Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj (1922-2013) was an Indian saint who is considered India’s fifth original Jagadguru. He was known for founding the Hindu non-profit organisation ‘Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat’ (JKP). He belonged to the lineage of Bhakti yoga of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s tradition.
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj aka Ramkripalu Tripathi was born on Thursday, 5 October 1922 (age 91 years; at the time of death) in Mangarh, Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh. His zodiac sign is Libra. He did his primary schooling at a school in Mangarh, Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh. In 1934, after passing middle school, he attended a school in Mhow, Indore. In 1940, he studied Sanskrit literature & history as Vyakaranachrya (Master of Sanskrit Grammar). In 1940, he studied Sanskrit grammar at Shri Ram Sanskrit College, Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh. In 1942, he received a degree in Kavyatirtha. He then pursued various degrees like Sanskrit Sahityacharya from Calcutta University (Indore Examination Center; 1943), Grammaracharya- Sanskrit grammar degree from Quines College, Varanasi (1944), Ayurvedacharya from Ayurvedic Vidyalaya Sangh at Brahmacharya Ashram, Indore College and All India Vidyapeeth Delhi (Indore Examination Centre; 1945). Later, he studied astrology for a few years but did not appear for its examination.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Brown
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj was born in a Brahmin Hindu family.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Lalta Prasad Tripathi, and his mother’s name is Bhagwati Devi. His elder brother’s name is Ramnaresh Tripathi.
Wife & Children
In 1933, at a very young age, he got married to a girl named Padma Devi, who was the daughter of a scholar residing in Leelapur, Uttar Pradesh. The couple was blessed with two sons named Ghanshyam Tripathi (elder) and Balkrishna Tripathi (younger) and three daughters named Vishakha Tripathi, Krishna Tripathi, and Shyama Tripathi. All his children are spiritual leaders. His daughters are working as the president of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.
According to his official website, he was born on the day of Sharad Purnima. Since his childhood, he was inclined towards spirituality, and he used to do kirtan of Radha Krishan with his friends. In an interview, one of his devotees shared memory of Kripalu Ji’s childhood. He said,
Once when Maharajji was writing an exam, there was a question that asked the students to convert a line of Hindi into Sanskrit. Maharajji wrote three translations in half the time it took others to do so. The first one was in simple Sanskrit. The second was in Saahitya (classical) Sanskrit – this was quite difficult to comprehend. And the last one was in poetry form. Then he left a note in the end for the marker saying, Please mark this according to your level of comprehension meaning that the answer is even beyond the marker’s comprehension!!! Well there is no need to say that Maharajji got 100% for that exam.”
At the age of 16, in search of peace, he left his home and moved to the dense forests near Sharbhang Ashram in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh. He then moved into the forests of Banshi Vat, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh.
At the age of 17, he organised an event for the 6-month continuous chanting of ‘Maha Mantra.’ According to one of his followers, Kripalu Maharaj used to chant,
O purifier of Sinners! O Causelessly Merciful Lord! Friend of the Destitute! How will you make these attributes of yours meaningful if you remain unconscious in a state of divine ecstasy? How will you deliver sinful souls, divert their worldly mind towards God and give the nectar of divine love to people accustomed to drinking the poison of material objects?”
After seeing the pain of people, he decided to come out of the Paramhamsa state (a state where a person is in divine ecstasy and simultaneously, he is actively wakeful) and help the people solve their worldly problems. In his preachings, Maharaj used to say,
Where do you people live? What do you do? He had now concealed himself and his intense devotional state. Had he remained in a state of ecstasy, he would never have been able to converse with anyone.”
Decorated with Various Titles
Jagadguru soon realised that the people were ignorant about the actual meaning of the Hindu scriptures and were misguided by a few Hindu saints. To impart the true knowledge of the Hindu scriptures, in 1955, he organised two grand spiritual conferences in Chitrakoot and Kashi which were attended by many prominent spiritual leaders. The saints present there observed that the knowledge of Maharaj was extraordinary. On 14 January 1957, he was decorated with the Upadhi of Jagadguru (spiritual Master of the whole world) by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a group of 500 Vedic scholars) for his immense knowledge of the Hindu Vedas and Scriptures. Later, he was given the title ‘Jagadguruttam’ (which means the best of all Jagadgurus).
The renowned ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ has honoured him with various titles. He received the Shrimatpadavakya- Pramanaparavarina title because he not only recited the preachings of the religious scripture but also explained their true meaning of them. He was honoured by Vedmargpratisthapanacharya as with his knowledge of Vedic Scriptures, he helped the people to find the path to the realisation of God. Kripalu Maharaj was also honoured with the Sanatanavaidikadharma-Pratishthapanasatsampradaya-Paramacharya title because he never form an ethnic group. One thing he always focused on was the selfless devotion of Radha-Krishna. He was honoured with the Nikhiladarshana-Samanvayacharya title as he helped the people to understand the existing spiritual philosophies in the easiest form by combining them with his own philosophies. Another title which was given to Maharaj Ji was Bhaktiyogarasavatar as in the Kalyug era, he helped people in establishing a divine connection with Radha-Krishna.
Imparted His Spiritual Knowledge
In the 1940s and 1950s, Shri Maharaj Ji started organising satsangs in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. In the satsangs, he used to recite the kirtans which were written by him. He made the satsangs interesting by adding daily life examples to them. While singing bhajans, he used to chant “Hare Ram” and “Hari Bol” in divine ecstasy.
In 1955, Jagadguru authored a book titled ‘Prema Rasa Siddhanta- Philosophy of Divine Love’ which he dedicated to the devotees of Radha-Krishna.
He then penned a poetic composition of 1008 couplets of Radha-Krishna leelas, religious songs, and spiritual philosophies. Kripalu Maharaj explained the spiritual philosophies in 2-line couplets in ‘Radha Govind Geet,’ a divine composition of 11,111 couplets. Some of his popular kirtans include ‘Prem Ras Madira,’ ‘Braj Ras Madhuri,’ ‘Yugal Rasa,’ and ‘Shri Krishna Dwadashi.’
Jagadguru penned many devotional books such as ‘Bhakti Shatak,’ Radha Govind Geet,’ and ‘Ras Panchadhyayi.’ Throughout his lifetime, he focused on spreading the message that Radha-Krishna were the supreme form of God and were eternally connected to human beings. Later, Kripalu Maharaj’s Pravachans and Kirtan were telecasted on various Hindi channels like DD India, Aastha TV, Sadhna TV, and Sanskar TV. Later, his discourse was broadcasted in the US on the TV channel TV Asia. There is a Jagadguru’s YouTube channel named ‘Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj– Official’ on which Kripalu Maharaj’s lectures, Satsangs, and songs are uploaded. Some of his lecture series available on his official YouTube channel are ‘Brahm Jeev Maya Tattva Gyan’ and ‘Main Kaun Mera Kaun.’ A few renditions of his songs are sung by famous Indian singers like Manna Dey, Anuradha Paudwal, Anup Jalota, Suresh Wadkar, and Kavita Krishnamurthy.
Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat (JKP)
In 1972, Kripalu Maharaj started the organisation with the name ‘Sadhana Bhawan Trust’ later renamed ‘Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.’ JKP is a non-profit, spiritual, and charitable organisation which was started with an aim to spread spiritual awareness in society. JKP has four main ashrams in India named Rangeeli Mahal in Barsana, Bhakti Dham in Mangarh, Shyama Shyam Dham in Vrindavan, and Jagadguru Dham in Vrindavan. His fifth ashram named Radha Madhav Dham is located in Austin, USA. Apart from ashrams, there are various teaching centres of JKP in various countries like Australia, Canada, Trinidad, West Indies, and the United Kingdom. JKP publishes a spiritual magazine named Sadhan Sadhya every three times a year. The organisation also publishes a monthly spiritual newsletter. The information on Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat is also available on various mobile apps such as ‘Sanatan Vedic Dharm App,’ ‘Kripalu Nidhi App,’ and ‘Jagadguru Kripalu Bhaktiyoga Tattvadarshan App.’
Built Hindu Temples
Kripalu Maharaj has built three famous temples in India i.e. Bhakti Mandir Mangarh, Prem Mandir Vrindavan, and Kirti Mandir Barsana. Bhakti Mandir Mangarh is a Hindu temple located in Kunda, Uttar Pradesh which was built in November 2005. The maintenance of the temple is done by Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. The temple has various idols of Kripalu Maharaj and a few idols of his wife and parents. In February 2012, Prem Mandir was completed. The temple is located in Vrindavan and was built at a cost of Rs 150 crore. The temple is dedicated to Radha-Krishna and Seeta-Ram. In 2019, Maharaj completed the third temple Kirti Mandir Barsana. The temple is considered the only temple where Shri Radharani is in the lap of Kirti maa. In 1990, Kripalu Maharaj started a nonprofit, religious, educational, and charitable organization ‘Radha Madhav Dham’ in the US. On the premises of the organisation, a Hindu temple is built under the name ‘Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple’ which is considered the first Hindu temple in Austin, Texas. It is also said that the temple is one of the largest Hindu temples in the US.
Jagadguru was involved in various philanthropic activities. He also started three charitable hospitals named ‘Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya’ in Mangarh, Vrindavan, and Barsana. The hospitals are maintained by Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. Apart from this, he started Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education (JKP Education) to provide free education to underprivileged girls up to post-graduation. JKPE runs a few schools and colleges with the name Kripalu Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Kripalu Balika Primary School, and Kripalu Balika Intermediate College.
Apart from this, JKP has provided financial assistance to various natural disaster relief funds including Rs 10 lacs for Bhuj earthquake victims in 2001, Rs 25 Lacs for Tsunami victims in 2004, and Rs 2 Crore for Bihar flood victims in 2008. In 2013, the president of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education, Vishakha Tripathi received the Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award, Mother Teresa Excellence Award, and the Nari Shakti Award for the philanthropic work of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education.
Accused of Rape Charges
In 1991, an old aged man filed a complaint against Kripalu Maharaj for kidnapping his two daughters. In court, his daughters said that they had a physical relationship with Kripalu Maharaj against their will. In another case, he was accused of having unnatural sex with a 12-year-old girl. However, the medical reports of the girl denied all such claims. In May 2007, one of his former devotees, a Guyanese woman in south Trinidad accused him of rape charges. In 2012, a book titled ‘Sex, Lies and Two Hindu Gurus: How I Was Caught by a Dangerous Cult’ authored by Keren Johnson was published. Keren was earlier a disciple of Kripalu Maharaj. In her book, she wrote,
My experience of 15 years with her former guru was very bad. I was a member of the Jagadguru Kripalu Parishad (JKP) sect. I lived for 15 years at the JKP Ashram in Austin, USA. Earlier this ashram was called Barsana Dham. When I felt that I was part of a dangerous sect, I felt it was necessary to expose it. In the beginning, I was an innocent young woman in search of spirituality. But now I want justice. I want to fight for the girls and children who became victims of these gurus. He is considered by the devotees to be an incarnation of Krishna, his sexual touch is considered as a gift of divine love or love donation.”
Later, an FIR was filed against Kripalu Maharaj for rape and kidnapping charges from the time period of 1985 to 1991. However, due to the lack of proof, he was acquitted of these charges. In a secret letter, one of his former devotees shared her worst experience with Kripalu Maharaj. Some lines from her letter read,
My name is ——. Now I am living with my husband in Cuttack in Orissa. My request is please keep my name secret as it may destroy my happily married life. My husband does not know about past expirences with Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. I will put in front of you in detail about the dark sides of this huge organisation. In the name of Lord Srikrishn they initially attracting people with their nice musical chantings and authentic Vedic philosophy of Sanatan Vaidic Hindu Dharm. Anyone can be attracted after listening the philosophy of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj. Once you entered their boundry their disciples just like dalals of dalal street pull you and make your mind wash to make you prepared for sexual relations with Kripaluji Maharaj. On the seventh day when I was returning I told KM that I want to stay in ashram. He replied you need written permission from parents and at least 1 lakh rupees in your name. After that you may stay here.” Than he hugged me tightly. This time I feel a little ackward but I didn’t feel as his asst. told me before that he is the god himself. I returned home with his sweet memories. I did not know that it is a hundred percent DHOKHA …… cheating …… making fool of innocents ….. playing with their BHAVANAS, their simplicities.”
She further wrote,
One thing I marked that at 11:00 A.M. (after Maharajji having a nap for 2 hours) when we prepare light break fast everyday that is taken by different different ladies who are living in the ashram before me. After completing one month like this KM’s asst. told me that I am going to feed Maharajji the next day at 11:00 A.M. I was a very happy that who I am respecting as a God is being fed by an ordinary JEEV like me. I could not sleep the whole night in joy. I was a little nervous too. So I asked one of the elders how to feed Maharajji.. she laughed at me…..and told me once you enter his room Maharajji’s asst. will help you. The next day when I went to M’s room with food I saw M’s asst. and other 3 girls are there before. Maharajji after finishing food moved his hand to others to go out and told me to stay there with him without any words. Everybody went out and M’s asst. locked the door from inside. Then she went outside from the other side of the room and locked that from outside. I was so scared ….my heart satrted beating very fast..then M’ said – “You are doing sadhana and loving me so much. TUM MERI PYARI AND MEIN TUMHRA PYARE. Aa gale lagja. (Translation: “You are my love and I’m your love. Come close to me and hug me.”) At that time my head was eating circles, my intellect, mind completely empty.. not in mood to think anything.. Stand before him with head down looking on my toes. M’ stand from his bed and hugged me tight. At that time he was telling that MEIN TUMKO BOHUT PYAR KARTA HUN TUM MUJHE PYAR KARO. (Translation: I love you so much, now you love me too.) Than he kissed my head, slowly comming down to my laps….. I don’t know helplessly I didn’t even utter a word at atht time. He held me very tight and kissed me for about 5 minuts in different parts of my body. HE was telling me TO TELL PYARE TUM MUJHE AISE PYAR KARTE ROHO. (Translation: Tell me my love that you keep loving me like this; in other words, he wanted her to tell him to keep doing whatever he was doing to her).”
She then wrote that Kripalu Maharaj raped her many times in the name of bhakti ras.
Stampede at His Ashram
In March 2012, around 37 women and 26 children were killed at his ashram in Mangarh, Uttar Pradesh. The crowd was gathered because Kripalu Maharaj announced the distribution of food and utensils on his wife’s shradh. Someone then spread the rumour that a bomb was placed at the ashram which created chaos among the crowd. In the stampede, many people were killed. Later, the victim’s family members blamed the police officials and the people of the ashram for not making proper provisions of controlling the mob.
In November 2013, Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj slipped in his ashram after which he had a brain injury. He was immediately rushed to Fortis Hospital in Delhi. He was then put on life support. He could not survive and passed away on 15 November 2022, at 7:05 am. According to the official website of Kripalu Maharaj,
By air ambulance he was taken to Fortis Hospital in Delhi. There, too, all specialists gave up thinking his condition would improve. Three doctor devotees of Shri Maharaj Ji were also present there. All the doctors unanimously agreed that Shri Maharaj ji was breathing only because of the ventilator; otherwise there was no hope of his regaining consciousness. Shri Maharaj Ji’s family members and devotees suggested keeping Maharaj Ji on the ventilator a few more days. After that, the fleeting hope (his breath) also stopped, thus quashing the last of the hopes of all devotees. For four days Shri Maharaj Ji was in a state of deep coma and doctors had declared that medically speaking there wasn’t any chance that he would ever wake up or speak again.”
On 18 November 2013, his last rites were performed at Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, Uttar Pradesh.
After his demise, his three daughters were appointed as the president of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.