It is easy to do great deeds, the deeds that bring name and fame. But it is by his small, everyday actions that a man’s character is known. The true karma Yogi does not work to gain publicity. No matter how insignificant his work may be, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the task, because, for him, his work has become worship of God.
Life, like a stream, is ebbing fast away. The day that is once gone can never be recalled. Make the best use of your time. If you leave it to the last moment, it will be too late to cry, “Alas, alas!”
– from The Eternal Companion
A fort of protection
The reason why I was reminded today of this quote from the famous Ramakrishna-Vivekananda devotional literature is the news of the demise of one of the senior devotees from Ranchi. He was Ranjit Sinha. My Gurubhai too. Rather his entire family had mantra-diksha (initiation) from my Gurudev.
I don’t think I have sufficient words to soothe hearts of his wife and daughters as I myself beset with grievance. He was indeed a fort of protection not only to the immediate family but also to many monks and brahmacharins. His influence as I had seen him in Ranchi and elsewhere made a palpable effect on every one who came into contact with him.
What I understand now is that he passed away with peace in the heart. He had an inexplicable feeling of his closeness with Holy Mother and Ma would take care of his soul. I recall several meetings with him on many an occasion, his discussions about our Gurudev and what a tremendous faith that he had on him! Well, as a monk I would wonder in those days and continue to do so even now, if only I had one tenth of this house-holder’s faith!
The greatest surprise
In Mahabharata, the narrated story about Yudhishthira is a case in point. When the Yaksha asked him what was the greatest surprise, Yudhishthira replied that so many people die everyday. Yet, human beings want to somehow avoid death. That, he said, was truly surprising. Knowledge again and again gets eclipsed by ignorance!
I don’t know how all my Gurubons (Guru-sisters – his wife and three daughters) are coping with. One thing I am sure is that in spite of the irrepairable loss, they would see through the impermanence of this world and its beings as his entire family was nurtured on spiritual insights that he generously provided especially influenced by the spiritual teachings of Swami Brahmanandaji.
His home looked a veritable temple. Not only he saw to the external neatness of the place but also insisted upon noble vibrations of thoughts. “The Eternal Companion” was his favourite book. He used to discuss passages from this book with me and we both would forget how the time passed. He would never let go an opportunity to serve sadhus.
However, is ‘Death’ to be dreaded or be desired? How many can get a host of monks and brahmacharins around them during death? Here is the touching account of one of his daughters who wrote to me in detail the ‘preferred treatment’ that her father got. Was this due to his extraordinary devotion?
“He was on ventilation since 29th Nov ’13. He was taken to Morhabadi ashram at 9.30 pm and 10-15 sadhu-brahmacharis chanted shanti mantras and Revered Shashankanandaji offered charanamrit and Thakur’s nirmalya. On reaching home at 10.30 pm we found 3-4 Swamijis including Revered Prayag Maharaj from Sanatorium were already waiting. They then recited verses from Bhagawad Gita. At 2 am we all started for Kolkatta for cremation at Cossipore Ramakrishna Mahaasmashaan (Grand Cremation-ground). We arrived there by 11.45 am and to our surprise we found therein Srimat Swami Vagishanandaji Maharaj waiting for us.
I had briefed him about baba’s condition on 20th morning itself and to my surprise he asked me what you intend to do for his cremation and he said “Raater journey te ektu kosto hobe taachaara sob thik hobe” – There will be a little difficulty in night journey but everything will be alright. I said, “Maharaj, baba is still alive!!”. But he said nothing. Evening around 6 he again rang me up saying “Shibani ratre ektu kosto hobe tobe tuee niye chole aasis. – There will be a little difficulty in night journey but you bring him.”
And at 7 pm my father passed away.
All rituals were done there under Revered Vagishanandaji’s supervision. From 11.45 am to 5.30 pm he was there till his asthi visarjan (ash-immersion) in Ganga. It was due to the Divine presence of a very senior monk who is also Trustee of the famous Belur Math that we all including my Mother overcame our greatest loss.”
What a glorious divinely demise that this wonderful devotee had!
|| Aum Shri Ramakrishnarpanamastu ||