AROUND THIS TIME, there was another distinguished Mahatma in Kashi. His name was Veni Madhav Mukhopadhyaya. This sadhu was completely blind and he had crossed eighty. He had come to Kashi early in his youth and had settled there ever since. He had been born in an extremely prosperous family and had acquired an elite education. If memory serves me right, he was born in a village near Hooghly. He had lost his eyesight in childhood due to a severe attack of smallpox. This incident made him renounce worldly life, brought him all the way to Kashi and had made him spend the rest of his life in the sanctuary of Kashi Visvanath’s feet.
He stays in the Pandey Haveli Mohalla ensconced in the Bengali Ṭōlā. Till the very end of his ennobling life, he remained in the same house in which he first set foot when he arrived in Kashi. Each day in his house, he would gather small boys and girls living in his gulley and teach them some lessons. This took care of his food and clothing. He never needed anything else. It earned him the fond moniker “Andha Master” (Blind Master) from the citizens of Kashi.
This Mahatma had attained great heights in his spiritual Sadhana. This writer has spent several enlightening days with him, learning the various nuances of his spiritual experiences.
Several eminent people and scholars and Pandits of Kashi believe him to be a Jivan-Mukta. Many of his direct disciples had ascended to a high state in their own spiritual evolution through the path of Yoga. Some had also earned Vibhūti.
I RECALL A MEMORABLE INCIDENT. Once, some of us had taken Sri Sri Naga Baba with us to the bastion atop the Darbhanga Ghat. There, we were engaged in some philosophical discussions. After some time, we spotted a devotee accompanying Andha Master. They were walking towards us. The devotee was holding his hands, leading the way. Sri Sri Naga Baba had neither seen Andha Master or heard about him before. But the moment he spotted him, Sri Sri Naga Baba’s head automatically lowered. Then he gazed raptly at Mahatma Master’s eyes and face with intense concentration.
Later, when I asked him the reason for it, he said, “He is a true Jnani, he can also be called a Jivan-Mukta. However, it appears that he is yet to embark on the quest to discharge his Mātr̥-r̥ṇa (the debt one owes to one’s mother).”
SRI SRI NAGA BABA REPEATEDLY TOLD US that Mañana is not possible without Shravana. He said that the word should be clearly spoken aloud in such a way that the person who speaks the word should be able to hear it with the same clarity. If the person utters the word in his mind, his mind too, should be able to hear it. Babaji said, “if this method is practiced without fail, the Smriti (intellect) will blossom naturally. If the Shruti is not tuned properly, the Smriti will not rise up. Without music or melody, what will be the nature of Shruti? From perfect Smriti, Nidhidhyāsana will flow on its own. The Darshana or Sākṣātkāra flows after this.”
Broadly speaking, this was his exposition of Nāma yōga.
The body becomes purified on its own through Nāma yōga. Through the energy of Kundalini, there is no lack of bodily purity. Babaji used to say that it took him three and half years to fully purify his body through the rigorous practice of Rasa as we shall see. One cannot liberate the physical body without first purifying it thoroughly. According to him, one can attain the Jivan-Mukta State but cannot realise the Parabrahman. In other words, the Mātr̥-r̥ṇa will not be fully discharged. Which means, the bonds of Maya are still not broken. Which further means that the attachment to the Panchatattva remains intact. This is the reason the Sōhaṁ State will not awaken within such a person.
It has been observed in several cases that some great Atmans do indeed attain the Brahma-Loka — this is the fruit of their Mañana. However, because their bodies had not been fully purified, such Atmans could not ascend higher, and therefore came back to the earthly state. This is why it is essential to take our physical body with us to these higher states. This is the real meaning of Dēhaśuddhi or body-purification.
Thus, without complete Dēhaśuddhi, there is the danger of lapsing from Vijñāna into ajñāna, from Advaita to Dvaita. Several people remain stuck in this causal Advaita or an illusion of Advaita. No real charity or Lokasangraha is possible for such people.
When a person completely purifies his body, he truly becomes indestructible. Swami Jalandarnath was indestructible in this sense. Gorakshanath was a magnificent Siddha but he was not indestructible. The ultimate essence of body-purification is the cessation of the propensity to identify one with one’s body. The region from the throat all the way down to the toes becomes akin to a void, and the region upwards the throat becomes pure Chaitanya. Cessation of the influence of the Panchatattva (the Five Elements)is the absence of bodily consciousness, and the realisation of this State within ourselves is nothing but Jivan-Mukti.
To be continued
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