Bhakti Ananda Goswami

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
David Sherman (birthname), David Michael Sherman, HG Bhakti Ananda Goswami Pandita
Gaudiya Vaisnavism, Tibetan & Pure Land Buddhism, Catholicism
Main Countries of Activity: 
USA, India
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Coos Bay, Oregon, United States
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Other Related Gurus: 
HG Radhanatha Swami


Born with an undiagnosed medically intersexed condition, he was sex-assigned and raised as a girl. A lifetime of being intersexed, not perfectly male or female, not being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual, but at times persecuted as all of these, has given Bhakti Ananda Goswami some unique insights into the nature of sex and gender along with great empathy for persons who have been rejected and persecuted for being different.

David Michael Sherman (Tridandi Sannyasi Bhakti Ananda Goswami) is a Catholic hermit (monk) under private vows, and a Triple-Staffed Sannyasi (Renunciate) Siksha Guru (Instructing Master) in the ancient Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Lineage of Indian Vaishnavism.

Retired as the Head of Interfaith Research and Communications for the World Vaishnava Association Vrindavan India, an Executive Committee Member of the World Hindu Organization Kathmandu Nepal, and an Officer of the Universal Sanatana Dharma Foundation New Delhi India, Bhakti Ananda also keeps vows as a Pure Land Buddhist and Sattvic Theistic Shaivite and Shakta. Keeping these permanent vows of religious devotion for decades, he has earned the worldwide respect of many people as a 'Goswami' or Ascetic / Sadhaka / Tzaddik.

As a practicing Catholic his spirituality is Franciscan, and he is the Founder and Director of the Saint Francis of Assisi Ecumenical Retreat. David is also an intersex person, and is a Board Member of the Organization Intersex International, the World's foremost human rights advocacy group for intersex people (intersex people are those born with bodies that are not either typically female or male).

As an interdisciplinary researchist, David is an expert on the ancient historical and theological connections between the devotional 'Hindu' and Buddhist Bhakti Traditions of the East and those of the Proto-Catholic Afro-Heleno-Semitic Heliopolitan Tradition of the Mediterranean Region. His interdisciplinary Marylhurst College Bachelor's Degree research and Norwich University Goddard Graduate School Master's Degree research in History of Religion, Comparative Religion and Theology has been part of his over 40 year comparison of the so-called 'cult images' or sacred art and related incarnational theology of these ancient Bhakti devotional Traditions.

Traveling to ancient and modern temples sites, to important museums and exhibits, to libraries, viewing private collections, interviewing experts such as murti and kachina sculptors, icon writers, tangka and Amida-raigo painters, David has comparatively studied many thousands of examples of the sacred art of these Bhakti Traditions. Beginning in the 1960s David has been continually discovering more of the same Forms and Names of the Persons of the Godhead and Shakti / Shekinah accross the Global diffusion of these ancient Bhakti Traditions. Since then he has given countless hours of classes and lectures comparing these Sacred Forms.

As an artist, whose work was sold in fine art galleries during his teens, and who was accepted into a prestigious art college at the age of 17, David's art and photography reflects his interest in Sacred Art, and in the beauty and dignity of Sacred Humanity and the entire Sacred Community of Creation. He is a human rights activist and an ecologist who contributed a chapter on Catholic Ascetic (Moral) Theology and ecology to the Maryknoll Orbis publication 'Embracing Earth, Catholic Approaches to Ecology' edited by Albert La Chance. David's love of God, Our Lady, Humanity and All Our Relations in the natural World is evident in all of his art and photography.


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