A Living Legend of Braj Revolution
A Living Back-Bone of Braj
Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj
Even though it is impossible to put in words, still a futile attempt to give an
Introduction of Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj
We find it extremely hard and exhausting thinking about a place where we can begin explaining the virtue of Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj, also known as Babashri or Baba Maharaj passionately. Every single dimension of his virtue, such as extreme love for Shri Radha Krishna or deep understanding of Bhakti Ras of various Vashnava Sampradayas, is beyond reach of our sight and imagination. Every attempt to understand and write completely about them falls flat. However, we are sure that even our futile attempt will benefit the readers.
We sincerely believe that the biography of Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj will purify us and rest of the world. We feel proud and fortunate to have this opportunity. Please know that we do not even qualify to introduce such a pious and divine soul brimming with Braj Bhakti Ras. These words constitute merely hints of what we could experience in past years of his hidden Bhakti Ras treasure. As our scriptures say, even the principle disciple cannot understand the exact state of heart or Bhaav of a true devotional soul. We know only what they let us know.
“Karani Karuna Sindhu Ki Mukha Kahat Na Aaway”
करनी करुणा सिंधु कि मुख कहत न आवे ।
Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj is the one who made, the King of pilgrimage sites, the great Prayag-Raj proud, who appeared as the only son to his parents and enjoyed special care from them, who’s appearance was a part of divine planning, was born to Shri Baldev Prasad Shukla (People used to call him Shukla Bhagwan) and Shrimati Hemeshwari Devi, passionately known as Mata Ji.
Shri Baldev Ji was revered as Shukla Bhagwan by the people because of various reasons. He donated unimaginable amount of land, from the heritage property left for him by his ancestors, to poor farmers. An act people say only Godly body can perform. He was one of the top and world renowned Astrologers and Palmistrians of his time. His predictions would rarely fail and prove very accurate almost all the time. He used to offer these services to the masses totally free of cost. In 1930’s, he used to hold position of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police in Allahabad UP. During the British rule, only a white person could hold this position in India. However, he was the only exception in the country because of his mesmerizing virtue and tremendous love of the local people for him.
For a very long period of time, the parents did not have any child. Intense desire to have a child inspired Shri Baldev Shukla Ji to pray Lord Shiva in Taarkeshwar Dham near Kolkata. As a result, he was destined to have their first baby girl, Taarkeshwari Devi (passionately known as Didi Ji) in 1930. Later on again, they were unsettled by another desire for a son. This time Shri Baldev Shukla Ji traveled to Raameshwar Dham, the extreme south point of India, with great hardship. He immersed himself into Bhakti Bhaav for Lord Shiva again with a desire of getting a benediction of a son. He gave up food and water also. Lord Rameshwar became happy and finally appeared in the dreams of Mata Ji on the 3rd night and honored his the wish of a son. With the mercy of Lord Shiva, a baby boy with a shine of Sun and exceptional features on his face appeared at 12 PM on 7th date of Paush Maas Krishna Paksha in 1938, named Shri Rameshwer Prasad Shukla (now known as Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj).
Immediately after taking a look at the divine face, his father, the great Astrologer, said, “This boy will not enter material life or family life. He will give up all worldly pleasures and live like a saint (Saadhu). He has appeared to unravel the ultimate eternal truth to people.”
His words started turning true. At very tender age, Shri Baba Maharaj completed his education. If a student is extremely bright, the teacher, weather he/she deserves it or not, gets the full credit. His student years became reason for recognition of many teachers in school and college. By the time he was 16, he already completed his college. He has exception musical skills. His singing attracted my world renowned Indian classical singer such as D V Pulaskar. He requested Mata Ji to give Shri Baba Maharaj to him after listening his classic singing. He also learned many musical instruments such as Pakhavaj, Khol, Mridanga, Dolka, Tabla and various other instruments.
Beginning of His Spiritual Life
Even though he was living in his home completing his education, he did not like to be a home. The events were taking place exactly they way his father Shri Baldev Shukla Ji foresaw at the time of his birth. Helpless by the intense desire to go to Braj Bhoomi, he tried to run from home twice. However, he succumbed to the deep attachment of his mother. Mata Ji loved him so much. This love kept on increasing after his father Shri Baldev Shukla Ji passed away when Shri Baba Maharaj was only 5. Taarkeshwari Devi (Didi Ji) got married and went to her new home. Mata Ji was all alone with her only son, Shri Baba Maharaj. It was extremely hard for her to separate from her only son. Leaving home was not easy for him.
In the final and third attempt, he was successful. This time he did not run quietly. He faced everyone and left in the presence of everyone who cared about him. He briefly wrote that experience in one of his Gazals:
Mela sa lag raha tha, jab hum watan se nikale!
Har ek koi ro raha tha, jab hum watan se nikale!!
मेला सा लग रहा था, जब हम वतन से निकले ।
हर कोई रो रहा था, जब हम वतन से निकले ॥
The forest where Suryavanshi Shri Ram spent his exile days also became Shri Baba Maharaj’s place of living after he left home. Brimming with the pain of separation (Bhagwat Viraha) and unconditional love for Shri Krishna and Shri Radha, he roamed freely and fearlessly in the dangerous and lonely Chitrakut forests among life threatening wild animals deeply filled with “Sa Rakshita Rakshati Yo Hi Garbhe (Who protected us in the womb of our mother will also protect us outside her womb)” Bhaav.
Initially he thought, the forests were his ultimate destination. However, an invisible force pulled him towards Braj. He developed a constant desire to have a look of Shri Shri Radha Krishna. He decided to leave for Barsana, the birth place of Shri Radha Rani. The journey from Chitrakut forests to Barsana is full of so many adventures, divine spiritual experiences, and really inspiring incidences that it is almost impossible to include all of them here. We need to write a complete book on them.
While in Barsana, he dedicated all his time practicing principles of Brajwas and Bhaav Upaasana of Shrii Radha Rani. With the mercy of Shriji, he accepted Shri Priya Sharan Ji Maharaj who is a well known Sidhha Saint of Braj, an authority on Shrimad Radha Sudha Nidhi Granth, very advance scholar of various Ras Granths of a number of Sampradayas, a great devotee and surrendered soul unto the lotus feet of Shri Radha Rani and who brought Mahavani Granth into light by unrevealing the secret hidden Shri Radha Ras from it.
His Stay In Barsana
Heart of Braj Vrindavan is Barsana, birth place of Shri Radha Rani, and heart of Barsana is Gahvarvan, a Van or forest where every single tree and piece of grass is planned by Shri Radha Rani by Her own hands. In Gahvarvan, Shri Baba Maharaj picked Shri Maan Mandir, which is located at the hilltop of Brahmaachal Parvat. Brahmachal Parvat, head of Lord Brahma, is one of the 4 hilltops of Barsana. During Nitya Ras Leela in Gahvarvan, Shri Radha Rani did Pranaya Maan (for the sake of understanding, it means angry in laymen term) and went up to Maan Garh, the hilltop of the Brahmachal Parvat. The place was named Maan Mandir after this Leela. It is said that Maan Mandir is Shri Radha Rani’s dearest place in Braj.
60 years ago when Shri Baba Maharaj came to Maan Mandir, it was nothing but a dilapidated, abandoned, a broken structure of cement and rocks surrounded by dense Gahvarvan. The temple was used by then infamous dacoit Jahan Daku as a place of hideout. They used to kidnap, rob and kill their victims at this place. Also used this place to store all robbed material. When Shri Baba Maharaj visited one of the hidden caves insides the temple, he saw dry blood on the floor all over the place. The fear of the dacoit coupled with dense frightful Gahvarvan full of poisonous snakes and pythons made this place a real threat to people. What to talk about night, nobody would even walk by it during the day time. However, Shri Baba Maharaj decided to stay in this temple.
Why would he be afraid of the thieves? He left behind a life full of luxuries for the King of all the thieves, the one and only Chorjaarshikhamani Shri Krishna.
Shri Baba Maharaj shunned the fear away by practicing “Taskaraanaam Naam Pataye Namaha”. Even thieves of Braj are also worthy of worship. His heart is devoid of pair of opposites – attachment and hate. As per the teachings of Shri Priya Sharan Ji Maharaj, Shri Baba Maharaj considers no difference between Braj, Brajesh – Shri Krishna, and Brajwasis and respect them like Shri Krishna and Shri Radha Rani.
This is Kaliyuga and Shrimad Bhagwat Maharpuran says that the places of Dham (pilgrimage sites) will hide their virtue and significance. This is the nature of Kaliyuga. However, if a pure devotee (Bhakta) performs an Araadhana with pure heard with no expectation of rewards of any kind, the same Dham will reveals its true virtue. Shri Baba Maharaj’s undaunting faith in Bhagwan Naam Sankeertan and Araadhana with pure love for Shri Radha Krishna slowly revealed the true virtue of Maan Mandir – An ocean of Nectar of Infinite Shri Radha Ras Sudha.
Serving and Saving Braj
Since Shri Baba Maharaj has deep love for Shri Krishna and Shri Radha Rani, he always keeps thinking about Braj. With growing Kaliyuga everywhere, Braj Dham is also hiding itself. 62 years ago, when Shri Baba Maharaj came to Braj, he was deeply concerned about deteriorating state of Braj Dham. Bhagwan Naam was disappearing. Leela places were in really bad shape. Brajwasis were forgetting the relevance of Braj Dham. Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj took this situation personally and there began the legendary journey to save and serve 5000 years old heritage of Braj Dham. It is simple, if you want to preserve history of a site, preserve the site itself. Once a site is disappeared, its history will automatically disappear with it’s existence.
Life of Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj has brought thousands of people to the divine path of love for Shri Radha Krishna. After Shri Krishna Chaitanya Maha Prabhu, Shri Ramesh Baba Ji is the probably the only Saint who is instrumental in starting Bhagwan Naam Sankeertan in more than 32,000 villages and counting.
In past 62 years, over 36 Kunds (water bodies) have been protected and preserved. Gaya Kund, Dohani Kund, Vrishbhanu Kund are few examples. These Kunds were almost extinct. With Shri Baba Maharaj’s inspiration and efforts, they were rebuilt and preserved.
For the past 60 years, Shri Baba Maharaj was the ONLY saint in the Braj who were shouting and screaming to stop illegal mining of divine mountains of Braj. All the mountains in Braj are nothing but extensions of Govardhan Parvat. In a sense they are part of Govardhan Parvat. Who does not know The Great Hunger Strike Of Kaman of 2009? In 2009, he decided to sit on hunger strike, no food and no water, all alone at the end of the Radha Rani Braj Yatra. With him sat all 10,000 Braj Yatries and Brajwasis. This was the largest hunger strike ever recorded in Indian history where around 10,000 people sat on a hunger strike at the same time. During the strike, every did Bhagwan Naam Sankeertan and danced continuously. Within only 12 hours, State Government of Rajasthan succumbed to Shri Krishna’s Araadhana and announced the protection of all Braj mountains. They were officially converted to forest land.
6 years ago, with Shri Baba Ji Maharaj’s inspiration, Maan Mandir Trust started a cow shelter, a Goshala, with only 2 cows. Now it has over 22,000 cows who are served like a mother.
25 years ago, Shri Baba Ji Maharaj started Braj 84 Kos Yatra, known as Radha Rani Braj Yatra. It is now world’s largest Braj 84 Kos Yatra. Yatries come from all over the world. This yatra is totally FREE of cost. The yatra is protected and operated by Akanda Bhagwan Naam Sankeertan, the only source of all kind of resources. The results of this Yatra was unexpected, wherever the yatra passes through, it leaves permanent marks on it. Often Brajwasis visit Maan Mandir to meet Shri Baba Maharaj after the yatra to share their experience about how prosperity has entered their homes after Yatra went through or stayed in their village. Every village that was touched by the yatra has at least one Bhagwan Naam Sankeertan Pheri running in the village.
Hundreds and thousands of trees have already been planted in various villages. Recently, Shri Baba Maharaj announced to plant 1.25 Lakh tree Braj followed by a target of planting around 1.25 Crore (10.2 million) trees.
For the past 5 years, Shri Baba Ji Maharaj has been leading the movement for bring Yamuna River back to Braj. Before this movement, nobody even knew that there is NO yamuna in Braj. What flows in Braj is nothing but sewage water of Delhi. In April 2013, the movement rose up to national level and forced the leader to think about the issue and caused debates in the Parliament of India.
Shri Baba Ji Maharaj has wowed to stay in Braj and leave his body in Braj only. He has not stepped out of Braj in part 62 years. He does not make any disciples because he thinks he does not qualify to be a Guru. Even though he has taken up such monumental tasks , he has never collected or demanded any money from anybody for any of the projects. He truly believe that Shri Krishna Naam Sankeertan will fulfill all your needs. He not only says it but also proves it by setting up practical examples.
We heard him telling the devotees living in Maan Mandir “Never ever spread your hands in front of mortal beings and thereby insult mercy, Kripa, Vatsalya, and Sharnagatvatsalta of Shri Radha Rani. Even in material world, a mother, who is capable of providing all the needs, does not like her son to go out ask for food and money from strangers. How can Shrimati Radha Rani and Shri Krishna like their Sharnagat devotee running door to door asking for money or other things, where as They are the creator and owner of infinite number of Universes and their Gods? Engage in selfless service to Bhakts and Braj with no desire for rewards and things will not just come, but fly to you. You will see how Shriji makes all the arrangements so that you can comfortably do your service. This is how Radha Rani Braj Yatra, where thousands of Yatries are taken care for free, is run. This is how Mataji Goshala with over 22,000 cows, the worlds largest Cow Shelter of Desi Cows, is run. We never asked help of any kind from anyone…because we are NOT doing this. This is all because of Shri Radha Maan Bihari Lal.”
Completely disenchanted, yet Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj undertook such enormous tasks.
यही करुणा करना करुणामयी मम अंत होये बरसाने में ।
पावन गहवरवन कुञ्ज निकट रज में रज होये मिलूं ब्रज में ॥
yahi karuna karna karunamayi mam ant hoye barsana me |
paawan gahvarvan kunj nikat raj me raj milun braj me ||
Firmly established in this Bhaav, he is living in Barsana. Braj, Brajwasis, and Brajesh (Shri Radha Krishna) is everything for him. It is almost impossible for anybody to clearly understand the joy and Krishna Radha Ras in his heart. It is no less than a miracle for all of us and even great philosophers and scholars that he can explain such as deep and complex philosophy of Gita, Shrimad Bhagwat, Ved, Upnishad and other scriptures in such a simple laymen terms that even an illiterate person can clearly understand it. When he starts speaking on any topic, even the saadhus and saints living a cloistered life have to come out of their Kutiya and listen to him. His oratory is so full Shri Radha Ras that even Rasiks are always eager to listen to him.
What he has in his heart cannot be guessed by his simple life. We can get a little hint of his internal Rasmayi internal state by reading his works such as Rasia Raseshwari, Swar Vanshi Ke Shabda Noopur Ke, Braj Bhaav Malika etc. (these books can be downloaded from our site here.)
For past 62 years, he has been giving satsang 3 times a day. This satsang is dear and desirable to all Sidhha, Saadhak, and Saadhu. Hundreds left their home just to be with him. Even though they know that he does not make disciples, still they believe that they will find Shri Radha Krishna just being around him.
He has been teaching Shrimad Bhagwat Maha Puran since years at Maan Mandir. Thousands of students learned the secrets of it and some of them now are well known Bhagwat Katha Vyas in the country. However Shri Baba Maharaj always says “I don’t want them to be Bhagwat Katha Vyas, I want them to be a Bhakt. It is very easy to find a Katha Vyas and almost impossible to find a true Bhakt”
Braj Bhoomi has traditionally been a place of Sidhha Rasik Saints. There has never been a time when Shriji’s Gahvarvan does not have any Sidhha Shri Radha Rani’s Rasik Saint. In the recent past, Pandit Harish Chandra Ji and Shidhha Saint Moni Baba decorated Shriji’s Van by their Bhaktimayi and Rasmayi Upaasana. There are brajwasis still alive who can share divine stories about them.
To continue with the tradition, presently Shri Ramesh Baba Ji Maharaj is living in Gahvarvan for the past 62 years.
Even though we are trying, all our words fall short of what want to say about Shri Baba Maharaj.