Swami Niranjanananda

An introduction | The life story

An introduction

Monastic Name: Swami Niranjanananda

Pre-Monastic Name: Nitya Niranjan Ghosh

1862 (probably in August)
Born a few miles away form Kolkata to Ambika Charan Ghosh.

Early 1882
Met Sri Ramakrishna for the first time as a part of a group of spiritualists who strove for and enjoyed using psychic powers. He was then a medium.

December 1886
Took the vows of renunciation guided by Swamiji, alongwith seven other brother disciples at Antpur on Christmas eve.

January 1887
Took final monastic vows with other brother disciples by performing the traditional viraja homa in front of the Master’s picture.

1887 – 1897
Spent his time on pilgrimage throughout the country and practiced austerity.

1894 onwards
Went to Sri Lanka, Raipur and other places, and preached the wonderful life and message of Sri Ramakrishna. Swamiji was also impressed with his preaching.

August 1896
Went to Colombo to receive Swamiji on his return from America in January 1897, and travelled across India with him – from Colombo to Almora.

1898 onwards
Travelled extensively to Kankhal, Varanasi, and other places. He was strong, not afraid of anybody, and encouraged people to follow Swamiji’s idea of serving human beings as manifestations of God.

9 May 1904
The Heroic monk of Sri Ramakrishna passed away in Samadhi.

Niranjanananda’s devotion to the holy Mother was indeed remarkable. Swami Vivekananda used to say, “Niranjan has a militant disposition, but he has great devotion for Mother so I can easily put up with all his vagaries.”

Compiled from various sources

The life story

Swami Niranjanananda was one of those few disciples whom Sri Ramakrishna termed as Nityasiddhas or Ishwarakotis- that is, souls who are perfect from their very birth and are not caught by Maya at any time. With particular reference to Niranjanananda the Master once said that he was born with the characteristics of Rama inherent in him.

The early name of Swami Niranjanananda was Nityaniranjan Ghosh, and he was usually called by the shortened form of Niranjan.

At one time Niranjan was compelled to accept a situation in an office. When the news reached Sri Ramakrishna, he was greatly aggrieved and remarked. “I should not have been more pained, had I heard of his death.” Afterwards when he learnt that Niranjan had accepted the situation to maintain his aged mother, Sri Ramakrishna breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Ah, then it is all right. It will not contaminate your mind. But if you had done so for your own sake, I could not have touched you. Really it was unthinkable that you could stoop to such humiliation.” Hearing these words, when one of the audience asked the Master if he was decrying service and if so, how one could maintain oneself and one’s family, the Master remarked, “Let others do whatever they like. I say these with reference to those young aspirants who form a class by themselves.

There was a strange mixture of tenderness and sternness in him. His love for truth was uncompromising and counted no cost. Once a gentleman of Calcutta built a Shiva temple in the city of Varanasi. When Swami Vivekananda heard of this, he remarked, “If he does something for relieving the sufferings of the poor, he will acquire the merit of building a thousand such temples.” When this remark of the great Swami reached the ears of the gentleman, he came forward with a big offer of pecuniary help to the Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service at Varanasi – then in a nucleus state. But afterwards, as the first impulse of enthusiasm cooled down, he wanted to curtail the sum which he had originally offered. This breach of promise so much offended Swami Niranjanananda’s sense of regard for truth that he rejected the offer altogether, though that meant great difficulty for the institution.

It is very hard to estimate a spiritual personality by external events. The height of spiritual eminence of a person can be perceived, and that also only to some extent, by the inspiration he radiates. Swami Niranjanananda left the stamp of his life on many persons. Some even renounced everything for the sake of God and joined the Ramakrishna Order because of his influence. He left one Sanyasin disciple. Above all, to know Swami Niranjanananda we must turn to what the Master said about him: Swami Niranjanananda was one of his “Antarangas,” i.e. belonged to the inner circle of his devotees.

Compiled and Edited by Swami Gambhirananada
The Apostles of Sri Ramakrishna
Advaita Ashrama; Mayavati; June 1995