People regard me a saint, a savant, a scholar, an author, an orator, an intellectual giant, a leader and so on. But who has ever tried to look or listen and understand my inner being? Had anyone been able to see it, they would have found an extremely restless soul, weeping with grief, having been deeply distressed by the pain and misery experienced by the humankind.
His ceaseless stream of empathy for the entire humankind gave rise to a monumental organization, widely known as All World Gayatri Pariwar which has its presence all over the world. Millions of its members are actively engaged in making their life empathetic and intensely enriched with merits, courage, wisdom and generosity.
Acharya Shriram Sharma was born on 20th September 1911 (Ashwin Krishna trayodashi, Vikram Samvat 1968 as per Indian calendar) at Anwalkheda village of Agra district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His father's name was Pandit Shri Roopkishore Sharma and mother's name was Daankunvari Devi. At the tender age of eight, Pandit Madammohan Malaviya performed his sacred thread ceremony and initiated him in Gayatri Mantra. Shriram faithfully followed his advice and started reciting five rosaries of Gayatri Mantra daily.
On the historical Vasant Parwa of 18th January 1926, he had a divine vision of his Guru, Swami Sarveshvaranandaji, a Himalayan sage living in an astral form. At his command, Shriram kindled an Akhand Deepak, a lamp which is continuously burning since then, and started 24 Maha-purashcharanas over 24 years. It involved a rigorous daily routine of reciting 66 rosaries of Gayatri Mantra along with meditation and living only on a barley chapatti and butter-milk.
In 1937, he started editing and publishing Akhand Jyoti monthly magazine. Between then and mid-1984, he was summoned four times to Himalayas by his Gurudev, to perform tapasya, i.e. rigorous spiritual austerity.
Having concluded 24 Maha-purashcharanas in 1953, Pujya Gurudev fasted for 24 days surviving only on water and solemnised the prana-pratishtha ceremony, i.e. invoking Gayatri's cosmic consciousness in the idol of Gayatri Mata at Gayatri Tapobhumi, Mathura. Pujya Gurudev Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya and his divine consort Param Vandaniya Mata Bhagwati Devi Sharma gave up their entire wealth for the betterment of society. Vandaniya Mataji was the first one to be initiated by Pujya Gurudev in a ceremony which was conducted at a grand 108-altar yagya.
From the Gayatri Jayanti of 1957, Pujya Gurudev started a campaign to mobilise about 100,000 selfless volunteers to engage them in the noble task of building up the Nation under his close guidance. It was concluded with a grand 1000-altar yagya which took place from 23rd to 26th November, 1958. It was the second only yagya of such a grand scale ever since the one that happened in the ancient era of Mahabharata. Then he set up about 6000 branches of Gayatri Pariwar. Pujya Gurudev also penned a commentary on all the ancient scriptures including 4 Vedas, 18 Puranas, 108 Upanishads, Ramayana, Brahman books, 24 Smritis, 6 Darshanas (philosophies), etc.
On 20th June 1971: Pujya Gurudev and Vandaniya Mataji were given a grand farewell from Mathura at a huge ceremony which lasted for days. They, along with Akhand Deepak, moved to Shantikunj, Haridwar, the self-same place where Rishi Vishwamitra and seven other great sages had performed lifetime spiritual austerities.
On 1st July 1971, Pujya Gurudev departed for Himalayas for a one-year stay at some remote unknown place. On his return to Shantikunj, he started various camps like Prana Pratyavartana, Chandrayana, Vanaprastha, Yugashilpi, Jivan Vidya, and so on. He also conducted Dev-kanya training camps (from 1975 to 1980) to facilitate women awakening and empowerment. He also went on foreign visits to meet Indian expatriates and rouse their cultural awareness.
In 1979, Pujya Gurudev founded Brahmavarchas Research Institute to carry out scientific study on spirituality with an aim to substantiate the sound basis of scientific spirituality.
This was soon followed by a campaign to make people pledge to establish about 5000 Shaktipiths (active centres of Gayatri Pariwar) which were then inaugurated by Pujya Gurudev in a series of events which took place from April 1980 to January 1982.
On the Rama Navami of 1984, Pujya Gurudev embarked on a unique and extremely arduous, highest kind of spiritual endeavour of Sukshamikarana sadhana under the guidance of his Spiritual Mentor. The aim of this sadhana was (1) refinement of physical atmosphere, (2) refinement of subtle atmosphere, (3) creating a new era, (4) neutralising any impending global catastrophe and, (5) facilitating the inner development of people so as to produce selfless citizens of a highly divine stature who are dedicated to the cause of humanity. The sadhana was successfully concluded on the Vasant Parva of 1986 and then he accomplished an extraordinary and exceptional feat of inviting the divine souls of rishis (sages) living in the spiritual epicentre of Himalayas and solemnised the prana-pratishtha ceremony of their idols in Shantikunj. In this way, Shantikunj, Brahmavarchas, Gayatri Teertha represent all the great sages including Bhagiratha, Parshurama, Charaka, Vyasa, Yagyavalkya, Vishwamitra, Vashishtha, Patanjali, and so on.
More than 50 research papers, on Pujya Gurudev's grand persona and lifetime achievements have been presented at various universities since 1984.
In 1988, Pujya Gurudev launched a twelve-year grand collective sadhana worldwide to facilitate refinement of subtle world, to enable bright future for all, and to realise the noble aim of awakening divine qualities within every individual and creating heavenly atmosphere on our planet. It was launched from Gayatri Teertha Shantikunj as an all-out effort employing an infallible spiritual approach which was also benefitted by all the rishis (sages) contributing their immense spiritual power to it.
The aforesaid worldwide collective sadhana was concluded in two phases—the first one at Pujya Gurudev's birthplace Anwalkheda (Agra) on 1st to 4th November, 1995 with a grand yagya ceremony involving 1251 kunds and the second one, at New Delhi in form of Virat Vibhuti Gyan Yagya involving dipa yagya with 100,000 diyas (lamps) followed by a grand 1551-kund Gayatri and Srijan Sankalpa Vibuti Maha-yagya at Shantikunj Haridwar (in the vicinity of Ganga and at the foothills of Himalayas) on 7th to 11th November 2000 which laid the solid foundation of 'Twenty-first Century, Bright Future."
On Gayatri Jayanti, 2nd June 1990, Pujya Gurudev gave up his physical existence and opted to work through his immensely powerful subtle and causal bodies throughout the century as he had precisely proclaimed in advance.
On 27th June 1991, the Government of India released a postage stamp in recognition of Pujya Gurudev's life and work.
Vandaniya Mataji, inspired by the power of Savita, declared 1991 as Shakti Sadhana Year. It involved continuous mantra recitation taking place all over in India and abroad. A series of 27 Ashwamedha yagyas were solemnised in India and abroad, under the guidance and protection of Pujya Gurudev and Vandaniya Mataji and the divine support of rishis (sages). Its aim was to safeguard the world from impending apocalyptic catastrophes and to lay the foundations for realizing bright future in the twenty-first century for the whole world.
On 19th September 1994, Param Vandaniya Mataji gave up her physical existence and became one with Pujya Gurudev's subtle and astral existence.
Now the immensely powerful subtle consciousness of Pujya Gurudev Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya and Vandaniya Mataji Bhagwati Devi Sharma is imparting its divine source of eternal guidance through Akhand Jyoti as well as Prakhar Pragya - Sajal Shraddha located in Gayatri Teertha, Shantikunj which, in fact, now represents their visible physical manifestation. It will keep imparting eternal guidance to humanity forever.
The Akhand Deepak, a ghee lamp burning non-stop ever since 1926, is placed in Shantikunj from which its mouthpiece, the Akhand Jyoti monthly derives its name. Shraddheyaa Shailbala Ji, Shraddheya Dr Pranav Pandya Ji and a team formed by Param Pujya Gurudev are managing all the activities of Shantikunj, Brahmavarchas, Gayatri Tapobhumi and the Mission itself and, ensure that Mother Gayatri's infinite empathy and the divine message of this age are passed on to each and everyone.
Gayatri Teertha Shantikunj is the nest of Mahakal (The Almighty's Time Spirit). Millions of people visiting Shantikunj get initiated in Gayatri Mantra, thus receiving a priceless kernel of Param Pujya Gurudev's immense spiritual austerity and Param Vandaniya Mataji's love, affection and motherly protection which help them attain amazing inner transformation as well as success in worldly life.
The term 'drasthtā' is used to imply only those who are really gifted with divine vision i.e. who are visionary, seer, prophet, or psychic. So far, there have been several personalities who had such paranormal ability. However, a very few of them actually had vision to change the era. It is great to be the seer of the era. However, it is even greater to be the creator of the era. Only divine incarnate souls can have such ability to create a new era. Pujya Gurudev possessed the merits of both the seer and the creator of the new era. This can be the only conclusion deduced from closely analysing whatever he had said or foretold and what actually happened next in that context.
The first clear indication of his divine potential came to light during the ashthagrahi yoga of 1962 when the Sun, Moon, Earth and five planets lined up in a rare planetary conjunction.
This planetary conjunction was the first-ever occasion in the modern day India when some kind of mystical process happening in the subtle world attracted so much curiosity, interest, attention and importance from the masses. Most people were frightened to death assuming that some sort of natural disaster like a partial apocalypse or some manmade disaster like an atomic blast was going to happen. Some people just ignored it thinking that it was nothing but a fantasy. In such a situation, Pujya Gurudev was the only one who clearly wrote in Akhand Jyoti about the scenario that would result from the planetary conjunction and that was about two months before it actually took place. He writes,
"The physical world during and after the planetary conjunction will remain exactly the same as it is today when I'm writing this article. However, the subtle world is going to witness a drastic change. It will no more remain same as it is now. Profound activities of the transitional phase of change in era will set off from these particular moments. Therefore, do carry out as much as recitation and other spiritual pursuits as you could but don't get scared of any worldwide calamity and don't indulge in scare-mongering."
This statement proved cent per cent true. Nothing untoward, as had been widely feared about, ever happened during the planetary conjunction. However, only a few heed to the second part of his statement about the radical changes happening in the unseen subtle world even though he had stated many crucial points about them at that time, as he further says:
"Transformation of the era is setting in motion. The whole world will have to face extremely difficult situations. Any endeavours at physical level wouldn't be enough to resolve the calamities the world is facing. Spiritual endeavours must be done alongside. India needs to become capable enough to impart spiritual guidance to the entire world. However, she will have to go through a rigorous process of priming that is somewhat akin to the process of purifying gold which involves heating it up in fire again and again."
It goes without saying that all these unforeseen issues kept unfolding one after another as predicted. However, this only proves that Pujya Gurudev was a seer or a visionary sage gifted with divine vision. However, his divine capability as the creator or the maker of the era would come to light from what he had said further on and what happened next. For example, about India's rise, he writes:
"India will advance very fast in the field of Science and Technology. Mother Nature will open up her abundant secret reserves of natural resources if at all needed for realizing India's economical progress."
We all know that India was once dependent on foreign countries even for ordinary tools but now it manufactures aircrafts, radar, missiles, satellites and other advanced technological equipment and machinery. Scientists of Indian origin hold great presence and influence overseas.
Pujya Gurudev warns, all those who are eager to wage war, against taking up arms or else they were indeed playing with fire. He reassures those who are eternally scared with worries of impending disaster and says,
"The predictions of imminent Dooms day are coming from all directions and fields. Anyone who happens to glance at the prevailing situations would immediately deduce that some kind of calamity could strike any moment. Even then I'm a lone voice assuredly stating exactly the opposite and that is the world will not only survive but will become a far better place than it is now. All those who may have some interest in world's fate should note down my prediction. The threats of war would subside even before they could flare up into a full-fledged war. There will no such disaster ever happening anywhere in the world which could put the future of entire humankind at risk." (Akhand Jyoti 1984, page 49)
The world did witness some situations that could have triggered the third world war but they receded automatically before they could explode into a war. Following some skirmishes, the wisdom of the involved parties overtook and subdued their warmongering passions. Further on Pujya Gurudev writes about the impending threats of star-wars:
"These days, some nations are boasting about their capabilities of waging a star-war. However, their plan is doomed to total failure. There had been many attempts in the past to ascertain supremacy over the space and many more such attempts may be made in future. But it is an unfailing truth that the more passion and ambitions anyone shows for it, the more they are going to get disappointed." (Akhand Jyoti, February, page 61)
It is a well-known fact that the contemporary American President Mr Reagan wasn't at all willing to call off his star-wars plan. However, failures in many experiments and a great deal of scepticism expressed by the involved scientists led to the plans being abandoned. Acharya Ji has pointed out the spiritual endeavours that were made in his sukshmikarana sadhana to stop this menace:
"Circumstances have taught us that neither starting a war is an easy task nor is withdrawing from it. Maintaining situations as they may stand would prove to be so expensive that it cannot be allowed to go on forever. After all, how long could the tax payers carry on shouldering the burden of the cost of war?"
"I'll use immense spiritual energy gained through my sukshmikarana sadhana to rouse the wisdom of the warring parties to persuade them to retreat. I would convince them, in one way or another, that retreating from the frontiers is far wiser option than to wage a war. It will help to calm down their aggression and prompt them to exercise proper understanding and a sense of responsibility. Any full-blown wars would dwindle into cold wars which would calm down further into a cease fire and eventually result in the end of the war." (Akhand Jyoti 84, page 8)
Whatever he predicted turned out to be reality in due course, however impossible it may have seemed in the beginning. This trend will continue in future with a greater momentum and a greater intensity. His assurances and endeavours to bring about bright future and golden era for the entire humankind will undoubtedly be realised in due course. In this context, any researcher who may try to explore and analyse would definitely strike many astonishing truths. Scholars are no doubt going to ask a question whether there had been any other person ever who accomplished such a high level development work and that too with such an ease!
Sarvapalli Dr Radhakrishnan, former President of India: When Dr Radhakrishnan read the commentaries on Upanishads written by Pujya Gurudev, he said, "If only I had come across these books when I was young, my life could have taken an entirely different course. I could have been sitting at the lotus feet of Acharya Ji and receiving knowledge of spirituality from him rather than being in politics as I am now."
Mahatma Gandhi: During Mahatma Gandhi's lifetime, Pujya Gurudev was in his youth and was actively participating in the freedom struggle as a dedicated volunteer. Mahatma Gandhi came to know about Pujya Gurudev from Shri Govind Vallabh Pant who told Gandhi that a rural volunteer hailing from Agra district was doing a highly commendable work. When Pujya Gurudev stayed at Sabarmati Ashram at a very young age, Gandhi was impressed by his personality and said, "I'm extremely proud to have a volunteer like you."
Acharya Vinoba Bhave, the pioneer of Bhoodan (land donation) campaign put the books of Veda commentary written by Pujya Gurudev on his head and said, "These books are indeed written by a great authority. It cannot be a work of an ordinary individual."
Devaraha Baba was a famous saint who had perfected many paranormal achievements. No one had ever seen him meeting Pujya Gurudev. However, he revealed some secrets about Pujya Gurudev to a parijan. He said "Son! What can I say about him? I just think of him all the time from the bottom of my heart. Gayatri has totally become submerged into him and He has become a living manifestation of Savita, the deity of Gayatri."
On another occasion he said, "Son! No one knows his real identity. Your Guru isn't Acharya Shriram but Lord Rama himself. Never forget that you are a blessed companion of a Divine Incarnation!."
Mahatma Anand Swami says, "Acharya Ji has advanced Maharshi Dayananda's mission by promoting Gayatri among the masses, far and wide. He and Gayatri have become one and the same."
Paying his tributes to Pujya Gurudev, Karpatra Ji Maharaj says, "Acharya Ji is the creator of Gangotri (the fountainhead of knowledge) in the current era. He has made Gayatri accessible to everyone. Gayatri would have been extinct, had it been misunderstood to be belonging only to the Brahmin class and left at their mercy to be taken care of."
Shri Jugal Kishore Birla: "I have witnessed a real Brahmin in the grand persona of Pujya Gurudev Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya. No task of his mission can ever remain unfulfilled, for he is a manifestation of God Himself."
Vandaniya Mataji Bhagwati Devi Sharma
Born on September 1926, in a famous priestly family, Mata Bhagwati Devi (Mataji), since her childhood, was more interested in worshipping God. After her marriage to Acharyaji, Mataji took over the responsibility of looking after visitors and guests. She willingly donated all her personal jewellery, which she received at her wedding for establishment of Gayatri Tapobhumi at Mathura.
In 1975, under the leadership of Mataji, Mahila Jagran Abhiyan (movement for emancipation of women) was initiated. Soon, about 4000 branches of Mahila Jagran Abhiyan were established with more than one million active participants.
Mataji considered everyone as part of her family. It was of prime importance to her to arrange for their comfortable stay and spiritual guidance. Such was the love and affection that people come to Shantikunj for recharging themselves and to experience the peace and tranquillity in their personal lives.
When Gurudev took Mahasamadhi on June 2nd 1990, Gayatri Jayanti day, Mataji took over all the responsibilities of the mission and carried them over with great courage. In October 1990, under Mataji's guidance, Grand Shraddhanjali Samaroh, a program to pay homage to Gurudev, was organized. Over 1,500,000 devotees from all over the world participated in it, and resolved to carry-on the works of Gurudev, for dissemination of philosophy of Gayatri and Yagna.
In 1992, on Gayatri Jayanti Day, Mataji disclosed about Gurudev's message from subtle and astral realms for the spread of Dev-Sanskriti (divine Indian culture or religious culture) all over the world for which series of Grand Ashwamedha Yagyas were to be performed. The series of Ashwamedha Yagnas started from Jaipur in November 1992. Till now, twenty-seven such grand Ashwamedha Yagnas have been celebrated in INDIA and abroad, besides the grand Anwalkheda (birthplace of Acharyaji near Agra, city of Taj) Pratham Poornahuti Samaroh in 1995.
Mataji visited UK, Canada and USA in three Ashwamedh Yagna's in Leicester - UK, Toronto – Canada, and Los Angeles - USA. Mataji initiated millions of people into Gayatri Mantra and with this, a new wave of character-building and social reform started. Mataji too, withdrew to the astral realm, to join her aradhya satta there, on September 19th 1994, Bhadrapad Mahapoornima day.