Trailokyanath Sanyal (1840-1916) – Brahmo devotee, wellknown composer of songs and singer. Follower of Keshab Chandra Sen and author, favoured by the Master for his devotional songs. Born at Chakpanchanan village near Navadwip, son of Ramnidhi, also a good singer. Initiated to Brahmo faith by Vijaykrishna Goswami at Santipur (1862) and introduced to spiritual pursuits. Service in East Bengal. Association with Keshab Chandra Sen (1866) in Calcutta. Began and conducted the practice of walking in the streets singing devotional songs in chorus, the practice being followed by the Brahmo Samaj (1868). For the excellence of his songs earned the title “Chiranjib Sharma” from Keshab Chandra Sen. Edited the Dharmatatwa and the “Sulabh-samachar” journals. Recognition as the Chosen Disseminator (messiah) in 1881. Introduced chanting of stories from mythology and scriptures in the Brahmo Samaj. Swamiji, then Narendranath, acted on a few occasions in Chiranjib Sharma’s play “Naba Vrindavan” (1881) and the Master himself once attended a performance (1883) of the play. He used to be referred to as the “Singing Apostle of New Dispensation Church”.
The Master was very fond of hearing to Trailokyanath sing, some of his most favourite songs being composed by him. Once the Master said to him, “How touching your songs are! They are genuine. Only he who has gone to the ocean can fetch its water” (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, p. 395). Listening to him the Master used to shed tears sometimes. On 2.4.1882 at Keshab Chandra Sen’s residence the Master passed into samadhi while Trailokya sang (Ibid., p. 95). During the cremation of the Master’s mortal remains at the Cossipore burning ghat he had sung some of the Master’s most favourite songs. More than one thousand of his compositions, brahma-sangits and kirtans, were published in four volumes of Geet-ratnabali (1884-1900) and Pather Sambal (1911). Assumed the name “Premdas”. The Master recommended to his young devotees at Dakshineswar his “Bhakti Chaitanya Chandrika” (1878) (Ibid., p. 720). In another book, Keshab Charit (1885), he refers to the deep spiritual bonds between the Master and Keshab Chandra and stated that the Master’s acute distaste for worldly life had changed after meeting Keshab and he had come to believe that one could lead a spiritual life in the world as well. The Master’s attention had been drawn to this by devotees (Ibid., p. 753). On 12.4.1885 at Balaram’s house after Trailokya had sung a few songs Girish Chandra challenged him on that issue and a debate ensued. The Master observed that one should first realize God and then live in the world (Ibid., pp. 756, 757).