Swami Jnaneswarananda was born as Satindra Chakravarty in the village of Shekharnagar,
about 12 miles from Dhaka in East Bengal, on June 28, 1893.
Because he was born on a particularly rainy day, his sister gave him the nickname "Badal" (rainy season) by which he was affectionately known.
As a boy, Badal was always the leader of the village boys. He was a good actor as a child, and had a strong, beautiful voice for singing.
He had a taste for religious drama and kirtan (singing the name of God) from his early years.
In 1914, Swami Premananda, one of the direct disciples of Sri
Ramakrishna, came to Dhaka for the first time. Badal was still a student
and only 21 years old. In a talk entitled, "The Mysticism of Love," given in Chicago, he referred to this meeting with Swami Premananda
and the impression the Swami made on him.
"At that time, I was a rebel, almost an anarchist, as could be expected in India in those days.
That holy man did not impress me by talk or philosophy, but by the sheer power, the sheer "mysticism of love."
Badal had already joined the revolutionary party in Dhaka, which was committed to the overthrow of British rule in India.
Soon after his meeting with Swami Premananda, however, Badal changed his mind about using guns to end the British dominion.
He began to see that Swami Vivekananda's method was sounder, so he decided to drop his membership in the party.
This took some courage, as joining required signing a pledge that stated anyone leaving the party would be shot.
Badal told the party quite frankly that the path chalked out by them was not the right path, and if they spared his life he would
join the Ramakrishna Mission and never divulge any information about their activities.
After much argumentation, the leader's great
respect for Badal's character won out and he was allowed to leave unconditionally.
In 1914 he graduated from college and continued his postgraduate work for two years. Then he visited Belur Math where he received the vows
of brahmacharya in 1917 and Sanyasa in 1919, both from Swami Brahmananda. He was given the monastic name
meaning the infinite bliss of knowledge of God.
The new swami was first posted for five years (1917-1922) to Benares Sevashram serving the sick. While in Benares he came under the
influence of Swami Turiyananda. From Swami Turiyananda he learned fearlessness and mindfulness.
In 1922, Swami Turiyananda suggested that Jnaneswarananda be sent to open a center in Patna, Bhiar. The work began modestly
with two small mud-walled, thatched-roof huts.
Among the devotees was Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who later became the first President of Independent India.
In the latter part of 1926,the Swami was transferred to Belur Math, and after a short time he was sent to America to assist
Swami Bodhananda at the Vedanta Society of New York.
In December 1929, he left New York for Chicago to start a center in the city of Swami Vivekananda's triumph.
The center was established at 120 East Delaware Place. The swami had his living quarters there, and this is where he gave
interviews and held public and private classes. Public lectures were given in a lecture hall at the centrally located Masonic Temple.
In 1933 the Swami began to suffer from a heart condition. A trip to India in 1934 only aggravated his condition,
and Swami Jnaneswarananda passed away on Sunday, November 14, 1937 from a sudden massive heart attack.