The Sri Vidya tradition dates back thousands of years. The first yogi was Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati is representative of the Divine Mother principle, the universal creative force. The lineage of masters trace their origin to the Universal Mother. The Guru Lineage starts with Lord Shiva who gave the knowledge of Sri Vidya to Lord Dattatreya. Lord Dattatreya is revered as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas, the first “Lord of Yoga” with mastery of Tantra (techniques). To this monastic movement belongs Srilasri Swaprakasananda Theertha Avadhootha, who initiated Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswathi. Guru Sri Karunamaya was initiated by Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswathi.
Surrender to your Guru like clay in the hands of a potter, unmindful of the outcome.
— Sri Guru Karunamaya
Srilasri Swaprakasananda Theertha Avadhootha
Fondly known to his disciples as Gurugarau, Srilasri Swaprakasananda theertha avadhootha was born in 1915 in a small village, Vidurbarthi in Andhra Pradesh. Hailing from the Dattatreya lineage, Sri Swaprakasananda had not received any formal education, yet with the Mother’s Blessings, has vast knowledge of the Vedas and Sastras and is well versed in Sanskrit.
Sri Gurugaru came in contact with some of India’s finest spiritual gurus during his twentieth year. He received Dhiksha from Sri Poornananda Yogi, a disciple of the tibetian guru, Maru Maharishi. He was introduced to SriVidya upasana by Sri Kesari Kameswara Rao of the Madhvacharya sampradaya. In his 32nd year, Sri Gurugaru received Dhiksha in the mahavidyas of Sri Rajarajeswari, Vanadurga and Saptasathi Chandi. He attained Poorna dhiksha fromSri Gnanananda Saraswathi of Anakapalli.
He travelled the length and breadth of India to enhance his spiritual knowledge. By the time he was 40 years old, he had mastered the 64 tantras, from Orissa and Rajamandri. At 43, he had learnt 70 million mantras from the teachings of 18 peetams and many gurus. He spent a few years in Kasi contemplating and analysing the source of the mantras he had learnt. He was greatly aided by Sri Dakshinamurthi Paramahamsa of Lalithanagar, Vishakapatnam.
In addition to the siddhis he had already received, he became a vedic scholar at the age of 58 with the grace of Chintamani Mahavidyeswari.
By 1980, in his 65th year, Sri Gurugaru felt the urge to renounce the material world and take up sanyas. To this end, he travelled to the Sri Bhadrakali Mahapeetam at Haridhwar’s Saptarishi sarovar. Sanyasa dhiksha was showered on him by Srilasri Kalyanananda Bharathi theertha Maharaj. Years later, with his Guru’s blessings, Sri Gurugaru took up the Avadhootha Ashrama.
Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswati
Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswathi was born in Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, the first child of Sri Narasimha Rao and Srimati Lakshminarasamma. Guruji, as he is fondly referred to, started his spiritual quest at a very young age. Blessed with divine experiences early in his childhood,his young mind was teeming with questions, searching for the truth. The stage was set for his spiritual inclination that was to intensify later in life.
In the course of time, his interest turned to science. He graduated from the Andhra University with a masters 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 at TIFR, involved in research. In the final years there, he was working on a defense project for the air defense. But his spiritually inclined conscience was not comfortable with the destructive nature of his research.
In the meantime, in 1977, Guruji visited the Balaji temple in Hydarabad. He went in and prostrated before the Lord. He felt an extreme thrill pass through his body; and Guruji had his first intitiation from Balaji, that is Balatripurasundari. This proved to be the turning point in his life. After deep thought, he decided to look into the spiritual aspects a little deeper and devote time to work for the upliftment of soceity. He received Sri Vidya Poorna Dhiksha from Sri Swaprakashananda Natha Thirtha Avadhutha of Anakapalli. And he was showered with the Grace of Devi Saraswathi and given the dhiksha name of Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswathi.
Involved in defense research at TIFR, his mind was in search of the truth within himself. It was at this juncture that he was offered a position of Professor of Physics at the Lusaka University in Zambia. Realising that this was an opportunity to take a fresh look at one’s self, he accepted a two year contract to work in Zambia.
Guruji returned to India in 1981. He resigned from TIFR and settled down in Vishakapatnam, into Sri Vidya upasana and worship of the Devi. He slowly started working on means to help improve the standard of living of his fellow men.
In 1983, during Devi yagna, Guruji was approached by the brothers of the Putrevu family, with a request to build a temple for the divine Mother. In addition to the three acres of land that they had donated, Guruji bought the adjoining ten acres and it was registered as land for the Devi temple. Having acquired the land, Guruji was looking for 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 Guruji would often spend time in meditation. On the slopes of the hillock, he noticed a formation very similar to that of the Kamakhya Peetam in Assam. One day, while in meditation he experienced himself lying on the Peetam, while four others were performing a homam with the flames emanating from his body. And during purnahuthi, he felt a heavy object being placed on his heart. Awakening from his meditative state, Guruji was prompted to dig that site. Unearthed from that very spot, he found a Sri Chakra MahaMeru made of panchaloha. It was later discovered that a huge yaaga had been performed in that area more than 250 years ago.
Guruji had visions of the Devi as a sixteen year old girl. With Her Blessing’s, 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 was started in 1985. Built covering an area of 108 square feet, the temple has 3 levels and stands 54 feet tall. The temple has the idols of all the Devis described in the Devi Khadgamala Stotra. The 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. They established the Sri Vidya Trust for this purpose. Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswati attained maha samadhi in 2015.