AkhandanandaBholanath DidimaGurupriya Didi Paramananda
HaribabaBhaijiGopinath KavirajAtmananda
Swami SwarupanandaSwami ChinmayanandaSwami VirajanandaSwami Vijayananda
Swami BhaskaranandaSwami SivanandaSwami BhajananandaSwami Omkarananda
Br KamalakantaBr YogeshdaBr AtuldaBr Hari Harda
Br TanmayanandaPanudaSwami Keshavananda

bholanth

Bholanath (Pitaji)

In February 1909, Sri Ma got married to Sri Ramani Mohan Chakravorty of Vikrampur, Dhaka, at the age of twelve and ten months. Ramani Mohan was later known as “Bholanath”.

In this world he is credited with being the husband of Sri Ma. His character is especially praiseworthy and astonishing. He is the main receptacle to receive and unfold the Leela of descent of Mahashakti on this earth. Being the chief companion of Sri Ma’s Leela before the Universe his ideas, and gestures were superb.

Sri Ma’s Marriage

In Bajitpur, he was the eye-witness to Ma’s Sadhana Leela, the leelas that stunned as well as delighted him. He never questioned about these actions but his interest grew. With times as Sri Ma’s superb power became  public talk and the curious crowd swelled at their home Bholanath remained unperturbed and calm. Contrary to the prevalent ‘Purdah’ (veil) system he brought Her face to face with Her people, carefully managing them who turned devotees and disciples later.
Bholanath faced objections from his own relatives and friends. But never did he stop Ma in Her Leela. Rarely, as a human being, he got excited on some trivial matters. Ma Herself beautifully use to manage the situation. At times he got worried when Ma went into samadhi, for long hours, he would then do kirtan and japa to bring Her back to Her worldly self. At that time nobody was allowed to touch Ma’s body without Baba’s permission. He was definitely an outstanding soul with a lot of verve in his character. In 1922, Bholanath became Her formal disciple. He remained Her faithful guardian till the last (1938).

As the number of devotees swelled, their life-style changed. This change was very ably managed by Bholanath who gave it a definite shape in each turn of life. In between if She would go incognito either he himself would accompany Her or would send some respectable person with Her.

Ma was his spiritual Guru on one hand, and loving, obedient wife on the other. As per Ma’s kheyal, Bholanath barely came in Her way of doing things. Rarely, if that happened, Ma would convince him and set out the things in Her own way.

Sometimes, Ma employed unique ways to put forward Her ideas and suggestions.
At times, like an adamant child, Bholanath stuck to what came to his mind. He had a very helpful nature though Ma never went against his wishes.

Here is one example-
Invited at some devotee’s place for puja, Bholanath suggested  goat sacrifice after the puja. The devotee was not inclined to this idea. Since Bholanath had said it, the sacrificed animal was also brought. But he disclosed his feelings to Ma who asked him to wait and see. They took the goat to the Kali temple for sacrifice. On reaching there, they came to know through the priest that it was ‘Sudi Dashami’, on which day no animal could be sacrificed. Next day, Bholanath completely forgot about it.

What did Ma do at the time the goat was being taken to the temple? She merely sat up from Her inclined position.

During the Dhaka religious congress in 1927, many delegates came to Ma for serious philosophical discussions. Aware of Ma’s samadhi and Her divine experiences, the delegates were stunned to hear quick, simple and straight answers from Ma who could hardly read or write.

Bholanath started his sadhana in a shack near the Siddheshwari Kali temple, while Ma lived in the only room in Ashram premises to help him in his sadhana. She had restricted the meetings with devotees to ten minutes each, for his sake. For two months, Bholanath’s sadhana continued during which he went through several spiritual exercises and moods. During this period, he initiated many Ashram Brahmacharis and others.
From 1930, he himself started doing Kalipuja at Ramana ashram where he also instituted a beautiful Panchavati. In Ma’s presence, he planted Banyan, Asoka, Neem, emblic myrobalan (amla) and peepul trees there and got ‘Beej Mantra’ for planting each tree.
When he was doing his sadhana at Siddheshvari, he had seen the headless image of Kali. When he disclosed this to Ma, She suggested to him to visit Tarapeeth and continue his sadhana. Bholanath went there and put up in the verandah of the temple. There, despite houseflies and mosquitos, Bholanath did his sadhana for several days at a stretch without leaving his seat even once. It was in Tarapeeth, he stopped his habit of chewing tobacco. In just seven days he attained a very high state of spiritual bliss. Bholanath noticed that Tara Ma’s jewellery was taken off in the night, and again in the morning she was redecorated with them. Now he remembered the headless figure of Kali, which he had seen, resembled Tarama.

After the Ramana ashram was opened in 1929, daily functions were held with Ma being the centre of focus. In three years, She attracted a massive following. Yet, without the slightest hesitation she left Dhaka in 1932.

She left all – Her established Ashram, thousands of followers, all facilities – for a destination unknown! Evidently She had little difficulty in coping with extreme situations. They went to Raipur Dehradun which was liked very much by Bholanath.

Nobody was known there, nor they could speak the local language to make acquaintances. Hence, quickly Bholanathji renewed his sadhana. Perhaps this may be one of the reasons Ma left Dhaka.

Bholanath went on a pilgrimage to Gangotri and other places and then stopped at Uttarkashi for his sadhana. He lived there in an open verandah facing the north flowing Ganges. Here he practiced severe austerity in food habits during the two years of  very intense mediation. Ma came once in between to see him. He attained to spiritual heights.
The people of Uttarkashi loved and adored Bholanath, who had gradually been transformed into a different personality. With Ma’s blessings, Bholanath’s sadhana was accomplished with the institution of a Kali image at Uttarkashi (1935) where he did rigorous meditation. Ma and Her followers were also present on the occasion. Bholanath enjoyed Naam kirtan very much.

He would spend ten-twelve hours,  doing Naam kirtan  without getting tired and even without drinking water. In Shahbagh, Ma’s father, playing the Do-tara led a kirtan group for some splendid recitals. When he got tired, Bholanath could not restrict himself and would take over so that kirtan went on without a break with new words and changes in the tune. He sang in loudly, his voice reverberating in the surroundings.

In 1938, it was the turn of Haridwar to host Kumbha. Ma and Bholanath were put up in the bungalow of Dr. Pant. Early morning there, Bholanath and party would start their kirtan with sandal paste on the forehead and garland round the neck. After holding it for a while in the bungalow courtyard and in presence of Ma, they would go out into the streets of this holy city doing ‘Nagar Kirtan’. Many passers-by joined him in what turned out to be three-hour mobile recitals.

The main Kumbha bath was on 14 April 1938. On that day, when Bholanath and his disciples went to Brahmakunda for the holy bath, Naga Sanyasis present there bathed him with great interest and devotion. Only they would know what they saw in Bholanath, but some of the special spiritual exercises that Bholanath did there, remained a secret during his lifetime.

While Ma returned to Dehradun after the holy bath, Bholanath stayed there for ten more days. He returned to Dehradun on 24 April with high fever and stomach-ache. Soon the symptoms of small pox appeared and he turned seriously ill.

Ma took upon Herself the entire care of Bholanath, which befuddled even the doctors attending on him. During this time, Bholanath started calling Her Ma, Ma, like a child.
Ma said, “somehow proper care was being taken… Why does it happen, do you know? Everything is same, the disease, the patient, and the medicine. One must not think about consequences of the patient when nursing him. The care should be aimed towards the satisfaction, and contentment of the patient. That’s why everything happened spontaneously when it was required.”

Affected by small pox, there was great pain in Bholanath’s body. Ma asked him, whether the suffering was too much. He nodded  in the affirmative but couldn’t speak out. With great care, she appeared to caress his body but actually She did some ‘kriyas’. She asked him again how he was feeling now? Bholanath indicated, no pain, he was very happy now.
In the evening, Bholanath felt shivery. Hence, Ma covered his body with his new saffron-coloured clothes.

Sometime back, when Bholanath taking sanyas was discussed, Baba said to Ma, “I have considered you as my Mother, but I can not make this feeling public. When I will take Sannyas, the first alms I will ask from you, calling you Ma in public.”
Ma asked him, “Do you remember sanyas mantra?” Yes, he said. The mantras were found uttered inside Bholanath.

Ultimately, realising Ma’s real form, Bholanath addressed Her as ‘Ma’ and attained Nirvana. At that moment of his ‘Mahanirvana’, Ma’s palm was placed on his ‘Brahma randhra’. Bholanath left his mortal coil, pronouncing the sanyas mantra amidst kirtan recital at the Kishanpur ashram on 7th May 1938.

After the death of Bholanath, Ma disclosed, “For long, Bholanath had a bent of mind towards sanyas. He wanted to take ‘dandi’ sanyas from some big saint of ‘Tirth’ clan. When he said this to Ma, She supported him and asked him to go ahead with his plan.”
“Bholanath however, turned angry at Ma’s response. He hoped Ma would go against his wishes for taking sanyas. If the situation had been one of a family, then it would been normal. But here it was different…”

Ma further said, “At  Kailash Mansarovar the sanyas mantra came out of this body and continued for the next day also. This body saw Bholanath taking bath at Manasarovar and said, if you wish, you can take the sanyas mantra coming out of this body. Bholanath said he new better mantras to pronounce. His words were partly true because he got down several mantras from sanyasis while at Uttarkashi.

This body told him, what it felt has been said. It is up to him to follow the suggestions or not. After sometime, Bholanath was seen repeating the same mantras coming out of Sri Ma’s lips.

On the previous night before Hardwar Kumbha this body had a kheyal that She should remind Bholanath about the sanyas mantra. Next day, Bholanath returned from his bath and said, he had done everything in that context.

So Bholanath’s sanyas at Manasarovar remained a secret in his lifetime and came to be known after his death. He was given the name of Tibatanand Tirtha.

From “The DIVINE MOTHER” pp.157. By Premlata Srivastava