His Holiness Romapada Swami
His Holiness Romapada Swami was born December 27, 1948 in Utica, New York to a middle-class family and is considered by those close to him to be responsible, principled, and an accomplished individual.
He began seeking answers to basic questions such as “what does Heaven look like?” and “how can we love others despite their sometimes unacceptable behaviors?
Early Life and Education
His Holiness Romapada Swami was born Brian Rumbaugh and raised in a middle-class household in Utica, New York. As a youth he demonstrated exceptional levels of responsibility and principle-centrism while excelling academically. From an early age on he expressed strong spiritual interest, regularly attending church with both of his parents.
At age 19, he was drafted into Vietnam War. One question on the waiver form required him to state his core convictions; unfortunately he found it impossible to give an adequate response, leading him down an exploration into various spiritual traditions.
Roma Swami provides more than temple management: in addition to leading Soul Connection youth groups and two Gita summer camps for children and teenagers, he also oversees book distribution and college outreach initiatives.
Romapada Swami joined ISKCON out of gratitude to his spiritual master and moved into a temple. Though accepted into medical school, he decided instead to focus on practicing bhakti yoga full-time; many people become doctors in order to treat physical conditions, while few become practitioners so as to help others on an spiritual level.
He spent years serving at a New York temple as president and congregational chanting (sankirtana) leader before being initiated into sannyasa by his spiritual master in 1971.
He travels widely to nurture the devotional lives of receptive souls. He holds GBC zonal assignments in New York, New Jersey and the New England states as well as Midwest regions; additionally he serves as initiating spiritual master for several ISKCON temples as well as serving on their governing bodies commissioner teams.
Achievement and Honors
Romapada Swami first encountered his eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (commonly referred to as Srila Prabhupada). Although unable to understand most of Srila Prabhupada’s lecture due to his thick Bengali accent, their meeting left a profound mark.
Romapada Swami has since then been dedicated to following his spiritual master’s instructions and has dedicated much of his life to spreading devotional service. He currently sits on GBC zonal committees for New York, New Jersey and the New England states as well as Midwest USA.
Soul Connection youth groups in Chicago and St Louis as well as Gita summer camps have all been spearheaded by him, along with long haul flights where he works from his seat.
His Holiness Romapada Swami devotes all his efforts and time towards serving the instructions and mission of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He actively engages in Kirtan (congregational chanting) sessions as well as book distribution and providing Prasadam. Furthermore, His Holiness spends much time on the phone mentoring, encouraging and upholding devotees.
His Holiness has long been committed to college outreach, inspiring bhakti student groups in many renowned universities such as MIT, UIUC, University of Chicago, Penn State, Northwestern University and Texas A&M among others. Additionally, His Holiness spearheads two Gita summer camps for youths as well as an active prasadam program at numerous universities; furthermore, Soul Connection youth groups were established in Chicago and St Louis under His Holiness’ direction and retreats and seminars are held regularly to foster spiritual nourishment and expansion throughout the year.
His parents initially dismissed his interest in Krishna consciousness as passing, but when they witnessed him chanting and reading the Bhagavad Gita they came to support his commitment. Inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s dedication in spreading bhakti yoga in Western countries, he decided to join ISKCON and move into one of their temples.
As an investor and biotech entrepreneur, he founded Roivant Sciences in 2014. This firm purchased patents of drugs not yet developed by larger pharmaceutical firms.
He is the driving force behind Krishna lunches and Bhakti Yoga Clubs at numerous universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, Northwestern University and Penn State. Additionally he heads Soul Connection youth groups as well as two Gita summer camps in Chicago – serving as GBC zonal secretary for New York/Northeastern states/Midwest USA respectively.