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Swami Brahmananda (Rakhal Maharaj) and Subhas Chandra Bose

courtesy: Swami Balabhadrananda

Swami Brahmananda, popularly known as Rakhal Maharaj, the first President of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, brother disciple of Sami Vivekananda, and the spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna, had a role in shaping the career of Subhas Chandra Bose, an incident which was not made public for obvious reason. The memory was so sacred, so holy to Subhas Chandra Bose that he did not speak about it directly in his Indian Pilgrim, except giving out some hints. The young Subhas, at the end of his itinerant chapter in the Himalayas, took a brief rest in the Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama in Varanasi. At that time Varanasi Advaita Ashrama and Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama were near to each other and Swami Brahmananda, the head, was in Varanasi in Advaita Ashrama but would also stay in Sevashrama. As per the reminiscences of Swami Shankarananda or Amulya Maharaj, who was with him, a young boy entered the premises of Sevashrama. Swami Brahmananda told him to check if he was Janakinath Bose's son who had gone missing from Cuttack (and indeed he was). Swami Brahmananda had known Janakinath Bose who was a very influential person in Cuttack. Subhas Chandra Bose's mother Prabhavati Devi was a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna. A common friend might have been Harivallabh Bose, a cousin of Balaram Bose - direct lay disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, who had met Sri Ramakrishna. In any case Brahmananda had asked Amulya Maharaj to take very good care of the boy. In Indian Pilgrims, Subhas had only mentioned that Swami Brahmananda asked him to return to his home. However in a private conversation with his friend Dilip Kumar Roy, he admitted that Swami Brahmananda showed him that he had work to do for the country, and he should not renounce at that time. He told Dilip that Brahmananda was a spiritually powerhouse, as Sri Ramakrishhna prophesied about him, and his grace (Kripa) changed the course of Subhas's life ("by the kripa of such great person an entire course of life can be altered, I had his kripa too"). He also confided to Narendra Narayan Chakrabarty along similar line on the influence of Swami Brahmananda in shaping his later life. "Yogis have special vision and ability to see through one's entire life" - he said to him.

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