|A new chapter opened in Bihar's long history of spiritual excellence when
Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, Howrah (West Bengal) started a centre at Chhapra
on Ramnavami, 2003.This centre has a historical significance, for, Chhapra
is the birthplace of Swami Adbhutananda (Latu Maharaj), the only sannyasi disciple
of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhans who was born outside Bengal. Incidentally this is the first
centre of the "Mission" in Bihar to have been started after the Independence
of the country.
Chhapra is situated at the confluence of Ganga and Saryu, two most sacred rivers of India. Gandak too flows on the other side of Chhapra and merges in Ganga some 50 K.M. away from the town .Chhapra has a long tradition and glorious past. It was shelter to sages like Gautama, Viswamitra ( who retrieved Gayatri-Mantra through unwavering tapasya), and Dadhichi ( renowned for giving away his bones even while alive for the welfare of the society). According to folklore, this centre is situated where Sage Dadhichi's ashrama supposedly was. The town also gave the first Pressident to India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. With a glorious past like this to back the present, the area is bound to have tremendous potential in the future.
Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Chhapra , though relatively very young compared to more than 100 years of the Ramakrishna Mission ( started in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda), has taken up various service activites.
|Swami Adbhutananda was born in an extremely poor family of an under-privileged
caste.Known as "Rakhturam" in his childhood, he was orphaned very early
and was taken to Calcutta as household help.During that period his name got
changed to Laturam (meaning the dear one), and in short Latu, the name which stuck.
Destiny brought him to Sri Ramakrishna who recognised the tremendous spiritual
potentials of the young boy and started training him up.Accordingly to take him
up on the dizzying heights of spiritual atainments.Latu Maharaj was completely
unlettered, but was admired by Swami Vivekananda for his spiritual eminence and it
was he who gave him the name Swami Adbutananda ( the wornderful creation of
Sri Ramakrishna).Today many books in different languages are being published on
this unlettered, illiterate,shephard-turned-saint who showed from his life and
atttainments that spirituality has no pre-requisite other than absolute sincerity.
Sri Ramakrishna has , as if, taken the self-sacrifice to Dadhichi, spiritual intellignece and illumination of Viswamitra, and the perfect character of Latu Maharaj to fuse them all to once again rekindle the undying embers of this place's traditions into a conflagration to burn down the age old encrustation of poverty, ignorance and superstition in order to bring light, comfort , strength and joy to Chhapra and its surrouding areas. By the kind grace of Sri Ramakrishna, very soon Chhapra is going to become famous as a pilgrim centre for the devotees of Sir Ramakrishna who would consider themselves blessed to pay homage to the land which gave birth to the spiritual phenomenon in the form of Latu Maharaj.