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Swami Pranavananda – Short Biography – Teachings

Swami Pranavananda (29 January 1896 – 8 January 1941) was an eminent monk of the 19th century CE. He was born in Bajitpur village of East Bengal (now Bangladesh). It is said that his parents, Vishnu Charan Bhuia and Sarada Devi, were ardent devotees of Mahadeva Shiva and received the child as gift of Mahadev Shiva and he was named Binod.

As a child, Swami Pranavanand possessed an extraordinary temperament, but he was quite innocent with childlike habits. He was often seen sitting under some tree in a posture of meditation. He had a sharp intellect and gained proficiency in studies in a short time.

As young man, Pranavananda Swamiji had a deep devotion to tulasi (a sacred plant worshiped by the Hindus) and was of the view that it was a real embodiment of divinity. When he was 17, he received initiation in renunciation from Swami Gambharnath and became Swami Pranavananda – he was later affectionately and respectfully called Yug Acharya Srimat Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj.

After receiving initiation, he rarely slept and continuously remained in deep meditation, samadhi, for a long time. Inspired by his spiritual master, he meditated deeply at Assi Ghat on the bank of Ganga River in Benares.

Ultimately he attained the final stage of spirituality and enlightenment. At present, the Pranava Matha (the heritage of Pranavanand) is located at Assi Ghat. He founded a not-for-profit and spiritual organization known as the Bharat Sevashram Sangha.

In his teachings, Swami Pranavananda emphasized the need for celibacy for a combination of practical life and spirituality. He viewed renunciation, control of the senses, truth and brahmacharya (celibacy) as the basic requirements of spiritual meditation. His whole life was an epitome of his ideal message.

Today, thousands of his disciples are practicing the path of morality, spirituality and meditation propounded by him.