First visit to Sri Radhakund
Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja was born in the district of Jharikhanda in 1921. During the earlier years of his life he held the occupation of a teacher, living with his wife and children. He heard the fame of Sri Kunja Bihari Das Babaji Maharaja, a renowned bhajananandi saint at Radhakunda who was influential in the area of Jharikhanda. In 1950, Sri Ananta Das Babaji decided to leave for a pilgrimage to meet the saint. Having arrived at Radhakunda, he met with the mahatma and received initiation into a disciplic succession descending from Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Srimati Jahnava Mata. During the following two months, Sri Kunja Bihari Das Babaji taught him the mysteries of the philosophy, worship and meditation practiced in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.
About Sri Anant Das Babaji Maharaj
Started preaching at Gurudev's instruction
At the end of this visit, despite his desire to stay at Radhakunda, Sri Kunja Bihari Das Babaji instructed him to return to his village to preach the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, initiating people into the practice of spiritual life. Eventually, Sri Ananta Das Babaji decided to renounce the world, departing for a journey to Radhakunda, this time to stay for good. Having arrived at this holiest of all the holy places, he received the cloth of an ascetic from Sri Kunja Bihari Das Babaji. Over the decades to come, he engaged himself in a deep study of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sacred texts, at the same time becoming more and more deeply absorbed in bhajana, both in the external and the esoteric internal methods of worship.
Expanding Gaudiya Vaishnav literature
In accordance with the request of his guru, Sri Ananta Das Babaji began to write extensive commentaries elucidating the concepts presented in the foundational writings of the Six Gosvamis of Vrindavan and in the writings of the later great teachers following in their footsteps. This literary inspiration has produced over 50 individual titles over the past few decades. Up to this day, Gaudiya Vaishnavas from all around the world and from all parivars read and study his commentaries which are full of his realizations stemming from a life of dedicated bhajan. Without his books, raganuga-bhakti and the sadhana in manjari bhava would not have been as popular as today.
Mahanta of Sri Radhakund
Apart from writing extensive commentaries, he had initiated some 3,500 disciples into the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, including people from Vraja, from Bengal, and from dozens of Western countries. He was elected as the Mahanta of Radhakunda, thus being the 34th representive of the seat of Sri Raghunatha Das Goswami. He is widely recognized as one of the foremost teachers of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition on account of his voluminous and comprehensive writings as well as due to his humility and purity of heart. Everyone who had met him witnessed his exemplary behavior and his kindness.
Exemplifying sadhana bhakti
Every day he would come down from his room in his Radhakunda ashrama to perform the puja of his beloved deities, Sri Sri Radha Kalachandra, thus teaching by his own example the glories of sadhana-bhakti. Every day he kindly welcomed everyone who wanted to see him and oftentimes have a discussion with him. He always based his answers on the writings of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana. He never entered a discussion about controversial topics, sometimes even refusing to answer questions in this direction.
Babaji had two difficult knee operations and from all these treatments rose a prolonged stomach weakness. But still he continued to live his exemplary life showing what it means to be a kinkari of Radhika. He did his beloved Radhakunda parikrama every day, sometimes walking with the help of his sevakas. During the last days he did the parikrama mostly in a wheelchair.
Final journey to Radha-Krishna's intrinsic leela
On November 11th, 2018, he left this world. The Vaishnava community of Vraja lost a great saint and scholar in Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja. He was cremated on the same day and a samadhi tomb was built next to the tomb of his beloved Gurudeva, Sri Kunja Bihari Das Babaji.