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 Swami Adbhutanand
Swami Adbhutanand (Latu Maharaj)

"Latoo is the greatest miracle of Sri Ramkrishna", Swamiji once said with reference to Swami Adbhutananda. "Having absolutely no education, he has attained to the highest wisdom simply at the touch of the Master". Yes, Latu Maharaj, by which name Swami Adbhutananda was popularly known, was the peer of the Master in this respect that he was entirely innocent of the knowldege of the three 'R's.

Swami Adbhutananda, one of the direct disciples of Sri Ramkrishna, always concealed himself, as it were, from everybody. So, very little is known about his childhood or boyhood days.The little information we get in his biography is only a collection of reflections from his informal talks with various persons.This biography is too incomplete to give a clear impression of his great life. This much are known that he was born in a insignificant family which neither had a reputation for high pedegree nor riches or even social standing. It was an utterly poor family of a remote village in the district of Chhapra in Bihar.Scarcely he was five years old when he lost both parents. His uncle looked up him. This man too was only a poor sepherd but he generously took upon himself the responsibility of taking care of his nephew.

He became poorer after some years and came to Calcutta with one Phoolchand of the same neighbourhood in search of livelihood. He could manage to keep his nephew in the house of Sri Ram Chandra Dutta, a close disciple of Sri Ram Krishna, as a boy servant. Ramchandra's was a devoted family and the status of this boy-servant became that of a young member of the household.

The boy was named Rakhturam( meaning ,O Ram, please see the well being of this boy) by his parents. His name, for easier communication, was shortened to "Laltu", which was transformed further by Sri Ramkrishna in later days Leto, Latu or Neto.

Latu had his first Darshan of Sri Ramkrishan, and got acquainted with him, when he went to Dakshineswar with Ram Chandra Dutta. It was more a predestined one rather than one in which Ramchandra had an initiative. Even at this first meeting Sri Ramkrishan was surprised to observe some exceptionally good characterstics in the boy. He was very much atttracted to the boy since the first meeting.

Afterwards Latu would come to him at Dakshineswar carrying articles for his use, either with Ramchandra Dutta or at times ordred by him. These repeated encounters fostered an affectionate relationship. Honest and truthfull as he was by nature, Latu was so different from ordinary servants. His meeeting and mixing with Si Ramkrishna opened a totally new world before Latu. He was fast losing attraction for Ramchandra's household and used to be restless to get in touch with Sri Ramkrishna.

A nephew of Sri Ramkrishna was his attendant for a long period. When he was discharged from his temple-service by the authorities, Sri Ramkrishna was very much in need of an attendant. He demanded Latu from Ramchandra Dutta for his service as an attendant. He gave consent and overjoyued Latu, at this arrangement, came to Dakshineswar.

It is fact that Latu Maharaj did not have any formal education, but he received the true knowledge that can solve all the problems of life, from Sri Ramkrishna, in abundance.Stay in close contact with him and serving him day and night with deep devotion and having profound and unflinching love for Sri Ramkrihsna, he was able to plunge deep into the ocean of Atmavidya .

Sri Ramkrishna attempted to teach young Latu how to read and write, but it went in vain.Latu had no book-learning. Books supply us knowledge by proxy, as it were. Latu Maharaj had direct access to the fountain-head of knowledge. The result was that great scholars and philosophers would sit dumb at his feet to hear the words of wisdom that dropped from his lips. Sri Ramkrishna used to say that when a ray of light comes from the great source of all light, all book-learning loses its value. His own life bore testimony to this fact.