“We are all friends. We are all brothers and sisters heading for one goal. Our goal is to increase our consciousness, to realize our true identity with loving feelings and service. And we need each other to go together towards that goal. We have to relate to each other. Relation is important. To share your feelings, that is family. We are all very fortunate. At any moment, mercy can come to us.”
– Sripad BV Sadhu Maharaja
Sripad Bhaktivedanta Sadhu Maharaja
The last in a long succession of kings, Raj Kumar Ananta Prasad Singh was born into a life of material wealth and influence. Through a spiritual awakening in his early thirties, he turned away from materialism to lead a renounced life.
Raj Kumar does not engage in business, wears simple robes, and occupies humble quarters within the grounds of the large family temple in Vrindavan. As president of the temple, he conducts the daily ritual of devotional prayers and has opened doors to those on a pilgrimage through the holy city. As Bhaktivedanta Sadhu Maharaja, he has received recognition of the Munger kingdom for extraordinary service to humanity. He also became the comittee coordinator for the Vrindavana Dhama Preservation Committee of the World Vaishnava Association (WVA).
He took diksa initiation from Radha Govinda dasa Babaji, together with his wife. In Colombia, in 1997, Sadhu Maharaj received sannyasa from the founder of Vrinda, Srila BA Paramadvaiti Swami, who is a disciple of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
In his own words...
“I started life eating with a golden spoon. I lived in a palace and I had twenty of my own servants. Krishna had given me everything, without any effort from me. I put this down to my past samskaras. I must have done something right in my past life to have it so easy this time. When I went to school, and later to collage, many people wanted to befriend me because I had everything I desired. I had eight personal cars, including a Rolls-Royce, which I changed every year for a new one. When I went to Diamond Jubilee Collage, which belonged to my family, I was above the principal. He would ask me what to do, and my professors took great care of my needs. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and took over the family businesses. It was very difficult for me to understand the material world. I just enjoyed it and made more business. With all my wealth and enjoyment, I did not feel deeply satisfied. I looked at my elders and their spiritual practices to which I was connected, being president of our family temple. They looked very happy, so I began to question what I was doing.
One day I decided that I was going to give up all my business activities and not to do anything except to start searching for divine love. I found it in my spiritual master, Sri Sri Radha Govinda Das Babaji Maharaj. When I met my master, I was immediately taken by his behavior, by his softness and his love. I surrendered completely and faith took hold of me. My master said he saw the day when I would preach to people on the other side of the world using love, and that they would love me. I told him no, that I had no capacity for anything like that, because I was very poor in spiritual life. He gave me his mercy and showed me the path of understanding.
My master sent me to meet His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Swami asked me who I was and when I told him, he embraced me and said that he and my grandfather had been good friends. Swami Prabhupad gave me guidelines. When I told him what I was doing in my life, with my many business duties to take care of, he asked me why I was wasting my time. Swami reminded me that my grandfather had managed his duties and still maintained a sincerely devoted spiritual life. That shocked me, and my life changed even more toward the path of devotion.
Reality is when you understand the heart. We are not just the body; we are more than the body. I am living in this house, but I am not this house. Similarly, we are living in this body – it is like a house – but we are not this body. Our existence is not the external body. You are more than the body. Your soul lives in this body and it simply moves on. The soul comes from Super Soul. We come from there and we have to return there. The true meaning of spirituality is this relationship to Super Soul.
I went to South America in 1995 by invitation and in Colombia I started to preach to the people. They loved me so much and I realized it was time to take sannyas. I went to Miami in 1996 to take my vows, and that experience changed my life forever. I did not become a sannyasi to build big ashrams, because I had many ashrams before. I have enjoyed air-conditioned rooms before, so I have no desire for that either. Now I serve humanity, by giving service to people from my heart, because I understand that is my real duty in this life.”