Two decades after Independence, when our country was facing a worst crisis of object poverty on both material and psychological planes, when hopes of a new dawn for the masses were dwindling, and youth's discontent started erupting its rage through destructive channels, there arose a necessity in our national life of a new light, which was destined to come from Vivekananda. The situation was preparing the country's youths to rediscover their Messiah.
A nationwide youth movement with light from Vivekananda was thus the need of the hour. Not for a select few of high intellectual or spiritual caliber, but for one and all. Not for a specific ethnic group or community, but for the the whole country. Not for solving problems one by one separately, but to go to the root of all problems and put the fire there. The power of youth was to be awakened, directed, vivified, organised to bring fulfillment to each individuals life and to society at large.An organisation-a well -structured and disciplined one with a clear set of ideas, methods, and policies-led by men of character and caliber and speaking the language of the common man was the key to materialize such a vision. An organisation that will reach youths wherever they are, bring them with gentleness of loving care towards a better understanding of life, offer them simple, practical methods that can be applied in groups as well as in individual life to verify their efficacy. Such an organization was nowhere, such a systematic guidance for youths was not in existence , yet this was the fundamental need.
This was the genesis of the Mahamandal. It was October 1967. A young man of lofty and dynamic character in his thirties was chosen to lead the effort Tall, Well-built, and intelligent, from an orthodox family of scholarly culture, he was modern and liberal in outlook and practical in approach - आशिष्ठ, बलिष्ठ ,मेधावी -as Vivekananda wanted for his work. His magnificent personality could enthrall youths and invigorate them to work towards higher ideals. This man was Nabaniharan Mukhopadhyay, fondly called Nabani Da.
2. Birth and Ancestry :
He was born on 15 August 1931 after midnight at his paternal grandmother's house at 100, Cossipore Road, Kolkata. The grandma's father, Sri Mahima Charan Chakraborty, was one of those devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, who visited him many times and touched his holy feet. Later in his life Nabaniharan would feel proud to have been coddled, as baby, by the grandma, Tushar Vasini Devi, as if the touch of Sri Ramakrishna percolated to him through her via her father.
The family of Nabaniharan belonged to the lineage of Sri Harsha, one of the five Brahmins who left Kannauj to settle in Banga. Other prominent figures of the pedigree include Krittibas Ojha (Mukhopadhyay), famous for his Bengali version of the Ramayna, Pandit Kamadeva who brought Sri Nityananda to live at Khardah, and the great poet -saint Ramprasad .
His grandfather, Shirish Chandra Mukhopadhyay, was a great scholar with spiritual orientation, particularly inclined to the Tantra practices.He lived in a joint family at Khardah, now in the North 24 Parganas district, with his erudite elder brother, Jatish Chandra Vidyarnava. Both studied at the then Presidency College, Calcutta. Shirish Chandra became the Headmaster of Andul HC School (now Mohiary kundu Chowdhury Institution.) at Andul Mouri in 1901 and served in that position till 1953. He was also associated with music and drama. He knew Girish Chandra Ghosh and Sir Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay very well. He even saw Swami Vivekananda at Dakshineshwar on 7th March 1897, after the latter's return from the West. Swami ji delivered a lecture there in English.
Shirish Chandra wed Nalini Devi, who deceased soon after marriage.Latter he was married to Tusharvasini Devi. Their son, Indibar, and his wife, Usharani Devi, had two sons- Karabibaran and Nabaniharan and one daughter -Devipriya. Imdibar was a Homeopathic doctor, who received an MD from the All India Homoepathic Practitioner's Association. He taught at Calcutta Homeopathic
Medical College. Like Shirish Chandra, Indibar was also fond of Shakespeare and could recite his all plays from memory.
The joint family lived at their ancestral house, 'Bhuban-Bhavan', named after Nabaniharan's great grandfather, Bhuban Chnadra was a student of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who visited this house once. Afterwards this was to be registered office of the Mahamandal.
3. Formative years and Schooling:
Nabaniharan grew up in the family that was deeply devoted to the traditional
spiritual heritage of India, especially to the ideals of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother Sri Sarda Devi, and Swami Vivekananda. The foundation of life is laid in the family in one's childhood, especially by the mother, and his was no exception. His mother was a lady of lofty idealism, and she was from an educated family. The child Nabaniharan had the first lessons of life from her. She would tell him stories of Dhruva and Prahlada and tales from the Ramayna and the Mahabharta. The child was particularly fond of Dhruva. After going to bed at night he used to listen to the story with rapt attention and weep and then fall asleep. We can understand the kind of education he got from his mother from the following incident.
One day his mother was cleaning drains. When he saw that, he objected. The loving mother softly replied, 'As you clean the drains outside, purify the mind inside.' All work was thus transfigured into worship!
Nabaniharan read no novel, perhaps except one, in his life. But, his mother read the Ananda Math by Bankim Chandra to him passage by passage .
He never went to school before the Seventh Stander. Then he was admitted to the school where his grandfather was the headmaster. So he had several teachers whose erudition and exemplary character had a sustained impact on his life. He learned Sanskrit at the school level only, and that enabled him to write wonderful Sanskrit verses later in life! He also imbibed burning patriotism at the school.
He became adept at the Indian martial arts like stick fighting with long staff (lathi khela), sword fighting, and knife fighting, and also skilled swimming and gymnastics. In these things he was more interested than in studies. The physical strength and stamina he developed in these days helped him work very hard throughout his life.
He passed the Matriculation Examination from this school in 1947. On 14 August that year the boy went to the banks of the Ganga to see the last sunset of enslaved India. He visualized Mother India as a living mother, whenever he looked at the map. From midnight he joined the whole nation in all excitement to celebrate the new dawn of Independence. The hope was all around -the hope of brighter days ahead for one and all -the hope that was only to be shattered as years passed by.
4. Higher education and service :
Nabaniharan studied for two years the Intermediate of Science (I.Sc.) course at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta.Swami Vivekananda and Subhash Chandra Bose graduated from this college. Immediately after the results were out, he had to join a service in the stone crushing industry at a remote place. He was only 17. Eager to pursue higher studies, he managed to get himself transferred to the Calcutta Office of the company. Then only he could do B.Sc. (Evening Course), Calcutta.
When he was just stepping into adulthood, he wrote to his father in a letter, "I know I was not born for nothing." The future was already glimmering in the idealism of early youth. A sense of purpose was already in blossom.
Those days the undergraduate course was of four years. At the end of the third year he had small pox and lay unconscious for about 22 days. During that period he had a strange vivid dream, in which he saw his own death and cremation in a mountain region. After many years , when he visited Mayavati, he was amazed to discover similarity of the place and the trees and flowers seen in that dream with the area where now stands a commemorative plaque to Mr Savier, the devoted friend and follower of Swami Vivekananda, who, with his wife, came here from England and started the Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati to fulfill the wishes of Swami Vivekananda.
During his college days a renowned doctor who established a temple at Khardah taught him to play harmonium and organ. These were his first lessons in music. There he used to join the evening prayers and play the organ and sing the hymns for an hour every evening.
He now joined another job in the laboratory of Central Fuel Research Institute, Calcutta. He wanted to do M.Sc., but there was no evening course, except in mathematics, in which he was not particularly interested. So, he decided to take Special B.A.Exams and study M.A. in philosophy from Calcutta University. Philosophy he liked most since his adolescence. When he was in the Eighth Standard in school, a teacher asked him, 'which philosophy do you like? The boy replied confidently, ' I have my own philosophy. I don't bother my head with other's philosophies.'
Much later in life, in 1997, he delivered a lecture at a seminar at a seminar at the department of Philosophy at Jadavpur University. It was a gathering of learned professors and students. A professor asked him after the lectures, during a question-answer session that followed, if he could explain the very essence of the Vedanta philosophy in simple words. He did it, but in the words of an almost illiterate, rustic woman: " If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is stranger. The whole world is your own.' Those were the last gospels of the Holy Mother. The whole audience responded cheerfully.
Finally, he joined state government services and was posted at the
New Secretariat, Calcutta.
5.Association with the Ramakrishna Movement :
At the instance of an office colleague Nabaniharan visited the Ramakrishna Vedanta Math on the day of Swami Abhedananda's birth anniversary celebration. Swami Sadatmananda, a disciple of Swami Abhedananda, was the President of the Math at that time. The Swami loved him very much, and he started to visit the Math now and then. Gradually, he was given the charge of editing Visva-Vani, the magazine of the Math.
Here he came to know an eminent singer, Bireshwar Chakraborty , who was a staunch devotee of Sri Ramaknotesrishna. He would become the music teacher of Nabaniharan and, in course of time, the Sangeet-Acharya of the Mahamandal. Both the teacher and the student belonged to a high order of perfection. Music was a form of spiritual practice for them- the highest form, and never a cheap commodity to toy with or to buy and sell. They would now conduct the evening prayers of the Math. Another renowned scholar and musicologist, Swami Prajnananananda, then Secretary of the Math, loved him very much and highly valued his genius.
Nabaniharan attended lectures of great speakers after office hours at every opportunity. He listened to Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Jawaharlal Neharu, Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Suniti Kumar Chatterji, and many others. He would take notes, meet them to discuss issues, and developed personal rapport with many of them.
One such occasion was a lecture by Swami Ranganathananda at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Calcutta. He was amazed; never before did he listen to such a wonderful lecture. He met the Swami after the crowds dispersed, and the Swami asked him to come again. Here also, gradually, he became a close associate of the monks and Brahmacharis. Many years later, he would travel through the length and breadths of Odisha with Swami Ranganathananda on a lecture tour organized by the Odisha State Branch of the Mahamandal.
in the initial days, after Nabaniharan had completed the M.A., Swami Ranganathananda asked , 'So, Nabani, what are you going to do now? And he hastened to add, 'Certainly you will now choose a subject for a Ph.D.! Nabaniharan was bold; ' Who told you so ?' The Swami said, ' No.no, it's true you never told me that, but Bengalee boys cannot think of anything else.' And he continued, ' I say, don't do it, do Swamiji's work.'
Nabaniharan gradually came in close contact with many highly revered monks of the Ramakrishna Order, including Swami Vireshwarananda, Swami Abhayananda (Bharat Maharaj), Swami Gambhirananda, Swami Bhureshananda, and many others. When the Mahamandal was started, it received blessings from all of them. At the Ramkrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Convention 1980 , Swami Gambhirananda held that the Mahamandal was a part of the Ramakrishna Movement. Swami Bhuteshananda considered it a sign of the Satya Yuga that had started, according to Swami Vivekananda , with the advent of Sri Ramakrishna. Bharat Maharaj approved the line of work -lying stress on understanding Vivekananda first, instead of Sri Ramakrishna. The annual rally of the Mahamandal was held at the foot of Shahid Minar, Calcutta at the instance of Swami Ranganathananda, who said to Nabaniharan, 'Bring Swami ji to Maidan.'
Nabaniharan had very good relationship with many eminent people associated with the movement, including Dr Rama Chaudhary and Dr Santwana Dasgupta of the Nivedita Vrati Sangha and Sri Eknath Ranade and Dr M. Lakshmi Kumari of the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari.
6. Genesis of the Mahamandal :
Once some distinguished monks of the Ramakrishna Order, including Swami Bhashyanananda, Swami Ranganathananda, and Swami Niramayananda, came to Nabaniharan's house to see his grandfather, because the latter had seen Swami Vivekananda. Amongst them was Swami Smarnananda, now a Vice President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. At that time the Swami was at the Advaita Ashram, Calcutta. He invited Nabaniharan to the Ashrama. Now Nabaniharan became a frequenter at the Ashrama. He would have long discussions and brief walk almost every evening with Swami Ananyananda and Swami Smarnananda.
All these happenings contributed to make the ground ready for a new mission. All the right chemicals were put together, as it were. And the spark, the proposal, came from the two Swamis of the Advaita Ashrama. It was suggested that an organization was needed to carry the light and life of Swami ji to youths everywhere, but it was to be done, not by monks, but by lay persons.
Soon several meetings were arranged at the Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta, with some individuals and youth associations working in the name of Swami Vivekananda or with his ideals. About the name of the proposed organization, Nabaniharan insisted on three points: it should have the name of Vivekananda; it should mention it is for the youth; its scope of work must be the whole of India. Finally, ' Akhil Bharat Vivekananda Yuva Mahamandal' was name chosen, and the organization was established on 25 October 1967 with clearly defined aims and objectives : Organizing young men with complete focus on 'man-making, character-building', to channelize youthful energy into nation-building activities. The eternal values of the hoary cultural heritage of India were to be disseminated in society. The ideas were generally drawn from Swami Vivekananda. None were to leave their family or normal avocation for the work, but apply the ideas in all walks of life, so as to set example and galvanize people's outlook. Politics was to be shunned- members of political parties were barred from its membership. Principal Amiya Kumar Majumdar, who was a favorite student of Dr Radhakrishnan and Dr SN Dasgupta(?), became the President. Nabaniharan was made the Secretary. He served the organization in that position for over four decades and was made its President subsequently.
7. On a new mission:
Nabniharan was a young man of 36 then. He captured the vision of Swami Vivekananda to bring the Vedanta from estoric depths of forests and lofty heights of mountains to the everyday life of the common people as a living force that actually transforms life of society. He thought day and night how it could be actualized. Often he felt as if the ideas and solutions he needed flashed spontaneously in his mind. He believed all his life that it was the Holy Mother Sri Sarda Devi who gave him all the right ideas and knowledge.
He laid out , almost single-handedly during the initial years, the ideas and ideals, the methods and guidelines for self-development and for organizing the work. He laboured unceasingly, along with others in the group, to reach out to youths in villages, towns, and cities, organizing them, and inspire them with the fiery ideal that blazed through the life and teachings of Vivekananda. And under his able leadreship the organisation grew from a small seed into a mammoth banyan with over three hundred units spread over many states. It thrives, as he firmly believed, with the Will of Sri Ramakrishna, the blessings of the Holy Mother Sri Sarda Devi, and the enthusiasm of Swami Vivekananda behind it. Many distinguished monks of the Ramakrishna Order and many lay persons aided the effort directly or indirectly. A sister organization -Sarda Nari Sangathan - for women grew side by side later, where his role was of indirect help from distance.
8 . Life that flowed through words:
As the seed sprouted and gradually grew through the subsequent decades, thousands of youths came forward to partake of the nectar, some of them taking up the mantle. The Organization spread from Calcutta to various parts of India. Magnetic was the personality of the man who led from the front, and the language spoken was as lucid as it was modern and captivating to young minds. The words came flowing like a stream of new life, every word bearing the stamp of deep feeling, adorned with a few Sanskrit verses uttered now and then from the Vedas, The Gita, the Mahabharta or perhaps the Bhagvata- with a serene beauty of intonation to give the young ones some glimpses of the wisdom of yore.
Often his inimitable sense of humor and quick wit would make spellbound audience burst into laughter. Sometimes he spoke about the recent strides in scientific discovery to elucidate the ideas taught, sometimes of the hoary culture of India, but always did he stand on the most catholic and rational grounds of religious harmony and the Unity and Glory of human soul.
A little light of the Sun of Vedanta was perhaps shining on his mind, for he was adept at making the essential ideas easy for all to comprehend. He spoke so convincingly, so full of conviction, of the essence of the true scriptures that to a new student it appeared most obvious. The profound wisdom of sages seemed to find a fit vehicle in him to reach many lay people of the holy land, which was about to forget her hard-earned invaluable treasures in the transient glare of materialism.
9. Renunciation and service:
Though a lay person in government services till retirement, a life-long bachelor, he lived a life of renunciation in a small room filled with books, computer, etc. and an ordinary small cot at one end, with hardly any belonging beyond a bare minimum, discharging all familial responsibilities with little attachment, but utmost sincerity. Like a few other organizers of the Mahamandal, he had to travel extensively for the work -normally low cost travels offering no comfort even in the summer.
At other times he had to write many reply letters regularly, mostly by hand. He used to read newspapers very minutely every day, not only to keep himself abreast of the events and trends around the world, but also to connect with his heart. He used to say it was a spiritual practice, a form of साधना for him. He would visualize the suffering humanity with a feeling of deep empathy and encourage the organizers of the Mahamandal to do the same. 'Feel the pulse of the world at least thrice a day' was his advice (for expansion of Heart?).
He knew no rest, for life was held in dedication. Despite a hectic schedule, he could keep calm and concentrate on the work at hand because of great discipline and superb time management. Even in the government office where he worked, he would finish off his work quickly with his characteristic efficiency and find time for the Mahamandal. All time is social time, he belived,and this life is short. Whether on a long train journey or in a youth training camp, he utilized every opportunity by studying, writing, or editing. Sometimes he had to work with other organizers for several days at a stretch for arranging the youth training camps, to make sure that everything was as perfectly done as possible. The mission had to be accomplished-no cost was too high.
A workable plan was spelt out so that all youths, without distinction, could work it out themselves. Elaborate arrangements were made to train them for the purpose through youth training camps - with minimum funds, but with exemplary structure, discipline, and devotion. And a monthly, bilingual organ, Vivek-Jivan, was started as soon as possible. Small scale social service activities were taken up by the units, where ever feasible, but the focus was to be on the right motive behind work, not the quantum.
10. Literary Work :
Vivek-Jivan was considered very important in the scheme as a medium of communication with individual members and admirers outside its ambit. It regularly disseminated the ideas, methods, and news of the organization, in English and Bengali. He was the editor all through. He was skilled and experienced, because he had done editorial work before. His love for perfection in everything was all the more pronounced in meticulous editing. Untiringly he presented right ideas through the Vivek-Jivan with great care. A Hindi organ of the Mahamandal, Vivek-Anjan, was started later, which published many of his writings translated into Hindi.
A prolific writer himself both in English and in Bengali, often he wrote for it; sometimes he edited the lectures delivered at the camps of the Mahamandal by eminent scholars, including some senior monks of the Ramakrishna Order; sometimes he edited his own lectures and answers given to questions at various camps.
Apart from the central ideas, he loved to write editorials on many areas that might interest youths and enrich them, and these ranged from modern physics and astronomy to socioeconomic trends. Often he would make just a few comments on some current issue of import to set serious readers thinking, yet the comments carried indications enough to clarify many intricacies. A thought-provoking section was the 'Chiaroscuro', in which he would present an idea by artfully depicting contrasts. The editorials and 'By Questioning'- the question and answer section-were by far the most popular.
Many of his writings were later compiled into books and booklets and translated into different Indian Languages, including Hindi, Oriya,Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, and Gujarati. Of the Sanskrit verses he composed, the Vivekananda-Darshanam is perhaps par excellence. The verses would spontaneously come to his mind, often while commuting by tram or bus. It was originally published in the Udbodhan, the Bengali monthly organ of the Ramakrishna Order, and subsequently brought out as a booklet. He wrote a few poems also in Bengali for Udbodhan. A Bengali article on the relevance of Swami Vivekananda in the present age came out in the great collection of essays on the ideas of Swami Vivekananda, 'Chintanayak Vivekananda', published by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Calcutta. He also contributed a few English articles to the Prabuddha Bharta,the English monthly of the Advaita Ashrama. In 1985, the International Youth Year, he wrote on ' Youth Problem and Swami Vivekananda ' for the magazine.' Swami Vivekananda : A Profile' was published in the Centenary Volume of the Prabuddha Bharata in January 1995. Another article, 'Religion for Harmony or Discord ?' came out in the magazine at a time of heightened communal tension in the country, which was published later as a booklet by the Mahamandal.
Of the large number of books to his credit, most notable are 'Swami Vivekananda O Amader Sambhavna ' in Bengali, and 'Swami Vivekananda and the the World of Youth' in English. On management and leadership, ' Leadership-Its Concept & Qualities ' in English and 'Swami Vivekananda O Yuva Andolan' in Bengali contain unique guidelines for organizing youth movements in the truest sense of the term. His booklets on Character Building and 'Mental Concentration' have helped innumerable youths in their journey of life.
His articles on music and dance have also been acclaimed by many. 'The Philosophy of Dance' by him, which was published in the Facets of Indian Culture: A Commemoration Volume in Celebration of the Birth Centenary of Swami Prajnananda (in 2 volumes) by Bhartiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi. The huge treasure of literature that he has left behind will remain a beacon of light for youths of this country, especially those of the Mahamandal, for a long time to come.
11. Organizer and Crusader :
As an organizer he was meticulous, even fastidious, But, everybody around him was fond of the rebuke, for with it always came an important lesson, and a lot of affection. Even through highly respected by so many people around him, he was humble, friendly, and sometimes child-like. He could not speak from a high pedestal of vanity even to new trainees. With praise and positive feedback he would instil confidence in them. The dhoti-clad dignified figure, boldly proclaiming the ideal at every step, easily inspired awe and adoration among the youths, but as soon as they came close to him, he could bridge the gap in no time with his natural friendliness. Absence of vanity gives one the capacity to love, to dedicate oneself at the alter. And completeness of sacrifice is ever adorned with success of the Cause one lives and dies for. 'THE SELFLESS MAN IS THE THUNDERBOLT', as Sister Nivedita put it.
He was against doing 'something' in the name of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda, without comprehending their teachings, without any serious effort to put the ideas into practice to transform one's own life. He was quite candid and vehement in his disapproval. He knew no compromise and was outspoken; so, many people were apt to misunderstand him. His focus was set once for all. The main ideas, methods, and policies were defined once for all. And all these were gleaned from the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, The Holy Mother, and Swami Vivekananda.No digression, no compromise, no confusion, no fear of unfavorable criticism.
He did not care for name and fame and recognition. Not even for the organization he worked for. Yet, more and more youths should come to know about the ideal through such men.Jesus Christ said to his disciples , ' You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.' So are the brave followers of Vivekananda.
12 . Devotion deep within:
The versatile genius of the charismatic personality was soaked to the core with love for suffering humanity and for the boundless Love that took finite, human forms, as it were, as Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda. He felt a personal bonding with them deep within and looked upon them as the father, mother, and elder brother respectively.
He held that all the previous Incarnations and Prophets came to spirituality uplift only a section of humanity with only some aspects of religion and, therefore, their scope of work was relatively limited, whereas Sri Ramakrishna appeared in age of globalization for the whole of humanity and for rejuvenating all religions. According to him, Sri Ramakrishna could be called the 'अवतार वरिष्ठ ', the greatest among the Incarnations, for that reason.
At home he spent hours every day in the worship room. He worshiped the family deities also and continued with the family traditions of ceremonially performing Durga Puja, Kali puja, etc. every year. Fasting for the whole day he would worship on these special occasions till old age. But, he did not mix up this personal perdilection with the organization, as its explicit policy is to avoid rituals to ensure its universal appeal to youths of different tastes and capacities. And he would never skip the daily practices for life building, which he advised youths to do, even when he fell seriously ill.
Music was irrevocably fused with the devotion. He would sometimes sing a devotional song, pouring his whole soul in its emotional appeal. Sometimes he guided young singers to improve their voice, modulation, style, etc. The noble emotions of each song were to resound in the heart of both the singer and the listener. Music assumed an important role in the scheme of the movement. And it included prayers suitable for the organization, patriotic songs, classical music, and rhymes for kids of Vivek Vahini, the children's wing of the Mahamandal. Though he held the banner of Advaita up, he would quote from a verse supposed to be of Madhusudana Saraswati : "भक्त्यर्थं कल्पितं द्वैतं अद्वैतादपि सुन्दरम्।।"
(भक्ति के लिए जो कल्पित द्वैत है वो अद्वैत से भी सुन्दर है ।) the dream of duality projected for the purpose of भक्ति is even more beautiful than the supreme truth of Oneness without multiplicity.
In a hymn to the Holy Mother, which Nabaniharan composed he called her 'मुक्ति-भक्ति-प्रदायनी'. He showed it to Swami Ranganathananda, who asked him why भक्ति is mentioned after मुक्ति-the summum bonum of human life.? Nabaniharan insisted that भक्ति is superior to mukti, and the Swami remained silent, presumably in approval.
For the true devotee loves all, seeing them as embodiments of his Beloved, the Divinity. Not even a trace of selfishness remains in him. How can he then want liberation for himself alone ? Nabaniharan would often quote the words of Prahlada, the greatest among devotee, from the भागवत -(श्रीमद्भागवत महापुराण ७.९.
14. The body falls:
He passed away the very next day-on 26 September 2016- at the Mahamandal Bhavan, Konnagar, West Bengal. The end came all on a sudden in the afternoon, when he was taking rest after lunch- after a brief spell of nousea followed by a massive heart attack. Immediate medical care was of no avail. All was over by 4.05 pm. The news spread in no time, and Mahamandal workers came pouring in from various places to pay respect. Swami Divyananda, Trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and Secretary of Sarada -Pitha, Belur Math, who is also a good friend of the Mahamandal, came with some Brahmacharis with a special arghya offered to Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna at Belur Math, which was prayerfully placed on the chest. Hymn from the Vedas and verses from the Gita were chanted. Then devotional songs were sung, and portions from Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita were read.
Next day the body was taken to his ancestral home at Khardah. In Accordance with his last wishes the body was cremated at the cremation ground near his house, where his ancestors were also cremated. The body, duly dressed and garlanded, was carried there by commanders of Vivek Vahini, followed by a huge, disciplined procession. Cremation was complete by 3.30 pm.
15. Brighter burns the flame :
The body has fallen, but the spirit burns brighter. The call that rang through him has gained in strength, for it came from Vivekananda, unadulterated. His radiant personality remains unforgettable to many of us, as it emanated love that defies death. Who among those that saw him from near can forget the graceful, loving smile, the fury of feeling, the glory of genius ? Some of us feel we have indeed seen a great life of selfless service - a Thunderbolt in the hands of Vivekananda.We fervently hope that the fruits of his selfless labour will come forth in abundance, as surely as the heroic soldier of Vivekananda, with his comrades, sowed the seeds with their life's blood.
The mantra given by Swami ji inspired him most through out life: ' They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.' The mission to carry this light to every youth, the gigantic scheme of rebuilding the foundation of the nation, which was initiated nearly five decades back through him, is now calling for our dedication for its progress and fulfillment. Our whole-hearted answer to the call would be the best adoration for the man and the right way to pay our homage to his memory.
Let us, therefore, utter the earnest prayer to carry the Cross forward, in the words from The Imitation of Christ: ' We have taken up the Cross, thou hast laid it upon us and grant us strength that we bear it unto death. Amen !'