Swami Kailashananda

Swami Kailashananda

Swami Kailashananda
(Courtesy: Vedanta Society, St. Louis)

Swami Kailashananda was known in his pre-monastic days as Sri Sailesh Chandra Banerji, the Swami was born in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in the year 1894, most probably in the month of November. For some time he worked as a lecturer in the Dhaka University. He was deeply devoted to Srimat Swami Shivanandaji Maharaj (Mahapurush Maharaj) and was initiated by him at Dhaka in 1922. He joined the Ramakrishna Order as a monastic member in November 1929, and in the following year (1930), on the Kali Puja day, he received sannyasa from Mahapurush Maharaj.

The Swami served Mahapurush Maharaj as his personal attendant until February 1934. Shortly after the passing away of Mahapurush Maharaj, Swami Kailashanandaji served Srimat Swami Akhandanandaji Maharaj, then President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, as his Private Secretary, for about six months. During the next two years (Nov. 1934 to Nov. 1936), the Swami worked at the Belur Math Headquarters as a Member of the Working Committee. For about eight years thereafter, (Nov. 1936 to Sept. 1944), the Swami was the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission centre at New Delhi. In October 1944, he was posted to Madras, as the President of the Ramakrishna Math there. He continued in this post for a period of nearly 27 years (till June 1971) during which the multifarious humanitarian activities of the Madras centre registered remarkable progress. In addition he had to look after several educational institutions in Madras, as their President.

In 1961, while in Madras, the Swami was elected a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Ramakrishna Math and of the Governing Body of the Ramakrishna Mission. In June 1971, he was elected Treasurer of the Math and Mission, when the Swami came over to stay at the Belur Math Headquarters. In March 1975, he became Vice-president of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, which position he held until the last.

Swami Kailashanandaji was well known for his regular habits, austere life, and meditative and devout personality. He has left behind a large number of disciples and devotees who cherish great love and regard for him. The Swami was a constant source of affection, solace and inspiration to all – young and old, lay and monastic – who came in touch with him.

Swami Kailashanandaji Maharaj entered Mahasamadhi at the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, Calcutta, on 16th December 1978.