Swami Ranganathananda

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Swami Ranganathananda
BornShankaran Kutty
(1908-12-15)15 December 1908
Thrissur, Kerala, India
Died25 April 2005(2005-04-25) (aged 96)
Belur Math near Kolkata
GuruSwami Shivananda
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Swami Ranganathananda
BornShankaran Kutty
(1908-12-15)15 December 1908
Thrissur, Kerala, India
Died25 April 2005(2005-04-25) (aged 96)
Belur Math near Kolkata
GuruSwami Shivananda

Swami Ranganathananda (1908–2005), born Shankaran Kutty, was a Hindu monk of the Ramakrishna Math order. He served as the 13th president of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.[1]



Ranganathananda was born in 1908 in a village called Trikkur near Trichur, in Kerala.[2] As teenager, he was attracted by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna and joined the Mysore centre of Ramakrishna Order as a Brahmachari in 1926.[2][3] He served the Mysore Centre for 9 years and was under Swami Siddheswarananda and another 3 years under him in the Bangalore centre. He was initiated as a Sannyasi (monk) in 1933, on the anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's birth by Swami Shivananda, a direct disciple of Ramakrishna. Between 1939 and 1942, he served as the secretary and librarian at the Rangoon branch of Ramakrishna Mission.

He then served as the president of the Karachi centre of Math from 1942 to 1948 until the partition of India, after which the mission found it difficult to continue its activities at Karachi.[4][5] At Karachi, L.K. Advani came in contact with the Swami and used to listen to his discourses on the Bhagavad Gita.[5] Advani said that Ranganathananda was a "great influence" during his formative years. According to Advani, at Karachi, Mohammed Ali Jinnah had once listened to Ranganathananda's lecture on Islam and Prophet Mohammed and remarked, “Now I know how a true Muslim should be.”[4][6]

From 1949 to 1962, he served as a secretary at the Delhi centre. Then from 1962 to 1967, he served as the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, director of School of Humanistic & Cultural studies, editor of mission's monthly. The swamiji became president of the Hyderabad branch in 1973, where he developed Vivekananda Vani School of Languages, a temple, library and delivered spiritual discourses.[7] He was elected to the post of vice-president of Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1988.[2][7] In 1998 he was elected as the president of the mission.[8]

Ranganathananda was chosen by the Indian government for Padma Vibhushan award in 2000. He declined the Padma Vibhushan as it was conferred on him in his individual capacity and not for the Mission. He accepted the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1987 and the Gandhi Peace Prize in February 1999 as both were conferred on the Ramakrishna Mission.[2][9][10]

Since his residence in Bangalore in the 1930s, Ranganathananda has been a popular teacher and lecturer on Indian spiritual culture. By the mid-1950s he was known within India as an authority on practical Vedanta.[2] Since the 1960s he made nearly annual lecture tours to Western Europe, the United States, Australia, and Singapore. He also lectured in Iran and in the Soviet union.[2] Ranganathananda is noted for this contributions that bridges Western science and Vedantic spirituality.[2][11][12]

Raganathananda lived the last days of his life in the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission at Belur in West Bengal. He died at Woodlands Medical Centre, Kolkata, at 3:51 p.m. on Monday, 25 April 2005, owing to cardiac arrest. He was 96. His mortal remains were kept for darshan at Belur Math (near Kolkata) on that day, and were consigned to flames at 12.30 p.m. on 26 April 2005. India Post released a postage stamp in the denomination of Rs 5 to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Swami Ranganathananda, during December 2008 at Kolkata.[13][14]

Ranganathananda was regarded a great scholar and teacher.[10][15][16] He has authored over 50 books. The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has published around twenty-nine of these books.[10] His famous book includes Eternal Values for a Changing Society and commentaries on the messages of the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads.[15][17] He was known as a good orator.[17] His weekly classes and public lectures were popular among the followers. Ganapathy, a correspondent of The Hindu writes that "In all his lectures, Swami Ranganathananda had stressed on the philosophy of eternal religion, a practical Vedanta, which teaches universal acceptance". Ranganathananda conducted moral and religious classes for the prisoners in the Bangalore and Mysore jails. In Delhi, Swami Ranganathananda organised social services at hospitals and worked for the relief of leprosy patients.[15] Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh described Swami Ranganathananda and Swami Vivekananda as "leaders with a modern mind and scientific temper."[18]


Notes and references

  1. ^ "Ranganathananda birth centenary to be held today". The Hindu. 2008-12-14. http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/14/stories/2008121452360300.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ranganathananda & Elva Linnéa Nelson 1991, p. xiv
  3. ^ Siddheswarananda; William Buchanan (1998). "Letter of Appreciation". Hindu thought and carmelite mysticism. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 13. ISBN 978-81-208-1510-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=hLkFZaz_bJ8C&pg=PP13.
  4. ^ a b Staff Reporter (2007-09-03). "Advani calls for spiritual renaissance". The Hindu. http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/03/stories/2007090353830400.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  5. ^ a b Venkatesan, V. (Volume 22 - Issue 13, Jun 18 - Jul 01, 2005). "Image and reality". Frontline. http://www.hindu.com/fline/fl2213/stories/20050701005701400.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  6. ^ "Blogger Advani defends Jinnah comment, again". Screen. Jan 10, 2009. http://www.screenindia.com/story.php?id=409172&pg=-1. Retrieved 2009-05-22.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Swami Ranganathananda’s birth centenary celebrated". The Hindu. 2008-12-15. http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/15/stories/2008121551560200.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  8. ^ "National Events in September 1998". The Hindu. September 1998. http://www.hinduonnet.com/revents/01/19980109.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.[dead link]
  9. ^ Venkatesan, V. (Volume 17 - Issue 03, Feb. 05 - 18, 2000). "Republic Day honours". Frontline. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1703/17030300.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-27.[dead link]
  10. ^ a b c "Ranganathananda kept alive spirit of Vivekananda's legacy". Chennai: The Hindu. 2005-05-30. http://www.hindu.com/2005/05/30/stories/2005053014290400.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  11. ^ Menon, Sangeetha (2006). "Saints, Science, and Spiritual Quest". In Philip Clayton, Zachary R. Simpson. The Oxford handbook of religion and science. Oxford University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-19-927927-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=-WhGyYy0SIoC&pg=PA21&dq=ranganathananda.
  12. ^ Indian Science Congress Association (2003). The Shaping of Indian Science: 1948-1981. Orient Blackswan. p. 936. ISBN 978-81-7371-433-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=5XfHWlX-L20C&pg=PA936&dq=ranganathananda.
  13. ^ "Seminar & stamp to mark monk centenary". The Telegraph. December 13 , 2008. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1081213/jsp/calcutta/story_10243260.jsp. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  14. ^ "Stamps 2008". India Post. http://www.indiapost.gov.in/Stamps2008.html. Retrieved 2009-05-27.[dead link]
  15. ^ a b c Ganapathy, T. N. (2005-06-03). "He empowered through discourses". The Hindu. http://www.hindu.com/fr/2005/06/03/stories/2005060300450300.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  16. ^ Special Correspondent (2005-04-27). "Kalam, Manmohan condole Ranganathananda's death". The Hindu. http://www.hindu.com/2005/04/27/stories/2005042703311500.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  17. ^ a b Saradesāya, Manohararāya (2000). A history of Konkani literature. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 315–316. ISBN 978-81-7201-664-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=1YILeUD_oZUC&pg=PA315&dq=ranganathananda.
  18. ^ "Liberal view of the outside world is vital: Manmohan". The Hindu. March 4, 2007. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200703041017.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  19. ^ Universal message of the Bhagavad-Gita. 1. p. 178.
  20. ^ Universal message of the Bhagavad-Gita. 2. p. 412.
  21. ^ Eternal Values for a Changing Society. 1. p. 379.
  22. ^ Eternal Values for a Changing Society. 4. pp. 150–151.
  23. ^ Eternal Values for a Changing Society. 4. p. 331.
  24. ^ Universal message of the Bhagavad-Gita. 1. p. 431.
  25. ^ Eternal Values for A Changing Society. 1. p. 106.
  26. ^ Eternal Values for A Changing Society. 2. p. 326.
  27. ^ Eternal Values for A Changing Society. 1. p. 437.


  1. Philosophy & Spirituality
  2. Great Spiritual teachers
  3. Education for Human Excellence
  4. Democracy for Total Human Fulfillment
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1971). The message of Upanishads. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ASIN B000GSMRE8.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1974). A pilgrim looks at the World (Vol. I & II). Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ISBN 978-0-85655-463-6.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1990). Swami Vivekananda and Human Excellence. Advaita Ashrama. ASIN B000KB3U2E.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1991). Vivekananda : his Humanism. Advaita Ashrama. ASIN B001JJGEOM.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1978). Science and Religion. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama. p. 245. ISBN 978-0-7025-0062-6.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (2004). The essence of Indian Culture. Advaita Ashrama. ISBN 978-81-85301-17-4.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1997). An introduction to the study of Gita. Advaita Ashrama. ISBN 978-81-85301-11-2.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami. The charm and power of the Upanishads.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami. Bhagawan Buddha and our heritage.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1969). The Christ we adore. Ramakrishna Mission Inst.of Culture. ISBN 978-0-7025-0159-3.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1996). Practical Vedanta and the Science of values. Advaita Ashrama. ISBN 978-81-7505-052-5.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami. The Indian vision of God as Mother.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (2004). Essence of Indian Culture. Advaita Ashrama. ISBN 978-81-85301-17-4.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1998). The approach to Truth in Vedanta. Advaita Ashrama.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (1996). Democratic administration in the light of Practical Vedanta. Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math. p. 277. ISBN 978-81-7120-724-4.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (2000). Universal message of Bhagavad Gita (vol I to III). Advaita Ashrama. ISBN 978-81-7505-213-0.
  • Ranganathananda, Swami (2005). Message of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Advaita Ashrama. p. 740. ISBN 978-81-7505-267-3.

External links