Swami Gambhirananda

the 11th President of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission

Swami Gambhirananda

Swami Gambhirananda

( 1899 -1988 )

Birth and Early life

Swami Gambhirananda was born on February 11, 1899, in Sadhuhati, a village in the district of Sylhet (now in Bangladesh).

Beginning of Monastic life

After graduating from the Scottish Church College, Calcutta, he joined the Ramakrishna Order in May 1923.

He had his Sannyasa from Swami Shivananda in 1928.

The Swami had an outstanding record in Service to the Organization. He became the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith, Deoghar, in 1926 and continued there until December 1935.

He studied Sanskrit scriptures at Varanasi Advaita Ashrama.

He served as a member of the working committee of the Math and Mission during 1936-41 and 1944-47. In the intervening period, he was the Editor of the Prabudha Bharata for three years. Later, from 1953 to 1963, he was the President of the Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati.

At the Helm of the Sangha

Appointed as a Trustee of the Order in March 1947, he became one of the Assistant Secretaries in April that year. He served in that capacity till 1953 and again from 1963 to 1966. Then he was elected the General Secretary of the Math and Mission. He was elected one of the Vice-Presidents in April 1979 and continued in that position until he became the Eleventh President of the Order in April 1985.

The Swami was an erudite scholar. His English version of the ten Major Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras with Shankara’s Commentary, and the Bengali version of the eleven major Upanishads, StavakusumanjaliSiddhanta-Lesa-Samgraha, earned appreciation from all quarters. Besides translations, he also published some original works. Of them, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and History of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission in English and Sri Ma Sarada Devi, Yuganayak Vivekananda (in 3 Volumes) and Sri Ramakrishna Bhaktamalika in Bengali deserve special mention. He also edited the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (in 8 volumes) thoroughly and compiled and edited the Apostles of Sri Ramakrishna. In the last few years, he was engaged in translating into English Madhusudan Saraswati’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. His contribution to the Vedanta and Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature is immense.


Swami Gambhirananda entered Mahasamadhi on 27 December 1988, at 7.27 p.m. at the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, Calcutta, he was admitted to the hospital on the 24 December with severe lung-infection and cardiac problems. In spite of the best efforts of the attending physicians, the end came suddenly. He was 90.