Concern for devotees
While I was in the Training Centre during 1968-69, I sometimes was called to write some letters for Swami Abhayananda Maharaj, generally known as Bharat Maharaj. He was very reserved and in general sadhus kept a respectful distance from him. Naturally I was a bit nervous. Anyhow, after visiting him frequently I became free with him.
Nirjharini Sarkar was a student of Sister Nivedita at Baghbazar. She was married to Ashok Sarkar, the Proprietor of Anandabazar Group. Occasionally they used to send garlands and flowers for Thakur and sometimes used to visit Belur Math. Probably they could not meet Maharaj for a long period. One night at 9 P.M. Bharat Maharaj asked me to contact Ashok babu on phone. I dialled and dialled and finally got the line. Maharaj told him. “Asoke, why are you not coming, you have not sent garlands for Thakur also for a pretty long period.” Such was his concern for the welfare of the devotees.
— Swami Suhitananda
I came to Belur math from a branch centre. The Head Quarters decided to post me in a centre and conveyed the news to me. I resented it because, once I had already served there during some trying circumstances. But the authorities insisted on my going there and asked me confirm my acceptance within three days. I was in a fix. I told them that I was willing to go to any centre and take up any assignment, except the one they wanted me to do. But they were relentless.
Being desperate, one night I went to Bharat Maharaj’s bedroom after dinner. He asked me “What’s the matter?” I narrated everything. He gave a patient hearing and advised me to stick to my conscience.
Maharaj’s support released all my tension and I naturally felt very happy. In a joyful mood I touched his feet and came out. While I was coming out, he said, “Come again tomorrow night.” So, I went the next night and we conversed for ten minutes in a happy mood. Just as I was about to come out of his room, he addressed me by name and said, “Shall I tell you one thing?” I said, “Yes Maharaj.” He then simply said, “Why not give up the ego…. and agree to their suggestion.” I was already in a joyful light mood, and so I replied, “Yes Maharaj. Tomorrow I shall meet them.” This was the charming manner in which he taught me a great lesson of recognising the working of the ego, and the importance of obedience in monastic life.
— Swami Suhitananda
Before I left for the U.S. in 1971, Bharat Maharaj gave me some practical advice, “Spread the message of the Master and Swamiji, and make sure there is no hypocrisy. When you write to the headquarters, keep a copy of the letter for yourself. When you send us official correspondence, it should be devoid of emotion; otherwise we cannot make any decision. After you have written the letter, make sure that every word of it is true.”
— Swami Chetanananda