I met Sri Yukteswar when I was very young. From my very childhood I met him many, many times because he used to come to our house. I felt that he was a great soul. You could tell largely from his very appearance and his personality. When he used to come to our house, we, everybody, were quite alert! He was so tall and very well built. The first thing we used to see whenever he would arrive in our house was the door filled with his large frame.
Many people would gather at our house to see and hear him. He was a God-like person. He could draw people in in no time. He was also a great friend and a brother disciple of my grandfather. At least once or twice every month he used to come to Guruji’s home to meet my grandfather, and whenever he used to come he would remain at our house for the whole day long.
I have seen him taking his midday meals along with my grandfather sitting side by side together, and my mother used to cook their food and serve them. He was a very kind and loving man to the common people and friends. Only he was strict to his disciples. He loved all the children and used to bring lozenges and chocolates for us the children. And he used to talk with us as an ordinary man.
He was fond of feeding friends and devotees or whoever used to visit him in his Serampore house and also in his Puri ashram. I have heard his speeches on many occasions when he used to advise his devotees to meditate, meditate, and meditate, more and more with utmost devotion to God, and he used to say, “By this way you will minimize the cycle of life and death.” He used to explain, “A man takes birth, then he dies. Again he is born; again he dies. This cycle he can minimize if he practices meditation deeply.”
The first time Guruji went to Serampore to see Sri Yukteswarji, in 1935, we accompanied Guruji in the same car, along with Richard Wright (his secretary and brother to Daya Mata). So there Guruji pronamed to Sri Yukteswarji, took the dust from his feet, and they embraced each other for some minutes. There were tears in their eyes. That was a scene to be seen.
Sri Yukteswarji entertained the whole group very nicely, especially Richard Wright. He was kept aside. And I have seen Mr. Richard Wright every morning when he used to touch Yoganandaji’s feet first thing. That opened my eyes, because before that I had never seen a Western man touching the feet of an Indian. He also would do the same for Sri Yukteswarji and be the first to touch his feet.
Sri Yukteswarji was very serious about his meditation. How he loved God! And he used to meditate and meditate. When I went to Serampore, to his house, along with Guruji, as soon as Guruji went there, after greeting him, Guruji said, “Sri Yukteswar, Guruji, your house is not in good condition, so I would like to get your house nicely repaired and painted.” So Yukteswarji told him, “If you wish you can repair my house. You can get it painted, but in that case I will not be able to meditate as before because my mind will be on the repaired house and the new paint.” Still, Guruji got it repaired and painted.
Once a rich disciple of Sri Yukteswar (a maharaja) invited Sri Yukteswar and my father and some other devotees to his house. He was to go there in the afternoon, but he got caught in a traffic jam or something so he didn’t arrive until late in the evening. Well, by that time that disciple went to bed because he thought that Sri Yukteswarji was not coming.
So when Sri Yukteswarji arrived there and the servant of that house told Sri Yukteswarji, “My master is sleeping so he cannot get up now,” Sri Yukteswarji was very much angry. He said, “I have come here to my disciple’s home, and if I am not received by him, then I won’t come in. I will stand outside here the whole night unless he comes and receives me.”
So the servant was very much startled and he went to the master and said that Sri Yukteswarji has come and he is standing at the doorway and he’s not coming in. After hearing this, that disciple jumped up from his bed, came running downstairs, and fell at the feet of Sri Yukteswar. Then only did Sri Yukteswar come in the house. He was so strict!
We first heard about Sri Yukteswarji passing away in Puri when the telephone rang in our house and Guruji talked with someone from the ashram there. I was just standing by Guruji’s side at that moment. Guruji was very much anxious and in sorrow to hear the news that Sri Yukteswarji was ill, so he said at once, “Go book the railway tickets.” The same evening he left with my father and uncle to go to Puri to see Sri Yukteswar. I heard from my father afterward that when they were going to Puri, after 40 – 50 miles, in the dead of night, Sri Yukteswarji passed away. Guruji said, “My Guru is a great man.”
His body was placed in lotus posture under the temple that was in the Puri Ashram. The construction of the temple that is there now was supervised by my father according to Guruji’s wish in 1952. He spent several months there to supervise the construction. The lotus on the top of the temple was designed by my father as well.
The two pictures of Sri Yukteswar — one in lotus posture sitting on the floor and the other in standing posture with a little side view — were taken by my father on the roof of 4 Garpar Road in 1930, when I was ten years old. I remember I held the screen behind on one side when my father took the photos. Guruji was in the USA at that time, and he was very much pleased with these photographs.