The Morton School, M. is seated on the fourth storey roof facing north. Saturday, 15 March 1930, 5.30 p.m. Jagabandhu has arrived to visit M. and bid him goodbye. He is to leave for Deoghar Vidyapith for work.
Affectionately, M. makes Jagabandhu sit beside him. After polite enquiries, a conversation begins.
Jagabandhu: “I haven’t read you the diary of the past few days and some portions of the old one. I’ll do that today. I’ve brought the diary with me.”
M: “Yes, do read it to me. I’ll also have association of the sadhus.”
The sadhu reads the diary –
Belur Math, Wednesday, 12 March 1930, 7.30 a.m.
Mahapurusha Maharaj is pacing the verandah. He is dressed in a pale white shirt and he wears velvet slippers on his feet. He mutters as he paces, “Durga, Shiva-Durga, Shiva-Durga. By reciting this name of Durga as coined by Thakur, one gets rid of all troubles.” Saying this, he begins to sing this song of Thakur –
Let us repeat, repeat the name of Durga.
He who treads his path saying, ‘Durga, Durga, Durga,’ is protected by Her with the trident in Her hand.
Now Sri Mahapurusha is seated at one end of the passage on a chair facing southeast. He appears happy, with a smile playing on his face. He is talking with Khoka Maharaj, who is seated on an easy chair close to the railing. The attendant of Swamiji’s room sees it and then goes downstairs.
It is the eve of Holi today, Thursday, 29th of Phalgun, 1336 (B.Y), 13 March 1930. It is about 7.30 p.m. after the twilight. Sri Mahapurusha, leaning on the railing, is watching the Holi-eve celebration, which is being held under the sandalwood tree on the bank of the Ganges toward the south. He stands on the second block from the north of the railing. The moon appears in the sky, but it is not very bright. Even so, the spot of the celebration of the Holi-eve is visible. They have not yet set the pyre ablaze. Anang, Mati, Ramen and Jagabandhu stand behind Sri Mahapurusha. He says, “Look, one can see a little darkness there. Govindäya namaù kåñëäya namaù (I bow to Govinda, I bow to Krishna).”
At ten past nine Sri Mahapurusha comes out of his room. Seeing a sadhu on the steps of the landing, he asks, “Why are you going down in health so much?” The sadhu answers, “I have a backache. That’s why. Neither my body, nor my brain can bear the strain.” Very sympathetically, Sri Mahapurusha replies, “Don’t son, please don’t strain.”
The next day is the Dol festival. Friday, 14 March, 1930, 10.30 a.m. Having applied coloured powder on all the deities, the sadhu-attendant of Swamiji comes to Sri Mahapurusha, who is sitting in an easy chair. Kedar is sitting on the floor. Seeing the coloured powder, he says, “No my son.” The attendant drops a little powder and makes a holy mark on the ground with it. Sri Mahapurusha says happily, “Yes, you may do that.”
Now Sri Mahapurusha goes toward the verandah. A sadhu follows him and says in the passageway, “I am being asked by Math Authorities to go to Deoghar Vidyapith.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Why?” The sadhu says, “I’ll have to teach a little. And it is a good place, for a little change.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Yes, it is a good place, though it is quite hot. But you have lived in the heat of Madras.”
Sri Mahapurusha paces the verandah. He is worried about the sadhu. This sadhu has returned from Madras in bad health. The illness increases with work. Here, the work is very light – he is the attendant of Swamiji’s room.
After some time Sri Mahapurusha appears worried and he says firmly, “Just this little work. (Making a sign with the thumb and the end of his small finger) Just this much work, not more.”
M. says to Antevasi, “Where is your old diary? You said that it contained an account of Sri Mahapurusha’s visit to Puri and Bhubaneswar. Please read it.”
Now reading from this older diary has begun. Sri Mahapurusha is going to Madras on Mission’s work. Coming from Belur Math, he stayed in the Bhubaneswar Ramakrishna Math for several days. Today he has come to Sri Sri Jagannath Temple with his group. It is Wednesday, 5 May, 1926, 22nd of Vaishakh, 1332 (B.Y.).
Sri Mahapurusha reaches the temple gate near the Aruna Stambh by car directly from the railway station. Some of his companions come by car, others by horse-drawn carriage. It is about 7 o’ clock.
Jagabandhu, Gadadhar and Pravesh Chaitanya await the arrival of Sri Mahapurusha near the Aruna Stambh to welcome him. They all live in the Kshetra. Swami Siddhananda and Brahmachari Gopal are also residents of the Kshetra. As soon as he comes down from the car, he says, “I say, this is Jagabandhu. Now let us see the real jagabandhu.”
Before the salutations and polite enquiries are over, Sri Mahapurusha’s entourage arrives. Swami Vishuddhananda is the head of the Bhubaneswar Math. He, Swami Sharvananda and Swami Yatiswarananda come by the same car, followed by Swamis Gangeshananda, Apurvananda, Siddhananda, Chinu, Manindra, Tambi and the Doctor from Vardhman. Swami Siddhananda has been to the railway station to accompany them here. Lakshmana and Gopal come and join them.
Sri Mahapurusha enters the temple gate followed by the others. The watchman asks Swami Sharvananda to take off his leather belt – leather is not allowed inside the temple. The resident sadhus and brahmacharis of Kshetra have procured a guest pass from the manager of the temple, but Sri Mahapurusha says, “No, one should have the darshan of Bhagavan in a spirit of humility with everyone else.”
Entering the southern door of the Nata Mandir and passing through the bed chamber of the deity, Sri Mahapurusha and his group reach the sanctum sanctorum at the ratna-vedi. There is a big crowd there. It looks as if a battle is going on between the light from a lamp of ghee and the darkness inside. The guide priests of the Math lead with lamps. Sri Mahapurusha and his companions follow and circumambulate the ratna-vedi with Sri Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra in it. It is summer and the small space together with smoke from the lamps and the breath of numberless people inside bring a feeling of suffocation inside the temple. Having stood for awhile in a corner, Sri Mahapurusha goes out. He is dressed in a double-folded cloth flowing like a skirt and a Madrasi chadar. He is perspiring profusely.
Coming out of the door of the chamber where the deity sleeps, he enters Vimla Devi’s temple. This Vimla Peeth is one of the fifty-one Shakti peeths. As Sri Mahapurusha wished, a garland of Champak flowers has been put around the neck of the Mother. After offering his salutations, he comes out and goes directly into the Lakshmi temple. He duly offers money before he offers his salutations. The priest also gives him different kinds of nirmalya. Sri Mahapurusha is in a pensive mood. He has the darshan silently, offers salutations, and walks the round of the temple silently. Then he sits down in a corner of Lakshmi’s Nata Mandir for awhile. Sitting in this temple, the devotees meditate for some time. Then Sri Mahapurusha enters the Anand Bazaar. It is here that mahaprasad is sold. Here, the food is not defiled by the touch of a hand or mouth. Then leaving the Anand Bazaar, Sri Mahapurusha stands outside the gate. He leaves by car with a number of companions to the house of Sri Harendra Nath Chatterji. Harendra Babu is a pleader and an initiated disciple of Sri Mahapurusha. His house is situated near Shashi Niketan on the way to the sea.
Haren Babu’s house. To the east of the southern verandah, Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair facing south smoking a hookah. It is 8.30 a.m. Some sadhus and devotees are standing, others are sitting. Some sadhus are taking their morning meal inside. Sri Mahapurusha begins to talk of the holy reminiscences of Thakur.
Sri Mahapurusha (to all): “Thakur used to ask Swamiji to take mahaprasad. He himself used to take a grain of mahaprasad rice every day. Swamiji said, ‘What is the use in eating it?’ He didn’t believe in it. Then Thakur said, ‘Look here. All matter has properties, doesn’t it? If you eat a poisonous substance, it will be bad for you. Eat it. Whenever the mind is agitated, take a little mahaprasad.’ On hearing about the properties of matter, Swamiji began to believe in mahaprasad.
“As for me, brother, I didn’t even have love and devotion for Jagannath, nor any kind of disrespect. Once Maharaj was living in Shashi Niketan, the house in front. I had come in the morning from Belur Math. I had some work to do with him – I had to get his signature on a deed. This was done. I thought I would return by the evening train. Maharaj said, ‘Brother Tarak, won’t you have the darshan of Jagannath once? You have come so far.’ I told him the same thing, ‘Brother, I have neither feeling of devotion for Jagannath, nor do I feel any disrespect. Even so, I will go with you wherever you take me.’ Then Maharaj took me. As soon as we entered the sanctum sanctorum, Maharaj’s mind merged and he had bhava-samadhi. My mind also rose to an exalted state. I became unconscious of the external – I went into deep meditation. I then realized that there was special power of the Lord manifesting itself here – there is a particular presence of God here. That’s why Chaitanya Deva stayed here so long.”
Sri Mahapurusha rises and goes to sit on the wooden bench in the hall. At times, bringing the pipe to touch his lips, he puffs at the hookah. He is pensive. His words express his internal feelings.
Sri Mahapurusha (to sadhus and devotees): “While walking on the road, whenever Chaitanya Deva saw Jagannath’s banner at a distance, he would be completely overwhelmed with divine ecstasy. As soon as Thakur heard the name of Jagannath or uttered it, he would go into samadhi. Balaram Babu and his people saw this happen a number of times. Jagannath’s worship used to be performed in his house every day. Thakur used to say, ‘If I go there [Puri], this body will not last.’ So Thakur never went to holy Jagannath, nor did he go to Gaya.”
A devotee: “How did Thakur come to be called Ramakrishna?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Swamiji surmised that Totapuri gave him the name. He used to say that one had to have a sannyasa name. Maybe he gave the name.”
The Devotee: “Shashi Babu said something different in his biography of Thakur.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Sashi Babu expressed his opinion. And why not? So many people have written so many things. Master Mahashay wrote the Kathamrita just as he heard it from Thakur’s lips. Sarat Maharaj also wrote from his proximity to Thakur, as well as from what he heard from the Holy Mother. Whenever we speak individually is what we heard from his lips.”
It is 11 o’clock. Sri Mahapurusha goes for his bath.
4 p.m. After resting, Sri Mahapurusha comes out and sits in the hall facing south toward the east of the northern door. He is chewing tobacco. There are many sadhus and devotees around him. An old woman comes and stands before him. Her body is feeble and she is over seventy. She is dressed in an unlaundered cloth with a white border. She does not offer namaskar to Sri Mahapurusha, and everybody is surprised. Sri Mahapurusha, sitting up and opening his eyes wide, asks, as if he is surprised, “Who are you?”
The Old Woman: “You do not recognize me. Aren’t you Tarak?” (Everyone is amazed.)
Sri Mahapurusha: “Yes, but who are you? (When she reveals her identity, he says to everyone with a smile) The eldest daughter of my uncle (my father’s elder brother). (To the woman) I am seeing you now, after some sixty years.”
Old Woman: “I saw you once in Baranagore.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Then, it is after thirty-five years.”
Old Woman: “I went to Kashi once, but I didn’t see you there.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “I heard about you there. Keshto Lal told me that you were living there. Are you keeping good health?”
Old Woman: “I have headache.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Then please apply a little of Til Oil. Mustard oil will not help.”
The old lady shows both of her very infirm arms and, filling her whole mind and soul with affection, she gazes at her younger cousin.
Old Woman: “You were a child, Tarak, and now you have become a Maharaj!”
Sri Mahapurusha: “I am still your younger brother to you. I may be Maharaj for others.”
Old Lady: “I still see that mark on your forehead. I recognized you by it. Have you met other relatives?”
Sri Mahapurusha: “No, I don’t go anywhere. One of them invited me. I answered, ‘If it is a festival for God, any worship, or dedication, or the reading of the Bhagavata, I can come. Not otherwise. I can’t eat a meal at every invitation.’ So and so (younger sister) came to ask for help for the poor from Kashi Seva Ashrama, indicating that I was her relative. I replied: ‘The whole world is my brothers and sisters. Are you my only sister? Every person is either my brother or sister, father or mother. After all, who is what to a sadhu? Vasudhaiva kuöumbakam. I also said to her, ‘A number of the poor receive from Thakur here. If you like, you can also take something. Why this introduction as a sister? Brother-sister relationship is all illusory.’”
Haren Babu: “Your aunt has a mania for cleanliness.” (Haren serves the old lady.)
Sri Mahapurusha (to the old lady): “Cleanliness is good, but not the mania about it. It is good to live neatly and cleanly.”
Old Lady: “What was prophesied by a sadhu at Kalighat about you has come to pass. He said, ‘Either he will be a king or, embracing sannyasa, will leave. He may even be a debauchee.’”
Sri Mahapurusha (interrupting the old lady): “To be a king too? If I was asked to become a king, I would refuse, folding my hands. ‘This is all right for me, embracing sannyasa. King? My God, no.’
“Yes, that sadhu had some occult powers, some tantric power. He brought a tree as tall as a storey of a house out of a clay pot at his house. I saw it myself.”
5 p.m. Vidhu Bhushan Bannerji, Puri’s top lawyer, has come to see and pay homage to Sri Mahapurusha. With him are his son-in-law Jitendranath Mukherji, also a lawyer, his sister’s son, and his own younger son named Himadri (Ravi). A devotee tutors Himadri at his house while he is staying in Puri. While introducing everyone, pointing at the tutor, Swami Siddhananda says, that Himadri is one of his pupils. Sri Mahapurusha looks at the boy. He is fourteen years old, is fair complexioned, and he is in the eighth class at school.
The teacher devotee came from Calcutta in March after consulting both Sri Mahapurusha at the Math and M. With their permission, he has begun to teach the boy at his home. Sri Mahapurusha encouraged him, saying, “Very good, go. Such a holy place of pilgrimage. Lord Jagannath’s living and enlightened presence is there. When your mind feels restless, go to the sanctum sanctorum and repeat God’s name. A great power manifests there. Please go. It is only by the great grace of the Lord that one gets the opportunity of living at such a place. Just write to us off and on.”
M. had also said, “What is there to ask? çubhasya çéghram. Staying at a great place of pilgrimage, paying homage to Jagannath, eating mahäprasäda, enjoying the sea, and on top of it, the blessed memory of Chaitanya Deva. Thakur was none else but Chaitanya Deva. He lived at Puri continuously for twelve years in mahäbhäva. That fire of Chaitanya Deva’s bhäva is still blazing there. Thakur himself said: I myself am Gauranga, I am Jagannath. So he couldn’t go there. Had he gone, his body would have perished in mahäbhäva to be reminded of Gaur’s divine play. I’d also like to go there. All the facilities for boarding and lodging are there. Please go and make similar arrangements for me too. See if you can have food supplied by paying for it. Cooking is a great bother. The whole day is wasted on it.”
Sri Mahapurusha is happy to see the young boy and exchanges a few words with him, though he actually points to his father. He says, “You have found a very good man. He knows well how to read and write and is very pure-hearted. It’s rare to find the company of a pure man. It comes only to the very fortunate.”
As soon as this conversation is over, a three-year-old child comes and prostrates. Sri Mahapurusha smiles and says, “One learns by seeing. His parents sit every morning and evening in Thakur’s shrine. Seeing them, the child also wants to do it. So it is good to have Thakur’s shrine in one’s house. It is still better if the boys are made to render him some service.
(To Vidhu Babu and others, referring to his old sister): “Everybody works under the influence of Mahamaya. So you have to see whether or not one has some love and devotion for Him. If there is love and devotion for God, one is not hurt by Mahamaya. It is as if one has found a peg. Holding it, one can go around. Without love for God, nothing is gained.”
6.30 p.m. Puri Railway Station. Sri Mahapurusha and his party are going to Bhubaneswar by Calcutta Express. A devotee asks permission to go to Bhubaneswar too. Sri Mahapurusha says, “Yes, you may come. Why not? You can accompany us.” Sri Mahapurusha is travelling in second class with a number of sadhus. The train stops at the Khurda Junction. The devotee Rajen, a railway employee, comes and offers his salutations, lying prostrate in the train itself. When asked about his well being, he says that his wife is ill, that she is suffering a lot, and that the life in the house has come to a standstill. Sri Mahapurusha has been in a very happy mood, but hearing the devotee’s difficulty, his mood changes to that of sorrow, as of a mother out of sympathy. What kind of mind do these men possess? They’re like blotting paper. To console his devotee, he says a few words, “The world is such, brother. Tell Thakur. He will rid you of your trouble.” And then he becomes pensive, as though praying himself to Thakur.
When the train stops at the Bhubaneswar Railway Station, the stationmaster comes and asks Sri Mahapurusha to alight; he presents him with a new walking stick. Sanat Maharaj and Bhavani Maharaj have come from the Math with a rickshaw. Sri Mahapurusha mounts the rickshaw Sri Maharaj himself used; others leave on foot. It is half a mile away. By the time they reach the Math, it is already 9 p.m.
After offering food to Thakur, he is put to sleep and the sadhus and devotees take the prasad; it is late at night. With it, they have mahäprasäda of Jagannath.
Sri Mahapurusha sleeps on the eastern end of the hall.
Next day, 6 May, 1926, Thursday, 6 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha is seated in his room on a chair and is puffing at his hookah. Lakshmana is in the room. Another young man enters and offers salutations, saying, “I have come for initiation.” Sri Mahapurusha does not understand him at first. The young man repeats his request. Sri Mahapurusha is surprised and says, “Why? You have not been initiated? You are such a long-standing devotee. (After awhile) All right. It will be done.”
At 7.30 a.m. the sadhus and the devotees go together to the Gaurikund for their bath – Swami Siddhananda, Chinu, Manindra, Jagabandhu, Tambi and the doctor. Then they go to Lingaraj Temple. They see Sri Mahapurusha there. He is with Swamis Sharvananda, Vishuddhananda, Yatiswarananda and Nirvanananda. After darshan, they all see the repairs being carried out in the Nata Mandir. After many years, the Government is having the temple repaired. The Bhubaneswar temple is famous throughout India for its matchless eleventh century sculpture. The best sculptors from Gujarat are brought in to repair the images. The engineers are guides. Every visitor has to pay two paisa for these repairs.
Sri Mahapurusha makes circumambulations of the temple. The priests call out: “Come and have darshan.” Sri Mahapurusha says, ‘Yes, yes. (To the sadhus) Please give them a paisa each. That will be enough.”
Sri Mahapurusha comes out of the temple and gets into a rickshaw. The rickshaw reaches the Math via the eastern embankment of the Bindu sarovar.
Reading from the diary continues –
It is 9.30 in the morning. Aspirants for initiation are seated on the verandah on the second storey of Thakur’s shrine. At ten o’ clock Sri Mahapurusha Maharaj goes up and takes his seat in Thakur’s shrine. The first to be initiated is a lady. A young man is called in next. Bhaskreshwarananda is the priest. He comes out and asks the young man to go into Thakur’s shrine. As soon as he enters, Sri Mahapurusha says, “Offer salutations to Thakur and then sit down.” The young man sits facing south. Sri Mahapurusha takes the seat of the priest, facing north.
A pure, peaceful and solemn atmosphere has manifested in the shrine. Thakur seems to have come down at the sincere call of his intimate disciple. Though himself a perfected teacher, Sri Mahapurusha engages himself like a servant in distributing Thakur’s name. There is not the least pride in him. In a very sweet mood, he says to the young man, “What can I tell you? You already know it all. You have had such rare company and the grace of Master Mahashay. There is nothing more to be said. You have already dedicated your mind and body to him. And yet you have asked for his name – and so I initiate you with the name. … this is your iñöamantra. Go on doing what you have been doing. But remember, you must sit down to meditate once in the morning and once in the evening.”
When asked how many repetitions of the name are to be performed, he said, “That is up to you. Sit down and perform japa five, seven minutes, as you like. You can gradually increase it.”
Seeing that it is 10:13 he says, “All right, sit down on the verandah and practice japa. And call Lakshmana.”
First he makes the lady and Lakshmana perform worship – offerings with cupped palms and paying homage to the deity. He only tells the young man which name to repeat, as well as the instructions mentioned above.
It is 12.30 p.m. by the time the meal is over. The prasad made holy by the touch of Sri Mahapurusha is also taken.
At four in the afternoon the young man meditates, seated under the banyan tree amid a clump of trees outside the gate. In the evening, after a walk with sadhus and devotees, everyone sits before Thakur and meditates, practicing japa, after attending the arati. Called by Sri Mahapurusha, the young man goes downstairs. It is 7 p.m.
Sri Mahapurusha is sitting in an easy chair on the verandah in the front of the hall. He faces south. A young devotee about thirty years old arrives and prays to him for initiation. On the western portion of the verandah, Swamis Sharvananda, Varadananda and some others are sitting on the floor, meditating on God in the dark. This is the mid section of the Math. A deep stillness reigns. Breaking the silence, the voice of Sri Mahapurusha is heard by all of them like the word of God.
Sri Mahapurusha (to the candidate for initiation): “Son, you cannot recite the Gayatri. Of what use being initiated? After initiation, you will still be bound. You have received the Gayatri mantra, but you have not used it. Taking initiation on top of that and not practicing is worse still. So it is still better this way. If you should take initiation and not practice, it would be worse, much worse.”
The Candidate for Initiation: “I can’t do it because of the botherations of different work I have to do.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “How! Why doesn’t it stop you from your going to the toilet? And you waste time doing other things – eating, drinking, easing yourself and sleeping. None of these stop. Can you stop yourself from going to the toilet when you feel the pressure? It’s the same with calling on God. Just as going to the toilet is obligatory, so is calling on Him.
“I say, brother, the least a man can do is to call on God in whose universe he resides, who is father, mother, brother, relative, friend all. I, you and everyone will depart. Only He will remain. And to think that you won’t have to call upon Him?
Gatirbhartä prabhuù säkñé niväsaù çaraëaà suhåt,
Prabhavaù pralayaù sthänaà nidhänaà béjamavyayam.
“It’s enough to give five minutes out of your twenty-four hours to Him. Can’t you find even this much time in twenty-four hours? What, then, is the difference between a man and a beast? In eating, moving around, sleeping and so on they are similar.
ähäranidräbhayamaithunaïca sämänyametat paçubhirnaräëäm,
Dharma hi teñämadhiko viçeño dharmeëa hénäù paçubhiù samänäù.
“The only difference is that man can call upon Him, but a beast cannot. You have seen how a man falls into delusion without calling on Him! Even when breathing his last breath, he says, ‘Bring pen and ink.’ And he writes: ‘So many shares of the company to be willed to a certain person, so much money to a certain person, and so on.’ We all live in the domain of His Mahamaya. Do the work that is assigned to you. What would you do if you don’t work? But don’t forget Him.
“A father is dying, his sons are wailing for him, but they eat – this cannot be stopped. It is the same with calling on Him. There is nothing of value but love for Him. Loving Him is the only goal of life. Initiation and the rest are nothing without love for God.
“Don’t you see what a pass brahmins have come to by neglecting their duties? It is so unfortunate! One has Narayana in one’s house, but one engages and pays a brahmin for worship. I say, how unfortunate! One should have done it oneself, but gets it done on payment to somebody else. This has resulted in a wretched state.
“And one should have compassion for fellow beings. Many people say they have no money. I say, ‘Is it only by money that one can be compassionate?’ If you have no money and arrange it by requesting somebody, saying: ‘Sir, this fellow is in great trouble,’ that will be enough. His grace will descend quickly in the heart. Please think about all this tonight. There is still time.”
Sri Mahapurusha is silent for awhile. Now he resumes the conversation, but there is no reasoning in what he says now. There is only compassion, kindness and sympathy. The tone of his words has changed. In a most sweet and compassionate voice, he says, “I say, initiation! Why shall I not speak his (Thakur’s) name to you? Son, shall I not speak His name to you?”
Hearing these words, a person thinks, What firm faith Sri Mahapurusha has! He says that Thakur is God. This faith is the result of his direct experience. It is only by Thakur’s grace that we can have such faith.
The next day, Friday, May 7. This morning Swami Siddhananda, Jagabandhu, the doctor and others go out to see the famous Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves. Well-known all over India, they are the sites of the spiritual practices of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sadhus. Though they are not late in coming, they came to know that Sri Mahapurusha has expressed his dissatisfaction. Perhaps, this is because the party did not ask for his permission.
Today Sri Mahapurusha is going to leave for Madras, so, having eaten the meals quickly, everybody is having a little rest. It is about half past one. Seated on the chair in the hall, Sri Mahapurusha is smoking. Close by him are his attendant Apurvananda, Siddhananda, Manindra, Tambi, and some others.
A young man who is living in Puri makes Sri Mahapurusha an offering of one rupee, with his salutations. Sri Mahapurusha says, “You are offering a rupee. How can you afford it? You are living away from your home.” The young man answers with hesitation, folding his hands, “It is alright.” Sri Mahapurusha says again, “How will you manage away from home?” The young man remains silent. Noticing his earnest wish, Sri Mahapurusha accepts the coin. Then he says to his attendant, “Here, keep it.” The young man is an insignificant brahmachari.
At half past two, Sri Mahapurusha and party leave Bhubaneswar for Madras by train. The party bound for Puri entrains at the same time. They will catch the train (for Puri) at Khurda. Offering salutations to Sri Mahapurusha in the second-class waiting room, the Puri party gets on the train.
Sitting in the train, the sadhus and brahmacharis think over the last three days of their festival of joy, What a wonderful man this God-realized person who is an apostle of the Lord is. It is as though a special feeling of fearlessness and joy surrounds Sri Mahapurusha. Even when he doesn’t speak, the place where he is present is filled with happiness, peace and joy. It was as if the Math were floating in a sea of joy. The scriptures say that an elevated spiritual soul is rare in the world. We are certainly fortunate. Sri Ramakrishna’s children, Sri Mahapurusha and others, all love us and bless us with their affection, even though they know us to be insignificant. This is nothing but unconditional grace.”
The reading about Puri and Bhubaneswar ends. M. says, “With this reading, we have also been to Puri and Bhubaneswar. It is priceless notation. Just hearing it forces the mind to God. There is no other way but the company of sadhus and service to sadhus.”
M. (to Antevasi): “Do you have any other description in the old diary?”
Antevasi: “Yes, sir. There is some more about Sri Mahapurusha and the Math.”
M.: “That’s good. Please read it out loud. It is all nectar. The more one listens to it, the better. It is helpful to both the one who reads it and the one who listens. It moves the mind towards God. That’s why the great saints advice reading the scriptures to others. It’s for the good of both.”
The reading of the diary continues.
Thursday, 24 March 1927. 10 Chaitra, 1333 (B.Y.). Belur Math, Sri Mahapurusha’s room. 7 a.m. Sri Mahapurusha is writing something. A young man enters the room and offers salutations, lying on the ground. He says, “Maharaj, when you are kind enough to initiate me and give me the gerua robes of a monk, it would be very nice if brahmacharya rituals are also included. My mind will be at peace then.” Raising his head, Sri Mahapurusha says, “Yes, that will be done. Please call Ananga (Swami Omkarananda).” When Ananga comes, he says to him, ‘Look, he’ll be given brahmacharya tomorrow. Get everything ready.” Ananga replies, “I have to go to Noakhali. I’ll ask Shashadhar (Swami Mukundananda).” Revered M. had recommended brahmacharya ceremony to this young man one day.
6 p.m. Sri Mahapurusha is walking in the lawn in front of the Math. After some time he sits down on the rampart at the southeast corner of the lawn. The Ganges flows below. A brahmachari comes and offers him salutations, then stands beside him. Sri Mahapurusha says to the brahmachari, “The embankment is very hot.” Realizing the intent of this remark, the brahmachari brings two buckets. Filling them with water from the Ganges, he begins to pour it at this spot. Swami Omkarananda sees this from a distance and comes himself to help cart the water.
Sri Mahapurusha says to the sadhus, “Swamiji said there would be a lot of study here. Just as knowledge of the scriptures is necessary, so is knowledge of the different branches of the physical world. One should also know literature, philosophy, history, geography, science, so on.” Swami Omkarananda answers, “Yes, Maharaj. Preachers from here will also go to the West. They will be needed there.”
After some time, Sri Mahapurusha rises and takes a seat on a cushion on a bench on the eastern verandah. He enjoys watching the Ganges. Some sadhus stand close to him. They talk about different things. During the conversation, Swami Omkarananda says that Gopal (Swami Gopalananda) is in the ashrama at Mymensingh and wants to come to the Math. Sri Mahapurusha says, “He cannot live outside the Math. He has a great attraction for it. It’s because it preserves the memory of Baburam Maharaj, isn’t it? He is a great devotee.”
It is dusk now. Thakur’s arati has ended. Many sadhus are practicing japam and meditating in Thakur’s shrine and other places. Swami Virajananda sends brahmachari Brahma to bring a young man to his room, that is on the second storey. He asks the young man, “What did he (Mahapurusha) say to you? He did not say anything about brahmacharya to you. Did you mention it to him?” The young man answers, “No, he didn’t say anything about it today. He did before. Today I did mention it.” Swami Virajananda is the secretary. After some time Swami Shuddhananda and a young man enter Maharaj’s room. They are talking. Swami Shuddhananda says to the young man, “Well! Do you want the gerua cloth? Go to Madras. If necessary, I’ll pay your fare for the journey. You may come [to Belur] and take the gerua.” After this, Swami Virajananda and Swami Shuddhananda go into Sri Mahapurusha’s room and talk with him for a long time, trying to dissuade him from initiating the young man into brahmacharya. He had formally joined the Math only six months ago, at which time he began serving as the attendant of Swamiji’s shrine. He has visited the Math for a long time and he is well known to everybody.
Sri Mahapurusha says to the swamis, “No, let him have brahmacharya. I have known him for a long time. He’s a very good boy, pure in heart. He is literate, he has studied law. He has lived with Master Mahashay (M.) for a long time.” The swamis answer, “The rule is to initiate into brahmacharya after three years. This will break the rule.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Now look, rules don’t matter. Judge the man. As for three years – well, I’ve known him for several years. He is pure, virtuous and he is intelligent.” In spite of quite a bit of discussion, Sri Mahapurusha sticks to his opinion. He will grant the gerua and initiate the young man into brahmacharya tomorrow.
The evening meal has ended. The sadhus and brahmacharis come back after washing their plates in the Ganges. The young man is also returning, having washed his plate. He climbs to the eastern verandah. Swami Shuddhananda and Swami Virajananda are seated on the verandah on a bench with a back. They say to the young man, “Put your plate down and come here awhile.” When he goes to them, Swami Shuddhananda makes him sit on the bench beside him. He says, “Look, you are an educated and intelligent devotee. You have been coming here for a long time. You know the works of the Math. If you don’t conform to the rules of the Math, it becomes a farce. The rules of the institution should be observed. Please make a sacrifice. I have told you that I promise to pay your expenses of your to-and-fro journey if it is necessary to have gerua to work in Madras. Make a sacrifice for the organization.” The young man replies, “It is very difficult for me to say anything to Sri Mahapurusha. Originally, I didn’t ask for anything. He himself has been saying every day for many months: ‘Get ready for gerua.’ If in his own judgment he graciously wants to grant me something for the good of my religious life, it is not possible for me to oppose it. But if you can persuade him to change his opinion, I have no objection.”
There seems to be another reason why Sri Mahapurusha has been asking this young man to take gerua for the last three months. It is for his advancement in religious life. For a long time the young man has heard from M. that only a person who is capable of contemplating God for twenty-four hours a day has the right to gerua. The young man has decided that he is not capable of doing this. But he has resolved that he will live the life of a sadhu. If by God’s grace a time comes when he becomes capable of thinking about God all twenty-four hours of the day, he will then ask for the vows. Prior to that, he will wear white clothes, even though a sadhu. He is innocent enough to believe that all the sadhus in gerua in the Math are capable of contemplation twenty-four hours a day. He has immense faith, reverence and devotion for the sadhus here. In the light of M.’s teachings, he considers them all divine personalities.
Because of Sri Mahapurusha’s daily proposition that he take the vows, a struggle has arisen in his mind. Affectionately, like a mother, M. taught him that one has the right to gerua only if one is able to think about God all day long. In the form of guru, Sri Mahapurusha now says: “Get ready for gerua.” The young man looked into his mind and saw that he was incapable of that.
Encumbered by this struggle between two mutually opposing ideas, the young man went one day and told mother-like M. about the problem. After inquiry, M. found out that Sri Mahapurusha had been suggesting it every day for three months. So he asked, “What do you say to Sri Mahapurusha when he talks of the gerua to you?” The young man says, “I say nothing. I just keep silent.” M. answers him angrily, “Sri Mahapurusha wants to give you gerua and you keep quiet! What intelligence you have! Had I been asked to take gerua, I would have put the cloth on my head and danced with excitement! And is it Sri Mahapurusha who is granting you the vows? No! It is Thakur himself! These people are links to Thakur.’”
His ego having been wounded by the strong but affectionate reprimand of M., the young man says, “I kept silent at the unconditional grace of Sri Mahapurusha because of what you taught me. You have always said that you have the right to the gerua only when you can contemplate God twenty-four hours a day.” This affectionate self-esteem of young man brings forth guileless and lively divine smile on M.’s face. He says, “Yes, that is what I said then. Now I say this. Take the gerua. Go to the Math immediately. Tomorrow morning when Sri Mahapurusha mentions it, say to him, folding your hands, ‘Maharaj, let your will be fulfilled. Kindly do what you wish.’”
It being late at night, the young man doesn’t go back to the Math, but stays on in the Morton School with M. Getting up early the next day, he leaves for the Math at dawn. As instructed by M., when Sri Mahapurusha proposes that he take the gerua on the third day, he says, “Maharaj let it be as you will. Kindly do what you wish.” Sri Mahapurusha is exceedingly happy. He says, “Yes, son I have faith in you. I shall grant you the gerua.”
Due to the two divine personalities expressing different views, a struggle has been going on in the mind of the young man. He discussed the matter with a very learned and old sadhu, who said, “Both of them have thought the same way. M. has placed a particularly high ideal before you to establish you in your religious life and to enliven you always that the goal of life is to realize God. And Sri Mahapurusha also has thought of your advancement in religious life. Religious life begins from the middle path. He understood your resolve not to accept sannyasa. Religious life constitutes in the middle of two thought currents of eligibility and non-eligibility. By sticking to the same idea for a long time, one stops advancing. Sri Mahapurusha knew this, so he gradually rid you of your resolve to not take the gerua. It is for the same reason that M. has happily given you his opinion in favour of taking the gerua.” They both have the same attitude of granting motiveless grace to the devotee.
By Sri Mahapurusha’s grace, the young man will be initiated into brahmacharya and given gerua the next day.
Its 10 p.m. Sri Mahapurusha is taking his meal in his own room. Kshitindra, the attendant, is standing before him. Swami Shankarananda, standing near the southern door, talks to Sri Mahapurusha.
A young man is waiting outside the door. After some fifteen minutes, Sri Mahapurusha’s eyes fall on him. Full of joy, he exclaims, “Ready for gerua? Ready for Madras?” The young man says in reply, “Yes, sir, I am absolutely ready. All this will be done. By your grace you will grant me the gerua, initiate me – but there will be no formal homa. So my mind is not quite at ease.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Now look. Don’t bring doubt to your mind. You have placed your burden on me. Why should you be uneasy? Why should you be anxious? I’ll do it all in a different way. I’ll take you to Thakur’s shrine myself. Reciting the mantra, I will make you perform offerings one by one at Thakur’s feet. I’ll do it myself. I’ll dedicate you at the holy feet of Sri Thakur.”
Young Man: “I feel a little anxious because what is done in the case of so many, homa and all, is not to be done in my case.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Look here. Don’t focus on form. Aim at the spirit. (Placing his hand on his chest) You must aim here, at the spirit. What does mere form give you without the spirit?”
Swami Shankarananda: “Why are you so worried? When he himself has taken your burden, why all this anxiety? Leave it all on him.”
The young man still keeps standing there. Seeing him, Sri Mahapurusha says, “It is already eleven at night. Go and sleep. It will be done tomorrow. I’ll dedicate you at the holy feet of Thakur myself. Nothing matters beyond his holy feet. He himself is the inner soul of embodied beings and the world. He himself is paramabrahman, he himself is paramätmä and the antaryami. He himself came in a human body in the form of Sri Ramakrishna. He has given shelter to us at his holy feet. I am going to dedicate you at those very holy feet tomorrow. Rejoice! Go and sleep rejoicing. Victory to the Lord!
“When Swamiji framed rules for the Math, he said, We would rise above rules. The spirit is the main thing. It is the real thing. Thakur was the concrete form of this reality.”
M.: “Ah! How great! A divine scene! Invaluable description! The world flows with the current of sense enjoyments, and sannyasins go the opposite way, towards God. Had it not been so, this world would have turned into an animal shed. God and mammon – they move in opposite directions. Sadhus proceed toward God, all others toward sense enjoyments. Have you anything more?”
Antevasi: “Yes, sir. The other part of it.”
M.: “Please read it. The devotees will gain awakening to hear it.”
The reading from the dairy continues.
Friday, 25 March 1927, 11th of Chaitra, 1334 (B.Y.). Belur Math. It is spring, 8.30 a.m., Sri Mahapurusha’s room. He is seated on the cot facing west. He repeatedly looks toward Thakur’s temple. His mood is joyful, full of devotion, his face is beaming. A young man comes and offers him salutations, lying on the ground. Having enquired about his welfare, Sri Mahapurusha instructs him. The young man is a brahmachari. He is to go to Madras to render service at the Math there.
Sri Mahapurusha (to the brahmachari): “I shall do it all myself. Why worry? I have faith in you that will never be shaken. You have lived with Master Mahashay. His heart is oriented to Thakur! He knows nothing but Thakur. So many of Thakur’s ideas are manifested in him. You have gained many of them. I see it. You have a stable temperament; it won’t shake.
“When you wrote to me in Madras from Puri, right away I talked of you to Ramu (Ramu is the Chief Attendant of Thakur’s Shrine. He works tirelessly. Ramu Swami Ayengar by name). Now Ramu cannot work so much. He is old. You are going to supervise the work in the Students’ Home on his behalf. And at that time I also wrote to the Belur Math that you would come to the Math, and I asked them to reserve the work in Madras for you.
“Just see, how fortunate you are to have lived with Master Mahashay for so long. How great his grace is that you have been able to come here. And on top of it, you have the good fortune of engaging yourself in His work.”
Master Mahashay (M.) has imparted the following profound lesson for so many days and several occasions to raise the brahmachari’s mind to an exalted state for his benefit: “One can take up gerua and embrace sannyasa only when one thinks about God twenty-four hours a day.” Seeing that he lacked this high state, the brahmachari had resolved that he would lead the life of a sadhu, but only in white robes. Yet for some time Sri Mahapurusha has been instructing him to take gerua. Nevertheless, the brahmachari wants to be in white clothes. This is the topic of the conversation now.
Sri Mahapurusha (to the brahmachari): “So you would like to be in white robes for some days? There (at the Madras Math), you also have Ganesh Chaitanya.”
Knowing such an insistence of Sri Mahapurusha to give gerua, M. has now instructed the brahmachari for his great good, that he might surrender himself completely to the wishes of Sri Mahapurusha and take shelter in him. It would bring him great good. The brahmachari replies as below:
Brahmachari (to Sri Mahapurusha): “Sir, please do as you wish. I have nothing more to say.”
Sri Mahapurusha (delighted): “Yes, that is right. Surrender, surrender at his holy feet – complete resignation.
“Son, did we know what viveka-vairägya (discrimination and dispassion) was? Having seen him (Thakur) we understand a little what they mean – jïäna, bhakti, vivek, vairägya, and ecstatic love. How would have I experienced them had he not come?
“When you go out, you will see that buying one piece of gerua (red ochre colour), people themselves dye their clothes and take up the name of Sahajananda or some other such name. I am not criticizing. Yet I am describing what I see in front of my eyes. The real thing we saw in him. So I have been able to understand a little. You should indeed put on gerua. Have you dyed the cloth?”
The Brahmachari: “No, sir.”
Sri Mahapurusha: “Never mind. It will be done. You will get it (dyed cloth) from here.”
Now it is ten o’clock. The regular worship of Thakur has ended.
Sri Mahapurusha says to Gangadhar, the pantry-keeper of the Lord, “Please keep a flower vase decorated with vilwa leaves, flowers, a bunch of dürvä grass, sandalwood, rice, and so on in Thakur’s shrine.”
Sri Mahapurusha puts on a laundered cloth and a cotton shawl, takes the brahmachari with him, and enters the Thakur temple on the second storey. He himself shuts all the doors of the temple and takes the priest’s seat facing north, towards the west of the middle southern door. In front of him is a wooden box containing Thakur’s holy sandals. In the center of the space between Sri Mahapurusha’s seat and the box of sandals lie the flower vase and the copper water container and a spoon. To the east of all these to the right, Sri Mahapurusha himself spreads a small carpet. He asks the brahmachari to sit on it facing west. In front of him are Thakur’s sandals. To his right hand, on a small altar, there is a portrait of Thakur. Within the raised altar are his relics, ätmäräma, locked inside a box. To the south of the altar is the image of Swami Vivekananda and to the north that of the Holy Mother, both placed on low wooden stools.
Giving some water with a copper spoon into the brahmachari’s hand, Sri Mahapurusha asks him to perform äcamana. Then he decorates each flower offering before giving it one by one into the hands of the brahmachari and recites each of the brahmacharya mantras. The brahmachari repeats them with him. He says, “Offer the flower at the lotus feet of Thakur.” Reciting the twelve mantras in this way, twelve offerings are made at the holy sandals of Thakur. With each offering, Sri Mahapurusha closes his eyes and repeats the following prayer-mantra: bhavatu çubhäya bhavatu çiväya bhavatu kñemäya. Then he offers a handful of flowers and salutes the foot of the altar by prostrating.
He says, “You have now been initiated into brahmacharya. If you like, you may perform homa, otherwise not. Whatever I have, I have given you – I have dedicated you at the holy feet of Sri Sri Thakur. Your body, mind, intellect and soul, all have been dedicated at his holy feet. Nothing now belongs to you, it is all His. This is your brahmacharya and also your sannyasa – this is everything.”
Rising from the asana and going to the eastern door, he says, standing close to it, “In Madras you will recite all these mantras daily in Thakur’s shrine and offer him aïjali (he imitates the action of offering with cupped hands).”
An other-worldly, joyful mood has lit up Sri Mahapurusha’s face. A sacred and divine attraction has manifested on his face.
Yesterday Sri Mahapurusha had said to the brahmachari, “Please read the mantras of brahmacharya carefully.” Today these mantras have been chanted sweetly.
Sri Mahapurusha opens the southern door. Shashadhar (Swami Mukundananda) is standing on the verandah. Full of enthusiasm, he asks, “What name has he given?” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Shrish Chaitanya – brahmachari Shrish Chaitanya.”
The brahmachari enters the meditation room. After meditating for some time, he says to himself, “How fortunate I am! Today an apostle of Sri Bhagavan, the president of the Math, has dedicated me at the lotus-feet of Thakur with his own hands. This indeed is true sannyasa. May Thakur grant me the strength, in his grace, that I may be able to conform to its traditional values.”
Sri Mahapurusha has taken his midday meal. The brahmachari comes and prostrates himself before him. Then taking prasad from him, he goes to partake of his meal in the community lunchroom with sadhus on the ground floor of Thakur’s shrine.
It is four in the afternoon. Sri Mahapurusha comes to the smaller room on the second storey and takes his seat on the wooden cot facing south. The hookah is placed in front of him on a stool. Now and then he puffs once or twice through its long pipe. A number of woman devotees are sitting on the floor. Sri Mahapurusha is in a pensive mood. He says a few words once in awhile.
Brahmachari Shrish Chaitanya and Swami Nishkamananda (Chidambaranath) stand on the second storey verandah overlooking the Ganges near the eastern door of the room. As soon as he sees them, Sri Mahapurusha asks, “When are you leaving?” Then, puffing at the hookah once or twice, he looks down, thinking of something else. After awhile, raising his face, he asks, “Where is the gerua?” The brahmachari replies, “Sir, I don’t have ochre robes. In the morning when I asked you, you said, ‘You will have it now. We will give it from here.’” “Did I say?” Sri Mahapurusha asks. The brahmachari replies in the affirmative.
“Kshitindra, Kshitindra,” Sri Mahapurusha calls his attendant. As soon as he comes, Sri Mahapurusha says, “Find out whether I have a new cloth.” The attendant replies, “All your clothes are the ones you have used.” “Except for the used ones, is there no other?” Saying this, he goes to his room with his attendant.
There is a trunk under the cot. Mahapurusha kneels, opens the trunk, and begins to examine the dhotis. His attendant is beside him. Taking a half piece of dhoti with a white border of very fine yarn dyed ochre in his hands, he calls out, “Jagabandhu, Jagabandhu.” As soon as the brahmachari comes, he says, “Here you are.” He gives the gerua cloth to him, saying, “Now dye all your other clothes.” Then the attendant brings a loin cloth and gives it to Sri Mahapurusha. Sri Mahapurusha mutters, “Victory to the Guru, victory to the Guru.” Reciting this mantra, he hands the loin cloth to the brahmachari. The brahmachari is standing in front of the table facing north. Sri Mahapurusha, standing in front of him facing south, hands the loin cloth to him.
Sri Mahapurusha enters his toilet. The attendants Kshitindra and Prahlada ask the brahmachari to put on the new ochre clothes. Going into the small room nearby, brahmachari Shrish Chaitanya puts on the new ochre clothes given by Sri Mahapurusha and the loin cloth, and puts on the uttaréya of Swami Nishkamananda.
When Sri Mahapurusha comes in, brahmachari Shrish Chaitanya offers him salutations, lying on the ground. Standing in front of the table and drawing his sight within, he mutters, “Victory to the Guru, victory to the Guru.”
Before Sri Mahapurusha returns to the room, the brahmachari, having put on the ochre clothes, stands near the table, awaiting him with his hands on the window. Swami Kamaleshwarananda, the Head of the Gadadhar Ashrama, enters the room. The brahmachari says, “Just see how they are decorating me!” Swami Kamaleshwarananda says with a smile, pleasantly surprised, “Yes, of course – here is a new sannyasi. Very nice! You look handsome.”
The white clothes and the cotton shawl of the brahmachari are taken to the north roof by Prahlada, the attendant. He dyes the clothes ochre. The brahmachari also runs to the Premananda Memorial, brings a shirt from there, and gives it to the attendant Prahlada as well. He dyes all the clothes and hangs them on a rope to dry.
Putting on the gerua clothes, brahmachari Shrish Chaitanya enters Thakur’s shrine. He lies prostrate at Thakur’s feet to salute him and prays thus: “Thakur, by your grace, I have the good fortune of putting on gerua. Lord, grant that I may be able to conform to its traditional values, that I may be able to discharge this responsibility. Grant me bhakti, O Lord.”
Some sadhus are taking tea in the office on the second storey of the Math – Swami Jnaneshwarananda, Gangeshananda, and so on. The brahmachari enters the room and offers them salutations. Seeing him in new robes, they all begin to express their happiness. Swami Gangeshananda says, “Perhaps you had hidden your ochre clothes.”
The time of departure for Madras is approaching. The brahmachari sets out to visit all the temples to pay his obeisance. He meets Dr. Kartika Bakshi at the foot of the sandalwood tree. Seeing the brahmachari in gerua robes, he is so overwhelmed with joy that he suddenly touches his feet and salutes him. The brahmachari, feeling embarrassed, steps back. The doctor says happily, “When did you put on gerua? Ah, I wish I could have witnessed that scene!”
There is not yet evening, half past six. Sri Mahapurusha is seated on a chair in his room in front of the table facing south. He is taking some refreshment. A plate is in front of him on a stool. It contains two pieces of sandesh, some grapes and a few sections of oranges.
The brahmachari enters the room to ask his permission to depart. With him is Swami Nishkamananda. It is they who are going to the Madras Math to render service there. They have to go now to the Howrah Railway Station. Prostrating themselves on the ground to offer salutations, both of them say, “Now we will be leaving.” Sri Mahapurusha says, “Wait, wait!” Picking some fruits from the plate, he gives it to them. They are about to leave. Sri Mahapurusha again says, “Wait, wait,” and again he gave some more fruits and sandesh.
Now he blesses them and grants them fearlessness and assurance. In a deep and solemn manner, he says, “Yes, Guru Maharaj is always with you. He is with you, his devotees. He is with you, believe it.” The last words he says with such firm faith and sincerity that they quickly enter the hearts of the departing sadhus and create a firm and deep impression.
Keshtolal Maharaj (Swami Dhirananda), the old manager of the Math and a great spiritual personality, enters the room.
Brahmachari Shrish Chaitanya folds his hands and says to Sri Mahapurusha, “Maharaj, I cannot trust my intellect and knowledge. I only have trust in your words – I depend upon them.” Sri Mahapurusha replies in a firm voice, granting his fearlessness, “Sri Guru Maharaj is always with you, believe it.”
Then Sri Mahapurusha says, “Are you carrying your dinner with you?” The brahmachari replies, “No, sir.” Swami Dhirananda says, “Maharaj, he is bashful.” Sri Mahapurusha says, ‘Son, it will not do to be so bashful. With such shyness, one cannot carry on in the world.”
The brahmachari salutes the gathering of sadhus and, taking their permission, leaves for the Howrah Railway Station. Swami Nishkamananda accompanies him. Swami Ramananda stands in front of the pantry on the vestibule, though very uncomfortably. He is suffering from lumbago and cannot stand erect, but bent. He holds an earthen pot with its mouth covered, tied with a rope. He says to the brahmachari, “Please take this. It is your dinner – chapatti and fried pieces of brinjal.” He had heard from somebody the conversation in Sri Mahapurusha’s room, that the brahmachari had made no arrangement for his dinner, so he got the meal ready. What a great heart! It is not merely a pot of food, it is a vessel of love. Victory to Thakur!
Swami Gangeshananda and Swami Nirvanananda are sitting on an open camp cot in the courtyard of the Math. Swami Gangeshananda says to Swami Nishkamananda, the companion of the brahmachari, “He is your mate now, a servitor of Thakur.”
Nalini and Vijay stand nearby. Swami Gangeshananda asks them to drop the brahmachari and his companion at the railway station, so they also leave for the Howrah Station. The passengers are going first to Bhubaneswar by the Puri Express. From there, they will go to Madras via Waltair.
There is a whole crowd of sadhus of the Belur Math at the Howrah Station. A party of sadhus under the leadership of Swami Prabhodhananda is going to Hardwar for the Kumbha fair. The Puri Express leaves at 8.30 p.m.
A big storm is raging in the mind of the brahmachari as a reaction to his donning gerua. He says to himself, “What a heavy responsibility I have taken upon myself! My religious life is purely the result of revered acharya M.’s grace. He has always said that it is only when one can contemplate twenty-four hours a day on God that one earns the right to put on gerua. How can I make it possible for myself? Though I have received the gerua by M.’s good wishes and Sri Mahapurusha’s grace, how will I be able to think about God throughout twenty-four hours? I’ll try with my heart and soul, but Thakur alone is my assurance. I shall try to remember Thakur in every work I do. Tasmät sarveñu käleñu mämanusmara yudhya ca – this great instruction of Thakur coming through Sri Krishna brought courage and assurance to the mind of the brahmachari.
On the train, the brahmachari thinks of something else: only today the revered Acharya Sri Mahapurusha said in the Thakur’s shrine, “I have dedicated your body, mind and soul, all, at the holy feet of Sri Thakur. Nothing belongs to you now – it is all His – your thoughts, your work, all. So are your body, mind and soul.” Thus, the brahmachari thought, I see that the only way is self-surrender. This resolution brought him peace. Tearing the deep darkness of the night, the train sped to Lord Jagannath’s Puri. Victory to the Guru, victory to the Guru!
M. (to the devotees): “Christ said to Peter: ‘Come with me.’ A fisherman by profession, Peter was mending his net. Christ said, ‘Give up fishing fish. I shall make you a fisher of men.’ In other words, he wanted to make a world teacher out of Peter. The world is a cauldron of blazing fire, is it not? That’s what Thakur said. He would shower peace and happiness in the hearts of suffering humanity by speaking the gospel of God.
“Sri Mahapurusha has given the gerua, which has the same significance. Giving gerua means making a sannyasin – that is, a special person of God, His own. He is also called a man of knowledge. And the Gita says, ‘God’s own person.’ It is only after countless births that a man develops the desire to attain God. An avatara came recently, so many men who have renounced their all and are holding to him can now be seen. Knowing such men, others will also try to tread the same path. And by keeping their company, those He keeps in the household will not be attached to the world.”
The reading from the diary ends. Now the devotees assemble to listen to the benign words of M.
It is Saturday, so there is a big assembly of devotees. Many devotees take the opportunity of having M.’s darshan once a week. Lalit Roy, the old devotee from Bhatpara, Bholanath Mukherji, and some others have come. There are also some regular devotees – Purnendu, Balai, and so on.
It is 6 p.m. Swami Raghvananda comes in and takes his seat. He has been staying with M. since returning from America. Dr. Mati Maharaj has also arrived.
M. offers thickened-milk sweets to the sadhu himself. The sweet made in a mould has been given the form of a temple. He says, “You are going to Baba Vaidyanath, so this temple is dedicated to you. (Laughter.) Vaidyanath is a beautiful place – the abode of Shiva, a region of communion with God. It is a very solitary place, with hills and a vast tract of land. Thakur went there. See if you can discover the place he went.”
M. takes another sweet in his hand and says, “This is a picture of a woman. It will have to be broken.”
He goes downstairs to have a wash. The devotees and the sadhus talk about different things. Many devotees have departed. M. comes back and sits at the tulsi grove to perform evening worship. Vinay Maharaj comes in. It is about 8 p.m. Pointing to him, M. says, “He has been waiting for you eagerly.”
He gives sweets to Vinay Maharaj with his own hands while he talks casually with the devotees. Jagabandhu rises and prostrates himself before him. M. says, “So you are going. Very good, write to me sometimes; give me good news.”
Belur Math, Calcutta
Saturday, 15 March 1930.
. For complete song, refer Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita II.IV.III.
. Sun pillar.
. Holy place.
. Friend of the world.
. Flowers etc. offered to a deity and then borne by the devotee as a token of grace.
. The holy prasad of Jagannath.
. Swami Vivekananda.
. Referring to mahaprasad.
. Swami Brahmananda.
. The whole world is a family.
. No delay in doing what is auspicious.
. Swami Brahmananda.
. I am the Goal, the Support, the Lord, the Witness, the Abode, the Refuge, the Friend, the Origin, the Dissolution, the Substratum, the Storehouse and the Seed immutable. – Bhagavad Gita 9:18.
. Both man and beast behave the same way in eating, sleeping, fearing, and mating. Man’s specialty consists in his observing dharma. By giving up the observance of dharma, man and beast become the same.
. Non worldliness.
. Swami Vivekananda.
. Inner Controller; Knower of one’s inner thoughts.
. Swami Vivekananda.
. Purify the hands and mouth ritually.
. May it be auspicious, may it be propitious, may it bring all good.
. Therefore, at all time think upon Me and fight. – Bhagavad Gita 8:7.