Site Map
Guru Dev Highlights
Section › 1 Set Search Previous Next


Reservations Contents  

Guru Dev, Shankaracharya Brahmananda Sarawati Ji
Sri Brahmananda Saraswati


Darshan: view, vision. Darshan, also darshana and darsan, is Sanskrit for "sight, auspicious viewing, vision". It is seeing, and seeing a glimpse. In Hinduism it is used for beholding a revered and saintly person, a deity or sacred object, and a blessing from viewing an eminent saint. A gesture of respect is often an integral part of darshan of a guru or saintly persons.. People will bend to touch the feet of a great guru.

When 'darshan' stands for a "vision" it is used in a literal or the metaphorical sense. (Cf. Feuerstein 1990, s.v. "darshan").

Six philosophical systems of India. In Indian philosophy the term 'darshan' designates the distinctive way in which each of the six orthodox philosophical system looks at things, including its exposition of sacred scriptures and authoritative knowledge (EB, s.v. "darshan").

A glimpse of the Vedanta System. When signifying "viewpoint", 'darshan' is applied to any of the six orthodox systems themselves, and translates as both "viewpoint" and "philosophy". Vedanta darshan, then, is the Vedanta Philosophy, or the Vedanta viewpoint on things. It includes an exposition or take on sacred scriptures through one or more sets of views in Vedanta with its many subschools. It is rooted in the Vedas' Upanishad sections. Vedanta means the end of Vedas, from Veda and anta, end. [Cf. WP, s.v. "Vedanta"]


From Guru Dev's Life

Swami Brahmananda Saraswati was the head of Jyotir Math monastery in northern India. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says devotees felt that the expression 'His Holiness' did not do justice to this personified Divine Effulgence; and so 'His Divinity' was given "the living expression of Upanishadic Reality, the embodiment of the transcendent Divinity".

Born into a Brahmin family near Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, the later Swami Brahmananda left home to find a benevolent guru. The family guru was so impressed with his state of evolution that he did not want hinder him attaining a reclusive yogi life. His parents, who had wanted him to marry, gave way. The boy started travelling by foot to the town of Haridwar and then on to Rishikesh in the Himalayas, searching for a gracious guru. At fourteen he became a disciple of Swami Krishnananda Saraswati, and impressed him after he had retired to a nearby cave and visited his master only once a week. He had food brought to him from Krishnananda's ashram.

At the age of twenty five, he emerged from his cave and permanently rejoined his kind guru at his ashram.

When he was thirty-four, his guru let him become a member of the ascetic Sannyas order during the massive celebration called Kumbh Mela, and he was given his swami name: Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. Saraswati refers to a line of swamis.

He spent years sitting in meditation in forests and caves, His reputation grew a lot, and many people wanted him to be the head of Jyotir Math in Northern India. Guru Dev consented only after many years of entreaty. saying:

"You want to put in chains a lion who moves about in the jungle freely. But if you so like, I honour your words . . . serving the cause that Adi Shankaracharya stood for. I fully dedicate myself for the mission.

From 1941, he held the position of Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) of Jyotir Math. The position had been vacant for about 165 years.

He had the temple and institution at Jyotir Math reconstructed, and reclaimed surrounding land that had been encroached upon by local farmers. A two-story, thirty rooms large building was constructed. He also supervised the final construction of the Shrine of Purnagiri Devi about one hundred meters in front of the new monastery which "the Darbhanga ruler" had begun just before his death. Guru Dev's leadership was instrumental in re-establishing the Jyotir Math as "an important centre of traditional Advaita teaching in northern India".

Jyotir Math, or Jyotir Pitha, is a monastery located in the city of Jyotirmath, India. Sometimes called uttaramnaya matha or northern monastery, it is one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankara (estimatedly in the 700s AD). Its heads or pontiffs bear the handed-over title of Shankaracharya, "Shankara-teacher".

Four Shankara disciples were assigned to four learning centers - in the north, south, east and west of India, and the long rows of pontiffs of each of these four monasteries have come to be known as Shankaracharyas, in honour of the founder, Adi ["The first"] Shankara.

After Guru Dev passed away in 1953 there have been several disciples and gurus who have been appointed, occupied or claimed to be the rightful occupant and leader of the monastery.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says devotees felt that the expression 'His Holiness' did not do justice to this personified Divine Effulgence; and so 'His Divinity' was given "the living expression of Upanishadic Reality, the embodiment of the transcendent Divinity".

Shankaracharya Brahmananda was visited by the President of India, and the philosopher Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, who succeeded Prasad as President of India. In 1950, President Radhakrishnan is reported to have addressed Saraswati as "Vedanta Incarnate, the embodiment of truth".

Among his disciples were his successor, Sri Shantananda Saraswati, who came to support Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the TM Movement. Shantananda's successor, Vishnudevananda, also spoke well of Maharishi and publicly demonstrated his support too.

Read on

Colibri serrirostris, photo by Rick elis.simpson, Detail. Guru Dev Enlightens
Guru Dev Legacy Trust
Paul Mason's Pages on Guru Dev


Guru Dev, Shankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswati, Literature  

EB. Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is online and available on yearly updated DVDs too.

Feuerstein, Georg. Encyclopedic Dictionary of Yoga. London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1990. ⍽▢⍽ If the yoga glossary on the site is not enough for you - see the link in the bottom left corner of the page.) - . . . This is a reference work with explanations and cross references for a less narrow understanding of Sanskrit terms. English terms are given. The book also contains references to traditional sources. The author, Dr Feuerstein, is a scholar of international repute. He has authored over forty-five books on mysticism, yoga, tantra, Hinduism and Buddhism. This book can get even more useful when used along with a convenient Sanskrit dictionary - for example that of John Grimes (next book).

Grimes, John. A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English. New, rev. 3rd ed. Varanasi: Indica Books, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Grimes' dictionary is designed for those interested in Indian philosophy in general and in Vedanta in particular. It is comprehensive and referenced. Indian philosophical terms are translated, and some explained in some depth. Fit for getting a grasp on Advaita Vedanta's (most frequent) meanings of terms. Many terms have many meanings, and meanings differ among the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy also.

Mahesh Yogi, Maharishi (presented as Maharshi Bala Brahmachari Mahesh Yogi Maharaj). Beacon Light of the Himalayas: The Dawn of a Happy New Era. Souvenir of the Great Spiritual Development Conference of Kerala, October 1955. in PDF format. ⍽▢⍽ This book marks the start of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's global mission to introduce TM, Transcendental Meditation, to the world at large. The book contains a biographical sketch by Maharishi of his teacher, Guru Dev, and transcripts of Maharishi's discourses during the Kerala conference, and insightful contributions from others. One gets glimpes of Maharishi's thinking in the earliest days of his teaching, three years before he set out for America and further, much further. - 168 pages, illustrated.

Mason, Paul. 108 Discourses of Guru Dev: The Life and Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (1941-53). Vol 1. Penzance, Cornwall: Premanand, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Clear, uplifting Guru Dev discourses. A resource to think through and live up to. The discourses are over sixty years old, but the basic content seems fit for fair-minded people who could need good directions to steer by through their living.

Mason, Paul. The Biography of Guru Dev: The Life and Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (1941-53). Vol 2. Penzance, Cornwall: Premanand, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Guru Dev's life story is astounding. Transcendental Meditation is one result if it.

Mason, Paul. Guru Dev as presented by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: The Life and Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (1941-53). Vol 3. Penzance, Cornwall: Premanand, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Discourses of Guru Dev, in Hindi, compiled by his disciple Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with notes. There are also transcripts of Maharishi speaking on Guru Dev. Paul Mason's books from Shankaracharya Sri Brahmananda's tradition, are good, historical sources, besides being basic texts for lots of people. They have luckily survived.

Mason, Paul. Guru Dev: Life and Teachings of Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. Compiled by Paul Mason. 2012. Online [◦Link]

Mason, Paul. The Maharishi: The Biography of the Man Who Gave Transcendental Meditation to the World. Rev. ed. Lyndhurst, Hampshire: Evolution, 2005. ⍽▢⍽ Maharishi claimed his TM technique Maharishi was asked by Guru Dev to bring a certain meditation method and way to people. No charge. That business aspect entered after Maharishi had come to the USA. The TM movement was grassroot first, and allowed many people to find help in meditation. Later, Maharishi's focus loomed upwards from individual development assisted by academic teaching and research, to a sort of business-compatible proficiency. The university he got established in the USA in the early 1970s, before he settled in Europe, is called MUM, Maharishi's University of Management. It is individual management of life that is the root of it - through consciousness-based education. There are many good feature in the business world to take advantage of and apply in one's individual life, and learning lessons and getting credits is what universities are for - for students. Maharishi also sanctioned various enterprises out of environmental concerns, and went for improving collective consciousness and world consciousness. This unfoldment - with its stupendous fruits - started with his training under Guru Dev, and Guru Dev's request to him to bring TM to downtrodden people.

Mason, Paul. Roots of TM: The Transcendental Meditation of Guru Dev and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Penzance, Cornwall, UK: Premanand, 2016. ⍽▢⍽ This compilation contains numerous quotations and rare transcripts of lectures by Guru Dev and by Maharishi. Paul Mason observed and then sought to remedy something interesting:

Surprisingly, despite the fact that Swami Brahmanand Saraswati was a prominent and influential public speaker, Maharishi's organisations share but scant information about Guru Dev's life story and disclose nothing about his teachings . . . or about the origins and history of the teaching of Transcendental Meditation.

Shriver, LB Trusty and Cynthia Ann Humes. The Sweet Teachings of the Blessed Sankaracarya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. Introduction by LB Shriver, translation and annotations by Prof. Cynthia Ann Humes. Raleigh, NC:, 2013. ⍽▢⍽ Included are 108 of many hundred known talks or discourses by Shankaracharya Sri Brahmananda Saraswati, with a biographical sketch of him. The main part of the book contains transcriptions of talks to a lot of people about how to live all right through helpful cardinal ideas. Each discourse about two pages long. Professor Humes, the translator, has also also supplied the annotations.
    Mason's 108 Discourses of Guru Dev (above) is another translation of the same talks, and should be good to compare with.

Tiwari, Rameswar, compiler, LB Trusty Shriver, ed, and Cynthia Ann Humes, ed. Rocks Are Melting: The Everyday Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Fairfield, IA: Clear River Press, 2000. ⍽▢⍽ Scanned hard-copy manuscript of The Sweet Teachings (above), with annotations.

Guru Dev, Shankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswati, Ananta Shri Vibhushit Jyotishpithadhishwar Jagadguru Shankaracharya Brahmibhut, Swami Brahmanand Ji Saraswati, To top Archive section Set Next

Guru Dev, Shankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswati, Ananta Shri Vibhushit Jyotishpithadhishwar Jagadguru Shankaracharya Brahmibhut, Swami Brahmanand Ji Saraswati USER'S GUIDE: [Link]
© 2014–2016, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil. [Email]  ᴥ  Disclaimer: [Link]