Narendra Giri, known affectionately as ‘Budhau’, was born in Chatauna village in Phulpur district of Uttar Pradesh. His father, Bhanu Pratap Singh, was an active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
‘Budhau’ spent his early years at his maternal grandfather’s place in Girdkot village. He would often mingle with the local saints and seers.
One day, he ran away from home and it took a lot of effort on the part of his family members to bring him back. The family convinced him to complete his high school, which he did. He later got a job in a bank.
As talks of getting him married started doing the rounds in the family, ‘Budhau’, now Narendra, ran away from home again and did not return.
His maternal uncle, Mahesh Singh recalled, “One day we got a phone call and the caller said, ‘Main Mahant Narendra Giri bol raha hoon’ (This is Mahant Narendra Giri speaking). We realised that our ‘Budhau’ was now a Mahant.”
As a seer, Narendra Giri visited his house only once and the family gave him the respect due for a saint.
His uncle said that after becoming a saint, Narendra Giri severed all his links with the family.
“He would often attend programmes at a nearby college, but he never bothered to visit home. He never tried to keep up relations with his family members and was a man of immense self-confidence. Certainly not one to commit suicide,” Mahesh Singh said.
In 2016, Narendra Giri was anointed the chief of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad where he built a dignified reputation for himself.
He was respected among the saints as well as by the political leaders across the spectrum.
His dispute with his disciple Anand Giri was the only controversy that marred his otherwise impeccable image.
According to sources, the controversy was a result of some land deals, which led to clashes with his disciples.
Monetary issues have also emerged since the Bagambhari Mutt is said to be one of the richest Mutts with immense wealth.