Swami Ashokananda (1893 – December 1969) was a monk of a Ramakrishna Math and Mission. He was the Swami-in-charge of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, San Francisco (founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1900) from 1932 till his death in December 1969 at the age of 76.
“Swami Ashokananda was a brilliant and accomplished spiritual teacher in the West.” – Huston Smith, author of ‘The World’s Religions’ & ‘Why Religion Matters’.
He was born Yogeshchandra Datta was born on September 23 of 1893, in the village of Durgapur, East Bengal, India (Presently Bangladesh).
He joined the Ramakrishna Order in 1921 and took the vow of Sannyasa in 1923 from Swami Shivananda, second President of the Order. He served as the editor of the Prabuddha Bharata, English monthly organ of the Ramakrishna Order, from 1926 to 1930.
The Swami rendered great service to the cause of the Vedanta movement in the West by his clear and thorough expositions of Vedantic teachings through lectures and classes for nearly four decades. During his ministry the Vedanta Society expanded its activities greatly, adding to it two sub-centres and two forest retreats and a new temple at San Francisco. He also promoted Swami Vivekananda’s view of active humanitarian service.
From 1953 onward the Swami’s lectures were recorded on tape. Some of them have been transcribed and published.
- Meditate while you work – a new path for a new age.
- When the many become One
- spiritualizing everyday life
- Swami Vivekananda in San Francisco
- Memoirs of Swami Shivananda
- The Teacher-Prophets of Vedanta
- The Theory and Practice of Monism
- The Razor’s Edge
- Ritualism : Its place in Spiritual Life
- When the heart cries for God
- God and God-men in Vedanta
- Meditation, Ecstasy and Illumination
- Avadhuta Gita is his translation of Avadhuta Gita, an ancient treatise on Advaita philosophy by Dattatreya avadhuta.
- Shafts of Light ISBN 978-0970636836 is a compilation of over 800 directives of the Swami to his disciples.
- His disciple Sister Gargi has written the Swami’s biography – A Heart poured Out ISBN 978-0970636812.