Shri Lahiri Mahasaya rarely traveled outside of his own city, but one place he did visit several times was Bishnupur in Bankura, Bengal, where both his son and daughter were married. He had many disciples in Bishnupue – one of whom was the older sister of Bhupendranath, Shrimati Rakshada Devi. Bhupendranath was only about ten or eleven years old when Shri Lahiri Mahasaya went to Bishnupur for the last time. At the house of Bhupendranath´s sister, the master gave the young boy his first darshan. Bhupendranath did not approach the great yogi for initiation because he was so young, but he was blessed by taking dust from his holy feet.
One day while listening to a spiritual discourse by a holy man who was narrating the significance of the Divine name, Bhupendranath decided to write the divine name of Lord Rama in a notebook at least one hundred thousand times. This spiritual practice is known as likhita japa (chanting or remembrance of the Divine name or a mantra while writing). It develops concentration and fulfills noble wishes. The very night he finish writing the Divine name as vowed, he had a most enchanting and beautiful dream; he was initiated into the path of Kriya Yoga by his beloved Gurudev Shri Lahiri Mahasaya.
Bhupendranath retained the vivid memory of the initiation and teachings, but still his mind was not content. At little more than sixteen years old, he escaped from home and set off for Benares. Upon approching Shri Lahiri Mahasaya, the omniscient guru preceptor smiled and said:
“You are already initiated. Still then, do you want to be initiated again? All right, I will fulfill your desire.”
On June 23, 1893, at his residence in Benares, Shri Lahiri Mahasaya, the great Kriya Yoga master, initiated Bhupendranath into the holy path of Kriya Yoga. Bhupendranath was immensely fortunate to get the direct touch of Shri Lahiri Mahasaya and to learn and experience the process of initiation and teaching directly from him.
Although Bhupendranath met with his guru perceptor in person only three or four times from 1893 to 1995, they corresponded regularly. With deep devotion, love, humility, and surrender, Bhupendranath followed each word and instruction of his guru, while maintaining regular correspondence with him. Within a short period of time, Bhupendranath advanced rapidly in his Kriya practice.
Once when Bhupendranath was sitting with many other disciples in the holy company of his master at his divine abode, Shri Lahiri Mahasaya suddenly became alert. He told all those present that his Gurudev Shri Babaji Maharaj had come and therefore he would be leaving from them for a few minutes. When he returned, he asked whether anyone was able to see his beloved Babaji. Everyone answered in the negative; that is, everyone except Bhupendranath. Bhupendranath then recounted how he had seen a mass of bright light entering the room and then leaving again after a few minutes. This revelation brought such delight to the heart of the great guru.
Excerpt from the book written by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, “Sanyal Mahasaya – A Life of Humility“.
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