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

Sri Abhayda

Abhayda was born on on 7th February 1920 in Kolkata as Kamalakanta Bhattacharya, in a Vedic Brahmin family, whose environment was one of learning, music and spirituality. He passed his matriculation in 1936 and left home in search of God, joining devotees surrounding Ma Anandamayi (Sri Ma) – though his diksha guru, as prompted by Sri Ma, was Sri Siddhi Ma of Benares. He was the brother-in-law of Kamalakanta (Virajananda) of Sri Ma’s ashram.

Abhayda’s book “Anandamayi,” in Bengali.

Extract from the book about Ruma Devi, in English.

4 Couplets of Sri Ma as recorded in his book, in English.

Abhayda sings one of his many compositions

Siddhi Ma, his diksha guru.

He travelled widely in India in close proximity with Sri Ma Anandamayi, and spent 17 years undergoing tapas at Varanasi, Vrindaban, Uttar Kashi and Benares. He was a creative genius,and a master in music. Poems and songs used to come to him spontaneously, and many of these are sung in Sri Ma’s ashrams today. The story goes that once he wanted to purchase a camera in order to photograph Sri Ma, but the ashram had no money. He spied a gold bangle on Sri Ma’s wrist and she relinquished it and he got the camera. Many excellent early photos were taken by him.

An interesting episode took place at Bhimpura Ashram, it seems end 1940, early 1941. Sw  Akhandananda (Didi’s father) had a permit for opium for medicinal purposes, for pain relief. The packets came regularly by post. Over a period of time Abhayda obtained all the necessary information about dose etc and began to steal small quantities until he collected four times the lethal dose. He found out that to have maximum lethal effect it should be taken with warm milk. He had decided that if he was to die it should be in Ma’s presence.

(Note, as later said by Ma, he had been a sadhak in the last 7 lives, and at a critical point he would think he had achieved nothing and so would commit suicide. This became a strong samskara which had arisen again, but with Ma’s grace he was saved and later led a normal life.)

So one night he took the overdose with milk, and when it was having effect, he quietly lay under Ma’s cot in her room.  But nothing would escape Ma’s notice and so through that night she would constantly prod him with her foot to keep him from losing consciousness. By 4 am he was already as if dead and two ashramites carried him to the nearest town, Chandod, though the nearest hospital was Rajpipla across the river. To their surprise they found there at daybreak the Rajmata of Rajpipla’s boat was moored. She had come and planned to offer puja to Ma. She readily agreed to the use of her boat to ferry the patient to hospital. It was closed, being Sunday, but it so happened that the Medical Superintendent had dropped by on a sudden urge. He assessed the situation and applied treatment so that the opium in his stomach would be brought up. With that he felt that sufficient opium had been removed and though the patient would sleep long as a result of what had entered his bloodstream, he could be taken away. By late evening he would return to normal. And so it was.
A reliable source reports:
“Abhayda was a different type of person. He came to Ma when he was very young and he truly thought of her as his own Mother. He would not leave her side for a minute and at night he often slept under her bed. He assumed an ease and freedom with her that no one else could even contemplate. This often caused misunderstandings, jealousies and conflicts. There was one notable time when Abhayda was lying down, next to Ma and reading something to her. When he turned to look at her, he saw that Ma was not looking at him, her face was turned in another direction. Abhayda reached up and put his hand on Ma’s cheek and turned her face towards him. Someone seeing this from a distance thought that he had slapped Ma!
Abhayda was just not one to follow the rules. One time, while Ma was being served bhog, Abhayda went and began to eat from her plate. Again, everyone was shocked and horrified, “What are you doing? It’s becoming eto (polluted).”

Ma looked at everyone and said, “No, let him do as he wants.” It was unheard of, but those in the room had to endure Abhayda being allowed to eat from Ma’s own plate while she was being fed. Though everyone was annoyed and irritated, Ma had said it was OK, and that was that.

Abhayda was only about eighteen at the time of this incident, in the late 1930’s, and his days with Ma were filled with such type of behaviour. Only Abhyada was allowed such seeming transgressions. No one else would ever consider eating from Ma’s own plate, before or after this incident. But in fact, Abhayda was special, why and how, no one ever knew, but Ma certainly did not treat everyone the same way, and there was never another devotee like Abhayda. Ma said that in his last many births, he had been a sannyasi and that he’d committed suicide in each of those births.
Abhayda begged Ma, “Let this be my last birth.” But Ma’s reply was, “No, one more.” He got very angry, saying, “you have the power to take away everything, why won’t you do this for me?” Ma would not agree.”

In 1945 he was married to Yamuna Devi, a pupil from Sri Ma’s Kanyapeeth, with Sri Ma’s blessings. Yamuna herself was an outstanding singer and passed away only in 2010.

Sri Ma with Abhayda and Yamuna

In 1981 he had a severe stroke and was hospitalised at Sri Ma’s hospital in Benares. He came round gradually, and once he had recovered he left Sri Ma’s ashram to go Kolkata, where he stayed mostly in Shantiniketan. From there he spread the word of God.

In the early 1990’s he was invited, along with some followers, to the farmhouse of Vibhutti Chakravarty in Bhasa, Kolkata, where several senior swamis of Ma’s ashram were also present. He was asked to speak of his experiences with Sri Ma and he related at length with great emotion, and some tears, many details of those precious days.

He left his body in Shantiniketan on 16th April 1998.

 

Abhayda with Sri Ma in the early days.