Sanatan Dharma is the perennial religion of this country (India). We have to depend upon the knowledge from Vedas, epics of Ramayan, Mahabharat, Tantra, Puranas and others, to seek deep insight into Sanatan Dharma. But Sanatan Dharma cannot be understood only through reading these texts. There is a need to study the lives of saints and men of realised souls which may guide us to the real path of Sanatan Dharma. Dharma should manifest itself in the character and behavior of the person practicing it. Without acquiring the treasures of faith, sacrifice, conscience, stoicism and total dependence on God, one cannot gain anything even after adopting a particular path of Dharma. Mere sectarian practice of superstitions and acceptance or refusal of sayings is not Dharma. This is why Sanatan Dharma is not a sectarian approach but it encompasses within itself different streams of devotions which have been termed the philosophy of Vaishnavas, Shaktas, Shaivas, Yoga and others. Different deities, representing different thoughts and facts, are the manifestations of the same one God in various forms. The tolerant nature and broad views of Sanatan Dharma believe that although God is worshipped in different names and different forms; either as Saguna (withform) or Nirguna (formless), they are all facets of one Supreme God, where there is no duality. Everything is perceived within the oneness and thus Sanatan Dharma is the concept of uniformity within plurality or multiplicity of the worlds.
India is a sacred place of multiple incarnations of great souls, enlightend saints and ascetics since ancient times. Whenever there is a rise in defilement of Dharma and growth of injustice, great saints as incarnations of God, have appeared and made the world free from evil forces. The unique character of such great saints has been the torch-bearers in establishing the ideals for upliftment of the society. From time to time the human society afflicted with troubles, grief and hopelessness, have been guided by the appearance of these great souls, showing a new path towards their goal, which has renewed their strength and motivation in pursuit of the Divine truth. Since time immemorial, the holistic approach of the saints have prevented any divisions in the cultural integrity of India. Similar to the incarnation of Rama, Krishna and others in ancient times, many great saints like Shree Chaitanya Mahapravu, Guru Nanak, Kabirdas, Narsi Mehta and others appeared in various parts of India over a period of last five to six hundred years. They showed the world the path to perennial peace. The traditions of these saints are still prevalent in various parts of the country in the form of various religious sects. These are still working for the welfare of the common people.
In Bengal Shree Advaitacharya and Shree Nityananda are considered as the chief followers of Shree Chaitanya Mahapravu. About six hundred years ago, in Shantipur (District- Nadia, West Bengal) a great devout, Shree Advaitacharyaji began praying fervently and earnestly for the incarnation of his tutelary deity, Shree Shyam Sundarji with oblation to the deity of Tulsi (sacred basil) leaves and holy Ganga water. Owing to his earnest prayers Shree Krishna himself reincarnated in the form of Shree Shree Chaitanya Mahapravu for the establishment of Sanatan Dharma. All signs of ‘all pervading love’ have been witnessed in the divine life of Shree Chaitanya Mahapravu, On seeing the plight of the human society, he blessed the society by spreading Divine Love. Shree Mahapravu had proclaimed that “A time will come when my Naam Sankirtan (songs sung in praise of Gods) is the absolute and easiest method to achieve God’s love. All the miseries in the form of diseases, grief, etc. are eliminated by Naam Sankirtan only. Purification of one’s character, growth in devotion by all methods, eradication of all worldly desires and yearning- all these are brought about through sankirtan. Through this Sankirtan only a religious aspirant gets to have a taste of the Divine love which makes him absorbed in the desire to achieve Shree Krishna and to the service of God.
About three hundred years after the incarnation of Shree Chaitanya Mahapravu, under similar kind of perturbed environment, many saints took birth in various parts of the country. Each of these great saints had a distinct region for the spread of religious ideas. Sadguru Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswamiji was born in the tenth successive generation of Shree Advaitacharya. This was the time when great saints such as Shree Rama Krishna Paramhansa, Shree Loknath Brahmachari, Shree Tailanga Swami, Shree Gombhiranathji, Shree Ramdas Kathiababa, Shree Bholananda Giri and others brought about revival of Sanatan Dharma, and the effect of which can still be perceived today. All these contemporary saints had intimate relations with Sadguru Bijoy Krishna Goswamiji. The religious tradition of Goswamiji proceeded along like a vast expanse of Holy Ganga river washing off the sins and grief of countless men.
Sadguru Bijoy Krishna Goswamiji was born in Shikarpur (District- Nadia) on August 2, 1841 A.D. on the full moon day of Shravan, (fourth month of Bengali Calender corresponding to July-August of English calendar) on the auspicious occasion of Raksha-Bandhan (a Hindu festival). He ventured into various sects such as the Brahmin Samaj at Shantipur, the Brahmo Samaj at Kolkata and others, to search for the Divine Truth. However he could not get peace here. In August, 1883 A.D. when he was absorbed in penance seeking his Sadguru desperately on the Akash Ganga Hill, at Gaya, he was suddenly initiated by Swami Brahmananda Paramhansaji, a great ascetic residing at the Manas Sarovar Lake in Himalayas. After receiving the spiritual initation Goswamiji remained in a cave in a state of Samadhi for eleven days. During this period, his body was protected by Shree Raghuvardasji. While telling about his Gurudev, Goswamiji has said that his guru took Birth in a Brahmin family in Punjab. After Sannyas, he practiced religious austerities living in the sect of Nanak Panth for some time. Later he devoted himself to Vedic methology of devotion and achieved divine love by the grace of Shree Chaitanya Mahapravu. His body was very old. At Manas Sarovar he merged the five elements (fire, water, earth, air and ether) with which the body is made, into the five elements of the universe, and then was able to transfer his soul from Manas Sarover Lake to Gaya (Bihar Province) by mind power and again reconstructed his physical body from nature at Gaya. Only a Siddha Yogi (possessing full spiritual powers).
When Goswamiji prayed to his gurudev, Shree Paramhansaji, to allow him to stay with him and serve him, Paramhansaji said, “You can never stay with me. Distribute the power that I have bestowed on you among the people suffering from three kinds of afflictions- material, spiritual and mental. You belong to the progeny of Advaitacharya, hence you only will have to perform this duty. Mere preaching or lectures will not prevent the deterioration of Dharma, you will have to infuse power in them through initiation. You can see me whenever you wish”.
In the religious tradition of Sadguru Bijoy Krishna Goswami, there was advent of many saints, religious aspirants and enlightened souls, patriots, philosophers, etc. All these great men wanted to free living beings, suffering in the web of the materialistic world, into divinity. They all worked for this cause in their respective fields of life. The study of the life of these men reveal the fact that they all followed the path of Ajapa Naam Japa (continuous recital of Naam mantras in every inhalation and exhalation), while proceeding towards their goal of seeking Divine Truth. Even while living within a family, the ideals of Sannyas can be perfectly followed and with which one can be totally dependent on God. The lives of these great men proved it to be true.
Sadguru Bijoy Krishna Goswamiji has said,” A special austerity is necessary to acquire this mode of devotion of Ajapa Japa that is continuous recitation of the mantra with every breath. In order to acquire this mode of religious austerity Pancha- Upasana i.e. worship of Surya (Sun), Ganesh, Shiva, Shakti and Vishnu in the given order is accomplished. This method of devotion was transferred down under the tradition of Guru and disciple, from Shree Narayana to Brahma and Brahma to Naradji. Madhavendra Puri gave this power to Ishwar Puri and from Ishwar Puri, Chaitanya Mahapravu had given this power to four persons only- Swarup Damodar, Ray Ramananda, Shikhi Maity and his Sister Madhavi.
Whoever have acquired initiation in this mode of devotion were present at the time of Chaitanya Mahapravu. Those who had not received power at that time have been given this, now.
The Guru tradition of Sadguru Bijoy Krishna Goswamiji is continuing since ancient times. Shree Chaitanya Mahapravu had given spiritual initiation to some secretly. Paramhansa Swami Brahmanandaji was one of them. Those initiated in this tradition, are- Paramhansa Swami Brahmanandaji (resident of Mansarovar)- Mahatma Bijoy Krishna Goswami- Kiranchand Darveshji- Swami Asimananda Saraswati.
Some other disciple of Goswamiji have also given this initiation. But here we have discussed only about the tradition concerning Swami Asimanandaji.
Discussing the mystery of Ajapa-japa, Dr. Gopinath Kabiraj, the great philosopher had written, ‘Some people have the opinion the Mahapravu Chaitnyadev gave confidential direction about this method of spiritual practice to Swarup Damodar, Ray Ramananda, Shikhi Maithy and his sister Madhavi Devi i.e only four of his most intimate devotees.
In this present era, distinguished saints such as Yogi Gambhirnathji, Mahatma Bijoy Krishna Goswami, Mahatma Ram Thakur and other have sung the glory of this mode of devotion.
This Method of spiritual practice is famous since ancient times. Shiva, Brahma, Narad, Vashistha, Dhruva, Prahlad and others had received this form of devotion. Actually the fact is that like other ways of devotion, this method has God himself as its Guru at source. There is no doubt about this matter.
About Mahatma Goswamiji, Dr. Gopinath Kabiraj has said, “The spiritual life of Bijoykrishna Goswamiji is a subject for study throughout India. Gradually, discussions about it will be held everywhere. Gosainji’s own life is an enlightening example of how a human life achieves absolute accomplishment in divine knowledge, yogic path of spiritual knowledge and devotion to God”.
“From the very beginning of his life, Goswamiji had a great thirst for religion and had a gentle and simple nature. Owing to this, God established him in the absolute Divine Truth in a miraculous manner after he passed through the various stages of religious austerity.
There is a great need for study and research of the life of Gsowamiji among the people of the present world. The hearts of the distressed and the weak people seeking truth will receive new strength from the great ideals of the life of Goswamiji and perceiving the shining example of God’s infinite love, man will learn to attain this love as the goal of his life”.
In the tradition of Goswamiji’s many great persons with realised souls have done wonderful work in the form of Sadguru. Some of them are Shree Kuladananda Brahmachari, Shree Barodakanta, Shree Jagatbandu Maitra, Shree Jogivan Goswami, Shree Kiran Chand Darveshji, Shree Shanti Sudha Devi and Shree Saroj Bala Devi, Shree Kumud Bandhav and others. There were some famous patriots in this tradition who worked for the service to the motherland. Some of them are Bipin Chandra Pal, Ashwini Kumar Dutta, Satish Chandra Mukhopadhyay and Manoranjan Guha Thakurta. In the field of philosophy and education, there were Haranchandra Chakladar, Makhan Ganguly, Dwarkanath Ray and others. The Indian freedom struggle of nineteenth century was known by the political trinity of “Lal-Bal-Pal”, who played a pivotal role in the movement. Here the name ‘Pal’ is for Bipin Chandra Pal. After Being initiated by Shree Goswamiji, Bipin Chandra Pal acquired a new strength and began a struggle for establishment of his ideals. Acharya Satish Chandra Mukhopadhyay established the ‘Dawn Society’ in Kolkata and educated students towards service to the motherland through the medium of spiritual education. Some of his students who admired him are Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Gopinath Kabiraj, Vijay Kumar, R. K. Dasgupta, Dr. Bhagwan Das, Prof. Malani, Acharya Kripalini and many others who hold great respect for him. Mahatma Gandhi also, after learning about Satish Chandra from Dr. Rajendra Prasad, held discussions with him on various matters.
Kiranchandra Chattopadhyay was one of the disciples of Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswami, who came in contact with Goswamiji in his boyhood and after being initiated, developed religious devotion so fast, which is rare. Three years after his initiation, Ajapa-Jap that is, spontaneous recital of mantra with every breath started in him. Twelve years after initiation, he was blessed with the direct vision of Goswamiji, and according to Goswamiji’s instruction he left family life and taking sannyas, engrossed himself in devotion. Although his name following sannayas became Swami Kaishorananda Saraswati, but he became famous as ‘Kiranchand Darveshiji’. He established Shree Bijoy Krishna Math in Varanasi (5A, Audhgarwi) which still follows the rules laid down by Darveshji, with unparalleled sincerity. Shree Kiran Chand Darveshji and one of his main disciples, Swami Asimananda Saraswatiji had close relationship since several births. While analyzing the life sketch of Swamiji, a few of the related incidents have been mentioned, which prove that since childhood, two different states of mind developed in Swamiji. First even while living amidst the happiness and luxuries of society, intense affection of close relatives and friends, he never got himself entangled in or confined by these. He was detached from the materialistic bodages. Since childhood, his life was being directed by an unknown power, which always was an attraction to him. For this reason he was never fettered by the fascination for worldly illusions. Secondly, even while living in the most adverse circumstance, all the time his life shined brightly as a diamond, illuminating the path of life of the people of the society. Living through most difficult problems at different times, he was always provided with strength and assistance to face those problems by his Gurudev, either directly or indirectly. These incidents prove as to how the sanskars that is, good actions of the previous births guides one towards good destinations away from evils, towards Divine light away from darkness of ignorance and materialism.
Swami Asimananda Saraswatiji had the name of Annada Kumar (Annada Prasad) Chakraborty in his life before sannyas. One analyzing his character and life, it is felt that his Sadguru had directed his entire life for establishing some important ideals of society. Amidst various attacks and counter attacks of society; and during the freedom struggle of the nation, he was always motivated and guided by his Sadguru, such instances are very rare.
On the birth centenary celebration of Swamiji, we had published his life history in Hindi language, in the name “Sadguru Swami Asimananda Lila Prasanga”. The present publication is a translation of that book. We have paid homage to our Gurudev, by illustrating some of the incidents of his life. First part of the book deals with the life and preaching of Sadguru Swami Asimananda Saraswatiji. Second part of the book is the revised translation of the book, “Smriti Kusumanjali” in Bengali. It contains the memoirs of the author with Swamiji.
I hope the English speaking devotees will be benefited by a thorough knowledge of the sanctified character of Sadguru Swami Asimanandaji. Sincere and unselfish service have been obtained from many persons in the translation and publication of the book. Without their help it would have been impossible to publish this book.
I pray at the feet of Shree Shree Sadguru for the welfare of all the people Generous advice for the improvement of the book are most welcome.
History stands to testify that in every age, for the upliftment of humanity, great men have descended on earth from time to time. They have inspired the entire human race by their divine achievements through their objectives, work, plays, devotion and service.
There were such great men also, whose divine nature has been seen by very few people or those could be seen only towards the later part of their lives. They have been living with common people around them in ordinary clothes, shared their pleasures and pains; but we could appreciate their divinity and supernatural powers by observing their dealings with people. While being extremely moved by the sufferings of the common people and participating with full vigour in religious, social and political functions, they were at the same time consciously aware of the futility of the material world. Swami Asimananda Saraswatiji is such a great soul and the crown of all saints.
Swami Asimanandaji was the most beloved disciple of Swami Kiran Chand Darveshji. He was initiated in the devotional spiritual practice of Shree Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswamiji's tradition.
Among the devotees of contemporary period of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the principal devotee was Shree Adwaitacharya. Shree Bijoykrishna Goswami was born in the tenth generation of Shree Adwaitacharya in the year 1841 A.D. This is the period when people were confused by growing western influence in the fields of religion and culture. It is he who helped rejuvenation of religion and culture.
There are many saints and great men in the religious tradition of the respected Shree Goswamiji who have left their work in history in the fields of spiritual practice together with social upliftment, political awakening and in the field of education. The arrival of the respected Darveshji and subsequently that of Swami Asimananda Saraswatiji in the path of devotion and spiritual practice has been highly motivating for devotees and common men. The present book contains the life history of Swami Asimananda Saraswati, his sermons and various details of exchanges between the Guru and his disciples.
One question that appears often in one's mind is, whether it is possible to perform spiritual practice, devotion simultaneously along with worldly duties. In the life of Swamiji we get the answer to all such apprehensions. Swamiji was totally dedicated to the cause of the society and the country while performing household duties. The strange synthesis of empathy, love, sacrifice, commitment to truth, sincerity to work, devotion to Guru, is not to be seen in the life of any other saint.
Knowledge, devotion, spiritual practice, service, love for Guru and surrender to Guru are not only inspiring and imitable for the devotees but also for ordinary people.
Swarniji's whole life was full of struggle. He was kept engaged all through his life, by his empathy for the downtrodden, resoluteness against injustice, efforts for social upliftment and protection of religion.
Swamiji was extremely perturbed when famine gripped entire Bengal in 1943 A.D. Again and again he used to pray to the Almighty and to his Guru with tearful eyes, "Oh Lord, remove their sufferings!" He had only one target during those days that he should be able to save the poor people suffering from hunger and he did fulfil his objectives. There was a massive arrangement in his ashram. A huge free kitchen was started and for four months food was distributed free day and night. It was not very clear as to wherefrom and how so much of provisions arrived there. Could it have been possible without the grace of the Almighty and Sadguru?
The life of the respected Swami Asimanandaji, further strengthens our confidence in spirituality, devotion to Guru and in 'noble work. This also reveals that divine experiences can be achieved by means of faith, devotion and spiritual practice.
At a time when man has made so much of progress with scientific achievements and his reach is not limited by the sky, but inspite of this progress, man is haunted by an unknown fear and relentlessly looks for peace. The fear is that the cause of progress does not become the cause of destruction of human beings. In this context Swami Asimananda's life can be inspiring, power imparting and peace giving.
Oh dear mind, worship the feet of Gurudev and cross the turbulent ocean of the worldly life.
Swami Asimananda Saraswati Maharaj occupies a very special position among the great men as Sadgurus in the successive order of the famous saint of Bengal Sad guru Shree Shree Bijoykrishna Goswami. It is extremely rare to find the presence of so many faculties in one single self like him. He was a freedom fighter, a social and political activist, an orator, a litterateur, a poet, a philanthropist, a renunciate-householder and a saint as Sadguru who brought peace to innumerable souls. His love for the downtrodden knew no bounds. He stood like a rock against injustice.
Very little has been written in Hindi, English and other- languages about the revered Swamiji. A book was first published in Hindi by the author in the birth centenary of Swamiji to enable the Hindi speaking devotees to benefit from the inspiring events of the life and sermons of Swamiji. This book is a translation of that Hindi publication. This book consists of two parts:
The first part contains Swamiji's life and some important incidents. Along with this, it contains some of his inspiring sermons and talks. A short life sketch of Shree Guruma (Mother Shailabala Devi) and some of her sermons are included in this part.
The second part contains the personal memoirs of the author. It may be mentioned that the author and his elder brother Swami Alokananda had the good fortune of having some association with Swamiji between 1962 and 1968 A.D. They were astonished and charmed to see the greatness of Swamiji as the time passed while being in contact with him.
The author believes firmly that a complete life of Swamiji can never be published. Out of the innumerable incidents in the holy life of Swamiji only some are to be found in this book Through this book, by way of remembrance we offer our oblation to the revered Swamiji.
On reading the book Prof. D. P. Sharma, the former Vice Chancellor of Barkatulla University, Bhopal (M.P.) has offered his regards to Swamiji while presenting his views. The author acknowledges his substantial help in completing this English book.
Hope this book will be appreciated by the seekers of the Truth and Peace.
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