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S

eptember 2010
September September September September September 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010
A CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL MONTHLY OF THE RAMAKRISHNA ORDER
Started at the instance of Swami Vivekananda in 1895 as Brahmavâdin,
it assumed the name The Vedanta Kesari in 1914.
For free edition on the Web, please visit: www.chennaimath.org
Vedic Prayers 325
Editorial
Living Like A Lotus 326
Articles
„ Tampering with National Pride 340
Swami Harshananda
„ Mary Tappan Wright: Swamiji’s First Western Chronicler 342
Somenath Mukherjee
„ Laws of Karma and Thermodynamics 348
Gopal C Bhar
„ Materialism—A ‘Truth at Lower Level’ 358
Krishnan Unni
Compilation
„ Thus Prayed Sri Ramakrishna 330
Reminiscences
„ Reminiscences of Master Mahashay 336
Swami Dharmeshananda
New Find
„ Unpublished Letters of Swami Saradananda 353
The Order on the March 360
Book Reviews 361
Features
Simhâvalokanam (Confessions on the Way towards Peace)—329,
Vivekananda Tells Stories—356
VOL. 97, No. 9 ISSN 0042-2983
CONTENTS
Cover Story: Page 4

The Vedanta Kesari
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Bloomed Lotus
Lotus, India’s national flower, has been a powerful spiritual
and cultural symbol for centuries. Right from drawing parallels
with a person’s face, feet and eyes (lotus-eyed, for instance), to
a much-recommended spot for meditation, the lotus-symbol is
a rich source of imagination and cultural motifs. Lotus also
symbolises purity, devotion and detachment. For learning more
about the spiritual significance of lotus, please turn to page 326
of this issue. †
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325 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 9 ~ ~
EACH SOUL IS POTENTIALLY DIVINE. THE GOAL IS TO MANIFEST THE DIVINITY WITHIN.
VOL. 97, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 2010 ISSN 0042-2983
Vedic Prayers
Tr. by Swami Sambuddhananda
¤¤t|m¤tºt ¬¤ºt ¤rtat ¤+¤t¤¤¤· n· u•mtt¤=m· ¡
n· ¤|Œt ¤⁄ º ¤ at¤t|ta¤Œtt antr˛r¤¤ ¤r¤ nrt›an≤ ¡¡
—Shvetashvatara Upanishad, III, 19
n· He ¤¤t|m¤tº· bereft of hands and feet ¬¤º· quick ¤rtat one
who grasps ¤¤¤ · without eyes ¤+¤|a sees ¤=m· without ears u•mt|a
hears n· He ¤ ⁄ß which is to be known, knowable ¤|Œt knows at¤ of
Him º not ¤|ta there is ¤Œtt knower an≤ Him ¤¤¤n≤ the foremost, the
first nrt›an≤ eminent ¤ r¤ß Purusha (the infinite being) ¤tr˛· they say.
Without hands He grasps and without feet He moves fast, with-
out eyes He sees and without ears He hears. He knows what is to be
known. But there is none who knows Him. They say He is the fore-
most, the most eminent and infinite being.
‘He, the One, who vibrates more quickly than mind, who attains to
more speed than mind can ever do, whom even the gods reach not,
nor thought grasps, He moving, everything moves. In Him all exists.
He is moving. He is also immovable. He is near and He is far. He is
inside everything. He is outside everything, interpenetrating everything.
Whoever sees in every being that same Atman, and whoever sees
everything in that Atman, he never goes far from that Atman. When all
life and the whole universe are seen in this Atman, then alone man has
attained the secret. There is no more delusion for him. Where is any
more misery for him who sees this Oneness in the universe?’
—Swami Vivekananda, CW, 2:153

326 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Living Like A Lotus
An Ancient Symbol
Standing by the side of a lotus pond if
one observes a bloomed lotus, what does one
see? A large flower, generally white or pink
in colour, on the top-end of a long, semi-hard
stalk, with good-sized petals. One more thing
about lotus that strikes one is its big, round
leafs, surrounding the flower, untouched by the
water. Water does not wet its petals and leafs.
A Sanskrit verse compares human life itself
with a drop of water on a lotus leaf—frail and
transient.
Yes, lotus, unlike water lily, does not get
wet. Botanists may attribute it to the fine layer
of fibres which keeps the water from entering
the inner lining of lotus flower and leafs. A
deep, water pond and plenty of sunshine are
the two things that go a long way to make the
lotus bloom. But to a spiritually inclined mind,
lotus, and the sun (both of which are deeply
interconnected with each other), are much
more than mere objects of nature. Swami
Vivekananda remarked about this thus,
There is the lotus—that wonderful flower . . .
opening in the morning as the solar rays strike
its closed petals and with the waning sun
shutting up again. . . The sun and the lotus are
the chief symbols in the most ancient religions.
Why these symbols? Because abstract thought,
whatever that be, when expressed, is bound to
come clad in visible, tangible, gross garments.
1
What, then, does lotus symbolise?
First, and the most widely known, idea
that the lotus represents is detachment. Lotus
does not get wet by water although it grows
in water—and mire. Swamiji says,
As a lotus-leaf, living in the water yet untouched
by it, so should the soul be in the world.
2
Of course, soul is ever untouched and
untouchable by anything of this world. No
event, no thought, no good and bad action,
nothing in this world can affect the soul. It is
intact always. The Gita [2.23] speaks of soul,
or atman, as one which ‘weapons cannot cut,
fire cannot burn, water cannot wet and the
wind cannot dry.’ The word soul here, there-
fore, refers to jivatman (individualised cons-
ciousness), or a commonplace word, mind.
Soul, i.e., the mind, should be free from all
desires and attachments.
The chief meaning of detachment is not
cold indifference, as some unripe minds think,
but absence of selfishness. It is our feeling of
identification with our body-mind which binds
us to the world. We are tied to the world by a
subtle chord of ‘I and mine’. What happens
when one gets tied with the world? One
becomes miserable and anxious. What else
could be there when we put the whole burden
of our existence on this ever-changing,
transient world? Change being its nature, the
‘world’ cannot be the source of permanent
happiness. The real happiness lies in fixing
our mind on Something which never changes.
If we fail to do so, inevitably we have to suffer,
sooner or later. But if we can live unselfishly,
without the idea of self, we are truly detached.
Swamiji says,
Just as water cannot wet the lotus leaf, so work
cannot bind the unselfish man by giving rise to
attachment to results. The selfless and un-
attached man may live in the very heart of a
327 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
7
crowded and sinful city; he will not be touched
by sin.
3
Should one think detachment means go-
ing to a forest, or retiring into mountains,
Swamiji makes it clear in the above statement,
‘unattached man may live in the very heart of
a crowded and sinful city; he will not be
touched by sin.’ And by sin is meant impurities
of mind. Swamiji further says,
The man who gives up living in houses, wearing
fine clothes, and eating good food, and goes into
the desert, may be a most attached person. His
only possession, his own body, may become
everything to him; and as he lives he will be
simply struggling for the sake of his body. Non-
attachment does not mean anything that we may
do in relation to our external body; it is all in
the mind. The binding link of ‘I and mine’ is in
the mind. If we have not this link with the body
and with the things of the senses, we are non-
attached, wherever and whatever we may be. A
man may be on a throne and perfectly non-
attached; another man may be in rags and still
very much attached.
4
The most important meaning of lotus and
leafs, therefore, is detachment. And true
detachment has nothing to do with what one
does or wears or where one lives. It is a
question of mind. In Swamiji’s words,
There is one thing which is the world and
another which is God; and this distinction is very
true. What they mean by world is selfishness.
Unselfishness is God. One may live on a throne,
in a golden palace, and be perfectly unselfish;
and then he is in God. Another may live in a
hut and wear rags, and have nothing in the
world; yet, if he is selfish, he is intensely merged
in the world.
5
Lotus of the Heart
Lotus is also a symbol of devotion. While
meditating on God, one is asked to meditate
on a bloomed lotus in the centre of chest. Like
a lotus, a pure heart never gets dirty by the
mire called worldly thoughts and negative
emotions. It is ever pure, and fresh, and a
fitting place to think of the Presence of God.
Of course, God is present everywhere for
His all-pervasiveness is His nature. ‘Logically’
one can, therefore, meditate on Him wherever
one wants to meditate on. But in pure heart,
free from all negative ideas such as lust, greed,
jealousy, anger and so on, God is manifest
more. Sri Ramakrishna used to call heart as
‘the drawing room’. In a house, the master of
the house can move around, and hence can be
found, in any part of the house. But most
likely, the master can be found in his drawing
room. That is where he is most comfortable
and relaxed. Likewise, while God can be
meditated anywhere, He is most visibly pre-
sent in the pure heart of a devotee.
Lotus is also a symbol of our inner recep-
tivity. What is required of us most in order to
learn anything higher? Merely buying books
or listening to lectures or reading books cannot
make one spiritually awakened. They may
help to some extent, or might become even
obstacles! Inner awakening makes one a fit
recipient of all exalted teachings. An awakened
mind can find meaning even in simple,
common, day-to-day events. To a sleeping per-
son, no spiritual activity is of any help. Swamiji
says,
To whom do the brooks preach sermons? To
that human soul only whose lotus of life has
already opened. When the heart has been
opened, it can receive teaching from the brooks
or the stones—it can get some religious teaching
from all these; but the unopened heart will see
nothing but brooks and rolling stones.
6
The one call therefore, which Swamiji
repeatedly gave in his message was, ‘Arise,
awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.’
328 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
8
Blooming of the Inner Lotus
To a person who has reached the goal of
life, the meaning of lotus acquires one more
aspect:
We all see evil around us. Of course, dif-
ferent people perceive ‘evil’ differently. To an
unwilling child, going to school may be a big
evil. To a teenager, keeping his surroundings
clean and following his parent’s instruc-
tions may sound evil. To a religious fanatic, the
followers of other religions may appear as evil.
To a youth, old people may appear evil (for
being outmoded, and hence burdensome) and
to the old people, youth may be full of evil!
Well, there is no universal definition of evil.
But one thing that everyone universally
admits is that world is not perfect. There is so
much of imperfection here. The poor, the rich,
the healthy and the sick, everyone knows from
experience that world is not perfect. How to
change or help this imperfect world? Food,
clothing, shelter, medicine, money, efficient
government, and so on, are good and needed.
They have a vital role to play. However, the
greatest need of the hour, of all times, is right
thinking. In absence of right thinking, all help
given in various forms will bear only a
temporary result. Swamiji says,
What the world wants is thought-power through
individuals. My Master used to say, ‘Why don’t
you help your own lotus flower to bloom? The
bees will then come of themselves.’ The world
needs people who are mad with love of God.
You must believe in yourself, and then you will
believe in God.
7
The blooming of the inner lotus, hence,
means becoming full of God’s presence. We
are at present full of the presence of ‘world.’
A person, whose inner lotus is blossomed, is
full of God. Feeling the divinity within is the
beginning of seeing the divinity without.
Conclusion
‘Living like a lotus’ is both a means and
the end. As an end, to be like a lotus is to be a
Jivanmukta, ‘living-free’, free even while living.
Such a man is the ideal man, untouched by
the evil of imperfection, like the lotus leafs in
water, untouched by water.
On the other hand, as a means, or a prac-
tice, living like a lotus, implies learning to offer
all one does, achieves, possesses, thinks, plans,
in fact, one’s whole life, to God. Or one might
look at the whole world as a ‘machine of God’
where he, the practitioner, is playing his role.
And let him play his role well, but without
getting attached.
In this context, one may recall Holy
Mother Sri Sarada Devi's words,
The Master [Sri Ramakrishna] saw dabchicks
floating, diving and swimming in the water of
Haldar’s pond, but there would be not a drop of
water sticking to them—they would just shake
it off. He gave their example and said that in
this world one should live like these. . .
8
To be detached is to be free from both
attachment and aversion. Detachment is an
attitude of self-effacement. The Gita (5.10) says,
¤˜ª¤tnt¤ =nt|m nq t¤+t¤t =rt|a ¤·¡
|nfl¤a º n ¤t¤ º ¤Ÿ¤¤|n¤t-«nt¡¡
Whosoever lives in the midst of the world, and
works, and gives up all the fruit of his action
unto the Lord, he is never touched with the evils
of the world. Just as the lotus, born under the
water, rises up and blossoms above the water,
even so is the man who is engaged in the
activities of the world, giving up all the fruit of
his activities unto the Lord.
9
†
References: 1. CW, 8: 227 2. CW, 8: 227 3. CW, 1: 60 4. CW, 1: 101 5. CW, 1: 87
6. CW, 4: 27 7. CW, 6: 144 8. Teachings of Holy Mother, p. 25 9. CW, 4: 130
329 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
From the Archives of THE VEDANTA KESARI
S i mh â v a l o k a n a m
Confessions on the Way towards Peace
By Le Frile
(August, 1920-21, pp. 115-116)
I feel as if I have just reached the threshold of peace. . . I feel
as if the sun of truth has just dawned in upon me, his twilight of the morning surrounding me,
but he himself not visible to me yet. I have reached that point which settles my earthly destiny,
not to a shore of dreams whence issued my paths of old, but to a real and practical haven from
which sets out a romantic and glorious path for my life. The fitting opportunity has presented
itself uncalled for, and I am pushed forward to activity by a superior and stronger impulse than
that which backed me all these years of my life. Although I have not arrived at peace yet, I
have a strong belief that I am nearing it. I do not believe that any seeker after truth on earth
found it all on a sudden. As the sun dawns slowly and gradually in harmony with the rhythm
of the, music of the cosmos so, the light of truth dawns slowly and gradually in the view of the
enquiring mind, oppressed with the darkness of doubt and despair.
I pray Thee, Oh unknown Lord! make Thyself known to me. Drive off from me for ever
and ever the little tormenting devils of doubt and despair. Back me, guide me, teach me,
command me, love me and lead me and on my part, I will love Thee and obey Thee with all I
am worth.
Oh Lord! I thank Thee for all the bitter cups which Thou gavest me. I fear them no more.
I have realised their sweetness. Make me pure, make me strong, and above all make me
straight. Let me never lose sight of Thee,—Thy laws and Thy protection. Let me always walk in
the path which leadeth to Thee, the path of love, the path of purity, the broad and generous
path, the straight and narrow path.
Oh Lord! I fear myself. I fear my own changing moods. Preserve me in, my present faith
and resolution. Let this not become a sincere farce to be laughed at after the moment of
excitement is over, as were my resolutions of old.
Oh Lord! I long for Thee with all my heart and strength. I love and revere Thee in all
sincerity and humbleness. I feel myself profoundly calm and happy and free in having based
my faith on Thee at last. So, let me never more doubt. Above all, I fear doubt. Protect me from
its sly approaches, that I may not again relapse into unbelief. Let me not think. Let me not
think again to see if my faith is based upon truth. In this I implore Thy grace, Oh Lord! †
330 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Thus Prayed Sri Ramakrishna
Sri Ramakrishna laid much emphasis on praying to God as an effective spiritual exercise. He
asked almost everyone who came to him for spiritual guidance or for solving his difficulties in life to
pray to God. Not only did he himself pray, at times, he would actually demonstrate how to pray.
The following is a selection of some of the prayers of Sri Ramakrishna recorded in The Gospel of
Sri Ramakrishna (published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai). These prayers, intense,
passionate and spiritually elevating as they are, can be of much help to anyone learning to pray and
employ it as a spiritual discipline.
Him, ‘O Lord, I have committed sins, but I
won’t repeat them.’
4
Suppose a man becomes pure by
chanting the holy name of God,
but immediately afterwards
commits many sins. He has no
strength of mind. He doesn’t
take a vow not to repeat his
sins…. Chant the name of
God, and with it pray to Him
that you may have love for
Him. Pray to God that your
attachment to such transitory
things as wealth, name, and crea-
ture comforts may become less and less
every day.
5
You can perform them [worldly duties],
but only as much as you need for your
livelihood. . . . You should say to Him: ‘O
God, make my worldly duties fewer and
fewer; otherwise, O Lord, I find that I forget
Thee when I am involved in too many acti-
vities. I may think I am doing unselfish work,
but it turns out to be selfish.’
6
Suppose God appears before you; then
will you ask Him to build hospitals and dis-
pensaries for you? A lover of God never says
How to Pray
One should pray to God with sincere
longing. God cannot but listen to
prayer if it is sincere.
1
[The way to spiritual life lies
in] earnestly praying to God.
God is our very own. We
should say to Him: ‘O God,
what is Thy nature? Reveal
Thyself to me. Thou must
show Thyself to me; for why
else hast Thou created me?’
2
Pray to Him with a long-
ing heart: ‘O God, give me know-
ledge, give me devotion, and reveal
Thyself to me!’ The path of karma is extremely
difficult. Therefore one should pray: ‘O God,
make my duties fewer and fewer; and may I,
through Thy grace, do the few duties that Thou
givest me without any attachment to their
results! May I have no desire to be involved
in many activities!’
3
By repeating a hundred times, ‘I am a
sinner’, one verily becomes a sinner. One should
have such faith as to be able to say, ‘What? I
have taken the name of God; how can I be a
sinner?’ God is our Father and Mother. Tell
331 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
11
that. He will rather say: ‘O Lord, give me a
place at Thy Lotus Feet. Keep me always in
Thy company. Give me sincere and pure love
for Thee.’
7
One should not reason too much; it is
enough if one loves the Lotus Feet of the
Mother. Too much reasoning throws the mind
into confusion. You get clear water if you drink
from the surface of a pool. Put your hand
deeper and stir the water, and it becomes
muddy. Therefore pray to God for devotion.
8
Renounce all and say, ‘O mind, may you
and I alone behold the Mother, letting no One
else intrude.’
9
One needs faith—faith in the words of
the guru, childlike faith. The mother says to
her child, ‘A ghost lives there’; and the child
is firmly convinced that the ghost is there.
Again, the mother says to the child, ‘A holy
man is there’, and the child is sure of it. Fur-
ther, the mother says, pointing to a man, ‘He
is your elder brother’, and the child believes
that the man is one hundred and twenty-five
per cent his brother. One needs faith.
10
Whom to Pray?
Satchidananda is like an infinite ocean.
Intense cold freezes the water into ice, which
floats on the ocean in blocks of various forms.
Likewise, through the cooling influence of
bhakti, one sees forms of God in the Ocean of
the Absolute. These forms are meant for the
bhaktas, the lovers of God. But when the Sun
of Knowledge rises, the ice melts; it becomes
the same water it was before. Water above
and water below, everywhere nothing but
water. Therefore a prayer in the Bhagavata says:
‘O Lord, Thou hast form, and Thou art also
formless. Thou walkest before us, O Lord, in
the shape of a man; again, Thou hast been
described in the Vedas as beyond words and
thought.’
11
But you may say that for certain devotees
God assumes eternal forms. There are places
in the ocean where the ice doesn’t melt at all.
It assumes the form of quartz.
12
God is the Kalpataru, the Wish-fulfilling
Tree. You will certainly get whatever you ask
of Him. But you must pray standing near the
Kalpataru. Only then will your prayer be
fulfilled. But you must remember another
thing. God knows our inner feeling. A man
gets fulfilment of the desire he cherishes while
practising sadhana. As one thinks, so one
receives.
13
A man should have such intense yearn-
ing for God that he can say, ‘O Father of the
universe, am I outside Your universe? Won’t
You be kind to me, You wretch?’
14
Be ready for Death. Death has entered
the house. You must fight him with the wea-
pon of God’s holy name. God alone is the
Doer.
15
While thus practising discipline in soli-
tude, you should think: ‘I have no one else in
the world. God is my all.’
16
It will be very good if you can practise
unselfish love for God. A man who has such
love says: ‘O Lord, I do not seek salvation,
fame, wealth, or cure of disease. None of these
do I seek. I want only Thee.’
17
Do you know the attitude of one who
has realised God? He feels: ‘I am the machine,
and Thou, O Lord, art the Operator. I am the
house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the
chariot and Thou art the Driver. I move as
Thou movest me; I speak as Thou makest me
speak.’
18
Sri Ramakrishna’s Prayers to the Divine
Mother
This Primal Power, Mahamaya, has
covered Brahman . . . As long as that covering
remains, one should call on God as Mother.
332 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
12
Addressing God, the devotee should say,
‘Thou art the Mother and I am Thy child; Thou
art the Master and I am Thy servant.’ It is
good to have the attitude of the servant toward
the master. From this relationship of master
and servant spring up other attitudes: the
attitude of serene love for God, the attitude of
friend toward friend, and so forth.
19
Is it possible to understand God’s action
and His motive? He creates, He preserves, and
He destroys. Can we ever understand why
He destroys? I say to the Divine Mother: ‘O
Mother, I do not need to understand. Please
give me love for Thy Lotus Feet.’ The aim of
human life is to attain bhakti. As for other
things, the Mother knows best. I have come to
the garden to eat mangoes. What is the use of
my calculating the number of trees, branches,
and leaves? I only eat the mangoes; I don’t
need to know the number of trees and leaves.
20
I prayed to Divine Mother: ‘Mother, here
is Thy virtue, here is Thy vice. Take them both
and grant me only pure love for Thee. Here is
Thy knowledge, here is Thy ignorance. Take
them both and grant me only pure love for
Thee. Here is Thy purity, here is Thy impurity.
Take them both, Mother, and grant me only
pure love for Thee. Here is Thy dharma, here
is Thy adharma. Take them both, Mother and
grant me only pure love for Thee.’
21
‘O Mother! O Destroyer of suffering! O
Remover of grief and agony!’
22
‘O Mother, please dwell in my heart.’
23
‘O Mother, worship has left me, and japa
also. Please see, Mother, that I do not become
an inert thing. Let my attitude toward God be
that of the servant toward the master. O
Mother, let me talk about Thee and chant Thy
holy name. I want to sing Thy glories. Give
me a little strength of body that I may move
about, that I may go to places where Thy
devotees live, and sing Thy name.’
24
‘O Mother, I offered flowers at Thy feet
this morning. I thought: “That is good. My
mind is again going back to formal worship.”
Then why do I feel like this now? Why art
Thou turning me into a sort of inert thing?’
25
‘O Mother! O Embodiment of Om!
Mother, how many things people say about
Thee! But I don’t understand any of them. I
don’t know anything, Mother. I have taken
refuge at Thy feet. I have sought protection in
Thee. O Mother, I pray only that I may have
pure love for Thy Lotus Feet, love that seeks
no return. And Mother, do not delude me with
Thy world-bewitching Maya. I seek Thy pro-
tection. I have taken refuge in Thee.’
26
‘Mother, I don’t know the Vedanta; and
Mother, I don’t even care to know. The Vedas
and the Vedanta remain so far below when
Thou art realized, O Divine Mother!’
27
‘O Mother, blight with Thy thunderbolt
my desire to reason! . . . O Mother, reveal to
me what is contained in the Vedas and the
Vedanta. Reveal to me what is in the Purana
and the Tantra.’
28
‘O Mother, make me like Sita, completely
forgetful of everything—body and limbs—
totally unconscious of hands, feet, and sense
organs—only the one thought in her mind,
“Where is Rama?”’
29
‘Mother, Thou hast done away with my
worship. Please see, Mother, that I don’t give
up all desire. Mother, the paramahamsa is but
a child. Doesn’t a child need a mother? There-
fore Thou art the Mother and I am the child.
How can the child live without the Mother?’
30
‘O Mother, everybody’s future is deter-
mined by the tendencies of his previous births.
What shall I say to these people? Nothing can
be achieved without discrimination and
renunciation.’
31
[Sri Ramakrishna was speaking to Her like a
small child making importunate demands on his
333 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
13
mother. He said in a piteous voice]: ‘Mother, why
haven’t You revealed to me that form of Yours,
the form that bewitches the world? I pleaded
with You so much for it. But You wouldn’t
listen to me. You act as You please.’
32
While praying to the Divine Mother, I
said, ‘O Mother, I don’t seek anything else:
give me only pure love for Thee.’
33
[Sri Ramakrishna wept and prayed to the
Mother in a voice choked with emotion. He prayed
to Her with tearful eyes for the welfare of the
devotees] ‘Mother, may those who come to You
have all their desires fulfilled! But please don’t
make them give up everything at once,
Mother. Well, You may do whatever You like
in the end. If You keep them in the world,
Mother, then please reveal Yourself to them
now and then. Otherwise, how will they live?
How will they be encouraged if they don’t see
You once in a while? But You may do what-
ever You like in the end.’
34
‘Om! Om! Om! Mother, what is this that
I am saying? Don’t make me unconscious,
Mother, with the Knowledge of Brahman.
Don’t give me Brahmajnana. I am but Thy
child. I am easily worried and frightened. I
want a Mother. A million salutations to the
Knowledge of Brahman! Give it to those who
seek it. O Anandamayi! O Blissful Mother!. . .’
35
‘O Mother! O Blissful One! Reveal
Thyself to me. Thou must! . . . O Lord of the
lowly! O Lord of the universe! Surely I am not
outside Thy universe. I am bereft of know-
ledge. I am without discipline. I have no devo-
tion. I know nothing. Thou must be gracious
and reveal Thyself to me.’
36
When I renounced everything with an
offering of flowers at the Lotus Feet of the
Mother, I said: ‘Here, Mother, take Thy
holiness, take Thy unholiness. Here, Mother,
take Thy dharma, take Thy adharma. Here,
Mother, take Thy sin, take Thy virtue. Here,
Mother, take Thy good, take Thy evil. And
give me only pure bhakti.’ But I could not
say, ‘Here, Mother, take Thy truth, take Thy
falsehood.’
37
‘Mother, tell me what this is. They want
someone to extract the butter for them and
hold it to their mouths. They won’t throw the
spiced bait into the lake. They won’t even hold
the fishing-rod. Someone must catch the fish
and put it into their hands! How troublesome!
Mother, I won’t listen to any more argument.
The rogues force it on me. What a bother! I
shall shake it off. God is beyond the Vedas
and their injunctions. Can one realise Him by
studying the scriptures, the Vedas, and the
Vedanta?’
‘O Mother, I am a fool. Please teach me
what is contained in the Vedas, the Puranas,
the Tantras, and the other scriptures.’ The
Mother said to me, ‘The essence of the Vedanta
is that Brahman alone is real and the world
illusory.’
38
I used to weep, praying to the Divine
Mother, ‘O Mother, destroy with Thy thunder-
bolt my inclination to reason.’
39
‘O Mother! Thou dost ever enjoy Thine
eternal Sports. Tell us, O Mother, what is the
way? We have taken refuge in Thee; we have
taken shelter at Thy feet.’
40
‘O Mother, I throw myself on Thy mercy;
I take shelter at Thy Hallowed Feet. I do not
want bodily comforts; I do not crave name
and fame; I do not seek the eight occult
powers. Be gracious and grant that I may have
pure love for Thee, a love unsmitten by desire,
untainted by any selfish ends—a love craved
by the devotee for the sake of love alone. And
grant me the favour, O Mother, that I may not
be deluded by Thy world-bewitching Maya,
that I may never be attached to the world, to
“woman and gold”, conjured up by Thy in-
scrutable Maya! O Mother, there is no one but
334 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
14
thee whom I may call my own. Mother, I do
not know how to worship; I am without aus-
terity; I have neither devotion nor knowledge.
Be gracious, Mother, and out of Thy infinite
mercy grant me love for Thy Lotus Feet.’
41
I felt ashamed to speak to her about my
illness. I said to her, ’Mother, I saw a skeleton
in the Asiatic Society Museum. It was pieced
together with wires into a human form. O
Mother, please keep my body together a little,
like that, so that I may sing Thy name and
glories.’
42
I prayed to the Divine Mother, ‘O
Mother, turn my mind at once from the world
to God. . . .O Divine Mother, please don’t make
me a worldly man if I am to be born again in
a human body.’
43
A lover of God prays to the Divine
Mother: ‘O Mother, I am very much afraid of
selfish actions. Such actions have desires
behind them, and if I perform them I shall
have to reap their fruit. But it is very difficult
to work in a detached spirit. I shall certainly
forget Thee, O Mother, if I involve myself in
selfish actions. Therefore I have no use for
them. May my actions, O Divine Mother, be
fewer every day till I attain Thee. May I
perform, without attachment to the results,
only what action is absolutely necessary for
me. May I have great love for Thee as I go on
with my few duties. May I not entangle myself
in new work so long as I do not realise Thee.
But I shall perform it if I receive Thy command.
Otherwise not.’
44
Sri Ramakrishna’s Other Prayers
Sri Ramakrishna said: ‘Krishna! Krishna!
Krishna! Krishna Satchidananda! Nowadays I
do not see Your form. Now I see You both in-
side me and outside. I see that it is You who
have become the universe, all living beings,
the twenty-four cosmic principles, and every-
thing else. You alone have become mind,
intelligence, everything. It is said in the ”Hymn
of Salutation to the Guru”: “I bow down to
the Guru by whose grace I have realized Him
who pervades the indivisible universe of the
animate and the inanimate.”’
45
‘You alone are the Indivisible. . . You are
verily the manifold universe; again, You alone
are its basis. O Krishna! You are my life. O
Krishna! You are my mind. O Krishna! You
are my intelligence. O Krishna! You are my
soul. O Govinda! You are my life-breath. You
are my life itself.’ . . . Om Satchidananda!
Govinda! Govinda! Govinda! Yogamaya!
46
‘O friend, take me to my beloved Krishna
and make me your bond slave. I shall be your
handmaid for ever. O friend, it was you who
taught me how to love Krishna. O Krishna! O
Beloved of my soul! . . . . Ah me! Ah me!
47
‘After attaining Knowledge a man says:
“O God, nothing belongs to me—neither this
house of worship nor this Kali temple nor this
Brahmo Samaj. These are all Thine. Wife, son,
and family do not belong to me. They are all
Thine.”’
48
Hanuman, after realizing God in both
His Personal and His Impersonal aspect, cheri-
shed toward God the attitude of a servant, a
devotee. He said to Rama: ‘O Rama, sometimes
I think that You are the whole and I am a part
of You. Sometimes I think that You are the
Master and I am Your servant. And sometimes,
Rama, when I contemplate the Absolute, I see
that I am You and You are I.’
49
Once Rama was pleased with the prayer
of Narada and told him to ask for a boon.
Narada prayed for pure love and said further,
‘O Rama, please grant that I may not be
deluded by Thy world-bewitching maya.’
Rama said: ‘That is all right. But ask for
something else.’ Narada replied: ‘I don’t want
anything else. I pray only for pure love.’
50
335 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
‘O Rama! O Rama! I am without devotion
and austerity, without knowledge and love; I
have not performed any religious rites. O
Rama, I have taken refuge in Thee; I have taken
shelter at Thy feet. I do not want creature
comforts; I do not seek name and fame. O
Rama, I do not crave the eight occult powers;
I do not care for a hundred occult powers! I
am Thy servant. I have taken refuge in Thee.
Grant, O Rama, that I may have pure love for
Thy Lotus Feet; that I may not be deluded by
Thy world-bewitching Maya! O Rama, I have
taken refuge it Thee.’
51
Yashoda said to Radha: ‘I don’t want
Brahmajnana. Please grant me only this: that I
may see the form of Gopala in my meditation;
that I may always have the company of
Krishna’s devotees; that I may always serve
the devotees of God; that I may always chant
God’s name and glories. . . We want to see
Gopala and serve Him. Please grant us that
boon alone. We don’t want anything else.’
52
‘O Govinda, Thou art my soul! Thou art
my life! Victory to Govinda! Hallowed be the
name of Govinda! Thou art the Embodiment
of Satchidananda! Oh, Krishna! Ah, Krishna!
Krishna is knowledge. Krishna is mind.
Krishna is life. Krishna is soul. Krishna is body.
Krishna is caste. Krishna is family. O Govinda,
my life and soul!’
53
‘O Jagannath, Lord of the Universe! O
Friend of the world! O Friend of the poor! I
am not, O Lord, outside Thy universe. Be gra-
cious to me!’
54
†
References
1. The Gospel, p.703 2. Ibid., p.96 3. Ibid., p.452 4. Ibid., p.159 5. Ibid., p.190-91
6. Ibid., p.142 7. Ibid., p.143 8. Ibid., p.186 9. Ibid., p.315 10. Ibid., p.381
11. Ibid., p.191 12. Ibid., p. 191 13. Ibid., p.481 14. Ibid., p.688 15. Ibid., p.209
16. Ibid., p.313 17. Ibid., p.386 18. Ibid., p.211 19. Ibid., p.290 20. Ibid., p.161
21. Ibid., p.138-39 22. Ibid., p.223 23. Ibid., p.263 24. Ibid., p.295 25. Ibid., p.295
26. Ibid., p.299 27. Ibid., p.373-74 28. Ibid., p.376 29. Ibid., p.342 30. Ibid., p.357
31. Ibid., p.502 32. Ibid., p.381 33. Ibid., p.682 34. Ibid., p.381 35. Ibid., p.384
36. Ibid., p.384 37. Ibid., p.782 38. Ibid., p.544 39. Ibid., p.482 40. Ibid., p..704
41. Ibid., p.731 42. Ibid., p.396 43. Ibid., p.463 44. Ibid., p.468-69 45. Ibid., p.440-41
46. Ibid., p.441 47. Ibid., p.445 48. Ibid., p.456 49. Ibid., p.480 50. Ibid., p.503
51. Ibid., p.566 52. Ibid., p.480-81 53. Ibid., p.641 54. Ibid., p.809-10
Intense Prayer
Whenever we pray to God in right earnest, He is sure to come
to us. The trouble is, we pray to so many others besides God.
We pray to the doctor to give us health, to the shopkeeper to
give us food or dress, and in among the rest we pray to God to
give us spiritual light and knowledge. When we look to Him
alone and pray to Him and to no one else, He never fails to
answer our prayers, if we make them really intense.
—Swami Ramakrishnananda,
a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna
15
336 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Reminiscences of Master Mahashay
SWAMI DHARMESHANANDA
Master Mahashay, Mahendranath Gupta, or ‘M’, was an eminent householder disciple of Sri
Ramakrishna. He recorded the conversations of Sri Ramakrishna in Bengali and published them later
as Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita (translated into English: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna). The
following is the translation of reminiscences of ‘M’ from Srima Samipe, [In the Proximity of ‘M’], a
book in Bengali, edited by Swami Chetanananda (Udbodhan Office: Calcutta, 1996), pp.88-132. Swami
Chetanananda (the translator of the present article) is the Head of Vedanta Society of St. Louise, USA.
He has to his credit several notable books in Bengali and English, translations as well as original.
First Meeting
In 1920 or 1921 I went to see M. with my
friend Surendra Nath Kundu and brother
Bhupati, who was a householder devotee of
Sri Ramakrishna. At the time I was living in
North Calcutta and was in my second year at
City College. Surendra had given me a copy
of the fourth volume of the Kathamrita, which
I read with great attention. He also told me
that the author of this book was still alive,
and that it would be wonderful if we could
hear the Master’s words directly from him.
One afternoon Surendra and I went to
the fourth floor of the Morton Institution and
met M., who was surrounded by devotees. He
received us cordially. It was the rainy season,
a few days after the Chariot Festival of Jagan-
nath. M. put Jagannath’s prasad (dry rice) into
our hands and said, ‘When one has this prasad
one attains devotion for God.’ I used to go to
the Brahmo Samaj and was moreover under
the influence of Western education, so I
considered such faith to be superstitious.
I remarked: ‘Yes, if one eats this prasad
with faith, one may attain devotion.’
M. replied: ‘No, there is a sure effect of
an object. In whatever way you eat this prasad,
your mind will become pure and you will
attain faith and devotion.’
‘How is that possible? The mind is every-
thing.’ I replied. ‘If there isn’t any faith in one’s
mind, how can one attain devotion?’
‘The Master said that whatever way you
take prasad, you will attain devotion.’
‘I can’t accept that.’
M. became grave and turned his chair
towards the devotees. Pointing at me with his
left index finger, he said indignantly: ‘The
Master said, “One attains devotion,” and this
person does not accept the Master’s words.’
Everyone remained silent. Surendra was
looking at me, and I hung my head and kept
quiet. I was ashamed of my audacity.
M. then told me affectionately: ‘Listen,
one day in Dakshineswar the Master said to
me, “The Chariot Festival is over. The pilgrims
are now returning from Puri. You go to
Howrah Station and beg for some prasad for
me. One attains devotion if one takes this
prasad.” I went to Howrah Station. When I
saw pilgrims getting off the train, I pleaded
like a beggar, “Will you give me a little
prasad?” Some were amazed by the sight of a
well-dressed gentleman begging for prasad;
337 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
17
some walked away quickly without paying
any attention; and some devotees realised my
sincerity and gave me some grains of dry rice
from their bundle. When I carried that prasad
to the Master, he was very happy. “When God
is pleased, the whole world becomes pleased.”
I was truly blessed. The Master used to eat
one or two grains of that dry rice every day
and asked me also to do so. Have faith in his
words. There is no other way.’
I took one or two grains of that prasad.
Starting in 1924, my faith gradually developed
after I began visiting M. regularly.
Encouragement
In 1924 I went to see M. with Brahma-
chari Tarak of the Vivekananda Society. I was
then a student in my fifth year of college. I
used to stay at the Society and perform wor-
ship there. We went to visit M. at the Morton
Institution.
M. asked Tarak: ‘What do you do?’
Tarak replied: ‘I collect subscriptions for
the Vivekananda Society, help the secretary,
and arrange religious classes and kirtans in
devotees’ houses once a month. And every
week there are two classes in the Society on
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature.’
‘Very good,’ M. said. ‘This is real karma
yoga as described by Swamiji. If you can
perform this service without any motive, you
will attain knowledge and devotion.’
This encouragement made Tarak happy,
and he rededicated his life to the Vivekananda
Society.
M. then asked me: ‘What do you do?’
I replied: ‘I perform daily worship in the
shrine of the Society and conduct the vesper
service.’
‘You have gotten a very good job,’ M.
said. ‘This work will give you devotion. Look,
flowers have a beautiful fragrance—and you
are offering them to the feet of the Lord. When
you make sandal paste, it generates a sweet
fragrance and you offer that to the Lord. You
are also meditating upon Him in your heart.
Don’t give up this work. One can attain God’s
grace quickly by means of worship. Perform
worship with a pure and concentrated mind,
and then pray and offer yourself at the feet of
the Lord. When one listens to vesper songs,
one’s mind becomes one-pointed and medi-
tation comes automatically. You are doing
marvellous work.’
Many devotees were present. M. praised
our jobs though they were different.
Devotion for Holy Mother
M.’s devotion for Holy Mother was
indescribable. He considered her to be Mother
Lakshmi. In 1931, long after Holy Mother had
passed away, I had an opportunity to go with
M. to Udbodhan, Mother’s house. He brought
a big basket of sandesh to offer to the Master.
We arrived at 9:00 a.m. and entered the room
where Mother passed away, which is now the
shrine. Mother’s bed is still there, as it was
during her lifetime. M. sat near the bed and
meditated for a long time. Then a monk gave
M. prasad and we returned to his residence.
Alone with M.
Early one afternoon (at 1:30 or 2:00 pm)
in 1931, I went to the Morton Institution. I
was then staying at Udbodhan, and almost
every evening I would go to M. to listen to
him speak about the Master. In the evening
he would meditate with devotees in the tulsi
grove on the roof. I would bring my own asana
[meditation carpet], but one night I forgot to
bring it back with me, so I returned at that
odd time to retrieve it. M. saw me.
M. loved solitude so he would stay alone
in the attic room of the school building. But
338 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
18
he also loved to talk about the Master with
devotees. When he saw me, he called out,
‘Please come here.’ I went to his room. He
asked me to sit on his bed and inquired about
my welfare. I said: ‘I have to leave now. There
is a class on the Chandogya Upanishad at
Udbodhan. I need to attend it. I forgot to take
my asana with me, so I came to get it.’
‘Please sit down,’ M. said, but I got up
and bowed down to him. When I was about
to leave, he said: ‘Dhiren, all Vedas and
Vedanta are at the Master’s feet. One can attain
knowledge by meditating on those feet.’
Like a fool, I did not understand the deep
meaning of his words, so I returned to Udbo-
dhan. Later I lamented that I had lost a chance
to enjoy his rare holy company all by myself.
Perhaps he intended to raise my mind to a
higher realm of consciousness, which he did
for one of my friends.
About Ramakrishna’s Centenary
Sri Ramakrishna’s centenary celebration
was to be held from 1936 to 1937. For five
years the Centenary Committee had been plan-
ning to publish a centenary memorial volume
on Sri Ramakrishna. The committee was collec-
ting articles from great thinkers of India about
their experiences with and concepts about the
Sanatana Dharma [Eternal Religion]. Swami
Avinashananda, the organiser of the Cente-
nary Committee, came to M. one day with ano-
ther monk to consult with him about articles
for that volume. I was present at that time.
M. said: ‘The soul of dharma [religion] is
tapas [austerities]. Sri Ramakrishna was the
embodiment of tapas. If you can travel all over
India and collect descriptions of spiritual
experiences from all-renouncing monks, that
collection would be the best memorial volume
on Sri Ramakrishna. The Ramakrishna Order
is based on the austerities of Swamiji, Swami
Brahmananda, and other monastic disciples of
the Master.’
Morton Institution, Christmas Eve 1930, 7:00
pm
M. was seated on his chair and surround-
ed by nearly twenty devotees. A devotee from
Sind had sent a basket of fruit wrapped in red
paper. M. was very pleased, and he showed
the basket to the devotees.
M.: ‘Today is an auspicious day to think
of Christ and the Master. The Master said, “I
am Christ.” Let us first think of the Master
and then we shall be able to understand Christ.
‘Christ had 12 disciples from Galilee and
most of them were fishermen. He was the son
of a carpenter and did not have a formal
education. The Master also said, “I am an
unlettered fool.” They did not teach by virtue
of their education. “A learned ignorance is the
end of philosophy and the beginning of
religion.” Renunciation is necessary.
‘The Master said openly that it would be
enough if people came to him; they didn’t need
any spiritual disciplines. Then the Divine
Mother took him away from this world. The
Master produced butter and gave it to every-
one to eat, without any need for making an
effort. Now he will make us work, and this is
the beginning of spiritual life. The goal is love
for Satchidananda. Love is God. The vision of
God means unconditional love and devotion
for God. There may be one or two exceptions,
but everyone will have to work and practise
sadhana. Krishna said in the Gita (18:11): “It is
indeed impossible for an embodied being to
renounce action entirely.” The goal of action
is to attain love and devotion. Western people
are very busy collecting enjoyments; they will
not be able to preach Christ. The people of the
East will preach Christ. Moreover, he belonged
to Asia. He considered himself to be a lamb;
339 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
19
he surrendered himself like a sacrificial animal.
And he incarnated to take away the sins of
all. By the grace of the Master, I understand a
little of Christ’s message. Is it easy to
understand the words of an avatar? One
cannot understand Christ if one’s mind is
attached to lust and gold.’
M. then opened his Bible and showed us
pictures of the Madonna and Christ, Jerusalem,
and so on. He touched the Bible to his head
and then read from Matthew, John, and Luke.
He read the following sections: Christ’s birth
in the manger; his escape from Herod; the wise
men of the East who found Christ and then
fled; Christ’s preaching; the pure life of his
parents; his baptism by John; and so on. We
left at 9:30 p.m.
Morton Institution, 4 January 1931, 7:30 p.m.
M. was seated with some swamis, devo-
tees, and an English journalist from London
who was curious to learn about God.
M. told the journalist: ‘God incarnates as
an avatar.’
Journalist: ‘Is it true that when a person
becomes one with God, he becomes an avatar?’
‘No, there is a belief in this country that
God comes down as an avatar. Our scriptures
tell us of ten, twenty-four, and again numerous
avatars. Christians do not believe Christ was
an avatar, but we do.’
‘Then godmen are chosen as avatars?’
‘Who would choose?’
‘I have used the wrong words. Pardon me.’
‘Christ is the same as Krishna, Chaitanya,
and now Ramakrishna. He himself says so.
This is the proof.’
‘How do people know whether this or
that avatar is authentic?’
‘If they pray, they will know. Some false
prophets profess themselves to be avatars, but
the sincere devotee recognises the genuine
avatar. You went to Dakshineswar. It is as
sacred as Jerusalem. Prayer is the essential
thing. Pray. Knock and it will be opened. Be
eager.’
‘How should we pray?’
‘O Father, let us know You. Give us Your
love. Make us perfect devotees. Give us eternal
life—true life.’
‘In which way? Praying aloud?’
‘There is no need for that. One may or
may not do it aloud. If one is hungry and can-
not give it proper expression, is one not hun-
gry? The Father knows one’s inner yearning.’
‘How can we have love for God so that
we may pray?’
‘The company of holy people who have
renounced the world will make you feel love
for God. This is the first step towards religion
and the alpha and omega of spiritual life. The
intellect cannot understand all this. Your scien-
tists are engaged in seeking sense knowledge.
A human being’s intellect is feeble, very weak.
Only faith and prayer are needed —these are
all. Depend on His mercy. He will let us know
in time. We are under Him; He is not under
us. We need His grace. If you ask, when one
should renounce, the answer is given in
Christ’s words. Once he asked someone to
come and follow him. The man answered: “A
relative of mine died. I have to bury him first;
then I will join you.” Christ replied: “Follow
me, and let the dead bury the dead.” Worldly-
minded people are truly dead. The sadhus live
real lives. All others are dead. Those people
will take care of the dead. Pray without ceasing
and keep company with holy people.’
The journalist wanted to take a picture
of M., but M. declined. Instead, he presented
the journalist with a copy of The Gospel of Sri
Ramakrishna as a memento. †
OO
340 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Tampering with National Pride
SWAMI HARSHANANDA
Introduction
From the most ancient times Bharata-
varsha or India has laid the greatest emphasis
on the acquisition of knowledge (jnana)
through proper education (vidyabhyasa). In fact,
persons without education have been termed
as brutes (pashu). On the other hand, an
educated person is honoured everywhere.
India had, what may be called in modern
parlance, truly ‘a knowledge society’.
Ancient Indian Education
Education in ancient India was aimed at
preparing the students for the life here as well
as the hereafter. The education was in the
hands of sages, Rishis, who maintained huge
Gurukulas (forest academies) which accom-
modated and imparted education to a large
number of students. These ancient sages paid
equal attention to secular education (anna-
vidya) as well as spiritual education (brahma-
vidya). This was a holistic and complete
approach to education and helped both in
personality development and nation-building.
It naturally helped the recipients of such
training to care for their personal welfare and
also in discharge of their social obligations.
In modern times, Swami Vivekananda
succinctly put this complete ideal of education
as atmano moksha and jagad-hita—‘for one’s
spiritual emancipation and for the good of
others’.
Modern Indian Education
Unfortunately, the educational system
that is in vogue in India today is the very
antithesis of our time-tested ancient values of
life. A product of this system is neither able to
stand on his own feet nor serve the society as
needed. This is because, after political inde-
pendence, our political rulers paid more atten-
tion to the improvement of economy without
simultaneously attempting to improve the
quality and the wisdom of the people to use
that economic progress for the good of all,
through a proper system of education. Even
the excellent survey reports of the various
Education Commissions headed by distingui-
shed educationists were ignored and never
implemented.
Studying Science and Humanities
Science education is needed to develop
our economy and raise the level of our civili-
sation or civilised ways of living. However
Humanities—especially History and Civics,
more commonly known as Social Studies—
are also needed to teach us as to how to utilise
the discoveries and inventions of Science and
Technology for the benefit of the society as a
whole. Without a proper understanding of our
history and civics, our personal and public
lives cannot go on smoothly and effectively.
Here comes the pivotal role of studying
history. Textbooks of history should not only
A senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, the author is the Adyaksha of Ramakrishna Math, Basavanagudi,
Bangalore. He is a versatile speaker and a prolific writer having several publications in English, Kannada, and
Sanskrit to his credit. His monumental work A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism was published in 2008. …
341 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
21
contain an impartial narration of actual facts
as they occurred, but also the critical analyses
of the same to draw proper conclusions to
guide future generations. A proper study of
history helps in expanding our mental hori-
zons.
History Textbooks and Pre–independence
Era
It is now a well-established fact that our
history textbooks had been cleverly mani-
pulated by the colonial rulers and their
henchmen to prove their superiority and
exhibit us in a poor light. That is why Swami
Vivekananda had exhorted Indians to write
their own history, and not believe or depend
upon the ones doctored by alien historians.
Unfortunately, even after attaining political
freedom no serious attempts were made in
this direction, thereby perpetuating a slave
psychology and an inferiority complex in the
minds of the younger generation.
The Need of the Hour
‘Better late than never’—as the trite
saying goes, it is high time that any truly
national Government ruling at the centre forms
a committee comprising experts in the fields
of history, archaeology and Indian Culture to
correct the distortions in the old textbooks and
present facts (based on authentic records and
research) in an undiluted manner.
Looked at from this angle, the honest
attempts made some years ago by the then
Government to revise the textbooks of history
and social sciences with the help of unbiased
experts in the field, and that too in the light of
agreed principles and guidelines framed much
earlier was a welcome step. This resulted in
the publication and introduction of authentic
and well documented history books in our
educational system.
Epilogue
It is really unfortunate, however, that
attempts are being made in certain important
quarters to distort history thereby distorting
the minds of the younger generation. The
effects of such politically motivated distortions
are bound to be disastrous.
We earnestly hope that these wiseacres
will realise and retrace their steps. We better
learn from other nations like the Chinese, who
do everything that boosts their morale and
never do anything that hurts their national
pride. †
India’s Timeless Wisdom

n•|a· ¤nt ºntsta¤ ut¤|n|›–¤|º¤r·¡
nt|¤⁄t nt¤n=tnt ºu= nnn¤mn≤¡¡
Patience, forgiveness, control of mind, non-stealing, inner and outer purity,
control of senses, cultivating sattvik intellect, following the noble path,
truthfulness, and non-anger—these are the ten characteristics of dharma.
—Manusmruti

342 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Mary Tappan Wright:
Swamiji’s first Western Chronicler
SOMENATH MUKHERJEE
The Lady Extraordinaire
On 18 December 1851, Mary Tappan was
born to Eli Todd Tappan and Lydia (Mc-
Dowell) Tappan of
Steubenville, Ohio.
When Mary’s father
Eli Tappan was
born, his father, Ben-
jamin Tappan, was
serving in Washing-
ton as a federal
judge and, as also, in
the US Senate. Eli
got his (Honorary)
A. M. degree in 1860
from Baltimore’s St.
Mary’s College. He practised law under his
father, founded and ran a weekly paper in
Columbus for two years, and returned to
Steubenville in 1848 where, eventually, he
became a Mayor in 1852.
On 2 February, 1854, Eli Tappan deli-
vered a lecture on ‘Arithmetic’ before the
Union Institute of Teachers and Friends of
Education for Jefferson and Harrison counties,
and that changed his career forever. He
became, thenceforth, drawn to the path of
education. In 1859 Eli Tappan was elected as
a professor of mathematics at Ohio University.
After serving there for one year, he went to
the Mt. Auburn Young Ladies’ Institute near
Cincinnati and remained there until 1865. In
fact, in the Mt. Auburn
Young Ladies’ Insti-
tute both the father
and his daughter had
gone for reverse pur-
poses, there the former
was a teacher while
the later was a learner.
During this time Eli
Todd came out with
his book Elements of
Plane and Solid Geo-
metry. In 1865 he was
recalled to the Ohio University, where he
wrote his Treatise on Geometry and Trigono-
metry.
In 1868 Eli Tappan was elected president
of the Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. In
1886 he became the honorary member of the
Association for the Improvement of Geo-
metrical Teaching in England and, in the same
year, had been elected as the State Com-
missioner of Common Schools.
Never in her life had Mary lived far from
an academic environment. This would, even-
tually, have its effect on her creative life.
The author is engaged in research work on the life of Swami Vivekananda under instruction and guidance of the
Swami Vivekananda Archives, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kolkata. …
(Continued from the previous issue. . .)
Eli Todd Tappan Benjamin Tappan
343 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
23
Besides, her background, presumably, never
allowed her to be instantly impressed by
personality or brilliance of common scho-
lastic charisma.
On 2 April 1878 Mary was married to
John Henry Wright, an associate pro-
fessor of Greek at Dartmouth College. The
successive moves in John Wright’s career
include his becoming the professor of
classical philology and dean of the Colle-
giate Board of Johns Hopkins University;
professor of Greek at Harvard University,
and, finally, the dean of Harvard’s Graduate
School of Arts and Science.
Among the places the Wrights lived were
Hanover, New Hampshire, Baltimore, Mary-
land and, lastly, Cambridge in Massachusetts.
At one point of time this couple also lived in
Greece where John Wright served as a
professor at the American School of Classical
Studies at Athens. Mary Wright breathed her
last in Cambridge on 28 August 1917, survived
by her two sons.
Apart from her role as the wife of a noted
academician, Mary was also a writer of emi-
nence during her days. She wrote stories and
novels, and people read whatever she wrote.
A look at her literary achievements deserves
our attention.
Her Prowess
Mary’s first published story was ‘How
They Cured Him’. It appeared in The Youth’s
Companion Magazine on 24 March, 1887. Writers
like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain,
Emily Dickinson, Booker T. Washington,
and Jack London were also contributors to this
particular magazine. Mary’s writings evoked
more attention when she began to write for
the Scribner’s Magazine with ‘As Haggards of
the Rock’ in their May 1890 issue. This was
followed by six more of her stories in the same
magazine which include ‘A Truce’, ‘A Portion
of the Tempest’, ‘From Macedonia’, ‘Deep as
First Love’ and ‘A Fragment of Play, with a
Chorus’.
Later in 1895 these stories were compiled
in her first book A Truce, and Other Stories and
was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, the
noted American publisher. The Scribner’s
Magazine also belonged to Charles Scribner’s
Sons. Afterwards Mary came out with four
novels and more than a dozen other short
stories. Before we talk
about Mary’s novels,
we should look at how
her maiden book was
evaluated in the press.
The Critic, on 20 June
1896, choose to make a
prophetic suggestion:
Mrs. Wright possesses
the qualities which
should go to the mak-
ing of novels rather
than of short stories
. . . The book is by no
means uninteresting.
The style is good, the
plots show ingenuity, and in some instances Mrs.
Wright has a clever way of not telling the whole
story, of trusting the imagination of the reader
to furnish the dønouement.
8
‘A Truce and Other
Stories’—the cover of
the first edition
John Henry Wright Mary Tappan Wright
344 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
24
With unhesitant praise The Independent
on 29 August 1895 wrote,
A book made up of six excellent short stories by
a writer who never does slovenly work. We
hardly know where can be found stronger
descriptive passages or dramatic scenes more
sharply set than in one or two of Mrs. Wright’s
sketches.
9
The New York Observer and Chronicle on
June 13 1895 made no exception and wrote,
This volume of six stories contains a variety
rarely offered by a single writer in so small a
collection. Mrs. Wright possesses dramatic
power of a high order united with keen fancy
and sparkling wit. Each story is admirable and
unlike all of its companions, and together they
make a charming book.
10
Such accolades to a new entrant from
the big Houses unquestionably prove the
author’s literary flair. Her first novel was Aliens
(1902), followed by The Test (1904), The Tower
(1906) and The Charioteers (1912). Like her
maiden story book, the first three novels were
also published by Charles Scribner’s Sons,
while the fourth one had D. Appleton &
Company as its publisher. The New York Times,
while reviewing ‘Aliens’, on 3 May 1902 wrote,
Alien is a novel of more than usual excellence. It
is well written, the characters are well sustained,
and the situation—it is hardly a plot—is one that
calls for much subtlety of discernment on the
part of the author.
11
Later, on 30 April 1904 the same paper
was more appreciative in reviewing The Test.
It wrote that,
Mary Tappan Wright knows her trade as nove-
list. As novelists go she is one among ten thou-
sand. . . Mary Tappan Wright has a keen sense
of humor, good descriptive powers, a good
working knowledge of human nature, an effec-
tive style. She can tell a story well.
12
Mary, as we have said earlier, neither in
her maiden life nor in the succeeding one, had
ever lived far from an academic environment.
This, perhaps, led her to weave many of her
plots within or around the American Univer-
sity life. She even had set her stories in a
fictional college town called Dulwich which
purely was her creation. This Dulwich, it is
said, has an apparent elementary combination
of both Kenyon College and Harvard Univer-
sity. Recently some of the Mary’s writings
were republished in America, viz, Aliens in
June 2007 (Kessinger Publishing, LLC), The
Tower in December 2008 (Kessinger Publishing,
LLC). Besides, collections of her hitherto un-
published short stories have also been
published between December 2007 and
November 2008 (Fleabonnet Press).
The Unmistakable Brilliance
Now to go back to the couple of remar-
kable days that changed the course of Viveka-
nanda’s life, let us see what Mary Wright wrote
to her mother on 29
th
August 1893:
We have been having a queer time. Kate Sanborn
had a Hindoo monk in tow as I believe I
mentioned in my last letter. John went down to
meet him in Boston and missing him, invited
him up here. He came Friday! In a long saffron
robe that caused universal amazement. He was
a most gorgeous vision. He had a superb carriage
of the head, was very handsome in an oriental
way, about thirty years old in time, ages in
civilization. He stayed until Monday and was
one of the most interesting people I have yet
come across. We talked all day all night and
began again with interest the next morning. The
town was in a fume to see him; the boarders at
Miss Lane’s in wild excitement. They were in
and out of the Lodge [the Wright’s cottage]
constantly and little Mrs. Merrill’s eyes were
blazing and her cheeks red with excitement.
345 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
25
Chiefly we talked religion. It was a kind of
revival, I have not felt so wrought up for a long
time myself! Then on Sunday John had him
invited to speak in the church and they took up
a collection for a Heathen college to be carried
on strictly heathen principles—whereupon I
retired to my corner and laughed until I cried.
He is an educated gentleman, knows as much
as anybody. Has been a monk since he was
eighteen. Their vows are very much our vows,
or rather the vows of a Christian monk. Only
Poverty with them means poverty. They have
no monastery, no property, they cannot even
beg; but they sit and wait until alms are given
them. Then they sit and teach people. For days
they talk and dispute. He is wonderfully clever
and clear in putting his arguments and laying
his trains [of thought] to a conclusion. You can’t
trip him up, nor get ahead of him.
13
Mary Wright, at the outset, hinted that
she might have earlier written about the Swami
to her mother. Though a similar letter is yet to
surface, but it has, no doubt, its historical
relevance. Mary’s expression of ‘having a
queer time’ has an apparent superficial atti-
tude, but as we read on the letter, the stress
shifts more to the extraordinariness of the
situation. She informs us that Swamiji arrived
in Annisquam on Friday, i. e., on August 25.
His attire is also vividly described with hint
on the overall impact of causing ‘universal
amazement’. Most probably this ‘amazement’
had its origin on the surface appearance of
the Swami which was so utterly conspicuous
in those days Annisquam. But with her deep
understanding, appreciation and literary flair
Mary Wright instantly took us to the deeper
meaning of the words. She specifies the
Swami’s age as ‘about thirty years old in time,
ages in civilization’. We become instantly
aware of the Swami’s magnetic charm when
she wrote, ‘we talked all day all night and
began again with interest the next morning’.
And what was the immediate impact of such
prolonged company? She described the feeling
as ‘a kind of revival’, and hastily added that
she never had ‘felt so wrought up for a long
time herself’. Her initial assessment had it that
the Swami was ‘wonderfully clever and clear
in putting his arguments and laying his trains
of thought to a conclusion’. She told us that
none could ‘trip him up, nor get ahead of him’.
In her diary on Friday, August 25, 1893
Mary wrote,
Rain—Swami Vivekananda came. Went down
to Wambaugh’s in the evening, his talk mainly
political. Very warm.
14
Swami Vivekananda in America
346 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
With notes and observations kept in her
diary and papers during Swamiji’s stay at
Annisquam, Mary Wright later prepared a
narrative which later got included in the
Swami’s English biography by Eastern and
Western Disciples. Keeping the essence of our
article in mind, we would, selectively, quote
from it,
One day, at an unfashionable place by the sea,
the professor was seen crossing the lawn
between the boarding-house and his cottage
accompanied by a man in a long red coat. The
coat, which had something of a priestly cut,
descended far below the man’s knees, and was
girded around his waist with a thick cord of the
same reddish orange tint. He walked with a
strange, shambling gait, and yet there was a
commanding dignity and impressiveness in the
carriage of his neck and bare head that caused
everyone in sight to stop and look [at] him; he
moved slowly, with the swinging tread of one
who had never hastened, and in his great dark
eyes was the beauty of an alien civilization which
might—should time and circumstances turn it
into opposition—become intolerably repulsive.
He was dark, about the colour of a light
quadroon, and his full lips, which in a man of
Caucasian race would have been brilliant scarlet,
had a tint of bluish purple.
His teeth were regular, white and sometimes
cruel, but his beautiful expressive eyes and the
proud wonderful carriage of his head, the swing
and grace of the heavy crimson tassels that hung
from the end of his sash, made one forget that
he was too heavy for so young a man, and that
long sitting on the floor had visited him with
the fate of the tailor.
. . . He seemed very young, even younger than
his twenty-nine years, and as he seated himself
he covered his legs carefully with his flowing
robe, like a woman or a priest; but the hoary
ancient turn of his thought belied his childlike
manner...
. . . And then, having said his say, the Swami
was silent . . . Occasionally he cast his eye up to
the roof and repeated softly ‘Shiva, Shiva, Shiva!’
. . . And a current of powerful feeling seemed to
be flowing like molten lava beneath the silent
surface of this strange being. . .
His habit of argument was mainly Socratic,
beginning insidiously and simply by a story, or
clear statement of some incontestable fact, and
then from that deriving strange and unanswera-
ble things. All through, his discourses abounded
in picturesque illustrations and beautiful legends.
To work, to get on in the world, in fact any
measure of temporal success seemed to him
entirely beside the subject . . .
When someone suggested to him that Christi-
anity was a saving power he opened his great
dark eyes upon him and said, ‘If Christianity is
a saving power in itself, why has it not saved
the Ethiopians, the Abyssinians?’ . . .
All the people of that little place were moved
and excited by this young man, in a manner
beyond what might be accounted for by his
coming from a strange country and a different
people. He had another power, an unusual
ability to bring his hearers into vivid sympathy
with his own point of view . . .
All the people of all degrees were interested;
women’s eyes blazed and their cheeks were red
with excitement; even the children of the village
talked of what he had said to them; all the idle
summer boarders trooped to hear him, and all
the artists longingly observed him and wanted
to paint him…
Always his thoughts turned back to his people.
He lived to raise them up and make them better
and had come this long way in the hope of
gaining help to teach them, to be practically more
efficient. We hardly knew what he needed;
money, if money would do it; tools, advice, new
ideas. And for this he was willing to die
tomorrow . . .
26
347 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
In quoting from the Upanishads his voice was
most musical. He would quote a verse in Sanskrit
with intonations and then translate it into
beautiful English, of which he had a wonderful
command. And, in his mystical religion, he
seemed perfectly and unquestionably happy.
References
8. Available at http://www.stanford.edu/
~bkunde/mtw/mtw-atruce-
reviews.html>accessed 12 December, 2009.
9. Ibid
10. Ibid
11. Available at http://query.nytimes.com/mem/
archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9E03E4D6103-
DEE32A25750C0A9639C946397D6CF> accessed
12 December, 2009.
12. Available at http://query.nytimes.com/mem/
archive-free/
pdf?res=9D03E2DF113DE633A25753C3A9629-
C946597D6CF> accessed 12 December, 2009.
13. Swami Vivekananda in the West: New Discoveries –
By Mary Louise Burke (Advaita Ashrama,
Kolkata), Volume 1 (July 2000), page 27-28.
14. New Discoveries - Vol. 1, page 29.
15. The Life of Swami Vivekananda – By His Eastern
and Western Disciples [hereinafter The Life]
(Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, July 2006), Vol. 1,
page 406-409.
. . . And yet, when they gave him money, it
seemed as if some injury had been done him
and some disgrace put upon him. ‘Of all the
worries I have ever had,’ he said, as he left us,
‘the greatest has been the care of this
money!’ . . .
15
(To be continued. . .)
Holy Mother’s Daily Routine in Jayrambati
Holy Mother always got up at three in the morning, as was her habit during the
Dakshineswar days, and did not retire before eleven o’clock at night. We have already
given a routine of her daily life at the Udbodhan. At J ayrambati, where she was mistress
of the house, she busied herself with various household activities and at the same time
talked to her intimate attendants. When she was in good health she also took part in the
more strenuous household duties, like scouring utensils, carrying water from the tank, or
husking paddy. The Mother herself made the arrangements for the daily worship, such as
gathering flowers, at which she was sometimes assisted by her nieces or devotees. After
the worship she went into the kitchen and relieved the cook, who would then go out for
her refreshment or to attend to any other personal needs. She herself cooked most of the
food to be offered to the Master in the shrine. I n the afternoon many villagers visited her
with their children and grandchildren to show her their respect, and they always got
something to eat. She generally gave initiation in the morning, and had mail read
to her either in the morning or in the evening, according to her leisure, and
dictated replies. I n earlier days Holy Mother with her own hands served all
the devotees their meals, and she herself ate only after they had finished
eating. Sometimes she worked in the kitchen in the evening in order to
relieve the cook from over-work.
—Holy Mother by Swami Nikhilananda, p.318-319
27
348 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Laws of Karma and Thermodynamics
GOPAL C BHAR
A former professor of physics at Burdwan University, the author is now a research professor in the Ramakrishna
Mission Vivekananda University, Belur Math, District Howrah, West Bengal. …
Two Types of Laws
Human life is guided mainly by two
types of laws: man-made and God-made or
Nature’s.
Man-made laws are envisaged and en-
forced by society to create and maintain social
order, as also to preserve the existing power
structure in society. They are meant for leading
a regulated, happy and peaceful life. As the
requirements in life change with time and vary
from society to society, man-made laws too
are scrutinized and change over the time. Even
for a given sect, family and country, the law
changes with time, requiring new adjustments
and amendments.
God-made laws are, however, different.
God created the world along with certain
physical and biological laws to guide, nurture
and sustain it. Only some of these laws can be
seen and experienced; others await their turn
to be ‘un-covered’ or discovered. These are
the laws that scientists discover by studying
the pattern and regularity at which they occur.
These laws are repeatable, verifiable by any-
body anywhere in the world.
One has the freedom of stepping out of
man-made laws for immediate gain or plea-
sure, but God-made laws cannot be broken.
As they deal with certain fundamental truths
of life, one cannot break them. We use them
for our benefit, but if not properly and wisely
used, they invite catastrophe. Growing threat
to life due to disturbance in environ-
mental equilibrium is a fitting example of what
happens when we violate God-made laws.
Cause and Effect
Man discovered these God-made laws—
and that was the beginning of ‘science’—on
the basis of common human experience. To
begin with, man perceived things in nature,
observed events in different times, and drew
certain conclusions to explain them. They
observed how there exists a cause-effect rela-
tionship behind all phenomena. This relation-
ship is what we call as the concept of causation.
The concept simply states that one pheno-
menon (cause) gives rise to a succeeding
phenomenon (effect). Initially man looked at
the world as space-time but later refined,
reconstructed, and elaborated the concepts for
better understanding. The basis of common
experiences and scientific method rests on the
concept of causality.
The same cause and effect relationship
was found to operate with regard to human
life itself. The Hindus called it the principle of
Karma. Behind all sufferings and joys of life,
behind achievement and failure, life and death,
progress and degradation, everywhere, karma
works. Explaining the meaning of karma,
Swami Vivekananda says (CW, 1.27-29):
The word Karma is derived from the Sanskrit
kri, to do; all action is Karma. Technically, this
349 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
29
word also means the effects of actions. In
connection with metaphysics, it sometimes
means the effects, of which our past actions were
the causes. But in Karma-Yoga we have simply
to do with the word Karma as meaning work. . .
We are all doing Karma all the time. I am talking
to you: that is Karma. You are listening: that is
Karma. We breathe: that is Karma. We walk:
Karma. Everything we do, physical or mental, is
Karma, and it leaves its marks on us. . . Karma
in its effect on character is the most tremendous
power than man has to deal with.
Lessons from Laws of Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a branch of physics
which studies heat energy transfer or exchange
in physical process. Thermodynamics states
that the total amount of energy in the universe
is constant, although energy can be transfor-
med from one form to another. Two laws of
thermodynamics are the most important laws
in physics and other sciences associated with
it.
As both these laws are based on the
concept of causality, they have many commo-
nalities. A comparative study of both can be
of much help to us for understanding life
better.
The first law of thermodynamics is com-
monly known as conservation of energy. It
says that energy cannot come out of nothing.
Energy exists always. It may, however, be con-
verted into different forms such as mechanical,
electrical, magnetic, thermal, nuclear, and so
on. Energy, again, is released in burning fuel
coal, natural gas and wood. All these fuels are
the remains of plants that collected energy
from sunlight during their period of growth
millions of years ago. While burning these
fuels, energy merely gets transferred.
The second law of thermodynamics
governs the direction of energy flow. Material
things are not eternal. Everything appears to
degrade eventually due to chaos (entropy).
Nothing stays as fresh as the day one buys it.
For instance, we have to work hard to tidy a
room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again
easily and quickly. Even if we never entered
it, it becomes dusty and musty. Batteries run
down, machines break, buildings crumble,
roads decay, living things die and so on. Left
to the natural state, all things deteriorate and
eventually cease to function. And that is what
the second law of thermodynamics is all about.
Karma: the Way to Make or Unmake
Oneself
As stated earlier, in Nature nothing is
wasted or destroyed. One thing transforms
into another in a continuous flux. The potential
energy of this universe has always remained
constant. Referring to this, Sri Krishna says in
the Gita (6. 40):
nmW© Z° do h Zm_w à {dZmeÒVÒ` {d⁄Vo
O Partha, there is no destruction for him [for
the doer of good].
This is the law of karma. This is based
on the belief that the world follows a perfect
cosmic order called ritam. This simply means
that what we are at present is determined by
what we thought, said and did in the past.
While what we are thinking, saying, and doing
now will form our future i.e., the law of karma
is simply the law of cause and effect in action
or in motion. If the cause of one’s deeds is
unwholesome, then the effect will be un-
wholesome. Likewise, if one’s deeds are
wholesome, then the effect will be wholesome.
And today’s actions will determine what the
future will be like for us. Hence we truly have
full control of our lives and well-being.
In nature we observe that we reap what
we sow. It is, therefore, apparent that the law
350 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
30
of karma is one of these conservation laws
which operate with mathematical precision.
The conservation of energy means that the
universe keeps a set of books that must balance
for every energy transaction. But this is also
what the law of karma is saying: ‘What goes
around comes around.’
Contained within the structure of the law
of karma is the principle that if one lives a
productive life of meritorious work, one will
enjoy its fruits. If, on the other hand, one leads
a non-productive or destructive life, one must
suffer as a result of it.
If we cause one to suffer, we must suffer
to the same degree and if we bring happiness
to others, we in turn will enjoy happiness to
the same degree they did. This is cause and
effect in action. We create our own karma. It
is the human who plans, creates and causes,
and so it is the law of karma that adjusts the
effects.
Karma recognizes that while each of us
is unique, the wholly isolated individual does
not exist. Each life is intertwined with all of
mankind’s life, through ever-expanding circles
of family, local, national and universal extent.
It is the law of karma that moves to restore
the original status quo of harmony, peace and
equilibrium. This restoration is done through
right actions. So, it is by our own actions that
we are the dispensers of our own gloom and
glory. Hence, all problems in the world are
man-made. We become responsible for our
own action.
The Hindu scriptures categorically assert
that there is a universal record of keeping good
and bad actions of all human beings. The good
and bad karma, and even of thoughts, go to
one’s record and there is no escape from this
so called divine records. At the end of a life a
balance sheet is prepared and the excess of
good and bad karmas is credit in balance. So
every being has to take a birth to enjoy this
credit balance or to suffer for the debit balance
of his previous life’s balance sheet. Once all
the good and bad karmas are balanced, one
becomes free.
Karma and Self-change
Though we are generally familiar only
with ‘result’ as perceived by our senses, there
are some other aspects of karma as well:
First of all, any karma creates a tendency,
an attitude in some form of attachment which
acts as an instigation for a possible future
course of action. The cumulative result of such
tendencies is called a samskara.
Karmas, based on their operation, are
known as sanchita (the karma which we did in
past lives and receive the fruit in this or a
later life) and kriyamaan (that we do in this life
and get the result in the next lives). A part of
sanchita karma is called prarabdha. Sanchita
karma is our guiding genius for good or evil, a
guide that holds us and shadows our move-
ment at every pace, whether we are in waking
or dreaming. Out of this fund called sanchita
karmas, those which are ‘matured’ (i.e., are
ready) start working and are called the
prarabdha karma. They were sown in earlier
life and are presently ripe to deliver fruit in
this life.
Prarabdha karma cannot be avoided or
changed since it is the ‘setup’ for the life in
question. It can only be exhausted by being
experienced. This is like paying past debts. It
is selected out of the masses of the sanchita
karmas. It is the karma of one’s past lives and
we carry from one life to another as our
samskaras. These samskaras manifest them-
selves when one is born and determine key
events in one’s life base like one’s parents,
one’s body, economic status and so on. The
Bhagavad Gita (6.40-41) says that if someone
351 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
31
has done good action, he is rewarded by
having a birth in a pious parents and con-
ducive environment.
The samskaras that one inherits from the
past lives are also responsible for one’s incli-
nations, talents, and other things that make
up one’s personality. One’s likings, abilities,
attitudes and inclinations are based on the
thoughts and actions of past lives. This con-
tinues to guide us throughout our life as also
in the next birth and also life after life. We, of
course, have freedom to change, upgrade or
degrade, in course of our training and
experiences in the present life and shape our
future in this life. Good work will bring good
result, in this life or in next life. But one cannot
undo the present sufferings as it has already
been determined by our prarabdha karmas.
Taking causality in hand, one may
become overconfident of success through only
one’s efforts without stressing the role of
prarabdha. Yet at times events happen without
any apparent cause. One may call it as God’s
grace. So the result coming out of karma is
not so simple but is highly non-linear and
nobody can dictate when and how the effects
of one’s past action would come into play. This
explains the sufferings that we undergo.
Whatever be our prarabdha karma, we
have plenty of scope to upgrade or degrade
ourselves. Human beings, unlike other
organisms, are equipped with viveka, the
discriminative power for adaptation of nobler
ways of thinking and action. How to set right
our lives? By changing the motive behind our
karma. The Gita (4.17-18) classifies karma into
two: akarma and vikarma
Akarma does not refer to not doing
anything. It rather means that one acts, without
a sense of agentship (karta) or authority but
being established in one’s divine nature. Hence
one does not get attached to anything.
The vikarma type of karma, on the other
hand, means doing activities against the laws
of nature. Such karma disturbs the harmony
in nature or society. So much vikarma is being
done by huge number of people all over the
world! It is a threat to humankind because it
affects it in the form of collective karma
(summary of individual karmas). This is mani-
fested as wars, epidemics and natural disasters.
The effect of the law of karma can only
be avoided by those who work without selfish
motives. When the motive of the work is to
work for the benefit of others and not self-
pleasure, one becomes free from the bonds of
karma. That is how one can get rid of attach-
ment and be freed from bondage to work and
its auspicious and inauspicious results.
Causality in Evolution
According to thermodynamics, the natu-
ral tendency of things is to move toward chaos,
not order. When left to themselves, chemical
compounds tend to break apart into simpler
materials. But evolution claims that over
billions of years since creation, everything is
basically moving upward becoming more and
more orderly and complex. This is against the
basic law of thermodynamics.
Swami Vivekananda went one step fur-
ther in clarifying that all these happenings are
under causality. He said, ‘every evolution is
preceded by an involution’. If the law of
conservation of energy is true, one cannot get
anything out of a machine unless one puts it
in there first. It is only a question of change
and manifestation. Evolution is preceded by
an involution. Everything in nature rises from
some fine seed-forms, becomes grosser and
grosser, exists for a certain time, and again
goes back to the original fine form. Everything
is present in its cause, in its fine form. So
beginning in the protoplasm and ending in
352 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
32
the most perfect man, it is manifestation of
what already exists.
The struggle in the animal kingdom is
meant for preservation of the gross body while
in the human plane it is for gaining mastery
over his mind in attaining the state of balance
in the midst of opposing forces. Every being
is a perfect Soul, and the diversity of evolution
and manifestation of nature is simply due to
the difference in the degree of manifestation
of this Soul. At the beginning the intelligence
of the Lord becomes involved, and in the end
that intelligence gets evolved. The sum total
of the intelligence displayed in the universe
must, therefore, be the involved universal
intelligence unfolding itself. This Universal
Intelligence is what we call God.
Conclusion
Everything in the universe is governed
and controlled by the laws of nature. These
laws are always working irrespective of our
knowing them. The more we know of these
laws, the more we will understand ourselves
and all life. By tracing the causation of life’s
manifold manifestations, we may begin to
learn the nature of certain cosmic laws and
abide by them consciously. We can even
employ or tap them for our own benefit and
take proper control and direction of our lives.
By understanding, and applying cosmic
laws in a positive, constructive, and creative
manner we can automatically promote our
spiritual growth and evolution. Suffering can
thus be minimized. If our thought, speech and
action are in harmony with these God-made
laws, our life then will be a life of fulfilment
and bliss. †
References: For Swami Vivekananda’s views on this see The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda Vol 2
and Vol 8 (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama)
‘We Create Our Own Destiny’
We cannot distinguish where heredity ends and where the law of karma begins.
There is some truth in heredity as far as the channel of manifestation is concerned;
. . .parents are channels through which the reincarnating souls
manifest on this plane. . . Now, why will certain souls seek
certain channels and other souls seek other channels? . . . the
law of karma determines it. That is, each will go through the
channel which it deserves, to which it is drawn by its natural
tendency. . . like attracts like. Souls which must gain certain
experiences will seek that environment which will give them the experiences
they need.
We create our own destiny by our thoughts and desires. What we are today is
the result of our past existence. God is not responsible for our condition. We
ourselves are responsible, and if we understand this secret or this mystery of the
soul, then we can mould our future in such a manner that we will never go down,
but will rise higher and higher, until we have reached the goal of our existence.
—Swami Abhedananda,
a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna
353 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
[Letter to Mrs.Sara Bull
2
]
The Math, Belur P.O. Howrah, India
May 17
th
1899.
Your kind letter of April 28
th
my dear G., came yesterday and was a great joy. I
thank you also for the other home letter enclosed, which spoke of Mrs.V.
3
I am sorry, she
had had all this illness but many times we have to gather life and vitality through bitter
cups and that gives us the consolation. Even the best had & will have to do it.
I am glad you had such vivid realisations at Bordighera & promises for future. But
we must not forget that these are but signs calling us to a higher & fuller life. I have not
been able to write as yet to Mrs.Croseby, I am sorry. I have been so hurried. I hope to this
mail.
The Swami V.
4
sails for England on the 20
th
June, per SS.Golconda of the B.I.S.N.line.
The Messegains[?] or the P.&.D. will not take natives at this time of the Plague. What a
curse it is to be a Native of India! But we have shaped our own destiny in this as in all!
The Swami Turiyananda goes with S.V. and I am furnishing him with almost all my
wardrobe, as it fits him and I have no necessity for them for sometime to come, if at all.
Everything here looks not very orderly for my taste or yours either but I am glad
that they have managed to keep everything even up to this point. I am not doing very
much these days but just getting my bearings. I will have enough to do when the Swami
goes. The responsibility is great and I pray I might be equal to it. The Swami is making his
will too for the disposal of the property, in which he dedicates the whole thing to the
carrying out of Sri R’s ideas for the world, and hands over the property to the hands of
trustees, in case of his death. The trustees are all the direct Sannyasin disciples of Sri R.
5
I have been carrying out your advise about my letters (personal). I made a sacrifice,
the first thing on my return, of all the dear letters of yours, A’s & S’s & also of Miss
Macleod’s. So you see I have been very good in this. I hope you will find A & S & yourself
as tractable in this, as I am.
The Mother
6
is well, but still suffering a little from that chronic rheumatism in the
knees. Margot
7
is well too. She has got three Brahmin girls of twenty, seventeen & thirteen
to remain with her. The girls come from the Bombay Presidency. They had tried the Rama
Bai’s school & ‘the widows home’ at Baranagore—but found them wanting.
My friend goes to her pilgrimage on the 22
nd
inst. She will positively ruin her health
& strength, I know but as nothing could be done, except the help of which I have written
you in my last—I am keeping quiet.
Unpublished Letters of Swami Saradananda
1
353 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
354 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
34
354 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
I have not handed over the money £10 = Rs.149-as 2-0 to Mr.Mohini for the
Paramhansa—for the bank here has not acknowledged the two cheques, but only one. I
have written to the Bank today to inquire.
There is almost no plague at this time here. The papers say there is none. Our
plague work
8
has stopped for the present. I have not heard as yet of any work that has
been started by the Paramhansa for the plague. But I will hand over the money, as you
have desired, on my receipt of the acknowledgement of the same by the bank. It might be
an incentive to him to work. Any way I appreciate highly of the noble feeling which
prompted you to offer.
Margot wants to see the fire sacrifice at the Paramhansa’s one day, with Mr.Mohini
– who proves to be very friendly to Margot’s school work. After all the Swami V. did not
go to see Mr.M. as I wrote you in my last. I am thinking of writing to him (Mr.M.) soon
and send the book (James’) for Mr.P.K.Roy. I thank you very much for the copy to myself.
Abhayananda (M.Louise) is still in the same humour almost and staying with
Mr.Mitter – our attorney friend, who is taking every care of her.
The heat has been terrible some days here; but we are having an early monsoon this
year – and the showers have kept the temperature cool and fresh.
The dead Divinity = Dead to the world
to the sufferings of the body – to
the changes that are coming every
moment to the body & mind;
dead also to all fear.
Good & bad, pleasure & pain will ever come as long as we are in the body, but the
resurrected soul rises over them all & remains always the untouched witness. How can he
ever feel that he has been forsaken by God! God is no longer a relentless or a kind father
or mother to him—but diving deep beneath the manifestations of God’s power, which
make God a God, he feels the Self one in him as well as in the God of the Universe, or say
God playing with Himself—doing justice to Himself—killing, slaughtering, favouring,
lifting suffering, saving none except Himself. The so called pleasure & pain loose their
poignancy & sting and thus he can never enjoy or suffer in the same way as we do. But
that which belongs to the world of relativity the body & the mind do & act & feel like
ourselves. Hence it is so very difficult to understand a resurrected soul by his acts & that
is the only sure test we have at our command. Every one sees the dance of the Mother.
9
To some it appears beautiful—to others terrible. We enjoy the first and shrink from the
latter; yet the latter comes, for that too is the Mother! And he alone will attain to the fuller
life, who sees the whole of it—rending the veil of fear that is hanging between us & the
Truth! He sees the dance celestial—the all-loving behind the terrible—and dead to himself
& the world, he becomes the perfect instrument into the hands of both the beautiful & the
terrible—the Mother. That is why Arjuna killed millions after hearing the Gita—a Kaikeyi
355 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
35
Courtesy: Ramakrishna Museum, Belur Math
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0
banished Rama from the realms—a Jesus gave himself up to be crucified in the hands
of the Jews. Again Socrates drank the fatal Hemlock with a discourse on the Soul—a
Buddha entered Nirvana without any flinching and with peace & blessings on his lips.
A relentless God—the appeasing of his wrath by the death of the Son—vicarious
suffering—are all but our terms by which we understand or try to understand and
express the actions of the God-men the resurrected soul. To him there is no deed for all
these, nay he sees not these, for his eyes are fixed on the ever-beautiful—the all-love,
behind this appearance of love & cruelty around and he is satisfied!
Yet vicarious suffering as well as enjoying is true to a certain extent & it does
necessarily contradict the laws of Karma, where each one is made to carry his own
burden.
We do every day in the miniature what the Incarnations do in big dashes! The
mother, the wife, the father, the friend in whatever relation there is a bit of sincere love
between any two—do suffer & enjoy vicariously. The nerves become composed—the
mental strain relax—the drooping soul finds its feet again, before the fresh waves of
unfailing love and is this not vicarious atonement? We know to do it with a few only
while the Incarnations use this power over a great many.
Yet in both these cases it is only a lightening of the burden, but not the taking it
off entirely. We are comforted & strengthened and it seems as if our burdens have
been taken off—but no—there stands the relentless law of Karma and we must pay his
due!
Your idea that the Saviours serve through unfailing love and the pointing of the
way to us—is very true indeed.
The unfailing love of the Saviour sometimes takes the form of apparent cruelty,
as a Jesus cursing the fig tree & scourging the money-lenders—but that is only apparent.
I do not know whether I am clear or not. But I must stop here.
My cordial regards to Mrs.V. and yourself. Remember me kindly to Miss Shapleigh,
if she be there.
I hope this will find you in Norway. May God bless you.
Yours
Saradananda.
355 ~ ~
1. A direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna
2. An American disciple of Swami Vivekananda
3. Mrs. Vaughan, Mrs. Sara Bull's daughter
4. Swami Vivekananda
5. Sri Ramakrishna
6. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi
7. Margaret Noble or Sister Nivedita
8. The Distress Relief done by Ramakrishna Mission
for the victims of plague
9. Divine Mother
References
356 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Swami Vivekananda was a great storyteller. His talks and
writings are interspersed with numerous anecdotes, examples, similes, and
illustrations mirroring his vast knowledge of human nature—its potential and its relative
limitations. Some of these stories are well known, many others are little known. We
present here some more of these insightful stories, selected from his Complete Works.
XXXXXIX
The greatest incident of the war was the
marvellous and immortal poem of the Gita,
the Song Celestial. It is the popular scripture
of India and the loftiest of all teachings. It
consists of a dialogue held by Arjuna with
Krishna, just before the commencement of the
fight on the battle-field of Kurukshetra. I
would advise those of you who have not read
that book to read it. If you only knew how
much it has influenced your own country even!
If you want to know the source of Emerson’s
inspiration, it is this book, the Gita. He went
to see Carlyle, and Carlyle made him a present
of the Gita; and that little book is responsible
for the Concord Movement. All the broad
movements in America, in one way or other,
are indebted to the Concord party.
The central figure of the Gita is Krishna.
As you worship Jesus of Nazareth as God
come down as man, so the Hindus worship
many Incarnations of God. They believe in not
one or two only, but in many, who have come
down from time to time, according to the
needs of the world, for the preservation of
Dharma and destruction of wickedness. Each
sect has one, and Krishna is one of them.
Krishna, perhaps, has a larger number of
followers in India than any other Incarnation
of God. His followers hold that he was the
most perfect of those Incarnations. Why?
‘Because,’ they say, ‘look at Buddha and other
Incarnations; they were only monks, and they
had no sympathy for married people. How
could they have? But look at Krishna; he was
great as a son, as a king, as a father, and all
through his life he practised the marvellous
teachings which he preached.’ ‘He who in the
midst of the greatest activity finds the sweetest
peace, and in the midst of the greatest
calmness is most active, he has known the
secret of life.’ Krishna shows the way how to
do this—by being non-attached: do everything
but do not get identified with anything. You
are the soul, the pure, the free, all the time;
you are the Witness. Our misery comes, not
from work, but by our getting attached to
something. Take for instance, money: money
is a great thing to have; earn it, says Krishna;
struggle hard to get money, but don’t get
attached to it. So with children, with wife,
husband, relatives, fame, everything; you have
no need to shun them, only don’t get attached.
There is only one attachment and that belongs
to the Lord, and to none other. Work for them,
love them, do good to them, sacrifice a hund-
red lives, if need be, for them, but never be
attached. His own life was the exact exempli-
fication of that.
Remember that the book which deli-
neates the life of Krishna is several thousand
The Story of Mahabharata
(Continued from the previous issue. . .)
357 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
37
years old, and some parts of his life are very
similar to those of Jesus of Nazareth. Krishna
was of royal birth; there was a tyrant king,
called Kamsa, and there was a prophecy that
one would be born of such and such a family,
who would be king. So Kamsa ordered all the
male children to be massacred. The father and
mother of Krishna were cast by King Kamsa
into prison, where the child was born. A light
suddenly shone in the prison and the child
spoke saying, ‘I am the Light of the world,
born for the good of the world.’ You find
Krishna again symbolically represented with
cows—‘The Great Cowherd’ as he is called.
Sages affirmed that God Himself was born,
and they went to pay him homage. In other
parts of the story, the similarity between the
two does not continue.
Shri Krishna conquered this tyrant
Kamsa, but he never thought of accepting or
occupying the throne himself. He had nothing
to do with that. He had done his duty and
there it ended.
After the conclusion of the Kurukshetra
War, the great warrior and venerable grand-
sire, Bhishma, who fought ten days out of the
eighteen days’ battle, still lay on his deathbed
and gave instructions to Yudhishthira on
various subjects, such as the duties of the king,
the duties of the four castes, the four stages of
life, the laws of marriage, the bestowing of
gifts, etc., basing them on the teachings of the
ancient sages. He explained Sankhya philo-
sophy and Yoga philosophy and narrated
numerous tales and traditions about saints and
gods and kings. These teachings occupy nearly
one-fourth of the entire work and form an
invaluable storehouse of Hindus laws and
moral codes. Yudhishthira had in the mean-
time been crowned king. But the awful blood-
shed and extinction of superiors and relatives
weighed heavily on his mind; and then, under
the advice of Vyasa, he performed the
Ashvamedha sacrifice.
After the war, for fifteen years Dhrita-
rashtra dwelt in peace and honour, obeyed by
Yudhishthira and his brothers. Then the aged
monarch leaving Yudhishthira on the throne,
retired to the forest with his devoted wife and
Kunti, the mother of the Pandava brothers, to
pass his last days in asceticism.
Thirty-six years had now passed since
Yudhishthira regained his empire. Then came
to him the news that Krishna had left his
mortal body. Krishna, the sage, his friend, his
prophet, his counsellor, had departed. Arjuna
hastened to Dwaraka and came back only to
confirm the sad news that Krishna and the
Yadavas were all dead. Then the king and the
other brothers, overcome with sorrow, dec-
lared that the time for them to go, too, had
arrived. So they cast off the burden of royalty,
placed Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna, on
the throne, and retired to the Himalayas, on
the Great Journey, the Mahaprasthana. This
was a peculiar form of Sannyasa. It was a cus-
tom for old kings to become Sannyasins. In
ancient India, when men became very old, they
would give up everything. So did the kings.
When a man did not want to live any more,
then he went towards the Himalayas, without
eating or drinking and walked on and on till
the body failed. All the time thinking of God,
he just marched on till the body gave way.
Then came the gods, the sages, and they
told King Yudhishthira that he should go and
reach heaven. To go to heaven one has to cross
the highest peaks of the Himalayas. Beyond
the Himalayas is Mount Meru. On the top of
Mount Meru is heaven. None ever went there
in this body. There the gods reside. And
Yudhishthira was called upon by the gods to
go there. (4: 95-98)
(To be continued...)
358 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
Materialism—A ‘Truth at Lower Level’
KRISHNAN UNNI
Higher and Lower Truths
It is a beautiful concept, as well as a fact
of experience, that man never progresses from
falsehood to reality but from a lower truth to
a higher truth. Swami Vivekananda rightly
said, ‘Humanity travels not from error to truth,
from. . . lower truth to higher truth.’ Perception
of truth depends who or how we perceive it.
For example, truth at the lower level is that
which is experienced by our five sense organs.
Truth at the higher level is that which is
experienced by the eye of knowledge (jnana
chakshu) or intellect and intuition.
To understand it further, let us take one
more example—that of moon. As experienced
by our five sense organs, moon is a beautiful
object and standing in its presence is a pleasant
experience. But whenever, we use our intellect
the power of discrimination, moon appears as
an ugly object with rocks and barren soil, in
addition to its life-killing environment. The
same is applicable to the experience of samsara
or transmigratory life on earth. For those
people who have not developed an eye for
knowledge, for them samsara is beautiful and
a pleasant experience, as soft as the body of a
cobra until it bites with or without pro-
vocation. It is nothing but truth that every
experience of the world is mixed with evil and
pain, except the fact that the roles of the victim
and the accused will be reversed and changed
alternately. It is like the case of social violence,
which appears to some as terrorism while
some others describe it as a freedom struggle!
It all depends on how one looks at it—either
from senses or from jnana chakshu.
Matter versus Consciousness
Materialists are those for whom matter is
the primary reality and consciousness is an
attribute or a property of matter. Materialists
are confident that life can be created in the
laboratory by developing matter components
into a highly organised and subtle state. To
them life is, thus, a ‘creatable’ truth. While
this is partially true, this cannot be the true
nature of truth. What is truth? In philosophy
truth is that which exists eternally without any
change. This status can belong to Supreme
Consciousness only. Our great seers (rishis)
experienced and described Supreme Con-
sciousness (chaitanyam) as the very substratum
of the world phenomenon. They further said
that anyone who follows the path they showed
could experience it.
Ordinary consciousness is not a property
of matter, but the reflection of the Supreme
Consciousness in the matter, as in the case of
sun and its reflection in a mirror. Moreover,
matter cannot be considered as the ultimate
reality from the rational point of view. It is so
because ‘matter’ is what our senses perceive;
when the same matter is perceived in a mystic
state of mind (samadhi), it is simply Existence,
which is of the nature of Bliss and Con-
sciousness. Even natural sciences (such as
Mr. Krishnan Unni Pettappallath is a socialist turned devotee from Kerala. …
359 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
39
physics) also point to this fact. They say that
the entire matter can be converted into energy
and all the different energies can be trans-
formed into a single type. This single type
consists of positive and negative types in equal
measure. And if one succeeds in getting them
merged into a single entity it would result in
a vacuum. It is, hence, all commonsense and
wisdom to accept the eternal Supreme Con-
sciousness as the ultimate substratum of life,
or creation itself.
This clearly shows that matter is only an
illusion. And since illusory appearance also
requires a real substratum to get it projected,
the existence of a Reality other than matter
becomes inevitable. This is what the great
Upanishadic seers experienced as Supreme
Consciousness. The rishis also assured that any
person of sharp and pure intellect can experi-
ence the flashes of this reality during the
course of his spiritual quest.
Overcoming Suffering
Freedom is what every man wants. It is
so because freedom or liberation is our true
nature. Materialists also state liberation as their
aim, but through knowing the secrets of matter
and its working. Knowing the workings of
matter will not lead us to liberation though it
will make life more comfortable. Has the great
strides in science and technology made us
happier than our ancestors? Science, techno-
logy and material gadgets cannot liberate man
from suffering because the nature of suffering
is not material but psychological. Nor will
overthrowing of an unequal social system
bring us ultimate happiness. Followers of
Marxian school of thought promise us that
when government, military, police and even
the institution of family (which are the instru-
ments or institutions of suppression and
adjuncts of limitation) cease to exist and when
man will be able to ‘consume’ according to
his need and work, according to his physical
and intellectual capability, man will enjoy
freedom. They say that after the formation of
a classless society, man will enjoy liberation
which is named as Communism and every-
thing else is mere exchange of chains of slavery
from one type to the other. Whether a Com-
munist Society will emerge during the course
of history is a hot subject for discussion.
But its hollowness and ineffectiveness for
totally liberating man from suffering and
feeling of want is a foregone conclusion. First
of all we need to be aware of the fact that it is
not government and other social institutions
(including family) that are the basis of our
suffering but it is the law of cause and effect
(karma) which operates without any consi-
deration of mercy and consideration, which is
the real cause.
Cause and effect itself is unreal as we
cannot distinguish between what is cause and
what is effect, since everything is a cause and
as well as an effect at the same time in relation
to one another.
Conclusion
Finally, a word about the supernatural.
While much of all this is sleight of hand or
simple jugglery, not all are untrue. The Bhaga-
vad Gita (13.5) speaks of Spirit and Matter. It
says that while Higher Truth or Consciousness
is attributeless, the lower truth, or non-self,
(consisting internal organ—antahkarana—and
other attributes) is nothing but matter in gross
and subtle forms. Hence one should not try to
negate supernatural phenomenon.
The real purpose of life, however, is to
know our Being which is of the nature of
eternal Existence, Consciousness and Bliss;
matter is only a reflection of this everlasting
reality. †
360 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~

Vivekananda University
Vivekananda University held its fifth foundation anniversary celebration and the annual convocation at its
Belur campus on 4 July. Professor ECG Sudarshan, former Director of the Centre for Particle Theory at
Austin and presently Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin, USA, was the Guest-in-Chief
and delivered the convocation address. Professor G Bhamathi, former Professor of Physics, University of
Madras, Chennai, was the Guest of Honour and gave away the prizes to meritorious candidates. The General
Secretary, who is also the Chancellor of the University, presided over the meeting and gave away the
certificates, degrees and diplomas to the students who have successfully graduated from the Belur and
Narendrapur campuses of the University. †
Youth Seminar at the Rajkot Ashrama
Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Rajkot, Gujarat, organized a half-day seminar on ‘Channelling Youth Power’
at the VIVEC Auditorium at the Ashrama premises. More than 600 young entrepreneurs, technocrats,
faculty and final year students of engineering and pharmacy colleges in Rajkot took part in the Seminar.
Besides Swami Dhruveshananda, Adhyakshya of the Ashrama, Swami Sarvasthananda, editor of Ramakrishna
Jyot, (the Gujarati monthly of the Ramakrishna Order), Padmashri Dr. Anil Gupta, of IIM, Ahmedabad,
addressed the gathering. Dr. Sanjay Verma, faculty in Computer and Information Systems Group at IIM,
Ahmedabad and Sri Hiranmay Mahanta, Director, Techpediain spoke on the youth potential and the ways to
tap it. Photographs and books on Swami Vivekananda were gifted to the distinguished speakers. Snacks were
served to the delegates. A book stall on Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature was also set up at the venue of
the seminar. †
Ramakrishna Math, Ulsoor (Bangalore) distributed 80,000 notebooks, 13,000 pens, 15,000 pencils,
15,000 erasers, 15,000 pencil sharpeners, 5500 geometry boxes and 2000 slates to 15,497 students of 110
schools and 20 coaching centres in 105 villages of Karnataka. †
Distribution of note books and study materials in village schools in Karnataka


361 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
For review in THE VEDANTA KESARI,
publishers need to send us
two copies of their latest publication.
GREAT SAYINGS WITH ILLUSTRATIONS
Published by Ramakrishna Mission
Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kolkata -
700 029. 2009, Hardback, Pp. 106, Rs.
20.
This attractively brought out
handy book is a remake of the ‘Great
Sayings’, a compilation of quotations from the teach-
ings of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami
Vivekananda. The present publication has the
teachings arranged thematically with pictures of the
Holy Trinity and places associated with them on
each facing page.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘We want healers
of souls rather than of bodies’. The messages
contained in this little volume will fulfil this need:
to go away from the path of narrow worldly living
and find eternal bliss. Religion and even language
are threatened by fanaticism. A reading of the pithy
quotes contained in this book will elevate the mind
from restrictive thoughts. In brief, one learns how
to face challenges in life, what constitute human
weaknesses, the virtues of freedom from bondage
and above all, selfless love and service.
Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi points out that
the chief characteristic of Sri Ramakrishna’s sadhana
was renunciation. The Mother further stresses the
need to keep oneself engaged as ‘only through work
can one remove the bondage of work’.
This small book that can be carried in a
wallet should serve as a constant companion.
_______________________________ P S SUNDARAM, CHENNAI
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA AND SRI RAMA-
KRISHNA IN SRI AUROBINDO’S WRITINGS
A reprint from All India Magazine, September
1993, 2003. Published by Sri Aurobindo
Society, Pondicherry – 605 002. Soft cover,
Pp.48. Rs.15.
The high esteem that Sri Auro-
bindo had for Sri Ramakrishna and
Swami Vivekananda is reflected in
the writings of the revered saint. He
has relied on their utterances and
actions to substantiate several spiri-
tual and philosophical truths. These
have been collated and published in
this booklet.
As a venerable spiritual leader in his own
right, Sri Aurobindo explains how the avatara and
the vibhuti (reference to Swamiji), were instrumental
in the revival of Hindu religion as a self-assertive
force, no longer defensive. Sri Aurobindo writes
about Swamiji’s voice that enthused him while in
prison. Sri Ramakrishna as the last avatara, was
unique as he realized God in ‘His illimitable
variety’. Equally important is the lesson that the
goal of personal salvation should be put on hold
until the sorrows and ignorance among humanity
are removed.
Sri Aurobindo finds in Swamiji’s upanisad
story about two birds, a relevance to the bondage
India suffered from foreign rule till we realized we
had brought the misery ourselves and that we could
enjoy freedom. The episode of Narada with a yogi
of complaining nature and with a joyful bhakta,
and Swamiji’s response that silenced the Pundit at
a Madras meeting are among other interesting
views.
_______________________________ P S SUNDARAM, CHENNAI
LECTURES ON THE GITA
By Sri Vidya Svarupanandagiri Swamiji,
translated by Prof. C. Ramaiah.
Published by Sukha Brahma Ashramam, Sri
Sukabrahma Ashram Road, Swami Vidya-
prakashananda Nagar, Sri Sukhabrahmashram
P.O., Sri Kalahasti – 517 640, A.P. 2008,
hardback, Pp.725, Rs.165.
362 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
42
One always wonders at the
universal appeal of the Bhagavad
Gita. This remarkable scripture
has been interpreted and reinter-
preted by Acharyas and scholars
alike for more than 2000 years and
yet how many new ideas, and
new books, it continues to inspire!
The book under review is a
translation of the lectures on the
Gita delivered in Telugu by Sri Vidya-
prakasanandagiri Swamiji. These lectures were
taken down as notes by his disciple Brahma-
chari Gopal, now known as Sri Vidya Svarupa-
nandagiri Swamiji, and have been translated into
English by Prof. C. Ramaiah. The book begins with
a learned foreword by R. Balasubramanian, former
Chairman of Indian Council of Philosophical
Research. Sri Vidyaprakashanandagiri Swamiji’s
illustrious life and the various service activities that
he started are detailed in the initial pages.
One will not find all the Gita verses explained
here. The swami takes up one chapter and deli-
neates the main ideas in it with the help of verses
and stories drawn from various sources. The
parables of Sri Ramakrishna are also used abun-
dantly. So also references to Purnanic stories and
anecdotes help one understand the abstruse
concepts easily. Be it Arjuna’s despondency, or the
nature of true dispassion, or overcoming trappings
of ego and desire, the explanations in the book are
quite lucid and simple yet profound.
One really admires the swami’s vast reper-
toire. The irony of Indra wallowing in mire as a pig
and refusing liberation from that state is effectively
narrated. The alert Dattatreya learning a valuable
lesson from the ocean, a Moslem saint’s unique way
of teaching his disciples, story from Oliver Gold-
smith’s ‘Vicar of the Wakefield’ are all used to em-
phasize the ideas of the Gita. The book abound in
Swami Vivekananda’s quotes, and often the
explanations revolve around the need for instilling
values in children, developing national awareness
and pride in Hindu culture.
The reader will find a step by step progression
of ideas pertaining to the four paths to liberation
or the four yogas. Explaining the verse, manmana
bhava madbhaktah madyaaji maam namaskuru, the
swami says, Sri Krishna is aware of human failings
and therefore says the easiest way is to surrender
oneself to the Lord with the awareness that He alone
can uplift the devotee. It is inevitable that the
aspirant be strong willed for otherwise he cannot
undo the trappings of Maya. The Upanishads also
have said, naayamaatma balahinena labhyaha and
Swami Vivekananda reiterates this saying, ‘Strength
is life, weakness is death’. The mind needs to be
subdued and trained by all means whatsoever and
this is the ultimate aim of all sadhana. In moments
of weakness we pamper the mind, get enslaved by
its cravings, and soon ruin ensues. Krishna warns
us several times and lists the qualities that are to
be developed by a true seeker.
The book is never harsh in its admonishing
the ways of the ignorant and the book is quite
positive in its approach. Reasonably priced, the
cover page of the book is quite illustrative of the
popularity of the author. The book would have
gained more acclaim if the errors in language and
spelling had been carefully edited. It is, however, a
valuable work for getting introduced to the Gita.
The book also is significant for those interested in
wanting to learn how ideas in the Gita can be
related to other texts.
________________________________ SWAMI ATMAJNANANDA,
ADVAITA ASHRAMA, KOLKATA
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
By J.P. Vaswani
Published by Sterling Publishers
Private Limited, A- 59, Okhla
Industrial Area, Phase II, New
Delhi - 110 020, 2006, paperback,
pp.176. Rs.100. (Available at Gita
Publishing House, 10, Sadhu
Vaswani Path, Pune - 411 001)
There are some very pertinent
questions which have been bothering the human
beings for centuries: Why do problems arise in life?
What are the solutions to life’s problems? Why does
the world seem so cruel and unfair? Why is there
so much suffering and misery? Who can provide
answers to such perplexing questions? Who and
what will help to put things right? It is to all such
questions and many more that Dada Vaswani’s
reply is: ‘You alone can make a difference and it’s
all a matter of attitude.’ And how is it so? The
stories in the book under review provide the answer
to most of the problems plaguing our mind. Dada
363 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
43
J.P. Vaswani belongs to the sacred lineage of India’s
spiritual tradition. These stories are culled from
Dada’s elevating discourses, books and articles.
They are about self-improvement, positive thinking,
creative visualization, spirituality, inner strength,
inner peace, inner freedom, goal-oriented life, value
of Satsang and holy company, the law of Karma,
charity, faith in compassionate God, the powers of
the mind, spiritual growth, and about spiritual
values like love, compassion, kindness, selfless
service, and brotherhood. Each story is just two
pages long, but full of inspiration and motivation.
The fascinating stories show the power of thought
in action, speak about the spirit that is beyond the
mind and convey the message that we cannot
always change or control our external conditions,
but we can certainly bring changes into our inner
world, which will in turn affect our actions,
reactions and also our external world.
For instance, a very interesting story is told
about a little girl, Isis Johnson, whose act of collec-
ting food for hungry children by moving door to
door gave rise to the mighty Isis Johnson
Foundation, which is instrumental in distributing
food, clothes and other necessary items to thou-
sands of people in the United States. Indeed, this
and other stories clearly bring home the profound
truth which would otherwise take a whole sermon
to expound! Dada is an apt, matchless storyteller
par excellence. The readers will surely enjoy his
lively, delightful style and will derive inspiration
to do something worthwhile in life.
___________________ DR CHETANA MANDAVIA, JUNAGADH
STORIES FOR CHILDREN AND ALSO
FOR TEENS
By J.P. Vaswani
Published by Sterling Publishers
(P) Ltd. A-59, Okla Industrial
Area, Phase II, New Delhi - 110
020. 2007, Pictorial Paper-
back, Pp.51, Rs.85. (Available
at Gita Publishing House, 10,
Sadhu Vaswani Path, Pune - 411 001)
In a global context where both parents are
working and independent living has separated
generations into a compartmentalized way of life,
where are the grandparents to tell a story to the
little ones and light in them flames of goodness,
rectitude and truthfulness? When Sister Nivedita
came to India, she found such story-telling a
priceless instrument for moral education and so was
her immortal classic, Cradle Tales of Hinduism born.
That was a hundred years ago and Indian writing
for children has never looked back. Among the
most prolific in this area have been the fascinating
books of J.P. Vaswani.
The art of telling a story to children is the gift
of the Divine, for children are indeed ‘flowers in
the garden of God-consciousness’ (Sri Aurobindo).
They will respond only to the sunlight of a divinely-
illumined raconteur. We have one such in J.P
Vaswani who takes off with the sannyasi who
realises that it is best to rely on the Divine always.
The need to reject dark thoughts, the patience of
Malik, the three secrets of success, the sterling faith
that makes Krishna your confidante and Tukaram’s
compassionate heart are some of the messages
contained in the tales. ‘The Wisdom of a Poor
Woman’ is brilliant. An atheist proud of the way
the places of worship were being systematically
pulled down after the Russian Revolution was at
last humbled by an old lady: ‘You may close down
temples, churches and mosques, but you cannot
extinguish the stars. Every star bears witness to the
truth that God is.’
That takes us to the Pole Star Dhruva to recog-
nise the value of steadfast faith, and meet other
familiars from legends including Gautama Buddha,
Bhartrihari, Angulimala, Frederick the Great and
Milerepa. Here are wondrous pictures by Ashok
Nayak and Baladev Moharatha that make the sto-
ries come alive on the pages! The kindly cobbler get-
ting a vision of God in the poor woman’s face as
she sits with her babe; the wit-and-wisdom of Akbar
and Birbal; and the housewife who learnt to make
her days meaningful on the advice of the author.
Of course Aristotle looks like a Professor from
Oxford but that transformation too is welcome!
25 Stories for Children is a wonderful gift for
all seasons.
____________________________PREMA NANDAKUMAR, TRICHY
TATTWANUSANDHANAM
Engilsh translation by Prof. R.Sankari
Published by The Kuppuswami Sastri Research
Institute, No.84, Thiru.Vi.Ka. Road, Mylapore,
364 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 ~ ~
44
Chennai - 600 004. 2008, hard-
back, Pp.292 + xxx, Rs.300.
The book under review is
an exposition of the philosophy
of Advaita in a well defined
manner. The post-Shankara
manual is a systematic presenta-
tion made by the author Maha-
devananda Sarasvati, contain-
ing four well-elucidated chap-
ters. The author himself has written
a commentary by name Advaitacintakaustubha. In
both of these works the essentials of Advaita
doctrines are well exemplified. All the darshanas
of Indian philosophical tradition uniformly deal
with the three major issues of soul’s bondage, its
release with the assistance of the Ultimate Reality
and the means to achieve the objective. The other
tenets are associated with the above main doctrines.
The systematic presentation of Advaita is about
Brahman, and maya or avidya. The absolutistic and
identity views of Advaita are recognised and
analysed in the realm of intellectual scenario.
Prof R. Sankari, the editor and the translator
of this grand work, deserves appreciation for her
lucid presentation, elegant expression and excellent
exemplification. Her deep erudition and mastery
over the subject matter viz., Advaita philosophy,
are reflected in every passage of the translation.
The Reality viz., Brahman is constituted of existence,
consciousness, bliss, infinitude, etc. The note on the
explanation of the term ‘tat’ by the author (p.10) is
really remarkable. The primary meaning of the term
‘tat’ is the nature of consciousness conditioned by
maya, while the secondary meaning is the disso-
ciation of maya from consciousness. To this view
the editor substantiates that since Brahman is
attributeless and blemishless, it can neither be the
material cause nor the efficient cause for the world.
Hence there is no transformation for Brahman but
only transfiguration.
The entire gamut of Advaita doctrines are
discussed and described through the method of
purvapaksa siddhanta (countering the opposite
views). The views of other Indian darshanas are
presented and refuted before authentically,
asserting the advaitic ideologies. The classification
of asceticism, experience and other aspects of
Advaita system are really informative and worth-
while. The author profusely quotes from his
predecessors like Vidyaranya, Patanjali and others
and refers to works like Mahabharata, Brahma Gita,
Upadesa Sahasri and Bhagavad Gita, either to refute
the alien views or to strengthen the chosen theme.
On the whole, the revised edition of Tattvanu-
sandhanam is a text of grandeur which will be a
boon to causal readers for information, to research
scholars for clarification and to the authorities on
Advaita for illumination and enlightenment.
__________________________ R GOPALAKRISHNAN, CHENNAI
I

THE BHAGAVAD GITA
Translation by V.Panoli
Published by The Mathrubhumi
Printing & Publishing Co.Ltd, M.J.
Krishnamohan Memorial Building,
K.P.Kesava Menon Road, Kozhi-
kode, 673 001. Email:mbiclt@
mpp.co.in.2003, Hardback, Pp.
856 + xxii, Rs.430.
ALAMKAARASHAASTRA
By Shatavadhani Dr. R.Ganesh,
English Translation by Prof.
M.C. Prakash.
Published by Bhavan’s Gandhi
Centre of Science and Human
Values, #43/1, Race Course Road,
Bangaluru - 560 001. 2010, paper-
back, Pp. 231, Rs.100.
Books Received


T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University
(Declared by Government of India under Section 3 of UGC Act)
PO Belur Math, Dist Howrah 711202, West Bengal
Phone: (033) 2654 999 / 2654 3503; Fax: (033) 2654 4640
Email: rkmvubelur@gmail.com; vivekananda.university@gmail.com
AN APPEAL
45
Swami Vivekananda once prophesied, ‘Now, the aim is to gradually develop this [Belur]
Math into an all round university.’ Ramakrishna Mission’s newly established University at Belur,
inaugurated on 4 July 2005, is a humble first step in this direction.
The uniqueness of the University consists in (i) the emphasis on certain ‘thrust areas’ which
are also ‘gap areas’ in that these areas scarcely receive any attention in the conventional
universities in India, (ii) the multi-campus character of the University—it operates through a
wide network of specialized Faculty at the various branch-centres of Ramakrishna Mission some
of which have been working in these areas for decades, (iii) the inculcation of higher human
values in our attempt to realize Swami Vivekananda’s vision of value-based education forms the
essential component of all the courses run by the University.
Some of the courses and programmes being offered at present are:
(i) B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses as well as M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in Disability
Management and Special Education
(ii) Courses in ‘General & Adapted Physical Education and Yoga’ including Special
Olympics meant especially for mentally retarded children—the first of its kind in Asia by any
University
(iii) M.Sc. courses in Integrated Rural Development and Management (IRDM) as well as
Integrated Rural and Tribal Development (IRTD)
(iv) Postgraduate Diploma course in Agro-based Bio-technology
(v) Diploma courses in ‘Integrated Self-Development’—Essentials of Indian Cultural and
Spiritual Heritage, etc.
(vi) Integrated M.A. course in Sanskrit, taught fully in Sanskrit medium, in gurukula spirit
with free food and accommodation; M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in Sanskrit Studies
(vii) M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Bengali Literature and Language Studies, doctoral and post-
doctoral programmes in Ramakrishna-Vivekananda philosophy and thought, Translation
Studies, Consciousness Studies etc.
(viii) M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, M.Phil.
and Ph.D. programmes in Theoretical Physics
We urgently need to create a sizeable corpus fund—at least 25 crores in the next couple of
years—to strengthen the foundations of the University and make it grow further. We therefore
appeal to all the friends, devotees, followers, well-wishers and admirers of Ramakrishna-
Vivekananda ideology to contribute generously for building up such a corpus fund. Donors to
the University will enjoy 100% exemption from Income Tax under a special provision—Section
80G, subsection 2(a) (iiif ) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, as notified by the Ministry of Finance,
Government of India.
Belur Math, 1 October 2009
Swami Atmapriyananda
Vice Chancellor
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0
The Ashrama has been running a free hostel for the poor, underprivileged and orphan
children from classes V to X since 1936. There is an urgent need for repair and renovation of
the old buildings and also creating a corpus fund for maintaining the hostel of 100 children,
providing them with food, uniform, accommodation and study materials free of cost.
We appeal to the generous public and well wishers to donate liberally for: 1) Hostel
Corpus Fund and/or 2) Hostel Renovation Fund, which are exempt 100% from Income Tax
under 35AC.
An Endowment of Rs.1 lakh and above may be created in memory of the loved ones.
Donations towards other activities of the Ashrama- Daily Puja, Charitable Dispensaries,
Celebrations, Maintenance etc. (General Fund) are exempt from I.T. under 80G.
Cheques/Bank Drafts/M.O. may be drawn in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Advaita
Ashrama, Kalady and sent to the above address.
Donors from foreign countries can send their contributions online to our F.C. A/C No.
338602010005806 while the Indians can send to the I.C. A/C No.338602010009164 at Union
Bank of India, Kalady (IFSC Code: UBIN0533866).
SRI RAMAKRISHNA ADVAITA ASHRAMA
(Hqs.: Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math)
P.O. Kalady, Ernakulam-683574; Ph: 0484-2462345. E-mai1:srkaadv@dataone.in
Swami Amaleshananda
Adhyaksha
Madras or Chennai is associated with the
Ramakrishna Movement from its inception.
Swami Vivekananda, Holy Mother Sri Sarada
Devi, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Rama-
krishnananda and several other direct disciples
of Sri Ramakrishna have visited the city of
Madras on different occasions. The first
monastery of the Ramakrishna Math was started
in Madras in 1897.
The present book is a compilation of details
of these visits from various books and articles,
giving a focused and comprehensive picture of
chain of events associated with the great
disciples of Sri Ramakrishna.
Paperback, Pages 282 + vi
Price: Rs. 50/- +
Postage: Rs. 23/- per copy
No request for VPP entertained
Published by
Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore,
Chennai - 600 004
New Release
46
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0
Personality development is the key to all
progress and happiness. Swami Vivekananda said,
‘Men, men these are wanted; everything else will
be ready’. In other words, he wanted men with a
well-developed personality, full of all noble virtues
such as sincerity, unselfishness and purity of heart.
How to Shape the Personality describes
various aspects, methods and ways of Personality
Development. Contains 30 thought-provoking
articles by monks and lay writers, actively
involved in teaching and implementing different
aspects of Personality Development.
Paperback, Pages 352 + vii
Price: Rs. 70/- + Postage: Rs.25/- per copy
No request for VPP entertained
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math,
Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004
New Release
Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari are two of
the most well-known pilgrimage centres in south
India. This is a first-hand account of two of India's
great sacred shrines on the sea shore, with details
of their legends, and religious and historical
significance, particularly in relation with Swami
Vivekananda, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and
other disciples of Sri Ramakrishna.
Paperback, Pages 104 + vi
Price: Rs. 30/- +
Postage: Rs. 20/- per copy
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Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math,
Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004
New Release
47
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0
Swami Brahmananda (1863-1922)
was a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna
who regarded him as his spiritual son.
Also known as Raja Maharaj or simply
‘Maharaj’, Swami Brahmananda was the
first President of the Ramakrishna Or-
der. A man of deep meditative tem-
perament and down-to-earth wisdom and
humour, Maharaj quietly carried the
mantle of guiding the fledgling Rama-
krishna Order in its first 21 years and
also provided spiritual guidance to nu-
merous spiritual aspirants, monastic and
lay, who came in touch with him. This
book is a compilation of their reminis-
cences and personal accounts culled from various sources.
The book has six appendices, glossary, introductory notes about the
contributors and is illustrated with around 100 photographs.
Hardbound, Pages 588 + xii
Price: Rs. 200/- + Postage: Rs.35/- per copy
No request for VPP entertained
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math,
Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004
For Online orders: www.sriramakrishnamath.org
48
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 49
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math,
31, Ramakrishna Math Road, Mylapore,
Chennai - 600 004
Pages xxxiv + 589
Price for single copy:
Hardbound Rs. 200/- + Postage Rs 30
Paperback Rs. 150/- + Postage Rs 25
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Fulfilling a long-felt need for having a translation of Sridhara Swami’s
gloss (Tika) along with the original gloss in devanagari script, it is the
revised edition of Swami Vireswarananda’s English translation of Srimad
Bhagavad Gita. The previous edition, with its simple and lucid language,
was quite well-received by scholars as well as general readers. That edition,
however, had only the translation of the gloss. The present edition also
contains the original Sanskrit Tika in devanagari script.
In addition, provides the references (verse
number, chapter and the name of the source
book) to the quotations cited in the Tika, along
with their translations. All references to the
Gita verses appearing in the Tika are also
suitably cited. In order to facilitate search, an
index to the Gita verses and the words ap-
pearing in the Gita verses in Sanskrit has been
added at the end.
Sr Sr Sr Sr Srimad Bhag imad Bhag imad Bhag imad Bhag imad Bhagavad Gita avad Gita avad Gita avad Gita avad Gita
With Sridhara’s Gloss
An invitation to drink deep at the eternal spring of
Bhagavad Gita presented through these pages!
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 50
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0
NAVAJEEVAN BLIND RELIEF CENTRE
‘We can attain salvation through social work’
– Swami Vivekananda
K. Sridhar Acharya
Founder/ President
1. Navajeevan School & Hostel for Blind Children – Tirupati & Orissa
2. Navajeevan Free Eye Hospital – Tirupati
3. Navajeevan Free Home for Aged – Tirupati & Rishikesh
4. Navajeevan Harijan Sewa Ashram – Kothapeta
5. Navajeevan Sharanagati Vridhashram – Tirupati
6. Navajeevan Orphanage – Parlaki Mudi [Orissa]
7. Navajeevan Rural Medical Centres - Berhampur [Orissa]
8. Navajeevan Eye Care Centres - Serango [Orissa]
A Humble Request for Donation
1. Sponsor one day Annadan to Blind Children and aged – Rs. 5000/-
2. Sponsor 5 IOL Cataract Eye Operations – Rs. 7000/-
3. Sponsor one blind child or Orphan child for one year – Rs. 6000/-
4. Sponsor one poor aged person for one year – Rs. 5000/-
5. Sponsor one free eye camp at Rural/Tribal area – Rs. 50000/-
6. Vidyadan—Educational aid for one Child – Rs. 2000/-
(FREE HOME FOR THE BLIND, ORPHAN AND AGED)
TIRUCHANOOR, TIRUPATI - 517503. Ph : 0877-2239992, 9908537528 [Mob.]
E-mail: navajeevan@sancharnet.in Website: www.navajeevan.org
An Appeal
31 Years of Service to Humanity 1979 - 2009
Donor devotees can send their contributions by cheque/DD/MO to the above address on
the occasion of birthday, wedding day or any other special occasion and receive prasadam of Lord
Balaji Venkateswara of Tirupati as blessings.
Contributions to NAVAJEEVAN BLIND RELIEF CENTRE, Tirupati are eligible for Tax
Relief U/S 80G of Income Tax Act.
51
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 0 52
The Vedanta Kesari Regd. with the Registrar of Newspapers for India
under No.1084 / 57. Postal Registered No. TN / CH (C) / 190 / 09-11
Licenced to Post WPP No. 259 / 09-11
Date of publication: 26th of every month
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Teach yourselves, teach everyone his/her real nature, call upon the
sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will
come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that
is excellent will come, when this sleeping soul is roused to self-
conscious activity.
—Swami Vivekananda
Subscription (inclusive of postage) Annual : Rs. 100 10 years: Rs. 1000
Contact: Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. Website: www.chennaimath.org