Tibbetibaba(also known as Tibetan Baba or the Monk from Tibet),originally named Nabin Chandra,was a famous Bengali philosopher saint who lived till the third decade of the twentieth century.He was one of the few saints in India whose life was an amalgamation of the Advaita Vedanta doctrine of Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhist doctrine.Swami Vivekananda,in spite of being an ardent believer of Vedanta, was also a great admirer of Gautam Buddha.Vivekananda had called Buddha the ideal Karma yogi.Tibbetibaba,originally named Nabin Chandra,was a master of all the eight siddhis and had remarkable healing powers. Even though he was master of all the siddhis, yet he was not personally interested in using them.
From his childhood Nabin Chandra had keen interest in nature and used to think about the Maker of this world. But his ideas about the Maker did not tally with his late father's or mother's concept of God. His idea was that God must be very different from what common men and women think him or her to be.
Nabin Chandra's mind was engrossed somewhere else. His concept of God was of indeterminate type, unlike deities like Rama, Shiva and others. So one day he quietly left the group. After crossing the Sarayu River, he headed towards the north. He finally reached Nepal.
After some years of rigorous meditation Nabin Chandra, finally attained Samadhi (super-concentration).Thus he had acquired knowledge of Brahman in animals(according to Advaita Vedanta Brahman is present even in animals).
After attaining knowledge of Brahman in animals, Nabin Chandra headed for Manasarovar Lake in Tibet. He finally managed to reach there, unmindful of the obstacles that he had encountered during his journey from Nepal to Mansarovar Lake in Tibet.
Having reached, the lake he chose a cave near the lake and began meditating on God. He desired to have vision of Brahman (Indeterminate and attributeless God according to Hinduism).Even after meditating for many days; he could finally only see darkness as the object of his vision.
Suddenly one day he saw a Tibetan Buddhist Lama standing on the entrance of the cave. He thought that perhaps God has sent the person to assist him in his aim of God-realisation.So he earnestly requested the Lama to make him his disciple and help him in realizing the knowledge of God.
The Tibetan Mahayana Lama agreed to make him his disciple but explained that he did not know the Advaita method of spiritual practice. Since he was a Mahayana monk, he could only teach him Mahayana method of spiritual practice.Nabin Chandra explained that knowledge of Brahman according to Advaita principles is equivalent to Nirvana of Buddhism and so he was willing to become his disciple. So under the guidance of the Lama, Nabin Chandra Mahayana learnt spiritual practices and beliefs. Now it became easier for him to meditate on Nirguna Brahman (God who is infinite and without attributes).but he realized that by first meditating on Saguna Brahman (God with attributes) he could easily concentrate his mind on Nirguna Brahman (God without attributes).With the change in technique he finally realized his cherished dream of attaining the knowledge of Nirguna Brahman.
Tibbetibaba (Nabin Chandra) traveled far and wide spanning the length and breadth of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar, enjoying the indescribable beauty of the Nirguna Brahman who manifests all beings of this world. Like his ideal Lord Buddha, he alleviated the sufferings of distressed organisms. He followed Lord Buddha’s path of love, non-violence and compassion for all living beings, enjoying the presence of Brahman in all beings at the same time. Such was his love for Lord Buddha that he used to keep an idol of Lord Buddha beside him whenever he went to sleep.
In Hinduism it is held that birth and death is like changing one’s cloth. Birth occurs when a soul enters a new body. When the soul discards the body the incident is called death.
When after wandering for many years, he found that his body has grown weak; he decided to enter his soul into the body of a Tibetan Buddhist monk. The soul of Tibetan Buddhist monk (Lama) had just permanently left its body.
Tibbetibaba was ardently devoted to Buddha. He incorporated into his life love, compassion and non-violence towards all living beings. These qualities were advocated by Buddha. He entered into Mahasamadhi at his ashram in Palitpur village in Burdwan, India, after keeping an idol of Buddha in front of him.
2) Dr. Kunjeshwar Mishra: He had published a biography on Tibbetibaba.He was resident of north Kolkata.
3) Akshay Mitra.
6) Soham Swami, whose original name was Shyamakanta Bandopaddhyaya, was Tibbetibaba's Advaita Vedantic disciple. He had so much physical strength that he could wrestle even tigers.Soham Swami had ashram in both Nainital and Haridwar .He had also written two books named Soham Gita and Soham Samhita.
Jatindra Nath Banerjee, who was a very active revolutionary (of India's Freedom Struggle) during the first decade of the twentieth century of India’s freedom struggle, perhaps became the most famous disciple of Soham Swami.He was among the initial members of Anushilan Samiti which was established in the year 1902. He was rechristened Niralamba Swami and he established an ashram at Channa village, Burdwan, India.Niralamba Swami had hailed Tibbetibaba as one of the greatest exponent of Advaita Vedanta after Adi Shankara when he visited him at his ashram in Channa village.
7) Mong Paine: He was a Burmese.
8) Bhootnath Ta: He was the landlord of Palitpur village, near Burdwan town in the Burdwan district of West Bengal in India. He had donated land for the Palitpur ashram. His ancestors at present are living in Burdwan town.
9) Dharma Das Mondal: He was a resident of Palitpur village.
10) Dwijapada: Tibbetibaba had narrated many incidents related to his life to him.
11) Sadhana Moitra: She was a direct female disciple of Tibbetibaba. Dr. Kunjeshwar Mishra was the husband of the sister-in-law of Sadhana Moitra.
According to him when the believers of Advaita Vedanta attain success in their endeavor of knowing Brahman then the name differences (Nama Bheda), visual perception differences (Rupa Bheda) and the differences in attributes (Guna Bheda) of the world slowly vanish for the yogi.in other words homogeneous differences (Sajatiya Bheda), heterogeneous differences (Vijatiya Bheda) and internal differences (Svagata Bheda) slowly disappear. Then it becomes say for the believer to easily love any living being or non-living thing. This can easily help in transmitting Buddha's message of love, compassion, goodwill and non-violence to any living being, even to wild and ferocious animals.
He stressed the fact that one gains the knowledge of Atman (soul) by great efforts. Atman is self-illuminating and of the nature of true knowledge. Attaining Nirvana is equivalent to knowing the Atman.By knowing the Atman all animate as well as inanimate things can be known. Without knowing the Atman the perception of differences cannot vanish and consequently one finds it difficult to fully show compassion and love towards all living-beings.
Buddha means 'The Enlightened One.' Buddha identified oneself with everyone in this world. A Soham Swami or Paramahamsa (According to Advaita Vedanta any person who reaches the pinnacle of spirituality is known as Soham Swami or Paramahamsa) also does the same. Thus we find that Advaita Vedanta and Mahayana doctrine may have differences, but, they also have similarities. The similarities are with regard to the nature of truth and truth is universal.
There is no great difference Brahman or Paramatma of Vedanta and Universalism of Mahayana doctrine. Just as lord Buddha told that when one cultivates goodwill towards this whole world just as a mother protects it child, then one develops infinite kindness for all living-beings. This kindness is without any obstacles, hatred and enmity in the mind. This type of attitude is to be found in Advaita Vedanta also. It is known as Brahman (Brahma) vihara (Brahma vihara living and moving and having one's happiness in the attitude of Brahman).So Brahma vihara is equivalent to Buddha's infinite friendly attitude, goodwill and compassion towards all living-beings.
Tibbetibaba knew the similarities and dissimilarities between Mahayana doctrine and Advaita Vedanta doctrine, but he laid stress on the similarities. He led a life based on the similarities.