SWAMI AMBIKANANDA (1934 - 1997)
Swamiji was born on November 2, 1934 on the Island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. He came from a well-to-do Hindu family and his maternal great-grandfather had been a priest in the tradition of KABIR, a 16th century mystic venerated by both Hindus and Muslims. From childhood onward he developed a fervent religious zeal and, together with his grand-father, went on pilgrimage to India for the first time in 1953. In 1954 he came to England where he stayed for the rest of his life. After some more trips to India where he spent some time in a Himalayan hermitage close to Rishikesh and, at one occasion met with Swami Sivananda, a small group of devotees founded the QUINTESSENCE Ashram in London in 1969. In 1971 he received initiation according to the traditions of Vedanta taking the vows of a monk and thus became known as Swami Ambikananda.
For Swami-ji the teachings of Ramakrishna and the Christ, Vedanta and Christianity constitute the groundwork of direct mystical experience and intimate communion with the Divine. In the Hindu tradition this is known as Bhakti Yoga, the way of love and devotion. The same is true in the western mystical traditions, therefore the lives and deeds of Christian saints such as Thomas a Kempis, Saint Brigitte of Sweden, Anne-Catherine Emmerich, and many more, served as equally important examples for Swami-ji, as those of their Indian counterparts Ramakrishna or Shirdi Sai Baba.
Swami Ambikananda gave the musicians in QUINTESSENCE their spiritual names and contributed a number of lyrics and melodies to their catalogue. He remains unforgettable to anyone who was blessed to meet him. SHIVA'S QUINTESSENCE hold his memory dear and alive, bringing his teachings in our music into the new millennium.
HARI OM TAT SAT