The meeting with Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa, a sage from West Bengal, India, transpired before long and touched the spiritual chord in him. This led to intense meditational & spiritual practice and soon he embraced sannyasa (renunciation), the crowning spiritual fulfillment of human life.
On getting initiated into the Knowledge of the Self from his Guru, Swamiji not only pursued his spiritual practices, but also assiduously studied the Sanskrit language and Vedantic spiritual texts like Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Prakarana Granthas (philosophical treatises). The texts helped him to understand and confirm the spiritual principles and teachings he experienced through his own practice.
As he progressed in his Self-realization, Swamiji declared his aspiration for sannyasa life to his family members, some of whom had also taken spiritual initiation from his Guru. On embracing sannyasa at the early age of 23 from his Guru, Swamiji proceeded to Kerala. This extraordinary step inspired three other family members to take to sannyasa themselves and pursue the spiritual life wholesomely with dedication.
The parivraajaka (wandering monk) life in Kerala gave the people an opportunity to discover the young ascetic, and many sections of the society began to invite him for talks on Indian spiritual texts like the Bhagavad Gita and other allied literature. This was a natural progression towards his mission of spiritual teaching – guiding spiritual seekers towards the Light of Knowledge, where he was.
After coming back to Kerala, for the next few years, Swamiji was invited to give spiritual discourses and he conducted several sessions in Kerala and later in Chennai (Madras). His mission to disseminate spiritual knowledge became more intense. The first Jnaana Yajna (series of spiritual discourses) started in Jamshedpur, India 46 years back. With relentless pace he travelled across cities in India, guiding seekers in their search for the Truth. His proficiency in English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil brought him closer to seekers from many communities.
A modern day saint, a Self-realized Guru, Swamiji is an authoritative exponent of Vedanta, the spiritual heritage and culture of India. A ‘walking university’, he has been immersed ever since in disseminating Brahma Vidya (Knowledge of the Self) in India and abroad. Over the last five decades, Swamiji has conducted regular programs and established centres in Delhi, Jamshedpur, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Petalingjaya (Malaysia), Singapore, and the Washington, D.C. area.
Swamiji’s elucidation of India’s timeless scriptures is clear, pragmatic and unique. His rational exposition of the art of strengthening and elevating the human mind has transformed countless professionals, householders and students, instilling the spirit of discovery, dedication and greater excellence. Swamiji presents the ancient Indian scripture Bhagavad Gita as an ‘Administrative Gospel’, to inculcate excellence in people involved in highly challenging activities.
In his efforts to infuse spirituality in one’s daily life, Swamiji developed the dictum of ‘Interactional Sadhana’. A uniquely novel concept, Interactional Sadhana is the practice of learning, realizing and harnessing the unlimited potential of human mind, through the varied day-to-day interactions, while yet pursuing professional or secular life.
The mission of disseminating knowledge has been furthered by a series of enlightening books authored by Swamiji. They are published from his Ashram. He also publishes a monthly journal “Vicharasetu – the Path of Introspection”, to meet the needs of serious seekers. It is published in English, Hindi and Malayalam.
Established by Swamiji in 1963, “Narayanashrama Tapovanam” is located on the slope of the eastern hill of Panadavagiri, in Venginissery village, part of the district of Thrissur, Kerala, India. The Ashram is surrounded by dense thickets of coconut trees on the slopes of the hill, which roll down towards the green fields of paddy. The serene beauty of surrounding nature complements the peace and tranquility of the Ashram, which draws seekers and visitors alike to the place, to benefit from the company of a realized Sage, and seek his blessings and guidance on spiritual and personal matters. What was initially a small hut, thus, gradually grew into an institution of spiritual learning with centers all around the world.
Indian spiritual texts such as Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Yoga Vaasishtha Ramayana, Shreemad Bhaagavatam and others are discussed regularly in the Ashram. The study of the mind and behavioral intricacies, focusing on how to make the mind function effectively, are the focus in these discussions. Emphasis is given to the study of Sanskrit to enable seekers to discover the wealth in the ancient Indian spiritual texts. Regular classes, discourses and annual retreats quench the thirst of a stream of visiting seekers throughout the year, showering knowledge, peace and instilling virtues.
Cultural welfare and evolution of the society is an integral part of spirituality, and the Ashram plays an active role in the environmental and economic well-being of the surrounding villages.
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha and Ma Gurupriya, both sannyasins, are Swamiji’s primary disciples, tirelessly serving him in all aspects of his mission. Renouncing their academic professions, both of them offered themselves to Swamiji to further his mission. Today, they are not only involved in running the affairs of the ashram, but most importantly, they are the living embodiments of the spiritual virtues extolled and preached by Swamiji to all.
People generally think about external and material resources. They are given to developing and harnessing these alone. Nonetheless, the inner resources of the human mind and the need for their development excel them all in great measure. When adequate thought is given to this subject and necessary enlightenment is also gained, human life becomes very auspicious and fulfilling.
Centre for Inner Resources Development (CIRD) is a unique educational institution established by Swamiji to endow more people with the Knowledge of the Self, so that they may lead their lives productively and joyfully. The institution helps individuals discover and harness their inner resources, thereby enabling them to develop a poised indomitable personality. It is this conviction that led Swamiji to establish the first CIRD in Delhi in 1999. The Centre conducts special programs for corporate leaders, professionals, householders, and children for enabling them to lead a fulfilling life of personal, professional and societal excellence.
Very soon, devotees and seekers the world over recognized the benefits of such an institution, and thus two more units: SIRD (Society for Inner Resources Development) in Petalingjaya, Malaysia, and CIRD-NA (Centre for Inner Resources Development-North America) in Virginia, United States, were established subsequently. More CIRDs, like the one in Jamshedpur, India, are on the anvil.
Swamiji’s special effort has been to make seekers understand that:
Swamiji upholds that all suffering in human life is born of the mind, and so its redress is also found within the mind. This essentially means that the outgoing mind should be made to look inward to find solutions to all problems in human life. This is possible through two means:
Knowledge Dissemination Programs
Village Welfare Activities
The modern corporate world is a complex medley of competition and globalization that has accelerated the progress of technology on the one hand, but filled the human mind with conflicts on the other. Management sciences worldwide have begun to discover that a complete and lasting redressal of these conflicts can only be had by developing a holistic outlook on life and its associated problems and by gaining access to the vast potential of human qualities and virtues dormant in everyone. By freeing the mind of its inherent constrictions, it discovers a universal dimension and displays excellence in all its undertakings.
Swamiji’s exposition on harnessing the power of mind in the context of corporate management has convinced business leaders to adopt spiritual principles in their management and leadership roles. Swamiji has organized workshops - “Brain Stimulatiums”- intensive 2-day workshops designed to draw the mind towards its inherent confidence, creativity and excellence, and yokes it with the amplitude and profundity that is contained within itself. The Brain Stimulatium takes the participants to what lies beyond conventional notions of excellence.
Under the leadership and guidance of Swamiji, a Foundation for Restoration of National Values (FRNV) was set up in June 2008 to help rediscover and instill the National values and promote cohesion in the Indian society. The goal of FRNV is to restore time tested national and cultural values so that people individually and collectively find an abiding inner persuasion to be truthful, ethical, patriotic, and committed to wholesome development of the nation.