A Collection of Images[1]


It is 4 p.m. and M. is seated alone on a chair facing south slightly away from the door on the fourth storey of the Morton School.

Today is Tuesday, 31 December, 1929.

A sadhu has arrived from the Belur Math. As soon as M. sees him coming upstairs, he welcomes the sadhu joyfully and says, “Oh, Jagabandhu. Please come in. Kindly come in and sit down.”

The sadhu offers his salutations and takes his seat on the bench with the carpet spread over it. They exchange polite inquiries.

M. (affectionately): “How were you able to come? I heard you weren’t doing well.”

Sadhu: “I’m feeling a bit better, so I thought that I’d visit you for a little while. I also have to visit the doctor.”

M.: “I see you’ve brought your diary with you. Would you be able to read a little? Or would it be inconvenient?”

Sadhu: “No, sir. No inconvenience at all. In fact, I’d be happy to. That’s why I brought it.”

M.: “All right. Please read.”

The sadhu reads the diary –

Belur Math. Saturday, 30 November, 1929.

Sri Mahapurusha is not well. He is under the treatment of Dr. Amar Mukherji, a homeopath. It is 4 p.m. Dr. Mukherji has arrived to see him. Sri Mahapurusha is sitting in his room on a chair facing west, and the doctor sits on a cane seat facing north.

A sadhu comes and stands in front of the door. Sri Mahapurusha is irritated and says, “Why is that man here? Does he have to consult the doctor?” The sadhu is ashamed and leaves.

The reading continues –

Today is Friday, 6 December, 1929, 8 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha stands towards north in Khoka Maharaj’s room in front of a chair on the verandah facing the Ganges. He is wearing a shirt.

Beside him stands Umesh Maharaj, his attendant. Antevasi is the attendant of Swami Vivekananda’s room. He has cleaned the steps and is now going up to the roof to leave the broom there. Sri Mahapurusha says to him sweetly, “Perhaps you don’t clean this (the verandah towards the Ganges)?” At first Antevasi doesn’t understand him. When he returns from the roof, Sri Mahapurusha repeats, “You do not clean this?” He replies, “I do, sir. Only yesterday I cleaned it.” Sri Mahapurusha is happy and says, “Yes son, do it. You must clean in front of Swamiji’s room.”

4.30 p.m. The Belur Math. Sri Mahapurusha is seated in Khoka Maharaj’s room on the cot. A woman devotee has arrived from Dhaka. Having offered her salutations, she squats on the floor at his feet and, folding her hands, says, “Bless me that my mind only focuses on Sri Thakur’s feet.” She is young and has been blessed by Sri Mahapurusha. She is full of devotion and has received special affection from him.

Sri Mahapurusha replies affectionately, “Do you perform japa every day? Please pray to Thakur without fail that he may grant you holy company and that you never forget Him.”

Shankar Maharaj, the attendant, brings some sandesh and fruit for Sri Mahapurusha. He doesn’t take the fruit because of a cough. He only takes the sandesh.

5.30 p.m. It has been chilly. Sri Mahapurusha is sitting on a chair on the verandah at his usual place, close to Khoka Maharaj’s room. The Ganges flows in front of him. He is dressed in a warm under-shirt[2] with a coat over it. He has covered that with a woollen shawl. He wears a cap that covers his ears. His mind is focused on something, but his eyes watch the Ganges.

Shailesh Maharaj stands to the north of him. Two young devotees are sitting to his south, in front of Swamiji’s room, and Antevasi stands in the passageway. Shankar, the attendant, and Mati Maharaj come and go several times.

After a moment Sri Mahapurusha talks to Shailesh.

Sri Mahapurusha (to Shailesh): “I have seen the History of Vedanta Darshan (written by Swami Prajnananda). Have you read it?”

Shailesh: “I saw it when I was in Dhaka. Don’t you want to read it?”

Sri Mahapurusha (smiling like a child): “What use would it be to read all this? Now it is only realization that is needed. What’s the use of reading history?

“What Thakur said is right: ‘That is His, that is His and that is His.’ We heard him say it so often. He couldn’t say me, or mine. He would say: This world is also His. And he would say: That is His, that is His, and that is His.”

Sri Mahapurusha now becomes pensive, trying to remind himself of something. Then he speaks.

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, ‘God, maya, the embodied beings and the world’ – I’ve heard him say these words so many times. He Himself has become all of these.

“It is not certain when one may depart. Why then all this? Now we need just one thing: realization.

“If ten others are benefited, what is it to me?”

Shailesh: “You’ve already reached the goal.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, he has made me understand everything.”

On the other bank of the Ganges is the steamer port, the Kutighat. Suddenly its electric bulbs light up, making a garland. Sri Mahapurusha sees them and is full of joy, like a child. He says, “What a beautiful sight! But they are unsteady men. Today they have put on the lights so early – it isn’t dark yet. Yesterday they had put them on so late. (A short laughter) Never mind! They have done it. The main thing is to light up. It doesn’t matter if they’ve done it a little too early.”

Swami Nikhilananda is pacing in the lawn below. The evening worship bell rings in Thakur’s temple. All the sadhus go there. The arati ends at half past six. Some of them return to Sri Mahapurusha.

Antevasi stands at the door of Swamiji’s room to open it. Sri Mahapurusha says, “Is the arati over?” Mati Maharaj has been whisking mosquitoes. He replies, “Yes, sir.” From the passage, Antevasi also says at the same time, “Yes, sir. It is just over. We are coming from there.” “It is just over,” so saying Sri Mahapurusha rises and stands in front of the door to Swamiji’s room going via the passageway. Antevasi says, “Sir, I have just returned and am opening the door.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “I was saying to myself: It is still going on, this tasmättvameva çaraëaà mama dénabandho.[3] These are still ringing in my ears.” (Laughs like a child) He goes back to his room again through the passage. Antevasi, standing in Khoka Maharaj’s room, hears everything. Sri Mahapurusha says, “kåpä hi kevalaà kåpä hi kevalaà.[4]

Now he comes to the office and sits on the cot there. The room is lit with a light that is covered by blue paper. Mati, seated near his feet, whisks away mosquitoes. Sri Mahapurusha meditates.

M.: “See, he says: ‘You will daily keep company of the sadhus.’ His maya makes one forget all. The company of sadhus corrects one’s mistakes. Even sadhus forget because of His maya. But they can quickly rectify their mistake. It is very difficult for a worldly man to do so. So one always needs the company of sadhus. Just look at Sri Mahapurusha. His index is always pointing towards the north, though he is keeping such an indifferent health.”

Reading from the diary continues –

The Belur Math, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. It is Saturday, 7 December 1929, 20th Agrahayana, seven in the morning – Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his cot. The Math sadhus are coming to pay him their respect. Sri Mahapurusha is wearing woolen clothes – a grey waistcoat stuffed with Vrindavan cotton.

A sadhu comes in and prostrates before him. Sri Mahapurusha exclaims in deep joy, “Jagabandhu, Jagabandhu, so it is Jagabandhu!” Seeing the sadhu lying on the ground, he says, “I am reminded of that real Jagabandhu. Jai Jagabandhu! Jai Jagabandhu!”

Many sadhus are standing in the room. Sri Mahapurusha says indirectly, but pointing to Swami Vijayananda, “People just talk, but if by His grace they have a little feeling of Him within, it gives such joy.”

He remains silent in a pensive mood for a long time. Then he says with a gentle smile, “Even then, some people will call something good as good, others will call it bad.

“Chiranjiva Sharma belonged to Keshab’s group. When Keshab Babu went to tour Nadia he took Chiranjiva with him. Chiranjiva Babu could compose beautiful songs. Thakur… When Keshab Babu delivered a sermon, he would put it in a song.”

Swami Vijayananda: “Thakur? What are you saying about him?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, when Thakur heard a song full of beautiful emotion, he would not be able to say if it was made of real emotion or just poetry. He’d say, ‘How can I compose a song if I didn’t understand anything? Some things I do understand.’

“Thakur meant that poetry alone is not enough. It has to contain a little love and feeling.”

Today at 8 o’ clock, Mrs. Von Keller came to Sri Mahapurusha, offering her salutations and kneeling before him. Patiently, Sri Mahapurusha asked about her welfare. Mrs. Von Keller asks, “Does the soul has form, and is it also formless?”

Sri Mahapurusha, sitting on his cot, bends his head closer to her ears and says patiently, “Yes!” She is hard of hearing, so one has to speak loudly. Later, the same woman says in great distress, “I want to come to you more often, but I cannot. And there are always people here, it is always crowded.”




Half past six in the evening. Sri Mahapurusha is seated as usual on his chair on the verandah facing the Ganges.

People are standing close to him. Swami Nikhilananda talks about Christian missionaries: That though they render service, their main aim is to convert men of this country to Christianity.

Sri Mahapurusha: “Cultured people of this country, the educated, have all accepted Christ. Missionaries should also have done so – that is, give us what you have and take from us what we have. But missionaries only give and don’t take. So they don’t gain anything. They don’t want to take the essence of religion from here, they are so orthodox. But in this, they may be deceived. Schools, colleges, hospitals – these they run very well.”

Swami Nikhilananda: “Muslims are equally orthodox. They also don’t like to receive anything.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “What is their religion? They keep on fighting about social conduct. They create a roar about trivial issues like what is made where, how music is played in front of a mosque. They forget the love and devotion of Mohammed. But there are good people in every group.

“Mrs. Clarke is a very nice lady, highly educated. But she doesn’t appear to be so, and she remains silent most of the time. When I read what she had written, I realized that she was a great lady. She was in Calcutta continuously for eight months and used to visit here. She used to do japa and meditate in Thakur’s temple. Sometimes she would talk to me for a few minutes. That’s all. She wasn’t interested in anything more.

“Broad-minded people will have to come here. Those who have come have done it to imbibe Thakur’s catholicity.”

Swami Nikhilananda: “There is a nice incident that took place during Ravi Babu’s [Rabindranath Tagore’s] tour of Australia. People on the boat smelled a fragrance in the air in the evening. Ravi Babu’s companions thought there must be some other Indians there; otherwise, how could there be the fragrance of incense? Someone noticing the direction of the fragrance came near a cabin. A white man was sitting inside it. He said, ‘Come in. Do come in.’ Ravi’s Babu’s companion went in and saw that big pictures of Thakur and Swamiji were hanging on the wall. The white man said, ‘When I heard of them, I accepted them as my ideals and gurus in religious life.’ This white man was from England. Nobody had told him about them, but he accepted them.

Sri Mahapurusha (in an introverted mood): “Oh, how Thakur himself spreads his name! This should also make Ravi Babu understand.”

Swami Nikhilananda: “Mrs. Von Keller says that this points to Ravi Babu’s greatness.”

M.: “It shows how true Thakur’s great saying is, that he who sincerely calls on God will have to come here. Just see, how they are coming. It means that He is the innermost soul of all, that He sees everything. He sends those who are unsophisticated to men of knowledge who have imbibed his spirit, to the Math or to a devotee who has accepted Thakur.”

The reading continues –

Belur Math. Sunday, 8 December, 1929. Sri Mahapurusha’s room. Cold weather, 7 a.m. Groups of sadhus are leaving after paying their respects. One of the sadhus now prostrates himself to offer salutations. Sri Mahapurusha Maharaj exclaims with compassion, “Jagabandhu, Jagabandhu, Jagabandhu.” Another brahmachari, Nanjappa (Narayan Chaitanya), also offers his salutations. Sri Mahapurusha again utters with compassion in his voice, “Mother, Mother, Shiva, Shiva!”

The evening worship is over in the Math. It is 6.30 p.m. It is Sunday, so there has been a meeting of the devotees. After the arati many people assemble in the southern room on the second storey. Sri Mahapurusha has come from the verandah and has seated himself on the cot facing east. Most of the devotees are squatting on the floor facing west. Some are standing here and there. The sadhu is also standing at the door.

In the afternoon, on the lawn of the Math, the devotees had been discussing which is higher, destiny or God’s will. The same topic is taken up by Mani Babu, Swami Vasudevananda’s brother. He is a government servant.

Mani: “Maharaj, we were discussing today which was higher, destiny or God’s will. What makes man move?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “If you were to ask me, my dear, I have realized at this advanced age that everything moves by God’s will. He is childlike. Didn’t you hear what Thakur said? He said, ‘God has the nature of a child.’ Let us suppose there is a child with a lot of money with him. People ask him to give some of it to them, but he doesn’t give any. A little later he suddenly calls somebody and says, ‘Here, take it.’ To those who asked for it, he did not give, but he gives to the person who never asked for it. God has a similar nature.”

Mani: “How beautiful is what Swamiji said in his lectures. In one place he says, ‘The more you depend on man, the farther you go from God.’”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Quite right. Thakur says, ‘The more you proceed towards Kashi from Howrah, the farther you are from Howrah.’

(Laughing) “And he also told a very special story. Once Shiva and Gauri were seated on Mount Kailash. A brahmin was in great trouble. The Mother pleaded to Shiva, saying, ‘He is your devotee. Why are you inflicting so much pain on him? Have you no pity?’ Shiva said, ‘You want to see why? All right.’ Saying this, he placed a great deal of money – wealth, jewels and pearls – on the passage through which the brahmin was going. While he was a little away from the treasure, it came to the brahmin’s mind, ‘Let me see how a blind man walks.’ Saying this to himself, he shut his eyes and began to walk – and went past that heap of wealth without seeing it. Shiva said to the Mother, ‘Did you see? This man is destined to have trouble in life. Even when we give him something, he isn’t able to take it.’

“Learned men and the holy books call it the fruit of one’s actions. As far as I know, my dear, everything happens by the will of God.”

M.: “‘When God’s grace dawns, even one’s destiny changes.’ That’s what Thakur said. He used to sing that song:

If the decree of fate is so strong, why, O Mother, should one repeat Thy name, Sri Durga?

“And this one:

Mother! If I die with the name of Durga on my lips, I shall see, O Shankari, how thou shalt not redeem me.

The reading continues –

Monday, 9 December, 1929. Sri Mahapurusha, after arati, is seated on a cot in the office on the second storey. Some sadhus have arrived – Swami Omkarananda, Gangeshananda and others. They are talking of the need for the advent of an avatara.

Swami Omkarananda says, “Unless an avatara comes, nobody can know God?” Sri Mahapurusha replies, “I firmly believe that without the coming of the avatara it is impossible to know God. So many times during my conversations with you, I have said so. Didn’t you hear me? It is my firm faith.”

M.: “It is a fact that without the advent of the avatara, one cannot know God. Thakur said, ‘There is a wall in the field. It has a big round hole in it. You can see the field, house, garden, all this on the other side of it.’ Then he said to me, ‘Tell me, what that hole is?’ I replied, ‘It is the avatara.’ He was very happy to hear this. An avatara comes to revive religion.”

The reading from the diary continues

Belur Math. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair against the wall of the smaller room, on the verandah on the second storey, facing the Ganges. It is chilly, so he has put on woollen clothes. On his head, he has a cap that covers his ears, and a shawl covers his body. Because of the cold, there are not many people on the Ganges.

It is quarter to six. The bell for evening worship is ringing in Thakur’s shrine. A Marwari devotee comes and pays his respects to Sri Mahapurusha, saying, “Om Namo Narayanaya.” The devotee is about fifty years old. Having offered his salutations, he sits close to Sri Mahapurusha’s feet. He comes now and then to pay homage to Sri Mahapurusha.

Devotee: “Maharaj, my peace of mind doesn’t last long.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Pray to God twice, once in the morning and once in the evening, to Satyanarayana, saying, ‘Lord, endow me with love and devotion at Your lotus feet. I am ignorant, a fool. I have fallen into the sea of the world. Grant me love and devotion at Your lotus feet.’

“Bhakti is the essence. Everything else vanishes in no time. Only devotion to the lotus feet of the Lord will stay with you. Children, house, wife, worldly wealth – all these will not remain for long. Just say this prayer, morning and evening, for two to five minutes.”

The Devotee: “I don’t like to ask you questions lest it should inconvenience you.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “No, you may talk a little. I cannot talk long. Throughout the day, I sit silently and only at times I talk of the important substance. May Guru Maharaj, Satyanarayana, be propitious to you!”

Devotee: “Maharaj, I get peace here.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “You should visit Thakur’s shrine, over there on the second storey. Go. You should go once. It is good to do so. You should pay your homage and obeisance, and take some prasad.”

Swami Atmaprakashananda enters. He is the manager of the Math.

Sri Mahapurusha: “He wants to buy that house (the house to the south of the Math). There is a Muslim buyer also. Please take him to Thakur’s shrine and let him pay his homage, and also please give him some prasad. Dusk is approaching.”

The Marwari devotee rises after offering salutations with his heart full of devotion. Before leaving, he takes out some cardamom from his pocket. Sri Mahapurusha opens his hand to accept them. Then he puts all of them in his mouth. It is an offering of faith, so he does not restrain himself by any consideration of time and health.

M.: “Love and devotion purifies everything. Just have devotion, everything else will follow. But if you lack it, everything is reduced to nothing. Love and devotion bind God to man.”

The reading continues.


Belur Math, the room of Khoka Maharaj. It is Sunday, 15 December, 1929, the Sankranti of Agrahayana, 1335 (B.Y.).

Sri Mahapurusha is sitting on a cot facing south. It is 11 o’ clock. A woman devotee comes in and offers her salutations. She is a disciple of Sri Mahapurusha, initiated by him. After some polite enquires, the woman narrates her woes with her mind full of devotion.

Woman devotee (with pain in her voice): “Tell me, my Master, shall I succeed? Shall I attain Him, shall I develop love and devotion for His lotus feet?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “You will, mother, you will attain Him. I am telling you that you will. Do I have to say it a hundred times, mother? You will succeed. You don’t have to worry.”

The devotee (somewhat reassured): “We are householders and there is always noise and bustle in the house. I can’t repeat the Name and settle myself to meditation the way I should. Sir, can I perform japa any place, where it is convenient? (The devotee means to ask whether it is wrong not to meditate before the image of Thakur).” 

Sri Mahapurusha: “You must glance at him and offer him your salutations twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.”

Devotee: “Can I sit anywhere on the roof or any other lonely spot? How difficult it is for householders!”

Sri Mahapurusha: “You must carry it out a little even amidst all your inconveniences. Yes, you may go to the roof.”

A sadhu seated in the corner of Swamiji’s room is listening to the conversation. Hearing the innocent, simple-hearted prayer of the devoted lady, the sadhu begins to weep. Noticing how she implores with a heart full of yearning, he is reminded of Mary, the sister of Martha in the Bible. He says to himself: She has developed love of God like Mary. “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”[5]

This devotee has already attained love, which is the ‘one thing needed’. The sadhu weeps for more than half an hour and prays to Thakur, “Thakur, grant me your vision. It is by gaining you that a weak mind becomes strong. Living in this world of hypocrisy without you even for a moment, the mind gets filled with hypocrisy. I am quite unfit for this world. Grant me your vision and fortify my mind with power. It lacks strength. How can I strengthen it? But for the power of your grace, nothing in this world can strengthen the mind. Father, grant your vision to this imprudent son of yours.”

It is 5 in the evening and Sri Mahapurusha is seen seated on the cot of the same smaller room. A number of devotees are seated on the floor at his feet. Two women and a man come in and, having offered salutations, take their seats. When there is a crowd, Sri Mahapurusha feels uncomfortable. He rises and paces the verandah north to south and back again while dragging his feet. Because of his ill health, he bends forward a little when taking steps.

Folding their hands, both devotee women pay homage to Sri Mahapurusha with their hearts full of devotion. Their faces show peace and joy in their mind and soul. They keep staring at him. They have no questions. He need not answer. But their hearts are so full in their silence. Blessed indeed are they who can enjoy even for a moment this unearthly divine wealth of the avatara and holy men. Forgetting the world for awhile, the devotees are overcome by Unmana-samadhi, as though they are enjoying a vision of the Lord.

What a great effect a personality can have!

The woman who had been blessed in the morning by Sri Mahapurusha with the promise of the Lord’s vision has come again. She is spending the whole day at the Math. She will be returning home, so she stands inside the small room near the door.

The woman (very humbly in the manner of a prayer): “Father, will I have His vision? I am going home.”

Sri Mahapurusha has been pacing up and down, but he stands and, shutting his eyes, prays while the devotee prostrates on the ground at his feet. Taking leave, she departs.

Its 6:30 pm in the evening, the arati is over and it is a full moon night with clear skies.

There is no mist and the Ganges is at high tide. It is not too chilly. A full moon day will begin at eight o’clock. Sri Mahapurusha is holding an assembly, seated on a chair facing east on the verandah facing the Ganges. A number of sadhus and devotees are there. Some are seated in front of him, others stand here and there. There is no talk, yet everyone’s heart is full of silent joy.

Lighting up the eastern sky, the moon is rising, its beams casting a reflection on the waters of the Ganges.

It seems that the lotus of the hearts of the sadhus and devotees is lit up today with the rays of Brahman.

Sri Mahapurusha (to a devotee): “You should go and sit in the Thakur temple. Seeing the worship, arati, reading of scriptures, and the meditation and japa of sadhus inspires the mind. People used to shift their residence near a temple of some deity. Why? So they could always witness the image of the deity. A person takes the colouring of the environment in which he lives. The feeling of the joy of Brahman penetrates the mind unknowingly. The presence of the Lord is especially felt in a temple. He manifests Himself in places of pilgrimage, temples, and shrines for the good of people scalded by the fire of the world.

M. sits firmly in his seat, his eyes shut, listening to the diary with a concentrated mind.

M.: “Nothing more can be added to this. Is it Sri Mahapurusha who is speaking? No, Thakur himself is speaking through his lips. (To the sadhu) Is there anything more?”

Sadhu: “Yes, sir. There is.”

The sadhu again begins to read –

Belur Math, Monday, 16 December, 1929, 5.30 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on the cot in his room, murmuring, “Om namo çiväya, om namo çiväya, om namo çiväya.” He takes a little pause and then again says, “Om namo çiväya, om namo çiväya, om namo çiväya.” He repeats it many times. His chanting is very inspiring.

A sadhu was practicing japa seated to the north of the table in Swamiji’s room. Hearing the sound of the call to Shiva, he stands in the passage and watches Sri Mahapurusha. Sri Mahapurusha speaks in a loud voice, as if he is full of Shiva. Perhaps he has had vision of Shiva.

At quarter to seven the sadhu enters the room to offer his salutations to Sri Mahapurusha. He prostrates on the ground while Sri Mahapurusha is still chanting loudly: Om namo çiväya, om namo çiväya, om namo çiväya. Is he seeing everything as Shiva today? Occasionally, he says: Om namo anantäya.[6]

Swami Nikhilananda comes and offers his salutations. Sri Mahapurusha says: Om namo nikhilänandäya.[7]

It appears that he is seeing the whole world full of Shiva today. A particularly wonderful nectar-like feeling of bliss has descended on him.


The reading of the diary continues.

Belur Math, Wednesday, 18 December, 1929. The month of Pausha, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He  is seated on his cot. At times he takes a puff at the pipe of his hookah.

It is quarter past seven in the morning. The sadhus are coming to offer their salutations. Swamis Dhruveshwarananda, Omkarananda, Vishvananda and some others are in the room. Sri Mahapurusha is in a very joyous mood.

Sri Mahapurusha (affectionately, to Swami Omkarananda): “Since morning only the story of the Holy Mother is coming to the mind. Particularly this incident:

“She was going for a bath in the Ganges with her father from the village. On the way she had an attack of fever that made her unconscious. A black complexioned girl came to the Holy Mother at night and said, ‘I have come from Dakshineswar.’

“She moved her hand on her body and the Holy Mother completely recovered. How strange, wonderful! One cannot understand this mystery. What would you call it in Bengali?”

Omkarananda: “Supernatural.”[8]

Sri Mahapurusha (agreeing): “Yes, supernatural, what else? This amazing mystery cannot be understood.”

M.: “They all confirm the divine play[9] of the avatara. When God comes as a human being such divine sport takes place.”

The reading from the diary continues –

Belur Math. Christmas day, 25 December, 1929. Time is quarter to eight. Sri Mahapurusha is pacing the verandah overlooking the Ganges. A devotee has come from Bombay. He has been sent by Swami Vishvananda. Sri Mahapurusha shows him Swamiji’s room and says, “In this room Swamiji lived and died. We do not use the world ‘die’. We say, ‘He gave up the body.’ He lived here, practiced here, taught here, and gave up his body here. So it is very holy to us – a sanctuary. We have preserved it.”

Sri Mahapurusha is dressed in a dark tan shirt, a cap covers his ears, and he is wearing velvet slippers on his feet.

Khoka Maharaj’s small room on the second storey. It is about six in the evening. Sri Mahapurusha is sitting on the cot. A young man named Sunder Basu is sitting on the floor. He has a house in Etally. He is as handsome as his name indicates.[10] He is the grandson[11] of a dealer in ‘Lakshmi Vilas’ oil. He is a young man, somewhat interested in being a sadhu. Standing on the doormat of Swamiji’s room, a sadhu overhears the conversation.

Sri Mahapurusha (to Sunder): “Son, external sannyasa is not the real sannyasa. It is mental sannyasa that is real. Absorb yourself in meditation, japa and contemplation on Him, so that you reach the state of samadhi. This would be sannyasa. External sannyasa is of no importance.

“Putting on saffron robes to beg alms are nothing at all. You have so much. The less you have, the better it is. You lack nothing. Your maternal grandfather has left you so much.”

Sunder: “My maternal grandmother left it.”

Sri Mahapurusha (corrected): “Yes, your maternal grandmother. Eat little and absorb yourself in meditation on Him. Read holy books and devote time to charitable work. This is real sannyasa. External sannyasa is of no importance.”[12]

The next day is the birth anniversary of Sri Mahapurusha.

M. (breaking the silence): “He is right. External sannyasa is merely a signboard. Along with it, the mind must also be coloured. Thakur used to say: ‘The basic thing is the love of Sat-chit-ananda.’”

The sadhu begins to read the diary again.

Belur Math. Sunday 29 December, 1929. Sri Mahapurusha is sitting on his cot, facing west. In front of him on a stool is a hookah with a long wooden pipe. The end of the pipe is held close to his mouth. There are some sadhus in the room. Hiren Maharaj stands near the window.

It is 7 a.m. The sadhus are coming in to offer their salutations

Sri Mahapurusha recites the mohamudgara stotra of Shankaracharya, his eyes closed. He repeats the last line a number of times in an ecstatic mood: Bhaja govindaà bhaja govindaà bhaja govindaà müòhamate. [13]

At times he mutters: Saccidänanda govinda.

It looks as if Sri Mahapurusha’s mind is roaming in some beautiful blissful region. Joy and happiness are written on his face. Suddenly he opens his eyes and says: “Thakur used to repeat the holy name till almost this hour, rising early at three o’ clock – rising at three, having a wash, and beginning at four. What is the time now?”

A Person: “7 o’ clock.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, he would repeat the name till this hour.”

A Sadhu: “Did he always repeat the same name?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “No, he would repeat the name in various ways in accordance with whatever mood he was in at any given time. Whatever might be his mood, he would not shake off.”

Sri Mahapurusha is again introverted and silent. But he begins to talk.

Sri Mahapurusha: “Others were not living with him then. Maharaj[14] joined him some time later.”

Ramlal Dada would sometimes come and check on him. He used to be always busy with his temple duties.

It is 7.30 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha comes out of his room and sits on a chair on a verandah in front of the Ganges, near the smaller room. Shailesh is with him.

A sadhu sweeps the verandah and then goes to the roof to put the broom away. He hears Sri Mahapurusha saying that Tulsidas’ Ramayana is very sweet. (Laughter.)

Sri Mahapurusha: “Once the Holy Mother and Jogen Swami were living on the bank of Sone river in Kailore. On my way to see them, I spent the night at a place. Two porters or some such ordinary people asked me to read the Ramayana to them. They didn’t know how to read. I read it and they heard it so full of devotion. When I left, they offered me a rupee but I didn’t accept it; this I remember.  It is a beautiful book, and they have such great faith in it.”

Half past six in the evening. Sri Mahapurusha is sitting on a chair facing north in front of the southern window of the office on the second storey. He is dressed in a woollen coat with a flannel shawl over it, and the cap covering his ears that is usually worn by sadhus. He has covered both his feet with a wrapper. He is sitting erect, his back touching the chair. Closing his eyes, he recites the Gayatri mantra:

āyāhi varade devī tryakṣare brahmavādinī,

gāyatri chandasāṃ mātarbrahmayone namo'stu te.[15]

He is silent and meditates for awhile. Then he recites:

oṃ pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇāt pūrṇamudacyate,
pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate.
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Shankar, his attendant, stands near the door with his head bent. The other attendant, Mati, is outside. Sadhus are standing around. They all taste unexpressed joy. A blue bulb sheds a soft light over Sri Mahapurusha’s forehead. What a peaceful atmosphere!

M. (gravely): “He is indeed a reflection of Thakur’s mood. Please read on.”

The sadhu begins to read the diary again.

Belur Math. Tuesday, 31 December, 1929. 7 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He is seated on the cot. A sadhu pays obeisance to him and then rises. Sri Mahapurusha asks him a question.

Sri Mahapurusha: “Which doctor did you go to?”

Sadhu: “I went to Amar Babu after consulting Shyamapad Babu.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “What did they say?”

The Sadhu: “Amar Babu said that it was a nervous pain. Shyam Babu said, ‘It was fermentative dyspepsia. It produces gas in the belly that rises up. Then one feels pain in the chest and in the back. One cannot sit then and has to lie down.’”

Sri Mahapurusha: “My father! What else did Amar Babu say?”

Sadhu: “He said nothing more than this. He said that he would tell the seniors about it.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “That is better. That indeed is right.”

M.: “How many devotees will be benefited by reading this diary! Thakur’s ideas are percolating to the entire world through his children. And it will disseminate more in future. Just see how he has preserved the Kathamrita. Is it the work of any man? He made me his instrument to write it, made me live it in life and thus got his work done.

“I can see that this diary will bring immense good to devotees. Are Thakur’s sons men of little significance? They are portions of him.”

The sadhu takes some refreshment, offers salutations, and leaves. He is going to the Belur Math. When he is leaving, M. says to him, “Pay my regards to Sri Mahapurusha.”


Belur Math

Tuesday, 31 December, 1929.


[1]. Collection of images has excerpts from the diary. The complete chapter is narration of the diary and in between M. gives his comments.

[2]. Ganji.

[3]. Thou, friend of the lowly, Thou art my only refuge – from the Hymn to Sri Ramakrishna composed by Swami Vivekananda.

[4]. The grace alone, the grace!

[5]. Luke 10:42.

[6]. Om, I bow to the Infinite.

[7]. Om, I bow to Nikhilananda.

[8]. Alaukika.

[9]. Lila.

[10]. Sunder in Bengali means handsome, or beautiful.

[11]. Daughter’s son.

[12]. The young man went to Deoghar Vidyapith to live a life of renunciation but he could not stay there. Sri Mahapurusha is an ocean of unconditional grace. In anticipation, he showed him the way – to live in the household and practice religion.

[13]. Repeat the name of Govinda, repeat His name, repeat It, O you man of little wisdom. – Hymn by Shankaracharya.

[14]. Rakhal, later Swami Brahmananda.

[15]. Salutations to You, O Devi Gayatri, come, One whose name is of three syllables, the Giver of boons, the Exponent of Brahman, the Mother of metres, the Origin of (even the) Brahman.

[16]. That Brahman is whole. And this (Universe) is whole too. The perfect (differentiated Brahman) comes out of the perfect (undifferentiated Brahman). Yet the perfect remains perfect as before. Om peace! Om peace! Om peace! īśopaniad - śāntipāhaḥ.