Nothing Existed Except the Eyes of the Maharshi
by N.R. Krishnamurti Aiyer. Oct. 29, 2001
Who Are You? An Interview With Papaji by
Jeff Greenwald. Oct. 24, 2001
An Interview with Byron Katie by Sunny
Massad. Oct. 23, 2001
An Interview with Douglas Harding by Kriben
Pillay. Oct. 21, 2001
The Nectar of Immortality by Sri Nisargadatta
Maharaj. Oct. 18, 2001
The Power of the Presence Part Two by David
Godman. Oct. 15, 2001
The Quintessence of My Teaching by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Oct. 3, 2001
Interview With David Godman. Sept. 28, 2001
The Power of the Presence Part One by David
Godman. Sept. 28, 2001
Nothing Ever Happened Volume 1 by
David Godman. Sept. 23, 2001
Collision with the Infinite by Suzanne
Segal. Sept. 22, 2001
Lilly of the Valley, the Bright and Morning
Star by Charlie Hopkins. August 9, 2001
email address is editor
Purohit Swami was one of the first great yogis who came
to Europe from India. His books never gained the wide
readership they deserve, and he has fallen into obscurity.
He is the
author of the first (and probably best) autobiography
of a yogi ever written, and he collaborated with W.B.
Yeats, the famous Irish poet, on an English translation
of the principal Upanishads whose literary merit exceeds
remarkable Autobiography of an Indian Monk has
recently been brought back into print by Munrisham Manoharlal
Publishers in New Delhi.
Purohit was born in Badnera, Vidarbha, India on October
12, 1882 to a wealthy Maharashtran Brahmin family. His
parents gave him the name Shankar Gajannan Purohit.
a child he became proficient in Marathi, English, and
Sanskrit. He was well educated, obtaining a B.A. in
philosophy at Calcutta University in 1903 and a law
degree from Deccan College and Bombay University.
a teenager, he decided to be celibate, but in 1908 he
accomodated his parents' wishes and married Godu Bai.
After the birth of daughters in 1910 and 1914 and a
son in 1915, he resumed his vow of celibacy.
year or two before his marriage, he met a young man only
four years older than himself named Natekar. Purohit says
this meeting "was love at first sight,"1
and Natekar, who later took the monastic name Hamsa Swami,
became Purohit's guru.
of an Indian Monk, page 45.
his law degree, Purohit never practiced as a lawyer.
He worked as a manager of a candle factory and wrote
books; for a time he took a position as an ordinary
household servant. In 1923 his guru directed him to
embark on a mendicant pilgrimage the length and breadth
of India. Begging bowl in hand, he passed several years
in this way.
1930 he went to Europe where he met W.B. Yeats, the
great Irish poet, who became a friend and helped arrange
for the publication of Purohit's books by leading London
publishers. These included The Autobiography of an
Indian Monk (1932), a translation of Hamsa Swami's
The Holy Mountain (1934), a translation of the
Bhagavad Gita (1935), a translation of The
Ten Principal Upanishads (in collaboration with
Yeats, 1937), and a translation of Patanjali's Aphorisms
of Yoga (1938).
died in the late 1930s or early 1940s.
| RELATED PAGES ON THIS SITE
Autobiography of an Indian Monk
by Shri Purohit Swami
Reviewed by Laura Olshansky
from Blue Dove
OF AN INDIAN MONK
By Shri Purohit Swami
wonderful book is the first autobiography of a yogi ever written. After
a university education and years of wandering as a renunciant in his native
India, Purohit Swami came to England in 1930 where he became friends with
the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats, who encouraged him to write this book.
(The two men also collaborated on a translation of the principal Upanishads.)
With artful prose and intriguing stories, Purohit does a remarkable job
of communicating the experience of becoming a yogi. He also provides vivid
glimpses of aspects of Indian culture (such as renunciation) that are
particularly valuable for Western students of yoga.
TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS
Translated by Shree Purohit Swami and W.B. Yeats
are translations for the heart and for the head; those that recreate the
poetic, literary greatness of the original, and those that aim at academic
fidelity. This is the best English translation of the first type that
has ever been made of the Upanishads. Shree
Purohit Swami was an enormously talented yogi who came to London in 1930,
and W.B. Yeats was one of the greatest English poets of the twentieth
century. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, so you'll have to buy
a used copy. It's worth it.
Purohit has fallen into nearly complete obscurity, and
we have been unable to find any links to information
about him on the web.
page was published on September 12, 2000.