Humble prostrations at the lotus feet of Pujya Papa Ramdas.
A study of Papa’s life is enough to convince one of the omnipresence of God and His infinite love for His children who are all of us. Surrendering to God grants supreme bliss and peace. Papa was a personification of bliss and love to everyone and he saw Lord Rama everywhere.
Papa, known as Vittal Rao in his purvasrama days was born in 1884 in Kerala to Sri Balakrishna Rao and Smt Lalita Bai, a devout couple. He lived the ordinary life of a house-holder until the age of 36. During that time he experienced many trials and tribulations from the worldly point of view, but in his case they caused him to enquire deeply into the true meaning of life. A wonderful transformation was wrought in him of which nobody had any inkling until he was suddenly fired with an intense wave of dispassion. He came to realise the futility of worldly pursuits, and the need for real, everlasting peace and happiness. Inspired by the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Ram Tirtha, Papa became thoroughly convinced that God alone can give one eternal peace and happiness. The path of pure devotion and self-surrender shone forth for him with an irresistible appeal. All attachments to family, friends and business dropped away, just as a fully ripened fruit falls from the tree. He was inwardly ready to give himself up wholly and unreservedly to God.
At that critical time, his father, noticing his son’s waning interest in secular pursuits and his waxing love for and devotion to God, initiated him into the Ram mantram and assured him that by repeating it unstintingly he would, in due time, find the true peace and happiness he was thirsting for. As the mantram took hold of him, Papa found his life filled with Ram. It was then that he renounced the samsaric life and went forth in quest of God as a mendicant sadhu.
With the name of God constantly on his lips, Papa traveled to several places. Intense aspiration coupled with intense practice to attain the Highest quickened his spiritual progress and in a short time he had the vision of his Beloved God everywhere, both within and without. This resulted in him getting established in unending bliss. Having thus attained spiritual liberation and God-vision, he started his mission to guide and serve mankind in order to awaken it to the awareness of God through the founding of Anandashram. Thousands of devotees both from India and abroad took advantage of his most enlightening and inspiring presence till he dropped his mortal coil in 1963.
Papa has written several books, all awe-inspiring and highly motivating to the spiritual seeker. May the life and work of Papa Ramdas continue to inspire sincere seekers of God.