Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji
Born May 26, 1942 in Southern India to a yogini, Mata Jayalakshmi, and a scholarly Vedic priest, Narasimha Shastry. His birth was predicted by a saint saying he would have higher wisdom and serve to uplift humanity. He was trained by his mother and guru until 1951 when she left her body at will on her birthday. Aunt Venkamma from his father’s side, a haṭha yoga master, continued guiding his rigorous yoga training until it was complete.
From childhood, his inherent yoga energy was awakening and manifesting. Mystical experiences were spontaneously flowing through him. His compassion and desire to help others was apparent among his friends, and encompassed strangers he saw in need. As with many great yogis, music became an integral part of his satsangs (yoga gatherings); yet in Sri Swamiji, superb natural talents emerged along with an extraordinary musical energy. Sri Swamiji began to play various musical instruments, without training, expressing his original and unique compositions. He would chant for hours at a time from a place of deep meditation. One melody after another was sung with his powerful voice. Devotees began to gather from across India and all corners of the world to hear the spiritually charged music and to seek his wisdom.
In 1966 the first ashrama was founded in Mysuru, the yoga capital of India. In the early days the 10-acre ashrama consisted only of a small hut. Now it includes a state-of-the-art music hall and recording studio, the largest bonsai garden in India, a 350-species herb garden, a rehabilitation hospital and aviary for over 1,500 parrots, two large temples, a hospital, a museum, yoga halls, a Vedic school, and accommodations with a professional kitchen to serve vegetarian meals. There are 80 branches in India, including 16 Datta temples, and 15 centers abroad. Sri Swamiji holds nine Guinness World Records, including records for the most people chanting (128,918 participants), the largest music therapy session (1,814 participants), the most bird species in an aviary (468), and the largest display of bonsai trees (2,649).
Among the many teachers, gurus, and yogis that can be found in India, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda shines like a brilliant star. Thousands now visit Mysuru Ashrama where Sri Swamiji resides during the brief time between music tours. From early morning to evening music is heard: Vedic chanting at sunrise and public bhajan sessions at night. Sri Swamiji’s music and yoga lectures are regularly seen on national television, broadcast from the ashrama's Nada Mantapam—an enclosed outdoor hall with a seating capacity of over 5,000. Sri Swamiji is a highly inspired singer-composer-lyricist credited with thousands of musical compositions and songs in various languages.
Sri Swamiji is a rare Yogi—one who has embodied a new yet ancient path, paving the way for countless others to achieve peace of mind through yoga. His vehicle is music: He says "Music is my religion."
The heads of state of India honor his vast contribution to Indian music and Vedic ways. In January 2016, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, visited Sri Swamiji’s ashrama and praised his contributions to the field of music and music therapy.
Sri Swamiji has performed over 300 concerts worldwide in some of the most renowned halls including the Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall (London), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Lincoln Center (New York), the Esplanade (Singapore), the Dubai Opera House, and the Dalian International Conference Center (China).
Sri Swamiji performs on a synthesizer programmed with over 1,000 personally selected sounds and is accompanied by master musicians. Many of the greatest Indian musicians ask to perform with Sri Swamiji or to play his music in their concerts. The blend of the inspiring compositions and the energy of these musicians is a highly uplifting experience.
Sri Swamiji is prolific in the amount of recordings and books he has released, with over 200 CDs and DVDs featuring instrumental music, bhajans, and mantras.
There are dozens of books for children, yoga students, and scholars authored by Sri Swamiji. The proceeds are donated to many charitable organizations. In addition to being recognized for yoga and music accomplishments, Sri Swamiji has the heart of a humanitarian.