Meet a Guru: Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi is a very well known Indian guru of the Advaita Vedanata philosophy. He died in 1950 but his quotes and books of his teachings continue to influence people today. (His birth name was Venkataraman Iyer and he is also sometimes called Ramanasramam).BackgroundIt is said that he became self-realized/enlightened by self-reflection (incited by ruminating on his father's death) and did not seek to go out and teach. Rather, students slowly began to flock to him because of his … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Swami Sukhabodhananda

Swami Sukhabodhananda is a modern-day guru who follows a model closer to a motivational corporate speaker than a traditional guru. He addresses businesses and conferences to speak on Hindu philosophy.BackgroundAs a young man he was a student of Swami Chinmayananda, founder of Chinmaya Mission, which is an organization I have been part of and liked a lot. He was born in Bangalore to a Kannada-speaking family in 1955.TeachingHe gives the message of the Gita and other Hindu … [Read more...]


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Meet a Sage: Adi Shankara

Shankara is an enormously important figure in Hinduism, most particularly my branch of Advaita Vedanta. He was a brilliant philosopher from a young age and wrote amazing commentaries on all the Hindu scriptures in the 8th century CE.He re-energized the branch of Hinduism known as Advaita or Smartha. He believed that the ultimate reality was one of complete unity.During his young life, he traveled by foot over all of India discussing and spreading his ideas, attempting to unify Hinduism. … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: RamDev

Ram Dev (also called Baba RamDev ) is credited with popularizing yoga in India. His yoga institutions have also had an influence in Britain and the U.S. He has been making a name for himself in ayurveda medicine and political statements as well.BackgroundIn 2003, he started being featured on TV for a morning yoga slot, which quickly grew into a yoga revival movement. It is said that previous to going on TV, he studied scripture and practiced yogic disciplines alone in the Himalayan … [Read more...]


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Meet a Sage: Vyasa

Since I mentioned Vyasa yesterday for Guru Purnima, I thought I would tell you a little more about him today! Guru Purnima is also called Vyasa Purnima and is said to be both his birthday and the day he arranged the Vedas into four parts.Vyasa is a famous figure from Hindu history. He is a sage who is said to have composed great Indian epic The Mahabharata (in which The Bhagavad Gita appears). He was also a character within it.  He is credited with arranging the Vedas and writing the Brahma … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Paramahansa Yogananda

Yogananda has been the gateway into Hinduism (or at least Hindu philosophy) for many westerners.  It was in 1920 that he came to America to speak at a religious council and founded his Self-Realization Fellowship. People continue to find his teachings through his book Autobiography of a Yogi.BackgroundHe was born in 1893 in India (Uttar Pradesh, to be specific). He graduated from college and then became a disciple in a monastic Swami order. At 27 he went to America, where he spent most … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar, also known as Sri Sri, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Guruji, or Gurudev, is an advocate for non-violence. He believes in peace and in using meditation to achieve it. Born in 1957, he is quite a young guru.BackgroundThe name Ravi Shankar is actually his birth name, and the "Shankar" is for Shankara!  Ravi Shankar was involved with the Maharishi, the guru who is usually credited with bringing meditation and Indian Advaitan philosophy to the west (It is the Maharishi that the Beatles … [Read more...]


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What Do Gurus Say About Meditation

For years spiritual teachers have been telling us that we need to meditate... Practice meditation regularly. Meditation leads to eternal bliss. Therefore meditate, meditate. -Swami Sivananda  “To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”― Jiddu Krishnamurti Alone let him constantly meditate in solitude on that which is salutary for his soul, for he who meditates in solitude attains supreme bliss.-Guru Nanak … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Ram Das

Ram Das is an American Hindu (born in the Boston area, just like me!) who I think is most famous for the book Be Here Now. He's not necessarily a guru, per se, but he has taught and explained the ideas given to him by his guru and has a foundation and a following.Wikipedia quotes him as saying, "I help people as a way to work on myself, and I work on myself to help people..."BackgroundRam Das's name was originally Richard Alpert and he was born to a Jewish family in Massachusetts in … [Read more...]


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