Swami Parmananda (1884-1940)
Reverend Mother Gayatri Devi (1906-1995)
Reverend Mother Sudha Puri (1942 - )
REVEREND MOTHER SUDHA
PURI (1942 - ) is the spiritual leader and minister
who guides our work in this country and abroad. She divides
her time between Ananda Ashrama and Vedanta Centre. She will
provide individual practical spiritual instruction by appointment.
Reverend Mother Sudha Puri came into the
monastic community in 1980 as Dr. Susan Schrager, an educational
psychologist and teacher. Introduced to the study of Vedanta
at the age of 14, she devoted her life to the study of the
great religions of the world.
In 1985, Srimata Gayatri Devi initiated her
into Sannyas and empowered her to carry on the work. In 1995,
upon Srimata Gayatri Devi's death, she became the spiritual
leader of the centers.
REVEREND MOTHER GAYATRI DEVI
(1906-1995) was born and reared in India. A born mystic, she
was close to the poet, Rabindranath Tagore and an early follower
of Mahatma Gandhi. Inspired by the teachings of Vivekananda,
she came to this country when she was 19 and took her place
as the first Indian woman and youngest sister in the monastic
In 1927, she became the first Indian woman
ordained to teach Vedanta in the West. Recognizing the depth
of her illumination, Swami Paramananda empowered Srimata Gayatri
Devi as his spiritual successor. Upon his death, she took
her place as leader of the community, spiritual guide, editor
of the publications and teacher to thousands here and abroad.
She continued to minister to Vedanta groups in Switzerland
She lived a consecrated life for 69 years
and served as the spiritual leader for 55 years until her
death in 1995.
SWAMI PARAMANANDA (1884-1940),
founder of the Vedanta Centre in Boston in 1909, was a monk
of the Ramakrishna Order, an author, poet and inspired teacher
of international renown.
He was the youngest monastic disciple of
Swami Vivekananda, founder of the Ramakrishna Order, the most
widely known religious and philanthropic organization in India.
Initiated into Sannyas in 1902 at the age of 17, he was trained
by his Guru and Swami Ramakrishnananda. Paramananda brought
Vedanta to Boston in 1909. He traveled hundreds of thousands
of miles around this country teaching and lecturing, as well
as establishing Vedanta groups in fifteen states. Three became
permanent Vedanta centers.
He lectured all over the world, forming groups
in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. In 1931, inspired by Swami
Shivananda, an Indian branch of Ananda Ashrama was dedicated
to the upliftment and education of destitute women and children.
In 1950, the entire center was moved to Calcutta where two
ashramas and schools continue to flourish.
Swami Paramananda founded the Message of
the East in 1909, the first Vedanta periodical published in
the United States which continued for 51 years to present
the best from all religions in its monthly magazine.
Like his teacher, Swami Vivekananda, Paramananda
believed in equality between men and women. He established
disciplined communities of nuns under the supervision of Sister
Devamata (1867-1942) his American first disciple, whom he
ordained to teach Vedanta from the platform in 1910. Throughout
the entire history of the community, women were accorded positions
of leadership in all areas of the work.
Swami Paramananda selected and trained a
young Indian nun in his community to be his spiritual successor.
Srimata Gayatri Devi became the spiritual leader of the centers
upon Swami Paramananda's death in 1940.