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janani janma bhumis ca svargad api gariyasi

"One's mother and land of birth are better than heaven." I was able to understand the meaning of this expression. "Soon I will see the feet of my mother. I will see the place of my birth. I will see affectionate Hemalata." Thinking all these things I arrived in Ula. Upon arriving, there was such joy, what more can I say. When my mother beheld my weak body, she was extremely worried. My paternal grandmother was also very concerned. After the death of my father my grandmother came and lived at my mother's house. She was practically dead [herself]. [At least] once a day she would loudly cry out the name of my father. I saw that Hemlata had blossomed.

110. After thinking a good deal about my complicated illness, mother spoke with a leather worker. He said he would bring a the following morning and that he would cure me by means of exorcisim. I waited in the morning and a very dark man of the leather working caste [a muchi], who previously [I'd seen] playing the tol drum, named Fakir Chanda arrived. Using the leaves of the Bakash he performed the exorcisim and then gave me gura leaves to eat. Then, [coming] close to me, he gave me a mantra and asked me to utter it regularly. [He told me] all would be revealed in a dream. He asked my mother to cook only vegetarian food for me.

111-112 He said to eat rice cooked with ripe tamarind. This was the prescription. After two days, while I slept, I dreamed that a blacksnake went out from my body. In the morning I related this to the fakir. He said that all danger had passed. "Now you do not have to follow the regulations. Go and take a bath and then eat. But continue to utter the mantra. Within two or three days your illness will be entirely cured." I then went and ate heartily. But the fakir declared, "You must not eat any meat, and by the strength of your mind you should call upon the Satya Purusha [the Supreme Person]. Neither should you eat any demigod's prasada. You should not worship any demigod."

My illness gradually became health. The fakir said, "Come, you should approach your Gurudeva!" I went with a happy heart. The residence of the fakirs was in the Muchi area of Beledanga. Gurudeva was also a Muchi,and previously he had made shoes. Gurudeva had several rooms. He stayed in one room in the temple of meditation and was sitting there [when I arrived]. He was on a raised clay veranda when I went and offered prostrations to him. He bestowed [his] blessings on my body with his merciful hand and gave me four pieces of muraki [puffed rice with molasess], which I ate with confidence. Gurudeva then said, "Your illness is completely healed?" I said, "The disease is completely gone, but the itching does not leave me."

113. Then Gurudev gave the order, "Beat Kalu raya and Dakshina Raya." Immediatley upon hearing this order the fakir took a new\broom and on a raised stone began to beat Kalu Raya and Dakshina Raya. Some emotion began to rise in Gurudev and he began to cry and cry, and sang this song: "Once upon a time the feet of man began to sweat, therefore the Ganga began to flow."

114. When his emotions [bhava] subsided he commanded me saying, "Today your itching will become better. At night, whatever you dream you should come and tell [me] in the morning." Amazingly, during the night, my sores almost all dried up. In the night I dreamt that I put calcium powder on the sores. In the morning I related my dream to Gurudev and he gave an order [that I was to be given] calcium powder. I used the powder, and after three days my sores were all gone.

Now I began to eat good quality food and my body began to fill out. Gradually my strength and boldness increased. Oneday, Gurudev showed me mercy by changing the mantra [given to me] and gave me a more appropriate mantra. Daily I chanted this mantra with devotion. I dreamt many kinds of dreams. Whatever was on my mind during the day that I dreamed about at night. Gurudev gave me the order to heal others' disease. And that I attempted to do.

115. I would go to Gurudev daily, at any time [I wished]. His name was Goloka. Oneday he said to me, "O Kedar Babu, our dharma is very pure. No harm [should be done] to any Jiva. One should not worship any demigod. One should be kind to others and [be of] good conduct: these are the foundations [of our creed]. Previously, Prabhu Aul Chanda preached this dharma by means of twenty two fakirs. Those twenty two fakirs established themsleves in tweenty two places and each extended the sampradaya. Among them one Ramasaran Pal of Ghosa Pada also preached but his actions were improper. Our own original fakir established the sampradaya at the village of Gontra, and his teachings were good.

"We do not accept any Jati titles. Whatever is [generally considered to be] muchi is suchi if it is used for Krishna, and whatever is [generally considered to be] suchi is muchi if it separate from Krishna. There is no fault in being married, but one should be sexually united with one's wife only once in a month more frequent contact than that is not good. To the extent that semen is retained within the body to that extent it is beneficial. According to our teachings Radha and Krishna are the true couple. Even though They are a pair they are one. Though They appear to have form in fact They [have no material form]. They are like a Lord and [His] Lady. The doctrine that this couple is the pure male and female is very auspicious. Man should be like this like a god and goddess immortal. O Kedar Babu, mercy has been bestown on you; very soon you will know the truth of the divine couple."

116. I discussed all these matters to some extent with others and learned that our fakirs were Karta bhaja [a sect devoted to Sri Chaitanya]. In comparison with the Ghosapara their behaviour was very good. Be that as it may, I had\faith in the mantra and [their] doctrines. Even though Gurudev was a muchi I had no lack of faith [in him]. Oneday he said, "Soon the village of Ula will be mostly destroyed. The people would die from fever and disease. How will the people remain in such a village?"

117-118. My ill health had improved and my wife was brought to Ula. Mother then said, "Arrange the marriage of Hemalata. You go to Calcutta and take me [with you]."

At the time I took mother and Hemalata to Calcutta. Having brought them there we stayed at the house of Kaliprasanna Datta [my mother's paternla uncle] in Simla [north central Calcutta]. Grandmother remained in Ula. By winter my sister was married and they returned to Ula. During the rainy season I again got blood dysentry. I had it in my mind to go to the fakirs in Ula for the purpose [of getting cured], but I had been at fault breaking the rules a little and so was not able to go to them. I had been eating fish, meat and demigod prasada and so the power of the mantra was defeated. [I was] like an elephant which takes a bath [and then throws dust upon its body], so what was the use of another mantra? This time I took the medicine [given by] a doctor named Isvara. Within in month my illness was gone. Isvara was very expert in determining illness through reading the pulse, but he had a bad name because he did not have any medicine. In curing me to a large extent his bad name was removed.

119. By the third year in Calcutta I had made a lot of progress. I wrote in English a little for the newspaper, Hindu Intelligencer of Kashi Babu. He edited all that I wrote. An associatation was started and I gave some lectures in English. At that time Krishnadas Pal and Shambhu Mukhopadhyaya came and made friends with Kasi Babu and afterwards began to write for the Intelligencer. Shambhu was a satirist. He employed many sharp words and after sometime his writing was no longer pleasing. From the beginning Krishnadas wrote essays. Gradually, as I improved, I joined them in writing.

120. In 1855 there was the Sanotal uprising and the newspapermen wrote a good deal on the subject. I read the papers. I had never seen the Sanotal district but I thought that they were becoming prominent and forming a new jati [caste] like the Hans and Bhantal.

On Sundays some of us from our place used to go and see monuments and Barobazar and the Seven Pond Gardens in Calcutta. I was unable to get to know all the [multitude of] alleys and side streets in Calcutta. Even so, we would wander about and go to different societies like the Free Debating Club etc. On the strenght of my little learning I did thought that no one [but me] had any knowledge.

121. In that year Mahesha dada and Mej Mami went and stayed in Ula. Having opened the interior door which had been bolted by grandfather, Mahesh Dada [set up residence] in the parlour. Shital Teoyari and Hanuman Simha became gaurds at the main door once more. All in the house were happy because there was going to be a legal settlement with the opposing paty. When I returned home for the puja holiday I was very happy. I stayed in the parlour of Baro Dada. All of my former friends would come and talk, and I went to see my old school for half a day.

122. I would go and wander about my old house and my friends houses. It seemed that all of Ula was faring well. After the wife of Baro Dada came to Ula mother brought my wife. My wife was very small in those days and we would play together like children.

123. At the end of the school break I returned to Calcutta. While I was staying in Ula with my former friends I discussed many topics regarding the Supreme Controller [Isvara]. Uncle Parasurama had no faith in the Lord at all. At the time I came back to Calcutta I studied all manner of English books on philosophy. One by one I read all the books in the library of Kashi Babu. My teacher Isvara Babu helped me a lot with my reading.

124. I first enrolled in Hindu School in the year 1856. The Headmaster was Babu Mahesh Candra Bandyopadhaya and Isvara Chandra was my history teacher. Mahendra Soma taught mathematics to me. That year the University [was] started. College classes were held in Presidency College. The senior classes of Hindu School were held in the west wing, Sanskrit College was in the middle section and\Junior classes were held in the eastern wing.

125. In our class were Satyendra Nath Thakur, Ganendra Nath Thakur and Nabagopal Mitra and many others. For a long time I was inexpert at mathematics though in other subjects I did very well. At that time entrance examinations were first begun. I had so much competence in literature that I was respected by the teachers and the whole class. I began to write poetry which came to attention of the teachers and gradually came to the attention of the principal.

126. At that time Keshava Candra Sen was a Hindu boy and he studied in the class above me. He was also not very good at Maths and there was no chance of [his] passing in that class. Therefore, being strong in knowledge of literature, he established a sabha called the British India Society. English professors and Reverend Dal used to attend the sabha. Because I had a little literary knowledge Keshava requested me to become a member of the sabha.

127. At this time gas lighting was introduced in Calcutta. One evening Kashi Babu and I went to Narikel Place to see the gas company offices. Many dignitaries were invited to see the first use of gas lighting. Prasanna Kumar, Thakur Ramaanath Thakur and many others came. Everyone was thrilled to see the gas lights.

128. Sarasvati puja and Jhoolan Yatra were celebrated at the house of Kashi Babu and I went there to see and hear the dramas on several occaisions. At lot of luchi, kachuri, ksheera, and mohan bhoga was eaten. Madan Mastar and Dugo Ghadel were [among the] musical dramas that I went and heared. I had very little knowledge of music, but I liked to hear a song sung with emotion very much.

129. In those days I was able to eat a lot. When I went to the garden to Kashi Babu [to his house?] I would do a lot of eating. Some days I would eat a lot of phuti [a variety of green melon] and gour [jaggery]. Some days I would eat a lot of chatu[a [a chickpea dish], on other days I would eat a pana [20 gandas] of mangoes. Everybody would be amased. My body was very thin even though I ate so much and everybody was very puzzeled. O Lalu [Lalita], that rajavallabha batika [a pill for increasing the appetite] you used to make, with the help of [such medicine] I increased my appetite for a long time. At that time in the hot season Kashi Babu and his family lived in the gardens. I often walked from Pak Para [a district in Calcutta Paik Para Road?] as far the college at Patal Danga.

130. There was [then] a great commotion over cholera, but even so I was not averse to coming and going. From 1854 [onwards] I made aquaintance with my blood relations [by studying genealogy?]. Kali Prasanna Dada helped my\by giving me an old book [on the subject]. Kaka Bhola Natha Babu began to make money at that time and he helped by giving money to me for my tuition. I went boldly from the Hindu School to take the entrance examinations [to university?], the examinations being held in the town hall. On the first day my fever came on me in the town hall. Therefore, I was not able to take the examination.

131. Seeing that school [did not provide a proper] opportunity to study I began to acquire knoweledge in another fashion. Everyday I wouold go to Metcalf Hall and read books. At that time Sriyukta Abhaya Kada was the secretary there and Pyari Charan Mitra Takhakar was the librarian. I gave lectures at many sabhas. I had learned discussions with Padre Dal and George Thompson. Thompson Saheb gave instructed me on how to become a good speaker.

132. He said that while he was going from the village [he resided in] to the parliament he would stand in the open fields and imagining the plants to be the members of parliament he would freely speak to them. Because of practising in this fashion he became such a sweet speaker that evberyone would be pleased upon hearing him. On the day that he told us that story Nabagopal Mitra and Keshava Sen were present. Keshava said that by talking to simple little children [as had Thompson?] I would begin to speak in that fashion [?].

133. By the end of 1856 I had written the first part of Poriyed. Gangacharan Sen Mahasaya read it and liked it very much. On his advice, I subsequently published the book in two parts. After reading the work, the Reverend Duff said that I had done very well. He said, "Write in the same fashion in English about the cruelty of the Zamindars." I realised that this was not a good idea.

At that time I read all of Milton with the help of Reverend Duff. Near the Krishna Bandor [Street?] church lived a missionry named Grub Saheb. In the evenings Raju Basu of Ula used to come to his house and read Edison. I also with him went and read Edison. Day and night I would read the books of Carlisle, Haslett, Jeffrey, Macauley and others. I composed short poems and they were printed in the Library Gazette. I was known as Mr. ABC.

134. Oneday, having invited me through Dal Saheb, Mrs Locke looked over my poetry and read it. After chatting with me [for some time] she praised my poetry and accepted my book of poetry, which I dedicated in her name.

135. Before the entrance examinations I went to Ula with Raju Basu. After spending the night eating in the Mitras' house we set off in a boat during a great storm. There was much fear on the Ganges in the dark night. The next day, by the mercy of God, we reach the ghat at Ula without mishap. In the late evening in the month of Asvin the light of the moon was very splended there. Prior to that evening I had received no news of Ula. From the time of Ashat in that year in the village of Ula there\was a fearful epidemic. In the month of Bhadra the family of Mahesh Dada being ill had come to Calcutta, but had not said anything to me. In the month of Bhadra in a terrible fever my sister Hemalata gave up her life, but I had received no news of her. My wife was ill so she was sent to Ranaghat. What could I do in the night but think I should go to the house? Raju said, "Go, I will give you a man to accompany you to your house."

136. Upon disembarking I saw some people who were laughing and joking being mad with the happiness which comes from hopelessness. The village was empty. As they were under the influence of Ganja they perceived no suffering. I questioned them but they gave no answers. Raju and I were amazed by the sight of them. Departing from the boat, we went to the house of Madhusudan. When we looked through the door we saw Madhusudhan Basu sitting on a low wooden seat. I paid respects to him and he addressed me, saying, "O Kedar stay here for the day; in the morning you go to your house."

What was I to make of this? I said to myself, "I will go to the house this very day." I heard directly from him that an epidemic had killed many people in the village and some people of our house had died. I went there quickly, taking a man skilled in stick fighting.

137. While on the way this man described the horrible state of the village. He said, "Mahesh Babu became ill and went to Calcutta", [but?] he did not say what had happened. The main door [of the family residence] was open. I called and called many times, when from the deity house Sital Teoyari spoke, saying, "Babu, go inside the house." I felt very sick. I was unable to stand up. I went to the puja house and calling repeatedly, until Sej Didi came. She opened the door and brought me into our room. She was crying and crying and said that Hemlata was no more. Your mother was very sick. Upon entering my mother's room I discovered that mother had been delwrious with fever for the past ten to twelve days, but on this day she was a little better.

138. Seeing me, mother and grandmother began to cry. In sorrow I said, "Today we will leave Ula." During the night I did not eat or drink and I slept only a little.

When I rose in the morning, I consideredwhat to do. I heard that all the maids had died. Only one servant remained to bring water. In the morning I went to see Sayaram Mama and Dasu Mama and others at their house. Dasu Mama said, "Go to Calcutta. I will give you a man and a boat etc." Sayaram Mama was taking Quinine. I brought two or three packets of medicine and from that day I began to take it.

139. I came to the old house calling to Haru Mama and Parasurama Mama. Because they wanted to come [with me] they began to sell some of their things. Jagat Bhattacarya Mahasaya brought a boat and set out with us on the journey on the third day. The day before we set out I went to many places in Ulagram. In a great number of homes there were no people [left alive]. At some homes there was [heard] the cry of pain of those who were sick.\At some homes there were bodies lying around. At other homes there was little life. Others were making preparations to leave Ula. Many had already left. It was the time of Durga puja but there was no happiness [anywhere].

140. Where thousands of people would sit together and take Prasada, nobody could be seen. Though there were eighty to a hundred places of the image of Durga there was only five or six pujas [being performed]. Everybody said that at the house of the Brahmacari, Kailas Brahmacari had caused the disease. He then released a goat for the purpose of removing the cause of the disease. As far as that goat ran, that far the cholera subsided. The simple and crazy people of Ula concocted this story and they all began to believe it. It was also reported that two people came to Ula to practise medicine, but after two or three days they also had fallen in the grip of death. The fever was fearful. Whoever gotthe fever died within four or five hours. I heard that during the months of Asat and Sravan the fever was not very bad, butin the month of Bhadra it was fearful.

141. Taking the boat and arriving [at last] at the ghat at Ranaghat I received news of my wife. I heard that my wife's disease had changed for the better. Merely getting this news we continued to Calcutta. Upon arriving in Calcutta mother stayed at the house of Kalikrishna Kaka. We my paternal grandmother there, and my mother was taken to the house of my aunt, who would care for her. She made a lot of effort and [took] medicine, and she [mother] gradually became well there. Grandmother became sick while on the boat. Through the efforts and love of Kali Kaka she gradually became well but later a stomach ailment and fever returned. At that time I was seventeen years old. I suffered terrible hardships. There was no money. There was no one to converse with. Everybody thought that my mother had almost a lakh of Rupees.

142. I said that we had only very little but no one believed us. At this time I studied on my own for the entrance examinations. Grandmother lived in one place, and mother in another place; there was no money and all the time I was overwhelmed.

Seeing sickness all around I was not able to study. I thought, "A man can not study amidst such difficulties". At this time, thrice in succession, I had fevers. The last time Kaliprasanna Dada brought me quinine which I took and became well. I went to take the examination but the fever again prevented me. I saw no hope. My mind became apathetic. The house was empty, there was no money, and I had no strength. Where were my family, where my illness, the impossiblity of study darkness in all directions. Grandfather and grandmother were both from famous families; knowing this fact I sufferred. Soley to console my sufferring I would sit and talk with friends my own age. Everybody thought that I was the son of a very rich person and that I had no financial needs. I was dying of pain in the heart. I did not speak much to anyone. I would attend meetings: I listened and spoke freely from my heart [as diversion?].

144. Nobody could understand the feelings in my heart. I ate at the house of Kasi Babu but had discussions on books at the houses of friends. Frequently in the evenings I visited the home of Sriyuta Debendranath Thakur, which was called Jora Shanko [the Tagore's family mansion]. The honourable Dvijendranath Thakur was the older brother of my friend Sriyuta Satyendra Nath Thakura and my older brother as well. If ever among men there was a close friend then baro dada was that close friend. He was charitable, of good character, had a pure love, and was honest, and my heart was enlivend by him. Upon seeing him all my troubles would go away.

145. I would sit by him and discuss many Sanskrit books. I had much affection for Satyendranath, but I was always overwhelmed by the great qualities of Dvijendranath Babu. He was without attachment for worldly things, and when I was with him I was happy and gave up thoughts of material things. Therefore, staying with him was all good for me, but staying with others was not so good. At that time I read many books on the science of God, which was the particular science that effected the removal of anxiety from my heart. When I discussed things with Dvijendranath there was help Kant, Goethe, Hegal, Swedenborg, Schopenhauer, Hume, Voltaire, and Cousin.

146. Having discussed the books of many writers I concluded in my mind that dravya [substance] has no [real] existance. Guna [quality] alone exists. Dravya is but the sum total of the gunas. The gunas [actually] exist but there is no proof for the necessity of [there being a] gunadhara [upholder of gunas]. Dvijendranath heard my conclusions in the matter of philosophy and considered them and said, "O brother Kedar, your thinking is very deep. I am not able to defeat you."

147. Dvijendranath was a person who was a resevoir of intellect. In knowledge of the padarthas he was one without a second. Hearing his words my mental strenght doubled. I was a guest speaker on philosophy at some learned societies.

Tarkanath Palit was a classmate and good friend of mine and at that time he had not yet gone to England. He liked very much my presentation and proposed to me that I speak to the British Indian Society. In that assembly the Englishmen said that my presentation was deep. Dal Saheb asked, "What will be the benefit to mankind from acquiring knowledge of this sort?" At one other meeting of this sabha, having written in the form of a play in English the twenty five stories of the Vetala [Vetala panch vinsaati] I recited it. On that day there was a great debate. And from that day my friends my own age considered me a logician and began to tell everybody.

148. I studied the books and lectures of the Brahma Samaj. Belief in one God was good and for many days I had confidence [in them]. But at no time did I have any taste for the form of understanding of the Brahmos and the type of worship [they performed]. There were many discussions with Dal Saheb on the topic of theology. On his advice I was reading the Bible and various other Christian books. Canning Saheb had many books and I studied all [he had] on logic with the missionary associate of Rama Mohan Roy. In those days I was interested in books about religion and I went so far as to read Sale's Koran [1734]. I made a thorouhg study of all the books of Theodore [?] Parker and Newman. Previously I had read only books on philosophy but now I liked to read books on religion. Somehow, in this fashion, I developed a deep faith in Jesus Christ. Whatever I read I did not fail to discuss with Dvijendranath.

149. The Sepoy Mutiny occurred at this time. Every evening I read the newspaper in Dvijendranath's parlour. I was able to ascertain all the news before it was published in discussions with Banesvara Vidyalankar, the then editor of the Tattva Bodhini, and with others. In the house of Kasi Babu many discussions took place.

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