More popularly known as Gurudev, Prof. Ramchandra Dattatrey Ranade was the great Philosopher, Mystic and Saint of 20th Century. He was born on 3rd July 1886 at Jamkhandi, then princely state. His school education began in 1895. His friendship with Shri. Kallu Bhokare thickened in 1899, when the latter saved him from drawning, when Gurudev was trying to learn swimming in local well. This friendship led to Gurudev's meeting with Shri Bhausaheb Maharaj, his spiritual teacher. Kallu was already graced by Shri Maharaj with Divine Name.
The year 1901 brought two major events in the life of Gurudev. His first marriage and his spiritual birth. On 25th November 1901, Gurudev was initiated and was inducted in Nimbargi Sampradaya by Shri Bhausaheb Maharaj.
He passed his matriculation in 1902, standing second among all the students appeared for the examination and secured the coveted Jagannath Shankar Shet scholarship in Sanskrit. In 1903 he came to Poona(now, Pune) and got admitted in Deccan College. He had chosen Mathematics and English as his subjects.
In 1904, the first blow fell, viz., his father's sad demise. He won the Varjivandas Scholorship for Sanskrit in Inter Arts. Then the year 1907 shattered his dreams to appear for ICS exam. As he passed his B. A. in second class. However, he got Bhau Daji Prize in that exam. From 1907 to 1909 he worked as Dakshina Fellow in the Deccan College.
Then onwards calamities started invading. On 5th January, 1909, he acquired brain T.B. A team of European Doctors checked him and dignosed that his survival is almost impossible as there were no medicines available on the disease. The only medicine for him, which he firmly believed was the Grace of his Spiritual Teacher and meditation on the Divine Name imparted by him. He lived with this terrible disease throughout his life.
Gurudev was great Philologist and mastered languages like English, German, Greek, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Sanskrit etc.
He was appointed as English tutor in Fergusson College in 1911. In 1913, he became curator in Deccan College.
The year 1914 brought a severe blow - Shri Bhausaheb Maharaj Departed.
Gurudev passed his M.A. in 1914 with the remarks on his paper, 'the examinee knows more than the examiner' and won the Vice-Chancellor and Justice K. T. Telang Gold Medals. He was appointed as Professor of Philosophy in Fergusson College and also became a Life Member of Deccan Education Society.
In 1916, he was blessed with a son, however, the joy was short lived. The son died within a year. In 1918, his family was totally devastated, as he lost his wife and immediately his dear mother expired.
He fell sick as the T.B. germs had spread in the lungs also. Medicines were of no use. Then he decided and went to Inchagiri, his Guru's place. There, after a long toil and turmoil, God blessed him by conferring Apostleship over him. He obtained the power to impart Divine Names to aspirants.
In 1922,his second marriage took place.
In 1924, he resigned from Deccan Education Society, on ideological grounds.
In 1925, his daughter was born. In the same year, he built his house at Nimbal, a small village in Bijapur District, Karnataka, and went to live there. In 1927, Dr. Ganganath Jha invited him to join Allahabad University, to which Gurudev conceded.
In 1936, he was ordered by his spiritual teacher in a dream, to start imparting Divine Name to aspirants.
In 1937, The All India Philosophical Congress honoured him by electing as President of its XII th Conference held at Nagpur, and delivered an extempore speech on 'Philosophy of Spirit', refering to modern Physics, Neurology, Biology & Sociology.
In 1940, he built a bunglow at Allahabad. He was blessed with a son, who was also snatched away by God in 1941.
He became the Vice-Chancellor of Allahabad University in 1945. Shri. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (ex-Prime Minister of India) and Gurudev were honoured, on the same occasion, with D.Lit.( Doctor of Literature) in 1947. After his retirement, he was appointed as Emeritus Professor by the University.
He lad a very simple life. He used to say that his life was his philosophy.
His daily diet was almost negligible. Not even 200 to 250 calories. However, he used to say that I can tap the sources of energy, other than food, which you can not.
His daughter's marriage took place in the same year with Shri. Vishwanathrao Apte, of an aristocratic family of Gwalior.
In 1952 and also in 1954 he delivered lectures in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi. He delivered lectures on Upanishads, Vedanta, Pathway to God of Marathi, Hindi and Kannada saints, Bhagvadgita etc. all over India, at places like, Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum, Bangalore, Mysore, Calcutta, Delhi, Ahmedabad etc.
The All India Philosophical Congress honoured him by electing as President of its XIII th Conference held at Nagpur.
After Amburao Maharaj left his mortal coil, the disciples of Shri Bhausaheb Maharaj and Shri Amburao Maharaj started coming to Nimbal and treating Gurudev as their spiritual teacher. Gurudev's House at Nimbal soon became Ashram (Ram Prempur) and a real spiritual patron saint for many.
In 1956, his 70th birthday was celebrated as Nectar Jubilee function on a grand scale at Jamkhandi, his birth place. He went to Allahabad for the last time on 14 March 1957 from Nimbal. However, his health started deteriorating due to unfriendly stormy and rainy weather. Hence, he left Allahabad on 26 April 1957 and went back to Nimbal.
He left his mortal vesture at Nimbal on 6th June 1957.