Even after seeing many deaths in close proximity during my more than four decades of organisational life, the inevitable always holds my attention in a mysterious manner. The news of the passing away of the respected Swami Purananandaji Maharaj recently made me more introspective.
The Swami was indeed introspective. I asked him before leaving for my Training Centre education to tell me about some of his personal anecdotes before he came into the Order. He said in his unique way that I should not bother about knowing about his past as he was merely a nondescript.
It was my good fortune that by the grace of our Master, that I could join Kanpur ashram and could live, albeit a short four and half years, with a sadhu who was nonpareil to me. The foremost characteristic of this sadhu that comes to my mind is his utter humble nature. When I would in my audacity comment on his humility as bordering the vaishnavite, he would never fail to aver that "how can I explain the joy of Harinam?". It made sense to me that unless one gets the joy in repeating the name of God, humility can never be acquired.
One day after the lunch prasad, when I had retired to my room for the usual quota of noon siesta, I heard knocks on my door. It was highly sultry in the summer, and there was no electricity to put on the fan even. So with just a 'gamcha' around me I opened the door. He was there standing. Then he asked me "would you mind please going to Bank now as some urgent matters have to be attended?" I replied, "Maharaj I am only a Brahmachari and why should you be so polite to tell me like this? Just please order me I would gladly do any work at any time." His humble way of not disturbing a Brahmachari made a deep impression.
He had scholarly interest in Tulsi Ramayan as well as in Adhyatma Ramayana as he was equally facile in Hindi as also in Sanskrit. I would avidly attend all his classes as they would open to me the doors of insights into the shastras. I could understand that the words of shastras have always an internal meaning that can be communicated only when a person is a sincere #sadhaka #. His set routine to sit and meditate was a classic example for all the brahmacharins there.
As a new entrant into the Order, I was as usual asked to take up the puja work to develop devotion to Master. There was an elderly Pujari Maharaj who needed assistance too. And Purananandaji taught me the intricate rituals only after I byhearted all the puja mantras. It was a joyful experience to learn under him as he would not only explain the rituals but also always would expound the inner meaning of those rituals.
Whenever I would come to Kolkata from Itanagar or when I was posted in Seva Pratishthan in Kolkata itself, it was my pleasure to be with him in Cossipore and spend at least three nights there just to have his holy company. The conversations were never of worldly nature but always centring around Master, Mother and Swamiji and scriptures.
Later from Ranchi I used to visit Gol Park centre only to see him and whenever it was coincided, I would not fail to attend his class. He was of course greatly pleased with my presence and would always tell other devotees, painting about me in my undeserving glorious terms!
It took me some time to understand why my mind would not be set at rest until I meet him. I would often wonder whether our generation could rise to such high levels of humility, austerity, practice of swadhyaya and above all in pouring love to the juniors!
Swami Purananandaji was a sadhu nonpareil.
#ramakrishnamission #vedanta #ramayana