Monastic Council

Nonprofit Guided by Sanskrit Heritage

The governance of Self Enquiry Life Fellowship is overseen by ordained Vedic monks who form a Monastic Council. This Monastic Council operates within the Niranjani-Akhara (consortium), which comprises a large conglomerate of discrete monastic councils, and their respective monks, which is headed by an elected Mandaleshwara (head monk convenor).

As the spiritual founder of the United States nonprofit organization, Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, Swami Vidyadhishananda was appointed as the lifelong President and principal advisor on the Nonprofit’s meditation and educational curriculum. He was ratified by the Monastic Council in India as the head monk for conducting meditation services of the Hansavedas Mission.

Swami Bharati-Krishna Tirtha

His Holiness Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha

Sri Yukteswar Kriya Yoga

His Holiness Swami Sriyukteshwar Giri

His Holiness Swami Hariharananda Giri

His Holiness Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

His Holiness Swami Nrisinha Giri

His Holiness Swami Maheshananda Giri

The Monastic Council is a dharmic authority that functions to guide the interpretation of Sanskrit scriptures and curricula as they apply to the teaching systems of the institutions it oversees, including our Nonprofit. While the institutions under the purview of the Monastic Council have their own boards of directors or trustees, they share similar doctrine, are connected by common monastic lineages, and are united by their scriptural interpretation, faith and worship tradition. Herein meditation is our primary method of worship through mindfulness and an inner quest.

The council assists in safeguarding the Sanskrit-based nonprofit structure of Self Enquiry Life Fellowship. Thus the Hansavedas Fellowship functions under a traditional model based on the ancient Sanskrit system. Both the canon and creed provide maxims which guide how the Hansavedas Mission provides services, such as: vespers, initiations, ordinations, meditations, Vedic ceremonies, sacerdotal blessings, spiritual counselling, sublime recitations, scriptural readings, training of novices and public fellowships undertaken by our Nonprofit.

From left to right: Swami Vidyadhishananda, Swami Atmananda, Swami Sharadananda

Council Advisors

HH Swami Vidyadhishananda Giri
California, United States

HH Swami Sharadananda Giri
Varanasi and Jhunsi, India

HH Swami Atmananda Giri
Varanasi, India

HH Swami Premananda Giri
Haridwar, India

HH Swami Sharad Puri
Haridwar, India

Passage from His Holiness Swami Sharadananda

“The head monks of our connected institutions, who are members of the council, hail from related or overlapping lineages and share similar specializations in Sanskrit scriptures. Their lineages are the most ancient and unbroken among Vedic historicity dating back more than 5000 years. Around 500 BCE our orders of monks were restructured by the great Ādi-Shankara as ten orders to better serve the lineages and the institutions they hail from. For example, the Giri order of monks represented in our council is affiliated with the tradition of Jyoti Maṭha in the Himalayan Mountains and share similar specializations in scriptural study and meditation practices. This system of hierarchy and cross affiliations has evolved over thousands of years to safeguard the Vedic holistic learning and the lineages of meditation practices while serving multiple monastic institutions and diverse scriptural branches.”

Swami Vidyadhishananda outside his study room at the Sri Paramananda Ashram, Jhunsi, Prayāga

The following six institutions are guided by our council: Self Enquiry Life Fellowship in the United States headed by Swami Vidyadhishananda, Sri Parmananda Ashram in Allahabad, Jhunsi, Prayāga headed by Swami Sharadananda, Vedanidhi in Varanasi headed by Swami Sharadananda and Swami Vidyadhishananda, Hari Bhawan Scriptural Library in Varanasi headed by Swami Atmananda, Tripura Yogashram in Haridwar headed by Swami Sharadananda and Swami Vidyadhishananda, and Shri Bharati Vidyalaya in Haridwar headed by Swami Premananda. Four additional monasteries in India that are under the council’s governance are not listed here.