Rambhadracharya also known as Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya is an Indian spiritual leader, educator, scholar of Sanskrit, poet, author, philosopher, composer, singer, playwright, and preacher of religious stories (Kathas). He is one of the four Jagadguru Ramanandacharyas since 1988. He is known for being the founder of Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University and Tulsi Peeth.
Rambhadracharya was born as Giridhar Mishra or Pandit Giridhar on Saturday, 14 January 1950 (age 73 years; as of 2023) in Shandikhurd, Jaunpur district, Uttar Pradesh, India. His zodiac sign is Capricorn. On 7 July 1967, he started studying at Shri Radha Krishna Gaurishankar Sanskrit Adarsh Mahavidyalaya (SRKGSAM), Pratapgarh Uttar Pradesh, where he studied various languages like Sanskrit Vyakarana (grammar), Hindi, English, Maths, History, and Geography. He topped his class for four consecutive years. In the Uttara Madhyama (higher secondary) Sanskrit examination, he passed with a first-class distinction. In 1971, he joined Sampurnanand Sanskrit University in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, to pursue advanced studies in Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar). He achieved the highest score in the final examination for his Shastri (Bachelor of Arts) degree in 1974. He then continued his studies at the same university, enrolling in the Acharya (Master of Arts) program. During his master’s degree studies, he travelled to New Delhi to participate in various national competitions at the All-India Sanskrit Conference. There, he showcased his exceptional skills and won five out of the eight gold medals in subjects like Vyakarana, Samkhya, Nyaya, Vedanta, and Sanskrit Antakshari. In 1976, he topped the final Acharya examinations in Vyakarana, winning seven gold medals and the Chancellor’s gold medal. He was declared Acharya of all subjects taught at the university on 30 April 1976. After completing his master’s degree, he pursued a doctoral Vidyavaridhi (PhD) degree at the same institution under the guidance of Pandit Ramprasad Tripathi. He received a research fellowship from the University Grants Commission (UGC). However, despite this assistance, he faced financial challenges throughout the following five years. On 14 October 1981, he successfully completed his Vidyavaridhi degree in Sanskrit grammar. His dissertation titled ‘Adhyātmarāmāyaṇe’pāṇinīyaprayogānāṃ Vimarśaḥ’ focused on the examination of non-Paninian usages in the Adhyatma Ramayana. Remarkably, he authored this thesis within a mere thirteen days in 1981. After obtaining his doctorate, the UGC offered Giridhar the position of head of the Vyakarana department at Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. However, instead of accepting the offer, he chose to dedicate his life to serving religion, society, and individuals with disabilities.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Bald (earlier black)
Eye Colour: N/A (blind)
Rambhadracharya’s Loss of Vision
When Rambhadracharya was around two months, he lost his eyesight. It happened on 24 March 1950 when his eyes got infected with a disease called trachoma. Since there were no advanced medical facilities in his village, his family took him to an elderly woman in a nearby village who was known for her skills in treating trachoma. She tried to help by applying a special paste made from myrobalan to his eyes to get rid of the lumps caused by the infection. However, instead of getting better, his eyes started bleeding, and he became blind. His family then took him to the King George Hospital in Lucknow, where he stayed for 21 days receiving treatment for his eyes. Despite the efforts, his eyesight could not be restored. His parents even consulted various practitioners of Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, and Allopathic fields in various places like Sitapur, Lucknow, and Bombay, but none of them could bring back his sight. Since then, Rambhadracharya has remained blind. He cannot read or write in Braille as many blind individuals do. Instead, he learns by listening to others and expresses his thoughts by speaking to scribes who write down his words for him.
He belongs to a Hindu Saryupareen Brahmin family of the Vasishtha Gotra of the Ramanandi sect.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Pandit Rajdev Mishra, and his mother’s name is Shachidevi Mishra. His elder sister’s name is Gita Devi.
Wife & Children
At a young age, he adopted celibacy and embraced a lifelong vow called Vīravrata.
Rambhadracharya’s early education in religious scriptures began at his home under the guidance of his grandfather, Paṇḍita Sūryabalī Miśra. Since childhood, he has an exceptional memory. By the age of five, he had already memorised the entire Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit, which consisted of around 800 verses, along with their chapter and verse numbers. Rambhadracharya received his early education from his paternal grandfather while his father was away working in Bombay. During the afternoons, his grandfather would share with him captivating stories from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as devotional works like Vishramsagar, Sukhsagar, Premsagar, and Brajvilas. Rambhadracharya composed his first poem in Awadhi, a dialect of Hindi. He recited the verse to his grandfather. The poem depicted a playful altercation between Krishna’s foster mother, Yashoda, and a Gopi (milkmaid) over an incident involving Krishna. By the age of eight, he went on to memorize the complete Ramcharitmanas, a sacred text composed by Saint Tulasīdāsa, consisting of approximately 10,800 verses. As he progressed in his spiritual studies, Rambhadracharya further dedicated himself to mastering various ancient texts. He memorised and studied the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavata Purana, major works on Sanskrit grammar, and the entire collection of works by the poet-saint Tulsidas. His Upanayana Samskara, the sacred thread ceremony, took place on 24 June 1961, coinciding with the auspicious day of Nirjala Ekādaśī. During this ceremony, he received the Gāyatrī Mantra and was initiated into the mantra of Lord Rāma by Paṇḍita Īśvaradāsa Mahārāja of Ayodhyā. During his time at the Adarsh Gaurishankar Sanskrit College, Rambhadracharya expanded his knowledge further. He studied the eight Ganas of Sanskrit prosody while studying Chandaprabhā, a work focused on Sanskrit prosody. He then composed his first Sanskrit verse, using the Bhujaṅgaprayāta meter.
Initiation in a Vaishnava Sampradaya
In 1976, Rambhadracharya had the opportunity to share a Katha on Ramcharitmanas with Swami Karpatri. Swami Karpatri advised him not to marry and to embrace a lifelong path of celibacy as a Brahmachari. He also encouraged Rambhadracharya to seek initiation in a Vaishnava Sampradaya, a religious sect dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu, Krishna, or Rama as the supreme God. Following this guidance, Rambhadracharya took the vairagi initiation, also known as Virakta Diksha, in the Ramananda Sampradaya. This significant event occurred on the full moon day of Kartika. His spiritual initiation was conducted by Shri Ramcharandas Maharaj Phalahari. Rambhadracharya, inspired by the teachings of Tulsidas, followed the path of devotion diligently. In 1979, he observed a six-month Payovrata, where he strictly followed a diet consisting only of milk and fruits. This spiritual practice took place in Chitrakoot, a sacred place where Lord Rama spent twelve years of his fourteen-year exile. As per the traditions of the Sampradāya, Rambhadracharya was bestowed with a suitable Vaishnava name – Rāmabhadrādāsa, signifying his role as a devoted servant of the auspicious Lord Rama. In 1987, he founded Tulasī Pīṭha, a revered spiritual centre dedicated to the worship of the sacred Tulasī plant, which holds great significance among Vaishnavas. This sacred place was established in Citrakūṭa, present-day Uttar Pradesh, the same location where Lord Rama spent a major part of his fourteen-year exile. As the esteemed founder of this spiritual seat, Rambhadracharya was honoured with the title of Śrīcitrakūṭatulasīpīṭhādhīśvara by saints and intellectuals.
From a Sanyasi to Jagadguru
The term Jagadguru, in the Sanatana Dharma, refers to an individual who possesses complete knowledge and understanding of the Vedic scriptures. It is a revered title given to those who have attained deep wisdom in ancient teachings. The successors of Ramanandacharya are honoured with the title of Jagadguru Ramanandacharya. In 1989, Rambhadracharya was chosen as the Jagadguru Ramanandacharya, recognizing his profound knowledge and spiritual insight. A ritual anointment ceremony took place in Ayodhya on 1 August 1995. As part of his contributions to the field of knowledge, he authored commentaries called Sri Raghavakripabhashya on important scriptures such as the Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, and Eleven Upanishads. Through his appointment as Jagadguru, Swami Ramabhadracharya revived a significant tradition that had been dormant for 500 years. Additionally, he provided the Ramananda Sampradaya with a fresh interpretation of Vedanta, following the footsteps of the original Anandabhashya interpretation. His contributions have greatly enriched the spiritual and philosophical traditions of the Ramananda Sampradaya.
Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Divyanga University
Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, who has experienced the challenges faced by disabled individuals in our society, made a decision to establish a specialised institution for higher education exclusively for people with disabilities. Initially, he started a primary and secondary school dedicated to differently-abled students. Later, in 2002, he founded the Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University in Chitrakut. Svāmī Rambhadracharya serves as the lifelong chancellor of the university. This institution offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in various subjects including Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Sociology, Psychology, Music, Drawing & Painting, History, Culture & Archeology, and Prosthetics & Orthotics. The university ensures that visually impaired, hearing impaired, and mobility impaired students, as defined by the Disability Act of the Government of India in 1995, can access education at a nominal cost. Jagadguru Rambhadracharya actively oversees the day-to-day functioning of the university, guiding its operations and ensuring the well-being of the students.
Rambhadracharya has undertook the task of producing a critical edition of the Ramcharitmanas, known as the Tulsi Peeth edition. To ensure accuracy, he extensively relied on older manuscripts and addressed differences in spelling, grammar, and prosodic conventions compared to contemporary editions. Svamī Rambhadracharya, who has recited the entire Rāmcaritamānasa more than 4,000 times since childhood, took on this responsibility. He dedicated eight years to research, studying around fifty different editions. His critical edition, known as the Tulsi Peeth edition, was published in 2006. The Rāghava Parivāra believes it to be the exact words of Tulsīdāsa. In November 2009, Rambhadracharya faced accusations of tampering with the epic, but the dispute subsided after he expressed regret for any annoyance or pain caused by the publication. A writ petition filed against him was dismissed. The Tulsi Peeth Seva Nyas published this edition in 2005.
Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Viklang Seva Sangh
Rambhadracharya has also established an organization named Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Viklang Seva Sangh, headquartered in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. The organization aims to raise awareness within communities and initiate child development programs in rural India. Its primary objective is to support the education programs of Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University and provide assistance to disabled children in accessing quality education. This support often comes in the form of facilities that make education more accessible. Rambhadracharya also operates a hospital with a capacity of a hundred beds in Gujarat.
Rambhadracharya- A Poet
From a young age, Rambhadracharya displayed a natural talent for composing poetry in languages such as Prakrit and Sanskrit. While learning from his grandfather, he would express his emotions and thoughts through self-created verses. Throughout his life, Jagadguru Rāmabhadrācārya has excelled in 22 languages and is a spontaneous poet in various Indian languages. He has written more than 80 significant works and numerous smaller compositions. Among his notable achievements are four epic poems, commentaries on important texts like the Prasthanatrayi, Ashtadhyayi, and Ramcharitmanas, as well as a critical edition of the Ramcharitmanas. In 1994, he composed a Hindi poem called “Arundhatī” comprising 1279 verses. In 2002, his Sanskrit poem “Śrībhārgavarāghavīyam” with 2121 verses was published. A Hindi poem titled “Aṣṭāvakra” consisting of 864 verses was published in 2010. In 2011, his Sanskrit poem “Gītarāmāyaṇam” was published. Additionally, Rambhadracharya has written minor poems such as “Kākā Vidura” (1980), “Mukundasmaraṇam” (1980), “Ājādacandraśekharacaritam” (1996), “Sarayūlaharī” (2000), and “Bhṛṅgadūtam” (2004). He has also composed lyrical poems like “Rāghavagītaguñjana” (1991) and “Bhaktigītasudhā” (1993). Rambhadracharya has written several Sanskrit poems consisting of 100 verses including works like “Āryāśatakam,” “Caṇḍīśatakam,” “Rāghavendraśatakam,” “Gaṇapatiśatakam,” and “Śrīrāghavacaraṇacihnaśatakam.” His other work as a poet are:
- 1987: Śrījānakīkṛpākaṭākṣastotram
- 1992: Śrīrāmavallabhāstotram
- 1994: Śrīgaṅgāmahimnastotram
- 1995: Śrīcitrakūṭavihāryaṣṭakam
- 2002: Śrīrāghavabhāvadarśanam
Some of his popular poems are:
- 2003: Kubjāpatram
- 2008: Śrīsītārāmakelikaumudī
- 2009: Śrīsītārāmasuprabhātam
He also wrote a few spiritual plays like Śrīrāghavābhyudayam and Utsāha. He has penned various critiques and discourses which include:
- 1981: Adhyātmarāmāyaṇe Apāṇinīyaprayogānāṃ Vimarśaḥ
- 1982: Mānasa Me̐ Tāpasa Prasaṅga
- 1988: Sanātanadharma Kī Vigrahasvarūpa Gomātā
- 1990: Sīta Nirvāsana Nahī̐
- 2007: Śrīrāsapañcādhyāyīvimarśaḥ
- 1980: Bharata Mahimā
- 1985: Sugrīva Kā Agha Aura Vibhīṣaṇa Kī Karatūti
- 1992: Prabhu Kari Kṛpā Pā̐varī Dīnhī
- 2001: Śrī Sītārāma Vivāha Darśana
- 2006: Ahalyoddhāra
- 2008: Hara Te Bhe Hanumāna
Commentaries on the Prasthānatrayī
In 1991, Rambhadracharya composed Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam on Narada Bhakti Sutra, thereby reviving the tradition of Sanskrit commentaries on the Prasthanatrayi after five hundred years. Additionally, he composed Sanskrit commentaries titled Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam on the Prasthanatrayi, which consisted of the Brahma Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita, and eleven Upanishads. These commentaries were released on 10 April 1998 by the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Rambhadracharya’s Sanskrit commentary on the Prasthanatrayi became the first to be written in almost 600 years, and it served as the second commentary on Prasthanatrayi in Sanskrit for the Ramananda Sampradaya, with the first being the Ānandabhāṣyam composed by Ramananda himself. Some of his other commentaries include:
- 1991: Śrīnāradabhaktisūtreṣu Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam
- 1997: Aṣṭādhyāyyāḥ Pratisūtraṃ Śābdabodhasamīkṣaṇam
- 1998: Śrībrahmasūtreṣu
- 1998: Kaṭhopaniṣadi Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam
- 1998: Māṇḍūkyopaniṣadi Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam
- 1998: Taittirīyopaniṣadi Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam
- 1998: Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣadi Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam
- 2001: Śrīrāmastavarājastotre Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam
- 2005: Bhāvārthabodhinī
Rambhadracharya- An Author
He is a prolific writer and has penned over 100 books and 50 papers. His literary creations include four epic poems, a Hindi commentary on Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas, a Sanskrit commentary in verse on the Ashtadhyayi, as well as Sanskrit commentaries on the Prasthanatrayi scriptures. In India, he is highly esteemed as one of the foremost experts on Tulsidas, and he holds the esteemed position of editor of a critical edition of the Ramcharitmanas. Rambhadracharya, in addition to his Sanskrit commentaries on the Prasthanatrayi, has an extensive literary repertoire. Rambhadracharya’s knowledge spans various fields, including Nyaya and Vedanta. His expertise in Tulsidas’ works has earned him recognition as one of the greatest authorities on Tulsidas in India. Notably, he serves as the editor of a critical edition of the Ramcharitmanas.
Rambhadracharya- Katha Recitor
Rambhadracharya is also a skilled Katha artist, specializing in recitations of the Ramayana and the Bhagavata. His Katha programs are regularly conducted in different cities in India and other countries, and they are broadcasted on various television channels like Shubh TV, Sanskar, and Sanatan. Furthermore, Rambhadracharya holds a leadership position in the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), showcasing his involvement in religious and cultural organizations.
Rambhadracharya- A Singer
He has lent his voice to various bhajans like ‘Bhajana Sarayū’ (2001), ‘Bhajana Yamunā’ (2001), ‘Śrī Hanumat Bhakti’ (2009), ‘Śrīsītārāmasuprabhātam’ (2009), and ‘Sundara Kāṇḍa’ (2009). His songs are also released in music videos.
Rambhadracharya and the Ayodhya Case
In the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid dispute, Rambhadracharya played a significant role as an expert witness in the Allahabad High Court in July 2003. The final judgment of the court included excerpts from his written statement and the answers he provided during the trial. In his statement, Rambhadracharya referred to several ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Ramayana, Rāmatāpanīya Upaniṣad, Skanda Purana, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, and others to emphasize the sacredness of Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Rama, cherished by Hindus. To support his testimony, Rambhadracharya quoted verses from the works of Tulsidas, a renowned Hindu poet, which he believed had relevance to the dispute. The first set of verses came from a work called Dohā Śataka, narrating the destruction of a Rama temple by Mughal ruler Babur in 1528 CE, followed by the construction of a mosque at the disputed site. The temple held immense significance for followers of Sanatana Dharma. The second citation was from a work named Kavitāvalī, which mentioned a mosque. During the cross-examination, Rambhadracharya provided in-depth explanations about the history of the Ramananda sect, which included details about its spiritual centres known as Mathas, the rules governing the religious leaders called Mahants, and the functioning of ascetic orders known as Akharas. Additionally, he engaged in discussions about Tulsidas’ works. Contrary to the claims made by pro-mosque parties that the original temple was situated north of the disputed area, Rambhadracharya presented evidence by referring to the boundaries of the Janmabhoomi mentioned in the Ayodhya Mahatmya section of the Skanda Purana. Remarkably, these boundaries aligned precisely with the present location of the disputed area, as acknowledged by Justice Sudhir Agarwal during the proceedings. However, Rambhadracharya clarified that he had no knowledge about the existence of a Ram Chabootra (“Platform of Rama”) outside the locked area between 1950 and 1985. This platform also served as the Chati Poojan Sthal. Furthermore, he was unaware of the installation of the idols of Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita at Ram Chabootra, which lay outside the Janmabhoomi temple. BBC News
Petition Filed for Hurting Religious Sentiments
In November 2009, there was a controversy in Ayodhya when the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas demanded an apology from Rambhadracharya for his edition of the Tulsi Peeth, accusing him of tampering with the epic. According to a media report, he was accused of committing a “blasphemous act of challenging the mighty pen of the Goswami.” Nritya Gopal Das, president of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas quoted,
How dare he… he has committed a pardonable [sic] sin and must own it up.”
He was even accused of changing dohas to chaupais and vice versa, altering the wordings of several verses, and renaming Laṅkākāṇḍa to Yuddhakāṇḍa. A leading media house reported that on page 59 of the edition, Rambhadracharya was called a Rishi, and the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad chairperson, Mahant Gyan Das, questioned how Rambhadracharya could be called a Rishi, a term used for the Vamadeva, Jabali, and Vasistha. Gyan Das and Nritya Gopal Das also accused the Swami of deleting certain verses and arbitrarily substituting new words. Gyan Das said that as per the meeting of Saints and Dharmacharyas, it was decided that Rambhadracharya should apologize, otherwise, a decision would be taken to remove him from the post of Jagadguru in the proposed meeting of the Parishad. Reportedly, Rambhadracharya’s disciples denied the charges of deleting verses and substituting words. Rambhadracharya clarified to a media house that he had only edited, not altered, the Ramcharitmanas published by Geata Press, Gorakhpur. He expressed his frustration, stating,
They have pronounced me guilty without even going through my book.”
He believed the controversy was an attempt to defame him and extort money. Regarding the use of the word Rishi to refer to him, Rambhadracharya responded that a Rishi is someone who sees a Mantra, and in this sense, he considered himself a Rishi for the new Mantra he proposed for offering oblation to the Ramcharitmanas. Later in 2010, some media houses quoted Rambhadracharya’s response to the controversy, where he clarified that he had merely edited existing copies of the epic and not modified the original epic, similar to what Nanda Dulare Vajpayee had done for the Gita Press edition published in 1949. The dispute was settled on 8 November 2009 when Rambhadracharya sent a letter to the Akhara Parishad, expressing regret for any annoyance or pain caused by the publication of the Tulsi Peeth edition. In the letter, he requested the Akhara Parishad to consider older printed editions of the Ramcharitmanas as authentic, not others. The saints in Ayodhya were satisfied with the language of the letter and decided to end the protest against Rambhadracharya. In 2008, a writ petition filed by Shiv Asray Asthana, publisher of the journal Prakhar Vichar, sought the seizure and forfeiture of Rambhadracharya’s critical edition on the grounds that it hurt religious sentiments. The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court dismissed the petition in May 2011 and fined Asthana Rs 20,000 (US$250). Later, Rambhadracharya said that he considered the court’s decision a victory for fundamental rights and announced a nine-day victory celebration. Many Hindi and Ramcharitmanas scholars reviewed Rambhadracharya’s critical edition. Prem Bhushan, a Kathavachak and Rambhadracharya’s disciple, stated that the differences are mainly related to grammar and spelling. According to Ram Sagar Shukla, a retired correspondent of Prasar Bharti, the majority of the corrections in the Tulsi Peeth edition are related to the language of the epic, while some pertain to various episodes. Shukla expressed doubts about Rambhadracharya’s opinion on the definition of Chaupai, mentioning that according to Pingala’s definition, a Chaupai has 64 instants, and the title “Hanuman Chalisa” could also imply 40 half-Chaupais. After examining the book for two hours, Sunita Shastri, a scholar on Ramcharitmanas and advisor to Gita Press, shared her findings with a leading media house. She highlighted that there were several verses missing in the Ayodhyakand of the Tulsi Peeth edition, citing the example of the verse dīpaśikhā sama juvati tana… as one that was not included. On the other hand, Ravindra Agnihotri, an author well-versed in Sanskrit, Hindi, and English, emphasized that Rambhadracharya identified more than 3000 mistakes in contemporary prevalent editions. These errors included the addition of verses and changes in words. Agnihotri believed that instead of criticizing him, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas should have praised Rambhadracharya’s work for bringing attention to these issues. YouTube – Zee News
Yatra Banned by the UP Government
On 25 August 2013, Rambhadracharya and VHP leader Ashok Singhal arrived at Lucknow’s Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport. They were heading to Ayodhya for the 12-day religious yatra called the 84-kosi yatra. However, the state government banned the yatra, stating concerns about law and order. Some people claim that the ban was due to opposition from Muslim organizations or influenced by political reasons. Rambhadracharya’s involvement in the yatra was kept secret, and as a result, he was put under house arrest at the residence of his disciple and friend R.C. Mishra. On 26 August 2013, a local lawyer named Ranjana Agnihotri filed a habeas corpus petition in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. Judges Imtiyaz Murtaza and D.K. Upadhayaya responded by issuing a release order not only for Rambhadracharya but also for Singhal and Praveen Togadia. The petitioner’s advocate, H.S. Jain, argued that while Rambhadracharya and other leaders were arrested under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which allows arrests to prevent the commission of cognizable offences, the custody period cannot exceed 24 hours unless other sections of the code or other laws are applicable. After his release, Rambhadracharya expressed his belief that the government had spread misconceptions about the yatra. Responding to reported security threats, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to provide Rambhadracharya with Y-category security cover just two days after the incident. It was reported that this move might have been an effort to “build bridges with the sadhus after the showdown.” Government officials mentioned that a high-powered committee would later determine whether the security cover should continue. After the incident, Rambhadracharya met the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow and extended an invitation for him to be the chief guest at a university function, which Yadav accepted. However, due to challenging circumstances, Yadav was unable to attend the function personally. Instead, he sent the politicians Vijay Mishra and Vijay Bahadur Pal as representatives. Despite Yadav’s absence, Rambhadracharya expressed disappointment that Yadav couldn’t spare even 15 minutes for disabled children during the event. He stated that Yadav would need to atone for this. Business Standard
Objectionable Remarks on Mahatma Buddha
In 2022, a case was filed against Rambhadracharya for making objectionable remarks about Mahatma Buddha. Advocate Dr. Satya Prakash Gautam had filed the application in the Karkardooma court seeking the registration of an FIR against Jagadguru Swami Rambhadracharya Maharaj. The advocate claimed that during the inauguration of the Happiness Center at Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj University in Kanpur in February 2021, Rambhadracharya Maharaj, who was also the Chancellor of JRD University in Chitrakoot, made objectionable remarks about Mahatma Buddha. The advocate had previously lodged a complaint regarding this at the Farsh Bazar police station. In response, the police stated that the complaint had been transferred to Kalyanpur police station in Kanpur for further action. Metropolitan Magistrate Ajit Narayan dismissed the application due to the lack of necessary permission for the demand made in it. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate stated in the order that the complainant did not obtain permission from any competent authority for such a demand, leading to the rejection of the application. Jagran
Rambhadracharya’s Controversial Speech
In 2023, the Samajwadi Party strongly reacted to the slogans raised by Tulsi Peethadhishwar Swami Rambhadracharya during a public event. They demanded that a case be filed against him at the Sadar police station. The party’s state secretary, Ram Gopal Baghel, and other workers felt that Swami Rambhadracharya had insulted their party’s founder chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, and also the founder of Bahujan Samaj Party, Kanshi Ram. According to them, the Swami had made disrespectful remarks about Dalits and backward communities. The Samajwadi Party officials argued that the government had previously honoured Mulayam Singh with the Padma Vibhushan award, and in light of this, the respect given to Swami Rambhadracharya should be withdrawn, and his speeches should be banned. The controversy began when slogans were raised during the unveiling of a statue of Swami Prasad Maurya’s Kanshi Ram, which mentioned the names of both Mulayam Singh and Kanshi Ram along with the slogan “Jai Shri Ram.” In response, Swami Rambhadracharya said Mulayam Kanshiram is dead, now say Jai Shri Ram with love. In the midst of the dispute, the Samajwadi Student Assembly in Agra performed a Yagya (ritual) for the purification of intellect to express their protest against Swami’s remarks. In response to the allegations made against him, Swami Rambhadracharya defended himself, stating that he had not said anything wrong. He clarified that he does not support any political party, but he speaks in the name of Lord Ram. Furthermore, he expressed his support for the implementation of population control laws and a uniform civil code in the country. Swami Rambhadracharya emphasized that his sole allegiance lies with Lord Ram. Additionally, he supported the statement of Dhirendra Krishna Shastri from Bageshwar Dham, who referred to Sai Baba as a saint, not God. ABP Live
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- 1974: Five gold medals at the Akhila Bharatiya Sanskrit Adhiveshan (All India Sanskrit Conference), New Delhi, presented by Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India
- 1974: Gold Medal, Shastri (Bachelor of Arts) examination, awarded by the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi
- 1976: Gold medal for standing first in an all-India Sanskrit debate competition, presented by M. Channa Reddy, then Governor of Uttar Pradesh
- 1976: Chancellor’s Gold Medal, awarded by the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi
- 1976: Seven gold medals, Acharya (Master of Arts) examination, awarded by the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi
- 1999: Kaviraj Vidya Narayan Shastri Archana-Samman Award, awarded by the Kaviraj Vidya Narayan Shastri Archana-Samman Committee, Bhagalpur, Bihar, for contributions to the Sanskrit language
- 2000: Vishishta Puraskar, awarded by the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Samsthana, Lucknow
- 2003: Rajshekhar Samman, awarded by the Madhya Pradesh Sanskrit Academy, Bhopal, for the Śrīrāghavakṛpābhāṣyam commentary on the Prasthanatrayi
- 2003: Bhaurao Deoras Award, awarded by the Bhaurao Deoras Seva Nyas, Lucknow
- 2003: Diwaliben Award for Progress in Religion, awarded by the Dewaliben Mehta Charitable Trust, Mumbai, presented by P. N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India
- 2003: Ativishishta Puraskar, by the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Samsthana, Lucknow
- 2004: President’s Certificate of Honour or Badarayana Puraskar, presented by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, then President of India
- 2005: Sahitya Akademi Award in Sanskrit for the epic Śrībhārgavarāghavīyam
- 2006: Shreevani Alankaran, awarded by the Jaydayal Dalmiya Shri Vani Trust for the epic Śrībhārgavarāghavīyam, presented by Somnath Chatterjee, then Speaker of the Lok Sabha
- 2006: Banabhatta Award, awarded by Madhya Pradesh Sanskrit Board, Bhopal, for the epic Śrībhārgavarāghavīyam
- 2007: Goswami Tulsidas Samarchan Samman, awarded by the Tulsi Research Institute, Municipal Corporation, Allahabad, presented by Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, former Chief Justice of India
- 2007: Vachaspati Award, awarded by the K. K. Birla Foundation, New Delhi, for the epic Śrībhārgavarāghavīyam., presented by Shailendra Kumar Singh, then Governor of Rajasthan
- 2011: Tulsi Award 2011, awarded by Morari Bapu on the eve of Tulsi Jayanti
- 2011: Dev Bhumi Award, awarded by the Government of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, presented by Joseph Kurien, then Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court
- 1998: Dharmachakravarti, awarded by the World Religious Parliament, New Delhi, in recognition of meritorious contribution to world development
- 1999: Mahakavi, awarded by the Akhil Bharatiya Hindi Bhasha Sammelan, Bhagalpur, Bihar, for invaluable contributions to the popularisation and enrichment of the Hindi language, literature, and culture
- 2000: Mahamahopadhyay, conferred by the Lal Bahadur Shastri Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi. Presented by Maharaj Krishnakav, the then Education Secretary of the Ministry of Human Resource Development at the fourth convocation of the university on 11 February
- 2002: Kavikularatna, awarded by Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi
- 2004: Awadh Ratna, by the Awadh Vikas Parishad, Allahabad
- 2006: Sanskrit Mahamahopadhyay, awarded by the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag
- 2013: Purvanchal Ratna
- 2015: Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour, awarded by the Government of India
- 2015: Yash Bharati awarded by the Government of Uttar Pradesh
- 2015: Vishva Bharati awarded by the Government of Uttar Pradesh
Popularity Among Indian Politicians and Spiritual Leaders
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee once praised Rambhadracharya as an immensely learned individual, well-versed in Vedic and Puranic literature, as well as grammar. He admired his intelligence and remarkable memory.
- Dr Murli Manohar Joshi expressed great admiration for Rambhadracharya’s profound knowledge, considering him truly praiseworthy. Nanaji Deshmukh described Rambhadracharya as an astonishing gem of the country, acknowledging his exceptional qualities.
- Swami Kalyandev recognized Rambhadracharya as an unparalleled intellectual, speaker, and devoted Acharya. Somnath Chatterjee referred to him as a celebrated Sanskrit scholar and educationist with remarkable achievements and merit.
- Rambhadracharya is widely regarded as one of India’s greatest scholars on Tulsidas and Ramcharitmanas, and this is often cited.
- Ram Prakash Gupta and Keshari Nath Tripathi acknowledged Rambhadracharya’s significant contributions to society, believing that he will continue to enrich it with his work.
- Baba Ramdev considers Rambhadracharya the most learned person in the world presently.
- In July 2005, Rambhadracharya was part of a delegation of saints and Dharmacharyas that met with then-president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and then-union Home Minister Shivraj Patil. During the meeting, they handed over a memorandum urging stronger security arrangements for important religious places in the country.
- Abhiraj Rajendra Mishra praised Rambhadracharya, acknowledging his high-mindedness and exceptional grasp of Indian literature. He also highlighted Rambhadracharya’s genuine joy in serving oppressed disabled people.
- Mata Prasad Pandey, the Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, commended Rambhadracharya for opening doors of development for people with disabilities in India. He believed that Rambhadracharya achieved what even eminent industrialists and the government could not.
- In November 2014, Rambhadracharya was nominated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one of the nine people for the Clean India Campaign.
- In September 2014, Rambhadracharya took the initiative to adopt five villages in Chitrakoot with the aim of constructing toilets in every household.
- Rambhadracharya was invited as one of the guests at the inaugural International Yoga Day event in New Delhi.
- Indira Gandhi once presented five gold medals and the Chalvaijayanti trophy for Uttar Pradesh to Rambhadracharya. Impressed by his abilities, she offered to send him to the United States for treatment for his eyes at her own expense. However, Rambhadracharya graciously declined the offer, replying with an extemporaneous Sanskrit verse.
- In 1992, Rambhadracharya took charge of the Indian delegation at the Ninth World Conference on Ramayana, held in Indonesia.
- He has travelled to various nations such as England, Mauritius, Singapore, and the United States, delivering talks on Hindu religion and promoting peace.
- His achievements have been recognized, and he has been featured in the prestigious International Who’s Who of Intellectuals.
- Moreover, he played a crucial role as one of the prominent figures in the Dharma Prachar Yatra held in Detroit.
- Rambhadracharya represented India as one of the spiritual and religious Gurus at the Millennium World Peace Summit, organized by the United Nations in New York City from 28 to 31 August 2000. During his address to the gathering, he provided Sanskrit explanations for the terms Bharata (the ancient name of India) and Hindu, and he also discussed the aspects of God – Nirguna and Saguna.In his speech on Peace, he emphasized the importance of developed and developing nations joining hands to combat poverty, terrorism, and nuclear armament. He concluded his speech by reciting the Shanti Mantra, symbolizing a prayer for peace.
- Rambhadracharya received his name from his great aunt, who was a devotee of the female saint Mirabai. This name was used by Mirabai to address the god Krishna in her compositions during the Bhakti era in medieval India.
- Even though Rambhadracharya didn’t attend formal schooling until he was seventeen, he had already learned many literary works as a child through listening. While his family wanted him to become a Kathavachak (a Katha artist), he had a strong desire to continue his studies. His father explored educational opportunities for him in Varanasi and considered sending him to a special school for blind students. However, Rambhadracharya’s mother opposed the idea, expressing concerns about the treatment of blind children in such schools.
- At the age of eleven, Rambhadracharya faced the disappointment of being prohibited from joining his family in a wedding procession due to the belief that his presence would bring bad luck to the marriage. This event left a profound impact on Rambhadracharya, and he mentions it at the beginning of his autobiography. In his autobiography, Rambhadracharya fondly recalls this day as the beginning of the “Golden Journey” of his life. Possessing the unique ability to memorize material after hearing it just once, he has never relied on Braille or other aids for his studies. Within a remarkable span of three months, he had memorized and fully mastered the entire Laghusiddhāntakaumudī of Varadaraja.
- In June 1953, there was a juggler’s monkey dance show in the village, and during the event, Rambhadracharya and the other children got frightened and ran away when the monkey started touching them. Rambhadracharya fell into a small dry well and became trapped for a while. Fortunately, a teenage girl came to his rescue and saved him from the well. After this incident, Rambhadracharya’s grandfather explained to him that his life was saved because he had learnt a specific line from a verse in the Ramcharitmanas (1.192.4) earlier that morning. The verse was from the episode of the manifestation of the god Rama. After his fall into the well, Rambhadracharya remained confident that Lord Rama would somehow rescue him from the predicament of the “kupa” (well). Following this incident, Rambhadracharya’s grandfather advised him to always recite the verse, and since then, he has made it a practice to recite it every time he consumes water or food.
- The Indian spiritual leader Bageshwar Dham Sarkar is one of his students.
- He is a polyglot and speaks around 22 languages.
- His followers have started a YouTube channel Jagadguru Rambhadracharya on which his bhajans and religious speeches are uploaded. There are around 536k subscribers on his channel.
- Rambhadracharya released the first Braille version of the scripture, including the original Sanskrit text and a Hindi commentary, in New Delhi on 30 November 2007. This was 52 years after he had memorized the Gita.
- In November 2007, Rambhadracharya received a threatening letter, allegedly from a member of al-Qaeda, demanding that he and his followers convert to Islam or face severe consequences. The letter was said to be sent from Haridwar, prompting authorities to increase security measures for Rambhadracharya and initiate a comprehensive investigation. Gita Devi, the secretary of JRHU, mentioned that Rambhadracharya was targeted by al-Qaeda, similar to the previous threats faced by Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas president Nrityagopal.
- In November 2014, Rambhadracharya received yet another assassination threat, accompanied by a demand for a “terror tax” concerning JRHU’s activities.
- He did his spiritual learning under various gurus including Ishvardas (Mantra), Ramprasad Tripathi (Sanskrit), and Ramcharandas (Sampradaya).
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of his followers.