Morton School. Thursday, 19 June 1930. It would soon be twilight. M. comes out of his room and sits on the terrace. Swami Raghavananda and many other devotees are already there. Swami Nityatmananda is awaiting M. with them. They all rise and offer namaskar with folded hands. M. reciprocates with a namaskar and enquires after each one’s welfare.
M. (to Swami Nityatmananda): “Where have you come from?”
Swami Nityatmananda: “I am coming from the Basumati office just now. We are going to get a monthly for the Madras Math free of cost. I left the Math by steamer at 1 o’clock.”
With M.’s permission, a sadhu now reads the Belur Math diary.
Today is the full moon day of Jyeshtha, Tuesday, 10 June, 1930. It is also the day of the bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannath. As well, the Dakshineswar Temple was founded on this day.
It is 6 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his bed. Sadhus are offering salutations to him, after which some of them leave. However Asangananda, Ajayananda, Jyotirmayananda, Bholanath, Nityatmananda, and others stay to have his darshan.
Sri Mahapurusha (to Swami Jyotirmayananda): “Today is the snana-yatra day. It would be very nice if you would take Thakur’s relics out.”
Nityatmananda takes Asangananda and some others with him and goes to Dakshineswar. There, they pay homage at the houses of Jadu Mallick and Sambhu Mallick and other sacred places sanctified by the holy feet of Sri Ramakrishna. Himanshu offers prasad to the sadhus at the Dakshineswar temple gate. The latter was returning to Calcutta.
Belur Math. Thursday, 12 June 1930, 29th Jyeshtha 1337 (B.Y.), Sri Mahapurusha’s room. It is twenty past six in the morning. The day is very hot, so Sri Mahapurusha is without a vest sitting on his bed facing west. His back is bent, but his face is smiling. Brahmachari Vimal and Bholanath, the brahmachari from Deoghar, stand there after saluting him.
When a sadhu enters the room, Sri Mahapurusha says, smiling, “What is the name given to you?” The sadhu comes forward and, standing very close to the cot, replies, “Nityatmananda.” Sri Mahapurusha looks inward and repeats “Nityatma.”
A wasp finds its way into the room and perches on the red rubber tube of the hookah, which is on a stool in front of Sri Mahapurusha. He puffs at it from time to time. The wasp has to be shooed away. Mahapurusha looks to his right and to his left. The sadhu understands that he is looking for a fan. He asks, “Are you looking for the fan?” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Yes, give me a fan.” The fan was lying close to his pillow. The sadhu drives the wasp away with the fan, but it flies in again and sits on the northwestern window. Its venetian blind is shut. The sadhu doesn’t see it. The window to the southwest is also shut. A mosquito is flying over it, and the sadhu drives it away with the fan. Sri Mahapurusha says, “It has come in again. Do it. Do it. Turn it out by opening the window.” The sadhu opens the southwestern window. Watching, Sri Mahapurusha says, “No, not that.” The sadhu then sees the wasp and, opening the northwestern window, drives it out. The sadhu was ashamed that he had not seen the wasp.
Bhattacharya, a student from the Mission Industrial School, comes in and salutes Sri Mahapurusha, who laughs and says jocularly, “Mr. Bhattacharya of the Gurukul! So you are learning the ten Hindu sacraments? One should not destroy the family tradition.” The boy answers, “My elder and second brothers are doing it.” Sri Mahapurusha again says in humor, “And what are you learning, weaving? You are the son of a Bhattacharya (priestly class) and you have taken up the work of a weaver. (Smiles) That’s good. The times are such. One must learn some (handicraft).”
After his breakfast, Sri Mahapurusha paces north-south on the verandah of the second storey as he usually does. Swami Bhaskarananda and brahmachari Shailesh are with him. A sadhu is meditating and performing japam in Swamiji’s room. He thinks that from there he will have the darshan of Mahapurusha and the convenience of listening to his words more often. Seeing Mahapurusha come, he stands in the passageway outside the room. Limping, Sri Mahapurusha returns to his room. He is very tired, and the day is very hot. Going through the passageway, he enters the office. It is already quarter past seven in the morning.
Coming to his room, Sri Mahapurusha sits down on his cot. It is now half past eight and he is going to rest. Swami Pranavananda comes in and salutes him.
Sri Mahapurusha (to Swami Pranavananda): “The snana-yatra of Sri Jagannath is over. Now He (Jagannath) will remain indisposed.”
Swami Pranavananda: “They are going to give him medicinal decoction.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “And they will put him to bed on kalami (an edible aquatic plant) with a pillow of patals (a kitchen vegetable).”
Swami Pranavananda: “Yes, sir. The eating of patals is no more. The widows of brahmins eat neither kalami nor patals.”
Sri Mahapurusha (laughing freely, like a child): “Who knows how these traditions came!”
Swami Pranavananda: “Even patal is no longer tasty.”
M.: “The whole conduct of a man of steady wisdom is precious – his food, his sleep, his walk, his reflection – everything. If one watches carefully, one can see that knowledge of Brahman peeps through them all. All their conduct is different from an ordinary man’s. It is soaked in the nectar of Brahman. There is a special kind of attraction, as in a magnet, in all the doings of a Brahman-realized man. True devotees discover it. In even the short conversations and conduct of great souls, there is this attraction. They are all valuable.”
Reading from the diary continues –
Belur Math. Saturday, 14 June 1930, 31 Jyeshtha 1337 (B.Y.), Sri Mahapurusha’s room, 6:15 a.m. After hot days, it has become cool because of a shower. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his cot in the attitude of a religious teacher and is in a happy frame of mind. He is smiling. He has so much physical suffering, but there is no sign of it in his eyes or on his face. Only the body of this lion of a man is seized with the infirmities of old age – his mind continues to remain as strong as a lion. Strong, lively, bright, and free from even a trace of worry.
Sadhus are coming and leaving after saluting him. His smiling face showers affectionate blessings on them all, this great soul seized with the infirmities of old age, but liberated in this very life.
Since it is cool today, he feels like reading hymns of praise. Getting the book Brihat-stava-kavacha-mala from someone, he gives it to Swami Asangananda and asks him to find where the Shiva’s hymn composed by Ravana can be found.
Swamis Asangananda, Shashwatananda, Jitatmananda, Nityatmananda and other sadhus are standing in the room and having darshan of Sri Mahapurusha as they listen to him. They see in that infirm body the one liberated in this very life – sthitaprajïasya kä bhäñä samädhisthasya, sthitadhé kià prabhäñet. They also observe kimäséta vrajeta kim.
Seated on his cot, Sri Mahapurusha recites each word like a child as he reads a few portions of the hymn to Mahadeva by Ravana:
gale'vlambya lambitäà bhujaìgatuìgamälikäm,
cakära caëòatäëòavaà tanotu naù çivaù çivam.
Reading one portion, Sri Mahapurusha smiles and says, “Yes, it is just like Ravana. Just as his words are, so is their arrangement and the music.”
“All these are for our good. Shiva’s tandava dance is also for the good of the world. He is all good. That’s why he is called Shiva. Shiva means good, auspicious.”
“(Smiling, as he tries to remember) Swamiji’s (V.N.) song is also beautiful. Enthused, he tries to sing it on a high note, but because of asthma, he is short of breath. He starts with ‘Har Har Mahadeva.’ As he sings the first line, his breath stops. He again tries to sing a line, but cannot. He says, ‘Because of infirmity, I cannot sing. I used to be able to.’”
His refreshments are brought in – two sandesh and some Horlicks. All the sadhus go out. He eats like a child.
Swami Pranavananda comes in, salutes, and stands there. He generally comes at this hour. He is the doctor of the Math. He brings news of the entire residential quarters and talks about various things.
Swami Pranavananda: “It is cold today, Maharaj. Araria, being close to the Himalayas, is cold like this in the morning,.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Very cold.”
Swami Pranavananda: “It is no longer humid.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “It will be back.”
After refreshments Sri Mahapurusha goes to the verandah of the second storey. Standing in front of Swamiji’s room, he says, “Victory to Guru Maharaj, victory to Swamiji.” A sadhu hears it from the office. These days, standing before Swamiji’s room, Sri Mahapurusha chants this song of victory with folded hands almost daily.
The sadhu comes out of the office and sees brahmachari Damu of the Madras Math standing before the passageway on the verandah, offering salutations to Sri Mahapurusha while Sri Mahapurusha is joking with him. He says, “How are you doing, Damodaram?” (Laughs naughtily, like a child) He comes to the chair in front of the smaller room and sits on it. In front of him is the Ganges, the redeemer of the fallen. Becoming saturated with joy, he says again, “In his motherland in the south they add ‘m’ to every word – they say namaskaram.”
A little later he rises and goes to the office. He is dressed in a thin waistcoat and a fine double-folded dhoti made on the handloom. On his feet he wears red velvet slippers. He limps, bent forward, as he moves along.
A sadhu is having darshan of Sri Mahapurusha and says happily to himself, “We are certainly fortunate – able to have the daily darshan of a great spiritual personality, one liberated in this very life, and an apostle of God-incarnate. Such darshan is indeed rare. It is after millions of births that a man realizes Brahman, the Supreme Essence, by His grace. This great spiritual personality has had darshan of the same Supreme Essence. He has attained the goal of life. We are blessed that these people love us and grant us fearlessness.”
Sri Mahapurusha goes to the office and sits on a chair facing north near the window. Swami Mukteshwarananda, touching his feet in front of the door in salutation, enters the room and pleads his case in a most touching manner.
Swami Mukteshwarananda: “Maharaj, sometimes this mind is in quite a high state, but then it comes low. When one is in the right frame of mind, one feels that it should last. But later it cannot perform meditation and japam so well – the brain becomes different.
“I heard from Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) that constantly thinking about material things, a sadhu has a downfall. But if he practices meditation and japam, this doesn’t happen. Maharaj used to say that this faith is no faith, for it flows away with any sudden misfortune.”
Sri Mahapurusha (affectionately): “What can you do about it? Just go on remembering him, contemplating him. And pray: ‘O Lord! Grant me devotion and faith, O compassionate one! O Shiva! Grant me devotion, faith and purity.’ You have to pray constantly. What else can you do? If you cannot practice meditation and japam long, then what to do? Always pray, ‘O Lord, the compassionate one, grant me devotion and faith.’ You will succeed in this way. You must pray constantly.’”
Mati, the attendant, enters the room and shuts the door. Sadhus were listening to this precious teaching standing outside, but it has been obstructed by the shut door.
Swami Mukteshwarananda (Iswar): “The mind becomes restless because of lust, anger, and so on. And sometimes it begins to crave for better food.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “What to do? When you have a body, it is bound to happen. Just always pray: Grant me love and faith. Pull my mind to your feet, O Lord. (To Mati) There was a fine breeze. Why did you shut the door? Please open it. Let’s have some breeze.”
Mati: “I have to sweep the room. I shut it because it would make the dust rise.”
As soon as the door is opened, there is a strong breeze.
Sri Mahapurusha rises and goes toward his room. Swami Mukteshwarananda goes with him.
Mahapurusha Maharaj says, “You stayed with Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) for such a long time. You received his love. Everything will be alright. The love of these people does not go in vain.” He enters his room, sits on his cot, and takes off his shirt. He is going to rest. Swami Mukteshwarananda has accompanied him to the door.
The great reassuring words, “His love does not go in vain” echo and re-echo in the ears of a sadhu for a long time. As it goes to his heart, he begins to wonder whether he has been able to earn the love of any one of them. His pure mind answers: How can it be otherwise? Why else would he have been able to embrace the life of a sadhu?
M.: “Which Mukteshwarananda? Oh, it is Iswar. He said at the Gadadhar Ashram, ‘The love of Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) made me leave home at sixteen.’ He said, ‘My heart wants nothing but love.’ He said the same to Mahapurusha. Oh, with what divine love Rakhal Maharaj bound these boys to him! When an incarnation of God comes, you see such pure and holy love. The love of great spiritual souls is everlasting. When you receive their love, you have received the love of God.”
Reading from the diary is resumed.
Belur Math, Tuesday, 17 June, 1930, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his cot. It is 6:30 a.m. The sadhus are returning, one after the other, from offering their salutations. Sri Mahapurusha is a bit indisposed. Swami Omkarananda is standing before the southwestern window. A particular sadhu, having offered his salutations, stands near the easy chair close to the entrance. While he was saluting him, Sri Mahapurusha asked him in a very touching manner, “How are you faring? (With a smile to Omkarananda) His head is a little higher on one side.” The sadhu says, “From behind,” He says, “No, no, towards the left. Who knows how many kinds there are.”
Sri Mahapurusha rises and walks very carefully to the verandah.
Wednesday, 18 June, 1930. Sri Mahapurusha has not been feeling well for the last two or three days. Today his temperature is 98.8°. The sadhus quickly offer their salutations and leave.
It is 6:30 a.m. Mahapurusha is sitting on his cot eating a sandesh. Vairagyananda, his attendant, has pulled the curtain, so nobody enters the room.
Gangeshananda, the office assistant, talks on the telephone to Dr. Amar Mukherji, telling him Sri Mahapurusha’s health condition. After eating the refreshment, Sri Mahapurusha goes slowly to the office and asks Swami Gangeshananda whether he has talked to the doctor. He answers from the adjacent room that he has, and that the old medicine is to be repeated. Sri Mahapurusha is under homeopathic treatment.
Sri Mahapurusha says to his attendants, “No, I won’t take any cereal today. I’ll only take soup of palta and milk and barley. Please tell the doctor.”
Swami Gangeshananda: “Did you give any deer skin for tanning?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “No, I didn’t. I don’t remember.”
Swami Gangeshananda: “Dwijen (Swami Dhiratmananda), the manager of Advaita Ashrama, says that you did. He has sent the skin through Swami Aseemananda together with a bill for five rupees.”
Sri Mahapurusha (with the guileless and sweet anger of a child): “I didn’t give it and don’t want it. And I’m not going to pay. Whoever wants it can pay for and take it. (Smiles sweetly).”
Swami Manishananda (Mati) is standing near the door and asks for permission to go to Calcutta. Sri Mahapurusha, raising his head, says, “Son, I know nothing these days.” (Smiles innocently.)
The reading from the diary is over.
M. (inspired, says to them): “Are you not going to Puri? Ah, why wouldn’t you go? Such a great Rath festival! How many devotees will be going!”
A Devotee: “I want to go, but I have no money.”
M. (in fun): “What do you mean? The darshan of the Lord in the Rath and such an assembly of devotees! As they say, ‘Beg, borrow or steal.’ You must attain your goal, whatever the means.” (Smiles gently.)
M. (to the same devotee): “Can’t you manage by applying for sick leave in the government office?” (Laughter.)
The Devotee: “Yes, but it’s not possible in our merchant office.”
M. (to Satinath): “Why haven’t you gone for the snana-yatra?”
Satinath: “I wanted to, but father didn’t give me money.”
M. (smiling): “You must first attain the goal by borrowing the money. Later you can make efforts to pay off the debt. The work must be done first.”
All this time M. has been talking half in jest and half in earnest. Now he assumes a grave demeanour.
M. (gravely to all): “Thakur was there in Puri for twenty years – as Chaitanya Deva. Didn’t Thakur say, ‘I myself am Chaitanya Deva?’ So he himself would not go, but he sent the devotees instead – because it was possible for him to leave the body if he remembered his past in ecstasy. That’s the reason he didn’t go. He sent me five or six times.”
A student twenty to twenty two years old enters.
M. (to the student): “You are going? (The student is surprised.) So many of these men are going to Puri. Aren’t you going? Since you have come here, surely He is pulling you there. In my childhood I heard that if Jagannath pulls you, you have to go to Him. You have to go. It’s only a matter of few days, and then there’s a travelling concession.”
The student is silent. He appears to want to go but perhaps there is an inconvenience.
A Sadhu: “Many people from the Math are going.”
M.: “Why not? Just think of it. Such a big invitation! You can always have your routine food of urada lentils at home.”
A Sadhu (to himself): “Thakur used to say, ‘Whether you willingly fall into the ocean of nectar or you are pushed into it, the result is the same – attainment of immortality.’ I see he [M.] is a superior physician – he is pushing him into it. What a great tact it is to take a man’s mind toward God! Maybe this is what is known as sä cäturé cäturé.”
It is evening. M. is absorbed in meditation at the foot of the tulsi grove.
Morton School, Calcutta.
Thursday, 19 June 1930.
. Atmarama; the vessel containing Thakur’s relics.
. What is the description of the man of steady wisdom, merged in samadhi? – Gita 2:54.
. How does the man of steady wisdom speak? – ibid.
. How does he sit, how does he walk? – ibid.
. May He, Shiva, who danced the frenzied tandava dance accompanied by the dum dum of the damroo (hand drum), dangling chains of snakes around His neck, sanctified by the flow of Ganges falling from the jungle of His matted tresses, be auspicious to us.
. A bitter pot herb.
. Renouncing all dharmas… – Bhagavad Gita 18:66.
. [Krishna says,] I will liberate you from all sins. – ibid.
. The real tact.