Vipradas joined the Order in 1922 at the Bhubaneswar Math. Swami Shivanandaji, the 2nd President of the Ramakrishna Order gave him mantra-diksha and later in 1923 the sannyasa-diksha. After serving in Bhubaneswar and Narayanganj ashramas, he served as the Head of the Nagpur ashrama from its inception in 1928 till his mahasamadhi on 16 Jan 1976. Effected the publication of the monthly periodical in Marathi Jivan Vikas and Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature in Hindi and Marathi (Udbodhan, 78.3.159).
She and He are One
Swami Bhaskareswarananda Maharaj told me about his meeting Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi as a young college student. He was then known as Vipradas. “I had read the life of Sri Ramakrishna and was studying Eastern and Western philosophy in college. My mother Smt. Shantasheela Devi was a disciple of Holy Mother. Once I asked her, ‘You say that the Holy Mother and Sri Ramakrishna are one. I cannot understand it.’ When my mother tried to explain I began to argue with her. Finally, she said, ‘My son, I cannot convince you. You yourself ask this question to Holy Mother. She is staying at the Baghbazar house.’ I had not seen Holy Mother. So one day she took me with her to Baghbazar, Udbodhan house. Swami Saradanandaji was studying in the side room to the left of the entrance. He knew my mother, and so as soon as he saw her, he asked, ‘You are coming after a long time. And who is this boy?’ My mother replied, ‘Maharaj, he is my youngest son. He is very argumentative. He asks how Sri Thakur and Holy Mother are one and the same.’ So I have brought him here, so that he can ask Holy Mother herself.’ On hearing this, Saradanandaji told me to go upstairs and ask Mother.
“I went upstairs, but could not find Holy Mother. I came down and informed Maharaj that there was nobody there except a chair covered with a white cloth. Then Maharaj answered, ‘Oh! That is Holy Mother sitting covered with a white sari!’ So, I, again went upstairs and approaching the chair saw two toes of Holy Mother’s holy feet slightly uncovered. When I offered my pranams, she asked, ‘Who are you?’ I replied that I was Shantasheela’s son. At this Holy Mother lifted her big veil and I saw her divine face! First she fed me with some refreshment, and understanding that I had come with some doubt, asked me what I wanted to ask. Promptly I asked her, ‘Holy Mother, my mother says that you and Sri Thakur are one. Thakur passed way in 1886 and you are seen by us — giving advice and solving devotees’ difficulties. Then how is it that you and Thakur are one?’ Holy Mother did not speak a word. Silently she pointed to the picture of Sri Ramakrishna in her shrine and then pointing to herself she raised her index finger indicated their oneness. That was enough to give me the conviction that Sri Ramakrishna and she are not separate, but are the all-pervading transcendental divinity appearing as two. When my mother came upstairs and offered her pranams, Holy Mother told her, ‘Shanti, you have three sons, you give me this boy.’ Immediately, my mother joyfully replied ‘I give this son to you.’
“After this, my mother began to prepare me to become a sannyasi of Ramakrishna Order. By Holy Mother’s grace I joined Belur Math as a brahmachari in 1922, and received mantradiksha from Swami Shivanandaji.”
— Swami Brahmasthananda, Adhyaksha, Nagpur Ashrama