Following story is being translated from the Hindi writings of Shri SN Kahndelwal ji on his directions only, for sharing with all the readers and spreading the message of our saints in to the modern world. Please pardon me if there is any mistake. It has been taken from his book ‘Agyat Mahatama Prasang and Pandit Gopinath Kaviraj Patrawali’, published by Vishwavidyalaya Prakashan, Chowk, Varanasi.
Adept Tara Kshepa
Tara Kshepa, a Varendra Bengali Brahmin, took birth in the the Himalaya at a place called Brahpuri. He became disciple of great tantra practitioner and Guru Vamakshepa. His family lived in Rangpur in Bangladesh. His childhood name was Pramthesh. His father was Sr.Clerk in Garhwal. He did poojan of lord Amarnath and Batuk Bhairav as he did not get any son born to him. While doing spiritual practice the lord came to him and told him that he will be blessed with a son. IT was also conveyed to him him that his son will soon leave the house too. After this, Pramthesh was born. In the childhood only, his mother expired. During his teens on on 14th night of Shiv Chaturdashi, at the time of Mahanisha (great night) inside a Shiv temple he was given mantra in a dream. This caused great detachment in his mind from the world. After performance of the sacred ceremony on him, without telling any one he just left his house. He wandered from one sacred place to another searching for ultimate truth and freedom(मुक्ति). He learned Hath Yoga from Brahmanand Bharti in Haridwar. In very short time he became an adept in Asan, Mudra and Pranayam. He also studied Vedas, Vedanta, Jyotish (astrology) and 18 scriptures etc there. His face shone with great light and he was blessed with strong body. Though his attitude was quite tough but from inside he was soft like a lotus. At that time people addressed him as Taranath.
After sometime he traveled towards north and visited Anantnag, Peerpanjal, Gilgit etc performing austerities but he never found the ultimate peace for which he was searching. In Peerpanjal, lord Shiva in a dream told him to visit Amarnath Shrine. Thus in 1888, he proceeded towards Amarnath ji accompanied by Maheshchandra, a government employee. During those times the whole journey was very difficult but because of Maheshchandra all the arrangements were done in advance. They stayed in Chandanbari in a tent. Taranath stayed alone in one tent as in the presence of another occupant his mantra jap will get affected. After crossing Rakshastaal, reached Sheshnag. In Satya Yug, Rishi Bhrigu had darshan of Tushar-shivling here. He had sent serpent Takshak with a staff for its darshan. It is believed if you carry a staff too during Yatra to Amarnath ji, one does not face any obstruction and evil. Adi Shankaracharya also had its darshan. After a long time a sheep herder Mallik found the Amaranth cave. Third days trek was of 14 kms during which he got unwell and experienced difficulty in breathing. All the people accompanying him leaving him behind in a tent, continued on their yatra to Amarnath on full moon night.
At one time he swooned and felt that the Great Mother put her hand on his head and blessed him.He immediately got up, fever was gone. He tied a bael tree leave on his back and called a horse man and told him to take im to the Amarnath cave, 05 kms away from Panchtarni. The path was very difficult, cold winds were blowing and rains had spoiled the trek further. Neelganga was flowing on the left side down below and any kind of heedlessness will end in to falling way down into the river. Because of his great faith in the Mother, Taranath reached the shrine ahead of his co-travelers. After crossing 350 stairs he performed the poojan of lord Amarnath ji. From the roof of the shrine, water drops were trickling down and it was greatly auspicious to drink that nectar. After the darshan he returned but because of continuous undulating trek he got very much tired. On his way back he stayed in one cave. In that very cave, during meditation in the dark he saw his grand mother. After giving darshan she vanished. From there, he went to Trikut mountain for darshan of devi. There he saw many subtle beings. At the moment the whole mountain shuddered. He looked all around and saw a great man standing in space in front of him. He was wearing Rudraksh mala around his neck and his easy were alight with great power. With great happiness he pointed towards South-East and said ‘Vama, Veer Bhoom’. After saying this he vanished. When he meditated, on all that which has happened, he came to know the real meaning. He came back and met Maheshchander, a resident of Bardhman who was working on a senior position in the government office. The other person whom he met was Er.Gagan Chandra who was deployed in road making of Tibet. He described many stories of Vama Kshepa to Taranath. On hearing all the stories he became restless to meet him. He started from there but on the way had an accident and fell unconscious. With the help of local people and Maheshchander, he got well in 2 months. During his illness also he kept on listening to various stories of Vamakshepa from Mahesh. He got the information of a meeting in Delhi and he wanted to go there. But he heard a voice telling him do not go to Delhi, rather proceed to have great meeting instead (meaning journey to Tarapeeth). He took a train without wasting time and on the third day reached Veerbhum Mallarpur.
At this time he was fully well and strong after having the fresh air of Himalayas. He had a staff in his hand and a bag over his shoulder, in his feet he was wearing mountain shoes. For three days he did not eat anything, still with great speed he approached Tarapeeth. On the other hand, Vamakshepa told the temple poojaris that, today dada will come’. At that very moment Taranath reached there, after prostrating to the Mother he inquired about Vamakshepa. The poojari on first sight of Taranath, became scared but remembering words of Vamakshepa, with great respect took him to Vama, who was an ocean of affection. Aranath also offered Tarastotra in front of his Guru. Then he realized the voice which he heard for two times was actually Vamakshepas voice only. Vamakshepa told his disciple that you have not eaten for a few days so first have some food. With order of his Guru, Taranath ate offered food. At that very moment he let go of all his knowledge, Thoughts, intellect, ego and sat in front of Vamakshepa.
One Krishan Chaturdashi(14th night of waning moon) time there were five couples for chakra-anushthan. Taranath was made the chakreshwar (main conductor of chakra pooja) by Vamakshepa. As it went for long, other fell asleep. Vama took Tara to Mahashamshan (great cremation ground). It was a solar eclipse day. Whole atmosphere was quite horrifying with barking of dogs and howling of jackals. Many pretas were moving there without physical bodies. In that darkness, all of a sudden Shakuni birds on the trees in that started making dreadful sounds, on hearing which owls also made sounds and flew here and there among trees in the silence of the night. To sum it all one can say there was kingdom of dread all around. But Taranath was not at all affected by that atmosphere.On seeing such courage of Tara, Vama became very happy. He directed Tara to collect half burned wooden pieces from the pyres to remove all his past karmas. As he was coming back along with the collected wood, a big snake hissing ferociously stopped him on the path. As Taranath offered pranam to the snake, it slithered away and allowed him to pass.
The diksha which was to be provided to Taranath today, no Vaidik poojan material was required. Wood was set on fire, guru Vamakshepa sat facing South-East and disciple Taranth sat facing North-West. After completing many procedures, he was given a new name of Celibate Taranath. Thus, Taranath was given divine power and given knowledge in Mrit Sanjivani Vidya and Mahayog. Thus Tara was made a worth recipient. After this, he was sent to many places like Judanpur, Kapileshwar, Kamroop etc.for doing austerities. The Judanpur cremation ground is in Nadiya, which falls in between Devgram and Katoya. Chandeshwari devi resides here. Its bahirav is Chandeshwar. Here Sati’s head fell. As per Peeth Nirnaya Tantra, Bhairav of Kalighat is Krodhish and its bhairavi is Jaydurga. Less is know about it. It is around 144 kms from Calcutta and very few people come here due to paucity of conveyance. Scripture Shiv Charit call it a minor peeth or Up-peeth. After coming here, Taranath started his meditation but got distracted and saw a young girl carrying a pitcher descending on the ghat. As she went down to the bank of the river, a dead body floated towards her. As the girl tried to push away the dead body by pushing water with her hands, a light came out of the body and entered her.
Tara immediately left his meditation and ran towards the dead body while the girl started leaving after taking water in the pitcher. Taranath left following the body but started following that girl. After going a little distance she entered in to a house. Taranath also entered in to that house. Taranath was carrying an axe in his hand and all the family members asked him as to “ How has he come’. He told them that ‘the girl who has come here with pitcher has been born with power of Devi. She will be married to Dadi Brahmin of Harinathpur’. So father of the girl went to Harinathpur and found the Dadi Brahmin. He was follower of Jayadurga of Judanpur. After leaving his house, he had turned in to practitioner of tantra in the cremation grounds of Judanpur. After getting married with that girl, that boy came to visit Harinathpur. The newly wed, as per the norms was serving food to all the community members. In one hand she was holding the food offering and by her other hand she was holding her saree (Indian ladies dress) which was getting loose. Without both hand how could she tighten her saree. At that very moment it was seen that two more hands came out of her body and after tightening her saree they disappeared. She is the presiding deity of Judanpur.
Taranath succefully did his Shav sadhana in Judanpur. Here he saved a snake bitten dead boy from death. His father had put him on a boat of banana tree stumps and put in to the river Ganges. Taranath took that dead body out and made it alive. That boy then stayed with Taranath only. Many such things happened there. Once he revived a dead son of a widow from the cremation pyre. Then the widow brought and offered two bottles of liquor to him. He brought them to Judanpur and offered it to Vamakshepa. Vama opened the bottle, smelled and claimed that it is smelling of the dead, you must not drink it. Vamakshepa knew every thing, he immediately knew that it was offered by the widow. On hearing this from his Guru, Tara in his whole life of 100 years never touched liquor at all. He used to drink milk, a little rice and some vegetables and fruits only.
After Veerachar practices, Tara did Divyachar practices too. Doing it he became worthy of Divine knowledge, divine power and divine spiritual wealth. Yatindra Panda, who was an ardent devotee of Taranath told that Tara use to walk in one day to Judanpur from Tarapeeth and return back during the night. This was all due to his yogic powers. Later on, one of the devotees of Taranath by the name Brajhari Mitra told that Mooladhar is the centre of Earth element and is responsible for our weight. One who wins over Earth element, his body becomes weightless like air and he can fly like a bird.
He also took part in the freedom struggle. Vamakshepa gave him command to do it. He helped the people who fought with English with money as well as by filling them with courage. He also told the youth to build character, keep away from intoxicants and be patriotic. The English govt appointed police official Ahmad Hassan and Senior officer Poorn Lahiri to keep an eye on him. But Poorn Lahiri was a great devotee of Tarnath.
Taranth built many Ashrams and many times went in to long periods of vows of silence. His journey of life was so strange that a big scripture can be written on it. The purpose of this writing is only to make people aware of his life. Ultimately on 6th December, 1945, Taranath left his body for his onward travel. His devotes made a Tarakhyapa Ashram Committee which looked after the upkeep of various centers and the poojas there. Later as the founder members died one by one, this whole work became wayward. In the end the whole work of running the ashrams was handed over to Bharat Sevashram Sangh in 22nd October, 2003.