Merging of Poornashrama (Baba’s abode in Dakshinkhanda) into Narayanashrama Tapovanam. Read a detailed report.
Baba Gangadhar Paramahamsa, Poojya Swamiji’s Gurudev, lived in a remote village named Dakshinkhanḍa in Murshidabad District, West Bengal. His abode was called Poornāshrama.
The main residence in Poornāshrama was a double storied mud-cottage, with hay-thatched roof. Baba’s āsan was on the first floor in a big long room. Beyond the courtyard was another double storied mud building with tiled roof. This housed the kitchen, store rooms, etc. On one side of the courtyard was the enclosed bathing place, which had a tube well with a handpump. The toilet was far away from the main building, with a pond close by.
In 1978, there was a devastating flood in West Bengal, during which the entire Dakshinkhanḍa and adjacent villages were threatened to be washed away by the river Ajay. However, a few of these villages got saved, because the railway embankment yielded in one place, diverting the waters in another direction.
After this incident, Poojya Swamiji sent money for a small pucca building to be made so that Baba and others could shift there during any such eventuality. A double storied brick and mortar building was made with one room on each floor and a bathroom on the ground floor.
For many decades, Baba mostly remained on his āsan. Very few people knew of him or visited him. Poojya Swamiji along with his disciples visited Baba almost every year, while returning from Jamshedpur Annual Jñāna Yajña. The disciples sometimes visited Baba individually also.
Nutan Swamiji came in contact with Baba six years before Baba shed his body. Through Nutan Swamiji, a few others including his parents, and later Mā Gurupriyā ji, came to know Baba. So, in the last five years of Baba’s life, apart from Poojya Swamiji and his disciples, a few new devotees also visited him. Nutan Swamiji and Mā used to go to Dakshinkhanḍa for Baba’s Darshan quite frequently. This continued till Baba attained Mahāsamadhi on 27th April, 1979.
Baba’s āsan was preserved very devotionally in the same room for quite a few years. It consisted of a huge eight feet Royal Bengal tiger skin with a foam mattress above. During the last few years of life, he used to sit or lie on this āsan most of the time, absorbed into himself. Following Mahasamadhi, a big photo of Baba was kept leaning against the back rest which he used for sitting up in the last couple of months.
As the Tiger Skin started showing symptoms of degeneration due to lack of proper care, it was brought to Kolkata and kept devotionally in the house of Sri Parthasarathi Biswas, Baba’s disciple as well as Nutan Swamiji’s poorvashrama classmate. Baba’s holy āsan is worshipped there even now.
Before long, all associated with Baba shifted to Kolkata. Although there was a wish to hand over the property to Poojya Swamiji, it did not materialize. Meanwhile, due to lack of maintenance, the mud buildings in Poornāshrama fell and the whole place was covered with bushes. Except for the two pucca rooms, nothing of Poornāshrama remained.
In February 2017, the talk of transferring Poornāshrama to Poojya Swamiji revived, so that the glory of Poornāshrama may be restored. The associated people also desired that some events like Anna-Vastra Dāna Satram be held there to begin with.
Preparations for the transfer began with a view to have the registration in Kolkata in October, when Nutan Swamiji would halt there enroute to Jamshedpur for conducting the annual Retreat.
Arrangements were being made in Kolkata for all signatories to come to the Registry Office on the appointed day. Just after returning to the Ashram from United States, Poojya Swamiji had to execute the Power of Attorney in favour of Nutan Swamiji to sign the necessary papers. Everything had to be done in a hurry, as Nutan Swamiji had to leave for Kolkata on the morning of October 08. The registration had to be done before his departure for Jamshedpur on the 11th. The Registry office was opening after a long vacation on the 9th.
On the morning of 10th October, Nutan Swamiji called Ashram, took the blessings of Poojya Swamiji and proceeded to the registry office. Though the process took a long time, everything went on very smoothly and the auspicious moment of Poornāshrama merging into Narayanashrama Tapovanam arrived. The scene in the Registration office was emotional, holy and divine.
Mā sent a message to the devotees of Poojya Swamiji:
“Today is truly great and holy. Many fond memories of our association with Baba and Baba’s divine abode Poornāshrama are coming to mind. How blessed are all of us to be belonging to this great lineage!
“Blessed are Brahmacharini Namratā Swaroopā and Lakshminarayan (from Delhi) to be a part of this divine moment while accompanying Nutan Swamiji. Nutan Swamiji’s poorvāshrama classmate and Baba’s disciple Parthasarathi Biswas, and Poojya Swamiji’s devotee RK Agrawal ji (both from Kolkata) also accompanied Nutan Swamiji to the Registry office.
“A few days before the registration took place, Poojya Swamiji’s disciple Sri SK Chakraborty from Hyderabad who got involved with the developments, visited Dakshinkhanḍa. He went by road from Kolkata. Standing on the land of holy Poornāshrama, he talked to me over phone. He then handed over the phone to a teacher in the village school. He was a young boy when we used to visit Poornāshrama and remembered us. How fondly he talked! I enquired from him about all the landmarks of the village – I was transported back to Dakshinkhanḍa.
“My eyes shed profusely. Why, I wonder! I think, the blessedness in human life having found shelter at the feet of the Sadguru. That blessedness wherein I was drenched for the first time decades ago, and which has drenched me over and over again, came back with great intensity. May our devotion to our Guru become deeper every day. May we become his worthy disciples.”
While the preparation for transfer of land was progressing, Nutan Swamiji had put forward his plan regarding Poornāshrama to Swamiji and Swamiji had approved it. The plan is to reconstruct the main building in brick and mortar with concrete roof, but giving it exactly the same look as the mud cottage had, with the roof having a secondary thatching with artificial hay.
Keeping all these in view, Nutan Swamiji met a renowned architect introduced by Parthasarathi Biswas in Kolkata.
Baba had told Poojya Swamiji that he should sometimes come and enlighten the ignorant villagers. In all these years, it has not taken place. To go there and conduct any programme will need some facility like one or two rooms and toilets. A boundary wall around the property is also a necessity.
On 4rd February 2018, Poojya Swamiji will visit Dakshinkhanḍa on his way to Jamshedpur, talk to the villagers, and also conduct an Anna-Vastra Dāna Satram there.