Date of Birth : 30 September 1864
Place of Birth : Kolkata
Born in an orthodox family Gangadhar lived a pure, disciplined life
from boyhood. At the age of nineteen he went to Dakshineswar Kali
temple. Sri Ramakrishna received him cordially and gave him several
instructions. Since then he started visiting the Master and also
cultivated friendship with the other young disciples, particularly
with Naren (later, Swami Vivekananda).
When the Baranagar Math was formed after Sri Ramakrishnas mahasamadhi,
Gangadhar did not join it immediately. Instead, he set out on a long
pilgrimage in 1886 which took him to different places in the Himalayas
and Tibet. After three and a half years, he returned to Baranagar
monastery in June 1890. He then took sannyasa vows formally and
assumed the name Akhandananda.
In mid-July 1890 Swami Akhandananda again set out, this time in the
company of Swami Vivekananda, on a pilgrimage which took them to
different places in the Himalayas. When Swamiji left for the West,
Akhandananda continued his wanderings in western India. Towards the
end of 1895 he returned to the Math which had been shifted to
Alambazar in Kolkata. When Swami Vivekananda, after his return from
the West, reached Kolkata in February 1897, Swami Akhandananda
enthusiastically participated in the reception accorded to Swamiji.
After a few days, when Swamiji left for Darjeeling, Akhandananda
travelled towards Murshidabad. Reaching there he was distressed to
find a famine raging. He immediately started famine relief work with
whatever he could collect. Later Swami Vivekananda sent more funds and
the relief operation was organized on a full scale. This was the first
relief operation organized by Ramakrishna Mission.
After relief work Akhandananda started an ashrama with an orphanage in
Sargachhi, in the Murshidabad district. He served the orphan boys as
manifestations of God.
In 1934, after the passing away of Swami Shivananda, Swami
Akhandananda became the President of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
From that time he divided his time between Belur Math and Sargachhi.
He participated in the celebration of the Birth Centenary of Sri
Ramakrishna in 1936. Owing to old-age ailments he became weak. He
passed away on 7 February 1937.
For further reading :
1. Swami Akhandananda, by Swami Annadananda
2. God Lived with them, by Swami Chetanananda