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25 April 1922
|Died||23 November 2001 (aged 79)
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Krishnananda Saraswati (April 25, 1922 – November 23, 2001) was a Hindu saint. He was a disciple of Sivananda Saraswati and served as the General Secretary of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, India from 1958 until 2001. Author of more than 200 texts, and lecturing extensively, on yoga, religion, and metaphysics, Krishnananda was a prolific theologian and philosopher.
Krishnananda was President of the Sivananda Literature Research Institute and the Sivananda Literature Dissemination Committee. He served as editor of the Divine Life Society’s monthly paper, Divine Life, for 20 years.
The eldest of six children, Krishnananda was born on April 25, 1922, into a highly religious and an orthodox Madhva Brahmin family. He was named Subbaraya by his parents. He was educated at the high school in Puttur, Karnataka.
By the study of Sanskrit works like the Gita, the Upanishads, and the Vedas, Krishnananda became rooted in Advaita Vedanta philosophy, though he belonged to the traditional Madhva-sect (Dvaita Vedanta), which follows the dualistic philosophy. In 1943, Subbaraya took up Government service at Hospet in the Bellary District, but it did not last long. Before the end of the same year, he left for Sivananda's ashram, the Divine Life Society (DLS). Sivananda initiated the young man into the holy order of Sannyasa (Hindu monasticism) on the Indian sacred day of Makar Sankranti, January 14, 1946, and he was named Krishnananda Saraswati.
Krishnananda was initially engaged at the DLS in letter writing, writing messages and assistance in compiling and editing books. Later, he typed manuscripts produced by Sivananda, including the two hand-written volumes of the Brahma Sutras. In 1948, Sivananda asked him to write books on philosophy and religion; from then onwards he also conducted classes and lectures.
Krishnananda later[when?] worked with a committee that was established to improve the management of the DLS and at this time he became a Secretary, concerned especially with the management of finance. He continued this work until 1961, when, due to the extended absence of Chidananda Saraswati, then President of the DLS, Sivananda nominated him as General Secretary. He held that position until his death, at which time he was the longest serving General Secretary of the institution.
Sivananda appointed Krishnananda as President of the Sivananda Literature Research Institute when it was formed in 1958. Krishnananda was also appointed as the President of the Sivananda Literature Dissemination Committee, which was formed to bring out translations of Sivananda's works in the major Indian languages. In 1961, Krishnananda became editor of the DLS's monthly publication, Divine Life. He held the position for 20 years.
He died on November 23, 2001.
Krishnananda was a philosopher, especially in the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Though he valued and was a scholar of Western philosophy, he was an exponent of Advaita Vedanta philosophy, the most influential sub-school of Vedanta.
Krishnananda expounded practically all of the major scriptures of the Vedanta through his lecturing at the Divine Life Society; and he wrote in-depth analytical commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Brahma Sutras, all of which have illumined and made more accessible those sacred Hindu texts.
The Hindu religion is concerned primarily with the human situation, not the Hindu situation. As a Hindu, Krishnananda accepted all of the world’s major religions as valid pathways to God, and did not condemn or discriminate against any person on the basis of their religion. He expounded the teachings of Krishna, Christ, and Buddha alike; he saw no conflict in their doctrines.
Krishnananda taught and practiced Yoga of Synthesis, a method of yoga he learned directly from Sivananda. It combines the four main paths of the discipline - Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga.
Krishnananda's approach to yoga was ultimately that of the integral Yoga of Synthesis, but due to his prolificacy as a theologian and philosopher, he is widely known as a jnana yogi. Jnana yoga or "path of knowledge" is one of the types of yoga mentioned in Hindu philosophies.
He wrote over 50 books and 160 essays. These, along with most of his lectures, have been published by the DLS and its affiliated organisations. Many have been translated.
His works consisted of commentaries, such as his expositions of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita; monographs, primarily in the spheres of metaphysics, epistemology, and psychology, and on the study and practice of yoga, in light of the Upanishads and the writings of Sivananda; and published dialogs of his interactions withs other people.
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