Śankarācārya (Shankaracharya) Order and Movement

Shankaracharya, (IAST: Śaṅkarācārya, Shankara acharya) is a commonly used title of heads of maţhas [maṭhas] (monasteries) in the Advaita tradition. The title derives from Adi Shankara [Ādi Śaṅkārā], a 9th century CE theologian of Hinduism [Hindūism]. He is honoured as Jagadguru [Jagadgurū], a title that was used earlier only to Lord Krishna [Kṛṣṇā]....

Like other religions and sects, some rivalry exists between some groups who claim to have been initiated into the Shankaracharya Order.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankaracharya


He [Maharishi Mahesh Yogi] became a disciple and assistant of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati [a.k.a. Gurū Dev], who was the Shankaracharya [Śaṅkarācārya] (spiritual leader) of Jyotirmath [Jyotirmaṭha] in the Indian Himalayas. The Maharishi credits Brahmananda Saraswati with inspiring his teachings. Beginning in 1955, the Maharishi began to introduce the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique and other related programmes and initiatives to the world. His first global tour began in 1958.[Oates, Robert M. (1976). Celebrating the Dawn: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the TM Technique. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. Page 40.]

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maharishi_Mahesh_Yogi

From TM-EX Newsletter, Volume 4, Number 1, Winter, 1992


A Visit to the Shankaracharya

Introduction: Over a thousand years ago(1), Adi Shankara, renowned for his revival of the knowledge of Vedic Sanatan Dharma or the worship of God, according to the Vedic Scriptures, and also for his commentaries on several major Hindu Scriptures, established four major monasteries in India. These monasteries, or ``Maths'' were located in the North, South, East and Western parts of India. These Maths or ``Peeths'' (monasteries) were overseen by ``Shankaracharyas'' according to the tradition and wishes prescribed by Adi Shankara. Shankara was also widely accepted in India as the descension of Lord Shiva, the Hindu deity responsible for the final dissolution of the universe. The primary responsibility of each of the four Shankaracharyas, while overseeing the four Maths, has been the preservation of the major systems of Hindu philosophy which form the basis of the Hindu religion. Within the monasteries, the Shankaracharyas took disciples, who in some cases, assumed the revered title of Shankaracharya upon the death of their Spiritual Master. Those Shankaracharyas travelled extensively throughout India preaching their particular sect's beliefs to all Hindus.

The title ``Shankaracharya'' is a traditional title handed down to that person, who according to Adi Shankara, the original Shankaracharya, is Brahmin by birth, established in Yoga, or in other words, whose soul is in union with God and who is thereby Divine. Having achieved this union through lifetimes of spiritual practice and renunciation, now, as living Divinity, he is ``pujapad,'' his feet are worthy of worship. His Scriptural understanding is so perfect that he can synthesize the Scriptures of all Religions. He is Vedanta Incarnate, the embodiment of Hindu Scripture, and further, he must be recognized as Shankaracharya by the other three Shankaracharyas, having received proper initiation by them according to Hindu Scriptural injunctions. Recognized also means that the other Shankaracharyas are willing to sit alongside him at major religious festivals.

According to the rules laid down by Shankara, the only possibility of removing a Shankaracharya is, if, during his lifetime he should become mentally infirm or prove by his actions or judgment that he is not qualified to hold the title which is held sacred by Hindus. If such a case exists, a new Shankaracharya is elected by a learned body of pundits, called ``Kashi Vidwat Parishad,'' according to the tradition. In this way, the title of Shankaracharya and these Maths or monasteries have been maintained and handed down from Master to Disciple for thousands of years. This lineage is commonly known as the ``Shankaracharya Tradition.''


In October 1986, several months before my case against the Transcendental Meditation movement was to begin in Washington, D.C., I contacted Shree Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati. Shree Shankaracharya, reported and pictured in The Illustrated Weekly of India(2), has the unique distinction of holding the dual title, Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the Jyotir Math (Jyotish Peeth Monastery) of Northern India, as well as the Shankaracharya of the Dwarka Math in Western India.

Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati was a pre-eminent disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev). Brahmananda Saraswati, whose picture is customarily seen behind Mahesh Yogi, was also Mahesh Yogi's Spiritual Master. Guru Dev held the title of Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, the monastery located in Northern India, until his death, by poisoning, in 1954.

My interest in contacting the Shankaracharya was to attempt to discern whether or not, from the Shankaracharya's understanding of Indian Scripture, I had been misled by Mahesh Yogi. Further, as a teacher of TM, I wanted to know if, in fact, I represented the Shankaracharya Tradition as I had been told by Mahesh Yogi. Most of all, it was an attempt to find out what had happened to my mind from the practice of TM and the TM Sidhi programs.

The Shankaracharya, Swaroopanand Saraswati, had been invited to attend a five day birthday celebration of Guru Dev's oldest living disciple, Swami Akandananda, at the Akandananda ashram in the town of Vrindaban, India. A great tent and stage had been erected to hold several thousand guests. These guests included Shantinand (seen pictured to the right of the Shankaracharya Swaroopanand) and Vishnu Devanand (not pictured with the Shankaracharya), both of whom had previously attempted to lay claim to the title of Shankaracharya of the Northern seat.

When I arrived in Vrindaban, I settled into a hotel, then made my way to Akandananda's ashram. There were several hundred people listening to a speech on the Vedas. After making some inquiries, I quickly learned that Shankaracharya had not yet arrived, but was given the address of the house at which he was staying. I visited with the family and left my name and hotel address, hoping that Shankaracharya would contact me when he arrived.

Early the next morning, one of Shankaracharya's devotees brought word that he had arrived in the middle of the night and I was to come at lunchtime. Arriving at the house, I was taken to a side courtyard. Having removed my shoes according to custom, my host requested that I bathe my hands and feet prior to being taken to Shankaracharya's bedroom. Finally, the moment had arrived. I was taken down a long corridor and ushered into a bedroom. Shankaracharya was sitting crosslegged on the bed. He spoke in Hindi, pointing to one of his disciples dressed in orange. As he spoke, his disciple began translating. Shankaracharya asked my name and if I was the same gentleman who had contacted him. He asked if I had eaten and motioned to one of his disciples to serve me lunch, and we would talk again later. A traditional Indian lunch was served in the courtyard. By this time, about fifty people were at the house, including his disciples, dignitaries and local government officials who had come to receive his darshan and to welcome him to Vrindaban.

After resting in the afternoon, Shankaracharya once again summoned me to his room. There were about twenty people in the room sitting on the floor. After bowing in customary fashion to show my respect, I was asked to relate my questions to Shankaracharya. I began by telling him how I had started practicing TM, met Mahesh Yogi (as Shankaracharya called him), and had eventually become a teacher of TM. In particular, I read statements from TM literature saying TM came from the Shankaracharya tradition. I then read aloud the famous statement which was allegedly written by a Shankaracharya, which described Mahesh Yogi as the protector of the Shankaracharya Tradition, Rishi of Rishis and a descension of Shankara himself. I explained that these kinds of statements were used on courses and during fundraisers by TM officials to garner financial and emotional support from TM members. Further, I spoke aloud the sixteen mantras: eng, em, enga, ema, aing, aim, ainga, aima, shiring, shirim, hiring, hirim, kiring, kirim, shyam and shyama, and the method of giving them by age as I had been taught by Mahesh Yogi. Next came the advanced techniques. Finally, I described the TM Sidhi Program.

Shankaracharya looked physically distressed and his bowed head shook from side to side as the statements were translated. Then, after what seemed to be an eternal silence, he began to speak. He stated that his Master had left a will which clearly stated the names of those individuals who were to assume the title and responsibilities of Shankaracharya after his death. After the murder of his Master, the next in line was Shantinand. He said Mahesh immediately had him moved into the ashram to assume authority. Then, [Mahesh] used [Shantinand's] name after leaving India, to show that he taught under the authority of Shankaracharya.

In the meantime, he (Swaroopanand) said he had been given the title of Shankaracharya of Dwarka Math and travelled extensively throughout India preaching. He recalled that Shantinand did not have the proper training or credentials to hold the title of Shankaracharya, and eventually, after proving himself unfit to hold the title, the same learned pundits who had elected Brahmananda Saraswati to the throne asked Swaroopanand to take the title and responsibilities of the Jyotir Math ashram, until such time as another qualified person could be appointed. He agreed, and was given initiation as Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math.

Shantinand, at the direction of Mahesh Yogi, refused to give up possession of the Jyotir Math ashram and forced the matter into litigation. Years later, Shantinand finally gave up the title and Mahesh had Vishnu Devanand assume the title and possession of the ashram. In so doing, they also clearly ignored the will of Guru Dev which had specified the name Dvarikeshanand Saraswati as the second in line to receive the title. This was to occur, according to the will of Guru Dev, should Shantinand prove unqualified or leave the ashram. Swaroopanand continued, stating, it was written by my Lord (Guru Dev) that ``this is my will and command.'' He said that the scheme by Mahesh to appoint Vishnu Devanand was clearly gross disrespect of his own Master's desire. He said all of this was being done to delude Westerners. Mahesh needs a Shankaracharya to continue spreading his net of deception. He said, as Shankaracharya, it is my clear and absolute duty to uphold the true teaching of Shree Shankara.

Fact is fact, he stated, these things you have described to me have nothing to do with the Shankaracharya Tradition. The so-called mantras or meaningless sounds as you have described them are primarily used to gain material wealth and comfort, not for spiritual enlightenment. Further, my Master (Guru Dev) never gave the mantras you have described, his mantras were not mantras for material comfort, his were to uplift the soul, remove his material attachments and for realization of God.

He invited me to attend the meeting with him in the tent that evening. As he entered the tent, a loud voice announced the entrance of Shree Swaroopanand Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotish Peeth and Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth. There were now about 2,000 people in attendance. All prostrated as he entered the tent, walked on stage and assumed the throne of Shree Shankaracharya.

He gave discourse on the special teaching responsibilities of Shankaracharya and those who claim they belong to the Tradition. He described how the world, particularly the West, had no understanding of Indian spiritual traditions or Scriptures. Further, he stated to mislead Westerners was a grave insult to India and to those Westerners who relied on such misrepresentations.

I returned that evening to Shankaracharya's house and was immediately taken to see him. He asked, did you see Shantinand on the stage? I replied yes. He said, word came to me that he (Shantinand) had requested to be allowed on the stage. I allowed him to be present only because he has given up this nonsense of claiming title to Shankaracharya. He said Vishnu Devanand, Mahesh's so-called Shankaracharya, was also here in Vrindaban, he also requested to come onto the stage, but I refused. Then, he (Vishnu Devanand) stated he would sit on a lower, undecorated seat if I allowed him to attend. I refused him. Then, he again begged to simply sit on the floor of the stage at my feet, if I allowed him to be publicly present. Again I refused. He said, if I allow him to be seen with me, and all the while wrongfully claiming title as Shankaracharya, it will appear as if I approve of his activity, and I do not. Therefore, he said, I have ordered that he may not even come into the tent to sit in the audience.

He went on the describe how some mentally disturbed man in India had put on saffron robes and claimed to be a Shankaracharya. He said he travelled throughout India and gathered a few disciples who innocently were being deceived and who followed him. He said, anyone can build a throne, put on orange robes and claim the title of Shankaracharya--who would stop them? However, the true test of the title is whether the other Shankaracharyas, who initiate the new Shankaracharya, will sit publicly with him. During special spiritual ceremonies, all Shankaracharyas must be present and sit together. He said no other Shankaracharya will publicly sit with Vishnu Devanand, nor would he.

Shankaracharya then warned me that Mahesh now knows you are here in Vrindaban with me. He has sent Nadikishor and his spies here with others to watch you, you must be very careful. He placed a guard outside of my bedroom door at night and had someone travel with me at all times. Much to my amazement, I discovered that, in fact, I was being followed.

The next time, we met with the local press present. There he wanted the world to bear witness against the gross misrepresentations and disrespect which was being perpetrated against the Shankaracharya Tradition. On a warm Autumn evening, in Vrindaban, India, he answered the following questions, which I and others asked him. Robert Kropinski~


1--Shankara, 788-820, Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion, Schuhmacher, Woerner Editors, Shambhala, Boston

2--The Illustrated Weekly of India, September 13, 1987

From TM-EX Newsletter, Volume 4, Number 2, Spring, 1992

INDIA -- A Visit to the Shankaracharya, Part II

On a warm Autumn evening, in Vrindaban, India, he answered the following questions which I and others asked him:

[The following transcript is taken directly from the taped conversations. Translations were provided concurrently by an interpreter.]

Questioner: The religion that Guru Dev (Mahesh's teacher) preached was connected with five forms of God--Devatas--such as Pancha Devupasana and so what relation has it with Vedic Sanatan Dharma (worship of God) as well as in regard to the ``Varna'' (caste system) and ``Aashram'' (four stages of life) systems?

Shankaracharya: The Lord, Adi Shankara was a great exponent of Vedic Sanatan Dharma. God, he taught, is grouped into six forms. He preached six types--five based on forms of God like Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, etc. and one, Nirakar, without form. However, the worship of God without form being extremely difficult was reserved for renunciates. That is what Adi Shankaracharya had instructed.

Bhagavan Shree Shankara revived Vedic Sanatan Dharma. He said God has six forms. So accordingly, Maharaji (Guru Dev) gave ``upadesh'' (initiation) to meditate upon those forms for the sake of our worship.

Questioner: My Lord, Shankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswatiji Maharaj (Guru Dev), who is our ``pujapaad'' (whose feet are worthy of our respect), who is ``brahmaleen'' (absorbed in Brahma, the omnipresent form of God) who is presiding over the Jyotish, who is the teacher of the entire universe--that he (Guru Dev) used to instruct mantras to his disciples. I would like to know which mantras were those?

Shankaracharya: The Lord, Shankaracharya Brahmananda Saraswatiji Maharaj (Guru Dev) strictly adhered to the ``Varna'' (caste) and ``Aashram'' (four stages of life) systems. He believed in one's Varna (caste) by birth. Whosoever came to him to become a disciple, he used to ask him which form of God he was in love with. Whichever form the new disciple had an interest in, that form he would explain to the new disciple. [Guru Dev] used to explain, Either you should depend on your own inclination or else, he, after understanding your previous life and which form of God you worshipped then, would instruct the initiate accordingly.

Without having an ``IshTadevataa'' (a personal form of God), no one could have a ``Mantra'' (name of God) from him. The very meaning of Mantra is IshTadevataa (a personal form of God). Therefore, along with every mantra, thinking or reflecting over the form of the IshTadevataa is essential. Therefore, in all the modes of worship, one reflects over one's IshTadevataa before chanting or meditating with one's mantra.

Questioner (to interpreter): Can you explain to Maharaji (The Shankaracharya) that I was trained by Mahesh Yogi as a teacher of TM, and I can explain to him what I was taught. I don't understand whether or not what I was taught is correct. Explain to him that I was given 16 mantras, by Maharishi that I can pronounce to Maharaji. I will pronounce them one after the other as I was trained. They are to be given out by certain ages. I can read them to Maharaji and then he can comment whether they are correct or incorrect. If he can explain how they are supposed to be used, or whether they are supposed to be used or not. Eng, em, enga, ema, aing, aim, ainga, aima, hiring, hirim, kiring, kirim, shiring, shirim, shyam, shyama.

Shankaracharya: It's like this. Here we have each mantra connected with one god. There lies the bija mantra. That bija mantra is for that god.

Questioner: Mahesh Yogi's mantras are of one [sound] each, for instance, eng, em, enga, ema, aing, aim, etc. These are given by age or sex. This is not the teachings of the Vedas or Scriptures, what is your opinion?

Shankaracharya: We do join Bija Aksharas (single syllabled names/sounds) to the mantras. But, Bija Aksharas also mean IshTadevataas (names of the personal forms of god). The kind of process you just described is purely imaginary and it has no connection with our Scripture of the Shankaracharya tradition.

Bija Akshara is connected with IshTadevataas to make it a mantra. These have relevance with the Scriptures, a tradition. Whatever Mahesh does in this respect has no relevance to Shastra (Scriptures).

Robert Kropinski


[Editor's note: The Author is a former teacher of TM. He filed a lawsuit against the TM movement on the grounds of fraud, which was settled out of court in 1991. After leaving the TM movement in 1983 he joined another Eastern group, International Society of Divine Love, ISDL. He has since left ISDL, and is no longer interested in pursuIng his spiritual life under the control of a guru.]

From TM-EX Newsletter, Volume 4, Number 4, Summer, 1992


A Visit to the Shankaracharya, Part III

[Editor's Note: The following transcript is taken directly from the taped conversations between Robert Kropinski, a former TM teacher and follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Shree Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati, a pre-eminent disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev), who is considered Mahesh Yogi's Spiritual Master.]

Q: So, in other words, explain to Shankaracharya, that what he (Mahesh) gives is, for example, my mantra was aing, and I paid $400 and I received the word ``aing.'' So, mentally, I closed my eyes with aing, using that mantra, repeating it mentally, passively. In other words, passively, just saying it, repeating it like that. Mahesh claims these mantras came from Shankaracharya.

Shankaracharya: Shankaracharya (Guru Dev), whose disciple he (Mahesh) calls himself, I was also his disciple, Brahmand Saraswati's (Guru Dev). He (Brahmand Saraswati) was my Guru. He would not accept any offerings from his disciples.

Disciple should be such that he gives to his Guru everything. Then nothing belongs to the disciple, everything is Guru's. Guru should be such that he does not take anything from the disciple. He thinks only good of his disciple.

Q: Lord, we have heard that Mahesh Yogi instructs mantras himself, and some people believe him as their Guru. He is a kaaystha by birth (lower caste). Do you think it is appropriate for him to instruct like this?

Shankaracharya: My first information was that he used to place a picture of Guru Dev and had people worship the picture, and then he would give out the mantras. I have met many persons who, in reality, had their mantras from Mahesh, but they consider themselves to be disciples of Brahmaliin Jagadguru Shankaracharya (Guru Dev). But, no matter whom they consider their teacher, the fact of the matter is that a person who gives a mantra is to be considered the real Guru. If Mahesh thinks that he is backed by Shankaracharya, then what is proper on his part is to tell people to take initiation from Shankaracharya.

Q: Brahmananda Saraswati did not charge any fees when he used to initiate?

Shankaracharya: This is a principle. A quotation from Goswami Tulsidas: ``The guru who charges or takes money from his disciples in return for initiation, steals disciples property and goes to damnable hell.''

For that reason Guru Deva used to give `upadesha' (initiation) without any fees. He used to say ``If I accept any gift from the disciple (or fees), then his sins are transmitted to me.'' In India, dharma, yoga, knowledge, specialized knowledge can never be sold for money. That is priceless. Anyone who puts a price on it insults it. So, a mantra is also never given for money. Knowledge cannot be sold for money. Therefore, the process that is being employed by Mahesh is merely for the sake of making money, and this is entirely against the canons of Indian culture and civilization.

Where money is involved that becomes a business.

I am telling you what is good for you without any vested interest. This is the rule followed here. We do not have a class of people as he (Mahesh) has created there...You don't need a class for giving a mantra.

Ashtanga Yoga--Yama, niyam, aasan, praanayaam, pratyaahaar, dhaarnaa, dhyaan, samaadhi, theses are the eight limbs of yoga. A Guru takes a disciple into these one by one. In return, the Guru does not accept anything from his disciple. He does it out of kindness and out of a feeling for doing good to his disciple.

The second thing is, when one practices yoga, then he attains sidhis (supernatural powers). But, these powers are of no use. One who is asking for a price for a mantra, it shows, he did not have anything to give out to anyone else.

Q: My Lord, it is reported that he (Mahesh) is giving ``Sidhi initiation'' and is charging a minimum of RS 20,000 ($10,000 US approx.) for what he teaches. His Sidhi mantras are Sanskrit verses of the Yoga Sutras and he has promised Sidhis (supernatural powers) as an achievement of the practice. To me it looks like cheating, what is your opinion?

Shankaracharya: So far as `Yoga Darshan' (the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali) is concerned, the first step of the `Yoga Darshan' is `Chitta vritti nirodaha' or control of the fluctuations of the mind. Achievement of Yoga practice is the state of `Samadhi' and `Samadhi' is the goal of the practice. When the Sadhaka (practitioner) reaches the state of `Samadhi' then he may attain some Sidhis like travelling through space, seeing distant objects, etc. But these are obstacles and one should not be attached to these Sidhis, for they do positive disservice to the Sadhakas and their use can cause reversal of spiritual achievement. These Sidhis come of their own accord, naturally to anyone engaged in meditation. But, if the goal is to obtain and use Sidhis then it is a perversion. These are obstacles in the way of samadhi and one should not have any sense of attachment with them, otherwise something undesirable may happen. Any attachment with them is not expected of any yogi.

Who disciplines himself and concentrates (dharana) on `Surya'--``Surya Sanyama Bhubana Jnanam,'' meaning who disciplines or contemplates on Surya, he attains the knowledge of the universe. To get this knowledge one has to concentrate on `Surya.' But, prior to that stage of dharan (one pointed concentration) `pratyahar' is necessary. Pratyahar, realization of Divine Truth in perfect form at all times, is necessary. That stage comes after yama, niyama, asana, and aprnayama. All these stages mean complete discipline of body, mind and emotions with no attachment or aversion of any kind in the world.

Whoever goes in straightaway for meditation for a little while without these preceding stages, cannot get `pratyahar' which is an abstraction of worldly enjoyment and he cannot come to the stage of `dharan' (one pointed concentration). And one who cannot concentrate of discipline himself, how can he attain Sidhis (supernormal powers)? so all these talks are just cheating and an Indian yogi should not do that. This will tarnish India's image.

What Mahesh Yogi need is to show others how to fly. He should fly in the sky in front of everybody. It would be nice if he once flies from America to India without any airplane. Then perhaps what he says can be accepted. Otherwise, he will be like those who entrap people in their net of forgery.''~

Robert Kropinski


From TM-EX Newsletter, Volume 4, Number 5, Fall, 1992


A Visit to the Shankaracharya, Part IV

[Editor's Note: The following transcript is taken directly from the taped conversations between Robert Kropinski, a former TM teacher and follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Shree Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati, a pre-eminent disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev), who is considered Mahesh Yogi's Spiritual Master.]

Q: My Lord, it is reported by some that with this type of meditation many people have harmed themselves physically and mentally. I think people give huge amounts of money to buy some sickness for themselves?

Shankaracharya: For correct meditation it is necessary to control the emotions of the mind (Chitta). Mind should be free from `raga' and `dweshara' or attachment, likes and aversion, dislikes. So long as mind is not indifferent to outside objects, is not rid of its impurities, free from desires, material objects, etc., wavering mind continues to exist and mind does not stop thinking about them. This process that Mahesh Yogi teaches, there is not place for such a spiritual pursuit. Anyone who comes to him, whether he is a meat-eater, or an alcoholic, he is initiated into dhyaan [TM]. In minds, where attachment and aversion continue to be present, they try to concentrate on outside objects. Because, the process of his yoga is that you sit quietly, let the mind wander wherever it goes, you just repeat the mantra I gave you.

For example, when mother-in-law and daughter-in-law quarrel with each other and after that sit for transcendental meditation (Vabatita) in transcendental meditation center, what will they meditate on? Mother-in-law will meditate on daughter-in-law and vice versa. The reason is simple, both of them are still full of hatred for each other. Without accomplishing the kind of ability needed for meditation, if one meditates, it can be fatal. This is true, however, making the people who are physically very tired, sit peacefully and make them do some yoga posture like shavvasan, etc. can provide temporary peace. But, such a process is not at all helpful in destroying our sins. This (TM) is a worldly Yoga. For people who are distressed by worldly objects, or by worldly problems, they can temporarily forget the world. However, even this much is not achieved if they sit without control over their minds.

One should be qualified for meditation or in other words show them the necessary prerequisites to do meditation.

Who comes to practice this so-called `yoga' (TM), and comes with all anxieties, worries and filled with all worldly thoughts.

Q: [The following paragraph was then read to Shankaracharya from a TM brochure]: Furthermore, there is a specific set of mantras handed down for centuries in the Shankaracharya tradition that seems to have a special property of becoming increasingly pleasing as they are perceived a finer stages. These particular sounds are mantras in Sanskrit. The Shankaracharya tradition has preserved not only these sounds but also a system of rules or formulas by which they are to be assigned to individuals.

And this is what he (Mahesh) is saying in print. These are the mantras he gives to people.

Shankaracharya: He (Mahesh) made them up. These are not given by Guruji (Guru Dev). He (Mahesh) was an ordinary clerk.

People here in India are concerned. He (Mahesh) cheated millions of rupees from people like him (Kropinski). Because of his cheating practices, people might lose faith on Indian Spirituality. Swami Vivekanand and Swami RamTirth left a good impression in America. We wanted that impression to continue. It makes me sad that some people from here like Rajneesh and Mahesh went there (to America) and they destroyed those good feelings. Mahesh has caused a severe blow to Indian culture.

Q: [The following statement was then read to Shankaracharya from a TM brochure. It was explained that this brochure was allegedly spoken by Shankaracharya about Mahesh. Later, Bevan Morris, the President of MIU, read the statement to TM participants by when attempting to raise money from donations.]

He (Mahesh Yogi) comes from the tradition of Shree Shankaracharya. He (Mahesh) is a disciple just like the Master (Guru Dev). He is the bestower of light and is the incarnation of Shankaracharya, the (Mahesh) is the Rishi of the Rishis (Divine Seers), greatest of the great, greater than greatness, he is the reason of the welfare of the tradition of Shankaracharya...

Shankaracharya: Only he can dispel darkness who does not want anything. Only such a person can drive people out of darkness to light. But he himself (Mahesh) is in darkness.

We want that people like you should tell others that he does not know anything about yoga. Neither he is serving American people nor Indian people.~


From TM-EX Newsletter, Volume 5, Number 1, Winter, 1993


A Visit to the Shankaracharya, Part V

[Editor's Note: The following transcript is taken directly from the taped conversations between Robert Kropinski, a former TM teacher and follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Shree Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati, a pre-eminent disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev), who is considered Mahesh Yogi's Spiritual Master.]

Q: We have heard that Mahesh Yogi instructs mantras himself, and some people believe in him as their teacher. He is a kaaystha (lower caste, not a Brahmin) by birth. Do you think it is appropriate for him to instruct like this?

Shankaracharya: My first information was that he used to place a picture of Guru Dev behind him, that during initiation he would have people worship it and then he would give out mantras. I have met many persons, who, in reality, had their mantras from Mahesh, but they consider themselves to be disciple of Brahmaleen Jagadguru Shankaracharya Brahmanand Saraswati (Guru Dev). But, no matter whom they consider their teacher, the fact of the matter is that a person who gives a mantra is to be considered the real Guru (dispeller of darkness, Spiritual Master). If Mahesh thinks that he is backed by Shankaracharya, then what is proper on his part is to tell people to take initiation from Shankaracharya.

Q: Lord, Mahesh Yogi considers Vishnu Devanand Saraswati as Shankaracharya of the Jyotish peeth. As far as I know he was not consecrated according to Vedic ritual. Also, Mahesh is reported to pay his monthly expenses?

Shankaracharya: I do not have any evidence of his giving money. This, however, is certain, that he, Vishnu Devanand does not have offerings which are enough for his living. Therefore, it seems that he gets income from outside. Moreover, he calls Mahesh Yogi as puujya (revered), as Maharishi (great seer) and stands up on his arrival, these are all things which indicate that he is dependent on him for money. So far as the question of Shankaracharya is concerned, only he is made Shankaracharya who has all the qualities of Mahaanushasan (great discipline). According to Mahaanushasan, Shankaracharya is he who has conquered his senses, knows all the other scriptures. Only such a person, who has all these qualities should sit on the seat of Shankaracharya. In case a wrong person is found to be occupying that seat, he should be dethroned. As far as I know, the scholars from Baneras had held him unable for this seat. Even after that statement, he has not acquired any competency.

Again, the so-called will of the deceased Guru Dev prescribes the name of Dvarikeshanand Saraswati as the second person, not him. It is written in that will (of Guru Dev) that this is clearly my order, that so far as Dvarikeshanand Shastri is alive, there is no one who has the right to make anyone else succeed to that seat unless Dvarkishanand becomes mentally incompetent or else relinquishes the seat himself. Depriving him of his seat is disobedience of the teacher's order. Therefore, neither according to the Mahaanushasan, nor according to the will of Shankaracharya (Guru Dev), is he (Vishnu Devanand) the rightful successor.

When a Sammelan (conference) of all the four seats was called, he (Vishnu Devanand) was not invited there as one presiding over the Jyotish Peeth. Moreover, no other Shankaracharya of any seat allows him to sit next to him.

He knows that in the days ahead he will be exposed. Before that moment arrives, he wants to make sure that he will not have financial difficulty in life. He created on Shankaracharya here. There is Shantinand sitting there (pointing to Shantinand sitting on the stage). They, Shantinand and Vishnu Devanand have no influence on the public. They are raised by Mahesh's money. They just sing his glory.

Q: Mahesh Yogi claims that he preaches yoga according to the instruction of his Guru. The truth of the matter, however, is that Guru Dev never asked anyone who is not a Brahmin by birth to go and spread his teachings. What is your opinion?

Shankaracharya: This is true. In reality, preaching, initiating, guiding people engaged in spiritual pursuits, is the duty of those who are born in a Brahmin family. If he is a follower of Sanatan Dharma (the Hindu religion), he should not do what he is doing. This is against the orders of his Guru. Moreover, making others write puujya (revered), calling himself Maharishi (a great seer) is totally inappropriate. No assembly of saints has either conferred upon him a title of Maharishi nor has announced him puujya.

In the ashram he was doing the work of typing and writing and translation. Then he became a sadhu. However, he has never practiced yoga.

It is said that Guru Dev was given poison. Who gave that poison we don't know but we know that there was poison in his body. When Guru Dev's body became unwell, then we wanted him to go to Kashi to rest. But he (Mahesh) removed him from that trip forcibly and took him to speak in Calcutta. There he died.

After that, this man spread his net. He went abroad. First to Singapore. The expatriate Indians there, thinking that he is the disciple of Shankaracharya, received him well and got him a ticket for the United States. After going to America, he brought the Beatles back here. It was rumored that he did inappropriate things with them and that's why they left him and went away.

He later opened many camps and pretended that he could teach people to read minds and levitate. No one, however, succeeded in learning the things he promised. He himself does not know or practice yoga. He does not know anything about those things. Robert Kropinski, 1985~

From: http://minet.org/Documents/