Shri Brahamananda Sarasvati was the founder and spiritual director of Ananda Ashram (1964) in Monroe, NY and of the Yoga Society of New York (1958) and the Yoga Society of San Francisco(1972). His previous name was Dr. Ramamurti Mishra M.D., and he was an Ayurvedic physician, as well as an M.D. specializing in neurosurgery and psychology. Lovingly referred to as Guruji, he left his body in 1993.
Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati was one of the first Indian teachers to come to the U.S. and teach yoga and meditation. He was and still is regarded as a spiritual teacher for thousands all over the world. In addition to being a physician, he was an accomplished scholar of the Sanskrit language, which he viewed as a vehicle on the path to experiencing oneness with universal consciousness. Many curious seekers would come to sit with Guruji at the ashram, only to find themselves reciting Sanskrit grammar until the wee hours of the night. Guruji explained that even if you didn't know what you were actually saying, the transformative powers of the Sanskrit syllables were still having their profound effects.
Guruji was also an expert in yoga psychology based in the ancient Vedanta tradition of India. His book, The Textbook of Yoga Psychology, is a definitive commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras that blends traditional philosophy with modern psychology. He is the author of Fundamentals of Yoga, Self-Analysis and Self-Knowledge, and many other essays devoted to meditation and self-realization.
Shri Brahamananda Sarasvati was a unique spiritual teacher who successfully merged Eastern and Western science and philosophy into a language Westerners could understand. His message lives on in the writings and recordings he left behind, in the meditation centers he founded, and in the hearts of everyone who experienced his grace and love.
Dr. Vasant Lad is well-known as an Ayurvedic physician, an author, a teacher, and as the founder and Executive Director of The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM. He established the school as the first learning center for Ayurveda in the U.S. in 1984, and has been devoted to teaching and treating patients there since that time.
Though Dr. Lad does not put himself in the position of a guru, many students and practitioners of Ayurveda consider him to be that great of a teacher. He lives and breathes and exudes the profound spirit of Ayurveda. He inspires everyone who meets him to awaken to their highest potential by being that himself. He is the embodiment of love and compassion, and imparts that essence to his students. Dr. Lad has selflessly devoted his entire life to alleviating suffering; whether as a doctor to the sick, or as a humble spiritual guide to seekers on the path to wholeness. He is incredibly funny while at the same time never uttering a meaningless word. When he teaches students of Ayurveda, he is so identified with the universal wisdom of the ancient sages of Ayurveda, that he often endearingly refers to himself in the third person as "the speaker."
Had I not met Dr. Vasant Lad one foggy day in northern California, my life would have taken a very different path. Yet the moment I met him and heard him speak to an audience, I knew that I had found the ultimate purpose of my life. I knew that I had finally met the teacher who would show me how to heal myself and in turn, how to help others.
Dr. Lad received the degree of Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery from the University of Pune, in Pune, India in 1968, and a Master of Ayurvedic Science from Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya in Pune, India in 1980. For 3 years he served as Medical Director of the Ayurveda Hospital in Pune, India. He also held the position of Professor of Clinical Medicine for seven years at the Pune University College of Ayurvedic Medicine, where he was an instructor for many years.