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Jagadguru Rambhadracharya (जगद्गुरुरामभद्राचार्यः)
Jagadguru Rambhadracharya delivering a religious lecture (sermon) on October 25, 2009
Birth Date(1950-01-14)14 January 1950
Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Birth nameGiridhara Mishra
Guru/teacherPaṇḍita Īśvaradāsa Mahārāja
PhilosophyViśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta
Titles/honorsDharmacakravartī, Mahāmahopādhyāya, Śrīcitrakūṭatulasīpīṭhādhīśvara, Jagadguru Rāmānandācārya, Mahākavi, Prasthānatrayībhāṣyakāra etc
Literary worksŚrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam on Prasthānatrayī, Śrībhārgavarāghavīyam, Bhṛṅgadūtam, Gītarāmāyaṇam, Śrīsītārāmasuprabhātam, Śrīsītārāmakelikaumudi, Aṣṭāvakra, and others
QuotationHumanity is my place of workship, and I am its worshiper. The ones which have a poor physical or mental ability are my highest God, and I am their free help finder.[1]

Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya[note 1] is a Hindu religious leader. He is also an educator, composer, skilled public speaker, and philosopher. He was born on 14 January 1950. His birth name was Giridhar Mishra (IAST: Giridhara Miśra). He can speak 22 languages. He lives in Chitrakuta, Uttar Pradesh, India.[2]

In 1988 he became one of the four Jagadguru Ramanandacharyas, the leaders of the Ramananda order.[3][4][5] He is the founder of Tulsi Peeth which is a religious and social service organization. It is in Chitrakuta. It is named after the saint Tulsidas.[6] He is the founder and lifelong chancellor of the Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University. It is a university in Chitrakuta and it gives graduate and postgraduate courses entirely to the four types of disabled students, having a poor physical or mental ability.[7][8] Jagadguru Rambhadracharya became blind at the age of two months.[3][4][9][10] He has never used Braille or any other help to learn or compose. He can speak 22 languages, and he is a self-produced poet (Ashukavi). He is a composer in Sanskrit, Hindi, Avadhi, Maithili and many other languages.[9][11][12] He has written more than 80 books, which include four story telling poems (two in Sanskrit and two in Hindi), a Hindi series of comments on the Ramcharitmanas, a Sanskrit series of comments on the Ashtadhyayi, and a Sanskrit series of comments on the Prasthanatrayi religious books (the Brahma Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita and the main Upanishads).[13] He is seen as one of the greatest sources of information on Tulsidas in India,[10][14][15] and he is the editor of a critical edition of the Ramcharitmanas.[16] He is a famous Katha artist for the Ramayana and the Bhagavata. His Katha programmes are held regularly in different cities in India and in other countries. They are shown on many television channels like Sanskar TV and Sanatan TV.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

Birth and early life[change | change source]

Jagadguru Rambhadracharya was born in Shandikhurd village of Jaunpur district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. His family was a Saryupareen Brahmin family of Vasishtha Gotra. His birth time was 10:34 pm and he was born on the Makar Sankranti day of Saturday, January 14, 1950 (Magha Krishna Ekadashi). His mother was Shachidevi and his father was Pandit Rajdev Mishra. His name Giridhara was named by his father's aunt, a cousin of his grandfather Pandit Suryabali Mishra. His father's aunt was an admirer of Mirabai, a female saint of the Bhakti age in middle India, who used the name Giridhara for Krishna in her compositions.[9][23]

Blindness[change | change source]

Giridhara became blind in March 1950 when he was aged two months. When he got the eye disease trachoma, there was no medical care in his village. He was taken to a local woman who was known to cure Trachoma. She dropped a hot medicine into his eyes to break the Trachoma lumps, but his eyes started bleeding and he became blind.[24] His family took him to many Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Allopathic and medical doctors in Sitapur, Lucknow and Mumbai, but there was no help.[23] He cannot read or write, as he does not use the Braille system, but learns by listening and composes by dictating to secretaries.[24]

First musical work[change | change source]

As Giridhara's father used to work in Bombay, his early learning was at home from his grandfather. During afternoons, his grandfather used to tell him various parts of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other books like Vishramsagar, Sukhsagar, Premsagar, and Brajvilas, etc. When he was of 3 years, Giridhara made his first poem in Hindi (Avadhi), which was the following pada. He spoke it to his grandfather. In this poem, Yashoda is fighting with a Gopi for causing pain to Krishna.[23]

मेरे गिरिधारी जी से काहे लरी ।
तुम तरुणी मेरो गिरिधर बालक काहे भुजा पकरी ॥
सुसुकि सुसुकि मेरो गिरिधर रोवत तू मुसुकात खरी ॥
तू अहिरिन अतिसय झगराऊ बरबस आय खरी ॥
गिरिधर कर गहि कहत जसोदा आँचर ओट करी ॥

mere giridhārī jī se kāhe larī ।
tuma taruṇī mero giridhara bālaka kāhe bhujā pakarī ॥
susuki susuki mero giridhara rovata tū musukāta kharī ॥
tū ahirina atisaya jhagarāū barabasa āya kharī ॥
giridhara kara gahi kahata jasodā āʼncara oṭa karī ॥

Why did you fought with my Giridhara (Krishna)? You are a young girl, and my Giridhara (Krishna) is a child. Why did you hold his arm? My Giridhara (Krishna) is crying again and again, and you are standinh looking at him with a curved smile! O Ahir lady, you are having a sign to fight overcrossing the common relations, and come and stand here without being invited." Giridhara (the poet) sings - so says Yashoda, holding on to the hand of Giridhara (Krishna) and covering [her face] with the end of her Sari.

Learning Gita and Ramcharitmanas[change | change source]

Having a great memory, Giridhar learnt all 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita at in 15 days when he was 5 years old. His neighbour, Pandit Murlidhar Mishra, helped him. On the Janmashtami day in 1955, he read out the whole Bhagavad Gita.[10][23][25] By accident, 52 years after the day he learnt the Gita, he released the first ever Braille form of Gita at New Delhi on November 30, 2007, with the real Sanskrit text and a Hindi series of comments.[26][27][28][29] When Giridhara was seven years old, he learned the whole Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas (close to 10,900 verses) in 60 days. His grandfather helped him. On Ram Navmi day of 1957, he spoke the whole book while not eating food because of religious reasons.[23][25] After that, Giridhara went on to learn the Vedas, Upanishads, books on Sanskrit grammar, the Bhagavata Puran, all books of Tulasidas and many other books.[10][23]

Upanayana and Kathavacana

His Upanayana (A sacred thread ceremony) was done on the Nirjala Ekadashi day of June 24, 1961. On this day, he got the Gayatri Mantra, and he was given Diksha into the Mantra of Rāma by Pandit Ishvardas Maharaj of Ayodhya. After learning Gita and Ramcharitmanas to high level of skills at a very young age, Giridhara started visiting the Katha programmes held one time in 3 years (in the Purushottama month) near his village. When he went to the third event, he showed a Katha on Ramcharitmanas which was highly respected by many famous representers of the Katha art.[23]

Official Learning[change | change source]

Schooling[change | change source]

On 7 July, 1967, Giridhara Miśra joined the Adarsh Gaurishankar Sanskrit College in Jaunpur to study Sanskrit Grammar as well Hindi, English, Maths, History and Geography.[30] As he has the ability to memorize everything by just listening it one time, he never used Braille or other help to learn. In three months, he had learned the whole Laghusiddhāntakaumudī of Varadarāja to a high level.[30] He was the best student and got most marks in tests in his class for four years, passing the primary to secondary tests in Sanskrit with best grades and a thing which makes him better than others.[25]

First composition in Sanskrit[change | change source]

When Girihara was in Adarsh Gaurishankar Sanskrit College, he learnt the eight Gaṇas while learning Chandaprabhā, a book on Sanskrit poetic metre. On the next day, he made his first Sanskrit poetic form, in the Bhujaṅgaprayāta metre.[30]

पतन्तं निरासारसंसारसिन्धौ ।
अनाथं जडं मोहपाशेन बद्धं
प्रभो पाहि मां सेवकक्लेशहर्त्तः ॥

patantaṃ nirāsārasaṃsārasindhau ।
anāthaṃ jaḍaṃ mohapāśena baddhaṃ
prabho pāhi māṃ sevakakleśaharttaḥ ॥

O the God having unlimited power, the one who removes the problems of ones who are close to you! Safe me, who is being used by the fire of sadness causing a lot of fear, who is falling in the water of the normal world without help, who is without any one to safe him, who is always not noticed, and who is connected by false belief's metal joined by a chain.
Young Giridhara Miśra

Higher Learning[change | change source]

In 1971, Giridhara Miśra entered at the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University in Varanasi for higher learning of Vyākaraṇa.[30] He got most marks in the final test for the Śāstrī (three years' first degree) in 1974. He then registered for a Master's degree at the same university. While trying to get the master's degree, he went New Delhi to take part in many national contests at the Akhila Bhāratīya Sanskrit Adhiveśana (All-India Sanskrit Conference). There he won five gold medals in Vyākaraṇa, Sāṅkhya, Nyāya, Vedānta and Sanskrit Antyākṣarī out of eight.[3] Then the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, gave the five gold medals with the Calavaijayantī prize for Uttar Pradesh to Giridhara.[25] Surprised by his abilities, Indira Gandhi gave him the offer to send him to the United States of America for medical care of his eyes, but Giridhara Miśra did not accepted this offer.[24] In 1976, he got most marks in the final Ācārya (two years' Master's degree) tests in Vyākaraṇa, he also won seven gold awards and the Chancellor's gold award.[25] In an uncommon achievement, though he had registered for a master's degree in Vyākaraṇa only, he was made Ācārya of all subjects which were taught at the university for his all-round qualities on April 30, 1976.[24][31]

Highest degree and post-doctorate[change | change source]

Rāmabhadrācārya keeping his mind fixed upon on the edges of Mandakini river during a Payovrata. He is in the Sukhasana pose with fingers folded in the Chin Mudra.

Giridhara began studying for a PhD also at Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. Pandit Ramprasad Tripathi supervised his studies. Giridhara got a scholarship from the University Grants Commission (UGC) by passing an examination. However, he had money problem for several years.[24] He completed his PhD in Sanskrit grammar on October 14, 1981. He wrote about the language of the poet Pāṇinī in the Ramayana. UGC then offered him a job as head of the Vyākaraṇa department of the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. However, Giridhara Miśra did not take the job. He decided to give his life to the service of his religion, the world, and the disabled.[24]

In 1997 he was awarded the post-doctorate Vācaspati (DLitt) degree by Sampurnanand Sanskrit University for his lecture called Search into spoken knowledge of every Sūtra of the Aṣṭādhyāyī in English (Original title: Aṣṭādhyāyyāḥ Pratisūtraṃ Śābdabodhasamīkṣaṇam). He described each phrase of the sutra carefully. He told about Pāṇinī's grammar and use of Sanskrit poetic forms.[30]

Later life[change | change source]

Virakta Diksha[change | change source]

In 1976, Giridhara Miśra said aloud a Kathā on Rāmcaritamānasa to Svāmī Karapātrī. Svāmī Karapātrī advised him not to marry, to live a lifelong Brahmacārin, and to take start in a Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya.[32] Giridhara Miśra took Vairagi start (Virakta Dīkṣā) in the Rāmānanda Sampradāya (monastic order) on the Kārtika full-moon day of November 19, 1983 from Śrī Śrī 1008 Śrī Rāmacaraṇadāsa Mahārāja Phālāhārī. He now came to be known as Rāmabhadradāsa.[32]

Six-month fasts

Rambhadradas had a six month Payovrata, which is a diet only of milk and fruits, at Chitrakoot in 1979 per the following fifth verse of the Dohavali made by Tulsidas.[32][33][34]

पय अहार फल खाइ जपु राम नाम षट मास ।
सकल सुमंगल सिद्धि सब करतल तुलसीदास ॥

paya ahāra phala khāi japu rāma nāma ṣaṭa māsa ।
sakala sumaṃgala siddhi saba karatala tulasīdāsa ॥

Say the name of Rama living on a diet of milk and fruits for six months. Says Tulsidas, on doing this, all the success and achievements will be with one man.
Tulsi Peeth
Rambhadracharya adding a garland to a statue of Tulsidas at Tulsi Peeth on 25 October 2009

In 1987 Rambhadradas established a religious and social service institution in Chitrakoot, where, as per the Ramayana, Rama had spent twelve out of his fourteen years of exile. Its name is Tulsi Peeth (the seat of Tulsi).[35] As he is the founder of the institution, Sadhus gave him the title of Śrīcitrakūṭatulasīpīṭhādhīśvara (which means the God of the Tulsi Peeth at Chitrakoot). In the Tulsi Peeth, there a temple of Rama and Sita, and its name is Kanch Mandir ("glass temple").[35]

Title of Jagadguru Ramanandacharya[change | change source]

Rambhadradas was made Jagadguru Ramanandacharya seated at the Tulsi Peeth by the Kashi Vidwat Parishad in Varanasi on 24 June 1988, and this order was supported by the Mahants of three Akharas, the four sub-Sampradayas, the Khalsas and saints of the Ramananda Sampradaya on 3 February 1989, at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.[5][36] On 1 August 1995 he was anointed as the Jagadguru Ramanandacharya in a ritual manner in Ayodhya by the Digambar Akhara.[3] After that he is known as Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya.[37]

Institutes for the disabled[change | change source]

Rambhadracharya with students having difficulty in walking in front of the main building of Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University on 2 January 2005

Swami Rambhadracharya started the Tulsi School for the Blind in Chitrakoot on 23 August 1996.[35][38] He also started the Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University in Chitrakoot on 27 September 2001.[38][39] This is the first university in the world entirely for disabled students.[40][41] It was created by a local law of the Uttar Pradesh Government, which was afterwards accepted as the Uttar Pradesh State Act 32 (2001) by the Uttar Pradesh legislature.[42][43][44] This act assigned Jagadguru Rambhadracharya as the chancellor of this university for his entire life. The university offers graduate, post-graduate and doctorate degrees in many arts and sciences.[44] The university is planning to give courses in Ayurveda and Medical Sciences from 2013.[45] The permission to enter into the university is limited to only four types of disabled students – those who are blind, or have difficulty in hearing, having difficulty in walking or having some mental illness, as defined in the Disability Act (1995) of the Government of India. According to the Government of Uttar Pradesh, the university is one of the main education institutes for Information Technology and Electronics in the state.[46] Various degrees were given to 354 disabled students in the second graduation ceremony of the university which was held in March 2010.[47][48][49] In the third graduation ceremony which was held in January 2011, 388 disabled students were given degrees.[50][51]

Rambhadracharya also founded an organisation. Its name is Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Viklang Seva Sangh. Its based in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. Its mission is to make community awareness and to start child development programs in Indian villages. Its main aim is to support the education programs of Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University. It helps disabled children get a good education by making access to education easier.[52] Rambhadracharya also runs a hundred-bed hospital in Gujarat.[38]

Rambhadracharya's edition of Ramcharitmanas[change | change source]

Rambhadracharya (right) giving the very important edition of Ramcharitmanas edited by him to Pratibha Patil, the president of India (left)

Tulsidas wrote the epic poem Ramcharitmanas in the late sixteenth century. It has been very popular in northern India ever since. Some Western scholars have called it the "Bible of northern India".[53][54] Many different poets have created their own versions of the poem.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Sanskrit: जगद्गुरुरामभद्राचार्यः, Hindi: जगद्गुरु रामभद्राचार्य, IAST: Jagadguru Rāmabhadrācārya

References[change | change source]

  1. Rambhadracharya, Jagadguru (Speaker) (2003). जगद्गुरु रामभद्राचार्य विकलांग विश्वविद्यालय [Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University] (CD) (in Hindi). Chitrakuta, Uttar Pradesh, India: Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University. Event occurs at 00:02:16. Retrieved June 21, 2011. मानवता ही मेरा मन्दिर मैं हूँ इसका एक पुजारी ॥ हैं विकलांग महेश्वर मेरे मैं हूँ इनका कृपाभिखारी ॥
  2. Lok Sabha, The Office of Speaker. "Speeches". Retrieved March 8, 2011. Swami Rambhadracharya, ..., is a celebrated Sanskrit scholar and educationist of great merit and achievement. ... His academic accomplishments are many and several prestigious Universities have conferred their honorary degrees on him. A polyglot, he has composed poems in many Indian languages. He has also authored about 75 books on diverse themes having a bearing on our culture, heritage, traditions and philosophy which have received appreciation. A builder of several institutions, he started the Vikalanga Vishwavidyalaya at Chitrakoot, of which he is the lifelong Chancellor.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Chandra, R. (September 2008). "जीवन यात्रा" [Life Journey]. Krānti Bhārata Samācāra (in Hindi). Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India: Rajesh Chandra Pandey. 8 (11): 22–23. RNI No. 2000, UPHIN 2638.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Agarwal 2010, pp. 1108–1110
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dinkar 2008, p. 32.
  6. Nagar 2002, p. 91.
  7. "The Chancellor". Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University. Archived from the original on May 16, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  8. Dwivedi, Gyanendra Kumar (December 1, 2008). Analysis and Design of Algorithm. New Delhi, India: Laxmi Publications. p. x. ISBN 978-8131801161.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "वाचस्पति पुरस्कार २००७" [Vachaspati Award 2007] (PDF) (in Hindi). K. K. Birla Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Mukherjee, Sutapa (May 10, 1999). "A Blind Sage's Vision: A Varsity For The Disabled At Chitrakoot". Outlook. New Delhi, India. 5. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  11. Dinkar 2008, p. 39.
  12. "Shree Jagadguru Rambhadracharya". Official Site. Retrieved May 10, 2011. Magical Facts: Knowledge of 22 languages including English, French and many Indian languages
  13. Dinkar 2008, pp. 40–43.
  14. Prasad 1999, p. xiv: "Acharya Giridhar Mishra is responsible for many of my interpretations of the epic. The meticulousness of his profound scholarship and his extraordinary dedication to all aspects of Rama's story have led to his recognition as one of the greatest authorities on Tulasidasa in India today ... that the Acharya's knowledge of the Ramacharitamanasa is vast and breathtaking and that he is one of those rare scholars who know the text of the epic virtually by heart."
  15. Vyas, Lallan Prasad, ed. (1996). The Ramayana: Global View. Delhi, India: Har Anand Publications Pvt Ltd. p. 62. ISBN 8124102449. ...Acharya Giridhar Mishra, a blind Tulasi scholar of uncanny critical insight,...
  16. Rambhadracharya (ed) 2006.
  17. NBT News, Ghaziabad (January 21, 2011). "मन से भक्ति करो मिलेंगे राम : रामभद्राचार्य" [Perform devotion with the mind, and you will find Ram: Rambhadracharya] (in Hindi). Navbharat Times. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  18. Correspondent, Una (February 13, 2011). "केवल गुरु भवसागर के पार पहुंचा सकता है : बाबा बाल जी महाराज" [Only the Guru can take across the ocean of the world: Baba Bal Ji Maharaj] (in Hindi). Dainik Tribune. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  19. Correspondent, Sitamarhi (May 5, 2011). "ज्ञान चक्षु से रामकथा का बखान करने पहुंचे रामभद्राचार्य" [Rambhadracharya arrives to expound on Ramkatha with the eyes of his knowledge] (in Hindi). Jagran Yahoo. Archived from the original on September 22, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  20. Correspondent, Rishikesh (June 7, 2011). "दु:ख और विपत्ति में धैर्य न खोएं" [Do not lose patience in sorrow and adversity] (in Hindi). Jagran Yahoo. Archived from the original on September 22, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2011. प्रख्यात राम कथावाचक स्वामी रामभद्राचार्य महाराज ने कहा कि ... (Famous Ramkatha artist Swami Rambhadracharya said that ...)
  21. "सिंगापुर में भोजपुरी के अलख जगावत कार्यक्रम" [Enrapturing Bhojpuri programme in Singapore] (in Bhojpuri). Anjoria. June 26, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2011. श्री लक्ष्मी नारायण मन्दिर में सुप्रसिद्ध मानस मर्मज्ञ जगतगुरु रामभद्राचार्य जी राकेश के मानपत्र देके सम्मानित कइले (In the Shri Lakshminarayan temple, the renowned and insightful expert of Ramcharitmanas Jagadguru Rambhadracharya honoured Rakesh with a certificate)
  22. "Rambhadracharya Ji". Sanatan TV. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 Dinkar 2008, pp. 22–24.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 Aneja, Mukta; Eyeway Team (2005), "Shri Ram Bhadracharyaji - A Religious Head with a Vision" (PDF), Abilities Redefined - Forty Life Stories of Courage And Accomplishment, All India Confederation of the Blind, pp. 66–68, archived from the original (PDF) on September 3, 2011, retrieved April 25, 2011
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Parauha, Tulsidas (January 14, 2011). "महाकविजगद्गुरुस्वामिरामभद्राचार्याणां व्यक्तित्वं कृतित्वञ्च" [The life and works of the great poet Jagadguru Rambhadracharya]. In Rambhadracharya, Svami (ed.). गीतरामायणम् (गीतसीताभिरामं संस्कृतगीतमहाकाव्यम्) [Gītarāmāyaṇam (The Gītasītābhirāmam Sanskrit lyrical epic poem)] (in Sanskrit). Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University. pp. 5–9.
  26. "Vedic scriptures and stotras for the Blind people in Braille". Astro Jyoti. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  27. "Braille Bhagavad Gita inauguration". Astro Jyoti. Retrieved June 25, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  28. "Bhagavad Gita in Braille Language". Zee News. December 3, 2007. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  29. Asian News International (Dec 6, 2007). "अब ब्रेल लिपि में भगवद्गीता" [Now, Bhagavad Gita in Braille script] (in Hindi). Webdunia Hindi. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 Dinkar 2008, pp. 25–27
  31. Rambhadracharya, Jagadguru (Speaker) (September 13, 2009). श्रीराम कथा (मानस धर्म) [Śrīrāma Kathā (Righteousness in Rāmacaritamānasa)] (DVD) (in Hindi). Chitrakuta, Uttar Pradesh, India: Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University. Event occurs at 00:50:20. DVD 8 of 9, Part I. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
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