The Holy Mother Agartala Ma (Ma Kanakeshwari Devi)
If there is someone in my life next to my Gurudev whom I saw as the very manifestation of the Divine in human form, it is Agartala Ma. As such her name was Kanaklata Bhattacharya, but as she hailed from the city of Agartala, the capital of Tripura- a small North Eastern state of India, I called her Agartala Ma. She was the very embodiment of Mother Divine. When I first saw her she was in her seventies, a mother of 5 children, but a saint of ultimate attainment. Born to a mother who was a worshipper of Mother Kali, she would often ask her mother, “Ma, how can I have the darshan of Mother Kali and talk to Her?” Her mother in her usual humility told her to take a small bowl in hand and sing to Mother Kali and cry and pray for Her darshan and collect the tears in the bowl and then wash the Holy Feet of the Mother. That is what the child did for days and months till one day the Mother Divine manifested Her self-effulgent form of light and blessed her. Later on as she grew up the Divine Mother would come to her very often in the form of an adolescent girl and pick flowers along with her or play with her or even assist her in her daily chores of family life when she was married to a man who did not have enough means to comfortably support the family. A time came in Ma’s life when she passed through a phase of one and a half months of intense yogic sadhana which happened to her without any kind of practice or effort on her part, similar to what happened once in the life of the great saintess Ma Anandamayee. During this time the most unimaginable yogic postures happened to her or rather passed over her body when she was in a state of trance.
Her nephew’s wife and her spiritual son Narayan were the only ones who took care of Ma’s body during this time. Narayan told me that during this time he had seen the most unbelievable things happen automatically to mother’ s body as she passed through some advanced states of yoga and that She was continually visited by great ascended sages and saints of yore. During this time She would talk in a language unknown to humans, (Narayan later found out that she mostly muttered this language that belongs to the celestial kingdom of celestial deities). Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was the one who visited most to take her through these supreme yogic states. Finally, it was Rishi Agastya who came to give her the power to pierce the third eye chakra and reach to sahashra, the seat of supreme consciousness. Thus her third eye was opened and she could see beyond time and space. She reached the highest state of enlightenment even though she lived a very common family life fighting the battle of impoverishment due to acute poverty and her daily task of taking care of a larger family.
I have seen face to face Her life as the ultimate expression of human excellence attained without running away to the Himalayas or to any isolation for the penance to reach this exalted spiritual illumination. I once told her, “you have proved to me that you are greater than even the sun, for the sun cannot hide its light, but you do so by hiding the light of a million suns inside you, away from anyone’s eye, just by hiding behind your veil.”
She came into my life as my Gurudev had left his mortal body and there was a gap in my heart. I had no one to talk to or even ask any questions. She came, she accepted me as her own son, and started guiding me through my spiritual path. She was my Guru in mother’s form. She was indeed my mother.
She once told me, “In this Kali Yuga, Baba Lokenath is the most powerful living Presence.” Baba Lokenath would often come to her and Ma would say, “If you pray to the gods, they may come or may not come, but if you pray to Baba Lokenath he will surely come to you and help you out of danger”. She would often say, “Baba Lokenath is the Living God of this age.”
Though she was beyond all external worship but still in her altar she had the picture and small murthy (idol) of Baba Lokenath and she would offer flowers and bilwa leaf every day at the time of her formal worship. During her illness Baba Lokenath would come in his materialized form and heal her.
My Gurudev Thakur Bhajan Baba had told me during my ashram days, “you will have to be a Guru one day” and I had replied, “I would never be a Guru.” He smiled and said, “Ok, see it”. At the command of Baba Lokenath when I started the global tours and spreading the message of Baba and His divine grace, many many people wanted to have formal initiation or deeksha mantra from me accepting me as their Guru. But I was extremely reactive to this concept of being a Guru, for I had seen during my ashram days, staying at the feet of my most compassionate and loving Master, how the disciples take mantra from the Guru and then how they take advantage of the Guru’s kindness and his childlike divine innocence. Two things I almost hated, one to be a Guru, and the other to establish an ashram and create a band of monks.
But it was Agartala Ma who came into my life to make my Master’s word come true. She told me one day, “Baba, it is time you give Guru mantra to those who are thirsting for spiritual life and it is the wish of the Mother Kali that you give mantra; Mother Kali told me to tell you that you should not delay it any more, you have done it for so long. She told me that it is She who will take all the responsibility of your disciples and you don’t have to worry about them for their salvation.” I would often take these words lightly, and tell her ” go, give mantra to whomever you wish, but don’t you ever push me into the business of Guru and mantra”. She consistently kept pursuing me with infinite patience and love, that I cannot and should not stand between the Divine Mother and Her children who need to be initiated as a process of spiritual upliftment and final redemption. Finally, when I was 61 years old, (requests for Guru mantra started coming to me when I was 40 years) I surrendered to Agartala Ma and said ‘thy will be done, My Guru wins”. My Gurudev’s words came true and I started initiating those whom I got a subtle message from my heart that I need to give the mantra deeksha.
Agartala Ma had the boon of iccha-mrityu or death by will given to her by Mother Ganga the Hindu Deity of Mother Ganges. When the time was ripe for her to leave her mortal body, she decided to leave it like an old garment. It was in the morning she was serving food to her spiritual son, Narayan, and then some exchange of words happened, Narayan was once told not to tell Ma some words as that could make her leave her body. But that morning Narayan was totally oblivious of this forewarning. He said those words, and Maa instantly decided to leave her body.
That very day, by 3 pm she was almost ready. She did her evening aarti to her deities at that hour of the day, and then lay on her bed, then she called one of Narayan’s assistants who was nearby to immediately send for Narayan wherever he was for the time was short and she was about to leave. Then she made him sit before her and as he looked on, she sat in meditative posture and started pulling her prana (the vital life force) and then Narayan came rushing in and she caught hold of his hands and said, “I am going, God will take care of you all”, and then she left her body for the eternal abode to which she eternally belonged.
Ma brought to me many messages from the Higher world, which I would possibly never ever know. She truly embodied to me the grand Masters of the astral world in the feminine form. She was my Guru as embodied purity and perfection. My prostrations to her lotus feet and the lotus feet of my Master who thought it fit that he would reappear to me in her form, and embrace me as her son and take me through the path of light toward the eternal Presence that is Baba Lokenath, the Shiva and Shakti in One.
Direction To Reach Lokenath Divine Life Mission And Baba Lokenath Temple, Kolkata, India
Come to Kasba Acropolis Mall, take Rickshaw or walk 10 minutes to Garden High School, 100 meters from there is 47B Bus Terminus. Right on the Terminus and the first left to the Ashram which is about 200 meters from there.