Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Ph.D, was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to live at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there for 22 years, engaged in spiritual practice and service.
She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, one of the most revered spiritual leaders in India and the President of Parmarth Niketan.
At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where she lives most of the year, she gives daily spiritual discourses and satsang, teaches meditation, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities.
Sadhviji serves as:
- Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaith organization dedicated to clean water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH).
- President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation which runs free schools, vocational training programs and empowerment programs.
- Director of the world-famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth which has been covered in Time Magazine, CNN, New York Times and other prestigious publications.
Sadhviji is a renowned speaker who gives keynote addresses at large forums, on a wide variety of topics ranging from conscious business to science and spirituality to sustainable development to the keys of happiness and peace in life to all aspects of yoga. Her talks blend the knowledge and logic of the West with the insights, spirituality and wisdom of the East, and she is renowned as a spiritual bridge between the two cultures. Her TEDx talk on her journey from “Hollywood to the Holy Woods” has been watched by nearly 150,000 people.
She has also spoken at several United Nations events, including with the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, and at many international conferences and summits.
She has received numerous national and international awards and recognition for her work with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene as well as women’s upliftment and empowerment.
Sadhviji also serves on:
- The Faith-Based Advisory Council of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion.
- The Steering Committee for Partnership for Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD), an international body comprising the governments of several countries (including United States, UK, and Germany), the United Nations, the World Bank, the African Union, and the world’s renowned faith based organizations.
- The Steering Committee for the World Bank-United Nations campaign with international faith based organizations of the “Moral Imperative to End Extreme Poverty.”
Sadhviji has a Ph.D in Psychology and was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism.