„When the sun of the holy name rises in the heart it will dispel the darkness that keeps you in material consciousness.“
Sacinandana Swami, a monk in the bhakti tradition, is known for his significant contribution to the practice of meditation and kirtan. Dedicated to the process of inner transformation, he has spent fifty years in pursuit of genuine spiritual experiences. With messages full of bhakti, humor, and energy, he reaches thousands while at the same time teaches to each and every individual. In his own words: “I like to inspire others to come in touch with the Divine so that they can live and act from the place of unlimited, blissful being.”
Sacinandana Swami co-founded the BrajCare charity in India and has been integral in building two spiritual communities in Germany. He teaches at the Vrindavana Institute for Higher Education in India and the Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium, and has published several books, dozens of articles, and poems.
Sacinandana Swami was born in Germany to an affluent family. His father was one of the managing directors of the multibillion dollar company behind the modern German railway system after WWII, Die Bahn. Because of the status of his family, it was expected that Sacinandana Swami would take on similar business roles as his father, but growing up he knew deep inside that that was not the path he was destined to be on. With the expectations that his family had for him, he attended several prestigious schools but was never particularly motivated to concentrate in classes. Although he grew up grateful for opportunities presented to him, Sacinandana Swami felt, in many ways, bored as if something was missing from his life. When he would visit his father’s office after school, for example, Sacinandana Swami remembers it being similar to entering a prison.
As a child, Sacinandana Swami had an innate spirituality to him even at a young age. He would, for example, climb very high on trees to the point where the fire department had to be called to help him get down. When asked why he would do this, he would answer his parents, “I want to be closer to God.” Eventually, this spirituality was something that years down the line as an adult his spiritual master recognized within Sacinandana Swami.
In his teenage years, before he began to answer his spiritual calling,
he lived the life of a normal teenager growing up in the midst of all
the changes and revolutionary ideas around the world. Sacinandana Swami
was fond of music and would attend concerts with his friends, and it was
at one such concert where he began to realize what it was that he felt
was missing from inside. After Sacinandana Swami and his friends snuck
into a concert by The Rolling Stones in Hamburg, Germany, he witnessed
an ascetic man, a monk of a Buddhist tradition, sitting on the ground as
he and several other concert goers left the area.
Despite the life he had lived up to that point, it was there that Sacinandana Swami remembers that he had a significant turning point. He deeply admired and long for the self-discipline that the monk possessed. In his words, he knew he did not want to lead a material life. He wanted a life of spiritual inner awareness. In many ways, he wanted an inner-revolution and not an exterior revolutions like those he witnessed in those years.
Getting on the path was a challenge that Sacinandana Swami had to overcome. He saw himself first as a divided man, divided between the world he came from and the spiritual world he wanted to establish a connection with. Although wanting to fully answer his spiritual calling and go all the way with his studies so that he too can become a teacher, he felt drawn to the world of western music, and western ideas. Sacinandana Swami was a fan of rock and roll and loves classical music, particularly works by J.S. Bach. To fully devote himself to this new path he sought out proper training from a spiritual master who would be able to guide him. Sacinandana Swami moved into the ashram that was established by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Hamburg. There, Sacinandana Swami began his formal spiritual training, taking part in daily routines of studying scriptures, singing, lively discussions, and performing selfless deeds.