His Holiness Sri Shankaracharya Swami Divyanand Teerthji is the eleventh successor of the Dholka-Bhanpua Peeth . He endeavours to retain the glory of the peeth.
Swami Divyanand Teerth was born in a religious minded family of high class Brahmins at Waira Firozepur in district Bullandshar of Uttar Pradesh on January 4, 1953. He is the eldest son of swargiya Urmila Sharma and Kailashwasi Rajni Kant Sharma. His Grandfather Shri Ganga Sharan Sharma was a renowned Scholar of Sanskrit and preached the Vedic philosophy in the North-West India for 40 years. His father was a renowned educationist and his mother was a spiritual lady. Great virtues like kindness, honesty, charity, truthfulness, self-respect etc. were imbibed in both his parents.Swamiji inherited all these great virtues from his parents.
He was very close to his grandfather and learned ‘Gayatri Mantra’ from him when he was still an infant.
Swamiji received his Primary education in the hills of Nagaland and Secondary education on the fields of Sainik (Military) school, Bhuvneshwar in Orissa and Sainik School, Purulia in West Bengal. He completed his College education from Guwahati University (Assam) and North – East hill University Shillong (Meghalaya). As a student he showed great leadership qualities. He was the founder Finance Secretary of the NSU (Naga Students Union). He was also the student editor of the magazine of Kohima College, kohima. He was greatly loved and respected by his fellow-students and teachers. During his college days he participated in various debate and dramatic competitions and won many a prizes. He acted in Shakespearean plays like Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar. His Holiness did his Post graduation in English Literature.
Like his father he started his career as an educationist. His classroom teaching was greatly appreciated by all his students. He was loved and respected by them. He was also associated with the Press as a Journalist for some time.
When he attained the age of 27, he grew an inner desire to know the mysteries behind life and death. In his quest to understand these mysteries, he left home and sacrificed a bright career. He moved from one place to another. He met various saints of different schools of thought and had discussions with them. But he was not satisfied. He says, “I got satisfaction at a lonely and quiet place in an ancient Shiva Temple far away from crowded towns. This temple is located near Chapkauli, a small village in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. I stayed there for three and a half years continuously. Remembrance of those days thrills me even today. Those were the days of spiritual ecstasy”. During his stay at the Shiva Temple he also underwent the ‘Panch Maha Agni Tapa’ where he had to sit with fire all around him for 41 days in the year 1983 during the hot months of May and June of India where the sunrays fall perpendicularly over the Tropic of Cancer.
In 1984, he was initiated into ’sanyas’ by his holiness Swami Harishwaranand Teerth at Chitrakot. A well renowned Dandi Swami His Holiness Swami Vishnu Ashram Ji Maharaj of Sukh teerth in district Mujaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh imparted the knowledge of different scriptures to Swamiji and made him well versed in the theory of Vedanta.
Nine years after leaving home he was coroneted as Shankaracharya of Bhanpura Peeth by the Brahamleen Swami Ram Ashram Ji Maharaj, the then Sankracharya of the Peeth,in presence of all the mathadhipaties of the shankracharya order of sanyas during the Maha Kumbh, the Holy congregation of saints at Parayag (Allahabad), the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati on Moni Amawasya the 6th.February,1989. More than 500 Dandi Swamies attended the ceremony.
After taking over as a Sankracharya, Swamiji has devoted his life for the upliftment of humanity in general and Sanatan Dharma in particular. Since then he has been exposing the ancient sacred texts to the masses. He is a great orator and he draws a huge audience wherever he goes. People from all walks of life irrespective of caste, creed,sex and religion throng to listen to his spiritual discourses. His discourses are very interesting and full of practical anecdotets. His Holiness is an exponent of Srimad Bhagwad Mahapuran,Srimad devi Bhagwat, The Shiv Mahapuran, The Ramayana,the Upnishads and the Holy Geeta. He is a believer of Advait philosophy. He has a good command over Hindi, and English and an elementary knowledge of Sanskrit. He is quite knowledgeable, well read in the phylosophyies of the east and the west. He is also associated in the different Social and Cultural activities in India and yet remains away from publicity.
He has undertaken three Pad Yatras (Pilgrimage on foot). First he went on foot from Delhi to the Holy Cave of Amarnath (Himalayas). His second pad yatra was from Bhanpura Peeth to Chitrakoot Dham and the third and the longest pad yatra was from from Gangotri (Himalayas) – the place of origin of the Holy Ganga in the north to Rameshwaram in the south. Twice he has been to Mansarovar. During these yatras His Holiness camped in villages and spread the message of Sanatan Dharma among the masses of India. He also spread the messages of universal brotherhood, love and righteousness among the people.
His Holiness has also performed the rare Jyotirmati Kalpa, at Ram Ganj mandi in Rajsthan in July and August of 1994, sitting in a cave especially constructed for the purpose for 55 days. During this period he did not eat anything accept taking 250 grams of milk everyday.
He endeavors to serve people. He has made a charitable hospital and an ashram at Chapkauli Village. He is the founder patron of Swami Divyanand College of Polytechnic at Mulana in Ambala district of Haryana.
Swamiji is the first Sankracharya who has ventured into spreading the Sanatan Dharm worldwide by visiting foreign countries. Swamiji visited Japan in 1996 to inaugurate a conference on the Great Religions of Asia held at Kyoto. He again visited Japan in 1998 to chair the foundation stone laying ceremony of the first Hindu Temple to be built in Japan by Dr. B.K. Modi of Modi Industries.
His Holiness visited the United Kingdom in 2000 and attracted a great audience in South Hall( London), Barminggam, New Castel, and various other places.
He also inaugurated the World Hindu Conference held at Port of Spain, Trinidad &Tobago (West Indies) in the same year. His Holiness also blessed the closing function of the World Peace Summit Organized by the U.N.O. at New York in 2000.
In 2001 he led the VISHWA DHARMA PRASAAR YAATRA propagating the age-old message of Bharat that “the whole world is verily one family” (vasudhaiva kutumbakam). More than 20,000 people participated in the programe. It was educative and enlightening. Many in the audience wished to have such a programs periodically.
His Holiness has visited Canada, United States and Venezuela, Columbia, Russia, China, European Contries, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia. Altogether, he has visited thirty six countries Wherever he goes, he attracts a large gathering and leaves a mark of admiration and devotion in the minds and hearts of the people.