The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna was published by the San Francisco Vedanta Society in 1912 under Swami Trigunatita’s direction. A quaint variation of this Baranagore Math photograph was printed in the 1912 edition of the Gospel. Perhaps Swami Trigunatita, not wanting to offend Western sensibilities, had this photo reproduced with the monks and devotees fully clothed.
On a photo removed from one of the Gospels, Swami Trigunatita made the following identification in his own handwriting:
1. Our King—Swamiji
6. (Hootka) Gopal*
10. H. Mastafi
11. our cook*
12. Swami Trigunatita—‘the servant of all.’
*in some publications (Hootka) Gopal has often been misidentified as Swami Brahmananda and the cook as Swami Premananda.
In one of his articles on the Baranagore Math, Swami Prabhananda of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, said, “A group photo of the monks and a few householder devotees, taken on 30 January 1887 shows some of them wearing only a loin cloth and others wearing ochre cloth.”
The following incident has been recorded about this photograph. “After the Master’s death Devendra [Devendra Nath Mazumdar] visited from time to time the Baranagore monastery and the Kankurgachi Yogodyana. Once when Devendra was at the monastery with his uncle [H. Mastafi], Swami Vivekananda asked him to become a monk. Devendra replied that Sri Ramakrishna had told him to lead the life of a householder. Swamiji himself then dressed Devendra in the ochre cloth of a monk, and a group photo was taken at the monastery. Devendra felt such intense renunciation that day that he told his uncle he would not return home. Only after much persuasion did Devendra finally consent to go back with his uncle, but his dispassionate mood continued for a month. Devendra later acknowledged that it was because of Swamiji’s power that he had felt that way.”
[at Baranagore Math]
M. said: You are all indeed blessed! You think of the Master day and night.
Narendra: But how little it is! We don’t yet feel like giving up the body because we haven’t realized God. (GSR, 987)
❊ ❊ ❊
[Swamiji] was intensely possessed by the vision of the sannyasi’s life and would cry out, “Let man-making be the goal of our lives! Let us make this our only spiritual discipline! Away with vain learning! Let not the glamour of the world captivate our minds even for a moment! Realization of God is the one and only thing in life! That is what Sri Ramakrishna’s life represented! We must realize God!”
Inspired by these thoughts and fired by a oneness of purpose, the young men became aware of a sense of unity—a feeling that they were all linked by some wonderful spiritual power. (LSV [Kolkata, 1979] 1:195)