In search of the Beloved

Ep.2- Swami Nigamananda Saraswati


 

He jumped up from his chair at this sudden, unexpected sight. Her complexion was radiant but her face was pale and gloomy. She did not make a sound. Nalinikant let out a frightened scream, not being able to understand what was happening. The figure soon vanished leaving him a it disturbed over the whole event.

A few days later, Nalini bid goodbye to his work and went back to his home village. As he returned to his village, he was met with gloomy faces. Asking why everybody looked so sullen, he was told that his wife had just passed away a few days ago. But the most unusual part about this was that she had left her body on the exact same day Nalini experienced the strange phenomena.

However this was not the end of the strange occurrences surrounding the marriage lady's death.

Despite his beat efforts, Nalini was not able to control his grief over his wife’s untimely demise.

The desire to be with his wife again led him to the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Chennai where he mastered the knowledge of mesmerism, medium, planchette call and mental telepathy. After that, he started communicating with his wife and could listen to her through a medium. But he was not satisfied. He kept a deep longing to talk to his wife directly. A chance meeting with Sri Purnananda Paramahamsa, who was formerly a Professor of Science in Duff College, Calcutta, was a ray of hope. But Sri Purnananda said, “The sadhana that you have to go through to meet your wife will bring the Mother of the Universe close to you. All your desires will be fulfilled when the Mother is with you. I’m not your Guru. Your spiritual guide is preordained.”

One night, in his dream, he received an Ekakhyari mantra, from a tall and radiant saint. He woke up and found the mantra written in blood red sandalwood paste on a Bilwa (wood apple tree) leaf, placed on his palm, with no one in sight. His quest to find the meaning of the mantra led him to Tarapith, a village in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. In the cremation ground, dotted with scattered bones, funeral ashes, human skulls, skeletons, jackals and dogs, beside the river Dwaraka, near the temple of Goddess Tara, he met his Guru, Maha Sadhak, Tantrik saint, Bamakhepa. Bamakhepa said, “I will breathe life into the mantra that you have received. You lack devotion. When one recites the mantra with utmost devotion and prays with intense love, The Mother comes out of the heart of the devotee and reveals Herself in the form you desire to see her. Then She can be touched, heard, smelt, visualized and realized.”

Under the strict guidance of his Guru, Nalinikanta learnt all the aspects of higher sadhana and waited for the opportune day and time. Finally, the night arrived. Nalinikanta started meditating, sitting on a pyre, focused even when there were ferocious animals all around and strange noises of shrill laughter and fierce dance. He could hear his Guru’s voice calling out loudly, “Don’t be afraid” to calm him down. All of a sudden, the distractions faded away and he saw illuminating rays emanating from every part of his body and taking the form of his departed wife, Sudhansubala. Nalinikanta, baffled, wanted to know who she was. The form replied, “I’m Tara, your Ishtadevi, your desired deity. I revealed myself in this form since you were performing my sadhana to get back your wife. You cannot bear the sight of my cosmic form. I pervade the whole universe. All are within me and I am within all.” Maa Tara wished to grant him a boon. To this, he answered that his only wish was to always be with her and for her to appear in this graceful form whenever he remembers her. Before leaving, She showed him her cosmic form, encompassing both the terrible and the benign. Overwhelmed at this rare vision, Nalinikanta became unconscious. When he woke up, questions about his real self started surfacing. Bamakhepa then instructed him to take sanyas on the vedantic lines from a Jnani Guru.

Nalinikanta’s search for a Jnani Guru, to realize God through the path of knowledge led him to Varanasi, Vrindavan and Rishikesh, and many more places. In these places, he met some fake sadhus as well as a few hermits with magical powers. In the end, he finally arrived in Ajmer, Rajasthan. He was seeking answers to questions such as, “Who am I?”, “Who is the ultimate entity?”, “What is the relationship between the self and the absolute?” One day, he went to listen to the lecture of a North Indian saint, where he saw a Sadhu with matted hair delivering a lecture on Vedanta. He moved forward and was startled when he got a closer look at him. He was the saint who had given him the Ekakhyari mantra in his dream. Filled with an outburst of jubilation, he shouted out, “I have found you!”, and made his way through the crowd to fall at the feet of his Jnani Guru, Swami Sachidananda Saraswati.

Nalinikanta soon got used to the hard life of an ascetic for the annihilation of his ego at the ashram in Pushkar and developed a natural attraction and a deep love for his Guru. He mastered the vedantic scriptures and became proficient in philosophy. After embracing sanyas, Nalinikanta became Swami Nigamananda. The realization of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ (I am Brahma) dawned upon him. The feeling of the individual and the limited self-existence was obliterated and he became one with the Universe. As per his Guru’s instructions, Nigamananda covered the length and breadth of the country, visiting the four dhams: Badrinath, Dwaraka, Rameswaram and Puri. On his return, Swami Sachidananda told him that to realize the acquired knowledge, he would have to search for a Yogi Guru to settle permanently in those tattvas.

It was then that Swami Nigamananda started the search for his Yogi Guru. For days and nights, he roamed, crossing rivers and plains, valleys and mountains. One fateful day, after visiting the Kamakhya and Parsuram Teertha in Assam, he entered a dense forest. As the darkness approached, he climbed a huge banyan tree to save himself from the wild animals.


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