Chapter 25 - Brother Ananta and Sister Nalini
"Ananta cannot live; the sands of his karma for this life have run out."
These inexorable words reached my inner consciousness as I sat one morning in deep meditation. Shortly
after I had entered the Swami Order, I paid a visit to my birthplace, Gorakhpur, as a guest of my elder
brother Ananta. A sudden illness confined him to his bed; I nursed him lovingly.
The solemn inward pronouncement filled me with grief. I felt that I could not bear to remain longer in
Gorakhpur, only to see my brother removed before my helpless gaze. Amidst uncomprehending criticism from my
relatives, I left India on the first available boat. It cruised along Burma and the China Sea to Japan. I
disembarked at Kobe, where I spent only a few days. My heart was too heavy for sightseeing.
On the return trip to India, the boat touched at Shanghai. There Dr. Misra, the ship's physician, guided
me to several curio shops, where I selected various presents for Sri Yukteswar and my family and friends. For
Ananta I purchased a large carved bamboo piece. No sooner had the Chinese salesman handed me the bamboo
souvenir than I dropped it on the floor, crying out, "I have bought this for my dear dead brother!"
A clear realization had swept over me that his soul was just being freed in the Infinite. The souvenir was
sharply and symbolically cracked by its fall; amidst sobs, I wrote on the bamboo surface: "For my beloved
Ananta, now gone."
My companion, the doctor, was observing these proceedings with a sardonic smile.
"Save your tears," he remarked. "Why shed them until you are sure he is dead?"
When our boat reached Calcutta, Dr. Misra again accompanied me. My youngest brother Bishnu was waiting to
greet me at the dock.
"I know Ananta has departed this life," I said to Bishnu, before he had had time to speak. "Please tell
me, and the doctor here, when Ananta died."
Bishnu named the date, which was the very day that I had bought the souvenirs in Shanghai.
"Look here!" Dr. Misra ejaculated. "Don't let any word of this get around! The professors will be adding a
year's study of mental telepathy to the medical course, which is already long enough!"
Father embraced me warmly as I entered our Gurpar Road home. "You have come," he said tenderly. Two large
tears dropped from his eyes. Ordinarily undemonstrative, he had never before shown me these signs of
affection. Outwardly the grave father, inwardly he possessed the melting heart of a mother. In all his
dealings with the family, his dual parental role was distinctly manifest.
Soon after Ananta's passing, my younger sister Nalini was brought back from death's door by a divine
healing. Before relating the story, I will refer to a few phases of her earlier life.
The childhood relationship between Nalini and myself had not been of the happiest nature. I was very thin;
she was thinner still. Through an unconscious motive or "complex" which psychiatrists will have no difficulty
in identifying, I often used to tease my sister about her cadaverous appearance. Her retorts were equally
permeated with the callous frankness of extreme youth. Sometimes Mother intervened, ending the childish
quarrels, temporarily, by a gentle box on my ear, as the elder ear.
Time passed; Nalini was betrothed to a young Calcutta physician, Panchanon Bose. He received a generous
dowry from Father, presumably (as I remarked to Sister) to compensate the bridegroom-to-be for his fate in
allying himself with a human bean-pole.
Elaborate marriage rites were celebrated in due time. On the wedding night, I joined the
large and jovial group of relatives in the living room of our Calcutta home. The bridegroom was leaning on an
immense gold-brocaded pillow, with Nalini at his side. A gorgeous purple silk sari1 could not, alas, wholly hide her angularity. I sheltered myself behind the
pillow of my new brother-in-law and grinned at him in friendly fashion. He had never seen Nalini until the
day of the nuptial ceremony, when he finally learned what he was getting in the matrimonial lottery.
Feeling my sympathy, Dr. Bose pointed unobtrusively to Nalini, and whispered in my ear, "Say, what's
"Why, Doctor," I replied, "it is a skeleton for your observation!"
Convulsed with mirth, my brother-in-law and I were hard put to it to maintain the proper decorum before
our assembled relatives.
As the years went on, Dr. Bose endeared himself to our family, who called on him whenever illness arose.
He and I became fast friends, often joking together, usually with Nalini as our target.
"It is a medical curiosity," my brother-in-law remarked to me one day. "I have tried everything on your
lean sistercod liver oil, butter, malt, honey, fish, meat, eggs, tonics. Still she fails to bulge even
one-hundredth of an inch." We both chuckled.
A few days later I visited the Bose home. My errand there took only a few minutes; I was leaving,
unnoticed, I thought, by Nalini. As I reached the front door, I heard her voice, cordial but commanding.
"Brother, come here. You are not going to give me the slip this time. I want to talk to you."
I mounted the stairs to her room. To my surprise, she was in tears.
"Dear brother," she said, "let us bury the old hatchet. I see that your feet are now
firmly set on the spiritual path. I want to become like you in every way." She added hopefully, "You are now
robust in appearance; can you help me? My husband does not come near me, and I love him so dearly! But still
more I want to progress in God-realization, even if I must remain thin 2
My heart was deeply touched at her plea. Our new friendship steadily progressed; one day she asked to
become my disciple.
"Train me in any way you like. I put my trust in God instead of tonics." She gathered together an armful
of medicines and poured them down the roof drain.
As a test of her faith, I asked her to omit from her diet all fish, meat, and eggs.
After several months, during which Nalini had strictly followed the various rules I had outlined, and had
adhered to her vegetarian diet in spite of numerous difficulties, I paid her a visit.
"Sis, you have been conscientiously observing the spiritual injunctions; your reward is near." I smiled
mischievously. "How plump do you want to beas fat as our aunt who hasn't seen her feet in years?"
I replied solemnly. "By the grace of God, as I have spoken truth always, I speak truly now.3 Through the divine blessings, your body shall verily change from today; in one
month it shall have the same weight as mine."
These words from my heart found fulfillment. In thirty days, Nalini's weight equalled mine. The new
roundness gave her beauty; her husband fell deeply in love. Their marriage, begun so inauspiciously, turned
out to be ideally happy.
On my return from Japan, I learned that during my absence Nalini had been stricken with typhoid fever. I
rushed to her home, and was aghast to find her reduced to a mere skeleton. She was in a coma.
"Before her mind became confused by illness," my brother-in-law told me, "she often said: 'If brother
Mukunda were here, I would not be faring thus.'" He added despairingly, "The other doctors and myself see no
hope. Blood dysentery has set in, after her long bout with typhoid."
I tried to move heaven and earth with my prayers. Engaging an Anglo-Indian nurse, who gave me full
cooperation, I applied to my sister various yoga techniques of healing. The blood dysentery disappeared.
But Dr. Bose shook his head mournfully. "She simply has no more blood left to shed."
"She will recover," I replied stoutly. "In seven days her fever will be gone."
A week later I was thrilled to see Nalini open her eyes and gaze at me with loving recognition. From that
day her recovery was swift. Although she regained her usual weight, she bore one sad scar of her nearly fatal
illness: her legs were paralyzed. Indian and English specialists pronounced her a hopeless cripple.
The incessant war for her life which I had waged by prayer had exhausted me. I went to Serampore to ask
Sri Yukteswar's help. His eyes expressed deep sympathy as I told him of Nalini's plight.
"Your sister's legs will be normal at the end of one month." He added, "Let her wear, next to her skin, a
band with an unperforated two-carat pearl, held on by a clasp."
I prostrated myself at his feet with joyful relief.
"Sir, you are a master; your word of her recovery is enough But if you insist I shall immediately get her
My guru nodded. "Yes, do that." He went on to correctly describe the physical and mental characteristics
of Nalini, whom he had never seen.
"Sir," I inquired, "is this an astrological analysis? You do not know her birth day or hour."
Sri Yukteswar smiled. "There is a deeper astrology, not dependent on the testimony of calendars and
clocks. Each man is a part of the Creator, or Cosmic Man; he has a heavenly body as well as one of earth. The
human eye sees the physical form, but the inward eye penetrates more profoundly, even to the universal
pattern of which each man is an integral and individual part."
I returned to Calcutta and purchased a pearl for Nalini. A month later, her paralyzed legs were completely
Sister asked me to convey her heartfelt gratitude to my guru. He listened to her message in silence. But
as I was taking my leave, he made a pregnant comment.
"Your sister has been told by many doctors that she can never bear children. Assure her that in a few
years she will give birth to two daughters."
Some years later, to Nalini's joy, she bore a girl, followed in a few years by another daughter.
"Your master has blessed our home, our entire family," my sister said. "The presence of such a man is a
sanctification on the whole of India. Dear brother, please tell Sri Yukteswarji that, through you, I humbly
count myself as one of his Kriya Yoga disciples."
Chapter1 - My Parents and Early Life
Chapter2 - My Mother's Death and the Mystic Amulet
Chapter3 - The Saint With Two Bodies
Chapter4 - My Interrupted Flight Toward the Himalayas
Chapter5 - A "Perfume Saint" Displays His Wonders
Chapter6 - The Tiger Swami
Chapter7 - The Levitating Saint
Chapter8 - India's Great Scientist, J.C. Bose
Chapter9 - The Blissful Devotee and His Cosmic Romance
Chapter10 - I Meet My Master, Sri Yukteswar
Chapter11 - Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban
Chapter12 - Years in My Master's Hermitage
Chapter13 - The Sleepless Saint
Chapter14 - An Experience in Cosmic Consciousness
Chapter15 - The Cauliflower Robbery
Chapter16 - Outwitting the Stars
Chapter17 - Sasi and the Three Sapphires
Chapter18 - A Mohammedan Wonder-Worker
Chapter19 - My Master, in Calcutta, Appears in Serampore
Chapter20 - We Do Not Visit Kashmir
Chapter21 - We Visit Kashmir
Chapter22 - The Heart of a Stone Image
Chapter23 - I Receive My University Degree
Chapter24 - I Become a Monk of the Swami Order
Chapter25 - Brother Ananta and Sister Nalini
Chapter26 - The Science of Kriya Yoga
Chapter27 - Founding a Yoga School in Ranchi
Chapter28 - Kashi, Reborn and Rediscovered
Chapter29 - Rabindranath Tagore and I Compare Schools
Chapter30 - The Law of Miracles
Chapter31 - An Interview with the Sacred Mother
Chapter32 - Rama is Raised From the Dead
Chapter33 - Babaji, the Yogi-Christ of Modern India
Chapter34 - Materializing a Palace in the Himalaya
Chapter35 - The Christlike Life of Lahiri Mahasaya
Chapter36 - Babaji's Interest in the West
Chapter37 - I Go to America
Chapter38 - Luther Burbank -- A Saint Amidst the Roses
Chapter39 - Therese Neumann, the Catholic Stigmatist
Chapter40 - I Return to India
Chapter41 - An Idyll in South India
Chapter42 - Last Days With My Guru
Chapter43 - The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar
Chapter44 - With Mahatma Gandhi in Wardha
Chapter45 - The Bengali "Joy-Permeated" Mother
Chapter46 - The Woman Yogi Who Never Eats
Chapter47 - I Return to the West
Chapter48 - At Encinitas in California
Chapter49 - The Years - 1940 - 1951