Turiyasangitananda, Swami

Turiyasangitananda, Swami
(Alice Coltrane)
(1937– )
   jazz pianist and spiritual teacher
   Swami Turiyasangitananda combined her spiritual learning and musical talent to create a unique teaching in the YOGA tradition.
   Born in Detroit, Michigan, on August 27, 1937, Alice MacLeod was a rare female jazz instrumentalist, playing piano, organ, and harp. She married the famous jazz musician John Col-trane in 1965. In 1968 she received a spiritual awakening and received initiation into SANNYAS (renunciation). She traveled to India with Swami SATCHIDANANDA, founder of the INTEGRAL YOGA INTERNATIONAL and studied his teachings. She began publishing books and recording devotional music, reflecting her spiritual life. In 1975 she was given the name Swami Turiyasangitananda and began to establish a small following in the United States. In 1983 she established the Vedan-tic Center on 48 acres of land in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura, California, and built an ASHRAM to serve its growing membership. The ashram was renamed Sai Anantam Ashram in Chumash Pradesh in 1994.
   Sai Anantam incorporates both the teachings of Swami Satchidananda and Western spirituality. Music and singing have a central role at the ash-ram. Devotional compositions influenced by Turi-yasangitananda’s musical talents mix traditional BHAJANS with modern Western features. Studies at the center include readings from the VEDAS and the Hindu scriptures as well as Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist texts.
   Sai Anantam is open to seekers of all faiths. Turiyasangitananda emphasizes basic Vedic prin-ciples including the advancement of human life, self-purification, selfless service, and unity with God. The center has primarily African American members. Approximately 30 residents live at Sai Anantam and others from the surrounding com-munity attend regular worship services. Activities at the ashram include Sunday school for children, weekly worship, chanting of services, and prayer. The ashram has a bookstore and a vegetarian res-taurant. Radio and television programs are also produced by the center. Avatar Book Institute of Agoura Hills distributes Turiyasangitananda’s writings and recordings.
   Further reading: Alice Coltrane-Turiyasangitananda, Endless Wisdom (Los Angeles, Calif.: Avatar Book Insti-tute, 1981); ———, Monument Eternal (Los Angeles, Calif.: Vedantic Book Press, 1977).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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