A brief introduction of Shree Shree VaradaKanta Bandhopadhyay - (1861-1940)
His Early Life:
Born to a saintly “Shakti-Sadhak” KamalaKanta and HaraSundari Devi, VaradaKanta was the second son among the four sons who later became revered saint disciple of Sadguru Gosaiji. Gosaiji had said that the four were the pillars of the “Ajapa Sadhan” of this age.
Professionally Harakanta was a medical practitioner, Varadakanta-- a legal practitioner, Saradakanta, a school teacher and Kuladakanta from his teenage a spiritual celibate (Brahmachari).
Varadakanta, in his early age was inclined towards western school of thoughts & loved Brahmo principles.
He was so against Hindu idol-worship & Guru deeksha that when he heard that his younger brother Kulada has taken Deeksha from Sadguru Bijoy Krishna Goswami he rushed with a rod in hand to beat him and when his wife was preparing for a worship by putting up a GHAT (pitcher with water, leaves flowers etc) he had broken it. He disbelieved in occult power & miracles. But he was a puritan and never compromised with unfair deeds.
He was married to the only daughter of a landlord, she was a pious lady named Giribala Devi. She was keen to get Deeksha from Gosaiji but Gosaiji wanted her to take permission from her husband. After a patient waiting she ultimately succeeded in persuading her husband and got deeksha from Gosaiji for which she had to travel a long distance in her pregnancy and suffered from intense pain.
Gosaiji’s Dream and Instructions:
Once she suffered from a chronic migraine. One day being unable to bear the headache, she prayed in front of Gosaiji’s portrait for relief from pain. The same night Gosaiji appeared before her in dream and said that a fresh root of an herb lies in the big box containing old religious book. In the morning she narrated the dream to her husband. He laughed at her superstition and for the belief that her dream is true. However on her insistence the old box was opened and found to be full of book worms and dust but at the bottom layer of the books a fresh root was found.
Giribala took it and tied it up on her arm. Within a day or two the chronic migraine was over. Varadakanta was astonished and his mind got a jolt and started turning towards Gosaiji. By the time all the members of the joint family had come under shelter of Gosaiji. Looking at his youngest brother Kuladananda Brahmachari’s radiant face and inward gaze he ultimately took shelter of Gosaiji secretly and his attitude towards Hinduism gradually changed. He became a genuine devotee of Gosaiji.
Gosaiji insisted Varadakanta to change his residence to Habigunge which he at once abided by, leaving his established legal practice over a long period.
At Habigunge his legal practice brought him affluence. He purchased a big house and stayed there with his family. One mid day, when he was in the court, he got news that his residence has caught fire. By the time he reached home most of his house had turned into ashes. He rushed into the burning house and came back safe with Gosaiji’s portrait and the Narayan Shila (stone symbol of God). Shifting his family to another place he rebuilt the house and again brought them back.
His Dependence on Gosaiji:
When his legal practice was at its peak, Gosaiji asked him to sell the house and go to Gaya and practice their. Again without hesitation Varadakanta sold the house at a very low price and went to Gaya. Here he came in contact with his youngest brother Kuladananda Brahmachari who was living at Gaya (Akash Ganga hills, where Gosaiji got deeksha from Brahmananda Paramhamsaji) and was engaged in penance (as he was destined to hold the torch of Gosaiji). Other co disciples were also there who used to come to Varadakanta’s residence in large numbers. Whatever he earned daily was consumed in “UTSAV” (celebrations and feasts) not leaving anything for the next day but his mental peace went on increasing day by day as his dependence on Gosaiji increased.
Both husband and wife delved in Naam Sadhan, meditation, reading scriptures, aarati, bhog and Utsav. While at Gaya they went to pilgrimage to Vrindavan, Mathura, Hardwar, Kashi etc. On his effort the stone tablet was founded on the top of the Akash Ganga hill with the inscriptions—“OM--Right on this top Paramhansaji of Manas-sarovar gave deeksha to Sri Bijoy Krishna Goswami-Jai Guru OM 1290 (1883 A D)”.
Some miracles took place at Gaya that affirmed his faith on idol worship and occult instructions.
He used to shut the doors and windows of the prayer room. One night Varadakanta dreamt, as if Gosaiji was saying, “I am sweating, open the windows.” He woke up and rushed to see the portrait and found Gosaiji sweating profusely. The glass cover was immediately removed and sweat cleaned by Basil leaves.
Varadakanta’s young son suffered from Cholera. By minor treatment the sickness was arrested. In the early morning Kuladanandaji came running and asked about the condition of the boy. Being night and far away Kuladanandaji could not be informed of the sickness.
He said-“I saw a person carrying the boy to an unknown place. I fought for the whole night and ultimately the vanquished person vanished. Then I understood that it was a supernatural vision.” Everybody was stunned to learn this event.
Giribala Devi’s Dream:
Six years lapsed in Gaya. One night Giri bala Devi heard Gosaiji saying in dream-“Barada’s worldly activities are over. Ask him to retire from legal practice. I am taking all your responsibilities.” This time he believed in it yet he rushed to Nath Yogi Gambheernathji to confirm it. Gambheernathji closed his eyes for sometime and then confirmed the dream as true. By that time Gosaiji had left his mortal body.
Varadakantaji sold all his property including house, furniture, car and precious things and started for his Guru’s Ashram at Dhacca (Gendaria). A plant does not grow if every now and then it is uprooted from the soil and is replanted. Gosaiji’s instruction to Varadakanta reminds us of the Buddhist saint Milarepa whom his Guru had asked to built a stone house single handedly and as soon as he completed he asked him again to dismantle it. This he did for three times before the Guru declared that his worldly activities were over and then he was bestowed with the highest spiritual realization.
Varadakantaji’s spiritual zeal flared up during his stay at Gendaria Ashram. He lived away from his family. The family lived in a brick built house, whereas Varadakantaji lived in a ‘mud and thatch’ hut where he spent the nights only. He planted a panchavati (a cluster of five religious trees) and lived under it for the whole day (dawn to dusk) in spiritual pursuit. He reduced his food intake to a meager breakfast and light dinner.
After sometime he reduced his penance and started leading a normal life. His face radiated luminance and looked calm and behaved like a normal man. This is calked a state of SAHAJ-BHAV where in spite of public relation a saint is always in a state of constant gaze at AJAPA-NAAM.
A young daughter of Gostha Bihari became a widow and intended to spend a spiritual life. Her father brought her to Varadakantaji for solace. Looking at his spiritual aura she insisted for getting deeksha from him. Varadaji negated saying that he is not empowered to give deeksha.
Varadakantaji as Sadguru:
The lady then squatted without food and drink till Gosaiji granted deeksha through Varadakantaji. Three full days elapsed without food and water. On the fourth day Varadakantaji came out smiling and asked her to come after taking a bath and breaking her fasting. Thus the lady was among the first batch of 12 to get deeksha from revered Varadakantaji. He always said that he was not their Guru. Gosaiji was the Guru. He only offered the disciples at Gosaiji’s lotus feet. Thereafter hundreds of devotees got deeksha from him.
He often prayed to his GURU- “You are my king, my king’s king. I only want you and know nothing else. Have pity on me. Save me from my futile ego centric attempt to realize the INFINITE thorough my gross frame consisting of infinitesimal sense organs. Oh, GOD! Kindly keep myself attached firmly to your finite and manifest form, the form of my savior GURU whom I can see touch and communicate with.—what a transform!”
Like Darbeshji he also destroyed his daily diary when he heard that his disciples were reading from it on a chapter on devotion to his Guru Gosaiji. He said that it contained some of his experiences beyond the belief of an aspiring disciple and would be harmful to a skeptical mind. Thus a great treasure was lost due to the mistake of a disciple.
In his earlier days as a Guru he was against building an Ashram but agreed to it when disciples including co disciples (Gurubhai) frequently insisted for a common place where they could meet from time to time.
Bijoy Krishna Yogashram:
At Bankura, a seat of Vaishnavism, he built the “Bijoy Krishna Yogashram” which was inaugurated on the auspicious day of Sri Sri Madhevandra Puriji, the donor of devotional- love, which coincided with his own birthday. It was the 13th day of full moon of Falgun in the lunar calendar (1932 A D).
Devotees came to this Ashram with many worldly and spiritual problems. Revered Guru Varadakantaji asked them to spell out their problems if any. But the disciples spontaneously and smilingly replied that his very sight was the solution to all their queries.
He fell sick at the age of 80. Both his lungs were choked. Doctors declared double pneumonia and tried their best to cure him but without success. Guru Varadakantaji wanted to relinquish his body at Gosaiji’s ashram at Gendaria. Doctors and disciples refused to allow him to endure such a long journey. Within 3-4 days doctors, to their astonishment found the patient ninety percent cured and allowed him to go to Gendaria Ashram (Dhacca).
He was very happy to reach his Guru’s ashram. On the fourth day before lunch he bent his head down with folded hands as if prostrating to someone. After a long time when he lifted his head his wife asked why he bent down for so long in this weak health. He replied- “didn’t you see that Gosaiji had come?” Within a few seconds his soul departed for his Guru’s celestial abode.
Thakur Varadakanta’s life is a burning example of ancient Rishis who led a family life and not only reached the highest state of realization of Brahma but gave it to millions of seekers by preaching through UPANISADS and other scriptures.
- All paths lead to the same goal.
- Gosaiji is always with you, never forget it.
- Remembrance of naam with your breathing is the best service to your Guru.
- Prostrating physically or mentally destroys one’s ego. Our path passes lying on the dust of the feet of all beings.
- Patient alertness is necessary for a seeker. Any moment HE may appear before you.
- Too much reading religious books is like wandering in jungles leaving behind the highway.
At Bankura Ashram annual commemoration is held on the auspicious day of Shukla 13th of Falgun (Feb/March) every year.
For further information on Guru Varadakantaji refer—“Bijoy Krishna Parijan”.
- Shree Shree Pathak Baba