Turiyananda or “Hari Maharaj” as he was popularly known as, was a direct monastic disciple of Ramakrishna, the 19th-century saint. He was one of the earliest missionary to be sent by his leader and brother disciple Vivekananda to United States of America to preach the universal message of Vedanta to the western audience from 1899–1902.
Swami Turiyananda was renowned for his fearlessness. Once when was harassed by the British police in Northern India, a high ranking police officer asked him whether he was afraid of police. He responded, I do not even fear death, why should I fear any human being?” His work was based upon individual character building. He preferred the style of an inward, meditative and contemplative life. He seemed to be of the opinion that with large organisations, spiritual work is apt to suffer. “Lectures,” he used to say, “are to reach the public, but the real work can be done only through close personal contact, yet both are necessary. His method of teaching was through conversation with quotations from holy scriptures. “There are two ways of answering a question,” he said. “One is to answer from intellect, the other is to answer from within. I always try to answer from within . Even though he was not actively involved in philanthropic activity of the Ramakrishna Mission, he held it in high regard. He used to say, If one serves the sick and distressed in the right spirit, in one single day one can get the highest realisation. He sympathised with the masses, and encouraged philanthropy and work for the poor and distressed.