How and why was Shri Maharaj Ji honoured with the title of Jagadguruttam?
India has always been and continues to be the spiritual capital of the world. It has been the proud privilege of India to be the birthplace of many great Saints, Sages, thinkers and seers gifted with divine vision. This holy land was blessed by being the appearance place of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj (5 October 1922 - 15 November 2013), lovingly called Shri Maharaj Ji by all. Born in a village named Mangarh in the State of Uttar Pradesh, India, he established the supremacy of his unique and absolute knowledge before the entire world.
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj was the only original Jagadguru physically present in recent times. What made him unique from his four predecessors was that he was honoured with the unprecendented title of Jagadguruttam, 'Supreme among all Jagadgurus'. According to the time-honoured tradition associated with bestowing this title, it is only given to one deemed invincible following stringent scriptural debate. How and why was Shri Maharaj Ji honoured with the title of Jagadguruttam?
This is a question which naturally arises in the mind. In fact, Shri Maharaj Ji was endowed with qualities never-before-seen in any Jagadguru. It therefore behoves us to try understand them and reflect on their significance, for it was these very qualities seen by the eminent scholars of Kashi Vidvat Parishat that left them with no alternative other than to unanimously honour him with the following epithets,
"The Greatest Scholar with Unsurpassed Knowledge of the Vedas and
all Scriptures of the World."
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj was the unchallenged authority to interpret, reassert and validate the core postulates of spiritual philosophy for the benefit of the entire world. This astonishing attribute will forever remain abundantly evident in the form of his numerous discourses and pada sankirtans
While quoting canto, chapter and verse from the Vedas, Shastras
or any other scripture, it appeared as though he was physically leafing through an entire collection of scriptures that lay before him. His oeuvre, whether
in prose or poetry, propounded the most esoteric mysteries of the Vedas
in an absolutely simple and interesting manner. Every one of his literary works, being in agreement with the Vedas
and other scriptures, are indirectly a commentary on the Brahma Sutra
The vast array of literature he revealed contains a profusion of scriptural knowledge. In fact, his body of work is a veritable ocean of divine love, delving deep into which makes even the coldest and most unfeeling person overwhelmed with brajarasa
, filling the heart with an insatiable love for Shri Radha Krishna, and an intense longing to have Their divine vision.
"The Eminent Propounder of Eternal Vedic Philosophy."
The combination of Shri Maharaj Ji's resplendent divine personality and the way he delivered his discourses couched in highly literary and then classical Vedic Sanskrit, with all the appropriate quotations from all the Shastras
, left the 500 scholars of Kashi Vidvat Parishat spellbound. The President, Vice President and all other leading scholars present spoke in one voice that his extraordinary authoritative and profound knowledge was out of this world. They had considered it impossible for any human being at that age (or any age) to possess complete knowledge of the Shastras
, and the ability to impart that knowledge so judiciously.
In this way, Shri Maharaj Ji captured the hearts and minds of all the learned scholars of Kashi Vidvat Parishat. Considering the notion of challenging him to scriptural debate futile, and even before he had delivered the number of discourses they had initially instructed him to give, Kashi Vidvat Parishat prepared an elaborate reverential tribute entitled Padyaprasoonophaar
that they presented to him on 14 January 1957, that included the following:
The discourse of Shri Kripalu Ji is like the thunderous sound of new clouds. It dispels the agony of a mind suffering from the scourge of atheism. When one listens to his discourses, divine knowledge begins to sprout from the woodland of one's mind and heart. The words of Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj work like an elixir-like medicine to protect the people whose minds have been vitiated by sophistry and malace. Praise be to him till eternity.
"The Reconciler of all the Seemingly Contradictory Philosophical Views of the World."
The four preceding Jagadgurus all focused on a particular branch of Vedic knowledge, and they propagated and established that particular school of thought. Jagadguru Shankaracharya exclusively propagated Advaita
or the philosophy of non-dualism. Jagadguru Ramanujacharya propagated the philosophy of Vishishtadvaita
or qualified non-dualism, Jagadguru Nimbarkacharaya Dvaitadvaita
or dualism-non-dualism and Jagadguru Madhavcharya Dvaita
or dualism. Having done so, they then wrote commentaries to establish their respective philosophy.
As the fifth original Jagadguru, Shri Maharaj Ji was the first who welcomed the views of the other four original Jagadgurus, as well as renowned Saints like Shri Vallabhacharya and Jeev Gosvami in equal measure. Through his compelling discourses, full of evidence sourced from the Vedas
, he authenticated the significance of all the above philosophies, going even further by reconciling their apparent divergent views, and then explaining their relevance. He accomplished such a momentous task so effortlessly, making things absolutely clear and thereby opening the eyes of common people.
"The Supreme Spiritual Master who has revealed the Eternal Vedic Principles that lead one to their Ultimate Goal."
Whenever great Saints descend on Earth, their purpose is to reform the distorted nature of dharma
or duties as prescribed by scripture, in order to re-establish the path for the spiritual welfare of all people. Seeing the prevalence of sectarianism in society and the amount of confusion it had generated, Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj rejected the age-old tradition of sampradayavad
or disciplic lineage in order to end all quarrels and disputes. He then showed that Shri Krishna was in fact the first-ever Guru of all lineages, and so what was the need for bickering? Without mentioning any names or movements, Shri Maharaj Ji explained how selfless devotion to Shri Radha Krishna is the surest and most accessible way to one’s true welfare. He said:
All an individual should do is dispense with the religious rituals in his devotional practice, and without depending on any other means or without getting into the complications of the conditions of karma (action) and jnana (knowledge), treat God as your all and surrender to Him completely like an innocent child, and the all-merciful Lord will grace you. Like a mother, He too does not expect anything from an individual soul and ignores all his faults. He instantly takes him into His fold.
This is the foundation of tattva jnana bhakti
or devotion with spiritual knowledge.
The path revealed by Shri Maharaj Ji is therefore in agreement with our scriptures, and at the same time, is free from any ceremony. In this way, the path specified by him is the fastest and easiest, while at the same time being in tune with the needs of modern times.
Bhagavadananta-shri vibhushita Jagadguruttam
"Descension of Divine Love and Bliss."
He was the first Jagadguru to occupy the topmost position in the knowledge of, and spiritual guidance in, divine love. While singing sankirtan
he was completely immersed in its blissfulness, and while expounding scriptural science regarding the enjoyment of the bliss of Shri Radha Krishna’s divine pastimes, he practically showed how one can relish that bliss to the extent possible.
Widely acclaimed all over the world for his phenomenal knowledge of scripture, Shri Maharaj Ji explained for more than half a century the highly abstruse mysteries within raganuga bhakti
. He guided spiritual aspirants towards the attainment of supremely selfless devotion and service to Shri Radha Krishna. Frequently in his holy body there was an upsurge of the eight sattvic
sentiments of love. When overwhelmed by this divine love, he was elevated into a state of ecstatic trance. There may be an uninterrupted flow of tears from his eyes; suddenly he may start to sway and dance in a frenzied style; sometimes he muttered something indistinct; sometimes he started to sing or laugh uncontrollably, and sometimes he became unconscious and fell down. On such occasions, an amazing aura of divine love permeated all around. Even the most ordinary devotee could feel their heart being suffused with so much love that they were moved to tears.
When Shri Maharaj Ji came back from this exalted state and regained consciousness, wiping the tears from his eyes that were still heavy with elation, he would look around with bewilderment, as if he had just landed in some distasteful world. His devotees remained ever eager to see him in these elevated states of trance.
"The Most Revered Divine Personality, Supreme among all Jagadgurus."
In honouring Shri Maharaj Ji as Jagadguruttam
, the learned scholars of Kashi Vidvat Parishat acclaimed that he was the repository of the essence, as well as the final conclusion on, all varying philosophies of the previous four Jagadgurus. His supremacy amongst them is further highlighted by the fact that prior to him, all individuals awarded with the title of Jagadguru had first defeated their competitors in rigorous scriptural debate.
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj earned the title of Jagadguruttam
without having to contest in any scriptural debate, as no one came forward to do so. All these stoic scholars of the Vedas
just bowed their heads before him when they heard his scholarly discourses.
Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj has the most brilliant intellect and wisdom in India . . . he deserves the highest accolade. The highest title of "Jagadguruttam" is being conferred on him.
The great National identity and Saint of the highest order, Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj, was a universal teacher who performed welfare not only of the nation, but the entire universe. He was an exponent of universal brotherhood and inspired all towards the devotion of God without discrimination. He exhorted all for universal peace through his transcendental discourses . . .
There was no sect, no cult and no disciple created by him. He gave respect to all and kindness to all; love and devotion to Shri Radha Krishna was the essence of his life.
(Then Chief Minister, Gujrat)
Prime Minister of India
The most venerable Maharaj Shri was an unfathomable ocean of jnana
. He was an avatara purusha
of the present age. He was the guardian of Indian dharma
, philosophy, spiritualism, and culture and a living form of the great tradition of our ancient seers and sages, representing whom with all their attributes, he was a divine power for all times to come . . .
There have been many Saints in the world who have been attributed with some or the other transcendental endowment, divine quality and greatness. But it was none other than Shri Maharaj Ji who was endowed with the profound wisdom of all our scriptures, including the four Vedas, six Shastras, various Upanishads, eighteen Puranas, the Ramayana, the Gita, the Mahabharata and India's time-honoured tradition of the divine knowledge of our great Saints and Sages.
Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev
Patanjali Yogapith, Haridwar
I am an agnostic but deeply interested in all religions. Like other people I have
been trying to find answers to three questions,
1. Where have we come from?
2. How should we conduct ourselves in the life given to us?
3. Where do we go when we die?
In the quest for answers to these questions I read sacred texts, listen to talks
given by holy men and scholars of religion. The one who impressed me above others
is Kripaluji Maharaj.
I am most impressed by what Kripalu Ji Maharaj has to say: his scholarship is profound,
his memory of chapter and verse he quotes from world scriptures is phenomenal, he
is lucid, his logic irrefutable and his manner of putting across his ideas most
convincing he is in short my idea of a Jagadguru in the true sense of word. I listen
to him in rapt attention and share the joy of singing and dancing at the end of
his sermon. Kripaluji brings happiness in peoples lives. I pay him homage in the
50th anniversary of his recognition as the Jagadguru.
Prominent Novelist and Journalist.
I am very happy that the Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj Satsang Samiti is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Maharaj Ji honoured as the Supreme Jagadguru.
With His message of Krishna Love, Maharaj Ji has won the hearts of everyone around him. His teachings of Divine Love and selfless service form a very strong basis for solving all the ills that plague our society today.
The scriptural omniscience of Maharaj Ji and his liberal interpretation of the philosophies of other Jagadgurus and the Darshan Shastras have immensely enriched the rich spiritual treasures of this country...
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Founder, The Art of Living Foundation.