A little known story about Shri Lahiri Mahasaya

April 20, 2012 8 Comments

The transcription of the text is recently made available, thanks to Ashish Tiwari; So that is why you find this post back up again, in ‘Recently added’


This is an excerpt from an Informal interaction at Madanapalle on April 7, 2011. Please click on the play button to listen (Warning: Audio quality is poor, due to impromptu and informal nature of this recording. Better still – read the transcript below :))

[flv:https://s3.amazonaws.com/siraudio/a-story-about-lahiri-mahasaya.mp3 425 20]

I am reminded of when there was another “M” who wrote the gospel of Ramakrishna.

When he came (to meet Sh. Ramakrisha, for the fist time,) they were talking. His nephew Ramlal was also close by.

While asking (to M) about various things, he (Sh. Ramakrishna) asked, ‘So you are educated..’

So M said, ‘Yes, I am a post graduate.’

So he tells Ramlal, ‘Oh God, he is also educated.’

Then after some minutes, he asked, ‘So, are you married?’

‘Yes Sir, I am married.’

‘So Ramlal’, he says, ‘He is married also.’

Then he asked, ‘Do you have children?’

‘I have 3 children.’

‘Oh, he has children also. Doesn’t matter! We will see what we can do.’

Not that for kriya,  he is asking. Kriya yogis are of all kinds.

Lahiri Mahasaya was a great kriya yogi.

He lived in Benares all time. Retirement also (in Benares).  And he was a man who was so simple that no body except inner circle who knew him. Knew that he was a great yogi.

Only after the ‘Autobiography of a  Yogi’ came out, people knew that there is somebody. Otherwise hardly anybody knew.

He lived in Benares in Bengali colony. 22 years or so, he lived after retirement. I do not know the exact (period).

There was a small group of people growing. Doing kriya. (Because of him)

And he also did not wear any external paraphernalia by which you could find out that he was a great . People who moved closely with him knew. And he had a small pension coming from the railway department. It was not enough. Children were growing up. So he used to augment his income by giving Sanskrit tuitions.

People who knew him in benaras; The Maharaja’s son was his student; used to send students.

There is one incident in Lahari Mahasaya’s life which is not known. It is not written in the autobiography

So although many miraculous things have been written but this simple thing has not (yet) been.

Once it seems that the Arya Samaji (Sw. Dayananda Saraswati), came to Benares.

Dayananda Saraswati in his vedantic zeal – they went around – they discouraged people for going to temple. Don’t worship (images)!

Although we cannot doubt  Dayananda Saraswati’s learning and his personal capacity – this was one thing which he was very keen. He said, ‘Havans are enough! They lead back to the Vedas.’

So he came, and was holding a big discussion with the pandits of Benares, saying that image worship is not sanctioned by the Vedas. So, pandit after pandit was called to argue, to discuss. Tarka!

The Arya Samaj group – and Dayananda Saraswati himself – was there. He did not take part much in the discussion but got his assistants who were also Sanskrit scholars and Vedic scholars. And pandit after pandit who wanted to have temple worship was being defeated.

Maharaja of Benares was very scared that soon they will (win) and what will happen to the worship of Kashi Vishwanath temple. So he was wondering what to do.

Then he thought, my son is going for tuition to this Shayama Charan Lahiri, who is also a bramhin. He is great Sanskrit pandit. So maybe, we should ask him to come for the discussion. Perhaps he could help.

So he went to (Sh. Lahiri) and told him, ‘I do not know much about you but you are a Sanskrit teacher. You are a man of integrity and character. This much I know. And you please come and have a discussion.

‘I am not such a great scholar like Dayananda Saraswati, but I will come.’

So he went. Sat down. Discussion started. And the tarka started between the temple pandits.

Lahiri Mahasaya said something which was successful. He repeated that argument.

Instead of arguing, they all used to open their mouth and shout ‘Aaaaaa’.

So 2-3 times he told them, lets discuss this matter why are you shouting and drowning my voice.

Finally he told Dayananda Saraswati also, ‘Please tell your people. They can shut up and we can discuss. Everytime they feel they have been defeated in argument, they make that peculiar noise ‘Aaahaaa’ like that. .

You see the Buddhist have this in tarka, they not only shout but they also clap.

So after 3 warnings, he told them I will have to stop this.

S0 (next when) they all opened their mouths, and shouted ‘Aaaaa’. He always used to carry some Ganga jal in kamadalu and he just sprinkled in like that. So whosoever mouth it fell, they could not shut their mouth. Shouting stopped. Aand they are all sitting like this.

So the Maharaja himself got worried. He never thought that the Sanskrit pandit is something. Dayananda Saraswati became red in the chest. He (Dayananda Saraswati) looked at him (Sh. Lahiri Mahasaya) and said, ‘I think you are a great Yogi.’

So he said, ‘This I do not know.’

So then, Dayanada Saraswati told him, ‘Please bring them to normal. Let us stop this discussion here.’

So he said, ‘That is very simple.’ He just took some water and sprinkled. I am sorry one fellow’s mouth did not go through so that fellow is still hanging around. So we went to tap him and close his mouth.

So the Benares Maharaja’s believe that without Lahiri Mahasaya – Even Kashi Vishwanath (temple) would have Arya Samaji’s (influence).

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