Swami Harananda passed away peacefully at 6:10 a.m. on Monday, February, 8, 2016 at the age of 83. He had been suffering from various old age ailments and had been under constant care at a professional nursing center for several years. He suffered a stroke on April 14, 2014, which left him unable to use much of the left side of his body.
Swami Harananda was born as Marvin Myers in Portland, Oregon on February 11, 1933. During his childhood, he developed a great love for gardening and weaving that lasted throughout his life. In the early 1950s he had a yearning to explore spirituality and discovered the Vedanta Society in downtown Portland. He met Swami Devatmananda, the minister of the Society at that time, and started visiting the temple in search of holy company. He later was enlisted in the military and exposed to the worst of maya in the Korean War, when he was a paratrooper.
After returning from the war, he had a deepened interest in spirituality and developed a great love for Vedanta. He returned to the Vedanta Society and was eventually blessed with spiritual initiation by Swami Aseshananda, a disciple of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, on July 4, 1959. He formally joined the Ramakrishna Order as a probationary monastic member in 1968.
He took the vows of Brahmacharya (first monastic vows), becoming Br. Sarada Chaitanya, in 1975 from Swami Aseshananda. He later took the vows of Sannyasa (final monastic vows) from Swami Ranganathananda in 2001 and became Swami Harananda.
Swami Harananda lived in the Vedanta Society of Portland from 1959 onwards. He was a large-hearted person, sincerely devoted to Holy Mother, and much beloved by devotees and members. Many of us remember, with great fondness, his spontaneous kindness and sincere devotion. He was always positive in his outlook, never saying anything negative to anyone. Everyone could feel his loving support and encouragement, both in the temple and in the community.
In addition to the work he did at the temple, he spent several years living at the Scappoose retreat and helped Swami Atmajayananda in building the shrines in the forest. He was also a wonderful cook.