Svami Sadananda Das

Sadananda Swami (Svami Sadananda Das) was born Ernst Georg Schulze of Germany He met Bhakti Hridaya Bon (Swami Bon), a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur (Srila Prabhupada). Bon took Schulze to India, where he received diksa from Bhaktisiddhanta and became Sadananda Dasa. He was the first known individual who was not of Asian origin to embrace the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. After conversion of Vamana Dasa (Walter Eidlitz) Svami Sadananda Dasa continued to preach in Europe.

(Based on a biography written by Sadananda Swami dasa himself. Edited by Katrin Stamm 2006)

1908. Avirbhava (he became visible) on the 3rd of January in Zittau (Germany). Only child of the fiscal officer F. C. E. Schulze (deceased 1919) and his wife Dr. med. Anna Schulze-Jochem (deceased 1946).

1928. Graduation (Abitur).

1928–1932. Study of Comparative Theology and Philosophy at the Universities of Leipzig and Berlin (Germany) and attendance of the Oriental Seminar in Berlin.

1932. Doctoral thesis on “Das Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya-Sutra und seine Bedeutung für die Entwicklung der Shunyata-Spekulation” (The Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya-Sutra and it’s impact on the development of the Shunyata-speculation). Rigorosum: Main subject: Comparative History of Religions. Minor subjects: Sanskrit and Philosophy.

1933. Independent scholar in Berlin. Preparation of a work on Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara (buddh. Sanskrit-text) and acting as scientific foreign consultant for the “Gemeinde um Buddha” (Buddha’s community) in Berlin. Winter: Invitation to a guest lecture at the University of Tokyo and preparation for the final emigration to Japan (also due to the Nazi-terror against himself personally ). Gets the book “Shri Krishna Caitanya” (written by Prof. N. Sanyal) from friends in London as a present. Contacts the author and his teacher Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati, who lived in Mayapur (Bengal). Following his recommendation to get accustomed to the Indian way of life and thinking before leaving for India, he stays in London together with Bhakti Siddhanta’s disciples.

1934–1935. London. Collaborator of the “Society for Promoting Spiritual Understanding between East and West”. In the colony of the Indian monks he becomes acquainted with Svami B. P. Tirtha and assists him in translating an ancient commentary on the Gita. Accompanies Svami B. H. Vana (Svami Bon) on his journey of lectures on the Continent.

1935–1961. Staying in India. Studies in philosophy and Sanskrit under the guidance of his teacher Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati in Bengal, study trips to North-India, lectures and essays on Indian philosophy. Initiation into Hinduism (Vaishnava) and receiving the name “Sadananda” (always joyful).

1937. After his teacher’s tirobhava (becoming invisible) in January 1937, he travels all over India as a mendicant, from the very North to the very South. After his return to North-India, prominent men from the University of Allahabad invite him to found a monastery and scientific institute in Allahabad, where teachers and students could get the opportunity to study the interrelations between modern science and ancient culture.

1939. At the beginning of the Second World War, internment due to German citizenship.

1942. A sergeant, rousing him violently from his yoga-exercises, causes him a bent in his rectum (ileum). The following operation fails and further operations create additionally a chronical infection with penicillin-resistant staphylococci. In the camp he meets the Austrian poet Walther Eidlitz, who is also interned. Sadananda dictates him translations from ancient Indian Sanskrit-texts.

1945. Release from the military hospital and the camp. In spite of his illness, further study trips to Assam, Nepal and North-India. He collects and copies old and almost decayed Sankrit- and Bengali-manuscripts of the Middle-Ages, owned either by privat gentlemen or temples. He assists his friend, the scholar Haridas das (former professor of Sanskrit in Chittagong, East-Bengal) in publishing various manuscripts.

1950. Becomes an Indian citizen.

1956. Due to his detoriating state of health, friends in Sweden set up a “Sadananda-fund” to ensure a necessary medical treatment in Calcutta. But even a long-term treatment in the best hospital of Calcutta, initiated by Pandit Nehru personally, cannot restore his health.

1961. A small group of Swiss realises Sadananda’s difficulties and offers him a flight to Basel. In Basel an oral surgery operation heals his fever, that had lasted for many years.

1961–1962. Stays with friends in Sweden. On account of his poor health, he is unable to give his originally planned lectures at the University of Stockholm.

1962–1977. Lives in Basel with periodical visits to Sweden in the summers. Translates and dictates his translations to his Swedish and Swiss friends. Among other things he helps Walther Eidlitz with the publication of his doctoral thesis: ”Shri Krishna Caitanya – Sein Leben und Seine Lehre” (Shri Krishna Caitanya – His Life and Precepts), Stockholm 1968.

1969. Prostata-operation and heart-attack.

1975. He suffers a stroke, which almost disables him to read and write.

1977. Tirobhava (he becomes invisible) on the 11th of April, Easter Monday, in Basel.