Rishi Prabhakar was an Indian spiritualist, self-proclaimed guru, and philosophiser, who is known as the founder of the Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY) programme worldwide. He was a world-renowned propagator of meditation and social consciousness whose expertise also extended to economics, environment, agriculture, and architecture. Founder of a not-for-profit organisation – Rishi Samskruti Vidya Kendra (RSVK), Prabhakar was inclined to help the people as much as he could. The Indian guru also has several other programs to his name, including the famous Kaya Kalpa Kriya (KKK), Rapid Comprehension and Review Technique (RCRT), Advanced Meditation Course (AMC), Bhava Samadhi Training (BST), Infant Siddha Program (ISP), and Inspirational Leadership in Rural Development (ILRD).
Rishi Prabhakar was born as Prabhakar Raghavendra Rao on Monday, 30 August 1948 (age 66 years; at the time of death) in Chikkabalapur district of Karnataka under the zodiac sign of Virgo. The India-born Rishi possessed Canadian citizenship. Brought up in Bengaluru, Prabhakar completed his pre-university education at the National College in Bengaluru and then earned a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Bengaluru University under a scholarship program from the Government of India. For his further education, Rishi flew off to Canada on a full scholarship by the Canadian government and pursued a Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. He was also an MBA graduate from the Western University of Ontario in Canada. Rishi also worked as a Computer Scientist and consultant in several departments under the Canadian Government.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
Prabhakar was survived by his mother Smt. Ramadevi Amma, who passed away a few years later than Rishi, in 2021. She was one of the trustees of Rishi Samskriti Vidya Kendra (RSVK).
Wife & Children
Rishi was married to Smita Ubale (Later known as Arundhati Rishi Prabhakar or Arundhati Ma) for 15 years until his death. They got married in 1999 and have a son Siddhant Rishi Prabhakar. Arundhati Ma and Rishi met at his Siddha Samadhi Yoga ashram in Aurangabad. Arundhati Ma, as Rishi’s wife is popularly known, is a holistic healer and divinity coach, who also co-founded the Digital RCRT with her son. Apart from it, Arundhati Ma has also been pursuing several other creative endeavours throughout her life, most of which are intended for social service. Her efforts have helped provide employment to many underprivileged women.
Rishi’s son Siddhant is the founder and director of the Rishi Prabhakar International Foundation and he also co-founded the Digital RCRT in 2021 along with his mother.
The Indian spiritual guru believes that unity, love, and brotherhood are the only true religions. He said on his website,
We have been fighting foolishly, telling each other, ‘My religion is greater than yours!’. What does it matter whether we call him Allah or Rama? We all came from earth; we shall all go back to the earth. All religions have taught the same principles.”
To propagate these beliefs of Rishi Prabhakar his RSVK organisation, in 1996, organised the “Global Religious Harmony” in around 200 centres all across the country. In the gathering, all the participants were asked to take the oath to visit a mosque and read Namaz on Fridays, visit a church and pray on Sundays, and visit a temple once a week.
Introduction to Spirituality
When Prabhakar was in the third year of his engineering, one of his friends talked to him about meditation after which he started reading a book by Shri Paramahansa Yogananda on metaphysical meditation. A year later in 1968, when Rishi was in the final year of engineering, he travelled to Dakshineswar that, according to Rishi, drastically changed his life. Rishi; however, first got officially introduced to spirituality in July 1974 by his teacher, Elizabeth Morrison, through the Transcendental Meditation programme founded by another Indian spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. According to Guru Prabhakar, the phenomenon had a profound effect on him. He said in his blog,
I went about practising meditation more and more intensely. I began to observe and study the process of meditation very carefully. I gained a lot of superior knowledge by being in Maharishi’s presence and through the teachers’ training programmes.”
Prabhakar’s pursuit of Transcendental Meditation made him do several years of Seva for Maharishi Yogi in Switzerland and in India. During his stint at Maharishi’s ashram, Rishi also served as the International Director at the Switzerland headquarters for two years.
Rishi left India for the US in 1969 but managed to stay there only for a bit over two years. In 1971-1972, he returned to his home country and he travelled for several months after staying for 21 days in India. In 1974, Rishi founded his famous Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY) program. According to Guruji, the effortlessness that came with his consistent meditation provided him insights and answers that laid the foundation of his SSY course. He also revealed that from 1979 to 1981, he started practising more intense meditation and he would barely come out of his room. To further refine his SSY program, Rishi turned to his childhood guru, Sri Bhagwan Visweswaraiah, in Bengaluru and meditated under him to seek answers.
From 1981 to 1983, Prabhakar worked on a new spiritual area called ‘Samadhi in action’ that he formulated through advanced enlightenment training. During that period, Rishi also founded the Rishi Samskruti Vidya Kendra (RSVK), a charitable trust, with his mother and a few others in 1982. The registered not-for-profit organization initiated “The Fun Club International” in Davangere, Karnataka in 1986, which now has a global presence. Rishi further developed a unique technique in academia for the South-Asian students that he called the Rapid Comprehension and Review Technique (RCRT). According to him, it is a science-backed self-learning technique that makes learning versatile and effortless for students. Prabhakar, while living in Puducherry with his family, developed his famous Kaya Kalp Kriya (KKK) Programme, which is now revered worldwide. Also called the Yog Samruddhi Sadhana (YSS) or the Life Longevity Programme (LLP), it claims to reverse the ageing process and cure people of all diseases.
Guruji was also a social activist who contributed to children’s education in India by developing several pre-schools, Rishi Gurukulam Vidyalayas in Bengaluru, Vishakhapatnam, and Pune, and many colleges as well. Around the late 1980s, Guruji’s RSVK organisation worked to clean the country and started the “Clean India Campaign” project, which has now been adopted by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Swachh Bharat Mission. The volunteers of Rishi’s SSY programme also assist Anna Hazare in developing 300 model villages through water management techniques and social reform.
- In 2010, Rishi Prabhakar’s wife, Arundhati Ma, accused him of running a sex racket at his ashrams in the garb of teaching yoga and she revealed in court that she was trying to expose her husband for many years. Arundhati Ma also alleged that Rishi’s religious talk was all absurdity and that Prabhakar was using his ‘godman’ status to entice devotees and trap women by brainwashing them into believing that they are special and then using them the way he liked.
- In the same complaint against Rishi Prabhakar, his wife accused him of blackmailing her. Arundhati Ma alleged that Rishi hypnotised her, exploited her, and clicked an objectionable video of her when the two met at his ashram in Aurangabad but were not yet married. According to Arundhati Ma, Rishi used the video to blackmail her and threaten her to keep her mouth shut or else he would upload it on the internet. She also revealed in the complaint that the Indian godman proposed marriage to her soon after, as he was scared she would expose him.
Awards and Honours
Rishi Prabhakar has remained a Board Member of World Religious Member for Elijah Interfaith Institute.
Around 2013 Rishi Prabhakar was diagnosed with a condition called Aplastic Anemia after a series of his blood and other diagnostic tests for suspected cancer in his body came clean. Next year, Rishi’s ill health forced his family and disciples to admit him to the Narayana Hospital in Bengaluru. It is believed that on 16 February 2014, Sunday, at 6.26 a.m. Rishi finally attained Mahasamadhi in Bengaluru after he denied any external medication and allowed nature to take its course that caused the dropping of his body as a natural process.
- Rishi Prabhakar also goes by the name Guruji Rishi Prabhakar.
- Around the age of 7 or 8, Rishi came to know that he is a fatherless child and the people who brought him up were his grandparents. Soon he also found out that the woman he was made to believe was his sister, she was actually his mother – Ramadevi.
- The young Rishi was inspired by the books of Swami Vivekananda. He was an enthusiastic scout and was considered an intelligent, obedient, and caring child who always stood up for his principles.
- It is believed that Rishi didn’t own a bank account, personal property, or possessed anything of his own, and he lived quite a simple life.
- According to Prabhakar, the year 1980 was a turning point in his life, as in that year Rishi attended training by Werner Erhard and Robert Fritz’s, both of which taught him a lot of things. He said in his blog,
It was in a training called EST formulated by Werner Erhard, in California. It opened my awareness to a whole new possibility of samadhi in action. I owe a lot to the great teachings of Werner. He had received it or intuited it from the Zen Masters.
- Another renowned Indian guru Jaggi Vasudev (Sadhguru) was the disciple of Rishi Prabhakar, who learnt Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY) from Rishi in 1984. It is reported that the two Indian gurus had a feud after which they split, and later Sadhguru reformed the Rishi’s SSY movement as his own and named it Isha Yoga.
- Prabhakar revealed in his profile that in 1987 he experienced ‘total sufficiency through effortless meditation.’ Rishi felt that his work was complete and he went into a period of ‘joyful celebration.’
- One of the Rishi Gurukulams at Katarkhadak Hills in Pune is founded by Rishi Prabhakar’s key disciple Manoj Lekhi. Manoj also serves as the Chief Administrator of Rishi Samskriti Vidya Kendra (RSVK).
- In 2004, Rishi, along with his family moved to Pondicherry (now Puducherry) and lived there for around 7 years, before moving again to Pune in Maharashtra.
- Rishi’s wife published a book dedicated to him on 23 April 2015. The book is titled Divine Satsang: My Divine Encounter with Guruji Rishi Prabhakarji.
- In 2019, Rishi’s son, along with his mother, founded Rishi Prabhakar International Foundation, which is a not for profit company.
- In 2020, Prabhakar’s wife, Arundhati Ma, and son, Siddhant, launched the digital version of Rishi’s original Rapid Comprehension and Review Technique (RCRT). Serving the same purpose, the e-learning platform rolled out by the duo is called Digital RCRT.
- Rishi’s Siddha Samadhi Yoga has become a global movement with its presence in cities like Tokyo (Japan), Toronto and Ottawa (Canada), Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York in the US, Dubai, Sharjah, and Abudhabi (UAE), and in countries including Australia, Brazil, Singapore, and Kenya.
- His RSVK organisation, already operating in the Indian cities of Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune, expanded its global presence to countries like the UAE, Canada, and Japan.
- Rishi Prabhakar was overseeing around 100 ashrams and 700 centres all over the world when he attained his Mahasamadhi.