Sri Sri 108 Swami Nigamananda Saraswati Paramhamsa Dev >>
Sri Sri Nigamananda Saraswati Deva was born to a virtuous
bramhin couple at Qutabpur in Nadia district (now in
Bangladesh) in the year 1879. His father Bhuban Mohan Bhattacharya and
mother Yogendra Mohini had named him ‘Nalinikanta’. As he grew to
boyhood, Nalinikanta drew admiration of the people for his
extraordinary fearlessness, intelligence and forthrightness.
Leadership was natural to him. Nalinikanta was especially dear to his
As the fate would have it the mother of Nalinikanta
breathed her last immaturely from a brief illness. At that time,
Nalinikanta was pursuing his primary education in his maternal uncle’s
village Radhakantapur. Her death deeply shocked Nalinikanta as
he was very much devoted to his mother. He came to know that just
before she breathed her last, his mother had handed over his charges
to the ‘Jaganmata’ the ‘Cosmic Mother’. He took the
words of her mother to be literally true. As he was desperately in
need of a mother, he single-heartedly prayed to the ‘Jaganmata’
to appear before him.
But alas! He failed to get a glimpse of ‘Her’ even in
his dreams. He lost faith in God thinking that God does not exist, the
religious rites and spiritual practices are worthless activities, and
all those sadhus, ascetics or renunciates are lazy worthless
cheats. His belief in God was shaken to such extent that he turned
extremely antagonistic towards everything related to Him. Especially,
the sadhus and the wandering ascetics used to face most of his
ire. He convinced to himself that ‘death’ is the ‘end’ of everything
in one’s life. Thereafter he decided for himself that - religion to
him would be nothing other than ‘doing good to the fellow beings’, and
his duty is to lead a disciplined and virtuous life. During his school
days Nalinikanta used to read textbooks that the ‘Sun’ is a gigantic
ball of burning gases and the ‘Moon’ and the other planets are
composed of gross matters such as dust and rocks. He used to feel a
pinch in his heart when his fellow countrymen were jeered at as
superstitious folks paying obeisance to these insentient planets. Even
though he had lost faith in God and religion, he used to wonder how
all those ancient Rishis (seers) of his land could go wrong in
putting such significance on these heavenly bodies. Later, during his
sadhak (spiritual practitioner) life, he was delighted to find
that thousands of years before Newton, the ancient Rishis of
India knew the science of space and the principles of gravitation. His
heart was urging him to spread the knowledge and ideals of those
ancient Rishis among his fellow beings.
death of Yogendramohini Devi created a void in the Bhattacharya
household. Nalinikanta being the eldest son in the family had to be
married soon to bring a daughter-in-law for the proper management of
the household. Hence, at the early age of seventeen, Nalinikanta was
married to an extremely beautiful and intelligent girl named
Nalinikanta went to study at the Dhaka School of Survey
and thereafter took up jobs at various places to earn his livelihood.
His independent spirit and forthright attitude was forcing him to
frequently change his jobs.
Once, while serving as the supervisor of the
Narayanapur estate (Zamindari) Nalinikanta was working late
in the night. He suddenly saw the shadowy image of Sudhansubala Devi
standing at the table, sullen and silent. Sudhansubala Devi was
supposed to be away at Qutabpur at that time and was not
expected to be present at Narayanpur at all. The image appeared there
for a few moments only. Nalinikanta felt disturbed and rushed to his
village Qutabpur. He came to know that Sudhansubala Devi had
expired just an hour before he saw her image at Narayanapur.
Since childhood Nalinikanta had a thoughtful disposition. This
incidence drew him further inwards. Soon after, he happened to see the
shadowy image of Sudhansubala Devi several times in quick succession.
Nalinikanta had thought that death is the ultimate end
of an individual. But, now he couldn’t wish away the fact that it is
not. By now, he was convinced that there must be ‘life’ after ‘death’.
He solemnly resolved to get back his beloved wife at any cost. Never
before in the history of mankind any bereaved husband had made such a
resolution, being so much oblivious of the impossibility of his
Who am i?
became desperate to know all about the subtle phenomena of life and
death. Thoughts such as - "What’s death? How can I win over death? If
death can come inevitably at any time in one’s life why am I wasting
my time without exploring the secrets of it?" - began to worry him all
the time. This inquest took him to the Theosophical Society at
Adyar, in Chennai, India. He learnt all the theories and practices
that Theosophy could offer and was able to talk to Sudhansu Devi
through a medium. But, Nalinikanta could not see her physically. He
was not satisfied with the experience at all. Through a discussion
with the members of the Society he came to know that the knowledge
about the phenomena of ‘life and death’ was the prerogative of the
Hindu Yogis. He spared no time in looking for a true Yogi or Sadhu
who could fulfill his desire to meet his dead wife as well as bring
contentment to his seeking mind.
While searching for a true yogi, Nalinikanta came
across Swami Purnananda, a highly educated renunciate. The Swami
explained to him that all female beings are merely a partial
manifestation of the ‘Mahamaya’ or the ‘Cosmic Mother’. Hence,
it was extremely unwise and ridiculous on his part to run after an
insignificant part (his wife) ignoring the whole (the Cosmic Mother).
If he could get Mahamaya, he would automatically get his wife
and there were sure ways to get Her. Swami Purnananda advised him to
look for a ‘Sadguru’. Nalinikanta returned to his place of
service a changed man. The belief in ‘life after death’ and ‘soul’ had
turned him into a believer. He was desperately praying God for a
chance to meet his destined Sadguru.
One night Nalinikanta saw one Sadhu with a
brilliant aura around him in his dream. He woke up to find the
Sadhu standing beside his bed in ‘reality’. The Sadhu
handed out to him a leaf bearing a mantra on it and then disappeared.
Nalinikanta was spellbound by the incident. He did not know what to do
with the mantra. No sadhu or spiritual teacher, whom he
consulted, could decipher the mantra nor could they give him any
guidance about what to do with it. At this point of time a crestfallen
Nalinikanta received directions in his dream to go to the greatest
tantrik guru of that time - Bamakshepa, at the ‘Tarapitha’
of Birbhum, in West Bengal. Bama was extremely pleased to see the
unique ‘veeja mantra’ (root/source mantra) of Goddess Tara
which Nalinikanta had received in his dream, and readily accepted him
as his disciple. Within a short span of one month, Nalinikanta was
able to master the secrets of the Tantrik ways (tantra
sadhana) of attaining spiritual success. As a mark of perfection
of his sadhana (spiritual practice), ‘Tara’ or ‘Mahashakti’
(the embodiment of cosmic energy) appeared before him in the form of
Devi Sudhansubala and granted him the boon that he would be able to
see her in that form whenever he would so wish.
But, Nalinikanta became discontent when he was unable to touch that
form. Moreover, to his amazement Nalinikanta saw that a brilliant
light used to emanate from his body and take the shape of Devi
Sudhansubala. He was puzzled. He wanted to know "if ‘Mahashakti’
originated from him only, then who ‘he’ is."
Overpowered by a consuming desire to know his ‘self’,
Nalinikanta sought guru Bamakshepa’s advice. The latter advised him to
attain the knowledge of ‘Advaita’ from a Vedantic guru. He
became a disciple of guru Srimad Swami Satchidananda Saraswati
at the holy place of ‘Pushkar’ in the state of Rajasthan, India. He
instantly realized that Swami Satchidananda Saraswati was the sadhu
who gave him the ‘Tara’ mantra in his dream. The swami
initiated Nalinikanta into renunciation and according to the principle
changed his name to ‘Nigamananda’, for he was able to comprehend the
Vedic (nigama) knowledge (jnana) effortlessly.
On the advice of guru Satchidanda, Nalinikanta went to
attain the direct experience of this vedic truths through yoga.
Nalinikanta was able to find his yogi guru but with much difficulty
and a sustained effort. He met Sumeru Dashji, his yogi guru, in the
thick and inaccessible forests near the holy place of ‘Parasuram’
(in the north-eastern India) under dramatic circumstances. After
completing ‘yoga sadhana’ (practice of yoga) under the
masterful guidance of yogiraj Sumeru Dashji, he attained the
state of ‘Nirbikalpa Samadhi’ (non-dual existence/complete
identification with the Cosmic Soul or the Parambramha), at
once pervading the universe and transcending it. He came back from
that blissful state with the realization that he is the ‘universal
guru’ i.e. the ‘supreme soul’.
Nalinikanta had begun his spiritual quest with the
basic question, "Who am I ?" and with the attainment of ‘Nirbikalpa
Samadhi’ he experienced that ‘he’ is the universal guru..
But, Nalinikanta was initiated into the mysteries of being in love
with ‘God’ (prema/bhav sadhana) by Gauri Ma’, a female sadhu
of unique spiritual merits. She taught him how the Supreme Soul is
Life after attainment of truth
the 1907 Kumbha Mela at Allahabad, under the auspices of the then
Shankaracharya of Sringery Mutt, the jnaniguru of
Nalinikanta Swami Satchidananda Deva conferred the title of ‘paramahansa’
on him in the presence of leading sadhus and renunciates. The
uniqueness about Nigamananda’s spiritual accomplishment was that he
had explored and perfected tantra, jnana, yoga and prema/bhav,
all the four original ways envisaged in Sanatana Dharma (ever
new/eternal, and universal spiritual method based on Vedic knowledge)
for the attainment of the highest spiritual goal.
Sadguru Swami Sri Sri Nigamananda Saraswati Deva wished every
soul to rise to this exulted state of consciousness. Hence, he entered
into society to wake up a spiritually inert people.
In the prevailing atmosphere of confusion in ideals and spirituality
among his countrymen, he wanted them to rediscover the merits of
sanatana dharma. He wrote five books - Bramhacharya
Sadhana, Yogiguru, Tantrikguru, Jnaniguru and
Premikaguru - which are invaluable for any seeker on the path
of spirituality. He edited and published a path breaking and reformist
periodical ‘Arya Darpana’ (one of the earliest periodicals of
India). It was widely received as a trend-setting journal on religion
With a view to establishing universal brotherhood he set
before himself three objectives, namely, (i) propagation of ‘sanatana
dharma’, (ii) dissemination of ‘sat siksha’ (right type of
education that enables development of integrated personality conducive
for spiritual development), and (iii) service to all living beings
deeming it as service rendered to the Supreme Being. In his opinion a
person having attained ‘self knowledge’ is the right one to serve
mankind in the right manner..
He enjoined upon His devotees — to walk together on the path of
spirituality forming Sanghas (spiritual associations), to lead
Adarsha Grihastha Jeevan (life of an ideal householder), and to
have Bhava Binimaya (commune with each other for mutual
exchange of spiritual ideas and experiences), which would enable them
to achieve the above mentioned objectives and lead a fulfilled life.
He established the tradition of "Vakta Sammilani" (the annual
congregation of devotees and spiritually minded people, for the close
interaction between the two types of seekers — the household devotees
and the renunciates. Till date, this congregation has been proved to
be a spiritually beneficial experience for all.
There was a harmonious blending of highest enlightenment (jnana)
and universal love (vakti) in the person of Swamy Nigamananda.
Rightly so, his ideological as well as methodological slogan was — "
Shankarer Mata" (the Vedantic doctrine of the 8th century
spiritual reformist Sri Sri Adi Shankaracharya that Bramha — the
Supreme Soul and the individual soul is ‘one’ and the same, and it is
the ultimate truth to be realized by men), and "Gauranger Patha"
(the path of devotion adopted by Sri Chaitanya Deva, the fourteenth
century avatara of devotion, as the royal road to the spiritual
destination i.e. God).
Thakura Sri Sri Nigamananda Deva left
his corporal body and attained ‘mahasamadhi’ (eternal union
with the Supreme Soul) through yoga kriya (yogic techniques) on
November 29, 1935 in Kolkata. But, his holy presence is still felt and
his reassuring voice is still heard in the hour of need by those who
have implicit faith in him, for the ‘sadguru’ is ‘immortal’.
Rightly, his followers deified Him as their revered and beloved ‘thakura’
and worshiped Him as their ‘Guru’ (the supreme preceptor) and ‘Ishta’
(the personal God) at the same time