Gnanaoli Mahan

His Holiness Paranjothi Gnanaoli Mahan was born on March 21, 1929 in a well-to-do family in Erode.From his childhood, he was spiritually inclined and involved himself in intense prayers and yogic practices.  His thirst and intensity to know more about God, lead him into Bhakthi Yoga (Path of Devotion). In the course of his penance, he acquired several powers. However, he knew this was not the end of the road. He felt he still lacked the knowledge of God and yearned to see Him.
Once he had visited the famous shrine of Lord Muruga in Palani, Tamil Nadu and performed the 'Anga Pradakshinam' to Lord Muruga.  The 'Anga Pradakshinam' is a traditional worship where the devotee lies down on the floor with his hands stretched out over his head and palms folded in reverence and circumnavigates the outer ring of the temple.  Swamiji went round the hill, bare bodied, offering himself to the Lord seeking to know one thing – to know HIM. Awestruck by his spiritual fervour, the public hurried behind him to assist him as the path was rocky and rough whereas he felt there was 'another force' pushing him on until he completed his prayer.
At that time, Swamiji was not only deeply involved in Bhakthi but was also a great orator, a composer, an artist and a photographer. On December 12, 1948, he was married to Rajamani Ammaiyar. In his effort to understand spiritualism, he read a lot of spiritual books. In the course of this effort, he came across Jegat Maha Guru Paranjothi Mahan’s book titled “I-God.” Upon reading the title of the book, he jumped to the conclusion that Mahan was calling Himself God and must be a highly egoistic person.  With that conclusion he literally discarded the book.
In the year 1956, Swamiji visited Sri Ramanashram at Tiruvannamalai. There he read a book written by Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharishi's disciple Sri Paul Brunton which was in the form of Question and Answers between the author and Bhagawan  The first question he read was “Who am I ?”. Bhagawan’s reply to that was “That thou art.” The next question was “Am I the body ?” Bhagawan’s reply was “That is for you to conclude.” Almost every other question thereafter elicited only one reply from Bhagawan which was “What is the use of asking me? You have to go within yourself and find out who you are.”
This book happened to be the turning point in Swamiji’s life. This conversation was deep rooted in his mind. In the year 1957, while he was attending to his spiritual duties, this conversation ran over deeply in his mind and he became absorbed and merged with the inquiry, ‘Who am I?”. In a few moments, he felt he was present everywhere.
After this blissful experience that lasted more than four hours, Swamiji realized the principle behind “I” and he rushed for H.H. Paranjothi Mahan’s book “I-God” that he had discarded a few years ago. He read and re-read the book and yearned to meet H.H. Paranjothi Mahan. On August 23, 1963 he met his Guru Paranjothi Mahan and surrendered to him. His Guru’s compassion and words, “I have been waiting for you. You have come late,” brought tears to his eyes as he sat absorbed with his Master.
Paranjothi Mahan initiated him into the Kundalini Yoga or Raja Yoga. In due course, Mahan christened him 'Gnanaoli' and entitled him to impart this meditation technique to all. Since then, Paranjothi Gnanaoli Mahan has been working tirelessly for the spiritual upliftment of the people. In 1965, he established his ashram in Erode and propagated the teachings of H.H. Paranjothi Mahan in his own inimitable style – humble and unassuming. He has also established centres in Chennai, Coimbatore, Kayapakkam, Namandi in Tamil Nadu. Outside India, his centre is based at Malaysia.  All these centres are engaged in disseminating spiritual knowledge to people to help them lead a life with peace and sound health.