Photo: Sri Swami "Papa" Ramdas was born Vittal Rao in the Kerala State of India in 1884. As a young man, he was employed as a spinning master in a cotton mill, married in 1908. During his life before renunciation, brief periods of employment were followed by longer periods of unemployment and idleness, affecting both his financial condition and domestic life. For relief from his outer circumstances, he began to chant "Ram," a name of God, which brought him great mental peace and joy. Soon after, his father gave him a holy mantra, and from that point on, his progress and detachment from the material world was quick. He left his worldly life and began a pilgrimage, taking on the name Ramdas and living on the road in faith. He never accepted money and no matter how badly he was treated, he responded only with love. As a result, many were transformed by their encounters with him. In 1922 he encountered the sage, Ramana Maharshi, and received his grace. In 1931, after years of living on the road in faith, his devotees established Anandashram for him in Kanhangad, Kerala, where he lived with Mother Krishnabai, who also attained the universal vision of God. They worked to improve the living conditions of the local people, founding a school for the children, establishing a free medical clinic, and setting up a cooperative for weavers. Together, they did extensive tours in India, and a world tour in 1954-55, with the purpose of sharing a message of Universal Love and Service, Sri Swami Ramdas died in 1963.
'Of words, I am the monosylllable 'Om'.
Of Yajnas (sacrifices), I am Japa.'
'Name is not a means to an end, but an end in itself.'
'The Essential Swami Ramdas'
by Swami Ramdas (Author), Rebecca Manring (Foreword)
In simple and eloquent language, Ramdas writes directly and from the heart and his message of certain deliverance through the unswerving remembrance of God is meant for all serious seekers of all religions.