Tasmin Tajjane Bhedābhāvāt – according to this aphorism of Nārada Bhakti Darshana as well as other scriptural evidences, there is no distinction between God and a saint. Therefore, introducing a saint is like introducing God Himself, which is absolutely impossible for a worldly being. Hence I am not claiming to introduce my Master’s true self, i.e., the spiritual aspect of His personality. All I am trying to do is to present the physical aspect of His personality to satisfy the curiosity of the readers. Moreover, the spirituality of a saint is not something to be described in words; it can only be experienced. And in order to be blessed with that precious experience, association with that saint, with the spirit of reverence and surrender, is a must.
Jagadguru Shrī Kripālu Mahāprabhu is that saint of this age who has been honoured with the highest place among all Vedic saints and scholars of this day. Just like Pope in Christianity, ‘Jagadguru’ is the greatest authority among all Hindu saints and scholars. ‘Jagadguru’ means the spiritual master of the whole world. This title is given only to that saint who brings a spiritual revolution in the world through his divine teachings. Including Jagadguru Shrī Kripālu Mahāprabhu, there have been only five Jagadgurus in the present age, Kali. Jagadguru Shaṅkarāchāya – who postulated the philosophy of Non-dualism (Advaita Vāda) – was the first original Jagadguru. After him, this title was given to Jagadguru Nimbārkāchāya, the originator of Dualism-non-dualism (Dvaitādvaita Vāda), then to Jagadguru Rāmānujāchārya, who propounded the philosophy of Qualified Non-dualism (Vishishṭādvaita Vāda), and after him to Jagadguru Mādhvāchārya, i.e., after about 750 years, this title was conferred upon my Master – Jagadguru Shrī Kripālu Mahāprabhu – on 14th January, 1957 by Kāshī Vidvat Parishat of Vārānasī, India. Kāshī Vidvat Parishat was the name of a religious congregation consisting of about five hundred topmost religious scholars of India, each being the master of the scripture which alone had been the subject of his life-long study and research. It was only when all these scholars, unanimously, agreed that the knowledge of someone was deeper than the combined knowledge of all of them that they could bestow the title of Jagadguru on him, thus declaring that the person was fit to become the spiritual master of the whole world (Jagat – world; Guru – the spiritual master). This is how my spiritual master earned this rarest title. Thus, He is the fifth original Jagadguru of this age. Besides Him, many other Jagadgurus can also be heard of at present, but it should be noted that they are only the successors of the aforementioned first four original Jagadgurus.
He appeared on this earth at the mid-night of Sharat Pūrṇimā in 1922, as the son of a most respectable brahman Shrī Lalitā Prasād Tripāthī, a resident of the village Mangarh near the holy city of Allāhābād in India. Sharat Pūrṇimā is extremely auspicious for the devotees of Bhagwan Kṛishṇa because it was on this full moon night of October, five thousand years ago, that their beloved Lord had revealed the glory of selfless divine love to the world by performing the divine dance, mahārāsa, with the gopīs.
Mahārāja Jī, as Jagadguru Shrī Kripālu Mahāprabhu is lovingly addressed by His devotees, spent His childhood in Mangarh, giving joy to all alike through his naughty acts. Following our worldly tradition, He too, like other ordinary boys, first went to a nearby school and then to Indore and Chitrakooṭa for further studies. However, to the utter amazement of His classmates and teachers everywhere, He used to finish in just one year the courses which were difficult to be finished even in twelve years by other students. Thus completing His education in a few years, which did not, however, include the study of the scriptures, Shrī Mahārāja Jī disappeared into dense forests at the tender age of sixteen. Drowned in the ecstasy of divine love, He used to remain in a swoon for days together, and returning to consciousness and finding out that He had been detected by people, He used to disappear into some other dense forest. Thus, first He lived in the forests of Chitrakooṭa near Sharabhaṅgā Āshrama, and then in Vṛindāvana near Vanshīvaṭa, etc. This continued for about two years. Then, compelled by repeated earnest entreaties from some people, who were drawn to Him by His irresistible divine personality imbued with such rarest divine love, and therefore, wanted to be spiritually benefited through His association, He accepted to leave the forests and stay with them. Wherever He stayed, He graced deserving devotees with divine knowledge and divine love through His teachings and chants. Such was the unique charm of His voice, words and personality that people used to listen to Him for hours together, sitting like statues. Thus began the first chapter of His preaching to the world.
After thus coming in contact with common people, Shrī Mahārāja Jī realized that people were totally ignorant of the real definition of devotion and the essence of scriptures, and were, therefore, wasting the precious moments of the rarest human life. This realization forced Him to reveal His true self to the world at large. He arranged huge religious conventions first in Chitrakooṭa (from 16th October 1955 till 30th October 1955), then in Pratāpgarh (from 7th April 1956 till 13th April 1956) and then in Kānpur (from 4th October 1956 till 19th October 1956). These conventions were participated by almost all the greatest scholars and saints of India. It was in these conventions that His spiritual genius baffled even the greatest of the intellectuals and scholars. Dazzled with the unique brilliance and divine knowledge of a young boy, a few jealous scholars of the Kāshī Vidvat Parishat started opposing His newest revolutionary ideas, and unable to bear His growing fame anymore, they sent an invitation on behalf of Kāshī Vidvat Parishat for delivering discourses, on the pretext of making Him Jagadguru. Their intention behind this invitation was to humiliate Him, for they thought that His genius, however extraordinary and unique, could be no match for the combined genius of the five hundred scholars of Kāshī Vidvat Parishat. But the result was absolutely contrary. His genius did prove itself to be superior to the genius of all the five hundred scholars combined together, and unanimously, they declared Him not only ‘Jagadguru’ but ‘Jagadgurūttam’, i.e., the best of all Jagadgurus. They were so much impressed with His unparalleled knowledge, prodigious memory, divine personality, repeated manifestation of the eightfold symptoms of divine love as described in scriptures as well as other spiritual qualities, which they admitted were innumerable by declaring Him to be “Amitaguṇāmbodhiḥ” (अमितगुणांबोधिः) which means ‘the ocean of endless qualities’, that in addition to the above title, they conferred upon Him many other titles as well which are given before His name. One of these titles is Bhakti Yoga Rasāvātāra which means ‘the incarnation of divine love.’ Those who have had the golden fortune of attending the one month’s ‘Sādhanā-programme’ which is held annually at His birthplace beginning from Dashaharā in the month of October, or other spiritual camps conducted by Him from time to time, in His presence, understand the implication of the above title to a certain extent. According to almost all of them, His personality which in their words “was made of nothing else but love and grace”, and His spell-binding chants remind one of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, the combined incarnation of Bhagwan Shrī Rādhā and Kṛishṇa , who rejuvenated the chanting of the divine name (Saṅkīrtana), and who likewise enraptured the minds of His listeners through His charming personality and penetrating voice, drowning them in the ocean of divine love.
Jagadgurūttam Shrī Kripālu Mahāprabhu propounds a unique philosophy that convincingly reconciles the age-old philosophical contradictions. Profound and practical, intelligible and interesting, it satisfies both – the head and the heart. A glimpse of it can be had from His book on philosophy, Prema-Rasa-Siddhānta, an English translation of which is also available.
It is because of His soul-stirring philosophy coupled with His bewitchingly charming personality that many of those who went to Him as if to watch a show stood dumbfounded and surrendered to Him; those who went to criticize and ridicule Him fell in love with Him.
Jagadgurūttam Shrī Kripālu Mahāprabhu had trained many young boys and girls, hailing from different castes, creeds and countries, in the philosophy of the Vedas and scriptures. They are scattered all over the world, spreading His message of selfless divine love, and, thus, awakening the dormant souls and drawing them towards God. But whatever they do or are able to do in the name of this service is merely due to their Master’s grace. I, being one of them, can unhesitatingly declare this by my own experience. Whatever in me or my efforts to serve Him has ever benefited someone in any way, is only the outcome of the infinite grace of my causelessly merciful Master – Jagadgurūttam Shrī Kripālu Mahāprabhu. The mistakes are definitely mine, and only mine.
I am really blessed to take shelter at the lotus-feet of such an indescribably great Spiritual Master, who was the personification of love, grace and forgiveness.
Desirous of becoming a particle of His foot-dust.