Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Introducing a Scholar Hindu Monk: Swami Sarvapriyananda


We all have fond memories of our childhood, including the time spent at the school. If your childhood was spent in a residential school, away from home, then the school memories occupies a larger part of your persona. I have been fortunate to spend my childhood at the very beautiful and scenic campus of Ramakrishna Mission Deoghar, now in Jharkhand.

The entrance test of this school had consisted of two parts, a written and a "kind of" interview part. In the interview, all the children were collected in a classroom, and were required to do various tasks, assigned by various people. During that period, a monk dressed in white came to our class. He showed us some examples of mathematical calculations, based on multiplications of 11. For example, he showed that 11x11=121, 11x11x11=1331, etc, and asked us to compute us some larger products. That's all I can recall today from that time. 

After joining the school, we had chance to meet many monks, and the above monk also was present, and we came to know him as Vishwaroop Maharaj. Soft spoken and smiling, he was also present many times during the computer labs in those times of BASIC language. But there was not a lot of interaction with him, until we moved to more senior classes. I don't remember if he taught us ICVE(Indian Culture and Value Education) or not, as I remember this being taught by some other monks to my class. But Vishwaroop Maharaj had an opportunity to come to our class for short period during our final years. 

During class 10, we had to study world history, primarily the history of World war 1 and 2, modern world, and modern India. History classes are supposed to be soporific, though world history did seem interesting. Vishwaroop Maharaj was not our history teacher, but he was substituting for the absence for some teacher for few periods. He offered us to narrate the history of a specific war during world war II: The attack on Pearl Harbor.  We happily agreed, but nobody had thought his narration would be so spellbinding and will leave a lasting impression. 

He started his narration with the context of world war II, and how the Japanese involvement started. For the next two or three classes, he told us minutely about the different aspects of the preparation for the attack, how they were able to keep it as a secret, and how the micromanaged the plan. For example, to not let the military radars detect the fighter planes, they practiced flying as low as a few hundred feet over the land! He talked about the minute planning attack, best case and worst case scenario in the plans and so on. As mere students, we all were left mesmerized and craving for more after his periods were over. A bit more we got indeed, as the movie "Pearl Harbor" was released during that time, and he arranged for us to watch that movie. But after his narration, the movie actually looked quite stale :)

After my passing out from the school, he soon got sannyas and the ochre robes, with the new name of Swami Sarvapriyananda, a very apt name. I had few chances to interact with him after that, as he came once to IIT Kharagpur for a lecture on Vedanta, and other time when I went to Belur Math. Fortunately, he also made me say hello to another monk Mahan Maharaj(mathematician). 

Though we had know Vishwaroop Maharaj as a very learned monk during that time, but since, he has been introducing Hinduism and Vedanta at various platforms in a very beautiful manner. His lecture series at IIT Kanpur has been really popular. I am not sure, but I think he has been transferred to a Vedanta society in United States. 

Many of his video lectures are available on Internet, where he talks about various aspects of Hinduism, consciousness, body and mind, Vedanta in his beautiful voice. Beyond any religious dogma, he focuses on the essential questions of life, and provides lot of material for thinking and pondering over. I am giving link to one of the lectures, and others can be seen over youtube. 

Swami Sarvapriyananda at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago

Swami Sarvapriyananda at IIT Kanpur


I hope that he will introduce the elegant and beautiful ideas of Hinduism to the world, which are strew across the various texts of Upanishads, which will provide a way out for religious harmony in the coming decades.

12 comments:

  1. Good one Prabhat.. Vishwaroop maharaj has always been a favourite amongst us. I remember, in Vivekananda dham when he was the warden, how precisely he narrated stories of Star Wars. In class 11, he came to our room for some work and somehow we started talking about other things. He told us how people interact, how to tackle people, the parent-adult-child model of Transactional Analysis from the book "I'M OK - YOU'RE OK" by Thomas A. Harris. I was amazed when the same was taught in our management school and I knew the conept better than anyone else in the classroom.

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    1. I read somewhere that he has done MBA from Orissa, and joined the mission just after that. He also has written some books as well, and gave me one small book he co-wrote with Mahan Maharaj. Hope he starts to write in more detail from now. I wrote this post to introduce him to other people, and if anybody is interested, may benefit by seeing his lectures.

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  2. Swami Sarvapriyananda has changed my life from night to day merely by watching his YouTube lectures. He is brilliant and what I love most is his lack of jargon so that the meaning of his lecture are crystal clear and everyone can get it. Thank you, Swamiji!!

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    1. It is really delightful to know that Swamiji has such a profound effect on you. He is indeed a very good speaker, a great scholar, and even more wonderful and likable personality to meet. It will also be interesting to know in what sense and how did he change your thinking.

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  3. Started of with Swamiji's IITK lecture series and now trying to go through all the materials available. I wish I could witness one such lecture face-to-face at Belur Math but alas ! He has been transferred to States (https://vedanta.org/swami-sarvapriyananda/).

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    1. He is such a gentle person with a very good sense of humor. Lean body, sharp mind and smiling face. Yup his transfer to Hollywood center is a loss for Indian people, but hope the youtube videos will keep people connected with him. And he will keep on having invitation from people all over the world to deliver lectures.

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  4. very inspiring and life changing lectures indeed. Simple yet very influential.His lectures connects and guides us through great scriptures with ease. I feel i am blessed to have had the opportunity of getting to know him and his lectures.

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  5. i had an opportunity to meet swamiji and listen to his lectures in los angeles. Very knowledgeable swamiji,

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  6. Randomly got their video on YouTube....but believe me I couldn't stop myself from watching all his video...such a clear message in a simple language...it's life changing moment to go through all their teaching...will recommend everyone to watch them...real teaching of our ancient Indian Upanishads

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  7. Swamiji delivers a tough subject in a very simple and yet powerful manner, his speeches is going to impact my life in a positive way. Hope I see his live speech at Ramakrishna mission bangalore.

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  8. I feel so very fortunate and lucky to meet swamiji in person when he came to visit london ontario last week.Few among us also got a chance to talk to him at length. What a brilliant speaker and humble human being he is.Words are too short to express our gratitude to this noble soul.His talks on YouTube just blows you off. They are very profound and deep. Those who want to dwell deep in vedanta should watch them.

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