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Brother Ananta and Sister Nalini
"Ananta cannot live; the sands of his karma for this life have
words reached my inner consciousness as I sat one morning in deep
meditation. Shortly after I had entered the Swami Order, I paid
a visit to my birthplace, Gorakhpur, as a guest of my elder brother
Ananta. A sudden illness confined him to his bed; I nursed him lovingly.
The solemn inward
pronouncement filled me with grief. I felt that I could not bear
to remain longer in Gorakhpur, only to see my brother removed before
my helpless gaze. Amidst uncomprehending criticism from my relatives,
I left India on the first available boat. It cruised along Burma
and the China Sea to Japan. I disembarked at Kobe, where I spent
only a few days. My heart was too heavy for sightseeing.
On the return
trip to India, the boat touched at Shanghai. There Dr. Misra, the
ship's physician, guided me to several curio shops, where I selected
various presents for Sri Yukteswar and my family and friends. For
Ananta I purchased a large carved bamboo piece. No sooner had the
Chinese salesman handed me the bamboo souvenir than I dropped it
on the floor, crying out, "I have bought this for my dear dead
A clear realization
had swept over me that his soul was just being freed in the Infinite.
The souvenir was sharply and symbolically cracked by its fall; amidst
sobs, I wrote on the bamboo surface: "For my beloved Ananta,
the doctor, was observing these proceedings with a sardonic smile.
tears," he remarked. "Why shed them until you are sure
he is dead?"
When our boat
reached Calcutta, Dr. Misra again accompanied me. My youngest brother
Bishnu was waiting to greet me at the dock.
Ananta has departed this life," I said to Bishnu, before he
had had time to speak. "Please tell me, and the doctor here,
when Ananta died."
the date, which was the very day that I had bought the souvenirs
Dr. Misra ejaculated. "Don't let any word of this get around!
The professors will be adding a year's study of mental telepathy
to the medical course, which is already long enough!"
me warmly as I entered our Gurpar Road home. "You have come,"
he said tenderly. Two large tears dropped from his eyes. Ordinarily
undemonstrative, he had never before shown me these signs of affection.
Outwardly the grave father, inwardly he possessed the melting heart
of a mother. In all his dealings with the family, his dual parental
role was distinctly manifest.
Soon after Ananta's
passing, my younger sister Nalini was brought back from death's
door by a divine healing. Before relating the story, I will refer
to a few phases of her earlier life.
relationship between Nalini and myself had not been of the happiest
nature. I was very thin; she was thinner still. Through an unconscious
motive or "complex" which psychiatrists will have no difficulty
in identifying, I often used to tease my sister about her cadaverous
appearance. Her retorts were equally permeated with the callous
frankness of extreme youth. Sometimes Mother intervened, ending
the childish quarrels, temporarily, by a gentle box on my ear, as
the elder ear.
Nalini was betrothed to a young Calcutta physician, Panchanon Bose.
He received a generous dowry from Father, presumably (as I remarked
to Sister) to compensate the bridegroom-to-be for his fate in allying
himself with a human bean-pole.
Elaborate marriage rites were celebrated
in due time. On the wedding night, I joined the large and jovial
group of relatives in the living room of our Calcutta home. The
bridegroom was leaning on an immense gold-brocaded pillow, with
Nalini at his side. A gorgeous purple silk sari1 could
not, alas, wholly hide her angularity. I sheltered myself behind
the pillow of my new brother-in-law and grinned at him in friendly
fashion. He had never seen Nalini until the day of the nuptial ceremony,
when he finally learned what he was getting in the matrimonial lottery.
Feeling my sympathy,
Dr. Bose pointed unobtrusively to Nalini, and whispered in my ear,
"Say, what's this?"
I replied, "it is a skeleton for your observation!"
mirth, my brother-in-law and I were hard put to it to maintain the
proper decorum before our assembled relatives.
As the years
went on, Dr. Bose endeared himself to our family, who called on
him whenever illness arose. He and I became fast friends, often
joking together, usually with Nalini as our target.
a medical curiosity," my brother-in-law remarked to me one
day. "I have tried everything on your lean sister --- cod liver
oil, butter, malt, honey, fish, meat, eggs, tonics. Still she fails
to bulge even one-hundredth of an inch." We both chuckled.
A few days later
I visited the Bose home. My errand there took only a few minutes;
I was leaving, unnoticed, I thought, by Nalini. As I reached the
front door, I heard her voice, cordial but commanding.
come here. You are not going to give me the slip this time. I want
to talk to you."
I mounted the
stairs to her room. To my surprise, she was in tears.
brother," she said, "let us bury the old hatchet. I see
that your feet are now firmly set on the spiritual path. I want
to become like you in every way." She added hopefully, "You
are now robust in appearance; can you help me? My husband does not
come near me, and I love him so dearly! But still more I want to
progress in God-realization, even if I must remain thin 2 and unattractive."
My heart was
deeply touched at her plea. Our new friendship steadily progressed;
one day she asked to become my disciple.
me in any way you like. I put my trust in God instead of tonics."
She gathered together an armful of medicines and poured them down
the roof drain.
As a test of
her faith, I asked her to omit from her diet all fish, meat, and
months, during which Nalini had strictly followed the various rules
I had outlined, and had adhered to her vegetarian diet in spite
of numerous difficulties, I paid her a visit.
have been conscientiously observing the spiritual injunctions; your
reward is near." I smiled mischievously. "How plump do
you want to be --- as fat as our aunt who hasn't seen her feet in years?"
But I long to be as stout as you are."
replied solemnly. "By the grace of God, as I have spoken truth
always, I speak truly now.3 Through the
divine blessings, your body shall verily change from today; in one
month it shall have the same weight as mine."
from my heart found fulfillment. In thirty days, Nalini's weight
equalled mine. The new roundness gave her beauty; her husband fell
deeply in love. Their marriage, begun so inauspiciously, turned
out to be ideally happy.
On my return
from Japan, I learned that during my absence Nalini had been stricken
with typhoid fever. I rushed to her home, and was aghast to find
her reduced to a mere skeleton. She was in a coma.
her mind became confused by illness," my brother-in-law told
me, "she often said: 'If brother Mukunda were here, I would
not be faring thus.'" He added despairingly, "The other
doctors and myself see no hope. Blood dysentery has set in, after
her long bout with typhoid."
I began to move
heaven and earth with my prayers. Engaging an Anglo-Indian nurse,
who gave me full cooperation, I applied to my sister various yoga
techniques of healing. The blood dysentery disappeared.
But Dr. Bose
shook his head mournfully. "She simply has no more blood left
recover," I replied stoutly. "In seven days her fever
will be gone."
A week later
I was thrilled to see Nalini open her eyes and gaze at me with loving
recognition. From that day her recovery was swift. Although she
regained her usual weight, she bore one sad scar of her nearly fatal
illness: her legs were paralyzed. Indian and English specialists
pronounced her a hopeless cripple.
war for her life which I had waged by prayer had exhausted me. I
went to Serampore to ask Sri Yukteswar's help. His eyes expressed
deep sympathy as I told him of Nalini's plight.
legs will be normal at the end of one month." He added, "Let
her wear, next to her skin, a band with an unperforated two-carat
pearl, held on by a clasp."
myself at his feet with joyful relief.
are a master; your word of her recovery is enough But if you insist
I shall immediately get her a pearl."
My guru nodded.
"Yes, do that." He went on to correctly describe the physical
and mental characteristics of Nalini, whom he had never seen.
I inquired, "is this an astrological analysis? You do not know
her birth day or hour."
smiled. "There is a deeper astrology, not dependent on the
testimony of calendars and clocks. Each man is a part of the Creator,
or Cosmic Man; he has a heavenly body as well as one of earth. The
human eye sees the physical form, but the inward eye penetrates
more profoundly, even to the universal pattern of which each man
is an integral and individual part."
I returned to
Calcutta and purchased a pearl for Nalini. A month later, her paralyzed
legs were completely healed.
me to convey her heartfelt gratitude to my guru. He listened to
her message in silence. But as I was taking my leave, he made a
has been told by many doctors that she can never bear children.
Assure her that in a few years she will give birth to two daughters."
Some years later,
to Nalini's joy, she bore a girl, followed in a few years by another
master has blessed our home, our entire family," my sister
said. "The presence of such a man is a sanctification on the
whole of India. Dear brother, please tell Sri Yukteswarji that,
through you, I humbly count myself as one of his Kriya Yoga disciples."
1 The gracefully draped dress of Indian women.
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Because most persons in India are thin, reasonable plumpness is
considered very desirable.
Back to text
The Hindu scriptures declare that those who habitually speak the
truth will develop the power of materializing their words. What
commands they utter from the heart will come true in life.
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