Shri Gurudev Ranade - Brief Life Sketch

Gurudev Ranade was born on 3rd Jul 1886 at Jamkhandi in Bijapur District (Bagalkot). His pious mother brought him up in a holy atmosphere. He completed his school education in P.B.School. Jamkhandi, stood 2nd in the Matriculation Examination in 1902 of the erstwhile Bombay University and won the Jagannath Shankarshet Scholarship in Sanskrit. The then Maharaja of Jamkhandi was so delighted that he distributed sweets to the town on the hump of the Royal Elephant.

While still at school, Gurudev came in contact with Sri Bhausaheb Maharaj, the great saint of Umadi, who blessed him with the Divine Nama (in 1901) and thus sowed the seed of his later spiritual greatness.

Gurudeo's school and college careers were equally brilliant which enabled him to win scholarships and gold medals in different examinations. He passed his M.A examination in Philosophy in 1914 with full honours, winning the most coveted chancellor's Gold Medal in the process. He also pursued his spiritual Sadhana along with his studies as a result of which he had wonderful spiritual experiences even in those early days. A great urge 'to find intellectual justification for these spiritual experiences' prompted him to study Philosophy, both Eastern and Western. He worked as a Professor of Philosophy in the Fergusson College, Poona and Willingdon College, Sangli during 1914 to 1924. He was twice a victim to protracted illness of a dangerous type from which he could get a cure only through the all abounding grace of his Sadguru. This illness however, proved to be a blessing in disguise as it granted him rare spiritual experiences associated with supreme bliss.

The year 1918 brought great domestic calamities to Gurudeo, which also resulted in intensifying his devotion and Sadhana. In 1922, he had a dream-vision which directed him to Nimbal, a small Railway Station between Sholapur and Bijapur. He built a small house there with the intention of settling down. He attained saint hood in the early years in 1924. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the first Vice President and second President of India, enjoyed Gurudev Ranade's friendship since 1925. He had remarked that Ranade Lived Philosophy and was touched by the Grace of God.

Gurudev delivered, from time to time, valuable series of lectures. They were: (i) On Upanishadic Philosophy, at Bangalore, (ii) On the Bhagavad Gita, at Nagpur, (iii) On Vedanta at Calcutta, (iv) On Hindi Mysticism, primarily at Allahabad and (v) On Karnatak Mysticism primarily at Dharwar. All these series were originally designed to be published in the form of books. Out of these the first, second, fourth and fifth series have been published in book form, while the third is in the form of notes only. In 1933 Gurudev published his great work on Mysticism in Maharastra. In 1937, he presided over the Indian Philosophic Congress held at Nagpur.

Gurudev's first monumental work - The Constructive Survey of Upanishadic Philosophy was published in 1926. It instantly brought him international fame and attracted the attention of Dr Ganganath Jha who invited him to join Allahabad University (1937) . Gurudev served Allahabad University as Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Vice-Chancellor. Gurudev's stay at Allahabad enlarged his intellectual horizon and enriched his spiritual experience. After retiring in 1946, he made Nimbal his permanent place of residence.

On 3rd July 1956, to celebrate the 70th birthday of Rev Gurudev, an Amrut Mahotsava was organised in Jamkhandi - the birth place of Gurudev.

Today the very residential house where Gurudev was born and where he grew and studied has been converted into a Paramarth Mandir where regular daily programme of Meditation, Bhajan, Aarti, Dasabodh pothi reading is held.

Gurudev passed away at Nimbal on 6th June 1957 where he had founded his Ashram.

A Samadhi was installed at Nimbal and his old house converted into Samadhi Mandir. Nimbal assumed the form of a holy Ashram and a place of pilgrimage. Further details of the Nimbal Ashram can be found at the following website: http://www.gurudevranade.org/