H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji’s motto in life is, “In the Service of God and humanity.” Selflessly dedicated to the welfare of all, He leads, directs and inspires numerous, wide-scale service initiatives. Touched by the hand of God at the tender age of eight, Pujya Swamiji left His home to live a life devoted to God and humanity, spending His youth in silence, meditation and austerities high in the Himalayas. At the age of seventeen, after nine years of unbroken, intense sadhana, He returned from the forest—under the orders of His guru—and obtained an academic education to parallel His spiritual one.
Pujya Swamiji is President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, one of the largest interfaith, spiritual institutions in India. Under His divine inspiration and leadership, Parmarth Niketan has become a sanctuary known across the globe as one filled with grace, beauty, serenity and true divine bliss. Pujya Swamiji has also increased several-fold the humanitarian activities undertaken by Parmarth Niketan (www.parmarth.org). Now, the ashram is not only a spiritual haven for those who visit, but it also provides education, training, and health care to those in need.
He is the Co-Founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), the world’s first-ever international interfaith initiative which brings together the world’s faiths as allies in ensuring every child around the world has access to safe, life-giving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). (www.washalliance.org; facebook.com/Global.Interfaith.WASH.Alliance)
He is the Founder of:
- India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF), an international, non-profit, humanitarian foundation which just say the launching the first-ever International Edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism (www.theencyclopediaofhinduism.com) as well as ashrams and medical clinics in the sacred land of Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash in Tibet. He is the founder and inspiration behind the famous Hindu Jain temple in Pittsburgh and the Minto Shiva temple in Sydney Australia and has played a crucial role in the founding of innumerable temples and Indian cultural centres all across the world.
- Ganga Action Parivar (GAP), a global family dedicated to the preservation of the River Ganga and Her tributaries in their free-flowing and pristine state. GAP work includes everything ranging from solid waste management to wastewater management as well as awareness and educational outreach to make this vision of a clean and free-flowing River Ganga and Her tributaries a reality for all.(www.gangaaction.org; facebook.com/gangaaction)
- Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF), which is dedicated to the holistic well being of women, their children, and orphaned/abandoned children, and to all of Mother Nature. DSF runs and sponsors free schools, women’s vocational training programs, orphanages/gurukuls, frequent free medical camps, animal care programs, a rural development program, and innumerable other humanitarian projects. (www.divineshaktifoundation.org; facebook.com/divineshaktifoundation)
- Interfaith Humanitarian Network/Project Hope, an organization dedicated to disaster relief which has been active in providing both short term, immediate relief as well as long-term permanent relief to victims of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, 2013 floods in Uttarakhand India and 2015 earthquake in Nepal (projecthope-india.org)
- International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh) held annually from the 1st-7th of March. This year we welcomed more than 1200 participants from over 85 countries from all over the globe and each year the festival draws countless NRI’s back to India to the birthplace of yoga to truly imbibe its divine nectar at the source, on the holy banks of Mother Ganga, in the lap of the Himalayas. (internationalyogafestival.org)
Pujya Swamiji is also the Board of Trustees of the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI). IDF-OI was set up by the Government of India in 2008 as a not-for-profit Trust to facilitate Overseas Indian philanthropy into social and development projects in India.
He is the Advisory Board of KAICIID (King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue), which is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to promote globally the use of dialogue to prevent and resolve conflict and to enhance understanding and cooperation among different cultures and religions.
Pujya Swamiji’s religion is unity, and he has been a leader in numerous international, inter-faith summits and parliaments, including at the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and the Parliament of Religions as well as with Religions for Peace, KAICIID, the Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem, the Hindu-Christian dialogue by the Vatican and so many others. He is also a leader of frequent world peace pilgrimages across the world.
Pujya Swamiji is the recipient of innumerable awards, including the World Peace Ambassador Award, Hindu of the Year Award, Prominent Personality Award, by Lions’ Club, Best Citizens of India Award, the Uttaranchal Ratan Award and many more including:
- Parliament of World’s Religions Ahimsa Award for his exceptional contributions that enhance and strengthen the interfaith community through non-violence and mobilization towards WASH and environmental preservation, in addition to his decades of unparalleled service to humanity, his great example of peace, and compassion in action
- Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award, presented by the President of India, for leading the world’s first initiative to bring interfaith leaders together for improved WASH as well as his tireless efforts to clean the National River Ganga and tributaries by implementing viable technologies
- United States Ambassador to India Mr Richard Verma honoured the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance for its exceptional efforts to bring faith into action by galvanizing India’s diverse faith leaders for a clean, green world with improved WASH for all
- 21st Annual South Indian Education Society (SIES) Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati National Eminence Awards in the field of Spirituality and Social Reform for his work to bring about interfaith leaders together for improved WASH, toilets, cleaning our sacred rivers, and environmental preservation
- World Toilet Organisation’s Hall of Fame Award to the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance for innovative and large-scale action to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in India
- Global Peace Award for his work with GIWA and many other large scale service initiatives at the 7th International Human Rights Awards Ceremony in Delhi, organised by All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice (AICHLS) with National Council Of News & Broadcasting (NCNB), Asian Human Rights Council (AHRC), Amnesty Worldwide (AW), Universal Mission For Peace And Harmony (UMPH), and International Institute Of Human Rights Studies (IIHRS)
- Clean India Day Awards on Clean India Day by ImagIndia Institute for exceptional work towards mobilizing faith leaders and faith-based organizations to be part of the Clean India Mission
- Surya Ratna Lifetime Achievement Award, conferred by the then His Excellency Dr. Aziz Qureshi, Governor of Uttarakhand, Padma Vibhushan Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow & President, Global Research Alliance and Prof. Dr. Sanjay B. Chordiya, Founder and President of Suryadatta Group of Institutes, at Suryadatta’s Campus in Pune, Maharashtra, for Excellence in Innovative Spirituality and for his exceptional service to Humanity and the Environment
- Dr Abdul Kalam Memorial Honour for his extraordinary efforts in bringing faith to the forefront of climate action, environmental preservation, and for creating a livable planet Earth for all beings by the Hon’ble Member of Parliament Smt Meenakshi Lekhi, Vice Chancellor of the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University Prof Vinay Pathak, Shri Srijan Pal Singh, CEO Kalam Centre, and Dr Ashok Patil, President of International Rural Healthcare and Medicine
However, Pujya Swamiji seems unaffected by this incredible list of accomplishments and remains a pious child of God, owning nothing, draped in saffron robes, living a life of true renunciation. His days in Rishikesh are spent offering service to those around him. Thousands travel from across the globe simply to sit in his presence, to receive his “darshan.” He travels the world, bringing the light of wisdom, inspiration, upliftment and the divine touch to thousands across the world.