And an Heir is Born
Many rare Tantrik scriptures were found in the royal palace of Bastar (Prafulla Chandra’s in-law’s place). Sri Sri Thakur got the opportunity to go through these during his visit to Bastar and advised to preserve them. He said, “These scriptures are not given due importance in our country now. But these are valuable for you. You are the rightful heir. You have come for the reawakening and reestablishment of the mysteries of Tantra. A time will come, when these books will help you in your sadhana.” Sri Sri Thakur pulled out a book along with the manuscripts from the lot and read out the name, ‘Bruhat Yogini Tantra’. He said, “Yes, this is the book that will come to your aid. The way to bring back a person who has quit to path of yoga is described here.”
After coming back from Kolkata, once Prafulla Chandra was chanting Maa Bhagabati’s name, when this memory rekindled. He thought to start studying the ‘Bruhat Yogini Tantra’ as directed by Sri Sri Thakur. He entered the library, opened the cupboard and was about to stretch his hand out to get the book when a flame erupted in the book. He was stunned and pulled his hand back quickly. Then suddenly a huge golden hued serpent raised its hood from behind the book, curled itself and sat on the book. He was frightened and panicked on witnessing this terrifying incident. He sat down in a chair. He closed his eyes and started chanting his Ista mantra. After a while he opened his eyes and saw the snake had left. He decided not to touch the book and came out of the room. He narrated the entire incident in a letter to Sri Sri Thakur. Thakur replied to his letter with some instructions. Following the advice, he went into the room to get the book ‘Bruhat Yogini Tantra.’ This time he didn’t encounter any obstacle. He opened the page, prostrated before Maa Bhagabati and recited the shloka that he found. He wrote the shloka in a letter to Sri Sri Thakur and requested to explain the true meaning and mystery of the shloka. In response, Sri Sri Thakur wrote a long letter explaining the shloka and the method of practice. In Tantra Sadhana, there are many mysterious subjects which are difficult to comprehend for the normal human being. Knowing Prafulla Chandra to be the rightful heir, Sri Sri Thakur had explained the Tantrik processes in detail to him.
In the letter he had also mentioned that the day after Prafulla Chandra’s first meet with Sri Sri Thakur, his father, Sri Damachandra Bhanja Deo, had come to pay him a visit and had narrated how he had been praying to Lord Baruninath for a son and as a result Prafulla Chandra was born to him. Earlier, he had got initiated in Aghor Rudra Mantra from a yogi of the Aghor clan. This Siddha yogi had taught him the principles of Hatha yoga. He, in turn, had passed these secret practices and methods to Prafulla Chandra. He himself practiced and also guided Prafulla Chandra to practice it in the correct manner. Since Prafulla Chandra was already aware of such practices, it was a little easier for Sri Sri Thakur to educate him.
Sri Sri Thakur, through his letters, kept advising him in the subject of Tantra. Prafulla Chandra used to go through the letters by himself, follow the directions, contemplate and meditate on them and acquired immense knowledge. He carried out his duties for the kingdom, meetings and discussions with the statesmen and dignitaries, his daily exercises simultaneously along with his study, practice, chanting and meditation. During any festive occasions of Maa Jagadamba, he used to perform all the works related to the puja with his own hands.
In 1929, Prafulla Chandra moved to Darjeeling with his pregnant wife and mother. He had rented a huge mansion in Darjeeling, in the lap of nature, surrounded by beautiful mountains. One could see the snow laden white peaks of Kanchenjangha and Gourishankar from far. Sri Sri Thakur’s chamber was on one side of the building and the king, queen and the rest of the people occupied the other side. After all the arrangements were made, Prafulla Chandra wrote a letter to Sri Sri Thakur, inviting him to visit them in Darjeeling. His only desire was to have Sri Sri Thakur with them during the birth of their child. They had a girl and were yearning for a son who could grow up to be an heir to the throne. They wished Sri Sri Thakur to be present during the birth of their son to bless him and hence requested Sri Sri Thakur to stay with them for two or three months in Darjeeling till the queen gave birth.
Raja Saheb got a response to his letter which was written from Nilachal Kutir. Sri Sri Thakur wrote that he would arrive on the 6th day of the month of Baisakh, at Fani Bhai’s house in Kolkata. Raja Saheb had suggested Sri Sri Thakur to bring his attendants along with him to Darjeeling. Having them around would make Thakur’s stay more comfortable. The servants in the royal palace had no knowledge of Thakur’s needs and daily rituals and may not have been able to serve accordingly. Thakur also thought this as a valid request and agreed to it. Sri Sri Thakur first arrived at Fani Bhai’s house and gave directions to make arrangements for his disciples’ and attendant’s travel to Kolkata. After receiving Sri Sri Thakur’s letter, Raja Saheb travelled to Fani Bhai’s house in Kolkata. During this Kolkata stay of Raja Saheb, the motor car from Mayurbhanj Royal palace used to arrive at Fani bhai’s every day. Sri Sri Thakur used to get inside the car with Raja Saheb and go around the city enjoying the evening breeze. One day, by Sri Sri Thakur’s mercy, Raja Saheb met Maa Ekajatamba who was the Uttarasadhika of Mahabhairav Bamakshepa.
The journey to Darjeeling commenced. On that occasion, Sri Sri Thakur was accompanied by Leela Maa, Narayani Devi, Shrimati Snehalata Dasgupta, the middle daughter of Ashwini Bhai, Sura Maa and one attendant. In Prafulla Chandra’s essay, it is mentioned that he travelled in the train with Sri Sri Thakur and was fortunate to be able to serve Thakur throughout the journey. When the train glided on the curved tracks and moved upwards from Kursiyang, Sri Sri Thakur exclaimed, “This feels like the rise of Kundalini!” On reaching Darjeeling, they took a rickshaw to the mansion.
Sri Sri Thakur was bustling with unrestrained joy when he stepped in Darjeeling. The gigantic and heavenly abode of the Himalayan range and the snow-clad tips touched his heart. He stayed there for almost three months. He was very comfortable as his disciples took utmost care of him. One day, Sri Sri Thakur experienced a severe pain in his chest and fell down unconscious. He had been feeling this pain for a while. The doctor checked his condition and wrote some medicines but he was unable to diagnose the reason of the ailment. Sri Sri Thakur suffered in this agony for three whole days. Sometimes it was so severe that he was not able to open his mouth to speak. Time and again he used to lose his consciousness. The disciples who accompanied him, couldn’t hold back their tears and would burst out crying. The king and the queen used to visit him with a heavy heart, time over and over again. At last, on the third day, the pain eased a little bit. Seeing Sri Sri Thakur looking a little better, the disciples took rest after three days.
Everyone was astounded with the incident that followed the next morning when they entered Sri Sri Thakur’s room and saw him sitting there, listless, tears running down his face. They thought he must be suffering from terrible pain. But their eyes grew wider and wider when Sri Sri Thakur comforted them saying that he was completely hale and hearty. His Queen (Mahashakti Maa Jagadjanani) had cured him but left him forever, never to return. She opined that Sri Sri Thakur had become so attached to his devotees and disciples that he had completely forgotten her. He wouldn’t get Her darshan if he didn’t keep his devotees away. Earlier, Mahashakti had promised that Sri Sri Thakur could meet Her whenever he wished.
Raja Saheb, in his attempt to bring back the cheer, bought all the newly released gramophone records and played it for him. But Sri Sri Thakur would burst into tears on listening to those records. In the ‘manabhanjana leela’, Radharani turns the playful Krishna back from her bower, “Yahi Madhava, Yahi Keshava, Ma Vada Kaitava Vaadam…” She won’t be led away again by his treacherous words. After driving him away, Radharani cries, “Don’t utter Krishna’s name near my ears ever again…” Shyamsundar, unable to bear the pangs of separation, leaves the bower, wiping his eyes. Sri Sri Thakur also couldn’t control his tears. Time passed by in this manner. Sri Sri Thakur would keep on lamenting. He was depressed thinking that perhaps his Queen, Mahashakti, had left him for good. Then came that auspicious day, when Maharani Prafulla Kumari gave birth to a son. Sri Sri Thakur cheered up with a glow on his face when he held the little prince in his hands. He got involved in all the rituals that took place following the birth of an heir and also carried out the first rites of the new-born and named him Sri Pravir Chandra Bhanja Deo, the 20th Maharaja of the Bastar State.
After some days, Sri Sri Thakur returned to Kolkata with his entourage where Raja Saheb had rented a house for him to stay. That year, Raja Saheb visited the Guru Dham, during ‘Jhulana Purnima’ to be a part of the Janmotsava celebration of Sri Sri Thakur while the Queen of Bastar celebrated the Janmotsava in Darjeeling. But that year, Sri Sri Thakur couldn’t join in. He stayed in that rented house for some days and then shifted to Fani Bhai’s house and left Kolkata for the Bhakta Sammilani congregation at Baguda.
… to be continued
Image Credit: www.bastarbhusan.in
Inspired by Krushnapriya Mohanty’s essay, ‘Maharaja Pratap Chandra Bhanja Deo’.