M., the Model of Sannyasa in the Household


Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna is Brahman-Shakti (the power of Brahman), the Divine Mother of the Universe in human form. He is the avatara of the age. Among the great actions of the avatara, the establishment of religion is his crowning act. It was to establish religion that Sri Ramakrishna made a plan and created two classes of devotees – one, of the all renouncing sannyasis (monks) and the other of the householder sannyasis. The ideal sannyasi of the first order was the world-conquering Swami Vivekananda and the second was M., the ideal man of knowledge and austerities.

The Divine Mother had shown his intimate devotees to Sri Ramakrishna during his state of ecstasy, his divine madness. Till then many of these devotees had not even been born. The Divine Mother had also brought M. before the play of the avatara had unfolded itself. Sri Ramakrishna had seen M. with his physical eyes in Chaitanya’s singing party on the path leading to the Batatala and Bakultala ghat. Exactly five hundred years ago, Chaitanya and Nityananda with their disciples, inebriated with Lord’s name, used to dance. He had also seen M. amidst them.

Twenty or twenty-two years after this vision, M. came to Sri Ramakrishna’s feet in a human body. He was instantly recognized. Frequent visits deepened the initial introduction.

Before he was seen in a human body, the Divine Mother had said to Thakur, “Keep this devotee in the household for teaching mankind. He will read out the Bhagavata to humanity scalded by worldliness. Thereby people will gain peace and seeing M.’s mind merged in the Absolute they will attain divinity in this very life.”

M., during his early years, had got scalded by the fire of worldly life. He was only twenty-seven years then. Putting it poetically he would say, “As I was wandering from garden to garden, I had the privilege of seeing Sri Bhagavan.” Full of gratitude, he would sometimes put it thus in the language of humility: “I had set out to collect pieces of glass but found a divine jewel.” During the very first visit, Thakur had captivated M.’s mind. M. would say, “After visiting Thakur, the body was moving on the road to Baranagore but the mind remained anchored behind – at the holy feet of Sri Ramakrishna, in the tapovan of Dakshineswar, in the Bhavatarini Temple of Rani Rasmani.”

Just as a mother joyfully embraces her son returning from foreign lands, Thakur similarly granted M. a place at his fearless feet with a heart full of joy and affection. Within seven days of visiting Thakur, he said to M. granting him assurance, “Now you have a guru. Problems beyond thought and imagination, even beyond dreams are solved in an instant by the grace of the Mother.”

Even since he met Thakur, M. thought that renouncing family life and embracing sannyasa was the only way to peace, happiness and joy. On the other hand, Thakur thought that by keeping him in the household ashrama he would make of him an ideal sannyasi householder. Apparently, the master and the disciple, the avatara and his intimate disciple, were planning, as it were in opposite directions. Whenever he got an opportunity, M. would mention this subject of sannyasa openly to Sri Ramakrishna, at other times he would only hint at it. But Sri Ramakrishna, from the very beginning, was teaching him how to live as a sannyasi in the household and still practice spirituality.

The day came at last when both of them gave expression to their plans. How long could they have kept them secret? Sooner or later one’s mind gives itself out.

Coming to know of M.’s desire to become a renouncing monk, Sri Ramakrishna, one day, outwardly assumed a hard mien. He said, “The Mother of the Universe can create great teachers from bits of straw.” And he also said, “The engineer has so many water pipes. When one of them breaks, he replaces it by a new one. Let nobody think that if he does not perform the Mother’s work, Her work would remain unfinished.” Hearing this M. surrendered himself at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna forever – renouncing his both positive and negative wills. Only Sri Ramakrishna’s will prevail.

The readers of the Kathamrita [The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna] will notice that from the very beginning, Thakur personally taught M. about sannyasa-in-the-household. Sri Ramakrishna said, “The Mother of the Universe will keep the Bhagavata Pundit in the world with a single bond, to teach humanity, to read out the ‘Bhagavata’ to the denizens of the world.” M. portrayed a role in Sri Ramakrishna’s play as his ‘commissioned’ intimate chief servant.

Within a few months thereafter, Sri Ramakrishna said to M., “You will not go anywhere else. You will only come here.”

The great teacher of the Brahmo Samaj, the god-man Brahmananda Keshab Chandra Sen, had been M.’s ideal for seven or eight years before he met Sri Ramakrishna. M. used to say that ever since he was studying at the Hare School he would long for Keshab Chandra Sen and he would weep if he could not see him. Keshab Sen used to study behind closed doors in the office of the Albert Hall. One day M. felt such a yearning that he climbed a pillar, just as one climbs a tree, and saw from over the partition in the room that he was writing his foreign mail.

M. had been accustomed to the company of Keshab Babu for seven or eight years. With just a word from Sri Ramakrishna, “You will not go anywhere else,” it all stopped in an instant.

On a Sunday evening on the 26th February 1882, M. saw Sri Ramakrishna for the first time. A few months later came celebrations of the worship of Goddess Durga. During the three days of celebrations – the 7th, 8th and the 9th days – Sri Keshab Sen delivered discourses in a new style. He said, “If you attain to Durga, then Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartika and Ganesha will all be attained – that is to say that all powers, of wealth, of knowledge, of physical strength and of being successful are gained. Reason: all these are the attendant gods and goddesses of the Mother.”

After the Durga Puja celebrations, when M. went to Thakur, he briefly heard the three discourses, and said affectionately but firmly, “You will not go anywhere else. You will only come here.” From this incident alone the reader will understand what an influence the mind of Thakur had exercised on M. Keshab Chandra Sen, whom he had been giving the place of a god in his heart for the last seven or eight years was given up forthwith. Instead, he tried to replace him by Sri Ramakrishna in his heart, and was at last able to do so.

Every practioner of religion knows what a difficult task this is but it was made easily possible in the life of M. by the grace of Sri Ramakrishna.

But did M. really give up Keshab Babu? No, he did not. Only he gave him his rightful place. The highest place in his heart he reserved for Sri Ramakrishna. The mind which was concentrated on Keshab was now at the holy feet of Sri Ramakrishna.

The desire Sri Ramakrishna had of making a householder sannyasi of M. is proven by the following incident. M. met him for the second time in the morning on Tuesday, the 28th of February 1882, that is two days after the first visit. On the first visit nothing special happened. In the second, Thakur sowed the seed of sannyasa-in-the-household in the life of M. without him knowing it. Sri Ramakrishna said, “One should live in the household like the maid in a wealthy man’s house. The maid identifies herself outwardly with her master’s household. She says, ‘My Ram, My Hari.’ But in her heart of hearts she knows that it is not her home. It is yonder in a village where her sons and daughters live. In the same way, one should do one’s duties in the household having surrendered one’s mind to God.”

“Or, one should live in the household like a tortoise. The tortoise lives in water but lays its eggs on the bank. Its mind remains where the eggs are, even when its body is in water.

“He said, ‘The maid-servant works day and night but she has to remain satisfied with the food, clothes and the dwelling given to her by her mistress. Similarly, the householder sannyasi works day and night for his family but does not enjoy its pleasures. He accepts only as much from it as is absolutely necessary for keeping the body intact.’

“And he added, ‘You will live with your family members. Outwardly, you will give them all affection; you will serve them as God, that is to say, you will serve God that dwells within them. But you will know in the heart of your hearts that none is really yours and that you are not theirs. Only God is their own as He is yours. Only God is the father, mother and friend of all.’

“One day, while talking of a family affair, M. happened to say, ‘My son.’ Immediately Thakur warned him and said lovingly, ‘Don’t say: my son. Remember he is God’s son. He is only kept with you in custody so that you serve him. Why? Suppose something happens to him, suppose his body is taken away by God, it would be a great catastrophe for you. You would be overwhelmed by sorrow.’

We saw it for a long time that M. never again referred to his son as ‘my son’. The son who was hinted at by Thakur while cautioning M. did in fact die in his childhood and he was M.’s eldest son. Though both the parents were overwhelmed with grief, M. was able to bear the shock. The mother on the other hand nursed her grief throughout her life. She was so sad about her son’s death that sometimes she would behave like a mad person.

This incident also bears out that Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna was to transform M. into a great saint and as a religious preceptor. He was to appoint him as the teacher of mankind. He was to devote his whole life in the service of God for the welfare of mankind. This is why he made him undergo severe spiritual disciplines from the very beginning.

M. lived for long sheltering at the feet of Thakur. Thakur then subjected him to various severe spiritual practices suitable for householders. One day, somebody gave M. a letter coming from M.’s Calcutta residence. Thakur, frightened as though by the sight of a snake, shouted at M., “Throw it away, throw it away.” M. threw it away. Why did he do so? Wasn’t Thakur taking M. upstream? That path is exactly opposite to that of the world – the path of renunciation, the path that Brahman alone is true and the world is false, the path that leads from the false to the true, the path to Parabrahman. Without finding this path, without being firmly established on this path, on the path that God is truth, nobody can take the seat of a teacher of humanity. That’s why Thakur dealt with M. in such an extraordinary way.

Those who live in household very well know how much their son and members of family are their own. Did Thakur teach M. this harsh and ruthless discipline casually? No, not so. He imparted this knowledge to M. on the very first day: “Only God is their own, of the son and of the relatives; He is also your own – He is everybody’s own forever. The contact with the world lasts but for a short while.” Thakur established M. in God by acting in that manner. He made him established in Brahman. He settled M.’s mind on the Great Self, the Controller of the inner Self, who resides within his near and dear ones, and the members of his family. He did not let it settle on their physical bodies.

The view point with which he saw his kith and kin as belonging to God had established itself perfectly in M. and we had been noticing it since long. He even looked upon his grandsons as images of God.

Again, one day Thakur said, “Just see, what a mood is prevailing over me! Those who are mine have become strangers and the strangers have become my own. To them – to Rakhal, Baburam and Latu, I say: Get up, wash your hands and face and repeat the Mother’s name. But Ramlal has become a stranger. Where these people live or what they eat is no longer my concern.”

With this, he asked M. to take another lesson on sannyasa-in-the household. He said, “The devotees alone are one’s own.”

On seeing the devotees God alone comes to one’s mind. That’s why he asked M. indirectly to keep the company of devotees and serve them. M. carried it out literally throughout his life. He was always surrounded by sadhus and devotees. It can be said that he kept the company of devotees for most time of the day. Even when ill, he had devotees around him and only devotees would serve him.

A few days after his first visit, he said clearly to M., “You will not serve your relatives. You will only serve sadhus and devotees.” The householders can specifically understand how difficult this task is. M., however, passed this test successfully, too, by the grace of the guru. We never saw him serving his relatives. On the other hand, he had an open hand in the service of sadhus and devotees.

When M. was working as the headmaster of three schools at a time, he used to give away the remuneration from one of the schools to the Baranagore monastery after the passing away of Thakur. The income from the second school was spent in the service of the Holy Mother and the devotees. With the income of the third he used to run the family.

The other five qualities of the householder-sannyasi spoken of by Sri Ramakrishna also manifested themselves fully in the life of M. Thakur had said to him: “The householder devotees should be placid, unassuming, a lion in activity, full of humour and the servant of the servants of sadhus and devotees.” Whosoever has seen M. even for five minutes could not have failed to notice these qualities manifested in his life. M. was as full of Sri Ramakrishna as Hanuman was of Rama and Sita. Sitting with M. for five minutes the visitor would forget the world. This great truth that God is real and the world ephemeral – would get impressed imperceptibly on his mind.


Why was M. kept in the household? We have said it before; it was for the education of the householders. Unless the household is well established in religious life, India will not rise. And unless India rises, the world will not rise. Why? The Indian Society has three forms; all humans have three forms, the gross, the subtle and the causal. When Sri Ramakrishna came down to the earth, India was a dependency of another power.  His intimate disciples would always say to the devotees: “Thakur has come and now nobody will be able to keep India in fetters. India will be independent. He has come only for this reason. India rising, the world will rise.” The causal body of India is founded on the Self of Brahman. The gross and the subtle bodies of India have been weakened for various reasons but its causal body continues to be unblemished and uninterrupted. Because the social body of India is standing on this firm foundation, India has been able to brave so many storms, and will continue to do so in future. The gross and the subtle forms of India will have to be constructed on the eternal foundations of Brahman.

Sri Ramakrishna would impart all the above teachings to his intimate disciples. These disciples would also talk to us of the same teachings. And they would add, “To organize this social body of India, the almost broken household system will have to be re-built.” That’s why Bhagavan Ramakrishna, the avatara of the age, kept M. in the household.

M.’s life is the ideal for the householders. Throughout his life, a pair of dhotis, a pair of Bengali shirts, a pair of varnished black slippers and a wrapping shawl constituted his whole ward-robe. Why? Because he had been told by Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna to live in his house like a maid-servant, the master of the house being Bhagavan Himself.

On being asked about the duties of the householder-sannyasi, Sri Ramakrishna had further said to M., “You will have to serve your parents throughout your life.” About the mother, he had said something still greater: “Even if the mother is not promising, the children will have to serve her. The daughter is to be given away to a good person; the son has to be enabled to stand on his own feet. To arrange for the marriage of the son is not the moral responsibility of householder sannyasi.” M. literally carried out this prescription of Thakur. The marriage ceremony of one of M.’s daughters ended at 2 a.m. Thereafter, M. went into the room on the roof and went on to meditate and read his diary of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita till six in the morning with the help of the light of a lantern. M. was a stranger in his own home. M. was a wayfarer in an inn. To imbibe the feeling of a waif, M. would sometimes spend the night on the footpath near the Senate House with the homeless and the helpless.


Below we describe an incident. It will clearly illustrate what an ideal householder-sannyasi M. was. He was the model of the householder-sannyasi of the ancient and modern India.

M.’s youngest son, a university-educated man, initiated in the holy mantra by the Holy Mother was a confirmed bachelor. He allowed himself but one indulgence: he would go to horse races like so many people of Calcutta. Just as thousand of sports fans go to the Fort Maidan to witness football and so many other sports, he would also go to the race-course.

In the beginning he used to go to witness the sport but gradually it changed into an undesirable pursuit – he was also attracted by gambling, that accompanies most games. When M. came to know of it, he forbade him from this act. But though he asked him again and again not to do so, the son did not accept his advice and continued going there.

Then, one day, M. said calmly to the son like a friend, “You are educated now and can earn. If you think it is right to break the rules of this household, stand on your feet and do what you consider to be right. The members of the ashrama will pick up wrong things from your conduct.


The son, out of conceit, left the home. M. may have felt it somewhat sad within himself but outwardly we did not see any sign of sorrow on his face.

The son took shelter in his maternal uncle’s home who was rich. There he lived for some twenty years. The maternal aunt looked after him lovingly like her own son. This M.’s son, however, continued to visit the race-course as merrily as before.

It was summer of 1924. The maternal aunt set out on a visit to Sri Sri Badrinarayana Temple with her full retinue. On her way back her uncle passed away. When the news reached Calcutta, the nephews, the heirs of the sonless deceased uncle, turned him (M.’s son) out of the house. This second son of M. then fell on such circumstances – without shelter, without food and clothes.

One day in the afternoon, Antevasi was going to a printing press in connection with the printing of the ‘Kathamrita’ by the foot-path in front of the Morton School, situated in the Amherst Street. Somebody called him loudly by name from the north, near the City College. He was going southwards. He stopped for awhile but seeing nobody he started walking again. There was another call, so he kept standing. Though he looked towards the north he saw no acquaintance, he still kept standing. Now, he noticed Charu Babu, M.’s second son. On seeing his face, Antevasi felt such a pain. He asked, “Charu Babu, are you suffering from some serious disease? Why do you looked so pulled own?”

He replied with a faint smile, “No, there’s no disease. Only I have not eaten anything for two days. Please give me thirty rupees.” Antevasi felt confused. Antevasi could not pay the money even from his pocket without consulting M. Nor was it possible to give out of the amount entrusted to him by M. for the service of sadhus and devotees. It was indeed a difficult situation for Antevasi.

Charu Babu understood and said, “Yes, ask father.” He kept standing on the distant southern footpath near the Morton School.

Antevasi went upstairs to the second storey of the Morton School and saw M. seated on the head clerk seat in the office. Two other gentlemen were also sitting there a little farther away. Antevasi whispered the whole matter into M.’s ears. M. answered also in a whisper, “Give.”

As soon as Antevasi reached the door, some four cubits away, M. called him. He came back. M. said to him in a whisper, “Give him only if he can pay back within thirty-one days.”

A big storm began to rage in Antevasi’s mind. He said to himself: M. is an intimate disciple of Sri Bhagavan, a great soul. What kind of conduct is his – the son is almost dying of starvation and he says the money which is just thirty rupees should be given only on promise of its return. What a new problem! Even to a stranger in difficulty, when he asks for monetary help, money is given in charity by a large hearted man. How opposite is the conduct of this great man? The father on one side and the son on the other. This hard situation confounded Antevasi.

Today Antevasi realized Lakshmana’s state of mind. On one hand were Rama’s orders, on the other Maharishi Durvasa, Siva’s avatar. Durvasa had come to see Rama and he was busy with some special state duty in the palace. Lakshmana had been asked to be a guard at the entrance. He knew that if Maharishi Durvasa was stopped from going in, he would destroy the entire clan by his curse. On the other hand, by disobeying Rama’s orders, Lakshmana would have to accept the death penalty. Lakshmana decided it would be right to sacrifice his life.

Thinking of this story, Antevasi took three notes of Rs. 10/- each in his left hand and having gone to Charu Babu in a most agitated state of mind, threw them at him and said as to a stranger in an excited manner, “Here you are. You will have to return the amount on the 31st day.”

Charu Babu took the money and went away laughing. He returned the money promptly to Antevasi on the 31st day.[1]

What conclusion have the readers drawn from this incident between the father and the son, we leave the readers to decide. But after thinking over it for long and practicing various spiritual disciplines, I have realized that M. was Sri Ramakrishna’s servant. He was living in family like a maid-servant under orders from the guru who had no right to give away anything to anybody. Therefore, M. apparently treated his son harshly. M. is an ideal householder, a role model and an idol.

By the grace of Sri Ramakrishna, the great series of the book ‘Sri Ma Darshan’ (M, the Apostle and the Evangelist) is nearing completion with this 15th Volume.[2] In the preface to the first volume it has been recorded how ‘Sri Ma Darshan’ originated. In this last volume, I am feeling inspired to add a short account of the publication of this work. It is as follows –

Since my early youth, impelled by a mysterious power, I was inspired to record the nectar-like words of M. in the form of a daily diary which was to blossom into ‘Sri Ma Darshan.’ In the later youth, the inspiration to write out the whole work, giving the diary the ornamentation of a literary form came to me at Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganges, in the Himalayas. It took some twenty years of the life of this ascetic living on holy alms to mould the dairy into Sri Ma Darshan after undergoing great labour in collecting reference books from place to place and visiting the libraries of different universities. I was then not keeping good health. However, the time to prepare the press copy arrived. Besides writing the diary, I had to write more or less ten thousand pages to put it in literary form and prepare the manuscript.

Before giving literary shape to the nectar-like words of M. from the diary, I made three prayers –

One, “O Lord, I shall write with the utmost effort. Reason? You have filled me with abundant inspiration and have added to it leisure, education, intellect, strength and will.”

 Two, “But the responsibility of publishing and propagating this great work will have to be borne by You Yourself. By inspiring the heart of one of Your own, may You get it published for the good of the devotees. It will not be possible for me to shoulder the responsibility of publication.”

Three, “After this great work is published, with Your grace that the remaining days of my life may be passed in thinking upon You in solitude with a mind free from anxiety.”

The perfect chance provided by the third prayer has now taken shape by the grace of the Lord.

I may now discuss a little – about the publication of this work, the subject of my second prayer mentioned.

The writing of this work started in early forties. The first part of Sri Ma Darshan was published twenty-three years after it was written out. When the first part had been written, I requested many devotees, friends and educated persons to get it published but nobody agreed to take up the responsibility. I would implore anybody I met to get it published. My keenness had, as if, taken the form of a disease – like Sri Ramakrishna’s description of the state of a ghost looking for his companion.

A ghost was looking for a companion. Whenever anybody died he would hasten to reach there. But the dead would take re-birth and the ghost failed to find any companion. Reason: It’s only by unnatural death that the spirit assumes the state of a ghost.  It was after great difficulty that it found a companion.

To get Sri Ma Darshan published when nobody was coming forward and my time was passing in acute anxiety, I came across a publisher by Thakur’s grace. That publisher was as eager to print this work as I was for a ‘companion’.

The events occurred in this fashion. Srimati Ishwar Devi Gupta, having been attacked by a serious disease, was lying in the Medical College Hospital at Amritsar in a critical condition. The most famous doctors had given up all hopes of her recovery. In this state one day at night, Sri Thakur appeared to her in a dream taking up the form of the Child-Krishna. Just as the child full of play and joy plays on the bosom of its mother this child, the Child-Krishna, too with a beaming, witty and joyous face was also busy playing.

When Srimati Gupta’s heart was bubbling with joy at this sight in her dream, just then the bright right hand of an unseen divine person was moving as if it was sewing. This sight revived hope of life in the mind of the despairing lady journeying on the road to death. She felt in her heart that her life would be saved. The pure cooling rays of the dawn of hope filled her heart and the deadly frightening shadow of death disappeared. The doctors seeing this amazing change suddenly were wonderstruck. But Srimati Gupta did not reveal the substance of her dream to anybody. She merely hinted to a couple of her near ones that her body would survive. The good tendencies of her previous births[3] were awakened by the grace of God. She expressed to the Lord internally her grateful resolve that she would devote the rest of her life only in His service, He who had saved her, by His grace, from the jaws of imminent death. This incident occurred in early January in 1960.

Srimati Gupta returned to her residence but was still half-dead.  She kept lying in her bed all the time in the state of immobility. Her only thought was how to devote her mind and body in the service of Thakur!

When going to the hospital in extreme prostration, by divine providence Ishwar Devi Gupta had been the recipient of the good wishes of a sadhu. The sadhu had whispered into her ears: I am no teller of the future but my mind is at ease. From inside my mind this word of hope is coming that your body is not going to perish, that you will have to carry out Thakur’s work.

Having returned from the hospital, she was spending her time now in hope, now in despair. Lying on her bed, the ripples of anxiety on the faces of her family members – husband, son, daughter and other near and dear ones – rose like ocean currents on her mind. And sometimes the bright remembrance of that lifesaving, supernatural, joyous divine child of her dream assumed a poised and brighter form. Who is that divine child? Whose invisible blessed hand was moving as if sewing? And thus her days were passing in a struggle of hope and despair.

During those days, the above mentioned sadhu came once to see Srimati Gupta at her house. He spoke the words of hope to her relevant for that particular time. Srimati Gupta like a very hungry child swallowed each word. She asked who had given him those nectar-like words. What was their source? “They are transporting me to a brighter world. Destroying my unbearable current despair, they are leading me on to the regions of the holy lights of a brighter hope,” she confided.

Having consoled her, the sadhu said to her: “The highest ideal of human life is God-realization, the attainment of the knowledge of one’s Self. Man is the child of immortality – this is what the Veda says. Without the realization of one’s Self, human-birth is in vain.

“The Veda says: Before his birth from his mother’s womb, the human mind remembers the sorrows of his many previous lives and the great hardships he suffered while in the womb. So he prays longingly to God: yadi yonyāḥ pramuñce'haṃ dhyāye brahma sanātanam. garbhopaniṣat 4 – if I am freed from the womb, I will meditate on the Eternal Brahman.’ With longing he prays thrice but when he is born, he forgets everything because of Mahamaya, the illusory Power of Brahman. Therefore, this very Veda has laid down that the man would remember God at least thrice daily till the last and pray to Him lest Mahamaya should make him forget.

“The Gayatri says: tatsaviturvareëyaà bhargo devasya dhémahi. (But) Mahamaya makes one forget everything, especially in this age of Kali. That’s why the company of sadhus is necessary. Without the company of sadhus one does not gain religion in this age. Those who live in the household need it all the more – the daily company of sadhus, daily prayer and daily devotions.

“Our birth on this earth is like being in exile. We have come here to work hard [to attain Him]. When our efforts have reached their conclusion we have to go ‘Our Home’, that is, to God. One should live in this world like the rich man’s maid-servant. The maid works for her master throughout the day but her mind dwells in her village where her children live. One should live in the world like the tortoise. The tortoise lives in water but lays its eggs on the earth. Its mind is where its beloved ones are.

“We should serve our kith and kin seeing God in them all. We should show them affection but in our mind we should remember that nobody is our own, nor are we theirs. Only God is everybody’s own.”

Srimati Gupta listened to the whole talk so eagerly and drew solace from it. A new light of hope sprang in her heart. She humbly asked: “Where did you get all these words from?” The sadhu said, “The source of all this is Sri Ramakrishna, the avatara of the age. I have heard these words from M., the great saint, the distinguished householder sannyasi and intimate disciple of Thakur. Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna kept him in the household for the peace and happiness of the world-scalded human beings. In spite of the repeated requests of M. for initiation into the all-renouncing sannyasa, Sri Ramakrishna asked him to live in the household in the service of God-in-man at the command of the Power of Brahman, the Mother of the Universe. In his heart, he had complete sannyasa. By his grace, hundreds of young men were able to embrace the all-renouncing sannyasa, and thousands of householders saw the image of the householder’s sannyasa reflected in the life of M. He attended to all his worldly duties but his mind always remained merged in Brahman. Seeing this, people felt inspired.”


Srimati Gupta asked the sadhu if it had been written out. The sadhu replied, “Yes, the first volume entitled ‘Sri Ma Darshan’ has been published and the manuscript of the second volume is with me.” At her earnest desire, the sadhu began translating the Bengali manuscript into Hindi and narrated it to her. Hearing it she was heartened with hope. Even in her half-dead state, she began to long for a new elevated, blissful and joyous life. She requested the sadhu to give her the manuscript adding that she would get it published.

At her persistent request, the sadhu agreed. But the manuscript was in Bengali. Srimati Gupta, therefore, resolved to learn Bengali. Coming to know of this desire, the sadhu got for her the two parts ‘Varna Parichaya’, written by Vidyasagar Mahashay from Calcutta. She also asked her father for a copy of ‘Bengali-English Teacher.’ The sadhu then left.

Though still on her sick-bed, she learnt Bengali, by her own effort in two months, and started translating the first volume of Sri Ma Darshan in Hindi lying in her bed. On the other hand, she took up the responsibility of publishing Sri Ma Darshan in Bengali. I have said earlier how eagerly I was looking for a person who would shoulder this responsibility but none did. Now she, with the same eagerness, began to request me again and again to give this responsibility to her. The result of this beginning is manifest in the publication of the fifteen[4] volumes of Sri Ma Darshan.

Two volumes[5] of Sri Ma Darshan translated in Hindi by Srimati Gupta, have been published in the meanwhile. Two more volumes in manuscript form are also ready. From the Hindi translation by Srimati Gupta, her husband Principal Dharm Pal Gupta has translated the two volumes into English with the title, ‘M., the Apostle and the Evangelist.’[6] But Srimati Ishwar Devi Gupta remains the publisher of all the volumes. Seeing her great work one realizes the truth that Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna himself gets his work done through his devotees by infusing inspiration into their hearts. What a wonder! Making of this sickly, half-alive, non-Bengali lady, residing in Punjab, the instrument of His will, what a miracle the Lord has wrought! I offer a thousand salutations with gratitude at her feet.

This service to Thakur by Srimati Gupta has been the elixir of her life and mind. For the last fourteen years, she has been infused with a life of jnana and bhakti by this elixir of service to Thakur. Her studies for M.A., both in History and Hindi, have proved their worth.

I am indebted to Srimati Gupta forever. I am realizing in the depth of my heart how God’s grace not only ‘makes the dumb eloquent and the lame go across mountains’[7] but also how it infuses life into the dead and makes a teacher out of a bare straw. It is also by His grace that a non-writer becomes a good writer.

The author expresses his gratitude to all those devotees and friends who have rendered any kind of help in bringing out this great work.

Before I conclude, I also express my gratitude to Principal Dharm Pal Gupta. During the last twelve years, his residence has been my home and the centre of service. I am indebted to him for his high mindedness.

Another devotee-friend must find a special mention here. He is Suresh Chandra Das. From reading the press proof of the Bengali Sri Ma Darshan to the various jobs connected with the embellishment of the book – for all this labour I am grateful to him too. In his case also, Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna having entered his heart, made him do all this effort even in his state of broken and sickly health.

Om! I dedicate it to Sri Ramakrishna![8]

Here I narrate another incident. It shouldn’t be irrelevant, such is my feeling. On 16 February, 1964 I suddenly fell ill in Hoshiarpur. I developed big bleeding ulcers inside my mouth up to the throat. The temperature of the body rose to 105°. I had a terrible headache and the body was as if it was on fire. Sometimes I lost complete outward consciousness, sometimes it was partial. Delirious as I was, not a drop of water I could take in and when forced to take it, I felt a death-like pain. The doctors were frightened.

I was alone at night. In my unconscious condition I had a Godly vision. I saw the Holy Mother in her image of old age standing near my bed on the brick-built floor facing north. She was wearing a sari with a thin red border. Her face was veiled as usual. To her left were standing three other devotee lady-companions. My head was towards the east. The door on the head had been bolted from within. In this dream, as I saw the Mother I said to her, “Ma, how have you entered the room? I bolted the door before going to bed.” She spoke with a soft smile as if hinting: (1) ‘You have to suffer much,’ and (2) ‘All provisions will be made.’ The dream broke. Only the memory of the image of the Holy Mother and the fourth devotee lady lingered. I have not been able to recall to this day the second and the third face. In that half-conscious state I was saying to myself: “What have I seen? Was it only a dream, or a reality? A dream is a dream, an illusion.”

The night ended with the dawn and the doctor arrived in the morning. Having examined me he felt rather anxious. Could it be an infection of the teeth? He conjectured and consulted a number of other proficient doctors including the dentist. Their conclusion was that it was impossible to save this life. They decided that in such a condition the only medicine was the newly invented ‘mycin’.[9] So they started its injections.

The doctors were examining me and it was 4 p.m. I was partially conscious, eyes shut, body and forehead burning with heat from fever. Just then a hand was placed on my forehead. I felt peace within. Opening my eyes a little, I vaguely saw it was Srimati Ishwar Devi Gupta’s hand. In that state of suffering I began to wonder: What has happened? This is the Holy Mother’s fourth devotee lady companion seen in the dream. Seeing my condition, Srimati Gupta made a seat for herself on another bed in that very room. She was herself not quite fit. For twenty-two days she stayed in that room and nursed me without leaving me. Oh, what a service! As if she was an image of the Mother. The possibility of my recovery was receding gradually. Srimati Gupta said to the doctor, “Give him something to eat. Medicine alone will not save him.” On the other hand, I felt a death-like pain when even a drop of water had to be swallowed. She said to the doctor again, “Please give me what you have by way of anesthesia in your hospital.”

And so, this was soon done. Deaf to all my screaming she wrapped some cotton wool round her finger and applied three kinds of ‘anesthesia’ thrice on my tongue, and along with it taking some boiled rice and curd with enough butter in a small dish put it in my mouth with a spoon. She remained deaf to all my loud screaming protestations. The doctors stood looking on. Some of the devotees and friends were also present.

After a day or two, the condition of the body was again as if it wouldn’t survive. Again the doctors and the devotees did not know what to do. The body wouldn’t survive. The abdomen was full of foul waste matter. I could hardly breathe and was screaming with pain. Srimati Gupta asked the doctor to clean the abdomen by applying a douche. The doctors did not agree. Reason: When a patient taking miacin develops abdominal symptoms his death is certain. But Srimati Gupta said, “The body is going off any way. You give him a douche. If the body must go, let it.”

So a douche was given and it did not work in the beginning. She suggested the use of a catheter. As soon as it was used the accumulated waste matter of a week gushed out. I also felt an immediate relief. No abdominal symptom appeared and I was saved. But Srimati Gupta herself fell ill. Similarly, on two other occasions at Amritsar and Solan, she reached my sick-bed from distant places (Rohtak and Chandigarh) inspired by a divine inspiration when my sickness had taken a difficult turn. All this is Divine Mother’s grace. I understood that the Mother had appointed her to protect my body. She is the Mother’s instrument. I also realized that Thakur had appointed Srimati Gupta for my work, just as the Mother had chosen her for saving my body. And the last words of solace spoken by revered Sri M. revived themselves in my mind: Just as a child lives in joy free from all cares when he is with his father and mother, even so may you live! So why worry? And also the words of Mahapurusha Maharaj (Swami Shivananda) dispelling all fears, “Believe. Thakur always abides with his devotees.” Wonderful is the play of the divine grace!

The 15th volume of ‘M. the Apostle and the Evangelist’ narrates the wonderful talks and the highly human acts of the life of M. It also narrates the lives of Sri Ramakrishna (the avatara of the age), the Holy Mother Sarada (the Primeval Power), the great renouncing sannyasins the chief of whom was Swami Vivekananda and some householder-sannyasins. And it presents a lively, pleasant and deep commentary on the ‘Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’ by the writer of the Gospel. Besides, it contains interesting comments on ancient Indian scriptures, the Upanishad, the Gita and so on, the Bible, the Quran and other scriptures of the modern faiths in the light of the liberal, animate and lively teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. The 15th volume records the precious divine words, the living Veda of the God-intoxicated Sri Mahapurusha Maharaj, Srimat Swami Shivananda, one of the most intimate disciples of Thakur, the great worthy second President of Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

The press copy of this volume was prepared in the office of Sri Ramakrishna Sri Ma Prakashan Trust (Sri Ma Trust), 579, Sector 18-B, Chandigarh. May the readers of this great book, M. the Apostle and the Evangelist, wreath of 15 flowers, attain eternal bliss, peace and joy! Such is the earnest prayer of the author.

The author expresses his gratitude to all those who have helped in any way in the publication of this series of books. In the end, he wishes to convey that a part of the manuscript of the talk of M. and the Mahapurusha Maharaj has remained unpublished because of the paucity of space. His desire is to incorporate them in future in the previously published fourteen volumes. And there is another wish which has remained unfulfilled: the writing of a biography of M. on the basis of the fifteen parts of Sri Ma Darshan and the five parts of the Kathamrita. It all depends on God’s grace!



The Author

Sri Ramakrishna Math (Tulsi Math)

38, Hardwar Road, Rishikesh (the Himalayas)

Devi Paksha, 1973 A.D.


[1]. We describe below another incident of a similar kind. A few days after the incident described above, the same second son of M., Charu Babu, giving a letter in the hands of child Anil, his fourth nephew, said, “Take this letter to father.” Anil took the letter to M. and handed it over to him. In the letter he had written, “Father, I am on the verge of starvation. Please give me some money.” M. read the note and wrote on the back, “Yes, I will give you whatever you want, but you are to stop going to the horse race.” Anil gave the letter to his uncle. The uncle read it but did not give the undertaking and did not receive the money. This incident also shows clearly that a saint’s heart is hard like a thunder-bolt in the matters of truth, in matters of pole-star principles, but while dealing with a devotee, or a common man of an afflicted person it is more tender than the lotus flower – vajrādapi kaṭhorāṇi mṛdūni kusumādapi. Uttararāmacarita 2:7.

[2]. Volume XVI of this work has also been published now, posthumously by Sri Ma Trust.

[3]. Samskaras.

[4]. As stated earlier, sixteen volumes of ‘Sri Ma Darshan’ are available in Bengali now.

[5]. All sixteen volumes of ‘Sri Ma Darshan’ have now been published in Hindi.

[6]. Volumes I to XII of ‘M. The Apostle and the Evangelist have been published earlier. This is volume XV of the series.

[7]. Mūkaṃ karoti vācālaṃ paṅguṃ laṅghayate girim. gītā dhyānam 8.

[8]. o śrīrāmakṛṣṇārpaamastu.


[9]. An antibiotic.