Swami Akhandanand Ji (1864-1937)
He was born on Friday, 25 July 1911 in Pushya Nakshatra (Shravana Amavasya v.s. 1968 per Vikram Calendar) in the village of Maharai in the district of Varanasi. His Saryupareen Brahmin family named him Shantanu Behari, after the god of the same name.
He was aged 10 when his grandfather made him read the original Bhagwat in Sanskrit.
Prior to his sannyasa, from 1934 to 1942, He was a member of the editorial board of Kalyan at the Gita Press and published a number of books and articles. He translated Bhagavata Purana in Hindi for them.
In his youth, Akhandanand went to Jhusii, to meet Brahmachari Prabhudatta, a saint. There, he met Udiya Baba, and had discussed Vedanta. He was captivated by Udiya Baba’s conviction in the principle of non-dual reality. He received initiation for Sanyas (monkhood) from the Shankaracharya of Jyotishpeethadhishver, Brahmanand Saraswati in February 1942, following which his name was changed from Shantanu-vihari Dwivedi to Akhandananda Saraswati.
During the 1960s, he was elected President of the Bharat Sadhu Samaj, an Indian organisation of monks. He mentored many monks including past and present Shankaracharyas.
He was an honorary board member of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, a global organization founded in 1938 to preserve and promote Indian culture.
He authored over 200 books which covered topics including Bhagavata Purana, Bhagavat Geeta, Ram Charitra Manas, and Upnishads of the Vedanta.
He established Anand Vrindavan Ashram near Moti Jheel in Vrindavan, a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India. His disciple Omkaranand Saraswati guided Anand Vrindavan Ashram and associated charitable trusts, from 1987 to 2008. Today, Sachchidananda heads Anand Vrindavan ashram.
He died on 19 November 1987