Pre-eminent disseminator of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology in and around Madhya Pradesh. Born 5.10.1929 at Barbanda village and named Tulendra. Eldest son of Dhaniram Varma of Kapasda village in Raipur district, a pious devotee of Sri Rama and reputed teacher, and Bhagyavati Devi, a devout worshipper of Shiva. Tulendra is said to have inherited his remarkable spirituality from his parents. Matriculated in first division (1945) from Raipur School. Student of Hislop College, Nagpur, spent a year at Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Students’ Home, read Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature, saturated with Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology. Initiated by Swami Virajananda (1947) and eager to join the Order, advised by Guru to complete studies. Ranked second in First Class in B.Sc. and first in First Class in M.Sc. (Pure Maths.) examinations, gold medallist, selected for Wrangler Scholarship of Cambridge University. Joined the Order at the Nagpur centre and initiated into brahmacharya by Swami Shankarananda (1957), named Brahmachari Tejachaitanya. Impelled by irresistible desire to establish a suitable memorial to Swamiji in his birth-centenary year at Raipur where the latter had spent two years (1877-79) with his parents; the resolution bolstered by dreams of the Master and Swami Trigunatitananda, both indicating their desire for the same. Ties with the Order severed (1959) to gain freedom from monastic duties. Plunged heart and soul into necessary activity with his band of associates most of whom forsook worldly life as students, and in response to Swamiji’s teachings Ramakrishna Seva Samiti was set up in rented rooms. Assumed self-sannyasa at Amarkantak as Swami Atmananda. Engaged in touring and lecturing, disseminating the teachings of Swamiji, enthusing the youth in particular, a large number of whom became his followers. About thirty of the cream of youth renounced worldly life and dedicated themselves to Swamiji’s work. Younger brothers Devendra Kumar and Rajendra Kumar (Swamis Nikhilatmananda and Tyagatmananda respectively), associates Girish and Santosh Kumar (Swamis Srikarananda and Satyarupananda respectively) were among those of his followers who joined the Order.
In appreciation of the work done by the Ashrama it was granted affiliation to Belur Math (7.4.1968) and on Holy Mother’s birth-anniversary that year Swami Atmananda was formally ordained into sannyasa by Swami Vireshwarananda who also laid the foundation of the temple of Sri Ramakrishna on 14.11.1969 and consecrated it on 2.2.1976. Organized droughtrelief on war-footing (1974) in Chhatisgarh in about 36 villages with his band of dedicated workers. His greatest achievement was the successful implementation of the “Abujhmadh Gramin Vikas Prakalpa” that aimed at lifting the aborigines inhabiting the dense forests of Bastar from the abysmal depths of poverty and ignorance. The tribal welfare project undertaken upon his initiative by Ramakrishna Mission gained wholehearted support from the Government who entrusted the Mission with its implementation. The project began functioning in November 1985. The forests being inaccessible and the aborigines wary of strangers, for ages civilization had bypassed them. They lacked education, drinking water, roads, used primitive modes of cultivation and were victims of large scale exploitation. Undaunted by the magnitude of the task, Swami Atmananda drew up plans for the project following the principles recommended by Swamiji and strove to bring the tribals into the mainstream of national life.
A tireless worker with courage of conviction, unflagging industry and exceptional organizing ability. Unfailing optimism, a joyous nature and universal love characterized him. An excellent orator, influenced innumerable men and women to progress spiritually as well as to work for others. Died in a car accident in August 1989. Memorial built in his honour at the site of cremation at Raipur (Anandmurti Atmananda, by Dr. Shobha Mukherji, Vaibhav Prakashan, Raipur).