Venkataraman Shastri was born in March 1884 to an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family. His father was P. Narasimha Shastri, originally a tehsildar at Tirunelveli in Madras Presidency who later became the Deputy Collector of the Presidency. His uncle, Chandrasekhar Shastri, was the Principal of the Maharaja's college in Vizianagaram, while his great-grandfather, Justice C. Ranganath Shastri was a judge in the Madras High Court.
Venkataraman Shastri joined National College in Trichinopoly. After that he moved to the Church Missionary Society College and eventually the Hindu College, both in Tirunelveli. Shastri passed his matriculation examination from Madras University in January 1899, where he also finished the first.
Although Venkataraman always scored high in subjects like mathematics, sciences and humanities, he was also proficient in languages and particularly good at Sanskrit. According to his own testimonials, Sanskrit and oratory were his favourite subjects. Due to his skill at the language, that he was awarded the title "Saraswati" by the Madras Sanskrit Association in July 1899 at the age of 16. At about that time, Venkatraman was profoundly influenced by his Sanskrit guru Vedam Venkatrai Shastri.
Venkataraman passed B.A. examination in 1902. He then appeared for the M.A. Examination for the American College of Sciences in Rochester, New York from the Bombay centre in 1903. He also contributed to W. T. Stead's Review of Reviews on diverse topics like religion and science. During his college days, he also wrote extensively on history, sociology, philosophy, politics, and literature.
Venkataraman Shastri worked under Gopal Krishna Gokhale in 1905 for the National Education Movement and the South African Indian problems. However, his inclination towards Hindu studies led him to study the ancient Indian holy scriptures, Adhyatma-Vidya. In 1908 he joined the Sringeri Matha in Mysore to study under Svami Satchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsimha Bharati, the Sankaracarya of Sringeri. However, his spiritual practise was interrupted when he was pressured by nationalist leaders to head the newly started National College at Rajamahendri. Prof. Venkataraman Shastri taught at the college for three years. But in 1911, he suddenly left the college to go back to Sringeri Matha.
Returning to Sringeri, Venkataraman spent his next eight years studying advanced Vedanta philosophy with Satchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsimha.
He also practised vigorous meditation, Brahma-sadhana and Yoga-sadhana, in the nearby forests during those years. It is believed that he attained spiritual self-realization during his years at Sringeri Matha. He would leave the material world and practice Yoga meditation in seclusion for many days. During those eight years, he also taught Sanskrit and philosophy to local schools and ashrams. He delivered a series of sixteen lectures on Sankaracarya's philosophy at Shankar Institute of Philosophy, Amalner (Khandesh). During that time, he also lectured as a guest professor at institutions in Mumbai, Pune and Khandesh.
After Venkataraman's eight-year period of spiritual practice and study of Vedanta and Vedic philosophy, he was initiated into the holy order of sannyasa in Varanasi by Jagadguru Sankaracarya Svami Trivikrama Tirtha of Sharada Peetha, Sringeri, on July 4, 1919 and on this occasion he was given the title of Swami and the new name "Svami Bharati Krsna Tirtha".
Svami Bharati Krsna Tirtha was installed as Sankaracarya of Sharada Peetha in 1921 after just two years of sannyasa. After assuming the pontificate, he was given another title, Jagadguru, as is the tradition. The Swami then toured India from corner to corner giving lectures on Sanatana Dharma, Vedic philosophy and Vedanta.
Around the time the Svami became Sankaracarya of Sharada Peetha, the Sankaracarya of Govardhana Matha, Svami Madhusudhana Tirtha, was in failing health and was greatly impressed by Bharati Krsna. Madhusudana requested Bharati Krsna to succeed him at Govardhana Matha. Bharati Krsna respectfully declined the offer. In 1925, however, Sankaracarya Svami Madhusudhana Tirtha's health took a serious turn and Svami Bharati Krsna Tirtha had to accept the Govardhana Matha gaddi. In 1925, Svami Bharati Krsna Tirtha assumed the pontificate of Govardhana Matha, and relinquished the gaddi of Sharada Peetha. He installed Svami Svarupananda as the new Sankaracarya of Sharada Peetha.
After becoming the Sankaracarya of Govardhana Matha, Svami Bharati Krsna Tirtha toured all over the world for 35 years to spread the values of peace, harmony and brotherhood, and to spread the message of Sanatana Dharma. He took upon himself the task of the renaissance of Indian culture.
While being a pontiff, he wrote a number of treatises and books on religion, sciences, mathematics, world peace, and social issues. In 1953, at Nagpur, he founded an organization called Sri Vishwa Punarnirmana Sangha (World Reconstruction Association). Initially, the administrative board consisted of Bharati Krsna's disciples, devotees and admirers of his spiritual ideals for humanitarian service, but later distinguished people started to contribute to the mission. The Chief Justice of India, Justice B.P. Sinha served as its President. Dr. C. D. Deshmukh, the ex-Finance Minister of India and ex-Chairman of the University Grants Commission served as its Vice-President.
In February 1958 he went on a trans-oceanic tour to America to speak on world peace and Vedanta, staying for three months in Los Angeles, California, traveling via the United Kingdom. This was the first trip outside India by a Sankaracarya. The tour was sponsored by Self-Realization Fellowship of Los Angeles, the Vedantic society founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in America. At that time, Rudi became one of his students.
He attended national and international religious conferences and yoga workshops. He believed in the Vedantic ideal of Purnatva which, literally translated, means "all-round perfection and harmony". He remained the Sankaracarya of Govardhana Matha until his death in 1960.
In 1965 a Chair of Vedic Studies was founded at Banaras Hindu University by Arvind N. Mafatlala, a generous Mumbai business magnate and devotee of the late Sankaracarya.
Bharati Krsna Tirtha's book Vedic Mathematics is a list of sixteen terse sutras, or aphorisms, discussing strategies for mental calculation. Bharati Krsna claimed that he found the sutras after years of studying the Vedas, a set of sacred ancient Hindu texts. "Vedic Mathematics" sutras.
For arithmetic, Bharati Krsna gives several algorithms for whole number multiplication and division, (flag or straight) division, fraction conversion to repeating decimal numbers, calculations with measures of mixed units, summation of a series, squares and square roots (duplex method), cubes and cube roots (with expressions for a digit schedule), and divisibility (by osculation).
Several tests and techniques for factoring and solving certain algebraic equations with integer roots for quadratic, cubic, biquadratic, pentic equations, systems of linear equations, and systems of quadratic equations are demonstrated. For fractional expressions, a separation algorithm and fraction merger algorithms are given. Other techniques handle certain patterns of some special case algebraic equations. Just an introduction to differential and integral calculus is given.
Geometric applications are reviewed for linear equations, analytic conics, the equation for the asymptotes, and the equation to the conjugate-hyperbola. Five simple geometric proofs for the Pythagorean theorem are given. A 5-line proof of Apollonius' theorem is given.
Advanced topics promised included integral calculus (the center of gravity of hemispheres, conics), trigonometry, astronomy (spherical triangles, earth's daily rotation, earth's annual rotation about the sun and eclipses), and engineering (dynamics, statics, hydrostatics, pneumatics, applied mechanics).
In his final comments he asserted that the names for "Arabic" numerals, "Pythagorean" Theorem, and "Cartesian" co-ordinates are historical misnomers.