Director of Gandhi Memorial Center
Srimati Karuna began her service and dedication to both the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation and the Self-Revelation Church of Absolute Monism in 1998. Both were founded by Swami Premananda of India who came to America in 1928. She became the Director of the Gandhi Memorial Center in 2006 and has devoted herself to presenting the ideals and life message of Mahatma Gandhi and the spiritual and cultural heritage of India. She also conducts regular services in the Self-Revelation Church of Absolute Monism. The Church follows the spiritual tradition of Swami Shankarachariya, Advaita Vedanta, with a totally nonsectarian philosophy.
She studied at American University in Washington, DC. where she received her B.A. in International Studies, M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, and M.A. in Teaching.
Throughout the year she speaks at universities, schools, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as for various professional, social, and religious groups that visit the Gandhi Memorial Center. In 2010 she was invited to India under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations “Distinguished Visitor Program."
President of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation
Srimati Kamala is an American whose life has been dedicated to the interpretation of the spiritual heritage of India, and the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
She studied at the University of Rouen, France, Saint Lawrence University, New York (B.A.) and the University of Maryland, where she completed a Master‚ Degree with Honors in Special Education.
She settled in Washington in 1968 to become identified with the ideals of the Self-Revelation Church of Absolute Monism and the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation, both founded by Swami Premananda of India who came to America in 1928. The Church follows the spiritual tradition of Swami Shankarachariya‚ Advaita Vedanta with a totally nonsectarian philosophy. She is the ordained Minister of the Church as well as President of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation.
In recognition of her outstanding contributions in representing India's spiritual heritage, she received an award as‚ Ambassador of Indian Philosophy and the Ideals of Mahatma Gandhi in the USA‚ from the Association of Indians in America (Washington, 1980). At the Second Convention of Asian Indians in North America (Chicago 1982), Kamalaji was given a special‚ Friend of India‚ award and citation for, fostering the cultural and spiritual heritage of India in North America. Her visits to India in 1979, 1983, and 1986 were sponsored by the charitable Lotus Trust of Bombay and the India Government (Indian Council for Cultural Relations).
In the summer of 1995 she produced and directed a music and dance drama, the “Moha-Mudgar,” based on Swami Shankaracharya’s 16-verse text for the occasion of the 125th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in cooperation with the Indian Embassy of Washington, D.C., and at which the First Lady, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke. It was held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in July 1995.
In 1995 Srimati Kamala received the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values outside India, This prestigious award was presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a ceremony in Bombay on November 5, 1995.
Srimati Kamala has authored six books: Mahatma Gandhi: An American Profile, Yours faithfully, M.K. Gandhi‚ Reflections on Still Waters, I Am an Absolute Monist, The Mystic Cross, and Frontiers of the Spirit.
Founder of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation and Gandhi Memorial Center
Swami Premananda (1903-1995), was a native of India. He received his academic education and religious training in his native land, graduating from the University of Calcutta where he majored in philosophy, oriental languages and comparative religion. He was a disciple of Swami Yogananda Paramhansa. Swamiji came to the United States in 1928 and established the Self-Revelation Church of Absolute Monism in Washington, D.C. During his almost 70 years of religious service in Washington he conducted weekly radio broadcasts and classes in philosophy and yoga, lecturing at universities, before Lions and Rotary Clubs and civic and educational groups, and in Christian Churches of practically all denominations.
In constant demand as a speaker, he also traveled extensively throughout this country, lecturing in various principal cities, including Boston, Lansing, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and others. He was a 33 degree Mason, Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, Shriner of the Almas Temple, Wise Master of the Evangelist Chapter of Knights Rose Croix (1948-1949) and a proficient ritualist in higher Masonic degrees, a Knight Templar, member of the Royal Order of Scotland, and Chaplain of Benjamin B. French Lodge No. 15, of Washington, D.C. He is the only Swami ever to receive such distinction from any Masonic body. Swami founded the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation, Incorporated, in Washington, D.C. (1959), and inaugurated its Center (1976) which is dedicated to emulating the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and the spiritual heritage of India which nourished him. Swami translated 15 Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita and Dhammapada scriptures and was the author of many other books on Vedic philosophy.