God acts in mysterious ways. In the early part of 1882, a group of spiritualists from Calcutta heard about Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual power. Spiritualists generally strive for psychic powers and enjoy using them. As it would be a considerable achievement to influence Ramakrishna, they went to the Dakshineswar temple garden to test him. They were told that Ramakrishna had gone for an evening walk to Jadu Mallik’s garden house nearby. When they reached Jadu’s drawing room and met Ramakrishna, Dr. Pearychand Mittra, the leader of the group, introduced himself and the others, including Niranjan, as spiritualists. Ramakrishna had the Power to see inside a person as one sees an object inside a glass case. As soon as he saw Niranjan, the Master remarked, “This boy is very good and extremely guileless.” Immediately Pearychand said: “Sir, he is my nephew. He can mesmerize very well, and he is a wonderful medium.” “Shame shame! Don’t get involved in such a spooky business,” retorted the Master. Despite this, the spiritualists expressed a desire to use their power to mesmerize Ramakrishna. The childlike Master agreed, regarding this as a mere amusement; moreover, he wished to humble them. Ramakrishna sat on a chair and three spiritualists, including Niranjan and his uncle, began to wave their hands about him. The Master observed their ritual and smiled from time to time. After trying hard for an hour, Pearychand said: “Sir, you are a great soul with a strong mind. We are incapable of mesmerizing you.” Then the Master got up and said privately to Niranjan, “Come here often.” [p:243]

Niranjan (Nityaniranjan Ghosh), who later became Swami Niranjanananda, was born in 1862 (probably in August) at Raj arhat-Vishnupur, district 24-Parganas, a few miles from Calcutta. He had a strong, energetic, and athletic physique. His nature was fearless and heroic. In his childhood, he was fond of playing with a bow and arrows like the great heroes of the Hindu epics. He had a consummate passion for truth and deep compassion for the poor. [p:244]

Once in Dakshineswar Niranjan and others had a long discussion on free will and predestination. Unable to reach any conclusion, they approached the Master. At first, the Master was amused by their naive ideas, but then he commented more seriously: Does anybody have free will or anything like that? It is by God’s will alone that everything has always happened and will continue to happen. Man understands this last of all. Let me give an example of man’s free will: It is like a cow tied to a post with a long tether; she can stand at a distance of one cubit from the post or she can go up to the whole length of the tether according to her choice. A man ties a cow with the idea: Let her lie down, stand or move about as she likes within that area. Similarly, God has given the man some power and also the freedom to utilize it as he likes. That is why man feels he is free. But the rope is fastened to the post. And remember this: If anybody prays to God earnestly, God may move him to another place and tie him there, or lengthen the tether, or even remove it completely from his neck. [p:249]

The Master also said to Niranjan: “Look here, my boy, if you do ninety- nine good deeds for a person and one bad, he will remember the bad one and won’t care for you anymore. On the other hand, if you commit sins ninety-nine times but do one thing to God’s satisfaction, He will forgive all your wrongdoing. This is the difference between the love of man and the love of God. Remember this.” [p:245]

One day he was carrying some sweets from the market for the Master’s offering. A poor woman, holding her little boy in her arms, was walking in the same direction. Seeing the package of sweets in Niranjanananda’s hand, the boy cried out, “Mother, I want to eat sweets!” The more she tried to control her son, the more he cried. Niranjanananda gracefully went to the young boy, and placing the packet before him, said, “Please eat these sweets.” The poor mother protested: “Father, no. You are carrying these sweets for the Lord. It would be inauspicious if my son were to eat them.” Niranjanananda replied: “No, mother, it would be all right. His eating would be the same as the Lord’s eating.” Handing the packet to the boy, Niranjanananda returned to the market to buy fresh sweets for the Master.[p:254]

At Hardwar, he lived in a rented house and continued his sadhana. His chronic dysentery was inexorably emaciating his body, but it could not stifle his renunciation. Sri Ramakrishna had enkindled his spirit when Niranjanananda was just in his teens and it continued to shine brightly throughout the remainder of his life. He wished to complete the journey of his life alone. Towards the end, he was stricken with cholera. As a hero, he took shelter on the bank of the Ganges and surrendered himself to God. When his attendant offered to serve him, Niranjanananda declined. When the attendant nevertheless insisted, he said, “Don’t you want me to die in peace?”. Then the attendant reluctantly departed. Swami Niranjanananda, a heroic monk of Sri Ramakrishna, passed away in samadhi on 9 May 1904. Later, Niranjanananda’s attendant realized the truth of Sri Ramakrishna’s prediction: “Do you know what these youngsters are like? They are like certain plants that grow fruit first and then flowers. These devotees, first of all, have the vision of God; next, they hear about his glories and attributes, and at last, they are united with him. Look at Niranjan. He always keeps his accounts clear. He will be able to go whenever he hears the call “[p:260]


Reference: God lived with them by Swami Chetananda