Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati
Raised in an American family in Hollywood, Sadhviji graduated from Stanford University, and was completing her PhD when she left America in 1996 to live permanently at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in the sacred Himalayan town of Rishikesh, India. She was officially ordained into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in 2000, by His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, one of India’s most renowned spiritual leaders. Sadhviji is President of the Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation dedicated to bringing education and empowerment to women and children through the creation of free schools, vocational training programs and empowerment programs. She is also Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaith organization dedicated to bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene to the children of the world. At the Parmarth Niketan Ashram where she lives most of the year, she teaches meditation, gives spiritual discourses, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities, including directing the annual International Yoga Festival. She has a PhD in Psychology and was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism.