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.
'A great saint has said that he who has got God's name on his lips is a Jivan-mukta (one who is delivered in this life) because continuous remembrance of God eliminates the ego-sense and grants him the realization of his immortal, changeless Self. Name is a link between the devotee and God. It brings the devotee face to face with God and enables him to attain the knowledge of his oneness with Him.'
'The Essential Swami Ramdas'
By Swami Ramdas (Author), Rebecca Manring (Foreword)
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Swami Ramdas (1884-1863) is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest saints of the 20th century. "The Essential Swami Ramdas" is a distillation of his writings, which, taken as a whole, have been compared to such classics as "The Way of the Pilgrim" and "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna". In simple and eloquent language, Ramdas writes directly from the heart and his message of certain deliverance through unswerving remembrance of God is meant for serious seekers of all religions. Overflowing from a fountain of pure love, the words of Swami Ramdas reflect the supreme bliss of God-realisation and blaze a trail from the human to the Divine. This commemorative edition includes: extensive selections from Swami Ramdas collected writings, an 8 page selection of rare sepia photographs, an introduction to the life of Swami Ramdas by Susunaga Weeraperuma, samples of Swami Ramdas handwriting, and a detailed bibliography and a comprehensive glossary of Indian terms.