Srilasri Amritananda Saraswathi

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Dr. N. Prahalada Sastryת Guruji
Spiritual Teacher
Sri Vidya
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Sri Swaprakashananda Natha Datta Avadhoota


Srilasri Amritananda Saraswathi was born in Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. He began his spiritual quest at a very young age. Having been blessed with divine experiences early in his childhood, his young mind was teeming with questions, searching for the truth. The stage was set for the spiritual inclination that was to intensify later in his life.

In the course of time, his interest turned to science. He graduated from the Andhra University with a master’s degree in Nuclear Physics, and received his doctorate from the University of Bombay while working at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Guruji spent 23 years involved in research at TIFR. In his final few years there, he was working on an air defense project – but his spiritually inclined conscience was not comfortable with the destructive nature of the research.

In 1977, Srilasri Amritananda Saraswathi visited the Balaji temple in Hyderabad. As he went and prostrated before the Lord, he felt an extreme thrill pass through his body; Guruji had received his first initiation from Balaji Herself – that is, Bala-Tripurasundari. This proved to be the turning-point in his life. After deep thought, he decided to immerse himself more deeply into spiritual matters, while also devoting time to work for the uplift of society. He received Sri Vidya Poorna Dhiksha from Sri Swaprakashananda Natha Thirtha Avadhutha of Anakapalli; showered by the Grace of Devi Saraswathi, he was given the diksha name of Amrita.

At this juncture, Srilasri Amritananda Saraswathi was offered a position as Professor of Physics at Lusaka University in Zambia and accepted a two-year contract there. While in Zambia, he met his "spiritual son" Sri Wijayaharan (today widely known as Aiya, of the Sri Rajarajeswari Temple in Rush, N.Y.) and accepted him as his disciple in SriVidya upasana. He returned to India in 1981, resigned from TIFR and settled in Vishakapatnam, devoting himself to SriVidya upasana and worship of the Devi. Simultaneously, he began developing means to help improve the standard of living of his fellow humanity.

In 1983, during a Devi Yagna, he was approached by the brothers of the Putrevu family, who donated three acres of land with a request to build a temple for the Divine Mother there. Srilasri Amritananda Saraswathi bought the adjoining ten acres and registered it as land for a Devi temple. Having done so, he sought divine guidance; a sign of approval to commence construction of the temple.

In the vicinity of the donated land, there was a small hillock where he would often spend time in meditation. On the slopes of that hillock, he noticed a formation very similar to that of the Kamakhya Peetam in Assam. One day while in meditation there, he experienced himself lying on the Peetam, while four others performed a homam with the flames emanating from his body. During purnahuthi, he felt a heavy object being placed on his heart. Awakening from this meditative state, Guruji was prompted to dig that very site – and there he unearthed a Sri Chakra Mahameru made of panchaloha. It was later discovered that a huge yagna had been performed there more than 250 years ago.

During this time, he had a series of visions of the Devi as a 16-year-old girl. With Her blessings, he built the Kamakhya Peetam on the hillock and a Siva temple on the peak in 1984. Construction of the Sri Meru Nilaya in Devipuram began in 1985. Covering an area of 108 square feet, the temple has three levels and stands 54 feet high. Inside are idols of all the Devis described in the Devi Khadgamala Stotra. Temple construction was completed in 1994, and the kumbhabhishekam celebrated with great pomp and piety.

This temple is unique in allowing the devotees to perform puja to the Devi themselves, without distinction of caste or creed. With numerous loving disciples all over the world, Guruji and his wife, Srimati Annapurnamba (lovingly known as Guruji Amma), have dedicated their lives to the service of the people; and have established the Sri Vidya Trust to institutionalize and further this noble purpose.


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