Resident Monastics and Seekers

The Ashram wishes to offer to monastics and genuine spiritual seekers the opportunity to live together and to experience contemplative life in an interreligious monastic community.

Ajatananda Ashram is comprised of a small number of sannyasis, brahmacharis and seekers, and was inaugurated and blessed by H.H. Chandra Swami Udasin. Currently the community operates under the direction and guidance of Swami Atmananda Udasin (Spiritual Head).

Swami Atmananda Udasin

Swami Atmananda Udasin is a teacher of Non-Duality (Advaita) and the resident Spiritual Head of Ajatananda Ashram, situated at the feet of the Himalayas in Rishikesh, India. Originally from Belgium, he has been living in India for the last 20 years.

After a brief career as a university lecturer, he spent ten years in solitude, first at a hermitage near Jerusalem and later in North India. Towards the end of this long retreat, he embraced Sanatana Dharma and, in 2001, received initiation into sannyasa (monastic renunciation) from his beloved and long-time spiritual Master, Sri Chandra Swami Udasin. 

Two years later, he felt a call to move closer to the Ganges, and start a small monastic community to support spiritual seekers of all religious traditions. Over the following years, this initiative unfolded and ultimately became Ajatananda Ashram, an interreligious ashram dedicated to the Oneness of Truth.

Besides the teachings of his own Master, over the last thirty years Swami Atmananda has also been deeply inspired by the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, Sri H.W.L. Poonja (Papaji), Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux) and his realized disciple, Swami Ajatananda Saraswati (Marc Chaduc)—from whom the Ashram has taken its name.

A native of Belgium, Swami Atmananda Udasin studied Theology, Indian Philosophy and Comparative Religion in Louvain, Paris, and Jerusalem. He served as President of the Abhishiktananda Society (2007-2008), of which he was an Associate Member since 1983. He is presently the Director (since 2008) of the Abhishiktananda Centre for Interreligious Dialogue (Delhi).To learn more about the Abhishiktananda Centre, click here.

Swami Atmananda Udasin teaches the Direct Path of Non-Duality according to the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. He offers regular satsangs and retreats, both in India and overseas.

The satsangs are opened to all spiritual seekers.
For further information, click on Satsangs and Teachings

In Memoriam of Sri Swami Magni Ram Shastri

Pujya Sri Swami Magni Ram Shastri Ji attained Mahasamadhi in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, on 18 November 2016.

Sri Swami Ji hailed from Rajasthan and was the Chela of Sri Swami Ram Kishore. After his studies in Swargashram (Rishikesh) and Haridwar, he obtained his Vedanta Acharya degree from the Sanskrit University of Varanasi.

Sri Swami Ji spent more than twenty years living in Phul Chatti Ashram near Rishikesh, from as far back as 1962. There he came to know personally Sri Swami Abhishiktananda and Sri Swami Ajatananda. This was the starting point of a deep spiritual connection. In 1984, Sri Swami Ji shifted to a newly built ashram, Om Ram Dham, in Rishikesh. He was a long-time member of the Executive Committee of the Abhishiktananda Society where he took part in many interreligious meetings organized in India and abroad. Sri Swami Magni Ram Shastri Ji was also a founding member of Ajatananda Ashram and served two terms as President of the Ajatananda Interreligious Trust.

On 19 November 2016, Pujya Sri Swami Ji was given Bhu Samadhi (burial), close to the Ganga River at his Rishikesh ashram, amid Vedic chants and rituals. His beloved presence is fondly remembered by the monks of Ajatananda Ashram and the broader Rishikesh sadhu community.


Ashram Monastic Membership

The community of Ajatananda Ashram welcomes all those who wish to live the brahmacharya or sannyasa life in communion with other seekers, sharing in common a universal form of Spirituality.

After the completion of a retreat, monastics or genuine spiritual seekers may apply to stay in the Ashram as long-term resident members and may be admitted into a two-year aspirancy period or novitiate. This is a period of formation designed according to the needs and background of the aspirant, and primarily takes the form of simply and earnestly living the way of life at the Ashram within a supportive community. After successfully completing the aspirancy period/novitiate, the candidate may then make a long-term commitment, and become a resident member of the Ashram community.

Monastic Membership at Ajatananda Ashram is open to men, both ordained monks of any tradition and those drawn to the sannyasa way of life. If you are aged below thirty and interested in joining the Ashram’s monastic community, you are most welcome to contact the Spiritual Head. See the Contact Page.