Among hundreds of Gangasagar pilgrims temporarily camping at Maidan,there is a mystic,whose passion for spirituality led her to leave her government job and choose a path less travelled.
One can easily spot Piya Das,a former Group-D government employee,in a small group of women mystics.
Now in her forties,Das remembers how she,along with her husband Jaidev Das,decided to quit their jobs and live as sanyasis in their ashram,which the couple built over a 10-cottah plot in Patuli.
I dedicated my life in bringing up my two children and running my family. But after they got married,I decided to pursue what I had always wanted to the spiritual path. My husband and I quit our jobs to open an ashram at Patuli to help needy people, said Das.
For the last 16 years,the mystic,whose original name is Ranu Pal,has been regularly visiting the Gangasagar Mela site. While she spends most of her time travelling across the country and abroad for spiritual knowledge,she comes back to her ashram for a couple of months to share the donations that she gets from her followers.
Das has visited many spiritual places,including Nashik,Jaipur,Delhi,Varanasi,Singapore,Bangladesh,Nepal and the Himalayas.
Becoming a sanyasin is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Be it my father or my children,I always had a responsibility towards them. But today,I am independent and free. I roam around in search of salvation and also get enough opportunity to pursue my passion for music, Das said.
Born in the Goswami family at Serampore,Das has a knack for performing arts. She loves to sing baul songs,lokagiti,kirtan and recite the Bhagwad Gita at festivals and religious ceremonies.