Eminent Personality of Odisha : Vedanta kesari swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati – A Sadhu who stopped Conversion of Religion
Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati was born in Gurujanga,Talcher in the year 1926 on the auspicious day of Shravan Krishna Navami. He started his schooling in 1930. He has his upanayana sanskar in 1939. He got married in 1943 at a very early age.
Joined in the Indian independence movement
At the age of 14, he joined in the Indian independence movement in the year 1940-1941. In 1944 he went on to Kolkata to search for a job. He left his wife and one-year-old son to become a monk and left for the Himalayas to meditate motivated by his father in law.
During the Kumbh mela at Allahabad in 1966, he met Bhupen Bose, the then RSS Pranta Sanghachalak , who persuaded him to come to Odisha and work for the tribals. In 1967 he joined Vinoba Bhave in his Goraksha movement (anti-cow slaughter movement) in Phulbani.
In 1968 on the auspicious day of Vyasa Purnima he set up an ashram in Chakapad. Later he found another ashram for girls in Jaleshpata. These ashrams were actually residential schools.
He started emparting Sanskrit educations to the poor tribals in his ashram. Later on the ashram became college.
Swamiji always works for women empowerment. During the 60’s women education is a taboo in tribal areas, but Swamiji encouraged and setup school for girls. He resisted the superstitions in the name of religion. He also started “Sankirtan” by girls in 1993.
Swamiji renovated many old temples. He established the statue of Lord Parshuram on Mahendragiri in 1987. He started RathYatra in Tumudibandha and Kotpad areas. In 1999, He started Dharanipenu RathYatra and Ashtamatruka RathYatra in 2006.
Beside these Swamiji also worked for the upliftment of the tribes. He set up hostels for tribal girls and hospitals in the tribal areas of Kandhamal.
He also opposed the conversion of the tribals.
He was confered with the title “Bidharma Chakra Vidarak DakshaMaharathi” by The Shankaracharya, Govardhan Math in 1996.
He was assassinated on 23 August 2008 along with four disciples at his kanyashram on the sacred day of Janmashtami.
Swami Lakshmanananda, was a Hindu monk and a highly revered social leader who lived a life dedicated to tribal welfare. He was regarded as a messiah among tribals of the area.