of the directors of the Hindu Students’ Organization at USC. Swami’s enthusiasm for spiritual life and large-heartedness toward all who cross his path is unending and is greatly cherished in the United States.