27 September 1826
Akkikkavu, Thrissur District, Kerala, India
|Died||30 January 1963
|Guru||Oruvannoor Pazhoor Achyuthan|
Govindananda Bharati also known as Shivapuri Baba is a Hindu saint and a traveller hermit who taught the world swadharma, the ancient system of living. He is the first Keralite to encircle the world (almost entirely on foot) and earned the name Malayali Magellan.
Born as Jayanthan Nambudiripad in Akkikkavu of Thrissur District in 1826, he lost his family at the age of 9. He was born along with his twin sister. His grandfather Achyutam, who was a well known astrologer in the court of Tipu Sultan, looked after him. By the age of sixteen he had completed his education of four Vedas, Ayurveda, and Dhanurveda. He left his home when he was 24 with his grandfather. He served his grandfather and attained Iswarasakshatkaram in Amarantaka forest of Madhya Pradesh. After getting enlightenment, he became sanyasi in Sringeri Math and changed his name to Govindananda Bharathi.
Only after living in the Shivapuri peak of Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park for more than 25 years, he came to be known by the name of Shivapuri Baba, as locals called him. John G. Bennett had made contact with the Shivapuri Baba, a Hindu sage living in Nepal. He had first heard of the Shivapuri Baba in the early 1940s, and now learned from Hugh Ripman (a fellow student of Ouspensky) that the yogi was still alive. Bennett visited the Shivapuri Baba twice between 1961 and 1963, by which time the Shivapuri Baba was reportedly 136 years old. Bennett was impressed with the vitality and simplicity of the Shivapuri Baba's teaching, and later referred to him as his teacher. Bennett undertook to propagate the Shivapuri Baba's teaching and made various attempts to incorporate it into his own work.
Shivapuri Baba died in 1963, shortly after he had approved the draft for his biography, Bennett's Long Pilgrimage - The Life and Teaching of the Shivapuri Baba.
The year of birth of Govindananda Bharati is highly controversial. There is no evidence for the claim that he lived up to an age of 136 years. The claim that his place of birth was in Akkikkavu, Thrissur District, Kerala, is also purely based on speculation, and lacks any kind of historical evidence. It is also highly improbable that Govindananda achieved enlightenment; much of his reputation seem to be Brahmin fabrication.
- "Govindananda Bharati memorial comes up in Thrissur". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
- "The legend of Shivpuri Baba". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
- Timilsina, Bishnu Prasad. Swadharma. p. 1.
- HISTORY OF THE INSTITUTE FOR THE COMPARATIVE STUDY OF HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY AND THE SCIENCES, LTD. - Shivapuri Baba