(Photo: Swami Yogananda with his Guru, Swami Satchidananda, 1971, Sri Lanka.)

During Guru Poornima in 2021, we specially honor Swami Yogananda Sarasvati, who was initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyasa fifty years ago in 1971 by his Guru, Sri Swami Satchidananda in Kandy, Sri Lanka. He was the first westerner to be initiated by Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) into this Holy Order. Inspired by his link to the Sannyas lineage of Sri Gurudev and (his Guru Sri Swami Sivananda Sarasvati) in the Sarasvati branch of Paramahamsas and his interest in Advaita Vedanta, Swami Yogananda became connected to the Shringeri Monastery founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya (788-820).

(Photo: Swami Yogananda presenting his Guru with one of the hymns he composed for him. Europe, early 1980s.)

Well-versed in Sanskrit and in the major texts of Vedanta, Swami Yoganandaji has translated and commented on many works of Adi Shankara. Swami Yogananda founded the Kaivalya Ashrama in France where he lives and teaches. He is recognized for the high quality of his teachings and the depth of his experience. He is also highly appreciated for his devotional songs and remarkable pronunciation of Sanskrit, a language in which he composes versified hymns. One of his great merits is to have always kept at Vedanta its originality and authenticity in accordance with tradition. Swami Yoganandaji dedicated this beautiful hymn, a garland of 108 verses to his Guru in honor of Guru Poornima.