Bharati Krishna Tirtha (also sometimes Bharati Krisna Tirtha) was the Sankaracharya (Pontiff) of the Govardhan Math, Puri, from 1925 to 1960 AD. He is most noted for, first, as being the inventor of and author of Vedic Mathematics, a highly controversial set of strategies for mental calculation and whose chief and current disciple up until his death was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of Transcendental Meditation fame as well as the Beatle's guru. Secondly, that he revealed the archives of the Puri Jagannath Temple contain within their ancient records a set of texts purporting Jesus of Nazareth visited India during his so-called "lost years of the Bible."
Born in March 1884, his parents named him as Venkatraman. During his school days Sri Venkatraman was extraordinarily bright young man, masterfully excelling over his peers in almost all academic areas. At the early age of fifteen he was awarded the title Saraswathi by Madras Sanskrit Association in 1899 because of his proficiency in Sanskrit. In 1902 he won the highest place in the graduation B.A. examination.
At the age of twenty Sri Venkatraman Saraswati passed the Masters Degree examination in six subjects: Sanskrit, English, History, Philosophy, Mathematics and Science from the Bombay Centre of the American College of Science, Rochester, New York --- simultaneously scoring the highest honors in all, and considered by most as an all-time world record at the time.
In 1908, mostly stemming from a deep inclination toward things spritual since childhood, he proceeded to Sringeri Math in Mysore to lay himself at the feet of the renowned late Jagadguru Shankaracharya Maharaj Shri Satchidananda Shivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati Swami. No sooner had Bharati Krisna Tirtha done so than he was offered the post of the first Principal of the newly started National College at Rajmahendri and, under a pressure from a number of nationalist leaders, began the post. However, after three years, in 1911, he went back to Shri Satchidananda Shivabhainava Nrisimha Bharati Swami at Sringeri.
Starting at age 27, for eight years, from the year 1911 through to 1919, as a pure ascetic, Bharati Krishna Tirtha studied advanced Vedanta philosophy and practice of the Brahma-sadhana at the feet of Shri Nrisimha Bharati Swami. During those years of study he would leave the Swami going into the nearby forests on long solo retreats leading a purely saintly life living on roots and fruits in continuous Sadhana, devoting himself to the study of Vedanta. One day in doing so he attained spiritual self-realization. In 1919 he was initiated into the holy order of Sannyasa at Varanasi by H. H. Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shri Trivikrama Tirthaji Maharaja of Sharadapeetha and was given the new name, Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha. Three years later, in 1921, he was installed on the pontifical throne of Sharda Peetha Shankaracharya, and in 1925 he shifted to Puri when he was installed as Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the Govardhan Math, while Shri Swarupanandaji was installed on the Shardapeetha Gadi. In 1953, he founded an institution named Shri Vishwa Punarnirmana Sangha (World Reconstruction Association) in Nagpur, with Shri Chimanlal Trivedi as the General Secretary and the Administrative Board consisted of his disciples, devotees and admirers.
It was during his deep meditation retreats between the years 1911 and 1919 in the Shringeri forests that the super-normal perceptual state of Siddhis manifested and he became aware of the sutras he later associated with Vedic Mathematics. Apprently over that eight year period he worked on the sutras, writing all sixteen volumes by hand into school notebooks, treating each together as one independent volume.
Sometime during the period that he reached age 50 or so, for undisclosed reasons, Bharati Krisna Tirtha borrowed a rather large sum of money from Shri Manilal Desai, a money-lender of Dakor and devotee. As a security against the borrowed amount Bharati Krisna Tirtha pledged his manuscript notebooks which he packed away safely in a few tin trunk boxes and left in the care of Shri Manilal Desai. He was not able to repay the amount owed until 1955 or so. By then the boxes had fallen under the charge of Shri Manilal Desai's son Shri Laxminarayan. Once in his possession the son had them transported from Dakor to his residence at Asarva in Ahmedabad.
Vijaya M. Sane, said to be a professor with Kalabhavan Polytechnic in Vadodara, had a great interest in tracing down the location of the boxes containing the hand written manuscripts, using his contacts with higher-ups in the Gujarat Government and Gujarat Police Department, finally located the residence of Shri Laxminarayan in Ahmedabad and got the boxes confiscated and searched. The boxes were found to contain nothing but useless scraps, old shoes, and other trash. After that Professor Sane contacted Shri Laxminarayan personally. Shri Laxminarayan said that a German scholar offered him a large amount of money for the sixteen volume VM manuscript material and that he sold the contents of the boxes to the German scholar, after which he stuffed the boxes with rubbish. Professor Sane tried his utmost to trace the whereabouts and identity of the German scholar, with the help of Honorable Shri Hitendrabhai Desai, Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time, but his efforts have never met with any degree of success.
After the confirmation that all the volumes were lost, most likely sometime in 1956, Bharati Krisna Tirtha was requested by his ardent devotees to make them available again by rewriting them. On their request, in 1957, in his old age, failing health and weak eyesight, he recreated the volumes. In 1958 the type-script of the VM was left in U.S. for publication. During that same year he traveled the country for several months visiting luminaries and lecturing to a wide spectrum across America.
One of the people Sri Bharati met with on his tour of the U.S. was Sri Daya Mata, the president of Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship. In turn, in 1959, she traveled to India to meet and talk with people of note related to the Fellowship as well as visit some of the hallowed and sacred places from which the Fellowship sprang. During her travels she made it a point to repay Sri Bharati 's visit from the year before by stopping in Puri to see him. As reported in the article titled "Remembering Paramahansa Yogananda," appearing in Self-Realization Magazine, (Winter, 1992, p.16) the following transpired:
"In 1959 I discussed this (Jesus being in India during his so-called 'missing years' of the Bible) with one of India's great spiritual leaders, His Holiness Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha, the Shankaracharya of Puri. I told him that Guruji (Paramahansa Yogananda) had often said to us that Christ spent some of his life in India, in association with her (i.e., India's) illumined sages."
His Holiness replied:
"That is true. I have studied ancient records in the Puri Jagannath Temple archives confirming these facts. He was known as 'Isha,' and during part of his time in India he stayed in the Jagannath Temple. When he returned to his part of the world, he expounded the teachings that are known today as Christianity."
Somewhere in my writings I state it is my belief that the highly spiritual person who influenced my life the most, the person I call my Mentor, the same person the famed British playwright and author William Somerset Maugham used as the role model for the main character in his novel The Razor's Edge, and who I met in real life during my high school years, after meeting a Benedictine monk named Father Ensheim during his travels in Europe following WWI, taking the monk's advice, went to India-Tibet in search of the Hemis Manuscripts, said to be a set of scrolls or books stating Jesus of Nazareth visited India during his so-called "missing years" in the bible.
If my mentor ever saw the manuscripts or if the manuscripts even or ever existed is not known. However, it seems to me, if you track the various aspects of my mentor's background, he had a massive change regarding his approach to things spiritual and religious after going to Hemis, especially so how he viewed things in a western sense. Between the time he got off the boat in Bombay and the time he arrived at the temple in Madura and met Swami Ramdas a second time some two to three years later, enough of a change had occurred that when he went to Tiruvannamalai, South India to study in the ashram under the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, he was Awakened to the Absolute --- that is Enlightened in the same manner as the ancient classical masters.
My Uncle knew a man by the name of of Robert S. Ravicz (1921-1993) said to have had special access to the Hemis manuscripts. However, having special access and actually putting that access into motion is two different things. When Ravicz was told that a disciple of Swami Abhedananda, who reportedly saw the manuscripts in 1922 visited the monastery a second time in the late 1970s, five years after Ravicz was said to have done so, and the disciple was told they were no longer there, that they had been removed, Ravicz said, "Such was not the case in 1975."
When asked if such documents did exist at the monastery and were in fact moved, where would such documents be moved to. Ravic's response was:
"Where all roads lead to."(see)
Many years later, in the period during or after 1959, but before I was drafted a couple of years later, in conversation following a meeting with Sri Daya Mata, my mentor told me Sri Daya had shared information with him regarding the Jagannath Temple in Puri and the ancient records that Sri Bharati had studied regarding Jesus being in India. My mentor told me had he known that beforehand, he may have never gone to the Hemis monastery but gone to Puri instead. Besides he said, the Jagannath Temple is said to have secreted away in one or all of the four idols within the temple something of almost equal interest as the records, a something known as Brahma Padartha, life substance or life material --- the substance or material in this case being a so called "tooth relic" of the Buddha. Re the following from the source so cited:
"Brahma Padarthas are core materials in the four wooden deities of Sri Jagannath temple. These core materials are transferred from the old idols to the new in a metaphor of immortality of soul and its reincarnations.
"The four 'badagrahis' entitled to perform the transfer of Brahma Padartha get the chance to see and touch these secret core material kept within the four idols. Bound by a vow, they never disclose the identity of Brahma Padartha to anyone. Till date, generations of these daitapati servitors have steadfastly kept the identity of Brahma Padartha a closely guarded secret."
Knowing the history of such things through my mentor as well as later studying the same subject matter extensively stemming from a curiosity-based need to know about such things, since I was within quasi-striking distance to Puri from Calcutta and with not much to do except hang out and play cards with a bunch of doofuses, I decided to visit the Jagannath Temple, and if I could, learn for myself, answers to some of the mysteries I had heard so much about.
The Jagannath Temple lets Hindus and Buddhist into the interior grounds and temple, but not Christians and Muslims. Falling into a "you look more like Christian camp" I was immediately questioned and held in abeyance. It was only after I was able to forge past lower level guardians that things changed. The treatment afforded me upon seeing my necklace completely negated any questioning, actually escalating me into a more deeply accepted realm. See:
UNDER THE PROTECTION OF
THE LORD BUDDHA
However, unfettered access or not, like the generations upon generations of daitapati servitors who have steadfastly kept the identity of Brahma Padartha a closely guarded secret, I too am relegated to such status, thus no more can be said.
EVOLUTION OF THE JAGANNATH CULT
THE WORSHIP OF JAGANNATH
Bharati Krisna Tirtha attained Mahasamadhi February 2, 1960. His book Vedic Mathematics was published in 1965.
JESUS IN INDIA: PROS AND CONS
BUDDHISM IN AMERICA BEFORE COLUMBUS
MYTHS AND REALITY: ON 'VEDIC MATHEMATICS'
AN INTRODUCTION TO VEDIC MATHEMATICS
THE 16 SUTRAS OF VEDIC MATHEMATICS
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
DID JESUS OF NAZARETH FLY?
ON THE RAZOR'S
"(F)or eight years, from the year 1911 through to 1919, as a pure ascetic, Bharati Krishna Tirtha studied advanced Vedanta philosophy and practice of the Brahma-sadhana at the feet of Shri Nrisimha Bharati Swami. During those years of study he would leave the Swami going into the nearby forests on long solo retreats leading a purely saintly life living on roots and fruits in continuous Sadhana, devoting himself to the study of Vedanta. One day in doing so he attained spiritual self-realization."
In 1879, five years before Bharati Krishna Tirtha's birth, another boy, also given the name Venkatraman, was born. A lifelong spiritual journey would befall both. During the years 1911 through 1919 that Bharati Krishna Tirtha was going into the forests living on roots and fruits in continuous Sadhana, well over a thousand miles away the other Venkatraman had long since been living a pure ascetic life-style having entrenched himself in a cave high up on the side of the holy hill Arunachala. At age 17 he had a self-realization experience that toyed along the edges of a near-death experience, afterwhich he traveled to Arunachala. In 1912 he was overcome by an all encompassing second experience. The following is how that second experience has been described:
"While walking back from Virupaksha Cave one day he was suddenly overcome with physical weakness. He lay down and the world disappeared as if a bright white curtain was drawn across his vision. His breathing and circulation stopped and his body turned a livid blue. For fifteen minutes he lay as if in a state of rigor mortis, although still aware of the Self within. The current of awareness that was his daily experience persisted even with the shutdown of all bodily systems. Then suddenly, he explained, he felt a rush from the Heart on the right to the left side of his chest and the re-establishment of life in the body."(source)
As time went on the self-realized saint of Arunachala became known as the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. In 1919 Bharati Krishna Tirtha, a masterful and avid scholar of The Texts, was initiated into the holy order of Sannyasa. Ramana, considered one of India's greatest saints and a holy man practically without equal, was himself NOT formally initiated into Sannyasa. He was Awakened to the Absolute at age 17 basically out of nowhere with little or no formal religious background, and definitely without a personal guru. Underlining that status, it should be noted, when Bharati Krishna Tirtha visited the Ashram of Sri Ramana he sat on the floor like everyone else, even though Ramana had arranged for a raised seat for him to sit.
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
It should be noted that in the quote above by Bharati Krishna Tirtha (i.e., "His Holiness replied") wherein he states that when Jesus was in India he spent part of his time in the Jagannath Temple, would have to refer to a predecessor structure to the Juggernaut Temple, probably a Buddhist stupa at the site, because the Hindu based Juggernaut Temple in the present location didn't exist during the time of Jesus. The links above help to clarify the distinction. As well, the following is by Dr. Janmejay Choudhury in his Sri Jagannath Temple : The Nerve Centre of Orissan Culture and is representitive of historians that support the view of a previous Buddhist presence at the Jagannath site:
"Some Scholars trace a Buddhist origin of the trinity of the Jagannath temple. It is said that the tooth relic of Lord Buddha is preserved in the image of Jagannath, that the three deities- Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra represent Buddha, Dharma and Sangha respectively, that all Snana Yatra and Ratha Yatra of the Sri Jagannath temple are of Buddhist origin and that the sharing of Kaivalya on equal footing by all castes is due to the Buddhist impact. There are some literary evidences of co-relation between Lord Jagannath and Buddhism. According to some scholars, Jagannath is a common epithet of Buddha. In Tibet, one of the names of Buddha is Jagannath. Jayadeva, the twelvth century Vaishnava poet who according to some scholars, identified Jagannath with Krushna or Vishnu also accepted Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Krushna or Vishnu. Sarala Das, the fifteenth century poet, in his Mahabharat, regarded Jagannath as an embodiment of Buddha. He wrote, 'To deliver mankind, Jagannath has manifested himself in the form to Buddha', Daru Brahma Gita of Jagannath Deva says, 'to assume the form of Buddha, the lord gave up his hands and legs.'"
A ZEN ADEPT RETURNS HOME TO SHAMBALA
THE JAGANNATH TEMPLE IN PURI, THE MOST MYSTERIOUS TEMPLE IN ALL OF INDIA
Not long after being drafted and became a firmly established member of the Military, that is, as a private slick-sleeve and master code sender par excellence, I basically woke up one morning to find myself nowhere near anything I recognized. After being usurped into a series of mitigating circumstances I wasn't able to untangle or sidestep myself from quickly enough, including a couple of Asian Warlords, followed by the downstream outflow from those warlord encounters, encounters of which were put into place by others well beyond my control, found me even farther away, high in the mountains of the Himalayas beyond the confines of any warlord or tentacles of a military hierarchy.
In the first I ended up sitting in a near Nirodha state outside the one time entrance of an ancient and dilapidated monastery, the ruins of which were perched precariously high up on the side of some steep Chinese mountain situated somewhere along the southern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. The second found me still sitting , except now in Darshan in the old hall of the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai, South India hundreds and hundreds of miles away from any monastery and the Himalayas.
It was me going to the U.S. Consulate in Madras after leaving the Ramana ashram in an attempt to get back to the monastery and eventually my unit, is what put me in Calcutta, the consulate having sent me there for a flight --- a flight that turned out to be a major disaster literally, and I mean literally. In more ways than one, my return involved a good number of areas of war torn Southeast Asia, the WWII Japanese Invasion of India, the crash of a C-47 high in the rarefied air in the Tibetan area of the Himalayas after being lost on a flight from Calcutta, a CNAC mechanic, and an otherwise not involved U.S. Army captain on R & R who wrote A Soldier's Story and got involved after he flew over the mountains of Tibet from China only to end up visiting the Ramana ashram at the same time I was there.
CHINA NATIONAL AIR CORPORATION (CNAC) DOUGLAS C-47 SKYTRAIN CIRCA 1944
RETURN TO THE MONASTERY
BEFORE LEAVING CALCUTTA-----------------------------------------------------AFTER LEAVING CALCUTTA
THE BEST OF THE MAUGHAM BIOGRAPHIES:
SPIRITUAL GUIDES, GURUS, AND TEACHERS INFLUENTIAL IN THE RAZOR'S EDGE: