Swami Premananda



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Fast Facts
premananda-1897.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Baburam Ghosh
Function: 
Guru
Traditions: 
Advaita
Main Countries of Activity: 
India
Date of Birth: 
December 10, 1861
Place of Birth: 
Antpur, Hughli district, West Bengal, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
July 30, 1918
Other Related Gurus: 
Mahendranath Gupta - his teacher at Metropolitan Institution, Kolkata

Biography

Swami Premananda (baburam Gosh) was born in 1861 in the village of Antpur, in the Hooghly district of Bengal. His parents were pious, and the boy showed a strong religious vocation from childhood.

Baburam's sister was married to Balaram Bose, a wealthy man who became one of Ramakrishna's most prominent devotees during the last years of his life. When Baburam started his secondary education in Calcutta, the principal of his school was Mahendra Nath Gupta and one of the students in his class was Rakhal. Rakhal took Baburam to visit Dakshineswar in the autumn of 1882.

During his first visit, Ramakrishna subjected Baburam to certain physical tests. Ramakrishna often did this, saying that an examination of a man's physical characteristics reveal his spiritual character - at least to the insight of an initiated person. For example, Ramakrishna would say that eyes shaped like lotus petals betokened good thoughts; that eyes like those of bull betokened a predominance of lust; that the eyes of a yogi were reddish and had an upward cast. Those who are in a habit of looking out of the corners of their eyes from time to time, during a conversation are more intelligent than the common run. Again, a man of devotional nature has a soft body with flexible joints; even he is thin, his joints do not seem angular. Ramakrishna would weigh your forearm, asking you to hold it loose; if it was lighter than ordinary he would say that this showed a 'benefit intelligence".

He weighed Baburam's forearm in this manner, and also gazed into his face and examined his limbs. The verdict was evidently satisfactory, for Ramakrishna urged Baburam to visit him again. He particularly praised the young man's purity, saying that, when he was in a high spiritual mood, Baburam was one of the only few he could bear to have touched him. Two years later, he asked Baburam to become his attendant, and he told M.: 'When I ask Baburam, "Why don't you come here?" he answers, "Why don't you make me come?". Baburam's hesitation to accept Ramakrishna's invitation was due to his fear of making his mother unhappy. But, soon after this, Baburam's mother, who had also become a devotee of Ramakrishna, came to Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna asked her to give her son the necessary permission and she did so gladly, only asking him in return that she might become perfect in devotion to God and not live to witness the death of her children.

Baburam begged Ramakrishna to give him the lower form of samadhi, bhava samadhi or ecstasy. Ramakrishna appealed to divine Mother and was told that Baburam could not have ecstasy but he would have non-dualistic knowledge of Brahman instead.

Baburam impressed all who met him by his sweetness. Ramakrishna would say of him that he had the nature of a woman; adding that he was like a clean new pot in which milk could safely be kept without fear of its turning sour. Yet this self-effacing young man matured into a marvelous teacher and trainer of the young, during the period when, as Swami Premananda, he virtually presided over the Ramakrishna Math (monastery) at Belur, from 1902 to 1916, two years before his death. He looked after the young monks and novices in his charge devotedly. His love seemed inexhaustible; it forgave and often overcame even their worst failings. Nevertheless, he would say to them, "Do I love you? No-for it I really did, I should have bound you to me forever. Oh, how dearly the Master loved us! We don't have even a hundredth part of that love towards you".

Teachings

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