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House where ‘Ramakrishna Kathamrita’ was scripted

13 April, 2021 11:24:28
House where ‘Ramakrishna Kathamrita’ was scripted

House No. 13/2 on Cornwallis Street played a very important role in the religious movement of India, for it was here where famous Ramkrishna Kathamrita was scripted. Mahendra Nath Gupta (July 14, 1854 to June 4, 1932) was born in Shib Narayan Das Lane. His father, Madhusudan Gupta, later built this house in Guruprasad Chowdhury Lane. After completing his graduation, Mahendra Nath worked as headmaster in many schools including Shyambazar (then known as Shyam Pukur) Metropolitan School. He also worked as a professor at City, Rippon and Metropolitan College. He was known as ‘Master Mohashai.’

But what he is more famous for, is his Ramakrishna Kathamrita, that he wrote under the pseudonym ‘Sri M.’ 

Mahendra Nath was the third child of Madhusudan and it is said he got this son after worshipping Lord Shiva twelve times. Hence with a lot of care pious Mahendra raised his son. One day while returning from a Ratha festival of Mahesh when he was just five, their boat touched the Dakshineswar ghat. When everybody was busy having darshan, he somehow got lost and found himself alone in the Nata Mandir in front of Ma Bhavatarini. And not finding his mother there he began to cry. At that moment somebody seeing him crying consoled and silenced him. Mahendra Nath used to say that this incident remained always uppermost in his mind. He would witness often a bright radiance of the newly constructed and dedicated temple. He who came to console him was probably Thakur himself.

Mahendra Nath was inclined towards religion since his early years. During these days Keshab Sen came up as a famous preacher and founder of Navavidhan Brahmo Samaj. But when he met Thakur and heard him, he realized that Keshab had derived this heart charming bhava from Thakur himself.

As a boy Mahendra Nath studied in the Hare School. He was a very bright student and always held first or second position in his class. On his way to and from the school there was the shrine of Mother Sheetla of Thanthania. This shrine can now be seen in front of the College Street Market. On his way to and from the school he would never forget to stand before the deity to pay his obeisance. By virtue of intelligence and hard work he won scholarship and honours in his Entrance, F.A. and B.A. examinations. In his Entrance examination he won the second top position. In the F.A. examination though he missed one of his Mathematics papers, he was placed fifth in the merit list. In his B.A. he stood third in the year 1874. He was a favourite student of Prof. Tony in the Presidency College. While still in the college he was married to Nikunja Devi, the daughter of Thakur Charan Sen and a cousin sister of Keshab Sen in 1874. Sri Ramakrishna and the Holy Mother had great love and affection for Nikunja Devi too. When Nikunja Devi lost her son, she almost became mad with grief. At that time, Thakur would bring peace to her mind by stroking her body with his hand.

Before entering the education line, he served for sometime with the government and then in a merchant house. But he could not stick to them. Thakur had already arranged a different way of life for him. He took up teaching in school and college. In Rippon, City and Metropolitan colleges, he taught English, Psychology and Economics. When he started going to Thakur in 1882, he was the headmaster of the Shyampukur branch of Vidyasagar’s school.

Rakhal, Purna, Baburam, Vinod, Bankim, Tejachandra, Kshirode, Narayana and some other intimate devotees of Thakur were all students of his school. That is why they all called him Master Mahashay. For the same reason, he became famous in Sri Ramakrishna’s group of devotees as ‘Mahendra,’ ‘Master,’ or ‘Master Mahashay’. Thakur also called him ‘Master’ or ‘Mahendra Master’.

Mahendra Nath was inclined towards religion since his early years. During these days Keshab Sen came up as a famous preacher and founder of Navavidhan Brahmo Samaj. But when he met Thakur and heard him, he realized that Keshab had derived this heart charming bhava from Thakur himself. Mahendra Nath met Thakur in Dakshineswar on February 26, 1882. As Thakur saw him, he recognized him as a right person eligible for divine knowledge. At the end of the first meeting when M. was leaving, Thakur said to him, ‘Come again.’ 

As a boy Mahendra Nath studied in the Hare School. He was a very bright student and always held first or second position in his class. On his way to and from the school there was the shrine of Mother Sheetla of Thanthania. This shrine can now be seen in front of the College Street Market. On his way to and from the school he would never forget to stand before the deity to pay his obeisance.

Mahendra was very well read in Western Philosophy, Literature, History, Science, Economics too. However, during his first meeting with Thakur this pride of his received a blow. Thakur showed him the insignificance of the knowledge he had acquired. He made him realize that real knowledge is only to know God and all the rest is ignorance. 

In his very first meeting Thakur taught him how to keep both sides — of this world and the other world during one’s journey through the world. This is called ‘sannyasa in the household’. The essence of it can be summed up in this: Do all your work but keep your mind in God. Live with your wife, son, father, mother and others. Serve them taking them to be your very own but know in your mind that none of them is yours --- a golden lesson of Kathamrita.

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