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THE BANDOPADHYAYA FAMILY OF DEEGHALKANDI

26. Madguru Sri Jagad Guru - My Master is the Master of the Universe

 

Shrimati Ranibala Devi, the second daughter of Sri Dheerendranath had elaborated about an episode that confirms that Sri Sri Thakur is ‘Sarvadevomaya Guru’. Ranibala was married off when she was only sixteen years old. The family that she got wed into were disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Dev. Along with other deities, they also worshipped Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Dev. Ranibala had carried along with her a picture of Sri Sri Thakur radiating a serene glow around him in Mahasamadhi, when she left for her in laws home. When she saw the rituals followed in her new home, she couldn’t take the picture out of her box. Sri Sri Thakur became a prisoner in that box.


Ranibala couldn’t find any occasion to open the box and get the picture out. Days passed. The picture in the box was dampened by moisture and was spoilt. So, Ranibala took the picture out of the frame and kept it separately in another place. Her husband saw the empty frame and put a picture of Maa Bagala Devi that he had cut from a calendar in it. He put the picture of Bagala Devi along with other deities to worship. After worshipping for a few days, one day he came and expressed before his wife Ranibala that whenever he sits down to meditate infront of Maa Bagala Devi, the picture of a saint in turban appears hiding the image of Maa Bagala Devi. He was shocked and had no idea why this kept happening with him. Ranibala ran inside, picked up Sri Sri Thakur’s picture, showed it to her husband and asked if this was the image he was seeing. Her husband was astounded and shrieked, “Yes, yes! This is the image I keep seeing whenever I sit down to meditate in front of Maa Bagala Devi.”


From that day onwards, Sri Sri Thakur’s framed image was also kept with reverence and worshipped beside Sri Ramakrishna Dev’s picture along with all other deities. But another problem cropped up. There was resistance from other family members that Ranibala could not worship, cook or offer bhog to deities without being properly initiated. So, she had to take deeksha to partake in all the rituals. Ranibala was in doldrums. She had surrendered her body, heart and soul at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Thakur from a very young age. Once Thakur had even proclaimed, “All those whom my eyes have met in this house, don’t need to take deeksha anymore. Thay have already been initiated by me.” But she knew no one in her in laws place would value her words. She would be directed to be initiated by their family priest.


She wished that if she had to take Deeksha, then she would prefer to be initiated by some sanyasis in the order of Sri Swami Nigamananda who would be closely attached to the Saraswata Matha or ashrams. But her plea was rejected. She didn’t want any disturbance in the family, so against her wish, she acceded to the demands of her in laws and agreed to get deeksha from the family priest. Everyone was relieved, everyone was happy. But her heart cried in pain throughout the night. The day for initiation was decided and all arrangements were made accordingly. The next day was the day of Deeksha. With a heavy heart and tears rushing down her face, Ranibala sat in front of Sri Sri Thakur’s image and informed him of all the turmoil she was going through. She was heartbroken but had to carry out the duties of a devoted daughter-in-law. Maintaining balance was becoming very difficult for her.

On the day of initiation, they were flabbergasted by the news that reached their home. Their family priest had been sick and had passed away the previous night. The other members of the priest’s family had also succumbed to that strange disease. Everyone in Ranibala’s family was saddened by the news except her. She was elated and her heart leapt up with joy. She ran to her Thakur and cried, “O My Friend! You are my only companion in my life and even in my death – You proved it once more.”


…to be continued

Inspired by Krushnapriya Mohanty’s essay, “Deeghalkandi Parivar.”







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