Meet a Guru: Bharati Tirtha

Sri Bharati Tirtha is my parents’ guru. He is a Shankaracharya, which means a teacher of the way of Shankara. There are four seats in India for Shankaracharyas, one for each cardinal direction. The seats are not always filled. Sri Bharati Tirtha currently holds the seat in the south of India.

A couple of years ago my family and I went to India to visit his ashram in Sringeri.

He is quite a young man for a guru, but has gained great respect the world over. I heard a funny story that one of the people who does the accounting for several different ashrams and gurus recommends Sri Bharati Tirtha. Apparently, his taxes don’t reveal a hypocritical lifestyle as some do!

I found being in his presence to be very intense. I felt uncomfortably as though he could see straight through my skin and into my heart.

Though pictures of him often show a serious looking man, in person he is bright and cheerful with a ready smile.

A biography of the guru is at

He teaches Advaita/Smartha tradition, which is the branch of Hinduism my family and I follow.  Adi Shankara was a great philosopher who revolutionized Hinduism two thousand years ago. His commentaries on the scriptures are the basis for Advaita today.

What is Advaita Vedanta? 

The doctrine of advaita vedanta as expounded by Sankara can be summed up in half a verse: “Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah — Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; this world is unreal; and the Jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman. This is the quintessence of his philosophy.

According to Sri Sankara, whatever is, is Brahman. Brahman Itself is absolutely homogeneous. All difference and plurality are illusory.

* I am not endorsing any of the teachers highlighted in this feature

Hindu Holiday: Holi!
Meet a Sage: Adi Shankara
Meet a Guru: RamDev
Meet a Sage: Vyasa
About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • gowri

    Hi Amba,
    This is the first time I visiting your blog and i quiet like it .I appreciate the fact you have so lovingly embraced the path of hinduism and are in a quest to learn more .I understand that You must be really passionate about it.I am a hindu myself but there a are a lot of stuff I wouldnt know so I would say I am just a namesake hindu but you are the real Hindu and I would be able learn a lot from you.
    Hats off to u Amba!!!!!!

    • Ambaa

      Awww! Thank you. I’m glad you’re here! Please feel free to give your opinions and input :)

  • Agni Ashwin

    Sri Bharati Tirtha gave an interview with Hinduism Today as well:

    “Look at everyone with love and affection. Help others; if not, at least do not harm others. Secondly, never lose faith and belief in God. Believe in Him through whichever name you choose, but never stop believing. Worship God with dedication and devotion, and you will receive His Grace.”

    • Ambaa

      Beautiful! I still have that issue of Hinduism Today. I was so excited when it came in the mail and there was a familiar face on the cover!