Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math
Swami Brahmanand Saraswati, known to his followers as Guru Dev (“Divine Teacher”), was born in 1868 into a Brahmin family in the village of Gana near Ayodhya, India.
He left home at the age of nine in search of a spiritual master. At age fourteen, he became a disciple of Swami Krishnanand Saraswati in the remote Himalayan valley of Uttarkashi. When he was 34, Krishnanand initiated him into the renounced order of life at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.
Brahmanand spent most of his life in seclusion, much of it in a cave in the Amarkantakas mountains of central India. In 1941, at the age of 73, and after repeated requests over a period of twenty years, he accepted the position of Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath, the highest position of spiritual leadership in north India. In that position, he traveled widely and ushered in a major spiritual revival throughout north India.
Universally revered, he was lauded by the president of India as “Vedanta Incarnate,” the embodiment of spiritual wisdom. Brahmanand died in Kolkata in 1953 at age 82.
He left behind many prominent disciples, including Swami Karpatri, the founder of the Akhil Bharatiya Ram Rajya Parishad, Swami Shantanand Saraswati, chosen by Brahmanand to succeed him as the Shankarcharya of Jyotirmath, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who brought Brahmanand’s teaching to people throughout the world for over sixty years.
A fuller account of Brahmanand’s life can be found in “A Short Biography of Guru Dev” published by the Guru Dev Legacy Trust and available by clicking on this link.