Dr. Shyam Sunder Parashar “Shastri ji” Born on 8 – June, 1967 in an illustrious Brahmin family, revered Dr. Shyam Sunder Parashar “Shastri ji” is like divine light emanating from the altar of Sage Gaaval who is known to have done penance and tapas long long ago in the precincts of Gwalior the birth place of Shastriji. His village Bhitarwar, 72 kms. from Gwalior city is adorned and blessed by the Holy river Parvati.
Its salubrious environment has inspired not only saints but also musicians like Samrat Tameen. From this confluence of philosophical -thought and melody of music has emerged Shastriji.
He portrays a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedas, Shastras, and Puranas whose, slokas he transcribes through meliphagous symphony of his ragas and raginis. Having inherited a rich intellect from his grandfather Shri Jeevanlalji Parashar, a great scholar of Astrology and occult sciences and nobility and social wisdom of his father Shri Pandit Bhagwan Lalji and mother Smt. Vimla Deviji, Shastriji epitomizes these virtues.
His parents rightly gauged the depth of the genius in him and his inborn eagerness and passion for Srimad Bhagawat. They put him under the guidance of a Vedic Scholar, Pandit Shri Rajvanshiji Dwivedi of Shridham Brindavan, so that as a child itself his mind would have an insight in to the treasures of the vedic culture and philosophy. Dwivediji Maharaj, convinced of the depth of the child’s yearning for knowledge promoted him for higher formal education in Shri Dharam Sanga Sanskrit Vidyalaya, establilshed by the well-renowned Dharam Sarmvt Swami Shri Karpatri Ji Maharaj. There, in seven years, he learnt the nuances of Sanskrit grammar, metaphysics, form of the various schools of Indian philosophy, Shastras etc and earned for himself the title of “Shyam Sunder Shastri”. Later in the year He got doctorate Vidyavachaspati on Bhagvat Mahapurana from Rohelkhand Vishwa Vidyalaya, Bareilly.
Thereafter, he stayed in Raman Reti with Seth Bishan Chandji who, after his successful political career as member of the U.P. Assembly, had became a recluse, devoted to the higher cause of life – the attainment of the Ultimate Reality. ecluse, devoted to the higher cause of life – the attainment of the Ultimate Reality. Shastriji’s association with him was of a true spiritual aspirant putting to practice all he had learnt and imbibed so far. Daily, doing Rudra Abhishek with chosen exquisite flowers and praying to the God of knowledge he chiseled his intelligence and started delving into the ocean of Srimad Bhagawat searching for pearls in the form of varied interpretations of the leelas of Lord Krishna. It is at this time that he had his formal education and training in Hindustani classical music, which gave a melodic embellishment to his voice. He passed his Sangeet Visharad from Gandharva Sangeet Vidhyalaya, Mumbai, in vocal classical music.
At the age of 16, the saints and sarvants of Brindavan elevated Shastriji on to the Vyas Peeth -the highest podium for spiritual discourse for reciting Srimad Bhagawat Purana in the ashram of Shri Sant Dasji Maharaj. All were stunned by his logical clarity, dynamic spiritual force in all his expressions and the mellifluent note in which he sung the slokas of the Bhagawat Purana. The Slokas themselves became self-revealing. The saints, overwhelmed by his rendition, composed even a sloka as an encomium to him:
“Shyama Vamankritpadnati, Sundar Shyampoorvah “Shyama Vamankritpadnati, Sundar Shyampoorvah
Shrimad Bhagwate” mahamunikrite anushiththito yena yatnah Shabde Shastre KritparichayoSoyam prapiah sadasi, bahavaam sadkatham vastumatr”
Shri Swami Keshavanda Saraswatiji, who himself is great Bhagwat Pandit and a dear disciple of Dharam Samrat Swami Karpatri Ji Maharaj, bestowed on Shastriji the title of “Bhagwat Diwakar”. In the above sloka Swamiji has pointed out the dexterity of Shastriji in expressing the meaning of the words of the Bhagawat through ‘geet’ sangeet and vadya.
Prompted assuredly by the will of the Lord, Seth Trilokchandji, brother of Seth Bishanchandji, like a true gemologist, discovered a rare spiritual diamond of Vyas in Shastriji. The voice of the inner recess of his heart convinced Sethji that it was Shastriji who, like “Shuka” the enlightened son of Shri Veda Vyas, would carry the message of Srimad Bhagwat Purana to the masses. And so it happened. A ceaseless stream of soul-elevating rendition of the Bhagawat started flowing from the divine expositions of this “Shuka” simmersed in the ocean of love, and people hear him spellbound. People flocked to listen to his Kathas and even invited him all over the country in big cities and townships – Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh. Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala, Orissa, jharkhand etc. Also, worldwide, aspirants from Denmark, Holland, Thailand, Surinam etc. began to invite Shastriji for discourse on the Bhagawat. Recitation of the Slokas of the Bhagawat in Ragas and by Shastriji transgresses the barriers of language. The true meaning of Slokas unfolds itself in the hearts of people and sanctifies them.
Today, at the age of 44, Shastriji he has finished more than 720 Bhagwat Parayans. He has been conferred with distinguished titles by Mahatmas, Acharyas, Mathadeshas as Rasesh, Bhagwat Samvat etc. Many distinguished contemporary saints and sages of India have recognized his talents and have blessed him with their appreciation. Among them are Swami Vishnu Ashramji of Shuktal; Shri Mahant Notya Gopal Dasji of Ayodhya; Shankaracharya Shri Madhavashrammji, Shri Ram Kinkarji Maharaj, Swami Vidhyanandagiriji, Shankaracharya of Puri, Shri Nischalandaji Saraswati, the great classical vocalist Pandit jasrajji, Shri Narayan Dasji (Mamaji) and universally venerated Shri Murari Bapuji. They have all showered their love and affection on him. venerated Shri Murari Bapuji. They have all showered their love and affection on him.
Shastriji humbly accepts all these as the ‘Prasad’ of the Lord and not as a fruit of his own endeavor. In all this, Shastriji sees the grace of sages and saints. Swami Chidanandji of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, giving 4 fruits bestowed on him the four Purusharthas-Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. Shastriji, in fact, sees behind his own spiritual elevation the blessings of these realized souls. Shastriji’s eosotoric expositions of the Leelas of Lord Krishna come from his profound understanding of the nature and character of Maryada Purushottam, Rama. It was this love for Lord Rama that brought Shastriji to Ayodhya to Panchrasacharya Shri Swami Ram Harshari Das Ji, who anointed him as Vaishnava. Influenced and inspired by his Guru Shri Swami Ramcharan Das Ji, Shastriji constructed Shri Ram Temple on the banks of Holy River Parvati which flows through Bhitarwar, his village. Every year Yagna and prayer congregations are organized there to awaken the dormant souls to the life of Dharma. Shastriji’s “Ram Katha” is equally scintillating. The couplets, prosody of Ramayan when sung penetrate the hearts of listeners, invigorates devotion, and stimulates knowledge paving the way for righteous living.
Shastriji, through his brilliant and soul stirring renditions of Srimad Bhagawat and Ramayana, has transformed the lives of all who are fortunate enough to come in contact with him.
In order to kelp alive this tradition, Shastriji has set up “Shyam Prem Sansthan”. The primary objective of the Sansthan is to propagate the learning of the Bhagawat Purana which is a citadel of Bhakti Jnane Vairagya -the various modes for the attainment of salvation. Further wishing to promote excellence in the presentation of Srimad Bhagwat that this Sansthan was established in Vrindavan which is emerging as the international centre of Bhagwat Studies, branches of which have also been established in Reeve and Shehdol. Here the promising yasas are to be trained in the musical recitation of Sanskrit metres in the frame work of ragas and raginis.
As an `Anubhavi Jnani” he combines in himself service and devotion. His service (seva) as an aspect of vairagya or renunciation has followed in the wake of knowledge and devotion (Bhakti, Jnana) the two being complementary to each other as one without the other is tinsel.
Thus, Shastriji shares the divine bounty of Vedantic wisdom ingrained in the Bhagwat and attunes it to the melody of the ragas evoking Bhakti, Jnana and Vairagya for attainment of the Supreme goal of life-the Realisation of The Self.