header pic header text

Swami Ramdas

updated 31-Jan-2015

papa ramdasSwami Ramdas, often called Papa Ramdas or simply Papa, was born Vittal Rao in 1884 in Hosdrug, Kerala, Southern India.

Having been inspired by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Ram Tirtha, and then initiated in the Ram Mantra (Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram) by his father, the life of 37 year-old Vittal Rao was undergoing a great metamorphosis by 1921.

After leading a rather customary life as householder, husband and father, the Lord called upon him to renounce his worldly possessions and completely surrender to the Lord for all of his care and sustenance. He knew that God alone can give eternal peace and happiness, and thus began a life-long journey of pure devotion and surrender.

His family ties ties dropped away from him and he gave himself wholly and without reservation to the hands of the Lord, who manifested in his life as Ram.

Love of God means Love of all beings, because God is all, and all is in God.

Swami Ramdas

And so it was that in 1922, Ramdas left his home, his wife and his children in order to live the life of a sadhu, unconcerned about where he was going or what would happen, living every moment with the Ram Mantra continually on his lips and in the Love of God in his heart.

The whole universe is the work of God’s art. To anything that we see, we do not give any particular importance as different from the rest of the world. But we see the whole universe equally as the manifestation of God, everything a beautiful manifestation.

Swami Ramdas

Having spread a message of religious unity and the magnificence of the One Almighty Lord throughout India and around the world, Ramdas departed this world on August 2, 1963.

Real independence is spiritual. Mankind today is in the clutches of false aims and aspirations and holds that material advancement, achieved by any means, can lead to happiness and human welfare. There can be no end of troubles for man so long as he clings to such mistaken ideas and fails to attune his life to the life Divine. Selfishness and greed must be rooted out and the heart purged of base ambitions for material wealth, power and fame at the expense of others. Till then there can be no peace and happiness for man. We shall be celebrating our triumphs the wrong way if we fail to search our hearts on such occasions for the purpose of self-purification and do not remind ourselves of life’s supreme goal, which is the realization of Self or God. We should embrace the ideal of universality and cease to think in terms of separation or isolation of individuals, communities, castes, creeds and nations. We should stop exploiting our fellow-beings in any manner and learn to live in tune with the Divine.

Swami Ramdas

Here is a short sound clip of Swami Ramdas discussing the nature of prayer and quoting from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

Lead me from the unreal to the real!
Lead me from darkness to light!
Lead me from death to immortality!

sanskrit mantra

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (1.3.28)

The following are a few magnificent quotes from the autobiography of Swami Ramdas as told in the second book of his autobiography, called In the Vision of God, Volume I.

Click on any of the following links to read these brief excerpts from In The Vision of God, Volume 1, events that demonstrate the utter devotion and surrender which had permeated the life of Sri Swami Ramdas, who was continually in the presence of the Lord everywhere, in every moment, in every situation:

book cover

Ram Manta:

ramnam in sanskrit     (Sanskrit Devanagari)

transliteration       (Sanskrit transliteration)

om sri rām jai rām jai jai rām         ("modern" pronunciation)


Ram Mantra Chanting:

Click this link to hear Swami Ramdas chanting the Rām Mantra

Click this link to hear Swami Ramsuratkumar chanting the Rām Mantra

Click this link to hear Om Sri Rāma and/or Jaya Jaya Rāma Victory For Thee


Anandashram Web Site:


The complete autobiography of Swami Ramdas is published by Blue Dove Press in three volumes:

In Quest of God: The Saga of an Extraordinary Pilgrimage, by Swami Ramdas, Blue Dove Press, second American edition 2002, ISBN 1-884997-01-5

In the Vision of God, Vol I - The Continuing Saga of an Extraordinary Pilgrimage, by Swami Ramdas, Blue Dove Press, first American edition, 1995, ISBN 1-884997-03-1

In the Vision of God, Vol II, The Conclusion to the Saga of an Extraordinary Pilgrimage , by Swami Ramdas, Blue Dove Press, first American edition, 1995, ISBN 1-884997-05-8

        (Note: The autobiography series begins with In Quest of God.)