In what follows, we detail more information about the guru-lineage of our founder and teacher, Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina
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 from Nepal, was traditionally trained, consecrated with sarvādhikāra-sarvasāmrājya dīkṣā and 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.
He has also received academic and philological training in Mahendra Sanskrit University in Kathmandu and Sampurnananda Sanskrit University in Varanasi, as well as in Martin Luther University in Germany, where he acquired his PhD in Classical Indian Philosophy. He's currently Professor of Religious Studies in San Diego State University, USA.
He has long dedicated himself to the goal of preserving the traditions he inherited in a modern, institutionalized way. First by founding the Tantric department of Nepal Sanskrit University in Kathmandu, then by then by allowing the śāstric traditions to speak as subject in the global scenario through his academic works, and finally through founding Vimarsha Foundation with the goal of preserving classical śāstric and sādhanā training.
Ācārya Sthaneshwar's Gurus
Prem Chetan Brahmacāri
Main Tantric Dīkṣa 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 then went to do intensive sādhanā in Baglung Kālikā Bhagavatī Temple for years. He also learned from gurus Atmaram Parajuli and Rudranath Paudel in Pokhara. He finally came to Kathmandu, staying in a place just adjacent to Paśupatināth temple, where he learned further aspects of Sarvāmnāya under Vidyāraṇya Svāmī (who was known after the way he playfully called himself, as Mūrkhāraṇya), one of the greatest tantrics in all of the XXth Century. Under those and other teachers Prem Chetan was taught the full structure of Sarvāmnāya Tantra. He went on to teach it to his disciple, Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina, in the course of 14 years of training, including initiations into Trika, Kālīkrama, Śrīvidyā and Kubjikā traditions. 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.
Śaṅkara Caitanya Bhāratī
Tantric Dīkṣa Guru
Śaṅkara Caitanya Bhāratī was born in Kashmir, where he joined his guru in Śāradā Māṭha. He eventually moved to Varanasi, where he became known by many as Varanasi's greatest knower of Vedānta and Trika. He used to visit Nepal frequently and was a fully-consecrated ācārya of the Sarvāmnāya Tantra. After Prem Chetan's passing, he became Ācārya Sthaneshwar Timalsina's dīkṣa guru and completed his training in the tradition, granting him, as culmination, his ācārya abhīṣeka (consecration as ācārya).
Śaṅkara Caitanya Bhāratī 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 106th 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 Krama tradition) and Pañcamukha Hanuman.
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. Knowledgeable about various yogic traditions such as encapsulated in the Yoga Sūtras, Maṇḍūkya Kārikās, Svacchanda Tantra, Netra Tantra and Vijñānabhairava Tantra, he taught several of those yogic teachings to Ācārya Sthaneshwar.
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. 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, 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.