Parivrajakacharyabar Shri Shri Durgaprasanna Paramhamsadev was born to Umacharan Chakrabarti (a siddha tantrik sadhak in the lineage of Advaita prabhu) and Chintamani Devi (a steadfast devotee of Lord Ashutosh) in Rajapur village under the district of Barishal (presently in Bangladesh) on the auspicious day of Raas Poornima in the year of 1891
His Kundalini Shakti got awakened at the sacred thread ceremony itself. He got success (siddhi) in Gayatri Sadhana at the age of seventeen. He attained the holy vision of Goddess Kali one moonless (amavasya) night on the Panchamundi aasan (five-headed seat) established by Sarvanand at Kumilla Meher's Kalibari. Besides these he also learnt and practiced to perfection many other sadhanas just for the sake of reducing the agony of mortals. He used to offer ayurvedic medicines to people to cure their illnesses and his own belongings to the poor.
Since his early childhood, he nurtured the spirit of service towards every fellow-being. His eagerness to remove forever the sufferings of all brought him to his guru Shri Shri Nigamananda Paramhamsa (then reciding at Assam Kokilamukh Shanti Ashram) who immediately identified him as a Vishwa-Sevak (universal servant) and later guided him through various spiritual austerities (details are unknown) finally asking him to be a Guru himself, which he reluctantly accepted.
Durgaprasanna was a dedicated disciple of his gurudev and soon he became his dearest. Nigamanandaji sent him home on his father's fervent request and told him to continue his spiritual exercises at his home. He got siddhi in his ishta-mantra at his Rajapur home by having a vision of his gurudev's divine manifestation.
After this success he was conferred the right of being a Guru, give Diksha and accept disciples. But soon he finds himself unable to confront worldly matters that his disciples tried to share with him. He gave up and put his expressed his problem to his gurudev who then sent him for a special sadhana at Daam pahar which he completed successfully and returned.
According to Nigamanandaji's instructions, he also practiced shav-sadhana (tantrik practice with corpse) and later after parting from gurudev, he practiced yoga-sadhana through which he first reached savikalpa samadhi and explored all the fourteen worlds (chaturdash-lok) in the universe along with realization of the soul (Atman).
(Paramahamsa Dev speaks from the first person):
The Message of My Being
Quite instinctive and spontaneous was my devotion to all deities from my very childhood. About this my master (Srīgurudeva) remarked, "That was the impression of your previous birth". In my childhood I used to build clay images of deities and worshipped them at secluded places with some boys wherever there were mounds of white ants, just after keeping my books in the proper place after school hours. I acted the priest myself. Making goats, buffaloes etc. out of banana-stalks, I sacrificed them as offerings to my goddess. Thus did pass some days. A few days later, once I constructed a pandal on the mound of white ants on the south of my birth place, where I arranged for the worship of Mother Kali. In other words, I worshipped my Divine Mother with many wild fruits and roots such as Kāu, blackberries'and presented the goat of banana-plant to Mother as an offering. Placing the goat in the wooden trap I took my seat near its head and sprinkled water on its head as the priest. Thereafter, I fell of my bended knees and sat down, pulling forcibly the head of the goat with my both hands. Then the other boy dealt a forcible strqke to the goat with his axe, but, by accident, the axe fell on the knee of my left leg and the edge of the instrument sank deep into my knee. Then, on hearing the cries of the boy and my shouts, people mustered strong there, pulled out the axe and bandaged my knee. That boy and I lived under the same roof, on the north of our ancestral lands. He was Rajendralal Chakraborty. He obtained his B.A. degree and died a premature death, being survived by his wife and a son.
The mark of wound on my knee is still visible. As a result, I cannot move about. The part of the wound suppurated and I had suffered for many days. My father spent a huge amount for the treatment. Thus my wound was cured. Thereafter, I could not worship gods and goddesses in the manner depicted above. Although this external worship was put to an end, its place was taken up by the continuous inward worship of God, Sri Bhagabān.
With the advancing years a sincere wish to mitigate the sorrows of others began to shake my minds. Then my father gave me paper, slates, pencils, blotting paper, ink, wood pencils and other stationery articles for sale in the school. I became busy obeying his orders with pleasure and with undiveded attention. All pupils of the village school (Pāthśālā) loved me and bought all those things from me Again. I had to produce accounts of my sale before my respected father. I did not waste even a single pice. That made my father fetch many articles like slates for me from market. Since then I had developed a predilection for business and had begun to cling to it heartily. Business had so much grip over my mind that even today I have not forgotten the ways of business. But I distributed some pencils, scales, paper and ink among some indigent boys free of cost, and while submitting accounts to my venerable father, I always spoke the truth. About this my father ever kept silent. By degrees, my desire to do good to others grew more and more intense. With the advancing years, the desire to serve others, to do good to them and to provide succour to the suffering humanity became the summum bonum of my life. And I began to serve people with paddy and rice of my family, money, clothes of medicine, whatever I could procure at any given time.
Then I was invested with the responsibility of the daily ceremonial worship of Śrī Sri Nārāyana by his favour and grace. Since then, my constant and fervent prayer before the lotus feet of Sri Nārāyana has been "Oh God, the Conqueror of foes, thou show me the way to remove the miseries and sufferings of all living beings, more particularly human beings."
But simultaneously with the dawn of His grace my mental states underwent several states of changes. But I found I gave one two seers of rice or rupees two today; then two days later he returned to me with his same pathetic story of miseries and prayer for help. Then again I began to pray before the lotus feet of Sri Nārāyana - "Oh Lord ! please instruct me how I would succeed in putting a dead stop to all sufferings of humankind."
Thus pondering deeply over this, I found the lines from Srī Chandi flashing forth - "Goddess lies implicit in all animals in the form of intelligence." ("Jā devī sarbabhūtesu buddhirūpena Samsthitā."
"Oh Mother, bostow on me such understanding as enables me to offer abiding peace to humanity and give me the realisation about the source of so many afflictions". In this manner, I began to do good to others as much as I could.
Now again, I was seized with another peculiar inquiry : "To what degree have I to acquire mastery over medicine, divine knowledge and revelation (Tantra-Mantra) to ensure peace of humanity ?" So I began to learn many hymns, revelations, medicines known to my venerable father and, with their aids, I started doing good to others, and the afflicted began to get substantial relief. By doing so, I felt deep joy in my heart of hearts, and my desire to learn divine knowledge and revelation from far flung places became more ardent. I called upon Maheschandra Bhūta, living in the distant Ilia, village in the district of Faridpore, then 1 met the great Fakir of Sāijbhander in Chittagong ; nobody knew whether he was a Hindu or a Mohammedan. By his grace I received a lot. Afterwards, I leamt many things from the Fakir of Kulinda in Faridpore. By the process of their treatment, medicines and mantras many people benefited immensely. But admitting this to be true, human sorrows know no end. Some are well today, but unwell tomorrow. Some, again, are unwell today, but well tomorrow. Thus increased my worries, but I was kept in the dark about the divine grace. One day my ever venerable Āchāryadeva, Sri Nibedan Chandra Bhattacharya, visited my residence at Rājāpore. That night I stood at the feet of Āchāryadeva and humbly communicated to him all about my aspirations.
Then he uttered a few words - "My son ! Your mission is very noble, Go thus. But a note of warning is that you should do all work, keeping your character unpolluted in every respect. Then only, in consequence of this work, i.e., doing good to others or serving others, you can rise to a great height." Another advice is — "You can know a great deal if you approach the saints and hold discourses with them." Setting a great store by the list of advice as administered by my Āchāryadeva, I embarked upon the life's journey. "Now where shall I get such a saint? Whom should I approach? Who will offer me the sincere advice? Where is such a kindly saint? Can I meet him?" - Such miscellaneous thoughts shook up my mind. I was then a man of the world, deeply involved into it. In one word, I was an insect of the worldly life. But the most prominent idea was that I lived in a very small family as compared with the Viswasa nāra of the greatest magnitude, where I was appointed servant by God - Śri Bhagawān. So I decided to do such work as would help me to keep my household in proper order so that God might be pleased with these works of mine and my little hearth and be compassionate to me of His own free will. So paying little attention to food and sleep, I began to think continuously how I would improve living within the family and render service to people.
I started to lay out a garden to cultivate medicinal plants for the easy availability of medicine. So I imported numerous medicinal plants and creepers and planted them in my garden and spent most of my time in the day, busy doing work in the garden with my various implements, thus deriving immense delight out of it. While living among plants and trees, I developed my mental steadfastness, and mind's complicacies left me for ever. So I love to plant and nurture various medicinal plants and other plants even today.Keeping up late hours at night, I chanted the Holy Name of God (Srīnām) and my only prayer was - "OH THE COMPASSIONATE SHEWETH ME THE PLACE WHERE I FIND MEDICINE AND PLEASE INSTRUCT ME ABOUT THE WAYS OF PUTTING AN END TO HUMAN MISERIES PERMANENTLY." SAYING THIS, I SANG THE NAME OF GOD AND PROFUSELY SHED TEARS BEFORE GOD AT DEAD OF NIGHT. And I uttered - "Lo Ever Stable! a few persons become emancipated in this world, while some again meet ghosts and similar other spirits, but I do not desire all these." What I desire is to relieve humanity of all miseries for ever and to offer him abiding peace.
Again, I reflect if there is any such realm. Thus thinking, I while away invaluable time. Again, it struck me that this was all idle and there had to be a realm of peace to be sought out and I was under obligation to know about the nature of the land and its governing principles. Thus increased my ardent will. But I had then my bath thrice daily. Rising early in the morning, I chanted and prayed on the bathing steps. External people saw this practice only. Besides, nobody knew and understood the inward current of my thoughts and behaviours.
Keeping this idea within my mind, I began to pray and sing praises solely for the removal of worldly miseries. But all merciful guru came into my mind and he began to lead me towards a new revelation as it was bodied forth by him.
One day, all of a sudden, I decided to leave for Barīsāl. Barisāl was fourteen miles away and I walked all the way to Bariśāl. Arriving there, I felt an ardent inward desire to search out some saint. A person spoke to me on the way, "Many saints live at Marak Khola." Then I went to the old Marak Khola and came to find some saints there. Meeting all, one after another, I at last came to a saint in whose presence a fire was aflame. I had discourses with him, sitting up the whole night near the flaming fire. At dawn the sage gave me a mantra which was to be admitted as quite effective. But he did not say anything that lay implicit in my mind. Thereafter, I went to the orphan home of the late Kalis Pandit Māhāsay in the neighbourhood of this place. Waiting there for a while, I met the master - Pandit-mahāśay. After a long discussion with him, he said, "Son! if you approach the saint of Kokilamukh in Assam, he can offer you peace and show you the direction."
Three days later, Lord Jiu summoned me near him all alone and asked me, "What do you want ? Speak forth boldly your inward mission to me."
Then I began to speak with my head bended down, "How can the sorrows of all living beings be mitigated and peace be assured? It is the fundamental mission of my life to remove the sorrows and miseries, of all living beings of this world. I want the fulfilment of this mission unfailingly this time by the grace of the lotus feet."
Then he smiled a little and said, "Son ! your mission is, in fact, very great and excellent. Well, tell me how you desire to remove the miseries of living beings."
I answered that I had been busy serving humanity since my childhood - by way of serving patients, administering medicine to them and offering money, etc., but I perceived that I could not offer peace to a single creature. "Today I give one some rice or money, within a next few days he returns with his same story of sorrows or disease. I want to serve one in such a way that one always gets peace and ever remains unafflicted. You are omniscient. Please give me the suggestion as to how to achieve it."
Then he said, "It is a mighty diffucult job and a great mission. If you want to offer permanent peace to man, first work for your own elevation, then serve others to regenerate them and at last transport them to the kingdom of peace where peace and happiness abide permanently". Hearing these words, I was taken aback and began to reflect, "Is there any such country ? In every country we notice happiness, misery, disease and bereavement, do we not ?"
After a pause, he said, "Well, you will obtain everything in the kingdom of God (Srī Bhagawān). Nothing is impossible here. Now think no more. Walk outside. I shall think about it later."
I went outside. Then many thoughts crowded my mind : 'Where is the land of abiding peace? How shall I reach there ?" All these thoughts took away my hunger and sleep.
Next day after his penance he came outside and called me. I lay prostrate before him and kept standing by lowering my head.
He said, "Well, are you mad after Holy Name of Hari ? Then listen - God (Srī Bhagawān) has created a very charming land for all living creatures to live in abiding peace and great joy. If you can send here a man after enormous care, just enough to elevate him, he will live in abiding peace for ever and he becomes able to spend his time in enduring peace. From this domain he will never be required to come down into this world of sorrows and afflictions."
Hearing these words, I was beside myself with joy, and the thought of how I would find out the realm of peace permeates my whole being.
Then he said "Avoid so much excess. If you want to offer abiding peace to mankind at all, first practise penance by yourself and conquer the senses, yet serve all in the external world. Once you attain success in penance and the senses are restrained, the subject refuses to respond to the objects in the external word by controlling the needs and passions, and if you do not impute blame to others even by mistake, you will then get the status of a true servant who succeeds in offering real peace for humanity by service." At these words, my heart overflowed with joy. I started counting days only, and continuously prayed to the Holy Feet of Mother Kāmakhyā : "Mother, please say when my Lord (Guru) will bestow favour on me."
Another vital problem was about my staying in the Asrama. I had not enough money with me nor had I any opportunity of bringing back some amount by writing letters. So I began to do some work for which the Asrama spent money. The āsramites forbade me to do all this work. But I paid no heed to it. I began to render service at least equivalent to the expenditure for my living there. All asramites became pleased with me and praised me profusely before gurudeva.
Gurudeva said, "At first sight I have spoken out my impression about him that he is the dedicated servant of the world. He performs all his works with a sense of service. So he is ever joyous. He will render greatest good to the world." "If there is an intense longing, guru showers grace on a person" - I found the direct proof of this remark.
One night Gurudeva called me suddenly and said, "Get up at 4 a.m. tomorrow and then, finishing your bath in the morning, you come to my meditation chamber and keep sitting there. Mother Kāmākhyā has become pleased with you."
Receding a little, I kept sitting for long in a state of stupefaction. Gurudeva went back to his seat on the mat for the performance of his austere penance. I came outside. Now, again, a new mental state rose up. That was how I would make Srī Gurudeva happy, how I would serve him. This idea was acutely felt in heart.
Three days later than my initiation, Srī Gurudeva summoned me at night and said, "I as well as the asramites am pleased with your earnest prayer and skill of work. From today onwards I will give you (spiritual) advice every night."
I said - "Please do as you please. I have no authority over this body. I have only one prayer. It was about how I would lighten the burden of human agony and affliction by serving man and making him a denizen of the domain where peace reigns absolutely. Where is that domain of peace? And what can be the name of that place? What is the path to it ? This is the only earnest prayer of my heart at this rosy (holy) feet."
Then he said, "Well, son, Kind Hari will surely help you to translate this mission of yours into reality." Saying this, he gave me some advice which was secret and confidential. I accepted the advice wholeheartedly and began to act acordingly. Again, three days after, he called me one night and went on narrating the fundamentals (of ultimate reality) :
"Of the fourteen worlds the best and greatest land is the land of eternity from where nobody returns once one becomes the denizen of this land. There one can live for ever in absolute joy and happiness. There none dies before his time. This is a land where there is no molecule of pain. If you can influence the living beings to take up this path by rousing true consciousness through service, then only you will be able to render true service. This kind of service which enables living beings including men to come into the domain of peace is interpreted by sages and gods as real service. And the person rendering such service is called a real sage. Such interpretation can also be traced in the Vedas. If you yearn for this kind of service to the world of living beings, you have to make several promises in my presence today."
Saying this, he gave me some hymns (Mantras) to pronounce and made me promise. One such promise was
"Give up your desires in every way. In other words, you have to perform all works in a disinterested manner, devoid of any selfish attachment. But for this detachment, none can reach this permanent abode of peace and happiness."
Then I said, "I do not know the abstract truth and its interpretation. Please show me, without delay, the path of how I can inhabit that land and release people from this painful wordly life to make them the denizens of the domain of eternal bliss. No more can I delay." Then he said with a gentle smile. "Dear Boy, you have kept time, suitable and unsuitable, under your authority, I see."
I then said with folded hands, "Yes father, I have made the mistake. Never shall I make such a statement - please excuse me this time." He then became pleased and said, "Today I shall confide to you a few words in secret." Saying this, he led me to his chamber of meditation. Going into it, he said, "Well, dear son, you have to be a spiritual guru. You have to take over the office of guru from me. As guru you must initiate many into the ways of dharma and penance (sādhanā). By living within them you have to serve your disciples and make them unselfish, thus showing them the only right tract. Then only your spirit of service and longing will be directed towards the destination, and by this service you will be able to discover the image of your worship (istamurti) in your disciples. Therefore, you take over the office of guru from me and initiate the streams of people into the ways of penance. Let them be attracted by you and let their mind be absorbed unto you through their externel service to you. By destroying the evil effect of all their deeds, serving them inwardly, you will be able to show them the path to the eternal domain (of bliss). And your other followers or disciples who will fail to devote their whole heart to you (i.e. who will be partially attached to you) will take two births to achieve their end (i.e., to be the denizens of the domain of eternity). Again, after they are initiated, those who follow your instruction and perform rites punctiliously, but cannot worship and make their sādhanā reverentially, will gradually be able to reach the land of eternity (Nityadhām) after three births. Those who have just taken initiation from you, but do not perform daily rites nor pay any respect to you except the outward respect, when they are seen only, wil take longer time to reach the abode of peace (Santidham) in the course of several births into noble families. In sum, these words will take effect even if you are absorbed into your Amritamay Sādhanā (i.e. penance that leads one to the abode of bliss.)"
This statement of the methods of penance (Sādhanā) that I have made here is about "Devadurlav Sādhanā" (i.e. "penance even rare among gods"). I said, "Venerable Father, I could not make out the origin of this meditative penance at all."
He said, "Yes, quite precise you are. My Venerable Guru initiated me into this practice of penance entitled "Amritamayi Sādhanā" as he got it from Śrī Sri Nigamatantra. Within a very short time, I attained success in my penance and became able to initiate my modest disciples like you and to help you to get absorbed into penance, In my office of guru, I engaged you to serve the world, and by discovering my beloved God in you, I make my existence and yours meaningful and bring peace to the world through service. Therefore, my son, you pay respect to me unerringly. Thus compelled by your reverence, I agree to offer you the office of guru today. And I urge you to follow my directives, and engage yourself in penance and prayer after you are initiated by me. In no time you will be crowned with success." Hearing all these words, I began to weep only, and thought that it would be quite impossible for a person like me to achieve this goal. "Alas ! what shall I do now ?" After a while, Kindhearted Guru utterred, "Dear boy, be quiet. What happiness will you get by making me weep ?" I lay prostrate on his holy feet. He said, "Well, my son, you will undoubtedly succeed in your mission and be able to send many people to the realm of peace this time by serving them as their Guru."
Holding aloft the command of Srīgurudeva, I returned to my native place. Then selecting a site according to his instruction, I became self- reliant upon the holy feet of Srīguru and embarked upon penance and prayer. What blessing of Sriguru was showered upon me when I was engaged in penance and prayer will not be expressed in my writing. Achieving success (Siddhi) in penance and prayer in a short time of one year and nine months, I set out to have a glimpse of the holy feet of my spiritual father (Sriguru). The moment he saw me, he embraced me. Allowing me to sit near him, he affectionately ran his hand all over my body and thus made my body cool and calm. Thereafter, I narrated everything. On an auspicious day in an auspicious moment he once again made me pronounce some mantras of oath in a very austere manner, and said, "Well, son, henceforward, you will initiate man into the way of Sādhanā (i.e. austere living) and accept their external service. Thus satisfied, you have to render inward service to them and to transform them into unselfish workers, Then send them to Nityadhām (Permanent Abode), for, to them belongs Sāsvata Rājya (i.e Everlasting Realm) - just as Srīkrisna said, "As one adores Krisna so one is adored by Krisna" So make the minds of men stable through initiating them into the ways of Sādhanā, and if, by arousing various states of mind in their hearts, you can attract them into the way of unselfish detachment, all of these souls will be able to inhabit Nityadhāma (Permanent Abode). Such service is not possible for anyone but the Guru p.e. the Spiritual Master. So the author of Sāstras gave the topmost place to Guru only. Similarly, service alone is the best service, and through it al sorrows of man can be removed for ever. So, engage yourself in this service now since you had long been engaged in other kind of services. You will surely be able to translate many people s hope for permanent peace into reality."
Thus passing some days in close communion with my Spiritual Master (Srīguru), I took many instructions from him regarding the duties of master and his disciples. And obeying all instructions to the letter, I took leave of my Master by touching his holy feet. On return, I set about my work to initiate people into the ways of austerity (Sādhanā) on auspicious moments.Even within a short time, my mind grew restless for various reasons. Finding myself in great jeopardy I went to my holy master (Sn Gurudeva) and reported to him all about my mental states. My holy Master (Sri Gurudeva) said, "Since I am alive, you need not fear. Eat your fill merrilly and be satisfied."
Later, he administered me many advice and sent me to Dam hills. There I became engaged in penance and prayer for a year at a stretch. After that, I returned to my holy master (Srigurudeva). Then he gave me a few instructions and said, "You go now, your mind will not be restless even for a day. Serve all living beings of the whole universe both outwardly and inwardly with all your heart. But here is the warning pay special attention to your own life, for your body is now mine." I interpreted the words of my kindhearted Master (guru) thus : "Gurudeva spoke out these words as I had no fixed hour for sleep and meals. Sometimes I had then to go without food. My omniscient Master (Srīguru) could know this. Hence these words were addressed to me." Then he continued to speak out "See this human body is the temple of living Śnguru (Master). If you inwardly serve people after they have been accepted as your disciples, you will discover the supreme object of your worship in your hearts."
With this yearning I have been serving my disciples and animals both outwardly and inwardly with special care and devotion. When shall I discover God, the supreme object of my adoration, in my disciples? Certainly I have already realised this in some of my disciples. My continuous; prayer at the holy feet of my spiritual Master (Sri Sriguru) is : When shall I find justification of my office of 'guru' by seeing God within (my) disciples through your grace? This is my final wish. I have been living here so long with my ardent longing of seeing God within all. From my childhood I developed my love for all living creatures, service to others, and got engaged in the alleviation of miseries and afflictions. Serving trees and creepers unselfishly and observing the beauty of their growth,
I felt immeasurable joy in my hearts. So I realised that my yearning became fulfilled by this service through the grace of God. Without unselfish service or deed, nobody can even inhabit the domain of real peace through any other means nor can he escape from the clutches the cycle of births and deaths. Real peace inheres my dharma. Approaching many persons who professed different riligions, and enquiring deep into Christianity and Islam I synthesized all denominations of religion and unified them into one whole through my realisation in my worship.
In this religion I am initiating my pupils and passing time in joy by rendering them inward service.
It is not a great achievement to attain success in one's mission. Many such successful people have their existence in this world, but they do not know the method of doing works in a nobly detached manner. If this method of sādhanā is translated into action, they will go to the Permanent Abode of Peace (i.e. : Nityadhām) and will not to have to wait for emancipation. So I say that I serve all, men. birds and beasts by initiating them into my service just to remove the sufferings of all living creatures for abiding peace as I am conscious of this and get this message over and over again. By a special kind of devotion and prayer I have determined the area of my sādhanā as I have observed the fulfilment of my penance.
A super force has been generated in my way of doing sadhan (penance) as it got mixed up in the methods of penance obtaining an the four ages of Satya, Tretā, Dwāpar and Kali. After an arduous search I have made my existence meaningful by gaining this Amritamay Sādhan from my Spiritual Master by the grace of God. Now if my objew of adoration, Supreme God is revealed through my disciples, I can leave my office of 'guru' justified and meaningful.