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Jagadguru Swami Sri Bhārati Kŗşņa Tīrthaji Mahāraja (Sanskrit: जगद्गुरु स्वामि श्री भारती कृष्ण तीर्थजी महाराज; March, 1884 – February 2, 1960) was the Jagadguru (literally, teacher of the world; assigned to heads of Hindu mathas) of the Govardhana matha of Purimarker during 1925–1960. He was one of the most significant spiritual figures in Hinduism during the 20th century. He is particularly known for his work on Vedic mathematics.

Early life

Venkatraman Shastri was born in March, 1884 to P. Narasimha Shastri, originally a tehsildar at Tirunelvelimarker in Madras Presidency. Narasimha Shastri later became the Deputy Collector of the Presidency. Venkatraman was born in a highly illustrious family. His uncle, Chandrasekhara Shastri was the Principal of the Maharaja's College in Vizianagarammarker, while his great-grandfather, Justice C. Ranganath Shastri was a judge in the Madras High Courtmarker.

Educational career

Venkatraman Shastri started his educational career as a student of the National College in Trichanapalli. After that he moved to the Church Missionary Society College and eventually the Hindu College, both in Tirunelvelimarker. He was consistently first place in all subjects in all of his classes. Shastri passed his matriculation examination from the Madras University in January, 1899, where he also finished at the head of the class.

As a student Venkatraman was marked for his splendid brilliance, superb retentive memory and an insatiable curiosity. By deluging his teachers with piercing questions, making them uneasy, and frequently forcing them to admit ignorance he was considered a terribly mischievous student.

Although Venkatraman always scored high in subjects like mathematics, sciences and humanities, he was also proficient in languages and particularly adept in Sanskrit. According to his own testimonials, Sanskrit and oratory were his favourite subjects. Such was his mastery over the language, that he was awarded the title "Saraswati" by the Madras Sanskrit Association in July, 1899 at the age of 16. At about that time, Venkatraman was profoundly influenced by his Sanskrit guru Sri Vedam Venkatrai Shastri whom he remembered with deepest love, reverence and gratitude, with tears in his eyes.

Venkatraman won the highest place in the graduation B.A. examination in 1902. He then appeared for the M.A. Examination for the American College of Sciences, in Rochestermarker, New Yorkmarker from the Bombaymarker centre in 1903. He passed the M.A. examination in seven subjects that he had chosen - Sanskrit, philosophy, English, mathematics, history, science and another - simultaneously scoring the highest honours in all, which was perhaps an all-time world record at the time.

Venkatraman Saraswati, as he was called after receiving the title, also contributed to W. T. Stead's Review of Reviews on topics as diverse as religion and science. During his college days, he also wrote extensively on history, sociology, philosophy, politics and literature. Reading of the latest scientific research and discoveries was his hobby throughout his life.

Early public life

Venkatraman Saraswati worked under Gopal Krishna Gokhale in 1905 for the National Education Movement and the South African Indian problems. However, his inclination towards science and Indic studies led him to study the ancient Indian holy scriptures, Adhyātma-Vidyā. In 1908 he joined the Sringeri Matha in Mysoremarker to study under the Sringeri Shankaracharya Sri Satchidānanda Sivābhinava Nrisimha Bhārati Swami. However, his spiritual practise was interrupted when he was pressurized by nationalist leaders to head the newly started National College at Rajmahendri. Prof. Venkatraman Saraswati taught at the college for three years. But in 1911, he suddenly left the college to go back to Sri Satchidānanda Sivābhinava Nrisimha Bhārati Swami at the Sringeri Math in his quest for spiritual knowledge.

Spiritual path

Returning to Sringerimarker, Venkatraman spent his next eight years studying advanced Vedanta philosophy at the feet of Shri Nrisimha Bhārati Swami. This cannot be true. The then Sringeri Jagadguru until April 1912 was Sri Sachidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharathi Swamigal. The Swamigal attained Mahasamadhi during April 1912 and was immediately succeeded to the Peeta, by his Disciple Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharathi Swamigal. Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi was in the Peeta until 1954.

Venkaraman Saraswathi could not have hence learnt for 8 years with Sri Nrusimha Bharathi Mahaswamigal from 1911 at Sringeri. Also, When Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Swamigal was in the Peeta, there was no one else nominated as the Successor, until much later when Jagadguru Srimad Abhinava Vidya Theerta Swamigal was nominated as the Successor.

He also practised vigorous meditation, Brahma-sadhana and Yoga-sādhāna during those years in the nearby forests. It is believed that he attained spiritual self-realization during his years in the Sringeri Math. He would leave the material world and practise Yoga meditation in seclusion for many days. During those eight years, he also taught Sanskrit and Philosophy to local schools and ashrams. He delivered a series of sixteen lectures on Shankaracharya's philosophy at Shankar Institute of Philosophy, Amalner [Khandesh]. During that time, he also lectured as a guest professor at various institutions in Mumbaimarker, Punemarker and Khandesh.

Initiation into Sanyasa order

After Venkatraman's eight-year period of spiritual practice and study of the Vedanta and Vedic philosophy, he was initiated into the holy order of Samnyasa at Benarasmarker by Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Trivikram Tirthaji Maharaj of Shāradāpeeth on July 4, 1919 and on this occasion he was given the title of Swami and the new name, "Swami Bhārāti Kŗşņa Tīrtha".

Shankaracharya of Sharada Peetha

Swami Bhārāti Kŗşņa Tīrtha was installed as Shankaracharya of Sharada Peetha in 1921 after just two years of Sanyasa. After assuming the pontificate ShriJagadguruji, he was given another title, Jagadguru, as is the tradition. The Swami then toured Indiamarker from corner to corner giving lectures on Sanātana Dharma, Vedic philosophy and Vedanta. By his scintillating intellectual brilliance, powerful oratory, magnetic personality, sincerity of purpose, indomitable will, purity of thought, and loftiness of character he took the entire intellectual and religious class by storm.

Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math

Around the time the Swami became Shankaracharya of Sharada Peetha, the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math Puri, Jagadguru Śankarācārya Sri Madhusudhan Tirtha, was in failing health and was greatly impressed by Bharati Krishna Tirtha. Madhusudan Tirtha requested Bharati to succeed him at the Govardhan Math, however the Swami respectfully declined the offer. However, in 1925, Śankarācārya Sri Madhusudhan Tirtha's health took a serious turn and Swami Bhārāti Kŗşņa Tirtha had to accept the Govardhan Math's Gadi. In 1925, Swami Bhārāti Kŗşņa Tirtha assumed the pontificate of Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math, Purimarker and relinquished the pontificate of Sharadapeeth Gadi of Sringeri. He installed Sri Swarupanandji as the new Shankaracharya of Sharada Peetha.


After becoming the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math, Swami Bharati toured all over the world for 35 years to spread the values of peace, harmony and brotherhood and to spread the message of the Sanātana Dharma. He took upon himself the colossal task of the renaissance of Indian culture.

While being a pontiff, he wrote a large number of treatises and books on religion, sciences, mathematics, world peace and social issues. In 1953, at Nagpur, he founded an organization called "Sri Vishwa Punarnirmana Sangha" (World Reconstruction Association). Initially, the administrative board consisted of Jagadguruji's disciples, devotees and admirers of his spiritual ideals for humanitarian service, but later many distinguished people started to contribute to the mission. The Chief Justice of Indiamarker, Justice B.P. Sinha served as its President. Dr. C. D. Deshmukh, the ex-Finance Minister of Indiamarker and ex-Chairman of the University Grants Commission served as its Vice-President.

In February 1958 he went on a trans-oceanic tour to America to speak on world peace and Vedanta, staying three months in Los Angeles, California traveling via the United Kingdom. This was the first tour outside India by a Shankaracharya in the history of the order. The tour was sponsored by Self Realization Fellowship of Los Angeles, the Vedantic Society founded by Paramhansa Yogananda in America.

He attended many national and international religious conferences and many other yoga workshops. He believed in the Vedantic ideal of "Pūrnatva" which literally translated means, "all-round perfection and harmony". He remained the Shankaracharya of the Govardhan Matha until his death in 1960.

In 1965 a Chair of Vedic Studies was founded at Banares Hindu University by Shri Arvind N. Mafatlala, a generous Mumbai business magnate and math devotee of the late Swami Sankaracarya.


Jagadguru Swami Sri Bhārāti Kŗşņa Tirthaji Maharaja's book "Vedic Mathematics" opened the floodgates of similar literature, often derived from the Swami's 16 Sūtras themselves. His treatise on this field of mathematics is a fundamental work on speed and accuracy in basic mathematics. The Vedic Math ideal is a mental calculation and one-line notation.

The foundations of Vedic Mathematics were mentioned in the Vedas themselves and even in the Vedanta scriptures. These had lain unused for many millennia, till the Swami rediscovered them.

His book, Vedic Mathematics, comprises many algorithms. He revealed his source in the ancient Hindu Vedas. Some are intuitively reconstructed from the Atharva Veda and from Parisistas (appendix) of the Atharva Veda. "The Upaveda of Sthapatya (engineering) comprises all kinds of architectural and structural human endeavor and all visual arts (and mathematics)." His work seems to be a whole Parisistas (appendix) itself.

The ancient Sanskrit writers did not use numerals when writing big numbers but preferred to use the letters of the Sanskrit Devanāgarī alphabet. In the Vedic Sūtras the key word steps to solving many problems are given in a terse, decimal code of certain sets of rhyming syllables, within the verses of the Sūtra. The fact that the alphabetic code is in the natural order and can be immediately interpreted, is clear proof that the code language was resorted not for concealment but for greater ease in verification.

The Swami had written sixteen volumes on the Vedic Mathematics field explaining all the topics of mathematical study. Alas, many advanced formula were promised but not given in his first and only book. After his 1956 life's work manuscript on Vedic mathematics was lost in a fire at the home of a disciple, though he was going blind from cataracts, he re-wrote the manuscript in 1957 in six weeks! It was to be proofread and published in the USA but was send back to India in 1960 after his death. In 1965, this manuscript was published by Motilal Banarsidass, Varanasi, India and reprinted four times in the 1970s.

His book, Vedic Mathematics, included sixteen terse formulas for mental mathematics. For arithmetic, we are given several algorithms for whole number multiplication and division, (flag or straight) division, fraction conversion to repeating decimal numbers, calculations with measures of mixed units, summation of a series, squares and square roots (duplex method), cubes and cube roots (with expressions for a digit schedule), and divisibility (by osculation).

He gives a poem in Anusub metre, couched in the alphabetic Code-Language that has three meanings, a hymn to Lord Srī Kṛṣṇa, a hymn in praise of the Lord Shri Shankara, and the third the value of pi/10 to 32 decimal places, pi/10 = 0.31415926535897932384626433832792... with a "self-contained master-key" for extending the evaluation to any number of decimal places!

Several tests and techniques for factoring and solving certain algebraic equations with integer roots for quadratic, cubic, biquadratic, pentic equations, systems of linear equations, and systems of quadratic equations are demonstrated. For fractional expressions, a separation algorithm and fraction merger algorithms are given. Other techniques handle certain patterns of some special case algebraic equations. Just an introduction to differential and integral calculus is given.

Geometric applications are reviewed for linear equations, analytic conics, the equation for the asymptotes, and the equation to the conjugate-hyperbola. Five simple geometric proofs for the Pythagorean theorem are given. A 5-line proof of Apollonius' theorem is given.

Advanced topics promised included the integral calculus (the center of gravity of hemispheres, conics), Trigonometry, Astronomy (spherical triangles, earth's daily rotation, earth's annual rotation about the sun and eclipses), and Engineering (dynamics, statics, hydrostatics, pneumatics, applied mechanics).

In his final comments he asserted that the names for "Arabic numerals," "Pythagoras' Theorem," and "Cartesian" co-ordinates are historical misnomers.

See also


  1. page i, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication of Vedic Mathematics by Smti. Manjula Trivedi
  2. Page i, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication to Vedic Mathematics
  3. Page ii, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication to Vedic Mathematics
  4. Pages i-ii, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication to Vedic Mathematics
  5. Page iii, My Beloved Gurudeva, by Smti. Manjuja Trivedi, dedication to Vedic Mathematics
  6. page iii, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication of Vedic Mathematics by Smti. Manjula Trivedi
  7. page iv, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication of Vedic Mathematics by Smti. Manjula Trivedi
  8. pages v-vi, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication of Vedic Mathematics by Smti. Manjula Trivedi
  9. page vi, My Beloved Gurudeva, the dedication of Vedic Mathematics by Smti. Manjula Trivedi
  10. Publication announcement by N.H. Bhagwati, Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, March 27, 1965, after title page, Vedic Mathematics
  11. Pages 194-195, 209-210, 362, Vedic Mathematics
  12. Page 194, Vedic Mathematics
  13. Page x, My Beloved Gurudeva by Smti. Manjula Trivedi, the dedication to Vedic Mathematics
  14. Table of Contents,Vedic Mathematics
  15. pages 294-195, 209-210
  16. Pages 362-363, Vedic Mathematics
  17. Table of Contents,Vedic Mathematics
  18. Pages 354-360, Vedic Mathematics
  19. Pages 350-351, Vedic Mathematics
  20. Page 352, Vedic Mathematics
  21. Pages 361-362, Vedic Mathematics
  22. Page 353, Vedic Mathematics
  • Trivedi, Manjula - My Beloved Gurudeva, Sri Vishwa Punarnirmana Sangha, Nagpurmarker. (1965)
  • Sri Bhārāti Kŗşņa Tīrtha - Vedic Mathematics, Motilal Banarassidas Publications, Delhimarker, (1992) ISBN 81-208-0164-4

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