Vrindavan, 2016.05.07 (Vrajvihari Sharan, VT): Yesterday the 88th birth anniversary of the 48th Jagadguru Nimbarkacharya, Swami Shri Radhasarveshvar Sharan Devacharya Ji Maharaj (also known as Shri Shriji Maharaj) was celebrated in Vrindavan by the rasik sants who held a Samaj Gayan at Shriji’s Badi Kunj, Retiya Bazar, followed by arati and bhandara for all the sants.
Maharaj Shri is currently in Salemabad, Rajasthan, at the Nimbarkacharya Peeth. After his Sandhya, he first took Darshan of Shri Sarveshvar Bhagavan, the Shaligram deity of Shri Radha Krishna combined which was handed from Narada Muni to Nimbark Bhagavan and then to every succeeding Nimbarkacharya, and then of Shri Radha Madhava Bhagavan, the deity worshiped by Jayadeva Kavi, author of Shri Geetagovindam. Finally, he worshipped the deities of the Divyacharya Panchayatana (Shri Hamsa Bhagavan, the four Sanakadi brothers, Narada Muni and then Shri Nimbark Bhagavan, the combined incarnation of Aniruddha Bhagavan and Shri Rangadevi Sakhi.
Even though Maharaj Shri he is very unwell at the moment, he still graced the festival organised by his disciples where he gave each of them personal blessings amidst bhajans and kirtans. The festivities concluded with arati and a bhandara for everyone in attendance.
All of his disciples and Nimbarki initiates across all branches renewed their promises of performing extra vows and japa for the good health of Maharaj Shri who has been suffering increasingly due to a botched operation decades ago. Despite this excruciating and debilitating ailment, Maharajshri continues his 74th year of stewardship of the Sampradaya, championing projects for the benefit of the poor, diseased and disadvantaged.
He is a prolific author and his literary works and support of scholarship was recognized by the Padmabhushan award from the honorable President of India for his contribution to Sanskrit last year. Maharajshri also adheres to the strictest of Vaishnava niyams and even at this age assiduously performs his sandhya and the seva of Shri Sarveshvar Bhagavan.
Disciples and well wishers from across the world have observed the day in their own ways and we hope to continue celebrating his appearance day with his presence well past his 100th birthday, for which Vrindavan based Nimbarkis have even started planning for.
Since his anointment to the post at the tender age of 14, he has served Sanatan Dharma fervently, always preferring to be among the poor, simple and downtrodden, rather than with the rich and famous. He has advocated the path of simplicity and of humility and yet he is one of the most learned and most spiritually advanced saint of our times: there is no greater and more ideal exemplary saint of Hindu Dharma alive today.
The projects he champions provide schooling, healthcare, employment and comfort to the most neglected parts of society. His lineage has acted as Gurus to many Rajasthani kings; Jaipur was founded according to the instructions of the then Jagadguru who was the spiritual master of both the mother and grandmother of the young Savai Jai Singh II. Due to the Gurus instruction, Jaipur became the principal refuge to all Hindus who were exiled from Braj in the 17th and 18th centuries as a consequence of the massacres of Hindus by foreign terrorists and warlords.
Rather than using all these inherited historical funds to build grandiose empires of glitzy towering temples, make living quarters that rival Buckingham Palace and put petrol into their top range cars (as most do), our Jagadguru channels all his energy into uplifting everyone who is in need. He teaches all who seek his advice with the highest wisdom of Vedanta and the deepest experience of Madhurya Bhakti.
There are may be many more famous and popular sants in India – but there is no one who can match Shri Shriji Maharaj in his saintliness. I pray that his ailments decrease and we are able to celebrate his 100th birthday in the future together.
Shri Radha Sarveshwar Sharan Maharaj was born to Shri Ramnathji Sharma Goud Indoria and Srimathi Swarnalata on the auspicious day of the Shukla Pratipad of Vaishakh, Vikram Samvat 1986, or 10th May 1921 at Salemabad. At the age of 11 he was consecrated as heir to the Nimbarkacharya Peeth at the time of receiving Vaishnava Diksha from his predecessor, Shri Balakrishna Sharan Devacharya. He ascended to the gaddi a few short years later, on June 5, 1943, at the age of 20.
When only 14, Shriji Maharaj had already been bestowed the leadership of the Akhil Bharatiya Sadhu Sammelan at Kurukshetra. At the sammelan, the then Jagatguru Shankaracharya of Puri said, “We are very proud to see the young Shri Nimbarkacharya taking the chairmanship of this august gathering. No one should fret about his tender age. The tulsi leaf and Shalagram deity may be small or large, but there is no difference in their spiritual power.”
Maharaj has traveled extensively in India, helping to organize the Nimbark Sampradaya participation in the Mahakumbh festivals at Nashik, Ujjain, Vrindavan, Prayag and Haridwar. At these events, he arranges for non-stop kirtan, service to the sadhus, Ras Lila, discourses on the Bhagavatam, etc. These are carried out at the Nimbark Nagar especially constructed for the purpose.
He has also been an enthusiastic promoter of Shri Vraj Chourasi Kos Yatra. In 1970, he led the Parikrama with over three thousand devotees out of Vanshi Vat in Vrindavan.
Under his leadership, the Nimbark Sampraday has seen much growth, especially in the construction of religious centers and temples. Maharaj Shri has also made many contributions in the field of education, building many schools especially for traditional Sanskrit teaching.
He has also been active in publishing not only his own writing but through the Shri Sarveshvar Press publishing periodicals and basic texts of the Sampraday. These are available at the Shriji Badi Kunj in Retia Bazaar.
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