|Sri Prahlad Chandra
Brahmachari was born in the remote village of Purushottampur in Orrisa province
of India. The family was very poor and had to endure much hardship. In his boyhood he had
to go out and beg, not just for himself but for the whole family. In his teens the young
Prahlad ran away from home, traveling without ticket to the station at Waltair where the
ticket taker found him and threw him off the train.
After a while in that town a person told him he whe would do better to go up to
up in the mountains where he would find fruits growing and many sadhus who would share
Baba said: "You have to climb up the stones one by
one. It was very treacherous. If you fell down from there it was certain death. With great
struggle I went up and I saw a flat land. There were many fruit trees and an image of
Nrisingha. I had darshan."
Baba wound up in a forest near the temple of Nri Singha
where the boy saint, also named "Prahlad," had done austerities. There he had an
encounter one night with a mysterious personage whom he ever after called simply "my
guru." He had awakened in the night with a terrible nightmare that his parents had
died and he was crying and sobbing. Then the man appeared out of the jungle.
He described the man as huge, a giant of a man,
wearing nothing but loincloth and a bag around his shoulder. After he had comforted the
boy and turned to leave. Baba relates what happened next:
"There was an ordinary bag on his shoulder. From that
bag he gave me 25 rupees. To me it seemed that I gotten a great amount of wealth! I was
very poor. I had never gotten any money. Twenty-five rupees! Hari Baba! Getting that money
I felt like a rich man.
"He said in Oriya: "Hey, get a ticket at Waltair
station with this money and go to Jajpur."
"I was so happy. He had gone two or three steps when I said, "Thakur, Oh Thakur!
Won't my life ever amount to anything?"
"Then suddenly he stopped and turned around... his image... it is beyond description.
I cannot describe him in words. He came running back and got some leaves from the forest.
And pulling out my tongue, he pressed the leaves and cut my tongue down the middle. When
he was pulling my tongue I felt like my life was going. 'Oh! I am dying! I am dying!'
"Then when he gave the juice, as soon as he gave the juice it felt as sweet as honey.
If there is such honey in God's world I have never found it. Getting that sweet honey my
hairs stood on end. What peace my body received!
"Then that great man put his hand on my head and said: "Through you a great work
will be done. Go. Go back to your place. A lot of work will be done through you." No
mantras. No mantras, only that juice on the tongue."
I have never heard of such an incredible
initiation into the mytsteries. The sadhu searching the woods for some particular
plant leaves, making a juice, then taking the sharp thorny stem of some leaf, pulling out
the cut tongue, and making a cut about two inches long. The scar would be there for the
rest of his life.
Now into the cut on the tongue the sadhu poured
the juice he had collected. Instantly, Baba later would day, everything was transformed.
He saw guru and he saw God. He said it was sweeter than the sweetest honey. To this day we
do not know the plant it was. Was it the fabled "soma" medicine the Rishis sang
of? Was it psychdelic, as it would seem?
He was never to meet his guru again in the flesh
after that night, but saw him often in dreams and visions. Whoever Baba's guru really was
he would be able to make Baba know things that were to happen in the future.
After this he returned home where, after a most
joyous homecoming, he started suffering to see that his parents were in such dire poverty,
he went to Calcutta to try to earn some money. There was little work there and he spent
years as a beggar, selling rice by the roadside, washing pots and pans at a bread shop,
and sending what few rupees he could to his mother and father.
But he always remembered and was haunted by his
encounter with the sadhu (holy man) in the forest. He began to spend more of his nights in
meditation by the banks of the Ganges river, where many secrets of yoga were gradually
revealed to him. He became a sadhu himself and a temple priest, first in a remote village
called Kuldanga, and later in another village called Ramanathpur where his ashram still
functions and his body is buried.
Baba made three visits to America, the first in
1976, where he lived as simply as he did in India, doing his daily worship and meeting
with whomever showed up at the door. His holy company brought untold joy and inspiration
to all who met him. The many wonderful stories of his life will gradually be published on
this website, as well as the reminiscences of friends and disciples.