Perspective: Swami Vivekananda and Hathras

In September 1888, a wandering monk was sitting on a bench of Hathras Railway Station, as he was travelling from Brindavan to Haridwar and Hathras was the transit junction. Suddenly, the Assistant Station Master of the Hathras station spotted the sanyasi with striking features and attractive eyes, sitting on a bench in a platform.

Swami Vivekananda with his brother disciples and Swami Sadananda

Sharat Chandra Gupta, the station master went up to the monk and started a conversation. Impressed by his knowledge and disposition, Gupta requested the monk to be his guest that night and took him to his quarter, which is just beside the station. After spending a day, the monk wished to start his journey towards Haridwar, but the Assistant Station Master told him to wait, he then went to the station, submit his resignation and leave with the monk as his disciple, thus becoming the monk’s first initiated disciple and together they traveled to Rishikesh.

The monk was none other than Narendranath Dutta who later became Swami Vivekananda and the station master of Hathras Junction was Sharat Chandra Gupta, who later become Swami Sadananda, popularly known as the Gupta Maharaj in Ramakrishna order.

In the book, “The Life of Swami Vivekananda, by his Eastern and Western Disciples” pages 220-224. There are several striking anecdotes of the Guru and his disciple, one such story is that before accepting him as his disciple, Vivekananda gave his begging bowl to Sharat and asked him to beg food from the porters and khalasis of the station.

This was his way of testing his disciple’s earnestness. Without waiting for a moment, Sharat went to the station and begged for food from those very people who were his subordinates till just the previous day. He came back to Swamiji with the alms collected and partook of them along with his Guru. That proved the culmination of his ego after his renunciation.

On the right hand side of Swami Vivekananda

Sadananda introduced the term Maharaj to address the monks which became the accepted form of address in Ramakrishna Order. Swami Vivekananda had entrusted him the responsibility of supervisor of the plague relief work which started in March 1899 in Calcutta. Swami Vivekananda had drafted a plague manifesto which Swami Sadananda and Sister Nivedita, distributed to the greater part of the population of the affected city. He also led a group of volunteer work, mostly youth who were inspired by the ideals of Swami Vivekananda.

Sharat Chandra Gupta was born in Calcutta on 6 January 1865. In 1868, his parents migrated to Jaunpur, near Varanasi. His father’s name was Jadunath Gupta. Being brought up in North India, Sharat Chandra developed proficiency in the Hindi and Urdu languages, although his mother tongue was Bengali. He died in 1911.


  1. What a superb anecdote!! A frivolous reader of my kind read it line by line hoping that he would add a few bytes of information in his indelible hard disk!! Outstanding article, Joy as always!!

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