Swami Purnachaitanya is a Director of Programs and Senior International Trainer with the Art of Living Foundation. He travels worldwide teaching people of all backgrounds, cultures and religions how to effectively manage their mind and emotions, eliminate stress, live in harmony amid diversity and bring greater peace and joy into their lives through simple yet profound Yoga techniques. He also oversees various service projects of The Art of Living in the North Eastern Region of India, such as rural development and educational initiatives, and is Senior Trainer with the Sri Sri School of Yoga.
Over the past ten years with the Art of Living Foundation as a full-time faculty and trainer, Swami Purnachaitanya has taught extensively in India, as well as in Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and various countries in Europe. Apart from teaching a wide range of Art of Living programs, he specializes in training teachers in Sri Sri Yoga, a balanced and thorough design of yoga postures, breathing techniques, meditation and yogic knowledge, designed to help yoga aspirants remove self-imposed limitations, realize their full potential and offer their talents in service to the society.
Swami Purnachaitanya was born and brought up in The Netherlands, and his mother being from India, spiritual values and meditation were an important part of his upbringing. From an early age he showed a keen interest in the spiritual practices, cultures and philosophies of the East. This initially led him to practice a wide range of Eastern martial arts, such as judo, taekwondo, ninpo bujutsu, wushu (kung fu) and aikido. Over the years he realized, however, that it was not the fighting skills, but human values, philosophies and meditation that attracted him.
Meeting Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during a program in The Netherlands in 2000, Swamiji knew that he had found the spiritual Master he had been looking for. He started doing some of the programs of The Art of Living, as well as organizing programs as a volunteer with the organization. After completing his studies at the acclaimed Leyden University in The Netherlands, Swamiji came to India in 2007 to dedicate his life to service and his Master’s vision of a violence-free, stress-free world, through the re-awakening of human values in society. Since then Swami Purnachaitanya has been traveling extensively, conducting various programs, already personally reaching out to more than 500,000 people.
Swamiji oversees many projects and activities of The Art of Living in the North Eastern Region of India, where he has also worked in areas affected by insurgency, as well as West Bengal, as a Regional Director. He looks after 93 Art of Living schools that are providing free value-based education in rural and tribal areas in this region, and also conducts trainings to empower rural youth, women and other sections of the society. As a member of The Art of Living Council for Yoga, Swamiji also oversees programs and activities to spread the ancient knowledge of Yoga in these regions, and he also works for the preservation and revival of ancient Vedic practices and indigenous traditions in the region.
He has represented The Art of Living at various national and international forums, seminars and conferences, and has also addressed audiences at various national and international educational institutions on a wide range of topics. He has taught yoga, pranayama and meditation to people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds: from indigenous people in jungle areas to corporate executives, from villagers to prison inmates, and from urban youth to militants. Many have experienced profound transformation and experienced healing on various levels.
Who is a Swami?
The word 'swami' means 'one who is established in oneself'. In Sanskrit it is described as "atmano mokshartham jagat hitaya cha" which means one “who strives for the realization of the Self and works for the benefit and good of the world." A swami is one who has set aside his personal, worldly pursuits, in order to devote all his effort to experience the highest spiritual realization, and to the service of others.
A swami is a spiritual guide, who, having dedicated his life to serve the society, plays different roles at different times, including leading various service projects, conducting different workshops for self-development, giving discourses, and conducting padayatras (peace walks), blessing programs (anugrahotsav) and pujas and havan.
A swami is someone who is there for everybody. One who has made the whole world his family. For this to happen one doesn't have to change his cloth or grow his hair and beard – these are just a uniform, which make people identify him as a spiritual person.
Purnachaitanya is the name given to him by his Guru, or spiritual Master, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. It means one whose consciousness (chaitanya) has the quality of fullness (purna).
The Art of Living
The Art of Living foundation, or Art of Living, is an educational and humanitarian movement that has been serving humanity through stress-management programs and service initiatives for the last 35 years. The organization was founded by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 1981, and it has since then spread across the world through the efforts of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and a growing team of inspired and dedicated volunteers. The organization mainly consists of people who volunteer in whatever capacity they can, as they share Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s vision of working for a violence-free, stress-free world where people from all cultures and backgrounds live together as a One World Family, respecting each other and celebrating diversity. The organization is actively working globally in more than 150 countries and has touched the lives and reached out to over 370 million people already.
One of the main ideas behind the Art of Living courses is Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s philosophy of peace: "Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace." The Art of Living courses and stress-elimination programs include breathing techniques, meditation and yoga, and help people to get rid of stress, overcome depression and experience inner peace. Through the Art of Living courses millions of people around the world have been able to overcome stress, depression, negative emotions and violent tendencies, and experience peace and a sense of well being in their daily life.
Over the years, the Art of Living has spread peace and a sense of belongingness across communities through a wide range of humanitarian initiatives, including disaster relief, conflict resolution, sustainable rural development, women empowerment, education for all, prisoner rehabilitation, and environmental sustainability. For more information and details, please visit www.artofliving.org