“1921 – BÁBÁ’s BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD”
BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD
“THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF SHRII SHRII ÁNANDAMÚRTI”
Shrii Prabhát Raiṋjan Sarkár (Shrii P.R.Sarkar) was born on Vaeshákhii Púrńimá (the full moon day of the lunar month, Vaeshákha), 1921.
BA’BA’ came to be known as SHRII SHRII ÁNANDAMÚRTI/SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR (ABTAB UDDHIN which in PERSIAN FOR “ SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR”) who propounded the Philosophy of ÁNANDA MÁRGA and in 1955 founded Ánanda Márga Pracáraka Saḿgha (Ideals of ÁNANDA MÁRGA to Propogate in Society).
Now, the reader may be interested to know how Shrii P.R.Sarkar’s family came to Jamalpur.
Shrii Laksmi Narayan Sarkar’s family lived in Bamunpara, Burdwan, West Bengal generations.
Bamunpara is 6 miles southeast of Burdwan city and 3 miles west of Shaktigarh on the Burdwan-Howrah rail line.
Shrii Laksmi Narayan passed his matriculation examination in the first division from Burdwan Municipal High School in the year 1908.
Around that time, his father, Shrii Kunjabiharii Sarkar passed away during a business trip in Burma. As the eldest son, Shrii Laksmi Narayan shouldered the responsibility for the family.
In quest of a better future he left Burdwan and found a job in Calcutta as a stenographer in a firm run by British Indians. The monthly salary was insufficient for his needs and Shrii Laksmi Narayan again went in search of a job.
With the help of a relative he secured a suitable job with the Railway office at Jamalpur. Many British Indians were still at that time; his British Indian supervisors were satisfied with the work of diligent, honest Shrii Laksmi Narayan and he was quickly promoted.
In this way, Shrii Laksmi Narayan and Smt. Abharani Sarkar, the parents of Shrii Prabhát Raiṋjan Sarkár, settled in Jamalpur, Bihar State of India in 1915.
As SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR was born, the sun rose in a resplendent crimson-coloured display. This is possibly the reason why BA’BA’ was named “Arun” – meaning “Crimson Dawn”. BA’BA’ may also have been called “Arun” because of the unblemished, unusual reddish-white colour of His body.
The name was later changed to SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN, meaning “that which colours the dawn”. Then Shrii Sarkar’s family were delighted that their long-awaited son was born.
Close relatives and well- wishers visited the family to see the newborn baby.
Prominent among the visitors was one Indumati Mitra, the wife of Haridas Mitra, a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. Mrs. Mitra had brought a little milk in a silver pot and wanted to feed the new baby with it. This tradition is done with a bit of new cotton wick steeped in milk and slowly dripped into the child’s mouth. To everyone’s suiprise, the newborn grasped the wick from the hand of Mrs. Mitra and started to drink the milk. All the ladies were astonished.
Grandmother Binapani Sarkar exclaimed, “A ‘rre! HE is not a babe, HE is a grown-up!” From that moment, little “Arun” was nicknamed “Burho” (old one), which was shortened to “Bubu” later on. Those who witnessed this extraordinary incident never grew tired of retelling it.
The infant, SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR, started to grow like the waxing moon nourished by the overflowing affection of HIS parents, grandmother and elder sister, Hiraprabha.
Soon, the child was toddling about and through trial and error learned to walk, sometimes holding on to a bed or a wall, now falling, now getting up again.
It wasn’t long before, BA’BA’ was visiting the houses of the neighbors on HIS own.
When SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR was one and a half years old, HIS younger brother, Shrii Sudhangshu Ranjan Sarkar, was born. Mother Abharani was finding it difficult to look after the two babies who were born in quick succession.
Bhojpuri-speaking neighbours who were very close to the family offered to look after SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR. This affectionate and deeply religious couple had a baby daughter but no son.
Shrii Laksmi Narayan Sarkar, whose relationship with them was cordial, agreed to their proposal. So it came about that SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR stayed with the couple during the day and returned to HIS mother at night. Because of this, SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR could speak fluent Bhojpuri from childhood. Hearing HIS flowing Bhojpuri, no one could imagine that it was not His mother tongue.
In later times, Preceptor SHRII SHRII ÁNANDAMÚRTI often used to say, “I feel more at ease speaking Bhojpuri than Bengali.”
BA’BA’ cared about the development of the Bhojpuri language and gave important instructions to the workers and Margiis in this regard. In fact, BA’BA’ was not only fluent in Bhojpuri and Bengali, but was also fluent in all the languages originating from the old Ma’gadhii Pra’krta.
From adolescence BA’BA’ demonstrated skill in speaking languages such as Angika’, Maethilii, Magahii, Na’gpurii, Oriya, Chhattis-ga’rii, Assamese and others too. How BA’BA’ was able to do it is baffling.
SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR was the fourth child in a family of eight children. The first was sister Hiraprabha, who was born in 1917 and died in 1990. The next two were Kanakprabha, who survived only two and a half years and a boy who died at birth. Shrii SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR was the fourth and after HIM came Shrii Sudhangshu Ranjan.
HIS younger sister, Bijaliprabha, died at the young age of 18. The two youngest brothers are Shrii Himanshu-Ranjan and Shrii Manas-Ranjan.
Now the only surviving members of the Shrii P.R.Sarkar’s family are the three brothers, Shrii Sudhangshu Ranjan, Shrii Himanshu Ranjan and Shrii Manas Ranjan.
When all were alive, their close ties and affection were evident to all. On one occasion in the early seventies Hira-prabha was visiting her brother in Ranchi.
At that time, she was 55 and BA’BA’ 50 years old. It was touching to see them sitting so close together, reminiscing about their childhood days of golden dreams. Coincidentally, they passed away in 1990 within six months of each other.
SHRII PRABHÁT RAIṊJAN SARKÁR also had a sweet relationship with HIS younger brothers, recalling the bond among the four brothers of the mythological epic, Ra’ma’yan’a. Such close fraternal bonds are a rarity, indeed, in modern society.
HIS mother once related to us some incidents from HIS childhood. On the last day of the year 1966, Preceptor SHRII SHRII ÁNANDAMÚRTI shifted HIS headquarters from Jamalpur to Anandanagar in the Purulia district of W. Bengal.
Within three or four years Ánanda Márga’s popularity spread throughout the area. At the same time political conspiracies instigated by the Communist Party of India (M) against Ánanda Márga increased. The central office of the organization was temporarily moved to Ranchi and BA’BA’ lived there.
In the middle of 1970, Smt Abharani Sarkar came to visit her eldest Son. Some of the Central Office workers went to see her. After paying our respects, we requested her to visit the Central Office. Although she was quite old, her face radiated intelligence, her body was straight and her memory sharp.
“Of course I shall come,” she said, “I must see Bubu’s office” (Bubu was the affectionate nickname she gave her son).
The next day she visited our office. We surrounded her and requested her to relate some stories concerning Guru’s early life. She had heard about the songs of Ananda Sam’giita composed by Ac. Nityasatya’nanda Avt. and wanted to hear them. The composer joyfully sang a few songs in his melodious voice; she enjoyed them thoroughly. Then it was her turn to speak.
At first she spoke for a time about HIS devotion and attachment to her. Then she said,
From an early age Bubu was very simple. HE was unattached and disinterested in household duties. That is why HIS younger brother Kanai (Shudangshuranjan) never allowed HIM to look after household matters like shopping etc. Once, seeing that everyone was doing something for the family, Bubu expressed HIS desire to go shopping for the household. I gave HIM some rupees. HE repeatedly asked about what HE should buy. As many times as I told him, HE forgot.
When at last HE returned from the market, I saw that HE had been cheated by the vendors. The brinjals were full of holes and the potatoes were tiny and useless. Virtually no vegetable was any good.
I asked the reason and HE said “I did not bargain; I bought whatever was available from the first vendor. HE assured me that his were the best in the market.” We understood from this that HE was not suited to doing shopping. Since that day, HIS first brother has done all the household chores.
After this she spoke about Bubu’s remarkable memory. She continued,
all the boys and girls in my family had excellent memories, but Bubu had an Extraordinary memory.
From childhood HE used to recite lengthy poems by Rabindranath Tagore, such as “Nirjharer Swapnab-hanga”, “Africa”, “Vars’ashes’a”‘, “Panchanadiir Tiire” and “Shahjehan” effortlessly. HE recited beautiful renditions in a sweet voice accompanied by all the related gestures and postures.
Many years passed by. In HIS office work at Jamalpur and in looking after the organization’s affairs, I thought HE must have forgotten many of those poems.
Since childhood HE has always shown me much respect. You all respect HIM as a master, but for me, HE is an affectionate son.
HE always took my permission before leaving the house. One day, before giving it I said, “Well Bubu, you used to recite long poems to me when YOU were very young. Do YOU still remember them or have YOU forgotten them all?” Bubu replied, “Would you like to listen, mother?” HE recited Tagore’s long poem “Shahjehan” dramatically with all the gestures just like before. I understood Bubu’s memory was as sharp as ever.
We wanted to hear about the strange dreams HE had during childhood. Mother Abharani continued her recollections:
I remember clearly those dreams Bubu had as a boy. HE was hardly five years old at the time. The two brothers, Bubu and Kanai slept on either side of me. Bubu often had HIS dreams at midnight. After such a dream, HE(BA’BA’) would wake me up saying, “Mother, just look at all the ferocious reptiles and animals entering in through one of MY ears and going out the other.” HE (BA’BA’) didn’t even know their names, but HE(BA’BA’) tried to describe them, telling me about their size, eyes, face, legs, and tails.
Another night, HE(BA’BA’) said, “Mother, see! A big sa’dhu is coming towards ME with a trident in his hand. HE is beckoning me to go with him.” And on another occasion, HE(BA’BA’) said, “Mother, I saw a peculiar country” with big houses and the colour of the people’s skin was very fair and brilliant white.”
Bubu wanted an explanation for those dreams but I could give no reply. HIS father fared no better. We felt apprehensive. Perhaps HE(BA’BA’) was possessed by ghosts or had a nervous disorder. We consulted different doctors and physicians but got no satisfactory answer.
Incidentally, readers should go through the book, Strange Experiences by SHRII P.R. Sarkar. At the end of each tale the book includes one or two key words giving the psychological hints about the story.
If researchers of advanced psychology delve deep into the matter, they may be able to understand something about the deeper levels of the mind, extracerebral memory and previous births. “.