Swami Smaranananda, General Secretary of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur on July 20, 2018. This highest honor from the Institute was conferred upon Swami Smaranananda in recognition of his decades of service to society as a YSS monk.
The award ceremony took place at the IIT Kharagpur campus during the Institute’s annual convocation. In attendance as the chief guest was the President of India, Sri Ram Nath Kovind.
Brother Chidananda, president and spiritual head of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, congratulated Swami Smaranananda during a meeting with SRF/YSS monastics on July 23, saying: “I am so proud of our dear Swami Smarananandaji, the General Secretary of YSS. I know he shares with me the feeling that the most thrilling part of this award is the honor it accords to Paramahansa Yogananda’s society in India, of which Swamiji is such a wonderful representative; and the recognition of what our Guru’s teachings mean to India and to the world.”
IIT Kharagpur, one of the most respected universities in India, has the motto “Excellence in Action is Yoga.” Annually the school honors several alumni who, in the words of Professor Subrata Chattopadhyay, Dean of Alumni Affairs, “have made distinctive contributions to the society and world at large through their professional and human excellence.” Along with Swami Smaranananda, twelve other IIT Kharagpur graduates also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for their accomplishments in academics, industrial research and development, and other fields.
Swami Smaranananda received a PhD in electronics and communication engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 1980, and it was while he was studying there that he first discovered the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. A few years later he entered the YSS monastic order to dedicate his life to serving Paramahansaji’s Kriya Yoga mission.
Following are excerpts from Swami Smaranananda’s acceptance speech during the awards ceremony:
I have always been grateful to this great institution, my alma mater, for all that it has given to me: knowledge, strength, character, friends, and above all, a focus in life. With deep humility I accept this award.
This place has a very special place in my heart, for two reasons. One, this is where I learned the true meaning of focus….And that focus I learned in my life here helped me later in my career, in my spiritual pursuits, and in life in general. The second reason is this is where I happened to be introduced to the scientific meditation teachings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. Having been benefitted by meditation in overcoming stress, fear, anxiety, worry—and in the ability of meditation to bring out the highest potential in man—I decided to [help] share this knowledge with mankind.
The July 20 event was the second time in less than a year that Sri Kovind and Swami Smaranananda had met; in November 2017 the President of India visited the YSS Ranchi Ashram to celebrate the release of the Hindi translation of Paramahansa Yogananda’s translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, God Talks With Arjuna.
The President of India, Sri Ram Nath Kovind (seated front row, center) with recipients of IIT Kharagpur’s Distinguished Alumnus Awards in 2018, including Swami Smaranananda (standing second row, immediately to the left of Sri Kovind).