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Divine Helmsman

Among the first to inflame my flickering a reward given to him by the Viceroy for the
curiosity in lives of great spiritual Kings bravery and was a prized item for the
personalities was the owner. He proudly handed it to the Mahatma
Bengali book series to examine. Holding it with great curiosity,
Bharater Sadhak Trailanga Swami suddenly tossed it
(Saints of India) overboard into the river. The King was at his
authored by Shri wits end. He begged the saint to retrieve his
Shankarnath Roy. treasure, Please give me back my sword,
Being a student at Sir, he pleaded. The Swami smiled
that time, I did not innocently and prepared to leave. Frustration
have too much began giving way to anger as the outraged
money to spare. Yet King continued to ask for return of his my
after completing each volume containing sword. Swami-ji then leaned over, dipped
around a score of spiritual life-tales, I rushed his hand in the water and took out two
to buy the next, as if addicted, and identical swords asking the King to identify
completed close to a dozen volumes. The which one was his sword. The King,
very first biography of the first volume was unable to make out any difference, was
that of Mahatma Trailanga Swami and it was stunned into bewildered silence. Trailanga
my earliest introduction to him. This Swami then threw one of the two pieces
incomparable yogi strode like a colossus in back into the water and handed over the
the spiritual arena for anything between other to the stupefied Maharaja saying Why
three to four hundred years, the last century do you talk about something as being yours
and a half of which was in open public gaze if you cannot even recognize it? It is
in the holy city of Varanasi. Innumerable therefore no wonder that he was revered as
historically documented tales of his the Sachal Vishwanath or Walking Shiva -
legendary yogic powers known from the Lord of the Universe himself who,
encounters with all kinds of people - having perfected that body was using it as a
plebeians, royals, administrators, skeptics, vehicle for divine manifestation.
humbugs, devotees, aspirants and saints - In the book Autobiography of a Yogi,
are folklore. It struck me that each such Paramhansa Yogananda, while giving a
display of yogic perfection contained deep reference to Trailanga Swami remarked, He
wisdom expressed with infinite compassion was one of the siddhas (perfected beings)
and child-like playfulness. I take this who have cemented India against the
opportunity to mention one such incident erosions of time. This line somehow
that continues to excite me whenever I recall intrigued me as being loaded with inner
it. meanings that Yogananda-ji did not possibly
An Indian Raja reverentially invited the fully elaborate in public. Often many secrets
Swami to his boat on the River Ganga. learnt through inner realizations or through
Aboard the vessel, Swami-ji expressed the Guru Parampara are not stated in public.
interest for the bejeweled sword that was in A quick research on Trailanga Swami
the Maharajas possession. Apparently it was revealed his connections to a large number

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of saints and spiritual lineages. Yogananda-ji asking whether God was singular (advaita)
has mentioned his close relationship with Sri or dual (dwaita)? Swami-ji, in response,
Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahashay. I also lifted one finger and then joined the two
read how the fingers. This has been explained as when
then Brahmo the self is fully immersed in the
preacher, Sri Sri transcendental soul during Samadhi then in
Bijoy Krishna that state of absolute unity (advaita) God is
Goswami, tried realized as one; again when one approaches
to run away God as a devotee then the duality (dwaita
from the great bhava) of bhakta-bhagwan comes into play;
Swami who this duality is also a conjoined unity like the
kept on joined halves of chick-peas or gram. After
insisting that he this sign-based interaction both saints went
had been into deep Samadhi. Coming out from this
instructed by state Sri Ramakrishna encircled Trailanga
God to give Swami in a rapturous sankirtana-like dance
him a mantra with his hands raised. Later Sri Ramakrishna
and prepare arranged for bhog of payasa of several
Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahashay
him for his kilograms for the God in motion, all of
primary mission just before Sri Bijoy which the Swami consumed in his inimitable
Krishna met his own Sadguru. This became style of eating only when fed. The Swami
a turning point in the life of Gosai-ji, who offered Sri Ramakrishna his little gold snuff
later transformed into a self-realized saint. box as a gift in return. Shankari Mata, who
Sri Lokenath Brahmachari, a great yogi was also the daughter of Sri Kalikananda
himself, refers to Trailanga Swami (whom he Abadhut, (one of the principal and highly
met in the Himalayas advanced disciples of Trailanga Swami)
before he came to lived for more than a hundred years and
Varanasi) as one of the recounted to Swami Yogananda her times
greatest personalities he spent with Sri Lahiri Mahashay including
had encountered and occasions when Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj
acknowledged the spiritual appeared before both of them. (I remember
help that he received from Sree Sree Maa insisting on visiting the
the Swami, then known in sadhana room of the late Shankari Mata
the mountains as Hitalal during one of our early trips to Varanasi and
Mishra. the wonderful vibrations we felt there.)
Swami-jis famous Though we hear of only a few formal
interaction with Sri disciples of Trailanga Swami, a little research
Ramakrishna Paramhansa revealed an illustrious lineage that spans
was witnessed by the several spiritual arenas covering Vedanta and
Shankari Mai Jew
woman saint and illustrious Tantra. Other than Sri Kalikananda Abadhut
disciple of Trailanga Swami, Shankari Mai and his divinely pre-destined daughter
Jew. The story goes on like this: During the Shankari Mata and their distinguished
interaction, Sri Ramakrishna first lifted his lineages, one of the foremost disciples of
fore-finger and then two fingers, apparently Trailanga Swami was his nephew Swami
Hiranyagarbha a Volume 5 No. 1 a 15th April, 2012 39 rnhgdCo
Paramananda Saraswati, who also lived for stone statue suddenly spoke up and became
almost three hundred years. Sree Sree Maa a statue again! I also remember that Sri
had mentioned to me that Swami Pranabananda Giri Maharaj (disciple of
Paramananda later stayed in the Shyamacharan Lahiri Baba) mentioning a
Manasarovar region and guided more than a sadhana experience of his as follows: I was
hundred advanced sadhaks into in deep meditation when a pranava-like sun
Paramhansa-hood before finally returning to appeared in the inner sky and, from within
the plains prior to leaving his mortal coil. the pranava jyoti, Mahatma Trailanga
Sree Sree Maa was once invited to the Swamis smiling head popped out. He
Kolkata Ashram and Temple of the blessed me and went back within, into the
Mahananda Mission by the then head, omkar-sun, again.
Swami Bimalananda Giri Maharaj. I had the Yet, I knew that if I approached Sree Sree
good fortune of being in the party that Maa, I would get more spiritual insights. She
visited the temple-ashram. They uphold a first showed me Sant Dariya Sahibs
Shakti-sadhana lineage of Trailanga Swami description of his realization of Alakh
that branched though his reclusive yet very Niranjan - the Absolute Infinite Supreme
advanced yogi disciple Swami Suryananda Existence-Consciousness
Giri, not even a photo or picture of whom I
could locate. This was followed up by high "Sadho, Alakh Niranjan Soyi,
order saints like Swami Mahananda Giri (in Guru Partap Ramras nirmal,
whose name the mission runs) and Swami aur na duja koi;
Bhabananda Giri prior to Swami Sakal gyan-par gyan-dayanidhi,
Bimalananda. During an interaction with Sri sakal jyoti par jyoti,
Saumyendranath Brahmachari, Acharya of Jake dhyan sahaj agha nasai,
Dev Sangha, whose lineage includes the sahaj mite jam chhoti."
divine rishi parampara of Sri Bijoy Krishna
Chattopadhyay, Brahmarshi Satyadev, Sri [Sadho, I slept into Alakh Niranjan,
Pulin Bihari Brahmachari and Sri Through the divine Grace of the Sadguru,
Narendranath Brahmachari Maharaj, I was Purified by the nectar of the soul,
thrilled to hear that they draw their glittering (I reached where)
lineage of self-realized saints from Mahatma There was no second person;
Trailanga too. Sri Saumyen Baba informed (There I experienced)
me that Sri Bijoy Krishna Chattopadhyay Beyond all Knowledge
had said that he had received the divine The Knowledge-Compassionate,
initiation from Trailanga Swami. Saumyen The Light behind all Light -
Baba also related some very interesting Whose submerged dhyan
stories he had heard of how the great Cleanses away all sins,
Mahatma Trailanga would start speaking And frees from the clasp of Death.]
from absolute silence - all of a sudden,
immediately attaining full volume without After I completed reading the delightfully
need for any warming up - and after inspiring Hindi verse, Sree Sree Maa began,
completing, again instantly become Alakh Niranjan is a name for Parabrahman
deafeningly silent and still. It was as if a where alakh refers to the pristine

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Existence-Consciousness which is the divine Himalayas, before so many people for so
primordial Light-matrix of all Jyoti; long a period. But, away from public view,
dissolution of the atma-satta into which takes yet well known to the great Mahatmas and
one to nirvikalpa maha-nirvan samadhi-pada Devatas, this great personality took many
leading to the realization of an eternal, other simultaneous embodiments to bring
imperishable state of Parabrahman. about an unbelievable spiritual renaissance
Manifesting this alakh-niranjan nature of in the dark age of Kali Yuga.
Parabrahman through its descent into the This sage of ages eternal, a torchbearer of
physical form displayed in full public gaze spiritual manifestation in this universe since
for almost two kalpas, was the Living Shiva time immemorial, is highly respected and
of Kashi Mahatma Trailanga Swami - the revered by the sages and gods alike. That is
jivan-mukta, bhagwat-vetta, shining light of why, from the depths of my self-realization,
the supreme divine. I would like to give you a glimpse of my
Holding the divine mantle as the Sri Shiva-Guru-like maha avatars inner work
Jagannatha-swarupa he guided the spiritual through other saint embodiments that he
ship of this sacred land as its central took during his Trailanga Swami life-span so
helmsman covering the period of almost that you may all feel his exemplary
three hundred and fifty plus years bridging omnipresence in the fortification of sanatan
the gap between the two direct Krishna satya-dharma, and through that appreciative
avatars, namely Sri Krishna Chaitanya reverence, receive his merciful grace in
Mahaprabhu and Haripurusha Prabhu these difficult times.
Jagadbandhu, covering the last phase of During his physical life-time he emanated
Kali-yuga as Kali progressed into Dwapara several of sparks of himself to revive the
in its reverse cycle, working closely with principal post-Vedic philosophical currents
Nanga Baba, Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj and of self-realization and devotion - symbolized
Krishna-Dwaipayan Vyas. As a special primarily by the forms of Shiva, Rama,
embodied avatar of the Sri Krishna Krishna and the Divine Mother - that keep
swarupya-attained sage Brahmarshi the spiritual ark of this ancient civilization
Vashishta, through divine directive, directed towards the shores of the
Mahatma Trailanga Swami remained the supramental divine - acting as its pre-
cornerstone of the great spiritual movements eminent helmsman, a work that he has been
and upheavals of the era. It is therefore doing from the beginning of creation as
natural, as you have already observed, that Brahmarshi Vashishta. As Trailanga, he sat
almost all other great yogi-rishis of that time ensconced as the Jivanta Mahadeva (or
who had descended under the divine order Paramshiva), presenting the epitome of
connected with him in some way or the Yogic perfection and anchoring the other
other. Throughout recorded history, in embodiments. He spread the other
pilgrimage after pilgrimage, event after principally gyana-bhakti oriented paths
event we hear about him as an immaculately through exemplary lives of his alter-egos.
perfected, infinitely powerful yogi with To re-enliven Purushottam Sri Rama
unimaginable spiritual powers manifesting spiritual legacy of atma sadhana and navada
the active maha-nirvana state of Godhood, bhakti, he took birth as Goswami Tulsidas,
rarely seen in full public view below the whose Sri Ramcharit Manas - a version of

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the Ramayana written in the regional These streams culminated in a grand
vernacular (Awadhi) - combining finale through the life of Sri Ramakrishna
foundational philosophy and land-marking Paramhansa, with all currents merging into
social reforms - resurrected the spiritual and one unique manifestation of divine avatar-
social lives of people in the heartland of hood demonstrating the oneness of all these
northern India. He followed it up as paths. It was around this time that Prabhu
Mahatma Janardani, reinforcing Sri Rama- Jagadbandhu appeared on earth as a
mahima in the same social milieu. Actually Krishna-avatar Sadguru. Soon after Prabhu
this was a continuity of his ongoing work of Jagadbandhu took up the mantle, Sri
spreading Navada-Bhakti in the minds of the Ramakrishna and Trailanga Swami
local people (beyond the priestly class) physically met and drew down the curtain to
which he had initiated earlier as Sri Krittibas this almost four century old saga. The great
Ojha, the medieval poet who was one of the sage, has however continued his divine
earliest to present the Ramayana in a local manifestations through different overlapping
language - Bengali in Ojhas case ushering and subsequent lives. For example, as
in a devotional revolution of sorts in rural Sadhak Bamakshepa he came to revive
Bengal as if preparing them for the imminent Vashishtas age-old Tara sadhana. I jovially
advent of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. remarked, So now I know why Trailanga
In a sequence of overlapping lives as a Swami remained silent so much, He had
devotee of the Divine Mother, he took birth much work all around to witness and
as Kabikinkan Ramprasad Sen, Sadhak handle!! Sree Sree Maa laughed, You are
Kamalakanta and Dasarathi Ray in Bengal right. But he hardly ever reveals what he will
and Parashar in Gaya, spreading a unique do next.
devotion-driven style the Shakti-sadhana I could not resist myself, So that meeting
seed sown by another great sage - in which Swami-ji and Sri Ramakrishna
Krishnananda Agambagis (who had interacted through finger signals was their
appeared along the time of Mahaprabhu and crucial decision making meeting of leela
lived a long life initiating several Mother- culmination? Sree Sree Maa began
devotees including Ramprasad). laughing, I knew what was going on in
This venerable sage of the ages, your mind. The juicy part for you to
Vashishta, had earlier worked with the Rishi consider is whether Sri Ramakrishna raised
Mandala to set the foundations for the one finger first and then two as if asking to
advent of Krishna-avatar Sri Chaitanya and confirm Are we one or two separate
revival of Radha-Krishna leela-madhurya- personalities? and Trailanga Swami first
rasa sadhana when, as Jayadeva, he raised one finger and then two fingers joined
composed the masterpiece Geet- to supposedly reinforce his belief - Yes, we
Govindam, following it up as Dwija are one, and also separate, in conjoined Sri
Chandidas prior to Mahaprabhu and as Jagannath-Balarama forms; though in
Govindadas Kaviraj, just after. He also essence we are one and the same which
demonstrated in practice the iconic simple they indeed were. I chuckled with joy,
living, high thinking life of a philosopher- imagining in my own way, how they may
teacher as the desireless, self-abnegating and have interacted. There is also some
dedicated Buno Ramnath of Nabadwip. vagueness as to whether Trailanga Swami

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had married or not, I commented. Sree Sree of Sir Francis Younghusband with Babaji
Maa said, Our Sri Sri Baba told me that Maharaj and the enchanting experiences of
Trailanga Swamis wifes name was Rukmini Sri Dutt.
Devi. Finding a rare opportunity I pushed Manick Lals grandfather, Sri Kali Charan
in the next curiosity question, Shankari Dutt, a jeweller of repute, had left his home
Mata was a beloved disciple-rishi of in a split moments decision when his great
Trailanga Swami. So she Guru suddenly appeared in
must have been someone his office room and asked,
very close to him in her Will you not come? Kali
origins I suppose? She Charan, an affluent family
was Rishi Pundarika, man, simply replied I am
Vashishta and Arundhatis ready, my Lord, and went
elder daughter, replied Sree away with his Guru
Sree Maa. instantly, leaving behind
I now took up another everything as it is at that
pending query, Maa, what very state including the
is the relationship between shop office open and the
Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj keys on the jewel-safe. A
and Mahatma Trailanga week later, a letter came
Swami? Except for Lahiri from Kali Charan telling his
Mahashay and Trailanga son, Shyama Charan Dutt,
Trailanga Swami with Shankari Mata
Swamis well known respect that he had left with his
and affection for each other, or some of his Guru and it would be futile searching for
disciples like Pranabananda-ji and Sri him. Looking at the letter and identifying
Yukteswar referring to or visiting the Living that it had been posted from Varanasi,
Shiva, the only place where we find some Shyama Charan went there in search of his
direct reference to Babaji is about Shankari father. Through a queer turn of fate, Shyama
Mai Jew meeting Babaji Maharaj in the Charan also met his Gurudeva there, who
presence of Lahiri Mahashay. We know that was none other than Trailanga Swami. It is
Shankari Mata was the Swamis manas Trailanga Swami who had forecast the birth
kanya. Sree Sree Maa immediately replied of Manick Lal and I quote from the Red
back, They need not interact in public. Book, In harmony with the divine
Why should they? For example, if Sri dispensation, a well-known saint in light,
Loknath Brahmachari has not spoken of his named Trailanga of Kashi, known to be the
interaction with Trailanga Swami in the Guru of the Maharaja of Ramnagar, amidst
Himalayas, would anyone have come to his frequent vows of stringent
know? In any case, have you forgotten speechlessness, opened his mouth to say, to
about Sri Manick Lal Dutt, the reclusive my father, who was his pet pupil, that is first
rishi-disciple of Babaji Maharaj? See what is child (meaning me) would be born in Dhanu
written in the Red Book and the Bengali Rasi. It is a most condescending favour, in
book Jibanabhas. I immediately recollected which, this saint added, that this child, when
what I had read these books earlier in grown in grace, would in the voice of one
connection with the very interesting meeting speaking behind, communicate to the

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regenerate ones, the first-hand experiences elucidating on the surest way to spiritual
of Gods redeeming grace. It is very victory and eternal prosperity, proclaims in
interesting to note that Shyama Charan also the Gita,
received similar revelations from Sri
Ramakrishna Paramhansa as Manick Lal Yatra Yogeshwarah Krishnah,
writes, Amidst the senses, naturally sunk in Yatra Partho Dhanurdharah
sleep, spoke another Paramhansa named Sri Tatra Shreer Vijayo Bhootih,
Sri Ramakrishna, to my father, that by forty Dhruvaa Neetir Matir Mama.
years hence, his house would be a most
delightful retreat, whereto would be would Sri Manick Lal Dutt was a true
be resorted, men from far and near. Later dhanurdhar in whom the Yogeshwar
Sri Manick Lal came to know that his Mahavatar Babaji Maharaj worked as the
grandfathers mysterious Sri Gurudeva was voice of one speaking behind foretold by
the same as his own Sri Kailash Behari Trailanga Swami.
Babaji Maharaj, as Manick-babu would refer I understand Maa, but there must be a
to the Mahavatar. much deeper eternal relationship between
I replied to Sree Sree Maa, Yes indeed, Trailanga Swami and Mahavatar Babaji
Sri Manick Lal Dutt is another interesting Maharaj in the setting of the spiritual order?
connection. See even Sri Ramakrishna is in I asked. Sree Sree Maa replied, They are
the loop here! So is Vishuddhananda two avatar personalities, one is the great
Paramhansa of Gyangunj, where Mahavar Sanat Kumara and the other, Vashishta. They
Babaji is present as Mahatapa. Its a pity that along with several others were requested to
Manick Lal babus Puja room is now so descend from Brahmaloka into this earthly
dilapidated that I could not go there - the world, Prithivi, by Rishi Kardama, the
roof has caved in. But Maa, what is the governing Prajapati of this world, to usher in
special significance of Dhanu Rasi the divine order. Sanat Kumara descended as
mentioned by Trailanga Swami? Sree Sree Kapil Muni, the divine avatar son of Rishi
Maa explained, Not only was Manick Lal Kardama. Kardama had nine divine
Dutt born in that astrological position, but it daughters all of whom he got married to
has a deeper spiritual meaning. When the great sages. He gave Arundhatis hand to
mind (mon) is surrendered to God Vashishta. So Vashishta is not only
(becoming anugato mon), it receives Kardamas manas putra but also his son-in-
enlightenment of the anu (atomic soul) and law. The sages work in harmonious
the self-realized one is called Monu. After synchrony, though very few know. Does that
this, when within this Monus consciousness satisfy you? And I know what you are
sounds (dhwani) of Sri Bhagwans amrit- thinking. Dont write it. I smiled, knowing
vani echoes, then it acquires the name of that Maa reads my mind like a book. I said,
dhanu. The satta who is capable of holding Ok, I will not write, but I will definitely tell
(dharan) on to dhanu is a dhanurdhar or the it to people when they ask me in private,
yogic-archer. In dwapara this dhanu was and we had a good laugh together.
held by mahavir dhanurdhar Partha or -By Sri Partha Pratim Chakrabarti,
Arjuna. That is why Sri Krishna, when Her Blessed Child

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