A bridge between Christianity and Hinduism

Shantivanam was founded in 1950 by father Jules MONCHANIN (1895-1957) and Dom Henry LE SAUX (1910-1973) who were the pioneers of Indian-Christian dialogue.

Henri Le Saux (Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Kergonan, France) joined India and Father Jules Monchanin in 1948. Its purpose was to be a centre of contemplative life and a centre of dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism. Both of them took up the Indian way of living and practicing their spirituality. They took up the Indian Sannyasa dress and took Indian names. Father Jules Monchanin took the name of Swami Parama Arupi Ananda and Henri Le Saux took the name of Swami Abishiktananda. Jules Monchanin died in 1957 and Henri Le Saux began to stay six months in the ashram and six months visiting various Hindu Ashrams. He began to spend many days as a hermit and wrote his experiences and his intuitions in many books and articles. He visited Tiruvannamalai along with Jules Monchanin and had Darshan from Ramana Maharshi, a great sage of India in the 20th century. He had a profound experience in the presence of Ramana. He wrote a book called "Secret of Arunachala" which is widely acclaimed. He also had profound experiences at the source of Ganges. His entire life and works were dedicated for the search of Truth and Unity.

In 1968, Le Saux permanently settled in Uttarkashi and the ashram came under the direction of the english Benedictine monk Father Bede Griffiths(1906-1993) - see links- in the same spirit of evangelical message in India and dialog between Christianity and Vedanta.

The ashram also called Saccidananda ashram (Ashram of the Holy-Trinity) is located on the bank of sacred river Kavery , 35 kms from Tiruchirapalli, Tamilnadu,South India. It is 335 kms South of Chennai (Madras) and around 250 kms from Pondicherry.

Brothers, Indian priests and monks as well as a few nuns, following the life of traditional ashrams, are looking for an inner truth in its eternal union between traditions wisdom and prophetic religions. Shantivanam continues today to extend this mission under the direction of monks living in the ashram and Br. John Martin is one among them.