by William Page
Kolkata, 15 July 2096—It was when a little Finnish girl began speaking her first words that the world first got a hint that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the great nineteenth-century Indian saint, had been reborn.
The little girl’s name was Anni Makinen. She lived in the town of Kittila, in northwestern Finland, not far from the Swedish border, with her parents, Jussi and Leena. Jussi was a computer engineer working for Nokia; Leena was a housewife. In 2090, Anni was two years old, an adorable, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl with nothing unusual about her. Except for one thing.
When she spoke her first words, they were in Bengali.
Her parents were mystified. They didn’t know that the words were Bengali. To them they sounded like gibberish. The neighbors thought they sounded vaguely Indian. After some searching, Jussi managed to contact Asit Banerjee, a Bengali businessman who lived in a nearby town. When he met the Makinens, Mr. Banerjee was amazed. Anni was a little chatterbox, and once she started talking, she went on and on in a stream of fluent Bengali.
“Well,” Mr. Banerjee reported, “she’s speaking Bengali. But it’s not Kolkata Bengali. It’s a rural sort of Bengali, the kind a country bumpkin would speak, and really old-fashioned.”
“What is she saying?” her parents inquired.
“Oh! Don’t ask me,” Mr. Banerjee replied, throwing up his hands. “It’s all about religion, and I’m an atheist. You need to telephone the Vedanta society in Helsinki. The swami there is a Bengali. He can tell you everything you need to know.”
The Makinens did that, but they couldn’t reach the swami. His name was Swami Satyeshananda, and he was visiting India. So they left a message on his answering machine. By the time he got back to Finland, a month had passed.
But when he learned that they had tried to contact him, and why, Swami Satyeshananda’s curiosity was piqued. He knew about the prophecy that Sri Ramakrishna had made, that he would have to be reborn in two hundred years, somewhere northwest of Kolkata. (See Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, p. 360.) Sri Ramakrishna had made the prophecy in 1885, so two hundred years meant sometime around 2085. Anni had been born in 2088. Sri Ramakrishna’s contemporaries had assumed that he might be reborn in the Bengali city of Burdwan. But northwest of Kolkata covers a very large territory indeed, and if you go far enough you might end up in Finland.
So Swami Satyeshananda went to Kittila to investigate.
The Makinens welcomed him warmly. By then Anni had stopped speaking Bengali and was starting to speak Finnish. But when she saw the swami, her face lit up. “Sadhu,” she said. “Nomoskar.” And she got down on her little knees and prostrated.
The subsequent conversation, as later recounted by Swami Satyeshananda, went like this. It was conducted in Bengali:
Swami: Hello, Anni, do you know who I am?
Anni: You are sadhu.
Swami: Do you know who Sri Ramakrishna is?
Anni (squirming uncomfortably): I know. But that was then. Now is now.
Swami (gently): Can you tell me who Sri Ramakrishna is?
Anni (after a long pause): That was my old name.
Swami (still gently): Are you Sri Ramakrishna, Anni?
Anni (after another long pause): I was once. Now I am Anni.
Swami (suddenly prostrating himself before her, bursting into tears): O Lord! We have been waiting for two hundred years! What is your mission this time?
Anni (changing her tone; severely): Don’t do that. I’m just a little girl. Give me time to grow up. You’ll know everything when the time comes.
After that, she refused to speak further. But Swami Satyeshananda couldn’t let it end there. He prostrated himself before her and begged her to bless him. Anni looked exasperated, but when he wouldn’t get up off the floor, she relented. “All right,” she said in Bengali, and now her tone was tender. “I bless you, Dhruba Maharaj. You will attain the goal.” She raised her little hand in blessing.
Swami Satyeshananda’s face lit up with joy, and when he left the house he was fairly floating on air. When he arrived back in Helsinki, they say his face was shining like the sun. His premonastic name had been Dhruba.
And that was the last time Anni spoke Bengali. From then on she settled into life as a normal little Finnish girl.
Her parents were relieved. “It was crazy, that Bengali stuff,” her mother said later. “But she finally stopped, and from then on, all she’s spoken is Finnish. It’s a big relief. We were afraid those Indians might want to take her to New Delhi or somewhere, and we want to keep her here with us.”
Swami Satyeshananda reported his interview to the trustees at Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission north of Kolkata. Those wise old men deliberated, but in the end they decided to leave things alone. “Let her grow up,” declared the President of the Order. “Thakur has his own plan and purpose. We mustn’t meddle, lest we upset the applecart. If she really is Thakur, he will reveal himself at the proper time and place.”
Now it is 2096, and Anni is eight years old. So far as anybody can see, she’s just a normal Finnish girl. She goes to the local Evangelical Lutheran Sunday school and is devoted to Jesus. But her parents have noticed that on their rare visits to Helsinki, Anni likes to go to Little India, the neighborhood where most of the Indians live. At one Indian shop she purchased a small image of Kali, and when she saw a sweets shop she went straight for the jalebies.
William Page has been associated with the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of Massachusetts since 1960 and is a member of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Association of Thailand. E-mail: email@example.com.
It is a nice optimistic story authored by Mr. Page with future expectation of reincarnation of Sri Ramakrishna in western scenario.I appreciate the international assimilation of Sri Ramakrishna and His assurance to be reborn again.But it id difficult for me to reconcile this theme. He is Parama Purush (God Mayadhish coming to reset the abnormalities of Bhabsansar) and Ma Saradadevi is Parama Prakrity(Goddess Mahamaya ,owner of Bhavasansar),Then how can we expect Thakur to take a female avatar when all the avatars like Rama,Krishna and others are males!!May be everything is permissible in author;s vision.
Mr sarkar we do not have this crude idea of gender in sanatan parampara Sri Hari Vishnu had taken Mohini Avatar and there are so may examples in puranas a devotee can imagine his deity in any form
The veils of darkness must be lifted with a feminine hand, in reverence of The Holy Mother. Namaste 🙏
Very interesting. I read about Thakurs statement that he’d be reborn. I’d like to keep tabs on how this story develops.
I’ve seen one comment previously with respect to my earlier comment.I like to mean every idea is nice.But in Kabi Jaydev’s Dashabatarcharit based GeetGovibdam,all the Avtars in human family system like Rama,Krishna and Buddha are gentlemen.Baman and Parasuram Avtars are men but bachelors.We’ve to purify the family system with Avtars of Sri Hari and Mata Laxmi.In Debasursangram,we have seen lady Avtars like Durga and others ,not within our painstaking human family lives.In Lady Avtars,the demons accepted that they would not be lilled by innocent ladies.So Brahma God created lady Avtars while granting boons and managing these loopholes.. Mohini Avtar of Bishnu is an expoenent in Mohini Atyam school of dance but not widely worshipped in this country.
Any how let me appreciate the article and hope for the best for rebirth of Thakur.
As per Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi it was after 100 years when he told this. And he also described few characteristics of his next Avatar to Holy Mother.
He will be a “Baul” ( বাউল ) and Holy Mother will also be there with him carrying stone plate, Hubble-bubble etc.. Hence though the story sounds interesting but it missed few of the facts.
Those who are really waiting for Sri Ramakrishna’s return will be disappointed after reading the story. However as I mentioned earlier it is indeed interesting only as a creative story.
I suppose I’m not the first to point out that the artical keeps refering to 2096 did he mean 1996, or 2006? As I write this, I’m fairly certain I’m living in 2021. If the date was ment to be 2996, then our little girl is a full fledged adult, (likewise if it was 2006). What word is there of her now?
It is nice to see this nice story is snowballing with our tremendous expectations .Thanks to Thakur and Ma for their kind assurance. and their blessings to honor our faith.Let them come .grace and lead us to salvation in this disturbed world.
Wonderfully inventive story !! Riveting read and the accompanying cute picture gives it an authentic touch :) I wish i am alive to greet him/her.
Here is an alternate story, of the reincarnation of Sri Ramakrishna. This is only to kick up some discussion amongst those living now:
Thakur is reborn. He was born around the spring equinox of 2016 in the city of Brussels. Can’t provide the exact dates to protect his identity. He is the 4th child of his parents with Jewish ancestry. His parents being of Italian origin named him, Eduardo. He will reveal himself, or rather, the world will come to know of him first time in 2036 when he turns 20 and exactly 200 years as prophesized. How the world will get to know him is a wonderfully revealing story, but that is for another day :). A hint, he will NOT be known through religion, and he will not be preaching from a pulpit to be heard. He is currently in Japan and will be there until his early teens. There will be brief stopover in India before he goes back to Europe.
In time, his influence will be felt globally and his message will find echoes in all the major religions and also in science. However, it will be fundamentally different from all of them in content. It will embody universal values of right living and emphasize practical Vedanta. Disenchanted Christians, amongst whom he will find a wide following, he will be called Eduardo Ecclesiastes harking to pre-Christian wisdom. Based on Jewish lineage, he will be called the prophesized Messiah by the Jews. His exceptional experiences in Japan will make the Buddhists call him the second coming of the Buddha. Kalki means remover of darkness and etymologically means not black or white. Hindu’s will see pure Advaita Vedanta in his thoughts and he being fair of skin and at the junction of yugas will call him the true Kalki avatar. The biggest influence will be on Islam. Muslim women will be the first adopters of his reinterpretation of Islam from perspective of Advaita. They will see that his interpretation as being closest to the Prophet’s teachings. The hardest to convince will be the followers of Sri Ramakrishna today. They will take time to recognize him as their own Thakur reborn!! They will get a knock on their heads by the Swamiji reincarnation, who will also come as sure as daylight comes after sun rise.
There will be exceptional resistance from both men of faith and scientists to the spread of his ideas. There will be strife. But being an avatar of Sri Ramakrishna, the epitome of Harmony, it will short lived. The Master of the Universe has set in motion his play even before being born in flesh. Rug will be pulled under the feet of both of Science and Religion. He will change the way people think, relate to one another and the universe as a whole.
Let me know how you like this short biography of Thakur’s reincarnation.