( 1933 - 2011 )
Swami Prameyananda Maharaj was born in April 1933 at Dhakadakshin in Sylhet district of today’s Bangladesh. Sasadhar Bhattacharya and Nistarini Devi, his orthodox parents, gave him the name Ramgopal. His religious temperament was evident even from early days. After being invested with the sacred thread, he used to perform Narayana-shila puja at home. Their family migrated to Karimganj in India following turmoil in their homeland. Ramgopal who had studied up to class 8 in Sylhet now got admitted to a high school in Karimganj.
In 1950, a huge number of hapless people from East Pakistan sought refuge in Karimganj. The local branch of the Ramakrishna Mission launched a massive relief operation to bring succour to the afflicted people. Ramgopal, who along with his friends joined hands with monks in the relief work, impressed all with his enthusiasm and service attitude. He had by then passed the Matriculation examination and was expected to join a college for further studies. But Ramgopal was occupied with the thoughts of Sri Ramakrishna; the world had lost its charm for him. The affection of the monks too seemed to draw him like a magnet. He joined the Order at Karimganj in 1951 after renouncing hearth and home.
Ramgopal, now a novice of the Ramakrishna Order, continued the refugee relief work till he was transferred to Shillong centre in the middle of 1953. At Shillong centre he was blessed with mantra diksha by Swami Shankaranandaji Maharaj, the President of the Order. In 1961 the Belur Math authorities asked Ramgopal, who had developed some health complications, to come to Belur Math for undergoing treatment. Under the expert care of a renowned physician, Ramgopal recovered his health and was duly ordained a monk in the same year by his guru Swami Shankaranandaji. Ramgopal received the monastic name Swami Prameyananda.
When Swami Vireshwaranandaji Maharaj became the President of the Order in 1966, Swami Prameyanandaji was appointed his Secretary, in which capacity he served for nineteen long years without a break. His duty involved coming in contact with a large number of monks and lay devotees. He earned the love and admiration of all those people through his sharp intellect, good memory, good cheer, and sweet but firm dealings.
Following the passing away of Swami Vireshwaranandaji Maharaj in 1985, Prameyanandaji became the editor of Udbodhan, a Bengali journal of the Order, for about two years. In April 1987 he was made a trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and a member of the Governing Body of the Ramakrishna Mission. In September he took charge as the Manager of Belur Math. As Manager, he spent a long twenty-two years at the Belur Math and was associated with a variety of programmes relating to the Math and the Mission. During this period he undertook several important projects that contributed to the improvement of the overall functioning of Belur Math. In addition to being the Manager, he also served as the Treasurer of the Math and the Mission from 1997.
During his long stay at Belur Math for four decades, first as the Secretary to the President and then as the Manager of Belur Math, spent in the company of revered senior monks, he enriched himself with the spirit and inner workings of the great traditions of the Sangha. He cherished great shraddha for the elders of the Sangha, and so also for its holy traditions.
Swami Prameyanandaji’s election to the office of the Vice-President of the Sangha in 2009 opened a new but brief chapter of spiritual ministration in his life. He initiated many devotees in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Bangladesh.
In 2011 he was diagnosed as having hypoxemia – a low level of oxygen in the blood. His condition took a turn for the worse in October when he was admitted to Seva Pratishthan hospital in Kolkata. Swami Prameyanandaji attained Mahasamadhi on 20 October 2011.
Simple and austere, Swami Prameyanandaji combined strict meditative habits with work efficiency in his personality. His tireless devotion to duty and meticulous adherence to monastic routine, despite failing health and advanced age, was an inspiration to all.