Lifestory and Teachings

Guru Dev
Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati
Compiled by Paul Mason
© Paul Mason 2021


Painting of Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswti by M T V Acharya
- Guru Dev -
Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati
Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath [1941-1953]
(painting by M T V Acharya)

In early 1968 The Beatles pop group flew out to India to study philosophy and meditation in Rishikesh and their visit immediately became front-page news across the world. But for many it is still unclear what The Beatles actually learned, and where the teaching originated from. However, a clue is offered in the lyrics of 'Across the Universe', a song written by John Lennon containing the oft-repeated refrain 'Jai Guru Deva', a Hindi phrase meaning 'Victory to Guru Dev', sung in praise of Guru Dev (the guru of their meditation teacher).

portrait of Guru Dev Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati
displayed behind Maharishi Mahesh Yogi sitting with The Beatles in Rishikesh, India April 1968

जय गुरुदेव
Jai Guru DevaJai Guru Dev Jaya GurudevaJay GurudevaJay Gurudev

* Victory to Guru Dev *

'Roots Of TM: The Transcendental Meditation
of Guru Dev & Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Amazon link

In 1959, when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first arrived in the West he proclaimed:-

'My life truly began 16 years ago at the feet of my master when I learned the secret of swift and deep meditation, a secret I now impart to the world.' 1

His master was Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, a spiritual leader famous in Northern India, held in high esteem by his many disciples and devotees both young and old. 

It is written that on Thursday, 21 December 1871 (Vikram Samvat 1928, Marg Shirsh Shukla Dasmi) in the village of Gana close to Ayodhya, Rajaram Mishra was born. After leaving home at the age of nine years old, he roamed in the Himalayan hills and eventually found a guru who named him Brahmachari Brahma Chaitanya. In 1904 at the age of thirty-three years old, his guru initiated him into monkhood as a sannyasi and gave him the name of Swami Brahmanand Saraswati. 

Swami Brahmanand led a solitary life, living mainly in forests and jungles, taking shelter in natural caves. For food and drink he would take what nature offered, and supplemented his fare with the gifts brought to him by well-wishers who would seek him out.

In a chance meeting at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad in 1930, his guru, Swami Krishnanand Sarswati, told Swami Brahmanand:- 'You have stayed a long time in the jungles and mountains. Stay near the towns now, so that some of the people can benefit."

So it was that Swami Brahmanand Saraswati a little more accessible, became known for his spiritual radiance and knowledge. In fact, so high was his spiritual reputation that he was nominated to take the most presitigious and powerful position in Indian society, that of Shankaracharya, becoming Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math on 1st April 1941. 

His ashram in Varanasi now became the official seat of the Shankaracharya, though he travelled widely across India sharing his wisdom and reviving the religious and spiritual traditions wherever he visited. Fortunately, when giving spiritual talks Guru Dev would sometimes alude to former incidents in his life, and these precious recollections later formed the basis of his biography, which therefore reads like an autobiography at times. 

Biography of Guru Dev

This biography has since been carefully translated into English, and is now published alongwith supplementary biographical material and photographs, as 'The Biography of Guru Dev'.


Before Guru Dev became Shankaracharya, on September 14th 1940 someone by the name of Raj Varma made his way across Jabalpur to where Guru Dev was staying, in order to become an initiate of Guru Dev:-

'So before sunrise Dr. Varma came full of joy to his initiation. Guru Dev did the puja with his fruit and flowers and then gave him his mantra and asked him to sit down. He gave him a rosary. An indian rosary has mostly 108 beads. Guru Dev told Dr. Varma to close his eyes and repeat the mantra and with every mantra touch a new bead so that the rosary would go forward in his hand with each mantra. Then he told him to only think the mantra easily without speaking it any more while his fingers moving forward touched the beads. The rosary has one extra bead attached to it where you start and where eventually you finish the round of 108. When Guru Dev saw that Dr. Varma had reached the end of the round at the extra bead, he told him to stop thinking the mantra. After some time he told him to open his eyes slowly.

He asked him how he felt. Dr. Varma said he felt very good and happy.

“Very good,” said Guru Dev, “now you go home and sit in your room and do three rounds. Then come out slowly, have breakfast and then open your shop and do your work. In the evening after closing your shop go to your room and again do three rounds. Come out slowly and have some food and then you can come to me and tomorrow morning before sunrise come again to me and report your experiences.

So the next morning Dr. Varma was most happy to report all the beautiful experiences he had had during the day, business was so good, customers were so friendly and told him he looked so good, he managed to do so many things. But as to his meditation he was not quite happy. He said: “i felt so happy with my mantra, but i kept forgetting it while my fingers were moving automatically. In each round this happened! What can I do about it?!”

a wonderful smile was on Guru Dev’s face.
“FOUND!” he exclaimed. “You have learnt to transcend the mantra! Excellent! You transcended the mantra which wants to go back to the source. The best thing that can happen! When you are aware of having forgotten the mantra you quietly pick up the mantra again and continue happily. This was very good meditation. Continue meditating like that now and tonight and report to me tomorrow morning.” So very happy checkings followed.’
 - April 1988, Seelisberg.

Dr Varma had a nephew by the name of Mahesh, and this young man became captivated by the idea of joining the Shankaracharya's ashram, He quickly made himself busy there dealing with Guru Dev's correspondence before becoming Guru Dev's secretary. Indeed, he fulfilled that post for about a decade, become eventually becoming a student monk, when he was known as Brahmachari Mahesh.

Mahesh Prasad - later known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
'Mahesh Prasad'

later known as Brahmachari Mahesh
then as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Apparently Mahesh first met the guru in the city of Jabalpur in central India (this being Mahesh's hometown where it is said he worked sometime as a clerk at the Gun Carriage Factory). He recalls:-

'I was fond of visiting saints, and when I heard there was a saint - this was in some Summer vacation - "Some saint has come but it's very difficult to approach him and he is far away," and all that, all that. Then I made more enquiries; "Where is he? And what?", then I found one can only see him about midnight or something, because no one is allowed to go there, and you have to go in all darkness without making noise and all kinds of things. I met some friends here and there and just we went there and, on a small house somewhere far into the, in the forest somewhere. There was a terrace, small terrace, and there, it was all dark, absolutely dark. About ten or eleven we arrived there. I and someone or two more.

And there was a brahmachari on the ground floor. He said, "How you are here?" and "Who told you?" and, "You are not expected to come!"

And said, "So maybe we forgot our way and we are here then, darshan coming;. And tell us about the saint, and we want to hear.." I said.

And he said, "Don't talk, don't talk, just sit quietly." And he disappeared and he went up and after about half an hour he came back. He said, "Follow me very quietly." I said, "Alright, alright." We quietly went up, there was nothing to see, it's all dark and somehow we felt someone was sitting on a sort of chair or something, reclining, comfortable. We sat down quietly, we found two or three other men were also sitting. No one was talking, whispering, it was all dark, everything. It so happened, about maybe fifteen, twenty minutes passed and it happened that far distance a car was coming and it showed the light on the terrace, and that was the first sight of Guru Dev. Just on the flash of the car, maybe a mile away from the car, but it just turned, it just turned for a moment and I was.. it was just enough to have a glimpse of him. And then I thought, "Yes, it seems the time has come." That one glimpse of a flashy light and that was enough to take decisions.

Then I came, and I came, and I came, and I said, "Could I not be at your service?"

He said, "What you are doing?"


"Oh better finish your studies."

"And then, where will you be?"

"Oh you will find me somewhere."'

So, perhaps this was a test by the guru to test the young man's enthusiasm to become a monk?

'And I was asked to complete my studies. And then I did not argue with him because once I saw him, I know he knows best and whatever he said was my action.' 2

'Then Guru Dev was gone back to the lonely forests. It was hard to locate from where he had come and where he had gone, because those who knew him were strictly prohibited to tell others his whereabouts. There was no way to keep contact with him.'

'About three years later, I saw him in the market of a big city of north India, being carried in a big procession. And this was when he visited the city as Shankaracharya of north India.' 3

'He had become the Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath. To become a Shankaracharya is a very, is a democratic thing. All the pandits and saints and all that, they join together and they elect the Shankaracharya. The head of.. the custodian of Hindu religion.'

Mahesh joined the guru's busy ashram at Varanasi (Benares) and discovered dozens of learned people there:-

"Right in the beginning, I joined the ashram, I came, and then I was amongst thirty or forty brahmacharis, and pandits and all that, all that. And they were very wise people, pandits of all the six systems of philosophy, and pandits of all the smrittis, shrutis, and all that. The whole learning round about Shankaracharya was vast retinue of learned people and I was absolutely insignificant. I had some knowledge of Hindi, and some of English, and a little bit of Sanskrit, but in that big huge learned assembly, this was absolutely insignificant, and English, of course, it was not necessary at all.

And then it was about a week and as everyone in the morning would go and do the prostrations and come out and then there was nothing to do. And one week passed and then I thought. "It's ridiculous to waste all this time." Was just once in the morning and once in the evening, go and prostrate and come out. So I made friends with a man who was cleaning his room, something like that, like that. Adjusting his table, this, this, this.

I said, "Oh, could you not take rest? You must be feeling very tired," and something, something.

And I said. "I could..."

But he said, "You can't. You can't come in this room," and this and this.

But I said, "Maybe when Guru Dev is not here, when he is taking his bath, and I could clean or something."

And he said, "Yes, that time you can come but get out quickly, and don't disturb things." Like that. So I started on that, some cleaning of the floor, something, something, adjusting something.'

During a temporary absence of the pandit who dealt with the clerical work of the ashram, Mahesh saw an opportunity to assume the role of clerk to the guru. He checked through the incoming mail and offered to read certain of the letters out loud to Guru Dev.

'One letter was there. It came for his blessing from some state in India asking that they are going to perform a big yagya and they want the blessings of Shankaracharya. And that letter was there and that date was approaching, about a week was left. And that I thought was a letter very responsible for the organisation to answer.

And I asked Guru Dev, "Oh, oh, the answer of this letter?"

And he would just not mind it, because in his eyes just one organisation doesn't mean anything, or something.

But, I thought it's a very great responsibility of the organisation, it's if someone wants Shankaracharya's blessing then it's for the organisation to reply, and reply his blessings and create goodwill and inspire that organisation.'

Over the following days Mahesh repeatedly attempted to solicit a response from the guru but without result, and then went so far as to suggest that he write something himself, He recalls:-

'One day I said, "It's only about four, five days left. Shall I make a draft and read to Guru Dev, or anything?"

And He said, "What you will write?" And that was the end he said.'

Mahesh returned to his own room to gather his thoughts:-

'I said, "Now come on, I have to write an answer to this. What? What? How to write? What to do? Now supposing if I was a Shankaracharya? What I'll say in that letter?" And I just imposed Shankaracharyaship on myself. And I said. "Yes, all the religious organisations look to Shankaracharya, head of the religion. The main thing is, that they should get inspiration from the blessing of Shankaracharya. As an organisation doing this great yagya, inspiring the people in the locality for religious life, so they should have the approval of Shankaracharya for this good act of religious value." I somehow wrote. And in the evening - it was just a very short thing, because nothing very long has to go from Shankaracharya, who is a great authority on religion, so very short inspiration. I made some few lines.

In the evening when I opened the door and entered and I read out that thing, in one simple breath quickly. And it sounded so apt, so appropriate.

And then he said, "Will these people get it if you write? Then send it."

I said; "Yes, they can get it, it's yet four days."

That's all he said.

Then I quickly wrote and put on a seal of Shankaracharya and did the whole paraphernalia, and sent it. From that day probably I gave an impression that I could write something useful. That was the first thing. And from there, the letters came to me for replying and I was replying and sometimes reading to him.'

Wishing to get even closer to the guru he attempted to attune himself to the master's thinking:-

'And it took about two and a half years, and I thought two and a half years were wasted, but it came out to be quite early to adjust myself to his feelings. And the method that I adopted was just to sense what he wants at what time - what he wants. I picked up activity as a means to adjust to his thought, to his feelings.'

'Just about two and a half years for my thoughts to be mainly flowing in tune with his - how much perfectly, there was no way to measure, but I knew I was making very, very rare mistakes, no mistakes almost.'

'And from there on for me the whole thing was very light and beautiful, no obstacles, clear, everything. Then I was living around him without even feeling that I was living. It's a very genuine feeling of complete oneness with Guru Dev, just like that. People who have seen me moving with Guru Dev know that I was not as if in this isolated, single body or something. '3

'Even ignorant people like me were blessed, and this was his great, extreme value of adaptability, He could adopt [sic] himself to even such sheer ignorance, and raise the value. This adaptability is what I found most useful for me, as far as Guru Dev is concerned. Very great fortune to have found him..'

In his role of secretary he collated some of Guru Dev's lectures which were published by the ashram

- Guru Dev -
Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

- Guru Dev, Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati -
at Bandha, near Bheraghat, Jabalpur M.P. India , Guru Purnima day, July 3rd 1947
[from far left of photo - Shri Kirti Bhanu Rai,  unknown guard,  Pandit Shri Ishwar Dutt Shukla ji, unknown,
Guru Dev (seated) then, Swami Karpatri, Pandit Shri Dwarika Prasad Shastri ji, unknown guard,  Shri Jugal Kishor Shrivastava on far right
sitting to left front of photo is 
Shri Krishnanand Saraswati Ji, sitting to right, unknown]
Photograph courtesy of Shri Umesh Shrivastava

Guru Dev - Swami Brahmanananda Saraswati
- Guru Dev, Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati -

Guru Dev's teaching was firmly based on traditional wisdom, shined and polished by his own experience. We see example of this in his reference to the central yoga doctrine contained in Patanjali's Yoga sutras - 'yogash-chitta-vritti-nirodhah' - 'yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of consciousness' (YogaDarshanam 1:2).

Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati states:-

'We are told the"yoga" of stopping the fluctuations of consciousness
The ultimate aim is this,
that by the practice of having stopped the fluctuations of the inner self,
to experience the Supreme form of the Self.
Calm without a wave in any part of the pool of water,
that manner a person can see his own face.
That really is the method,
stopping  the fluctuatations of the consciousness is really giving a clear reflection of the imperishable Self in the instrument of inner vision.
This indeed is "darshan"
(sight) of "atma" (self or soul).'
- from page 86 of 'Shri Shankaracharya Vaaksudhaa'  (published 1947)


- Guru Dev -
Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati
[to right of photo, standing, is Brahmachari Mahesh, later known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi]

A small book of quotations from Guru Dev was produced, entitled 'Amrita Kana' ('Ambrosia Droplets'), compiled by Brahmachari Shri Mahesh ji, to which he contributed a very lengthy introduction in praise of the guru

cover of Amrit Kana of Guru Dev
अमृत कण - 'Amrita Kana'

The book of quotations was first published in the Vikram year 2009 (a year of the Indian calendar which spanned across 1952-1953). It is now translated into English and available alongwith the original text, supplementary material and photographs, as Guru Dev: As Presented by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Guru Dev

Shortly after the introduction of the book of quotations had been completed, a visit was arranged to Delhi. On Wednesday 15th October 1952 (several weeks before the guru's arrival there) the brahmachari convened a press conference:-

The Great Saint of the Himalayas is Coming
to Shower His Blessings on the Metropolis.

The Statement issued by: BAL BRAHMACHARI SHRI MAHESH JI.

Press conference convened by Shri Shankaracharya Reception Committee, Delhi on the 15th Oct., 1952 at 5 p.m. in the Young Man's Tennis Club Queen's Gardens, in connection with the visit of HIS HOLINESS SHRI JAGATGURU SHANKARACHARYA MAHARAJ OF JYOTIRMATH.


My own self in different forms.

It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you all and have your company here this afternoon. It gives me enough encouragement and support to acquaint you with the details of the mission for whose fulfilment His Holiness Shri Jagatguru Shankaracharya Swami BRAHMANAND SARASWATI MAHARAJ will be visiting your city about the 12th of November 1952 and stay here for about a month for Dharmopdesh.

Swami Brahmand Saraswati Maharaj, the present Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath Badarikashram (in the Himalayas) is a magnetic personality with a sweet amalgam of High Wisdom and Love of humanity. He combines in himself the Knowledge of the self with the mysterious powers -- the siddhis arising out of yogic perfection and hard penances, which he has undergone throughout his life. He is a great living yogi and scholar and is revered by millions of Hindus as their Supreme Religious head.

This great Saint of the modern age was born in U.P. in a well to do and renowned Brahman family in 1871 and was enthroned to the seat of His Holiness Jagatguru Shankaracharya in 1941 at Benares, during the ninth session of the All India Sanatan Dharma Maha Sammelan convened by the Bharat Dharma Mahamandal in conjunction with a countrywide support of almost all the ruling princes and different socio-religious institutions all over the country. It may be recalled that it was a long persuasion of about twenty years which could convince Param Virakt Swami Brahmanand Saraswati to accept the great responsibility of the Shankaracharya at the age of seventy.

From the tender age of nine when he came out of his home in Search of God, till this time, his life was mostly spent in the lonely hidden regions of the Himalayas, Vindya Giris and the Amarkantakas which are rarely frequented by men and are chiefly inhabited by wild animals. For years together he has lived in hidden caves and thick forests where even the midday sun frets and fumes in vain to dispel the darkness that may be said to have made a permanent abode there in those solitary and distant regions.

But today he is easily accessible as he is now the presiding head of Shri Jyotirmath which is the greatest religious institution of the Hindus of Northern India, covering all different creeds and sampradayas and branches lying under the fold of Hindu Religions.

One unique principle of the great Sage that distinguishes him completely from other living saints of today is that he does not accept money as gift from his visitors or disciples.

This brief description attempts to mirror a few hurried and short glimpses of the life journey of this great living sage who has actually transformed into a living fact the inner latent potentiality of the soul. He has known the great universal Truth, whose realisation is the aim of the entire scheme of life. For him the mists of ignorance have completely disappeared and having known the Divine Reality he has verily become an embodiment of the great Divinity.

His aim of life, if the life of a realised soul can be said to possess any such aim, is to broadcast the message of the Great Divine light that he has himself realised, the Light that is the Soul of all human beings. Having himself attained the pinnacle of Self development, he aims at transforming the worldly minded people into the Godly minded, and through his inner Divine touch to change the materialistic hearts of iron into spiritual hearts of gold.

His entire personality emanates the sweet perfume of spirituality. His face radiates that rare light which comprises love, authority, serenity and self assuredness that comes only by righteous living and Divine Realisation -- one feels as if some ancient Maharishi mentioned in the pages of the Upanishads has assumed human form and feels that it is worth while leading a pious life and to strive for the realisation of the Divine.

His Spiritual teachings are simple and clear and go straight home to heart. He strictly adheres to the course of inner development laid down by the Systems of Indian Philosophy and ethics and he raises his voice never in opposition but always in firm support of the Truths and principles contained in the Hindu Scriptures.

According to the tradition from the worldly point of view, the dignity of the Shankaracharyas throne has got to be maintained by the rich paraphernalia around his Holiness, but those who have come in his contact know the fact that the private life of the Sage is quite simple and renunciation.

I believe that he is a living embodiment of titanic spiritual force. If I were asked on the basis of my personal experience, about the living saints of today, as to who is the greatest amongst them, I would unhesitatingly name Shri Jagatguru Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati Maharaj of Jyotirmath the Beacon Light of the holy sanctuaries of the Himalayas.

Shri Shankaracharya Maharaj has clear insight into the mind and the thoughts of the modern age. His teaching and commandments are based on sound reasonings which are quite agreeable to any reasonable thinker. He is a great critic of prejudices and narrowmindedness arising out of irrational love of caste, creed, nationality or any "ism". His life is a living proof of the Truth of the Vedas and Shastras. He has opened a new era of renaissance of True Religion. He extends his recognition to anything that is good in any religion. He is accessible to all. Everyone can enjoy and derive benefit from his holy Darshan and elevating discourses.

He is coming shortly to shower his blessings on the busy and restless souls of the metropolis. I beseech you, my friends, to extend your hearty co-operation for the great cause in the interest of each individual of our society, in the interest of our nation and in the interest of the world at large. The great Saint of the Himalayas is coming in your midst and in the fitness of the great occasion, I appeal to your good sense to extend your valuable support so that his elevating discourses may reach the masses in every nook and corner of our country and abroad.

Thanking you for giving me a pertinent hearing, I would like to say something, in short, about the shrine of Jyotirmath, the prime spiritual centre of Northern India and the headquarter of Shri Shankaracharya Maharaj. Jyotirmath is one of four seats established by Adi Shankaracharya in this continent -- two thousand and five hundred years ago. It is situated in the heart of the Himalayas 173 miles up from Hardwar and only 18 miles south of Shri Badrinath and may be said to be the queen of the Himalayas for natural beauty and spiritual values. Jyotirmath it was that the first Shankaracharya selected for his stay in Himalayas where he taught the highest philosophy of existence -- the Vedanta - to his disciples, wrote his immortal commentaries on the eleven principle Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras and established a seat of Spiritual light to function as sansorium (sic), a supreme centre of the Eternal Religion of India to keep the Light of Pure civilisation and culture burning for all the millennium to come. It is an ancient culture centre of yoga, the Light House which has preserved and disseminated the Light of the Sanatan Dharma all the way down the ages.

'Dr Rajendra Prasad, the President of India,
enjoying the Divine Effulgence of the BEACON LIGHT of the HIMALAYAS'

Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati
President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad, Delhi, 4th December 1952
(Illustration from 'Beacon Light of the Himalayas')

Amongst those seeking audience with the guru was the President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad. When the president came to Guru Dev for darshan it seems the guru explained many things to him, placing great emphasis on how important it is for a ruler to consult with maharishis and yogis in order to be able to make balanced decisions. He told him very clearly:-

जब से महार्षियों का सम्पर्क राजाओं ने छोड़ा तभी से रसातल को चले गये।
' jaba se mahaarshhiyoM kaa samparka raajaaoM ne chho.Daa tabhii se rasaatala ko chale gaye .'
('[Things] have gone to hell since raajas neglected to keep the company of maharishis.')

Maharishi & President of India
President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad on a visit to Guru Dev in Delhi, on 4th December 1952 attended by Brahmachari Mahesh (later known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)

The guru was by now in his eighties and because of concerns about his health he returned to his ashram in Varanasi and stopped touring. However, after some months a decision was made to travel to Calcutta for a speaking engagement. Whilst staying in Calcutta it was necessary for doctors to attend the guru and apparently he breathed his last on Wednesday 20th May 1953 (vaisakh shukla saptami 2009), barely a fortnight after his arrival in the city. It is said that the cause of death was jalodara (dropsy or oedema).

The guru's body sitting upright and cross-legged was then transported back by train from Calcutta to Varanasi for the funeral rites of jal samadhi (immersion in water). The lifeless body was taken to Brahmanivas Ashram in Varanasi from where it was then taken by boat to Kedar Ghat and then to Kedareshwar Mahadeva Mandir, from where the seated corpse, sealed in a stone casket alongwith some personal effects, was ceremoniously lowered into the River Ganga.


Jay Guru Dev
- Guru Dev -
Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

It is told that when Guru Dev had initially been offered the post of Shankaracharya he was very reluctant to accept the honour and capitulated only after considerable persuasion. It is said that Swami Karpatri (1905-1980), his long-time disciple since 1927, managed to persuade him and that Guru Dev then declared:-

'You want to put a lion to chains who moves about in the jungle freely. But if you so like, I honour your words and am ready to shoulder the responsibilities of the piiTh (monastery) management. By shouldering this responsibility, I would be serving the cause for which Adi Shankaracharya stood. I fully dedicate myself for the mission.'
(ref: 'Sadhus of India: The Sociological View' - B.D. Tripathi, Pilgrims Publishing, 2004, p221)

He went on to give more than thirteen years of conscientious service but at no time did he name a successor, so, when some weeks after his death a shortlist of disciples who might succeed him was produced, questions were naturally raised about its provenance. On the basis of the document purported to be the will of Guru Dev a disciple named Swami Shantanand Saraswati was promptly enthroned as Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, on 12th June 1953.

Swami Shantanand Saraswati
Swami Shantanand Saraswati

Amongst Guru Dev's senior students, the one known as Karpatri (more properly addressed as Swami Hariharananda Saraswati), who originally nominated Guru Dev for the office of Shankaracharya, had refused the post himself.

Swami Karpatri
Swami Karpatri

According to Diana L. Eck ('Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India', Chambersburg: Anima, 1981. pp4-5.) "In addition to the darsan of temple images and sacred places, Hindus also value the darsan of holy persons, such as sants ('saints'), sadhus ('holy men'), and sannyasins ('renouncers'). When Mahatma Gandhi traveled through India, tens of thousands of people would gather wherever he stopped in order to 'take his darsan.' Even if he did not stop, they would throng the train stations for a passing glimpse of the Mahatma in his compartment. Similarly, when Swami Karpatri, a well-known sannyasin who is also a writer and political leader, would come to Varanasi to spend the rainy season 'retreat' period, people would flock to his daily lectures not only to hear him, but to see him."

Because of doubts over the legitimacy of the guru's will and concerns about the credentials of Swami Shantanand Saraswati, Karpatri now proposed that another candidate be considered and on 25th June 1953 Swami Krishna Bodhashram was installed as Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math (he laid a condition that he would not involve himself in any legal disputes, and this condition was accepted).

Swami Krishna Bodhashram
Swami Krishna Bodhashram

According to Shankara tradition only a brahmana (brahmin) can become a sannyasi (swami), and only a sannyasi can be a guru and take disciples. In a scarce Hindi book of quotations of Guru Dev entitled 'Shri Shankaracharya UpadeshAmrita', Guru Dev is quoted upholding this view:-

परन्तु गुरु सब नहीं बन सकते। गुरुत्व केवल ब्राह्मण ही को है।
" , parantu guru saba nahiiM bana sakate . gurutva kevala braahmaNa hii ko hai ."
'.. But not everyone can be a guru. Actually, only brahmanas are in the position to be a guru.'

On account of his Kayastha varna (caste), Brahmachari Mahesh could never have hoped to succeed his master nor could he ever become a guru himself.

In fact, having participated in the installation of his gurubhaiee (brother disciple) Swami Shantanand, he withdrew from ashram life to spend time alone at a remote location in north India. Later, when asked about the conditions there, about whether there were any wild animals in the caves, he replied:-

'Some wandering monks and sannyasi sit in caves like that, but where I stay in a small Ashram in Uttar Kashi, the cave is like a small basement under a room. The entrance is through an opening only big enough for one person to enter. Down there is quiet. No sound. Cool in summer. Warm in winter.'

'Food is not always needed, but when I am eating, a man comes from the village and cooks vegetables. I do not break silence by seeing or talking to anyone.'6

Apparently he sometimes met with an elderly sannyasi to whom he confided his desire to visit the city of Rameshwaram in southern India. He recalls that at first the old man (identified by Swami Srikanta Bharathi, as Tat Wale Baba) discouraged him from going there, but after six months or more, when the brahmachari still talked about the idea, the sannyasi suggested that it might be better for him to go, just to get rid of the desire. 

Meanwhile, back at Guru Dev's ashram, things were not going well for Mahesh's gurubhaiee as rivalry over the title of Shankaracharya was now turning into a legal battle. In January 1954 those who supported Swami Krishnabodhashram's claim to the title filed a suit in the Munsif Court at Lucknow, while Swami Shantanand Saraswati applied for a certificate of succession.

Some believe that Brahmachari Mahesh spent years in seclusion, but it is likely that he actually stayed in Uttarkashi for no more than a matter of months before leaving to accompany an ailing lady from Calcutta (an 'aunt' said to be a wealthy widow, of a family of 'zamindar' - 'landlords', - who called Mahesh 'beta' - 'son' and whom he called 'mataji' - 'mother') to a medical facility near Bangalore in southern India.

Swami Srikanta Bharathi of Sree Matha, Hariharapura, recalls:-

'One Krishna Iyer and his brother Narayana Iyer were running a small coffee hotel in Madanapalli Town. But there was no provision for travellers to stay overnight in that hotel. After having his meal in that hotel, Mahesh asked the Iyers for a place to stay. Since there was no provision for lodging, they suggested that he may sleep on the steps, in the nearby temple. In the rain and cold of that place it was not possible to stay outdoors. So the problem was serious. Mahesh saw a very small room next to the kitchen of the hotel and asked for permission to stay there. But it was stacked with firewood and was quite uninhabitable. Somehow Mahesh prevailed upon the owners, neatly stacked the fuel in one corner and made enough space to stretch himself. He was quite pleased with the arrangement, and the others sympathized with him too. During the day he would be spending time at the hospital to look after Mathaji and later, in the evening, he would come back to his corner at the Town Hotel.

'In Madanapalli, there is a branch of The State Bank Of Mysore, and one Mr. T. Rama Rao was its manager then. He was a well educated person with deep interest in philosophy and was living a virtuous life. It was his routine, at the end of the day's work in the Bank, to have coffee in the local hotel of Rama Iyer and spend the evening on the steps of the temple near by, with a few of his office colleagues , talking about various matters of general interest and also covering religious and philosophical topics. During that time, one evening, they saw Mahesh sitting all alone, with a gentle smile of deep contentment. His bright eyes, the charming smile on his lips and total composure attracted Rama Rao and his friends. They enquired about Mahesh's identity. They were most impressed by his smiling response, pleasing voice, gentle laughter as well as easy handling of subjects of religious and philosophical import. Clad in unstitched pure white silk, having long black curly hair and beard, innocent, ever twinkling eyes, soft but very clear voice, easy rendering of religious and philosophical subjects, at once impressed the group. Day after day, they engaged themselves in covering topics of righteous living based on religion and Indian philosophy. They were eagerly looking forward to the meeting every evening. The hotel owner brothers too joined the group. Finally they concluded that this person was a consummate Yogi. They began to address him as “Maharishi”. Thereafter this title became an integral part of his name, and he became “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi” for one and all. Later this title was tagged on to the several projects and institutions Mahesh floated in the coming days in India, US and Europe.

'Meanwhile, at the sanatorium, Mataji's health began to fail. In spite of the best treatment she received there, within a few days she breathed her last. Mahesh felt totally lost and bereaved as if he lost his own mother. He now felt like an orphan. After fulfilling necessary obligations to the Mother, Mahesh felt desolate not knowing where to go and what to do next. Suddenly the old message - “Go South” flashed across his mind. He enquired of Sri Rama Rao where and what was there in the “South” and how far. He learnt that 200-300 miles down south of India from Madanapalli on the east coast, there was the town by name Rameshwaram, where there was a very large and ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva established by Lord Sri Rama himself. It has become famous over these centuries. Mahesh was thrilled to hear this and remarked - “ Surely that is my destination. I must go there! I now see how and why I have been brought here by Mataji. Thank God.”

'Thereafter Sri Rama Rao made arrangements for Mahesh's travel to Rameshwaram.'   

It is recorded that during his sojourn in Madanapalle, sometime in June or July of 1954 he began teaching local people to meditate, furthermore, it has even been suggested that Mahesh drew attention to himself by putting up a sign saying 'WHO WANTS INSTANT ENLIGHTENMENT', allegedly conferred by a blow on the forehead! Several months later he travelled further south to Rameshwaram and to Kanyakumari.

'I went to Kanyakumari - I had a divine revelation. I left and went to Trivandrum, to the biggest temple. I was followed by a man and he asked me to speak about the Himalayas - he arranged a 7 day lecture program and he supplied the topics. In 6 months I was lecturing in Delhi. At this stage I had never initiated anyone. When I got to Hardwar the philosophy had become clear - to turn the mind inward was easy!' 7

Bal Brahmachari Mahesh
'Stick to my instructions and you will progress'
Bal Brahmachari Mahesh

During his time in the south, he spent several months in Kerala moving from town to town advocating a method of meditation. The technique he taught necessitated repetition of a mantra, a practice he claimed was easy and very effective at bestowing happiness. Responding to an advertisement in a local paper, Mrs Thankamma N Menon and her husband attended a three and a half-hour talk at Ernakulam and afterwards met with the speaker.

'Maharshi asked us about our Ishta-Devata and advised us to go to him the next morning for Pada Pooja of Guru Deva, Maha Yogi Raj Ananta Sri Vibhushith Sree Sankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswathi Maharaj of Jyothir Math who was going to be our Guru.' 8

Many others were interested in learning this easy method of meditation, amongst them Sri C R Vaidyanathan.

'Somebody said that Swamiji was giving initiations and if one followed his directions he would get Bliss quickly. I was really sceptic about this "Ananda" business.'

'I presented myself with the necessary puja materials on Thursday. Swamiji made me offer puja to Guru Deva and under closed doors gave me Mantra of the Ishta Devata I chose and asked me to repeat the same and also gave the necessary instructions in the new method for meditation.' 9

Professor P S Atchuthan Pillai observed:-

'His talk, behaviour and everything about him are as though he is in constant contact with his Gurudev. That is a feature which has surprised many of us closely moving with him. Maharshi Bala Brahmachari always acts as the messiah between his "Gurudev" and his own disciples. He modestly claims to be only the conduit pipe conveying the Gurudeva's blessing on to his devotees in Kerala, or to use his own expression, he is only the "bulb through which the spiritual electrical current from Gurudev shines in radiating light on all".' 10

Although teaching in the name of his guru, the brahmachari appears to have taken to promoting a novel philosophy of his own, offering assurance that the quest for spiritual fulfillment does not require one to forgo any material comforts (the theory being that only a sannyasi can benefit from abandoning desires whereas the householder only finds happiness in the fulfillment of desires). He explained:-

'Obviously enough there are two ways of life, the way of the Sanyasi and the way of life of a householder. One is quite opposed to the other. A Sanyasi renounces everything of the world, whereas a householder needs and accumulates everything.'

'The one realises, through renunciation and detachment, while the other goes through all attachments and accumulation of all that is needed for physical life. We have two different sets of Mantras to suit the two ways of life. Mantras for the Sanyasis have the effect of increasing the sense of detachment and renunciation and also have the power of destroying the objects of worldly affections, if there should survive any such objects for him. Quite contrary to this are the Mantras suitable for the householder which have the efficacy of harmonising and enriching the material aspect of life also.'11

Five or six months after the library talks in Trivandrum, a yajna religious ceremony was celebrated at Cochin, Kerala in late October 1955 during which the brahmachari made several speeches. The event was commemorated by the publication of a booklet entitled 'Beacon Light of the Himalayas' containing transcripts, photographs and a signed handwritten message which includes the following:-

'Come on, here is the call of peace and joy for you. Here is an invitation, a cordial invitation for you all to come and enjoy the Blissful Grace and All Powerful Blessings of my Lord the Great Swami Brahmanand Saraswati, the Great among the greats of the Himalayas. I have found a treasure in the Dust of His Lotus Feet and now I invite you to share it with me and make yourself happy.'

'Come on; I invite you to get into the Blissful Realm of His Universal Benevolence. See, the path is straight and entry is free. Come on with faith and you will find that the very cause of your peacelessness and misery will be eradicated and you will be adorned with lasting peace and real happiness in your day to day life.'

'The sun of Guru Deva's Blessings is now up on the horizon. Wake up from the deep slumber of apathy and agony and enjoy all glories of life material and divine.' 12

Bal Brahmachari Mahesh
'Bal Brhmachari Mahsh.'
later known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharshi Bala Brahmachari Mahesh Yogi

'His Holiness Maharshi Bala Brahmachari Mahesh Yogi Maharaj. Uttarkasi, Himalayas.'

Mahesh the former ashram secretary, who eulogised his master as maharishi (maha=great, rishi=sage) and perfect yogi, now made a name for himself as महर्षि महेश योगी 'Maharishi Mahesh Yogi', publicly extolling the benefits of mantra meditation and establishing a worldwide organisation to promote his own views.

passport of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Bal Brahmachari Mahesh Yogi
(universally known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)

In response to a question about the name 'Maharishi' he explained:-

    'In South India this word is more prevalent for good saints, and when I travelled South India the newspapers wrote, and then it came from one newspaper to the other, like that, just, a spontaneous thing, and this is not a title conferred as a degree in a college or somewhere. It's the, I think, just like a 'sage', or a 'seer', or a 'saint', they're not the degrees, it's the symptom of a man, a symptom, a feature, and then people start calling him, but there is no confirmation of the title or anything. That is it.'

'Rishi' and 'Maharishi' - 'rishi' is a Sanskrit word and that means 'the seer of the mantras', 'the seer of truth' - the mantras and are the Vedic hymns.'

'So "rishi" is equivalent to "a seer", a seer sees the truth, "maha rishi" means "great seer", "maha" is "great".'

'Generally, people don't remember the name. A North Indian name [viz. Brahmachari Mahesh] is not so easily remembered by the South Indians, like that, like that.'

'I didn't object to it. (audience laughter) Otherwise I have to explain why they should not call me "Maharishi", but just call me something else.'
- speaking at Poland Spring USA on12th July 1970

It appears that Guru Dev had not prepared this brahmachari for such a mission:-

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - 'Oh, he must have known. He never said to me, otherwise quite a long time would have been wasted in planning. He saved us that waste, waste of planning. It just blossomed and blossomed and blossomed and blossomed.' 13

'But the great impact of Guru Dev, in his lifetime, in bringing out so clearly and in such simple words this technique of TM. And his blessing for this movement, which came out much after he left his body, because there was no occasion during his lifetime for any of his intimate blessed disciples to go out of his presence and that's why this any such movement to bless the world couldn't have started during his time.' 14

'And he never, he, he never, trained me or anything, just it was living in the ashram.' 24


Millions have paid to be taught the simple practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM). TM has dual objectives in that one is instructed to repeat a mantra in order to bring about a pleasanter frame of mind, but also it is hoped that the mind will transcend thought altogether and bring about increased peace and serenity for the meditator, a state known as Pure Consciousness. Further, it is also taught that the repeated experience of the transcendental leads to a permanent state of higher awareness known as Cosmic Consciousness. Anyhow, all initiates are required to attend a short puja ceremony celebrated in front of a portrait of Guru Dev, so everyone is led to assume that the TM technique comes directly from the guru. However, meditators are told nothing about the actual teachings of Guru Dev.

Journalist Dinesh Khare recalls:-

'The initiation took place in front of a picture of Guru Dev and I was told that I should consider neither my initiator nor Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as my spiritual teacher but the Guru Dev himself. It was a thrilling experience and the very first day my turbulent mind experienced such a serene calm that when I got up after practising TM for the first time, I bowed my head to the lotus feet of Guru Dev and since that day have regarded him as my spiritual teacher and guide.' 15

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi before Guru Dev portrait
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
seated in front of a portrait of Guru Dev

Precise information about the mantras used in TM is difficult to obtain, as initiation is conducted on a one-to-one basis and specific details are not usually divulged. Back in 1959 Maharishi was asked to explain:-

Questioner - Maharishi, how may a person find, you know, which of the, of the, the five materials [elements?] are predominant in them?

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - They, they have their method of, uh, oh, from the tendencies they know, from the, from the cut of the face they know. From the tendency. From the tendency.

Q - Do you take that into consideration when you give the person a mantra?

M M Y - I don't go into all these vibrations, botherations. I ask him "Which god you like?" He says "Shiva" - Okay, Shiva! [Maharishi laughs, very loudly] Where is the time to go into complications and all that? Ask him "What he like?" and that is it. [more laughter] And somebody comes, "Oh my, I don't have any liking for anybody", then I trace behind, And then, "When you were young?" and "Which temple you were going more?" and "What your father was worshipping?" and then he comes round. [Maharishi resumes his laughter]

Q - How would you apply this to the westerners?

M M Y - Oh here we don't go into these minute details. [more laughter] We get the mantra direct and that does all good for him. [yet more laughter] In to.. not into so much details. (click to listen to audio file)

In 1967 broadcaster David Frost asked the Maharishi about the mantras used in TM:-

Frost - 'Is that the same sound that you give to each person?'

M M Y - 'No. Each person gets different, but we don't have as many sounds as we have men in the world, so they are grouped together.'

Frost - 'How many sounds are there?'

M M Y - 'Oh there are lots of sounds.'

Frost - 'I mean, hundreds, or thousands, or ...?'

M M Y - 'You could say thousands.' 16

Asked by one of his students if Transcendental Meditation is exactly the same meditation technique as that taught by Guru Dev, the Maharishi answered:-

M M Y - 'Must be using better techniques than I am using.'

Questioner - 'Was he still using the long mantras and all of that?'

M M Y - 'It's very difficult for me to find out what he was using, because initiation is all in private.....
And I was never interested who was given what mantra; I was interested in myself.....
Full of divine radiance. People don't have to do the mantra and meditation in his presence. Just, the transformation was in his air, so full of life.'

A glimpse of Guru Dev's teaching style is provided by another of his disciples, Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Dwarka:-

Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati
Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati

'Shankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswati Ji Maharaj strictly adhered to the varna (caste) and ashram (four stages of life) systems. He believed in one's varna by birth. Whosoever came to him to become a disciple, he used to ask him which form of God he was in love with. Whichever form the new disciple had an interest in, that form he would explain to the new disciple. [Guru Dev] used to explain, either you should depend on your own inclination or else, he, after understanding your previous life and which form of God you worshipped then, would instruct the initiate accordingly.

Without having an ishtadevata (a personal form of God), no one could have a mantra from him.' 19

Guru Dev instructed according to the 'Smarta' teachings of Adi Shankara which inform that the divine is both manifest and unmanifest, and that both the form and the formless can be accessed by the aspirant. From this viewpoint all manifestations of the divine are treated with equal respect and devotion, each as part of the whole divine entity. Guru Dev would ascertain the aspect of the divine most uppermost in the mind/heart of the initiate and then explain how to worship that aspect. Part of this worship involves focusing the mind on the image of that 'god', and in preparation for this contemplation the mantra associated with that god is evoked and repeated. The teaching is that the mantra is not just the sound associated with the deity, it is actually also the form of the deity. And the reason that all the deities are part of the same entity is because they are composed of the same formless unmanifest Being. If the aspirant is suitable, then the technique is given for directly attaining the unmanifest divinity - nirakar - without form.

Perhaps the quotations contained in 'Shri Shankaracharya Vaksudha' and 'Amrit Kana' could help us gain a fuller understanding? During the teacher training course that The Beatles attended in early 1968, the former publication was referred to, obliquely:-

M M Y - 'I have written long ago, maybe twenty or thirty years ago, I wrote a book, a small cover, about two hundred pages, and that was in Hindi, account of Guru Dev. But in that description, hear what I said! Not the instances were cited, but the inferences drawn from the instances. Not the instances make history!'

'Nothing pleases me more than speaking about him all the time.... A very great blessing to the world.' 20

He told journalist Lewis Lapham:-

M M Y - 'Mention my love for my master, I consider myself only the loudspeaker.'21

However, in practice the Maharishi seldom speaks about the guru, but students of TM still press for more information:-

M M Y - 'From the age of nine until the age of seventy-one, when he became Shankaracharya, life was mostly in deep silence, seclusion.
It's very, it's very interesting.
If I was not caught up in this whirlpool I would have been writing life account of Guru Dev and would have been exposing the whole wisdom of the Vedas in that one narration of his life.'

Questioner - '"What it was that Guru Dev did that makes him important as the source of the revival of this knowledge?"

M M Y - "In his ashram he manufactured me" 23

Message from Maharishi

' Meditate and Enjoy.
जय गुरुदेव
(Jaya Gurudeva) '
[Handwritten message from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi]


During his time as Shankaracharya, Guru Dev commanded enormous respect, enjoying the patronage of both the President and the vice-President of India (Dr Rajendra Prasad and Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan). In a speech addressed to a gathering of eminent philosophers in 1950, Dr Radhakrishnan's associate, Professor Paul Schilpp, stressed the importance of Guru Dev's guidance:-

'To-day we are here to do homage to his Holiness, Shri Jagatguru Shankaracharya Ananta Sri Vibhusita Swami Brahmananda Saraswati of Jyotirmath, Badarikasram - the Superman, the seer, the sage, who is one of the few rare individuals amongst the billions of the citizens of the world, whom we would unhesitatingly choose if and when we would be called upon to describe the spiritual and cultural capital of our nation, if and when the world would feel the need of evoking the part our nation can play in it, who is beyond any controversy, one of the rare few who have contributed and can still contribute something to universal peaceful progress, who have risen by their talent and genius above their fellow countrymen, above their fellowmen of the world and have thus gained a place for themselves at the head of humanity, at the extreme spearhead of civilization.

Standing here at a time when everywhere in the world everybody feels not a little bewildered at an immense increase in the sense of human power, we can hardly exaggerate the necessity of teachers like his Holiness the Jagatguru.

You will pardon me if I venture; at this assemblage of eminent philosophers, to refer to an aspect of our Hindu Philosophy which seems for the time being, to be too much belittled by the power-intoxicated world.

Our Vedic philosophers.... ....

The civilized world today is indeed in an age of spiritual chaos, intellectual doubt and political decadence. Civilized man today no doubt has acquired immense scientific and mechanical resources, but seems hopelessly to lack the wisdom to apply them to the best advantage. This is why we witness a growing sense of frustration seizing every mind almost everywhere. The whole world seems to be suffering from an epidemic of hysteria.................

We do not know which way the truth lies. Perhaps even here it will be true to say that every truth, however true in itself, yet taken apart from others, becomes only a snare. In reality, perhaps, each is one thread of a complex weft, and no thread can be taken apart from the weft. But this much seems to be certain that there is this paralysing fear and alarm almost everywhere in the world-everywhere even the most powerful minds have not succeeded in escaping it altogether. Everywhere humanity is beginning to feel that we are being betrayed by what is false within, - we are almost giving way to find ourselves spiritually paralysed.

This indeed is a deadly malady. The patient here must first of all be brought to see that he is sick and to want to get well and to do of himself what is needed to get well. Perhaps something is away both with the heart and the brain.

The world needs philosopher-teachers like His Holiness Shri Jagatguru Shankaracharya who can reveal the world of values and can make us realize that, that is the real world. The world badly needs guidance to a creed of values and ideals. The world needs a teacher who can dispel our fears and can remove all sense of frustration or least in so far as it is only an internal malady.

We need a teacher who has succeeded in gaining for himself freedom to be alone, who does not require any power, who can cure both heart and Brain. We are in an age in which the meeting of the traditionally alien cultures of the Orient and the Occident has become inevitable. We need a teacher with sufficient gift of intellectual imagination and divine inspiration who can help the smooth working of this meeting, the working out of this meeting in such a way that the values of each civilization complement and re-inforce rather than combat and destroy those of the other. We cannot avoid the sight of conflicting economic, political, religious, artistic and other ideological doctrines and the consequent fear and feeling of helplessness, We need a teacher who can teach us how to get out of the crisis in valuation in this realm of conflict, who can teach us how to avert the danger of spiritual paralysis facing us.

His Holiness Sri Jagatguru Shankaracharya, having gained the freedom to be alone, did also fully realize the means of escaping from loneliness. In these days of doubts and difficulties if we can at all safely turn our eyes for guidance to any one it should be to this superman the overpowering influence of whose genius appears indeed in the light of divine inspiration, the superman who has succeeded in ridding himself of any ambition for power.

Saintly guidance from a seer like Sri Jagatguru alone can ensure an abiding peace.'

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described what it was like to be in Guru Dev's prescence:-

'When His words thrilled the air with joy, the whole atmosphere was surcharged with delight as if waves were set up in the silent ocean of Omnipresent Anandam - The Immoveable was moved by "the Expression of the Inexpressible".' 25

Many of Guru Dev's discourses were transcribed, with some appearing in issues of the ashram newsletter, 'Shri Shankaracharya Upadesha'

Some lectures of Guru Dev were selected to form a collection later published in their original form, in Hindi and Sanskrit, as 'Shri Shankaracharya Upadeshamrit.' These discourses have now been translated into English, and together with the original text, have been published in an illustrated volume entitled '108 Discourses of Guru Dev'.

108 Discourses of Guru Dev

Fortunately, some audio recordings of Guru Dev speaking and singing, and a couple of spools of 16mm film footage of Guru Dev at a personal appearance, also survived his passing and these have now compiled into an audiovisual package, with transcript and translation, and been placed on YouTube. Just search for 'Guru Dev' or look for PremanandPaul's videos.


After Guru Dev's death Maharishi Mahesh Yogi went on to spread the teaching of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and train many teachers to continue this work. He also established various organisations over the years with the intention of bringing about a society with higher consciousnesss. His story is a fascinating one, an unknown monk wandering about India who embarked on an overseas campaign to spread the practice of meditation, becoming a household name around the world - a charismatic personality, known for his association with celebrities such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and respected for stimulating scientific study into the effects of meditation.

Rolling Stones Mick Jagger & Brian Jones with Maharishi
Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, Brian Jones & Friends,
with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with the Beach Boys
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with the Beach Boys

More information related to
Swami Brahmananda Saraswati: Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (1941-1953)
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Teacher of Meditation (1955-2008)

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