Rambagan, Calcutta

In Magh (January-February) 1300 B.E. (1893 A.D.), Prabhu came to Calcutta from Vridaban where he had gone with Nabadwip Das two or three months ago from Bakchar. He used to go to Vrindaban almost every year, a little before Rash-Purnima and stayed for about 2 to 3 months. This time during his stay in Calcutta he did a marvelous deed which should be commemorated in the social history of India. He was staying at Rambagan near Beadon Street in a slum cottage of the Domes of Scheduled Caste Community. The Domes were in the lowest strata of society and were considered to be untouchables. They were kept segregated from the mainstream Hindu society. In fact, the domes were involved all vices and vulgarities. They were proverty-stricken, illiterate and addicted to liquor with concomitant vices and uncivilized manners. Prabhu inspired them to Harinama and to lead a decent life giving up addiction to liquor. He thus elevated them to civilized society. Thakur Atul Chamapati was his chief assistant in this work. In a short time, Prabhu transformed the 'Dome Palli' into the nucleus of Harinam.

The leading devotees of Doms were Haridas, Tinkari, Pitambar and others. Prabhu called Haridas' Hita Haridas' because he used to do 'hit' (good) to the world by his Kirtan and playing on the 'Mridanga' in which he became exceptionally expert. He called Tinkari as 'Dayal Tinkari', meaning Tinkari the kind hearted. Often Kirtans and 'Mahotsavas' were held in these slums of the Doms. All, irrespective of caste and creed, used to join. His attempts at reformation of the society by abolition of untouchability and prohibition were demonstrated here as at Faridpur, where his Ashram is like Sri-Kshetra of Jagannath (Jagadbandhu).

Once a grand 'Nagar Sankirtan' was organized in Calcutta as an antodote of Plague-epidemic. Different Kirtan parties from different localities participated in this novel anti-epidemic program. The Kirtan team of Rambagan Dome Palli received appreciation from all quarters.

It is in Rambagan that Prabhu composed his great works (I) 'Trikal' (the information about three Ages - past, present and future) and (ii) 'Chandrapat' (Descent of the Moon).

During his stay at Rambagan, Prabhu also emancipated some of the prostitute women of Calcutta. They were totally changed and began to lead a holy life. One name requires special mention - she was Surat Kumari (later called Suramata by the devotees of Prabhu). She became repentant of her past life. Having heard of Prabhu, an incarnation of Sri Gouranga from Srimat Chanarandas Babaji while at Puri (Sri-Kshetra) she ran after Prabhu and came to Calcutta. She learnt that Prabhu had gone to Vrindaban. She went to Vrindaban and after searches here and there came to know the whereabouts of Prabhu. She one day saw Prabhu bathing in the Jamuna in a palanquin. The palanquin was taken into the water and Prabhu getting out of it bathed and at once entered it again. Suramata saw him like a flash of lightning. She could not at first understand that it was Prabhu. But later on she could know from Nabadwip Dasji that it was Prabhu whom she saw at the bathing ghat. She saw him on several other occasions. Prabhu gave her some written instructions about religious discipline. In one letter, he informed her as a reply to her piteous letter praying for 'Darsan' (Sight), "Daughter of Brishabhanu (i.e. Radha) forbids, so no meeting can be held. Take bath thrice a day. Repeat the name of Hari a hundred thousand times daily. Read the Scipture - Srimad Bhagavat. Commit to memory the Prem-bhakti-Chandrika of Thakur Narottam Das." She had the good luck of bowing down before him when he touched her head with rubber-shoes on. "You will not suffer pangs of death as a result of this", said Prabhu. She actually died so. She could not at all feel that she was dying. She was speaking normally about her return from the hospital while she breathed her last.

Yadumani was another such woman. She also became very penitent for her past life that was cahnged as a result of Champati Thakur's Nama Kirtan and instructions. She was longing for a sight of Prabhu just as a Chataka (swallow) does for rainwater with a dry throat. One day he showed her his finger covered with cloth through a hole in the wall and she felt satisfied and began to live a pious life, as instructed by Prabhu.

Once Prabhu got down from a train at Hooghly station. A police officer seeing him covered all over, suspected him to be a fugitive criminal and arrested him. It was night then. Prabhu refused to stay in a room used by others, but had no objection to remain in cow-shed. He was locked up in the cemented cow-shed of the Nazir. On the next morning the door was opened but Prabhu was not found there. A commotion arose over it in the town but as Prabhu had wired to Suramata in Calcutta informing of his arrest, she appeared there the next morning. The Nazir Babu was frightened at Prabhu's disappearance but assured by Suramata that no danger would occur at Prabhu's blessings, the matter did not proceed further. The Nazir by the grace of Prabhu got a promotion in short time and his pay increased.