Swami Vivekananda found his 'first' disciple in Hathras
First Published 6, Oct 2020, 4:30 PM
Hathras in Uttar Pradesh is in the news for the alleged gang-rape and consequent death of a Dalit girl. However, it is also a town that has four railway stations with the word Hathras in it. (City, Junction, Kila, Road). More than 130 years ago, a wandering, impecunious monk was sitting on a bench at Hathras Junction station. He had traveled partly on foot, partly by train, and the rest by bullock cart, as providence would provide.
According to a researcher of Ramkrishna Mission, in 1887, a wandering penniless monk was sitting on a bench at the Hathras Junction station. He was on his way to Kolkata from Kashi.
The researcher said, “The monk was traveling partly on foot, partly by train, partly by bullock cart, as providence would provide. Suddenly, the ASM (assistant station master) of the station spotted this sanyasi with striking features, a sharp nose and wide eyes sitting on the bench.”
The assistant station master went up to the monk and struck up a conversation. Impressed by his knowledge, the assistant station master requested the monk to be his guest that night and took him to his quarters behind the station.
After spending a day or two, the monk bid him goodbye, but the assistant station master told him to wait. He rushed to the station, submitted his resignation, and left with the monk as his disciple and became the monk’s first disciple.
The monk was none other than Narendranath Dutta who later became Swami Vivekananda. And the assistant station master was Sharat Chandra Gupta, a Bengali gentleman, who, after taking his ascetic vows, was called Swami Sadananda of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Before accepting him as his disciple, Vivekananda gave his begging bowl to Sharat and asked him to beg for food from the porters and khalasis of the station. This was his way of measuring his disciple’s earnestness.
Without waiting a moment, Sharat went to the station and begged for food from those very people who were his subordinates just the previous day. He came back to Swamiji with the alms collected and partook of them along with his Guru.
Swami Sadananda traveled across the country and abroad, to spread the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. He died in 1911 in Kolkata.