Prabhu Jagat Bandhu – the prince of love and joy, tall, well built, of rosy complexion with a tinge of yellow, soft as cotton , bright as the sun , refreshing as the moon, transparent as a stream of clear water .He sat in profound silence , absorbed in an ocean of world of thought – a living dream in flesh and blood, wrapped in the glory of Maha Uddharan or universal Emancipation.
It was one early dawn of May 1871. A well known bramhin scholar of Bengal, named Dinanath Nyayaratna was performing his morning duties with his wife in the sacred river Ganges, when they found ‘The divine baby’, floating on the rippling surface of the Ganges , shedding celestial luster all around . Dinanath took him from the foamy bosom of the river into his arms, looked at the two lotus like eyes and handed him over to his wife, Bama Devi , who was sitting at his left and casting wistful look at the divine child. Thus came ‘He’.
He has composed a little verse or mantra in three lines which embodies the highly esoteric and mystical significance, not of the Vedas only , but of all religion the verse is known as ‘Maha- nama’, meaning the great or holy name. Every part of the Maha-Nama is attributed to Him. The first line of the mantra is “Hari Purush Jagat Bandhu – Maha Uddharana”. He may be called ‘Hari Purusha’ or ‘Jagat bandhu’ or only ‘Bandhu’or ‘Maha-Uddharana’,as he is identical with the whole ‘Maha nama’.
The philosophy of human life propounded by him is an entirely new exposition of the ancient truth – the truth which is the foundation, not of Hinduism or Christianity only, but of all the religions of the whole world. He believed that the true religion of the world is one and the only one, but the exoteric (outward) expressions of that one are many.
His whole teaching may be summarized in two words: ‘Live’ and ‘Love’. Live like a bramhachari and love Hari like a ‘Gopi’. The other important aspect of his teachings is ‘Hari –Nama’. What can that possibly be? Nothing but the hallowed name of the Lord. He is called as ‘Hari Purusha’. It is by the constant praying and chanting of the name, we can create one universal constructive thought form for the good of the entire world.
‘Hari-Purusha’ appeared on this earth in 1871. In 1890, when he was only a boy of nineteen years, he said – “my mission is to create a new world by my spiritual power”.
Like Sri Gour Hari, Prabhu was tall, bright complexioned, having all the divine traits and always clad in white robes. For the benefit of ignorant, He revealed his own identity by saying-
“The supreme Godhead and eternally original Sri Govinda is Sri Sri Krishna and Sri Sri Gouranga. One who is the total unification and energy of these two Lilas is Sri Sri Haripurush Jagatbandhu. That is only me – do you understand? — the Lila combination of all things.”
The Lila or Divine Sport of the Lord when he descended to this mundane world shows three clear trends or classifications.
During the first 19 years, Prabhu was more or less absorbed in sweet memories of His earlier Lilas (divine sport) in Vrindavan as Krishna along with divine companions who also descended with him to Vrindavan from Golak (celestial abode of Lord Krisna). Being orphaned at young age, Bandhusundar started growing up under the custody of his two sisters and two brothers. Bakchar and Brahamankanda at the outskirts of Faridpur, was the place for his divine pastime of child-hood and adolescence stage. There he was the object of love for each and every house like Gopal (Child Krishna) at Vrindavan.
At the age of 19 years the first photograph of Prabhu Jagatbandhu Sundar was taken which is the same photograph which is being worshipped at many houses now. From this time onwards for the next 21 years Prabhu was under the influence of his earlier activities at Nadia as Lord Gourango and he started his divine pastime on salvation of the down-trodden. Prabhu embraced the very downtrodden and the lower caste people of the society, re – established the culture of Harinaam Sankirtan at the remotest corners and wrote & composed many devotional songs and Kirtans during this period.
He saved five thousand santhals, who were looked down upon by the Hindu community as untouchable aboriginals, from getting converted to Christians. Through a silent revolution, Bandhusundar elevated them to the real status of Mohantos by distributing Harinam to them and converting them to well mannered individuals. This incident was widely published in the print media ‘abgari’ from London. Bandhusundar propagated the teachings of self-restraint and Harinam among the youth all around. Sri Ramdas Babaji and Ramesh Chandra Chakravarty, were a few among his competent companions. Prabhu himself composed about five hundred Bengali padavalis; which are sung as folk –lore in both sides of Bengal. Among his many lifetime achievements , liberation of ‘Domes’(burning-ghat attendants) of Kolkata’s Rambagan area and salvation of the-then prostitutes like Suratkumari and Jadumani, by his dearest devotee Sri Atul Champati can be highlighted.
The last twenty years were specifically the very own Lila of Prabhu Bandhu Sundar which was highly spiritual and of sublime depth which is unfathomable. Prabhu entered a thatched cottage or rather a cell, totally cut off from the objective side of the world. He passed 16 years and 8 months in this cell behind closed doors. He did not utter a single word and did not admit even light and air into that small cottage. This part of Prabhu’s “Lila” is famous as Mahagambhira Lila as compared to “Gambhira Lila” of Lord Gourango. Actually from the objective point of view he was generating tremendous amount of spiritual force in order to save the world from the accumulated destructive agencies which mankind developed throughout the whole Dark Age or Kali. On the other hand from the sublime or divine point of view Prabhu during this time was totally immersed in sweet memories of his earlier Lilas and was deeply meditating on them where even a slightest disturbance was intolerable. After seventeen years he came out to repeat the teachings again to our deaf ears. He said: – “I am sending my spiritual force against the destructive forces – the destructive powers of the world. ‘Karma’ is falling upon me. I must bear them in my body. Because of that you will soon find my body quite lifeless. The only way you can help me is by ceaseless prayer which must be chanted in chorus, in rhythm and in tune. This whole performance we term in one word-‘Maha – kirtan’ – which also includes the conception that the prayer must be chanted in spirit of love and faith”.
The critical point of the life of Prabhu-Jagat –Bandhu came on the 17th September, 1921. We found predictions fulfilled. The entire destructive power of the world came upon His body and it lay quite breathless. The Lord assumed the appearance of a dead man, though inwardly full of intelligence and bliss. It was Sripad Mahendrajee who diagnosed this condition of the Lord as only a unique stage in the life of the Lord; a metamorphic condition for a higher culmination of the realization of Mahabhava (a sublimated condition of Divine Love – predicted by Lord as Tryodash Dasa or Dasasry. According to his previous instructions, the holy body was preserved in a casket of sandal wood and a band of young monks, called ‘Mahanama Sampradaya’, headed by Sripad Mahendrajee, started the unique mission of constant prayer. From that particular moment in 1921, up to date, the ceaseless Mahanama Kirtan is still continuing for 87 years. He is really Jagat- Bandhu, the friend of the Universe.
Sri Sri Bandhusundar put maximum stress on ‘self restraint’ and ‘Harinam’. He used to state- “this is the period of great catastrophe and the only savior is ‘Harinam’. You protect me by chanting ‘Harinam’. I belong to none but ‘Harinam’. Harinam is the only hymn for great liberation. Listening to this from a saintly person is as good as getting initiated. This human life is not to commit sins- but to render services to Krishna.”
“a body without initiation, is as good as a dead- body”, regarding ‘self-restraint’ he said- “observe self- restraint and get this practiced by others. It is a great sin to have company of women-folk. Seeing and touching of women is the surest way to downfall. Don’t even look to women! Mind is very fickle, by nature. Don’t pay any importance and latitude to it. Non-violence, truthfulness, self-restraint, self-control and utmost- commitment- should be made as your life’s ornaments. Don’t ever allow any room for vicious thoughts about others in your mind or at your heart. By criticizing others you can’t attain religion, you only increase your burden of sins. Sheer wastage of words only usher-in misfortune.”
With the help of ‘Rajashree’ Banamali Roy, the king of Taras Pabna, he got the Srimad Bhagvad printed in Devnagari script, along with various commentaries of Goswamis and distributed them, free of cost among many erudites in India.
Dazzling Gour Leela, was much brightened by his endeavours. All his ‘kirtans’ are composed of and enriched by the mystique mysteries of Sri Sri Brajaleela and Sri Sri Gour Leela. Prabhu liberated the religion of Prem (selfless love or devotion) of Gouria cult, that was shrouded by many- sectarian ideas, to its greatest heights. Like the life- span of Sriman Mahaprabhu, his life also manifested ‘Prem and Prem’, almost all through 51 years of his life. Centering around his divine abode at Faridpur Sri Angan, an atmosphere of love and devotion was created in the whole of East-Bengal. The dearth of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s pure Vaishnavism, was spread by Sri Sri Jagatbandhu Sundar in the form of ‘neo- Gouranga’ and flooded the waters of river Padma with the torrent of ‘Naam’ (recitals of the Holy names of Lord Sri Hari in rhythm & tune) and ‘Prem’.