(Translated on the the permission of respected SN Khandelwal ji, from the account mentioned by in his book ‘Agyat Mahatama Prasang and Pt.Gopinath Patravali’ published by Vishwavidyalaya Prakashan, Varanasi, in Hindi.)
Babaji took birth in 1877. When his mother went to have darshan of Goddess Kali at Kalighat, there only she started feeling labor pains. She gave birth to a child in the house of a known person nearby behind the temple. He took birth in the maternal uncle’s family belonging to lineage of famous Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Various astrologers, after seeing his birth cahrt predicted that he will quickly develop great dispassion from the world and in the coming times will become widely respected maha yogi. Such signs were visible right from his childhood time. Instead of playing with the children he used to sit quietly by himself in the lonely places.
Who were his father and mother, he never told about it to anyone. But this is true that from time to time he will share his childhood stories with his disciples. Later it was found, that his father was respected in the wealthy family circles of Calcutta.He never referred to his parents as mother and father but referred to them as Garbhdharini and Grihkarta.
In his childhood at the age of nine he successfully cleared his exams with great colours that he was promoted by one extra class. His upnayan sanskar was done at the age of nine. After this ceremony, he stayed in a house at Kalighat in the form of an Asagnic Brahmin and spent his time by the side of a dhooni, a sadhana which is very painful for even a wise Brahmin. After some time he stopped reading and writing in English. He got busied himself with only Sanskrit reading and writing. He followed it from age of 9 yrs to 14 years. Then he passed entrance exam in first division and received a scholarship. After this, he took admission in the intermediate class of Presidency College. Maintaining a regular fire for hom (havan), preparing daily food and going to college became quite difficult. Still he stood second among all the students. At the age of 19 he stood second in the graduation exams also. Later he took admission in M.A first year in economics subject. He applied in English subject too. During that very time, due to some unknown circumstances there was complete changeover in his life. At the age of 20, he left all the worldly pursuits behind and left for Kashi with a mendicant (sanyasi/सन्यासी) to realize God. Here he engaged himself in religious discussions, Scripture reading and spiritual practices. During this time, an unknown mendicant came there and told him that next Maghi Purnima (full moon day of Magh month) your initiation will be done and his work also get completed. After telling him this he left like a blowing wind. Whom did he address nobody could know. All the people present there were at loss. Only one Bengali sanyasi there was not initiated and every body thought that this message must for him only. Babaji also though same and informed the young sanyasi got elated.
At last on the full moon of Magh month, at Srimad Bharti Achutanand’s place the young sanyasi was initiated. Guru explained for five day the innermost meanings of the sadhana to the Babaji. After explaining this, the Guru took his leave saying that now he has to leave his mortal frame. Due to repeated supplications of Babaji, Guru gave his word to appear before him in subtle body when ever he would remember him. Babaji received an asan form his Guru, took hi leave and reached the cremation grounds of Manikarnika ghat in Kashi. Here he did practice for one year. But when his sadhana started getting disturbed because of noises there, he shifted to more secluded Harishchander ghat. Here he did sadhana for four and half years.
While leaving Calcutta he had only one dhoti and another cloth for upper body. In so many years both his clothes were in tatters. Then Baba ji cut his dhoti and made a lion cloth (कोपीन) out of it. After some time this also was torn. After this he started roaming naked. After spending many years in Kashi he left it and started going towards Tarapeeth on foot. He bypassed all the crowded living areas and tried to cross through areas where none or very few people lived. He established his asan in Tarapeeth and spent about 8 years performing great austerities. Every day he used to have Mother Tara’s darshan. Then due to strange happening he had to leave the cremation ground. One day a widow along with the dead body of her husband came there. She requested Babaji for life of her husband. Due to the blessings of Babaji, the dead man got up. Due to this people in great numbers started coming there. Then babaji realized that it is not good to stay here now and in the middle of one night he left that place and started to go in to the deep jungles. Walking through the night next day he reached Chakreshwar. He established his asan under a peepal tree and that time too he was digambar (without any clothes).
In this jungle many tatnriks and Bhiravis also did their practices. All of them took care of Vakreshwar dham. After finishing pooja usually gate was locked. At that time Babaji would go there. On his reaching there that lock used to open on its own and on his return after having darshan of the Mother they would close once again. Slowly the other tantriks living there also came to know of this. They thought that this mahatama must have made a duplicate key to enter the temple. They look under asan and in his great big jatas (hair locks) but could not find anything there.
During all this search babaji kept sitting without any effect and no signs of intolerance were seen on his face. Then others realized that he is not an ordinary person. All of them prostrated in front of him sought his pardon. Babaji lovingly explained to them and saw them off. Babaji had the vision of Har-Parvati at this place and stayed for around 8 years before continuing his yatra further. Then in his own bhav he reached Vidhyachal in digambar state (naked state). Hunger and thirst never use to touch him. He spent 8 years in Vindhyachal and then left for Paryag and stayed in a small hut on the other side of Ganga. From there, passing mountains of Chitrakoot and reached Jhansi on foot. After doing austerities there for four years, he went to Rishkesh and did his practices there for one year. After that he did his austerities at Haripur, in Himalyas. Here one could find no food at all, how did he survive? It’s a wonder.
Here Babaji would come out of his cave sparingly. Loitering around for some moments he used to go back in to the cave again. One day moving around like this he fell down unconscious. The villagers thought that Mahatama has died and as per the local customs pierced an iron rod in his foot and covered his body with earth. (This is done with a sanyasi body so that no other soul may enter in to his body).
After some time, when Baba ji regained consciousness, he was amazed at his condition. With the help of a wood cutter he came out. He took that the iron rod out of his foot, in that very position returned to his cave and sat in meditation. After some time when Babaji started living in a house, his devotes saw mark of the wound on his foot. Babaji spent 21 years in Haripur doing very hard austerities. After that he left that place. He started his journey to Himalaya. He travelled to Gangotri, Yamnotri, Kedar and Badrinath in digambar (naked) state.
Babaji walking like this reached Mansrovar too which is called Sachal-Devlok too. Here a smooth bluish aura remains for whole of the night. This is a natural divine place. There is nothing like darkness here. Babaji saw celestial singers here. After living here for a few days, Babaji went towards Kailash (mountain). According to him there is mysterious Shiva temple here where pooja gets performed on its own. Who comes to do that, no one knows. After this, crossing all the sacred places, namely, Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag, Nandprayag, babaji came to Vishnuprayag.
A strange event unfolded here. One day while he was meditating, an old man came and catching hold of his feet started rubbing them on his stomach. After doing this for some minutes, he folded his hands in front of Babaji and told him that he was suffering from a chronic unbearable stomach pain for the last ten years. By his grace it got removed just now. He offered a new dhoti and some fruits to him. In his renounced life style, Babaji for the first time wore that dhoti and put one fruit in his mouth. For years he did not eat at all. Moving through Haridwar, Prayag and Kashi reached Vardman. He himself did not realize that from where he started and where he reached. While walking he used to perform his jap, engrossed in his own self. Walking he reached Kalka, from where a bhakt took him to Calcutta. Here many people started coming to him.
He saved people from many danger and court cases. On the request of bhaktas he stayed in Muralibad village for many days. From there he came to Bagana which became his leela bhomi (field of play). He made a small hut in the cremation ground of Maralibad. Here he busied himself in the service humans and animals. He use to fill with joy the hearts of all distressed and unsupported. In 1952, he accepted holy order and he was renamed as Shri Brahmanand Paramhamsa. Many witnessed manifestation of Shiva in him at times. At that moment a light use to appear from his body. At that time a terrible snake use to wrap around his neck. The writer saw it himself in such a state. Nobody saw him ever sleeping on the bed or sleepy. He stayed in one room which had a statue of his isht Mother Kali. He will continuously without batting eyelids keep looking at it. This was when he for the second time came to the cremation ground of Bagana from Vasudevpuri. In between he will call the Mother saying Ma! Ma!. People could feel this cry for mother touching their hearts. It seemed he was outwardly conscious but he was not. Once he looked at a person, he would know everything about him/her.
Apart from it no body ever saw him eating food. About Gupt babu (name of a person) also told that no body has ever seen Babaji taking food ever. After offering naivedya (eatables) to Ma Kali, Gupt Babu use to send Prasad to Baba everyday. It was kept in front of him. Babaji use to say that he does not eat this Prasad with his mouth but he accepts it in part through his eyes. Before coming to the Bagana ashram, Babaji use to live in Vasudevpur. There he lived for 12 years. Due to his blessings lives of hundreds of his devotes passed on smoothly. Many stories of his mysterious miraculous stories but biggest miracle was his dispassionate and kind life. Hence all those miracle filled stories seem to be of no use in face of the life lived by him.
ऐश्वर्यम ईश्वरत्वंहिना अस्तिपृथक स्थिति ,
पुरूषे धावमानेपि छाया तमुधावति ।
Affluence and divines are not two different things. When one gets the power of the divine, all kinds of wealths start following the sadhak/practioner. It’s in the same way as a man runs, his shadow starts running behind him. On 23rd January, 1084 Babaji kept on looking at the watch in his room time and again. There five people were putting sacred Ganges water in to his mouth. Early morning at 2.15 am Baba took Mothers name from the core of his heart. Leaving his body at the age of 107 years he started on his journey towards the endless.When on the radio the news of his death was announced, thousands of devotees came for his last darshan. Mudra (particular body position) or form in which he was sitting during the last time he was put in a wooden box in the same mudra and buried. His Samadhi/ tomb is still there in Bagana these days. Board of Brahmanand Mission and Brahmanand Paramahams Sevashram is there on that Samadhi/ tomb. Baba’s goddess Kali is facing the West there. The pedestal on which he used to sit is still there. There is a marble statue of Baba is there.
Baba’s daily rules were as follows:
- To repeat Gods name while going to bed and while getting up in the morning.
- At night before going to sleep, right on the bed, offering of the fruits of whole days work to God, whether good or bad.
- Always speak the truth.
- To offer prostrations to mother and father every morning and evening.
- To take Gods name and repeat the mantra as per ones capacity during all the three times.