How a Shepherd Boy Became a Saint – Life and Teachings of Swami Adbhutananda


By Swami Chetanananda

Swami Adbhutananda was the only unlettered monastic disciple of Ramakrishna. This is the story of his transformation from the orphan boy Latu into a sage, whose profound simplicity inspired Easterners and Westerners alike.

Paperback, 175 pages

SKU: 978-0916356590 Category:



“Adbhuta” means wonderful, and it is indeed a marvel how Sri Ramakrishna’s all encompassing love transformed Latu from his unthinking existence to that of an illumined seer, from whose lips dripped spiritual and philosophical truths with all the precise clarity of Latu’ s simple nature.


Latu is Ramakrishna’s greatest miracle. Having absolutely no education, he attained the highest wisdom simply by the grace of the Master’s touch.

Swami Vivekananda

The present work…proves that beyond intellectualism, philosophy and religion there is an open door that ever awaits the mystic.



Swami Adbhutananda (Latu Maharaj)

  • Early Years
  • At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna
  • Memories of Sri Ramakrishna as Told by Latu Maharaj
  • The Passing Away of the Master as Told by Latu Maharaj
  • Pilgrimage to Vrindaban
  • At Baranagore Math
  • Days of Austerity
  • With his Brother Monks
  • Later Years – Calcutta and Varanasi
  • His Passing Away

Teachings of Swami Adbhutananda

Reminiscences of Swami Adbhutananda

  • Ramlal Chatterjee
  • “M”
  • Sister Devamata
  • Kumudbandhu Sen
  • Swami Siddhananda
  • Swami Basudevananda


Removing the Covering of Ignorance

One day Shashadhar Ganguli, a teacher from Malda, asked Latu Maharaj, “Can the Atman be an object of knowledge?”

Latu Maharaj: “An object is something which cannot be known without the help of something else, but the Atman is self-revealing. So you cannot say the Atman is an object of knowledge.”

The teacher: “Then why should we want to know the Atman?”

Latu Maharaj: “Listen, can anyone deviate from his real nature? If he does, it cannot be called his real nature; for it is changeable. Man’s real nature is covered by a dense cloud of ignorance, and consequently he appears to be something different, but that does not mean he has deviated from his real nature.”

The teacher: “I couldn’t follow you. Would you please explain this a little more?”

Latu Maharaj: “All right. Suppose here is a brass pot covered with stains. Looking at it, one may think it is made of something other than brass, but that thought cannot change its nature; the brass pot still remains brass. It is like that.”

The teacher: “But Maharaj, that analogy is not suitable here. The brass pot never thinks of itself as not being brass, but man thinks of himself as being something other than the Atman.”

Latu Maharaj: “That is not so. Man does not think that he is something else. He may say, ‘my body,’ ‘my mind,’ my intellect,’ but he never says, ‘I am the body,’ or ‘I am the mind.’ He knows that what he calls ‘his’ is not the same as ‘himself.’ Man’s I-consciousness is always there, he is not devoid of it, only he cannot express it. You can feel hungry or sleepy, but can you tell me who you really are?”

The Mystery of Samadhi

Latu Maharaj: “Is samadhi merely a figure of speech? The human mind gets a little glimpse of God only after long and constant practice of concentration and meditation, and only then can one realize God’s attributes and powers. Infinite are his attributes, and infinite are his powers! Who can transcend them? One could spend millions of lives concentrating on just the glories of God, but what would he gain from it? He might comprehend God ’s glory and power, but that does not mean he has truly experienced him. Realization of God means that one becomes absorbed in him, transcending his attributes and powers. It is not an easy thing! An aspirant can reach God only if, out of his mercy, God helps him to go beyond his attributes and powers. It is God’s grace alone that enables an aspirant to stop the waves of the mind and dissolve the intellect; otherwise who can stop the functioning of his mind and intellect by his own efforts? And know for certain that one attains samadhi only after the dissolution of his mind and intellect.”

A devotee: “Maharaj, do you mean to say that an aspirant cannot attain samadhi through self-effort? We have heard that one attains samadhi by practicing concentration and meditation.”

Latu Maharaj: “What you have heard is true. The samadhi achieved through concentration and meditation is termed by Sri Ramakrishna ‘chetan samadhi.’ In this samadhi there is an interplay of ecstasy and power. But the Master also used to speak of another kind of samadhi in which the mind dissolves and the ego disappears. I am telling you the truth, no one can attain that samadhi without divine grace.”