Vladimir Danchenko, a Russian citizen from Samara, had first come to Vedanta Ashram, Indore in Oct 2013 and slowly got not only interested but fully dedicated to Vedanta philosophy & Sanatan Dharma. He is a grandfather, an old Soviet army personel, a lawyer, buisinessman, but after the sudden death of his father got highly interested to know the secret of life & death. He had been searching for answers for a long time. He studied Buddhism too after visiting Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, Nepal etc, but was not fully satisfied – till he came into contact of Swamini Vidyananda, a Russian disciple of Poojya Guruji, from whom he studied Kena Upanishad & Bhagwad Gita. He was awestruck with the teachings, and wanted to know more, and Swamini Vidyananada later requested Poojya Guruji to accept him as a student at Vedanta Ashram for further studies. Thus he came into contact of Poojya Guruji and first came to Ashram in Oct 2013 – for a four months stay. Poojya Guruji taught him Atma-Bodha, Meditation, Sanskrit etc during this time. Thus began his journey. After one year he again came back to India and this time he was taught Isavasyopanishad – with Shankar Bhashya, and also Laghu Vakya Vritti. This set the stage for his formal involvement into this ancient & glorious tradition. He got fully convinced that this is the way to go, and made up his mind to become a sanyasi and dedicate his life for that which is the truth, and pursue this knowledge full-time. He was first called as Brahmachari Ram at Ashram, and later on the Mahashivratri day on 17th-18th Feb 2015 was given the final Sanyas Deeksha by Poojya Guruji and is now known as Swami Asangananda Saraswati.
Swami Asangananda is a very sincere, hard-working, physically strong, intelligent and humble person. He won the hearts of everyone at Ashram with his sewa, managing the smallest of work here as part of the gurukula family. A regular Yoga-practitioner, surya-upasaka, meditator he loved to do Shiv-puja also with great devotion. Morning tea by him were a unique experience and shall be missed by all. He always preferred to handle physical ailments with naturopathy. For any disease, whether it is common cold, and muscular sprain, he will just fast and take rest. No medicines, and let the body heal itself the natural way. Maximum we would accept the home-cures. He can live on bananas forever, and can go around the world with just one small bag hanging on his shoulders, for his needs are very limited and his life indeed very simple. Yogi & Isha, the Ashram pets loved him too. He use to take them for walks and would lovingly feed all – dogs or cows. Even though he never played badminton, but became a very good player during this time. Ashramites regularly play this game at Ashram for keeping in good health. He was indeed an all-rounder. He sang lovely English & Russian songs occasionally. Also learnt some Hindi bhajans. He learnt enough sanskrit to chant mantras, shlokas & even read Shankar Bhashya. He visited Mumbai alongwith Poojya Guruji in Dec 2014, and attended the ‘Anand-Lahari’ Cultural Program, ‘Prerna Talks’ Program and finally the ‘Gita Gyana Yagna’ there at the Ramkrishna Math. While he was highly touched by the devotion of the people, he however did not like the clutter & pollution of a big city like Mumbai. His world was the quiet, simple & homely ambiance of the Ashram. Given a choice he would love to live in a village or a forest – quiet, clean and meagre. He studied Vedanta from Poojya Guruji; Sanskrit and Vedic chanting from Swamini Amitanandaji; customs, sewa and some important traditional rituals from Swamini Samatanandaji; and many daily things from Swamini Poornanandaji. He respected all, and his sastang dandawat pranam to Poojya Guruji was an inspiration for all.
A. Yagnopavita: Before Sanyas it is important to have thre yagnopavit (janeu) , and so the thread ceremony had to be performed before. A qualified priest was called over to the Ashram to get the needful done. This is an elaborate ceremony which took the entire afternoon to complete. A technical problem arose when it was required to have parents of the person whose thread ceremony is to be performed. However, Col Krihn Rai and his wife Asha (from Lucknow) happily volunteered to represent as his parents.
B. Viraja Homa: The second part of the ritual was the Viraja Homa, which was performed at 11 PM in the night. This was done under the supervision of Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji. After this homa, we give up all rituals and are not required to perform any rituals.
C. Preshoscharan & Yoga-patta: The final part of the Sanyas Deeksha was performed early morning at 4.30 next day. In this the person gives abhaya-daan to everyone and resolves to live a life of sanyasi pursuing knowledge alone. He gets a new name & robe in this ceremony. Poojya Guruji took Br Ram inside the giant Shiv-Linga on the Ashram terrace, and there cut his sutra & shikha and gave him a new name & robe. Later he came out of Shivji as a new person & a sanyasi – Swami Asangananda Saraswati. He later introduced the new Swami to all the devotees waiting in the hall below. Later in the day he performed Pada-Puja of Poojya Guruji and gave his first discourse to the devotees. He left Ashram on 22nd Feb night – for Moscow via Mumbai, hoping to come back again for further studies and a longer stay.
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Complete Album of Sanyas Deeksha