Swami Ramtirtha was a great philosopher and preacher. His entire life was very unique and inspirational. He made “Advaita Vedanta” very simple and placed it in front of the public in such a way that even a simple-minded person could benefit from it. He showed human beings the path of truth by giving them practical education of sacrifice, self-confidence, action, loyalty, fearlessness, perseverance, unity, and universal love. Not only the teachings of Swami Ramtirtha, but his whole life is Vedanta-Maya and instructive.
Early life Swami Ramtirtha
Swami Ramtirtha was born on 22 October 1873 in the Murariwala village of Gujranwala district of Punjab. His father Gonsai Hiranand used to make a living for his family by doing priesthood. His family was related to the lineage of Goswami Tulsidas. Ramtirtha’s grandfather Gonsai Ramachandra was a famous astrologer of his time. While making the horoscope of Ramtirth, he had made it clear that Ramtirth would become a great scholar and religious preacher. But he will remain in this world only till a very young age. Then, about a year after the birth of the child Ramtirtha, his mother died. The father handed over the responsibility of looking after Ramatirtha to his sister Dharma Devi. Dharma Devi nurtured Ramtirtha with great affection.
Since childhood, Ramtirtha loved going to the temple and listening to the discourses. His aunt used to take him to the temple every day. By the age of four, many stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagwat, and Puranas were memorized to Ramtirtha. He had also memorized many verses of the Gita. His intelligence and memory power were so fast that he could answer any question asked about the story once heard very well.
At the age of five, Ramtirtha was sent to a school to study. On the strength of his intelligence and hard work, within a few days, he won the hearts of all the teachers of the school. Maulvi Muhammad Ali had great affection for him. Then, he taught Urdu and Persian to Ramtirtha. Ramtirtha was a different type of child. He used to visit the temple regularly to listen to the story in the evening. He used to eat food only after returning from the temple. After that, he used to narrate the heard story to his family members.
Then, after completing his elementary education, Ramtirth was admitted to Gujranwala High School. There he studied for five years under the tutelage of Bal Brahmachari devotee Dhannaram. Hearing his poems and spiritual talks, Ramtirtha’s mind was filled with devotion. In those days child marriage was prevalent in society. At the age of ten, Ramtirtha was married off. Even after marriage, he continued his studies as before. When he went to his home after passing the tenth standard, his father asked him to leave his studies and take up a job. But Ramtirth did not pay attention to the circumstances and took admission to Lahore Mission College for further studies.
In 1893, after passing the B.A. examination, Ramtirth enrolled in the Government College to do M.A. In those days, he used to make a living by drinking milk. Also, his food and clothes were very simple. On the strength of his tireless hard work and perseverance, Ramtirth passed the M.A. examination in Mathematics with respect. After that, the race for Ramtirth job started incense. After many efforts, he could not find any suitable job, so he started teaching tuitions to some students. Then after some time, he got a job as a teacher in Mission High School, Sialkot.
Effect of Swami Vivekananda
Once, when Swami Vivekananda returned home after delivering a speech at the World Conference of Religions in Chicago, America, Ramtirth organized his speech in Lahore. There Swami Vivekananda gave a powerful speech on Vedanta. Ramtirth was deeply affected by that speech. In 1896, Ramtirth was appointed Professor of Mathematics in the Mission College, Lahore. Now he started getting a good amount as a monthly salary. He used to send some money from the income to his father every month. Apart from all this, he also used to help poor students financially out of his income.
Ramtirth Became Swami Ramtirtha
But slowly Ramtirtha’s mind was so much attracted towards Vedanta that he resigned from his job. In front of Vedanta, all the wealth seemed insignificant to him. Then, in February 1899, Ramtirtha formed an organization of Saints, which was named Advaita Darshan Sabha. The meeting of this meeting was held every week. In it, the members of the Sabha would narrate their own experience to Ramtirtha about the conclusion that would be drawn from the debate on Vedanta. Then, in the year 1901, Ramtirth took the vow of sannyasa and left after wearing saffron. Now he became Swami Ramtirtha from Ramtirth.
Propagate Vedanta In foreign country
After taking sannyasa, he started preparing to propagate Vedanta all over the world. Swami Ramatirtha went to Japan in 1902 to propagate Vedanta. There he met Professor Purna Singh of his own country. He was so impressed by Swamiji that he also took sannyasa. Swami Ramtirtha gave a very influential speech on Vedanta in Japan. Countless people there were fascinated by listening to his nectar voice. There the seekers of truth, Japanese and Hindustani started coming daily to meet Swamiji.
After staying in Japan for two weeks, Swami Ramtirtha went to America. Swami Ramtirtha lived in America for two years. There he gave the message of Vedanta to the Americans. Slowly his fame started increasing. A large number of children and old people all came to listen to his lectures. At the end of the lecture, Swami Ramtirth Ji used to answer the questions of the audience and also solve their curiosity and apprehensions. Swami Ramtirtha gave lectures on the ancient civilization of India and Vedanta in many big and small cities of America. His voice captivated the people there.
Words of Swami Ramtirtha
Swami Ramtirtha came back to India by spreading the message of Vedanta in America. On their way back, they stayed in Egypt for a few days. There Swami Ji, while throwing light on Indian civilization and western civilization, had said that -“Of course, we are proud of our old culture. It is our duty to preserve its high points, but it is also good for us to welcome the good things of Western civilization. We should neither beat the drum of our civilization by blindfolding our eyes nor should we become slaves of western civilization”.
Samadhi Of Swami Ji
On 17 October 1906, on the day of Deepawali, Swami Ramtirtha went to take a bath in the Bhilangana river with his cook Ramdutt Ramdutt. The water of the river was flowing very fast at the particular place where he was taking a bath. Swamiji was a good swimmer, so he was fearlessly taking a bath in the river. Suddenly his body got entangled in a whirlpool after being swept away by the strong current of the river. Swamiji tried many times to get out of the vortex, but the strong current of the river would take him with him in the same vortex. In the end, Swami Ramtirth Ji took the samadhi considering it as the will of God. The whole city was plunged into mourning. His body was found a week after taking water samadhi.
The whole life of Swami Ramtirtha is a source of inspiration for mankind, with the help of which people can move forward towards their life goals.