Whatever I dont know, he knows. By this time, Prabhat was already becoming quite independent, despite his tender age. As a toddler he had been rather mischievous, sometimes exasperat- ing his mother to the point that she would run after him, intent on spanking him to teach him a lesson. The light-footed Prabhat invariably scampered away and stayed out of his somewhat portly mothers reach until she calmed down. Then he would snuggle up to her and she would take him on her lap, all forgiven. But as he grew older, his restless nature gradually settled.
He began to spend most of his time outside, exploring the neighborhood or playing with friends. He had, by then, developed an attraction for the stories of Shiva, father of the yogis, that he would hear from his parents and relatives. He especially loved the colorful descriptions of the great gods magnanimity and detachment. Though he knew little of religion and rituals, he obtained a Shiva lingam, and each morning before breakfast he would bathe it while reciting whatever mantras he had heard his elders using and then place it on a brass plate. From time to time, Prabhat would sit and watch a group of mendicants who gathered regularly on a nearby hillock to chant devotional hymns in a circle around a holy fire.
Many townspeople, with the natural reverence for wander- ing monks that was common in those days, would also join in the chanting. An Old Soul 5. While Prabhat enjoyed listening to the mendicants hymns in praise of Shiva, he found the mendicants themselves less than appealing. He disliked their habit of smoking hemp in pipes. With the quick eyes of a child, he noticed how their minds seemed to be more on the delicious foods the pious townsfolk would bring for them than on their meditation.
One day, to test them, he stole up to the edge of their circle while they were meditating and silently snatched some sweets that an old woman had left for them. Several of them jumped up from their meditation and started to give chase, but Prabhat had already mapped out his escape: up a nearby alley and down behind some public latrines where he knew the caste-conscious monks would never follow.
After that, he lost whatever illusions about the monks he might have had and would annoy them whenever he had a chance. Around this time, another recurring dream began. One night he dreamt that he was in the midst of a powerful storm. The storm lifted him up and carried him through the air until it dropped him rudely on a wide sandbank by the edge of the river Ganges, filling his eyes and mouth with sand.
He wiped the sand out of his eyes, and when he opened them, he saw a mendicant standing in front of him with a trident in his hand. The mendicant began reciting a long mantra; then he asked Prabhat to repeat the mantra after him. Prabhat shouted. Recite it, my son, the mendicant insisted. It will be good for you. No, under no circumstances shall I recite it.
The mendicant lifted his trident. You will have to recite it. No, never! I will never recite it! At that moment the storm arose again and lifted him up into the air.
It carried him away and dropped him back onto his own bed, at which point he awoke. He realized then that it had been just a dream, but the incident remained fresh in his mind for the rest of the morning. For twenty consecutive nights Prabhat had the same dream; soon he had memorized the mantra, not because he had made any effort to do so but simply because he had heard it so often.
In the meantime, however, the boy began to feel a sense of desperation. He considered it a matter of disgrace that every night the mendicant scared him by menacing him with his trident, and yet he had done nothing about it. Finally, he resolved that if he had the same dream again that night, he would put an end to the charade. The dream unfolded again, exactly as it had the previous twenty nights, but this time, when the mendicant bran- dished his trident and warned the boy that he would have to recite the mantra, Prabhat snatched the trident and threw it at him. He heard a loud thwack.
When he looked, the mendicant was gone; in his place stood a stone statue of Shiva. The sound he had heard had been the sound of the trident rebounding off the statue. There was a smile etched on the statues face and Prabhat felt that Shiva was smiling joyfully at him.
At that moment the dream broke and Prabhat found himself in his bed, perspiring. The dream did not return again. Prabhat told the story to his sister, who as usual was fascinated by her brothers colorful dreams. By this time, it was only a few days until Shiva Chaturdasi, the foremost Shiva festival in the Hindu calendar. Unmarried Hindu girls traditionally fast on this day, in the hope that their fast will induce Shiva to find them a noble bridegroom.
Hiraprabha, by then nearly twelve, also decided to fast in keeping with the tradition. Remembering her brothers dream, she suggested that he fast as well, and he happily agreed. That evening the family visited the nearby Shiva temple to perform their traditional worship. When it was Prabhats turn, he stood in front of the idol and poured water over the Shiva lingam as prescribed in the ritual. As he did, he started reciting loudly the mantra he had heard in his dream.
Dhyyennityam mahesham rajatagirinibham crucandrvatamsam Ratnkalpojjvalmgam parashu-mrga-varbhiitihastam prasannam Padmsiinam semantic stutamamaraganaervyghrakttim asana Vishvdyam vishvabiijam nikhilabhayaharam paincavaktram trinetram7. The local priest was astonished. He went up to Lakshmi Narayana and con- gratulated him enthusiastically. You must be commended for teaching your son such a difficult and important mantra. I could scarcely believe my ears to hear such a young child reciting the dhyana mantra of Shiva.
It was only when he asked Prabhat about it that he discovered how he had learned the mantra. Due to this incident, Prabhats parents became convinced that there was a special bond between their boy and the god Shiva. For the next few years, they made sure that Prabhat observed the traditional Shivaratri worship, including the recitation of the sacred mantra that he had learned in his dream.
The story of Prabhat reciting that difficult and little-known mantra as a child was another that would pass into family lore, often repeated by his neighbors during the coming years whenever anyone would ask them about the Sarkars unusual son. II School Days. You must have a flaming moral purpose so that greed, oppression and exploitation shrivel before the fire in you.
B y the time Prabhat turned five, hed begun his lifelong practice of sitting for meditation early in the morning and again in the evening. No one in the family knew when he had started this practice or how he had learned it, nor would he say, but by then the family had learned to leave the independent- minded young boy alone about such matters.
Nearly as unusual was his refusal to eat any non-vegetarian food, despite the fact that his family was not strictly vegetarian. Like most Bengali families, the Sarkars ate fish and on infrequent occasions other non-vegetarian items. When Prabhat was still a toddler, he used to weep quietly whenever his grandmother brought live fish from the market and began preparing it.
When they first noticed this, they thought something was wrong with the boy, but when they saw that he only reacted this way when they brought live fish to the kitchen, they stopped doing so. The Sarkar family followed the Indian tradition of feeding their children a vegetarian diet until they reach the age of four or five, in accordance with the popular belief that the delicate digestive system of a young child is not ready for meat, fish, or eggs.
When Prabhat reached the socially approved age for eating non-vegetarian food, they attempted to feed him fish but he refused to eat it.
His parents didnt mind all that much. A large section of the society was vegetarian, for both religious and health reasons, and as good Hindus they conceded the value of a vegetarian diet. Indeed, his mother rarely ate any non-vegetarian food. Prabhats grandmother, however, had quite a different reaction. For centuries, people in Bengal have believed that fish promotes the growth of the brain and stimulates intelligence, a tradition that Bengali grandmothers have carried on proudly through the ages.
Vinapani grew increasingly exasperated with her favorite grandchild, who refused to eat what he was served. She tried cajoling the boy, telling him how important fish was for the brain. You dont want to grow up to be stupid, do you, just because you wont eat fish? Finally one day at dinner, fed up with Prabhats stubbornness, Vinapani forcibly shoved a piece of fish into his mouth. Prabhat spit it out on the dining table. You foolish boy! Do you want to be a dolt all your life? Prabhat got up from his chair and told his grandmother that if she or anyone else ever tried to force him to eat non-vegetarian food again, it would be the last time he would sit at the family table for a meal.
Then he turned around and went to his room, shutting the door behind him. Neither his grandmother nor his mother ever brought up the subject again. Prabhat would live the rest of his life without ever once swallowing a morsel of non-vegetarian food. It was at this age that Prabhat started attending the Bengali primary school, where he soon earned the nickname encyclopedia for his prodigious memory and his seeming ability to answer any question the other boys put to him. During the four years he spent there, his personality underwent a slow, almost imperceptible metamorphosis from a gifted, fun-loving child into a quiet, far-seeing youth whose hidden depths set him apart from the rest of the boys in ways that often took more than a second glance to notice.
Bihar in those days was the most caste-conscious state in India, a place where going against the deeply ingrained mores and behavioral rites of Hindu society was practi- cally unthinkable, especially in a small town such as Jamalpur where failure to observe caste proscriptions was certain to bring immediate reprobation. Prabhats family followed the orthodox practices, just as every Hindu family did, but Prabhat in his quiet way gradually made it clear that he shared none of their caste consciousness. One day he invited a scheduled-caste boy to his room and they sat together on his bed.
Abharani didnt say anything while the boy was there, but once he left, she rebuked her son and complained to him that she would have to wash the bedsheet and pillowcase as enjoined by the scriptures, since they were now polluted. Prabhat listened to her without saying a word.
After she had removed the sheet and the pillowcase, he grabbed the mattress and the pillow, took them outside to the washbasin, and started immersing them in water. What on earth are you doing? Abharani shouted. Since you say that everything is polluted, Prabhat replied, then these are also polluted.
I am washing them as well. His exasperated mother tried to make him understand his foolishness. That is not necessary, she told him. We have to wash the pillowcase and the bedsheet because the boy touched them, but we only need to sprinkle some Ganges water on the mattress and the pillow. No, Prabhat replied, continuing to wash the mattress and pillow, if you say that the bedsheet and the pillowcase are polluted, then everything is polluted.
His mother tried to argue with him, but she had no success. Finally she threw up her hands and exclaimed, It is very difficult to convince you of anything! School Days 9. On another occasion, Prabhat was sitting on the porch in front of his house. There was an empty platform across the road where people from the neigh- borhood would often gather to chat or play cards. A member of the so-called untouchable class, who was walking along the road, stopped and asked Prabhat if he had seen a certain person or knew where he might find him. He addressed Prabhat as Khokha Babu, little gentleman.
Prabhat was surprised to see that the man stood on one leg while he asked his question and remained in that posture while he waited for his reply. I know who he is, Prabhat said, but I dont know where he might be at this moment. Please come and sit on the bench. You can wait for him here if you like. Khokha Babu, the man replied, I cannot do that. There is a rule that a low-caste person has to remain in this position whenever he goes to a big mans house.
Prabhat requested him several times, but the man would not sit or put down his leg. The injustice of the custom angered Prabhat, but he knew the futility of saying anything more at that moment, so he held his tongue. When the man left, however, he swore to himself that he would fight this ugly tradition and help to put an end to it one day. Throughout Prabhats childhood, the family paid frequent visits to Lakshmi Narayanas native village of Bamunpara, especially during the hot summer vacation when the abundant vegetation and open spaces provided a cooling respite from the unremitting heat of Jamalpur.
Summer was mango season and Bamunpara was full of mango trees, as well as papaya, banana, jackfruit, guava, and many other delights that made the Sarkar children look forward all year long to their Bamunpara vacation. Like most Indian children, they adored sit- ting in the cool canopied shade of those huge arching trees, sipping the sweet, juicy flesh of its tree-ripened fruit. Afterwards, they would run off to play with the village children and roam the fields that ringed the village. Prabhat also loved mangos, but while his siblings were playing, he would often seek out the shade of those same trees for long sessions of silent meditation or go for long, solitary walks through the fields or to the neighboring villages.
At other times, he would spend hours reclining on a cot with his eyes open, staring off into space. On one of those visits, his sister Hiraprabha, then fourteen and a sensible young woman, asked her seven-year-old brother what he was doing lying down all day. Im reviewing the history of the universe, Prabhat told her, an answer that did little to please his sister.
The next day she asked him again. This time he replied, I am watching what is going to happen on this planet after a thousand years. Finally, Hiraprabha got fed up with her lazy younger brother. She started taunting him for his idleness. There you are, wasting your time doing nothing; you still havent even learned how to write your own name in your mother tongue.
Then he went to a drawer, pulled out a piece of paper and a pen, and wrote out his name in ten different scripts, including English, Arabic, and a number of different Indian scripts. His sister was so startled when she saw this that she flew away like a frightened bird and avoided her brother for the remainder of their vacation.
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Years later, while giving dictation to one of his disciples, Vijayananda, Prabhat reminisced about that vacation in Bamunpara. He told him that while he was lying on his cot, supposedly idling away his hours, he was busy planning out his lifes work, which would include his fight against the caste system and other social evils. It was during that vacation, Prabhat said, that he devised the coming structure of Ananda Marga, the socio-spiritual organization that he would found in , more than twenty-five years later. Then he went to his desk and pulled from a drawer a yellowed piece of paper that he smoothed out on the desktop in front of his disciple.
The faded writing, still clearly visible, contained an outline of the organization he would later create. In , Prabhat was admitted into the East India Railway High School, where he would continue his studies through matriculation. The boy that entered the railway high school was now very different than the boy who had entered primary school a few years earlier. While the rest of the boys were, on the whole, boisterous and restless, Prabhats quiet demeanor and thoughtful way of speaking set him apart. When one word would do, he would never use two.
He was friendly with everyone but did not take part in the typical merriment during free time and recess. He kept to himself, either sitting under the large pipal tree in the courtyard with a book or on the veranda, although whenever any skirmishes broke out or the boys used uncouth language, he was quick to get up and intervene. From time to time, other boys would approach him to discuss one topic or another, often concerning problems they were having with their schoolwork, but mostly they respected his love of solitude.
Prabhats reputation for being able to answer anyones questions followed him from primary school; here also, it became a common practice among the other students to send him anyone who had questions no one else could answer. One afternoon, he and his classmates were sitting around a table during recess looking at a new geography book that had just arrived. Prabhat flipped through the pages along with everyone else. Then he closed the book and challenged them to ask him any question from any page. The other boys jumped to the challenge. They opened the book so that he couldnt see it and started asking questions.
One by one, he answered them all correctly. They were impressed but they had seen this before. Vimalendu Chatterjee, however, who had recently moved to Jamalpur from a small village in the Silhet district of East Bengal, had not. When he expressed his surprise, Prabhat asked him the name of his village and then proceeded to describe it in minute detail, right down to the division of the rice fields and the placement of the wells.
Everything was exactly as Prabhat described it. But how can you know all that? Prabhat gave a little grunt, as if in disgust. You people dont study, he said. Thats why you dont know these things. It was only some years later that Vimalendu realized that the information Prabhat had described so accurately wasnt found in any book. After school, Prabhat would accompany the other boys to the fields outside of town, but instead of participating in their games, he would disappear into the nearby hills, generally reappearing before dusk to accompany his class- mates back to town.
In those days, the Kharagpur Hills were the gateway to a wilderness that few townspeople dared enter. It was two miles from the edge of town to the beginning of the stony ascent into the chiseled granite hills that had served for centuries as the natural southern defense for Monghyr, seven kilometers to the north, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Anga.
Between the town and the hills lay many acres of spacious meadows and shady trees, as well as a natural reservoir that ran along the foot of the hills for several kilometers. Adults would go there to walk and children to play, except for the expansive areas to the east that belonged to the Railway Institute, off-limits to Indians in those days. Beyond the reservoir, a long, narrow valley jutted into the mountain range, a forested area named Death Valley by local inhabitants in memory of a fierce battle fought centuries before in which over a thousand warriors had died and been left as carrion for the many wild animals that lived there.
In those days, Death Valley and the Kharagpur Hills were a subject for whispered conversa- tions. Wild animals lived there, tigers had been spotted, and, according to some, the ghosts of the dead warriors still roamed the woods, unable to find peace and haunting the footsteps of anyone who dared enter their forbidden domain. On the opposite side of the reservoir from Death Valley, hundreds of stone steps had been carved into the mountainside.
At the top of the twenty-minute ascent, in the shadow of the forest, stood two old temples: a Kali temple, from which the hill got its name of Kalipahar; and a Shiva temple, a couple of hundred meters further on, beyond which nobody dared go. The ascent to the Kali temple was breathtaking. Halfway up, one could see all of Jamalpur. From the top, on a clear day, it was possible to see past Monghyr, on the banks of the Ganges, to the Gangetic plains beyond.
On weekends and religious holidays, pious pilgrims from Jamalpur and Monghyr would climb to the Kali temple to worship before the image of the Divine Mother and tie ribbons on the branches of the ancient, gnarled bel tree behind the temple. It was said that Mother Kali would grant the wishes of those who left ribbons for her on her favorite tree, and every pious-hearted mother of Jamalpur had a son or a daughter who needed the Divine Mothers favor.
Kalipahar, Death Valley, and the Kharagpur Hills became young Prabhats private retreat, a vast wilderness that he had practically all to himself. He would sometimes be seen climbing into the hills at the same time that the last of the pilgrims were coming down from the temples.
On more than one occasion, well-wishing neighbors who recognized the boy let his father know that they had seen his son wandering in those dangerous hills at an hour when no right- minded person would dare think of going there. When his father questioned him about it, however, Prabhat assured him that the neighbors were exaggerating. He simply liked to walk where it was quiet, so he could think. It was more or less the same answer he gave the other boys when they asked him what he did when he went there, though by then many of them were aware of his habit of searching out solitary places to meditate.
Sometimes he would bring a bamboo flute with him and spend hours sitting in the hills exploring the different scales and variations of Indian music. Sometimes it was a friends esraj. On the rare occasions that a friend or two accompanied him on his walks, he would talk of God and ask them to sit and sing the praises of the Divine.
One of his friends told him once, If you keep this up, Prabhat, youre going to become a sannyasi. Many of those who knew him assumed he would. One afternoon, when Prabhat was eleven, Sachindranath Marik, who lived a few houses away from him and was two years his junior, could no longer con- tain his curiosity. Together with a couple of friends, Sachin decided to follow Prabhat into the hills. Excited by the prospect of spying on their mysterious elder classmate, the three boys were careful to stay out of sight as they followed Prabhat up a rarely used path that wound precariously up the hill and into the forest.
Young boys as they were, they soon became scared, having heard stories about the tigers and other wild animals that supposedly roamed those forested slopes. At the top of the ascent, the path dipped again and disappeared into the trees. No longer able to see or hear Prabhat, none of them dared go any further; they decided to wait for him to come back. Some forty minutes passed. Then Sachin saw something that made him shake his head and stare. He shouted to his two companions and pointed: Downwards from where they were standing, in a clearing among the trees, they saw Prabhat riding at a gentle pace on the back of a tiger.
They watched dumbfounded as he got down from the tigers back, patted it a few times, and watched it stroll off and disappear into the woods. When Prabhat made it back to where they were waiting, the three of them accosted him at once with questions about the amazing sight they had witnessed. Prabhat immediately denied it. Are you mad? Me, riding a tiger? You had better not repeat such a thing. Sachin refused to pay heed to Prabhats adamant denials.
Do you honestly think anyone will believe you? Sachin didnt listen. When he got back to town, he told both his own mother and Prabhats mother what he had seen. Naturally, neither of them believed him. Abharani did take the trouble to question her son about it, but Prabhats indignant reply satisfied her. Please, mother, do you honestly think I can ride a tiger? They are just making up stories.
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Sachindranath and his friends were scolded for lying. When Prabhat saw them the next day in school, he rebuked them for telling tall tales. Whatever scolding you received, you deserved it. After that he avoided them. When they got a chance to ask him why he was avoiding them, Prabhat rebuked them for spreading gossip. If you talk like that, what will people think of me?
Am I an animal that I ride on a tigers back? As long as you go around saying things like this, I will have nothing to do with you. From then on, they said nothing more about this or any of the other unusual things they noticed about Prabhat, and he gradually resumed his easy friendship with them. A few years later Sachindranath heard a story about a lady Tantric said to be living in the forest of the Kharagpur Hills.
People claimed that she had caught and tamed a tiger with her occult powers. He remembered the incident with Prabhat and realized that he might have been going to the forest to visit her. Despite Prabhats denials, his careful reserve, and his marked dislike of drawing any attention to himself, his reputation in Jamalpur, especially among his fellow students, grew steadily. In the winter, when temperatures could drop to three or four degrees Celsius once the sun went down, Prabhat continued to wear shorts and a light shirt, while the rest of the boys wore woolen clothes.
When they asked him if he felt the cold, he said, No. You wrap your bodies with warm clothes, but what about your mind? Do you also cover your mind? But we dont feel cold in our mind. Well, the mind is made of the same material as the body. Thats the reason I dont feel cold. Some of the younger boys started following Prabhat around after school hours, accompanying him to the fields and waiting for him to return from the hills so they could walk with him back to town. The parents of one boy, annoyed because their child was coming home late each evening, scolded him for following Prabhat around and asked him to stop.
When he complained, they demanded to know what the attraction was. I feel good whenever I am near him. Once, when I saw Prabhat stop on the road, I saw that he was surrounded by a brilliant aura. Anyone who is surrounded by an aura like that cannot be an ordinary human being, can he? His parents had no reply to this.
Anandamurti: The Jamalpur Years | KSA | Souq
After that they made no further objections. Manoranjan Banerjee, who was several years junior to Prabhat, had often seen him sitting for long hours in the Shiva temple in Keshavpur with his eyes closed, a sight that never ceased to impress him. One day he saw something that amazed him even more:.
One day, when I was studying in class six, a group of four or five bulls started chasing me down a narrow lane. I dropped my books and ran for my life. As I was running, I saw Bubu-da standing at the end of the street. When I reached him, he shielded me from the bulls. Just before they reached him, they suddenly stopped and became as still as statues. I was amazed. Then he asked me to go and pick up my schoolbooks. I was frightened to do so, because in order to reach the books, I had to cross where the bulls were standing.
But Bubu-da repeatedly assured me that I had nothing to worry about. They would not harm me. I hesitated, but finally I walked past them and picked up my books. Then I went back to Bubu-da. The bulls didnt move an inch the entire time. After I came back with the books, Bubu-da waved his hand in the direction of the bulls.
Only then did they move; they turned around and walked away. This incident made me realize that Bubu-da had some special powers. Incidents like this and Prabhats obvious spiritual inclinations lent to his growing reputation among his peers and neighbors as a spiritually elevated young man doted with unusual powers.
In the West, people might not have known what to make of him.
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
Most people would have distrusted the stories they heard. But in India, with its long history of yogis and saints, Prabhat was looked upon as another spiritually minded youth following in the footsteps of his illustrious forefathers. His family and most other families in the neighborhood were aware that he was not an ordinary boy.
His mother would later say that she secretly considered her young son to be a spiritual genius, but she never brought up the subject, nor did anyone else in the neighborhood. For thousands of years their culture had taught them to respect the privacy of those whose minds were turned towards God, and in a small town in Bihar during the s that tradition was still very much alive. It was while he was attending the railway high school, that Prabhat had the definitive spiritual experience of his boyhood.
He described it for Amitananda years later on that unusual winter evening in Ranchi. I have gone to the Jamalpur hills to do meditation. I am sitting at a particular place when I hear a voice whisper in my ear, Come with me. I will show you a better place to meditate. Follow me. I see no one, but I follow the voice whose presence I feel so clearly.
The voice leads me to a particular spot and asks me to meditate. After a while I hear it say, Are you mad? How long do you want to remain under the spell of maya? Who do you think you areP. Look, see who you are! In that moment a reel of my past lives flashes before my eyes and I realize who I am. In the afternoon of January 15, , a terrible earthquake struck Northern India with its epicenter on the border between Nepal and Bihar, some three hundred kilometers from Jamalpur. It measured 8.
Monghyr was practically reduced to rubble; Jamalpur, though not nearly as badly affected, suffered extensive damage. The Sarkar house partially collapsed. On the morning of the earthquake, Lakshmi Narayana had left for Calcutta to fix the date of Hiraprabhas upcoming mar- riage. When he returned the next morning at five oclock, the entire family was waiting for him in the train station, wrapped in blankets after a night when the temperature had reached a record low.
That day he took his eldest boys around with him to survey the devastation. What he saw left him shocked. Despite the damage to his own house, he plunged immediately into full-scale relief efforts, taking leave from his job as an accountant in the Jamalpur railway workshop to treat patients and collect and distribute relief materials. Prabhats father was an accomplished homeopathic doctor who for years had spent weekends and holidays in his dispensary attending to long lines of patientsBritish as well as Indianmany of them dependent on him to keep their families healthy when they could not afford the expensive Western medicines that were slowly replacing traditional Indian healing practices.
Now his skill as a doctor was put to the test, with the numbers of sick and injured far too much for the local medical community to handle. Not only did he treat patients, he also collected food, blankets, clothing, and medicine for distribu- tion. Prabhat organized a group of his friends and joined in by his fathers side. What was left of the Sarkar house became a storage center for relief materials. In the weeks that followed, the entire family assisted Lakshmi Narayana in his efforts to relieve the tremendous suffering that surrounded them.
In recogni- tion of his efforts, the Bihar Government soon put Prabhats father in charge of the distribution of relief materials for Monghyr District. After this period of arduous work and little sleep, Lakshmi Narayanas health gradually began to deteriorate. No one was able to diagnose the exact malady, and a trail of different doctors and different medicines began that met with little success.
He passed away on February 12, Prabhat was studying in class nine when his father died, the oldest son but still too young to support the family.
Anandamurti Jamalpur Years
His mother received her husbands provident fund from the railways to go along with their savings,2 but there was no pension for Indian employees at that time and the change in their financial fortunes was drastic. Until then they had been relatively well off by Indian standards. Once the period of mourning was over, however, she took stock of the situation and instituted the necessary changes in the household so that the family could survive on its drastically curtailed income.
The generous spending to which they were accustomed was no longer possible, but she made sure that the children did not want for any of the necessities of life. Neighbors who had been the recipients of Lakshmi Narayanas generosity and kindness came forward to help. His brother, Nirmal Chandra, visited every Sunday to make sure Abharani had what she needed to keep the family going. When Prabhat graduated from high school, he tried to convince his mother to let him find a job, but Abharani would not hear of it. It had been her dream to see Prabhat go to college, and nothing he could say or do could convince her otherwise.
Thus it was that in the fall of the family put Prabhat on a train to Calcutta, where he had been admitted into Vidyasagar College. III Kalikananda. Krishna has rightly said: If even a diehard criminal comes under my shelter, I will save him or her from all sins; I will see to it that the person attains liberation or salvation. Hence no one, no spiritual aspiranthowever black or despicable ones past life might beshould be worried about anything.
W hen PraBhat arrived in Calcutta at the house of his maternal uncle, Sarat Chandra Bose, to take up his studies in the summer of , the former capital of India was alive with the fervor of independence and the uncertainty of war. Student activism was at its apogee, with most students favoring the radical freedom-at-all-costs stance of Subhash Chandra Bose, President of the Congress Party, while others sided with Gandhi and Nehrus policy of wartime cooperation with the British.
Wherever ones sympathies lay, the talk of independence and war was impossible to escape, whether in the classroom, the dining room, or on the street. Around the time Prabhat arrived in the turbulent metropolis, he began corresponding with various revolutionary leaders in Bengal, such as the radi- cal humanist, M.
Prabhats letters attracted their attention due to his astute analysis of the political situation and the provocative suggestions he made regarding what actions would best serve the nations interests at that time. When they discov- ered that P. Sarkar was a seventeen-year-old student, some of them were taken aback, but Prabhat was soon invited to closed sessions at M.
Roys house with him and other revolutionaries of the time who would help decide the fortunes of the soon-to-be-born nation. As in high school, he mostly kept to himself, spending his time outside the classroom either alone or in the company of a few close companions, to whom he made no mention of his relationship with Subhash, M. Roy, and others. Apart from his letters to political leaders, Prabhat wrote articles, poetry, and short fiction under various pen names and saw them published in different newspapers and magazines,3 such as the Statesman and the Searchlight.
His articles dealt primarily with social issues such as the caste system, capitalism, and the dowry system, and contained many of the radical ideas that would later appear in his Prout philosophy. He enjoyed the affection of his unmarried uncle, a disciplined Tantric, and used to pay regular visits to his aunt in north Calcutta who later became famous as Lady Goranga, a Vaeshnava saint.
He also worked part time as a sub-editor in a Calcutta newspaper and tutored students to meet his expenses. Above all, he continued searching out solitary places to pursue his meditation. In Calcutta, Prabhat kept up his habit of taking long evening walks. He often walked by the banks of the river Ganges, a route that took him through an area dotted with burning ghats, some still smoldering with the remains of cremated bodies. It was a solitary area that the townspeople avoided, rumored to be unsafe after dark. On the evening of the full moon in August, shortly after his arrival in Calcutta, Prabhats evening walk took him through the Kashimitra burning ghat.
The bright moon of Shravan cast enough light to illumine his path through the cremation ground. A short while later, he heard footsteps behind him. Without bothering to turn around, he asked his unknown visitor to sit down. I highly recommend it. Anandamurti : The Jamalpur Years. Devashish Donald Acosta , Devashish. Considered by some to be a social revolutionary with secret intentions of overthrowing the Indian. Considered by some to be a social revolutionary with secret intentions of overthrowing the Indian government and by others to be a powerful Tantric with supernatural powers, Anandamurti kept himself scrupulously hidden from the public eye throughout his lifetime.
His only interaction with the public was through Ananda Marga, the spiritual and service organization he founded in , and its thousands of orange-robed monks who by the late s had become so ubiquitous in Northern India that they began drawing daily mention in the press and literature of the time.
While Ananda Marga gained great notoriety, Anandamurti himself remained a mysterious figure in India until his death in Based on the oral histories of his disciples, colleagues, and family, Anandamurti: The Jamalpur Years unveils a remarkable portrait of this often misunderstood saint and social thinker. Rather than being an academic study of one man's life, Anandamurti is primarily a collection of devotional and mystical stories set in a biographical framework that provides the reader with a portal into the magical world of Indian mysticism, yoga, and Tantra.
Devashish has risen to the challenge of capturing this extraordinary life with grace and eloquence. I highly recommend it. We will send you an SMS containing a verification code. Please double check your mobile number and click on "Send Verification Code". Enter the code below and hit Verify. Free Shipping All orders of Cash on Delivery Pay for your order in cash at the moment the shipment is delivered to your doorstep. Log In. Don't have an account? Sign Up. Update your profile Let us wish you a happy birthday!