Early Life of Shobha Raju
Sobha Raju was born on 30 November 1957 at Vayalpadu, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh. Her father R.G. Narayana Raju, a retired Deputy Collector was a native of Tirumala Reddypalle, Chitoor Dist. and her first spiritual mentor, while her mother Smt. Rajyalakshmi, was her first music teacher in Music. She did her B.A. with History, Economics & Music from Sri. Padmavathi Women's College, Tirupati, A. P. She received her training in music from teachers like, Mr. Pullaiah, Mr. D. Seshagiri Rao, Mr. Pakala Munirathnam, Mr Tiruttani Krishnamurthy, Prof. Kalpakam, Sri Nedunuri Krishna Murthy.
She is married to Dr. S. Nanda Kumar, who resigned the post of Project Executive in National Dairy Development Board to support her mission.
Inspired intricately by the teachings of Sri Ramakrishana Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda, Swami Paramahamsa Yoganandaji's a great forceful and inclusive influence befell on her. The holy company of H.H. Swamy Chinmayyanandaji, H.H. Swami Dayanandaji, H.H.Sri Swamy Vidya Prakasanandaji, and Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba aided a great deal in shaping up her personality. She used to sing Bhajans and recite Bhagavad Gita during their discourses.
Contribution of Shobha Raju
She has, for over 45 years, extensively contributed music compositions, over 6000 stage concerts and performances in the compositions of Sri Annamacharya. She has been awarded a Honorary Doctorate from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University.
She is the founder of Annamacharya Bhavana Vahini (ABV), the institute that has trained over 15,000 students in music.
She is pivotal in the ABV project now continuing to take shape into an extended auditorium and a temple for Sri Annamacharya; with land contribution from the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh; to serve as a centre for all the activities pertaining to Annamacharya.
She is currently working towards her vision of a Music University where over students of music are also trained with additional benefits of Yoga, Meditation, Naturopathy and Philosophy to grow within and make an army of peace to create a world of love. The University offers human values based training to the students and profuse Saint Singers who in turn will render services through Music for the peace and harmony of the world.
Divine Intervention to the Making up of Shobha Raju
Dedicating an entire lifetime to music with a singular focus of singing in praise of Sri Venkateshwara is according to her, the will of god. Dr. Shobha Raju started composing her own songs at the age of four and recorded her first album when she was 16. Today she is closer to her goal. Her songs unite people in their love for music and the devotion to the supreme power. Now she structures her programs and presentation so as to bring positive change in the society. She says, "Annamacharya's music is evergreen, his philosophy is evergreen and the soul is so inspiring that it gives me strength and energy to carry on."
She is the recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri Award for the year 2010 in recognition of her untiring efforts in propagating the cultural treasure of Andhra Pradesh.