Guru Maharaj

Hindu Milan Mandir is devoted to Guru Swami Pranvananda Maharaj. Some Hindus worldwide worship humans with perceived divine qualities as “gurus;” Maharaj is described as a "reformer guru" who started temples around India in his brief life from 1896 to 1940. In 1917, he organized these temples to form Bharat Sevashram Sangha. The organization’s goal was to provide the community with religious and social services in community temples.

The principles of the organization can be unpacked from its name. Bharat, the historic name for India, is included out of reverence for Indian culture; in a pamphlet I received from one of the organization’s monks, Maharaj is called a “patriot saint.” Seva means service. One of the organization’s main goals is to provide services for members of the community. The organization’s early spread was partly due to its relief efforts of a destructive monsoon season and a cholera epidemic in Bengal. The organization registered as a non-profit charitable religious monastic organization in 1923. Ashram refers to the four stages of life, or Ashramas, of its devotees and monks. The first stage is Brahmachariya, the student life of learning Hindu principles. The second is Grihastha, which is a life of starting a family, and the third is Vanaprastha, the retired life. The last stage is life’s final religious goal of Sannyasa, which is a life of renunciation, self-control and an understanding of truth. Lastly, Sangha means an organized community, which ideally benefits from the services of Bharat Sevashram Sangha.

Some of these temples set up under these principles were called mandirs, which are defined as “temples that are run by local families rather than Swamis,” or ordained religious leaders. Between 1934 and 1938, two thousand mandirs were built throughout northern and eastern India. After Maharaj’s death he continued to be worshipped as these mandirs spread worldwide. 

Satya Balroop descirbes the organization in the temple announcements and publications as "a renowned socio-cultural, educational, philanthropic and religious organization—serving humanity with non-sectarian, non-communal and non-political outlook. Propagating moral and cultural education, reconstruction of Hindu society irrespective of caste, creed or national origin. MHMM was established in the year 2000 by His Holiness Swami Purnatmanandaji Maharaj, Senior Monk of Bharat Sevashram Sangha. 

The principal goal is to promote the mission, aims and objectives laid down by the Sangha Lord, Acharyadev Shreemat Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj (1896 – 1941)."