Jagannath Chattopadhyaya 

This chapter is taken from The Silent Power – Selections from The Mountain Path and The Call Divine

TO A BENGALI who has been accustomed to hear the Lord’s name chanted with fervour and devotion, accompanied by dancing and sankirtan, as introduced into Bengal by Lord Gouranga more than four hundred years ago, Bhagavan’s method of enquiry in absolute stillness of the mind, presents a sharp contrast. In the life of Bhagavan I am confronted with a towering personality, the like of which I have never seen or heard of or come across in books.

He never ran down any religion or the traditions sponsored by a religion. For instance, the Hindu caste system has become the target of criticism by preachers and reformers but Bhagavan would never attack it outright. When asked whether we should ignore caste rules he said, “Not in the beginning. Observe them to start with. They serve as a check on the vagaries of the mind and it is thus purified. On the same subject he says, “Differences always exist, not only in human beings but also in plants, animals, etc. This state of affairs cannot be helped. You need not notice these distinctions. There is diversity in the world but a unity runs through the diversity. The Self is the same in all. There is no difference in spirit. The differences are external and superficial. Find the unity and you will be happy.”

I myself am a disciple of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath Maharaj, the strict follower of sanatana dharma, the eternal dharma based on the Vedas and Upanishads, to which foreigners have given the name ‘Hinduism’. He is also an upholder of our varnashrama dharma or caste dharma. I therefore very much appreciate the Maharshi’s respect for every religion. Once, for instance, he told a Muslim devotee to try to understand and follow what the word ‘Islam’ means — ‘the total surrender of the ego’.

Bhagavan’s courageous message, reminding us of our heritage of the rishis of old, gives us faith and courage despite the gloom of present day materialism, to seek liberation from bondage to the non-self, the fake ego, which causes the sorrows and frustrations of life.