What SUPERMAN is this exhibition about?
The kaleidoscopic worldly scene driven freegreedspirit from a This exhibition is a simple narrative of a by born and strive traditional village, and parents so self-sufficient, and broad Is speckled with naturally launched him on to live ‘The Ideal’. minded who her fearless sons who stay the harmful drive. In everyFrom Kheragachi land courage Villagecountersign gloomy vale of and Baruipara is the in Satkhira that,Subdivision of Khulna District in Bangladesh to Calcutta –
Deogarh – Belur - Bhangamora near ArambaghThey the sprits in our veins enliven like wine. Jeduba island,
Far, far across this glorious land those tranquil heroes Narendrapur to Calcutta(Golpark) and abroad this life scripts clean, the struggle for the freedom of the soul. Love sweeps down their karmic path and penetrates within. Encouraged by his school headmaster, he choose the bold Themissionary paththis silent breed, theVivekananda and lived people know enunciated by Swami land they sublimate the life of a disciplined sanyasi of the Ramakrishna Order for Attest the carnival of life, the daily battle scene.
Burma - Cherrapunjee – Deoghar – Pathuriaghata –
profit of the people and advantage of nations.
Scornful, misguided, hot and bleak the sweltering Why is this exhibition being done? columns press. When ignorance simulates disdain, victory is To learn, be inspired and to identify with Swami suppressed. Lokeshwarananda who achieved ‘The Ideal’. When discontent hankers a material feast and power seems bliss, How is the Ideal exhibited? It is the cause, the cause, my soul, that rises above all ‘The ideal’ is depicted in three phases of development in the this. Ride, brothers, ride! The fateful hour has come. the Narendrapur, blow or be forever dumb. Let all the conks of India Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. The Superman has burst his bonds with Dharma’s flag 1. LEARNING THE IDEAL unfurled, With prayer on lip he marches THE IDEAL 2. LIVING forth, awakening the world. The pious creed that love is might in him personified Bids all to bend before and satiate Mother’s pride, Which, nourished on Swamiji’s dream of empire unconfined, With love for all he prods us forth as liberators of mankind.
person of Swami Lokeshwarananda the founder Secretary of
3. PROPAGATING THE IDEAL
A Sanyasi’s Mother “- You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.” - Gibran Mother, Shikharbasini Bandhyopadhyay was adapt in Bengali and Sanskrit literature. She could read English too. A gifted singer she composed verses that were much appreciated at her afternoon soirée with ladies of the neighborhood where the Purans, Bhagbat, Ramayan, Mahabharat etc were studied. Her beautifully hand written manuscript of poems covering several notebooks were lost during the partition. Maharaj was greatly influenced by his mother. He fondly remembered their enjoying the same books together page by page. Once mixing curds, sandesh and sugar his mother said to Kanai, “You will become a sadhu, I know. You will not give me anything. You will not even observe the feeding rituals (Hindu rites attendant to cremation). So feed me now. Then Kanai making balls of the food mix, fed her saying “Eat mother”. Kanai then a bramhachari on a visit to his mother asked her, “Mother are you afraid to die?” His mother replied. “Afraid of what? Why should I be afraid to die?” His mother was at the time
Father Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable. - Gibran Father, Basanta Kumar Bandhyopadhyay of Baruipara village, was a religious person who worshiped his own mother. Over six feet tall, he was a strong, brave, and handsome man. A successful contractor he not just expanded his inherited property but was generous enough to give away over a hundred bighas of his paternal inheritance to his brothers. Very liberal minded he was easily approached by the weak and poor people, cutting across cast and religion. Maharaj remembered seeing a Muslim woman running to him for shelter chased by her husband, knife in hand. On another he observed his father shelter a Muslim dacoit from the police. Struck with diabetes at the early age of thirty, Basantakumar’s health broke down early. He initiated young Kanai before he was fifteen into the responsibilities of his business and property. Kanai as a result spent months away from home with his father and thus frequently missed school. Basantakumar died of typhoid when he was just forty years of age. Kanai then 17 years old had just finished school. Perhaps to enable Kanai to take on family and business responsibility his certificate age had been increased by two years. Maharaj remembered his loving father who doted on him, combing his hair. Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,…?
Childhood Boyhood “Your was well are not your children. Gentle: Kanaichildren mannered, studious and hardworking. Much was expectedarehim even then. Even as a boy when oncelonging of They of the sons and daughters of Life's accused for havingitself.”a pet pigeon he cried in frustration rather than deny stolen the false charge. Background: Swami Lokeshwarananda the third child Expressive: His schooling born onat the Aprilof eight at Hakimpur. amongst six, was started 19th age 100 years ago, seven Two years later he his futureDey InstitutionVivekanandaBaruipara years after went to B hero Swami at Tala, near had his fathers village. Here he studied ShivapadaV to Class IX passed away. Christened from Class Bandhyopadhyay learning English besides Bengali and propertied and highly he belonged to a well to do, Sanskrit. He could express himself clearly in Englishof Kheragachi Village in a gold medal for respected family in Class VI and even won Satkhira an essay entitled ‘Loyalty’. He made the point that Indians should Subdivision of Khulna District in Bangladesh, then a part accept of Britishof the British Kings to rule. the right India. Decisive : In 1925, 16 years old Kanai on a village was pure uncle Village life: Days at his maternal vacation with his joy. in Rangpur District got himself admittedneighbors Kanai was Well loved by his relatives and to Class X at Lalmanirhat school. It was the headmaster of thisof his mother who first greatly under the influence school, Sri Srishchandra Sanyalacquainted him of thethe Puranic stories. Maharaj him a direct disciple with Holy Mother, who used to tell storiesremembers his grandmother as an many of whom were of Sri Ramakrishna and his disciples, excellent cook who living at the time and encouraged him to become ahe was ill with out fed him the choicest dishes even when sanyasi there. Returning home by train Kanai first decided to visit Calcutta to the least bad effect. obtain Strongly independent he would not be cajoled to sleep a darshan of Swami Shivananda Maharaj at Belur Math. Hardworking: He matriculated From Lalmanirhat within in 1926 with his grandmother or mother. He resisted, remarking with the highest score in thetheir smell. won a gold medal. He girl that he did not like school and Once a neighboring secured letter marks in a number of subjects includingslapped. who came to sympathize in his illness was Sanskrit.
Youth (1928 – 31) Yearning: Kanai cycled six hours on his own seeking his way to Belur Math from Khidirpur. He finally arrived there after 4 PM and pleasantly surprised Swami Shivananda Maharaj who made much of him. Kanai was however quite dumbstruck. Enthralled by the affection he received he returned the very next day. Responsibilities: On Swami Shivananda’s admonition to the affect that he was not at liberty to ignore the wishes of his parents he returned home to Kheragachi. Kanai then 17 years old assumed family responsibility due to his fathers illness and early demise. He returned to Calcutta and got admitted at Bangobashi College and put up at a rented room atop Srimani Market. Influence: Weekdays at Bangobashi College and weekends and holidays at Belur Math, Kanai had the fortune to meet Swami Akhandananda, Swami Vigyanananda, Swami Subodhananda and Swami Abhedananda. He was also blessed with a close encounter with Sri M the writer of Kathamrita and Gyan Maharaj - a lifelong Bramhachari inspired by Swami Vivekananda. With the help of his acquaintances at Belur math he could at last approach Shivananda Maharaj for Diksha. Involvement: During scarcity Kanai fetched food supplies for his home and articles for family members from Calcutta. At his village Kanai commanded a man twice his age not to behave badly with his mother when her daughter asked for help. Kanai leads a satyagraha movement involving his family, mother and aunts included. An honored village guest having betrayed a satyagrahi to the police was told to leave the village by Kanai. He himself escorts
Swadeshi turns Sanyasi Group leader: While in College Kanai naturally gravitated toward the swadeshi movement of the time into which he led his whole family including his mother and aunts. His home at Kheragachi became a local centre of the movement. He became actively involved as a group leader to such an extent that he gave up his college studies deciding to return only after India attained freedom. At one time he was even thrashed by the police. A change of heart: He then attracted the attention of certain leaders who wanted him to join in their violent struggle and insisted that he keep a revolver. This he declined preferring the nonviolent path. He returned to Calcutta after a year only to find the movement in tatters and was disillusioned. Some believers in a violent struggle again wanted him to join them and even threatened to kill him but finding him unafraid to die and adamant in perusing his own ways let him go. Graduation: Now a frequent visitor to Belur Math he desired sanyas. In view of this he decided to obtain his college degree. Supported by his English professor and College Principal he could sit for the exams. In 1931 he graduated from Bangobashi College of Calcutta University under the shelter of Adaita Ashram “And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.” - Gibran
The path his mentors inspired Swami Shivananda Maharaj: “Though we may not voice our ideas and sentiments loudly in newspaper articles, we are actually accomplishing things, not through politics but in our own way. Mahatmaji is working out similar ideas through politics. Just as we are doing things at home because we are interested in India’s welfare so are we doing things abroad because we are equally interested in other races and other countries. Of course in view of peculiar circumstances and conditions, our plan of activity varies in different places. Every monk of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission established by Swamiji is dedicated to the ideal “For ones own salvation and the good of the world” and is engaged in service according to the injunctions of the Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.” Gyan Maharaj’ A disciple of Swami Vivekananda who on his instruction never took sanyas but maintained exemplary bramhacharya lifelong. An institution unto himself his only concern was the country and society. Never pessimistic, always positive. He insisted on going forward in spite of all opposition and was adamant that the truth would win in the end. He initiated Kanai into being proactive through distributing booklets in college and at Sealdah Railway station. Swami Sardeshwarananda ‘Nalini Maharaj’ A disciple of the Holy Mother who took Kanai under his wings on his first visit to Belur Math. He initiated the concept of Pathuriaghata Students Home and requested Kanai Maharaj to take over its administration at a time when it had shut down due to rank indiscipline.
[Type sidebar Bramhacharya: content. A sidebar isDeogarh of the page, or It is often at a standalone supplement to the main document. It wasaligned on the left or right that located at the top or bottom. Use the Text Box Tools tab to change the BELUR (1934-36) Maharaj started of the sidebarFirst as a paid formatting work. text box. sidebar is Hard labour: Called to Belur as a part of a the teacher he Type sidebar content.often aligned a standalone supplement page, or worked to Afund his left or right of the to sisters main document. It is on the located to form a study top or bottom. marriageschemethen sidebar textUsegroup Box newtab to change the and at thethe anotherthe Text of Tools per formatting of box.] year as recruits to te Order, Kanai was without any the desire of hisappointment fund an two years. boss, to for nearly inmates particular education. Next yearinhe did not seek his He did odd jobs the kitchen from cutting vegetables to carrying sack full a permission. He was initiated as of mangoes on his head from Belur station in 1933. Bramhachari Subratachaitanyato the
Ashram. Sometime he was called upon to Studenthelp teacher: Inwithshort period of & Bharat Maharaj a his correspondence. just two years he was recognized as an
efficient teacher. The next period year at Devine education: This one was really Deogarh spent in the most fruitful education in he came under the influence of proximity of brilliant discussions, arguments Swami Jagadanandaji and Swami and debates amongst the senior sanyasis. Satprakashanandaji from whom he learnt The anchor man was Swami Suddhanandji. to study Bhutesharanandaji the 10th President was the Upanishads. “Study the then a participant along with Kanai Maharaj. Upanishads on your own, without the commentaries. Its difficult but thisthis time Shouldering a heritage: It was at way that Sri M passed away. Bramhachari Kanai you will be able to internalize what you learn”. cried to get permission to attend. He ended Belur Shivananda his Gurusave when away. It was “- urge is blind passed there is knowledge” - Gibran then at Swami Asokananda’s behest that Kanai Maharaj was called to Belur much against the wishes of Swami Gambhirananda, then secretary of Deogarh and Swami Jagadananda.
up able to shoulder the last passage of Sri calls:the crematorium. M to It was in 1934 that Swami
Bhangamora near Arambagh - 1935 “- knowledge is vain save when there is work” Gibran [Firsthand experience: In 1935 he was sent to do relief work for flood affected people of Bhangamora near Arambagh. This was his first major assignment. He beheld the desolation brought about by floods. People stayed atop trees, even giving birth to babies there. Rescue: On one meal a day he went around providing food and rescuing marooned people. Next he helped to setup their lives. After nearly a year, successful and satisfied, he returned to Belur. Recovery: Down with malaria on his return journey, he was in turn lovingly restored back to health. Kanai Maharaj remembered being lovingly taken care of by an elderly monk and asking for a ‘batami lebu’ when asked if he desired anything special. His difficult wish was fulfilled. “And all work is empty save when there is love;…” ” Gibran
Jeduba island, Burma - 1936 “Think of the problems and sorrows of others to forget your own.” - Swami Madhabananda Relief: Earthquake ravaged Jeduba, populated by tribals and descendents of exiled prisoners of the British empire was an isolated island of disrepute where people moved around armed with guns and knives. The locals engaged in criminal activity, considered being jailed as the first step to manhood. Animosity to Government representatives had led to suspension of relief work. Team leader: Belur Math was approached for help and had accepted the challenge to take up relief work in this hell of violence and destruction. Kanai Maharaj was selected to lead a team of three sanyasi, three bramhacharies, two doctors and seventeen volunteers to carry out relief work. He proceeded alone with a letter of introduction first to Chittagong and then to Arakan, pestered all the way and across the border by the police and CID on suspicion of disruptive activity. At Arakan joined by Swami Punnananda, they were welcomed by the District Magistrate and proceeded immediately for Jeduba. The following day the rest
CHEERAPUNJI 1936give but to share” : The very first thing that “Not just to (Dec) -1940 Maharaja not prevail? In what can resolution fail? What “In what can wisdomdid was to call together the local people who generally went What cannot enterprise put through?” – cannot adulation subdue? about armed with guns and knives. At this first meeting he told them – “We have come hearing of The Panchatantra your great misfortune. We want to serve you. We can Sent to Cheerapunji in Dec you permit us to and cooperate withby serve you only if 1936 to rejuvenate a school started Ketaki MaharajThese simplestarted his work‘Umang’ a local man us.” in 1931, he words worked. with a contribution of just Rs 10/- from thehim a room to set up camp in the outer part of provided Shillong Math where Swami Bhuteshwaranandaji The friendship that grew between Umang and his house. was then Secretary. He found aMaharaj lasted for years.and only one competent teacher. school with 31 students In the first Keeping a cool head: The very first night they were three months he learnt the Khasi language. He then engaged with the local people in ‘Khasi language’, andbut it turned visited by armed tribals. All were frightened set about building the school. Within a year blocked nose. This beingHard he out that the chief had a he got Government aid. fixed work impressed the back happy Public Instruction to such a degree, returned Director of and sent them food supplies. as to obtain a sizable aid. This improved the schools fund position Thereafter every thing went smoothly. The party divided and it prospered thereafter. two groups and took to building themselves up into houses, supply of food, but morality and bravery. ”No religion for you, my children,clothes and utensils besides No cowardice,attending to the sick and sanitation issues for the next six no sin, no crime, no weakness; the rest will come of months. Their excellent service was reported in the press itself. ...” Swami Vivekananda and Bramhachari Kanailal becoming Mr B.K. Lal was Well loved, Maharaj rarely used to cut jokes himself but enjoyed a much commended. good repartee. “What else can you expect?” replied a little girl on Courage: At the immersion of your sister.” He kept being called a little witch. “I am after all Durga a boatman was targeting years Punnanandaji. Kanai Maharaj although remembered even 30Swami after when he was there to resolve a dispute on the youngest stood up in anger and told the boatman to water supply to the school and sought after by people stop. The of him. who had only heard man stopped his rude behavior at once. In 1938 when at Cheerapunji he was called to Belur for his Bramhacharya diksha ceremony and named Subratachaitanya by Swami Vigyanananda.
DEOGARH – (1940 – 1944) The natural choice: Sent to Deogarh with the mandate to better the standards of the school, Kanai Maharaj set about it by initiating strict discipline. Never restricting himself to just advising and instructing, he participated as well. Sportsman: A keen sportsman he loved playing football, cricket and volleyball with students and teachers. He modernized the education system in Deogarh bringing in good teachers and even after he had left, took a leading part to get the school affiliated to the Central Board. “tying a race horse to a hackney coach”: Regarding Kanai Maharaj, Swami Madhabananda the then secretary of the Math declared “Its like tying a race horse to a hackney coach, both suffer.” It was alike with some subordinates when he was himself a secretary as it was when he was working under superiors. A desire fullfilled: In 1944 he obtained his sanyas from Swami Birjanandaji Maharaj. Observing a list of Sanyas names to be given to the aspirants, Maharaj mentally desired the name Lokeshwarananda for himself and was pleasantly surprised when it was allotted to him. “The Gods befriend a man who climbs determinations height.”
PATHURIAGHATA – 1946 (May) A dream turned sour: Pathuriaghata students home a brainchild of Swami Amriteshwarananda & Swami Sardeshwarananda was conceived as a place to house young intelligent students, victims of the Bengal famine of 1942 – 43, at the time of the 2nd World War. Poorly managed and following series of changes of secretary, the administration had lost its grip and the home was soon plagued with indiscipline and unruly behavior. Except for a single student of Class VIII all had been sent home. “ Mother am I so unworthy that you send me to a place that nobody wants?” For Kanai Maharaj, the appointment as Secretary of the place, was a disappointment. He cried to the ‘Holy Mother’, but accepted gracefully after a personal request from Swami Sardeshwarananda to whom he was much indebted You shall learn how to work; Not for greater skill in education; Not for greater craft in administration; Not for triumphs in the office, and repute among the brethren; But for profit of the people; For advantage of the nations.
[Know when to say ‘NO’.Taking charge of the Students Home he informed the guardians of the old inmates that they would not be taken back. He then advertised that he would take a few poor but intelligent students. The winning of friends: Although without the means he desired to take students without fees and fend for them. The cost of maintaining a student at that time was Rs 30/- pm. Friends favored him through a gentleman he met on a train. A number of them rallied around him to provide monthly contributions that enabled him to pull through. Fortune favors the brave: Money was always in short supply and means few but support arrived from unexpected & strange quarters. The Indian Records society disposed off a lot of foodstuff free of cost besides some furniture and material very cheap. (Some clocks still at Narendrapur) Help also came from other sources. Seeking the Gods: As the Students Home grew from one to two buildings, the student number also increased. India became independent and refugees poured in from East Bengal. Maharaj now had a team scouring Sealdah Station for student inmates.
A man can gain his ends, though difficult with aid of friends, Get friends, and feel those friends to be integral with prosperity. The Panchatantra Friends provide: The Students Home were all along helped by the families of Kanailal Ghosh & Pranshankarbabu. The latter’s wife was well known to the inmates as ‘Mejoma’ brought cooked food for them. The Refugee Centre now started providing Rs 200/- to 250/- per student per month. Hirendra Saha a childhood friend of his provided funds to add a 3rd floor to the building. Maharaj approached the treasurer of the Bengal Relief Fund, Sri. Bhagirath Kanoria and obtained a monthly contribution. As the number of students further increased the acquaintance of Dr D N Sen the Education Secretary an ardent admirer of the Ramakrishna Mission proved helpful. With a Government grant of Rs one lac and another Rs 50, 000/- from Belur, a neighboring house was purchased and more space acquired. 160 students were thus accommodated. “The goddess Fortune seek as home the brave and friendly man, The grateful, righteous soul who does each moment what he can. Who regulates a sturdy life, upon an active plan” – The Panchatantra Life in a crowded locality was not quite suitable for the students educational requirements. Maharaj searched for land and the means to purchase the same. On the spur he made an appointment and met Mr D. Chatterjee Joint Secretary, Refugee Rehabilitation Department thinking to ask for Rs 33,000/-. On listening of his work and plans to house 200 students and even before he could ask, he was told that only five lac was available. At that moment Sri Meherchand Khanna the Departments Minister walked in. Rs. 4,80,000/- was sanctioned. This grant provided the financial capital for NARENDRAPUR.
Austerity: At the Pathuriaghata Ashram where he was the OUR FOUNDATION OF LOVE secretary he never had a room to himself. The whole day he spent in with tenderness; At a time at night financial condition Sowing seeds his office that doubled upwhen our to serve as a restwas poorroomration unavailable or meager there were many deprived students and he shared with two other sanyasis besides any one else who required sleeping every the only ceiling fan. also to in the Ashram. Maharaj used undermeans to get funds andHis bedget us consisting cost to colleges. and little funds was kept rolled up admitted free of of a mat, sheet With pillow that and space he not just atop held the to Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda inclothes were lantern but a on office cupboard during the day. His the light of a kept with student. taught us to do the same. Small pleasures & a refined taste: to was happy enough with Manifesting the perfection in man: He used Heread to us from the Gospel a simple meal of spicy hot lentil soup and beautifully explain of Sri Ramakrishna or the Katho Upanishada (Dal) spiced with raw it to chilies, loved these coriander besides so that they could develop us. The boys tomato andinformal sessions andboiled ladies fingers and theirpotatoes with rice was enough to send him arrange debatesHe personality he used to initiate discussions and onto raptures. on satisfied himself with several helpings. “This is hot Barisal various subjects. cookery” he pronounced “quite unlike the rather sweet fare of Embodiment of Strength: An inmate at Pathuriaghata, Meghuda quite West Bengal.” He had none the less a refined taste and fascinated by the way Maharaj walked used to watch him regularly as he appreciated rarities like a cuisine of catfish with kochu. He never marched out of the hostel to the bus stand at Pathuriaghata. “Just watch failed to praise a cup for good tea. him. He walks like a General”. “Man making, character building assimilation of ideas” Love personified: A quiet dignity, loving nature, immense tolerance besides a wonderful spirit of sacrifice and austerity. All this together with a positive attitude and ability to work hard, Swami Lokeshwarananda was love personified. Wholehearted feeling: He could feel intensely for others while those around him would compete for his affection. He was so totally impartial that each of us thought that Maharaj loved him the most. Not only could he love, he also knew how to extract love. His love and affection for us was so complete.
Extra Sensory Perception [Visions: As a boy Kanai used to have visions of the various deities. He spent a lot of time in the ‘Ram Mandir’ temple at Karagachi. Here the image of the Lord was believed to be potent. This image was removed to India after partition and established at Maslondapur near Kolkata. Kanai Maharaj used to visit the diety here even in his old age. He took leave of the Lord a few days before he departed. Destiny: Both his parental villages were in the Jamindari of Mathurababu the son in law of Rani Rashmoni. Sri Ramakrishna and his nephew Hriday had once accompanied Mathurababu on a visit to the locality to resolve some property disputes had walked through the village and even sung under a Bael tree in the vicinity. Maharaj was thrilled to believe that Thakur had come out in search of him. Telepathy: Speaking of Swami Shivanandaji (Mahapurush) Maharaj he observed Although he used to remain in his room in Belur his being there was felt everywhere. Again if any question arose in his mind in his attendance it would be resolved either in some discussion in his presence or in answer to some question asked by someone else. He often felt Mahapurushji glancing at him from within a crowd of admirers and vigorously shaking his head in affirmation to some question that had arisen in his mind. Spellbinding: Some time in 1950 in front of the University building on College street a person dressed like a sadhu transfixed Kanai Maharaj with a stare and suddenly called out to him by his family name. With an effort Maharaj got out of the trance and then berated the sadhu who had tried to hypnotize him. Miracles: Maharaj remembered numerous instances, when at a loss to obtain funds for the next meal for his students, it would suddenly materialize in the form of a donation, contribution or some other support. A neighbor once handed him Rs 20/just as a couple of his students came asking for money to purchase food. At another time direly in need of Rs.2500/- for the weeks rations, a contributor put in four years subscription of Rs.2550/- all at once since he would be abroad for 4 years.
Narendrapur “To love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret” A grant of nearly 5 lac and the backing of the minister Sri Meherchand Khanna proved a boon. Land was purchased near Sonarpur and with the blessings of Belur Math named ‘Narendrapur’. With the Ramakrishna Mission now established at Narendrapur in 1958, Kanai Maharaj named the first building Bramhananda Bhawan. His students shifted here from Pathuriaghata. A house built with affection - A large stadium on one end and a temple on the other—Narendrapur has grown into a hub of activities related to the grooming of our countries human resources. A Herbertian Town - This, his wonderful creation bears testimony to the wide range of his socioeconomic interests and ability to think big in the sphere of education. Not satisfied with just the best school and college he chose to provide educational facilities to the blind, technical education in Automobile engineering, Poultry and Dairy farming. He reached out to rural India with initiatives in education & health and innovations in agriculture & lifestyle changes through the Lok Siksha Parishad. “Wisdom broods over the inception; Memory does not fail; Means appear to predilection; Council wise prevail;…”
Integrated development: Under his inspiration the Lokasiksha Parishad initiated activities like adult education, children and women’s education and organizing youth for community development, skill development and up gradation. Emerging as a premier community development institute of the country. its members were groomed and are now the leaders of their communities in different parts of the country. Through it he infused the national youth programmes of India—the NSS and the NYK with the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. Further he built up a method of modernizing agricultural pursuits keeping in view the changes that the farming community would have to cope with. The man making, character building industry: One passenger to another in a bus pointing to the boundary wall of the Ashram – “ What factory is this ?” “O, don’t you know this is where human beings are made. They have such marvelous technicians. Creating Leaders: Maharaj understood what work suited each of us and used to distribute not only responsibility but power accordingly. He pulled together a team of workers and empowered each one of them. He liked them to work independently and without fear. He was remarkably keen on efforts made by others and never failed to praise & encourage them. Never openly critical he would quietly provide positive ideas as to how a job could be better accomplished. That he won hands down at any open election of the Order provides ample evidence of the
Distinctive “Lead us, O Father, in the paths of peace” Educationist:
With tremendous faith in the principles of education enunciated by Swami Resistance: From religious superstition of the ignorant masses to the Vivekananda of marched forth. With vigor selfish mechanizations of political overlords he intellectual he literally put into practice the principle of pretensions and their hanger-on’s, RKM Narendrapur has been “everything positive and nothing negative” plagued by both. and introduced a modern ‘Gurukula’ as a Facing the Mob: Maharaj hadsystem of ‘man-making’ accused the to face local mobs who visualised by Swami Vivekananda.
Ashramites of kidnapping children for sacrifice on one hand to ignoring the plight of the poor ‘Complete and comprehensive workers on the other. He countered education’ all around. both with such positive action that won heartsHe was after a that would
create opportunities for all to be ‘good, An epitome of divine love, Swami Lokeswarananda with heavenly efficient and responsible’. He therefore wanted and enthusiasm to thousands smile between his lips, radiated energyto create opportunities for such young people to excel in different who sought refuge in him. disciplines ad founded the Commercial Institute for secretarial practices with Winning Hearts: He won the hearts of his neighbors through active computer skills, the Junior repairing support in rebuilding their school, bathing ghats, besides Technical School for technical grooming of those who were their places of worship. In addition he provided education for their not fit for higher general education.
children and employment to the needy.
Ensuring academic, mental, Eggs for Education: Even the poor funded his projects. A lady who psychological and spiritual growth
sold fuel dung for a living gaveof young men intoeggs worth twohe a couple of duck world leaders founded the Residential College in rupees to Maharaj for his “precious project” as she understood it1960. It is “to educate her grand children”.today rated as A+ by the NAAC.
Blind Boys’ Academy: Moved by the
determination and capacity of a young blind student, Maharaj founded the Blind Boys’ Academy for those without vision such that their intelligence could be chiselled by education to convert them into dependable and skilled citizens.
“I dream that one day this will become THE VIVEKANANDA UNIVERSITY”
Strike The headyGOLPARK& 70’ change was in the air. Strikes and late 60’s Exceptional Administrator bunds wereDefender off the faith: The Instituteafter institution the order of the day. Institution of Culture was A strict administrator with a strong including established discontent since its shifting to Golpark in troubled by companies succumbed to volatile trade thrust on discipline and the 1960. The founder Secretary who as been removed unionism. Tension griped the Ashram toohad its workers was maintenance of rules he was none-thefollowed by two others who had left in disgust, the last supported by some teachers formed calm. He could handle a union and went on strike. less tranquil and
suggesting that the centre be handed over to the an out than the situation the sweetness hand with No compromise: Other of founderschool all was departments no Government. The Secretary recalled but to and understanding. compromise. Backed by were effected Boromaharaj wouldout of hand. As discontent and avail as the situation was not his school student and supported by their parents were withheld A lively farewell: A student besides most indiscipline boiled and Government grants asked to following a suicide, Maharaj was appointed Secretary in leave the flag flying. of the teachers, he kepton disciplinary grounds went with 1973 to bring a turn about. leave of Boromaharaj. his father to take Struggle: The agitation continued for over a year and then “OnceMaharaj not breach,adear more siege of overmet them but asked the only months in once Several climaxed into a virtualintolunch. Throughfriends 1968.more, …” them a a lively He came withto band of thoroughbred followers of ashramites venturing outside for supplies were beaten lunch,the conversation in maintained bring up by Narendrapur with faithhe in themselves toover about a agitators. Publiche made it amply clear as to how the opinion built up following the excellent results turn around. There was no looking back. As at of the 1967 batch inspite ofinstigators werethe strike was lifted Ashram was agitation from the Narendrapur, the thesustained firmly dealt with, while outside. In parting he said sheer will power, the agitators were turned around by theto the boy “I Victory: The leaders had backed out. Narendrapur Ashram led wish I had you hard work and love knownout asbefore.” He by Swami Lokeshwaranandathat Maharaj inspired. to the faith stood a beacon, blessed them and told them not to “Love breaks barriers”: He to other their pay, regularized of Sri Ramakrishna andas only good wouldinstitutions.showed worry an example come of it. respect through celebrating the foundation day of the Both leftrestored but at the Winning the Peace: with the familiesspirits. cost of school was in high of the employees. The Queen Institution discipline and Maharaj’svisit, when questioningwascleanness of Encouraging As Maharaj the hospitalized of Norway on a health. independent thought for severalthe Institution in comparisonsent home to attend to weeks, the work: He used the encourage and and students were to to outside was initiated their exams. Both character andbe done independently. on the allow work to health the inmates felt for the ‘sense of belonging’ that were restored with Institution. intensive care. So far as providing encouragement he had no equal. He could dream big and taught his students to dream big. He showed many the way to walk the path of fulfillment.
“Sparkles fruitful meditation; Mind attains its height; Joy attains its consummation; In a worthy fight.” Welcome All: Under his initiative the doors of the Institute of Culture opened to welcome the ordinary people of Kolkata. Men and women, young and old flocked to hear his renderings of the Kathamrita with interest. Self help at 80: At Golpark Maharaj never could bring himself to ask a young Bramhachari who brought in tea to switch off the room light when he left. Day after day and year after year he got up to switch off the light himself. Silent notes: Maharaj made notes of his studies in note pads. He had several such notepads from which he prepared for his famous lectures at Golpark. One day all of them went missing. Maharaj knew who had removed them but chose to remain silent.
Speaker Extraordinary Amongst the intelligentsia of the city, Maharaj was well known as the best orator of Kolkata. His lectures particularly on the Kathamrita were attended to such overflowing capacity that arrangements had to be made outside the hall on two floors. They were moreover regularly publicized by the newspapers, radio and television. An extempore speaker he was none-the-less nervous before his lecture and concerned about how it would turn out. Exceptional Missionary He worked heart and soul to establish ‘harmony of religions’ through the ideas of ‘Practical Vedanta’ not only in India but in the world at large.He embedded Sri Ramakrishna in the hearts of the people who could get close to him. “We limit ourselves when we see our selves as Hindus, Christians or Muslims, Man is infinite.” A two minute interview asked and granted on the spur of the moment by the Pope turned out into an hour long conversation followed by a request for a 15 minute Vatican Radio lecture. He spoke on Indian Christianity. His audience was thrilled to a truly holy sight when the Pope gave ‘Darshan’ with Swami Lokeshwarananda at his side. A man of Religion in Communist USSR he was receive by the Secretary of the CPU. A man of Religion in Communist WB he was highly respected by Chief Minister Joyti Basu who always stood up when he entered and never failed him when approached. Two ministers had to back track on their political mechanizations to destabilize an educational unit and a Hospital run by the Mission.