The Vedanta Society of Southern California, with its headquarters in Hollywood, was founded in 1930 by Swami Prabhavananda. The society is a branch of the Ramakrishna Order, and maintains subcenters in South Pasadena, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Trabuco Canyon. It also maintains an archive of important materials relating to the society's history and to the early years of the Vedanta movement in America.
Swami Prabhavananda came to Los Angeles in 1929 from Portland, Oregon, and formally established the society as a non-profit corporation in 1934. Prabhavananda led the society until his death in 1976. Swami Swahananda took over as head of the society in 1976, and continued as its head until his death in 2012. Swami Sarvadevananda is the current head of the society.
The society offers lectures and classes, and also public pujas. Through its publisher, Vedanta Press, it publishes a number of books. It maintains three websites. The society attracts college students from all over America to experience monastic life first-hand, study vedanta, practice meditation, and research the lives of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, through its student program.
The society's branch in South Pasadena, California preserves a house in which Swami Vivekananda lived for six weeks in 1900. There is a monastery at Trabuco Canyon, 60 miles south of LA, which is also home to a sculpture of Vivekananda. There is a convent in Santa Barbara, a small monastery in San Diego, and a small retreat at Pinon Hills.
The society's website outlines its history and activities.
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