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Swami Manishananda
June 11, 1949 – January 14, 2024

A memorial service will be held for Swami Manishananda on Sunday, March 3, 2024 at 11 am at Tapovan, the Society’s retreat property in Arlington, WA.

After the service a light lunch will be served.

Please RSVP to by February 29th and include the number of people in your party.

Swami Manishananda (Jim Ramage Austin) passed away at 1:10 am (Pacific Time) Sunday, January 14, 2024. The Swami was suffering from dementia for a few years. For his own safety, and to render professional help, the Swami was housed at an ‘assisted living facility’ in Bothell, near Seattle, since April 2023. He contacted Covid at the facility and despite the best medical assistance, his body began failing and he finally succumbed to it.
An initiated disciple of Swami Vividishananda, Swami Manishananda was born in Seattle on June 11, 1949. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in Seattle in 1967. He attended the University of Washington for a brief time before moving to Eastern Washington to live in the wilderness as a recluse for about two years. In the 1970’s, he became associated with Vedanta, by providentially reading the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Swami Vividishananda invited him to live as a pre-probationer at the Vedanta Society of Western Washington (then The Ramakrishna Vedanta Center) in 1973. After his guru suffered a couple of mild strokes Swami Manishananda served him with diligent care and love.
Swami Manishananda took his brahmacharya vows in 1981 becoming Vinay Chaitanya. He was ordained a monk at Belur Math by Revered Swami Bhuteshanandaji in 1994. The Swami regularly spoke at the Center and led the singing at the Ramnam and pujas. He was extremely active and talented in many things. For more than three decades he built, maintained, and managed, with his own hands, Tapovan, the Society’s retreat property near Arlington, Washington.
Swami Manishananda is remembered by all as a friendly and gracious host and was sought after by the young and the old. He was a fine guitarist and tabla player, an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, and above all a dedicated monk who gave his life in service to the Ramakrishna Order.

Vedanta, the essence of Hinduism, was expounded by sages of ancient India who had come to understand certain divine truths about the meaning and purpose of human life. Vedanta teaches that all our problems stem from being ignorant of our true divine nature, and that this ignorance can be got rid of by means of various paths called yogas.  The idea of the harmony of all faiths is inherent in the scriptures of Vedanta, which declare, “God is One; different sages call the same God by different names.” Read more

The Vedanta Society, established in 1938, promotes Vedanta through weekly lectures, a variety of publications, devotional singing, monthly retreat programs, and annual worship festivals. Personal spiritual instruction is also given by Swami Bhaskarananda, the spiritual head of our center. Read more