Swami Prakashanand Saraswati or Swamiji (Hindi: स्वामी प्रकाशानंद सरस्वती) (born 1929) is a convicted felon and child molester, spiritual leader, social reformer and award-winning author from Ayodhya, India who founded Radha Madhav Dham in the United States. He is a Rasik Saint in the tradition of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In 2011, a jury found Swami Prakashanand Saraswati guilty on 20 counts of indecency with a child. He is still a fugitive and appeared on the Fox TV show America's Most Wanted.
Swami Prakashanand Saraswati was of the lineage of the great Vashnavite sage of West Bengal Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534). Followers of Vaishnavism, as well as other schools of Hinduism, believe that a great Guru can teach disciples even after the guru is no longer in a physical body. Communication between the visible and invisible is taken for granted and is an essential factor in many types of Hinduism. Chaitanya is assumed to be in charge of his lineage even today. Swami Prakashanand Saraswati described:
"Our tradition of raganuga bhakti is eternal. It comes from the Vedas. Around 3,102 BC Krishna Himself descended on the earth planet in His Divine form and Ved Vyas re-established the same knowledge through the Bhagwatam which continues until today. Five hundred years ago, the descension of Radha in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu further revealed, rejuvenated and established this form of devotion which became the guideline for the devotees of today. This tradition is called achintya bhedabhed vad."
Apart from a life oriented on either sense gratification or the practice of yogic and psychic disciplines (considered to be merely the exploration of the inner world of maya), Swami Prakashanand Saraswati taught the path of God's love and the development of an affinity toward, and personal feeling of love for Godhead Personality. This devotional approach is explained in the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and the Bhagavata Purana. It is centred upon the remembrance of Krishna and chanting his name while devotionally offering one's emotional feeling to Him.
Swami Prakashanand Saraswati was born in a respectable brahmin family in 1929 in Ayodhya, India. His early life was fraught with intense religious feelings, and as a youth he became a reclusive mystic so that he might find God. He completed his studies and at age of 21, renounced the world and took the order of sanyas. In 1952, he was offered to become the Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath but he declined, because, according to Swami Prakshanand Saraswati, he "was drawn towards the love of Radha Krishna".
He spent the next 20 years as a wandering ascetic in the Himalayas and in the forests of central India, ending in Braj. Following the strict discipline of sannyas, he first lived in the Himalayas (Joshimath, Badrinath, Rishikesh, Haridwar, etc.), forests of Amarkantak, near the Narbada River, Allahabad and Kashi for about four years. Later, he went to Vrindaban and then to Barsana where he spent over 18 years in the deep woodlands of Braj. In 1975, he emerged from his solitary life he began his mission of teaching the path of raganuga bhakti. He founded the International Society of Divine Love in India in 1975. The society was established in New Zealand in 1978. Later on he travelled to America and founded an ashram for his devotees and disciples. By 1981 Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, who had begun to be thought of as a distinguished sage and a saint, conceived of creating a global mission, establishing religious centres in India, England, Ireland, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia.
Writings and awards
Swami Prakashanand Saraswati has written over nine books on various aspects of Hindu ethics, scriptures and practices. He has represented the Hindu religion at the Millennium World Peace Summit.
In 1999 he wrote a "monumental dissertation" on the history of Indian civilization and religion. The eight-hundred-page tome is entitled The True History and the Religion of India. It is a comprehensive history of religion in Indian culture. The book has received laudatory comments from prominent Hindu academics and leaders in the United States and India. It was released by The Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Shri Ramesh Bais. The encyclopaedia won an award at the World Religious Parliament in New Delhi in 1999. In 2001, the book was published by Motilal Banarsidass. It has subsequently been published by Macmillan Publishers.
A simplified and abridged version of the book for college students, entitled Amazing Facts about Hinduism, was released at the Global Dharma Conference in 2003. He was awarded the title of "Dharm Chakravarti" in India for his efforts in "reestablishing authentic Hinduism".
His writings in the scientific and spiritual fields have been acclaimed by well known scientists, social and religious leaders including P. S. Veeraraghavan, Tarun Vijay, Om Prakash Pande, E. C. George Sudarshan, Jayendra Saraswathi and Swaroopanand Saraswati.
Research with Maxwell Cade
Dr. Maxwell Cade, a leading physicist of London, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, had been doing psycho-biological research during the 1970s on meditation and the altered states of the consciousness of the mind.
Maxwell Cade co-developed the "Mind Mirror", a portable EEG machine that could monitor the alpha, beta, delta and theta rhythms from each brain hemisphere simultaneously. In the 1970s, a number of eastern religious teachers expressed an interest in participating in Maxwell Cade's research, and agreed to have their brain rhythms measured. In 1976 when he was touring England, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati requested to participate in Dr. Maxwell Cade's research. Dr. Maxwell Cade and his team found patterns they had not seen before. Maxwell Cade concluded that the Swamis' spiritual training conferred unusual powers of healing and perception.
Dr. Cade spent two weeks with Prakashanand Saraswati to measure his brainwaves, and he always seemed to be in this "Awakened Mind" pattern. Furthermore, he measured brainwave patterns, only previously measured in a few rare individuals, that Maxwell Cade characterizes as the "State beyond the Awakened Mind". Cade commented: ". . . he has attained to that level of consciousness at which he is in the higher reaches of meditation and in everyday waking consciousness at the same time". On one occasion, Maxwell Cade says that Saraswati "produced the most beautiful fifth-state pattern on the Mind Mirror for more than an hour while engaging in an intense debate with Professor John Hasted, a noted physicist". Saraswati wanted to test out the effects of his new form of meditation called the "Divine Love Meditation." He had Maxwell Cade test subjects while listening to a tape consisting of chanting and they measured the effects. According to Cade, both experienced and non-meditators were able to produce a form of "Awakened Mind" pattern while listening to these tapes.
He writes, "Those who have close contact with His Divinity know that he remains continually in his Divine-Love transcendence. This corresponds to what Carl Jung termed 'the Transcendent Function.'" Further, Cade writes that he "had not seen anyone who could equal Swamiji's feat of touching a number of subjects on the head and immediately raising their pattern of consciousness by two levels, from the ordinary waking state into the advanced fifth state. In at least one of these subjects, the higher state persisted for three days and was an unforgettable experience." Cade's wife reportedly had an "unforgettable experience" from meeting Swami Prakashanand Saraswati and participating in the study. Maxwell Cade characterised it as "an experience of great impact". It was, he wrote later: ". . . a perfect opportunity to study his remarkable EEG patterns under varying circumstances, to discuss the application of scientific methods to the study of meditation, and to learn about Divine Love Meditation at the feet of this great Master".
Cade published his research in his "landmark book", The Awakened Mind. Cade's research with Swami Prakashanand Saraswati has also been discussed in several other publications including by Hill (1979), Inglis & West (1983), Treece (1989) and Peake (2013).
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