Mahananda Mission Home of Service has a glorious Guru Parampara. Our Adi Guru Mahatma Tailanga Swami of Varanasi fame was considered an incarnate of “Lord Shiva” and was popularly known as Sachal Shiva. He preached all his life that the best way to reach God is through selfless service to humanity and authenticated His words by His own actions. He used His Yogic power to give relief to the sick and help the people in distress. His message is of universal nature, which is true even today. He lived for a long time, almost three centuries and then left for His heavenly abode.
“God is same for every one. He does not distinguish between Brahmin or Non-Brahmin, educated or uneducated, rich or poor. He belongs to him who prays to Him with devotion.”– Mahatma Tailanga Swami.
Swami Suryananda Giri was one of the few disciples of Mahatma Tailanga Swami. He preferred to live in cognito and shunned the crowded cities in order to carry on His sadhana in peace and quiet. He believed that only through serving others one could purify himself and move nearer to God. Swami Suryananda Giri gave up his mortal coils in one of the Kumbha Melas at Nasik and was given Jal Samadhi at river Godavari. Since no photograph of this great saint is available the same could not be published.
“Kaun Karm Hai Shresth? Tan Man Dhan Se Paropkar”. - Swami Suryananda Giri
Swami Mahananda Giri, to whom the Mission owes its name, was a disciple of Swami Suryananda Giri. One day due to an altercation with his wife, he felt much depressed and left home. He boarded a train and fell asleep. When he woke up he found that the train was standing at Rajahmundri in South India. After getting down from the train and while walking aimlessly he met a Sadhu on the bank of river Godhavari. The Sadhu impressed him very much by narrating the events of his life accurately and advised him to go back home. He returned home after obtaining a promise that Sadhu would give him Darshan whenever he prayed for it. After some time in a tragic incident he lost his wife and subsequently, his only daughter. These caused a great set back in his mind. One day, while sitting on the bank of the river Ganga, to have peace of mind, he had the Darshan of that Sadhu who was none else than Swami Suryananda Giri. Swamiji appeared before him and advised him to look after the poor and homeless sick people. He then devoted himself to the service of poor, homeless, ailing persons found on the pavements of Kolkata. Finally Swamiji initiated him to Sannyas in 1892 and named him Mahananda Giri. After sannyas He under took a long parikrama, which ended at Kankhal (Haridwar). There He spent 24 years in Sadhana followed by observance of Mauna Brata for 12 years. After this long period of Sadhana, He was blessed with the divine darshan of Tara Mata. Later on, He travelled through several parts of India and preached the holy name of Tara Mata. During the course of His life, He had large number pf devotees but very few disciples. He introduced the Vaishnavi mode of worship of Tara Mata. He affirmed that life of a religious man should be dedicated to selfless service for humanity. Among His disciples He chose Bhabani Prasanna Pyne of Varanasi (who was later known as Bhabanda Giri Maharaj) as His successor. Mahananda Giri Maharaj left His mortal coils on 1st April 1928.
“ Instead of criticizing others, try to be aware of your own faults.”- Swami Mahananda Giri.
Swami Bhabananda Giri (formerly Bhabaniprasanna Pyne) was born in an astute and affluent family of Varanasi. He took keen interest in cultural and histrionic activities, which endeared him to his friends and companions. Though he had faith in God and inclination towards Pujas and other rituals but was apathetic to the saints & sadhus of any cult, which were in plenty at Varanasi. He had a strong feeling that they were nothing but professional beggars.
As time rolled on a Sadhu (Srimat Swami Mahananda Giri) appeared on the scene. Bhabani’s family members often visited the Sadhu. Bhabani was very annoyed when he came to know of it and warned them not to visit the Sadhu, but a miraculous incident saved his family from ruin and compelled him to change his strong feeling and attitude towards the Sadhus. It also turned him to an ardent disciple of the Sadhu. Later he was even chosen to be the successor of the Sadhu (Mahananda Giri). After his initiation to Sannyas, Bhabaniprasanna was named Bhabananda Giri. He travelled widely all over North and East India. He witnessed the poverty and suffering of the people and was appalled by the destitution, exploitation, helplessness of the poor and downtrodden. So He decided to translate into action the motto ‘Seva hi Parama Dharma’ which He had imbibed from His Guru and established Mahananda Mission Home of Service in the name of His Guru. He also chalked out a multi-dimensional programme of social activities for the poor, needy and weaker section of the society irrespective of caste & creed.
He had realized that real emancipation of the downtrodden can only be achieved through education. So he set up primary schools at Kankhal and Ghaziabad for them. He built temples of Tara Mata at different cenres of the Mission for moral upliftment of the people of the society. He believed that a healthy body is necessary to maintain a healthy mind. For providing medical treatment to all sections of the society he set up charitable dispensaries at different places. The services of the charitable dispensary were also extended to the pilgrims during Kumbha Melas. He encouraged sports and games activities among the students to build up their health.
Swami Bhabananda Giri had dedicated his life for ‘Bahujana Hitaya, Bahujana Sukhaya’. Every one respectfully used to address Him as “ Pitaji Maharaj”. He left his mortal coils on 4th. July 1968 and was given Jal Samadhi in the river Ganga at Garh Mukteshwar (Meerut). Before leaving for His heavenly abode, He chose His most worthy disciple, Swami Bimalananda Giri as His successor.
“ Religion must teach man that his highest duty is to love his fellow man and to serve him.”- Swami Bhabananda Giri.
Swami Bimalananda Giri was born on 16th January 1921. He had a progressive and unorthodox attitude towards all religions. He believed that the path may be different but the goal is the same for all i.e. to attain Divine Bliss. This attitude he inherited from his father, who adopted ‘Sikhism’ after going through the account of sacrifice and heroic deeds of the Sikhs. He had great liking for music and cultural activities. Theatre in particular was his passion. In his youth, unlike others of his age, he was indifferent towards monetary pursuits and worldly gains. He was attracted towards holy men and saints and had a pious bent of mind. At a very young age, he came in contact with Swami Bhabananda Giri Maharaj, and was deeply impressed by Pitaji’s majestic personality. Gradually, close contact with Pitaji Maharaj helped him to turn towards spiritual enlightenment. Finally he was initiated to Sanyas by his guru Swami Bhabaananda Giri Maharaj and was named Bimalananda Giri. Later on, He was declared the chosen successor of His guru.
Swami Bimalananda Giri Maharaj besides carrying forward the seva work and charitable activities of the Mission added new dimensions to it. He specially enriched the publication section of the Mission. In order to spread the teachings of our Guru Parampara for moral benefit of the people at large, a number of books, cassettes and booklets were published under His supervision. Very affectionate by nature, He tried to help whoever sought it, even at the cost of His own health and means. On 30th November 2005, He left His mortal coils and was given Jalsamadhi at Gangasagar (West Bengal). at the confluence of the Ganga and Bay of Bengal. Before His departure to the heavenly abode He declared His disciple Srimat Anandaswarupa Ratna Giri as His chosen successor.
“ I firmly believe that selfless service to humanity with sincerity of purpose certainly be blessed by divine grace and life sublime.”- Swami Bimalananda Giri.
Srimat Anandaswarupa Ratna Giri , the present spiritual Head of the Mission, is carrying on unabated the seva work and other activities of the Mission. Under Her stewardship a multifaceted building project has been started at Kankhal (Haridwar) to facilitate accommodation of more pilgrims. The Mission organized a Medical camp and Jalsatra for the pilgrims during the Kumbha mela held at Haridwar in 2010. Besides, Health Check up Camps, Eye Check up Camps and Blood Donation Camps have been introduced as a part of the annual activities of the Mission.