FLASH BACK

REMINISCENCE

Ácárya Chandranath

It has been said that when a strong desire awakens in a man for final liberation, the force of that strong desire helps him in finding Sadguru.

Muktyakanksya Sadguru Prapthih” – Ánanda Sutram 3/8

I was in search of Sadguru for a long time; but probably the desire was not very strong till March, 1953.

On this Mission, I visited several persons and places but could not get satisfaction any where. When I grew really impatient, I was afforded with the golden opportunity to meet SHRII SHRII ÁNANDAMÚRTI, our Beloved Bábá.

He was kind enough to bestow HIS blessing in our first meeting.

I received initiation and I felt ashamed.

It was the end of March or beginning of April 1953.

The year 1953 and 1954 have no particular role to mention in the history of Ánanda Márga Pracaraka Samgha though those were the years which may be called the foundation stone on which the edifice of A.M.P.S stands today.

There was the Sadguru and there were only a few of HIS disciples mostly not acquainted with each other.

Those were the days of personal contacts with Bábá.

Any disciple could go any day he desired within the fixed time in morning and evening. In those days whenever I went to Bábá – I went frequently I used to be with HIM for hours together.

HE talked on various subjects while walking or sitting. HIS talks were our source of knowledge on Spiritual Philosophy, social science, rules and regulations for guidance regarding behaviour in individual and collective life.

There was no literature and A.M.P.S was not born till then.

A.M.P.S come into existence in the year 1955 and gradually books were published one after another on various subjects on which Bábá talked.

Today the Márga has a vast literature.

The first book entitled “Ánanda Márga” contains elementary Philosophy on Spirituality was published originally in Bangla in the year 1955.

The same year this book was translated in and published in Hindi.

Later on, it was translated into english and other language.

The year 1955 is a landmark in the history of Ánanda Márga Pracarka Samgha. It was in January this year that A.M.P.S came in existence as an organisation and was registered.

On the new Year’s day of the international calendar(1st january) this year the annual Dharma Mahacakra was held at Jamalpur.

It was a function for a few hours only. BABA gave pravacana in the evening and at the end we received HIS blessing.

After HIS departure we dined together and dispersed.

By now, we were acquainted with each other because Bábá had introduced weekly pravacana before our collective body from November, 1954. After the first new year’s day celebration DMC became a monthly function.

In February 1955, DMC was held at Bhagalpur. This was the first DMC outside Jamalpur. The function was for a day only.

BABA came by car in the forenoon and returned to Jamalpur in the night.

The same year we celebrated the first Ánanda Purnima and DMC too, was held on the occasion.

In the year 1955, when AMPS was registered as an organisation and the book on elementary philosophy was published many people were attracted.

By the attraction, of the great, many people from different walks of life hovered in Jamalpur with the desire to get initiation from Bábá.

BABA was then living in a rented house in Keshavpura mohalla of Jamalpur where HE was employed in the account section of the railway workshop.

BABA had a quarter in the railway workshop. BABA had a quarter in the railway colony but the same was utilized by us as Jagrti because we had none of our own till then. Whenever a list of desirous persons was put up to Bábá He used to select one or two by name for initiation by HIM and the rest had to return disappointed. It has been said that Parama Shiva is the nucleus of the Universe.

Paramashivah purusottamah vishvashya kendram” – Ánanda Sutram I/4

It is, therefore but natural that people felt attracted by the Sadguru.

Bábá is very kind hearted. He felt for these who returned disappointed. But, it was not physically possible for HIM to initiate every one who wanted to be initiated.

He, therefore, decided to introduce the system of A’caryaship in the Márga so that everybody gets an opportunity to come in contact with Sadguru. A few of us were called and Ácáryatraining was given to us by Bábá. We were given Practical training also in this respect from June 1955 we started giving initiation. Bábá instructed us to look after Shiksabhar’tas as a gardener looks after plants of a garden in his care.

He waters and protects them from animals and other outward agencies. Likewise, an Ácáryashould not only give initiation but should also guide the Sadhaka in Sádhaná and other matters.

An Ácáryashould have an ideal character.

Acaranata pathayati yah sa acaryah

He is an Ácáryawho teaches others by his own character. With these words Bábá put the responsibility on our shoulders.

The same year, in July there was D.M.C at Bhagalpur. This was the second D.M.C outside Jamalpur excepting of course the Ánanda Purnima D.M.C at Monghyr in May.

Monghyr is the distinct town of Jamalpur only a few miles north of it.

On the occasion of DMC in July at Bhagalpur many people approached for initiation with a view to attend DMC. Bábá gave HIS consent and the Ácárya were ordered to initiate them.

Four of us immediately became busy in giving initiation.

One, big room, in the building in which Bábá was staying was available to us. In this room, we managed to make four separate apartments with curtains and gave initiations separately to all those who had come for this purpose on the occasion. They attended the DMC and were very happy.

This system of Ácáryatraining continued till ÁcáryaBoard was formed then the responsibility of Ácáryatraining was entrusted to the ÁcáryaBoard.

An Ácáryarecommended some one of his Shiksa Bhrata whom he considered fit, for training. After obtaining approval of M.G the candidate was given training but he could become Ácáryaonly after being declared successful in the test by Bábá.

All of us who were Ácáryain those days were family men and women(local Ácárya). The system of whole timer worker was not introduced till then.

This system was introduced much later, say about five or six years after one of the oldest Ácárya of 1955 who was picked up to the first whole timer worker was trained by Bábá. He is today Ac SatyÁnanda Avadhuta.

He still looks very grand with his silver gray beard and tall figure. Even today he works with the same zeal, sincerity and devotion. One can see the jungle at Ánanda Shila turned into a paradise through his hard work and sincere efforts. There he has got a house constructed for Bábás residence. His devotion attracted Bábá who was kind enough to visit Ánanda shiila on the 21st of February’ 1983. He stayed there for the whole day, his lunch and gave darshan to the devotees. More than five hundred devotees had assembled there on this occasion.

Lunch for every body was arranged there.

All were very happy singing devotional songs and kiirtan.

In the evening Bábá returned to Ranchi and all of us too.

In selecting a man or a woman for Ácáryatraining, Bábá never cared for academic qualification or social status. Only devotion and sincerity were the criteria.

The first lady Ácáryaof 1955 is ÁcáryaRampari Devi. She received initiation from Bábá in the year 1954. Though she has grown very old, she is still carrying on the responsibility with the same Zeal and sincerity.

She is a great devotee and the words of Bábá are final for her in all aspects of life.

Nothing on earth can deviate her from the ideology of the Márga. Many women derive inspiration from her.

There were no Tattvikas till 1955.

Ácárya has to answer the questions which were mainly regarding religious rites, caste system and were based on narrow sentiments.

The main opposition, then, to our ideology was from the priest class from those who were under the influence of priest class and were victims of narrow sentiments. On the social platform, we preached abolition of caste system, remarriage of widows, emancipation of fallen and forsaken ladies by giving them respectful place in social life, revolutionary marriage i.e., intercaste marriage and abolition of dowry system. On the spiritual side, we preached about one infinite cosmic existence and we taught the scientific process of yogic Sádhaná to those who were convinced. Later on, corrupt officials of the government joined hands with them in opposing us because we were vocal against corruption. History will reveal one day how many of us have been victimized, for our integrity and devotion to duty, by the corrupt government and her corrupt officials.

Government and people have now started realizing the necessity of what Bábá taught us to preach and practice about thirty years ago.

To face all those our only weapon was strict adherence to Yama and Niyama.

To reply to questions and convince people our only source of knowledge was Ánanda Márga (the book on Elementary Philosophy) and talks by Bábá at different times and places.

But by HIS grace, we achieved miraculous results inspite of vehment opposition. I will enumerate a few incidents for the readers.

Towards the close of the year 1955 Bábá decided to train us as Tattvikas so that we can hold Tattva Sabha successfully. Till then we were having an individual or group discussion and table talks.

Mostly, those who came for discussion or talk returned convinced and took initiation.

It always appeared as if some magic is behind our talks and discussions.

In the first half of the year, 1956 Bábá asked me to lead a team and hold Tattva sabha at my home village, Gaddopur. I was till then, not yet passed Tattvika for the test of which I was preparing. Accordingly, I went to my village with three other Ácárya and two lady Ácárya.

In the village the two lady Ácárya – one of whom was the first lady Ácárya of the Márga, went door to door and talked to the ladies inside the house because the ladies would not come to Tattva sabha. Parda system was stricter then than today.

The Tattva Sabha was held in a mango orchard in front of a temple which was built about three years ago on the Samádhi of a Sannayasi in whose name it is called the temple of Keshvananda swami. The village sat behind the Pandits who were scholars of Saḿskrta and their profession was priesthood. Facing them we four Ácárya took one seat accompanied by about half a dozen of villagers who had already taken initiation in the year 1955.

The three Ácárya talked on spiritual philosophy, spiritual practice and social reforms.

Thereafter, the leader among the Pandits, who was considered a great scholar and an orator in the nearby villages, came forward to speak. He supported idol worship, caste system and spoke in favor of sacred thread and pig tale. Finally, he closed his talk by calling us athiest and non-believer in Vedas.

It was for me to reply. In my reply, I proved that an atheist is he who does not believe in the existence of God.

We believe in the existence of God.

If according to the spokesman of that Pandits, an atheist is he who does not believe in the Vedas, then these Pandits are the real atheists and they are misleading the people.

The vedas do not speak for idol worship.

On the contrary the Vedas say that God is inifinite. An infinite existence cannot have a profile. There cannot be an idol of such an existence. Those who indulge in idol worship they belittle God. Also, I spoke on the necessity of abolition of caste system which was introduced thousands of years ago based on the division of labor. Since then the economic system has changed and division of labor is not according to the caste.

One does not necessarily follow the profession of his forefather.

Anybody, now enters into any job or profession according to convenience. Therefore, there can be universal brotherhood unless narrow sentiments are given up.

I emphasised on the abolition of the caste of wearing sacred thread and keeping pig tale quoting from Nasadiya Sukta in the veda.

I had given quotation on other subjects, too. Those quotations were given to me by Bábá prior to my departure for Gaddopur. I am convinced Bábá knew what would be the questions and Bábá had briefed me accordingly. This was the first Tattva Sabha of the Márga though thre was no passed Tattvika in the Márga.

An incident in the tattva Sabha is worth mentioning. While I was talking, the Pandits were trying to disturb. An old man of the village, a retired primary school teacher, got furious and sternly warned the Pandits to keep quiet and not disturb. He further said that the people had been hearing the Pandits for a long time. They, now want to hear something which appears to be novel and convincing. Thereafter, pin drop silence prevailed till I finished my talk. I invited further questions but none came forward. I then declared the Tattva Sabha over and I invited those desirous to take initiations or who had individual questions to come to my house.

By the time we returned from the Tattva Sabha it was evening.

Both the lady Ácárya had done marvelous job on the their parts. In their door to door visit they convinced many ladies and gave initiation. On the other hand, our part, we four Ácáryas remained busy till midnight in giving initiations. Next day, after completing the remaining work, we left for Jamalpur in the evening. The result was miraculous. More than seventy person including men, women were initiated.

The same year, that is in the year 1956 there was a DMC at Supaul sometime after the tattva sabha at Goddopur.

Some people had called a Pandita on Payment to discuss in public against our Ideology.

We were invited, I should say challenged, to discuss with the Pandit in a conference which was organized in the hall of a local high School. Bábá named three – Ácárya to go to the conference. Unlike Gaddopur trip this time, Bábá did not brief us.

The reason was clear to us later on.

In the conference hall, the pandit on payment introduced himself as Dr. ShankarÁnanda Bhayankar Prativa’di from Jauanpur district in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

He further declared that he had studied in Germany from where he obtained Ph.D in Samskrta.

He was accompanied by another local Pandit. We introduced ourselves as Ácáryas of Ánanda Márga Pracaraka Samgha. Two Ácárya spoke on our Ideology. The Pandit spoke against our Ideology.

But no new question was raised. The same old questions were as at Gaddopur. I gave the same reply. By then our Caryacaryabooks were published.

Dr. ShankarÁnanda finding no other question took out a book (CaryÁcáryapart II) and said that margiis are teaching immorality by propagating the remarriage with a forsaken lady as an act of valour.

My reply was simple.

You kick out such a lady and compel her to live an ignominious life in the red light area. But, we extended our helping hand to enable her to live a respectable and virtuous life. Which is better, the audience may decide. The audience appreciated our idea.

The pandits became silent.

The conference was over.

An incident in the conference is worth mentioning while replying to the Pandits. I talked on the origin and use of sacred thread in the form of a deer skin in yajina in ancient time. Neither there is yajina nor deer skin is put on as sacred thread. In its present form today the sacred thread is not only not necessary rather it is harmful in as much as it creates differences in the society. The Veda, too does not support this. After this talk, an young non-margii local lawyer suddenly came forward, took out his sacred thread from under his garments and showing it to the Pandits he declared that he was carrying that burden without understanding the utility since this childhood.

He asked them to convince about its utility else he would throw it on their face. Everybody was stunned and the Pandit was dumb.

After the DMC we returned to our respective places. I had not been able till then to prepare for the Tattvika test as the course prescribed to me by Bábá was vast including all the scriptures of all religions on this earth. Every time, I went to Jamalpur, Bábá asked me if I was prepared for the test. My reply was in negative because I was studying. After a few days of my return from Supaul DMC I received a letter from the then General Secretary asking me to appear before Bábá at Jamalpur. He had intimated that Bábá had made me an honorary Tattvika. This was for the first time that Bábá introduced the system of Tattvika. I do not know if this system was allowed to continue. I became a Tattvika without any test.

Later on, it was made compulsory for an Ácárya to be a Tattvika first one must be a Tattvika to qualify to be an Acarya.

One may ask why all people are not attracted by our ideology given by the Sadguru.

The answer is simple from every mind and from every object a particular kind of wave emanate.

A man gets pleasure when he receives a wave similar to that of his our mental wave.

Anukulvedaniiyam sukham – Ánanda Sutram – 2/1

That is why a gambler feels pleasure in a gambling den; a bad character is happy in the company of bad character and a good man feels happy in the company of good books and good people. But, one thing is common, everybody wants happiness in abundance unending.

Happiness that never ends is Bliss.

Bliss can be had by achieving infinite existence only.

The infinite existence, the cosmic existence can be achieved by Sádhaná (Intuitional Practice) and Krpa of Sadguru.

All must try to have HIS krpa. It is, therefore, the duty of everyman to follow the path of Sádhaná given by Sadguru – “Tasmad dharmah Sada karyah” – Ánanda sutram – 2/7