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Mata Sailabala Devi




Dearest sons and daughters,

You all want to know about my life:  My mother died when I was a child. My grandmother brought me up.  Our family consisted of my father, grandmother and four brothers.  I used to live with my grandmother in my aunt’s house at Narayangange, when my mother died, but afterwards I lived with my father.  Within the next few years my second brother died.   I was the youngest member of our family.  When I was about to get married, we lived in Brindaban Basak Lane at Calcutta. In my childhood days I always dreamt about mountains, rivers, ashrams and holy places.

Most of all, a great Holy Man used to come into my dreams regularly.  It was very upsetting for me not to see Him every night, because it became a habit. I used to tell my father and grandmother about Him. My father was very anxious to get me married at the age of fifteen.  He started looking for a bridegroom everywhere.  Suddenly I dreamt of that Holy Man, He appeared with a gentleman and said, ‘This is your husband’ and you will get married to him on 21st Jaistha’.  This dream happened on Falgun 1337. The next morning I explained about the dream to my father and grandmother and I made it clear to them that I only wanted to get married to this gentleman.  Father put an advert in Anandabajar Patrika.  After a few days, we received a letter from Manbhum, written by Rabindra Nath Kundu.  He sent a photograph with his letter.  I recognised that photo straight way.  I made it clear to my father that I wanted to get married to the man in the photograph.

My third brother Romoni Goswami recognised that photo. He said, ‘I know this gentleman. He was tortured by the British and heard, he had Thisis. Without further investigations we can not arrange a marriage with this man.’ They started investigating.  I was sure in my mind, ‘He had never had Thisis’. On seeing my determination, father agreed to arrange our marriage.  One day my third brother said that the gentleman was here in Calcutta, and was visiting the Anandabajar Office every afternoon.  My father went to see him there.  Satyan Majumder and Suresh Majumder (at the Anandabajar Office) told my father that he should arrange my marriage with this gentleman.  My father asked him to come to our house one day. Father said, ‘he is a nice healthy man; I will arrange Moni’s marriage with him’ (My other name is Moni)’.  On 16th Jaistha his family came to see me in our house.  I served them some food. I was in very ordinary clothes, because I was never interested in fashion and jewellery.  None of them asked me any questions; Your Thakur (Annanda Prasad Chakraborty/ Asimananda) seemed lost in his own thoughts.  I recognised that, He was the man I had seen in my dreams with The Holy man. I did not realise at the time, that this Holy Man was our Gurudev.  I recognised Him, when He first came to our house in Purulia. I said to Him that ‘I have been seeing you in my dreams over the years, why did you appear so late.’ He laughed and said, ‘ daughter, I had to work hard to get both of you together. Both of you are mine, life after life and very close to my heart.’
Our wedding date was finalised on 18th Jaistha for three days later as the 21st Jaistha.  Only three days to arrange everything.  It is very difficult to explain those three days.  I had seen lot of dreams. Your Thakur said it was all about my past life.  In one dream- ‘Your Thakur said,  ‘ I would not see you again in this life. I will find you in my next life.’ By saying that he left home with my only son. He divided all his property amongst his brothers. Father took me home.’   I always used to think about this dream. I was frightened.  These few days I used to cry on my own.  All my relatives were present on my wedding day.  He told my father to give me away with Kadhi Sari, Sakha and Sindur only. That is why our wedding was such a simple affair. It was a miraculous wedding- they were Kanyakubja Brahmin, my father was Rhar srani, we lived in Dhaka (Bangladesh) and their village was in Manbhum (Purulia, West-Bengal).  It was like this marriage had to happen.  In keeping with the Holy Man’s wishes I married Your Thakur on 21st Jaistha (6th June-1932).

I was simply dressed, in a Khadi Sari. Sakha and Sindur at my wedding. I did not feel the need to dress up. At the time of the ceremony when we looked at each other, I said in my mind, forgive me for any past mistakes.  Surprisingly he said-‘Yes’.  My elder brother arranged our wedding bed and said ‘Go to bed, don’t stay awake too long’.  We closed the door and sat facing each other.  We didn’t touch each other.  We promised each other, --‘ we will dedicate our lives to our country, we would not ask for pleasure or comfort, we would not hinder each other’s way of life’.   I touched his feet and promised, ‘ I will never be an obstacle in your way of life’.  He gave me a NAMA and asked me to practice it all the time. That night he wrote seven poems and asked me to read them. When I was reading these poems, I started to realise the meaning of these poems was to explain my past, present and future.  I was so touched and emotional that I touched his feet and said ‘ please do not make me cry anymore’. He replied-‘this is your last life. I have to come again. This time you will stay with me.’ By saying that he wiped my tears.  He then said, ‘Let’s spend our auspicious occasaion by remembering All Mighty GOD.  We started doing Nama. We realised that the Holy Man was standing in front of us and smiling.  Yes, we had seen Him. We both did pranam to HIM together. When we lifted our heads, He was gone. It was almost dawn. I quickly opened the door and left the room. I was married in this astonishing way.

After our wedding, we moved to Talipara Lane. Later we moved to Kamala Ma’s house at Chitpur, then No. 6 Jayanarayana Chandra Lane, the house of His childhood friend.  Later we went to Tiluri (a village near Ashram).  Then we went back to Calcutta again. I started door to door selling of Khadi and Swadeshi items.
Your Thakur never wanted me to stay far from him. I always used to worry about my Father and Thakuma. Nobody was there to look after them. They wanted to take me to Calcutta to stay with them.  Your Thakur used to say – ‘ If you stay away from me, you will forget everything; you will loose this pleasant state of mind. I want you stay with me all the time and dedicate yourself to the welfare of the country’.

When I got married, I was only fifteen years old.  It was very difficult for me to understand him. Everything was strange.  He used to work very hard. It was a great surprise to me that anybody could work so hard day and night without taking care of themselves.  He hardly wore anything. He reminded me of Lord Shiva. Whenever our friends and relatives invited us, he would always go. They expressed the same view as me. As a proud wife I said-‘Yes my husband is Shiva. He has no fixed abode and does not ask for anything. All his friends are Tribal (Santhal). I am very happy. I feel sorry, because I cannot do anything for him. He does not have any desire for any worldly belongings. What can I do? He does not want anything from me’.


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