Founder of the ‘All World Gayatri Pariwar’, Pandit Shriram Sharma is a revered figure of Hindu spirituality, who pioneered the revival of spirituality in the modern times by calling for an integration of modern and ancient sciences with religion.
Popularly known as Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya, he was not only a spiritual guru but also a prominent philosopher and a social reformer. So, on his 106th birth anniversary, we present to you some interesting facts about Pandit Shriram Sharma that every Hindu ought to know –
1. Born on September 20, 1911, in Anwalkhera village of Agra district, Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya had shown deep yearning for the welfare of common people at a very early age.
At a time when untouchability was the norm, Pandit Sharma went out of his way to nurse an old Dalit woman, who was also suffering from leprosy – a very communicable disease that rendered the inflicted person as a untouchable and was even disowned by the family.
2. His sacred thread ceremony was solemnized by the great freedom fighter and founder of Banaras Hindu University Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya himself.
It was Pandit Malaviya who initiated the young Shriram Acharya in Gayatri Mantra.
3. It was at the age of 15 when his spiritual guru Sarveshwaranandji appeared in his vision during his daily worship in the astral body.
Acting on his guru’s instruction, Pandit Shriram performed twenty-four mahapurashcarañas (2.4 million recitation) of Gayatri Mantra for twenty-four years.
4. A patriot and a great freedom fighter, Pandit Shriram first participated in the Indian freedom movement at the age of 12!
He created Baal Sena (children’s army) to oppose British government and help victims.
5. He even fled home, walked for 12 hours to reach Agra, to join a volunteer camp of Indian National Congress.
He rebelled because he was stopped from carrying on his revolutionary work by his parents.
6. He was nicknamed ‘Matt’ by his fellow revolutionary friends.
He published poetry and revolutionary articles under the pen name of ‘Matta’ in the Hindi newspaper ‘Sainik’, which earned him the nickname. He was arrested thrice by the British for participating in revolutionary activities.
7. After Independence, he relentlessly worked to uproot blind faith and arouse indwelling wisdom, strength and spiritual bliss.
To this effect, he initiated the movement of vichaar kranti or thought revolution in the first issue of ‘Akhand Jyoti’, a monthly magazine that he came to publish.
8. By the time he was 50, the scholar Pandit had translated the 4 ‘Vedas’, 108 ‘Upanishads’, 18 ‘Puranas’, 6 ‘Darshanas’, ‘Yogavasishtha’, ‘Aranyakas’ and ‘Brahmanas’ into Hindi.
His translation also contained lucid commentary to convey the messages contained in them to the masses.
9. He established the Shantikunj and Brahmavarchas Research Institute at Haridwar to enable a swift communion of spiritual knowledge contained in Hinduism and modern science.
Pandit Shriram’s credibility lay in his effort towards the resurrection of the rishi culture by simultaneous renaissance and expansion of the reformative and constructive endeavors of the leading rishis of the Vedic Age.
10. By establishing Gayatri Parivar, he envisaged an India would nurture and re-establish the foundation of traditional culture with new scientific learning.
Several activities of the foundation worked to implement this vision into reality.
11. Archaryaji, as he was fondly known as, left his mortal body for the divine abode on 2 June, 1990.
In 1991, the Indian Government, released a postage stamp in his honor.