Swami Tripurari was born in 1949 at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. He devoted his youth to the pursuit of transcendental knowledge and mystic experience. His lifetime of spiritual practice and teaching has brought him notice in spiritual circles around the world and earned the appreciation of scholars and practitioners alike. Swami Tripurari has been described as helping scholars apprehend more clearly the dynamic nature of the Gaudiya Vedanta, aka. Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
Swami Tipurari met his initiating guru, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in the spring of 1972. Swami Tripurari relates that he felt as though he had met a long-lost friend, as Srila Prabhupada blessed him with his all-knowing glance. Over the years of service that followed, Srila Prabhupada showered Swami Tripurari with affection and repeatedly expressed his appreciation for Swami Tripurari’s selfless service and ability to inspire others. In 1974 Srila Prabhupada instructed Swami Tripurari in a widely circulated letter, “So you organize freely. You are the incarnation of book distribution. Take the leadership and do the needful.” Accordingly, Swami Tripurari has set an example of one who is independently thoughtful and capable of making an insightful literary contribution to the world.
In 1975 Swami Tripurari was initiated by Srila Prabhupada into the renounced order of sannyasa.
Shortly before Srila Prabhupada’s departure from the world, he suggested that, should the need arise, his students could receive further instruction from his Godbrother Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami. Swami Tripurari was present when Srila Prabhupada gave this instruction, implanting it in Swami’s heart. However, it was not until several years later, in the midst of the confusion that followed Srila Prabhupada’s death, that they blossomed into the directive that would so deeply affect the course of Swami Tripurari’s spiritual pursuit.
Swami Tripurari expresses his experience of hearing from and serving Srila Sridhara Maharaja thus:
“With the setting of the sun of the manifest pastimes of our beloved preceptor, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world became dark. Then suddenly in the shadows of the night the reflected light of the moonlike discourse of Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami flooded the path with new light and dynamic insight that illumined the inner landscape, leading me to the soul of Srila Prabhupada and Gaudiya Vaisnavism.”
The association and instructions of Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami profoundly affected Swami Tripurari, and under his inspired guidance, Swami Tripurari began initiating his own students in 1985.
Today Swami Tripurari describes his work as an expression of the combined mercy of these two saints, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhara Maharaja. Swami Tripurari lives at his monastery, Audarya, in northern California and travels throughout the world sharing his spiritual realization. Swami Tripurari is the author of a dozen books and a columnist for Beliefnet.com and Ananda magazine, published in Finland. Swami Tripurari also publishes answers to the numerous questions he receives over the Internet in his Sanga email newsletter. Swami’s recorded discourses exceed four hundred in number. His influence is experienced across a number of Gaudiya Vaishnava missions.
Among the books Swami Tripurari has published are a study of Jiva Gosvami’s Tattva Sandharba and of Sri Caitanya’s Siksastakam. Swami Tripurari has also published Bhagavad-gita: Its Feeling and Philosophy, and Gopala-tapani Upanisad. Swami Tripurari’s Aesthetic Vedanta was nominated for the Louisville Grawemeyer Award. Klaus K. Klostermaier of the University of Manitoba made the nomination. He wrote that “Aesthetic Vedanta’s beautiful and sensitive language will make the classic rasa-lila accessible to students of spirituality who have no specific background in Indian religions and philosophies. Its reverential approach makes it a religious classic in its own right.” Yoga Journal opined that the book illuminates “the profundity and praticality of the path of devotion.” Huston Smith wrote about his book Rasa: “This is perhaps the most helpful exposition of the bhakti tradition that has come my way. Thank you for writing it.”
Swami Tripurari’s edition of Bhagavad-gita was also reviewed in Yoga Journal in 2002, where Phil Catalfo called it “a kind of postgraduate course in the cultural, metaphysical, and spiritual teachings inherent” in Bhagavad-gita. McGill University’s Arvind Sharma, a noted expert on Hinduism and Bhagavad-gita, lauded this edition’s “hints of originality, rather than mere novelty” in the The Journal of Vaishnava Studies. He further wrote, “This book introduces many a fresh scent in the garden of the Gita. Though practitioners will find particular delight in Swami Tripurari’s explanations, academics would do well to seriously consider his insights and interestingly nuanced elaborations.”
Swami Tripurari regularly contributes articles and participates in discussion occurring on The Harmonist, responds to questions through his Sanga email newsletter and his monastic staff produce recordings of his talks entitled Audarya Audio with many available at swamitripurari.com