April 8th, 2010 | No Comments

It is difficult to find someone from the West that both understands and can elegantly express the theory behind an Eastern mystical tradition. It is even more difficult to find a modern mystic. In Swami Tripurari we have both: a traditional mystic who can articulate the teachings of an ancient spiritual tradition. A compelling speaker, to hear him and be in his presence is itself a spiritual experience.

Swami met his initiating guru, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in the spring of 1972. Swami relates that he felt as though he had met a long-lost friend, as Srila Prabhupada blessed him with his all-knowing glance. Over the years of service that followed, Srila Prabhupada showered Swami with affection and repeatedly expressed his appreciation for Swami’s selfless service and ability to inspire others. In 1974 Srila Prabhupada instructed him in a widely circulated letter, “So you organize freely. You are the incarnation of book distribution. Take the leadership and do the needful.” Accordingly, Swami has set an example of one who is independently thoughtful and capable of making an insightful literary contribution to the world.

Shortly before Srila Prabhupada’s departure from the world, he suggested that, should the need arise, his students could receive further instruction from his Godbrother Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami. Swami was at the feet of Srila Prabhupada when he spoke these prophetic words, implanting them in Swami’s heart. However, it was not until several years later in the midst of the confusion that followed Srila Prabhupada’s departure that they blossomed into the directive that would so deeply affect the course of Swami’s spiritual pursuit.

Swami expresses his experience of hearing from and serving Srila Sridhara Maharaja thus: “With the setting of the sun of the manifest pastimes of our beloved preceptor, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world became dark. Then suddenly in the shadows of the night the reflected light of the moonlike discourse of Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami flooded the path with new light and dynamic insight that illumined the inner landscape, leading me to the soul of Srila Prabhupada and Gaudiya Vaisnavism.” The association and instructions of Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami profoundly affected Swami and under his inspired guidance, Swami began initiating his own students in 1985.

Today Swami describes himself as the combined mercy of these two saints, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhara Maharaja. He lives at his monastery, Audarya, in northern California and travels throughout the world sharing his spiritual realization. He is the author of a dozen books and a columnist for Beliefnet.com. He also publishes answers to the numerous questions he receives over the Internet in his Sanga email newsletter. Swami’s recorded discourses exceed four hundred in number and they are available in CD and MP3 formats.

Dynamic in its scope, bold, and uncompromising, his outreach is grounded in deep realization that has the power to turn wayward hearts homeward. In spite of his lofty realizations, Swami is readily accessible and unassuming. Wearing in his own words a “small halo,” the extent of his inner life is perhaps experienced more by his affection for others than anything else.