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B A B A L O K E N A T H N Y www. babalokenathny. com

I SSUE#ONE

SEPTEMBER 2011

MAGAZI NE

“Se r ve ,b uts e r ve c o ns c i o us l y. Fo r ge tno tt he Do e ra swe l la st he Re c e i ve ro fa l l a c t i o ns . ”Ba b aLo k e na t h Br a hma c ha r i

Amri takotha


A Life Dedicated to the Divine from Birth

Swami Shuddhanandaa Brahmachari

Baba Lokenath was born in 1730 in the remote village of Chourasi Chakla (north of Calcutta) in West Bengal. His father, Ram Narayan Ghosal, was a devout Brahmin, who spent much of his time mediating and studying the scriptures. His mother, Kamala, was calm, quiet, serene and pure of heart Sannyasin (the order of Hindu monks) in India has always been revered by all classes of society. Most Hindus of that time believed that if one member of a family renounced the world to become a sannyasin, then the entire family would be liberated from the wheel of incarnation. Ram Narayan, a staunch Hindu, had faith in this popular belief and told his wife that he wanted their first-born son to become a sannyasin. Kamala Devi, in the Hindu tradition of a faithful wife, silently accepted the wish of her husband. When the first son was born, however, although the wife had promised, the new mother could not keep her word. The convincing logic of Ram Narayan fell on deaf ears. Kamala Devi could to bring herself to abandon her precious child to a life that promised such austerity and uncertainty Ram Narayan’s trust in the Divine Will was undeterred, even when Kamala Devi would not relinquish either of the two sons who followed. Taking refuge in the power of prayer, Ram Narayan continued to pray for the fulfillment of his intention. At last his prayer s was heard. The time was ripe for his dream to come true. A fourth son was born. Those attending the birth reported sing of Grace from the very beginning of Baba’s life. A light shown all around the baby as he sat on Kamala Devi’s lap. Kamala Devi’s face radiated with a divine glow. Ram Narayan, standing on the threshold of the labor room, was lost in trance looking at the child. Drawn to Baba’s magnetic eyes, Ram Narayan felt a holy purpose in the child’s birth. Kamala Devi, with a sublime smile, gave her consent to surrender her newborn to the Divine. When Lord Krishna was born in prison, the iron gates opened by themselves and the guards fell unconscious. So, too, with the birth of Kamala Devi’s fourth child, the gates of attachment unlocked themselves. The bonds of Maya (illusion) were released. The holy mother rose above her attachment to the child and surrendered him for the redemption of the world.


A Life Dedicated to the Divine from Birth

Swami Shuddhanandaa Brahmachari

Baba described his boyhood days to his disciple, Brahmananda Bharati, this way: “In my boyhood days, my elderly kin would speak to me of the highest principles of the Vedas and of spiritual knowledge, so that I would develop a sense of renunciation and love for God. I used to listen patiently to their knowledgeable talks and spend the rest of the time playing with boys of my age. This is how I passed my boyhood days.” This statement indicates that Baba’s parents did not send young Lokenath to school for formal, secular education. That did not, however, keep the unlettered boy, from one day becoming an embodiment of wisdom. During Lokenath’s early youth, a Vedic scholar named Sri Bhagwan Ganguly lived in the neighboring village. Ganguly was a scholar of great repute who was revered as a householder sannyasin. Ganguly was sixty years old was second to none in knowledge of scriptures. In all conferences and debates on scriptural injunctions throughout India, Bhagwan Ganguly’s judgment was considered unexcelled and definitive. His knowledge of the scriptures was preeminent. Ram Narayan approached Bhagwan Ganguly and asked him to become the Acharya guru (the guru who initiates the adolescent boy into the Gayatri Mahamantra at a sacred thread ceremony and then leads him toward the ultimate realization of the Self). Ganguly sensed a divine destiny in Lokenath when he heard the story of Ram Narayan’s implacable prayers for a spiritual son and Kamala Devi’s surrender of this, her fourth son. Bhagwan Ganguly intuited the immense potential with which Lokenath had come into the world- to manifest the truth, once again, that God exist in seed for in the human soul and that, with the practice of spiritual discipline, transcendent Divinity will blossom in the extraordinary seeker. Bhagwan Ganguly readily welcomed this unique opportunity. Through the sadhana of Lokenath, he could translate all of his theoretical knowledge of the shastas into practical reality. He could prove to the world the greatness and glory of brahmacharya, the practice of celibacy, and one-pointed devotion toward God. Ganguly was convinced that Lokenath was the proper soil in which to sow the seed of a yoga which combined Bhakti (the path of devotional surrender) and Jnana (the path of knowledge of the Will of the Divine). Ram Narayan returned home, filled with gratitude to the All-Merciful God. Bhagwan Ganguly agreed to perform the sacred thread ceremony when Lokenath reached the age of eleven. The most auspicious day was selected for the performance of the ceremony since it was decided that after the initiation, young Lokenath would start out on his journey with his teacher.


A Life Dedicated to the Divine from Birth

Swami Shuddhanandaa Brahmachari

Lokenath’s bosom friend, Benimadhav, whose sacred thread ceremony was also fixed on the same day, expressed his firm determination to leave home with Lokenath and Bhagwan Ganguly. Benimadhav’s parents however, were not willing to let him go and tried their best to dissuade him. They attempted to get the boy to see the seriousness of his decision, which was no longer child’s pay, by painting a dreadful picture of the lives of a sannyasin, who must live in absolute uncertainty as far as the material demands of the body are concerned. The warning of his elders went unheeded and Benimadhav, undeterred, stepped into his larger destiny as the companion of Lokenath in the search for the Absolute. The matter was presented to Bhagwan Ganguly and, as the Divine willed, he agreed to perform the sacred thread ceremony for Benimadhav on the same day. The news about the two young boys leaving home under the guidance of such a renowned scholar and householder, who by then had reached the age of sixty, spread quickly. People assembled in large numbers at the residence of Lokenath to witness the ceremony. The entire ceremony was conducted by Bhagwan Ganguly in accordance with scriptural injunctions and reminded the people of a yajna, or sacred fire ceremony, which was performed in the ancient Vedic days. It was important to note that Lokenath was not a brahmachari in the lineage of Adiguru Shankaracharya’s sannyasin and brahmacharin. Guru Bhagwan initiated Lokenath and Benimadhav as Naisthic Brahmacharin. Unlike brahmacharin, who wear white clothes, Naisthic brahmacharin traditionally put on ochre colored robes and followed more orthodox rules of celibacy, food, etc. Soon after the ceremony, Guru Bhagwan left with his two young disciples to live in the jungle. Thus, their spiritual odyssey in search of the Indwelling Atman began in the tradition of the Rishis of ancient Vedic times. Lokenath and Benimadhav walked happily alongside their new guardian. After traveling miles through villages and jungles, they reached Kalighat, a holy pilgrimage site in Calcutta which is the seat of Shakti, the Universal Mother.

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