Sri Sri Annada Thakur:
A Brief History of the Founder of Dakshineswar Ramkrishna Sangha, Adyapeath.
Part 2: 1921– 1927
In 1921, Sri
Rasbehari Mukhopadhya, an ardent devotee of Sri Annada Thakur, called
a meeting and proposed the founding of a formal organization to accomplish
the acts ordained by Sri Ramkrishna to Annada Thakur. It was with this
goal that “Dakhshineswar Ramkrishna Sangha "
was founded that year. Sri Mukhopadhya was also instrumental in publishing
in the same year the first edition of Ramkrishna Manohshikhsha,
penned by Sri Thakur.
Later that year, after Sri Rasbehari Mukhopadhya passed away, Dr. Sachin
Basu, a close friend of Sri Thakur, formed a working committee for the
Sangha. During this time, a number of friends and devotees used to visit
Sri Thakur. Many of them later joined the Sangha and carried on the work
started by him. As more of them began to stay near him, living quarters
were started in September of 1922 in the property next to where Thakur
lived. During this time, Thakur initiated a number of these devotees into
his work. In ordaining them, he gave them the title of brahmachari
and bhai or “brother,” instead of the more formal
titles of swami or maharaj, to instill a sense of humility and universal
Within the next year, some of Sri Thakur’s most devoted followers
joined him at Adyapeath. Sri Nandadulal Chatterji gave up a successful
career and was initiated by Thakur as Sadhu Ananda Bhai. Thakur’s
close friend Sri Kumud Mitra became Brahmachari Gyan Bhai. With them,
Brahmacharis Shanti Bhai, Dayal Bhai, Satya Bhai, and others joined the
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 13, 1919, when British troops fired
on an unarmed rally and left over 350 dead and 1200 wounded, fuelled the
effort towards Indian independence .
Mahatma Gandhi had introduced satyagraha (sat=truth,
agraha=firmness) as a movement, in Johannesburg on September
11, 1906 against the Natal government. “Satyagraha is a weapon of
the strong; it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatever;
and it ever insists upon truth.” 
This non-violent protest was being also used for other institutional remedies.
In 1924, a satyagraha started against an autocratic leader of the famous
temple at Tarakeswar .
Sri Thakur decided to join in the protest together with a few of his disciples.
Some of his associates did not agree with his decision. In spite of that,
Thakur went forward and was later arrested by the British government.
He went up for trial in the Serampore
court and was sentenced to two months of imprisonment. He was first sent
to Hooghly jail for a few days and later transferred to Behrampore. Thakur
set up an altar in his jail ward and organized daily puja and kirtan services.
This episode in his life brought a number of leading political leaders
and religious figures in contact with Thakur. Many of them gave their
support to Adyapeath for the rest of their lives. A number of satyagrahis,
who met Thakur in jail, later joined the Sangha.
By this time, some women devotees had gathered around Thakur’s wife
Ma Manikutala Debi. Thakur started a boarding school for their daughters
in a house in Bhadrakali, on the other side of the Ganges. At first, Manikuntala
Ma took care of them. Srimati Shova Debi (later known as Brahmacharini
Ma) took over and took care of the girl’s home to the last days
of her life. In 1928, Thakur moved the home to a rented house near Adyapeath.
Ten years later, it was moved to a small building inside the temple compound.
From November of 1926, Thakur carried out a ten-month period of severe
austerities. During this period, he went into samadhi while attending
a kirtan meeting in Bhadrakali. This state of bliss went on and off for
a week. Some of his friends and associates, fearing he might leave this
world, came to see him. On the seventh day, Thakur visited Dakshineswar.
In a state of ecstasy, he ran towards the grove where Sri Ramkrishna used
to meditate. One of Thakur’s friends held him before he crashed
into the trees. Later he entered Sri Ramkrishna’s room next to the
Temple courtyard and danced in joy, singing songs in praise of Ramkrishna
that he had composed.
A number of young men in their late teens had gathered around Thakur during
this period. Many of them gave up home and family to join the Sangha.
Some of them have been known to visitors of Adyapeath as Brahmachari Sudhir
Bhai, Niranjan Bhai, Mani Bhai, Panchanan Bhai, Hemanta Bhai, and Siddheswar
Bhai. During 1927, Thakur traveled to different parts of Bengal to spread
the word of Adyama. In the same year, with the help of many small donors,
the present property of Adyapeath was purchased. The property had to be
mortgaged for a small loan that was needed. Because of this, the young
Brahmacharis had to go through a period of severe trial after Thakur passed
In July of 1927, Manikuntala Debi passed away. Although Thakur had not
lived the usual family life, spending most of his time in the ashrams
and in travel, he felt this loss severely. His deep sorrow is expressed
in a book of verse, Manihara (Mani = jewel, hara
= lost), telling the story of the last few years of their life. In the
same year, Thakur moved the home for women to Adyapeath. Thakur’s
devotee, Bimala Ma, wife of Sadhu Ananda Bhai, took over care of the home
in the absence of Manikuntala Ma.
The new property at Adyapeath had six dilapidated Shiva temples on one
side. It was decided to tear them down before any construction began.
This plan was dropped when Thakur had a vision, asking him to rebuild
the temples before he started any other work. One by one, the Shiva temples
were renovated with help from friends and devotees. They now form the
phalanx of temples on the Western side as one enters into Adyapeath.
In a space between the Shiva shrines, a small temple was built to house
an altar in the style ordained by Sri Ramkrishna. Services were started
here while awaiting the building of the main temple. This structure is
now known as the temple of the ‘young’ Mother. Even from the
early days, many visitors and neighbors had miraculous visions around
this temple. During this time, Thakur had a dream of Vishnu as Narayan,
asking Thakur to bring him to Adyapeath. While on a visit to XXX the host
showed him a murti among the shrubs in the courtyard. Thakur
recognized the murti of Narayan from his dream and arranged
to bring him to Adyapeath. This Narayan murti was placed in another
small temple next to the small Adya temple. It was at this time that Thakur
started writing swapnajiban, about his life since he moved to
Calcutta in his youth.
1. Sangha: Literally, community of both lay and monastic
persons. From the Buddhist perspective, term is used exclusively in reference
to a community of monks.
4. Tarakeswar; 24 miles from Kolkata, largest Shiva shrine
in Eastern India.
5. Serampore; 15 miles North of Kolkata (Calcutta), was
a former Danish colony.