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Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (1870 – 1953) Reestablished Vedic Wisdom in Northern India

Shankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswati

Born in Gana India, Rajaram left behind his family’s householder life style at the age of nine to seek spiritual wisdom and enlightenment. He renounced worldly pleasures and left in search of a more permanent peace.

After visiting many spiritual masters and living with some for short periods of time, he became a disciple of Swami Krishnananda at age 14. He finally had found a living example of absolute bliss consciousness in human form.

As part of his training he lived in caves nearby his master’s ashram, coming out only to visit with Swami Krishnananda on occasion. He spent his time in deep meditation.

At the age twenty five it was time to leave the caves behind and move into the ashram to be with his guru 24/7.

At the Kumbh Mela festival in 1906 Rajaram was formally ordained by Swami Krishnananda, and bestowed the title Sri Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Maharaj. He was 36 years old at the time.

After the passing of Swami Krishnananda in 1936, Brahmananda Saraswati spent years in the forest enveloped in silence and bliss.

1,200 years ago renowned spiritual luminary Adi Shankara (788 – 820) established four principle seats (monasteries) of learning in India, to maintain his revived reinterpretation of Hindu scriptures.

Shankara established one in India’s north, south, east and west …

Geography Math (monastery) Location
North Jyotirmatha Peetham Jyotirmath, India
South Sringeri Sharada Peetham Karnataka, India
East Govardhana Peetham Puri, India
West Dvaraka Peetham Gujrat, India

The North seat, the Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath, is the principal of the four maths (monasteries). The seat was unoccupied for 108 years because a qualified Acharya was not to be found.

Tenure Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath residents
1696-1703 Shivanand Swami
1703-1717 Balkrishna Swami
1717-1750 Narain Updendra Swami
1750-1763 Harishchandar Swami
1763-1773 Sadanand Swami
1773-1781 Keshav Swami
1781-1823 Narain Tirtha Swami
1823-1833 Ram Krishna Swami
1833-1941 EMPTY

Brahmananda Saraswati was approached on several occasions to occupy the empty spiritual seat of Jyotirmath. At age 70 he finally relented and told a committee he would accept the position. On the day that the installation ceremony was to take place, he was nowhere to be found. He left two days earlier in the hope that perhaps all that commotion about the seat would go away.

But shortly thereafter he was installed as the Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, and remained there seeing visitors and attending to disciples, until his passing in 1953.

Among the many disciples that Brahmananda Saraswati had was Mahesh Prasad Varma, later known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Moments before Brahmananda Saraswati passed away, he told Mahesh, “What I have taught you also contains the knowledge of the technique for the householder.” That inspired Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ( to bring that meditation to the world in 1959 as TM (Transcendental Meditation).

Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

Here are the words of Brahmananda Saraswati …

“There is no distance or separation with Paramatma (God).

Learn to make full use of the human body. One should not waste this chance.

When the mind realizes God, it is permanently established there and does not desire other things.

The aim of life is to stop the mind from involvement with this world.

The dawn comes to dispel the darkness of night, allowing us to enjoy the light of the sun (which is self-illuminating). Spiritual teachings destroy ignorance and therefore remove darkness, but they cannot throw light on the inner Self, for the Self is Light.

The people struggle hard to gain valueless baubles of daily living, day in and day out. It is said: Gain one thing to gain everything – try to gain everything and you will gain nothing.

If you want to catch the shadow, catch the real thing and automatically the shadow will be in your hands. Leaving the real, if you run after the shadow, the faster you run, the faster it will run away from you. That is why, to run after shadowy wealth and fame is foolhardy. Catch hold of the real – Paramatman – and all these will come by itself to be under your command. Remember, that remembering Paramatman is always highly profitable. Whatever time you put into this, you will get back with multifold interest.

As long as one has to live, live peacefully. It is certain; the work here can never be completed. So do not make much out of doing. Work as it is, is a waste. Lead this life with a peaceful mind, doing your duty and always remembering Paramatman.

Nobody wants your mind in this world, and the mind is not satisfied with anything of the world. The mind is not fit for the world, or the world for the mind. When the mind realizes God, it is permanently established there and does not desire other things. From this we can understand that God alone is fit for the mind and nothing else.

Do good works without hesitation. The Jiva has been experiencing samsara for many, many births. It is only natural, therefore, that its tendencies have become worldly. To turn its tendencies toward Paramatman and away from samsara requires some effort. In reality, the aim of life is to stop the mind from involvement with this world. If one engages in spiritual practice and in thinking and speaking about God, the mind will start dwelling on Him and after some time it will withdraw from the world on its own.

In our daily affairs we should adopt a strategy of quickly attending to good works and things related to the Divine. Should any wrong thought arise, on the other hand, we should try to postpone it to another time by saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow, or the day after next.” In this way, wrong action can be continuously postponed.

To be born a human is more fortunate than to be born a deva (angel or Divine being).  Taking birth as a deva is considered comparable to taking birth as any other life form. Birth as a deva is attained by those who perform certain sacrifices and karma, etc. associated with divinity, with the intention to enjoy divine pleasures. The minds of the devas wander incessantly because of the abundance of enjoyable things in the heavenly realms, and hence they cannot perform purushartha (Divine action – action in accord with the cosmic evolution and individual destiny). For this reason, the human birth is considered superior, because here, by doing as much purushartha as possible, one can eventually merge with God.

A human being is like a lump of pure gold, whereas devas are like pieces of fine jewelry. Having been perfected as jewelry, their progress is complete, and they cannot be further improved. On the other hand, gold which has not yet been crafted by the jeweler, has unlimited potential. Hence the birth of a human being is said to be the very best birth for action.

To get a human body is a rare thing—make full use of it. There are four million kinds of births which a soul can gather. After that one gets a human body. Therefore, one should not waste this opportunity. Every second in human life is very valuable. If you don’t value this, then you will have nothing in hand and you will weep in the end.

Because you’re human, God has given you power to think and decide what is good and bad. Therefore, you can do the best possible kind of action. You should never consider yourself weak or a fallen creature. Whatever may have happened up to now may be because you didn’t know, but now be careful.

After getting a human body, if you don’t reach God, then you have sold a diamond at the price of spinach.

For this reason, the human birth is considered superior, because here, by doing as much purushartha as possible, one can eventually become one with God.

Having attained this birth, one should not act carelessly, but should conscientiously perform the best purushartha. Fulfilling one’s own dharma while keeping faith in Paramatma is the greatest purushartha. Strive to become one with God in this lifetime. Have firm faith in the Vedas and shastras and keep the company of those wise people who also have faith in them. Only then will the purpose of your life be fulfilled.”

The difference is the same as the difference between rice and paddy. Remove the skin of the paddy and it is rice. Similarly, remove the covering of Maya, and the Jiva will become Brahman.’

The one who has come, has to go. Nobody can stay here. Every moment keep your luggage packed. Nobody knows when death will call. The warrant of death is like the arrest warrant.

If you are not cautious, you cannot escape from falling. It is the nature of samsara-river (worldliness); it will always try to take you downwards. Involvement with the senses makes man multifaceted. Being multifaceted and with involvement with vasana makes it very difficult to have the ability [kshamata] to discern. So it is essential to be cautious always.

It is a waste to make much of your activity, so try to live quietly as long as you have to live.

The Creator is Vishvambhara. He shoulders the duty to sustain and protect us. And so, he will make arrangements. Without having faith in His support, if you depend on your intellect and cleverness, deceit and craftiness, you will lead a life of turbulence and the future path will also be darkened.

As is the cloth, so is the price. For carrying on the short-lived activities of the work, employ your short-lived body and wealth. Mind is a permanent thing, which remains with you always. Even in the other world it will continue to stay with you. Therefore connect it with a permanent thing, God, being the eternal existence in animate and inanimate things, is the only permanent thing of the highest order. Therefore connect your mind with Him. If the mind is satisfied with wealth, wife or children, why does it go elsewhere? Because if cannot stick onto anything. From this it is clear that it is not satisfied with anything of the mundane world. It runs after things, taking them to be good and desirable, but after a short while it leaves them.

Do good works without hesitation.

There are three types of protection and service: The highest is like a tortoise; the middle is like fishes; and the lower is like birds.
The turtle does not keep his eggs near. The fish does not go near its eggs. The bird protects its eggs by covering them always, sitting on them.
In the manner of the tortoise, the Great Spiritual Guru helps, protects and guides his sincere disciple by concentration and observation of the behavior of his disciples. By the blessing of the Guru the life of disciple become purposeful and develops faster on the (path of) Spiritual Progress. [Abr. Brahmananda]

Divine union can be realized by the practice of Yoga.

Every moment is the power of the Supreme to be realized and remembered.

Paramatma is one, and is present everywhere and in every time. Absolute bliss consciousness (Satchidanada) cannot be broken and is Knowledge Incarnate.

Real victory is that, after which there can never be a reverse. Nobody can call himself a victor forever merely by crushing an external foe, because such foes can spring up again. A real victory is achieved by bringing under control the internal foes. A check over the internal enemies is therefore the only way of conquering the external enemies forever, because we should bear in mind that it is our own internal enemies which create the external enemies.

These inner enemies are ambition, anger, greed, false attachment, vanity and jealousy. It is this hexagon sitting inside us which makes a cat’s paw of anything in the outer world in order to create enemies for us. Therefore if anybody wants to enjoy peace and happiness through victory over all enemies, then he should raid the very source of all physical enemies – the subtle hexagon living in us. Destruction of enemies by root is not possible without breaking up this hexagon (ambition, anger, greed, false attachment, vanity and jealously). This is axiomatic.

It is not too difficult to win over the hexagon. But people take it to be impossible without giving thought. Most of them hold the belied that only a perfect saint who has renounced all worldly concerns can break up the inner hexagon. This belief is based on complete ignorance. A renouncer renounces the very cause of the hexagon, so in his case the question of conquering the hexagon does not arise at all. A victor over the hexagon is one who maintains his worldly attitudes but does not allow himself to be subordinated by them. Let the enemy have an occasion to strike, but let him find that he cannot do so because he finds you too strong for it. Only then can he be treated as defeated. Mere engagement in bonafide worldly activities is no hindrance in keeping the inner hexagon in a state of subjugation.

One can become a mahatma wherever one lives. No one becomes a mahatma by simply wearing ochre clothing or by applying some marks to the forehead. Dress and other externals will not lead to the ultimate good, whereas faith will certainly lead to it. The state of a mahatma is determined by the state of mind. So stay wherever you are, but change the direction of your mind. Think less about samsara and think more about Paramatma.

Nowadays people think a great deal about things they should not waste their time on. One should primarily contemplate Paramatma; instead people contemplate worldly objects. That is why they are unable to experience peace and happiness. If you apply your vital breath to worldly activities and enjoyment of the senses, then your lungs are like the bellows of a blacksmith. Hence take care of your vital breath and apply yourself to Paramatma. First generate faith. You already have sufficient faith in money. That is why you are able to think about it. When you have faith in Paramatma, then you will start contemplating Him.

You must realize that money and all the objects of samsara will remain here, while you have to carry out your future journey alone. Prepare for that future journey at this very moment. Increase your faith in higher goals, and increase your love for that ever-blissful Paramatma. Show superficial interest in the things of the world, which will always remain here, and place primary faith in the ultimate goal, which will remain with you. Once you discover that a tantalizing heap of money was actually created by a magician, the temptation to take it will wither, and you will no longer covet it. Like the magician’s money, all the objects and relationships of samsara are transient. Therefore, carry out all daily affairs according to social expectations, but do not reserve a place for these things in your mind. Keep your mind free for the imperishable Paramatma, whose very essence is bliss. Always keep Bhagavan in your mind and never transgress the bounds of propriety – this is what is means to be a mahatma.


Close your eyes and meditate. Know the timeless reality.

Posted by on December 1st, 2013 Comments Off on Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (1870 – 1953) Reestablished Vedic Wisdom in Northern India

The Wise Woman

The Wise Woman

“A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

– Author Unknown


When all tendency of selfishness has vanished, you will truly know abundant life.  Meditate every day to taste the nectar of eternal bliss consciousness.

Posted by on October 8th, 2012 Comments Off on The Wise Woman