Swami Akhandananda, whose reminiscences are recorded herein, was one of the sixteen direct Sannyasin disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. Gangadhar Ghatak, as he was known in his pre-monastic life, was born in 1864. He happened to meet the Great Master in 1883 at the young age of nineteen and had the benefit of his holy company for more than three years till the Master’s demise in 1886. The story of his intimate contact with the Master and his spiritual development through that, are told in his own inimitable manner in the first chapter of this book. In the Master’s company, a transformation soon came over his views on religion. His deeply religious nature had till then expressed itself in his strict adherence to the rigorous rules of asceticism prescribed by Hindu orthodox. He bathed several times a day, ate only self-cooked food once, studied the Gita and other scriptures, and practised meditation.
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