- Datta Yoga Center
- (est. 1986)The Datta Yoga Center in West Sunbury, Penn-sylvania, is a center of KRIYA YOGA practice and teaching. It was founded in 1986 by Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swami (b. May 26, 1942) as the American branch of Avadhoota Datta Peetham in Mysore, India (see AVADHUTA). The swami also founded the Datta Temple and Hall of Trinity in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1997.As a child, Sachchidananda was fond of the religious life and became a devoted yoga practi-tioner. As a young adult he became known as a healer in his home village of Mekedati, Karnataka, in southern India.To his devotees, Sachchidananda is considered an avadhuta, or liberated one, following in the tra-dition of Lord DATTATREYA. His teachings empha-size kriya yoga, which focuses on breath as a means of turning attention toward one’s inner self and the realization of God. The Datta Yoga Center is a nonmembership organization. Centers serve as temples for worship services and dissemination of the avadhuta’s message of love, peace, freedom, and service and provide a place where devotees can develop spiritual values.Music, in the form of bhajans (songs) and instrumentals, many of which have been com-posed by Sachchidananda, are a significant part of worship services. He says, “Music is my reli-gion, music is my language, music is my soul and music is my expression.” Sachchidananda has organized Music for Healing and Meditation con-certs throughout the United States and Europe. He is also an advocate of ayurvedic medicine (see AYURVEDA) and the sponsor of a hospital for the underprivileged in India.The Datta Yoga Center publishes books by Sachchidananda, a monthly newsletter called Bhakti Mala, and CDs of Sachchidananda’s perfor-mances of his musical compositions.Further reading: Swami Ganapati Sachchidananda, Dattatreya the Absolute (Mysore: Sri Ganapathi Sach-chidananda Ashram, 1984); ———, Sri Guru Gita (Machilipatnam: Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Publica-tions Trust, 1988).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.