The Mother Divine
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(Sri Durga Charan Nag)
Nag- Mahashaya

One of The Main Householder Disciples Of Sri Ramakrishna
by Sarat Chandra Chakravarti

Suresh and Nagmahashaya stepped into the room and saw Sri Ramakrishna seated on a small cot with his legs stretched out at full length. He was smiling and facing northwards. With folded palms Suresh made obeisance to him and sat on a mat spread out on the floor. Nagmahashaya, quite in keeping with the Indian custom, fell prostrate before Sri Ramakrishna and wanted to take the dust from the Master's feet, but Sri Ramakrishna withdrew his legs and thus did not permit him to touch them. This was too much for Nagmahashaya and he felt a pang within. Surely, a devotee cannot suffer such a privilege to be withheld from him! Nagmahashaya laid the blame at his own door and consoled himself, thinking that he was not worthy enough to touch the feet of that holy saint. He got up with an aching heart and sat near the farthest end of the room. Sri Ramakrishna enquired who they were and put some questions regarding them. He talked to them for some time and in the course of the conversation said, "You remain in this world like the Pankal fish. There is nothing wrong in staying at home. The Pankal fish lives in clay but is not soiled by it; similarly you remain at home but be careful that the dirt of Samsara does not stain your mind." This piece of advice at once went home, as Nagmahashaya was all the while agitated by this very thought. It amazed him and he gazed at the Master, whereupon Sri Ramakrishna asked him, "Why do you look in that fashion?" Nagmahashaya replied, "I had a great desire to see you and am now satisfying myself." After some time Sri Ramakrishna told them to go to Panchavati to meditate a little there. Suresh and Nagmahashaya returned to Sri Ramakrishna after meditating for about half an hour. The Master afterwards took them round the temples. Sri Ramakrishna went ahead, while Suresh and Nagmahashaya followed him.

Close to Sri Ramakrishna's room are the twelve Siva temples; upon entering each of these temples, Sri Ramakrishna went round the Deity and bowed down to Him. Nagmahashaya followed suit. But Suresh, being of Brahmo faith, did not have any regard for the images of God, and he only observed all this silently. Then there was the Vishnu temple. Here also Sri Ramakrishna did as before and then proceeded towards the Mother's temple. As soon as Sri Ramakrishna entered the Mother's temple, he became quite a changed man. He was filled with emotion and was trembling. It seemed that he forgot himself. He went round and round the Mother several times, just as an unruly child does, holding one end of its mother's cloth. He then bowed down and touched the feet of Siva and Sakti with his head and returned to his room. His living faith and wonderfully childlike dependence as revealed in his acts in the shrine, evoked in Nagmahashaya a feeling of veneration for Sri Ramakrishna, and he was spell-bound to see such great purity, holiness and devotion. At about 5 o'clock in the evening, when Suresh and Nagmahashaya took leave of Sri Ramakrishna, he asked them to come again, remarking that frequent visits would bring them close. Then they departed.

On his way home Nagmahashaya was occupied with the thought of Sri Ramakrishna's personality. Was he a sage or a saint or a higher being? This thought agitated him, and his meeting with Sri Ramakrishna fanned the flames of devotion in his excited mind. The experiences of that memorable day, we are told, left an indelible impression in his mind, and a burning desire for God realization came upon him. He was almost mad with it. He cared neither for sleep nor for food, and he desisted from talking to others. He would talk on Sri Ramakrishna alone with Suresh.

Next week both the friends visited Sri Ramakrishna again. As soon as the Master saw Nagmahashaya in that frantic mood, he attained the state of Bhava and said, "You have done well to come here. I am waiting for you all." Then he made Nagmahashaya sit by him and in words of love and affection spoke to him: "Be of good cheer, my child! Have no fear about your spiritual advancement. You have already attained to a very exalted state." Today also he asked them to meditate on the Panchavati. Sometime after they had gone there, Sri Ramakrishna went to them and asked Nagmahashaya to prepare a chillum of tobacco for him. When Nagmahashaya had gone for it, Sri Ramakrishna told Suresh, "He (Nagmahashaya) is verily a blazing fire!" On Nagmahashaya's return with the chillum, Sri Ramakrishna ordered him, one after another, to get his towel, spice-bag and jug, and fetch water in it and so forth. With a mingled feeling of joy and sorrow Nagmahashaya carried out his orders; for although he was given an opportunity to serve his Master, yet he recalled to his mind the event of the first day of his meeting, which aggrieved him much.

Nagmahashaya again visited Sri Ramakrishna. This time he was alone. The Master, as on previous occasions, attained Bhava. He stood up from his seat and muttered something. Seeing him in that state, Nagmahashaya became terrified. Sri Ramakrishna then told him, "Well, you are a medical man. Please examine my legs and see what is there." When Nagmahashaya heard him talking in a normal voice, he was greatly relieved. He touched his feet, examined them well and said that he found nothing there. Sri Ramakrishna again asked him to examine them more carefully. Now Nagmahashaya touched the Master's feet with more enthusiasm and felt how the Guru removes the wants and difficulties of the disciple. A small act of charity on the part of the Guru makes a true disciple feel that as an extremely gracious act of love towards him. And what to speak of such a devotee as Nagmahashaya! His grief over the Master not allowing him to touch his feet on his first visit was now assuaged, and he considered himself blessed, now that he was given the privilege of doing so. Tears trickled down his cheeks and he placed those long desired feet on his head and heart. Blessed are the souls that know the relation between the Guru and the disciple, for they shall see God! About this time Nagmahashaya was convinced that Sri Ramakrishna was God-incarnate. Being questioned how he could know this, he said, "After my going to Sri Ramakrishna for a few days, I came to know through His Grace that Sri Ramakrishna was Narayana personified and He was having His Lila in secret at Dakshineswar." He then remarked, "No one can realize Him unless blessed by Him. Even austere penances for a thousand years will be of no avail to realize Him, if He does not show mercy."

Another day Nagmahashaya went to see Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar. When he reached there, he saw the Master taking rest after his meal. It was the month of May and the day was very sultry. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to fan him and then went to sleep. Nagmahashaya fanned him long and his hands became tired but he could not stop without the Master's permission. He consequently continued the task but his hands became very heavy and he could not hold the fan any longer. Just then Sri Ramakrishna caught hold of his hand and took the fan. Referring to this incident, Nagmahashaya said, "His sleep was not like that of ordinary persons. He could always remain awake. Excepting God, this state is not attainable for any aspirant or even a Siddha."

On one occasion, Sri Ramakrishna asked the disciple what he thought of him (Sri Ramakrishna). In reply Nagmahashaya said, "Through Thy grace have I known that Thou art God." On hearing this, Sri Ramakrishna attained Samadhi and placed his right foot on Nagmahashaya's chest. The disciple at once felt a peculiar change within himself; he saw a Divine Light which, penetrating the animate and the inanimate objects, overflowed heaven and earth. Later, while expressing his ideas in regard to Sri Ramakrishna, he would say, "There is no necessity for praying to him for anything. He is Kalpataru. He will fulfill one's desires as he knows one's mind. Since the advent of Sri Ramakrishna, there has been a deluge which will carry everything away. He is the full manifestation of the Lord and hitherto such a unique reconciliation of religions was not demonstrated by any other Incarnation."

It was at Dakshineswar that Nagmahashaya became acquainted with Swami Vivekananda, then called Naren. He was one day seated in Sri Ramakrishna's room before the Master himself, when Naren entered the room uttering 'Shivoham Shivoham.' Sri Ramakrishna pointed to Nagmahashaya and told Naren, "He (Nagmahashaya) is really selfless. He does not feign it." Narendra replied, "Yes, you may say so, it cannot be otherwise." The two disciples now began to converse.

Nagmahashaya: Everything happens at the will of the Mother. She is the Universal Will itself. She does Her work but men think that they do it.

Naren: I do not accept what you say, this He or She. I am the man, in Me is the universe. In Me it rises, floats and then dissolves.

Nagmahashaya: You have not the power even to change one black hair white! What to say of the universe! Without the will of God, not a blade of grass moves!

Naren: Without My will, the sun and the moon cannot move. At My will the universe goes on like a machine.

Sri Ramakrishna was hearing them. He told Nagmahashaya with a smile, "Well, Naren can say so. He is like a sword unsheathed. It is not presumptuous on his part to say so." Hearing this from Sri Ramakrishna Nagmahashaya bowed down to Naren and remained silent. Since then he believed that Naren was no human being but Siva Himself, incarnated for the Lila of Sri Ramakrishna. Once Nagmahashaya was asked if he had seen any 'free soul.' Nagmahashaya at once replied, "I have seen Sri Ramakrishna, who was the liberator of souls, and I have also seen his foremost disciple Swami Vivekananda who was the Incarnation of Siva." Indeed his was the faith that could move mountains. He would accept whatever Sri Ramakrishna said as the gospel truth. To him even what Sri Ramakrishna said in jest had a profound significance. He would say, "I was a fool. How could I know Him!" It so happened that Nagmahashaya one day heard his Master telling one of his devotees, "Well, it is very difficult for doctors, lawyers and brokers to realize religious truths." The Master specially made mention of doctors and said, "If the mind clings to the tiny drops of medicine, how can one conceive of the great Being?" About this time, Nagmahashaya used to feel disturbed during meditation as the images of his patients would flash across his mind. He, therefore, thought that the advice was meant for him. He then and there decided that he should not take to any calling which would be an obstacle to the realization of God. He returned home and that very day threw his medicine box and his medical books into the Ganges. After this he took his bath in the river and came back to his house.

Dindayal came to know that Nagmahashaya had given up his medical profession. He was much concerned and at once came down to Calcutta to request Messrs. Pals to employ his son in his place. The son was employed and the father left Calcutta for good. Nagmahashaya had not much work to do. Only now and then he had to go to Baghbazar or Kidderpore canals for his duties. He now found ample time and opportunity to visit Dakshineswar. He also began to prolong his period of meditation. In his house there was a nice clean place near which was kept a jar of Ganges water. He would sit there and meditate for long hours.

When he was going to Baghbazar for his office work, he would find out a solitary place in some garden and would sit there for meditation. One day he had some exalted realization, about which he informed his friend Suresh the next day, remarking that he had never before experience such bliss.

The more he went to the Master, the more he caught the spirit of renunciation. He wished to renounce the world and went to Dakshineswar to get his Master's permission. Upon entering the Master's room he heard the Master saying in a state of Bhava, "What harm is there in remaining as a householder? Only keep the mind fixed upon God. The life of a householder is like fighting from within the fortress." O God! He, who roused in him this consuming fire of renunciation, is now directing him to remain a householder like king Janaka! The Master further remarked: "Your life will set up a true ideal for the householders." The disciple had nothing to do but to obey. Later, Nagmahashaya would say, "What came out from the Master's lips could not in any way be violated by anybody. In a few words he would hit off the tendency of a man and put him on the way to the realization of the Ideal."

Nagmahashaya obeyed the command of the Master but his mind was greatly agitated. In his mind he could not come to a settlement. He was in a fix. Day and night he began to pray to God and would utter with a sigh, "O Lord, my God!" Now he would roll in dust, now fall on thorny plants and receive injuries. He had no inclination for food. If Suresh would forcibly feed him, he would eat; otherwise he would not. There was no knowing where he would be; sometimes he would return home at 2 o'clock in the morning. Even the little work that he had to do could not be now done by him. Ranjit Hazra, with him Nagmahashaya had just then become acquainted, was an honest man though poor; he acted as a representative of Nagmahashaya in case the latter could not go out for his work.

Just then Nagmahashaya had to go to this native village for a short time. His wife was extremely affected to see her husband in that state. She understood that her husband had not the least desire for a householder's life. Nagmahashaya also made it plain to her that having dedicated himself once to Sri Ramakrishna, it was not possible for him to do anything worldly for the family.

Indeed, after his last meeting with Sri Ramakrishna, every vestige of worldly inclinations disappeared from his mind. A minor incident may be mentioned here to show his mental condition at the time. His sister had grown a gourd plant in the garden. It so happened that one day a certain neighbour of his tied a cow near the plant. The rope used was too short to allow the animal to reach the plant in spite of its repeated efforts to get at it. Nagmahashaya noticed her fruitless attempts, and whether his heart was moved to pity for the poor creature, or was filled with devotion for the sacred animal -- it is difficult to say -- he came to the spot and untied the string of the cow, saying, "Mother, eat." The cow fell to eating to her heart's content. Dindayal saw all this from a distance and was quite amazed at the conduct of his son. It was too much for the old man; he remonstrated with him, saying, "You do not yourself earn anything for the family; now, instead of doing any good turn to the family, how dare you cause such a loss to it? You have given up your medical profession. How will you keep the wolf away from the door?"

Nagmahashaya replied, "You need not be anxious on that score. The Lord will see to it whatever happens." Dindayal rejoined, "O, that I know quite well! Naked you will have to roam and feed upon frogs!"

Without saying a word, Nagmahashaya at once put off his loin cloth, and brought a dead frog that was lying in the courtyard. While eating the frog, he told his father, "Now, I have fulfilled both your commands. Pray, never think any more about the maintenance of the family. You take the name of the Lord and tell your beads. I beseech you, I entreat you not to think of anything worldly in your old age." Dindayal thought that his son must have gone mad, and so asked his daughter-in-law not to do anything henceforth against his will.

So long as Nagmahashaya remained in his native place, he would not give any occasion to his father to think of the family or anything worldly. He would always read out to him from different religious books and would rebuke the persons who came to gossip with his father. He used to tell them that they should not raise any worldly topic before him, else they should not go to his house.

When Nagmahashaya returned to Calcutta, Suresh asked him about his father, to which Nagmahashaya replied sorely, "If a man has even once tasted the fruits of this poison tree of the world, he is doomed forever. There is no escape without the grace of Mahamaya!" And then deeply moved with compassion for his father, he began to sob and cry out. "Glory to Sri Ramakrishna! Glory to Sri Ramakrishna! Extend Thy grace, O Lord, to my father!" Afterwards coming to himself, he spoke to Suresh that his father would still think of worldly things, although he was old and infirm and unable even to go out anywhere. He said that his father would not miss an opportunity to talk about worldly things, if any neighbour happened to visit him.

When he next saw Sri Ramakrishna after his return from the native place, he complained to the Master saying, "Sir, how is it that I have not got yet that complete self-surrender to the Lord? Why is it that I am not able to overcome the impulse to rely on self-effort?" Sri Ramakrishna gently replied, pointing to his own self, "If you have devotion for 'this', everything will come to you automatically." Nagmahashaya used to say, "Man has no power whatsoever. Whatever the Lord wills, He gets it done through him. Sri Ramakrishna could mould the minds of men in any shape he liked. Can man do it?"

Noticing Nagmahashaya's strong spirit of renunciation, and his desire to take to monastic life, Sri Ramakrishna told him once again, "Continue to be a householder and remain in your own home. Somehow or other the family will get its bare maintenance, you won't have to worry for it."

Nagmahashaya: How can one remain in the home? How can one remain unmoved even at the sight of others' sufferings and troubles?

Sri Ramakrishna: Well, I tell you, take my word. Nothing can taint you, even if you remain a householder. Men will wonder to see your life.

Nagmahashaya: How should I pass my days as a householder?

Sri Ramakrishna: You have not to do anything; only be always in the company of pious men.

Nagmahashaya: How am I to distinguish a pious man, unintelligent as I am?

Sri Ramakrishna: Oh no, you have not to search for them. You remain in your own house, and the truly pious men will of their own accord come to you.

As days passed, Nagmahashaya began to feel that there was no chance of his attaining to spiritual perfection so long as he considered work for the support of his family as his main concern in life. So he made up his mind to hand over his dispatching work to his friend Ranjit and devote his whole attention to meditation. One day he took the opportunity of broaching the matter to Messrs. Pal Brothers. Pals asked him how he would maintain himself in that case. Nagmahashaya replied gently, "What Ranjit would kindly give me in charity, with that I shall try somehow to make both ends meet."

Messrs. Pals understood that it was impossible for Nagmahashaya any more to do anything for the family. So they thought that they must provide some means for the upkeep of the family that was so long maintained by them. They sent for Ranjit and, having settled with him that half of the profit of his business must be given to Nagmahashaya as his share, gave him the charge of the dispatching work. Ranjit knew Nagmahashaya's temperament. He would never give him all his dues lest he should spend away the whole money. After meeting Nagmahashaya's messing expenses, Ranjit used to send the balance to Dindayal by post. When Sri Ramakrishna came to know of this arrangement, he exclaimed, as if in joy, "That's all right! That's all right!"

Freed from all anxieties, Nagmahashaya now plunged into more austere religious practices, and became a more constant visitor to Sri Ramakrishna. Hitherto he did not go to him on Sundays or holidays, as men of light and learning, whom he thought he was unworthy to talk to, would be visiting the Master on those days. But now that he was a frequent visitor, he became acquainted with some of those people.

One night Girish, accompanied by two of his friends, went to Dakshineswar, and upon entering Sri Ramakrishna's room, saw a man sitting in one corner with folded palms in great humility and devotion. He looked shabby and emaciated, but his eyes were bright and powerful. Sri Ramakrishna introduced him to Girish and since that auspicious moment, Nagmahashaya and Girish were fast friends.

Nagmahashaya very often went out for a walk on the banks of the Ganges. One day he met a bright looking young man. Nagmahashaya took him at once for a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and, having questioned him on that point, found out that he was not wrong in his guess. He was Swami Turiyananda (then known as Harinath). While speaking of his austere practice of Brahmacharya, Nagmahashaya used to remark, "But for this, how could he become a fit receptacle for the Master's grace?"

From about this time, Nagmahashaya gave up completely the using of shirts or shoes. But he always used to keep his body covered with an ordinary wrapper. He observed no hard and fast rules with regard to his food; for the Master had told him not to follow any such rules saying, "Whatever you get through the grace of the Lord, live on that. For you, there is no need of any injunction. It will not affect you." Ordinarily he used to eat very little and that at the close of the day. He would musingly remark, "As long as there is this body, the tax must be paid." In order to control the desire for tasty things -- the craving for the pleasure of the tongue, as he would say -- he would not flavor his dishes with sugar or salt.

It has been already mentioned that Nagmahashaya had let a portion of his house to one Kirtivash. The latter lived there with his family and used to deal in rice. Sometimes a lot of bran used to accumulate in his house. Nagmahashaya once thought that he should live on that bran. He argued with himself: It is enough if I keep my body and soul together somehow. Where is the need for tasty dishes? He ate the bran, mixing it with water only. He lived on that for two days; but when Kirtivash came to know about it, he sold away the whole lot of bran, and from that day he never allowed any more of it to gather in his house. Nagmahashaya later remarked that he did not feel in any way uncomfortable by eating the bran. On the other hand, he felt more light and brisk. He further remarked, "If I am to think day and night of my food only, when am I to think of God and when am I to do my devotional practices? Constant thinking of the qualities of food produces a kind of mania in man."

Kirtivash highly respected Nagmahashaya for his saintly character, and if any beggar came to Nagmahashaya for a handful of rice and Nagmahashaya could not satisfy him, Kirtivash would at once help him in the matter. We are told that, Nagmahashaya's house being situated on a main road, a multitude of beggars would visit his house daily, and none returned empty-handed. One day an old Vaishnava came to Nagmahashaya for alms. But Nagmahashaya had nothing at that time for him except a little quantity of rice just sufficient for one meal. Kirtivash also was not at home then. Nagmahashaya came to the beggar and with great humility told him that he had not in his house much to give that day except a little quantity of rice and asked him supplicatingly if he would accept the rice only. The old man was surprised to see his loving regard and went away with the rice in great admiration.

Nagmahashaya never took any sort of refreshment. He would not even touch any sweets not offered to God. He used to say that it would create 'a craving for the pleasure of the tongue.' Although he himself never took any kind of tasty food, he was ever ready to feed others well.

Nagmahashaya would not talk of worldly things, and if any one brought in a topic of the kind in his presence, he would cleverly turn off the conversation, and say, "Glory to Sri Ramakrishna! Why this topic today! Pray, take the name of the Lord, take the name of the Mother!" If for some reason or other Nagmahashaya would have a feeling of hatred or anger towards any one, he would beat his own body mercilessly with anything that he could get hold of. He would not speak ill of others, nor would he speak anything against any one. Once by chance there came out from his lips some bad remark against somebody. Next moment, he picked up a stone that was lying by and began to strike his own head with it. Blood oozed out from the lacerated part and the wound took more than a month to heal up. But he said, "Rightly served, the wicked man should have his punishment!"

In order to subdue the passions, he would abstain from food; sometimes he would remain fasting for five or six days together without taking even water. For example on one occasion, Suresh went to see Nagmahashaya. He was at the time cooking his meals. Perhaps some undesirable feeling had arisen in his heart at the sight of Suresh and at once he broke down the cooking pot. He wept in anguish and bowed down to Suresh and said, "Still I am not free from wickedness!" That day he remained without any cooked rice for his food, and lived on a pice worth of puffed-rice only.

Owing to his chronic headache, Nagmahashaya had to give up bathing, and for the last twenty years of his life he clung to this habit. That gave him a dry, ragged appearance. Moreover there was his severe Tapas. All these combined, made the humility of his soul visibly manifest in every part of his body, and he looked the very emblem of humility. Girish Babu used to say of him, "By constant beating, Nagmahashaya had the head of his ego completely broken. It was unable to raise its hood anymore." While walking on the public roads he would not go ahead of anybody, and even to the common waifs and strays of the road, he would make way and follow them humbly., He would not even tread on the shadow of any person, nor sit on the bed occupied by another. For was he not a devoted servant of the Lord? And the Lord is in all beings. How could a servant accept service from his master? But the devoted servant in him was always ready to serve the Master humbly in whatever form or dress He might choose to appear before him. If anybody would prepare a chillum of tobacco for him, he would not smoke it, but he prepared chillum for all. When any of his friends visited him he used to offer him tobacco, chillum after chillum, and would also smoke himself. Even when the friend would like to depart, he would not let him go, but request him to smoke some more chillum. He used to say, "I am so low, lower than the lowest. I have no capacity for any great work. If by preparing chillums for you all, I can have your grace, I shall feel my life really blessed."

Though a highly advanced aspirant to whom Raga Bhakti had become natural, Nagmahashaya was not averse to the disciplines of Vaidhi Bhakti. As he himself did hard penance, he advised others also to do the same. Once he had a long discussion with Suresh on this point. Suresh was to go to Quetta on some business after he had visited Sri Ramakrishna with Nagmahashaya for eight or nine days. Before he left Calcutta, Nagmahashaya entreated Suresh to take initiation from the Master. But Suresh had no faith in the efficacy of Mantrams at that time, and so argued much with Nagmahashaya. At last it was settled that he would do what the Master would bid him. Next day both of them went to Dakshineswar and as soon as they took their seat, Nagmahashaya raised the topic of Suresh's initiation. Sri Ramakrishna said, "Well, what he says is perfectly right. One should take initiation and then commence his devotional practices. Why don't you agree with him?" Suresh replied, "I have no faith in the Mantram." Turning to Nagmahashaya, Sri Ramakrishna said, "However he does not require it just now. But he will get it sometime afterwards."

When Suresh had gone and been at Quetta for some time, he felt a great hankering for initiation. He resolved to come to Calcutta and take his initiation from the Master. But when he came there, alas! the Light of Dakshineswar was about to flicker out. Suresh repented bitterly of not having heeded to Nagmahashaya's words in time. When Sri Ramakrishna passed away, he was in great grief and cursed his own fate. Since then every night he used to repair to the bank of the Ganges and sigh out his mental agony to the spirit of the holy river. Once he laid himself down on the bank with an austere vow. The whole night he was in the same posture. To his great astonishment, early in the morning before daybreak he saw Sri Ramakrishna coming out of the waters of the Ganges and approaching towards him. The Master came near him and uttered the holy Mantram into his ear. Suresh bowed down and wanted to take the dust from His feet, but lo! the holy figure had vanished!

Four years had passed away since Nagmahashaya first met Sri Ramakrishna. The time was fast approaching, when the Master would end his Lila on earth. Those joyous days of Dakshineswar were past. Though the glorious light of the setting sun was still lingering in the sky, the coming night had cast a forward shadow and gloom in the hearts of the devotees. Sri Ramakrishna was lying ill bed-ridden in a garden-house at Cossipore, north of Calcutta. Nagmahashaya knew that the Mother's play through the body of Sri Ramakrishna would soon pass out of sight. At that time Nagmahashaya could not visit the Master often. "What to speak of seeing his sufferings, even the very thought of them was enough to break my heart. Oh, I could not bear the sight of the Master's sufferings! When I found that he, out of his own will, allowed the disease to remain in his body and I could not alleviate his sufferings, I made up my mind not to go near him. Only very rarely I used to go and see him." While Sri Ramakrishna was suffering from a burning sensation all over his body, one day finding Nagmahashaya before him, he exclaimed, "Oh, come here, come, sit by me. I shall feel much relieved by the cool touch of your body." So saying Sri Ramakrishna sat within the embrace of Nagmahashaya for a long time.

When Suresh went to see Sri Ramakrishna after his return from Quetta, the Master said, "Where is that doctor? I hear, he knows medicine; please ask him to come here once." Suresh came and informed Nagmahashaya of it. In obedience to the commandment Nagmahashaya went to Cossipore. Sri Ramakrishna told him, "Oh, you have come, that's all right. The doctors and Kavirajas have given up hope of curing the disease. Do you know any charm to cure diseases? Just see, if you can effect any cure." Bending his head low Nagmahashaya thought for a while and then made a firm resolve to draw by his strong will-power, the fatal disease from the body of Sri Ramakrishna into that of his own. Suddenly a kind of abnormal excitement took possession of him and he cried out, "Yes, yes, I do know. Through Thy grace I know everything. This moment the disease can be cured." So saying, Nagmahashaya hastened towards Sri Ramakrishna. But the Master knew the disciple. He understood his motive, and warding him off from himself, remarked, "Yes, that is possible for you. You can cure the disease." The Master was a great mystery and equally mysterious was the disciple!

Nagmahashaya went for the last time to see Sri Ramakrishna some five or six days before his passing away. As soon as he entered the room, he heard the Master saying, "Can Amalakee be had now? My taste has become so flat for everything! I think it can be removed if I could chew one Amalakee." Of the devotees present there, somebody said, "Sir, this is not the season for Amalakee. Where can we get it now?" Nagmahashaya thought that when the word Amalakee came out of the holy lips of the Master, it was sure to be had somewhere. For, he knew that whatever the Master wished for was sure to come to him somehow. Once Sri Ramakrishna desired to taste an orange and he was saying about it to Swami Adbhutananda. And strangely enough, Nagmahashaya, though he had no knowledge about the Master's desire, came to Dakshineswar that very day with oranges for the Master, who ate one with great relish. Remembering this incident, Nagmahashaya, without informing anybody, went away in search of Amalakee fruits. Two days passed away but Nagmahashaya did not turn up. These days he was busy searching for the fruit, constantly wandering from garden to garden. On the third day he appeared before Sri Ramakrishna with one Amalakee fruit in hand. The Master's joy knew no bounds. Being overjoyed like a child, he said: "Ah, what a beautiful Amalakee it is! How could you get it at this time of the season?" The Master then asked Swami Ramakrishnananda to prepare a meal for Nagmahashaya. Nagmahashaya then took his seat by the Master and began to fan him. The food was ready; but Nagmahashaya did not get up. Only when Sri Ramakrishna had asked him to go down and take his food, did he get up from the seat and go down. He took his seat but did not touch the meal. All requested him to take his food but Nagmahashaya remained silent. It was Ekadashi -- the day of fasting. But his real intention was that if Sri Ramakrishna kindly gave him Prasadam he would break his vow, though he did not open his mind to anybody. When Nagmahashaya would not touch the food by any means, Ramakrishnananda informed the Master about it. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to bring the food before him. It was done. Swami Ramakrishnananda held the plate of leaf before the Master who took a little from all the dishes, touched them with his tongue, and said, "Now go and give it to him; he will eat." Swami Ramakrishnananda brought down the plate and spread it again before Nagmahashaya. "Prasadam, Prasadam, holy Prasadam!" Nagmahashaya exclaimed and prostrated himself before the plate, and then he ate it. While eating the food, he devoured also the leaf on which the food was served. If anything was given to him as Prasadam, he would leave nothing of it. Swami Ramakrishnananda remarked that a kind of religious fervour of a high order was visibly manifested in Nagmahashaya on that day. After this incident the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna never used to serve Nagmahashaya any Prasadam on leaves. If by accident he was given Prasadam on leaves, all would wait upon him very cautiously, so that as soon as he had finished the meal, they might snatch away the leaf from him. When they gave him any fruit, they took out the stones lest he should devour them.

In the year 1293 B.S., on the 31st, the last day of the month of Sravana (August 16, 1886), Sri Ramakrishna passed away. Having got the news, Nagmahashaya went to the cremation ground, and coming back from there he remained the whole day without any food or drink. After the passing away of the Master, all devotees gathered round Swami Vivekananda. He became their leader and guide, and he used to look after the welfare of all. The news was brought to him that Nagmahashaya was lying down in his house, taking no food and covering himself with a blanket. Swamiji went to the house of Nagmahashaya with Swamis Akhandananda and Turiyananda. After much entreaty Nagmahashaya got up from his bed. Swamiji said, "Well, we have come here today to beg our meals from you." Nagmahashaya immediately went to the market to buy things for them. Meanwhile the three guests had finished their bath. Then they took their seats on a broken cot and began talking about Sri Ramakrishna with Nagmahashaya. Three seats were made ready and food was served. At the request of Swamiji food was served on an extra plate. Swamiji then entreated Nagmahashaya to sit and take his food with them. But Nagmahashaya did not agree. Swamiji said, "All right. He will take afterwards." After they had finished their food, Swamiji again requested Nagmahashaya to break his fast. But he said, "Alas! even now, the grace of the Lord has not been vouchsafed to me! Should I give food to this body? No, I should not." Swamiji said, "No sir, you must take your food; otherwise, we won't leave you." After much entreaty Nagmahashaya took his food that day.

After the passing away of the Master, the renowned devotee Sriyut Balaram Basu of Baghbazar, Calcutta, pressed Nagmahashaya to live at Puri. He was also requested by Messrs. Pals to dwell at Navadwipa. Both of them agreed to bear all his expenses. But Nagmahashaya said, "The Master asked me to remain at home. I have not the least power to deviate an inch from his order." Disregarding the request of every one and holding the commandment of the Master above all, he went back to his native village and lived there.

Even then, the Kundoos of Bhagyakul requested him to be their family physician on a monthly salary of Rs. 50. But Nagmahashaya declined to accept their kind offer.