Reminiscences of Swami Brahmananda (The Mind-Born Son of Sri Ramakrishna)

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Item Code: IHL100
Author: SwamiBhaskarananda
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math
Language: An English Translation of Brahmananda Leelakatha
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788178234229
Pages: 299 (19 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.0 Inch X 5.3 Inch
Weight 300 gm
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Publisher’s Note

To reminisce is to simply recall. But when one reminisces about a holy person, about a spiritual giant of Swami Brahmananda’s stature, it becomes an act of meditation. It, then, is a part of one’s sadhana. The Hindu scriptures term it as leela chintana or contemplation on the Divine Play of a holy personality. Swami Brahmananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and the first President of the Ramakrishna Order, has left behind a rich legacy of how to live a spiritually vibrant life. His lofty state of mid, practical wisdom and a deep love and sympathy for all those who came in touch with him, is a legend in the Ramakrishna tradition.

This book is a translation from Bengali. Brahmananda Leelakatha, as the original book is titled, was written by Brahmachari Akshaya-chaitanya, a disciple of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi.

Swami Bhaskarananda, the translator of the present volume, has taken great pains to provide a faithful and clear translation, with copious explanatory notes and a glossary. He has also added a short biographical sketch of Swami Brahmananda which has enhanced its value. The translator is the Minister-in-charge of Vedanta Society of Western Washington, Seattle, USA.

This book fulfills a long-felt need and we hope, it will serve as a manual of practical spirituality. Nothing could be of greater help in the contemporary world where the need for such books is keenly felt but is rarely met.


The year 1963 was a very important year for the Rama-krishna Order. During that year the birth-centenaries of both Swami Vivekananda and Swami Brahmananda were celebrated in the branches of the Order, as well in as many other places all over the world. I was then a trainee (brahmachari) at the Probationers’ Training Centre at the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Order in Belur Math. Many books and articles on the lives of these two great swamis were written and published that year. One of them was the book Brahmananda Leelakatha written in Bengali on the extraordinary, saintly life of Swami Brahmananda by Brahmachari Akshayachaitanya, a disciple of the Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. Every trainee at the Propbationers’ Training Centre was given a copy of that book by Swami Nirvanananda, who later became the Vice-President of the Order.

Thus I got a copy of the book and was charmed and inspired by reading it. Nearly twelve years later, in 1974, I was sent to the Vedanta Centre in Seattle, USA, as an assistant to Swami Vividishananda. When I came to Seattle I brought the book along with me. Whenever I read it, I felt that it would be wonderful if I could translate this inspiring book into English for the benefit of those who did not know Bengali. But I could not do it without written permission from its publisher. I mentioned this to Swami Swahananda, head of the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood. During a visit to India nearly a year ago, Swami Swahananda very kindly obtained that permission from the publisher.

At first I thought of publishing the book in the United States. Accordingly I used the language and spelling suitable for American readers. But Swami Chetanananda, head of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis, suggested that the book should be published in India, because there would be a much larger number of readers there. That’s why I rewrote the book to suit the Indian readership,. The rewritten version of the book follows the British way of spelling. At the same time, I provided copious explanatory notes and a glossary for easy understanding by both Indian and Western readers.

In the publication of this book the following persons have helped immensely and I acknowledge their loving assistance with deep gratitude.

The Secretary, Sarada Mandir, Khardah, for permission to translate the book Brahmananda Leelakatha written in Bengali by the late Brahmachari Akshayachaitanya.

Swami Gautamananda, President, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai, India, for offering to publish the book through their publication department.

Devra A. Freedman for her help in proofreading and editing.

Mrs. Mira Guerquin for painting the beautiful illustration of Swami Brahmananda for the front cover.

Charles Mathias for creating a line drawing of Swami Brahmananda.

Charles S. Wirth and Allen R. Freedman for providing assistance with the typesetting and printing of the manuscript.

I shall consider my labour well rewarded if the book proves to be helpful to the readers.

Back of the Book

Swami Vivekananda once referred to Swami Brahmananda as a spiritual dynamo. These reminiscences related by Brahmachari Akshayachaitanya and translated by Swami Bhaskarananda clearly reveal the innumerable ways in which he radiated that spiritual power. His calm majestic personality is sweet, soothing, inspiring and enlightening. Though often lost in profound mystical moods, this man of God could be down to-earth as well, dealing with day-to-day details of many of the centers of the Ramakrishna Order, expressing his sympathetic concern for devotees and, most importantly, showering his divine love on all. His deep insights into life and human nature touched the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to come into contact with him. It is said God has the nature of a child. Childlike himself, Swami Brahmananda was witty with an irrepressible sense of humor who delighted in playing practical jokes on many unsuspecting monks and devotees. These reminiscences are indeed a veritable spiritual feast for sincere seekers of God.

-Swami Prabuddhananda, head of the Vedanta Society of Northern California and a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order.


Preface iv
List of Illustrations vii
A Short Biography of Swami Brahmananda
by Swami Bhaskarananda
Chapter I: Swami Brahmananda-His Life Spoke
More Eloquently than His Words
Chapter II: Swami Brahmananda’s Role as Sadguru 21
Chapter III: Swami Brahmananda-Protector of
Those to Whom He Gave Shelter
Chapter IV: Swami Brahmananda’s Concern for the Devotees 61
Chapter V: Swami Brahmananda-A Man of Great Sympathy 69
Chapter VI: Swami Brahmananda’s Compassion for the Fallen and the Destitute 77
Chapter VII: Swami Brahmananda-An Admirer of Loving Service87
Chapter VIII: Swami Brahmananda and Women Devotees with Divine Attributes 91
Chapter IX: Swami Brahmananda’s Ability to Understand People 97
Chapter X: Swami Brahmananda’s Way of Disciplining and Transforming Monks 107
Chapter XI: Teaching and Transforming Disciples through Letters 117
Chapter XII: The Various Teachings of Swami Brahmananda 119
Chapter XIII: Swami Brahmananda’s Versatile Wisdom 133
Chapter XIV: What Swami Brahmananda Said About the Greatness and Glory of Some Holy Places 141
Chapter XV: Swami Brahmananda’s Power to Sense the Supernatural 147
Chapter XVI: Swami Brahmananda’s Love of Trees and Plants 153
Chapter XVII: Swami Brahmananda-A Lover of Fun and Frolic 161
Chapter XVIII: Swami Brahmananda’s Fun and Frolic with Children 179
Chapter XIX: Swami Brahmananda-A Lover of Playful Disguises 183
Chapter XX: Swami Brahmananda’s Playing of Cards and Going Fishing 189
Chapter XXI: The Large-Heartedness and Ingenuity of Swami Brahmananda 201
Chapter XXII: The Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Brahmananda 209
Chapter XXIII: Swami Brahmananda and His Brother Disciples 213
Chapter XXIV: Incidents Revealing Swami Brahmananda’s Divine Nature 227
Chapter XXV: Swami Brahmananda’s Power of Attraction 231
Chapter XXVI: Events on the Eve of Swami Brahmananda’s Passing Away 237
Chapter XXVII: Swami Brahmananda’s Final Departure From This World 245
Appendix: Sri Pareshnath Gupta’s Reminiscences Revealing Swami Brahmananda’s Love and Affection for His Disciples 253
Glossary 258
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