His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji Maharaja is the founder father of Vedic Mathematics and was the ecclesiastical head of most of Hindu India and was the apostolic successor of the first Shankaracharya ( 9th Century; India's greatest philosopher).
Born on 14 th March, 1884 at Tinnievelly, Tamil Nadu, India of pious parents, Shri Bharti Krishna Tirtha was known as Venkatraman before he became a saint.
In July 1899 he was awarded the title of 'Saraswati' for all round proficiency and gifted oratory in Sanskrit by the Sanskrit Association of Madras. He had a brilliant academic record with a Masters (MA) degree in six subjects; Sanskrit, English, History, Philosophy, Mathematics and Science from the Bombay Centre of the American College of Science, Rochester, New York.
After a brilliant University career he became a lecturer in Mathematics and Science in the Baroda College. Thereafter he became Principal of National College in Rajamundary, Andhra Pradesh, India.
In 1905 when the Freedom movement started in Bengal, Bharti Krishnaji participated in the freedom movement along with Shri Aurobindo Ghosh and Gopal Krishna Gokhale, an ardent nationalist. Bharti Krishnaji wrote to numerous newspapers propagating the freedom movement. He was also appointed 'Warden of the Sons of India' by Dr.Annie Besant in 1908.
There seemed a devout urge in Him to devote his life in the service of humanity, and he held that man could render such service only after attaining Self Realization. Therefore he proceeded in 1909 to Shringeri Matha to realize it at the feet of Shri Shankaracharya Shri Sachchidananda Shiva Abhinava Narasimha Saraswati.
From 1911-1918 Bharati Krishnaji practiced deep meditation and studied metaphysics and Vedas which led him to practice an arduous life of a Sadhu (saint). He was leading a purely saintly life living on roots and fruits. His life was continuous "Sadhana" (meditation) and he devoted himself to the study of Vedanta and resorted to the forest for deep meditation and spiritual attainments.
In his solitude he discerned the "Ganita-Sutras" or easy Mathematical Formulas on which he compiled the monumental work "Vedic Mathematics" an original contribution in the field of Mathematics and Research. Bharati Krishnaji got the key to Ganita Sutra coded in the Atharva Veda and rediscovered Vedic Mathematics with the help of lexicographs . He found "Sixteen Sutras" or word formulas which cover all the branches of Mathematics - Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Physics, plan and spherical geometry, conics, calculus- both differential and integral, applied mathematics of all various kinds, dynamics, hydrostatics and all.
Thereafter in July 1919 Sri Venkatraman Saraswati was initiated into Sanyas by Shri Trivikram Teerthaji at Varanasi and since then he was called with the new name "Shri Bharati Krishna Tirtha".
Shri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji Maharaja was a staunch follower of the Vedic Principles and he never went astray from its rules. He was appointed as the Head of Dwarkapeeth by Shri Trivikram Tirthaji in 1921. Since then, He started the life of Shankaracharya and delivered discourses wherever he went.
In 1925 he became the Head of the Govardhan Matha Monastery in Puri, Orissa and was the pontiff till 1960 the year of his "Maha Samadhi" (departure of a Self-realized saint from his mortal coil.) Because of His Holiness's spiritual authority over millions of Hindus, the Government of India consults the Jagadguru on policies relating to spiritual rules and Hindu Religious Matters.
His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri, Head of the thousand year old monastic Shankaracharya Order and the first of its leaders ever to visit the west, went for a three month tour of the United States and the United Kingdom on an invitation by the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) founded by Paramhansa Yogananda. The tour was hosted by Sister Daya Mata the President of the SRF.
He spoke at various lectures attended by thousands of students of various universities and organizations such as Stanford University, University of California, San Diego College, Vedanta Society Hollywood, Church Of Religious Science- Los Angeles, Los Angeles City College, and American Academy of Asian Studies etc
He addressed a select group of Caltech graduate students in mathematics at California Institute of Technology. He was introduced by Mr. Wesley L.Hershey executive secretary of Caltech YMCA and thereafter Bharati Krishnaji discoursed and gave black board demonstrations. This meeting was the first in the United States in which His Holiness presented his mathematical discoveries . The talk aroused such interest that His Holiness was invited to return to the institute for further demonstrations.
A turn of events brought His Holiness back to Caltech. In his second discourse he took up Algebra and Quadratics ; and a third discourse at Caltech Sri Sankaracharya demonstrated the application of his theories in the field of Calculus .
It was an amazing experience and rare honour to meet and discuss Vedic Mathematics with Dr.Ram Mohan Tiwari who is the last living disciple of Shri Bharti Krishna Tirthaji, the founding father of Vedic Mathematics.
"They kissed the carpet on which he walked" says Dr.Tiwari about Tirthaji when he toured the United States in 1958.
"Praising and praying the divine Sandals ( Charan Paduka) of Guruji Shri Bharti Krishna Tirthaji Mahraj has become a part and parcel of my life. By grace of God I had an opportunity to serve Swamiji and spend some time at his feet. Due to young age and an average mindset to achieve other objectives, and an average mindset , I could not gain much knowledge from His Holiness.Whatever time I had to spend with Swamiji, I utilized it in giving my service to Swamiji, rather than to gain knowledge as it was difficult in that young age."
"In the Ramayana,Goswami Tulsidasji wrote that there is nothing more important than giving your entire life to serve your Guru, the experience of which would give heavenly pleasure. I am fortunate to experience it in my life. Tirthaji never used to talk about himself. Most of his time was spent in solving problems of others and praying for them. It was amazing to hear the personal experiences of Tiwariji. We were also fortunate to get copies of the biography of Tirthaji written by Tiwariji himself.