The Mother Divine
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By Prof. Monoj Kumar Chattopadhyay
(Originally published in The Mother, 1980)

I have been asked by one of the editors of "The Mother” to write something on Sri Sri Thakur Sitaramdas Omkarnathji Maharaj. In the nature of a homage on the occasion of his eighty-fourth birthday, but a pertinent question arises in my mind in this connection: to whom shall I tender my homage? He on whom words of homage have been asked of me is above everything in this world—he is indescribable, incomprehensible and inscrutable—beyond the pale of words, mind and speech. He is, to the present writer, Purna Brahma Narayana—Supreme God Himself, manifested in human form. I am not saying all this out of ecstatic devotion of a disciple to his Guru or preceptor; I do not believe that I am Indulging in hyperbole as I make this statement; I am merely stating a truth which has dawned in me in course of the varied experiences that I have come to acquire through numerous events and incidents in the rough and tumble of daily life and its struggle for existence. My conviction therefore flows not from "airy nothing" but from solid concrete facts which it has been my privilege to be acquainted with after the period of my initiation at the lotus feet of the Master about 20 years ago.
Our Master is a vast mystery, the more I think of him, the more I am reminded of the last stanza of the poem entitled "Himalayastaka” composed by the celebrated Bengali poet, Satyendranath Dutta. In that noble poem, poet Satyendranath while tendering his homage to that great holy mountain, a silent witness of the past and an abode of the God, has begged of it forgiveness for his inability to render Into metrical form its glory and majesty—a task in which, he believes, even poets like Valmikl and Kalidasa may be said to have failed:




My feelings are also similar to the feelings which find an echo in the lines quoted above. How can I therefore, a man of Earth, engaged in earthly activities which consume all my energies, speak about a man of God—one of the divine Incarnations who have ever trodden the soil of Aryavarta, the Courtyard of Vaikuntha and given direction and purpose to the lives of its countless inhabitants by pushing them towards the path of Satya, Siva and Sundara. To attempt to convey even a fraction of the spiritual grandeur of this mighty soul this child of Light is beyond the powers of the limited intellect of a tiny creature like me. Conception is bound to be feeble here, language an inadequate vehicle for expressing the thoughts that flit through the mind and struggle to escape. Truly speaking, our Master is inexhaustible—he has no limit, no end—is absolutely without a peer. He alone is his own example. A glance at his horoscope which even reveals his unusualness, shows that in it Sukra (Venus) is ascendant (Tungastha), Brihaspati (Jupiter) is in own house ( Mina ), Budha (Mercury ) is in the eleventh house and that Mangala (Mars) exists in the ninth house (I.e. the house of Dharma). According to the astrologers, such unique combination of the planets is to be met with only in the horoscope of Sri Chaitanya.

So far as I have understood it Sri Sri Thakur's descent on this world is not an easy and ordinary affair. Such descents do not occur frequently—they occur at long intervals. When the world seems to lose its balance, i.e. when the forces of evil are in the ascendant and the forces of good are drooping and despondent, seers of truth as well as of a new age are sent on earth to restore this balance and lead men to the city of God. A Godward endeavour of the human spirit is the natural consequence of the descent of such a soul on this troubled and tortuous planet. Here lies the significance of the advent of Sri Sri Thakur Sitaram who has made God vivid and real by bringing Him within the reach of many ardent souls thirsting for life-giving spiritual waters. A saint or a yogi simply cannot do this; it is only an avatar or incarnation who can make others see God and create hundreds of yogis by his mere magic touch only.

At this point it is necessary to emphasis the difference between an avatar and a saint. A saint may be compared to a small boat that somehow manages to cross the sea but an incarnation is like a big ship that can take many passengers across the water. A saint is a small flower with a drop of honey, an incarnation is a honey comb—all sweetness. A saint may be compared to an archaeologist who, while exploring an old city, discovers a fountain covered by dirt. When the dirt is removed, the water, which is already there, gushes forth. An Incarnation is like an engineer, who can sink a well even in the desert and bring out water. Sri Sri Thakur, it may be noted, fully answers to the description of an incarnation as sketched in the lines above. Attaining to spiritual vision not by tremendous effort but by grace, he has helped many a struggling soul, transmitted his wonderful personality to many, redeemed many a sinner by his soothing touch and, like a skilful engineer, "sunk welts" even in many spiritually arid wastelands and struck gushing life-giving waters. The milk, it is well-known, comes through the udder of a cow. The Incarnation is the udder through which the milk of divine help and compassion flows to the benighted world of ours. This is service in the highest sense. Through the supreme act of tremendous service rendered by such Jivanmuktas, who are never tainted by Ego in their actions or inactions, the blazing love of God takes the soul of man by storm and opens up before his dazed eyes the undreamt of treasures of his own inner being. Who can measure the amount of suffering a Jivanmukta sucks from the body of this ailing world by this one flaming kiss of service? This divine compassion for man, this deep concern to lift man from the mire of sorrow and suffering is the sovereign quality of Sitaram's spirituality as it is that of Ramakrishna's spirituality. To the lowliest and the lost, his love and sympathy are unbounded and to none would he say, "Oh, you are beyond redemption, beyond the Lord's grace." According to him, the wind of the Lord's grace is always blowing. All that a sinner should do is to unfurl his own sails. A transforming selfless friend in every sense is our beloved Master with warm sympathies for erring humanity. On this role of a Jivan-mukta the great sage Shankaracharya has said:

To relieve suffering of others unasked
Is the natural propensity of supermen
Just as the Moon soothes the Earth
Scorched by the burning rays of the Sun.

Like spring delighting mankind blooming forth unasked for, a Jivan-mukta saint, after himself crossing the turbulent ocean of mundane affairs, stays behind only to pilot others without any interest of his own. This ideal of Jivanmukta sannyasin, who is always in a global mood intent on "Sarva-bhootahita", the perfection and welfare of all—spirituality on a mass scale, is mirrored in the divine life of Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath who is a synthesis of three great seers of India—Buddha, Shankara and Ramanuja. The heart of Buddha meets in him with the penetrating intellect of Shankara, supplemented by the religious emotion of Ramanuja. Like Buddha, our Master also is an avatar of prema to approach whom is to be drenched through and through with his sheer love, a love that is boundless, infinite—a love that soothes and nourishes and chastens and exhilarates, a love that heals all the wounds and afflictions that we groan under. In his grey matted locks, he a coiled the eternal Ganga of prema which now flows quietly on in hundreds of streams of service in different parts of our country.

Sri Sri Thakur has been propagating the Tarak-Brahma Name to the people of this country as well as of foreign countries ever since he had the darshan of Lord Jagannath, who once appearing before him at Puri Dham, commanded him to preach the Divine Name. Since then he is engaged in his ceaseless mission of Naam Prachar (the dissemination of the Name ) and has been, like a hurricane, touring constantly throughout every creek and corner of this vast subcontinent, state to state, town to town, village to village as the case may be, on foot, by bullock cart, on motor truck, by bus, car or by rail. Shadow of annoyance never comes near him, languor is not in his heart and weariness is not on his brow. His whole life is a holocaust of the Supreme. He has descended on the earth as an Apostle of the Name to redeem the fallen and lost. His advent to this earthly planet has instilled courage and hope into the hearts of the most hardened criminals—born slaves of lust, anger, greed, intemperance and infatuation. All that they are required to do is to utter the Name and repeat it as often as they can—chant it loud and hum it within—repeat it when they stand or sit, work or walk or go to bed. If they can do this they will "find peace and conquer death," They will develop a new outlook. Nor all the dreary intercourse of daily life shall ever prevail against them, or disturb their cheerful faith that all which they behold is "full of blessing."

“The name and the bearer of the name are one
Chant the name, think of the name as the named
As thou chantest the Name there will be joy
In light and rapture conflicts will be solved
The upward move will take thee to the stage
Where the pure life in all its forms is lived.
The body will be thrilled and
tears will flow
In ecstasy says Sitaram, servant
of the Lord”

The Name will ultimately lead to Naad and Jyoti unstruck Primordial sound (Pranava) and Transcendental Light. Naad will finally dissolve Stream of Nectar (Sudhar- Dhara). Writes the Master in "Kalir Path" (the Path in Kali):— "That out of Sabda (or word ) creation emerged is distinctly mentioned in the Vedas. It is from Sabda that all come. That Sabda-Brahma, the Supreme that is Sabda, plays in the human body as Para in Muladhara, as Pasyanti at the navel, as Madhyama at the heart and as Vaikhari in the mouth When as a result of this chanting your tongue and throat are gratified, this very word arrives at the heart or Madhyama.   At this stage the body shivers and shakes, it has a thrill and the hair stands on end, the body is possessed and it seems as if it grows very large, the body sways to the left and right, forward and backward,   there is a creeping sensation through the spine. Numerous other symptoms appear, gradually Jyoti and Naad come, transcendental light and sound reveal themselves with the blazing of red,   blue, yellow, white and numerous other glaring lights within yourself, you find yourself immersed in the sea of bliss. Several hundred crores of Jyoti are there and several thousand crores of Naad. No one can ever succeed in enumerating all of them. The rumbling of the cloud, the roar of the sea, the hum of bees, the droning  of large black bees, the music of the flute, of the lute, of so many other stringed instruments, the sound of drum, of cymbal and so on—and many other kinds of Naad are there. It is impossible to draw a complete list. Jai Guru Naad, Guru Guru Naad, Soham Naad, Om Naad—these are parts of one's experience. When our Naad goes on continuously and unceasingly, without a moment's pause, one has no power to stop it or arrest its course. At the end one loses oneself in that Om Naad. Thus, the Master's exposition of the philosophy of the Name goes on.   It is not an academic description of the varieties of Naad and Jyoti that he gives us from time to time.   It has its basis in the personal realization of the Master and therefore gains in special strength and value. He himself has realized all that I have described here.  As an Apostle of the Name he stands in a class apart and it has special distinctiveness. The doctrine of the Name as enumerated by him! The Master's formulation of the concept of the Name has this unique feature that it resolves into Yoga, for the Name, according to him, brings for its chanter or reciter Naad and Jyoti—a fact not mentioned by his predecessors including Sri Chaitanya. In his numerous treatises the Master has shown that by chanting the Name only a man can attain to the heights of Yoga without even caring for it. He has therefore elevated the Name to a position which the Name probably never enjoyed at any time before. He has made for us a common platform where all irrespective of caste and creed, of competence and aptitude, can find equal accommodation. All of us Brahmin or Sudra, high or low, rich or poor can have access to that common platform that the Name is. The Name is the leveler of all distinctions.

It also solves the conflict of creeds and reconciles all warring sects. Since the Name of the Supreme occurs in this Tarak Brahma Nama it is acceptable to all schools and sects. The worshippers of Surya (i. e. the Sun God), Shakti ( i.e. the Divine Mother ), Ganapati ( God in the form of Ganesh ), Vishnu, Siva —each of these sects, which include in them spiritual seekers of every category and description—have no difficulty in swearing their allegiance to this Mahamantra. Each sect finds their own adored Deity mentioned in It.  "Krishna", "Rama" in the couplet will mean Siva for the Satvas, Shakti for the Shaktas, Surya for the Souras, Ganesh for the Ganapatyas, and Vishnu for the Vaishnavas. This unique interpretation of Taraka Brahma Nama is to be found in at least three books written by the Master namely, "Sri Sri Mahamantra Kalpataru", "'Sri Sri Mahamantra Samkirtan", and "Kalir Path".

The above discussion will, I think, establish the unique distinctive message of the Master as an Apostle of the Name and reveal his non-sectarian outlook. In his personal life, the Master has defied all our attempts to label him. He cannot be assigned to any category, for he is a preacher of harmony among different sects. Varieties of creeds exist in him and live side by side like loving brothers without any clash or conflict. Although a devout Vaishnava, he has written books and verses in praise of Lord Shiva extolling Him as the Supreme God (witness his "Sivanamamrita Lahari"), similarly he has also written an illuminating book entitled "Matrigatha" glorifying the Divine Mother as the Highest Deity, In the manner and style of a true Shakta. Another book of his, namely "Chokher Jale Mayer Puja", may also be cited as an example of his strong devotion and regard for Mother Durga, the Divine Mother. Indeed, very few minds are more universal than his. The Master, therefore, has placed  the theory of the Name on a stable philosophical basis. His interpretations on this are highly original. He is not a carbon copy or a tame, feeble imitator of other preachers of the Name who preceded him.

This essay will remain incomplete if no reference is made in it to Sri Sri Thakur's untiring efforts for the revival and recovery of our hoary Shastras which alone can guide us along correct paths and by deviating from which we are burning in the flames of diseases, afflictions and miseries. Amongst the many divine sport performed by the Master, that of salvaging and resuscitating the Shastras in which the wisdom of age lies enshrined and embedded is no less significant. According to Sri Sri Thakur the Shastras are the words of God, and if God exists, the Shastras also exist, and vice versa, if the Shastras do not exist, God also does not exist. When therefore, one longs to return to the centre of one's being, one has to follow the way prescribed in the Shastras. The Vedas, Vedanta, the Upanishads, Samkhya, Patanjal, Tantra and the Purnanas of India have told us the way to the bliss of the Infinite. In the little book, entitled "Varnashram Viplab" Sri Sri Thakur has unequivocally declared, "My Shastras, I do not know how to extol you. I have not been privileged to follow you in toto , but the little of you that I have observed has gratified me, I have been immersed in the sea of Bliss and have solemnly vowed that, until I die, as long as my tongue can utter a syllable, I shall declare with all emphasis at my command that the Shastras are true, the Shastras are infallible, one that will take refuge In the Shastras the Lord God Himself shall receive unto His bosom." To restore these Shastras to their honoured positions of pre-eminence which they once enjoyed in the past and to make the wisdom contained in them available to all and sundry and to exhort them to follow the way prescribed in them for their own benefit and welfare is the meaning and purpose of this Divine Descent. To disseminate the message of these Shastras, the Master has sponsored several monthly journals and magazines like "Arya Shastras", "Sanatan Shastras", "The Mother", "Devajan", "Paramananda" (Hindi), “Arya Nari", and a weekly like "Pather Alo", so that all those who come near him and are privileged to sit at his holy feet are enabled to share the banquet of the Infinite and taste the nectar of divine bliss. An unthinkable Divine Lila of a new order indeed, is our beloved Master, Sitaram, dedicated to the welfare of the world!