Sri Swami Satchidananda

Sri Swami Satchidananda—monk for more than 50 years, author of a dozen books, student of Swami Sivananda, founder of Integral Yoga, and world-renowned spiritual teacher—died this August in his native country at the age of 87. Born in a small village in South India, he studied agriculture and science before starting his full-time spiritual pursuit at age 28. He shared his signature blend of practical wisdom, spiritual insight, and humor with American presidents, Catholic Popes, and throngs of youths at Woodstock looking for lasting peace during the turbulent 1960s. Finding that Americans responded to his simple method of teaching ancient practices through storytelling and puns, he extended his two-day trip to America for the rest of his life, and with the slogan “Truth Is One, Paths Are Many,” he became a major figure in the ecumenical movement. Spreading his main teaching—our true nature is happiness—Satchidananda taught hatha yoga, meditation, prayer, selfless service, chanting, and cleansing techniques that would later become known collectively as Integral Yoga. He touched the lives of millions of people—followers and nonfollowers, atheists and the deeply religious—by gently guiding them on a conscious journey. “Liberation is not for the remote future or for when we die,” he said. “It is to be lived in the very midst of the world.”