A brief history of Jalaram Bapa | Jalaram Mandirs all over the world
Jalaram Pradhan Thakkar
Jalarambapa was born in the town of Virpur near Rajkot, Gujarat State on 14th November 1799.
Early education was from his mother Rajbai Thakkar who was very religious and was told by Saint Raghuvirdasji, who greatly admired her piety, that her second son (Sri Jalaram Bapa) would be a famous advocate of duty, devotion and good deeds. From Rajbai he learnt respect, patience, self-sacrifice, duty and grace. When very young a visit from a saint was recognised as from a previous life and young Jalaram was divinely inspired and began to constantly chant 'Sita Ram' and to devote his life to God.
This took place when Jalaram was sixteen and to Virbai, daughter of Thakkar Pragji Somaiji. Although Jalaram was reluctant, Virbai proved to be an asset to Jalaram in his work among the poor and without her support, encouragement and hard work, Jalaram would have found many more difficulties in his path.
Jalaram worked first for his father's and later his uncles business but was criticised by both for his extreme generosity to Sadhus and to the poor. Jalaram's desire was to devote himself to God without the ties of family, business or material possessions. With the approval of his family he therefore set out on a holy pilgrimage with his wife. When he was eighteen and had accepted Bhojalram as his Guru he started 'Sadavrat' a place where Sadhus and the poor could go for food at any time. No-one was ever turned away without food.
Later Jalarambapa and his wife Virbai worked in the fields neighboring Virpur to grow their own grain. Rather than sell the grain they harvested for monetary gain, Jalarambapa and Virbai opened a charity house and used the grain to provide food for passing pilgrims.
Virbai was as devoted as Jalarambapa to the work of God. When the grain that they had grown ran out Virbai was happy to give up the gold jewellery that she had received from her parents at the time of her marriage in order to provide food to visitors to the ashram.
One day, Lord Rama dressed as an old man in the guise of a Sadhu appeared before Jalarambapa. Jalarambapa invited him for a meal. The old man complained that he was old and infirm and that he needed some one to look after him. Jalarambapa therefore sent his wife with the old man on his journey. She went willingly. The pair of travelers eventually came to a river. The old man gave Virbai his stick and a bag to hold. he then disappeared. At the same time a voice came to jalarambapa at his home, saying that it was Lord Rama himself who had come to see if he was as good as people had said. He had proved that he was and could now fetch his wife. The stick and the bag are still on display at the Jalarambapa Ashram in Virpur.
Many people believe that food given by Jalarambapa to the Sadhus and other pilgrims will reach the doors of heaven.
For that reason, even to day the Jalarambapa Ashram in Virpur continues to feed thousands of pilgrims at a time, and the kitchen never runs out of food, no matter how many people are there!
In 1881 whilst praying.