By Swami Harshananda
Svāmi Turiyānanda lived A. D 1863—1922. Very few people are there who appear to live in this world, but do not really belong here. Svāmi Turīyānanda was one of them. Born in a religious family of brāhmaṇa parents on the 3rd January 1863, Harināth Caṭṭopādhyāya was his pre-monastic name. It was given to much orthodox observances even in his younger days.
An innate desire for liberation in this very life, kindled by the study of Vedāntic works, brought him to Rāmakṛṣṇa. The Master through his deep spiritual insight and all-encompassing love, quickly won his heart. Not only that, he soon discovered and destroyed two unhealthy trends in his personality:
- Abhorrence of womankind
- Excessive reliance on self-effort
After accepting the monastic robes and vows, Harināth became ‘Svāmi Turīyānanda.’ His orthodox mental make-up made him undertake long and arduous journeys as an itinerant monk and practice severe austerities and also study the scriptures. Though he had great love and respect for Svāmi Vivekānanda, he was at first averse to active missionary work. But Svāmījī’s love melted his heart. He accompanied Svāmījī to the United States and worked there for about three years. The Śanti āśrama in California was his creation.
After returning to India, he spent his days mostly in austerity and in training the younger generation of monks. His burning spirit of renunciation, deep faith in the Divine Mother and insight into the intricacies of the scriptures left an indelible impression on everyone that came in his contact. His fortitude and the control he could exercise over his body were astonishing. He left the body on the 21st July 1922.
- It is just nine days prior to the advent of Svāmi Vivekānanda.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore