Inspiring stories

Stories about Troilanga Swami

Introduction by the Author

I have decided to narrate a few traditional stories which are well-known in India. These stories are not my own creations; they are about spiritual Masters who used to show their occult power as easily and as often as we drink water. I am one of those who do not appreciate miracles, for quite often miracles only feed curiosity, and there is a yawning gulf between curiosity and aspiration. Again, there are some Masters who think that it is advisable for an individual to start his spiritual journey, even if he has to start with curiosity. Eventually the same person will enter into the world of true aspiration.

Sometimes occultists want to prove that modern science does not have the last word with regard to God’s creation. They want to show that the infinite wealth of the inner world can easily silence all the achievements of mankind in the outer world. To be sure, what we call a miracle is nothing but a common occurrence in the world beyond our senses. Inwardly we can learn from these great Masters, from their fascinating miracles, from their soul-stirring lives. That is why I am interested in telling these stories.

— Sri Chinmoy

Silence speaks, silence answers

There was once a very great spiritual Master whose name was Troilanga Swami. He was the possessor of tremendous occult power and spiritual power. Sri Ramakrishna went to see him a few times. According to Sri Ramakrishna, he was the moving Lord Shiva. Once, Sri Ramakrishna asked him, through gestures, about God. Also through gestures, Troilanga Swami made it clear to Sri Ramakrishna that high above in Heaven, God is One, but when we are in the body, then the body becomes the only reality for us and God becomes many.

Commentary: When silence answers a question, the answer is most effective. Here, in silence one spiritual Master put the question, and in silence another Master answered. The giver and the receiver were extremely pleased with each other.
Indeed, the body sings the song of God’s multiplicity and the soul sings the song of God’s unity or God the transcendental Vision.

The world-renouncer

Troilanga Swami renounced everything. He always remained unclothed. He did not ask anybody for food. If others came and fed him, he ate, but he never cared for quality or quantity. Anything people gave, he ate, and he left the quantity up to his devotees and admirers. In one of his visits to Troilanga Swami, Sri Ramakrishna offered him a very large quantity of Indian sweets. Another time, some wicked people offered him a very, very large quantity of the chemical lime. He ate it and it caused him to vomit immediately. They were so shocked. But for their misbehaviour they touched his feet and cried, and he forgave them immediately.

Commentary: He who has renounced the world not only sees the universal Truth-Beauty but also sees the universe as the Truth-Beauty and as the illumining and fulfilling Reality.

Lover and Beloved are one

Troilanga Swami once went into a Kali temple. He was followed into the temple by a young, highly advanced seeker named Bijoykrishna Goswami. To Bijoykrishna’s wide surprise, Troilanga Swami passed water and sprinkled the whole statue of Kali. Bijoykrishna was frightened and horrified that a man could do this. “What are you doing?” he demanded.Troilanga Swami replied, “This is all Ganges water. I am worshipping the Mother Kali.”

When the people who were in charge of the temple came in, Bijoykrishna told them what the Master had done. The people in charge were not at all shocked. “Oh, Troilanga Swami has done it,” they said. “He is one with Lord Shiva. If it had been somebody else, we would have taken him to task. We would have been furious and we would have punished him. But Troilanga Swami is always in Lord Shiva-Consciousness. Shiva and Kali are one, so we don’t have to worry at all.”

Commentary: The Source is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. It is Reality omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. The lover of the Source, the knower of the Source, the dweller in the Source and the possessor of the Source are all the same. Troilanga Swami as the lover of Kali and the beloved of Kali is the self-same reality.

Initiation is purification

One day Troilanga Swami said to the young seeker Bijoykrishna Goswami, “Look here, I shall have to initiate you.”Bijoykrishna said, “I don’t want to be initiated by you. You are so undivine. What you did in the Kali temple was so shocking to me.”

Troilanga Swami said, “No, I have received an inner command from Above. You have to be initiated by me. It is absolutely necessary for everyone to be initiated. If there is no initiation, then there can be no purification. You need purification in your life, and if you do not have this purification, there will be no God-realisation for you. I have got the command from within. Otherwise, I would be the last person to ask to initiate anybody.”

When Bijoykrishna heard these words, he fell at the Swami’s feet and got initiation. It helped him considerably in his purification and expedited his spiritual journey. Eventually, Bijoykrishna Goswami also became a very great spiritual Master.

Commentary: Initiation is of paramount importance. The Master can initiate the seeker either outwardly or inwardly. But the traditional outer way, as part of a religious rite, is far less effective than the silence-initiation. In the silence-initiation, the Master offers a portion of his life-breath to the seeker for his ignorance-illumination and his delight-realisation. Initiation is purification. No purification, no perfection. No perfection, no satisfaction either on earth or in Heaven.

Body-reality and soul-reality

Once Troilanga Swami was walking along the street near an Indian king’s palace. This king was a great admirer of his. When the king heard that Troilanga Swami was nearby, he himself ran out and brought him into the palace. The Master was naked, so the king’s attendants put very nice, expensive clothes on him and he looked extremely beautiful. Then they fed him most delicious food. The king and his party were blessed by the Master and they had a long conversation with him, although ordinarily he was a man of few words. Sometimes he would not talk at all for months.When Troilanga Swami left the palace to go back to his cottage, some of the palace guards watched him from a distance. When he was practically out of sight, three hooligans attacked him and took away all the expensive robes that had been given to him by the king. The guards came running and arrested the hooligans. Then they begged Troilanga Swami to come to the king’s palace once again, and he agreed.

When the king heard what had happened, he was about to punish the hooligans and put them in jail. But Troilanga Swami said, “No, don’t do that. To me there is no difference whether I have the clothes or not. My soul is not affected at all when I don’t have any clothes. Long before you gave me the clothes, I had my soul inside my body, and this is the only real thing. What shall I do with the things that do not fulfil any need of my soul?” So the hooligans were allowed to go free and the Master peacefully went on his way.

Commentary: The body-reality needs decoration, ornamentation and embellishment for its satisfaction. The soul-reality needs only its oneness with Infinity’s Immortality for its eternal satisfaction.

A saint beyond temptation-life

Troilanga Swami weighed over three hundred pounds. He lived in Benares and used to spend most of his time bathing in the water of the Ganges. Once he was walking along the street naked, when he passed a new magistrate who had just come to the area. The magistrate became furious and ordered a policeman to arrest the Master and lock him in a small room. The following morning the magistrate saw Troilanga Swami walking outside the room. “How did you come out?” he demanded.Troilanga Swami answered, “It was so easy. I came out because I felt like coming out. During the night I emptied myself and now it is smelling; therefore, I thought it would be better for me to come out of the room. So I came out.”

This time the magistrate himself put the Master under lock and key, using a double lock. The following morning, the magistrate was working in his office when all of a sudden he saw Troilanga Swami in one corner of the office, smiling at him. The magistrate said, “How is it possible for you to be here?”

Troilanga Swami told him, “You should not disturb the innocent Hindu Yogis. They can do anything they want to. I am walking along the street naked, but I am not interested in any women. In the case of ordinary men, they are full of lust. They have all kinds of emotional problems, lower vital problems, sex problems. But I am not like that. Also, people who look at me see that my body is so heavy and odd. So who will be interested in me? I have renounced the whole world, and at the same time nobody is interested in me in an impure way. So why do you bother me? I am not creating temptation and I am not tempted by anyone. If you want to torture the Hindu Yogis, you will be embarrassed and at every moment you will fail, because we are far above human torture.”

Commentary: A truly God-realised person is he who has the capacity not to be affected by others and, at the same time, not to affect others. He protects himself from the rest of the world and he protects the world from himself. This miraculous achievement of his is due to the inseparable oneness of his body’s divinity with his soul’s supreme universality. The body enjoys the soul’s freedom. The soul enjoys the body’s acceptance of the soul’s reality.

God’s Compassion-Power

A young woman was bitterly sobbing and weeping over the dead body of her husband, who had been bitten by a snake. According to Indian tradition, when somebody dies of a snake bite, he cannot be cremated; the dead body has to be thrown into the water. So the man’s relatives had brought his body to the bank of the river, but the wife was weeping bitterly and did not want them to throw the body into the water. All of a sudden, Troilanga Swami appeared. Everybody knew that he was a great spiritual Master. He took some mud and clay from the Ganges, placed it on the spot where the man had been bitten by the snake and massaged it a little. Then Troilanga Swami jumped into the water. In a few minutes, the man opened his eyes, looked around and asked why they had brought him there. Then the man and his wife went their way.

Commentary: Indeed, death is powerful, but spiritual power is infinitely more powerful. It reminds death that death cannot mark the end of life, for it is God’s Will that life will eternally flow in and through death. In this story, God’s Compassion-Power overrules His Justice-Power.

Insult brings retribution

One day Troilanga Swami was walking along the street naked when a magistrate and his wife saw him. The wife was horrified and wanted to have him arrested. As the guards were about to arrest the Yogi, Troilanga Swami suddenly disappeared. There were many people surrounding him, so everyone was surprised that he could escape. After a short time, he appeared in the same spot, smiling. The magistrate got furious. “Why do you do this kind of thing?” he shouted. He insulted the Master mercilessly, saying, “You are such an odd-looking fellow! Why do you move around naked? Do you have no sense? You create so much nuisance for us!” But he let Troilanga Swami go.That night the magistrate had a dream. In the dream he saw a sannyasi, wearing the skin of a tiger and holding a trident, running towards him to kill him. The sannyasi said to the magistrate, “How did you dare to insult Troilanga Swami? He is such a great spiritual Master. I shall not let you remain in this sanctified city of Benares.” The magistrate was frightened to death. He shouted out loud in his sleep, and his attendants came to his rescue and woke him up.

The following day the magistrate himself went to Troilanga Swami, placed himself at his feet and begged for forgiveness, which was immediately granted.

Commentary: When one insults a God-realised Master, he incurs immediate retribution, not from the Master himself but from God, who loves the Master, His supreme instrument, more than He loves Himself. The Master forgives the culprits, for forgiveness is what he knows. But God, in spite of being His own Eternity’s and Infinity’s Forgiveness, does not allow His chosen instrument to be ridiculed and insulted, for His instrument is he who is of God and for God alone. After all, what God wants is always the constant manifestation of His own Truth-Light-Beauty.

The king and the sword

A great Indian king once went on a boat trip on the Ganges. He and his attendants saw a man swimming behind them. It was Troilanga Swami. It happened, in an hour or so, that Troilanga Swami swam near the boat smiling, so they helped him into the boat. He was naked as usual, but the people there did not mind because they all knew him, and had tremendous respect, love and veneration for him. The king was also pleased to see him, because he also admired him.The king had a sword hanging around his waist. Troilanga Swami took it from him and examined it and played with it like a child. Then he suddenly threw it into the Ganges. The king was furious. He had received this sword for his valour and for his merit, so he felt miserable that he had lost such a precious thing. He wanted to punish the man but everybody protested: “Oh no, he is a saint; you can’t do that. It will be a terrible thing if you touch him.”

The king said, “If you people are not willing to punish him, then once we land I will get other people who will gladly listen to me and punish this man.”

When they were about to reach the shore, Troilanga Swami, who was seated in the boat, placed his hand in the water. All of a sudden two shining swords appeared in his hand. They were identical, and both looked exactly like the one he had thrown into the Ganges. Everybody was astonished. The Master said to the king, “O King, now find the one that belonged to you.”

The king was totally nonplussed. He did not know which one was actually his. Then Troilanga Swami said to him, “You fool, you don’t know which one belongs to you? You don’t know your own possession?” Then he threw away the one that was not the king’s, and said, “In this world nothing will remain with you. When you die, everything you have will have to remain here. To the Real in you I say, ‘Don’t live in the world of enjoyment. Remain in the world of aspiration. Remain in the world of Light, Peace and Bliss. You are a king, but you are a fool as well. Be wise. Then only will you have true happiness in life. Be spiritually wise!'”

Commentary: Unless and until we become spiritually wise, we shall never know what our true possession is. Our true possession, our eternal possession, our only possession, is our love of God. There cannot be anything else here on earth or there in Heaven for us to claim as our own. Only our love of God — our constant, soulful and self-giving love of God — can be our eternal possession. This possession will always remain safe, and we ourselves will also be safe only when we claim this possession as our own, very own.

Once we know that we have love of God in abundant, boundless and infinite measure, then God’s possession, which is His entire creation, immediately becomes our possession as well. Our love of God claims God, and the moment we offer our love to God, God’s creation immediately becomes ours as well. His entire creation comes from His Vision, and He and His Vision are inseparable. When we claim God with our love, God’s Concern and God’s creation immediately claim us; for the sole possessor is God and nobody else.

Here on earth everything that we can see, we try to claim. Everything that is around us also wants to claim us. But we cannot claim others and they cannot claim us, for we see that something is missing in them and they see that the same thing is missing in us. What is missing is love of God. This is the seed, the possibility-seed, which eventually grows into the inevitability-fruit.

Discrimination abolished, equality’s universality reigns

A king, his queen and their dear ones were swimming in a private swimming pool. There were guards all around, so nobody knew how Troilanga Swami had managed to come in and stand right in front of the swimming pool. As he was naked and very fat, he was extremely odd-looking. When the king and queen saw that he was watching them swim, they were furious. The king wanted to punish Troilanga Swami, and there was a great uproar all around the pool.Meanwhile, Troilanga Swami’s devotees were looking for their Master. When they learned where he was, they ran and told the king how great the Master was. “He has a childlike nature; that is why he was watching you swim,” they said. “Just like a child he has come here for innocent amusement. He has no lower vital problems. He is above all that. For him, sandalwood and waste matter are the same. Everything is the same to him.”

The king said, “If everything is the same to him, then he has to eat what I eat: meat. Since he is a spiritual man, I am sure he does not eat meat. Let us see if everything is equal to him.”

Troilanga Swami said, “Yes, I am ready to eat meat, but first, will you eat my food?” The king, knowing perfectly well that since he was a sadhu, he would eat only fruit and milk, said, “Certainly I will eat your food.”

Then, in front of everyone, Troilanga Swami immediately emptied himself and started eating. Everyone was amazed and horrified. Then, he said to the king, “Now, eat what I have eaten.” The king simply ran the other way. But the onlookers got a very good fragrance from this — like sandalwood — and they were surprised and moved.

Later the king said to Troilanga Swami, “I know your spiritual power. I know who you are, and I am issuing a message that nobody should bother you anymore, even if you walk naked.”

Commentary: The beauty of a childlike, innocent flower-heart gives off a special fragrance everywhere, not only from what it has within itself, but also from the beauty that it sees all around.

It was not Troilanga Swami’s so-called curiosity that compelled him to go to the swimming pool, but it was his equality-vision which wanted to show to the world the evenness of reality everywhere. Discrimination abolished, equality’s universality reigns.

The world-renunciation song

One day Troilanga Swami was with his disciples when a nicely-dressed middle-aged Bengali gentleman wearing a new dhoti and perfumed with oil came to him. To the disciples’ wide surprise, Troilanga Swami embraced the gentleman.Everybody said: “How can you embrace someone who is so sophisticated and unspiritual? There is no spirituality in him.”

Troilanga Swami said to them, “You fools, you don’t recognise him. You people would have to give up everything in life, renounce everything, in order to come to his spiritual state of consciousness. In your highest state of consciousness you cannot equal him. For him to wear clean, new, ironed clothes or to use perfume is nothing. He has reached such a spiritual height that he will not be affected no matter what he wears or what he does. You can’t judge people by their outer appearance. He is really a great seeker, an extraordinary soul.”

Troilanga Swami’s words proved true. The man’s name was Shyama Charan Lahiri and he was later known to be a great spiritual Master.

Commentary: If one knows how to sing the world-renunciation song well, then one can never be tempted by the world-possession song, not to speak of the world-temptation dance. His divine realisation is not affected in the inner world, his human performance is not affected in the outer world. He is like a boat that is in the water and, at the same time, is not affected by the water.

A heart of compassion

Troilanga Swami and one of his dear disciples were meditating together on the bank of the Ganges. All of a sudden a terrible hurricane arose. The disciple said to the Master, “Let us go home. Let us hurry to our ashram.”The Master said, “How can I go home now? Look at the pitiful condition of the passengers in that boat on the river. The boat is about to sink.”

The disciple said, “I also feel sorry for them, but what can we do?”

In a few minutes’ time the disciple saw the boat sink. He felt miserable and started crying for the passengers. Then he looked around. To his wide surprise he saw that his Master was missing. Then he felt totally miserable. The hurricane was in its full fury, the boat had sunk and his Master was not visible. He began praying to the Master to come back from wherever he had gone.

After a short time he saw the boat that had sunk come up again right in front of him with all the passengers, and inside the boat was also a naked man, Troilanga Swami. Before that moment, nobody in the boat had seen the Master. He had gone unseen and brought the boat and the passengers back to shore unharmed and safe. This was another of Troilanga Swami’s miracles.

Commentary: A God-representative is he who embodies Eternity’s Compassion-Heart, Infinity’s Protection-Light and Immortality’s Illumination-Soul.

(Sri Chinmoy, “India and her miracle-feast: come and enjoy yourself”, part 1)

About the author



We are all leaves, flowers
And fruits
On the different religion-branches
Of the birthless and deathless

(Sri Chinmoy)

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