Brother Bholananda, a Self-Realization Fellowship monk for sixty years, made his peaceful transition to the astral realm of love and light at the SRF Mother Center in Los Angeles on February 6, 2022. He was ninety-nine years old at the time of his passing, concluding a life of service in the ashrams of Paramahansa Yogananda both in the U.S. and India.
An ascension ceremony and memorial service was held at the Mother Center on February 28, conducted by Brother Ritananda and other monks. An additional service will be conducted on April 10 for members and friends who knew him at the SRF Phoenix Temple, where he selflessly served for many years.
Brother Bholananda was born on January 26, 1923, in New York State. The eldest of six children, he grew up in a rural farm setting where he loved roaming through the fields and forests. Study and learning were important to him from an early age, and he enjoyed books and poetry throughout his life. After graduating high school, he spent four years as a Marine in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
It was in the 1950s that he began his study of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, and received Kriya Yoga initiation at a ceremony conducted by Brother Anandamoy in December 1960 in New York City. Then, following an inner call drawing him to the monastic path, he entered the ashram on July 2, 1962.
In his early monastic years he served in various capacities at the SRF International Headquarters (Mother Center), especially supporting the SRF membership as a monk in Center Department. Then, in July 1970, he was transferred to Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashrams in India, where he served with the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India monks for the next sixteen years. He received his final vows of renunciation (sannyas) from Sri Daya Mata during her visit to India in 1972, at which time he took the monastic name “Bholananda,” the meaning of which is “bliss through Lord Shiva (symbolically, the King of Yogis).”
Returning to the Mother Center in 1986, he continued to help with the guidance of the SRF centers and groups around the world. In 2002 he transferred to the SRF Phoenix Temple, where members fondly remember him for his wise counsel based on a deep knowledge of Paramahansaji’s teachings. He made a final transfer from Phoenix to the Mother Center at eighty-eight years of age.
Up to the end of his life, Brother Bholananda radiated a sweetness and spirituality born of lifelong dedication to God and Guru. SRF/YSS President Brother Chidananda paid tribute to this loyal and sincere monk in these words to the SRF monastic community:
“Throughout his life, Bholanandaji manifested a deep surrender, devotion, and loyalty to God and Master. I very much cherished his sweet, humble, and childlike spirit that was so apparent whenever I had the opportunity to interact with him. In celebrating the life of Brother Bholanandaji, we remember his sweet and caring personality, often accompanied with a touch of playfulness and twinkle in his eyes. He had that gentleness which is one of the qualities of the soul, yet in his case usually expressed with a down-to-earth straightforwardness that was very endearing! And I must say, his knowledge and understanding of Master’s teachings always impressed me, proving once again the transforming power that study of the teachings as a lifelong endeavor can have on the consciousness of each of us….Let us use today’s sacred occasion to affirm our happiness in the light, love, and joy that he now experiences in the higher spiritual realms, where our blessed Master has ushered him into his rightful place as a true and faithful devotee of God and Gurus.”