Durgacharan Nag (1846-99)—Known also as “Nag Mahashay” and “Sadhu Nag Mahashay”, born on 21.8.1846 on the first day of the bright lunar fortnight at Deobhog village in Narayanganj of Dhaka district. Father Dindayal a petty-job holder at Kumartuli in Calcutta. Brought up by widowed aunt after premature death of mother, Tripurasundari Devi. Married at an early age, first wife’s death during his stay in Calcutta to learn homoeopathy. Death of aunt caused distaste for worldly life and initiation, along with second wife Saratkamini, from family guru. Visited Dakshineswar with friend Sureshchandra Datta (1882) and having gained darshan of the Master, and also his affection, gave up job and medical practice, conscious of the Master’s disapproval of the profession. Through practice of severe austerities accessed great heights of spiritual realization. Not permitted by the Master to renounce the world, lived as model householder.
Some highlights of his spiritual life: At Cossipore attempt to draw unto himself the Master’s disease prevented by the latter. Fulfilled the Master’s desire for an amalaki (myrobalan), then out of season, after three days of ceaseless search. The Master having sanctified the food served to him on a banana leaf, ate the leaf as well considering it sacred. Devotees were later careful not to serve him on leaf-plates and removed seeds and pits from fruit before offering them to him, lest he should swallow them too. His father was annoyed with him for giving up living near the Ganga and returning to Deobhog, thus missing the opportunity to bathe in the Ganga during Ardhodaya Yoga that occurs only once in 50 years. Durgacharan assured him that if a man had true devotion, Mother Ganga would reveal herself in his house. On the day of Ardhodaya Yoga someone noticed a stream of water gushing out of the southeast corner of the courtyard, turning into a flowing stream. Durgacharan drawn out of his room by the clamour outside, bowed down to the stream of water and sprinkling a little on his head prayed, “Victory to Mother Ganga! Purify us, Mother!” To provide firewood in order to cook for a late visitor on a rainy night, he chopped down a pole supporting the roof of his house. Unable to bear another’s distress in order to serve him, would not have the thatched roofs of his house repaired by hired hands, nor allow the boatman to row when travelling by boat insisting on rowing the boat himself.
The Master’s comments: You have attained a very exalted state. The man is like a blazing fire. Remain in the world like the ancient king Janaka, unattached. You stay at home, and the real holy people will come to you of their own accord.
Swamiji said of him, “Nowhere have I come across such a great soul as Nag Mahashay.” Humility was the hall-mark of his character. After the Master’s demise discontinued visits to places sacred to his memory, being unable to control his grief. Regarded Holy Mother as “Bhagavati” in person, his immortal utterance in this regard being, “Mother is more compassionate than Father.” Conscious of the omnipresence of God, his hands were almost always folded. After his last meeting with Swamiji at Belur, said, “Today I have seen Shiva in person” (Sri Sri Latu Maharajer Smritikatha, p. 46). Died on 27.12.1899. Deobhog was visited by Swami Saradananda (1899), Swamiji (1901), Swami Brahmananda (1916), Swami Premananda (1914, 1916, 1917), Swami Turiyananda and Swami Nirmalananda. Girish Chandra Ghosh remarked that both Swamiji and Nag Mahashay had thwarted the attempts of Mahamaya to hold them in bondage, the former by his colossal stature and the other by being minuscule, had escaped being netted.