Swami Akahandanandji Saraswati was a great saint of the twentieth century; a
well-known exponent of Shrimad Bhagvata and a scholar of Vedanta and Bhakti
Shastras. He was known as "Maharajshri" to his followers and friends.
Maharajshri mentored many on the spiritual path, including the past and
present generations of Grihasthas, Sanyasi Mahatmas, and Shankaracharyas.
Maharajshri's discourses were loved by all - Mahatmas and Scholars from all
traditions, as well as people from all walks of life. He authored over 180
books which cover Shrimad Bhagwat, Gita, Ram Charit Manas, and Upnishads of
Maharajshri established many institutions, including the Anand Vrindavan,
which is a well-known Ashram in Vrindavan. Today, Swami Omkaranandji
Saraswati "Mahantji" Maharaj guides the Anand Vrindavan Ashram and
associated trusts, continuing Maharajshri's traditions of service (Karma),
devotion (Bhakti), and knowledge (Gyan).
Life Sketch of Swami Akhandanand Ju Maharaj
Exactly after nine months of prayers by his
grandfather, Maharajshri was born by the grace of Lord Shri Shantanuvihariji
of the Braja on Friday, 25th July, 1911 in Pushya Nakshtra. (Shravana
Amavasya v.s. 1968) in the village of Maharai in the most sacred district
Varanasi. The Saryupaarine Brahmin family, named him "Shantanuvihari", since
he was born by the grace of the Lord Shantanuvihari.
The greatest astrologers of the time said that the child would die at the
age of 19. The fear of death led Maharajshri to the path of spirituality.
All the great saints of the time clearly averred that we cannot avoid the
death destined by faith, but we can impart the knowledge which can destroy
the fear of death forever and this really happened. The immortal Brahman
appeared in the heart of Maharajshri and the black shadow of death fled.
Once upon a time Maharajshri went to see the well-known saint of Jhusee,
Brahmichari Prabhudattaji at Allahabad (Prayaga). There he met Shri
Udiyababa ji Maharaj for the first time and held a conversation with him
regarding the Vedanta. Maharajshri was spell bound on seeing the Baba's
devotedness to the non-duality (Advait) and the extraordinary ecstasy of the
liberated life. He was blessed with love and affection of the Baba. It was
the inner inspiration of the Baba that impelled Maharajashri for
renunciation and he was initiated for Sanyasa, by his Holiness Swami Shri
Brahmanand Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of the Jyotishpeethadhishver.
Maharajashri was a member of the editorial board of the Kalyana in Gorakhpur
for seven years before he was initiated to Sanyasa.
For the first time at the age of 10 years his grandfather arranged his
discourse on Shrimad Bhagvata Purana and from that time till he left his
heavenly abode, the Shrimad Bhagvata remained his constant companion. His
daily spiritual meeting was also a state of self-rapture, which continued
without break till the spiritual meeting on the evening of November 17,
1987. Even today the Satsang lovers enjoy his immortal gospels through
audio-video cassettes and books. On 19th Nov., 1987 (Margshirsha Krishan
Trayodashi) at about 2.00 a.m. i.e. Brahmvela, the individuality was merged
into totality and became all pervasive.
The Anandvrindavan Ashram established by Maharajashri at Shri Vrindavan Dham
is like Prayaga, the king of Tirthas, where one finds the confluence of the
work (Karma), devotion (Bhakti) and knowledge (Gyan). The Satsang, the
worship of the Lord, the cow service, the saint service, the study of
scriptures in a school for the Vedas, the Akhandananda Library, the free
dispensary, and the different activities of the Ashram including the
practice of celebrating the birth anniversaries of all the Acharyas - which
were started by Maharajashri - will remain unforgettable from the point of
view of cultural harmony. This exemplifies the liberal attitude of
Maharajshri that is prevalent in the Anandvrindavan Ashram today.