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SWAMI NIRMALANANDA
HIS LIFE AND TEACHINGS

CHAPTER I

WORSHIP BEARS FRUIT

"Avatara hyasamkheya
Harsh Satwanidherdwijah"
                           Sri Bhagavata, III, i-26

(Ye twice-born ones, the Incarnations of Hari, the Treasure-house of Supreme energy, are innumerable, indeed.)

OF all the Avatars of Hari, Sri Rama and Sri Krishna have been, naturally, the most popular. The advent of Rama made an epoch in the history of Avataras itself. The earlier Incarnations were more or less solitary figures; they accomplished their objects single-handed. Their prowess and activities were manifested more on the physical than on the mental or moral plane. Rama made a departure. He had companions and friends to help Him in His leela. They were not all Aryans. Guha, Sugreeva and Vibhishana were some of His best friends. He was the first great cosmopolitan. In Him were blended physical strength, intellectual greatness and moral grandeur in overflowing measures. He was also the first Avatar to go through the whole gamut of human experience. Keen disappointments, bitter struggles and poignant sorrows filled His cup. These were the price he paid for the deliverance of Bharata-varsha from Rakshasic domination.

Coming in a later Yuga with different social, political and religious conditions, Krishna had to be different in many respects. He began life as the playmate of the lowly; even as boy He set His face against and dissuaded His father from performing Vedic Sacrifices to the gods; in His teens He became not a king, but a king-maker which He remained throughout His life; for the intellectuals, He harmonised the different systems of philosophy, and for the unlettered, He unlocked the treasure of life-giving love.

While Rama appeared as pre-eminently human, Krishna, seemed ever to remain on the border-land of Divinity. The two together may be said to have summed med up the possibilities of human evolution,

The sphere of action of the old Avataras was, however, limited regionally as well as personally. It was reserved to this age of material science, rationalism and internationalism to lash up mighty waves of conflicting thoughts and to raise world-wide and complex problems for solution. Science opened up all the dead past, and rationalism questioned every settled faith. The very foundations of life and conduct were in imminent danger of being shaken and smashed. A new adjustment was called for. It became necessary to examine all the past, to unearth everything that was of value, buried therein.

The work was no longer local, nor even continental, it was global. A new head, a new heart, a new cosmic-power was the demand of the age. A new Avatar expressing all that was true in the past and all the possibilities of the future, – a Rama and a Krishna combined in one – this was what the world prayed for. A demonstrator of Fundamental Unity, a bestower of Supreme Peace, this was what the age of material sciences yearned for.

The prayer was granted. The Power took form. It appeared as a boy born of Brahmin parents in a village in Bengal. The span of his mortal life was but fifty-three summers. Yet, he lived the life of all the Prophets of old. He realised and demonstrated that their lives and words were all true. Like Rama, he struggled and freed Bharatavarsha of Rakshasic culture-domination. Transcending all limitations and becoming one with Truth, he ever remained in Bhava-mukha. From the heart of Being, he brought out what the world was panting for; Truth and Peace, He distributed them broadcast. To-day He is the world-figure known as Sri Ramakrishna.

To continue the work after Him, to bear His torch to the farthest limits of the globe, he left a few chosen young men, intelligent, educated, pure and strong. Their leader was the Super-man, Swami Vivekananda. He was a Kayastha and Dutta by birth. The only other Dutta disciple of Sri Ramakrishna was Swami Nirmalananda. These two had many a trait in common. Indomitable Kshatra Veerya was one of them.

The tradition seems to be true that the Kayasthas of Bengal have Kshatriya blood in them. From that community have sprung up some of the most eminent men of Bengal in modern times also – Sj. R. C. Dutt, J. C. Bose, C. R. Das and S. C. Bose among others.

In the Dutta branch of the Kayastha community there was one Purushothama Dutt of Bharadwaja gotra from whom in the 22nd generation was descended Bhairavachandra Dutt who lived in Bighati village in the District of Hugly. He was a very pious and cultured gentleman. His tutelary deity was Radhakanta with Radha Rani. The very beautiful images of these two are preserved and worshipped in the family to this day. The inscription at the foot of the images bears the Bengali year corresponding to 1770 A. D. The image of Radhakanta with flute; in hand is made of black touch-stone and that of Radha Rani or Ashtaloha (eight metals). Besides these there are Salagram and Banalinga which are also worshipped daily. Although his tutelary deity was Radhakanta, Bhairavachandra was a worshipper of Sakti also having been duly initiated into that cult. Durga puja used to be celebrated in his house with great pomp and solemnity twice a year. All other festivals of the Mother, such as Jagaddhatri puja were also celebrated. The 'Doljatra' of Krishna was an imposing spectacle with display of fire-works and staging of dramas. There was a festival or a feast in the house almost every day. Some family trouble made him leave the ancestral home and migrate to Baghbazaar. Calcutta, where he purchased a plot of land for Rs. 37 and put up a temporary dwelling house. He had two sons, the elder of whom was employed in an English Company. The younger Debnath Dutt was highly intelligent and enterprising. He became an expert in feeling the pulse (Nadeevijnana) of sick persons and accurately forecasting the time of their death. The wide-spread belief that death on the banks of the Ganges confers mukti brought his services very much in requisition. He became such a favourite with the people that they called him Ganga Dutta. His spirit of enterprise and industry led him to start a castor-oil mill, a flour mill, lac-work and a factory for the manufacture of sulphuric acid – the first of its kind in Calcutta. Success attended all his undertakings. Skilful and successful, rich and charitable, he was loved and respected by all. He also used to celebrate the Durga puja and other festivals on a grand scale. Besides the house in Baghbazaar with its spacious halls and out houses he had a house at Benares atsu. He married Srimati Takamani Devi, a very pious and talented lady who came from Benares. She brought happiness and prosperity to the family. After giving-birth to five sons in succession, she devoutly worshipped Tulasi (the sacred Basil plant) for a long lime. The next child, the fruit of her ardent worship was also a male. He was born in the house at 20, Bosepara Lane, Baghbazaar, Calcutta at about 8-30 P.M., on Wednesday the 23rd of December 1863, Sukla Paksha Chaturdasi Tithi and Rohini Nakshatra in the month of Dhanu. In loving memory of the worship the child was named Tulasicharan, also called Tulasi Das. He was their last son. Some years laier he had a sister. Tulasi's horoscope foretold a very bright future for him, as bright as the powerful moon in exalted position and in its own navamsa. It indicated an extraordinary powerful mind for the native. The youngest son is ipso facto the mother's special favourite. More so was Tulasi. The circumstances of his birth, his charming face, his sparkling eyes, his keen intelligence all these and more made him the pet of the family. Fondled too much by one and all he did not grow sturdy. He suffered in health. Medicines did not improve it. Ill-health did not affect his mind and will which were ever dominating and masterful, and his rich voice was naturally commanding, None wished or dared to oppose him even in those early days.