The Master’s well-known lay disciple, of simple and cheerful nature. Born at Begampur village in Hooghly district, resident of Badurbagan, employee of a commercial firm. After deaths of first two wives married Nistarini Devi, a devotee of an extraordinarily high order. On his first visit to Dakshineswar with her, advised by the Master to take the name of God daily. Three years later, being summoned by the Master, began regular visits with wife to Dakshineswar. Fulfilling his ardent desire the Master visited his residence (5A, Brindaban Mallick Lane) with a group of devotees and going up to the first floor bestowed his grace on the waiting Nistarini. Permitted to feed the Master with her own hands, she noticed with amazement that something was emerging from within the Master coming to his lips to take the food. At Cossipore one day when she chanced to be nearby, the Master entrusted her with the care of a cat and its kitten and felt relieved. On 1.1.86 the Master told Nabagopal that he need only take the Master’s name in order to realize God. Nabagopal, thus accustomed to uttering “Sri Ramakrishna” all the time, came to be nicknamed “Sri Ramakrishna” by all and sundry. The village Ramakrishnapur in Howrah district having attracted him by its name, he bought a house there and left Badurbagan. It was in a new room of this house (81, Ramakrishnapur Lane) that on 6.2.1898, after Sushil Maharaj had completed worship of the Master, Swamiji spontaneously chanted the pranam mantra sthapakaya cha dharmasya while offering salutations to the Master in the presence of Swamis Brahmananda, Premananda, Turiyananda, Subodhananda and Adbhutananda. On 30.8.1909 Holy Mother visited the house. Nabagopal died in this house.
Third wife of the Master’s lay disciple Nabagopal Ghosh, mother of Nirad (later Swami Ambikananda), disciple of Swami Brahmananda. A pure soul, a repository fit for lofty spiritual thoughts, whom the Master considered to be an incarnation of “Chhinnamasta” (an aspect of Durga). Entranced by her first darshan of the Master, the mood lasting for six months, had the blessed opportunity to feed the Master with her own hands and perceive “something” from within his mouth snatch the food from his lips. At Cossipore the Master was much relieved after entrusting to her care a cat and its kittens which had taken shelter with him. At Vrindavan Holy Mother had a vision of Nistarini standing beside Sri Radharaman, fanning Him. After her passing Nistarini dreamt of Mother asking her to prepare “gul” (powder of burnt tobacco for teeth or gum) and take it to her (former) residence at Udbodhan. Later it was found that “gul” was missing from the offerings made to her there (Jibanaloke, p. 39). Maintained a warm relationship with the Master’s monastic disciples. Swamiji used to address her as “boudi” (sister-in-law), and Nistarini fed him “pulao” with her own hands on the occasion of his consecrating the shrine at their residence in Ramakrishnapur. Others also frequented her house, particularly when ill, when she took great care of them. Particularly fond of Swami Brahmananda whose visits to her house were occasions of great jubilation (1908, 1917, 1919, 1921). He placed a portrait of his Master in their shrine. Having attained spiritual realization through japam, blessed with the vision of her Ishta, Sri Ramchandra, and attempting to touch His feet, saw Sri Ramakrishna standing before her. At the Kashi Advaita Ashrama, Durga Puja was performed in her name in 1913. Died on 20.3.1932. Her step-son, Shyam Babu, donated Rs.40,000/- to Belur Math for the construction of a mausoleum of his guru, Swami Brahmananda.
Please bless us by installing the Master in our shrine
Swami Vivekananda arrived at the ghat of Ramakrishnapur by boat from Belur Math. He was dressed in an ochre cloth and wore a turban on his head. He was barefoot. Many people stood assembled on both sides of the road to catch a glimpse of Swamiji. He led the procession singing the famous nativity song on Sri Ramakrishna, “Who art thou laid on the lap of a poor brahmin mother?” and he himself played the khol (an earthen drum).
Navagopal and Nistarini received Swamiji with reverence and took him to the shrine. Hearing Swamiji speaking highly of all the arrangements, Nistarini said to him: “What ability do we have to worship and serve the Master? We have only a poor home and little means. Please bless us by installing the Master in our shrine.” Swamiji humorously replied: “Your Master never had in his fourteen generations such a marble-floored room to live in! He had his birth in that rural thatched cottage and passed his days without caring for comfort. And if he does not live here so excellently served, where else should he live?” Swamiji’s comment made everybody laugh. After dedicating the shrine, Swamiji extemporaneously composed the salutation mantra of Sri Ramakrishna: “I bow down to Ramakrishna, who established religion, embodying in himself the reality of all religions and being thus the foremost of Divine Incarnations.”
They Lived with God, by Swami Chetanananda
Ch 17 Navagopal Ghosh and Nistarini Ghosh, p 267