"Whenever you are in danger, whether in
ocean or in war or in the wild, remember Me. I shall save you. You may not
know Me. You may not realize who I am. Just pray to Me with a little touch
of your heart and I shall free you from gripping sorrows and miseries."
Over two centuries after these words were uttered by a sage, they have
become famous all over Bengal.
The Saint of Bengal:
Here is one sage who predicted that a century after his death, he would be
greatly revered by one and all. True enough, at present, his is a household
name in Bengal. Nearly every Hindu Bengali home has his idol placed in the
family altar, huge temples are being built in his honor, thousands of
devotees bow before him and glorify him as their Guru and Lord. He is Baba Lokenath.
Baba is Born:
Baba Lokenath was born on Janmasthami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, in 1730
(18th Bhadra, 1137) to a Brahmin family in the village of Chaurasi Chakla, a
couple of miles away from Calcutta. His father, Ramnarayan Ghosal's sole
wish in life was to dedicate one child to the path of renunciation to
liberate the family. So when the fourth son was born to his wife Kamaladevi,
he knew that the time had come for him to initiate his boy to the service of
Education & Training:
Accordingly, he ventured to a nearby village of Kochuya and pleaded with
Pandit Bhagawan Ganguly to be his son's guru and teach him the Shastras rich
in Vedic wisdom. At the age of 11, young Lokenath left home with his guru.
His first sojourn was the Kalighat Temple, then for 25 years he lived in the
forests, selflessly serving his master and practising the Ashtanga Yoga of
Patanjali along with the most difficult Hatha Yoga.
Penance & Enlightenment:
Baba Lokenath was nearly seven feet tall with little flesh on him. Denying
the needs of his physical self, he negated sleep, never closed his eyes or
even blinked. He went about stark naked and in that state he braved the
chill of the Himalayas and immersed himself in profound meditation or
samadhi for nearly five decades. Finally, the light of self-realization
dawned on him at the age of 90.
Baba's Travels on Foot:
After his enlightenment he traveled extensively on foot to Afghanistan,
Persia, Arabia and Israel, making three pilgrimages to Mecca. When he came
to the small town Baradi near Dhaka, a wealthy family built him a small
hermitage, which became his ashram. He was then 136 years of age. There he
put on a sacred thread and clothed himself in saffron robes. For the rest of
his life he bestowed miracles and celestial wisdom on all who came to him to
His teachings were infused with simplicity that endeared the common man. He
preached love and devotion and an unwavering faith in God and in one's
deeper, immutable self. For him nothing is but Self. After attaining siddhi
or enlightenment he said: "I have seen only Myself. I am bound by my own
karma. The materialistic world is bound by the tongue and the sex organ. He
who can restrain these two is fit to attain siddhi (enlightenment)."
Baba Leaves His Physical Body:
On the 19th day of Jyestha, 1297 (June 3, 1890), at 11:45 am, the Baba was
seated in his usual Gomukh yoga asana. He went into a trance with his eyes
open, and while still meditation, the Baba left his physical body forever.
He was aged 160. He said, before death: "I am eternal, I am deathless. After
this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will
live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Whoever
will seek my refuge, will always receive my grace".
"In Danger, Remember Me":
It is believed that Baba Lokenath appeared in a vision to Suddhananda
Brahamachari in 1978, over 100 years after he died, commanding him to write
his life story, and he wrote the Baba's biography entitled "In Danger,
Remember Me". Today, Lokenath Brahmachari is the household deity of millions
of Bengali families on both sides of the border.