In search of the Beloved...
Aren’t we all fascinated by these questions:
What is life? What is death? And what happens after life?
Srimad Bhagavat Gita says
na jāyate mriyate vā vipaśhchin nāyaṁ kutaśhchin na babhūva kaśhchit
ajo nityaḥ śhāśhvato ’yaṁ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śharīre (1.2.18)
“The soul is not born, nor does it die; it did not spring from something, and nothing sprang from it. It is unborn, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.”
Nalinikanta, an atheist, didn’t believe in saints and seers, and so didn’t know what to think when he saw visions of his wife after her death. Swami Nigamananda was born in the Meherpur region of Nadiya district. Nadiya, the birth place of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became well known as he showed the world the path of devotion and taste the sweetness of love. The river Bhairava divides Meherpur equally into two. To the west of Bhairava is a small village called Kutabpur inhabited by people of all castes. Prominent among them are the potters and bangle merchants. In that village lived a conscientious brahmin named Sri Bhuvanananda Bhattacharya. He was married to Manikya Sundari Devi who was adept at managing the household. For a long time they didn’t have any children. On the advice of the wise men, she prayed to Lord Karitikeya and her wish was granted. On the day of Jhulan Purnima, in the year 1880 in the auspicious month of Shravan, a son was born to them. Their Guru named him Nalinikanta. As a child, Nalikanta was very active and kept everyone on their toes. The neighbours were annoyed with his pranks but forgot all the complaints when they saw his bright and smiling face. To lead him away from all the mischiefs, his father enrolled him in a school. All his energy now was focused in acquiring knowledge and in a few days he metamorphosed into a brilliant student. Some rare occurences during his childhood stunned him. Once, on his aunt’s request, he took a ghee lamp to the nearby Maa Chandi temple. When he reached near the temple, the lamp lighted on its own. The flame took a spiral shape and the image of Shakti with ten hands appeared within it. Scared, Nalinikanta threw the lamp and ran to his mother. His mother calmed him down saying, “Why do you fear? Just like I am your mother, Maa Shakti is the mother of the whole universe. Are you scared of me? You are fortunate that ‘Maa’ appeared before you.” He was only nine years old at that time. A few days later, there was another occurrence. It was a dark, newmoon night. Nalinikanta was deep asleep in his room. He woke up with a stride and saw his room lighted up and a full moon shinning brightly. Surprisingly, he saw the full moon wherever he turned his head.
Thakur Nigamananda had stated that memories of his previous births used to flash infront of him. The two dramas that he wrote during his youth, ‘Sudhansubala’ and ‘Tarinisen Baddha’ had glimpses of these memories. He was heart broken at the death of his mother. He became detached from this world. He doubted the existence of God and the world beyond. The childhood innocence and devotion was replaced by questions to which he couldn’t get any satisfying answers. He became a sceptic and a non- believer. He didn’t carry the pride of his lineage or the ego of being a brahmin. He didn’t distinguish between high and low castes or between the rich and the poor. He shunned social partitions and rituals. Everyone was equal in his eyes. His father was alarmed by his ways and decided to get him married. Nalinikanta tied the knot with Sudhansubala Devi, the daughter of Late Vaidyanath Mukhopadhyaya of Halisahar. After the wedding his father sent his daughter in law to take care of his son but Nalinikanta asked her to return to serve his father. Nalinikanta became an overseer and took a job at the District Board of Dinajpur, the estate of Rani Rashmoni. Sudhansubala joined him and his days passed on in marital bliss. He couldn’t tolerate the dominating ways of his employer and left the job. He then got a job near Nayayanpur. They stayed there happily but after sometime Sudhansubala had to return to Kutubpur due to some unavoidable problems.
As the workload slowly reduced , Nalinikanta, tired from the days work, felt himself slowly falling asleep As he groggily raised his head from the desk, he came face to face with the shimmering figure of his wife.