During the second and third decades of the last century Chittaranjan Das was practicing in Calcutta High Court. He was famous as an advocate. He joined the freedom struggle of India started by Mahatma Gandhi. He was president of All India National Congress, for some time. He had a very good personal rapport with Gandhiji. He left his practice and completely dedicated himself to the freedom movement of India against the British. His sincerity to the cause of India’s freedom, movement earmed him the title Deshbandhu which means “Friend of the Nation”. Chittaranjn Das learnt about Sri Sri Thakur Anukulchandra from younger brother of Sri Aurobindo, the great s
aint of Pondichery, the Gurudev of Sri Maa. Birenda went to Himayatpur, in the district of Pabna(now in Bangladesh) and met Sri Sri Thakur and stayed in the Ashram for a few days. On his return to Calcutta, he published one article titled “Madhuchakra” in ‘Narayan’ an established magazine in Bengali. Chittaranjan Das was impressed with the narration of Birenda about his spiritual experiences and the peace of mind during his stay in the Ashram. This made Chittranjan drawn towards Sri Sri Thakur. He met Sri Sri Thakur in Calcutta and became his disciple during May 1924.
After initiation Chittranjan Das visited the Ashram in May 1925. He was not keeping good health but his health condition improved in those few days, he spent in the Ashram in the company of Sri Sri Thakur. But his family insisted that he should go to Darjeeling a health resort in Bengal immediately. Chittranjan left the Ashram and moved for Darjeeling with reluctance. From the time of his initiation in 1924, Chittranjan was writing to Mahatmaji about Sri Sri Thakur, and persuaded the latter to visit the Ashram during his Bengal Tour, Which was planned in May 1925.
Mahatmaji intimated the Ashram, that he along with his team, would reach Iswaradi railway Station by train on 23rd of May 1925 and would straight proceed to Ashram at Himayatpur. It was also planned that he along with his team would have their lunch in the Ashram.
But when Mahatmaji got down from the train, the president of the reception committee by name Jogendra Mitra prevailed upon him to first go to Pabna, the district headquarter, where his stay had
been arranged, to take their hospitality first and then to proceed to Himayatpur to visit the Ashram of Sri Sri Thakur.
Mahatmaji did not agree with this proposal, he said: “I have atready given them(disciples of Sri Sri Thakur) word that I would go to Ashram first, and have lunch there and then proceed to Pabna”. But Mitra vehemently opposed this proposal. Mahatmaji was at a fix and told the disciples, “see how helpless I am”. Acharya kriplani was accompanying Mahatmaji. He did not like Jogendra’s attitude and said: “what type of a person you are? You must comply with the wishes of Mahatmaji”. But Jogendra would not buzz. So the disciples to ease the irritation of Mahatmaji had to give way and requested him to proceed to Pabna first and then come to Ashram.
Thus the whole plan of visiting the Ashram was upset, Instead of noon, it was almost evening, when Mahatmaji reached the Ashram. There was a big crowd waiting to have a glimpse of Mahatmaji. He was in a hurry; to catch the train to Darjelling to see the ailing Chittaranjan. There was total confusion as the crowd vived with each other to go near to Mahatmaji. In that confusion and chaous, Mahatmaji could not be taken to Sri Sri Thakur. He could meet only his mother Rev. Manmohini Devi and she said in Bengali “you may be a Mahatma for the whole world, but for me, you are my son”. This was translated in to Hindi and conveyed to Mahatmaji. He was happy. She further said; “we are packing all the items, fruits etc, meant for your lunch. You did not take any thing here. I would be happy, if you eat something from there later”. Mahatmaji asked someone to carry all the packets carefully. He then signed the visitor’s book and urged the ashramites to use charkha and start weaving cloth to fulfil their requirements, instead of purchasing mill made cloth.
Mahatmaji met the ailing Chittaranjan at Darjeeling and stayed with him for five days, and wrote in his news paper ‘Young India’ dated on 25.06.25: “ I spent five days with this great lover of India, and become very close to him. I do not feel tired in narrating my wonderful experience, I had in his company. He was full of love and love”. This attitude of love came to Chittaranjan after his initiation. He further mentioned in Young India dated 16.7.1925, What Chittranjan said in his death bed: “I have learnt from my Guru, the value of truth in all our dealings. I want you (Mahatmaji)to live with him for a few days at least. Your need is not the same as mine But he has given me strength, I did not possess before”. Gandhiji also wrote in Navajeevan, a journal sponsored by him that there was a great transformation, in Chittaranjan with regard to his food habits after he took the initiation of Sri Sri Thakur . He was not allowing non-veg food to enter his apartment. Gandhiji learnt from Chittranjan that his Gurudev (Sri Sri Thakur) urged him not to indulge in non-veg food as it would hinder spiritual growth.
Chittranjan Das expired in his Darjeling health resort on 16.6.1925 and his obsequies was performed in his Calcutta house.
A life size photography of Sri Sri Thakur was kept near the place of rites. Rev Manmohini Devi with some disciples of Sri Sri Thakur attended the function. At that time Sri Sri Thakur was staying in Calcutta. Mahatma Gandhi along with Dr. Rajendra Prasad came to Calcutta to attend the funeral function Both of them visited Sri Sri Thakur, and spent some time with him. The main theme of their discussion was with regard to the great transformation of Chittranjan in his last years after he came in touch with Sri Sri Thakur. A wealthy advocate with haughty temparement became, love personalized. A lover of non-veg food was trying to become vegeterian as his Guru wished him to do so for his spiritual progress.
The biographer has written a post script giving his views about the encounter of Mahatmaji with Sri Sri Thakur. Nodoubt Mahatamaji was impressed about Sri Sri Thakur’s capacity to mould persons for becoming better humanbeings. But his meeting with Sri Sri Thakur was very casual. He never opened his heart before Sri Sri Thakur nor did he discuss anything with regard to the freedom struggle. Had he done so, the history of national struggle for a free India would have been different. The biographer probably meant that had Mahatmaji discussed the national issues with Sri Sri Thakur there would not have been any partition of the country.
Sri Sri Thakur left the Himayatpur Ashram with his family and a few devotees to Deoghar (then in Bihar and now in Jharkhand ) in the first week of January 1946 leaving assets, like buildings, cottage industrial complex, scientific experiment centres, printing press etc. worth several crores.
In 1947, the author, Sri Bose, met Sri Jawaharlal Nehuru on behalf of Sri Sri Thakur with regard to solutions for communal problems and conveyed Sri Sri Thakur’s views to him. On January 30th 1948, Mahatmaji was assassinated. Sri Sri Thakur was deeply distressed and gave this ‘Vani’ instantaneously:
" To shoot Mahtma
Is to shoot the hearts
Of all the people
the lovers of existence
O thou, thy great Tapas!
bestow thy bliss
With every shooting off
The evils that obsess
Father the supreme!
Pour thy grace
On this dump appeal of human heart. "
N.P.Tripathy, MA Ph.D.
Former D.G. Income Tax
Former D.G. Income Tax