Swami Ghananand Saraswati, the first Hindu Monk from Africa, was a charismatic Hindu leader who headed the Hindu Monastery of Africa. He passed away on January 18, 2016.
Before embracing Hinduism, he was known as Guide Kwesi Essel. He was born in Senya Beraku in the Central Region on September 12, 1937, and belonged to a family of humble origin.
In Ghana, Swami Ghananand Saraswati is remembered for his devotion to the Hindu faith in the country. Not only he was instrumental in building the Hindu Monastery of Africa, his efforts also led to the establishment of five branches in five cities in Ghana (Cape Coast, Tema, Kumasi, Ashanti-Mampong) with another in Lome-Togo.
What’s more surprising is that the devotees in Ghana have never visited India, yet they strictly follow religious rules and observe rituals in traditional Hindu way. Despite using Christian names, a lot of locals have converted to Hinduism. Though there was some opposition initially, but the number have been growing ever since. According to the monastery, no one is forced to convert to Hinduism.
What’s more surprising is that the late Saint has written 15 books on Hinduism.
He has also founded a branch of the Divine Life Society at Odorkor, Accra, and provided spiritual leadership to a number of devotees. Because of his dedication in spreading these teachings, he was initiated into the Holy Order of the Renunciates of India, and the founding of the Hindu Monastery of Africa by his Guru, His Holiness Swami Krishnanand Saraswati.
Under Swami Ghananand’s leadership, the group supports schools for the handicapped and destitute, various social services, and supports orphanages.
Following Ghananand’s Mahasamadhi, now Swami Satyananda Saharaj is the new head of the Hindu Monastery of Africa.