Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj - A Short Biography
'The Supreme Spiritual Master of the World', 'Descension of Divine Love and Bliss', 'Eminent Propounder of Eternal Vedic Religion' and 'Reconciler of all Seemingly Contradictory Philosophical Views of the World', Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj truly was the personified form of divine love.
His natural scholarliness inspired trust in even the greatest intellectuals, while his tremendous love, causeless grace and endless compassion melted the hearts and inspired devotional love in all who came near him. His satsang was divinely exhilarating and unbelievably joyous.
Every association with him was like being in the company of your dearest friend who was urging you at every moment, both internally and externally, to go closer and closer and closer to God . . .
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj (lovingly addressed as Shri Maharaj Ji by all)
appeared on this Earth on 5 October 1922 during the auspicious full moon night of Sharat
Purnima in Mangarh (known today as Bhakti Dham), a tiny village in Pratapgarh district, Uttar Pradesh state in North India.
His mother, Shrimati Bhagavati Devi and his father, Shri Lalta Prasad Tripathi, who was a pious Brahmin named their child Ram Kripalu.
Right from childhood Ram Kripalu showed signs of divinity and was a most precocious student. His father enrolled him at the local primary school where he attended from 1926-1931 before going to the town of Kunda, a short 5 kilometres from Mangarh, where he attended middle school from 1932-1934.
According to the practice of child marriage that was prevalent in those days, his parents got him married to the daughter of a learned scholar
hailing from the nearby village of Leelapur in 1933. Despite being married, Shri
Maharaj Ji often left home for long intervals.
In 1935, at the tender age of just 13 years, Shri Maharaj Ji left his village Mangarh to study Sanskrit at Mahu Chhawani, a cantonment in the district of Indore, Madhya Pradesh state where his eldest brother was a teacher. He stayed there for nearly 3 years.
Shri Maharaj Ji returned to his studies approximately 2 years later, when in July 1940 he enrolled himself at Ram Nam Sanskrit Vidyalaya, a Sanskrit college in the town of Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh.
In 1943, he studied advanced Sanskrit, Vyakarancharya, in the holy city of Kashi situated on the banks of the Ganga River in Uttar Pradesh. Later that year
he returned to Mahu Chhawani and stayed until 1945. Due to his exceptional ability, Shri Maharaj
Ji completed the equivalent of many years of study in just 2 ½ years, receiving the following degrees:
- Sanskrit Sahitya Acharya (Master of Sanskrit Literature) from Calcutta University, 1943
- Vyakarancharya (Degree in Sanskrit Grammar) from Cunes College, Kashi in 1944
- Ayurved Acharya (Degree in Ayurved) from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyapeeth, Delhi in 1945
The most remarkable aspect of his recitation is that Shri Maharaj Ji never studied scripture.
In addition, all this study was taking place while he was giving a constant stream
of 4-day, 15-day, 1-month and even 6-month akhanda
In 1938, at the age of 16, Shri Maharaj Ji retreated into the dense forests
near Sharbhang Ashram in Chitrakoot and then to the forests near Vanshivat, Vrindavan.
During this period, he remained deeply engrossed in the intense divine love of Shri
Radha Krishna. Whosoever saw him in this state of trance was astonished and felt
that he was an embodiment of love and bliss. Nobody would have thought that within
him lay an unfathomable and immeasurably vast ocean of knowledge and wisdom.
Completely immersed in the ecstatic bliss of divine love, he would forget to pay
attention to his own physical state and to the world around him, remaining unconscious
for hours on end. Sometimes he would burst into unrestrained laughter or sometimes
break into a roaring cry. Being unmindful, he would often go without food and water
for days. Tears flowed freely from his eyes. While he wandered the forests in this
state of trance, sometimes his clothing would become caught in thorny bushes and
sometimes he would trip over a rock and fall. After approximately two years of moving
about in this state, Shri Maharaj Ji was eventually discovered, and for the benefit
of those people, he agreed to go with them. Thus began his need to conceal and control
the bliss of divine love he was experiencing in order to propagate the bhakti of
Shri Krishna to the people of the world.
A grand conference of Saints took place over 15 days from 16-31 October 1955,
organised by Shri Maharaj Ji himself. The event was attended by approximately seventy-two
scholars and spiritual personalities from across India, including Mahamahopadhyay
Giridhar Sharma (Kashi) and Neel Meghacharya. Shri
Maharaj Ji was the official welcoming committee, serving the Saintly scholars himself,
even escorting them to their assigned rooms and fanning them. Who can serve anyone
the way Shri Maharaj Ji served those Saints!
In his welcoming address Shri Maharaj Ji made a request to all the Saints to answer
a few simple questions concerning the reconciliation of the apparent contradictory
doctrines in Hindu scripture. None of the scholars present replied. In fact, all
of them became annoyed and announced that Shri Maharaj Ji himself should speak,
though his name was not listed as such. Hearing his name being called, Shri Maharaj
Ji all of a sudden took the stage as a speaker. For the duration of the
Conference, Shri Maharaj Ji addressed the gathering for three hours every day.
The knowledge Shri Maharaj Ji revealed to the assembly was unbelievable! He gave
numerous quotations from the Vedas, Gita, Bhagavatam and from many other scriptures.
People were astonished and spellbound at his profound and complete mastery of all
the scriptures. The devotees who knew him before were amazed, as prior to this they
had only seen him singing the glories of Lord Krishna, playing the dholak and shedding
When Mahamahopadhyay Giridhar Sharma and Neel Meghacharya returned to Kashi, they
highly praised Shri Maharaj Ji, but the other scholars could not believe that someone
so young could have such knowledge. In fact, they interpreted such talk as mere
exaggeration and decided that they should test Shri Maharaj Ji.
The following year, Shri Maharaj Ji organised another conference, this time for
the scholars of Kanpur. This event took place from 5-19 October 1956.
The Chief Secretary of Kashi Vidvat Parishat, Shri Raj Narayan Shastri (a master
in the six systems of philosophy and the most learned scholar amongst the 500 that
constituted Kashi Vidvat Parishat) attended the Conference without notice, at the
instigation of Mahamahopadhyay Giridhar Sharma and Neel Meghacharya.
When Shri Mahraj Ji saw such a distinguished guest, he invited him to speak but
he declined, requesting Shri Maharaj Ji to speak first and saying that he would
speak later. With a pen and paper in his hand, he sat down with the intention to
note down all the mistakes Shri Maharaj Ji was going to make in his discourse. To
his amazement, his pen never moved!
The following day, Shri Raj Narayan Shastri announced that he would speak first,
so Shri Maharaj Ji took his seat with pen in hand to note down his mistakes. However,
Shri Maharaj Ji’s pen never moved either! Shri Raj Narayan Shastri gave no discourse;
he just showered praise on Shri Maharaj Ji including,
"…while referring to all the philosophical schools, the unique way in which he established
the path of devotion was transcendental, definitely divinely inspired. Such a speech
could only be inspired by God Himself. No one can display such talent or knowledge
of his own accord…"
In the end, Shri Maharaj Ji was invited to address the scholars of Kashi Vidvat
Parishat, which he did the following year.
At the age of 34, Shri Maharaj Ji delivered a series of lectures to the
500 scholars of Kashi Vidvat Parishat. Shri Maharaj Ji spoke in classical Sanskrit,
giving innumerable quotations from the Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc.
He presented a unique reconciliation of the varying philosophies of the four
Jagadgurus: Jagadguru Shri Shankaracharya, Jagadguru
Shri Ramanujacharya, Jagadguru Shri Nimbarkacharya and Jagadguru Shri Madhavcharya.
Shri Maharaj Ji was thus honoured with the title of Jagadguru by Kashi Vidvat Parishat,
the distinguished and exclusive organisation of 500 Vedic scholars, in the holy
city of Kashi, on 14 January 1957. This title of Jagadguru was last granted more
than 700 years ago, and is only awarded to a divine personality
who possesses complete theoretical knowledge of all scriptures, as well as practical
experience of God, and who brings about a spiritual revolution in the world.
Upon listening to Shri Maharaj Ji’s unique and authoritative knowledge of all scriptures,
along with his astonishing reconciliation of the philosophies of the four
Jagadgurus, the scholars of Kashi Vidvat Parishat were left with no option but to
accept Shri Maharaj Ji as Jagadguruttam, 'Supreme amongst all Jagadgurus'.
So impressed were they by his divine presence, and seeing the nectar of divine love
permeating his being, they also honoured him with the title of Bhaktiyogarasavatar,
'Descension of Divine Love and Bliss'.
Shri Maharaj Ji not only accepted the existing philosophies
of all four previous Jagadgurus, but proved them to be true. To the utter amazement of those 500
scholars, in many cases each one being a master of a single scripture, he also miraculously
reconciled their seeming contradictions. He proved the significance and supremacy of bhakti, devotion as being the essence of all Hindu scriptures,
and the easiest path to God that is, in fact, the only path
for this current age.
Shri Maharaj Ji composed thousands of bhajans and kirtans that evoke
devotional sentiments within the heart. Many years ago he composed 1008 padas, devotional
songs, collectively known as the scripture Prema Rasa Madira
that has been highly praised by well-known poets of India.
Prema Rasa Siddhanta explains
the ultimate aim of the individual soul, and sheds light on the importance of attaining
divine grace and the indispensability of surrendering to a Saint. Shri Maharaj Ji
takes the confusion out of Hindu scripture and gives lucid explanations of the Vedas,
Puranas, Gita, Ramayana and other texts. Each chapter leads to the next and all
are arranged in a logical sequence, taking the reader from the theoretical aspects
of spirituality to practical aspects of devotion.
The wide variety of publications available not only explain the philosophy of
the Vedas and Vedic scriptures in a very simple, practical and logical manner, but
also complement a devotees' daily spiritual practice with beautiful devotional
couplets, bhajans and kirtans that reinforce the philosophy. Even though Shri Maharaj
Ji authored all his literature in Hindi, some have already been translated into other languages like English, Polish, Oriya, Telugu and Gujarati, etc.
Throughout his life, Shri Maharaj Ji strictly adhered to his daily
routine, encouraging all to be disciplined in life by placing equal importance
on looking after your body and your mind. His day started shortly after midnight, when
during his morning walk, he was heard calling out the sweet name of Radhe, reminding
all to remember Shri Radhe with every breath, be they awake or asleep.
Before completing his walk, he often composed some new devotional poetry in praise of the greatness of Shri Radha's name. In this way,
he encouraged all to begin their day in the loving remembrance of Shri Radha Krishna.
When he delivered a discourse, similar to those given by Shri Krishna (Gita)
and Shukdeva Paramahansa (Bhagavatam), Shri Maharaj Ji eloquently recited the most difficult
Sanskrit verses from the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Gita and other scriptures.
When he explained their meaning, he did it in such a lucid manner that both the scholar and layperson was left
During his life he personally trained more than 50 pracharaks, monastic disciples, both male and female. They continue to
travel India and the world as his ordained representatives, spreading the most authentic divine wisdom contained in our
scriptures as revealed and explained by Shri Maharaj Ji. Together with their discourses, and Shri Maharaj Ji's televised and online discourses, his
teachings have spread all over the world.
As humble as he was great, Shri Maharaj Ji always made himself accessible to
all sincere spiritual aspirants, irrespective of culture, age or spiritual persuasion.
Every seeker was amazed to see how approachable he was, and enjoyed the special privilege
of his individual attention. And so it is today with his pracharaks, who imbibe his example in the presentation of Vedic teaching as revealed by him, and in their interractions with people.
In Shri Maharaj Ji's divine presence, it remains easy to become a recipient, because there never was a giver like Shri Maharaj Ji.
True to his name, Kripalu, he was the very ocean of grace.
The spiritual work undertaken by Shri Maharaj Ji was certainly his greatest contribution
to society. However, his philosophy does promote the importance of maintaining a balance in life by
looking after the body as well as the soul. Recognising this need, Shri Maharaj Ji inspired devotees to engage in various
charitable activities. Thus, under the divine guidance of Shri Maharaj Ji, Jagadguru
Kripalu Parishat (JKP) was established and continues to flourish today in his honour.
The charitable institutions Shri Maharaj Ji founded are fully operational and serve ever growing numbers of poor and needy people every day. Hospitals
built by JKP in various towns and villages that are maintained by dedicated devotees, continue to provide 100%
free healthcare services to all patients within a range of medical disciplines.
For more information, please visit: www.jkphospitals.org
When JKP presidents visit one of these institutions their presence acts like a panacea,
reminding all of Shri Maharaj Ji, and bringing joy on their faces and serenity in their hearts.
As they walk through the corridors, greeting all as they pass by, they may pause for
a moment and go into one of the rooms where some patients are resting. They may enquire into someone's medical condition;
ask another how he is feeling and whether he needs anything more to be comfortable,
all the while casting their soothing, beatific smiles on all. After their visit, the
spirits of all those in recovery is boosted beyond words.
Shri Maharaj Ji always made sure that JKP served the neediest, such as people who are isolated or physically disadvantaged
due to disability or age. His vision and inspiration is the driving force behind JKP's expanding charity work today. Much needed day-to-day
necessities are distributed on mass to some of our country’s poorest – blankets,
dining utensils, food, medicine, financial aid, etc. In times of tragedy, JKP has always been a generous donor of financial assistance, and will continue to be so.
For more information, please visit: www.jkp.org
In response to the needs of young people to have access to quality education in rural areas,
Shri Maharaj Ji founded educational institutions, where poor and socially disadvantaged families
can send their children, free of cost. These institutions are running as usual, giving hope and a future to approximately 3,000 female students.
For more information, please visit: www.jkpeducation.org
Since 1968, when the first satsang
hall was completed in the small rural village of
Mangarh, the birthplace of Shri Maharaj Ji, satsang
halls have been established
throughout India, providing venues for sincere spiritual aspirants to retreat from
their worldly commitments and focus their minds on Shri Radha Krishna, 24 hours a day. Today these ashrams
to cater for the growing number of people coming to learn about and practice bhaktiyoga
under the divine guidance of Shri Maharaj Ji and his teachings.
Throughout the year, special programmes (i.e. Holi, Ram Navami, Janmashtami, Radhastami
etc.) are held at these ashrams
and attended by many thousands of people. The most well-known
is Shri Maharaj Ji’s month-long sadhana
intensive that commences on
the full moon night of October in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh. Shri Maharaj
Ji personally gave this programme to the world from 1964 to 2013, the first being at Brahmand Ghat, then Agra in 1965
and in Mangarh since 1966.
Today, under the leadership of JKP's three presidents, these programmes continue to be attended by spiritual aspirants from across India and the world. Participants benefit from multimedia presentations of Shri Maharaj Ji's teachings and from being in his holy dhams
In this way, his presence and message continues to be deeply felt by practitioners at any one of the programmes conducted at any JKP centre.
In this age where people are judged by material success, the human soul yearning
for peace and fulfilment finds soothing solace in Shri Maharaj Ji's teachings, that shine with
divinity. His unique explanation of Vedic philosophy shatters doubt and spiritual confusion with ease, and effectively
reveals a clear and practical path leading to God.
He is and will always be in the true sense of the word, a Jagadguru, the Guru for the entire world.