Bhagavan Shanmukha traditonally educated Tantric Acharya (Lama, Teacher, Guru):
Bhagavan Shanmukha

Ācārya Bhagavan Shanmukha Anantha Natha

Ācārya Bhagavan Shanmukha Anantha Natha is a traditionally educated, initiated Śaiva Āgama teacher with forty years of teaching experience.

Traditional learning not only entails the study of the Śaiva Āgamas, but also the Veda and all its various interpretations as Āgama (that which comes down from the Veda), Tantra, and Yoga (āsanas, prāṇāyāma, dhyāna). The Veda forms the basic rubrics from which one can read an Āgamic or Siddhāntic perspective or even a Tantric or Yogic interpretation.

These topics of study were never at any point in history limited to just one fragment as Orientalists maintain. In traditional learning, it is understood that the whole science originates directly from the Veda. However, Orientalism and New Age have led us to believe that the Indic studies are separate systems: Trika, Śaiva Siddhānta, Pāñcarātra, and Kashmiri or Uttara Śaivism. In other words, there was not any time in the history of India, a valid Śaiva tradition that was learned as an isolated system (i.e. Trika). The whole science was the composite study of the Veda.

In colonial times, with the collapse of the Vedic tradition, there appear to be teachings limited to particular systems. This is because the practitioners of those sciences had to make do with what was at hand.

Background

From a very young age, Bhagavan Shanmukha learned the spiritual science of Śaivism from his grandparents, who were devout practitioners. His grandfather, especially, was involved in the study of Śaiva Tantras. As a couple, Bhagavan Shanmukha's grandparents lived every moment of their life as right-hand (Dakṣiṇa Marga) Tantrics. They never missed even a day of consecrating the Divinities in their personal shrine. This shrine itself was almost a temple. It is there that Bhagavan Shanmukha learned the Vedic sciences, i.e. the Āgamas and Tantras, from his grandfather. Every morning started with a sojourn to the shrine, then a visit to his grandparents' vast cowshed. Growing up in this backdrop, it is easy to see why learning tantra from him is such a rich experience.

Bhagavan Shanmukha with students

As an adult, Bhagavan Shanmukha learnt the left-hand path (Vāma Marga) from a traditional Śaiva Gurumayi from Northeastern India initiated under the name Shri Ma Chandramathi Shivadasini Sharma.

In the early sixties and seventies, Tantra was seen as sorcery even by Indians. India had been colonized for over three hundred years and Victorian English prudery was taught in the schools and wholeheartedly embraced by the majority of India. Thus, Shri Ma Gurumayi lived a secluded life and did not teach Tantra.

When Bhagavan Shanmukha approached her to learn the left-hand or Vāma Marga way of Tantra, she initially hesitated but accepted after a few months, as she realized the seriousness of his intention and that he had an in-depth understanding of the science from his grandparents and was only lacking the left-hand or the Vāma Tantra aspect. She taught him the rituals and sexual aspects of Tantra.

She initiated him as an ācārya of the Shiva-Shakta tradition and with the title of Bhagavan. To hold this title one must be educated and initiated in the Veda, and therefore, in the various Āgamas: Kashmiri Śaivism, also known as Trika or correctly Uttara Śaivism, Dakṣiṇa Śaivism, and also Tamil Śaivism. Bhagavan is also learned in the Lingāyat or Jangama ideology—the Śaivism of Karnataka state in India. This means that he is educated in the Veda and therefore aware of various interpretations such as Āgamas and Tantras i.e. Kula, Kaula, Mata, and Krama. In short, he is well versed with the traditional reading of the Veda and this includes also Vaiṣṇavism, Krṣṇaism and Buddhism. He also understands and practices the Pāśupata rituals. Bhagavan Shanmukha is fluent in Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindi and English languages as well as a few other non-Indian languages. The title Bhagavan is synonymous with the term Sarvadarśana ācārya: an ācārya whose initiation takes him to understand the whole science.

 

Bhagavan Shanmukha   ||   Shri Ma Kristina
Long-term Students   ||   Eleanor Bartolomeo   ||   Whitney Wheelock
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