Acharya Rameshwar Jha (20th century) was a traditional Sanskrit scholar and considered an authority on Nyaya, Vyakarana and Vedanta. He later became an exponent of non dualistic shaivisim and is often credited with establishing and propagating Kashmir Shaivism in Varanasi. His spiritual experiences and deep understanding of ancient texts were spontaneously expressed in numerous Sanskrit verses. These were published as book Purnta Pratyabhijna and SamitSwatantram, as articles in Shiv Tatva Vimsash and Tantra Agam Vishank of Sanmarg and are preserved in personal diaries and correspondences.
Rameshwar Jha is a rarity among scholars as he did not let his traditional learning become impediment in spiritual realization. He helped propagate and systematize learning of non dualistic shaivisim by clarifying mystical concepts through his experiential learning.
In his youth Rameshwar had studied and memorized Panini’s grammar, learned yoga practices and vedanta from competent gurus. He was recognized as an exceptional student from an early age. Rameshwar completed his higher education in Sanskrit with merit and distinction.
His reputation as a scholar grew and he was sought to teach Vyakarana, Vedanta and Nyaya in Sanskrit colleges of Varanasi. His influence spread with time and he was recognized as leading intellect in the learned world.
In his mid forties the works of Abhinavagupta caught his attention. He soon came to realize a higher more developed form of monism was expounded by Abhinavagupta and Utpaladeva in their works. He made the three day journey to Kashmir to meet Swami Laksman Joo. Rameshwar Jha credited his spiritual realization to this meeting with Swamiji. He praised Swami Lakshaman Joo's compassion as a hymn “Guru stuti”, which to date is recited by Swamijee's disciples.
Rameshwar Jha visited Swamiji in Kashmir for deeper understanding of the tenets of Kashmir Shaiva Mysticism. In later part of his life, he was showering his grace as a realized master by making accessible Kashmir Shaivism, Advaita (nondualism), Pratyabhijna, Aagam, trika and associate philosophy in Varanasi.
With his extraordinary creativity, innate familiarity with the ancient texts and personal experiences he was able to provide access to abstruse concepts of non dualistic Kashmir Shaivism to the layman and scholars alike. This led to a steady stream of seekers from all parts of the world to his door steps. He was a living "Guru Factory" and referred to as "Guru ji" in fondness.
In his own words:
|न मया क्रियते शिष्यः कृतः शिष्यो न कश्चन।
शिष्यतामिच्छते सद्यो दीयते गुरूता मया।।
मैंने शिष्य नहीं बनाए, मैं कभी शिष्य नहीं बनाता। जो मेरा शिष्य बनने की इच्छा करता है उसे मैं तुरंत गुरूता प्रदान कर देता हूँ ।
I do not make any followers, Those who desire to be my disciples I instantly make them masters.
More Shlok by Guruji - Sanskrit with Hindi and English translation
Guruji was free of dogmatic teaching style and did not see any distinction in the seekers of different faith, cast or creed. He embraced one and all and only tested the seeker's true intent.
Rameshwar Jha was awarded "Mahamahopadhyaya" in the year 1980 by Kashi Hindu Vishwavidyalay and was conferred with Rashtrapati Award in 1981 by then president Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.
"I am returning to my essence" (मैं स्वरूपस्थ हो रहा हूँ) were his last words on Dec 12, 1981.