Several Ghanaian Hindus gathered to celebrate the initiation of Swami Shankarananda and Swamini Geetananda into the Hindu Monkhood.
The programme was held at the Indian Social Cultural Center at Osu, in Accra, on Sunday, March 12, 2023.
It was graced by Hindus of all backgrounds and heavily participated by some members of the Hindu Monastery of Africa, Ghana which is the foremost indigenous Ghanaian Hindu organisation.
The sacred initiation of both Swami Shankarananda and Swamini Geetananda into the Holy Order of Sannyasin took place in India on the auspicious day of Mahashivaratri which fell on the 18th of February, 2023, which is also a very significant day on the Hindu calendar.
The two new Swamis have risen through the ranks in their spiritual journeys, having dutifully offered their devotions to their various masters and Gurus.
Some members of the Hindu community in Ghana who were present at the occasion expressed their delight at witnessing two of their own being initiated into Monkhood.
“I feel very happy to be here today to be a part of this great programme because it is the first time, we are celebrating the initiation of two Ghanaian Swamis, a young male and also for the first time a female and that makes me very happy” a disciple and a leading member of the Hindu Monastery of Africa, Accra branch, Om Ebo Crentsil, opined.
Another participant at the event who performed the Hindu rituals that welcomed the Swamis, Mr Kofi Dadzie added: “We’re blessed to see this happen because it’s something we’ve been hoping for. The path to enlightenment is the ultimate goal for every Hindu, so to have people of this distinguished calibre undergoing the training and finally being initiated as Swamis is extraordinary”.
An Indian businessman living in Ghana Satish also retorted “Our Swamis are full of knowledge, and they are for the world so anyone irrespective of their religious inclination can go to them and seek advice to be guided in their daily lives and journeys towards God.”
“As women were are particularly very happy that for the first time, we have a female monk. Ultimately, God is a nurturing Mother who provides for all its creation and God has come to us again in the gracious form of Swamini Geetananda” Dr Ambe Obbeng, Pediatric Surgeon at Ridge Hospital in Accra.
Victoria Lakshmi Hamah who is a former deputy Minister for communication under erstwhile President John Dramani Mahama couldn’t be modest with her joy about the occasion said: “finally there is hope for Dharma in Ghana and Africa”. She added that righteous living is the utmost prescription for all of Africa’s problems and that the day Africans understand the concept of Oneness is the liberation of Africa”
Now known as Swami Shankarananda, his birth name was Ignatius Bright Sewornu and subsequently became Brahmachari Viveka when he was initiated as a Brahmachari (which is a primary step into the life of monkhood) by His Holiness Swami Satyanand Saraswati of eternal transition.
Swami Shankarananda was born into a Christian family and worshipped at the Evangelical Methodist Church of Christ, but he later delved into Buddhism and eventually would discover Hinduism all before the early age of 14 years.
In the year 2009, Swami Shankarananda joined the Hindu Monastery of Africa, Ghana, and he later travelled to India, where he studied at the most prestigious Chinmaya Mission Vedanta programme under the Divine tutelage of Swami Tejomayananda from 2020 to 2022.
Similarly, Swamini Geetananda, also born Mabel Dadzie, was a member of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana before discovering Hinduism.
Introduced to Hinduism by her brother, she joined the Hindu Monastery of Africa, Ghana in 1983, and in the year 1985 enrolled on a discipleship course organised at the Monastery under the Divine guidance of His Holiness Swami Ghananand Saraswati who was the first Black African Hindu Monk.
She worshipped with the Hindu Monastery of Africa for many years and was initiated as a Brahmacharini in 2018 by His Holiness Swami Satyananda Saraswati, and was given the monastic name Brahmacharini Adimata.
She also later embarked on a journey to India to seek further spiritual enlightenment and was admitted to study at the most prestigious Chinmaya Mission Vedanta programme under the Divine tutelage of Swami Advayananda from 2021 to 2022.
Although they would both go to India for further study at different times, they would both later meet Swami Govinda Deva Giri Maharaj, who initiated them into the Holy Order of Sannyasin of Adi Shankaracharya lineage on the auspicious day of Mahashivaratri, which fell on the 18th of February, 2023.
After the auspicious ceremony, the monastic names Swami Shankarananda and Swamini Geetananda were conferred on Brahmachari Viveka and Brahmacharini Adimata respectively.
Soon after their initiation into the Holy Order of Sannyasin (Monkhood), both Swami Shankarananda and Swamini Geetananda returned to Ghana, with the commitment to impart and spread the tenets of Sanatana Dharma in Ghana and the entire African continent.
It is worthy to note that this Divine Feat attained by Swami Shankarananda and Swamini Geetananda places both of them in history in Ghana and Africa as the youngest Black African and the first Black African female to be initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyasin (Hindu Monkhood) respectively.
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