Divine Life Baltimore Meditation Center | History
Divine Life Church is a Baltimore spiritual community and meditation center that honors all paths to God and the universality of the world's scriptures and spiritual traditions. These traditions include the mystical teachings of Jesus, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, and others. Joyfully following the path blazed by our founding minister, Swami Shankarananda, our presiding minister, Swami Nityananda, emphasizes our oneness with all life, selfless service, kriya yoga meditation, Self-realization, and unconditional love. We are dedicated to applying these ideals in our everyday life and to promoting the progress of all beings – our global family. We offer a variety of services, sunday school, classes, discussion and meditation groups. All are welcome.
The seed for the Divine Life Church began in the the 1920's when Swami Yogananda Paramhansa, while giving a series of lectures to capacity audiences in Washington, D.C., was approached by a group of devotees with a request that he provide them with a minister to serve their spiritual needs. In response, Swami Yogananda called his disciple Brahmachari Jotin, now known as Swami Premananda, to come to the United States from India in 1928. Swami Premananda was engaged at that time a teacher at Yogananda's ashram school in Ranchi. In Washington, D.C., his task was to establish and organize a church. Under his spiritual leadership this church grew into the Self-Revelation Church of Absolute Monism.
In the 1970's, several devotees of Yoga philosophy who visited the Self-Revelation Church in Washington, D.C., requested Swami Shankarananda, the assistant minister, to conduct regular classes in meditation and Yoga philosophy in Baltimore. In response to this interest, and with the full blessings of Swami Premananda, Swami established the Yoga Society of Baltimore in June 1972. Several years later, the need for a church was apparent, and in 1974 the Divine Life Temple was chartered. It was officially dedicated by Swami Premananda in 1974. In 1975 the name was changed to the Divine Life Church of Absolute Oneness and Swami Shankarananda became full-time minister. Church property was acquired and the new church was dedicated in 1976 by Swami Premananda.
The Divine Life Church is a nonsectarian, autonomous spiritual organization that upholds the principles and philosophy of Absolute Monism. Anyone who believes in the Eternal Truths and philosophy of Absolute Oneness and supports the spiritual ideals of the church is automatically a spiritual member.
The Church is supported exclusively and maintained solely by the voluntary contributions of its spiritual membership. All contributions and donations provide for the operation, maintenance, and expansion of the Church. The Church is established under the Darshan Charitable Trust as a nonprofit religious and educational organization. The Board of Trustees of the Darshan Charitable Trust is responsible for determining and allocating available funds for the payment of all expenses.
Swami Shankarananda left the body on November 24, 2014.
Read the beautiful messages he shared with us.
Swami Shankarananda appointed Swami Nityananda as his successor as detailed in the document below. Learn about our lineage of gurus.
Appointment of Successor
I, Swami Shankarananda Giri, as senior Swami of the Universal Swami Order of Absolute Oneness, presiding Minister of Divine Life Church of Absolute Oneness, Dharmapriti of the Board of Ministers of the Order, serving to continue the Guru-disciple lineage, hereby appoint Srimati Nitya as my successor. After I renounce the body, she will be known as Swami Nityananda, a title I have conferred upon her in consecrating her as a Swami. She will serve as senior Swami of the Universal Swami Order of Absolute Oneness, presiding Minister of Divine Life Church of Absolute Oneness, Dharmapriti of the Board of Ministers of the Order, and will serve to continue the Guru-disciple lineage. As spiritual leader, in accordance with the powers and responsibilities set forth in the Constitution of the Universal Swami Order, I appoint her as the next spiritual leader.
In the name of God, Christ, Gurus, and in accordance of the divine law of spiritual continuity and the all-loving will of the Supreme Being, I hereby acknowledge Srimati Nitya as the highly qualified successor and spiritual leader of the Divine Life Church of Absolute Oneness and all other aforementioned titles attributed to me during my ministry, so that when my earthly sojourn is concluded my testimonial will be official and honored. Aum shanti shanti shanti.