Excerpts from courtesy: www.yogananda.net website and e mails from Aarti rajdev (London) With thanks!
Our dear Brother Bimalananda exited the body last night.
I recall he said that when he met Master, Master spoke to him in Bengali. He asked Master why, and Master said "because we were Bengali babus (gentlemen) together before." To encourage others, he'd say that we were all Bengali brothers and sisters before.
A man that lived in joy, and freely gave and inspired others with that joy. He always encouraged devotees to keep contact with Master within by constantly thinking "Om Guru" or the like. And it was him who was building Hollywood Temple when the weight he was carrying up a ladder made the ladder come away from the wall past the point of return - when Brotherji shouted "Om Guru" the ladder mysteriously returned to the wall.
ps: he's the one below left - with the amazing smile! of course!
Early Christmas Present from Brother
I know he is with Master having a wonderful
time, but I will miss him on this earth plane. Remember how he used
to sit patiently and endlessly give Master�s blessings to every single devotee
who came to him until he was literally led away by Brother Brahmananda who took
care of him? Even as he was led away, he kept nodding and smiling
and beaming a benediction all around! He would allow you to take
pictures with him but such was his consciousness that he would be chanting
Master�s name and would make us sing �Jai Guru� as our pictures were
taken. His ego had gone completely, I used to think, and only Master
and Divine Mother shone through. And I also remember how he prayed
for 24 hours to Divine Mother when that terrible fire threatened to roar down
the mountain and engulf the Hidden Valley Ashram. He said Divine Mother
had told him all would be well. He refused to evacuate and as the flames
began to crackle and come down the mountainside, he stood with others, arms
outstretched, chanting Om, Om, Om. And the flames stopped. And
retreated. A devotee fire fighter told Doug Glener that he had never
seen a fire ever go up a mountain. Like water, fire
tends to go down, never up.
How we have been blessed by this simple
wonderful soul in our midst. I am happy for him, but I will miss him
One devotee talked about the "famous tug-of-wars" they used
to have at picnics (I didn't catch if these were Temple
picnics, or for people working at Mother
Center, or Hidden Valley,
or what) with Brother B. on one side. For
a while, neither side would be budging;
then suddenly Brother would...(here the devote made what sounded like a huge
Kriya inhalation), and suddenly the whole other side would go flying!!
And someone said, "Brother,
that's not fair!" and he just laughed!
* * * * *
When that great fire was endangering Hidden Valley,
Brother stationed the monks around the edges of the property, and made them
chant "Om Guru" for FIVE hours!
And, as you know, the fire not only stopped, but it went back up the
hill, which fires never do! Later,
when this devotee asked about it, he said,
FIRE IS SHIVA. THE DIVINE MOTHER
IS MORE POWERFUL THAN SHIVA!"
Then he had that devotee chant Om for
* * * * *
Back when the monks had the hibiscus farm, Brother took a couple---I
think this was Ginger and her husband---around it, and kept pointing at this
hibiscus and that, saying, "Look! THIS
is Divine Mother! Look! THIS one is Divine Mother!"
* * * * *
A devotee was asking Brother to change another person, and he said,
"No, don't say that. You
have to pray, 'May it be HIS will that he change.' He has to change
* * * * *
When devotees would get their picture taken with Brother, he would
always have them be pronaming and Practicing the Presence; that is what he
himself would always do when his picture was being taken!
* * * * *
Once, with devotees gathered around him, out of the blue he cried,
"We need to pray for someone! But
I don't know who." So he
had them go through the alphabet and call out names, and when they got to G,
someone said, "Gerard?" And
Brother said, "Yes! Gerard! That's
who!" So they all prayed
* * * * *
Once, I think at Hidden
Valley in the refectory,
but I didn't catch for sure, Brother saw a shadow under his feet and said,
levitating!" There's a
photo in the display they had up in front of the altar, of him
that he probably couldn't! A
devotee told me that a brahmachari once went to Brother Bhaktananda's room for
something, and the door was ajar, and he peeked in and saw Brother Bhaktananda
* * * * *
Once, some devotees were traveling with Brother Bimalananda through The
Grapevine, and he had them stop where there were huge amounts of grapes, and
pick some to eat. But there war
also huge swarms of bees all around the grapes, "bees everywhere!" so
the devotees were reluctant, but Brother said, "Don't be afraid, it's
alright. The bees can tell if
you're afraid." So they
picked lots of grapes, and no one got stung!
* * * * *
Laurencia, who is from Mexico, said that she became close to Brother
when he would come to be with the Mexico City group for a month at a time, for
6 years, I think she said. She
said he was a father and mother and friend to them. She sent him a
letter, and he wrote
back saying how he loved to go to Mexico
City and speak Spanish with them! And he said life is often difficult,
but when we chant Om Guru, or Jai Guru, or I love You, Guru, all the time, we
have His love and protection.
* * * * *
These next two stories are funny, esp. the second one:
A devotee started working in the Maintenance Dept. at Mother Center
with Brother Bimalananda, and the brahmachari in charge had them painting a
certain house, but after about 30 minutes of painting, Brother wanted them to
go work on a bicycle, so he had to do that, but the brahmachari wasn't too
happy about it!
One day this devotee decided he should do something nice for the monks
at Mother Center, so he decided to bake them some
brownies, even though he had never baked before! So he got some whole
wheat flour (he
figured they would love them, because they were whole wheat!), and molasses and
raisins, and he mixed it all up, and baked it. But it wouldn't set!
So he kept baking it and baking
it----finally he had baked it THREE HOURS and it was still gooey, so he gave up
and set it out for the monks. For
2 days, no one touched it except for one tiny nibble. Finally on the
third day it
disappeared. He asked Brother if
he was eating it, and Brother said, "I'm working on it----but next time
* * * * *
In a Sunday School Seminar once, they would take a quality and have the
teachers and aides demonstrate that quality, so for "endurance", they
all had to stay in the pushups posture while the leader read a looooong quote,
and everybody was shaking and collapsing, except Brother, who was calm and
* * * * *
Once at Hidden
Valley, one devotee said, "I wonder if
Brother would ever get upset about anything?" Right then, someone
rushed in, and
said very casually, "Hiya, Brother B!
Hey, I need permission for my girlfriend to come here to go on a tour of
Hidden Valley!" The devotees were aghast. Brother
shouted: "Brother B? BROTHER B?!?!?!" But then he turned around and winked
at the other boys! And he did
give he man and his girlfriend a tour.
* * * * *
I love this story:
A devotee who was just 17, and brand-new on the Path, came to
Hollywood Temple, and there was a nice gardener
with radiant eyes who he would serve in the garden with, and who would answer
all his questions. He had no
idea that this "nice gardener with the radiant eyes" was a direct
disciple of Master, Brother B himself!
Brother told him: "Don't
just meditate. It's important to
talk to Divine Mother all day long."
So this devotee went home and tried and tried, the next week he said to
Brother, "I tried and tried, but I don't feel anything!"
And Brother said, "Don't you realize that if you're trying this
hard, YOU LOVE HER ALREADY!"
So then soon after that, (that week I think he said), he felt Divine
Mother, and "Divine Mother appeared in all Her Infinity!" He said he
felt Her Presence the
entire weekend. He said he went
to play with the kids (didn't catch if he meant Sunday School, or in the
neighborhood) which he never did.
"My heart was singing. When
you feel the Love of Divine Mother, people can sense that." I think
he was saying the kids had
been drawn to him because he was feeling Divine Mother's Love and Presence.
He said a few years ago he had written a poem about death, and Brother
had had him repeat it, and he read it to us.
It was so beautiful, but all I could get down was one of the last lines
about "laughing in the stars" or something like that. I'll see if any
of the devotees I
know who were there know how to get in touch with him, as no one told their
names; I think he was talking with a couple of people afterwards about the
* * * * *
Adrian, the film-maker, said
that in the early 90's, Hollywood
Temple used to put on
plays, and one time, Brother
Bhaktananda invited a lot of monks, about 20 monks, and Brother Bimalananda got
so excited he got up on top of the table and was singing "O Sole Mio"
and Brother Bhaktananda was trying to get him off the table!
* * * * *
told us he was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, so he went to see Brother
Bimalananda, just 2 days before his passing.
Brother was in a wheelchair and on oxygen. He was SO CALM. Adrian
told him what he was going through, about not doing so well, and Brother looked
at him, didn't say a word. Adrian didn't know
exactly what happened, but that night he stopped taking his medication
to deal with it by chanting Om Guru and trusting in Master! He said
he was so impressed that
Brother, who was in a wheelchair and on oxygen, was "just Present-----not
struggling at all.
closed by saying "I don't know you guys, but you are my spiritual family,
and I feel so blessed to be here and to have known Brother." (Lots of
people said that too.)
* * * * *
Another devotee, (I think the one who was one of the first Lay Disciple
Group leaders, who spoke first at the Lay Disciple Banquet) said he knew
Brother for 50 years. He said,
"Brother did everything---he was a gardener, dishwasher, Sunday School
teacher, maintenance man...He seemed to work 20 hours a day. I NEVER
SAW HIM NOT SMILING."
Once that same devotee had been asked to visit a child in the hospital, who had a hole in his heart, and a ballooning aorta, and in those days only a 5% chance (or was it 50%? --- either way is grim, right!) of surviving the operation they needed to do.
So this devotee asked if Brother could come, and he came right away without any hesitation; (that family were not devotees or even religious).
Brother asked for a moment of silence. A DEEP BLUE LIGHT appeared over the bed, and a great Peace descended on the room.
Then Brother said, "There is a Spirit that watches over this child. There is nothing to fear."
They were thanking him, but he said, "Don't thank me---it was Master."
That mother wrote to Brother every Christmas, etc. for 50 years, and Brother always answered her letters.
* * * * *
Someone said, "BROTHER KNEW HE WAS LOVED. That was his secret."
* * * * *
A devotee came in '75 to her first Convocation. She said, "Brother could make everyone feel he was your special friend."
In the early days, since this man and his wife had 2 children, they
decided to help with Sunday School, so Brother was training him and his wife in
Sunday School. There was a
troubled boy who was violent a lot of the time. Brother would have one eye open
and one on the boy when they were meditating.
His devotee asked him, "How can you be so patient?" And Brother said,
"HOW CAN I BE
ANY OTHER WAY WITH DIVINE MOTHER STANDING RIGHT HERE?"
Reading your stories of Brother's close friendship and healings shows me how universal his special one-on-one friendship is. I had become very sick a couple years ago. I'd seen five doctors in one week. One thought I must have AIDS because he couldn't account for what else would weaken an immune system so much. I had lesions in my mouth and down my esophagus which made eating, and even drinking anything almost impossible. I saw Brother at convocation and told him what was happening. I said "I know God is healing me." He said "What are you saying 'God is healing you'?! Your body is healed! There's nothing in there but Master's light." As he was saying "Master's light" he tapped me twice on the chest (pretty hard), right over my esophagus (even though I hadn't mentioned that was the locale of the lesions). I didn't notice anything miraculous but in that moment I was healed. The next day I was put under and biopsied and there were no more lesions. I could drink again. Eat again. Master healed me through Brother.
SOME NOTES FROM BROTHER BIMALANANDA’S MEMORIAL SERVICE 5.15.10 - Glendale Temple
Life sometimes seems like quite a mystery, doesn’t it? Shakespeare said, “Life is a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing.” Our job is to understand the mystery of life and to go back Home. Only that understanding will satisfy us at our very core.
- About Brother B.:
He was born Joseph Eugenie Carbona on May 9, 1923 in Rochester, NY. His mother was very religious and wanted to become a nun but could not raise the dowry so she married ... and had 14 children. She had a statue of Divine Mother (Mary) in her kitchen so Brother was quite used to Her presence in his life. His Dad died when he was quite young; his eldest brother was 19 yrs. older than he was. He graduated high school and was drafted in Jan. 1943, and served as a quartermaster in Normandy, selling clothes to the officers in the field.
After the war, he returned to Rochester to decide what he wanted to do with his life. He went to CA for a while as his 2 older brothers, Angelo and Charlie, were there, but returned home when nothing presented itself. In NY someone gave him a book (that mentioned Master?) and he was very impressed with what he read and wrote his brother Angelo about it. Angelo then sent him a copy of the AY. When Brother first looked at Master’s picture on the cover he said, “Oh, I know him.” His brother Charlie looked at the book and said, “I know him, too!” Angelo and Charlie took the Lessons with Brother, but Master later told Brother that neither of them would remain on the path, and this proved true.
“After I read the AY, I knew I had to get back to CA.” He arrived in late Feb. of 19?? and went to the Hollywood Temple for a lecture by Master. “When Master greeted me, he said something to me in a foreign language I didn’t understand. He said I’d spoken it in another life. I told him I wanted to be a monk so Master told me to find Daya Ma and make an appointment to see him.” When Brother did this he asked Ma, “Are you a member?’”
When he finally met with Master, he told him, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” He told Master he wanted to come into the ashram that night, so Master said OK, and Brother went to Mt. Washington that night, April 17, 1948. He got Kriya about 2 months later.
Brother Bhaktananda taught him to say, “Aum Guru.” and the more he said it the happier he got. He was soon sent to Encinitas to work in the restaurant opening there. He saw Rajarsi go into samadhi and fall off his chair. Master’s advice to the monks about how to manage the restaurant was “Keep it clean and keep it holy.”
One day, Brother found a way to get into the restaurant after hours and eat ice cream, something he loved. A few weeks later, Master came to visit and told the monks a story about a little boy who was taking things that didn’t belong to him. Brother knew Master knew what he was doing. He looked at Master and Master suddenly disappeared and became Light. Brother stopped eating the ice cream!
About 1951, Brother worked building Hollywood Temple. A fellow named Andy Anderson was in charge of the building as none of the monks knew anything about construction. The monks always were talking about how wonderful Master was to Andy. One day, Master came to visit and they all gathered round him -- even Andy -- and Master told stories. When Master left, Brother asked him what he thought of Master and Andy said, “Those were not just any stories; he was telling you all about MY life!” The next day, Andy joined SRF.
One of Brother’s duties at Hollywood Temple was to mix the plaster Brother Anandamoy applied on the walls of the towers. After he’d mix up a bucket of plaster, Brother had to climb the ladder with the bucket in hand and give it to Brother Anandamoy. It was a dangerous climb and Brother accidentally missed a step and lost his balance. The entire ladder began to fall backward. Brother B. shouted out “Aum Guru,” and an invisible hand pushed the ladder mid-air back against the wall.
In the mid ‘60’s Daya Ma would lead the All-Day Christmas meditations for the monastics and she would talk out loud to Divine Mother to inspire them. At one point Ma began saying over and over, “Oh Mother, isn’t there anyone here who loves you like I do.” Finally, Brother B. jumped up and said, “I do, Mother!”
Brother always tried to serve in any way he could. No task was too menial, even sweeping the driveway because, he said, “I do it for Divine Mother.”
He went to Mexico City in ‘67 - ‘76, lived there, then came back to Mother Center. Thereafter, he visited Mexico City several times a year and stayed for several weeks at a time. In Feb. 1983, he went to India for a few months and liked it so much he went back from ‘85 - 87. In ‘99, he moved to Hidden Valley. He had a tremendous love and enthusiasm for Divine Mother and the path which he shared with everyone wherever he went.
This is an ascension ceremony for a dear, divine friend. His life had a special focus. We have the example of a perfect Guru; we also have the example of perfect disciples. Brother was one of these examples, as are Ma, Brothers Bhaktananda and Anandamoy, Ananda Ma, Mrilini Ma, and Mukti Ma.
Brother V.. was telephoned minutes after Brother B. passed and he got in the car and drove straight to Hidden Valley. Brother B. was still laying in bed; he had the sweetest smile on his face and his skin was smooth and glowed just like a little baby. The monks had put some flowers and an picture of Master on his chest. The vibration in the room was peaceful and joyous. There is no greater way to honor Brother than to emulate his qualities of dedication and loyalty to the Guru.
Brother V.. first met Brother B. in Ranchi when he took his first trip to India and he was in awe of him. He always greeted all the monks with “How are you Dear Brother?” Brother loved to sweep up. One day Brother V. said to him, “Brother, you should not be sweeping up the ashram; you should be doing something more important.” Brother B. said, “Master told me to keep it clean and keep it holy, and there’s nothing more important that I can do.”
Brother V.. has an image in his mind of a big circle of devotees around Brother B. at Convocation ... the circle would move a little bit, a few people would leave, but always in the center of the circle was Brother B. pronaming to the devotees, listening to other people’s stories, encouraging them to follow Master. For Brother B., it was always about Master, never about himself.
One time in Delhi, they were invited to visit a very high class art emporium that sold the finest and most beautiful of India’s crafts. They walked through the shop for 4 hours and Brother B. touched everything, saying to Brother V., “Little Brother. Look how beautiful this is.” When they left the shop, Brother B. turned and pronamed towards the shop and said, “Divine Mother, thank You so much for giving me all these beautiful gifts, and now I give them all back to You.” Divine Mother and the guru were always foremost in his life.
Brother B.. meant a lot to so many people. As someone said to him in a recent email: “He was a force of nature, an unfettered emissary of Master's love and joy. He made Master real to so many people. It was a blessing to receive that love, and a joy to watch him feed other's hearts. He made us laugh.. He taught us a lot, and we are grateful.”
Many years ago he was asked to help Brother B. with his medical appointments. From that starting point, he began traveling with him to Mexico several times a year and saw his deep love for people. This was part of his uniqueness. Also his relationship with Master.
Once we got lost driving back from Cuernevaca. Brother B. started to shout “Aum Guru,” and a car pulled up from the other direction, stopped, and gave them directions how to get back to Mexico City.
Brother often told the story of going to an amusement park with Master. He tried to swing a hammer to make the bell ring, but couldn’t do it. Master said to him, “Concentrate.” This time when he swung the hammer, he made the bell ring.
Another story he liked to tell was about the time he was having problems with another monk and he had a lot of internal criticism in his mind about this monk. He was in the desert with Master during this time and one night Master said, “Tell me about this monk.” Brother just looked at Master and said, “Master, I do not need to tell you about this because you know all about us.” Again, Master disappeared and became Light. From that time forward, Brother had no thoughts of internal criticism about anyone.
Another time, Brother wrote a letter to Daya Ma and asked her about an experience he had, where he heard a woman’s voice tell him he would die when he was 86.. Brother tried to beat that challenge, but he died 10 days before his 87th birthday.
Brother Achalananda read a letter from Daya Ma about Brother B. praising him as “a faithful and dedicated disciple for 62 years ... it was natural for him to reach out to others ... everyone was inspired by his humility and caring ... he liked to do whatever simple jobs he could ...his life was centered in his relationship with Master.”
Once Brother B was looking at Ma and he saw her face morph in to Master’s face.