Lahiri Mahashoy was strongly opposed to having his photograph taken. But since his intimate disciples were repeatedly requesting permission to take a photograph, he once agreed. The disciples called in a photographer and, like a child, the Master asked him questions. The photographer, whose name was Gangadhar Babu, was deeply honoured, so he taught the Master the ABC's of photography.
But when it was time for the Master's picture to be taken, Gangadhar Babu could not see him in the viewfinder. He aimed the camera at the Master, but the Master was not visible. When he focused on others, he saw them perfectly, but when he focused on Lahiri Mahashoy, there was nothing visible at all.
Finally, the frustrated photographer stood before the Master with folded hands and said,
"It is impossible. I cannot take your picture. I do not know what you are doing. Please permit me to take your photograph."
Lahiri Mahashoy smiled and said, "All right, I shall behave myself. Now you can take it."
This time when Gangadhar Babu looked through the viewfinder, the Master was clearly visible, so he took the picture.
Then Lahiri Mahashoy said to him, "Spirituality and spiritual power far surpass modern science. Just have faith in the Real, which is spirituality."
That particular picture is an immortal picture, the most authentic and the highest picture taken of Lahiri Mahashoy. When it was printed, he signed his name underneath it. His disciples now pray and meditate in front of that picture.
Some spiritual Masters are not in favour of having their photograph taken. They feel that since the body-reality is so transient, why pay any attention to it?
There are other Masters who are of the opinion that a photograph does not represent a mere object, but can serve as an inspirational force and an elevating and illumining experience. These Masters feel the supreme necessity of seeing the highest Reality inside the body-reality first, and then transforming the body-reality into the soul's universal mission and transcendental vision. According to them, a photograph is not a mere piece of paper reflecting an outer face or appearance; it is an illumining revelation of what one inwardly is.
There are those who think that the achievements of the world and in the world are useless, and the world itself is useless, for it is unreal; therefore, they do not want to leave behind anything when they enter into the other world.
But those who think of the world as the field of God-manifestation will strive to leave behind a transformed life and the revelations of an immortal soul.
Both parties are equally correct in their respective approaches to reality, according to the depth and height of their own realisation.