The Image of Shiva


The Morton School terrace on the fourth storey, Monday, 9 June 1930. M. comes and sits on a chair facing north. A sadhu from Belur Math has arrived. He had come to Calcutta by the one o’clock steamer to visit Dr. Shyamapada Mukherji’s house. Leaving a message with Sukhendu in Jaygopal’s house that he will spend the night at the Advaita Ashram, he has come to see M.

After the sadhu has offered his salutations, M. asks him to sit down on the bench. Then, with great delight, he enquires after the Math. In the course of the conversation, he says, “Where is your diary?”

The sadhu reads the diary –

Sunday, 16 March, 1930. Sri Mahapurusha’s room, 7 a.m. Antevasi comes in and offers his salutations.

Sri Mahapurusha (very affectionately): “Jagabandhu, are you well?”

Antevasi:[1] “Yes, sir. I am leaving today.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “For Deoghar? Yes, do go. It’s a good place. It’s very warm, besides others (sadhus) are living there also.”

Antevasi (very humbly): “Kindly talk to Thakur a little about me – that I may develop faith and love for him.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “You should talk to him yourself. Will he not listen to you? Talk to him about yourself. But I do say: May you have faith and love. I emphasize that you have faith and love for him. Will you eat something before you leave? What would you like to have?”

Antevasi: “Boiled rice and boiled vegetables.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Why, only that?”

It is quarter to ten. Antevasi has to leave for Deoghar. He goes to offer salutations to Sri Mahapurusha who is seated on an easy chair in front of the door. When Antevasi prostrates before him and salutes him, he says, “So, you are going? You may.”

Mati, the attendant, gives him a string of beads to sanctify. Sri Mahapurusha says, “What? Would the rosary be given to him to perform japam? (To Antevasi by sign of the eyes and the face) All right, come here.”

Antevasi goes to Khoka Maharaj’s room to offer him salutations and take his leave. Sri Mahapurusha sends Mati to ask Antevasi to write from Deoghar.

Antevasi comes in again. He is not inclined to leave Sri Mahapurusha and the Math. Sri Mahapurusha says, “Please write to us off and on. Let us know how you are doing. There is not so much work there.” Antevasi looks silently at Sri Mahapurusha. His inner-self doesn’t want to leave him.

Sri Mahapurusha (reprimanding him): “What am I saying?”

Antevasi (humbly): “I don’t know.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Take up your duties, keeping in mind your physical state. (Making a sign with his thumb and the forefinger) Just this much work. (Reprimanding him again, raising his voice) Just this much. They kill people with overwork.”

Antevasi has returned from Madras with a broken body because of too much work. That is why Sri Mahapurusha cautions him like a mother, though he himself is the President of the Order.

Antevasi returns after offering salutations to the sadhus outside the office. From his room, Sri Mahapurusha asks him, “How will you go?” Antevasi replies, “By bus.”

Leaving the building, Swami Shashwatananda makes Antevasi sit in a car. Swami Shuddhananda, Shashadhar Maharaj and Vairagyananda are going to leave for Howrah in their own car. Antevasi is weeping in his heart and his eyes are full of tears.

Swami Bodhatmananda joins Antevasi at Howrah. Alone on the train, Antevasi weeps and says to himself, “Thakur is again taking me away to teach boys. My mind wants to abide in this heaven on earth, in the Math.”

M. is composed and his gaze is fixed on the sky. He says, “It is true, true. This Math is the centre of the all-renouncing intimate disciples of Thakur, the recent avatara, the manifestation of Sat-chit-ananda on earth. Where can one find such a heaven on earth?”

The reading from the diary continues –

Belur Math, Tuesday, 3 June, 1930, the verandah on the second storey. Sri Mahapurusha is pacing. It is 8 a.m. and it is summer. The Deoghar Vidyapith is observing summer vacation. Two sannyasis from there have just arrived. They will spend the vacation at the Math – Swami Ajayananda and another one.

They offer salutations to Sri Mahapurusha. Sri Mahapurusha asks one of the sadhus, “Where have you come from?” Coming to know that they have come from Deoghar, he asks Swami Ajayananda if the school is running all right. He says to the other sadhu affectionately, “Jagabandhu, are you doing well?”

Thursday, 5 June, 1930, a little before dusk, Sri Mahapurusha comes and sits down on an easy chair on the verandah overlooking the Ganges, near the smaller room. Swami Vamadevananda stands fanning him to whisk away mosquitoes on his feet. The eyes of Sri Mahapurusha are steady, his body tired. But his mind is lively and strong, absorbed within. Some devotees are squatting on the floor.

As soon as the bell rings for evening worship, they all go to the shrine. After some time, devotees from Chetla come, offer their salutations, and begin to talk casually. One sadhu was not able to offer salutations this morning because he was in Calcutta with Master Mahashay yesterday. Standing in the passageway, he is waiting to salute him.

Sri Mahapurusha now rises and goes toward his room. The sadhu is standing on the mat in Swamiji’s room. He used to be the attendant of the room. When Sri Mahapurusha comes before him, the sadhu salutes him. He laughs and says, “This is your old room.” The sadhu is surprised. He says to himself, “How amazing! He is so unwell, but he remembers. This is a sign of a man of steady wisdom.”

Entering his own room, Sri Mahapurusha says, “Where are you, brother? I have to urinate.” Swami Vamadevananda comes in and places the piss-pot on a stool. Sri Mahapurusha cannot sit on the ground, so he stands to make water, like a child, without any hesitation or shame. He lifts up his cloth completely. The state of a paramahamsa! Childlike.

M.: “Sri Mahapurusha has become a paramahamsa, has had the vision of Brahman, so he conducts himself like a child. Thakur went into this state very often. Whether it was a male or a female, nobody had the least doubt that he was not a child of five. What you have written about Sri Mahapurusha is exactly the state of a paramahamsa. How can a man realize all this by reading books? Blessed they are who have seen all this. True religion means revelation. When an avatara comes, one can have such vision. Blessed they are who have such experience.”


The reading from the diary continues –

Today is Ganga Dasahara.

Friday, 6 June. According to the scriptures, worship of the Ganges and a bath on this day absolves one from ten kinds of sins of the body, speech and mind. The Ganges is worshipped today throughout its descent.

Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair in his room on the second storey, his face towards the south. There is a table near the wall to his right with books, letters, papers, et al. Sri Mahapurusha is sick and weak. His flesh and fat have dried up, and his skin hangs loosely. His back is bent. He finds it difficult to sit erect. The veins of his forehead are prominent because of his suffering, but his sight is unimpaired. Both eyes are big, protruding, and shining. How wonderful! Looking at his eyes, one feels as though an ocean of joy is flowing within.

A sadhu says to himself, “It will not even do justice by saying that there is a difference of heaven and the nether-world between this God-realized great soul of steady wisdom and an ordinary man. He is so ill, yet his mind is so clean, pure, and full of joy. Unless one sees a God-realized soul, one cannot fully comprehend the characteristics described in the scriptures – by reading the scriptures or by practicing austerities. It is as if there are two persons – one who is undergoing ill health – anéçayä çocati muhyamänaù[2] and the other, a knower of Brahman, same in pain and pleasure, indifferent to worldly interests, untouched, serene, and full of joy. We are truly fortunate to be able to see with our eyes, the glory of the life of a God-realized soul.”

It is quarter past six in the morning. The sadhus of the Math are coming one by one to offer their salutations to Sri Mahapurusha who conducts himself like a religious teacher. In a calm and solemn tone, he asks about the welfare of each. As soon as Swami Bhagavatananda (Naren) of Kashi offers him salutations, Sri Mahapurusha says, “So, Jagadishananda has passed on. It is nice, it is so much the better. He did not trouble anybody, nor did he suffer. He was a man of spiritual knowledge and did not have attachment for his son and daughter. When you live with them, attachment creeps in. What has happened is good. A particular chapter has ended. Life is eternal, one of its chapter has come to an end. Good that he attained liberation in Kashi, the place of Lord Viswanath. I always found him to be a man of quiet nature.”

Swami Bhagavatananda: “He never liked to be served by anybody. If we said, ‘Let us fan you,’ he would say, ‘No.’ He had no wish for anything to eat or to wear.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “It is because his desire for sense enjoyments was over.”

The sadhus are coming and then leaving after offering their salutations. In between each, there is a short conversation on different subjects. Now there is a conversation with Swami Omkarananda.

Swami Omkarananda: “It is Dasahara today. Did Thakur use to experience any ecstatic mood on this day?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “I don’t remember. (After thinking for awhile) No, I don’t remember. But he used to say that the water of the Ganges is the water of Brahman – he had such love and devotion for it.

“I used to visit him then. I would ease myself in the Jhautala, after which I would wash in the Ganges. I did this for quite a few days. One day, pointing at it, he asked, ‘Where have you been?’ When he came to know that I had gone to ease myself, he asked where I washed. When he came to know that I did it in the Ganges, he said, ‘One should not do this. Ganges water is Brahman-water. Here is a pot, take water in it and wash yourself.’ And he also said, ‘Take water from the Hanspukur.’”

Swami Omkarananda: “Well, what did he mean when he said that? Is it because there is a special manifestation of Brahman in Brahman-water?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes. Because of the special manifestation of Brahman in it. We did not understand much in the beginning. We only understood it later when he said it. The scriptures call it Brahman-water, and he said the same. This happens with an intellect that believes in God – one believes everything the saints have said in the past. Sri Ramakrishna used to say, ‘All that the saints have said is true.’ When boys read English, they do not accept all this. It was not so with him. He had faith in everything.”

Swami Omkarananda: “How far can our intellect take us? He had deep insight. He says that  the wooden idol of Lord Jagannath at Puri,[3] the water of the Ganges, and the dust of Vrindavan are all the very presence of Brahman.”

They begin to talk how and where the Ganges puja is celebrated on Dasahara days. Afterward, they talk about Thakur.

Swami Omkarananda: “I heard that one day all the devotees in Dakshineswar except Girish Babu went for a bath in the Ganges. He stayed sitting in Thakur’s room. Thakur said, ‘Please go.’ Girish Babu said, ‘I am sitting beside you. Where else shall I go?’ Thakur said, ‘Today there is a special manifestation of the Ganges.’ Then he went as Thakur asked him to go.

“Then when he entered the Ganges, a mood came upon him and he began to sprinkle water on himself, saying, ‘Let all sins be erased.’”

Sri Mahapurusha: “This is possible. What cannot happen when he (Thakur) said? Visions of God are all true. An ordinary man cannot see them, because he has an impure mind. When the mind is pure, it can receive – as in the case of a wireless message. There is always conversation going on. But one can hear it only when the receiver is nearby.”

Sri Omkarananda: “I heard that the Holy Mother once had vision of Thakur in the countryside. She saw the Ganges coming out of his feet – a current of water flowing out. Thereafter the Mother worshipped him with hibiscus flowers. Because of some reason, the Holy Mother could not go for a bath in the Ganges. This had troubled her mind. So he showed that form to her. Later, the Holy Mother showed the spot to the devotees saying, ‘It was here.’”

Sri Mahapurusha: “It is possible. They have another insight. There are some who, by His grace, automatically have visions of God while meditating.”

Swami Omkarananda: “A person who meditates on an image does not know his inner true Self. So what should he imagine while meditating? Does one’s inner Self reveal itself on its own in the end?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, he will recognize his real Self at the end.”

Swami Omkarananda: “It is like the germs in milk. You can’t see them with your bare eyes, but you can see them through a microscope. The purer the mind, the more it can understand the subtle.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, there is the gross, the subtle, the causal and the Great Cause – all these. As the mind is purified, one understands them all gradually. That microscope is within us. You don’t have to make one.”

Swami Omkarananda: “It is nothing but the mind.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, the mind. The mind is everything. They are all the different states of the mind itself. Now it sees the gross ­– and when it becomes subtle, the gross will remain gross. But the mind will become different. It is the same with the causal and the Great Cause. All these remain as they are, only the mind changes.

“The cause of them all is the same. The cause of this (pointing at Omkarananda’s body) and the cause of that (pointing to a book on the table) and of that (pointing to the wall to the right) is one and the same. There is no difference in the cause. The cause of paper is the same as the cause of the wall. The cause is one, but their work is different.”

Swami Omkarananda: “And this mind, rising up gradually, becomes one with the Great mind. With that mind, everything is understood.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, that’s it.”

Sri Mahapurusha is going to take some refreshment. The conversation stops and the sadhu leaves. It is 6.30 a.m.

M.: “Thakur used to emphasize that it is very difficult to realize Brahman in the Kaliyuga. Yet he used to call the aöakä[4] of Jagannath, the dust of Vrindavan, and the water of Ganges the very presence of Brahman.

“Thakur had the vision of the Holy Mother as Ganges. One should believe in all this. It will not do to reason it away. By reason He is very far and by faith, He is close at hand. By His grace, Thakur showed the devotees that God resides in all living beings and abides in everything. By attaining western education, one loses one’s simple faith. By his grace, devotees have regained it.”


Reading from the diary continues.

The verandah overlooking the Ganges. Swami Subodhananda is seated, facing north, on an easy chair near Swamiji’s room on the second storey. He is smoking through a rubber pipe. Many sadhus are standing around. They are talking causally. Swami Omkarananda comes, salutes him, and asks him a question.

Swami Omkarananda (to Swami Subodhananda): “Today is the day of Dasahara – Ganga puja. (Pointing at the embankment) Did you have the vision of the Ganga there?”

Swami Subodhananda (smiling): “Yes. There were songs going on (in the visitor’s room after the arati.) I saw a very small girl of five or six sitting there (on the steps of the Ganges to the right) on the embankment dangling her feet. She was very graceful. I was sitting here. I called out to Mahapurusha: Look, this wretched girl is trying to kill herself. From which family is she? She immediately jumped into the water with a splash.”

Swami Omkarananda: “Kälabhayaväriëé kapäliné – this was the song being sung. How did she look?”

Swami Subodhananda: “Very pretty.”

Swami Omkarananda: “Vijnanananda Swami also saw her. He was taking a dip at the Triveni in Prayag. Suddenly he saw a girl with three pigtails down her back. Vijnanananda asked Maharaj (Brahmananda), ‘Was it real or a hallucination?’ He replied, ‘You have really attained.’”

Swami Subodhananda: “Thakur’s and our insights are different.”

Swami Omkarananda: “Well, do you remember a certain mood of Thakur on the Dasahara day today?”

Swami Subodhananda: “He used to wear an unbleached cloth on the Dasahara day and take a bath in the Ganges. And if someone was not at peace, he’d ask him to take a little Ganges water. On this day they used to put big garlands of flowers on the Ganges there (Howrah Bridge), from one bank to the other.

(Smiling) “I have taken the minds of many out of their ecstatic mood. Many of those who used to visit Thakur had ecstasy – Deven Babu, Master Mahashay and so many who went to him used to go into ecstasy. The teeth of some of them would be clinched.

“One day Thakur said to me, ‘Go there. There is community singing of devotional songs there.’ I said, ‘No, I don’t want to. What is there to see? I don’t like their frame of mind.’ Then he himself went, and I accompanied him. I asked him ‘Whose state of mind is right among them?’ Thakur said, ‘Latu’s. Unless I place my foot on his chest, he doesn’t regain consciousness.’ Towards the end, Latu Maharaj also had visions of God, like him. One day both of us were sitting on the roof. It was a very hot day. He said, ‘Go to the Seva Ashrama. You will see everything there. What do you have here?’ I was speechless with wonder. There was nobody there. Whom was he talking to? Then he said, ‘You see the women visitors. I am asking them to go.’

“He said to me, ‘Stay here. You are son of divinity. You will not lack anything.’ Hearing that I am not staying in good health, he said, ‘I’ll arrange for a seer of milk for you every day.’ So I stayed there.

“Swamiji[5] went into ecstasy one day on Shivaratri, where they cut vegetables. He was singing, accompanied by a tanpura. Some cotton wool was placed before his nostril. It did not move. Mahapurusha then took the tanpura from his hand and Swamiji lay down, turning on the other side. Seeing this, Mahapurusha began to play the tanpura, chanting ‘Har Har bum bum.’ Swamiji regained consciousness and said to me, ‘Khoka, let’s go and sleep.’ Hearing this, Rakhal Maharaj beckoned me to take him with me, fearing he may not again have the same state of ecstasy. I took him to his room.

“I used to live in this very small room. I heard Swamiji speaking. I began to wonder who could have come at that hour. When I went to his room, I saw that he was sitting alone. I asked him, ‘What’s the matter? With whom are you talking?’ He laughed and said, ‘Please prepare a smoke for me.’”

Coming out of his room, Sri Mahapurusha stands in the passageway near the door of Swamiji’s room with folded hands and says, “Victory to Swamiji! Victory to Swamiji!” Then he walks slowly, swinging his body, his body bent forward. Swami Subodhananda tries to rise from his easy chair. Sri Mahapurusha says, “Don’t get up. Please stay seated.”

Sri Mahapurusha walks north to south on the verandah. His body is naked except for a thin half-piece of dhoti. Even this he is not able to manage. Folding it in the middle, he thrusts it in at the waist. He is wearing his red velvet slippers. Seeing him, one realizes that even a self-realized paramahamsa is not immune from sickness and old age. Even so, these men are monarchs of their minds, which always remain absorbed in Sat-chit-ananda. Together with old age and death, agelessness and immortality are visible on their body.

Sri Mahapurusha stands in front of the easy chair facing south. Swami Subodhananda sits on the one facing north. Swami Omkarananda is standing, with the railing behind him. To his left brahmachari Gadadhar stands in the southeast corner, and another sannyasin, toward the southwest. The subject of the Ganga puja and of sacrificing goats comes up.

Sri Mahapurusha: “This was done one time at Baranagore.”

Swami Omkarananda: “Everyone present chanted together the mantra of the goat attaining godhood as the mådaìga[6] was played – Swamiji had taught it. They had the feeling that the goat had really attained godliness.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Not many people visited the Math. People used to say: These dammed boys have made a sacrifice of goat playing on their mådaìga. Master Mahashay (M.) and others talked about it to the Holy Mother. She was living on the other bank then. She called them and said, ‘Sons, why do what hurts others?’ So the sacrifice was not repeated.”

Swami Omkarananda: “During Durga Puja celebrations at the Math, Swamiji wanted ‘blood-stained mud’ in the Math as mentioned in the scriptures – navavyäìgarudhirakardamam.[7] Perhaps it was again the Mother who had it stopped. When asked, the Mother said, ‘No. Let it not be.’”

A particular sadhu: “Perhaps they make the sacrifice of the goat in Sankata Temple in Kashi.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “No. In Kashi they only sacrifice a goat at the Durga Temple. Nowhere else.”

A Sadhu: “In Vimla Devi Temple at Puri?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “That is done late at night. People are made to leave.”

Swami Omkarananda: “Once Sarat Maharaj (Swami Saradananda) saw a head in the vilwa leaves. They had forgotten to take it out.”

A Sadhu: “Nobody has been able to stop the sacrifice at Kalighat.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “That is bound to be. It is being done without interruption.”

Swami Subodhananda (smiling): “The Mother has been eating it a long time. Her teeth have not fallen out!” (Everybody laughs.)

Sri Mahapurusha: “Son, I don’t know all this. All I know is that She is the Mother, full of compassion, who rids one from the three afflictions. Nityaiva sä jaganmätä tvayä tatamidaà jagat.[8] The gods pray in the hymn:

Tvaà vaiñëavé çaktiranantavéryä

viçvasya béjaà paramäsi mäyä,

Sammohitaà devi samastametat

tvaà vai prasanna bhuvi muktihetuù.[9]

Swami Omkarananda recites some portion of the Narayani hymn from the Chandi.

Sri Mahapurusha: “She is the compassionate one who rids one of the three afflictions. She comes down for the good of the world. She has various forms. Whenever and in whichever form She may come, it is for the good of the world. There is no evil, no harm in Her. She is ever propitious. She has no other aim but to do good. What does She lack? Nänäväptamaväptavyam varta eva ca karmaëi.[10] There is nothing that is not within Her reach. She works for good of the world. Her manifestation with form is for the world. (He looks at the Ganges and at the Dakshineswar Temple.) Her heart is full of compassion, love, and so on.”

A Sadhu (to himself): “Is he referring to the forms of gods like Hara and Parvati and the forms of avataras like Rama and Krishna when he recites this? Does he mean that their assuming a form is for the good of the world? That they are the different manifested forms of the same one reality, Parabrahman? Till an embodied being is merged in Parabrahman, all these forms are true.”

Sri Mahapurusha now proceeds to his room. A sadhu is with him. Standing in the passageway toward the west, he says, “My Father was a çäkta.[11] I saw in my childhood that during the Jagadhatri puja, he would behead a goat and, placing the head on his head, he would enter the Chandi mandap – with blood dripping all over him. I didn’t like it. What is this? To kill living animals! This was rajasic conduct. Thakur used to say, ‘The Mother has such forms that you cannot even smell their fragrance.’”

Sri Mahapurusha enters his room. He is going to take a rest, old as he is in body. It is 7.30 a.m.

Sunday morning, 8 June, 1930. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair facing south in his room in front of the table. Sadhus come to offer their obeisance. Forgetting his indisposition, he showers his affectionate blessings with appropriate words to all. Nalini (Saradeshwarananda) salutes him. Mahapurusha smiles and chants.



Bhaja govindaà bhaja govindaà

bhaja govindaà müòhamate.[12]


The reading from the diary ends.

M. (when it is over): “These gods and goddesses are all real. This is nothing to be wondered about. He has become this infinite wonderful universe. Can’t He take all those forms of gods and goddesses? It is quite correct. When His grace dawns, the mind-stuff[13] becomes absolutely pure and then one can have a vision of His various forms.

“Did Thakur say only that divine forms were true? He revealed them to the devotees – divinity with form, without form, all. If he revealed too much, the devotees would not be able to bear it. This happened with Arjuna. So he revealed only as much as each could bear.

“Who is Thakur? Thakur is that very Brahma-shakti, the power of Brahman, the power that creates, preserves and dissolves. He is Brahman and he is Shakti. Brahman and His Shakti cannot be differentiated. Thakur and the Mother are Brahman and Shakti. Thakur and the Mother are one and the same.”

Twilight is now approaching. Sitting at the foot of the tulasi plant, M. meditates. Swami Raghavananda, Sudhir the stout, Purnendu, and others are seated around him. The two youths from Malabar are also seated there.

After the meditation, M. returns to his seat toward the south. When he is halfway there, a sadhu touches M.’s feet to offer his salutation. Not being able to recognize him in the dark, M. says, “Who is it?” The sadhu replies, “Jagabandhu.” Smiling and full of delight, M. say, “O Jagabandhu. You have had your head shaved. Did you get it done here?”

M. is seated on a chair facing north. To his left there are sadhus on a double-bench. In front of him and to the right devotees are seated on other benches. Both young men from Madras (Malabar) prostrate themselves before him. M. looks at the sadhu and says, “Maybe they are students.” The sadhu replies, “Yes sir. They are brothers at the Madras Math. They are sons of the maternal uncle of Swami Ghanananda. From Malabar.”

M. (with great delight): “Look! Because of His (Thakur’s) advent, the whole country has become one family.”

Suren Chakravarti enters.

The Elder Jiten (Jitendranath Sen) is a bench clerk of the High Court. He has sent many freshly-made samosas[14] in a large aluminum vessel. M. takes the vessel from the hands of Jiten’s son and, holding it in both hands and closing his eyes, he offers them to Thakur, and then he holds it near the sadhus.

M. (to the sadhus): “Please take two each. (Holding it in front of Suren Chakravarti) Take, please take.”

Suren Chakravarti: “I have not yet finished my daily rituals.”

M.: “What is this? A sadhu is none but Narayana. When such sadhus have taken it, it has become consecrated food. Do you get such prasad? Do take it.”

But Suren Babu does not take it in spite of this.

A sadhu (to himself): “How strange. A great spiritual personality, an apostle of the Lord, is offering it with his own hands, yet he has refused it. The man doesn’t seem to have a sharp intellect. He for whom one performs daily rituals, worship and reading of scriptures is in front of him, yet he cannot see this. Such a great pundit Vasudeva Sarbhaum was, such a devout brahmin. But he acted in an incorrect way. Mahaprabhu Chaitanya Deva gave him consecrated sandal paste and tulsi before he had been to the toilet. He brought it to his forehead and then put it in his mouth.”

Suren Babu holds a Master’s degree and he is also an initiated disciple of Holy Mother. He is secretary of the Medical College.

M. goes the staircase room and takes a seat. He asks the sadhus and devotees to chant the kirtan. There is a mådaìga but nobody knows how to play it.

M. (smiling, to a sadhu): “Jagabandhu Babu, you do not know it? Learn it. At Baranagore, Swamiji used to teach them (Thakur’s children) how to sing and play musical instruments. Rakhal Maharaj and Tarak Maharaj could play the tabla. Sarat Maharaj could play as well as sing.”

The devotees clap and sing the kirtan: Radhe Govinda Jai, Sri Radhe Govinda Jai.

Listening for awhile, M. goes downstairs to take his dinner. Lest the devotees talk of anything but God, M. has a practice of making them listen to readings of scriptures or participate in kirtan when he goes to take his food.

Sitting in the southwestern corner of the room, he takes his meal on the floor – bread and milk without sugar. Taking milk in a saucer, he drinks it, while an attendant stands before him. He says, “You have not brought Jagabandhu Babu’s dinner?” The attendant says, “He will go to the Advaita Ashram.”

After having the darshan of M. and offering him salutations with folded hands, the sadhu takes leave.


Advaita Ashrama

4 Wellington Lane, Calcutta

Monday, 1 June, 1930.


[1]. Jagabandhu and Antevasi refer to the same person.

[2]. The embodied being loses his bearings in suffering. Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.2.

[3]. Daru Brahman.

[4]. Dry rice prasad.

[5]. Swami Vivekananda.

[6]. Small drum.

[7]. On the ninth day [of the Durga Puja, worship the Devi after creating] a mire of blood. Quote from Raghunandana’s Durga Puja Tattva.

[8]. Chandi 1.64.

[9]. You are the power of Vishnu, Your valour is infinite. You are the primeval power of the universe, of the form of Mahamaya. The entire universe is deluded in Your amazing maya, O Devi. If You become gracious, people can get emancipation from the clutches of the world. Chandi 11:5.

[10]. There is nothing in the world, unattained, that might be attained by Me… – Bhagavad Gita 3:22.

[11]. Worshipper of çäkti.

[12]. Uncertain is the life of man as water drops on a lotus leaf; Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, O foolish one – Dvädaçamaïjarikä of Sri Sankaracharya. Nalini is Sanskrit for lotus.

[13]. Chitta.

[14]. Samosa – an Indian patty.