Anandashram Swami - Initial Period

Initial Period

Swami Ānandāshram was born Shāntamūrti Haridās Bhat to one of the priests in the Chitrapur Math by name Haridas Rāmchandra Bhat and his wife Jānakidevi on June 29, 1902. Swami Pāndurangāshram had accepted Shāntamoorthy as his shishya(disciple) on June 5, 1915 just nine days before he attained Mahā-samādhi (died). Swami Ānandāshram was ordained as the head of the community on June 14, 1915 at the age of 13. Thus he had the sole sovereignty over the community with no time to learn, among other things: Sanskrit Scriptures, administrative responsibilities, etc. under the tutelage of a guru.

Swami Pāndurangāshram had foreseen the difficulty his disciple might have to face and so ordered that the administrative duties of the matha and the community should not be given to him until he had received due education and necessary training. Until then, the administrative responsibilities would be taken care of by the Shukla Bhats of the matha(See Shukla Bhats). The community would continue to worship the pāduka (wooden slippers worn by Hindu saints) of Swami Pāndurangāshram till Swami Ānandāshram attained the required training.

The general education of Swamiji was taken care of by the priests in the Chitrapur Matha. Special tutors were arranged for teaching specific scriptures. However, Swamiji had to teach himself many of the previously mentioned qualities. Twice he was overcome with frustration and he left the premises of the matha without anyone's knowledge, to take up life of a sanyasi(Ascetic) and to quench his thirst for knowledge. Both times he returned upon the urgent requests of his devotees who promised him that things at the matha would be fine.

In 1927, Swamiji set out for Rishikesh, located at the foothills of the Himalayas, to the ashram (Hermitage) of Swami Krishnāchārya Saraswati under whom he studied for many days. Under him, Swamiji learnt the Brahma sūtras and other texts. Swami Krishnāchārya later visited Shirali and continued to teach him.

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