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Ishwar totapuri
Born 1780 A.D ?
Died 1866 A.D ?

Ishwar Totapuri (also Tota Puri: Bengali: তোতাপুরী) affectionately known as "Nangta Baba" (1780-?), born likely in Punjab, India, was a parivrajaka (wandering monk) who is said to have followed the path of the Advaita Vedanta, which is often disputed due to the meager information that exists on Totapuri.[1]

By the time he arrived at Dakshineswar Temple in 1864, he was a wandering monk of the Dasnami order of Adi Shankara, and head of a monastery in the Punjab claiming the leadership of seven hundred sannyasins. He is said to have initiated Ramakrishna into Advaita Vedanta [2], as well as Anandpuri Ji from the Advait Mat tradition.[3]

Totapuri taught Ramakrishna that the sole reality of the impersonal Absolute could only be realized in a state of consciousness devoid of all conceptual forms.[4] Ramakrishna described Totapuri as "a teacher of masculine strength, a sterner mien, a gnarled physique, and a virile voice", and addressed him affectionately as Nangta, the "Naked One", because as a renunciate he did not wear any clothing.[2]


  1. ^ Comans. Michael, The Question of the Importance of Samadhi in Modern and Classical Advaita Vedanta, Philosophy East & West. Volume: 43. Issue: 1. (1993) pp.33.
    "The time [Ramakrishna] spent under the direction of Totapuri, who was said to be an Advaitin, was much shorter than the time spent studying Tantra, and the information available on Totapuri is very meager, so it is difficult to be sure whether he was actually an Advaitin rather than a follower of yoga.
  2. ^ a b Swami Nikhilananda, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1972), Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York
  3. ^ Geaves, R. R., From Totapuri to Maharaji: Reflections on a Lineage (Parampara) (2007), in Indian Religions: Renaissance and Revival, ed. Anna King. London: Equinox, 2007
  4. ^ Von Dehsen, Christian D. (Ed.) WritersPhilosophers and Religious Leaders p.159, Oryx Press, 1999


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