Swami Tilak Maharaja

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Fast Facts
Sri Baba Bajranga Das Kuti; Jnana Mandiram
Main Countries of Activity: 
India, Usa,Brazil, Mexico
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Kaskanj - Utar Pradesh - India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
Ancestor Gurus: 
Descendant Gurus: 
Other Related Gurus: 
Baba Bajranga Das, Ramanuja Acharya, Swami Prakashamayananda



Swami Tilak was born on September, the 8th, 1929, in Delhi. He was named after Lokamanya Gangadara Tilak, an important political leader in (for) the Independence of India.

His father was a famous engraver and an expert in the History and Archeology of India. He imposed a severe discipline upon his only son Tilak, in order to transform him into an exemplary man.

Besides Tilak´s hard education, his family went through economic issues, after his father´s serious illness. All these facts determined Tilak´s ascetic character towards adversities. Tilak´s mother was a devoted woman and she gave Tilak an example of compassion, humility and tolerance, in opposition to his father´s hard ways.

There was a time when they had no food to eat, so she cooked some herbs to appease his hunger, but Tilak went into a rage mood and threw his dish on the floor saying: “Is this all your God can offer to us, The God whom you are devoted to?” She scolded him: “Oh, boy! What do you know about God? He is not responsible for our karma. Our sufferings are the result of our actions in previous lives”.

Since he was a boy, Tilak insisted on sleeping on the floor and did not accept to wear new clothes or new shoes. Even unintentionally, his father had contributed to create this tendency in his son and also his appreciation in reading Yogis´ biographies, which turned out to be examples followed by Tilak.

When he began his peregrination in search of his Master, Tilak´s sandals wasted away. From that time on, he took a vow of wearing no shoes anymore and, afterwards, of traveling only on foot.

After a year, walking Northern part of India, he started filling a void – a big void. Strong aversion for public life appeared to take hold on him. He arrived at the Central India, in 1960, in a remote place at Narmada´s riverside, in a place called Chichot Khera. There, he met a nonagenarian ascetic (saddhu), living in a humble hut (kuti) whose name was Sri Baba Bajarangadas. Tilak was touched by his austerity and wisdom and became his disciple.

After assimilating his Master teachings for a few months, he decided to undertake a peregrination on foot (padayatra), going across the Central and the Southern India. It took him eight years to do so, with the intention of spreading the message of Yoga (Union with the Supreme Being).

He had only a dhoti (piece of cloth) around his waist, and a blanket to protect him from cold weather. This way, carrying with him a spiritual book, he traveled across jungles, deserts, roads, villages and cities, loyal to his vow of never begging for food, because he had the conviction that “ the power which created milk in the breast of our mothers” takes care of all creatures. It is important to say that Swami Tilak was a Karma Yogi, or better, he was someone who acted with no interest in the results of his action and for this reason he had never wished to run an Institution with crowds of disciples gathering around him.

As Nitya Chaitanya had no international visa, he couldn´t proceed to Singapore, so he returned to Chichot Khera, dedicating the next ten years to take care of Tilak´s Master. Swami Jyothy from Sri Lanka joined Swami Tilak, instead of him. With the support of Ramakrishna Mission they went to Malaysia and to Indonesia. From there, they changed their direction to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa Islands, getting in deep contact with the Western Culture.

Although Tilak´s audience in the Eastern Asia Countries was formed by Hinduist immigrants, in Australia they were mostly Christians and, for this reason, he began to study the Bible, in order to have a better communication with them. He considered all the religions as effective means to raise man consciousness to attain the Supreme Being.

On the other hand, he often had to fight against the “market of spirituality”, as he so called it, correcting false ideas and fanciful conceptions of Yoga, mostly found in the Western audience.

Instead of traveling to Japan, the Swamis decided to go to Hawaii and to the United States of America. After spending six months in California, some friends invited them to go to Guadalajara, joining them on their vacation.

As Swami had great interest in the Ancient Mexican Culture, because of the similarity with his own culture, he promptly accepted the invitation. But the Swamis delayed their travel, because they had problems with their visa authorization; when they finally could go to Guadalajara, their friends had already left to the United States, so they had to sleep for several nights in the streets(September,1971).
At the end of February, 1972, after a journey at the South Mexican Republic, the Swamis traveled to Belize and to other countries, in the Central and in the South America, except Venezuela and Uruguay because of Visa issues. There were always people who wanted to offer them money, so that they could travel by plane, but they preferred to go by bus, in spite of their exhausting routes. They thought that money should not be spent in what they considered unnecessary luxury.

In Ecuador, Swami began to give lectures in Spanish (1973).

His message was so nicely welcomed in Brazil (1973), that in some weeks he learned to speak Portuguese, spending several months there.

The Swamis stayed in Argentina and Chile a great part of the year 1974, finishing their travel in South America and returning to the United States in 1975 via Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Mexico.
While in New York, he got a telegram from Nitya Chaitanya, communicating his Master´s Sickness. Swami Tilak returned to India immediately and left Swami Jyothy in the United States.
Although his contact with the Western Hemisphere made him a true Universal Master, not only a Hinduist Master, as in India, the materialism from that part of the world did not affect him. He returned to India keeping loyalty to his vows of not wearing shoes, not begging and respecting every woman as a mother.

Swami Tilak stayed at Chichot Khera with Sri Bajarangadas, till his Master passed away, in February, 1979.


Heeding to insistent call of his Western friends and devotees, Swami Tilak decided to start his second visit to Foreign Countries, in 1980.

This time he was accompanied by Brahmachari Nitya Chaitanya. From Italy and Spain, they traveled to America and, after a long journey around Canada and The United States, they arrived in Mexico, on March, the 11th, 1981, staying in Mexico City for Guru Purnima( The Day of the Guru), on July, the 17th, of that year. This was the longest period of time he has ever spent in one place and this time corresponds to his richest collection of public conferences in Spanish. During these months, he wrote his book of short stories “Sparkles”.
At the end of 1982, after sending the entry application, for many times, they finally got the visa for Venezuela, finishing their journey around the South America, in Brazil.

In 1983, he returned to the North America Countries, including Mexico, and then he went back to India, at the beginning of 1984, to attend the celebration of the 5th anniversary of his Master´s Mahasamadhi or Spiritual Liberation.

When he was returning to the United States to attend the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Convention, he first went to Greece, Italy and Spain. He spent some days in Barcelona with the Solache family and during the farewell lunch on May, the 11th, 1984, Swami Tilak´s host noted there were twelve people in total, using an allusion to “The Last Supper” for that special moment. Swami Tilak answered that he would be blessed, because he would have resurrection without crucifixion. After lunch, Swami Tilak sat in deep meditation. Later on, when some devotees from Granada drove him to Valencia, the car turned over on the road and Swami Tilak was the only one injured with a mortal wound on the top of his head.

Swami used to quote Longfellow saying that “either God does not exist, or accidents do not exist.”

His death was an apparent car accident. In fact, it was a needed event that he knew it would happen, beforehand, according to many witnesses between (among) his disciples, whom he told his premonition.

Swami Tilak was one of the greatest men of the 20th Century and the Spiritual History of the World, with his silent, almost anonymous work, bringing light to hundreds of people towards a life of wisdom.

The words that he wrote when his Master left his body are also valid to him…

“We will never see him in flesh and bones again. But he always told us he was not a body. He was the personification of the ideals he lived for. Let us perpetuate his ideals. One can always find him in the depth of one’s consciousness. He was Pure Awareness, Being of all Beings.”


“The source of spirituality is one, only one, and that is self-knowledge.”

“The Self is everything. All the gods and the scriptures are in the self. Realize the SELF. The Self is the GURU. Also the Self is God. Until one realizes the Self every-thing is bondage. Everything is the means, the goal is Self-realization..”

“A dedicated and selfless soul could do far more good to humanity than thousands of self-styled social reformers. All the individuals and the institutions that had faith in God and religion must realize the divinity of man. King-dom of heaven is within everyone.”

“The world is one; East and West are creation of man. If the East takes a little of materialism from West and the West more spirituality from East, the Word will turn into abode of gods.”

“Self (I) alone is Truth. ‘I’ is eternally free of all attributes of ‘this’ or ‘that’. If ‘I’ is clear, everything is clear. Without ‘I’ the entire knowledge is blind.” (from vedic culture p.n.39)



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