Disciple of Swami Virajananda. Joined the Order at Madras Math (1944) and ordained into sannyasa by Swami Shankarananda (1954). Editor of Vedanta Kesari for some time. Assistant to Swami Nikhilananda, Minister-in-Charge of New York Vedanta Society, later disseminated Vedanta at San Francisco and Hollywood Centres. Returned to India (1967) and Head of Chandigarh Ashrama. At Mayavati Advaita Ashrama as Joint-Editor of Prabuddha Bharata (1968), later President of the Ashrama. Head of the Delhi centre from 1976 till death on 11.6.1983 at Calcutta Seva Pratishthan at the age of 65 (Udbodhan, 85.6.350-51). A scholarly man, eloquent speaker and versatile writer.
Works: Thakurer Naren O Narener Thakur, Swamijir Sri Ramakrishna Sadhana, Sri Ramakrishna Bibhasita Ma Sarada, Otho Jago Egiye Chalo, The Mind and its Control, The Saving Challenge of Religion (Madras, 1980), The Ramakrishna Movement: Its Meaning for Mankind (1980), Can one be Scientific and yet Spiritual?, Joy of the Illumined, Life of Sri Ramanuja (translation of Swami Ramakrishnananda’s Ramanuja Charit).
Lessons from Swami Budhananda
Swami Budhanandaji was a man of serious demeanour who always tried to connect things to scriptural teachings. The following incident will make it clear. As the secretary of Delhi Ashrama, he lived in a room on the ground floor in the Office Building. In those days, in 1980s, the secretary’s room, ashrama office and small booksale section were all situated on the ground floor, adjacent to each other. Any loud sound in the office and the booksale counter was audible in the secretary Maharaj’s room. And it so happened one evening that the brahamchari in-charge of the booksale, while discussing something with someone, laughed aloud, almost filling the room with his laughter. The sound naturally reached Swami Budhanandaji’s ears. He came out of the room and asked who was laughing so loudly. When told, he called the brahmachari and asked him quietly, “Have you read Swami Vivekananda’s Bhakti Yoga?” “Yes, Maharaj”. “Please read the section The Method and the Means (of Bhakti), again. Especially when Swamiji quotes Sri Ramanuja’s ideas on Anuddharsha and Anavasada.” The brahmachari understood his mistake. He recalled what Swamiji says (Bhakti Yoga, p.61):
“. . . The next means to the attainment of Bhakti-yoga is strength (anavasada). ‘This atman is not to be attained by the weak’, says the Shruti. Both physical weakness and mental weakness are meant here. . . the person who aspires to be a Bhakta must be cheerful. . . It is the strong mind that hews its way through a thousand difficulties. . . Yet at the same time excessive mirth should be avoided (anuddharsha). Excessive mirth makes us unfit for serious thought. It also fritters away the energies of the mind in vain. The stronger the will, the less the yielding to the sway of the emotions. Excessive hilarity is quite as objectionable as too much of sad seriousness, and all religious realisation is possible only when the mind is in a steady, peaceful condition of harmonious equilibrium.’ In a few words, Swami Budhanandaji drew attention to the message of self-regulation and effectively corrected the young novice’s way.
— Swami Atmashraddhananda
Character of Tulasi
An hour-long discourse in Hindi on Ramacharitmanas of Goswami Tulasidas by Sri Trilok Mohan, a well-known speaker on this holy text, was a part of the weekly discourses conducted by Delhi Ashrama since 1956. In 1982, or so, as part of this weekly event, a Tulasi Jayanti was organised. It was meant to pay homage to the great saint-composer of Ramacharitmanas, Goswami Tulasidasji. Swami Budhanandaji was invited to give a benedictory address and he prepared a talk in Hindi, perhaps first time in his case! However, as he began to speak, he could not continue as his knowledge of Hindi was rudimentary. As he was not comfortable with reading out the Hindi talk that he had prepared, he switched over to English. As he spoke of Tulasidas, he spoke of his greatness, and then referred to the holy plant Tulasi, and pointed out: “The sacred status of the tulasi plant remains the same irrespective of where it grows; it is worshipped wherever it sprouts. In the same way, our character should be such that we should be respected wherever we are. Our life and personality should be always pure and spotless.” While saying this, Swami Budhanandaji became very emotional, and burst into tears and yet continued speaking. All those present in the hall too were deeply moved by his intense feelings.
Sri Trilok Mohanji, the organiser of the event, unprepared for this unexpected turn of events, and unable to decide how to respond, took a flower garland from the picture of Sri Tulasidasji and put it around Swami Budhanandaji’s neck. Slowly Maharaj calmed down and returned to his room. No one knew what to say but all were impressed with his analogy of Tulasi plant and purity of character being respected everywhere. His yearning for purity of character expressed through his emotions was powerfully conveyed.
— Swami Atmashraddhananda