( 1880 -1962 )
Birth and early life
Amrita Lal Sengupta, the name by which Swami Shankarananda was known in his pre-monstic life, was born on the 10 March 1880 on the Holy day of Sivaratri, at Hooghly. His ancestral home was at Bamunmura, in the 24-Parganas. He was called by the name Amulya.
Beginning of Monastic life
Amulya discontinued his studies at the Medical College to join the Ramakrishna Math in 1902. As a student, he attendedSwami Vivekananda’s lectures and was drawn to the monastic life by Swami Sadananda, his maternal uncle and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda.
Serving his Guru
Amulya was initiated by Swami Brahmananda in 1906. As a beloved disciple and also as a personal attendant of Swami Brahmananda for several years, he had the rare privilege of living with the Swami and of visiting many Math and Mission centres and various places of pilgrimage all over India.
Swami Shankarananda along with Swami Saradananda visited Japan in 1903, where he stayed for about six months and later visited China, on return.
He was intimately connected with the manifold activities of the Organization and directed many relief operations. He had a sound knowledge of building construction and personally supervised the construction of Bhubaneswar Math and Swami Brahmananda Temple at Belur. He earned the gratitude of all by collecting and preserving a considerable number of letters of Swami Vivekananda and other disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. He was well versed in Puranic literature and could quote verses on specific points of spiritual practice.
At the Helm of the Sangha
In 1947 he was appointed as one of the Vice-presidents of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission.
On 19 June 1951, he was elected as the President of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission.
He was simple, punctual, self-reliant and lived a very austere life. He displayed great efficiency in work and paid attention to the necessary details.
Swami Shankarananda passed into Mahasamadhi at Belur Math in the early hours (3.10 a.m.) on Saturday, the 13 February 1962, at the age of about 82 years. Though he had no specific ailment, he had been suffering from the last two or three years from general debility due to old age.