The Origin and History
of Omkarananda International Ashram
1929: Paramahamsa Sri Swami Omkarananda is born on 25th December in Secundarabad, a suburb of Hyderabad, in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Already he brings mystical consciousness into the world. His birth is accompanied by supernatural occurrences.
1943/1944: From the age of 13 he has numerous mystical experiences and visions, among others of Shirdi Sai Baba, one of the greatest 19th century mystics. Deep and decisive experiences of the omnipresence, omniscient and omnipotence of God dominate his life.
1946: Filled with the knowledge of divine reality and completely detached from everything worldly, Sri Swami Omkarananda leaves his South Indian home and travels to the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas. There he enters the Ashram of the famous saint Sri Swami Sivanananda, who recognises in the radiant young genius a serious seeker of Truth and very soon initiates him into the holy order of sannyasa.
Swami Sivananda calls him a 'bala-jnani', a sage who has already attained wisdom as a child. He puts him in charge of the printing press at Sivananda Ashram. At a young age, Swami Omkarananda writes several books, some under his own name (Sivananda Literature), others commissioned by Swami Sivananda (e.g., "Sadhana", "Conquest of Mind", etc.).
1950 and subsequent years: Swami Omkarananda meets frequently with the 105 year old Swami Durgananda, who introduces him to the science of Vedic sacrifice (Yajna), Sri Vidya and more.
During this period Swami Omkarananda has direct visions of Devi and spiritual insights that, in his own words, allow him to go “beyond all doubts”. He later mentions to his disciples that the Divine Mother appeared to him again and again, introducing him to the highest mysteries and revealing to him hidden knowledge.
1955: Swami Omkarananda is invited to come to Europe by Mrs. Hanna O. Hermann. However, it takes 10 years for him to respond to the urgent call of a group of spiritual seekers in Winterthur, Switzerland.
1965: Swami Omkarananda comes to Winterthur for a first visit.
1966: Swami Omkarananda comes to Switzerland for the second time and ends up staying. The Divine Light Zentrum, nowadays known as Omkarananda Ashram Switzerland, is founded in Winterthur.
1967: In the vicinity of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, Swami Omkarananda establishes a temple which nowadays is known as 'Shanta Durga Mandir'. This place later becomes the basis of Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas.
1973: Foundation of the Sarva Devata Temple in Winterthur, where Homa (fire ceremony) is performed 24 hours a day.
1983: Enlargement and continuous expansion of Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas in Rishikesh.
1986: Foundation and expansion of Omkarananda Ashram Austria. This institution had its beginnings in 1973 under the name 'Society for Spiritual and Charitable Services'.
1991: Foundation of the Omkarananda Mission in England.
2000: After decades of selfless and tireless work for all spiritual seekers and for the good of all humanity, Sadguru Sri Swami Omkarananda Sarasvati leaves the body on 4th January and enters Mahasamadhi.
2001: Establishment of the Swami Omkarananda Foundation.
2005: Foundation of the Omkarananda Mahatripurasundari Charitable Research Trust in Kullu, Himalayas, where a Mahatripurasundari Temple is maintained and organic farming is practised.
In 2017, the Swiss Federation for Hinduism was founded. Omkarananda Ashram was one of the founding members.