Swami Omkarananda, founder and director of Badarikashrama has served the United States since 1970. His universal outlook with a life centered in devotion to God and sacrifice to Humanity has attracted many devotees. His spiritual longings became apparent in his early boyhood years in his native village, Madihalli, Karnataka. He could often be found in prayer and meditation or in the company of mahatmas. His disinterest in worldly affairs and search for permanent peace and bliss (Ananda) led him to Bangaluru, where he came in to contact with the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. He travelled throughout India from Kanyakumari to Badarinath, from Dwaraka to Jagannath Puri, Kolkata, Bellur and Dakshineshwar. By visiting these sacred sites, doing intense tapasya in Uttarkashi, Himalayas, receiving the blessings of many mahatmas and thirthas, his devotion to God flourished.
After several years serving in a number of organizations in America, he returned to India for further sadhana and took his final vows of Sanyasa from Madaleshwara Sri Swami Vidyananda Giri at Kaikash Ashrama in Rishikesh. In 1983 he founded Badarikashrama in San Leandro, California, USA.
The mission of Badarikashrama has developed under the guidance of Swamiji’s emphasis on devotion, service to God through humanity, simplicity and reliance on the strength of spiritual disciplines. Those who come in contact with the ashrama recognize Swamiji’s devotion to God, service, and his intense efforts to work to disseminate Vedic teachings. His ideals derive from the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Sarada Devi, Mahatma Gandhi and other saints and sages from all traditions. Swamiji teaches that spiritual awareness comes from active meditation, service, dedication and self-discipline. His sadhana is the daily practice of meditation, puja and kirtan. Swamiji considers the mission work as part of his spiritual work.“Amano mokshartham jagad hitayacha” For one’s own salvation and service of humanity.
He provides spiritual counseling, satsanga and guidance in spiritual and cultural issues, through home worship bringing Vedic teachings to the family environment.
Through the support of the local community and an ongoing relationship with supporters in India, Swami Omkarananda is building a steadfast exchange, preservation of India’s rich spiritual heritage and the development of programs.