A Necklace of Pearls
Morton School. The roof on the fourth storey. M. is seated in the centre on a chair facing north. To his left is a double bench with a rug on it, on which sadhus sit. To the right of M. are benches on which Bhaumik, Purnendu and a number of devotees sit.
Today is Friday, 28 February 1930. It is five o’ clock. Swami Nityatmananda and Swami Jitatmananda of Belur Math, and Manindra Maharaj of Dinajpur have been to the dentist in Dharamtala and have come from there. As soon as M. sees them, he welcomes and invites them to take their seats on the double bench. They offer salutations and sit down. After the pleasantries are over, the conversation begins.
Jagabandhu Maharaj: “Will you visit the Math on Thakur’s birth anniversary worship?”
M.: “I do want to, but we shall see. Once I wanted to go to the Kumbha fair in Prayag. I had such an intense desire to leave immediately. O Mother, that desire too went in vain. Such is my state that I can’t go up a single storey. It is all the function of the mind. I feel like going, like the desire of a moth to jump into a flame.
“I also received an invitation for Thakur’s anniversary celebration from Ooty. The celebration comes on March 9. Swami Chidbhavananda sent me the invitation.”
M. takes up the letter and opens it. After reading it, he puts it in his shirt pocket.
M.: “I received an invitation from Bangalore too. Who invited us to come visit them?”
Jagabandhu: “Then it is Yogeshwaranandaji, Swamiji’s disciple.”
M.: “Oh, is he celebrating it there? (To a sannyasi) Have Math authorities decided where you have to go? Don’t you need to visit the doctor now?”
The Sannyasin: “No, sir. Not as frequently as before.”
M.: “Who is your doctor. Is it Amar Babu?”
Sannyasin: “No. Shyam Babu.”
M.: “What do you eat?”
Sannyasi: “Three rotis and a quarter seer of milk at night and rice and vegetable gravy during the day.”
M.: “You may take more rotis. Do you want to?”
Sannyasin: “Yes, sir. I do want it, but I find it difficult to digest. Perhaps I can take more milk. Consumption of more of liquid is good.”
M.: “Do you take milk in the morning?”
Sannyasin: “No, I have been asked to take buttermilk. When it’s made for everybody, I get my share to drink. My mind and body are under constant strain.”
M.: “If I may quote Rakhal Maharaj: A sannyasin is an unclaimed baggage.
“But sannyasa has been since time immemorial. Buddha Deva said, ‘I am not born in your clan. Please don’t worry. I am born in the clan of the Buddhas.’ Buddha Deva’s father had said, ‘Though born in our clan, you have taken to begging.’ It was in reply to this that Buddha Deva had said, ‘Maharaj, I am born in the clan of the Buddhas.’
“(After reflecting for awhile) A housewife knows which pot has to be placed on which particular pot [while arranging the utensils]. She doesn’t have to think about it. When He has made so many ashramas – brahmacarya, gärhasthya, vänaprastha and sannyäsa – it is His lookout. He has made all these stages of life and it is for Him to worry about them.
“Look, He sends the sun every day. He has made air, which brings about life. He fries the fish in fish oil, and he breaks a clod with a clod.
“There are vegetarians (sannyasis) and meat eaters (householders). He looks after the vegetarians and also the non-vegetarians. He says, ‘Render service to them (the vegetarians – that is, sannyasis); it will do you great good.’ Such is His dispensation.”
M. (to Bhaumik): “You are trying to work – this effort, too, is provided by Him.”
Bhaumik: “You said in the other room that the mind that thinks of only one subject is ordinary, but one that thinks on many is great. And gave as an example, Napoleon.”
M.: “Yes. Only avataras can do that. Napoleon and others did it out of attachment. But avataras and such other personalities do it without attachment. How do they do it? Giving up food, bath, and sleep without any rest; they work, but without attachment.
“Napoleon, showing Jerusalem to the doctor’s sons on the map in St. Helena, said, ‘He is victorious, not I.’ He – that is, Christ.”
M. is a little distracted. He thinks for awhile, then talks.
M. (to himself, hinting at sannyasis): “Buddha Deva said, ‘Maharaj, I am born in the clan of the Buddhas, not in your clan.’”
M. sings full of emotion
The song –
What a machine Shyama has built!
What a machine Kali Ma has made!
In this machine, three and a half cubits high, what pranks She is playing!
Living inside the machine You Yourself move it day and night.
But the machine says that it is moving by itself, not knowing who is moving it.
The machine which knows You, does not have to be a machine anymore.
Because the chord of bhakti has tied Shyama to itself.
M. repeats this line again and again, “Living inside the machine You Yourself move it day and night.” It is as if he sees the Mother moving the machine in front of him. In his eyes and on his face is lustre of joy. He is full of a serene and fearless mood.
It is dusk now. Leaving his seat, M. goes to the tulsi grove toward the north and sits down. The sadhu and devotees accompany him. Some of them return after offering their salutations, but most of them sit beside M. The sadhu comes and sits on the bench. M. returns after half an hour.
Lakshmana has arrived. He is from Orissa, where he works as a cook in Thakur’s ashrama. He is an initiated devotee from the Math. For many years he has cooked Thakur’s food offering in Madras. At present, he has no work. M. says to Swami Nityatmananda, “Look, maybe some work can be found for him in one of the ashramas. Madras Math was so nice.”
Himanshu has arrived. He is accompanied by a devotee, who has brought many palm leaf fans and some sweets. Another young devotee, Sunder Basu, has also arrived. His face is sunder [beautiful] as well as his name. He is the sister’s son of the proprietors of Lakshmi Vilas Oil. He has received the grace of Sri Mahapurusha. He too has sweets in his hand. M. says to Purnendu, “The sweets have to be offered to the deities. Wash your hands and keep them safe. Give the fans to the Math. Sprinkle Ganges water over them, the water from the Triveni Sangam, before you put them away.”
The sadhus are seated on the double bench – Vinay, Manindra and Jagabandhu. Sunder sits with them, closer to M. Shukalal, Mukunda, Purnendu, Lakshmana, Himanshu and many other devotees sit in front of them, facing west. Before M. are two rows of benches. Many devotees are seated there too.
M. goes to his room. He divides the sweets into two parts: one part to go to the Math, and the other to the Thakur Bari. When he returns, he takes his seat and talks to Sunder happily. Sunder is wearing a white shirt and his moustaches are trimmed. He has a very fair complexion. He must be twenty-three or twenty-four. The doctor says that he has high blood pressure.
M. (to Sunder): “Now look. Forget all such things as blood pressure. We never heard of them in our childhood. Doctors talk so much of them these days. Do you understand? Forget them all; be de-hypnotized.”
M. reflects for awhile, as if he is seeing something within and that somebody else is talking through his lips.
M. (to the devotees): “God loves man so much that He Himself comes as a man to impart spiritual knowledge – paritrāṇāya sādhūnām. Otherwise, where would the sadhu stand?
“It is He who sees to everything. A man should have no worry. He has made the sun, the air, everything. That is how man survives.
“Besides, is this the only life? There is eternal life.
“A person said to him (to Thakur), ‘Sir, is there an after-life?’ He replied, ‘Why do you worry about that? You’ve come to eat mangoes. Eat them.’ And he added, ‘I’ve told you that as long as a pot is not properly baked, the potter puts it on his wheel again and again. But once it is properly baked, nothing can be done with it.’
“Don’t you see? The potter made a pot and it broke. So he put it back on the wheel. But when it was baked red, nothing more could be done to it.
“He said, ‘I have told them.’ That it has no importance.
“(To everyone) Pundits say a thing in so many ways, but an avatara says it like a child. The Mother who has begotten you knows everything. A man must not worry – and should live carefree.
“If you were to say if the man need make an effort, the answer is that even the effort is given by Him. And as long as there is ego, one should pray to Him. Thakur removed all our doubts – chidyante sarvasaàçayäù.
“So much love He has, that He Himself came down to earth for the protection of sadhus. Otherwise, what would sadhus do? He comes to instruct in spiritual knowledge and love for God.”
One person (to himself): “The Lord comes as an avatara to create sadhus. And devotees are to serve the sadhus. The sadhus will talk to the devotees about spiritual knowledge and love for God. This will be their mutual relationship. Today a long-lasting doubt of mine has been removed – a sadhu is the link between God and devotees.”
kaccinnobhayavibhraṣṭaśchinnābhramiva naśyati apratiṣṭho mahābāho vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi.
“If a person cannot remain steady in spiritual knowledge, the alternative is service of devotees. This helps sadhus wipe their samskaras of actions, and it also helps the devotees.
devānbhāvayatānena te devā bhāvayantu vaḥ parasparaṃ bhāvayantaḥ śreyaḥ paramavāpsyatha.
“Sri Krishna, having raised Arjuna’s mind from worldly duties has joined it to Brahman. Arjuna has not yet established himself in that state. Afraid of destruction, Arjuna says, ‘Having been fallen from both attitudes, shall I perish like a breakaway cloud? You have raised my mind from where it was established and taken it to the thought of Brahman, but I am unable to stay there.’ Itaù nañöaù tataù bhrañöaù – thus I am neither of the world nor of God.”
M. asks Jagabandhu Maharaj to read his diary aloud.
Belur Math. Friday, 21 February 1930, verandah on the second storey, 8 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha is standing in front of the passage and door to Swamiji’s room. He faces south. He is wearing a woollen undershirt. Over it is a woolen shirt, off-white in colour. On his feet are velvet slippers. Kadula (Brahmachari Mangal Chaitanya) comes and offers his salutations. He has just come from America. He stands in front of Sri Mahapurusha, facing north. Behind him is Swamiji’s room and to his left is the passage. To the south and north of the passage stand the sadhu attendant of Swamiji’s room and Bhajhari (Swami Sarvajnanda). Shailesh (Swami Kailashananda) stands with his back touching the wall of the smaller room adjoining the verandah.
In a happy mood, Sri Mahapurusha enquires of Kadula’s welfare.
Sri Mahapurusha: “How do you do? Quite Well?”
Kadula: “Yes, Maharaj. Thanks. How are you?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “The body is invalidated – very weak.”
Kadula: “But the spirit?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, the spirit is all right.
“(In a cheerful, inspired mood) That is alright.”
Swami Omkarananda, Shashwatananda and Nepal Maharaj of Kashi enter.
Sri Mahapurusha: “This life is only a bubble, a quarter. In the Vedas, in the Gita, the Lord says: ‘A quarter is this world and three-fourths are outside of it.’
“This is a bubble, this life in the world. The spirit is eternal. That life is eternal.”
Kadula: “If God is knowledge, then why is there ignorance in this world?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Nobody can answer this question. God is and ignorance is. That is a fact. But by His will, one can go out of this ignorance.”
Kadula: “By trying, by struggle?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “But the power of struggle also is here (pointing at his heart with his right hand) in the soul. (Placing his right hand on his chest) By the Mother’s will, we have gone out of this ignorance.
“Yes, by Divine Will many have gone, many are going, and many will go out of this ignorance.
“But this question (why there is ignorance) cannot be answered.”
A sadhu (to himself): “God and ignorance are two quite different things. God has become the man. By His will the man is drowned in ignorance. By His will the man is lifted up from this ignorance and shown his real nature, which is God.
“God + Ignorance = Man.
“God – Ignorance = Man-God, Jivanmukta.
“We must pray to Him constantly to take us out of this ignorance. Sri Ramakrishna by his touch has pulled so many drowned souls out of this ignorance. Swami Vivekananda and all his disciples are lifted up from this ignorance. Even now Mahapurusha said, ‘By the Mother’s will, we have gone out of this ignorance.’
“Will Thakur lift us also up from this ignorance? May he do so!
“It is extremely clear now after this open declaration of Mahapurusha that this depends entirely on His will. We have no other way but to pray, to weep, to completely surrender to Him for getting back our Divine sight.
“But we cannot keep up this attitude of complete surrender in mind. We forget, so we become devoid of peace.
“We forget Him in activity. Leisure and meditation are required. And yet we can’t go out of this activity. Being in activity let us try and pray – ‘Lord, do not delude me, take me out of this ignorance. Mother, Thou art ignorance, too. Show unto us Thy real self and also the real self of Thakur.”
All are speechless. Everything is calm. Mahapurusha’s words are vibrating in the atmosphere.
The morning of the winter has flooded the verandah with sweet sunshine. The minds of the sadhus are also kindled by the wisdom’s rays of the seer standing before them.
M.: “That’s why Thakur always said, ‘Association with sadhus is necessary for householders.’ Indeed, it is for all, even for sannyasins. But it is particularly essential for householders. The disease is always there with them – they are always living midst ‘lust and gold’.”
The sadhu again reads from his diary.
Belur Math, the verandah on the second storey. It is 7 p.m. The arati is over in Thakur’s shrine. Some of the sadhus have come to meet Sri Mahapurusha.
Sri Mahapurusha is seated on an easy chair to the left of the passage. He has covered his body with a wool shawl. In front of the room the Ganges flows. To the left Swami Ambikananda is seated on a reed stool. Swami Omkarananda stands leaning on the railing and the attendant of Swamiji’s room stands to the north at the opening of the passage. The door is only partly open.
Swamiji is the topic of conversation.
Swami Omkarananda: “Vijnana Maharaj says, ‘If I may say, there was only one worthy disciple of Thakur and that was Swamiji [Vivekananda].’”
Sri Mahapurusha (inspired): “That’s it, that’s it! What capacity he had! We couldn’t understand Thakur, but he had the capacity to. That’s why Thakur would go into such an extraordinary state when he saw him. He would become intoxicated with the idea of the Indivisible – the idea of plurality would be completely obliterated.
“Once a festival in Thakur’s honour was being celebrated in Dakshineswar. He used to sit on the long verandah to the northeast. Only a few disciples were there, just fifty or sixty. Swamiji arrived. Immediately Thakur said, full of joy, ‘Here comes Naren.’ Then he extended both of his feet towards him. Swamiji embraced them with great reverence. Thakur used to see some special power in him.
“We have also been blessed. We have lived with such great personalities, enjoyed ourselves with them, and have eaten together. We ordinary men are blessed.
“Swamiji carried out his mission for ten years, between 29 and 39 years of age. During the time he was ill for three years. He worked only for seven years.”
Sri Mahapurusha (to Omkarananda): “Don’t you read the Prabuddha Bharata?”
Swami Omkarananda: “No, but I read it when there are articles by some great men.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, Ashokananda writes well. And the compilation is good.”
Swami Ambikananda: “Which Ashokananda?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Yogesh, Yogesh of Madras.”
Swami Omkarananda: “Principal Kamakhya wrote a good article. I haven’t read it, only heard about it.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “He is a great devotee of Swamiji, but he is not just the devotee type. He writes very intelligently and tries to put it across with reason.”
Everybody is quiet. Sri Mahapurusha is also silent for awhile, and then he resumes the conversation.
Sri Mahapurusha (smiling): “He came by a steamer from Madras with Swamiji when he had just returned from America.”
Swami Ambikananda: “Was Gupta Maharaj with them?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, Gupta was with them. He was with them from Madras. And Niranjan accompanied them from Colombo. I was also coming from Colombo. I was walking on the deck when Swamiji held me like this (putting his hand round my back). (Smiles) Two men and a western lady were also strolling on the deck.
“You feel very hungry when you are at sea… There is oxygen – but it is called ozone.
Swami Omkarananda: “He came first to Budge-Budge and then to the Math.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “All the passengers had landed, but we stayed on the ship for the night. The Younger Gopal, Baroda’s brother, brought a lot of food. Oh, what mosquitoes there were!”
The reading continues.
Belur Math. Saturday, 22 February 1930. The verandah on the second storey. The arati is over. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on an easy chair facing north near Swamiji’s room. Swami Vamadevananda is fanning his head with a piece of cloth. Swami Ambikananda is seated on a reed stool in front and Swami Omkarananda stands with his back touching the railing.
‘Nather Po’ and Sudershan have arrived. Sudershan is a tailor. He talks to Sri Mahapurusha on things like woodwork, photography and so on. Sri Mahapurusha says, “A person can make a living anywhere by tailoring. A man has to get his dress tailored.”
Swami Punyananda comes in and asks Swami Ambikananda in a low voice, “Can we listen to the radio today?” There is a radio in the visitor’s room. Swami Ambikananda says, “Please fit it.” (To Sri Mahapurusha) “I hope it won’t bother you. That’s why he’s asking.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “No, I’m going to my room. You may switch it on.”
Sri Mahapurusha goes to his room and sits down in an easy chair. Swami Omkarananda stands near the door. A sadhu standing near the steps is watching Sri Mahapurusha. A blue blub lights the room. Mati, the attendant, shuts the door.
The reading from the diary continues.
Sunday, 23 February, 1930, 8 a.m. Belur Math. The sadhu is cleaning Swamiji’s room. Swami Gangeshananda, Sri Mahapurusha’s secretary, comes in and says, “You have to go to Amar Babu’s house to get medicine for Sri Mahapurusha.”
Sri Mahapurusha is seated on the verandah facing east on a chair near the passage. The attendant comes out of Swamiji’s room and stands near Sri Mahapurusha.
Kshitindra, Sri Mahapurusha’s attendant, has a big white stone plate in his hand. He says, “Jagabandhu Maharaj will go. (To the sadhu) Jagabandhu, are you going?” On his consenting, he says, “Please deliver this plate to Amar Babu and tell him that I have sent it. He may take his rice on it.” The sadhu, saying, “All right, sir,” leaves with the plate. Sri Mahapurusha says, “Be careful when you get on and off the steamer. It would have been better for somebody to accompany you.”
The sadhu doesn’t feel well, that’s why he is so worried. He says, “Sir, I’ll manage.”
Sri Mahapurusha again says, “Well, somebody will go with you to see you off at the steamer.” The sadhu says, “Even if nobody is there to see me off, it will be all right.” Sri Mahapurusha again says, “Kalisadaya is here. Let him go with you.” Kali goes with him and sees him onto the steamer.
When he was going out, Sri Mahapurusha says, “When you land, ask somebody to hold it for you, so that you can land safely.”
While alighting at the Kutighat, the sadhu asks Rishi Maharaj, who is also going to Calcutta, to hold it for him.
The sadhu returns with the medicine at half past ten, having delivered the plate to Amar Mukherji, the homeopathic physician. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on an easy chair near the door of his room. The sadhu gives the medicine to Sri Mahapurusha, saying, “Kindly take it now.” Sri Mahapurusha asks, “Right now?” The sadhu replies, “Yes, sir. This very moment.” The sadhu prepares a dose and puts it in his mouth.
It is seven p.m. Sri Mahapurusha is seated in an easy chair facing north on the verandah facing the Ganges. A cushion has been placed in front of the window of Swamiji’s room. Khoka Maharaj is sitting on a chair facing south. It has been a little hot today, so Kshitindra is fanning him. Narasimha Babu does the same for Sri Mahapurusha. Swami Vamadevananda also fans Sri Mahapurusha’s head with a piece of cloth.
Swami Omkarananda is standing to the right of Sri Mahapurusha with the railing behind him. Another sadhu, having closed Swamiji’s room, first comes to the passage, then stands by Swami Omkarananda.
Sri Mahapurusha is meditating. His health and heart are both weak, but he still meditates. He is bent over like a bow. His body is like a bow – but meditate he must.
The sadhus watch this divine scene quietly and say to themselves, “It is for our instruction that he is meditating. Without speaking, he is instructing us with practical demonstration.” Being so close, the mind and soul of the sadhus are calmed and their minds are full of joy.
Prolonged meditation aggravates disease of the brain, so Swami Omkarananda is trying to bring him down from that state by talking to him.
Swami Omkarananda: “Dinesh (Swami Nikhilananda) replied to Mahesh Ghosh’s criticism in his article.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “What did he write?”
Swami Omkarananda: “Mahesh Ghosh wrote a criticism of the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna in the Modern Review. In one place he says, ‘What is the meaning of Shakti – that which deludes and takes you astray. He quoted Pratap Majumdar’s article.’”
Sri Mahapurusha (sitting erect, contradicting forcefully): “Ah, what did he say? Thakur never knew anybody but the Divine Mother. He always lived as a child with his Mother – always Mother, Mother on his lips.”
Swami Omkarananda: “I’ve turned the pages of all the four volumes of the Kathamrita. Achalananda says to Thakur, ‘You don’t accept it even as vira bhava. You want to go against what Siva said.’ Thakur replied, ‘What can I say? My attitude is that of a child towards his Mother.’”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes. Thakur said about Achalananda, ‘He attained a little and has the essence. Others have nothing. There are some who stagger, some lie unconscious or perhaps vomit when taking wine. But I have seen Achalananda repeating God’s name and so forth.’ They all used to sit in front of Thakur in holy assembly. Achalananda was a man from the south.”
Swami Omkarananda: “Mahesh Ghosh also said this: ‘Ramakrishna Paramahamsa only asked us to repeat the name while we (of the Brahmo Samaj) talk of meditation.’”
Sri Mahapurusha (sarcastically): “Ah, how precious!”
Swami Omkarananda: “Ashok Chatterji wrote in the same Modern Review: ‘Swami Vivekananda preached to ordinary men in the west. He did not meet the intelligentsia.’ This also has been replied too. It is said that James and Royce and other philosophers also used to attend his lectures.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “They have their own [ounce of] intelligence. They just read two pages of English, not even the entire book. And as for Swamiji – what a great spiritual genius! To compare anyone with him? To talk of him!”
Sri Mahapurusha is going to his room. Swami Omkarananda asks him, if he has headache. He says, “Yes, it comes in the evening in the summers because of the heat.”
The sadhu says to himself, “Even God-realized souls are not spared by worldly criticism. Such is the play of Mahamaya! It is said even to someone who has realized the all-benign Brahman-Shakti that Shakti is malevolent.”
M. (smiling): “Listening to this, I’m reminded of one of Thakur’s great sayings: ‘Somebody said that his uncle had a whole cowshed full of horses.’ It shows that the uncle has neither a house, nor a cowshed nor horses. Why? A cowshed is meant for cows. Horses live in stables.
“Thakur told another story. A person had a diamond. He went to the market to sell it, and he showed to a brinjal seller, who said it was worth nine seers of brinjal. Then he went to a cloth merchant, who quoted nine hundred rupees. Nearby was a jeweler. As soon as he saw it, he paid a hundred thousand rupees for it. Only a jeweler can recognize a jewel.”
Reading from the diary is resumed. Belur Math, Monday, 28 February 1930, Sri Mahapurusha’s room, 7.30 a.m. It is somewhat hot. Many sadhus come and offer their salutations.
Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a cot. Swamis Omkarananda, Jyotirmayananda, Shashwatananda, Deshikananda, Nityatmananda, Brahmachari Mani from Decca, Shailesh and others all stand wherever they can see him.
Kadula, a brahmachari who lives in America, comes in and offers his salutations. He is keen to take the vows of brahmacharya on Thakur’s birth anniversary.
Kadula: “Maharaj, I want to take the vow of brahmacharya ceremonially. Pray, grant me that.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “You are already a brahmachari, following the rules. You know them all.”
Kadula: “No, Maharaj, not all.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “So, Omkarananda will explain the meaning of them all. You have only to chant them before a consecrated fire.
“But everything is within. To pray to Him always: I may not deviate from my vows. Everything is within – everything within the mind.
“He is all in all. Sri Ramakrishna is the Paramätman, Over-soul, Lord incarnate. He is all knowledge, all purity. He is all in all.”
The sadhu (to himself): “These momentous words of the guru are imprinted in my memory. I don’t know why I don’t advance towards internalization. I will have to keep it locked in my heart; this great saying will have to be held within: ‘Sri Ramakrishna is the Paramätman, the Over-soul, Lord-incarnate.’
“I am not able to remember this great saying constantly in the midst of external struggles. O Lord, pray grant me internalization of these words in my heart.”
M.: “If you call upon Him with a sincere heart, he is bound to listen. Thakur used to say, ‘Even the sound of the movement of the ant’s feet reaches His ears. Will He not hear the call of a devotee?’ He resides within the heart. Call Him in the heart. He is sure to listen.”
A sadhu reads the diary.
Today is çivarätri, Wednesday, 26 February 1930, eight in the morning. Sri Mahapurusha is slowly pacing north-south on the verandah of the second storey of the Belur Math.
As he walks one direction, he sees Swamiji’s bedding from the door of the passage, from above the railing. Folding his hands, he offers salutations and prays, “Swamiji Maharaj, be compassionate to us. Victory to Guru Maharaj!”
While pacing, he leans over the railing of the door of Swamiji’s room to peep inside. The sadhu is changing the sheet and the pillowcase of the bedding. Taking off the pillowcase of the camp cot, he puts on another. The inner pillowcase is torn. Seeing it, Sri Mahapurusha says, “It is very ugly. Can’t it be changed?” He says this very clearly. The attendant replies, “Sir, this is the one used by Swamiji.” “Let it be then, let it be,” Sri Mahapurusha says.
He begins to stroll again. And then, he says, near the railing, “This is a nice table cloth, isn’t it?”
The attendant says, “Yes, sir, it looks even prettier at night in artificial light when the door is closed.” Sri Mahapurusha is surprised and says, “Really? It looks prettier!” Sri Mahapurusha had given the table cloth some days ago.
He again paces the verandah. Then standing near the railing again, he folds his hands and prays to Swamiji, “Swamiji, be compassionate to us. Grant us peace.”
The sadhu says to himself: “What devotion Sri Mahapurusha has for his brother disciple! He is really seeing Swamiji living and is praying to him for the welfare of us and the organization founded by him. Our bhakti is just words. Today it is çivarätri. I am going to worship only the living Shiva – Swamiji. I won’t perform puja separately anymore. The service I render in this room has just been my duty. Swamiji is living here. It is not with that idea in my mind that I have been attending him. So Swamiji Maharaj, don’t take offence at the faults of your child.”
It is 8.30 in the morning. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a cushioned chair on the verandah with the Ganges flowing before him. Shailesh stands there, leaning against the railing.
Shailesh: “Girija (later Swami Dhireshananda) has come to take sannyasa vows.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Let him have them if he so wishes. They mean nothing. Dyeing your clothes is of no avail – it only helps to beg alms more easily.
“Real sannyasa is samadhi. Without samadhi it is nothing. Spiritual knowledge and love for God are sannyasa. Merely putting on robes does not help.”
Shailesh: “Even so, initiation from you is a special samskara.”
Sri Mahapurusha (in spite of himself): “That is so.”
Now he changes the topic. Downstairs Gopinath, the cook, is going to his room across the lawn after a bath in the Ganges. Seeing him, Sri Mahapurusha says, “Namo çiväya, namo çiväya.” It is çivarätri today. Gopinath offers his salutations rather hesitatingly.
Many devotees arrive at mid-day. Sri Mahapurusha takes them with him when he goes to sit in an easy chair in front of Swamiji’s room on the verandah facing the Ganges. He faces north. All the devotees sit on the floor.
Khoka Maharaj (Swami Subodhananda) is walking in the lawn below. Watching him, Sri Mahapurusha says, “I see that Khoka has become very weak.”
Today is Tuesday, 27 February, 1930, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He is seated on his cot. It is 7 o’clock. Shailesh has placed a painted image of Satyanarayana in the room. When Sri Mahapurusha sees it, he asks, “Who brought that?” Shailesh says that it was he. Sri Mahapurusha says, “Let me see whose image it is.” Shailesh replies, “Of Satyanarayana.” Sri Mahapurusha asks “How much did it cost?” Shailesh says, “Sir, six pice.” Sri Mahapurusha is surprised and says, “So much!”
It is 7:30. Last night the sadhus performed the worship of Siva. They fasted the whole night and the whole day. Having taken their bath in the Ganges, they have all assembled in the courtyard to take the prasad.
Sadhus and brahmacharis are making oblations, reciting the mantra loudly:
brahmārpaṇaṃ brahma havirbrahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyaṃ brahmakarmasamādhinā.
“The oblation is Brahman, the clarified butter is Brahman, offered is Brahman in the fire of Brahman; unto Brahman verily he goes who recognizes Brahman alone in his action.”
At the time of meals one’s own hand is the wooden ladle to make the oblation. The articles of food are offered into the fire of hunger, the fire of Brahman. The person who is seating is performing oblations. By this Brahman-like offering, one attains the Absolute.
Sri Mahapurusha is enjoying himself like a child. On his face and eyes play a ray of the bliss of Brahman. He is also repeating: “Om brahmärpaëaà brahma haviù etc.” Then, quoting from the Taittiriya Upanishad, he says like one full of joy who has realized Brahman – a realized soul who, after the realization of Brahman, sees Brahman in everything.
Annaà brahmeti vyajänät.
Annäddhyeva khalvimäni bhutäni jäyante.
Annena jätäni jévanti. Annaà prayantyabhisaàviçantéti.
Annaà na nindyät. Tadvratam.
Annaà na paricakñéta. Tadvratam.
Full of bliss of Brahman, Sri Mahapurusha exclaims:
Hä vu hä vu hä vu.
Sri Mahapurusha is like a child of five. He cannot contain himself with joy.
He says again: “Om namo çiväya.”
The whole earth is as if it were full of Siva, full of Brahman! Shailesh casually comments on the food of the sadhus, standing near the western window. Sri Mahapurusha again says, full of joy, “Victory to Guru Maharaj, Victory to Guru Maharaj, Victory to Ramakrishna, Victory to the Holy Mother, Victory to Swamiji. By their grace this place has become a spot of joy today.”
Swami Vamadevananda has returned after taking his prasad. Now he is going to serve Sri Mahapurusha.
Sri Mahapurusha asks a sadhu whether he has observed a fast. The sadhu says that he hasn’t. Sri Mahapurusha says, “Good. You are weak in body.”
The evening worship is over. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a cushion on an easy chair near the smaller room on the verandah. His back is bent like a bow. Mati, his attendant, is whisking away mosquitoes with a piece of cloth. Vamadevananda gently fans his head.
Sri Mahapurusha recites the whole of devésükta:
ahaṃ rudrebhirvasubhiśrcarāmyahamādityairuta viśrvadevaiḥ
ahaṃ mitrāvaruṇobhā bibharmyahamindrāgnī ahamaśrvinobhā.
Sri Mahapurusha says, “So our reading of the Chandi has been accomplished. Reading the devésükta is like reading the whole Chandi.”
There is an electric light on the verandah. On the other bank of the Ganges, on the jetty, there is also a chain of lights. Sri Mahapurusha goes to his room. From the passageway he says, “Jagabandhu, please close Swamiji’s room now.”
The reading from the diary is over.
M.: “Ah, how beautiful all these words are! What a divine scene! Knowledge, love for God, and faith have taken up a concrete form in the few words spoken by Sri Mahapurusha – the knower of the past, present and future. How immensely will the devotees benefit! He who has recorded this will be benefitted more. While writing, one contemplates over and over again and it becomes intertwined within the mind.
“The words of Sri Mahapurusha are like a necklace of pearls. Ah, when I hear this diary, I also reap the great benefit of the company of sadhus. Without Thakur’s grace, the desire to write all this does not arise in the mind. He is blessed, we are also blessed by hearing the story of a living drama in the Math from his lips. Thakur came, and that is how such a living religion has been made possible.”
Vinay Maharaj, Jagabandhu Maharaj and Manindra Maharaj take leave after taking some sweets. It is 8.30 p.m. M. asks Jagabandhu, “Have you washed your hands? You have to carry sweets for the gods.”
He hands over a pot of sweets immediately to Vinay, thinking one knows not what. It contains a lot of sweets, so he says, “Be careful as you walk!” A dozen palm leaf fans are also put into Jagabandhu’s hand for the sadhus.
Bag Bazaar, steamer point. Swami Shuddhananda, Swami Prabhodhananda and Swami Pranavananda are awaiting the steamer.
Swami Atmaprakashananda, the manager of the Math, says, “Put the fans in Swamiji’s room. We’ll take when we need them.” Jagabandhu Maharaj is the attendant of Swamiji’s room.
Friday, 28 February 1930
. Swami Nityatmananda’s pre-monastic name was Jagabandhu.
. Living as a celibate in the teacher’s house.
. Living as a householder.
. Living in retirement in a forest.
. Monastic life.
. Junction of three rivers: Ganges, Jamuna and Saraswati.
. To protect the pious. Bhagavad Gita 4:8.
. Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.8.
. Fallen from both, does he not perish like a rent cloud, without any hold, O mighty armed, deluded in the path of Brahman? – Bhagavad Gita 6:38.
. Cherish the Devas with this; and may those Devas cherish you; thus cherishing one another, you shall reap the sure, the good. – Bhagavad Gita 3:11.
. Only four volumes of the Kathamrita were printed by that time.
. The attitude of a hero.
. Ingersoll, the agnostic philosopher, and Rockefeller, the multimillionaire, and others met Swamiji, conversed with him and attended his lectures. Swamiji received an offer from the Philosophy Department of Harvard for appointment as a permanent professor. Another famous professor of Harvard, Dr. Wright, also was Swamiji’s friend. He wrote in a letter for introduction about Swamiji: ‘He is more learned than all of us put together.’
. Bhagavad Gita 4-24.
. By doing austerities, Bhrigu Rishi realized that food is Brahman, for from food are born all beings in the world, by food do they live, and after death, they become food again for other beings. Taittiriya Upanishad 3.2.1.
. We should not speak ill of food. That is a rule. Taittiriya Upanishad 3.7.1.
. We should not discard food. Taittiriya Upanishad 3.8.1.
. Ha… Voo, Ha… Voo, Ha… Voo. I am myself food, I am myself food, I am myself food, I, myself am the enjoyer of the food, I myself am the enjoyer of the food, I myself am the enjoyer of the food. Taittiriya Upanishad 3.8.5-6.
. Vagdevi, the daughter of Maharishi Ambhrin, said after the vision of Brahman, on becoming one with Him: “I myself move about in the eleven forms of Rudra and of eight vasus. I myself move about in the form of twelve suns and the devas. I take the form of mitra and varuna. I myself take up the forms of Indra, Agni Deva and both the Ashwini Kumaras. In other words, I am living in all.”