In the month of April 1943, in Jagannath Puri, Orissa, a saint was going round the temple of Jagannath Dev with a fairly big party of Naam *1 Kirtan. He was lean; a crown of matted hair adorned his head, he sported a beard and he had a godly appearance. Upon his chest was the wooden sandal of his Gurudeva. Suddenly, some local inhabitants joined his party while distributing some leaflets. The sadhu *2 did not know what was written in the leaflet – the local crowd was also unknown to him. On enquiring, he came to know that they were announcing, through that printed-leaflet, his own presence at Ankara Math in Cuttack town at a round-the-clock Kirtan. He was surprised but he found out from further enquiry, that they had come to know of his arrival to Orissa, at this precise juncture, from a 400-year-old book maintained in the Ashram. One of the five sakhas (companions) of Sriman Mahaprabhu Chaitanya Dev, Achyutananda, had predicted that a preacher of the Mahamantra *3, with Gurudeva’s sandals tied to his chest, would come to Jagannath Puri at the appointed (predicted) time for preaching and spreading Naam. As soon as he heard this, the sadhu went into samadhi. Later, the detailed descriptions of his family name, the story of his life, as well as his sect etc., were known from that book.

In addition to this description, the divine prophecy was made in which there were indications not only of this sadhu, but also of many great men, his predecessors and contemporaries and their lives. It said – “God Himself will assume the body of a man and appear as an incarnation through him. You should wait for his arrival.”

The sadhu who appeared before the eyes of the omniscient saint four hundred years ago, is the world-revered emblem of all righteousness, the loving God of lakhs and lakhs of devotees – Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath Dev.


A holy child was born on 17 th February 1892, (5th Phalguna 1298 of Bengali calendar) on the 5th day of dark moon in the village Keota on the bank of the holy Ganga, in Hooghly district, at one minute past eight in the morning. At the time of birth, the child’s astrologer and maternal great grandfather Prankrishna Bandopadhyaya said after casting the horoscope, “Look here, a great man (Mahapurush) has come. Blow the conch shell; wherever this child will go, anna daan (distribution of food) on a vast scale will follow him.” His was an orthodox Brahmin family. His father, Pranhari Chattopadhayaya, was every inch a great man: a physician of repute, an inspired playwright, a gentleman of high character, and a born leader, he was a saint in disguise. His mother, Malyavati Devi, was the type of the traditional Hindu wife: pious, devout and chaste, unassuming, self-effacing— a very goddess in human form!

True to the prediction at his birth, wherever he went there was charitable distribution of food, anna daan constantly followed like a companion and it was impossible to believe that such a person, who fed multitudes, could sustain himself with extremely meager quantity of food. He, whose store constantly distributed thousands of precious silk and woolen garments, had on his waist a yard of cloth to somehow clothe himself. His two feet; come winter, rain or summer, be it in woods, gardens, plain grounds or mountains, had never known shoes. One would be ashamed to call his resting place on the ground a bed. In one word, all the objects of enjoyment in this world stood ashamed at a distance from him, and even without touching his feet; they came tumbling down at his feet. On the face of it he appeared a wooden Brahma, in his own words, ‘Only bones– a lame, toothless, and dried-up sadhu.’ Nevertheless, no one knows what attraction drew lakhs and lakhs of people, all opposed to his strict shackles of rules and regulations, run to him madly for nectar! Just as the men and women of Braja (Vrindavan), tolerating all the mischief of that dark butter-thief Krishna, were attracted and ran like mad after him; and even when He was away, were flooded with tears due to his separation, similarly the constantly wandering Sitaram, wherever he went, people over there– the faithful, and the unfaithful, highly placed and lowly ones, wise and foolish, rich and the poor –he bound them all in a such an intimate bond of love that they were bathed in tears when the moment of his departure came.

Standing in the midst of flood of love and an unmoved witness of it, Sitaram had always described himself as, ‘The instrument of Gurudeva for preaching Naam, a worthless singer of Naam obeying the commands of his Master (Gurudeva).’ Or a ‘lame, sickly, thin creature worse than a worm.’ At the age of twenty-five a proposal had come to Sitaram to be installed as an ‘avatara’ (Incarnation of God). He was well-versed in all Shastras, had renounced the world, was a good orator, and a good writer, but he refused that proposal with due humility. Having become ‘humbler than a blade of grass’, an ideal Vaishnava Sitaram wrote in 1952, “Now at this age of 61, at the dusk of my life, I have no desire to become an Avatar. I would like to mix myself as dust in the dust of the feet of my Lord in the form of this universe.”

Like lakhs and lakhs of his devotees and disciples, He was himself a wonderful witness, to the unheard of deliverance of the miserable, and worldwide dissemination of Naam achieved through him. He used to be delighted at the skill of the Original Flute-player, considering his own self as the bamboo-flute in His hand. This great lover of Naam, ever conscious that all his wonderful work was but the glory of Shri ‘Bhagawan’s Naam’, used to be absorbed in a strange self-realization of his play with his soul.


The western bank of the Ganga is like Varanasi. Particularly in the village Dumurdaha, an ancient seat of meditation strewn with temples of Shiva-Durga, Kali-Krishna, and Ram-Mahavir– there is a likeness of Varanasi– all over.

A room in a house in that village! Year 1897. A six-year child Prabodh Chandra was lying in the same bed with his father Pranhari. Pointing his finger towards a big window in the south the child said, “Father, see, Shiva is standing over there!”

The startled father questioned, “Where is Shiva? Where is He, my son?”

“There He is standing in front of me!”


“There He is!”

“Tell me how does Shiva look like?”

“Fair complexion, wearing tiger skin, matted hair on head, three eyes, in the left hand a trident and in the right a damaru (tabour).”

“ Where, pray?” (The boy described what he saw).

Shiva vanished.


That Prabodh Chandra Chattopadhyaya turned into Sitaram later in his life. And his mission since then– from the age of six– was to awaken the sleeping man and show him pointing his finger– “Look, there is Shiva!”

That work went on till the last day of his existence as a human being. Thousands of men, who took refuge in Him were intoxicated with supernatural sound, touch, smell, beauty and nectar– some of them spent their days in ashram and some in the din of family life. There’s no telling how many gods and goddesses he had shown to his disciples, or how many devotees swam in the effulgent light through his magical touch! Even so he was never tired – everyday he made hundreds of men and women listen to his own voice, got them to read his own books and wrote to them in his own handwriting the very same message– “You are sitting on the branch of a tree and doing caw, caw— do you think I haven’t recognized you? You are my Beloved God! I bow down to you!” “Mother, I am without meal for three days, give me alms please- please. With this you have stretched your hands— You think I have not recognized your disguise? —You are That, I bow down to you.” Few years ago, at Puri, an unwanted rickshaw-puller in dirty clothes had entered into his solitary meditation chamber. The devotees came running to debar him but loving Sitaram stopped them and asked, “He is my God. Find out what my God wants.”

Sitaram got down at Lucknow station – the whole station was decorated with flowers. On the platform, the highest railway officials were waiting to do pranam to Thakur. *4 After getting down, Thakur avoided looking at anybody, but fixed his gaze on a sweeper standing diffidently at a distance with broomstick in hand. He called him, but the scavenger did not respond out of fear nor did he come near. At last Thakur sent a person to call him. He came forward hesitatingly and said, “I am a bhangi (low caste), a lowly scavenger.” Thakur declared aloud, “You are not a bhangi, you are my God.” He gave him new clothes, initiated him with Naam in his car and took him in his fold.

He wanted to reveal God to everyone, and to find God in everybody – these were the only two things he did– that was why everyone called him ‘My God!’


Sitaram spent his childhood days in his maternal uncle’s house in Keota and in his paternal house at Dumurdaha. In his childhood plays, there were three remarkable facets– adherence to the religious discipline, strong liking for Naam and mastery over the kingdom of Yoga – these three were the signs of Sitaram’s greatness in future years.

The first was his adherence to discipline. In younger days, if he was asked to eat early, he used to say, “First let the Thakur have it, I shall eat only afterwards.” His refusal to take food without it being offered (to God) began from those early years. His second virtue consisted in his joy at Kirtan (singing) of Naam. Right from his childhood, whenever he heard the sound of Kirtan at a distance, he would run naked saying, “Lo! There is the bang of the drum of Hari Naam singers, let us rush there.” Thirdly, his refuge in samadhi *5: since very early childhood, while lying in the mother’s lap and listening to the recitation from the Shastras, he would lose all sense of the external world. People thought that it was a fainting fit, when a spiritually experienced reader corrected, “This is but samadhi.” He came out of his trance by the sound of Naam.

After completing primary education in a village-school in his childhood, he started English education in Bandel Church School– but a life of adherence to Scriptures and renunciation had been ordained for him, so he did not have to continue in this alien culture for long. Furthermore, his elder brother, Bankim Chandra, an extraordinary genius, was already well-advanced in English education, so his father Pranhari thought it wise to put Prabodh Chandra (Sitaram in the future) in the Sanskritic line to ensure the worship of the family deity Brajanathji in the right manner. So Sitaram’s Sanskrit education started from early boyhood in a Chatuspathi. *6 In the first Chatuspathi he was acquainted with a senior colleague Dasharathi Dev who, in future, became his Preceptor. He was formally initiated on January 13, 1913. Dasharathi Dev Yogeshwara thus proved to be both Shiksha Guru and Diksha Guru to him.

Later on, his studies were interrupted due to many circumstances. When he heard that Sri Sri Dasharathi Smritibhushan had opened a school for Sanskrit education, he went to study there in 1906. From the next year, he started residing as a family member in the house of Dasharathi Dev, who was an imaginative poet, learned devotee and well-versed in the Shastras. Within three years, living a tough life in his Guru’s house, he was able to pass the Adya (first) examination in Grammar in the first division.

When negotiations about his marriage began, he left his house in the spirit of intense renunciation, resolving to remain a bachelor. But Dasharathi Dev, who, in the meantime, was established as his Guru through initiation, was himself against the disciple’s bachelorship. Although he escaped to Puri Dham, he had to come back due to the intention of Shri Guru Dev.

He married in December 1916 with a heavy heart. But eventually he came to know from his girl-bride (Kamala), that she had accepted Prabodh Chandra from the very childhood as her husband; that even she would have died if he had not married her. Finally, coming to know that Sitaram’s health was not too well, the girl declared in a firm voice: “You will not die by the grace of Mother Siddheswari, I would worship the Deity for you."

Now, discovering in her a strong religious faith in the deity with an undaunted unparallelled love for him simultaneously— the heavy gloom in Sitaram’s heart gave way.

Thereafter Kamala began to secretly learn the discipline of family life and dedicated her life to idealistic husband unattached to worldliness. But like Vishnupriya (wife of Sri Sri Sri Gauranga Maha Prabhu), here too, mother Kamala revealed herself like a bashful wife behind the veil. After a continuous service to her renunciate husband, she passed away in her youth in 1930.

Prabodh Chandra curiously remained a family man even after the attainment of fulfillment. He did it to hold out the example of an ideal householder, to show by his own example how a householder living according to the Shastras can even now attain fulfillment and be a Saint of Saints.

He had therefore to start Sadhana anew, from the scratch, to which end he reduced himself to absolute destitution and began from the very beginning. His career is unique in this, that with all else Sadhana comes first and Siddhi follows, while with him Siddhi preceded Sadhana. Part of the purpose behind this mystery is that he would show by his own example how by merely repeating the Naam one could fulfill oneself. The way par excellence to spiritual and material fulfillment in our times is to chant the Naam constantly, but to say this is not enough; it has to be shown before it could be taught. He undertook this task so that we infirm creatures might be convinced of the efficacy of Naam *1; he did it to make it possible for us lame ducks to cross the stream.


On 7 th January 1918, at 12 in the midnight, a young man of twenty-six, a resident - pupil at Vishwanath Chatuspathi, Chinsura (a school of Oriental learning founded by great intellectual of Bengal Late Bhudev Chandra Mukhopadhyaya), in meditation, was sitting in Baddha Padmasana while everyone else was asleep. He changed his posture, sat normal and began to meditate again with eyes closed and mind fixed on the heart.

Whom should he see now but God Shiva, five-faced, trident in one hand and tabor in another!

He challenged the visitor, “Who are you?”

“I am thy Guru, I came to you once in your childhood; but you couldn’t recognize me. Here I am again.”

“If you are my Guru, pray, show me my Ishta (Favourite Deity).”

Shiva uttered his Ishta-Mantra and went on repeating it, with each of His five mouths.

Then appeared a Goddess from Shiva’s shoulder.

“Who is there, about your shoulder?” he asked Shiva, who did not answer. The Goddess replied: “I am your Mother,” descending from Shiva’s shoulder.

She took his astral body in her arms and whispered his Ishta Mantra into his ears; she kept doing this. Shiva too went on chanting it with His five mouths, dancing and playing all the while on the tabor. In a strange manner, he was able to see his soul and meet his Ishta Dev.

Gradually the mantra faded- ‘Ram, Ram, Ram’ remained.

That faded too… and ‘Om, Om,’ the Omkar appeared. Over his open eyes, rounded effulgent streaks of light appeared. Omkar Sound was transformed into the hissing of a serpent. (A form of Naad or Transcendent sound). The roar rose from within.

The eyes opened only to be glued to the central point between the eyebrows. Round circular Jyoti (Transcendental Light) manifested itself. When his sense of the world returned, it was 4 A.M., as the Jute Mill whistle told.

At that time, to an ordinary eye, his condition was like a lunatic; through his mouth he constantly uttered ‘Jai Guru’. A new type of song came to his voice. Seeing the condition of his disciple, a devotee of Dasharathi Smriti Bhushan said, “I saw the mad behaviour of Prabodh. I pray to God that both of you, the Guru and the disciple become mad like this?”

In the same year, on the night of Saraswati Puja He had a vision of his previous birth. He was a world-revered saint devoted to the Mother. He could scarcely believe it. The omniscient Guru said after hearing it all, “Go on working, everything is alright.”

Then on the night of Dol Purnima, the truth about who he was and why he had come down dawned on him. A silent voice welled up from within moistened with tears that almost choked his throat. That was total fulfillment: -

Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya Glaanirbhavati Bharat

‘Whenever dharma declines and adharma prevails in Bharat, I am sure to incarnate Myself.’

He came to know why he had come back, again, to the dust of this earth. The realization occurred at Dumurdaha (Brajanath Niketan). He started at once for Digsui, another village in Hooghly, to meet his Guru.

His Guru asked him, “What brings you here?”

“Please come with me,” said he.

And he granted a Vision of God to his Guru who was literally overpowered. The Guru remained in a trance for three days. He could only find words to caution his wife against treating his disciple in the usual way. “Don’t ask him to do anything. Don’t offer him prasad from my dish.”

Apprised of his disciple’s Divine identity, the bemused Guru, while in this state of trance, composed a brief Sanskrit hymn in honour of the disciple. The hymn stated:

“Who are you, my Guru or Shishya? I for one can never tell! All I know from my natural feeling is that I am yours and you are mine. If you are my Guru, then I submit as a disciple to your care and take refuge in you, out of bounty of your grace, do enlighten me. If on the other hand, I am your Guru, please tell me who you are, of what substance are you formed?”


They called him queer, odd, mad. For many, he was stark, staring mad. But he did not care for what the world thought. A young man of twenty-six, he moved about singing songs unbidden, lost in his own ineffable delight. Of shame or scorn he had no sense. Of music he was innocent. But the songs burst from him. Whatever he saw blossomed at once into blazing light. To people around he sent his warm invitation, “Is there any that would see God? If so, come.” It was a call to all. A very, very few responded, the few that were sane enough to take the supposed lunatic seriously. And these fortunate few had the beatific Vision. He vouchsafed his Vision to them by catching the candidate gently by the wrist, both standing; and said, “There – behold.” And they did see!

With this inner spiritual life, the extra-ordinary academic life went on simultaneously. In spite of many obstacles during student life, he had passed, without preparation, the examination on Vyakaran (Grammar), Upanishad, Purana and Vedanta. He always held an aversion for degrees. He had prepared himself from his early boyhood for a much deeper and far more difficult examination than school examinations. He wrote in his diary, “That Examiner knows everything. One cannot bluff to him, nor can you copy there!”

He chose to divest himself of all he had come by or into and assuming the role of an ordinary man, he started de novo. From the summits he came down to the base and undertook to get to the top again. He would live the humdrum life of an ordinary householder and achieve his Consummation so that he may leave an example and a legacy behind to inspire us who are so frail and degenerate.

What a life this was! Poverty of the most grinding kind; disease of the most lingering and painful sort; hunger and starvation for three or more days at a stretch, for the adults as well as the tiny tots of the family; bereavement after bereavement, a whole series of them– they came thick on him, but he went on his course undismayed. He did not lose his grand composure or his abounding, and ineffable delight. In Dumurdaha He maintained a big family and quite a few students at the Chatuspathi in the face of utmost poverty and huge storms. He lived up to the ideal of family life; even when all his relations passed away one by one, he continued nevertheless his service to Braja Nath and the guests, the reading of scriptures and keeping fasts on auspicious days. In his early youth, without any efforts (Sadhana), he enjoyed ultimate beatitude by obtaining darshan of Param Guru Shiva; he concealed everything and started his sadhana from the very beginning again. This concealment of real self was perhaps to show a family man his ideal. A saint of that time (Srimad Vijnana-anand Brahmachari) announced: “Until now householders have come to have darshan of a sadhu, but now they (even the sadhus) will come to get darshan of a householder.”

Soon after he had to suffer from very painful disease, and with it came the habit of continuously repeating Ram Ram and expounding the glory of Ram. Meanwhile, one daughter and two sons came in as guests in the family of Braja Nath (Sitaram). Amongst them, one son bid farewell proving to be a guest rather short-lived. Sitaram, a silent witness to many deaths, remained unperturbed, and at last cremated his own wife without a trace of attachment and plunged into the long battle of sadhana. After his wife’s death, his right leg, infected by a terrible disease, was operated upon (without anaesthetizing it). The result— he became lame in his right leg throughout his life. Let it be noted in passing that he walked faster and longer than most athletes could expect to, and once at least, in 1937 during his four-month stay at Bhowanipur, Calcutta, while in samadhi, he stretched the stiff leg, drew it with ease, used it flexibly and went on dancing in ecstasy with hands uplifted and limbs supple and straight. The dance continued long enough to delude devotees into an impression that the leg was normal again. When however the samadhi passed and the dance concluded; it resumed its limp.

The Life Divine of the Master bears an eloquent testimony to the fact the ideal householder is a pilgrim to Eternity. What a life it was! Early out of bed, long before dawn; early morning ablution, with 'Ram Ram' constantly on the lips; cooking his own frugal meal of sun-dried rice, boiled without curry or condiment; daily worship; japa and dhyan at the appointed hours; study of sacred texts; chanting the Naam; serving the Guru and all other superiors with deep devotion; holiness within and without; rectitude and veracity scrupulously observed; nitya homa; nitya til tarpan: these formed his daily routine.

Progressing thus, as he felt the need for meditation and seclusion, on the day before Anna Purna Puja in 1928 he founded an Ashram on the Ganges at Dumurdaha, called Ramashram; in 1933 was planted Panchavati, the grove of five holy tree growing together; next year he dug an underground cave for meditation with his own hands. The son of his Guru, Shyama Shankarji (Shyama Shankar Vidyabhushan) was then a student of his Chatuspathi. With little help, the thorny bushes on the shore of the Ganga were cleared and the Ashram was built. He had received Bramhi Diksha in dream in October 1931; about August 1934 he started to make use of it. Capacity for ritual and observance, mandatory as well as recommendatory, seemed to desert him gradually. It was first manifested in 1932 when he failed to make a speech, and to read the Chandi at Khirpai, Midnapur on the occasion of Srimad Dhruvananda; Giri’s birth-anniversary. In 1933 it came to be more pronounced and even daily observances became impossible. A divine command rose from within as a result. “O Sage! Plunge in!”

The chronicle of his life as a householder is a saga of heroic struggle against the most tremendous odds. In addition to his own obligations as householder, he courted additional responsibilities of various kinds; or rather these responsibilities courted him. In 1924 he had to oblige a few seekers, four to be exact, who sought diksha from him; he had no mind to initiate, and had resolutely refused to comply, but his Guru’s insistence left him no choice ultimately and he had to give in.

His immediate reputation as Professor attracted more and more pupils, who meant increased liabilities with fast dwindling assets, but his mind remained serene as ever. He held no office, drew no salary, received no allowance, accepted no gift, and he had a big enough family to maintain including the steadily growing number of resident pupils and the variable number of daily guests, constantly pouring in, sure of the warmest entertainment, for no host had ever been more hospitable.

An ordinary family person prays for happiness. This family man, however, immersed in inner happiness, was a symbol of renunciation; he had this for his prayer in youth, “bestow, O bestow pain on me, such pain as cannot be eradicated. Pain that converts life on earth into a vast, arid desert! Let my life be a house of sorrow so that I may be fit to invoke your Grace, so that I may make myself pure with the sacred dust of Your Lotus feet.” (Pagaler Khayal)

The secret of his singular success as a householder in the midst of the most adverse circumstances is to be found in the spirit in which he undertook his duties. He never took himself to be the head of the family; he installed Braja Nath in that position and considered himself his deputy, his humble agent. His daily work was disinterested and devout service, a continuous cycle of dedicated service. He practiced karmayoga every moment; whatever he did was a process of yoga. Naturally the householder came automatically to be a Saint of saints.


After spending sometime in Brajanath Niketan in this role of an unattached sevak, he became a real saint to the outside world. Gurudeva had already given him the name 'Sitaram', and 'Das' was the designation he chose for himself to indicate that he was his Guru’s slave. The name ‘Omkarnath’ descended from above during his meditation and solicited the favour of his acceptance. On 13 th January 1937, he ceremoniously put on the koupin and assumed the name “Sitaramdas Omkarnath.”

From this day, Prabodh Chandra of Kashyap Gotra got obliterated and Shri Vaishnava Sitaramdas Omkarnath of Achyuta Gotra began to live a life of a saint.

Before this, through the influence of constant access of tearful state and samadhi, teaching had stopped. Sri Guru Dasharathi Dev had completed his leela (had passed away). Before leaving the mortal coil, he received, while he was in a swoon for three days, an indication through a divine dream set in celestial regions, 'that Hare Krishna Mahamantra' of sixteen Names and thirty-two alphabets was the only means of relieving miseries in this Age of Kali suited to people of all nations, the Indians and foreigners, as also of all castes including the Harijans.

This dream of Guru Dasharathi Dev commissioning the preaching Naam throughout the world was sown as a seed in the disciple Sitaram. Gradually, the Naad ‘Jaiguru, Jaiguru’ intoned from within in the form of unheard sound. Accordingly, He named the Sampradaya as ‘Akhil Bharat Jaiguru Sampradaya’ at a later day. After leaving the body Gurudeva appeared in dream and told him that in spite of all rituals of Shraddha and offerings, he was still hungry. The disciple understood that it was the hunger for Naam that was still not satiated. Even then Sitaram was not prepared to take up the role of a preacher without a commission directly and visibly from God. He thus went into rigorous sadhana on 3 rd March 1937 at Jagannath Puri. He took a vow– “Either I see God face to face or leave the mortal frame in Nirvikalpa Samadhi!”

On the night of 24 th April 1937, while he was in samadhi, Jagannath Deva appeared holding the flute, aureoled in transcendent light, accompanied with sweet sound of the bell. “Go, go, go and give the Naam,” saying this, He disappeared. To that task therefore he dedicated himself. His own untiring mission since then was to bestow the Divine Naam, to preach it, to scatter it, broadcast it and to fill the world with its bliss. Lord Jagannath made the Master available to us all. Commissioned by Him, he set about the mission and emerged as the Apostle of Naam (God’s Name). He administered Siddha Yoga to about every seeker, irrespective of caste or creed.

From next day onwards, the preaching of Naam started in Jagannath Puri. Then began Chaturmasya and Akhanda Naam and Anna Daan at Bhowanipur (Kolkata), Puri, Dumurdaha, Digsui, Cuttack, Bankura, Burdwan, one after another every year. The inhabitants of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh were flooded with the stream of Naam for sometime. Ram Naam Kshetra was a big establishment; the aspirants of that place were flooded with the tide of Sitaram’s love and took refuge in it. An unheard of commotion in preaching Naam went on, sometimes in Madhya Pradesh, sometimes in Uttarakhand, or Rajasthan, East Bengal, Dwaraka, South India and in many other places. It went on sometimes in the houses and sometimes in the parks or streets of Kolkata. After this, for the next forty five years, in all corners of India, establishment of temples, renovation of dilapidated temples, feeding of the poor, distribution of clothes, help to the fathers of marriageable daughters, taking on the responsibility of lifetime maintenance of hundreds of poverty-stricken families, establishment of free schools for poor students, setting up twenty-nine Akhanda Naam Kirtan centers across India, establishing temples incorporating 125 crores of handwritten Ram Naam and several other activities of the kind went on continuously.

With all these activities, silent meditation (Tapasya) continued side by side. Sometimes during silence he had companions, sometimes he stayed absolutely alone, sometimes the mauna lasted for a short duration and sometimes it lasted for twenty-two months. He took to a vow of silence time and again at Dwaraka, Puri and Omkareshwar. During these terms of mauna more than 150 priceless books were written. In every page of these books his unparalleled scriptural knowledge joins hand with his direct realization which makes his literature so much more convincing as well as illuminating.

According to the tradition of the Sampradaya, he rendered, in order to establish the ideal of Shri Vaishnava of Ramananda cult, a Bengali edition of ‘Shri Vaishnava Matabja Bhaskara’ with his commentary. In the play ‘Jagat Guru Ramananda’ he also depicted so dramatically the holy life of Sri Sri Ramanujacharya. But ultimately he identified himself with the Ramanuja’s ‘Shri Sampradaya’ as the fountainhead of Sri Ramananda Sampradaya. In a play called ‘Guru Puja’ he illustrated the holy leela of Sri Ramanuja and his disciples. He also wrote the biography of the twelve alwars, the great saints of the South. As regards the identity of his Sampradaya, he finally approved and arranged for the sannyas diksha of his dearest high-order monk-disciples from Tridandi Swami Lakshman Ramanuja Jeur of Sri Rangam Phalhari Math. And accordingly named his Sampradaya ‘Ramanujiya Ramanandiya Akhil Bharat Jai Guru Sampradaya.’

The spiritual doctrine of this Sampradaya is predominantly based on devotion; surrender and loyalty to the Guru are its basic tenets. But its essential goal is a kind of an ultimate state of non-duality –to get out of the absolute ‘you’ and to merge into absolute ‘I.’

The philosophy that Thakur propounds based on his personal realisation is ‘Pranavavaad’, the doctrine or the theory of Omkar. According to the Naad or the Laya Yoga of this doctrine, in the spiritual path, Shakta, Shaiva, Vaishnava, Saura, Ganapatya; Yogi, Bhakta and Karmayogi and Jnanayogi –there is a great union of all these streams of spirituality. When we read the plays ‘Shiva Vivaha’ or a text like ‘Naamamrita Lahiri’, we feel Thakur is a great Shaivite. When we read ‘Ashrubadal’, ‘Ranchod’ or ‘Brajanath Leela Lahiri’, we become aware that he was singularly devoted to the adept of Vrajaraj- Krishna. His books such as ‘Katha Ramayana’, ‘Vijane Vijya’ and ‘Milan Yajna’ are principal sources of acquainting us of his devotion to Ram. Compositions like ‘Matru Gatha’ and ‘Chokher Jale Maayer Pooja’ (Mother’s worship through tears) make us feel that he is an ardent follower of the Shaktas. After reading ‘Yogarahasya’ and ‘Naad Leelamrita’ one feels he is the traveller of the path of yoga. ‘Pranavapiyush Bhashya’ of Sri Sri Gita, ‘Omkar Bhashya’ of the Brahmasutras, or of Sri Sri Chandi, the deeply philosophical as well as spiritual texts like ‘Sri Sri Brahmanusandhan’ or ‘Sri Sri Omkar Sahastra Giti’ –all these go to prove that he is the proponent of Upanishadic Brahmavada and Shabdabrahmavada.

Like his domestic life even in his philosophy one sees the supreme unity within an ocean of variety. In the non-dual state rooted in ‘Knowledge’, he perhaps transcends even Shankaracharya’s advaitavada. He fords over the little duality in ‘Aham Brahmasmi.’ In the second part of ‘Prapanna Pathik’ he states that at the highest plane of experience, in the ultimate state of Oneness, only ‘Brahma, Brahma, Brahma’ or ‘Asmi, Asmi, Asmi’ remains.

Even at the end of his life he expounded the ultimate kainkarya (path of servitude to God), ‘Sharanaagatoham’ (I surrender to you) and ‘Tavaasmi’ (I am yours) as the principal means of spiritual practice. The course of action he finally advocates is the one of considering that the entire cosmos, the insects and birds, plants and trees, moveable and immoveable objects –are all nothing but the body of my Guru. Considering this one must be devoted to the world in obeisance, be faithful to the Shastras and the directions of varnashram and lead a virtuous life.

He has integrated all these streams of thought in a collection of fourty-one rare poems called ‘Sudhar Dhara (Streams of Nectar).’ This ‘Sudhar Dhara’, the streams of nectar obtained after churning of the Scriptures is the galitam phalam (ripe fruit) of Sitaram’s Sadhan Kalpataru (wish-yielding tree of spiritual practice). These point at an eternal and advanced means of God-realization. Other than that Sitaram’s renowned and undying composition ‘Naamamrita Lahiri’ exists in eleven parts. In this text he crossed over the entire ocean of Shastra and established Naam Kirtan of Sri Sri Bhagwan as the ultimate path.

‘Abhayvani’ (Message of fearlessness) is one among his small but powerful compositions; every sentence of it gives a blazing assurance of God to the Naamkari (singer of Naam). In this book Thakur declares his name only as the compiler. He is just working as an instrument; the real speaker here is none other than God. It is this ‘Abhayvani’, which at one time spread like wildfire in different parts of India, and flared up the sacred fire of love of Naam in every disciple of Sitaram.


At Omkareshwar Thakur observed severe maunatapasya lasting for five months in 1952-53 and for sixteen months in 1954-55. The pangs of separation and an intense desire to see him rose in the hearts of his devotees scattered all over the country. Thereafter, during the chaturmasa at Gopalpur, once again there was a flood. Again he observed the longest mauna at Omkareshwar in the years 1956-57 lasting for twenty-two months consecutively. This severe asceticism was unimaginable –can anyone describe it? After that he preached on a massive scale! The name of Sitaram –‘asceticism personified’; a being bereft of all outward ostentation; powerful incarnation of love; an uncompromising follower of the Shastras, spread among the intellectuals, political heads, religious preceptors, artists and great men of all other walks of life, not only in Bengal but all over India.

He had already been blessed with the best wishes of Mahatma Ramdayal Muzumdar. The leading pundits and intellectuals of Bengal of that time were charmed by bathing in the streams of nectar that poured out of the pen of this young spiritualist. Mahamahopadhyaya Yogendranath, the greatest among the philosophers of his epoch held Thakur in a new form. After many assessments all these enlightened personages came to regard Sitaram as an incarnation of God, descended in human form for the divine sport. With varied substantiations, they established his godhood before the masses. He was not a siddha saint in the general sense of the term. He did not exhibit any supernatural power in his childlike simple behaviour; he never made any prophecies, on the contrary he sent the sick ones to the doctors for treatment. Never did he give any blessing other than ‘May you have devotion to God.’ Nevertheless Yogendranath said, “I have personally and distinctly experienced this –His mere contact is capable of inspiring divine feeling in any person, in any state, and drown him or her in boundless joy.”

This philosopher and a scholar revered all over the country did not feel the slightest hesitation in declaring aloud: “In the modern times the Lord of the world, out of his boundless grace, has personally descended in the form of Sitaram to alleviate our sorrows and afflictions….”


The chaturmasya Leela at Puri, Pushkar and Bithur (Kanpur) went on with great pomp! In 1965 he lived at the ‘Janhavi Kunj’ at Barrakpore on the banks of Ganga because he was suffering from the hernia trouble. Bedridden during the leisurely hours, upon divine inspiration he founded organizations such as Mahamilan Math, the headquarters of ‘Akhil Bharat Jai Guru Sampradaya’, Kishore Sangh, Yuvak Sangh, Vidwat Sangh, and Chikitsak Sangh etc. He had established at different locations Sati Sanghs, centres for women to meet, sing Kirtan and study the scriptures. In addition to ‘Devayana’ and ‘Jai Guru’ Bengali magazines, ‘The Mother’ in English, ‘Pranav Parijata’ in Sanskrit and the monthly ‘Arya Shastra’ and ‘Arya Nari’ etc. in Bengali were established.

Thereafter through a long illness at Kedar Bhawan, Bali, a weekly called ‘Pather Alo’ was also started. Making Mahamilan Math the center, ‘Shastra Bhagwan Press’ and ‘Mahamilan' 'Vidyapeetha’ were founded. In early 1970 one huge nine-peaked temple, peerless in India, of Shyam Rai and Shyam Rani, along with eight sakhis was established. They were the Emperor and Empress of Sitaram’s dream of Satya Dharma Prachar Sangha!

After this the works spread in Uttarakhand making Delhi the centre. Many of the Central ministers took refuge and had his blessings. The influence of Sitaram and Mahamantra Kirtan spread over the Indian Army as well. Military officials at the Rishikesh ashram maintained round-the-clock singing of Naam. The soldiers on the Indo-Tibet Border Police continued unbroken Naam for three years at the unique hermitage on the banks of Ganga –Bhagirathi Math, Uttar Kashi! In 1970-71 in the Bangladesh war Thakur directly imparted his spiritual power to the freedom struggle. Banga Bandhu Mujibur Rehman and Maulana Bhasani came to be the admirers of Sitaram. Maulana had personally come to the Rishikesh ashram and was bound in a loving embrace of Sitaram ever intent on upholding dharma. In the words of an Army General of that time: ‘The commander in chief of this war was indeed Thakur!’


A unique thing transpired at Rishikesh in the year 1970-71. He showered his love on the devotees of the West, whom Sitaram endearingly called 'Gaur Sundar Babas' (white-complexioned people in image of Lord Gauranga). Several devotees came in from America, Holland, France and Canada. Many were drowned in the ocean of Transcendental Light and Sound at the very first sight or touch. Many became overwhelmed with joy while singing the Naam and dancing. Some surrendered totally to Thakur in order to spread his word. Some of them returned to their native land dressed as recluses, with Naam on the lips and kartaal in hands. The stream of Thakur’s instruction assumed a new and universal form in view of these devotees.

In his middle age Sitaram had composed ‘Tapas Habib’ for the Islamic devotees. The Mulla Sahib of his native village Dumurdaha regarded him like a Pir. In 1981 an African disciple wrote out the name of ‘Allah’ one-lakh times and offered that book to Sitaram. The number of Christian devotees was increasing.

In 1981 at Rishikesh and in 1982 at Kannyakumari once again a wave of compassion rose for the male and female French and American disciples. Even today in many nations of the world Sitaram’s non-Indian disciples are engaged in ascetic practice.


In 1973, at Chakrata, the Dalai Lama, the highest authority in Tibetan religious order, received spiritual instruction from Sitaram. Thakur’s dear and distinguished disciple Maj. Gen. Sujan Singh Uban brought about the meeting of these two religious preceptors of different faiths. ‘Guru’s of India’ a book written by Maj. Gen. Uban created uproar in the last part of Thakur’s mortal existence. It was as a consequence of this that the internationally renowned Sufi preceptor Inayat Vilayat Khan came and paid his obeisance at Sitaram’s feet along with nearly hundred and fifty male and female disciples. In the February of 1981 a grand religious congregation was called to celebrate his birthday. The leaders of every faith – the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians participated in it. All of them declared him to be the universal religious incarnation of the modern age and the greatest spiritual leader and offered their reverent homage.

This was also the time for the ultimate consummation of Thakur’s spiritual life. The religious practice, the instruction which he had hitherto restricted to a few chosen disciples, now he gave that tantrik ‘Brahmi Diksha’, rooted in the Advaita doctrine, to the extremely humble and common people as well regardless of restrictions. In a state of an unprecedented divine rapture he summoned devotees from the whole of India to the most holy spot at Gangasagar and initiated them with a unique and fundamental mantra leading to the realization of Brahma. There was of course no negation of his earlier advice of worshipping the ultimate reality in a form. Maintaining his earlier faith in adherence to Shastras, purity in food habits, safeguarding of requirements of varnashram as before and continuing the efficacy of Naam Sankirtan, this time Thakur declared:

“The ultimate answer to the question ‘Who am I?’ is –I am indeed the only true principle in this world. I alone exist; I am the one who has lost the way and am searching for it. After wandering through eighty-four lakhs yonis (births) I have now become a disciple devoted to spiritual practice. In the form of Guru and the Mantra, it is I who am sporting in order to uplift myself. I am established in the Surya, Sushumna and the right eye in the most subtle form, pervading all over.” This profound truth is Thakur’s supreme sermon.


Year 1981. Sitaram had begun to wear out his body with excessive work, lack of rest, and intense ascetic practices. A little improvement in his body was evident after his rest in Delhi and Rishikesh. But his scriptural study in Kannyakumari, difficult mauna regime, constant compassionate contact with the dear ones once again resulted in physical exhaustion and illness. The affliction of phlegm in the lungs, which he had from his childhood, continued to be his permanent companion. During the Durga Pooja of 1982 he developed blood pressure, indigestion, breathing trouble etc. which made him immobile in Srirangam.

He was brought to Kolkata. He spent the whole of November in a topmost room in a twelve-floor building ‘Vaikuntha’ in the Southern part of Kolkata (‘Avenue House’ of the ardent devotee Sri Gopal Mitra). It appeared as though he had taken on the burden of sins of all his disciples and become Neelkantha; he was bearing the painful lot of everyone alone. Leading doctors and companions left no stones unturned in his treatment. The exalted religious heads, holy men and great sadhaks started pouring in for the final meeting. About five months before this Ma Anandamayi, who was no different from Thakur in spiritual body and mind, attained to Brahma. Despite hundreds of agonies and ailments he continued to give an assurance to everyone, “There’s no trouble whatsoever, I am very happy!”

Finally the hour of final departure arrived. He had forsaken food and medicine for a few days. On the night of 5th of December before attaining to depths, he called the disciples and gave them an inexplicable indication in Sanskrit: “When the sun rises and dispels darkness, the crows shriek from fear: ‘We are crows, we are mere crows! We are not darkness; don’t kill us please!’

Before this, he had remarked: “Take me! Come, take me!”

Sri Madhav Swami, a disciple and a part of his retinue, asked: “Where are you asking to be conducted Baba? Where?”

He answered in solemn voice: “Within the inner heaven!” Into the inner being of everyone, perhaps!

In the midnight of 6th of December, at about one thirty, in a sitting posture, with his gaze fixed upwards, Sri Sri Sitaram, God manifest in human form, concluded his mortal sport and merged with his inner essence in presence of the second president of the Sampradaya, Kinkar Mahimananda and a palanquin of Gayatri recitation and the all-pervading Mahamantra Kirtan as well as ‘Narayana, Narayana’ sound by the disciples.

His sacred body was placed in Sri Ramashram at Dumurdaha. By the night and day lakhs of disciples came to offer their obeisance to his divine body. There was a command that one should wait until the signs of bodily decay were evident and only then proceed for the final rites. This divine body remained radiant and intact for three days –without any treatment!

In the early dawn of the 8th of December in the midst of Naam Kirtan and Vedic chants sung in voice of thousands of disciples, inundated with tears, Sitaram’s mortal body mixed with the dust at Sri Ramashram in sandalwood pyre.

Years ago, while establishing the Akhanda Naam Kirtan at Adi Ashram Sri Ramashram (Dumurdaha) Sitaram exclaimed with some rapture: “Now let there be an end here for it’s from here the journey had begun.”


The diksha (initiation) given in the tradition of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath is Niradhara or Jnanavati diksha, Veda diksha or Siddha Yoga. Ordinarily the initiate must work for himself and proceed stage by stage; he is to ascend the stairs himself by virtue of his own effort. Not so with those initiated in the Master’s fold. The essence of this initiation is that the Guru transmits power to the disciple, awakens his kundalini, which begins thereafter to take its own course. The Master infuses spiritual energy by touch, look or thought and the sleeping kundalini wakes up, never to droop or drowse again. The disciple has various experiences of various grades. Tremours, mild and wild, seize the limbs. One shakes as an aspen leaf, one sways and oscillates, assumes various gestures, all unawares, and without any effort on one’s part, indeed against one’s best endeavour to the contrary. The hands wave up gracefully in a thousand rhythmic ways, one feels electrified. One shivers all over, willy-nilly. One perspires profusely. The tears well up from the eyes, no matter how much one tries to restrain them. The hairs stand on end. Fragrance of flowers, sandal and incense come from nowhere. The tongue tastes sweetness never savoured before. Jyoti and Naad, non-generated Light and Sound, appear. Light of so many shades and hues blazes forth: one sees them with eyes closed as well as with eyes open. Equally incalculable and infinite are the super-sensuous sounds that are apprehended. Ditties of no tone can be heard. Images of Gods and Godesses and saints reveal themselves. To be initiated in this fold is to have such experiences without effort: one has not to mount the steps, one rises in an elevator. Siddha Yoga that is administered in Sri Sitaramdas Omkardeva’s fold places one in a lift. Fulfillment comes as a matter of course: what is wanted is only a spirit of total surrender, which too has not to be cultivated but is induced almost automatically by his ineffable touch.


Sri Gurudeva’s first revelation is: fulfillment or God realisation is the end of life. And to that end it ought to be everybody’s endeavour to dedicate himself or herself. And how or when can one recognize whether fulfillment has been attained? Fulfilment or God-realisation means the realisation that one is the Supreme or that one is His Slave: Brahmasmi or Dasosmi It is not imaginative apprehension or intellectual conception that is meant here but a permanent lodge - ment or habitation in one or other perception: when one is installed irrevocably in the sense that one is Brahman or that one is His Dasa (slave) one achieves Fulfillment; and it is only then that one reaches the Journey’s end: until then the quest continues.

This Realisation of Fulfillment, Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath states, is not something to be achieved hereafter in some other world or existence; it is to be obtained here and now, in this life and on this planet. Fulfillment or Perfection is not an intangible far off ideal not a chimera or a mirage but something positive and concrete attainable here and now. Spiritual exercise is not a price to be paid for a prize promised in another life; the prize is guaranteed in this life if only the price is paid. Nor is the price too much but of that later. Let us first note the value of this message. The life divine comes to be within the hollow of one’s palm, and on earth itself man becomes superman, he is one with God while he is still alive; man is translated into God, the earthly life is transmuted in to the life divine, the transformation occurring here and now. This portion of the Master’s Gospel too is a startling revelation because the usual assumption is that the kingdom of Heaven is elsewhere and remote and that spiritual career is intended to provide admittance to it after this life; it is generally believed that the earth has to be adjured in order that Heaven may be gained. And this is one reason why man is now apt to turn his back on spiritual life. But the assumption is false.

To this unbelieving age Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath’s message may well appear to be shocking: God is – he says; He can be seen, touched, felt, talked with and listened to. He appears visibly before the seeker, addresses him and blesses him with his boon. Meeting him face-to-face, exchanging words with Him, this is the initial stage of fulfillment, which is followed by the realisation of God being everything and of everything being God. The first part however is really of movement, for once God has been seen and listened to what else is needed follows as a matter of course: once you have seen your God, your responsibility ceases and He it is that assumes control of the rudder; He undertakes to do the rest for you. Nor is “darshan” hard to attain: it is, the Master assures, an easy job even in this grim age. We can have it, he tells us, if only we hold fast to the divine Naam.

Let us simply chant the Naam and chant it while we sit and eat, stand, walk and work and as we go to bed. That will suffice, he declares. We need not say the Naam with faith or devotion; in fact of neither are we capable. Faith, devotion is beyond our reach. What if we are skeptics; we can still chant the Naam, mechanically, even disdainfully, and the Naam shall work on its own, and we shall, willy-nilly, be gratified. A revolutionary doctrine, is it not? But the Master substantiates with citations from sacred texts, with cogent argument and with conclusive evidence of saints who have vouched for it from personal realisation. It is needless to mention that his stand on this question is fortified by his own experience. Next, the uniqueness of the Master as Apostle of the Naam is, first his elevation of it to the status of Yoga, and his pointing out how the Naam is not just a way to realisation but a way to all possible ways to it. Both point call for clarification.


The doctrine of the Naam is an old, old one, but it has ever been taken as belonging to the cult of bhakti. This myth the Master explodes once and for all. He says that the Naam leads to Jyoti and Nada, access to which means yoga. The arduous course of yoga is not for the masses: it calls for continence, right diet and an able guide, all of which are scarce these days. But to adopt the Naam is to rise to the sphere of yoga, for it fetches Nada and Jyoti that characterize yoga. Next, he argues that these two experiences, Jyoti and Nada are common to seekers of all categories, sects and denominations. Whatever one’s creed or approach, one on the way to the Supreme, is bound to experience Nada and Jyoti. Seekers of every shade and complexion meet at this crossing of the roads: this is a point where all roads must meet, and then they diverge, each following its course, until they meet finally again on fulfillment. This last point of convergence, this confluence is marked by realization of Pranava (Om). On the Master’s analysis then, or rather his mapping of the various spiritual streams, it follows that diversities of spiritual approach are an admitted and inescapable fact; because aptitudes and temperaments vary, approaches have got to be various and a leveling down of all difference into one drab and rigid monotony is neither desirable nor practicable. What is sauce for the goose cannot be sauce for the gander; the fox and the crane cannot feed from the same vessel. So diversities are and should be there. But a unity emerges out of all diversities: the goal is one and the same for all, and the Rome, that all roads lead to, is Pranava. Apart from this final meeting- point, there are two more points where they meet: the first is the starting-point, namely the Naam; the next is the crossing of the roads at Nada and Jyoti. All irrespective of creed and ideology may chant the Naam or and say it silently: to start at or with the Naam is the ideal course in spiritual life, because it is a simple way for which all are eligible, because it ensures immediate concentration even to those who are otherwise completely incapable of it. And it is not only possible but also gainful for even those who subscribe to a different ideology to adopt the Naam as an auxiliary to their own cult, for the Naam is the shortest cut to Jyoti and Nada, which constitute the passport to yoga proper. This stage forms a common platform for all seekers, and when this stage has been reached, the paths bifurcate again, the Hata Yogi concentrating on Jyoti, the Laya Yogi on Nada, the Raj Yogi aspiring after Nirvana, the Bhakta yearning for the vision of God, the Jnanin undertaking vichara or analysis of the supreme in the form: Neti Neti, Not this, Not this, A-savdam, A-sparsham, Not-sound, Not –touch, and so on.

So the Master offers the way of the Naam as a way to every possible way of realization. Nor does his distinctiveness cease there. He utilizes the Naam for two additional purposes: as a way out of the hurdle of competence or status. Differences between sect and sect and between creed and creed are genuine and fundamental. The origin of creation is to be traced to the divine will to be many: “Bahusyam praja-yayam,” He declared, or decided, before He began to create. So creation is both one and many. It is One because whatever exists is the One disguised as many: it is many because the One has multiplied Himself. Multifarious forms therefore appear to view. That they are One is not a fact actually or immediately perceived except by a spiritual seeker arrived at the goal and securely installed there; for all else it is a matter of logical inference, dimly felt and fitfully known, a vague, occasional awareness, not a realization. So variations are there among individuals and groups, and variations in temperament or predisposition call for variation in spiritual approach. Hence the diversities of schools or sects. These divergences are often so pronounced that one sect stands in sharp opposition to another. One man’s food is another man’s poison, spiritually as well as literally. What to speak of conflict between sects, there is often a sharp cleavage between two subsects within the same order; there is, for instance, a yawning chasm between a Vaishnava of the Vatsalya school and a Vaishnava of the Madhura cult. One views God as a parent views a child: the other looks upon God as Spouse or Lover. How can the two attitudes unite? Necessarily they stand apart.

The Master solves this baffling problem of the clash of creeds in a way that is novel as well as simple. He offers the Naam in the well known combination: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare as a common platform for all to stand upon. To this divine Naam may all subscribe and that to equal advantage. It is the Taraka Brahma Naam, he points out, the Naam that is scripturally sanctioned for all in this age, the Naam par excellence that redeems and rescues all in this age. As the Mantra prescribed for the age, it is acceptable to all alike. There are five primary schools: Shaiva, Shakta, Saura, Ganapatya and Vaishnava. The Shaiva’s chosen Deity is Shiva; the Shakta adores Shakti (the Cosmic Mother); the Saura worship Surya; the Ganapatya’s devotion is to Ganapati (Ganesha); the Vaishnava’s allegiance is to Vishnu. Each has thus own exclusive Deity. But in the Hare Krishna Naam quoted here each finds one’s own Deity mentioned. Hari, Krishna and Ram in the couplet mean Shiva to the Shaiva, Shakti to Shakta, Surya to the Saura, Ganapati to the Ganapatya and Vishnu to the Vaishnava, for Hari here means ‘He who steals or lifts’ and what He lifts is the dead weight of material existence while ‘Rama’ in the formula implies ‘He who ravishes with delight,’ signifying the Supreme, that is to say the particular Deity adored by each sect and ‘Krishna’ likewise connotes ‘He who attracts,’ referring similarly to the particular Deity appealing to each sect. So on this platform of the Naam can all meet in a spirit of amity, sinking all differences; here is then a reconciliation of incompatibles in the spiritual world, a neat solution to an intricate problem otherwise absolutely insoluble. It is partly in order to bridge the gulf between creeds and cult that the Master offers the Naam as way for the Age.

No less beautiful is the solution provided by the Master to the equally complicated problem of discrimination in the spiritual world. There is the vexed question of Adhikari Bheda, the insuperable inequality of status or eligibility that is actually there. The validity of the concept of Andhikara or status is above question: it is a fact, rather than a concept. That different seekers present different grades of eligibility is a fact. But it is equally a fact that this basic inequality is hard for even spiritual aspirants to exactly own these days. To first deserve and then desire may be wisdom, but to be wise is not at all easy, particularly in our unhappy times. To cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth is just what we in this age fail to do. Even the unfit millions have their aspirations, and because they have yet to be quite fit for what they demand, they cannot curtail their aspirations in proportion to their competence. This psychological factor results in frustration, in sullen despair or in dogged suicidal daring. Some resenting the hurdle of status keep out of spiritual exercise itself; their thirst remains unslaked as a result and their aim in life remains unrealized, but they cannot help it. Some dare beyond their deserts and come to grief; in defiant spirit of rebellion they practise what proves disastrous for them. Unhappy they find impostors too in the field to exploit and ruin them, for so-called gurus do appear before them, all too willing to initiate them either ignorantly or fraudulently into mantras or systems to which they are not actually entitled at the moment, the consequences proving deplorable at the end.

The Master solved this problem with sympathy and originality equally rare and profound. He eases the situation by placing all alike on the same footing; he preaches the Naam to which all have equal access and by virtue of which all eventually can rise alike to the summit. To chant the Naam and Repeat it constantly is to earn the status that is desired. Is it the right to Pranava (chanting Om) that is demanded? Voicing the demand is useless; willful utterance without eligibility will be harmful. But to repeat the Naam is to have Pranava (Om) well up from within as Naad, and that alone is realization of Pranava. To chant or put ‘Om Om’ in the mouth is silly as well as deadly except for the Jivan-mukta, and a Jivan-mukta is scarce; but to chant the Naam is to have the Pranava Nada and then ‘Om’ is distinctly and continuously audible within. So the Master offers the Naam and all else including Pranava via the Naam. And he does not want you to argue uselessly: he asks you to do it and to see the result for yourself. His is the scientific way, the way of experimental verification. The taste of the pudding is in the eating: the truth of what he says is to be tested; it is to be verified by practice.

*1 Naam: Lit. “Name,” especially the holy name of the Lord like Ram, Krishna, Durga etc. The term is also used for the act of repetition of the Tarak Brahma Naam viz. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.

*2 Sadhu: A saint or a holy man.

*3 Samadhi: Meditative trance.

*4 Shastras: Term applies to sacred Hindu texts of antiquity.

*5 Thakur: Another name for God, esp. Lord Krishna. Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath’s devotees called him ‘Thakur’.

*6 Chatuspathi: Sanskrit School.

*7 Sadhana: Spiritual practice.

*8 Siddhi: Power, accomplishment; perfection. Extraordinary powers of soul, developed through consistent meditation and deliberate, grueling, often uncomfortable tapas or awakened naturally through spiritual maturity and yogic sadhana.

*9 Naad: Ungenerated Sound. It is of tens of thousands of types. When one experiences it in the course of spiritual practice, it brings intense and lasting bliss. If we think of the most beautiful music we have ever heard in this world, it still does not compare with the music known as the Voice of God. Some of the variants of Naad include sound of a river, humming of the bee, rumbling of clouds etc.

*10 Jyoti: Ungenerated Light. Like Naad, Jyoti too is of several types. Red, blue, white…many visions constitute Jyoti darshan.

*11 Prasad: Prasad is a Sanskrit term meaning gifts that have been offered to the Divine, and having been blessed, are returned as Divine gifts to devotees. By extension, Prasad is anything a devotee receives from his or her Guru.

*12 Nitya Homa, Nitya til Tarpan: (Sanskrit) "Fire-offering." A sacred ceremony in which the Gods are offered oblations through the medium of fire in a sanctified fire pit/ vessel. Homa rites are enjoined in the Vedas, Agamas and Dharma and Grihya Shastras. Til tarpan is a rite wherein water is offered to gods or manes with sesame seeds.

*13 Brahmi Diksha: An advanced form of spiritual initiation restricted to the most accomplished practitioners.

*14 Karmayoga: Yoga of action.

*15 Koupin: Loincloth of a sannyasi.

*16 Mahamantra: Tarak Brahma Naam viz. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.

*17 Harijans: Lit. ‘God’s own folks’—the term applies to the members of low caste.

*18 Nirvikalpa Samadhi: Also known as Asamprajnata-Samadhi. “Ecstasy without form or seed.” The realisation of the Self, Parashiva, a state of oneness beyond all change or diversity; beyond time, form and space. Nir means “without.” Vi means “to change, make different.” Kalpa means “order, arrangement; a period of time.”

*19 Siddha Yoga: Ordinarily the initiate must work for himself and proceed stage by stage; he is to ascend the stairs himself by virtue of his own effort. Not so with those initiated in the Niradhara or Jnanavati diksha, Veda diksha or Siddha Yoga. The essence of this initiation is that the Guru transmits power to the disciple, awakens his kundalini, which begins thereafter to take its own course. The Guru infuses spiritual energy by touch, look or thought and the sleeping kundalini wakes up.

*20 Chaturmasya: Shravana to Kartik; four auspicious months of the Hindu calendar around the rainy season.

*21 Akhanda Naam: Uniterrupted singing of the Mahamantra 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare'.

*22 Likhit Ram Naam: The practice of writing Ram Naam in a prescribed format of 'Sri Ram Ram Ram'. This is a common practice among the disciples of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath. Sri Gurudeva recommended writing of Ram Naam as a panacea for all afflictions material and spiritual.

*23 Twelve Alvars: There were twelve Alvars who appeared in South India. Not all at the same time, but over a period of several centuries between 400 and 900 A.D. The Alvars have sung in praise of the glories of Lord Vishnu who gives ‘Darshan’in 108 temples. Their songs are called the “Naalayira Divya Prabandham”. Though there are more than 108 Vishnu temples, only those temples which have been glorified in the songs of Alvars are referred to as “Divya Desams”. They established the basis of the Krishna bhakti cult in the Kali-yuga.

*24 Kartaal:Hand cymbals used during Kirtana.

*25 Niradhara or Jnanavati diksha, Veda diksha or Siddha Yoga: See *19