In what follows, we detail more information about the guru-lineage of our founder and teacher, Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina
Goddess Parā, engraved in a 400-year old wooden bookcover, belonging to
Ācārya's Sthaneshwar Timalsina's family collection
Guru-paramparā (the lineage of teachers) is a very crucial element in the living transmission of the tradition. But given the many confusions and distortions of the sacred institution of the teacher-disciple relationship in contemporary times, it's important to ask: what is a guru, after all?
A guru is a traditional teacher: a living conduit through whom one connects to the lineage. Hindus of all varieties traditionally understand their teacher-lineages to go back all the way to the Deity itself, as the primary guru who imparts wisdom. Without the guru there's no living transmission or lineage of that wisdom. As such, however, a guru is not substitute for the Deity, the lineage and the śāstras. It is Lord Śiva's grace who does śaktipata, the human guru just connects one to the command of Lord Śiva transmitted through lineage. Śāstras are the body of Lord Śiva, which resonates in our bodies when we recite them in our practice; and it is only due to the fact the teacher's body has been made up of that sacred vibration that he is worthy of being a guru.
Vimarsha Foundation's founder, Ācārya Dr. Sthaneshwar Timalsina is from Nepal. He was traditionally trained, consecrated with sarvādhikāra-sarvasāmrājya dīkṣā and is authorized as Śaivācārya within Nepali Sarvāmnāya Order by his dīkṣā gurus: Prem Chetan, from Baglung (Nepal), and Śaṁkara Caitanya Bhāratī, from Kashmir. Khaptad Baba, also from Kashmir, was his Yoga guru. He was taught the Vedas, Nyāya, Mīmāṁsā, Vedānta, Śaiva Siddhānta, Trika, Mahārtha and other śāstras in Nepal and Varanasi, by the aforementioned teachers as well as others such as Tanka Prasad Timalsina, Vidyānath Upādhyāya, Rāmānanda Giri, Maheśānanda Giri, Ramji Malviya, Vraja Vallabha Dvivedi and Hemendra Nath Chakravarty.
Acharya Dr. Sthaneshwar Timalsina has also received academic and philological training from Mahendra Sanskrit University in Kathmandu; Sampurnananda Sanskrit University in Varanasi; as well as Martin Luther University in Germany, where he acquired his Ph.D. in Classical Indian Philosophy. While working on his dissertation, Dr. Timalsina taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Washington University in St. Louis. Afterwards, he taught in both the Department for the Study of Religions and the Department of Philosophy at San Diego State University for 15 years. He is currently the Endowed Chair of Indic Studies at Stony Brook University, New York in the Department of Asian & Asian American Studies.
He has long dedicated himself to the goal of preserving śāstric knowledge he inherited in a modern, institutionalized way. This goal dates back to his time in Nepal, where he founded the Department of Tantric Studies at Nepal Sanskrit University in Kathmandu. As a University Professor allows śāstric traditions to be brought to conversations in the global academic field. In order to further disseminate Tantraśāstra's knowledge and traditional practice, Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina launched Vimarsha Foundation in 2019.
Ācārya Sthaneshwar's Gurus
Prem Chetan Brahmacāri
Main Tantric Dīkṣā Guru
Prem Chetan Brahmacāri was born in Baglung district of Nepal. He studied in the gurukula of his guru, after whom he is named, located in Chisa Kola. Under the elder Premacaitanya (himself a disciple of the Jyotirmāṭh Śaṅkarācārya and Śrīvidyā siddha, Svāmī Brahmānanda Sarasvatī) he learned sādhanā, until when the guru passed on and the gurukula ceased to be active. He also learned from gurus Atmaram Parajuli and Rudranath Paudel in Pokhara. After spending many years in intensive sādhanā at Baglung Kālikā Bhagavatī Temple, he moved to Kathmandu, staying in a place just adjacent to Paśupatināth temple, where he learned further from Vidyāraṇya Svāmī (who was known after the way he playfully called himself, "Mūrkhāraṇya"), one of the greatest tantrics in all of the XXth Century. In Kathmandu, where he lived healing and helping people of all sorts, he was quite revered as a great Tantrika by those from the circle of nepalese tantrikas, and he was often on a visit by Royal dignitaries. He went on to teach the full structure of Sarvāmnāya Tantra to his disciple Sthaneshwar in the course of 14 years of training, including initiation and consecration into Trika, Kālīkrama, Śrīvidyā and Kubjikā streams of Kaula Tantra.
Śaṅkara Caitanya Bhāratī
Tantric Dīkṣā Guru
Śaṅkara Caitanya Bhāratī from Kashmir is possibly one of the greatest knowers of Vedānta, Trika and Āgamas of our age, as well as an accomplished Sarvāmnāya Tantric adept of the highest order, closely related to the tantric circles of Nepal. He became Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina's ūrdhvāmnāya dīkṣā guru in the early 1990s and went on to complete his training in Sarvāmnāya Tantra, granting him, as culmination, his ācārya abhīṣeka (consecration as ācārya) in 1996.
He is named after his own Kashmiri guru, who is the well-known author of two of the greatest works of Indian Philosophy of the XXth Century: Darśana Sarvasva and the Śāradā Vyākhya commentary on Khaṇḍana Khaṇḍa Khāḍya. He was considered by his contemporaries as a Bhairavarūpa: an embodiment of Yoga, Jñāna and Vairagya.
Photo taken at his 104th year of life
Pandit Tanka Prasad Timalsina
Father and Vedic guru
A Vedic pandita and devoted Śaivite coming within a long lineage of Kālī priests, Tanka Prasad Timalsina ran a Vedic gurukula where his son, Sthaneshwar, was raised and taught the Śukla Yajurveda practised in their lineage. He was also Sthaneshwar's first Tantric guru, having given him his first Śaiva initiation, as well as practices of Kālī reflecting traces of the ancient Kaśmirī Krama tradition.
Khaptad Baba was a Kashmiri saint who traveled along the Himalayan mountains and settled in Nepal, where he lived for over 40 years as a hermit. He taught Ācārya Sthaneshwar various yogic teachings such as encapsulated in the Yoga Sūtras, Maṇḍūkya Kārikās, Svacchanda Tantra, Netra Tantra and Vijñānabhairava Tantra.
Rāmānanda Giri was a disciple of the great Maheśānanda Giri from Śaṅkara Māṭha in Mount Abu, India. Ācārya Sthaneshwar met him in Kathmandu and from that same day started learning Vedānta, Nyāya and Mīmāṁsā from him, which training continued in a daily basis for full 12 years. Ācārya Sthaneshwar also studied the Upaniṣads with paramguru Maheśānanda in Varanasi. Rāmanānda later became the founder of one of the best centers of traditional learning in the whole of Nepal, the Mahesh Sanskrit Gurukula in Devghat.
Ācārya Rāmaji Mālavīya
Ācārya Rāmaji Mālavīya was an initiate from Datia's Pītāmbara Bhagalamukhi Śaktipīṭha, as well as a Sarvāmnāya initiate under his guru Śaṁkara Caitanya Bhāratī. He was also the dean of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University of Varanasi, a school which seeks to institutionalize and preserve the pandita tradition of Varanasi. Ācārya Rāmaji Mālavīya taught Ācārya Sthaneshwar the commentatorial texts of the Siddhānta and Trika tradition, especially the works of Abhinavagupta.
Vidyānāth Upādhyāya Bhaṭṭa is an important contemporary Sarvāmnāya Tantra master in the lineage of Lambarkana Bhaṭṭa - one of the most renowned masters of the Kālīkrama lineage in Nepal. Founder of the "Lambarkana Bhatta Institute of Tantric Studies" in Nepal, he is the author of several important works on Tantra. He was also taught by great pandita, Padma Prasad Bhattarai, twice winner of the All-India śāstrārtha. He taught Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina Nyāya and Navya-Nyāya for many years.
Vraja Vallabha Dvivedi & Hemendra Nath Chakravarty
Mahāmahopādhyāya Gopīnāth Kavirāj, the great tantrika and paṇḍita responsible for the renaissance of Tantric scholarship in Varanasi, himself a disciple of Viśuddhānanda Paramahamsa, had among his chief disciples paṇḍitas Vraja Vallabha Dvivedi and Hemendra Nath Chakravarty, who taught several Tantric śāstras to Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina during his years at Varanasi.
Yogī Kṣiprānāth, publicly known as the Guru of Yogī Naraharināth, was one of the Mahāsiddhas of the era, known for his perfection on Yogic practices. Because of his simplicity, and his secluded character, he hardly came to the public, preferring his own dhūni in solitude. His simplicity and silence were the main traits through his he taught patience to his students. At Mṛgasthalī, he taught Haṭhayoga in all its aspects, as practised in the Nātha order, to Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina.