Ramakrishna Vedanta Association of Thailand

Biography of our Founder


Revered Swami Damodaranandaji Maharaj, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, was born in Gurupura, Mangalore, South India, on 19 January 1919.  As a youth he went to Tiruvannamalai, where he met the famous South Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi and remained with him for about two months.  There he learned about Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, and the Ramakrishna Order.

In 1940, he joined the Ramakrishna Order’s Bangalore center, participating in its activities and studying Sanskrit and the Hindu scriptures.  Six years later, he was initiated as a brahmachari (novice monk) by Revered Swami Virajanandaji Maharaj, the sixth president of the Order, at the Headquarters at Belur Math, near Kolkata.  He was posted to the Lahore center, where he performed the worship service in the shrine, managed the library, and held discussions with students.

In 1947, India was partitioned, and Lahore became part of Pakistan. Revered Swami Damodaranandaji returned to India and joined the Ramakrishna Mission’s home of service, an indoor hospital, at Vrindaban.  Apart from study and meditation, he worked in the hospital, nursing and feeding patients, dressing wounds and injuries, and serving in the injection room and as a radiographer in the X-ray department.

After receiving initiation as a sannyasin (fully ordained monk) from Revered Swami Virajanandaji in 1950, he went on pilgrimages to Badrinath and Kedarnath in the Himalayas, and to Mount Kailas and Lake Manasarovar in Tibet.

In 1954, he was posted to the Ramakrishna Mission center in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar), where he performed the worship in the shrine and held discussions with students and Buddhist monks.   From 1961 to 1976, he served at the Singapore center as warden of the Ramakrishna Mission Boys’ Home, performed the worship in the shrine, and conducted classes.  He also visited many cities in Malaysia, where he conducted classes and devotional singing sessions.

From 1976 to 2000, he served in Fiji, where he became the head of the center and managed the Swami Vivekananda College, a trade school, and a primary school.  He also conducted classes and made visits to New Zealand and Australia, founding and managing all the centers in most of the cities in both countries. Later, he handed them over to Revered Swami Sridharanandaji  Maharaj.

In February 2004, he visited Bangkok, where he met local devotees and founded the Ramakrishna Vedanta Association of Thailand.

Revered Swami Damodaranandaji left his body on July 12, 2014. He was 95.

Read selected articles written by Swami Damodarananda.