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Acharya Paramatman Shanti Prakash
A 19th century saint, Sadhu Shanti Prakash is considered the fountainhead of the present era of Acharya Shunya's lineage. He is referred affectionately as Bade Baba by Acharya Shunya and her students, as he is Shunya ji’s great grandfather by paternal line.
A Great Seer is Recognized
Shanti Prakash was hailed as a ‘Maharishi’ or Great Seer and given the title of ‘Paramatman’ or Godly Soul by people of Ayodhya because of his life of devotion, compassion, spiritual inquiry, strong righteous principles and entire lifetime dedicated to selfless service. In honor of life of service, the neighborhood in which he resided was renamed to new name, ‘Rishi Tola’ which literally means ‘the abode of Rishis or Vedic seers’. To this day it is called Rishi Tola in memory of Acharya’s great grandfather, a true Vedic seer and Yogi, and not by its original name.
Bade Baba was undoubtedly a bright light in the world steeped in darkness, whose nondual teachings, enlightened presence, soul wisdom and loving guidance lead seekers beyond the limitations of their societal conditioning and identity to recognize what is boundless, pure and unlimited within them. His teachings from the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita evoked intelligent living, how to live fully, powerfully, with kindness and dharma, free from sorrow, and fear, in service and superior to the Higher Truth.
The Giver of Adi Gita: Precursor to Bhagavad Gita As Known Today
An esteemed Vedic scholar, he was the first known compiler of the 84-verse Adi Gita (and ancient scroll found through archeological investigation), considered by most Vedic scholars as the original Gita, that predates the 700-verse Bhagavad Gita today. There is a circle of spiritual scholars in India who till date believe that it is The Adi Gita, with its key shlokas, was uttered by Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra – and these 84 verses were later expanded into 700 verses by pundits over time. In this sacred text, Bade baba beckons all sincere seekers: “Be a true seeker after Truth, the light will then flash upon you, not only from books and sages of this world, but also from your own inner intuition (knowingness), Not only this, the sages of the next world (loka) with astral bodies, will also come forward to help you, if you are really eager to uplift yourself – to find and reclaim your inner Self.” (Adi Gita, page 86) Read More
Established Traditional Vedic Gurukulam
Bade Baba established a traditional Vedic school (Gurukulam) in the holy city of Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1895, with the name Sanatana Shiksha Peetha, to propagate the Vedas and allied Vedic sciences At the Gurukulam, the students started their day with traditional Vedic rituals (Sandhya, Nitya Yajna, Japa, Mala, Dhyanam, Surya Namaskar, etc).
The curriculum was dominated by the study of Vedas, and supported by study of Sanskrit grammar, and selections from the Upanishads for beginners. Read more
It was perhaps this Gurukulam, that was revived in essence at Vedika Global by Acharya Shunya and from 2207 to 2018 classes in Ayurveda, Yoga and Adwaita were offered by Acharya Shunya and assistant teaches in traditional Guruklulam fashion.
The graduated from Vedika Global’s Gurukulam education training are now serving in leadership positions. And though education the time is being offered to adults, yet education goals, study culture and holistic nature of studentship experience including spiritual practices, study of scriptures and living of a sacred lifestyle is a beautiful mirroring of the parent Gurukulam established by Acharya Shunya's great grandfather in 1895.
Established Vedic School
A Life Transformative Experience
It was at the banks of the Holy River Sarayu that meanders alongside Ayodhya, his birth city and hub of the lineage, that Bade Baba had near death experience. He nearly drowned one morning while taking an early morning ritualistic dip in the river. Then, Bade Baba was merely in his twenties. But interestingly, Bade Baba (the old soul that he was) did not feel fear or attachment to his life. He just felt deep soul-regret that he was dying and he had as yet not given back anything to the universe.
Even while drowning, before he lost consciousness, he made an inner resolve that if by any chance he survives this, he would never again take his precious human life for granted; and to spend each day in quest of highest Truth (jnana) and selfless serve (seva) of all sentient beings that represent the same Truth. And this is what he did.
Perhaps this vow that Sadhu Shanti Prakash took when he was merely twenty-two, is the spiritual force behind the emergence of Vedika Global, and continuation of Bade Baba’s Dharma and Seva legacy in the 21st century. Read More
Bade Baba’s main inspiration to found this institution was his deep spiritual conviction that if humanity awakens to its Sadharan Dharma, the world will become a better place to live. Following Sadharan Dharma places a significant emphasis on personal responsibility, which contrasts the current world trend towards entitlements and expectations, which create a culture of blame, compensation, and irresponsibility. The Vedic view extols the execution of one’s Dharmic duties, as following one’s own Dharma automatically fulfills the rights of others. With this conviction, Bade Baba founded Sadharan Dharma Sabha in 1931. Sadharan Dharma in India Sabha was the predecessor organization of Vedika Global founded in California by Acharya Shunya. Read more: Understanding ‘Sadharan Dharma’ – the focus of Acharya Shunya’s lineage
Established Universal Dharma Sabha and Sangha
Then in 1931, to spread the light of the Vedas beyond personal disciples, Bade Baba established the historic ‘Sadharan Dharma Sabha and Sangha” in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India, that undertook mass scale spiritual, devotional, educational, charitable and community health-oriented activities. The Sabha provided medical relief, social support, education, medicinal herbs, meditation tools, spiritual activism to seek inner and outer freedom, and more. (‘Sadharan Dharma’ means “Universal dharma”. At the inauguration of this initiative, Acharya Shanti Prakash gave the following motto or mission to live by: Sarva Arogyam Sarva Mukti, which literally means - Health and Spiritual Liberation for All. This mission fired by the members of the Sangha and organizations that came up afterward, including Vedika Global in USa, to continue to serve humanity with transformative Vedic education that activates health and liberates from suffering imposed by spiritual ignorance.
Bade Baba’s activities to disseminate Vedic wisdom and way of life in the 1900s, when India was under British colonial rule, was a wise move at a strategic time in history, when it was necessary to draw the attention of the colonized Indian minds back to their own profound Vedic heritage and richness of Hindu science and spirituality, which were being suppressed by the colonizers. In that spirit Bade baba gave the clarion call: Sarva Arogyam – Sarva Mukti: Abiding Health and Liberation for All – and he dedicated his entire life in enabling that for all beings.
The revival of key Vedic sciences of Ayurveda, Yoga and Adwaita to support the very foundations of day to day life and support individual and collective wellbeing at every level – body, mind and soul as well as the purification of social and moral dimensions of society was necessary and taken up by Sadharan Dharma Sabha under Bade Baba’s leadership and its efforts were enthusiastically received by the people of Ayodhya and surrounding areas. Read more
THE SATSANG TRADITION
Spiritual discourses by Bade baba and they were attended by hundreds of people every night. The Sangha’s were also visited by famous spiritual personalities of that time including Swami Rama Tirtha, Neem Karori baba Maharishi Kartikey Maharaj Datun wale baba , Netraheen baba, and Narayan Swami ji.
The Satsanghas grew to such a large extent that a building was purchased with large hall by the ‘Sabha” to conduct its community activities. The family later sold off this building in the 1970’s.
Today Acharya Shunya carries forward the Satsanga tradition begun by her great-grandfather and her Satsang’s too are not merely feel good spiritual lectures but soul transmissions supporting abiding transformation of consciousness through study of traditional Vedic scripture and pursuit of Truth enshrined in the Vedas and Vedic Darshan’s or philosophical systems such as Yoga Darshan and Vedanta Darshan. Also, like her ancestor’s satsang’s Acharya Shunya’s satsangs too remains open to all seekers who respect and seek Vedic Self-knowledge, irrespective of religion, race, gender.
Bade Baba’s Satsang’s (spiritual discourses) were attended by great spiritual personalities of the time, including, but not limited to Neem Karoli Baba, Maharishi Kartikey Maharaj, Netraheen Baba, Narayan Swami, and Swami Ram Tirth.