Swami Kalyanananda (1874-1937)
Pre-monastic name Dakshinaranjan Guha. Born in Harua village of Barisal district, only child of Umesh Chandra. Fatherless in childhood, studied up to Entrance class at Banaripara English High School and joined the Order when the Math was located at Nilambar Mukherjee’s garden-house. Ordained into sannyasa by Swamiji. Possessed natural inclination for service and Swamiji’s presence at the Math and close association with him inspired Kalyanananda to dedicate himself to service of humanity. Went on pilgrimage (July 1899) and met Kedarnath Moulik at Varanasi. Inculcated love for Swamiji’s ideals of service in the hearts of Kedarnath, his lifelong friend, Charuchandra and others, paving the way for the founding of the Varanasi Home of Service. At Jaipur met Swami Swarupananda, also on pilgrimage, but hearing of the severe famine ravaging Kishangarh in Rajputana, the two hastened there and served the famine-stricken. Upon Swamiji’s return to India visited Belur Math in 1901 and at his behest undertook to devote himself to the care of sick and ailing monks of the Rishikesh-Haridwar belt. With help and co-operation of Swami Swarupananda began his work in June 1901 in two rented rooms at Kankhal which ultimately developed into the Kankhal Sevashrama, one of the Mission’s most prestigious institutions. In May 1902 visited Belur Math briefly to meet and seek guidance from his Master. The latter blessed him saying that a day would come when he would attain the state of a Paramahansa. Kalyanananda spent the rest of his life at Kankhal, engaging himself in untiring service of ailing monks and having started a branch of the Sevashrama at Rishikesh, literally worked himself to death. Also organized camps to take care of pilgrims at Haridwar during the Kumbha Mela (1903, 1915, 1927) and it is now part of the Sevashrama’s regular work-schedule. Sometime in 1903, Swami Nishchayananda joined him in his work and was an equally able associate. Swami Dhanaraj Giri’s strong moral support helped to remove the prejudice of other religious orders. Land for Sevashrama was bought with a handsome donation in April 1903 and Dhanaraj Giri’s disciples donated the money to construct a permanent building (1904). Swami Brahmananda visited the Sevashrama in 1903, staying in a thatched hut for a month. In March 1912 he returned with a large party of devotees and monks including Swamis Shivananda and Turiyananda. They stayed for about seven months and their presence did much to enhance the prestige of the Sevashrama which soon became a full-fledged hospital. After 37 years of arduous toil and austerities Kalyanananda’s health broke down and taken to Mussorie for treatment in a critical condition, he died there on 20.10.1937. Was awarded the “Durbar” medal (1911) for selfless service.