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Akhandananda Saraswati (called "Maharajshri" by his followers) (1911–1987) was an exponent of Bhagavata Purana and a scholar of diverse spiritual traditions including Vedanta, Bhakti, and associated Shastras(scriptures).

Early days[edit]

He was born on Friday, July 25, 1911 in Pushya Nakshatra (Shravana Amavasya v.s. 1968 per Vikram Calendar) in the village of Maharai in the district of Varanasi. According to the lunar calendar, it was the Amawasya of the month of Shravan, in the Samvat 1968.[1] Exactly after nine months of prayers by his grandfather, Maharajshri was born by the grace of Lord Shri Shantanuvihariji.His Saryupaarine Brahmin family named him "Shantanu Behari", after the god of the same name[2][citation needed]

He was ten years old when his grandfather made him read the original Bhagwat in Sanskrit.[3]The greatest astrologers of the time said that the child would die at the age of 19. The fear of death led Maharajshri to the path of spirituality. All the great saints of the time clearly averred that we cannot avoid the death destined by faith, but we can impart the knowledge which can destroy the fear of death forever and this really happened. The immortal Brahman appeared in the heart of Maharajshri and the black shadow of death fled.

Prior to his Sanyas, from 1934 to 1942, He was a member of the editorial board of "Kalyan" at the Gita Press and published a number of books and articles. He translated Bhagavata Purana in Hindi for the Gita Press.[citation needed]

Ascetic life[edit]

In his youth, he went to Jhusi, to meet Brahmachari Prabhudatta, a saint. There, he met Udiyababa, and had discussed Vedanta. He was captivated by Udiyababa's conviction in the principle of non-dual reality. He received initiation for Sanyas (monkhood) from the Shankaracharya of Jyotishpeethadhishver, Brahmanand Saraswati in February 1942, following which his name was changed from Shantanu-vihari Dwivedi to Akhandananda Saraswati.[4]

During the 1960s, he was elected President of the Bharat Sadhu Samaj, an Indian organization of monks. He mentored many monks including past and present Shankaracharyas.

He was an honorary board member of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, a global organization founded in 1938 to preserve and promote Indian culture.[5] He was regularly invited for delivering lectures at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan's Headquarters in Mumbai, as well as by other organizations around the country, including Prem Puri Adhyatma Bhavan (Mumbai), Birla House (Kolkata), Birla Temples (Delhi and other cities) and J.K. Temple (Kanpur).

He authored over 200 books which covered topics including Bhagavata Purana, Bhagavat Geeta, Ram Charitra Manas, and Upnishads of the Vedanta.

He established Anand Vrindavan Ashram near Moti Jheel in Vrindavan, a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India. His disciple Omkaranand Saraswati guided Anand Vrindavan Ashram and associated charitable trusts, from 1987 to 2008. Today, Sachchidananda heads Anand Vrindavan ashram.[6]


He died on November 19, 1987 (the Margasheersha Krishna Trayodashi of the lunar calendar). The AnandVrindavan Ashram established by Maharajashri at Shri Vrindavan Dham is like Prayaga, the king of Tirthas, where one finds the confluence of the work (Karma), devotion (Bhakti) and knowledge (Gyan). The Satsang, the worship of the Lord, the cow service, the saint service, the study of scriptures in a school for the Vedas, the Akhandananda Library, the free dispensary, and the different activities of the Ashram including the practice of celebrating the birth anniversaries of all the Acharyas- which were started by Maharajashri - will remain unforgettable from the point of view of cultural harmony. This exemplifies the liberal attitude of Maharajshri that is prevalent in the AnandVrindavan Ashram today.


  1. ^ Shri Gita Rasa Ratnakar published by Swami Prabuddhanand Saraswati
  2. ^ Justice Bipin Chandra Mishra, Glimpses of Life Divine, Page 8, Sat Sahitya Prakashan Trust, 1968.
  3. ^ Shri Gita Rasa Ratnakar published by Swami Prabuddhanand Saraswati
  4. ^ Shri Gita Rasa Ratnakar published by Swami Prabuddhanand Saraswati
  5. ^ Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Honorary Board Members List on the Bhavan's website, Office Bearers Page.
  6. ^ http://anandvrindavan.org/

External links[edit]