Swami Sarvapriyananda (Pre-Monastic name Viswaroop) is a Hindu monk (sannyasi) belonging to the Ramakrishna Order. He is the current resident Swami and head of the Vedanta Society of New York, a position he has been serving since January 2017.
Early life and education
Swami Sarvapriyananda grew up in Bhubhaneshwar in the Indian state of Odisha. From childhood onwards, he was inclined towards spirituality and was inspired by the lives of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. His family was also devoutly religious. His parents and grandparents were initiated devotees in the Ramakrishna Order tradition. He has stated that his first goal in life was to become a pilot and the second was to find God, with the second goal later becoming his only goal. Sarvapriyandanda joined the Ramakrishna Order in 1994 and took his monastic vows in 2004. His family, at first, objected to his decision to become a monk but later accepted his decision. After passing school, he completed his Business Management degree from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar.
Life after Sannyasa
He served as an acharya or teacher at Monastic probationer training center, Belur Math. He also served the Ramakrishna Order by becoming the vice principal of Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School and becoming Principal of Shikshanamandira Education College, Belur Math Swami Sarvapriyananda served as assistant minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California in 2015. He was later appointed head of the Vedanta Society of New York, a position he has been serving since 6th January 2017. Swami Tathagathananda was his predecessor. He was a Nagral Fellow for the year 2019-20 at Harvard Divinity School.
Sarvapriyananda frequently speaks at symposia and events focused on Advaita Vedanta teachings and has participated in discussions with other non-dualists like Deepak Chopra. He is a very strong proponent and scholar of the Indian Upanishad school of thought and the philosophy or Darshan, particularly of Self and Consciousness contained in them. He has delivered many lectures on the same topic. Fortune India mentions Sarvapriyananda as “one of the best-known lecturers of the Vedanta in the world today”. Speaking with Time on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga in 2018, Sarvapriyananda stated that “doing (yoga) the right way can change the way you live, work and love” while criticizing the “vulgarization and distortion of yoga today”.