Featured Team Profile
Ganga Prem Hospice
Microbiology and spirituality
may not look to be very compatible subjects but
the Ganga Prem Hospice spiritual advisor, Swamini
Pramananda has traversed a long way from being
a microbiologist to a Vedanta teacher. Swamini
Pramananda lives in Uttarkashi by the river Ganga
to lead a secluded life of sadhana in the Himalayas.
For the last twenty-five years, "Ammaji,"
as Swamini Pramananda's followers call her,
has been teaching Vedanta, Sanskrit and Vedic
Heritage, both in India and abroad. With her brother
Sri Dhira Chaitanya, she wrote a series of 24
books, known as Purna Vidya, which provides a
comprehensive overview of Vedic wisdom and culture.
Born in Bombay, Swamini Pramananda's
interest in spiritual knowledge took her to California
where she studied Vedanta and Sanskrit taught
by Swami Dayananda. After completing her Masters
degree in Microbiology from New York University,
she worked in the same city for five years in
a diagnostic research clinic and another five
years as a researcher for the Institute of Basic
Later Swamini Pramananda
returned to India where she studied and taught
Sanskrit and vedanta under her Guru ji's guidence.
At the same time as teaching Vedic Heritage her
interest in development work led her to run a
programme for the empowerment of tribal women,
as well as projects in health care and education
for the poor tribal people of the hilly areas
of Southern India.
Swamini Pramanada has been
a part of the Ganga Prem Hospice project almost
from its inception. As the Ganga Prem Hospice's
spiritual advisor, she visits the Hospice's
terminally-ill patients whenever she is in Rishikesh.
Having seen death up close with cancer patients,
and also having explored death as a spiritual
subject as defined in the Vedas, Swamini Pramananda
says, "Spirituality is the only way one can
find solace in the last days. It reassures the
individual that the soul has no death; that it
continues to exist and evolve." One of the
Swamini's own young disciples had cancer
and she helped her by sharing her love and insight
in student's last days.
Swamini Pramananda has traveled
extensively throughout the world and finds a marked
difference in people's attitudes towards
death, in India and abroad. She says, "In
India, death is very much considered a natural
aspect of life. Reincarnation is a much more accepted
concept in India than in other countries, though
there has been a steady increase in the number
of people believing in reincarnation abroad."
The only permanent
components of Swamini Pramananda's daily
routine are her prayers and meditation. "For
the rest, I readily become a part of whatever
picture emerges everyday." She continues
to spend most of her time in retreat in her ashram
but occasionally leaves her solitude to benefit
small groups of seekers by sharing her vast scriptural
knowledge with them.