Abhishiktananda is a fascinating mixture of Eastern and Western spirituality. He was born as Henri Le Saux into a French Catholic family in Brittany. He was highly devout from childhood and early on determined to be a monk. In 1931, he made is profession as a Benedictine monk and, in 1935, was ordained a priest.
Early on Fr. Le Saux felt the call of India, and in 1948 he received his chance, leaving France, never to return. For the rest of his life, Fr. Le Saux would seek to combine the Catholic ideal with the purest essence of Hindu spirituality. He adopted the dress and lifestyle of a sanyasin, a Hindu renunciate, and took the name Abhishiktananda ("Bliss of the Anointed One").
Abhishiktananda helped to found Shantivanam, a Christian ashram in India that sought to embody Christian spiritual ideals of service, community, and simplicity, without forcing converts and the curious to abandon the richness of their native culture. The stable life of a community administrator was not for him, and Abhishiktananda soon took up an itinerant life of pilgrimage to many of the great holy sites of India, proclaiming that it was entirely appropriate for a follower of Christ to bring his worship to such places.
One of his most profound early encounters was his meeting with the famous Advaitin sage Ramana Maharshi. The Maharshi was near the end of his life and their few meetings were brief, but transformative for Abhishiktananda, focusing his interests on the revelations of Advaita Vedanta (nondualism). Abhishiktananda would go on extended meditation retreats in the caves near Arunachala Mountain, where Ramana Maharshi lived and taught. Later, Abhishiktananda met another Advaita master, Swami Gnananada, whom he became deeply devoted to and acknowledged as his guru.
Outwardly, Abhishiktananda lived as a sincere, humble Hindu sanyasin; inwardly, he continuously sought to reconcile and integrate the two great spiritual traditions of Catholicism and nondualist Hinduism (Advaita Vedanta).
Poems by Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux)
Arunachala is a symbol
Initiation of the True Disciple
Recommended Books: Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux)
Guru and Disciple: An Encounter with Sri Gnanananda, a Contemporary Spiritual Master The Secret of Arunachala: A Christian Hermit on Shiva's Holy Mountain The Further Shore Swami Abhishiktananda: Essential Writings Prayer
The Cave of the Heart: The Life of Swami Abhishiktananda A Christian Pilgrim in India: The Spiritual Journey of Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux) Saccidananda: A Christian Approach to Advatic Experience Witness to the Fullness of Light: The Vision and Relevance of the Benedictine Monk Swami Abhishiktananda Abhishiktananda: An Interior Journey (DVD)
Swami Abhishiktananda: The Man and His MessagePoetry Chaikhana | Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux) - Christian/Catholic - Poetry, Biography, Books