Dhirendra Brahmachari

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John Hills discusses the World Conference on Scientific Yoga Conference program schedule with Dhirendra Brahmachari and Amrit Desai

Dhirendra Brahmachariy (12 February 1924 – 9 June 1994), born Dhirendra Choudhary in village Basaith chanpura, Madhubani, Bihar, was the yoga mentor of Indira Gandhi - a former Prime Minister of India. He ran Ashrams in Delhi, Jammu, Katra and Mantalai (Jammu and Kashmir) and wrote books on Yoga.

Inspired by reading the Bhagavad Gita, he left home at the age of thirteen and went to Varanasi. His guru was Maharshi Kartikeya whose ashram was at Gopal-Khera, about twelve miles from Lucknow. Dhirendra Brahmachari studied yoga and associated subjects there.[1] In the 1960s he was invited to travel to the U.S.S.R. as a Hatha Yoga expert to train Soviet cosmonauts. Jawaharial Nehru later invited him to teach yoga to his daughter, Indira Gandhi, to improve her health.[2] He became influential politically in 1975-77 when Mrs Gandhi dissolved Parliament, declared a state of emergency and suspended civil liberties.[3] The nature of his relationship with Indira Gandhi was the subject of speculation and he was known in some circles as 'the Indian Rasputin'.[2][4] He was in those times a controversial figure because of his alleged sexual relationship with Indira Gandhi.[5]

In the late 1970s, Dhirendra Brahmachari promoted the benefits of yoga in a weekly broadcast on Doordarshan, the state-owned television network. He introduced yoga as a subject of study in Delhi administered schools, a considerable innovation. In 1981 he also introduced yoga in the Kendriya Vidyalayas, or central government schools under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

He was the owner of Vishwayatan Yogashram in the centre of Delhi, now known as the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga. He also owned campuses in Jammu, Katra and Mantalai. These were closed after his death and have not reopened.

He wrote books on yoga in Hindi and English including 'Yogic Sukshma Vyayama' and 'Yogasana Vijnana'. His ashram at Mantalai is spread over 1008 kanals of land with private airstrips, hangar, a zoo and a 7 storey building in gandhi nagar, Jammu. After his death these properties have been looted and lying in shambles.

He was part-owner of an arms manufacturing business (SHIVA GUN FACTORY) in Jammu and owner of a number of properties later deemed illegal. The ownership of these has passed to the Indian government.

He died on 9 June 1994 when his private plane crashed near Mantalai, Jammu. The circumstances of his death are not fully known.

Nowadays there are two known successors of Dhirendra Brahmachari yoga tradition: Bal Mukund Singh from India and Reinhard Gammenthaler from Switzerland.


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