A child is a hundred percent child


The Morton School, 50 Amherst Street, the roof on the fourth storey, 20 February 1930. It is 4 p.m. The evening shadows are approaching. Two sannyasis, Swamis Deshikananda and Nityatmananda, are waiting for M. They came from Belur Math to visit the dentist in Dharamtala and have come to see M. from there.

After some time, M. comes to the roof. He has been meditating behind closed doors in his room. The sadhus offer their salutations. He asks Purnendu to spread the cotton carpet. The sadhus sit on it and M. sits on a chair in the middle of the roof facing north. The sadhus sit in front of M. to his left. After polite enquiries, they begin to talk.

M. (to one of the sadhus): “Have you anything more to tell about Sri Mahapurusha? What he says are Thakur’s words. They cool the heart. Please read the living words of Thakur.”

The sadhu opens his daily dairy and reads –

Belur Math, Sri Mahapurusha’s room, 7.30 a.m., winter, Saturday, 1 February 1930. Sri Mahapurusha, wrapped in a gerua woollen shawl, is sitting on the northern part of the cot facing west. There are many sadhus from South India – Bhajhari Maharaj, Ramnath Maharaj, Brahmachari Narayana Chaitanya (Nanjappa), Keshav and others in the room. Having offered their salutations, they stand to the south of the cot. After offering his salutations, Swami Nityatmananda goes and stands to the western side of the southern door facing north.

A sadhu from outside the room comes to Sri Mahapurusha and prostrates on the ground. He is in gerua and has long grey hair and a beard. He must be over fifty. He lives in Baranagore. Mother Kali’s image is installed in his house. The father of the sadhu, Thakur Dada, had the privilege of Thakur’s grace. When he talked about the restlessness of his mind, Thakur said to him, “I have understood. There are teething problems. Come here frequently. I will set it right.”

The sadhu offers his salutations, stands before Sri Mahapurusha with folded hands, and asks, “Maharaj, initiate me into sannyasa.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “No, my son. We do not initiate like this.”

The sadhu (imploring him again and again in a touching voice): “Well, sir, if not sannyasa, kindly grant me pürëäbhiñeka.”[1]

Sri Mahapurusha: “No, this cannot be done, nothing like that is possible. You have already attained. Go on doing what you have been doing so far.”

Sadhu (with greater humility and submission): “Initiate me, or grant me brahmacharya.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Please go on doing what you are doing, and do it in His name. It is He who is doing it in different ways. Your Mother (Kali) came as Thakur. He is the God-incarnate of this age. Taking him as your refuge, go on doing as you have been doing. What more can I say? Do what I am asking you to do.”

Sadhu (imploring, with yet more humility): “No, Maharaj. Grant me your grace.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “You are old, your hair has turned grey. Should you say this? Having lived a sadhu’s life for so long, why should you talk this way? I’m telling you to continue doing what you have been doing.”

The sadhu (in great grief): “Father, I have attained nothing and I have understood nothing.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “So I say, do what you have been doing. You will gain nothing more here.”

Swami Gangeshananda, Sri Mahapurusha’s secretary, enters.

Sri Mahapurusha (like a helpless child, to Swami Gangeshananda): “Listen to what I’m saying – having lived the life of a sadhu… (To the sadhu) One cannot be initiated twice. Do what you have been asked to do, take shelter in Thakur.”

Swami Gangeshananda (holding a loaf and a knife in his hand): “He wants to live here.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “No, he cannot live here – not here. Let him do what I’m asking him to do. Live where you are and practice austerities and worship God. Render some service at the orphanage in Baranagore. It will be better if you work a little. You have appointed a boy, but you should also do some work yourself.”

Swami Gangeshananda (to the sadhu): “Don’t make him talk any more. He suffers headache more when he talks. Come. I’ll talk to you.  If you don’t listen to me, I won’t let you come upstairs here.”

The sadhu leaves.

3.30 p.m., winter. Sri Mahapurusha is seated in an easy chair near the door of his room facing west. He is wearing a woollen coat and is turning the pages of a copy of the ‘Prabuddha Bharata’. Some devotees have come from Calcutta after returning from their offices, as today is a Saturday. Bholanath Mukherji (Bhavrani) and others, who have been standing outside the door, offer their salutations. A person was initiated into sannyasa in the Math a few days ago. The young man is a devotee of Chaitanya. He is working now in ‘Liberty’. Sri Mahapurusha talks to him in a very happy mood. The talk is not dogmatic. Whatever way one calls upon God is the best – a completely flawless viewpoint. The conversation is full of generous sympathy.

Sri Mahapurusha (to the young man): “You have devotion in you. It runs in your blood, whether or not you wear any outward signs, like a string of beads, a holy mark, or whatever. You have devotion in your blood. Chaitanya Deva will be propitious to you, as he himself came as Thakur. The Vaishnavas repeat the mantra ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna!’”

The young man: “Their mantra is even shorter.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “No, they abbreviate this indeed.”

It is about seven in the evening. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair on the verandah near the smaller room facing east towards the Ganges. It flows below. You can see the chain of electric lights of the steamer point on the other bank and the light falling on the water seems to shimmer.

Cold weather. Sri Mahapurusha has socks on his feet and a cap coming down over his ears on his head. He is wearing a woollen coat with a wrapper covering it. His feet are covered with a folded woollen shawl, so that he won’t catch cold or be stung by mosquitoes. Mati, the attendant, stands close to him.

A number of devotee women are seated on the floor at Sri Mahapurusha’s feet. There is a young boy with them. After the visit and the arati are over, they will return home. They have a short conversation.

Sri Mahapurusha (to a woman): “Do you read the Gita?”

The woman: “Yes, sir, I find it beautiful.”

Sri Mahapurusha (in a happy mood, like a child): “They are all Thakur’s words.”

The devotee: “Maharaj, so many matters concerning the household rise in the mind while practicing meditation and japa. What should I do?”

Sri Mahapurusha (affectionately, in a voice full of compassion, but like a child): “This is all inevitable, mother. Don’t give them any place in your mind. Say to yourself, say to your mind – don’t pester at this time, I am calling upon Him – don’t pester me. Pray to the Lord, ‘I do not have the capacity to attain You by repetition of Your name, meditating on You, reciting Your name and austerities. Be compassionate and grant me Your vision, grant me peace.’ And you cry like a child. Crying brings peace.

(After a pause) “It is not easy to weep like a child, but weeping does brings peace.

“(To himself)                                             

gatirbhartā prabhuḥ sākṣī nivāsaḥ śaraṇaṃ suhṛt,
prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṃ nidhānaṃ bījamavyayam

“I am the goal, the supporter, the Lord, the witness, the abode, the shelter, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the foundation, the treasure-house and the seed imperishable.

“So pray thus: You are with form and also without form. And then you are immanent in the whole universe.

“Say this and sit for meditation and japa.”

A sadhu standing at the door of Swamiji’s room sees this divine sight and hears the vibrant words with its underlying essence.

The devotee women leave. A male devotee enters.

It is about 7.15 p.m. This is the time of the steamer, so Mati, the attendant, says, “Look, the steamer is coming. Offer salutations and wait at the steamer point.” Sri Mahapurusha also says, “Yes, it would be better if you wait at the steamer point.”

Swami Atmaprakashananda, the manager of the Math, enters. As soon as he sees him, Sri Mahapurusha asks, “What’s the matter, Priyanath?” He replies, “Nothing I just came for a casual visit.” He stands in front of Sri Mahapurusha, a little to his left. Behind him is the railing and behind the railing is the Ganges.

Swami Atmaprakashananda: “Will the Saraswati Puja be celebrated in the Math?”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Where would it take place?”

Swami Atmaprakashananda: “It has been celebrated for a long time on the eastern verandah of Thakur’s shrine.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “It has been celebrated in the meditation room. Also in the new building. It has been celebrated at a number of places. Bring a small image. Have some lentils and rice,[3] and rice pudding. There is rice pudding in the room too.”

Mati: “It involves a lot of cooking.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, what is the problem with doing that? Brother, I don’t believe in worship of the deity with form; no, I have no faith in it. Even so, I don’t stop those who wish to do it. Let them.”

M.: “Thakur said to me on my first visit to him: ‘God is with form as well as without form. And He is also much else.’ Read, please read.

“There is no end to the forms of God. You may say that the formless is also a form. It is to end this controversy that Thakur came. To break orthodox dogmatism was one of his principle acts. He said, ‘As many creeds, so many paths.’”


The reading of the diary continues –

Belur Math, second storey, 5.45 p.m. For days, it has been rather hot. Today it is much cooler. There is a slight drizzle. Tuesday, 4 February 1930.

Sri Mahapurusha sits on the verandah overlooking the Ganges every day. Being cold, he has not gone out today. A cold breeze is blowing. All the doors and windows in the passageway are shut – the rooms of Swamiji, Khoka Maharaj,[4] Maharaj and Sri Mahapurusha, as well as the office.

Sri Mahapurusha is dressed in a light chocolate-coloured long loose shirt[5] of the Vrindavan type. On his head he wears a cap covering his ears and on his feet, velvet slippers. He walks, bending a bit forward, to the door of his room, alone, like a happy child. A sweet smile plays on his face. He has no cares, no worries of the world. It is as though he had no awareness of his own body, so free and contented and happy is his disposition. Perhaps this is the state of a paramahamsa. Sri Mahapurusha is now standing in front of the door of his room facing south. A sadhu comes and says, “The other day you asked me to keep the venetian blind of Swamiji’s room open. Today it is cold. Shall I close it?” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Do as you like. It is very cold today. Serve him as you would serve yourself.”

 This sadhu is the attendant of Swamiji’s room. He goes back to it. Sri Mahapurusha follows him. The sadhu stands inside the room near the door. Sri Mahapurusha stands outside. He asks, “Have you burnt incense?” The sadhu says, “No, sir, I am going to do right now.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Yes, do. It should be lighted now.”  

The sadhu lighting the essence stick moves it around in the whole room. Then he offers salutations to Thakur’s picture on the table. Pushing the railing of the door, Sri Mahapurusha peeps inside the room, as if to see Swamiji. His big eyes moist, a divine light on his face and the heart overflowing with the joy of love, he is like a divine child paramahamsa.

M.: “A child is a hundred percent child. This is a picture to always be remembered about the state of a paramahamsa.”

The reading from the diary continues

Belur Math, Thursday, 6 February, 1930. Sri Mahapurusha’s room. It is quarter past seven in the morning. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his cot as usual. The sadhus come, offer their salutations, and leave. He talks to each one. He asks about their welfare and speaks just two words, but it fills the minds and the hearts of the sadhus with joy.

Just now, his state of the mind is exactly like that of a teacher. The sadhus have taken shelter under Thakur, having renounced their all. It is as if Thakur has given the responsibility of looking after them to Sri Mahapurusha.

A sadhu offers salutations by prostrating. He says to himself and prays, meditating on Thakur’s picture and Sri Mahapurusha’s in his mind, “Thakur, grant me right understanding.” As he raises his head, the sadhu sees that Sri Mahapurusha is reciting ‘namo çiväya in the posture of one absorbed in meditation.

He asks the sadhu, “Are you well?” “Yes, sir, I am well,” the sadhu replies. The sadhu also says, “Swami Yatiswarananda conveys his salutations to you in his letter to me from Madras.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “He has written to me also. He has now gone to Coimbatore and Trichur.”

Swami Saradeshwarananda enters. He is generally called Nalini. He returned only last night after attending the Kumbha Fair at Allahabad. He has been to Kashi, Nalanda, Rajgir and other holy places before coming back. As soon as he rises after offering salutations, Sri Mahapurusha says to him, full of childlike joy:

nalinīdalagatajalamatitaralaṃ tadvajjīvitamatiśayacapalam.

bhaja govindaṃ bhaja govindaṃ

govindaṃ bhaja mūḍhamate.[6]

The sadhu says to himself, “He seems to be teaching us a deep truth in a light-hearted manner: bhaja govindaṃ bhaja govindaṃ govindaṃ bhaja mūḍhamate.

Referring to Nalanda and Rajgir, he says, “Are they far? Patna is not so far from here, so you must go there. The people there will arrange for your return. It costs three rupees and it takes only four or five days – not even that long.”

The sadhu says to himself, What beautiful attitudes these brothers have! I don’t feel like this. When I was studying, I did feel like this. But not since I became a sadhu. Now I wonder what use it will be to roam about at will. I am not healthy enough. Life is such that today one is and tomorrow is not. I have not had the realization of God yet. I have heard from the scriptures that taking birth is so painful. Avataras take birth, but they are the very self of spiritual knowledge. They have no desire to wander about. And I am inclined not to. So my mind tells me these days, “May there be an ashrama at a beautiful spot with all the sadhus there well disposed to spiritual discipline and worship and the feeling for fellow sympathy and love. And in which there will be arrangements for food, for living, and very little inconvenience because of work.”

Swami Akshayananda enters. As he offered salutations to Sri Mahapurusha, the latter says, “Keshava, Madhava, Deenadayal.”[7] Because of deep inspiration within himself, he sits erect. Sri Mahapurusha is just like a young man at this time. How inspired he is! He claps his hands full of joy and sings, “Ha Vrajanath! Ha Deenadayal!”

A sadhu leaves the room and goes to Swamiji’s room. He says to himself, “What joy there is everywhere, what a pure holy atmosphere! Even though he is not absorbed in deep meditation as before, joy rains from his kirtan. Shall we also attain such a state?”

6 p.m. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair on the verandah on the second storey. Before it the Ganges flows. Kshitindra and Mati, the two attendants, are seated beside him. A sadhu burns incense and lights the holy flame in Swamiji’s room.

A devotee from Tangail has arrived. He is thirty. Having offered his salutations to Sri Mahapurusha, he talks about various things. He says:

“Maharaj, on the last birth anniversary of Thakur my brother had initiation from you in a dream. He is a seventh class student.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Brother, I know nothing. It is Thakur who did it. He should repeat Thakur’s name, along with the mantra that he received – the name ‘Ramakrishna’.”

A person standing in the passageway listens to these great words – the name of ‘Ramakrishna’ should be recited.

M.: “That is true. Is there anything besides Ramakrishna? The Mother lives in every form.

“Thakur saw that the Mother has become everything – house, home, all. Ramakrishna is also the Mother.”

The reading continues –

Belur Math. Friday, 7 February 1930, 5.30 p.m. The sadhu attendant opens Swamiji’s room to light the holy lamp. Sri Mahapurusha is going to the verandah overlooking the Ganges, through the passageway close by, his steps unsteady. He is dressed in a thick silk garment and a warm coat. He is indisposed. Besides, he is old. But his face beams with joy. Seeing his bright face, you’d not suspect his ill health.

The attendant sadhu says to himself, “What a wonderful machine God has made. This God-realized Mahapurusha walking before me has Brahman as his innermost soul. Though he is aware of it, he cannot rid himself of the suffering of his body. Amazing, this creation.”

M.: “Thakur says, ‘Bound by the five elements, even Brahman laments.’ Rama wailed, Krishna cried, and so did Christ.”

Reading from the diary continues.

Belur Math. Saturday, 8 February, 1930, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his cot puffing on a hookah, a hubble-bubble placed on a stool in front of him. A long wooden pipe touches his lips and he takes a puff from time to time. He is pensive. What is he thinking of? He also talks to the sadhus who come to offer him salutations. Sometimes he is in a jocular mood, sometimes grave.

It is 7 a.m. Swami Srivasananda stands in front of Sri Mahapurusha. Before he entered the [sannyasa] ashrama, he helped in founding the Bangalore Math by offering some money. They talk about a few matters concerning South India. Brahmachari Keshab and Pratul are also there.

A sadhu stands near the table in the room towards the south. Behind it is the western window. He gazes at Sri Mahapurusha, this wonderful speaker. Sri Mahapurusha says, full of joy, as Swami Gangeshananda enters the room, “Namaù gaìgeçänandäya namaù.”[8] (Laughter.)

The bell for tea rings downstairs and the sadhus leave, one by one. Pratul goes, also Sri Mahapurusha, who asks, “Pratul, do you take tea?” “No, Maharaj,” Pratul answers.

Another sadhu comes out of the room. Sri Mahapurusha also asks him, “Do you take tea, Ananda?” The sadhu replies, “No, sir.” Sri Mahapurusha, making a sign of prohibition with his hand, says to him, “No” – that is, it is better not to take tea.

The famous Madras T.B. specialist, Doctor Keshab Rai, came in the afternoon. There is a party of men and women with him. After offering their salutations, they sit in Sri Mahapurusha’s room. They talk variously about that region.

Doctor Pai enquires about his health. Sri Mahapurusha says, “He has given me this knowledge, that this body is nothing. But the soul is indestructible. I am that Atman, not the body.”

7.30 a.m. A sadhu is sweeping the staircase. He hears Sri Mahapurusha reading out something loud, but cannot make out what it is. Out of curiosity, he peeps in from near the door. There is a curtain. He cannot see anything as he hears Sri Mahapurusha reading the Chandi:

ki varayāma tava rūpamacintyametat
cātivīryamasurakayakāri bhūri
cāhaveu caritāni tavādbhutāni
u devyasuradevagaādikeu.[9]

The sadhu is not content. You should watch a great spiritual person engaged in reciting scriptures. So he puts away the broom and looks though the slats of the venetian blind. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his cot and turning the pages of the smaller-sized Chandi. Hiren Maharaj is standing in the room.

Even now the sadhu is not content. He wants to have his experience openly. He has a big saucer from Swamiji’s room in his hand. He has to wash it in the Ganges. Standing on the steps, he sees Sachin from the weavers’ workshop entering the room and Swami Saradeshwarananda coming out of the room. Then he sees that Sri Mahapurusha is seated on the cot.

Returning from the Ganges, he puts the saucer back in Swamiji’s room and again comes to Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He sees that the door is completely open now. There are many sadhus in the room. Kshitindra and Mati, the two attendants, Swami Bhaskarananda and others are standing in the room.

Sri Mahapurusha is seated on the cot. The sadhu sees while he stands at the door that Sri Mahapurusha has the smaller-sized Chandi in his hand. He is reading it and turning its pages. In front of him is the dining table. The hookah has been removed.

M.: “How the radiant power of an avatara penetrates through his disciples! Thakur said, ‘Devotees, the holy book and the Lord are all one.’”



The reading continues –

Belur Math. Sri Mahapurusha’s room, 7.15 a.m., winter, the month of Magha, Monday, 10 February 1930, 27th of Magha, 1326 B.Y., bright fortnight.

Sri Mahapurusha is seated, facing west, on his cot and is smoking. In front of him there is the hookah on a small stool. Its long wooden pipe touches his mouth. He puffs at it once or twice from time to time. He is in a pensive mood, his sight fixed within.

As soon as Swami Atmaprakashananda, the manager of the Math, comes in and offers salutations, Sri Mahapurusha says anxiously, “What’s the matter?” The manager replies, “There is some conflict with the Muslims about that piece of land.  We may ultimately have to go to the law.”

Both of Sri Mahapurusha’s eyes open wide. HHHHe says excitedly, “We paid for it. A school is being run there. Who has come now to ask us to leave? Let him who has sold it to us go to them on our behalf.”

Today it rained in the afternoon. There was a strong breeze. It is 5 p.m. now. All the outer doors and windows of the rooms upstairs are shut. Rajni Babu, the attendant of the Math, comes in drenched in rain. As soon as Sri Mahapurusha sees him, he comes out of his room. Rajni Babu stands near the railing of the staircase.

Two devotees have been standing on the steps for quite some time. As soon as Sri Mahapurusha’s eyes fall on them, he says irritably, “What do you want? Yes, you will get initiation. I say, you will. Now you may go.”

He goes towards the south. Coming to the passageway, he turns to the devotees and says to his attendant, “Give them prasad. Come here, Rajni.” Saying this, he goes through the passageway to the verandah overlooking the Ganges. He wishes to be alone to talk to Rajni.

Going beyond the frame of the door, he stands facing south. Rajni Babu faces north. Behind them is Swamiji’s room. Full of curiosity like a child, he asks with a smile, “Yes, tell me, what happened?” Rajni says, “There will not be much of a problem. This place is not good for you, Maharaj. It is very windy. You’d better go in.” Sri Mahapurusha says, like a child, “Yes, the breeze is strong. Come, let’s go into the smaller room.” Sri Mahapurusha is like a small child who accompanies someone in the hope of a toy or a sweet.

He sits on the cot in Khoka Maharaj’s room, while Rajni Babu stands in front of him, facing north. He puts the light on in the room. A sadhu standing on the mat in Swamiji’s room listens to the conversation. Later, he listens from the railing of the staircase.

Rajni Babu says, “The question of settling the affair has already been discussed.”

Sri Mahapurusha says, “I have prayed to Thakur: Thakur, you have practiced the spiritual disciplines of Islam, also so much of Christianity. Why are there such complications?”

Rajni Babu replies, “Yes, Maharaj, I too have done that.” Rajni Babu adds, “The staunch Muslim changed his mind. Today he came to me and said, ‘See this document.’ Some Muslim saint gave it to him to effect a compromise. He says, ‘I have also come to work for Khuda [God].’”

Sri Mahapurusha says indulgently, “I say this is also Khuda’s [God’s] work.”  After a pause, “See this is also His work, Thakur’s work. Thakur has changed their mind.”

Wonderstruck, a sadhu says to himself: What wonderful conduct of a paramahamsa. He plays with material things with his lower mind as though he was sensuous, but his higher mind remains fixed in Sri Bhagavan. His nature is like water – it takes the shape of the container in which it is put. Or he is like a clean glass – it takes the colour of the thing before it, but it itself remains completely unaffected.

I have seen these three aspects of his: a lion in worldly matters like a sensuous person, obedience to Rajni like a child when he comes back to his room, and then so full of compassion for the devotees. He says, “Give them prasad.” He says to the devotees, “Yes, you will get initiation.” The sadhu recites Sri Krishna’s character from the Gita:

na me pārthāsti kartavyaṃ triṣu lokeṣu kiñcana
nānavāptamavāptavyaṃ varta eva ca karmaṇi.

The reading from the diary continues –

Belur Math, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He is seated on his cot. Tuesday, 11 February 1930. As soon as Vikas, the kitchen storekeeper of the Math, rises after offering salutations, Sri Mahapurusha says, “Small hilsa fish are available in the Ganges. Tell Rajni babu to bring some and offer it to Thakur every day.”

Thakur is always there in the Math in a subtle and illumined form. Perhaps he [Mahapurusha] perceives it. He is indisposed himself, and doesn’t take fish, but how careful he is about the food for Thakur. Sri Mahapurusha neglects nothing.

M.: “The Lord is always awake and living with the devotee. A devotee always sees Him. That’s why he loves Him the way he loves his own body, and serves Him with great care. The Lord says in the Gita:

patraṃ puṣpaṃ phalaṃ toyaṃ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tadahaṃ bhaktyupahṛtamaśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

The reading from the diary continues –

Belur Math. A sadhu is meditating at the southeast corner of the table in Swamiji’s room. It is quarter to seven in the morning, Thursday, 13 February 1930, first of Phalgun 1336 B.Y.

Shankar, Sri Mahapurusha’s attendant, calls out, “Jagabandhu Maharaj?” As soon as the sadhu responds, he says, “Sri Mahapurusha Maharaj has sent for you.” The sadhu thinks he might be asked to go out somewhere, but his mind is at peace.

Sri Mahapurusha is seated on his cot. As soon as the sadhu enters his room, he says, “Jagabandhu, we have received this table cloth. Please spread it on Swamiji’s table.” As soon he gets it from Shankar, the sadhu says, “As you wish, sir,” and goes out of the room. Sri Mahapurusha says to the attendant, “Open it out, let him see it.” Taking it in his hand, the sadhu asks, “Shall I spread it just now?” “Yes, do it now.” Shankar and sadhu cover the table with it.

9 o’clock. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair in the southern office on the second storey; he is facing north. Close to him is a sadhu from Rishikesh, who is seated on a chair. He has come for the blessings of Sri Mahapurusha. Both of them talk about Rishikesh and Uttarakhand. Sri Mahapurusha’s secretary, seated in the southeast corner, writes letters on behalf of Sri Mahapurusha. Sometimes he also takes part in the conversation.

7 p.m. The arati is over. A sadhu, leaning against the table, with his face to the north does japa in Swamiji’s room. His mind cannot concentrate on the japa. He says to himself, Every pain vanishes by repeating His name, the mind feels joyful. Thus he begins to carry out japa with greater energy.

Sri Mahapurusha is going towards the west through the verandah and the passageway, humming this song: “How beautiful Thy Name, O refuge of the lowly.” What a sweet voice – so full of emotion, as if he is absorbed in ecstasy.

The mind of the sadhu engaged in worship becomes concentrated and filled with joy. He says to himself, “It is through Thakur’s grace that the guru speaks of the holy importance of His Name, who is the dispenser of joy and comfort.”

These waves of sound rising from the eternal are merged into the eternal, but they impress a special sweet memory on the sadhu’s heart. The same sweet wave of the voice resounds in the sadhu’s ears, “Beautiful Thy Name, O refuge of the lowly.”

M. (to sadhus): “Oh, what a soothing song, ‘Beautiful Thy name, O refuge of the lowly.’ Upon hearing this song from Swamiji’s lips, Thakur went into samadhi. That was some fifty years ago, but the waves of this song are still resounding in my ears. Ah, what a person he was.”

The reading from the diary continues.

Belur Math. Wednesday, 19 February, 1930, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He is sitting on his cot covered himself with shawl. In front of him, to the south of the table, Swami Ambikananda is sitting on a cane stool.

During their conversation, they talk of Chhakku Maharaj (Swami Yadavananda). Swami Ambikananda says that Chhakku has changed a lot. All that is no more, the mood of a sadhu is coming over him. He has received their grace (of the Holy Mother and Thakur’s disciples). He practices meditation and japa and studies the Yogavashishtha. He is living with an old Vaishnava sadhu in the Chamba hills. Sometimes he engages in religious discussion. A sadhu who is very fond of him says that he sometimes says nice things – and when annoyed with him, just says to him affectionately, “O Yadavananda, my son!”

There is another old sadhu who lives there. They all live on alms, but they provide all kinds of things to visiting sadhus. When a sadhu goes to them, they offer him food and serve him. They stock lentils, rice, flour and clarified butter that they don’t eat themselves, but they feed the sadhus with them.

Sri Mahapurusha: “Well, very good, very good. This is what is needed. Feeding sadhus and not taking anything themselves. It is very much the work of a sadhu. They are fond of Chhakku. That is very nice.”

Swami Ambikananda: “They say to Chhakku, ‘You become the mahanta.’[12] He says, ‘No Maharaj, I can’t do that.’ Then the sadhus say to him, ‘Oh son, you won’t have to do anything, except when the saints come, you will have to serve them. That’s all.’ I am going to write to Chhakku.”

Sri Mahapurusha (with great joy and affection): “I’ll also write him a letter. Aha, let him stay on there. It is good to stay with an old sadhu. Thakur made it possible for him. He had such bad habits.”

Swami Ambikananda: “He has been staying there for a year now.”

Sri Mahapurusha: “Oh, let him stay on. I’ll write to him too. May Thakur and the Holy Mother be propitious to him.”


After dusk Sri Mahapurusha goes to his room through the verandah and then the passageway. The attendant sadhu of Swamiji’s room stands at the door and watches Sri Mahapurusha. What a joyful figure! A living commentary on religion.

Sri Mahapurusha asks the sadhu affectionately if he would close the room. Saying, “Yes, sir,” the sadhu locks the door. His mind is full of joy. He says to himself: How fortunate for me to have such precious company and grace. Perhaps it is the very  ‘Kingdom of heaven on earth.’

Belur Math. Thursday, 20 February, 1930, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He is sitting on his cot.

Swami Swayamananda comes in and offers salutations. He belongs to the Parsi community. His  name was Dinshaw Kapadia. There are other sadhus in the room too – the elder Hiren and others.

Sri Mahapurusha says joyfully, “I have given you the name Din Sharan. (Laughter.) Din Shaw, Din Sharan,[13] is a very beautiful name. (To Kapadia) You are staying well? Kapadia nods to say that he is well.”

Sri Mahapurusha again asks, “How is Din Sharan feeling?” Kapadia again nods his head to say that he is well.

M.: “Yes, Thakur is Din Sharan.”

The reading from the diary ends.

It is already 6 p.m.

Swami Deshikananda: “You are known from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari since you wrote the Gospel (Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita in two volumes).

“One High Court Judge read the Gospel (Part I) seventeen times. And he told me, every time he found new light. He is a Malayalee. I am speaking of one instance, there are plenty unreported. You recognized him as God-incarnate and we hear from you.”

M.: “No, it was he who made us recognize him as God. We did not recognize him. In the Gita, Arjuna says: svayamevātmanā'tmānaṃ vettha tvaṃ puruṣottama.[14] He knows Himself, none else knows Him. And those whom He makes Him know, only they know Him. yamevaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyaḥ,[15] says the Veda.

 “He says in the Gita: ‘For the salvation of sadhus, I incarnate myself in flesh and blood whenever it is required.’ He comes to save, and the sadhus come to be saved.

“Book-learning has very little value. An avatara comes to interpret the books, the scriptures. So long the scriptures were sealed books. Lord Krishna came and interpreted the truth in the Gita.

“Who will interpret the scriptures? The intellect? It is blind. Weighed in balance, it is found wanting. Such is the value of intellect. Very feeble is the value of intellect. By intellect, name, fame and money can be had. So Christ says, ‘Do not lean on a broken reed.’ The Divine interpreter comes to interpret the scriptures.”

A sadhu begins to reflect thus:

“Perhaps this is to warn us that we not get confused later just by reading the scriptures. They should all be read in comparison with Thakur’s great sayings. Then, giving everything up, one should begin spiritual practices. The only way to attain peace is to live surrendered to God. We must always hold onto the great sayings of Thakur.”

M.: “He (Sri Ramakrishna) said, ‘I knoweth no letters.’ But he speaketh through his mouth such words that are listened to by learned pundits. ‘One ray,’ he added, ‘from the goddess of learning dazzles the eyes of big pundits.’

“’Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her,’[16] Christ said. ‘Many things’ means rituals and ceremonies, yajna, homa etc. And ‘one thing’ means love of God.”

A sadhu (to himself): “Our only duty is to love Thakur.”

M. (to Purnendu): “Bring some prasad.”

Purnendu brings two rasagullas on an enamel plate. M. tells him to give it to the devotees.

In the meantime more devotees arrive – Shukalal, Balai, Sukhendu, Shanti, Manoranjan and others. They talk about other things. Then to bring the conversation back to God, Swami Deshikananda says to them, “You were telling us about God.” Because of the interruption, the conversation on God did not continue zestfully as before.

The evening light is brought in. Seeing it, they clap their hands and chant, “Haribol, Haribol.” Purnendu takes and places the lantern at the foot of Tulsi plant.

M., sadhus and the devotees go there. On the north side of the road is the grove of Tulsi plants. Tulsi and various kinds of flowering shrubs grow in big flower pots.

Sadhus and the devotees prostrate to offer salutations. M. kneels like Christian devotees, prays, and offers salutations with folded hands. They are trembling. Even so, he brings them again and again to touch his forehead. And he recites the names of the deities.

One sadhu to himself, “What firm faith the Lord’s intimate disciple has! Though old, he is not concerned with anything else. His body, mind, heart and soul, are each tied to the lotus feet of the Lord. I wish I had such firm faith. It is as though he is telling us by his conduct that devotion through the reading of scriptures and ritualistic devotion are good, but ecstatic love of God is higher. Try to attain it – but how deficient we are in love for God.”

M. goes to his room from the Tulasi grove. He brings the lantern to the picture of the Goddess hanging on the wall. Then he sits in the staircase room on a chair near the pillar facing north – not on the roof. On his head is a towel and he wears a broad cloth shirt. The devotees and sadhus sit before M. to his right and left.

Antevasi says to him that if he wants to rest, he should go to his room. M. says, “No, I’ll perform my daily worship here.” He shuts his eyes and meditates.

A sannyasi reflects: What self-control, self-possession and love of God are present in this great man! God’s love has taken complete hold of his mind. His old age, indisposition, discomfort, nothing can dissuade him.

After meditation, M. inquires about the sadhus of the Math. One of them says, “I have to ask you a few things.” M. takes him to the roof and, standing near the iron staircase, talks to him.


A Particular Person: “I hear that they’re sending me to Deoghar because the place is good and there is arrangement for good food.”

M.: “What, for a change (of weather)!”

Devotee: “No, to take up a duty.”

M.: “It’s a new place, not a bad idea. Why not experiment once? You can come back if it doesn’t suit you. Besides, the weather is good there now.

“A great responsibility! Boys are living there. I hear there have been a lot of unsavoury incidents. The young men are not married. A person has to protect himself very carefully from them. It’s a great responsibility.”

The person: “People say so many different things and it’s hard to make a decision. If Sri Mahapurusha says something, it can definitely be obeyed implicitly. I can put my trust in what he says. It is not the same with others. It’s very difficult. Besides, they’re not very sympathetic.”

M.: “It appears they cannot do it.”

The person: “One says what one likes.”

M.: “How can this go on? Everybody is not spiritually perfect and everyone has a different nature. One should be very tactful and always pray. Vivekananda says, ‘Only Thakur is our hero. We have to tell him everything.’

“It’s very difficult to live in an organization. Tact and prayer are necessary. The author of Imitation of Christ belonged to an organization, so he says that prayer is always necessary. You must pray: ‘Lord, so-and-so doesn’t listen and a certain person creates confusion.’ How powerful is an organization!   It can kill a person – like how Christ was killed.

“One should not claim too much from them. Otherwise, one is left with a grievance, which is very bad. If you have to discuss things, it should be done very politely, and you must serve. Suppose there is a patient. You must render him service whether you are asked or not. Instead of doing so, if you go to meditate, that is not good.”

The person: “There are problems with this, too. When I fell sick in Madras, those for whom I was serving said, ‘Why do you do it? Is it right to render service even when you fall ill doing it?’”

M.: “Then you should ask others to do the job, saying that you cannot do it. The body has to be cared for. You should do it as long as you have energy for it. When you cannot look after yourself, you have to ask others.

“Already there is a schism even in this Math. How much strain it is incurring!

“Tact and constant prayer are necessary. Just as there are many advantages in an organization, there are also disadvantages. If you can’t cope with it, you should go and live under a tree. But even there, there are a lot of problems. You don’t know what you will eat tomorrow.”

Person: “I used to have such a good memory earlier. Now I forget everything.”

M.: “This happens with illness. And if you are self-seeking, the mind does not grow. So you should render service as long as you can.”

Person: “I saw in Madras that while serving one keeps mentally well, but it’s not the same with the body.”

M.: “It’s a different matter if one is ill. Just come here.”

Saying this, M. comes to the staircase room, takes his seat on a chair and resumes the conversation.

M. (to all present): “The Lord, Sri Krishna, says in the Gita:

yatkaroṣi yadaśnāsi yajjuhoṣi dadāsi yat
yattapasyasi kaunteya tatkuruṣva madarpaṇam

“Look, He says: ‘Offer to me whatever You do – tatkuruṣva madarpaṇam. Whatever you do, whatever you eat, offer it to Me.’ He is talking in general terms, stating that whatever austerity you practice (he shuts his eyes and imitates meditation), offer it to Me. Only then will you succeed. Doing something for yourself and something for Him will not do. You have to do everything for Him.

“You should take up the work enjoined by the Guru. You have to do what he tells you to do.  You may represent your case, but if you are asked, you have to obey. Even if you have to teach as a tutor, it is for Him.

(Reflecting for awhile) “Selfless work is very difficult, but He also said: Even a little performance of selfless work will do. svalpamapyasya dharmasya[18] – even a little selfless work is enough. What will happen?  trāyate mahato bhayāt [19] – it will save one from great fear. What is this great fear? Falling into the cycle of life and death. Saving means liberation. By doing a little work without the expectation of any reward the mind is purified. When that happens, one gains knowledge, which brings liberation. If a work is not done selflessly, you will have to reap its good or bad results. And this will make you fall into the cycle of birth and death. Birth and death are the reasons for all our sorrows, so it is a great fear.  trāyate mahato bhayāt – is indeed a message of hope.”

What is M. thinking about? He hides a smile on his face and in his eyes and then talks.

M. (to all present): “And this is another example: Sitapati Maharaj (Swami Raghavananda). Sometimes he undertakes a little selfless work and then he returns. He spent a long time in solitude. He did it for some days during the Udbodhan controversy. Then he attended to the work of the Math in north-western India and visited some places of pilgrimage. This is also a class of people.”

Purnendu: “He says, ‘Shall I have to do it always? I am getting old.’”

M. (smiling): “Why should he give it up for that?”

There is a momentary change of mood. The conversation resumes.

M. (pointing at Shukalal): “Those who live in the household suffer because they indulge in sense pleasures, and it binds them. If you avoid sense pleasures you are set free.  (To all) Whether you live in the Math or in family, it is indulging in sense enjoyment that binds.”

Durgapada Mitra arrives. M. calls out, “Come in, come in, sit down. You were seen to be a star and were sent to the Kumbha fair.” [It means he was chosen to visit Kumbha.]

Durgapada puts a magazine in M.’s hand. It contains different pictures of the Kumbha festival. M. turns the pages and looks at it with full concentration. He says, “So now I also have had the vision of Kumbha. If you have a strong imagination, you can have 75% to 85% by listening to what people say about it. Thinking about  it, seeing the pictures, does it even more. A good application of science is that we can see things even from a distance.

“And there is divine sight. It is a yogic power that has to do with the mind. Veda Vyasa gave this power to Sanjay. He was able to see the battle of Kurukshetra and told Dhritarashtra about it sitting in Delhi. This also brought the Gita into existence. Science is making great progress. Sitting here, one can hear distant news, and can even talk on the telephone. Besides, wireless instruments are being invented. After a time, perhaps you will be able to see distant things.

“All this is material science. Then there is mental science, and above that, spiritual science. In the West they experiment only with material science. Above it is mental science. This was used in battles in ancient times. Spiritual science is Brahmavidya. It leads to the vision of God, to Self-realization.

“If the three sciences advance together, it brings good results; otherwise, it harms. The West has only material science. In the absence of spiritual science, it will lead to destruction because man’s intelligence goes astray. We are having a glimpse of it, the First World War is an illustration.

It is about 8 p.m. Swami Deshikananda and Swami Nityatmananda offer their salutations and take leave to depart. They have to go to Belur. Purnendu accompanies them to the lower story with a lantern. Shukalal donates two rupees for transportation.

The sadhu is practicing Karma Yoga (the yoga of selfless action). As he proceeds on the way, he says to himself, M. has laid great stress on work assigned by the Guru. He has also given assurances by quoting the Gita. One succeeds if one does a little selfless work – svalpamapyasya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt.”[20]


Belur Math.

Thursday, 20 February 1930.


[1]. A Tantric ritual.

[2]. Bhagavad Gita 9:18

[3]. Kichuri.

[4]. Swami Subodhananda.

[5]. Phiran.

[6]. Uncertain is the life like drops of water on a lotus (Nalini) leaf. Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, O foolish one! – Dvädaçamaïjarikä of Sankaracharya.

[7]. The benefactor of the humble.

[8]. I bow to you, Gangeshananda, I bow to you.

[9]. O Devi, how can we describe Your inconceivable form, or Your abundant surpassing valour that destroys the asuras, or Your wonderful feats displayed in battles among all the hosts of gods, asuras and others? – Chandi 4:6

[10]. O Partha, in all the three worlds, there is no duty whatsoever for me; nothing remains unachieved or to be achieved. (Yet) I engage in action. Bhagavad Gita 3:22.

[11]. Whoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water I accept from the pure-hearted man who has offered it with devotion. – Bhagavad Gita 9:26.

[12]. Head of monastery.

[13]. Means the refuge of lowly.

[14]. O Supreme Person, You Yourself alone know Yourself by Yourself. – Bhagavad Gita 10:15

[15]. Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.3 and Katha Upanishad 1.2.23.

[16]. Luke 10:41 & 42.

[17]. Bhagavad Gita 9:27.

[18]. Bhagavad Gita 2:40.

[19]. Ibid.

[20]. Bhagavad Gita 2:40.