Vaikunthanath Sanyal (1857-1937)—Intimate lay disciple of the Master, son of Dinanath of Belpukur village in Nadia, resident of 20, Bosepara Lane, Calcutta 3. First saw the Master towards the end of 1883 having accompanied Baburam (Maharaj) to Dakshineswar. The Master ascertained his background and directed Ramlal (his nephew) to offer him the hookah. On his second visit he prayed for initiation, on the third visit the Master imparted it to him. Engaged in sadhana, Vaikuntha from time to time prayed to the Master for vision of his chosen ideal and the Master promised, “I shall do everything for you” (Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master, Vol. II, pp. 1025-26). Vaikuntha, an ardent devotee, sought the Master’s blessed company at Dakshineswar and at residences of devotees in Calcutta. Present at Cossipore on 1.1.1886, Vaikuntha prayed to the Master for his grace and to do it that he could understand it. The Master having touched him he began to see the figure of the Master lit up with a gracious smile wherever he looked. This continued for some days throughout his waking state, wherever he happened to be (Ibid., p. 1026). Had visions of the Master even after his passing.
After the Master’s demise Vaikuntha maintained close connections with the monastic disciples of the Master. Took monastic vows too and accompanied Swami Saradananda on his pilgrimages (November1889 – September1891) and practised spiritual austerities. Was known as Swami Kripananda. Later was prevailed upon to return to domestic life but maintained lifelong close relations with the Order. He had had the rare fortune to be a witness to the Master’s love for Narendranath and to gain direct knowledge of the oneness of Narendranath and the Master, the Master’s identifying Narendranath with himself. Vaikuntha had once seen the Master weep like a child in his anxiety to see Narendranath (Ibid., p. 857). He had been to Dakshineswar on the morning after Narendranath had been sent three times to the Divine Mother in the temple to ask for succour. He found the Master beaming with delight, repeatedly saying, “Narendra has accepted the Mother; it is very good, is that not so?” He also said, “What I see is that this (his own person) I am, and this too (Narendra’s person).” He was in an ecstatic state then (Ibid., Vol. II, p. 930). Vaikuntha himself deeply attached to Narendranath, accompanied him some time during his travels across India. With Swami Saradananda he shared a lifelong friendship. Died during meditation on 10.4.1937. Author of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Lilamrita (1937), now considered authentic source-material.