Jagadguruttam Divas
By Kripalu Bhaktiyoga Tattvadarshan profile image Kripalu Bhaktiyoga Tattvadarshan
8 min read

Jagadguruttam Divas

Shri Maharaj Ji being honored with the title of Jagadguruttam, is most certainly a great accomplishment. But what benefit can I derive from His great achievement?

A Celebration of Divine Grace


Shri Maharaj Ji being honored with the title of Jagadguruttam, is most certainly a great accomplishment. But what benefit can I derive from His great achievement?

I have heard people say that Shri Maharaj Ji showered His grace upon us by accepting this title. How do we attain benefit through this honor given to Shri Maharaj Ji? What is the real meaning and relevance of celebrating this day every year?


Saint Tulsidas said in Ramacharit Manas,

भूर्ज तरू सम संत कृपाला । पर हित सह नित विपति विशाला ॥
bhūrja tarū sama saṁta kr̥pālā । para hita saha nita vipati viśālā ॥

“Saints are like a birch tree. They willingly undergo great discomfort and pain for the benefit of others.”

The trunk of a birch tree is made up of multiple layers of bark. If one keeps peeling off the layers of the bark, the tree would eventually die.

Saints are compared to a birch tree due to their nature of compassion and benevolence. The trunk of a birch tree is made up of multiple layers of bark. In ancient times, manuscripts used to be written on the bark of a birch tree. If one keeps peeling off the layers of the bark, the tree would eventually die. Still the tree does not do anything to protect itself and willingly continues to give its bark for the benefit of humankind and ultimately perishes.

Material beings inherently think only about their own benefit, while saints cannot think of anything other than the benefit of others. Despite undergoing criticism and insults, they continue to uplift the fallen souls.

A precarious situation

In the mid 1900’s, there were genuine seekers of God, but they were misled by imposters. Jagadguruttam Swami Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj (lovingly addressed as Shri Maharaj Ji) analyzed the situation and the rampant problems. Those were -

  1. Teachings of contemporary saints (theologians) were limited to maintaining harmony in the society. They did not address the underlying reasons for conflict or recommend a remedy to conflicts won't arise.
  2. Lots of pretentious pundits misled innocent people in the name of dharma by misinterpreting verses from Vedic scriptures .
  3. The majority of "so-called" saints presented a very wrong concept of religion. In addition, they condemned the teachings of real saints.
  4. Shri Maharaj Ji knew that our scriptures were full of seemingly contradictory philosophies. Thus, studying the scriptures under the guidance of those who lack practical experience of God would not provide any clarity or deliver practical divine experiences. On the contrary, it would add to the confusion of the mind.
  5. He also realized that the only way for aspirants to protect themselves from associations, that could lead to a spiritual downfall, was by having a sound knowledge of philosophy and a firm resolve to follow the path of righteousness.

He also knew that He could not successfully accomplish His mission of jiva-kalyan (benediction of the public at large) until He would explicitly prove that the philosophy he was propagating, was irrefutable even by the top-most scholars.

Moved by the pitiable condition of the masses Shri Maharaj Ji resolved to provide people the true spiritual guidance. The singular reason for guiding was - His nature of graciousness. The only purpose for revealing his divine knowledge as Jagadguruttam was - To make us pause-long-enough to listen to His words attentively to know the higher-purpose of life which was far beyond the contemporary popular beliefs.

Creating a buzz

Shri Maharaj devised this plan to ensure that people would be forced to take note and listen to His philosophy, which was backed by evidence from our scriptures, as opposed to observe the religious practices prevalent at that time.

Shri Maharaj Ji hosted a summit in Chitrakoot (in place northern India where Lord Ram had stayed during His exile) in the year, 1955 wherein he invited 72 acclaimed scholars from all over India and presented to them questions containing sets of contradictory statements written in our scriptures. He urged the invitees to reconcile the contradiction with each set. When none of the invited scholars even attempted to clarify or reconcile the contradictions, Shri Maharaj Ji took it upon himself to do so. He answered those questions by speaking 3 hours per day for 12 consecutive days. His discourses attracted a large audience. He had gained everyone’s attention.

This was disconcerting to the scholars, for this could lead to them losing their clientele and thus their livelihood. Moreover, it was a huge blow to their pride.

Shri Maharaj Ji realized that one convention alone was not enough to get His message across. So, on the heels of the Chitrakoot convention, Shri Maharaj Ji conducted another convention in Kanpur in 1956.

In this convention He invited only the most distinguished and renowned philosophers and scholars like

  1. Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar - one of his popular publications was Kalyan Magazine,
  2. Shri Jai Dayal Goyanka - founder of Gita Press ,
  3. Shri Sampoornanand Ji - Teacher and politician who was at that time the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,
  4. Shri K. M. Munshi - Governor of U.P. ,
  5. Dr. Baldev Mishra (D Litt.) - highly acclaimed for his contribution in the establishment and progress of many educational institutions and Guru of the 1st President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad,
  6. Dr. Sarvapalli RadhaKrishnan - the 1st Vice President of India ,
  7. Shri Akhandanand Ji - President of Bharat Sadhu Samaj and honorary board member of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan,
  8. Shri Hari Sharnanand Ji,
  9. Shri Gangeshwaranand Ji etc.

The subject of discussion at this convention was Spiritualism versus Materialism. The topic was geared towards establishing the idea in the minds of the listeners that a balance between these two is indispensable.

Shri Raj Narayan Shastri, Vice President of Kashi Vidwat Parishad the highest assembly of topmost Sanskrit scholars in the country and the formidable scholar of all 6 darshan shastra arrived at the convention unannounced with several other pundits to validate the assertions about Shri Maharaj Ji made by other scholars. After listening to Shri Maharaj Ji, Shri Raj Narayan Shastri changed his opinion. When it was his turn to speak, instead of speaking on the topic given to him, Shri Shastri, took the time to sing glories of Shri Maharaj Ji, imploring the audience to listen to the lectures of Shri Maharaj Ji and follow his teachings, to attain a blessed life.

Filled with resentment against Shri Maharaj Ji, the other scholars of Kashi challenged Him to a scriptural debate (शास्त्रार्थ​), with the intent to defeat and insult Him, thereby closing the curtain on the contradictory philosophy being propounded by Him.

The historical moment

But, after listening to His extraordinary reconciliation of all the scriptures and philosophies, the apex body of the opposing scholars were forced to accept the authenticity of His knowledge. Impressed by His divine knowledge, they honored Him with the unique title of Jagadguruttam or the best of all-original-Jagadgurus on 14th January 1957.

The four original Jagadgurus and most recent Jagadguruttam Swami Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj

By honoring Shri Maharaj Ji with this title those 500 top-notch scholars of Vedic scriptures sent a loud and clear message to all seekers of God to pay attention to and practice the teachings of Shri Maharaj Ji - even though His viewpoint was contrary to contemporary popular beliefs.

Shri Maharaj Ji could have declined the title, much like other saints like Mahaprabhu Chaitanya, Hit Harivansh, Shri Vallabhacharya Ji Maharaj, Haridas etc. who didn’t have the title.

PLEASE NOTE: Accepting this title didn't increase Shri Maharaj Ji's bliss or knowledge. Then why did He accept this title?

Shri Maharaj Ji accepted it for the greater good of generations to come.

As an analogy, after completing medical studies, a doctor gets a medical degree which is an endorsement that he is qualified and authorized to practice medicine. Similarly, Shri Maharaj Ji’s title did not increase His own knowledge or bliss, instead it was an endorsement of His exceptional authority on the knowledge hidden within our scriptures and His qualification to guide us on the spiritual path.

The doctor needs this endorsement to practice medicine. But unlike the doctor, Shri Maharaj Ji did not need this title to preach and guide the aspirants. He had already been gracing and leading a small group devout followers. But He accepted the title to help the aspirants. How? Please read further to know more.

An act of grace

We follow a methodical process for finding a medical doctor e.g. we first check whether he has a medical degree, then check for references and once we are satisfied, we consult with the doctor and start the treatment.

To check the competence of the doctor we first check the medical credentials and also references before placing our trust in the doctor.

Similarly, for us who seek a spiritual guide, this historical moment established Shri Maharaj Ji’s credibility as a supreme scholar of divine knowledge. It also eased our fears of being deceived by an imposter (see Distinguish Saint From Imposter). Now, we could confidently follow His teachings, thus allowing Him to treat our bhavrog. Bhav means material world and rog means disease. So, harboring attachment to the objects of material world and thus desiring for them is termed as bhavrog.

For us, who seek a spiritual guide, this historical moment established Shri Maharaj Ji’s credibility as a supreme scholar of divine knowledge. Click on the image to watch the meaning of this poetry

Since that day, Shri Maharaj Ji, has been in a tireless pursuit to enlighten all inquisitive souls with the true knowledge leading to achieving the ultimate aim of life. Shri Maharaj Ji has delivered thousands of discourses on the theory of devotion and led countless satsangs to practically demonstrate how devotion should be done.

Thus, Shri Maharaj Ji graced us and the entire universe on this day. Remembering the immense grace showered on humankind on Jan 14th, 1957, and ever since, fills our hearts with great reverence and increases our devotion, helping us realize more grace. We celebrate this day to express our deepest gratitude to God for giving us the greatest of all saints Jagadguruttam, as our Master. There has never been anyone like Him in the past, nor will there be anyone in the future.

Before being exposed to this incredible philosophy, recall what were we doing. Were we following the superstitions propagated by misleading imposters? Or perhaps following the whims of our own mind?

We need to understand that the true aim of life is to attain eternal bliss. Human form of life is precious and transient. We don’t have time to engage in unproductive activities. We must realize His abundant grace. Thank Him wholeheartedly and celebrate this day ostentatiously to express our gratitude to God for giving us such a capable Master who can lead us in the right direction and help us reach God !

हरि कृपा गुरु मिले गोविंद राधे । गुरु कृपा हरि मिले सब को बता दे ॥
hari kṛpā guru mile goviṃda rādhe ।
guru kṛpā hari mile saba ko batā de ॥

It is only by the grace of God that one meets a genuine Guru. And it is only by the grace of that Guru that one meets God.
- Jagadguruttam Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj

By Kripalu Bhaktiyoga Tattvadarshan profile image Kripalu Bhaktiyoga Tattvadarshan
Updated on
Grace Of God Spirituality