By Swami Harshananda
Svāmi Advaitānanda lived in A. D. 1828-1909. The darkness of a crisis in life often acts like the twilight before dawn leading to the effulgence of the sun. When Gopāl Candra Ghosh of Sinthi lost his wife and was heartbroken, that very grief led him to Rāmakṛṣṇa for seeking relief. The contact thus established through a crisis ultimately led to glorious spiritual heights.
Gopāldā, as he was endearingly called, was older than even Rāmakṛṣṇa. Nevertheless, the attitude of reverence and devotion he cherished towards Rāmakṛṣṇa, his guru, was unflinching. It was his good luck that made him instrumental in the birth of the future Rāmakṛṣṇa Order of monks by gifting a few pieces of ochre-colored cloths to Rāmakṛṣṇa who personally distributed them among Narendra, Rākhāl and others including Gopāl himself, during his last days at Kāśipur.
Along with Tārak Gopāldā was the first to join the Barānagore monastery after the departure of the Master from this world. The monastic name given to him was ‘Svāmi Advaitānanda.’ He spent a few years at the monastery and shifted to Vārāṇasī for about five years and returned to the newly established Maṭh at Ālambazār, and later at Belur. His advanced age prevented him from taking active part in the missionary activities of the new organization. His personal cleanliness, neat and methodical ways of doing any work, had been admired even by Rāmakṛṣṇa. The Svāmi passed away on the 28th December 1909 at the age of eighty-one.
- It is now in Calcutta.
- Tārak means Svāmi Śivānanda.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore