Updated: Sep 5, 2022
The Final Lap
After returning from Bastar, Sri Sri Thakur had assured Prafulla Chandra that he would soon perform the absolute coronation of Raja Saheb. But six months after that, by orders of the British Government, Prafulla Chandra had to leave for England with his family. Before leaving, he came to pay his respects to Sri Sri Thakur. On hearing the news of his travel to England, Sri Sri Thakur contemplated, then went upstairs and lay down on his bed for some time. Then he came down and with a heavy heart expressed that though he had wanted to complete the Tantrik initiation process of Prafulla Chandra, it seems like Maa Bhagabati has some other wish. But he also made it clear that Prafulla Chandra had also received the same ‘Ista mantra’ since he was the rightful heir of his Tantrik sadhana. He blessed Prafulla Chandra wholeheartedly, “Wherever you go, I will be there with you. Just keep one thing in mind. Come and be present by my side when I leave my body. Then I will hand over all my Tantrik prowess to you and leave this body.”
Sri Sri Thakur followed him till the door to see him off and held his hand affectionately. He blessed him, advised him to leave cheerfully and kept looking at him till his figure slowly faded into the horizon. That was their last meeting in the present mortal body. During his stay in England, Prafulla Chandra received many letters from Sri Sri Thakur with advice regarding the practice of Tantra.
During his stay in England, Prafulla Chandra’s wife was operated for appendicitis. Her body gradually became weak. With five young children and a feeble wife by his side, when he was worried and distressed, His Guru Maharaj appeared in his dream. He divulged that in his previous birth, Prafulla Chandra was a Tantra sadhak named Kedar Ray and used to worship Maa Chhinnamasta. Sri Sri Thakur was known as Brahmananda Giri. Kedar Ray had received the mantra from him but his sadhana had remained incomplete which would be accomplished in this birth.
A couple of weeks after this incident, Raja Saheb was sitting in his room in the wee hours of the morning. The room was suddenly illuminated with the brilliance of a thousand suns and suddenly, Sri Sri Thakur was seated on a sofa in front of him, holding the pipe of his hookah. Raja Saheb was astonished to see him in London. How did he arrive here? He quickly got up from his bed, bowed down to him in reverence and sat down beside his feet. Sri Sri Thakur looked at him smilingly and said, “Now I have to go.” Prafulla Chandra couldn’t understand and replied, “As you wish.” Sri Sri Thakur placed a human skull in his hand and said, “Everything is done now” and disappeared. The human skull also vanished. Various thoughts crept up in his mind throughout the day. At night he again saw Sri Sri Thakur in his dream. He had worn only a loin cloth with red sandalwood paste smeared on his forehead. He again placed the human skull on Prafulla Chandra’s hand and made him perform some Tantrik rites.
Na Guror-adhikam tattvam na Guror-adhikam tapah
Tattva-gyanat-param nasti tasmai Shri Gurave Namah
(There is no higher truth than the Guru, no higher penance than service to the Guru, and there is nothing higher than realisation of the knowledge of the truth imparted by the Guru. My salutations to such a Gurudev, who is himself that very timeless truth and who has taken up a form to bless his disciples with real knowledge.)
A couple of days after this incident, he received a telegram from Puri Nilachal Kutir that Sri Sri Thakur had left his mortal body.
Queen Prafulla Kumari’s health was worsening. Her life force became feeble. Raja Saheb didn’t share the news of Sri Sri Thakur’s passing to her since he knew that her body wouldn’t be able to bear the shock. At last, in March 1936, the queen passed away, taking leave of this world. The British Government crowned Prabir Chandra Bhanja Deo, the seven-year-old son of King Prafulla Chandra as ‘Maharaja’ and put him on the throne. Prafulla Chandra was allowed to stay in Bastar for some time as the guardian of his son, but soon enough was forced to leave Bastar by an order from the British Government, only allowed to come and spend merely seven days with his son a year. That allowance was also snatched away after a year or two. Father and son could meet no more as long as the British ruled India.
Prafulla Chandra had to marry once again. His second wife Smt. Tilottama Devi was caring and compassionate. After being barred from Bastar, he rented a house in Kolkata and lived there with his wife. Once while meditating in the courtyard of Bhuvaneswari Temple in Kamakshya, a sadhu with ash smeared all over his body arrived and assured him saying, “Your Gurudev is taking care of you. You can feel his presence within and all around you. He has sent me to help you physically accomplish the next stage of sadhana. Then the sadhu uttered the 'purnabhisheka mantra'. Following the advice of the sadhu, Prafulla Chandra sat down meditating on the mantra and completed the coronation ceremony.
Two years later, while Prafulla Chandra was residing in Delhi, he visited Haradwar for the Kumbha Mela. There he met another sadhu. When he bowed down before the sadhu to take his blessings. Upon seeing him, he exclaimed, “Son, I have been waiting for you. As per your Gurudev’s instructions, I have come here from Mansarovar to help you attain the highest empire of this path. I have collected all the materials that you will need in the process.” The sadhaka induced in Prafulla Chandra the power and helped him arrive at the highest peak of Tantrayoga. This sadhaka was Sri Atualananda who had been initiated in the path of Tantra by Thakur Nigamananda Saraswati himself.
Once Raja Saheb was travelling with his friends through the dense forests of Similapal in Mayurbhanj district when he reclaimed the Panchasagar Teertha, where five tanks had sprung out, also known as 'Devi kunda', which had been hidden from mankind. On Devi’s instruction, he built Maa Ambika Temple at this site. This beautiful temple situated near Devakunda, considered as the 51st seat of Goddess Sati, is surrounded by great waterfalls and thick forests, and leaves every visitor spellbound.
That day in the month of April, 1959, he went through his day like any other day. He went to the parliament and came back home after completing his work there. In the middle of the night, he felt a severe pain in his chest and was carried to the hospital. But before the treatment could even start, he passed away, leaving the lifeless body on the hospital bed. His body was taken in a procession under the supervision of Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri and the last rites were carried out in the ‘Nigam Bodh Ghat’. Rajya Sabha was suspended for that day. The Vice President of India, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan presided over the memorial that was organised in his honour and offered his tribute speaking highly of his extraordinary life and achievements, his humility, his wisdom, depth of knowledge and incessant seeking.
Maa Ambika Mahapeeth, Devkund
Image courtesy: Gurucharan Ojha
Inspired by Krushnapriya Mohanty's essay, 'Maharaja Prafulla Chandra Bhanja Deo'.