(Note: Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Today I am thanking God for bringing the truth to light about Kripalu Maharaj’s claim to be given the title of “jagadguru.” The truth is truly shocking!)
Kripalu Maharaj rose to name and fame thanks to his natural charisma and nine letters — “jagadguru.” He claims that a prestigious Hindu organization in India “bestowed the title on him after being impressed by his discourses.”
For those not familiar with the word, jagadguru (also spelled jagatguru) means “guru of the universe.” (Further, Kripalu claimed to be jagadgurutam — meaning the highest ranking jagadguru).
By attaching this title to his name and building a woo-worthy story around it, thousands, if not millions, of people believe they re worshiping a man who held dominion over the enter universe.
Adding even more glittery glitz to his claim, Kripalu and his people also said that he was one of only five true jagadgurus, along with Shankacharya and the other three. Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat even created a bogus Wikipedia page claiming this. Here’s how the page describes his alleged ascendency to such lofty heights.
He received the title of Jagadguru at the age of 34 by Kashi Vidvat Parishad (the oldest and most recognized body of Varanasi’s intellectuals) on Makar Sankranti day, 14 January 1957. He was awarded the title Samanvaya-Acharya, i.e., He analyses and reconciles meaning of all the scriptures, the six philosophies, and the (seemingly contradictory) teachings of the other four previous Jagadgurus.
This claim of jagadguruship allowed Kripalu to get away with years of criminal activity — including rape (to a degree rarely seen in the world), plunder (he amassed and horded over $1 Billion dollars of other people’s money, frequently taking their life savings), spiritual and physical abuse, and murder (there are certainly skeletons in Kripalu’s long criminal history. And, in an ironic twist, in the end, he himself was murdered by his own greedy, ambitious people.)
Gullible people have believed Kripalu’s claim at face value for decades, never caring to dig deeper. However, I know two people who decided to dig deeper into this story this past summer. They wanted to learn for themselves if, in fact, Kashi Vidvat Parishad ever actually bestowed this title on him.
As you can imagine, the truth is truly shocking.
Kripalu’s “Jagadguru” Claim-to-Fame Lie Exposed!
All it took was a bit of careful digging for two Hindu business people to expose the lie that Kripalu. Here’s how one of them described their revelation to me:
My friend and I decided to probe the truth about Kashi Vidwat Parishad conferring the Jagadguru title on Kripaluji Maharaj in 1957. Unfortunately, Kashi Vidwat Parishad is completely non-existent on the web: no contact number, no address, no website, nothing. So how do you proceed? Here’s what we did:
• We first called the Department of Sanskrit at Benaras Hindu University (http://www.bhu.ac.in/).
• From there we were able to get a few contacts to Kashi Vidwat Parishad.
• We learned that Acharya Vidya Charan Shukla is the President and Pandit Shivji Upadhyay is the General Secretary of Kashi Vidwat Parishad
• We got the phone number for Pandit Shivji Upadhyay and called him.
• We learned from him that there was a big legal tussle between two factions at Kashi Vidwat Parishad, which has only recently been resolved. With the legal troubles behind them, they have decided to have a web presence, hopefully by the end of the year. There were some very interesting revelations by Pandit Shivji, which I want to share with you.
First, all official decisions are taken by consensus by the 21 member executive committee. The claim that Kripaluji Maharaj was anointed as Jagatgurutam (i.e. foremost amongst all Jagatgurus) is patently false. There was never an official decision reached on this issue. This is something that a couple of KVP members did in their individual capacity, and no consensus was reached on this issue. It, therefore, has no official standing, whatsoever.
Secondly, Jagatgurutam is not a title that Kashi Vidwat Parishad has ever given to anyone. When I asked him why the JKP narrative is not challenged, he said that they don’t have the wherewithal to take on JKP. However, whenever someone asks them this question, they are always happy to provide the correct explanation.
Q&A With Jagadguru Claim Researchers
After receiving this news from one of the two people who conducted this research, I asked a few questions. Here are the answers:
Q: Why were you inspired to embark on this research mission?
A: All along I had my doubts about this whole thing: especially the "fifth original Jagatguru" and "Jagatgurutam" part (note: jagatguru is an alternate spelling of jagadguru). Many aspects of the story just didn’t add up. I had also read somewhere that the "photograph" of the event is a Photoshop job that involves many people from the Indian community in the Austin area. I just wanted to get to the bottom of this, once and for all.
Q: How long did it take? How did you make your tracking decisions?
A: I had been on this off and on, never really getting any hits. Kashi Vidwat Parishad has no web presence whatsoever. Its members are Sanskrit scholars, almost as removed from the recent technological advances as the Amazon tribes. Perhaps that explains why this charade has gone on for so long.
This past weekend my friend and I finally decided to go for the plunge. If you do a Google search on Kashi Vidwat Parishad, almost 99% of the hits are from Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. The first step was to exclude “Kripalu” from the query. Then we started seeing other entries, most notably Kashi Vidwat Parishad’s pronouncement last year that Sai Baba may be venerated as a guru, but he is not God.
That gave us some encouragement, but then we hit a dead end. In a moment of inspiration, we decided to call Benaras Hindu University, which is a very prominent university in India, with a significant web presence. We called the Sanskrit Department and we were put through to one of their professors. This professor is not personally involved with Kashi Vidwat Parishad, but he gave the name of another professor who is. We then called the second professor, who provided the contact information for Pandit Shivji Upadhyay, the General Secretary of Kashi Vidwat Parishad.
Q: What was your motivation for doing this research — and what you hope the truth achieves?
A: There was a veil of incredulity around this whole stuff, and initially my motivation was just to remove that veil. Sadly, the Kashi Vidwat Parishad folks don’t have the means, or the skills, or the motivation to unmask this charade. Someone else has to do it. I am hoping that someone else can take it from where we have left off and expose this fraud fully and completely. At the very least, the "fifth original jagadguru" and "jagatgurutam" nonsense propaganda should come to an immediate end.
After learning a little more about this respectable organization, there’s another reason that has cropped up, which was not there before. Kashi Vidwat Parishad has a paucity of funds, which is preventing them from sharing their precious resources online. If some financial damages get awarded to them for misrepresentation of facts by JKP, that can go a long way in defraying the expense of digitizing their precious manuscripts (some of them several millennia old), and making them available on the web for the benefit of scholars and historians.
Q: What are your feelings about people twisting Hinduism in this way?
A: In Hinduism, there is no single founder, and there is no single holy book. Followers have the flexibility to believe in whatever aspect of godliness appeals to them. They may even choose not to believe in anything: atheism and agnosticism are completely compatible with Hinduism. While this is Hinduism’s greatest strength, it is also Hinduism’s greatest weakness. Because there is no single prescribed way, as in most other religions, the religion is susceptible to gross misrepresentation by charlatans. Western followers are the most vulnerable because they lack a solid grounding in the framework of Hinduism, and they blindly follow whatever their gurus say/do as the gospel truth.
The Truth Hurts — But it Also Sets You Free
The truth is this — Kripalu Maharaj lived in this world exclusively through his id. The id is related to the very base functions of the human brain based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation.
As such, Kripalu TOOK whatever he wanted his entire life, including many underage girls’ virginity, modest people’s life savings — and the title of “jagadguru.”
The truth is he was no God. He was just a man with insatiable worldly appetites, like any common demon in the scriptures. And many others went along with his charade (con game) helping him fulfill his desires by sacrificing their daughters, granddaughters, wealth, and rational thinking.
Can you handle the truth?
If you want to hear the truth first-hand, let me know. I have the phone number for Pandit Shivji Upadhyay, General Secretary of Kashi Vidwat Parishad.
Better yet, please help support Kashi Vidwat Parishad’s mission to digitize their precious manuscripts (some of them several millennia old), so they can make them available on the web for the benefit of scholars and historians, and the world.
Final Thought – You’d think the organization, JKP, who abused their name to win Kripalu fame, would contribute a little bit of their billion dollar trust fund to this cause, wouldn’t you?