J

anuary 2011
January January January January January 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011
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 1
Editorial
Sowing the Right Seeds 2
Articles
„ Bhuvaneshwari Devi: The Great and Noble
Mother of Swami Vivekananda 7
Swami Tathagatananda
„ Sri Ramakrishna, the Kalpataru 13
Swami Amareshananda
„ Understanding Maturity 19
Swami Sunirmalananda
„ Holy Mother’s Four Visits to Orissa 24
Swami Tannishthananda
„ An Approach to Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita 30
Dharitri Kumar Das Gupta
Reminiscences
„ Reminiscences of Master Mahashay 11
Mahendra Kumar Chaudhury
New Find
„ Unpublished Letters of Swami Saradananda 17
The Order on the March 37
Book Reviews 40
Features
Simhâvalokanam (The Tenth Guru)—5, Sri Ramakrishna Tells Stories—29
VOL. 98, No. 1 ISSN 0042-2983
CONTENTS
Cover Story: Page 4

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1
The Vedanta Kesari
Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004
h hh hh (044) 2462 1110 (4 lines) Fax : (044) 2493 4589
Email : mail@chennaimath.org Website : www.chennaimath.org
2
N You can subscribe to The
Vedanta Kesari from any month.
N On your address slip, the
number on the left of the first
line of address is your subscri-
ption-number. Always mention
this in your correspondence.
N If you do not receive your copy
by 2nd week of a month, please
intimate us. Complaints reach-
ing us before this or after one
TO OUR SUBSCRIBERS
month (for overseas subscriptions,
two months) of posting of the
journal are not entertained.
N To ensure continuity, please
renew your subscription well in
advance.
N For fresh subscriptions, re-
newals, placing advertisements
in The Vedanta Kesari, please
write to The Manager, The
Vedanta Kesari Office. †
Annual 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
‰
India Rs.100 Rs.290 Rs.475 Rs.1000
‰
Other Countries
All overseas dispatch by Air Mail. Rs.1500 Rs.4500 Rs.7500 ---
Please send your subscription to The Manager, The Vedanta Kesari by DD/MO
drawn in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. Payments/donations can be made ONLINE
using your Master or Visa Cards. Please visit our Website.
Vedanta Kesari Subscription
Rates (inclusive of postage)
We invite our readers to liberally contribute to the Vedanta Kesari Permanent
Fund. This will go a long way in placing this nearly 100 years old magazine on
firm financial footings to continue its service to the cause of a holistic and
meaningful life. Your contributions (minimum of Rs.1000/- or US$ 25) by Cheque/
DD/MO should be sent to Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai, along
with a covering note stating that it is meant for Vedanta Kesari Permanent Fund.
Every contribution will be gratefully acknowledged and the donor’s name
will be published in the Vedanta Kesari. All donations to Sri Ramakrishna Math
are exempt from Income Tax under section 80G of the [Indian] I.T. Act, 1961.
We accept online donations also.
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 3
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 4
Swami Vivekananda’s Statue at Chicago, USA
Installed in July 1998, this 10-foot bronze statue of Swami
Vivekananda is located at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in
Lemont, Illinois, USA. It was unveiled in an elaborate cer-
emony, by Swami Atmasthanandaji, the then Vice President
(and the present President) of the Ramakrishna Math and
Ramakrishna Mission, in the presence of over 2000 devotees
and admirers. The statue is installed on ‘Vivekananda Hill’, a
hillock in the temple compound, which overlooks the main
entrance. It may be mentioned here that during America's bi-
centennial celebrations in 1976, the National Portrait Gallery of
the Smithsonian Institution included Swami Vivekananda among
the 29 eminent foreign visitors described in its book, Abroad in
America. †
DONORS
Doddiganahalli Ramakrishnaiah
Family, Bangalore Rs. 50000
SL.NO. NAMES OF SPONSORS AWARDEE INSTITUTIONS
4512. A Devotee of Sri Ramakrishna Kamatchyammal Matriculation School, Cuddalore - 607 001
4513. -do- Sri Varantham Govt. Hr. Sec. School, Cuddalore, T.N. - 607 001
4514. -do- Besant Nagar Library, Mayiladuthurai - 609 001
4515. -do- Shyamala Girls High School, Sirkali - 609 110
4516. -do- Perunthalaivar Kamarajar College, Karaikkal - 609 602
4517. -do- Public Library, Narasinganpet P.O., Tanjore Dt., T.N. - 609 802
The Vedanta Kesari Library Scheme
Cover Story Cover Story Cover Story Cover Story Cover Story
To be continued . . .
PATRONS
607. Mr. Pralayesh Guha, W.B.
608. Mr. Venu Prasad
609. Mrs. Y.G. Smitha, Hyderabad
The Vedanta Kesari wishes
all its readers and well-wishers
A HAPPY AND AUSPICIOUS 2011
The Vedanta Kesari wishes
all its readers and well-wishers
A HAPPY AND AUSPICIOUS 2011
Mr. Basavapatna Thandvewara,
Bangalore Rs. 10001
Mr. Ramamoorthy Rajagopal,
Mumbai Rs. 5000
Mr. Balabir Kumar Sharma, HP Rs. 1000
A Devote of Sri Ramakrishna,
London Rs. 1000
1 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. 98, No. 1, JANUARY 2011 ISSN 0042-2983
Vedic Prayers
Tr. by Swami Sambuddhananda
A{ΩZd©•Ãm{U OîZX≤ –{dUÒ`w{d©n›``m &
g{_’Ö ewH´$ Amh˛VÖ &
—Agneya Parva—Ch. 1. 4.
The mantras of the Samaveda admit of two different interpretations, (1)
Adhiyajnik, that is, from the standpoint of sacrifice and (2) Adhyatmik, that is,
from the standpoint of Self.
I. Adhiyajnik: –{dUÒ`wÖ Desirous of granting different kinds of fruits to the
performers of sacrifice g{_’Ö fully blazed ewH´$Ö pure Amh˛VÖ fed with oblations
A{æÖ sacrificial fire {dn›``m being worshipped by manifold hymns d•Ãm{U disease
that precludes happiness OîZX≤> absolutely annihilate.
May the pure, fully blazed sacrificial fire which is fed with oblations and
worshipped by many a hymn and which gladly grants boons to the performers
of sacrifice totally annihilate all obstructions (disease, etc.) to happiness.
II. Adhyatmik: –{dUÒ`w Ö eager to grant (to the worshippers) spiritual strength
g{_’Ö revealed into the heart ewH´$Ö pure Amh˛VÖ fully meditated upon A{æÖ the
omniscient, Supreme Being {dn›``m praised by many a hymn d•Ãm{U the obstruc-
tions such as sins and ignorance on the way to the realisation of God OîZX≤>
annihilate.
May the Pure, Supreme Being, praised by manifold hymns, fully meditated
upon and revealed to the heart, be eager to grant spiritual strength to the wor-
shippers and totally annihilate, all obstructions to God-realisation.
I am t he result ant of all my past , bot h good and evil. I have commit t ed many
mist akes in my life; but mark you, I am sure of t his t hat wit hout every one of
t hose mist akes I should not be what I am t oday, and so am quit e sat isfied t o
have made t hem. I do not mean t hat you are t o go home and wilfully commit
mist akes; do not misunderst and me in t hat way. But do not mope because of t he
mist akes you have commit t ed, but know t hat in t he end all will come out st raight .
I t cannot be ot herwise, because goodness is our nat ure, purit y is our nat ure, and
t hat nat ure can never be dest royed. Our essent ial nat ure always remains t he
same. —Swami Vivekananda, CW, 2: 356

5
2 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Sowing the Right Seeds
The Field and the Knower
Every farmer knows this: in order to have
a good harvest, sowing good quality seeds at
the right time is vital. Seeds should be healthy
and in right quantity. They should have been
taken from a good quality crop. Sowing
requires fulfilment of some more conditions
as well. The soil should have been well plough-
ed and free from all weeds and unwanted mat-
erial. At the time of sowing, a certain amount
of moisture should be present in the soil. And
after the seeds have been sown, the place
should be not walked over or else the pros-
pective shoots will be crushed—and so on.
The human life too is like a field. The
Bhagavad Gita (13.2) compares human body-
mind to a field (kshetra), and the Self to the
‘Knower of the field’ (kshetrajna). Indeed, if
one understands this fact, one begins to
understand one’s life and personality better.
We reap what we have sown in our body-
mind. By sowing is meant our actions,
thoughts and feelings, or the sum total of our
lives’ work. As the well known saying goes:
We sow our thoughts and reap our actions.
We sow our actions and reap our habits.
We sow our habits and reap our character.
We sow our character, and we reap our destiny.
It all begins with sowing of thoughts. If
our thoughts are healthy and pure, our actions
too will be healthy and pure. If our thoughts
are impure and evil, our actions will be equally
so. And the rest of the series or chain of sowing
and reaping will take its course as mentioned
above—thoughts, actions, habits, character and
finally destiny.
Inner Nourishment
According to Vedanta, man consists not
only of physical body (sthula sharira), which is
visible and tangible, but also a subtler and
deeper self called subtle body (sukshma sharira).
Just as the physical body derives its nourish-
ment from food, drinks and rest, so also the
subtle body derives its strength and nourish-
ment from thoughts. More precisely, as the
Shvetashvatara Upanishad says, we derive our
inner nourishment from our sankalpas. The
Upanishad says:
1
The body of the individual self depends on food
and drink for its birth and growth. Similarly,
his thinking (sankalpa), physical contact (sparsha),
and looking (drishti) at things produce his
attachment (moha). This attachment determines
his behaviour, and his behavior ultimately results
in his assumption of various forms (male, female,
or eunuch).
As is clear, first one begins by thinking,
or making a sankalpa. The term sankalpa is a
special type of thinking. One not only thinks
of something, one thinks of something as
worthy of his attention and effort. A sankalpa
is also translated as a resolve to do something.
How, and why, will one resolve to do some-
thing unless one finds something good and
worthy of his efforts to do that? In another
sense, a sankalpa is a seed form of a desire.
When these desires come in contact (sparsha)
with material objects, one enjoys them (drishti)
—and from enjoyment comes attachment
(moha). And as it is difficult to give up
enjoyment, we become bound. This, in short,
is the story of human life.
3 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
7
Sankalpas, or resolves, are the beginn-
ing of the whole chain. A Mahabharata verse
says,
I know your origin, O desire; it is in sankalpa; I
will not do the sankalpa and then you will not
be born!
That is a good analysis. But is it possible
to give up all sankalpas at once! Life itself
depends on sankalpas. The human body is a
product of desires, and if all desires vanish,
the body cannot be kept; along with the giving
up of all desires, the human body comes to an
end; one realizes one’s true nature which is
ever-free and pure. But then how does one
explain the living of great saints and sages in
the human society? Sri Ramakrishna says that
such men of Self-realisation are able live and
carry on their work in the world by keeping
‘some desire’ such as ‘wanting to do good to
the world.’ To be sure, ‘doing good to others’
is also a sankalpa but a noble one which keeps
the blessings of such souls showered on us!
Seeing the whole issue from the other
end, from the view point of spiritual seekers,
one can begin, not by giving up all sankalpas,
which is anyway not feasible, but by cultiva-
ting good sankalpas and countering the bad
ones with them. Says Swami Vivekananda:
2
Go on doing good, thinking holy thoughts
continuously; that is the only way to suppress
base impressions. Never say any man is
hopeless, because he only represents a character,
a bundle of habits, which can be checked by
new and better ones. Character is repeated
habits, and repeated habits alone can reform
character.
In other words, one should ‘sow’ right
seeds called right thoughts. Since every action,
proceeds from a thought, we should take care
of what we think.
The Period of Struggle
While we should consciously try to sow
the right thoughts, we should also be aware
that there are already quite a number of deep-
rooted thoughts present in our mind. They
may not be visible but there is power latent in
them. If we look at an apparently unculti-
vated piece of land, we find just a few weeds
or unwanted undergrowth here and there. But
wait for the rain. Let it rain, and soon after we
will find the whole place covered up with a
green cover. A number of plants, big or small,
would have covered the place. Where were
they before? Did anyone plant them during
the rain? Well, these plants or weeds were
present in a latent form. Invisible to our eyes,
there were a number of seeds in the soil, and
as soon as they got the necessary conditions
for growth, they started growing.
The same can be said of the inner ‘seeds’,
good and bad, that are present within our
mind. Finding the conducive conditions, these
seeds start growing. Sometimes we wonder at
some people’s sudden change in life. Though
known for their good conduct and behaviour,
there seems a sudden change in them and they
seem to turn to bad ways. It comes like a big
shock to everyone known to them.
The simple reason for this unfortunate
change is that the presence of some conducive
factors would have hastened the sprouting of
those inner latent tendencies. This is one of
the vital reasons why all teachers of spirituality
advice and warn us to keep holy and good
company. A good company nourishes good
samskaras (seeds), and a bad company nouri-
shes bad samskaras. Not only they nourish
but also create fresh samskaras—good or
bad—and hence one should be careful about
one’s company.
No thought-seed sprouts immediately.
Like a physical seed, it too has a certain gesta-
tion period. Hence, having decided to ‘sow’
4 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
8
good thoughts one should give it enough time
to sprout and become visible in the form of an
action.
Again, when we try to open ourselves to
creating good and holy samskaras, we should
know that they do not happen overnight. They
take time, their own time. Repetition is the
key to create any samskara—good or bad. Sri
Ramakrishna tells of an interesting story about
a devotee of Divine Mother Kali:
Is it an easy thing to destroy old tendencies?
Once there lived a very pious Hindu who always
worshipped the Divine Mother and chanted Her
name. When the Mussalmans conquered the
country, they forced him embrace Islam. They
said to him: ‘You are now a Mussalman. Say
“Allah”. From now on you must repeat only the
name of Allah.’ With great difficulty he repeated
the word ‘Allah’, but every now and then blurted
out ‘Jagadamba’. At that the Mussalmans were
about to beat him. Thereupon he said to them: ‘I
beseech you! Please do not kill me. I have been
trying my utmost to repeat the name of Allah,
but our Jagadamba has filled me up to the throat.
She pushes out your Allah.’
3
The same holds true of all tendencies.
The mind resists anything new. We get used
to certain ways of thinking and action and
become deeply attached to them. And when
we wish to change ourselves, we find it tough.
As the Upanishadic verse quoted above points
out, sankalpa leads to moha or delusion.
Delusion here means the state of mind wherein
one holds something very dear to oneself.
Being deeply attached to it, the mind finds it
troublesome and threatening. Hence this inner
resistance of mind—and the beginning of a
prolonged struggle.
Reaching the Goal
The goal of spiritual life, however, is to
go beyond all samskaras. The Patanjali Yoga
Sutras speak of a state of mind where all the
seeds of desires lie burnt or roasted (dagdha
bija avastha), being exposed in the fire of
Knowledge. Just as roasted seeds cannot be
sowed nor, therefore, any crop be expected
from them, so also, freed from all resolves,
one becomes free from all fear and anxiety.
This is the one stage in one’s inner life which
is highly desirable and safe.
4
Every now and then we are confronted
with problems in life. Some of these problems
have their origin in the external world, but
most of them originate within our mind.
Recognition of this fact is a source of great
solace and strength. For the mind is after all
our own! We can play a great role in changing
mind, and thus, our life.
There are many helpful means and
factors such as introspection, meditation, holy
company, scriptural study and so on, but they
are helpful to the extent we are able to push
away our inner resistance and open ourselves
to the new and better ways. One great thing
to remember is the goal of human life: to
realize our true Self or, what amounts to same,
God. Self-realisation is the ultimate goal of life.
This Self, says the Upanishads, is divine,
immortal and our true nature. There may be
layers and layers of good or bad samskaras,
and the resultant attachment to them, but
beyond these samskars lies the atman, our true
Self. Keeping the goal clear, let us begin the
sowing of the right seeds—consciously and
without delay. †
1. Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 5.11 2. CW, 1: 208 3. The Gospel, p.486 4. c.f Yogasutras, 1.47
References
5 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
From the Archives of THE VEDANTA KESARI
S i mh â v a l o k a n a m
The Tenth Guru
By Sri Aurobindo Ghose
(January, 1920-21, pp. 285-287)
In the three corners of this triangular peninsula, have risen
three great cultures close towards the decline of the Mogul rule—Maharastra awakening of the
South, the Vaishnava revival of the East and the Sikh culture of the North-West. Each has its
distinctive feature and an element to add to the national store of spiritual culture. Vaishnavism
brought a flood of love which rolled like a sweet torrent of nectar over Bengal and penetrated
even beyond the Vindhyas into the South with Sri Chaitanya. Ramdas and Tukaram and a host
of other mighty spiritual giants created in Maharastra by their tapas a great self conscious
Hindu nation which it was given to Shivaji to organise and lead. In the Panchanad, the sacred
land of the five rivers, Guru Nanak cemented the hearts of the Hindus and Musulmans in the
name of Alakh Niranjan and thus laid another foundation stone to the mighty edifice of Indian
Nation-building. To count by the central figures, Chaitanya gave love, love and again love,
Ramdas gave calm knowledge and creative force, coupled with a ring of Bhakti, (Guru) Nanak
gave the pure knowledge of soul-unification. Punjab, ancient Brahmavarta where was first
sung the first Rik of our national hymnology, perhaps still conceals behind her sthul [gross]
skulls and strong bones a great potentiality of pure knowledge force, bequeathed by Sri
Nanak. Nanak was the worshipper of the Alakh and the Akal Purusha, the impersonal, eternity—
Niranjan, void of the tinge of quality. In fact, upper Hindusthan, minus Bengal, is the land of
Jnana and Karma, of predominant Knowledge and work, as Bengal is of Bhakti and Shakti, and
the Dakshinatya is of Bhakti and Jnana. Indeed, it is a beautiful ring of three-fold puissances
which run in twins round the three corners of the peninsula. Taken together, India herself is
pre-eminently the Deva-Bhumi—the land of divine sadhana.
Be that as it may, Punjab has great contribution to offer in the way of nation-building in
the life of the Ten Gurus. Each, a towering monument of fiery spirituality, has left a record of
sacrifice and suffering, ever memorable in the history of the land. Indeed at times we feel
confounded as which to place first in our estimation between the patriotic heroism of Rana
Pratab and the religious heroism of the Sikh Gurus. Really both are inestimable. Considered
on a collective scale, the reckless bravery of the Rajput men and women, shrinking not in the
least from fire and steel, pouring blood like pools of water for the honour of mother and
motherland,—admirable and wonderful as it undoubtedly is in its flaming brightness, must yet
6 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
be admitted to present a less constructive, when placed beside them as much deliberate self-
sacrifice of the Sikh leaders, who however when they bled, they bled to build a nation.
The greatest gift of the Sikhs to the nation is their firm-rooted Guru Bhava. In the midst of
the diadem of Sikh culture, like a ring of Kohinoors stands this cluster of mighty Gurus. Really,
the intense and solid line of spiritual power, which Guru Nanak founded in the heart of the
Sikh sub-nation is unexampled in any history of any nation. Sikh history rings throughout with
the glorious war cry—‘Shri Wahuguru ji ki Fateh.’ That history is a splendid record of the
heroic careers of the great Gurus. Nowhere else do we find or hear of any such brilliant record
of a whole nation, growing round one central chain of spiritual personalities, with unabated
faith and unfaltering consecration from its day of start up to the present day.
That which had its beginnings in Nanak and Angada, and flowered in Har Govinda and
Teg Bahadur, came to some sort of a crowning culmination in the Tenth Guru Govind Singh.
Nanak initiated the Sikhs in the fire of spirituality. Guru Teg Bahadur died with the name on
his lips—the very emblem of heroic leadership, but he died without resistance, a true Satyagrahin.
Guru Govind Singh, the militant churchman, clasped the sword himself and transformed a
race of udasies into a race of fiery Kshatriyas, whose sword-blades clashed more than once at
the gates of Delhi and shook the Masnad to its foundations. Here again is a burning truth of
history, which never wearies to be told. What exasperated the Sikhs, the Mahrattas, even the
loyal Rajputs whom Akbar had literally wedded to the throne? It was the ruthless soldier-
statesman Aurangazeb, whose blind and reckless policy sowed the seeds, which were left to
be reaped by Shivaji in the South and Guru Govind Singh in the West. Or else, there would
have been no necessity of the peace-loving children of that Indian province being turned, as if
by a miracle into a nation of armed soldiers. It is not always the people that were responsible.
That was a glorious chapter in our national history, when Guru Govind Singh called five
picked up souls from the multitude and breathed fire of faith into them. That was the beginning
of the Pants [panth]—the mighty solidiery, that became a power. That immortal flame never
left the Sikh heart. It grew mightily splendid when the Guru’s two heroic lads defied an
insulting Mogul officer and were sacrificed to his wrath, being inhumanly buried alive. They
died with not a single scar of fear in their countenance—young lions whose last words on the
lips were the national cry of faith,—the word of Guru Teg was once more immortalised in
another baptism of blood.
The Sikh-nation was made a solid rock over the suffocated corpses of the brave sons of
Guru Govind Singh. That was Govinda Guru’s undying gift to his people—the blood of
martyrdom of his dearer selves—dearer than his own self.
The birth-anniversary (16th January 1921) of this saviour of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Govinda
Singhaji, we are told, is drawing nigh. Young India, we hope, will not fail to worship one of
their great heroes in the silence of their hearts,—‘The Khalsa Advocate.’ †
10
7 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Bhuvaneshwari Devi
The Great and Noble Mother of Swami Vivekananda
SWAMI TATHAGATANANDA
Her Husband, Vishwanath Datta
Bhuvaneshwari Devi’s husband, Vishwa-
nath Datta (1835-1884) was born into the Datta
family of Simulia in northern Calcutta, a family
well-known for its wealth, education and
charity. A few months after Viswanath was
born, his father Durgaprasad had a strong
desire to become a monk and renounced the
world in 1835. He did this with total mental
equipoise despite tremendous family pressure.
He paid only a brief visit to Calcutta after
twelve years of spiritual practices and that,
too, in obedience to scriptural injunctions.
Bhuvaneshwari Devi’s mother-in-law
also proved her mettle. She was deprived of
her share of property and had to raise Vishwa-
nath under very hostile circumstances, endu-
ring enmity, hostility and selfishness from
members of her husband’s family. One has to
imagine how difficult it was for her to raise
her son with great affection under such
conditions.
Vishwanath’s mother passed away when
he was nearly twelve years old. He grew up
as an orphan in the family of his uncle Kali-
prasad, who usurped much of Vishwanath’s
rightful property. Despite his uncle’s heartless
behaviour, he ‘reverenced and generously
helped the uncle, though he was well aware
that he was cheated by him at every step.’
1
uages as well as in English. He studied music,
for which he had a great love, under an ustad
(teacher). People in Calcutta remem-
bered his love for music and his generosity
well after his death.
The author is a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, and the Head of Vedanta Society, New York. His books
include The Journey of Upanishads to the West, and Light from the Orient, among others. …
Vishwanath grew up accepting the trend
of his times, namely, the blending of the
Hindu, Islamic and Western cultures and
developed into a man with a modern outlook.
He acquired proficiency in many Indian lang-
Bhuvaneshwari Devi
8 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
12
Vishwanath enrolled himself as an
attorney-at-law in the High Court of Calcutta.
His eminence in legal practice took him to
many places in northern India. A man of
liberal temperament, he enjoyed the good
culture and literature of people belonging to
other religions. He not only read the Hindu
scriptures, he read the poems of Hafiz and
the Bible as well. He was very liberal-minded
and deviated a little from orthodox Hindu
traditions in his food and dress and other
personal habits. He was completely at home
with his Muslim and English friends. Once,
he presented a copy of the Bible to his son
Narendranath and remarked, ‘All of religion
is to be found in this one book.’
2
Vishwanath was free of superstitions.
When Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
championed the marriage of young widows,
for example, Vishwanath supported it. Once,
in Lahore, he worshipped the Divine Mother
Durga in a picture and enjoyed her festival in
the company of many people by offering them
consecrated food. ‘But,’ according to Swami
Saradananda, ‘to earn money, live amply, and
make others happy by practicing charity as
far as possible—these constituted the highest
purpose of his life.’
3
In fact, Vishwanath’s huge
earnings in the legal profession were spent
extravagantly to maintain a large retinue of
dependents. As one of his sons later wrote,
‘Extending charity to the poor and the
distressed was like a disease with him.’ Once,
when young Narendranath asked his father,
‘Father, what are you going to leave me?’
Viswanath answered, ‘Go, stand before your
mirror, and you will see what I leave you.’
4
An Excellent Wife and Mother
Bhuvaneshwari Devi (1841-1911) was the
only child of her upper middle-class parents
who were very well known in northern
Calcutta. At age ten she was married to six-
teen-year-old Vishwanath Datta. He was very
fortunate to have Bhuvaneshwari as his wife.
Faithfully following the traditional Hindu life,
she became his beneficial and moral compa-
nion in every respect and shared the joys and
sorrows of her husband’s large joint family.
Vishwanath and Bhuvaneshwari Devi
had four sons and six daughters. Their first
child, a son, and their second, a daughter, died
in childhood. Their next three children were
daughters. According to ancient tradition, the
birth of a son is always welcome in a Hindu
family and Bhuvaneshwari Devi naturally
longed for a son. Hindu women down the ages
invoke the grace of God to deliver them from
their difficulties in life by making their wants
and grievances known to Him, practicing
various austerities and reading scriptures.
Swamiji said:
She was a saint to bring me into the world; she
kept her body pure, her food pure, her clothes
pure, her imagination pure, for years, because I
would be born. Because she did that, she
deserves worship.
5
Bhuvaneshwari Devi observed somvara
vrata, fasted and prayed on Mondays and
prayed to Lord Shiva. She once fasted for four-
teen days at a stretch. An elderly aunt of the
family who was living in Varanasi was also
asked to ‘make the necessary offerings and
prayers to Vireshwar Shiva that a son might
be born to her.’
6
Bhuvaneshwari Devi observed all the
injunctions meticulously. Her devotion to Lord
Shiva was fulfilled through his grace. One
night, she had a vivid dream: ‘She saw the
Lord Shiva rouse Himself from His meditation
and take the form of a male child who was to
be her son.’
7
On Monday, 12 January 1863,
Makara Sankranti, their son Narendranath was
born at a very auspicious time.
9 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
13
At birth, Swamiji’s features strongly
resembled those of his saintly paternal grand-
father, Durgaprasad, who had renounced
hearth and home for God. He also inherited
his mother’s melodious voice, taste for sacred
music and extraordinary memory. Swamiji
was the sixth child of his parents. Their seventh
and eighth children were both daughters. The
last two children were sons, Mahendranath
and Bhupendranath, both of whom lived long
lives. Swami Vivekananda had one elder sister,
Swarnamayee, who lived a long life.
Her Great Character
The most exalted law of motherhood is
the law of sacrifice, the lifeblood of a mother’s
existence. Bhuvaneshwari Devi raised her
prayer-born child with utmost care, infinite
patience and constant prayer. Her entire being
was absorbed with loving concern for her child
Narendranath. Reading about his early life,
we are struck by the deep impact of her
personality upon the formation of his
character.
It has been written of Bhuvaneshwari
Devi that:
Above all, Bhuvaneshwari Devi was deeply
religious in temperament, and used daily to
perform herself the worship of Shiva. She was
not given to much talking. Calm resignation to
the will of God in all circumstances, power, and
reserve characterized this noble Hindu woman.
The poor and the helpless were the special
objects of her solicitude. Like Vishwanath,
Bhuvaneshwari Devi had a very sweet voice and
could sing beautifully the songs on Sri Krishna,
as heard in religious dramas. When beggars
singing religious songs came to the house to beg,
she could learn their songs by listening only
once. She was, indeed, noted for her unusual
memory and knew by heart long passages from
the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. More
important, she had absorbed the essence of these
timeless epics, and that essence, together with
the culture to which it was the key, she passed
on to her children as their great heritage.
It was, then, to these two, Vishwanath and
Bhuvaneshwari Devi, that the boy who was to
become the greatest man of his age, whose
influence was to shake the world, and who was
to lay the foundation of a new order of things,
was born.
8
Sister Christine recalls her exceptional
memory:
[Swamiji said:] ‘After she hears the Ramayana
read, she can recite what she has heard.’ . . . He
[Swamiji] considered a good memory one of the
signs of spirituality.
9
Bhuvaneshwari Devi would read daily
from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Thanks to her prodigious memory, Narendra-
nath learned many stories from the epics and
the Puranas at her knee. He shared many of
these with Sister Nivedita, who revised them
and immortalized them with her own style in
her Cradle Tales of Hinduism.
Training Her Children
Bhuvaneshwari Devi told all her children
emphatically and often that in spite of hard-
ship and troubles they should never abandon
the moral principles. She always counseled
them to be truthful, chaste, dignified and
humane. She imprinted eternal values of
healthy living in their developing minds. There
is some truth to the familiar saying, ‘The hand
that rocks the cradle rules the world.’ On one
occasion when Narendra spoke to his mother
about being unfairly punished by his school-
teacher without justification, she consoled him
by saying:
‘If you are right, my boy, what does it matter? It
may be unjust and unpleasant, but do what you
think right, come what may.’ Many times he
suffered, many times he was misunderstood
10 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
14
even by those nearest and dearest to him when
he adopted a course which to them seemed
strange, but which to him was inevitable
because, in his opinion, it was right. The maxim
he had learned, and which he followed always
in life was, ‘Stick to your guns, dead or alive!’
10
Sister Christine recalls:
Many were the stories he told of his mother—
the proud, little woman who tried so hard to
hide her emotions and her pride in him. How
she was torn between her disapproval of the life
he had chosen and her pride in the name he had
made for himself.
Those of us who were privileged to see his
mother, know that from her he inherited his regal
bearing. This tiny woman carried herself like a
queen.
11
Her Silent Forbearance and Fortitude
Except for a brief time, Bhuvaneshwari
Devi lived in the Datta family nearly her entire
long life, from her marriage at age ten until
her death in 1911. In spite of the harsh
injustices inflicted on her by her guardian
uncle-in-law and his wife—to the extent of not
providing her with more than one sari to
wear—she demonstrated a profound capacity
to silently endure all the wrongs they heaped
on her. This was eventually noticed by her
husband, who grumbled, ‘How is it that I who
earn so much money see that my wife does
not get [a] bellyful to eat!’ Still, his anguish
had no effect at all on the aunt and uncle.
12
After a particularly harsh family quarrel,
separation was forced on Vishwanath Datta,
and he moved to another place, where Naren-
dranath could study for his B.A. His brother
Bhupendranath wrote, ‘After separation, our
family removed temporarily from the ancestral
place and hired a house at 7, Bhairav Biswas
Lane, where Narendranath studied to prepare
himself for the B. A. Examination.’
13
His father
returned to their ancestral home, much to the
uncle’s consternation.
After Vishwanath Datta’s death, his
family was sheltered by Swamiji’s grand-
mother Raghumani (c. 1825-1911) at her house
at 7 Ramtanu Basu Lane. Swamiji once
described it in a letter to the Raja of Khetri as
‘a hovel.’ Bhupendranath wrote, ‘We stayed
with her till 1903. She supported us and
suffered for us. She had to part with . . . rented
land . . . for conducting the law-suit brought
against us by our aunt.’
14
The court case
started in 1877 and dragged on beyond the
year of Swamiji’s departure from life. Bhuvan-
eshwari Devi’s difficulties in a joint family
headed by an unscrupulous uncle, who, with
others foiled their every legitimate claim at
every opportunity, can only be imagined.
(To be continued. . .)
1. His Eastern and Western Disciples, The Life of
Swami Vivekananda (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama,
2000), p. 4. [Hereafter Life]
2. S. N. Dhar, A Comprehensive Biography of Swami
Vivekananda (Madras: Vivekananda Prakashan
Kendra, 1975), p. 6 [Hereafter Comp. Bio.,]
3. Ibid
4. Sister Christine in Reminiscences of Vivekananda
(Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2004), p. 184.
[Hereafter Reminiscences]
5. CW, 8: 60-1 passim.
6. Life, p. 10
7. Ibid., p. 11
8. Life, 1: 8-9
9. Sister Christine in Reminiscences, p. 174
10. Life., 1: 34
11. Sister Christine in Reminiscences, pp. 174-5
12. Bhupendranath Datta, Swami Vivekananda, Patriot-
Prophet, A Study (Calcutta: Nababharat Publishers)
p. 107. [Hereafter Patriot-Prophet]
13. Ibid.
14. Patriot-Prophet, p. 111. See also Comp. Bio., 1. 10
References
11 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Reminiscences of Master Mahashay
MAHENDRA KUMAR CHAUDHURY
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.136-39. 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.
In 1921 I was staying at 47, Amherst
Street, which was very close to M.’s school,
the Morton Institution. I heard that the
recorder of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna lived
there and that many devotees met with him
in the evenings. I was anxious to see him and
enjoy his holy company. One day I arrived at
twilight, and no devotees were there. M.
cordially received me and asked me to
meditate. I was impressed by his dignified
appearance and his overflowing beard.
Gradually other devotees arrived and M.
began to narrate to us the history and
teachings of the Gospel.
Here are some of M.’s sayings, as I
remember them:
Either keep company with the holy or
live alone like a lion. Pray to God in solitude,
secretly with a longing heart.
What will you gain by chatting with
others? One should spend that time practising
meditation and spiritual disciplines.
A human being has three bodies: gross,
subtle, and causal; or body, mind, and spirit.
The spiritual body does not care for worldly
enjoyment; it enjoys only divine ecstasy. When
a spiritual person hears about God, he or she
gets goose bumps and tears flow from the eyes.
The spiritual body merges into Brahman
through meditation and samadhi.
When someone asked the Master about
reincarnation, he replied that it is true and
one should not doubt it.
The goal of human life is to realize God.
One should adopt any means to attain Him.
Too much talking and planning are useless.
The Master said: ‘You have come to eat
mangoes. What is the need for counting the
trees and fruits?’ If you know God, He will
teach you everything. If you meet Jadu Mallick,
he will tell you how much money and how
many stocks and bonds he has. Some think
that one should first learn by reading books,
and then try to know God. First try to know
God and then He will make you know
everything.
Holy company is the best means to attain
God.
God incarnates in every age and makes
the difficult and inscrutable spiritual path
simple and easy. As a guru the avatar makes
the way to God-realization smooth. The Master
12 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
16
said that one could reach God by meditating
on him [meaning Ramakrishna].
It is better to follow the avatar’s teachings
than to talk about God. Jesus said: ‘Thou sayest
O God, God, God, but why dost thou not do
what I say unto you?’
A disciple should not have any worries
once he receives the guru’s grace. A magician
threw a string with many knots into a large
audience and asked someone to untie the
knots, but no one could loosen them. Finally,
he shook the string once or twice, and
immediately all the knots came undone.
Similarly all fetters fall off in a moment by the
grace of the guru.
Practise meditation and spiritual disci-
plines in solitude and study holy books.
Hearing is better than reading.
Do not disturb another’s faith; rather one
should help others on their own path. All paths
lead to God.
It is true that God can be reached through
many paths, but one cannot walk on many
paths at the same time. One should begin one’s
spiritual journey with faith and devotion. One
can climb to the roof by means of a staircase,
a ladder, a bamboo pole, or a rope. While
descending also one should adopt only one
means. Similarly, one should follow one path
for God-realization. †
The Mast er t old us again and again t hat ult imat ely t he
aspirant at t aint s nondual knowledge by realizing his ident it y
wit h t he obj ect of his worship, whet her he t reads t he pat h of
devot ion or knowledge. As proof of t his, t he Mast er’s sayings
are cit ed: ‘Pure devot ion and pure knowledge are t he same
t hing.’ ‘There [ in the ultimate state] , all j ackals howl alike
[ all knowers of God speak of the same realization] .’ Thus,
alt hough he was of t he opinion t hat nondual knowledge was
t he Ult imat e Trut h, he always inst ruct ed people living in t he
world on t he t eachings of qualified nondualism [ which teaches
that all living creatures and matter are parts of Brahman] ,
and also how t o love God in a dualist ic way. He felt disgust ed
wit h t hose people who had no high spirit ual experience nor
int ense love for God, and yet held fort h, wit h high- sounding
wor ds, on t he philosophies of nondualism and qualif ied
nondualism. He did not hesit at e t o condemn such behaviour
i n har sh wor ds. One day t he Mast er asked our f r i end
Vaikunt ha Nat h Sanyal whet her he had read t he Panchadashi
and ot her such books. Receiving a negat ive reply, t he Mast er
said wit h relief: ‘I t is good t hat you have not .
Some boys r ead t hose books and, gi vi ng
t hemsel ves ai r s, come her e. They do not
pract ice anyt hing. They simply come t o argue. I t is a t orment
t o me.’ —Ramakrishna As We Saw Him, p.167
13 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Sri Ramakrishna, the Kalpataru
SWAMI AMARESHANANDA
… A senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, the author lives at Ramakrishna Math, Kankhal, Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
To the devotees and admirers of the
Ramakrishna Movement, first January has a
symbolic and special meaning. It was on this
day, on January first in 1886, that Sri Rama-
krishna bestowed his grace on devotees in a
remarkable manner. It is also a day of Sri
Ramakrishna’s self-revelation, and bestowal of
freedom from fear. Hence the day is called
the Kalpataru Day, or the day when Sri Rama-
krishna became a wish-fulfilling tree (an
allusion to the Kalpataru mentioned in the
Hindu scriptures). He did so by raising the
consciousness of some thirty devotees present
there, granted them freedom from fear and
blessed them.
Freedom from fear is the final fruit of
spiritual practices. In the Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad (4.2.4), when Janaka attains the
highest Knowledge, he is addressed as having
‘become free from fear.’
The Backdrop
Sri Ramakrishna came to public attention
when in 1875, the well-known Brahma Samaj
leader, Keshab Chandra Sen wrote about him
in the newspapers and spoke about him in
Brahma Samaj gatherings. This brought many
people from the elite circle of Calcutta to
Dakshineswar to see Sri Ramakrishna. Later,
Sri Ramakrishna too visited many devotees’
place as well as many eminent people, and
gradually came to be known in the spiritual
and cultural circle. Sri Ramakrishna’s intense
renunciation, and selfless attitude and pure
love attracted a large number of youth and
devotees.
Towards the middle of 1885 Sri Rama-
krishna developed throat pain. Gradually it
became acute and besides difficulty in
speaking, Sri Ramakrishna could only take
milk with a little rice or boiled coarse flour of
wheat.
As time passed, at the request of some
devotees, Sri Ramakrishna agreed to come to
Calcutta for treatment as it was easier to attend
to him there. He first stayed at Balaram Bose’s
house. Well-known physicians of Calcutta,
such as Gangaprasad, Gopi Mohan, Dwarka-
nath and others, were called to examine the
Master. After examining Sri Ramakrishna one
of the doctors declared it to be ‘Rohini which
the western doctors call cancer.’ As too much
drugging never agreed with the Master’s
constitution, the devotees thought it desirable
to have him treated according to homoeo-
pathy.
At Shyampukur House
For better treatment and care, a house
on Shyampukur street, owned by Gokul
Chandra Bhattacharjee was rented in the
beginning of September 1885 and the Master
was shifted and placed under the care of Dr.
Mahendralal Sarkar. Dr. Sarkar on learning
that the expenses of the Master were met by
devotees’ contribution, after the payment of
14 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
18
the first day, treated the Master freely as a
mark of respect.
At Shyampukur, one day the Master had
a wonderful vision. He saw that his subtle
body came out of his gross body as he was
strolling up and down in the room and he
observed that especially the region of the
throat of the subtle body was covered with
sores. As he wondered about it, the Divine
Mother explained to him that the people who
had committed various evil deeds had become
pure by touching him, and the burden of their
sins was thereby transferred to him. As a
consequence he had developed sores in his
subtle body.
As there was no visible improvement and
the house was small and congested, and the
Master wanted to have open space for walking
and fresh air, a search for better location
started.
Cossipore Garden House
Meanwhile, a garden house was found
in Cossipore, on the broad road that runs
through North Calcutta and connects Bagh
Bazar quarters with Baranagar. The garden
house belonged to late Gopal Chandra Ghosh,
son-in-law of famous Lal Babu.
1
The Master
was shifted to this Garden House on the 11th
December 1885 and Dr. Mahendra Lal Sarkar
continued to treat him.
Hearing about the Master’s illness Dr.
Rajendranath Dutta belonging to the wealthy
family of Akrur Dutta of Boubazar, thoroughly
studied the literature on homoeopathy system
and found that, ‘Lycodium 200’ was the
medicine best suited for the Master and asked
Autul Ghosh (Advocate, Brother of Girish
Chandra Ghosh) to inform Doctor Mahendra
Lal Sarkar to administer this medicine to the
Master. Autul informed this to Dr. Mahen-
dralal Sarkar as well as all the devotees. None
raised any objection and Dr. Rajendra-
nath was invited to treat the Master and the
Master, derived much benefit from this for
more than a fortnight.
The Cossipore Garden House had an area
of 4.66 acres. Besides the main two-storied
building, it had a row of rooms and one of
them was used as kitchen. The main building
had two rooms upstairs and 4
rooms down stairs. One in the
middle was a spacious hall. To
the north of it there were two
rooms smaller in size, side by
side. From the west of the
rooms a flight of steps lead to
the first floor. The room on the
eastern side was occupied by
the Holy Mother during her
stay there. The hall on the first
floor, immediately above the
hall below, served as the
Master’s sick room.
It was the first day of
January 1886. As the Master
felt better, he expressed his
Cossipore Garden House
15 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
19
desire to have a stroll in the garden. He came
down around 3 pm. There were some devotees
(some thirty of them) engaged in conversation
under trees. Only ten names have been
mentioned—Girish, Atul, Ram, Navagopal,
Harmohan, Baikuntha, Kishori (Roy), Haran,
Ramlal, Akshay and Mahendranath Gupta.
When the devotees saw him coming, they
stood up in reverence and bowed down to
him. He slowly proceeded on the garden path
leading to the main gate.
As he came closer to Girish and others,
they too came closer to him joyfully. Then,
suddenly, addressing Girish, he said, ‘Girish,
I find, you say to one and all so many things
about this (about himself). But what have you
seen and understood about me to make you
do so?’ Grish was completely unnerved.
Kneeling down on the ground near the
Master’s feet, he said in a choked voice with
folded hands and face turned upwards, ‘What
more I can say of Him, Whose greatness
Valmiki and Vyasa could not find words to
express?’ The Master was pleased at this
fervent utterance of Girish and blessed him
and through him all devotees assembled there,
‘What more shall I say to you? May you all be
blessed with spiritual awakening!’
Beside himself with love and compassion
for the devotees, hardly had he said these
words than Sri Ramakrishna entered into a
deep spiritual mood (bhavasamadhi). The
devotees were inspired to see him in this
mood, and seemed to forget their earlier
resolve to not to touch him as it might
aggravate his illness. They found in him a
loving mother, a saviour, a divine being who
had come down to help them to go across the
ocean of relative existence. Overcome by his
compassion and sympathy, they eagerly bent
down to touch his feet and filled the place
with the shouts of ‘Victory to Ramakrishna’.
He now began touching each one of the
devotees in that divine mode. This divine
touch brought about remarkable spiritual
experiences in each one of them. Some had
vision of their ishta-devata and some experien-
ced an indescribable inner joy. Some wor-
shiped him with flowers. Soon, however, that
mood of the Master came to an end and
everyone gained his normal composure again.
The happenings of the day are often
described by the devotees as the Master
turning into a Wish-fulfilling Tree (Kalpataru)
as mentioned in Puranas. But it seems more
appropriate to call this event ‘the self-reve-
lation of the Master’ or ‘the bestowal of free-
dom from fear on all devotees by revealing
himself’. The Kalpataru is believed to give
whatever good or bad is asked for. But the
Master did much more than that and bestowed
protection against all evil and fear to one and
all. Interestingly, none of the future monastic
Sri Ramakrishna’s room at Cossipore Garden House
16 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
20
disciples were present among the devotees
blessed on that day.
As to what the nature of experience
which devotees experienced was, let us cite
here two of them. Ramlal Chattopadhayay
(Ramlal Dada), a nephew of the Master who
was present on the occasion, also received the
Master’s grace. Asked about it, he said,
I could formerly see a part only of the holy
Person of my Chosen Ideal [ishta devata] with
my mind’s eye at the time of meditation - when
I saw the lotus feet, I could not see the face;
again perhaps I saw the Person from the face to
the waist, but could not see the holy feet; and
whatever I saw never seemed to be alive. But no
sooner had the Master touched me that day than
the form of my chosen Ideal appeared suddenly
from head to foot in the lotus of my heart and
moved and looked benign and effulgent.
2
Another devotee, Vaikuntha Nath
Sanyal, was also present on that occasion. Sri
Ramakrishna the Great Master, describes his
experiences thus
3
:
Vaikuntha was present on the spot at the time
of this day’s occurrence. As soon as the Master
had blessed two or three of the devotees by his
potent touch, Vaikuntha came before him, bowed
down to him with devotion and said, ‘Sir, please
bestow your grace on me!’ The Master said, ‘But
you have been given everything.’ ‘When you
say,’ said Vaikuntha, ‘everything has been given,
it is certainly so; but kindly do so, that I too can
understand it.’ Saying, ‘So be it’, the Master
touched his chest only for a moment in the
ordinary way. ‘But,’ said Vaikuntha, ‘as the result
of it, a great revolution took place in my mind. I
saw the figure of the Master lit up with a
gracious smile in the sky, in the houses, trees,
plants, men and in whatever else I looked at. . . .
That mental attitude and vision of mine
continued for some days throughout my waking
state. I became amazed and charmed with the
holy vision of the Master in all things. It
continued to be so wherever I went, to the office
or elsewhere on any business. . .
I could not attend to the work on hand and it
suffered. On finding that my work was suffering,
I tried to forget that vision for sometime, but
failed in my attempt to do so. . . . I then prayed
to the Master again with fear, ‘O lord, I am not
able to contain this mental state; please ordain
that it may come to an end.’ I now think,
‘. . . Why did I pray so? Why did I not keep my
faith firm in him? And why did I not wait
patiently to see its ultimate developments? . . .’
For as soon as I prayed in that manner, the said
vision and mental state came to an end one day.
My firm conviction is that they were removed
by the same extraordinary Being from whom I
had got them. But he preserved compassionately
a partial capacity of the mind to recapture it,
perhaps because there arose no prayer in my
mind for its complete removal. I felt blessed and
amazed at the sudden appearance of this vision
a few times daily—the vision of the gracious
figure of the Master made effulgent by the divine
mood.’ †
1. It is said that Lal (or Lala) Babu, a Zamindar,
while going in a palanquin, overheard a washe-
rman’s daughter asking her father as to when was
he going to charge the vessel the cloth for
cleaning since the sun was setting soon. Bengali
word used by the young girl basana has two
meanings—desire (basana) as well as the ashes
made of banana stem used as washing agent.
Endowed with a spiritual bent of mind, Lal Babu
took the second meaning: since he is becoming
old (evening of life)—when is he going to give up
desires (basana) and seek spiritual emancipation!
He forthwith renounced the world.
2. Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master, Swami Sarada-
nanda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, p.1025
3. Ibid, Pp.1026-27
References
17 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
August 10
th
1899
Math. Belur. Howrah.
India.
My dear Mrs.Bull,
2
I am in Calcutta today at 57 Ramkanta Bose’s St. though I give the address of the Math
above. Perhaps there is a letter from you waiting for me at the Math. You will understand
by this if my letter is not to the point.
A great mishap has taken place. The youngest brother of Srimati Sarada Devi has died
of Cholera about ten days ago. I undertook the nursing with another young man of the
Math. This brother was twenty one years old, newly married, a student of the Calcutta
Medical School and perhaps the most promising of all the members of the family. It has
given a rude blow to the Mother, for she brought him up as her own child from the very
day of his birth.
Every thing else is going on as usual here & in the Math. The R.K.Mission meetings are
going on & I have already given two talks, which have been appreciated. My subject is Raja
Yoga this time, though I am treating it in a little different way.
The papers have published the telegram intimating that the S.S.Golconda has reached
London on the 31
st
July. But perhaps this is no news to you.
On second thoughts, I made up my mind not to answer that letter of the Swami, but to
write him just a general letter. I do not think it necessary to send you his letter too. I can see
his course plain, for I have passed through that phase. He will come round in a short time.
Serious problems are sometimes presenting themselves regarding my family. The time
is nearing when they shall have to close the business & sell the house etc. In the meantime
they are being harassed with little law suits in the court for little debts. My father & mother
will come to Calcutta for a short time in October. I am glad I have sent my brother to the
West; he might come back a man and better late than never.
Kindly tender my regards to Mrs.Briggs, Miss O’neill, Dr.James, Jojo & all friends.
With very kind regards to yourself and wishing to be remembered to Mrs.Vaughan &
the Shapleighs & your brother.
Yours Sincerely
Saradananda
On the cover::
Mrs.Sara C. Bull
The Studio House, 168 Brattle Street
Cambridge, Mass.
U.S.America
Unpublished Letters of Swami Saradananda
1
17 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
18 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
22
Courtesy: Ramakrishna Museum, Belur Math
August 1899
My dear Mrs.Briggs,
3
Your kind letter of Aug. 16
th
was most welcome. I am sorry you are still feeling ill. Step
by step, I have been led to regard you as one of the few who are very near to my heart, and I
do not know how I will feel myself, if you are taken away. But surely we will meet sometime,
somewhere even if it were not in India. The union with my friends in Sri R., even as Jesus
said, ‘I in you and you in me’—is complete and can never be broken. May God bless you
always and may you ever be at rest in the full love the Master!
I am sorry I forgot to give you the Sanskrit of Gouri. It is thus—Jm° pa—in Bengali thus—
ëKï[¹.
I live many a times in my thought over the Greenacre days, and everyday almost on
Jan 8
th
, the latter having a peculiar sanctity of its own, as of the partaking of the sacrament!
One has to prepare oneself for it and there are but very few such days, in one’s whole life.
My toil here has but just begun & I always remember, I shall have to work for two at
least, if not more.
I went to Srimati Sarada Devi, only yesterday and told her, how there is one Santi,
way across the waters, who has desired to be remembered with love and regards—and she
requested me to send Santi her love and blessings, and also to Jojo (Miss MacLeod) and Sàrà
(Mrs.Bull).
It gives me great pleasure to think & place you, in such company in September. Write
me all about these days—every little detail—if you do not feel ill, as you have been doing.
Remember me kindly to your mother, Harry and all friends, not forgetting Mr.Briggs.
You have been bearing your cross bravely for Sri R. and I am sure you will never lose
heart. Mother wishes me to tell you, how very near she feels of your presence, and sends
her heart’s love.
With very kind regards to you always, and best wishes, I am
Faithfully yours,
Saradananda
P.S. I am going to have a bon fire again of my belongings by the side of the Ganges &
in the lawn on the 12th Oct. This [is] the third since granny did the first for me. We are to
meditate the whole night that day – it being the day we worship the Divine Mother.
18 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
1. A direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna 2. Mrs. Sara Bull, an American disciple of Swami Vivekananda
3. Mrs.J.A. Briggs
References
19 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Understanding Maturity
SWAMI SUNIRMALANANDA
A monk of the Ramakrishna Order, the author is former editor of Prabuddha Bharata, a monthly journal of the
Ramakrishna Order. …
Facets of Maturity
Many people talk about maturity. To
some, the whole world is childish and
immature, and they alone are mature people.
To some others, the more number of university
degrees an individual has, the more mature
he or she is. To still others, maturity and
money are two faces of the same coin. To many
others, maturity and social status go hand in
hand. However, when we deal with such
‘mature’ people in our day-to-day lives, we
come face-to face with the harsh reality. We
realise to our dismay that such people are far
from being mature individuals.
What is this apparently strange quality
called maturity?
First, it is not true that the whole world
is childish and immature. Had it been so, there
was no hope at all for anyone. From time to
time, society has had mature individuals who
have brought us hope.
Second, it is ignorance to think that with
university degrees, we become more mature.
Nowadays every locality has many post-
graduates and several doctorates. And about
exams, the less said the better. What is more,
they say certificates are being sold for money.
We have doctors and engineers, doctorates and
post-graduates—almost in every family. Of
course there are definitely many hard-
working and sincere students and they greatly
contribute to others’ well being. But the fact
remains that many modern qualified indivi-
duals are not really as qualified as their
degrees show. And so the world remains what
it is. Despite having so many qualified indivi-
duals, perhaps we hardly get an opportunity
of dealing with mature people in our lives.
The tragedy of the whole thing is, such imma-
ture people think they are mature because of
their qualifications and pass indiscrete com-
ments on really mature people—the flower of
the earth. The misery of the world is largely
due to our not respecting those who are to be
respected, and respecting those who are of the
common run.
Third, it is not at all true that money
brings maturity. On the contrary, getting
money, or to be more precise, excessive attach-
ment to money, brings immaturity.
Fourth, status in society cannot instil
maturity. It is not true that the higher the
position in society, the individual is naturally
more mature. There was a person, who was at
the topmost rung of the ladder in a particular
field. But he was seen weeping before a saint.
He wanted more. The saint asked him in
surprise: ‘My child, you are at the topmost
position. What else do you need?’ That man
wept because he was jealous of his juniors.
He wanted his juniors to be less competent
than himself. Is this maturity?
True Maturity
What is maturity? Maturity is samyag-
drishti—to use the words of the first of the
20 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
24
eightfold paths of the Buddha. Samyag-drishti
means right vision of the world and of life—
this is maturity.
We must know what this world is, corre-
ctly, and what we are, correctly. The difference
between a fool and a mature individual lies in
this right vision.
Using Swami Vivekananda’s singular
explanation of maya in his Jnana Yoga lectures,
maturity is to understand the ‘simple state-
ment of facts—what we are and what we see
around us.’
What We See Around Us
What is this right vision and this ‘state-
ment of facts’? Right vision or the ‘statement
of facts’ is to know of things as they are. Most
of us colour things before even looking at
them. We look at things through ‘our angle’
of vision—that is, we paint them using such
colours as our ego, desires, ambitions, and so
on. Since birth, rather, since many lives, we
have conditioned ourselves to look at the
world as we wish it to be—as our desires want
it to be. We have lost the faculty of objective
vision. A mature individual never makes a
mistake in this regard.
An example may explain this better: A
certain educated man, and a big shot in society,
was driving along a lonely path. It was a forest,
it was dark, and it was almost midnight. He
was eager to reach home. On the way, his car
broke down. Unfortunately for him, there was
no human habitation anywhere or so he
thought. He wanted help. Fortunately for him,
it appeared that a little light shone at a
distance. Perhaps a house? Perhaps a human
being? He started walking towards that light.
As he walked, he thought: ‘Well, will that man,
whoever he is, entertain me? He may think I
am a robber. He may not even open the door.
These days people are very selfish and do not
care about others’ difficulties at all.’ As such
thoughts agitated his mind, he became angry.
Walking further, he thought: ‘If this man does
not open the door, I shall bang it till he does. I
shall break his door. What is this? Are not we
human beings? Does this man think he is so
pious as to sleep in his cosy bed while another
has his car broken on the street and is helpless?
Is there no such a thing called compassion in
this world?’ As he thought more and more, he
became angry all the more.
And he reached the place. It was indeed
a house. There was indeed an old gentleman.
A very poor and unlettered farmer lived there,
who was known to help others as much as he
could. He too definitely had had his share of
suffering because of the situation of his
house—robbers, drunkards, and so on knoc-
ked often. So, in his old age, he was a bit
cautious. And so he heard a loud bang. He
was startled. Someone drunk, perhaps, was
almost breaking his door. He began to pray to
God for safety, and never opened the door.
So we need to have right vision of things,
an objective vision, and that is maturity. Now,
what is the correct vision about this world?
Reading Vivekananda’s ‘statement of facts’
definition of things, we understand that this
world, as it is, is neither pleasure-producing
nor pain-giving. It is matter—just dead matter.
This is the mature view of the world. Dead
matter cannot bring joy or happiness. Beeth-
oven brings immense joy to my heart—
whenever I listen to him. But when there is a
death in my house, when I am in deep sorrow,
I become angry if someone plays Beethoven.
So to know that pleasure and pain are sub-
jective and to understand that this world can
neither bring happiness or bliss, is the correct
view of life.
The objective world is neither good nor
bad, neither desirable nor undesirable. It is
21 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
25
there, that is all. We must work constantly in
such a world, without getting attached to it,
because it is dead matter. This is maturity.
Then why should we work? To overcome the
influence of the world. All of Vedanta exhausts
itself in teaching us this simple truth. The
world is there—neither good nor bad, neither
wonderful nor miserable—it is just there till
we know who we are. But, there is one more
thing: the world is not there permanently, for
all time to come, without changing. It is
impermanent, as all saints repeatedly warn us.
It is anitya, impermanent. That which is
impermanent is also unreal—anitya is asatya.
So, though we may have money, degrees and
position, if we think this world is real and
permanent, and get deeply involved in it, and
seek happiness from it—we are having wrong
vision of things, and therefore, are immature.
Hence Vivekananda’s advice is that education
is not the number of degrees you have. True
education is to have the right understanding
of things.
No university teaches us this. Viveka-
nanda said that the education that we receive
is all negative. Why did he say so? He said so
because the education we receive in univer-
sities is adding more and more locks to the
doors of our prison. We are getting more
involved in this objective world, assuming it
to be real, assuming that we shall reform it,
modify it, better it, derive more happiness from
it, and so on. We need positive education, and
colleges cannot give us that. Vedanta can give
us that education. Vedanta opens our eyes by
giving us the ‘statement of facts’. It tells us
the truth, shows us that we are being deceived
by others, and leaves us to choose for ourselves
what we think is best for us.
To be mature means to know that the
world is impermanent, and its so-called joys
and pleasures too are impermanent. Why are
we here then? We are here because we made
the terrible mistakes in the past. We thought
this world was permanent, got deeply in-
volved in it, got attached to it like mad, wanted
more and more of the world, and the results
are showing now. This involvement, called
tanha, trishna, vasana and so on in the scrip-
tures, has thrown us into the prison. They call
this karma. So we are here due to karma. Some
people say we are lost for ever. We are
damned, they say. But Vedanta, and all Indian
schools of thought, says that we shall definitely
come out of the prison once we have the
correct vision of things. Vedanta is always
positive. The very karma that brought us to
this fate where we see darkness as light,
stupidity as brilliance, and misery as perfect
bliss will once again take us to the correct
vision of things. So we are here to work—to
undo what we did through attachment in the
past and redo things correctly, without attach-
ment. This is living a mature life.
What We Are
We said that right vision of the world
and of ourselves is called maturity. We saw
that the correct vision of the world is that it is
neither good nor bad, real or unreal—it is
there. Why is it there? The interesting point
comes here. It is there so that we can be
released from the prison in which we have
thrown ourselves. There was a time when due
to our immaturity we thought the world was
everything for us—colourful, beautiful, the
source of all joy, etc. Repeated blows showed
us that perhaps it was not so. But we continue
getting attached to it because we are helpless,
and think that this is the only way to survive
and to live in happiness.
But Vedanta says that is not true. So
something must be wrong with us—with
ourselves. What is it?
22 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
26
This brings us to the second aspect of
maturity: right vision of ourselves. We saw
that what we see around us is not what we
think we see around us. Similarly, what we
are is not what we think we are.
When we say that the world is a produ-
cer of joy or sorrow, we are confused. We saw
the Beethoven example already. Happiness is
not outside. Further, we forget that our body
too is a part of this world. And Vedanta tells
us that our mind and intellect too are parts of
the world. So we are ignorant about ourselves,
and yet we think we are learned. We are
hypnotizing ourselves with the foolish thought
that we are wise and perfectly all right, while
we are foolish and sick in mind.
This is the height of immaturity. May be
we are the managers and directors of big
companies, may be we are big inventors; but
we are immature all the same until we know
something about ourselves. So maturity does
not come with position in society. Maturity is
in knowing who we are. If we think we are
this personality called body, or the mind, or
the ego, we are ignorant. Imagine the horror
of living with totally wrong ideas! It is like
sitting on a sleeping snake and thinking we
are perfectly safe.
To get out of the prison in which we
have placed ourselves due to wrong inter-
pretations of the world and of ourselves, we
must know what this world is, and who we
are. The great Vedanta teachers, full of sym-
pathy and compassion for us ignorant people,
have lessened the problem by saying that it is
sufficient if we know who we are. They seem
to say: ‘Do not worry about the world. Let it
be as it is. Just try to find out who you are.
Know who you are, and you shall be free.’
They also say that the microcosm and the
macrocosm are the same—knowing the
microcosm, us, is sufficient to be released from
the self-imposed imprisonment. The saints also
say: ‘Study yourself constantly. The moment
you begin to ask yourself who you are, you
are becoming more and more mature.’
We try to impose ourselves on the world
thereby, thinking that we can modify or better
it. We try to impose ourselves on others, saying
that ‘I am a qualified person’ and want the
world to know and respect us. Not only that.
we try to have more and more—money,
power, enjoyments, respect from others, etc.
When we do not have what we crave for, we
become miserable. We are immature, because
we consider our body-mind complex as
permanent, and the world in which this body-
mind complex is, as permanent.
Our saints say: ‘Imagine your situation!
You are using impermanent tools, your body
and mind, to get joy from the impermanent
world—a tiny soap bubble trying to attach
itself to a huge soap bubble so as to be happy.’
So there is no end to misery and sorrow. No
person—though having huge qualifications or
being in the biggest positions of the world, is
truly peaceful and happy. Money, power,
degrees, and such other things do not bring
inner peace, and seeking peace and happiness
in this way is immaturity pure and simple.
Maturity does not demand university
degrees, or money, or social power. Rama-
krishna, Holy Mother, Swami Adbhutananda,
Jesus Christ, St Francis of Assisi, Kabir, Nanak,
Rabia, All Hallaj, Rumi—and an army of such
extraordinary children of Light were neither
university masters, nor rich, nor powerful in
society. Many of the saints could hardly read
and write, hardly possessed a hut, hardly got
the meal of the day, or a place to sleep. Some
served as servants of rich people, some
mended shoes. Yet, they were mature indivi-
duals—they had attained inner peace and
supreme happiness. They knew the world as
23 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
27
it is, and they knew themselves. And, more
importantly, they contributed immensely for
the good of the world. The world remembers
all these great ones with reverence.
For us common people to attain to matu-
rity, Sri Ramakrishna has given a simple for-
mula, which says it all. Attachment to worldly
enjoyments, symbolically kamini¸ and attach-
ment to one’s false ego, symbolically kanchana
—‘me and mine’—is ignorance, is immaturity.
Those who are trying to be free from the
influence of these are mature individuals.
Maturity and Decision-Making
We speak of the contributions made by
highly qualified people and socially important
individuals. But no contribution is greater than
the contribution made by truly mature indivi-
duals. While ego-battered, sense-bound power
lovers think that they are ‘benefiting society’
by their intelligence and maturity, they are
actually not benefiting much at all. With every
change in society they disappear with their
contributions into oblivion. True and lasting
contribution can be made only by really
mature people, who never think they have
contributed anything, who influence society
positively through their words and actions,
which sing in unison. With all the power and
position people may hold in society, it is the
voice of the mature individual alone that the
society listens to. †
India’s Timeless Wisdom

n-¤tn nrat |¤Œt «¤t¤t¤n=tnnn≤¡
¤t¤tn ¤ nrtun|untnv≤¤ta==un≤¡¡
At t he t ime of prosperit y, t he heart of great people is as soft as a lot us
flower and during difficult and t rying t imes, as hard as t he rocks of a might y
mount ain.
—Neeti Shatakam, 66
He [ Swami Subodhananda] very oft en narrat ed t o t hose who came t o him for
guidance t he following st ory of Shridhara Swami, t he great Vaishnava saint and a
comment at or on t he Git a: Spurred by a spirit of renunciat ion, Shridhara Swami was
t hinking of giving up t he world when his wife died giving birt h t o a child. Shridhara felt
worried about t he baby and was seriously t hinking about how t o provide for t he child
before ret iring from t he world. One day as he was sit t ing deeply absorbed wit h t hese
t hought s, t he egg of a lizard dropped from t he roof in front of him. The egg broke as a
result of t he fall and a young lizard came out . Just t hen a small fly came and st ood near
t he young lizard, which it caught and swallowed in a moment . At t his t he t hought
flashed in t he mind of Shridhara t hat t here is a divine plan behind creat ion and t hat
every creat ure is provided for beforehand by God. At once all his anxiet y for his own
child vanished, and he immediat ely renounced t he world. Of course, t he baby was t aken
care of by his relat ives. —God Lived with Them, p.552
t t
24 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Holy Mother’s Four Visits to Orissa
SWAMI TANNISHTHANANDA
… The author is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order at its Nagpur Centre.
Orissa (or Odisha), an Indian state, earlier
known as Utkal and also known as Kalinga in
ancient days, is hallowed by two temple cities
of Bhuvaneshwar and Puri. Orissa, steeped in
a deep religious culture, had been sanctified
by the visits of spiritual luminaries such as
Adi Shankaracharya, Sri Ramanujacharya,
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Holy Mother Sri
Sarada Devi and many direct disciples of Sri
Ramakrishna.
In this article we shall try to describe
Holy Mother’s visits to Orissa which she
visited four times. Her first visit to Orissa was
in 1888, second was in 1904, the third and the
fourth were while on her pilgrimage towards
South India and while returning from there in
the year 1910 and 1911.
Holy Mother’s First Visit
Towards the end of his life, the Master
had one day said to the Holy Mother, ‘You
visit all those places which it was not possible
for this (meaning himself) to visit.’ It is difficult
to understand what Sri Ramakrishna meant
by this but possibly he meant that she should
visit the holy places in India which he could
not visit. It is a notable coincidence that just
two weeks after the Master’s demise, the Holy
Mother started on a pilgrimage of Upper India
(as north India was generally called then).
1
The proposal for pilgrimage to Puri
attracted quite a number of devotees, and thus
Swamis Brahmananda, Yogananda, Sarada-
nanda
*1
as also Yogin-Ma, Golap-Ma, Yogin-
Ma’s mother and Laxmidevi started with her.
As the coastal railroad had not yet been
constructed, they went by steamer from
Calcutta to Chandbali on 7th November 1888
from where they proceeded by a launch to
Cuttack
*2
, and by cart to Puri. Immediately on
arriving at Puri, they visited the temple of Lord
Jagannath as an inauspicious period as per the
temple-tradition was to commence from the
next day.
After the darshan, the Holy Mother and
the women devotees went to live in a house
Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi
25 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
29
of Balaram Basu, called the Kshetra-
basir Math or a ‘monastery for the
dwellers in the holy place’. The monks
had their own separate place. The
Mother stayed here for a little more
than two months, returning to
Calcutta in the middle of January next
year (1889).
As the Master had never been to
Puri, the Mother carried his picture
under her cloth so as to show him the
image of the Lord Jagannath by
showing his picture to the deity; for
she believed that ‘the picture and its
prototype were the same.’ About
Jagannath she said, ‘I saw Jagannath
as the best of all persons sitting on an
altar of gems with myself serving him as a
handmaid.’ At another time she said that she
saw the god (Jagannath) as Shiva. On her visit
to the temple she was delighted to see the
great concourse of pilgrims; and with tears of
joy she thought within herself, ‘Hey-day! Good
luck! So many people will be freed (through
this vision of the Lord)!’ But the next moment
it occurred to her, ‘No, only those rare few
who have no worldly desire will be freed.’
When she shared her thought with Yogin-Ma,
the latter, too, concurred.
At Puri the Mother’s characteristic humi-
lity was revealed in bold relief. Govinda
Shingari, the Panda of Balaram Basu’s family,
thought that in keeping with honour of that
family a palanquin should be arranged for
carrying their guru’s wife to the temple. When
he placed this proposal before the Mother, she
said, ‘No, Govinda, you will walk in front as a
guide and I shall follow you as a poor humble
woman to visit Jagannath.’ It was thus that
she visited the temple. She also visited all the
noted places at Puri, and she spent long hours
regularly in meditation at the temple of
Mahalaxmi.
From Puri she returned to Calcutta on
the 12th January 1889; and next day, she
bathed in the Ganges at Nimtola.
2
Mother’s Second Visit
At the end of November 1904 the
proposal for her going to Puri took shape. The
Bengal Nagpur railway had by this time been
Shashi Niketan
An archival picture of Kshetra-basir Math
26 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
30
completed. The Mother travelled in a reserved
second-class compartment with her uncle
Nilmadhav, Surabala (the mad aunt), Golap-
Ma, Sister Laxmi, Radhu, Master Mahashaya’s
wife, Chunilalbabu’s wife and Kusumkumari.
Swami Premananda and two devotees got into
an inter class compartment. The train reached
Puri in the morning and the Mother with her
relatives and women companions took up
residence in Kshetra-basir Math of the Basus,
while Swami Premananda and others went to
their second house near the sea called Shashi
Niketan. The Mother’s first duty at Puri was
to go to the Jagannath temple to have darshan
at the Lord. On subsequent days it was her
daily task to visit the temple with others early
morning and evening. One day a Katha by a
temple priest was arranged at her residence,
who narrated the story and glory of Jagannath
from the ancient books. On this occasion about
fifty temple priests were sumptuously fed. The
Holy Mother and others used to obtain, on
payment, the consecrated food from the temple
for their daily meals; the feast for the priests
was also arranged similarly.
At Puri, the Mother had a boil on her
foot, which gave her intense pain, and yet she
did not allow it to be operated on. One day in
the temple somebody’s foot touched the boil
thereby causing excruciating pain to her. When
Swami Premananda heard this, he came on
the next day with a young doctor ostensibly
to pay their obeisance to the Mother. She, as
was her habit on such occasions, sat covering
herself completely with a cotton sheet. The
doctor now brought out his knife and in the
act of saluting by touching the feet opened
the boil and then begged her pardon saying,
‘Mother, please don’t be offended.’ This un-
expected move irritated the Mother a little at
first. But when through proper dressings the
pain subsided and the wound healed up in a
trice, she heartily blessed her sons despite their
dare devilry.
A few days after this, the Mother wanted
to bring her mother and a brother to Puri to
give them an opportunity to see the Lord. A
devotee was accordingly sent to Jayrambati.
This had to be done without the mad aunt’s
knowledge, for she was too envious to brook
anybody else sharing the Mother’s affection
or money which were to be monopolized by
or kept in reserve for herself and her daughter.
The devotee went via Vishnupur by train, the
railway line on that side having been laid a
little earlier, and communicated the Mother’s
invitation to grandmother (Shyamasundari)
and uncle Kali who alone were expected to
come. But at news of the pilgrimage the
number swelled till a big party consisting of
grandmother, uncle Kali with his father-in-law,
wife, and two sons, and a villager named
Sitaram started by way of Garbeta. No sooner
did they step into the Kshetra-basir Math than
Surabala got into frenzy, and went on casti-
Shyamasundari
27 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
31
gating the Mother by all kinds of gestures and
postures and doggerel verses.
It is an immemorial tradition at Puri that
no caste distinction is observed so far as the
prasad of Jagannath is concerned, so much so,
that prasad put into one’s mouth by even a
man of the lowest caste, at the Anandbazar
within temple precincts, may not be refused.
The Mother showed her respect for this hoary
custom by putting the prasad into the mouth
of the devotees and asking them to put into
hers. While this merry ceremony was going
on, Master Mahashay and uncle Varada came
there by coincidence from Calcutta, and they
too joined in it.
All those who came from Jayrambati
except grandmother, left again in December
1904. The Mother continued there for some
time more. Her foot was now cured of the
boil, the rheumatism too, was not acute, and
the body was healthy. Therefore she moved
about happily visiting the sacred places such
as kitchen of Jagannath, Gundicha Bari, Laxmi-
Jala, Narendra Sarovar, Govardhan Math, etc.
She also circumambulated the Jagannath
temple and bathed twice in the sea. As her
mind was cheerful at this time, she spoke of
many anecdotes of the Master’s life and of the
Dakshineshwar days.
3
One day Holy Mother wished to attend
the sandhyarti, shringar (ritual consisting of
adorning the deities) and other ceremonies late
in the evening. Harivallabha Basu, elder cousin
of Balaram Basu, was much respected by the
Pandas (priests) of Jagannath Temple. When
he was informed about this, he made all
necessary arrangements. They all went to
temple. It was a very calm and serene
environment. Holy Mother instructed every-
one to do Japam of Ishtamantra. After sometime
Panda Govinda Shringari announced that the
temple would open soon. The moment the
temple was opened, everybody present there
entered the temple sanctum sanatorum. Then
by applying sandal paste to all the three deities
and decorating them with clothes and
ornaments started the shringara ceremony.
Holy Mother joyfully observed everything and
told that this sight of shringara will calm down
one’s mind. The arrangement was made for
the shayana (ritual indicating ‘going to bed’)
of the three deities. Accordingly three cots
Jagannath temple
Images of Balaram, Subhadra and Lord Jagannath
28 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
were decorated and made ready. Here the
Holy Mother was so much engrossed in the
darshan that others had to remind her that
the temple was being closed. Hearing this,
Holy Mother returned to her residence.
Holy Mother and her party again came
to the temple in the early morning for
mangalarti. With the chanting of Suprabhatam,
the deities were requested to get up and take
their seat on the altar. Pandas sought the
deities’ forgiveness for waking them up. Then
1. Sri Sarada Devi: The Holy Mother by Swami
Tapasyananda p.99
2. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi by Swami
Gambhirananda p.165
References
the door was opened and party entered the
temple sanctum sanatorum. By seeing local
people praying in Oriya language, Holy
Mother was very much touched. Then the
mangalarti began. After mangalarti was over
the ornaments of deities were removed and
teeth were washed. At this Holy Mother
commented that this simple and sweet image
(vigraha) of the Lord is very good to meditate
upon.
(To be continued . . .)
*1. According to Sri Sri Mayer Jiban Katha in Bengali
by Swami Bhumananda, Swami Niranjanananda
was a member of this party while Laxmididi’s
name did not appear. (Page-107)
*2. Holy Mother came to Cuttack by steamer and
alighted at the Mata Math Ghat probably on 10
th
November 1888 where Vivekananda Ashram was
started later on. From the Mata Math Ghat, she
went to Harivallabha Basu’s House near
Chaudhari Bazar and stayed there for the night
and went to Puri by bullock cart next morning.
The first Girls’ School of Orissa was started in that
house which is now known as Ravenshaw Girls’
High school. The first Women’s College of Orissa
was also started at the same place. The college has
now been shifted to another place at Cantonment
3. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi by Swami
Gambhirananda p. 200, Bengali Sri Ma by
Ashutosh Mitra p.26-31
Road now known as Shailabala Women’s College.
Vivekananda Ashram Cuttack occupied this place
on 12th January 1988 to bring out the procession
on National Youth Day. The land belonged to
Late K.K.Basu, who later donated it. It was
registered in the name of Sri Ramakrishna
Vivekananda Bhava Prachar Samiti, Vivekananda
Ashram Cuttack on 14th January 1993, the
birthday anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
Construction of the temple started in 2000. Srimat
Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj consecrated it on
31st October 2006. At present the Ashrama has
Library and Book Sale, Health Service
departments and also Coaching Classes and
Vocational Training Centre.
Footnotes
M M
Wit hout t he grace of Shakti not hing is t o be accomplished.
What do I find in America and Europe?—t he worship of Shakti,
t he worship of Power. Yet t hey worship Her ignorant ly t hrough
sense- grat ificat ion. I magine, t hen, what a lot of good t hey will
achieve, who will worship Her wit h all purit y, in a Sattvika
spirit , looking upon Her as t heir Mot her!
—Swami Vivekananda
32
29 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Sri Ramakrishna was a master story teller. While he spoke of
profound spiritual truths and mystery of human life, he amply used
stories, anecdotes, examples and analogies to drive home his point. At
times, while narrating a story, he would even make gestures and change
the tone of his voice to bring in a lively element in his narrative. The
following stories, mainly culled from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
(published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai) are an
attempt to present before the readers Sri Ramakrishna’s rich store-
house of stories which are both illuminating and simple.
1
Mahut God
Let me tell you a story. In a forest there
lived a holy man who had many disciples.
One day he taught them to see God in all
beings and, knowing this, to bow low before
them all. A disciple went to the forest to gather
wood for the sacrificial fire. Suddenly he heard
an outcry: ‘Get out of the way! A mad elephant
is coming!’ All but the disciple of the holy
man took to their heels. He reasoned that the
elephant was also God in another form. Then
why should he run away from it? He stood
still, bowed before the animal, and began to
sing its praises. The mahut of the elephant
was shouting: ‘Run away! Run away!’ But the
disciple didn’t move. The animal seized him
with its trunk, cast him to one side, and went
on its way. Hurt and bruised, the disciple lay
unconscious on the ground. Hearing what had
happened, his teacher and his brother disciples
came to him and carried him to the hermitage.
With the help of some medicine he soon
regained consciousness. Someone asked him,
‘You knew the elephant was coming—why
didn’t you leave the place?’ ‘But’, he said, ‘our
teacher has told us that God Himself has taken
all these forms, of animals as well as men.
Therefore, thinking it was only the elephant
God that was coming, I didn’t run away.’ At
this the teacher said: ‘Yes, my child, it is true
that the elephant God was coming; but the
mahut God forbade you to stay there. Since
all are manifestations of God, why didn’t you
trust the mahut’s words? You should have
heeded the words of the mahut God.’
(Pp. 84-85)
The Power of Faith
A man was about to cross the sea from
Ceylon to India. Bibhishana said to him: ‘Tie
this thing in a corner of your wearing-cloth,
and you will cross the sea safely. You will be
able to walk on the water. But be sure not to
examine it, or you will sink.’ The man was
walking easily on the water of the sea—such
is the strength of faith—when, having gone
part of the way, he thought, ‘What is this
wonderful thing Bibhishana has given me, that
I can walk even on the water?’ He untied the
knot and found only a leaf with the name of
Rama written on it. ‘Oh, just this!’ he thought,
and instantly he sank. (Pp. 106-107)
The Peacock and the Opium
[Presently the Master explained the cause of
his laughter to the devotees, He said:] A man once
fed a peacock with a pill of opium at four
o’clock in the afternoon. The next day, exactly
at that time, the peacock came back. It had felt
the intoxication of the drug and returned just
in time to have another dose.
(p.90)
30 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
An Approach to
Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita
DHARITRI KUMAR DAS GUPTA
Approaching the Kathamrita
A reader wishing to read the Sri Sri
Ramakrishna Kathamarita (The Gospel of Sri
Ramakrishna in English) may intend to do so
for various reasons—an intellectual curiosity,
or finding a way out of worldly afflictions,
diseases and worries, or a genuine aspirant
seeking spiritual knowledge. But whatever
may be his motive, a few likely questions that
may arise in his mind are: Why should I read
it, what do I stand to gain? Does what is said
in the book stand to reason? Is the author of
the book competent enough?
Before we try to answer these questions,
let us presume certain facts about the reader
himself. The reader has perhaps some know-
ledge about the spiritual and humanitarian
ideas of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda world,
and appreciates them. May be he is also aware
of the paramount position of the Holy Mother
Sarada Devi in the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda
world. She, the holiness personified, abides in
this ‘world’ as the Supreme Controller. While
she was physically present, her infallible
advice and blessings were sought on all occa-
sions—no matter whether it is Vivekananda’s
journeys within the country or abroad, or
establishment of the Ramakrishna Math and
Mission, or introduction of worshipping the
goddess Durga in the Math sans ritualistic
animal sacrifice, or even as trifling as reinstate-
ment of a delinquent servant. The reader may
observe that the Kathamrita begins with a brief
letter of benediction (written to M, the
chronicler of the book) by the Holy Mother.
Holy Mother’s Letter of Benediction
Should we be able to realise the signifi-
cance of the Holy Mother’s letter of benedi-
ction, it shall act as the true guide to our
journey to study the Kathamrita; such reali-
sation shall enable us to understand why we
should study and practice whatever has been
said therein. Then our vision will be free from
distortions, our mind freed from anxiety. We
shall get answers to all our preliminary
inquiries and realise that this letter of
benediction is indeed the brief yet prophetic
evaluation of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita,
made at a time when the book was still in the
making. We firmly believe that without her
intervention it would have never seen the
‘blaze of daylight’. Let us now try to find out
its significance with an open mind.
M., the Chronicler and His Mindset
It will helpful to refresh ourselves with
some information on the chronicler of the book
[reader may kindly observe that we have used
the word ‘Chronicler’ instead of ‘Author’ on
purpose, the reasons shall be made known
later] and its publication.
Dharitri Kumar Das Gupta is a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna from Kolkata. He has to his credit the translation of
Kathamrita Prasanga of Swami Bhuteshanandaji into English. …
31 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
35
Mahendranath Gupta—alias M., alias
Mani or Manimohan, alias Englishman, alias
a devotee, alias Master Mahashay—was in
deep trouble having fallen in the whirlwind
of family life and failed to make any way out
it. He felt so unhappy and wretched that he
thought of putting an end to his life. In such a
distressed state of mind and without the least
preparation, directed by chance, he reached
the divine presence of Thakur [as Sri Rama-
krishna is often addressed in the Ramakrishna
Order]. Thakur saw him, had a brief session
of discussions and argumentation. In M.’s own
words, ‘This was M.’s first attempt to argue a
point with the Master and happily the last.’
Enlightened with modern education, a learned
professor in eastern and western arts and
science, M. was literally swept away by the
force of Sri Ramakrishna’s words, and gave
up all his intent to argue and reasoning. Indeed
Thakur made him swear not to argue. In the
words of Swami Tapasyananada,
Literally, the man who went to die, remained to
pass through a spiritual ascension without
physical death. He now found the real vocation
of his life, the true purpose of his earthly
sojourn.
1
He was filled with an inexplicable sense
of trust and confidence. A complete surrender!
It was as if Thakur, intent on retaining in-
valuable treasure for the welfare of the man-
kind, put in place a chalice after thoroughly
washing it with ‘Gobar and Gangajal’ [lit.
Ganga water mixed with a bit of cow-dung,
traditionally considered purifying and a
disinfectant]. Disinfectant for all the time! A
pure receptacle without the least chance of its
contents ever becoming tainted! Later we find
that Thakur often examined whether the things
were properly stored in right sequence and in
right context—what we say in modern term
‘stock-taking’. In this regard M. told later,
I developed the habit of writing diary right from
my boyhood days. Whenever at any place I
heard good lectures or discussions of God and
divinity, I would immediately note them down
in my diary. This habit of mine made me write
down whatever conversations I heard [at
Thakur’s place] including the precise day, Tithi,
Nakshtra and the date.
He further reflected,
Because of my worldly preoccupations I couldn’t
go to him as often as I wished. The apprehension
that the burden of worldly life might make me
forget or confuse whatever I had received from
him at Dakshineswar made me note down his
words and ideas. And before I would again visit
him I used to read those words of his and
reflected on them in my mind. Thus I started
noting down [his words and ideas] for my own
benefit so that I might be able to follow his advice
more effectively in my own life.
2
Master’s Dispensation
Analysing M.’s above simple statement,
we come to appreciate his faculty of mental
reflection and his unerring belief of having
received some invaluable treasure which by
no means he could allow to lose or distort. He
wished to be enriched by sincere application
of the advices in his own life. Having regard
to the then state of M.’s mind, it can be said
that the matter could have ended there.
But Thakur’s dispensation was different.
The path of presentation of divine truths to
humanity is chequered one. And it takes
different courses, assumes varied forms at
different ages. Besides, M. is essentially a
Master Mahashay [teacher]. Thakur had al-
ready identified and trained him to act as an
instrument for educating the masses. So this
invaluable treasure can never be meant for the
limited spiritual elevation of an individual—
M. One and all, indeed everybody needs it,
32 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
36
like one does the ever-purifying, invigorating
sunrays. Thus we find that on the eleventh
year after passing away of Thakur, and per-
haps, in a rather incomplete form and in instal-
ments it came out first in English periodicals
like Brahmavadin and later in Prabuddha Bharata.
Almost simultaneously it came out in pamph-
lets entitled The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
[according to M. a son of the Lord and dis-
ciple]’ from Madras. When Kathamrita or The
Gospel began to come out in parts in English
language, everybody wished that it should be
published in Thakur’s own language as well.
Then M. also had it published, in parts, in
Bengali through several periodicals like
Tattvamanjari, Udbodhan and Bangadarshan.
Thereafter after compiling and editing all
the parts, the first volume of Sri Sri Rama-
krishna Kathamrita came out in the year 1902,
sixteen years after the passing away of Thakur.
Four additional volumes followed, the last one
in the year 1932. But the legendary ‘M. a son
of the Lord and disciple’ joined his Master
leaving the mortal plane even before the last
one saw the light of the day. There are many
tales—documented, undocumented and oral—
behind this important historical event. But it
is not necessary to go into details of these in
the present context. We will do well to revert
to our original pursuit and try to understand
the true significance of Holy Mother’s letter of
benediction.
Holy Mother’s Divine Intervention
One day, while M. was still holding on
to the treasury of Thakur’s words all to himself
anxious, unsure and hesitant, reading, enjoying
and meditating, the Holy mother sent words
of blessings for him. At that time, very likely,
she stayed ‘in a rented house near the Ganges
on the Sarkar Bari Lane (Baghbazar).’ M. had
visited her with an anxious heart, read out
from his diary notes. Holy Mother heard him,
perceived his agony, blessed him and blotted
out his sense of fear and diffidence. Besides
oral blessings, the Holy Mother (at M’s
request) sent M. a letter of benediction from
Jayarambati, who probably thought of using
it as a gem of an introduction to his upcoming
book. We have reasons to believe that at the
hour of blessing M and his mission, she must
have been in a Supremely Divine state and
her divine intervention made the publication
of the book possible. Here is the text of
Mother’s letter.
3
Jayarambati
21st Asha 1304 (4th July 1897)
Dear Child,
Whatever you had heard from Him [Thakur] is
nothing but the Truth. You need not feel any
diffidence about it. At one time it was He who
had placed those words in your custody. And it
is He who is now bringing them to the light of
the day according to the needs of the times.
Know it for certain that unless those words are
brought out, man will not have his consciousness
awakened. All the words of His that you have
with you—every one of them is true. One day
when you read them out to me I felt as if it was
He who was speaking.
The In-dwelling Mother knew every bit
of her child’s anxiety. So she bestowed her
blessings and boon of freedom from fear. We
have taken the liberty to translate the second
line of the letter literally—Ihâte tomar kona bhay
nai, ‘You need not feel any fear about it.’ (Here
the term fear is generic one that includes his
sense of anxiety, diffidence and reservations
et al.) Indeed the Holy Mother’s blessings and
boon of freedom from fear were greatest
treasures of M., who acknowledged it in no
uncertain terms. To quote from his words,
Ma, thirteen years ago when this inept child of
yours took up the arduous task of chronicling
33 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
37
Sri Sri Kathamrita, you showered your blessings
and the boon of freedom from fear. Sri Narendra
and other brother-disciples also encouraged me
utmost. Even today Sriyukta Baburam, Sashi,
Girish and other brothers are encouraging me
without end.
Ma, thy blessings and boon of freedom from
fear are the only treasures of Thy servant of
servants.
4
Significances of Holy Mother’s Words
In our estimate, the letter of benediction
is extraordinary. It is most brief yet so com-
plete! Analysing the truths behind her words
we come to the following conclusions.
1. In a firm and determined tone so as to
create an unfailing trust, the Holy Mother says
that everything M. heard is true. Whatever is
thought to be extraneous or incidental, what
has so far been read and those that wait to be
brought to light—everything is true. Should
we wonder what the nature of truth is, the
Holy Mother assures that, ‘. . . It was He
[Thakur] who was speaking.’ True—‘every one
of them is true.’ A question may arise what is
meant by saying ‘every one is true’? Is it
possible that truth has relative validity? The
answer is both yes, and no. Realisation of truth
is dependent on individual’s state of mind,
one’s level of consciousness. Truth absolute is
Truth per se, and eternal. It is Truth at all times
under all circumstances and does not suffer
any change. But realisation of truth that is
reflected on an individual’s mind depends on
its state of consciousness. That is why different
people have different perceptions of truth. So
the Holy Mother exhorts us to shed all such
different perceptions and believe implicitly
that everything said therein is true. Whatever
is apparently thought to be extraneous or
incidental is also true. We may explain the
matter using Thakur’s own imagery,
Suppose you have separated the shell, the flesh
and seeds of a bel-fruit and someone asks you
the weight of the fruit. Will you leave aside the
shell and the seeds and weigh only the flesh?
Not at all. To know the real weight of the fruit,
you must weigh of the whole of it—the shell,
the flesh and the seeds. Only then can you tell
its real weight.
5
This explains that to a reader ‘everything
is true.’ It does not contain anything that can
be discarded. On attainment of the Supreme
knowledge one realises the Truth.
Thus while studying Kathamrita we will be
guided by the belief that whatever it contains is
true, indeed nothing but truth.
2. Holy Mother says that its publication
is divinely ordained. ‘At one time it was He
who had placed those words in your custody.
And it is He who is now bringing them to the
light of the day according to the needs of the
times.’ M. is, thus, simply a trustee or custo-
dian of Sri Ramakrishna’s words. Incidentally,
the book documents as much Thakur’s own
words, advice, discussions with others, com-
ments of his associates and devotees as much
as the physical ambience and natural scenery
in which they were given. They are beautifully
painted with rare artistic skills and grace. This
is the fruit of M.’s power of observation and
his sense of creativity. But here is also some-
thing of a mystery. As he confided later, he
used to record Thakur’s words very briefly in
his diary, which were so cryptic that it had no
meaning to others. Before starting to write the
Gospel, he would meditate on the scene of the
day related to those words. While meditating,
the whole scene of each day under consi-
deration would appear clearly before him. He
would start writing only when the entire scene
would surface clearly before his mind. M.
firmly believed that Thakur’s words were not
merely to be heard; those were objects of
34 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
38
meditation. Re-living the total scene is neces-
sary to help us meditate. It was Thakur himself
who credited M. with necessary artistic skill,
his thoughtfulness, and how best to make use
of the words and power to be able to do so.
Holy Mother says that Thakur had
placed those words in M.’s custody and it was
He who was bringing them to light according
to the needs of the time. Why? What is the
need to bring them to light? We have already
said that these are not meant for personal
benefit of any individual; the Holy Mother
emphatically says ‘unless those words are
brought out, man will not have his cons-
ciousness awakened’. Shall the words brought
to light necessarily awaken man’s conscious-
ness? In this regard Thakur’s advice is identical
with those of Lord Krishna’s advice in the Gita
where he says that a spiritual aspirant seeking
inner change should always practice (do
abhyasa). An aspirant must regularly practice
spiritual precepts, studying, reflecting on and
trying to emulate them in his own life. What
to practice? That is why there is need for
proper set of advice suited to modern days
conveyed in the language of the common man
—a new commentary on the Gita. So its publi-
cation is divinely ordained.
A regular study the Kathamrita, hence,
should be followed by a reflection over what we
read. We should try to practice what we reflect over.
3. Holy Mother’s benedictory letter also
contains a very significant statement where she
assured M. —‘You need not feel any fear about
it’. Fear! What to fear about? It is worth
remembering that M. was no ordinary person.
Besides, living in close quarter with the God
Incarnate, all his human weaknesses and sense
of fear must have left him. And his state of
consciousness must have been turned necta-
rean by the very touch of nectar. So here fear
does not refer to normal human attribute of
fright. But fear, rather diffidence and anxiety
must have sustained in his mind that stood in
the way of publication of Kathamrita. This
explains why Kathamrita took long eleven years
after the passing away of the Master to see
the light of the day.
M’s Sense of Fear
But why at all does such sense of fear come
from? If it does, then what is its nature? It
appears to us that his first and foremost
anxiety was as the receiver of these invaluable
treasures since entrusted on him. Of course as
the trustee or receiver he certainly took good
care and preserved them but he was uncertain,
rather anxious, as to how and to what extent
he should bring them to light. At first he
thought that he would use them for his own
personal benefit. It was more so because
Thakur gave different sets of advice to his
monastic disciples and associates who made
use of them. Perhaps, this may explain the
history of eleven long years of anxious
silence—
it remained with him, to read and go back on
the wings of imagination, to relive those old
ecstatic days and experiences he had during
Thakur’s lifetime.
We may draw some likeness of his anxi-
ety with those of Milton after he had become
blind. A vital question tormented Milton’s
mind—he was unable to make proper use of
the rare ‘talent lodged’ by the Lord that lay
‘useless’ for half of his life was spent in the
‘dark world and wide’. When returning to the
Lord, He might chide and ask Milton to
present ‘true account’. What should he
answer? At last realisation dawned on him—
. . . God doth not need either man’s work, or
His own gifts, who best bear His mild yoke,
they serve Him best; . . .They also serve who
only stand and wait.
6
35 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
But this realisation was not sufficient for
M., because he had yet another worldly duty
as a ‘Master Mahashay’ [teacher]. He had been
identified as an instrument—the ‘Master
Mahashay’—for awakening peoples’ cons-
ciousness. That is why he was anxious and
the thought ever tormented him as to how
and to what extent he would publish them.
M. was wary about yet another grave
matter, which is perhaps the most important
of all. Thakur’s unalloyed, stern advices were
placed in a rather soft way, using colloquial
lingo, but those were sharp-edged and unkind
at times—his talks reflected on many contem-
porary socio-religious beliefs, thoughts, habits
and practices, and touched upon many in-
fluential persons of the day. We should not
lose sight of the fact that Sri Ramakrishna did
not come to destroy anything; he came to
rejuvenate and reconstruct, not to set aside
anything. Whatever is untrue or malignant
shall automatically wither away, to use
Thakur’s own words, ‘One shouldn’t forcibly
tear off the green branch of a coconut tree.
That injures the tree.’
7
It falls off when the
time is ripe.
Hence Thakur never criticised anything,
not even the meanest of the creatures, insects.
Well, whom to criticise? Does not the Thakur
comprise good and whatever is seemingly
bad? However, during the course of personal
discussions and having regard to the need of
explaining with reference to the context and
the specific circumstances, many things had
crept in which could not be avoided. Besides
the Master’s own words, the discussions also
contained words and comments of his asso-
ciates and devotees. M. was anxious that
disclosure of all these may raise a storm of
protests and slanders. That his anxiety had
been substantive was also corroborated later
as conveyed to him by Vivekananda himself,
. . .You will have many blessings on you and
many more curses. That is always the way of
the world, sir. This is the time.
8
In this regard we may do well to remem-
ber that contemporary society was not at all
sympathetic towards the Ramakrishna-Viveka-
nanda world. Many pundits, social, religious
communities and many influential persona-
lities of the day were openly hostile towards
them. Worse, they also faced the frowning of
the then royalty and the police vigil with
harassments that followed at times. That
indeed may have made M. wary and anxious.
This explains why M. considered Holy
Mother’s blessings and her boon of freedom
from fear invaluable treasures.
Holy Mother’s Reflections on the Book
She reflected on the book many a time
later during her homely discussions. Indeed
Swami Ishanananda, one of Mother’s atten-
dants, later recalled:
In the evening, we would read the Gospel to
Mother. As she heard it she would say, ‘Oh, it is
as if the Master himself is speaking in our
presence. One’s hair stands on end!’ Once
Mother remarked, ‘How intelligent people are
these days—they have taken Thakur’s picture.
And M.—is he an ordinary person? He managed
to record everything Thakur said.’
9
Besides this we refer to only two instan-
ces of her observations dating as late as July
and September 1918, or after lapse of twenty-
one years. In July 1918 Holy Mother spoke
about ‘M’s book’ as ‘good’. She said,
He has recorded Master’s own words. What
sweet words! I heard that there is so much mate-
rial that there could be four or five parts. He has
now become old, would he be able to do that?
10
We know by Holy Mother’s grace he did
it! The September 1918 reflections are asso-
ciated with the Pravrajika Bharatiprana Mataji,
39
36 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
the first President of the Sri Sarada Math. Holy
Mother said,
‘Sarala read about Sri Ramakrishna. How fine
his teachings were! How could we know then
that things would take this turn! …Often he
(Thakur) would tell me nice words of advice. If
I had known how to write I would have noted
them down. Well, Sarala, please read something
today.’ Sarala began to read from the Kathamrita
the Bengali original of the Gospel of Sri Rama-
krishna.
11
Such unpretentious, simple discussions,
and more so, her sense of apparent wonder
(‘How could we know then that things would
take this turn’) make us believe that while bles-
sing M. way back in July 1897, Holy Mother
must have been in a spiritually high state and
facilitated a historical event divinely ordained.
Being in a high state of spiritual cons-
ciousness, as cited above, has many parallels
in our scriptures. In the Mahabharata (Ashva-
medha Parva, Chapter 16), for instance, it is
mentioned that before the Kurukreshtra War
Sri Krishna gave his immortal message of the
Gita. After the War, victorious Arjuna re-
quested Sri Krishna to re-state the teachings
once again, as he had forgotten what Sri
Krishna told earlier. Lord Krishna then
expressed his inability to do so because while
speaking of the Gita he had been in the high
state of consciousness (yogayukta) and now he
was in a different state. Sri Krishna hence chose
to deliberate on the old history of the know-
ledge of Parambrahma. The high spiritual
state, in Sri Thakur’s own words, is:
Master…It is good to remain on the plane of the
Lila after reaching the Nitya.
M: You once said that one comes down to the
plane of Lila in order to enjoy the divine play.
Master: No, not exactly that. The Lila is real too.
12
Conclusion
Come ye all—wise readers, devotees, af-
flicted and distressed people! Let us enrich
ourselves with the Holy Mother’s blessings
and set out to study the Kathamrita or the
Gospel. Ye, inquirers of truth! Let us move
ahead no matter how perilous the path is. We
shall reach the goal, because: ‘By knowing Him
alone one transcends death; there is no other
path to go by’ (tameva viditva atimrityumeti
nanyah pantha vidyateayanaya). †
1. The Condensed Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Ed.
Swami Tapasyananda. (3rd Ed. 12th
Impression.1993), pp. xiii -xiv
2. M’s statements as reported in Vivekananda O
Samakalin Bharatvarsa Vol II. (Third Reprint 1981)
Sankari Prasad Basu. p.254.
3. The text of the letter of benediction of the Holy
Mother is taken from The Condensed Gospel of Sri
Ramakrishna [M.’s own English version] edited by
Swami Tapasyananda.
4. M’s submission in his Introductory Note to Vol.IV
(of Gospel in original Bengali) dated 10
th
Asvin
1317 BS [Sept.27.1910]
5. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Swami
Nikhilananda) p.328, hereafter Gospel
6. The Golden Treasury. Ed. F.T.Palgrave. (Indian Ed.
Twelfth Impression.1991) p.62.
7. Gospel p. 487.
8. Swami Vivekananda’s letter to M. dated October
1897.
9 . The Way to God As Taught by Sri Ramakrishna, Swami
Lokeswarananda [RMIC] 1st Ed.1992. p.10.
10. The Gospel of the Holy Mother recorded by Her
Devotee-Children. Sri Ramakrishna Math,
Chennai (4th Impression 1996) p. 38.
11. Ibid. p. 56. It is also supported by her remini-
scences as incorporated in Matridarshan compiled
by Swami Chetanananda. Pub. Udbodhan (1st Ed.
9th Impression 2001) p.73.
12. The Gospel, p.238
References
40
37 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
Durga Puja Celebrations
Durga Puja was celebrated at Belur Math from 14 to 17 October 2010 with all solemnity. Though the
weather was cloudy, there was no rain during the main Puja hours. Thousands of devotees attended the Puja
on all the four days to receive the blessings of the Divine Mother. The Kumari Puja performed on 15
October drew huge crowds, and the Sandhi Puja on
that afternoon was also attended by many devotees.
Sri M K Narayanan, Governor of West Bengal, also
attended the Sandhi Puja. Kolkata Doordarshan telecast
live the Puja at different times on all the days. Cooked
Prasad was served to more than 47,000 devotees on
Ashtami day and to about one lakh devotees during
the four days.
Durga Puja (in image) was celebrated at the follow-
ing 24 centres in India: Antpur, Asansol, Barasat,
Contai, Cooch Behar, Dhaleswar (under Agartala),
Ghatshila, Guwahati, Jalpaiguri, Jamshedpur,
Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Karimganj, Lucknow,
Malda, Medinipur, Mumbai, Patna, Port Blair, Rahara,
Shella (under Cherrapunji), Shillong, Silchar and
Varanasi Advaita Ashrama.
Durga Puja (in image) was performed at Durban
(South Africa), Geneva (Switzerland), Mauritius and Toronto (Canada) Ashramas and the following nine
centres in Bangladesh: Baliati, Barisal, Chittagong, Comilla, Dhaka, Dinajpur, Habiganj, Narayanganj and
Sylhet.
At Dhaka centre, Ms Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh; Ms Sahara Khatun, Minister of
Home Affairs; Mr Shah Jahan Miah, State Minister of Religion; Mr Shamsul Haq Tuku, State Minister of
Home Affairs; Mr Ahad Ali Sarkar, State Minister of Sports; Mr Abdur Razzaq, Chairman of the Parliamentary
Standing Committee for the Water Resources Ministry; Mr Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Dhaka City Corporation
Mayor; Mr Hossain Mohammad Ershad, former President of Bangladesh, and several other distinguished
persons attended the Durga Puja celebration. †
Kadapa Centre’s Written Quiz on Swami Vivekananda
As part of its Centenary Celebrations, the Kadapa centre of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission conducted
an All Andhra Pradesh Written Quiz based on a small book of the life and teachings of Swami Viveka-
nanda. Over 79,000 school and junior college students participated in the quiz. Prizes worth two lakh,
besides certificates to more than 2400 students, were awarded to the winning students. All the 759 educational
institutions which took part in the Quiz were presented a set of books. The prize distribution ceremony was
held on 21 November 2010. †

Durga Puja Celebrations—Belur Math

38 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
42
Awards Presented
Y Swaraj Sansthan Sanchalanalaya, Ministry
of Culture, Government of Madhya Pradesh,
conferred Maharaja Agrasen Rashtriya
Samman on Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math,
in recognition of its outstanding service activities
and its efforts to achieve fraternity and equality
in society. Sri Laxmikanta Sharma, Minister of
Culture, Government of Madhya Pradesh,
handed over the award comprising a citation
and a sum of Rupees two lakh to the General
Secretary on 8 October 2010 at Bharat Bhawan,
Bhopal. †
Y Indian National Congress conferred Indira
Gandhi Award for National Integration for the
year 2009 on Narainpur Ashrama. Smt Sonia
Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress,
handed over the award comprising a citation
and a sum of Rs. 2,50,000/- on 31 October
2010 in a function held at Teen Murti House
auditorium, New Delhi, in the presence of Dr
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, and
several other dignitaries.
Y Bhilai Steel Plant conferred the Bhilai Mitra
Puraskar on our Narainpur centre on 14
November 2010 for the centre’s excellent welfare
activities for the poor and backward people.
The award carries a memento with citation. †
Y Sarada Kindergarten of our Singapore
centre has won the following prestigious MOE-
AECES 2010 awards: (1) ‘Distinction’ for Innovation, (2) ‘Merit’ for Outstanding Kindergarten Teacher,
and (3) ‘Merit’ for Good Practices. Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of State for Education & Home Affairs,
Singapore, handed over the awards on 23 November. These awards are jointly presented by MOE (Ministry
of Education) and AECES (Association of Early Childhood Educators Singapore). †
Maharaja Agrasen Rashtriya Samman being presented
Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration being presented
Y Sri Anupam Ray, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, visited Vedanta
Society, New York, USA, on 28 November and released the book Celebrating Shri Ramakrishna authored
by Swami Tathagatananda. †

39 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
43
Ponnampet Ashrama’s Temple Dedication Anniversary
The first Anniversary of the Consecration of its recently-built temple of Sri Ramakrishna at Ramakrishna
Sharadashrama, Ponnampet (Kodagu, Karnataka) was celebrated on 15 November 2010. The morning
programme consisted of special puja, homa, parayana, reading from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, and
bhajans. In the post-lunch session, there was a poetic presentation (in Kannada) on the glory of Indian
Culture and Traditions (called Jago Bharat) by Sri Sulebele
Chakravarthy and party. In the afternoon, a public meeting
was held. It was addressed by, among others, Swami
Suhitanandaji, Assistant Secretary of the Ramakrishna
Math and Mission, Belur Math and Padmashri Dr. Nalli
Kuppuswamy Chettiar. After the evening arati, a
Harikatha presentation was held.
On the previous day (14 November), a youth con-
vention has held at the Ashrama premises. It was attended
by 850 students and many teachers and invitees. A number
of monks and eminent people addressed the gathering.
The new office block at Ponnampet centre was
inaugurated on 15 September. †
General News
Y Srimat Swami Atmasthanandaji, the revered President Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Order, released a
DVD containing the archives of 60 years of The Bulletin of the Institute of Culture, Kolkata, on 11 October.
Y The cardiology clinic at Thiruvananthapuram hospital was inaugurated on 1 October.
Y On 1 October, National Blood Donation Day, Viveknagar (Tripura) centre organized a workshop on
health awareness, which was inaugurated by Sri Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister of Tripura. A blood donation
camp was held on the following day in which 47 persons donated blood.
Y Mr M O H Farook, Governor of Jharkhand, inaugurated a 20-bed primary health care unit at Ranchi
Sanatorium on 9 October.
Y Kozhikode centre organized an Eye Care Programme in which 3731 students of our school there
underwent eye check-up. Of these, 56 students with refractory errors were given free glasses. †
Relief News
Flood Relief: Our centres in North India continued relief operations among the flood victims. Details of
the operations are given below.
(a) Haryana: Chandigarh centre treated 300 flood-affected patients in Panipat district last month.
(b) Uttar Pradesh: (i) Kanpur centre distributed 803 saris, 800 lungis, 800 blankets, 800 mats, 4 plastic
buckets, 4 sets of steel utensils (each set containing 2 plates, 2 glasses and 3 cooking vessels), 2020 kg rice,
8 kg dal, 8 kg sugar, etc., to the victims of Ganga Katari area in Kanpur district last month.
(ii) Vrindaban centre distributed 1000 kg rice, 200 kg dal, 2,00,000 halogen tablets, 500 kg bleaching
powder, 478 saris and 400 blankets to 200 flood-affected families of Vrindaban Khadar area in Mathura
district.
(c) Uttarakhand: (i) Almora centre distributed 5000 blankets to 1674 families in Almora district.
(ii) Kankhal centre provided medical relief to 1200 flood-affected patients of 9 nearby villages.
Distress Relief: The following centres distributed various items, shown in brackets, to the needy:
Agartala (435 saris, 113 dhotis and 470 children’s garments), Garbeta (110 kg rice, 45 kg flour, 174 saris,
10 dhotis, 27 lungis, 25 vests, 337 children’s garments and 24 assorted garments), Jalpaiguri (500 saris),
Karimganj (355 saris and 65 dhotis), Taki (100 saris and 50 dhotis).
The following centres distributed various items, shown in brackets, to needy people: Belgharia (1573
saris, 157 dhotis, 374 lungis, 1358 pants, 1516 shirts and 2146 children’s garments), Cooch Behar (317
saris, 63 dhotis, 20 lungis and 102 pairs of socks). †

Inauguration of office block at Ponnampet Ashrama

40 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
For review in THE VEDANTA KESARI,
publishers need to send us
two copies of their latest publication.
UNDERSTANDING CONSCIOUSNESS—
RECENT ADVANCES
Published by Ramakrishna Mission
Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kol-
kata - 700 029. 2009, Hardback,
Pp. 469, Rs.175.
Ramakrishna Mission Insti-
tute of Culture, Kolkata, has been
organizing every year, for the past
few years, a seminar on topics of
contemporary interest, especially on Consciousness.
It has also been publishing the proceedings in the
form of books, for the benefit of the general public.
The present book, under review, is the latest in this
series.
The concept of Consciousness has intrigued
human beings since time immemorial. It has been
studied under various disciplines, with different
meanings and definitions. Hence, scholars from
diverse disciplines have used their own individual
definitions. This has led to a piquant situation, in
which scholars appear to think on parallel tracks,
without any indication of convergence.
Nevertheless, an interdisciplinary discussion
does serve a useful purpose. One can come to appre-
ciate the views of others, leading to an under-
standing of the spectrum of Consciousness.
The seminar, whose proceedings are reported
in this book, had seven academic sessions, along
with an inaugural session and a valedictory session.
The inaugural session was devoted to a compre-
hensive overview of the existing knowledge, so that
a meaningful discussion could take place.
Each academic session had two presentations,
except the last one (which had three), thus making
a total of fifteen papers. The topics covered ranged
from Neurosciences to Vedantic perspectives. The
first session was about the integration of Knowledge
and Consciousness, and about the role of Avidya.
The second session was about Meditation and Yogic
Integration. The third session was devoted to
Vedanta, with a presentation of basic issues like—
‘What is Consciousness?’ The fourth session
presented a viewpoint according to Buddhism.
The research methodology used in investi-
gations of Consciousness, as well as the relation of
Consciousness with Cognitive Science, has been
dealt with in the fifth session. The point of view of
Neurologists is the theme of the sixth session.
Consciousness and its relation to the Brain, Yoga
and its relation to the Unconscious are discussed in
the last session. The final paper throws up sugges-
tions for an interdisciplinary dialogue about Cons-
ciousness, which is needed for a proper under-
standing of Consciousness. All discussions about
these fifteen papers have been compiled and
presented after the texts of all the papers.
The papers thus represent a wide range of
opinions about Consciousness, indicating the com-
plexity of the study. No wonder that the last paper
by Prof. Mukunda talks of an interdisciplinary
dialogue! But, to reach a common ground may not
be so easy, unless one becomes aware that Con-
sciousness is a spectrum, and is clear as to which
part of the spectrum one is referring to. Otherwise
no meaningful discussion would be possible.
It is evident that serious thinkers on Consci-
ousness would benefit a great deal by a close study
of the papers. Ramakrishna Mission Institute of
Culture should be thanked for the excellent work
they have been doing organising these seminars.
The get-up of the book is, as usual, excellent. The
Institute should continue organizing such seminars
for the benefit of the scholars and the general public.
______________________________ NVC SWAMY, BANGALORE
RELICS OF THE BUDDHA
By John S. Strong.
41 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
45
Published by Motilal Banarsidass
Publishers Private Limited, 41, UA
Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar,
Delhi - 110 007. 2007, Hardback,
pp. 290, Rs. 595.
The philosophy of Buddh-
ism remarkably centres on the
noble truth that the nature of the
universe is always in a state of
flux and this theory of imper-
manence forced the Buddhists to deny
the existence of a permanent self and an omniscient
Being called God. One may wonder as to how a
faith without a soul and God could attain global
popularity and everlasting prosperity. As a religion,
it insists that even an ordinary human being can be
elevated to the heights of perfection through
arduous discipline and assiduous practices. The best
example is the Prince-turned Enlightened Buddha.
The Sakhyamuni or the Tathagatha was adored as
the God among men since he preached and
practiced the truths promulgated by him leading
to the attainment of emancipation which is free from
an iota of pain without God’s grace and the
soul’s involvements as the theistic religions pro-
claim. Hence there is no wonder that his followers
not only venerated his whole physical structure as
an embodiment of divinity but also revered the
various limbs and organs of his body.
The author of this book under review has
endeavoured earnestly and enthusiastically in
explicitly elucidating and justifying as well the
respectful tributes paid by the devotees of the
Buddha to his relics. The pilgrims from overseas
countries had discovered the prevalence of the
physical remains of the Buddha, his personal
belongings, mostly associated with his preaching
or his community of followers. It was firmly
believed that King Asoka had enshrined the relics
of the Buddha in 94,000 places throughout his
domain and hence they gain significance. The
legendary and cultic traditions of the South and
the Southeast Asia enabled the author to
highlight the glory of the relics such as Buddha’s
footprints, his bowl, his robe, and his Bodhi tree.
The ‘exegetical exploration’ of the author involves
myths, legends, stories, of doctrines, the records of
inscriptions, reports of pilgrims, the comments of
modern scholars, etc., which helped the author to
narrate resourceful information about the relics. The
author himself acknowledges that these will be
preposterous or absurd to some readers, but
others may view them as profound expressions of
religious devotion or experience.
A cursory glance of the contents shows the
architectonic pattern followed by the author who
has comprehensively presented the chosen theme
in a serious, sincere and systematic fashion. Right
from the introduction the work describes the relics
of the previous Buddhas, of the Bodhisaattvas, of
the still living Buddhas, Asoka and the Buddha
relics, stories of various traditions, relics and escha-
tology and an originally research oriented con-
clusion. The bibliography and the index are
worthwhile and have pragmatic value. The syntactic
and the semantic approaches with authentic source
and authoritative reference reveal the deep
erudition, appropriate acumen and elegant expres-
sions of the subject matter. The data collected about
the relics and the perfect description make the
readers wonderstruck. On the whole this book
will be a treasure trove to the inspiring followers
of the Buddha and a resourceful and fascinating
piece of information to the general reader.
__________________________ R. GOPALAKRISHNAN, CHENNAI
THE JAIN SAGA
By Kalikal Sarvagna Acharya
Hemchandrasuriswarji Maha-
raj. Parts -1, 2 and 3.
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers
Private Limited, 41, UA Bunga-
low Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi
- 110 007. 2009, Paperback
Pp.1800, Rs.1000 for one set .
This book is a translation of one of the most
important Jain epic Tri-sasti-Shalaka-Purnima-charitra,
whose literal translation would be ‘Biographies of
Sixty-three Illustrious Personalities.’ Although the
cover mentions it as the ‘Brief History of Jainism’,
it is more a mythological text rather than the history
of the origin and the growth of Jainism.
This great epic, comprising 34,000 stanzas was
written by the author at the request of King
Kumarpal, an able ruler and a devout lay Jain
devotee, in the 12th century AD. It is said that the
author prayed to the goddess Saraswati and with
her blessing, not only wrote this classic, but also
many more scriptures, comprising as many as 35
42 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
46
million verses. Acharya Hemchandra Suriswar has
been eulogized as ‘Kalikala-Sarvagna’, ‘omniscient
sage of the present Iron Age.’ Indeed, as one goes
through the pages of the book, one is amazed at
the inexhaustible knowledge of the author.
The present English translation is in three
parts, which are in fact three separate volumes of
more than five hundred pages each, totaling 1800
pages. It seems the first English edition was in six
volumes. In the present translation, the original
division into ten books or parvas has been given
up. Instead, the whole book is now divided into
twenty four chapters, each being the life of one
Tirthankara. While this division may appear sen-
sible, it has made some chapters very brief. The
present Part I contains the life of first ten tirthan-
karas. Of these, greater space has been allotted to
the life of Risabhaswami and Ajitanath. Part 2 deals
with the eleventh to twenty-first Tirthankaras, and
much space is allotted to the Jain Ramayana, i.e.
the story of Rama and Sita. Part 3 deals with the
remaining three Tirthankaras. While describing the
life of Neminath, the author has taken up the story
of Krishna and the Bhagavatam. The life of Maha-
virswami, forms the main bulk of this part.
An important task which the author had to
accomplish was to integrate the Jain society with
the much larger Hindu society—both of which
existed together. This, the author has done by
including and re-narrating the stories of such Hindu
heroes, like Rama-Lakshman, Sita, Krishna,
Balarama, Bhagiratha, Parashurama, Nala-Dama-
yanti, etc. Naturally, the killings of Kansa, Ravana,
Jarasandha, Bana, etc., are also included. However,
and naturally, these stories are very much different
from the Hindu versions. The Hindu heroes are
shown inferior to the Jain prophets and even as lay
followers of Jainism. Nonetheless, the noble values
like total dedication of Sita and Damayanti to their
husbands (pativratya) as well as dharma as practised
by Rama and other Hindu heroes are accepted and
extolled, since they are equally accepted in Hindu-
ism as well as Jainism. Yet, all through Jainism is
shown to be superior to other faiths. Damayanti is
described as a devout Jain lay woman. A Jain lay
devotee is considered even superior to a Vaishnava
ascetic and after death, the former is born as Indra
and latter as his vehicle airavata in one such story.
In India, from pre-historic times, two cultures
flourished almost simultaneously, the Vedic or the
Indus Valley culture, and the other the Shramana
or Magadhan culture. Both have characteristics
distinct from each other. As we read the lives of
Jain prophets side by side with the life of Hindu
prophets like Rama and Krishna, the distinction is
clearly visible. Jainism is pre-eminently a mona-
stically oriented religion laying great stress on
mendicancy, renunciation, austerity, restraint and
finally, total giving up of all physical, vocal and
mental activity. This is highlighted over and over
again in the book through stories.
The book abounds in much needed expla-
natory footnotes. The editor has also given a table
of meanings of certain ‘hard words’, marked by
italics in the text. However, it would have been
better if a glossary of Jain technical terms were
given. For, in spite of much pains taken by the
editor in explaining ‘hard words’, giving the English
names of the Indian plants, etc., the reader finds it
difficult to understand the technicalities of Jainism,
except a few concepts, which come up with great
force: austerity, mendicancy, standing or sitting still
in a specific posture (vyutsarga), fasting, Ahimsa or
non-violence and the theory of Karma which forms
the back bone of Jain philosophy. The previous
incarnations of all the Jain prophets and other
heroes have been described and it has been shown
due to which specific karma they took another
incarnation. The case most eloquent in this respect
is that of the only lady Tirthankara, Malli. In her
earlier birth, she was a male Jain ascetic who with
six of his friends had an agreement that they will
all do equal penance, of alternate day fasts, etc.
However, from a desire for superior results, Maha-
bala, the previous male incarnation of Malli,
deceived his friends, making certain excuses and
thus fasted even on the day of breaking fast. Because
of the penance mixed with deceit, he was born as a
woman in the next incarnation, named Malli.
The epic excels in literary classical descri-
ptions. Take for example, this passage:
Dharma is the highest happiness. Dharma bestows
heaven and emancipation. Dharma shows the road
for crossing the wilderness of samsara. Dharma
nourishes like a mother, protects like a father,
pleases like a friend, and is loving like a kinsman.
Dharma imparts very fine qualities like a guru.
Dharma confers a distinguished position like a
master. Dharma is a mansion of bliss. Dharma is a
shield in danger from enemies. Dharma is heat for
43 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
47
the destruction of cold. Dharma knows the weak
points of sins. From Dharma a creature could
become a king, from Dharma a Rama, from Dharma
an ardhacakrin, from Dharma a cakrin, from
Dharma a god, and from Dharma an Indra. From
Dharma one attains Ahamindraship in the Gra-
veyaka and Anuttara heavens. From Dharma one
attains Arhatship. What is not accomplished by
Dharma? Dharma is so called from supporting
creatures who have fallen into a bad condition of
existence. It is fourfold with the divisions of offering
(dana), austerity (shila), penance (tapas), and state
of mind (bhava). (Part I, Pp 9-10)
It also abounds in illustrations and metaphors.
Look at this page from one of the most important
stories of conflict between Bharata chakravartin and
his younger brother Bahubali:
Lord of Bharata hurled the chakra at Bahubali,
throwing it with all his strength. (Bahubali thought)
‘Shall I break it quickly with the staff, like an old
dish? Or shall I strike it gently and then throw it
back like a ball? Or shall I throw it up in the sky as
easily as a knife? Or shall I put it in the ground like
an infant’s navel-cord? Or shall I catch it in my
hand like a young sparrow flying up? Or shall I
merely repel it to a distance immediately like a
criminal unworthy of slaughter? Or shall I speedily
crush the thousand Yaksas, its guardians, with my
staff like grain with a grindstone? Still, all this must
be considered later: first I must know the extent of
its power.’ While the king of Taksaasila was making
these reflections, the cakra approached and made
the pradaksina to him, like a pupil to his guru. The
Cakravartin’s cakra has no effect on even an
ordinary man belonging to the same family, and
especially such a man with the very best body. The
cakra returned to the cakravartin’s hand again, like
a bird to its resting-place, like a horse to its stable.’
(Part I page 202)
According to Swami Vivekananda, each reli-
gion has three aspects: rituals, mythology and
philosophy. Philosophy is like the kernel while the
other two are like the outer husk, which protects
the philosophy. In The Jain Saga, all three are
presented. While mythology forms the warp,
philosophy is inter-woven into it like woof, in the
form of numerous sermons which are scattered all
through. Jainism, being, in a way, a revolt against
the predominantly ritualistic Hinduism, has,
nonetheless, certain rituals, the best known among
them being the bath ritual of the new born prophet.
Besides, there are scores of enthralling stuties or
hymns of praise, chiefly by Indra, the king of gods,
expressing sublime sentiments, each surpassing the
other.
With the biography of Parswanath and
Mahavir, the 23rd and 24th Tirthankaras, we enter
from the realm of mythology into the period of
history, for, according to scholars these last two,
and also perhaps, the 22nd, Neninath, are historical
while the rest of the earlier prophets are mytho-
logical. The history of the post-Mahavir period is
also mentioned in short, especially the acharyas of
the future are mentioned in the form of Mahavir’s
prophecies. While one or more past incarnations of
all the Tirthankaras have been described in short,
many of Mahavirswami’s innumerable previous
incarnations are described in details. It is interesting
to note that in one of his previous births Maha-
virswami was one of the sons of the first Tirthan-
kara, Rishabhswami by the name Marichi. Maha-
virswami’s twelve years of austerity, the hardships
and attacks by sub-human creatures, human and
even by gods who tortured him to test his fortitude
and to force him to give up his resolve to remain
standing in a steady posture are described in details.
As one shudders to read the description of these
inhuman attacks described in a forceful and poetic
language by the scholarly author, one also develops
deep reverence for the Arhat and the message he
has to convey through his life.
No one could do such a superlative trans-
lation as has been done by Miss Helen without
profound knowledge of both Sanskrit and English,
and indeed only those who know both the
languages well, can appreciate the excellence of the
translation. One almost gets the feeling that one is
reading the original Sanskrit. After reading this
translation one gets a strong impetus to read the
original Sanskrit. The original is replete with
synonyms, especially the various names and epi-
thets of gods, like Indra, the Tirthankaras, etc., and
the translator has rightly kept them as such, rather
than attempting to give their meaning.
One can learn about an alien religion through
articles, describing its principles and practices.
Better is the study of the original scriptures. Still
better is the study of the mythological texts, if one
wants to learn about the way in which that religion
manifests in practice in society and individual
44 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 ~ ~
adherents. On reading this book, a Jain will become
a better Jain: his faith and understanding will
deepen and he will be inspired to undertake rigo-
rous discipline. A non-Jain, as he goes through these
pages, will imbibe at least some of the Jain values.
Someone, not interested in religion can yet read
this Saga and enjoy hundreds of interesting stories.
The Jain Saga is a piece of finest poetic litera-
ture, of science and wisdom, of insights and instru-
ctions and an illustrator of intricacies of human
nature, and human destiny, leading finally to the
ultimate goal of illumination—moksha.
The Jain Saga, though printed in a readable
font on Bible paper, contains innumerable printing
mistakes, which have unfortunately, persisted even
after proof-reading. Such an invaluable book
deserves greater printing, proof-reading and
editorial attention. These drawbacks, however, do
not hinder the flow of reading and once picked up,
the reader does not like to leave it even though one
might at places skip over certain purely descriptive
portions. As has been said by the Editor, it is a
‘Must-Read’ for all.
The brochure released to introduce the book
contains a number of very beautiful pictures of Jain
paintings, together with a table of 63 illustrious
personalities, whose biographies are contained
herein. However, only few of these pictures are
printed on the covers of the volumes as miniatures
and the beautiful table is altogether missing. Their
inclusion into the book would have increased the
charm of the book many fold.
_______________ SWAMI BRAHMESHANANDA, CHANDIGARH
SERENITY HERE AND NOW
By Susunaga Weeraperuma
Published by New Age Books,
A-44, Nariana Industrial Area
Phase –I, New Delhi -110 028.
2009, paperback, Pp.240+xviii,
Rs.350
This is a translation into
modern English of the last
47suttas of Sutta Nipata. Each Sutta is
a discourse of the Buddha in answer to a question
by an interlocutor. The Sutta Nipata is a division of
the oldest, Buddhist scriptures known as the
Tripitaka or the Pali Canon. Sri Weera Peruma is a
practicing Buddhist brought up in the Theravada
tradition of Sri Lanka. The translation is inters-
persed with the translator’s explanations, which are
clear as crystal, without any metaphysical obs-
curities. The simplicity and directness of language
bring out the flavor of the Master’s original speech.
‘Within the mouth of man/ is born an axe at birth/
with which the fool /Destroys himself/By giving
expression/to ill-spoken words.’ (p86)
The story of the Buddha we encounter on
these pages is different from the Buddha of later
romanticized works. This is most conspicuous in
the third Sutta which describes Gotama’s conquest
of Mara. The allegory of a military confrontation is
implicit in the imagery used, but Mara is more
conciliatory than menacing. He sounds more like
the worldly wise man than a ferocious antagonist.
‘Whereas a thousand parts of you/Are owned by
death,/ Only one part of you is owned by life./
Venerable One , It is better to live your life./ By
living you can do meritorious deeds.’ By living a
holy life/And by feeding the sacrificial fire/You
will acquire much merit,/But by striving what will
you achieve?’ ‘The path of striving is difficult to
tread./ It is difficult to do and difficult to succeed’.
The Buddha chides the Evil One as friend of the
lazy and slothful, demolishes his arguments and
makes known his great determination, ‘This army
of yours, which neither gods nor men can crush to
death, I will crush it/With wisdom/As with a
stone/One would smash an unfired earthen pot.’
(Pp.16-17). Mara retreats with words of praise for
his victor.
Every sermon is placed in the context of a
narrative, which gives a touch of the drama to it.
For example ‘The Hidden Danger in Slander’ is
about a monk, Kokaliya, who became jealous of his
fellow monks for the respect people showed them
and started spreading tales about them. There are
profound sermons like ‘Dropping All Philosophical
Views’, ‘The Wisdom of Having no Views’, ‘There
is Only One Truth’, etc., which embody the pristine
philosophy of the great master. In short, the book
affords glimpses into the spiritual core of Buddhism
and its founder’s life. A lay reader will find it
pleasant reading and a valuable guide in his
spiritual life. It may also serve as a corrective to the
popular perception of this great religion as merely
a social reform movement aimed at correcting the
many evils engendered by the Vedic religion.
______________________M.C.RAMANARAYANAN, THIRUVALLA
48
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1
JOIN US IN SERVING GOD IN MAN
Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission,
Sikra Kulingram is a branch centre of Ramakrishna
Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, West Ben-
gal. Sikra Kulingram is a small village in West Bengal
about 60 km from Kolkata. It became a blessed ham-
let with the birth of Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj
(1863-1922), the first President of the Ramakrishna
Order.
Since its very inception, the centre has been car-
rying on various welfare service schemes for the
upliftment of the poor and backward classes including
SC/ST/OBC and other minority communities living in
nearby villages. Services like free coaching, non-for-
mal schools, distress relief, child welfare, medical
services, and other need-based services are provided
in the remote Sunderbans area.
A few monks and the local devotees are carrying
out these services in a severely resource constrained
setup. To upgrade the present infrastructure we re-
quest you for liberal financial help to strengthen the
corpus fund. All donations are exempt from Income
tax under section 80G. Cheque or Demand Draft
favouring Ramakrishna Mission, Sikra may be sent to
the above mentioned address. For donations of more
than Rupees one lakh, suitable marble slabs shall be
put up in relevant places.
Construction of Office, Auditorium-cum-Library,
Computer Training Centre, Free Coaching centre,
Monks’ quarters, Dining Hall, Kitchen, and Staff
Quarters Rs.76.5 lakhs
Furniture and office accessories Rs.5 lakhs
Tube Well pumping Unit Rs. 7 lakhs
Corpus Fund for Rural
Development Services Rs.100 lakhs
General Fund for Ashrama Rs.7.5 lakhs
Yours in the Service of Lord
Swami Vitaragananda
Secretary
Ramakrishna Mission
Sikra-Kulingram, 24 Parganas (N)
West Bengal, India 743 428
Ph: 03217 - 249 980
49
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1
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
50
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 51
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1
The Vedanta Kesari, a spiritual and cultural monthly of the Ramakrishna
Order since 1914, has been effectively disseminating Indian Ethos and Values,
with uninterrupted publication for the last 96 years. The entire collection of
archival articles (1914-2009) contributed by scholars and thinkers, savants
and admirers, monks and practitioners of Vedanta is now available in one
DVD. The DVD has 14300 articles running into 48000 pages by 2400 au-
thors, with search facility indexed
author-wise, title-wise, year-wise and by
keywords, plus other features. A veritable
encyclopedia of Vedanta is now available
to you at the click of a button!
Price: Rs.500/- Price: Rs.500/- Price: Rs.500/- Price: Rs.500/- Price: Rs.500/-Packing and Posting
charges: Rs.60/- (within India)
For ordering your copy, draw your
DD in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Math,
Chennai and send to: The Manager, Sri
Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai –
600 004, Email: mail@chennaimath.org
You can also order online at: You can also order online at: You can also order online at: You can also order online at: You can also order online at:
www.chennaimath.org/estore/96-years-of-the-vedanta-kesari-a-dvd-collection
The The The The The DVD DVD DVD DVD DVD conta conta conta conta containing the ining the ining the ining the ining the
Now available! Now available! Now available! Now available! Now available!
Archiv Archiv Archiv Archiv Archives of es of es of es of es of
The V The V The V The V The Vedanta Kesari edanta Kesari edanta Kesari edanta Kesari edanta Kesari
52
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 53
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1
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
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
54
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1
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.
55
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 56
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
LAVINO-KAPUR COTTONS PRIVATE LIMITED LAVINO-KAPUR COTTONS PRIVATE LIMITED LAVINO-KAPUR COTTONS PRIVATE LIMITED LAVINO-KAPUR COTTONS PRIVATE LIMITED LAVINO-KAPUR COTTONS PRIVATE LIMITED
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% E EE EExport Ori ented Uni t xport Ori ented Uni t xport Ori ented Uni t xport Ori ented Uni t xport Ori ented Uni t
* ** **
Regi stered Export Regi stered Export Regi stered Export Regi stered Export Regi stered Export H HH HHouse ouse ouse ouse ouse
Approved Approved Approved Approved Approved
BVQI/UKAS - ISO 9001:2000 BVQI/UKAS - ISO 9001:2000 BVQI/UKAS - ISO 9001:2000 BVQI/UKAS - ISO 9001:2000 BVQI/UKAS - ISO 9001:2000
SGS, UK - Higher Retail Supplier SGS, UK - Higher Retail Supplier SGS, UK - Higher Retail Supplier SGS, UK - Higher Retail Supplier SGS, UK - Higher Retail Supplier
(Manufacturers of Absorbent Cotton & Health Care Products)
REGD. OFFICE:
121-122, Mittal Chambers, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400 021
Tel: 91 22 6632 5141 (11 Lines)
Fax: 91 22 6632 4979 / 6632 4421 / 2282 0577
E-mail: lavino@vsnl.com Website: www.absorbent-cotton.com
TARAPUR PLANT:
H-1, MIDC, Tarapur Industrial Area
Taps Post, Boisar - 401 504
District - Thane.
Tel: 02525-2722 90/91/92
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 : ` `` `` 100 10 years: ` `` `` 1000
Contact: Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. Website: www.chennaimath.org

VOL. 98, No. 1

ISSN 0042-2983

A CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL M O N T H L Y O F T H E R A M A K R I S H N A O R D E R

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

CONTENTS
January 2011

Vedic Prayers Editorial Articles

1 2

Sowing the Right Seeds Bhuvaneshwari Devi: The Great and Noble Mother of Swami Vivekananda Swami Tathagatananda Sri Ramakrishna, the Kalpataru Swami Amareshananda Understanding Maturity Swami Sunirmalananda Holy Mother’s Four Visits to Orissa Swami Tannishthananda An Approach to Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita Dharitri Kumar Das Gupta Reminiscences of Master Mahashay Mahendra Kumar Chaudhury Unpublished Letters of Swami Saradananda

7 13 19 24 30

Reminiscences

11

New Find

17 37 40

The Order on the March Book Reviews Features Simhâvalokanam (The Tenth Guru)—5, Sri Ramakrishna Tells Stories—29

Cover Story: Page 4

1500 5 Years Rs. All donations to Sri Ramakrishna Math are exempt from Income Tax under section 80G of the [Indian] I. This will go a long way in placing this nearly 100 years old magazine on firm financial footings to continue its service to the cause of a holistic and meaningful life.4500 Annual Rs.290 Rs. Please visit our Website. please intimate us. Your contributions (minimum of Rs.475 Rs.chennaimath.org TO OUR SUBSCRIBERS You can subscribe to The Vedanta Kesari from any month.1000 --- Please send your subscription to The Manager. We invite our readers to liberally contribute to the Vedanta Kesari Permanent Fund. 3 Years Rs.org Website : www. Mylapore. renewals. Every contribution will be gratefully acknowledged and the donor’s name will be published in the Vedanta Kesari. Chennai. On your address slip. We accept online donations also. The Vedanta Kesari by DD/MO drawn in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Math. along with a covering note stating that it is meant for Vedanta Kesari Permanent Fund.7500 10 Years Rs. month (for overseas subscriptions. The Vedanta Kesari Office. Mylapore. 1961. please write to The Manager. the number on the left of the first line of address is your subscription-number. Act.T. please renew your subscription well in advance. Chennai 600 004 Fax : (044) 2493 4589 h (044) 2462 1110 (4 lines) Email : mail@chennaimath. Always mention this in your correspondence. For fresh subscriptions. Chennai.T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 2 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 The Vedanta Kesari Sri Ramakrishna Math. To ensure continuity. Payments/donations can be made ONLINE using your Master or Visa Cards. two months) of posting of the journal are not entertained.100 Rs. .1000/. placing advertisements in The Vedanta Kesari. Complaints reaching us before this or after one Vedanta Kesari Subscription Rates (inclusive of postage) India Other Countries All overseas dispatch by Air Mail. If you do not receive your copy by 2nd week of a month.or US$ 25) by Cheque/ DD/MO should be sent to Sri Ramakrishna Math.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 3 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 .

-doPublic Library.609 802 To be continued . Venu Prasad 609. by Swami Atmasthanandaji.607 001 4514. Mr. Pralayesh Guha. Abroad in America. Karaikkal .N. Mrs. -doShyamala Girls High School. Bangalore Mr. T. 1000 Rs. Hr. NAMES OF SPONSORS AWARDEE INSTITUTIONS 4512.607 001 4513.B. . in the presence of over 2000 devotees and admirers. W. .NO.609 110 4516. -doPerunthalaivar Kamarajar College. Balabir Kumar Sharma. Ramamoorthy Rajagopal. -doBesant Nagar Library. a hillock in the temple compound. Cuddalore . T. 5000 Rs. 50000 Mr. USA. Bangalore Rs. It may be mentioned here that during America's bicentennial celebrations in 1976.T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 4 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 Cover Story Swami Vivekananda’s Statue at Chicago. this 10-foot bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda is located at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont.. Hyderabad DONORS Doddiganahalli Ramakrishnaiah Family. London Rs. A Devotee of Sri Ramakrishna Kamatchyammal Matriculation School. It was unveiled in an elaborate ceremony. . the then Vice President (and the present President) of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. 608. USA Installed in July 1998. Mumbai Mr. Y. Mayiladuthurai .609 001 4515.G. Narasinganpet P. Tanjore Dt.. The Vedanta Kesari wishes all its readers and well-wishers A HAPPY AND AUSPICIOUS 2011 PATRONS 607. Sec. . Sirkali . School.N.609 602 4517.O. HP A Devote of Sri Ramakrishna. Illinois. Smitha. Basavapatna Thandvewara. the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution included Swami Vivekananda among the 29 eminent foreign visitors described in its book. Cuddalore. which overlooks the main entrance. 1000 The Vedanta Kesari Library Scheme SL. -doSri Varantham Govt. Mr. The statue is installed on ‘Vivekananda Hill’. . 10001 Rs.

from the standpoint of Self. that is. etc. but know that in the end all will come out straight. But do not mope because of the mistakes you have committed. No. 1. Tr. that is. all obstructions to God-realisation. I. T HE 5 GOAL IS TO MANIFEST THE DIVINITY WITHIN. do not misunderstand me in that way.) to happiness. I have committed many mistakes in my life. from the standpoint of sacrifice and (2) Adhyatmik. May the pure. and that TnatureVcan never be destroyed. fully blazed sacrificial fire which is fed with oblations and worshipped by many a hymn and which gladly grants boons to the performers of sacrifice totally annihilate all obstructions (disease. I am sure of this that without every one of those mistakes I should not be what I am today. fully meditated upon and revealed to the heart. I am the resultant of all my past. because goodness is our nature.VOL. Supreme Being. but mark you. 98. and so am quite satisfied to have made them. CW. JANUARY 2011 ISSN 0042-2983 E ACH SOUL IS POTENTIALLY DIVINE. I do not mean that you are to go home and wilfully commit mistakes. praised by manifold hymns. be eager to grant spiritual strength to the worshippers and totally annihilate. 1. 4. 2: 356 . by Swami Sambuddhananda Vedic Prayers A{ΩZd©•Ãm{U OîZX≤ –{dUÒ`w{d©n›``m & g{_’Ö ewH´$ Amh˛VÖ & —Agneya Parva—Ch. Supreme Being {dn›``m praised by many a hymn d•Ãm{U the obstructions such as sins and ignorance on the way to the realisation of God OîZX≤> annihilate. Adhiyajnik: –{dUÒ`wÖ Desirous of granting different kinds of fruits to the performers of sacrifice g{_’Ö fully blazed ewH´$Ö pure Amh˛VÖ fed with oblations A{æÖ sacrificial fire {dn›``m being worshipped by manifold hymns d•Ãm{U disease that precludes happiness OîZX≤> absolutely annihilate. May the Pure. Our essential EnatureR always 9 remains the h e e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 1 ~ D E C M B E 2 0 0 same. It cannot be otherwise. II. purity is our nature. The mantras of the Samaveda admit of two different interpretations. Adhyatmik: –{dUÒ`wÖ eager to grant (to the worshippers) spiritual strength g{_’Ö revealed into the heart ewH´$Ö pure Amh˛VÖ fully meditated upon A{æÖ the omniscient. both good and evil. (1) Adhiyajnik. —Swami Vivekananda.

They should have been taken from a good quality crop. A sankalpa is also translated as a resolve to do something. Sowing requires fulfilment of some more conditions as well. and his behavior ultimately results in his assumption of various forms (male. man consists not only of physical body (sthula sharira). or making a sankalpa. sowing good quality seeds at the right time is vital.2) compares human bodymind to a field (kshetra). his thinking (sankalpa). character and finally destiny. we derive our inner nourishment from our sankalpas. physical contact (sparsha). By sowing is meant our actions. It all begins with sowing of thoughts. More precisely. We sow our actions and reap our habits. How. so also the subtle body derives its strength and nourishment from thoughts. habits. The term sankalpa is a special type of thinking. The soil should have been well ploughed and free from all weeds and unwanted material. and looking (drishti) at things produce his attachment (moha). which is visible and tangible. This. and why. female. Inner Nourishment According to Vedanta. our actions will be equally so. If our thoughts are impure and evil. and the Self to the ‘Knower of the field’ (kshetrajna). If our thoughts are healthy and pure. And after the seeds have been sown.Sowing the Right Seeds The Field and the Knower Every farmer knows this: in order to have a good harvest. but also a subtler and deeper self called subtle body (sukshma sharira). is the story of human life. Just as the physical body derives its nourishment from food. we become bound. Similarly. And as it is difficult to give up enjoyment. The Upanishad says:1 The body of the individual self depends on food and drink for its birth and growth. our actions too will be healthy and pure. Indeed. When these desires come in contact (sparsha) with material objects. one thinks of something as worthy of his attention and effort. drinks and rest. the place should be not walked over or else the prospective shoots will be crushed—and so on. as the Shvetashvatara Upanishad says. J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 2 ~ . or the sum total of our lives’ work. a sankalpa is a seed form of a desire. and we reap our destiny. if one understands this fact. The Bhagavad Gita (13. We sow our habits and reap our character. And the rest of the series or chain of sowing and reaping will take its course as mentioned above—thoughts. first one begins by thinking. one enjoys them (drishti) —and from enjoyment comes attachment (moha). will one resolve to do something unless one finds something good and worthy of his efforts to do that? In another sense. We sow our character. The human life too is like a field. or eunuch). thoughts and feelings. a certain amount of moisture should be present in the soil. in short. actions. At the time of sowing. We reap what we have sown in our bodymind. As the well known saying goes: We sow our thoughts and reap our actions. This attachment determines his behaviour. Seeds should be healthy and in right quantity. One not only thinks of something. one begins to understand one’s life and personality better. T h e As is clear.

The simple reason for this unfortunate change is that the presence of some conducive factors would have hastened the sprouting of those inner latent tendencies. one realizes one’s true nature which is ever-free and pure. Says Swami Vivekananda:2 Go on doing good. Finding the conducive conditions. Not only they nourish but also create fresh samskaras—good or bad—and hence one should be careful about one’s company. A number of plants. big or small. along with the giving up of all desires. Sometimes we wonder at some people’s sudden change in life. or resolves. A Mahabharata verse says. This is one of the vital reasons why all teachers of spirituality advice and warn us to keep holy and good company. I know your origin. having decided to ‘sow’ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 3 ~ . proceeds from a thought. are the beginning of the whole chain. Since every action. No thought-seed sprouts immediately. and if all desires vanish. But then how does one explain the living of great saints and sages in the human society? Sri Ramakrishna says that such men of Self-realisation are able live and carry on their work in the world by keeping ‘some desire’ such as ‘wanting to do good to the world. Like a physical seed. thinking holy thoughts continuously. Let it rain. these plants or weeds were present in a latent form. and a bad company nourishes bad samskaras. ‘doing good to others’ is also a sankalpa but a noble one which keeps the blessings of such souls showered on us! Seeing the whole issue from the other end. They may not be visible but there is power latent in them. we should also be aware that there are already quite a number of deeprooted thoughts present in our mind. we find just a few weeds or unwanted undergrowth here and there. it too has a certain gestation period. but by cultivating good sankalpas and countering the bad ones with them. But is it possible to give up all sankalpas at once! Life itself depends on sankalpas.7 Sankalpas. that is the only way to suppress base impressions. the body cannot be kept. and as soon as they got the necessary conditions for growth. from the view point of spiritual seekers. these seeds start growing. not by giving up all sankalpas. The Period of Struggle T h e While we should consciously try to sow the right thoughts.’ To be sure. Invisible to our eyes. which can be checked by new and better ones. A good company nourishes good samskaras (seeds). The same can be said of the inner ‘seeds’. a bundle of habits. because he only represents a character. Where were they before? Did anyone plant them during the rain? Well. In other words. the human body comes to an end. there were a number of seeds in the soil. Hence. there seems a sudden change in them and they seem to turn to bad ways. and repeated habits alone can reform character. that are present within our mind. one should ‘sow’ right seeds called right thoughts. Though known for their good conduct and behaviour. Never say any man is hopeless. we should take care of what we think. it is in sankalpa. But wait for the rain. good and bad. and soon after we will find the whole place covered up with a green cover. O desire. The human body is a product of desires. they started growing. which is anyway not feasible. Character is repeated habits. It comes like a big shock to everyone known to them. would have covered the place. one can begin. If we look at an apparently uncultivated piece of land. I will not do the sankalpa and then you will not be born! That is a good analysis.

Keeping the goal clear. God.4 Every now and then we are confronted with problems in life. There are many helpful means and factors such as introspection. Recognition of this fact is a source of great solace and strength. the mind finds it troublesome and threatening. sankalpa leads to moha or delusion. Again. immortal and our true nature.f Yogasutras. Thereupon he said to them: ‘I beseech you! Please do not kill me. but every now and then blurted out ‘Jagadamba’. This Self.’3 The same holds true of all tendencies. CW. At that the Mussalmans were about to beat him. is to go beyond all samskaras.’ With great difficulty he repeated the word ‘Allah’. When the Mussalmans conquered the country. they forced him embrace Islam. Some of these problems have their origin in the external world. We get used to certain ways of thinking and action and become deeply attached to them. our life. One great thing to remember is the goal of human life: to realize our true Self or.486 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 4. one becomes free from all fear and anxiety. As the Upanishadic verse quoted above points out. scriptural study and so on. therefore. Being deeply attached to it. p. but our Jagadamba has filled me up to the throat. The Patanjali Yoga Sutras speak of a state of mind where all the seeds of desires lie burnt or roasted (dagdha bija avastha). however. but they are helpful to the extent we are able to push away our inner resistance and open ourselves to the new and better ways. Self-realisation is the ultimate goal of life. The mind resists anything new. The Gospel. 1: 208 3. holy company. but most of them originate within our mind. They said to him: ‘You are now a Mussalman. References 1. I have been trying my utmost to repeat the name of Allah. From now on you must repeat only the name of Allah.11 T h e 2. what amounts to same. is divine. but beyond these samskars lies the atman. let us begin the sowing of the right seeds—consciously and without delay. 1. They take time. Repetition is the key to create any samskara—good or bad. being exposed in the fire of Knowledge. we should know that they do not happen overnight. c. says the Upanishads. meditation. when we try to open ourselves to creating good and holy samskaras. our true Self. Say “Allah”. There may be layers and layers of good or bad samskaras.8 good thoughts one should give it enough time to sprout and become visible in the form of an action. 5. any crop be expected from them. And when we wish to change ourselves. freed from all resolves. She pushes out your Allah. their own time. Hence this inner resistance of mind—and the beginning of a prolonged struggle. and the resultant attachment to them. Delusion here means the state of mind wherein one holds something very dear to oneself. and thus. Reaching the Goal The goal of spiritual life. we find it tough. Sri Ramakrishna tells of an interesting story about a devotee of Divine Mother Kali: Is it an easy thing to destroy old tendencies? Once there lived a very pious Hindu who always worshipped the Divine Mother and chanted Her name.47 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 4 ~ . Shvetashvatara Upanishad. For the mind is after all our own! We can play a great role in changing mind. This is the one stage in one’s inner life which is highly desirable and safe. Just as roasted seeds cannot be sowed nor. so also.

as Bengal is of Bhakti and Shakti. In the Panchanad.—admirable and wonderful as it undoubtedly is in its flaming brightness. pp. To count by the central figures. Ramdas gave calm knowledge and creative force. pouring blood like pools of water for the honour of mother and motherland. upper Hindusthan. Be that as it may. the sacred land of the five rivers. Taken together. eternity— Niranjan. the impersonal. must yet T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 5 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . have risen three great cultures close towards the decline of the Mogul rule—Maharastra awakening of the South. ancient Brahmavarta where was first sung the first Rik of our national hymnology.From the Archives of THE VEDANTA KESARI (January. Ramdas and Tukaram and a host of other mighty spiritual giants created in Maharastra by their tapas a great self conscious Hindu nation which it was given to Shivaji to organise and lead. Indeed at times we feel confounded as which to place first in our estimation between the patriotic heroism of Rana Pratab and the religious heroism of the Sikh Gurus. ever memorable in the history of the land. Punjab has great contribution to offer in the way of nation-building in the life of the Ten Gurus. coupled with a ring of Bhakti. void of the tinge of quality. Chaitanya gave love. 1920-21. Considered on a collective scale. perhaps still conceals behind her sthul [gross] skulls and strong bones a great potentiality of pure knowledge force. Guru Nanak cemented the hearts of the Hindus and Musulmans in the name of Alakh Niranjan and thus laid another foundation stone to the mighty edifice of Indian Nation-building. minus Bengal. a towering monument of fiery spirituality. and the Dakshinatya is of Bhakti and Jnana. has left a record of sacrifice and suffering. Each has its distinctive feature and an element to add to the national store of spiritual culture. bequeathed by Sri Nanak. Punjab. (Guru) Nanak gave the pure knowledge of soul-unification. India herself is pre-eminently the Deva-Bhumi—the land of divine sadhana. Indeed. it is a beautiful ring of three-fold puissances which run in twins round the three corners of the peninsula. is the land of Jnana and Karma. the reckless bravery of the Rajput men and women. love and again love. Nanak was the worshipper of the Alakh and the Akal Purusha. of predominant Knowledge and work. shrinking not in the least from fire and steel. 285-287) Simhâvalokanam The Tenth Guru By Sri Aurobindo Ghose In the three corners of this triangular peninsula. Each. the Vaishnava revival of the East and the Sikh culture of the North-West. Really both are inestimable. Vaishnavism brought a flood of love which rolled like a sweet torrent of nectar over Bengal and penetrated even beyond the Vindhyas into the South with Sri Chaitanya. In fact.

The Sikh-nation was made a solid rock over the suffocated corpses of the brave sons of Guru Govind Singh. a true Satyagrahin.10 be admitted to present a less constructive. Sikh history rings throughout with the glorious war cry—‘Shri Wahuguru ji ki Fateh. the militant churchman. Or else. will not fail to worship one of their great heroes in the silence of their hearts. That immortal flame never left the Sikh heart. being inhumanly buried alive. like a ring of Kohinoors stands this cluster of mighty Gurus. came to some sort of a crowning culmination in the Tenth Guru Govind Singh. which Guru Nanak founded in the heart of the Sikh sub-nation is unexampled in any history of any nation. What exasperated the Sikhs. Sri Guru Govinda Singhaji. In the midst of the diadem of Sikh culture. clasped the sword himself and transformed a race of udasies into a race of fiery Kshatriyas. That was the beginning of the Pants [panth]—the mighty solidiery. when Guru Govind Singh called five picked up souls from the multitude and breathed fire of faith into them. They died with not a single scar of fear in their countenance—young lions whose last words on the lips were the national cry of faith. That was Govinda Guru’s undying gift to his people—the blood of martyrdom of his dearer selves—dearer than his own self. which were left to be reaped by Shivaji in the South and Guru Govind Singh in the West.’ T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 6 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . we are told. It grew mightily splendid when the Guru’s two heroic lads defied an insulting Mogul officer and were sacrificed to his wrath. that became a power. and flowered in Har Govinda and Teg Bahadur.—‘The Khalsa Advocate. with unabated faith and unfaltering consecration from its day of start up to the present day. The birth-anniversary (16th January 1921) of this saviour of the Sikhs. when placed beside them as much deliberate selfsacrifice of the Sikh leaders. we hope. Young India. as if by a miracle into a nation of armed soldiers.—the word of Guru Teg was once more immortalised in another baptism of blood. That which had its beginnings in Nanak and Angada. which never wearies to be told. whose blind and reckless policy sowed the seeds. there would have been no necessity of the peace-loving children of that Indian province being turned. they bled to build a nation. is drawing nigh. who however when they bled. Nowhere else do we find or hear of any such brilliant record of a whole nation. even the loyal Rajputs whom Akbar had literally wedded to the throne? It was the ruthless soldierstatesman Aurangazeb. growing round one central chain of spiritual personalities. the Mahrattas. Here again is a burning truth of history. Really. It is not always the people that were responsible. the intense and solid line of spiritual power. but he died without resistance. Guru Teg Bahadur died with the name on his lips—the very emblem of heroic leadership.’ That history is a splendid record of the heroic careers of the great Gurus. Nanak initiated the Sikhs in the fire of spirituality. Guru Govind Singh. whose sword-blades clashed more than once at the gates of Delhi and shook the Masnad to its foundations. That was a glorious chapter in our national history. The greatest gift of the Sikhs to the nation is their firm-rooted Guru Bhava.

People in Calcutta remembered his love for music and his generosity well after his death. Vishwanath Datta (1835-1884) was born into the Datta family of Simulia in northern Calcutta. His books include The Journey of Upanishads to the West.’1 Vishwanath grew up accepting the trend of his times. T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 7 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 .The Great and Noble Mother of Swami Vivekananda SWAMI TATHAGATANANDA Bhuvaneshwari Devi Her Husband. for which he had a great love. He acquired proficiency in many Indian lang- Bhuvaneshwari Devi uages as well as in English. he ‘reverenced and generously helped the uncle. Vishwanath Datta Bhuvaneshwari Devi’s husband. too. Despite his uncle’s heartless behaviour. Vishwanath’s mother passed away when he was nearly twelve years old. He studied music. He did this with total mental equipoise despite tremendous family pressure. education and charity. who usurped much of Vishwanath’s rightful property. Bhuvaneshwari Devi’s mother-in-law also proved her mettle. The author is a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order. and Light from the Orient. among others. the blending of the Hindu. hostility and selfishness from members of her husband’s family. New York. namely. under an ustad (teacher). in obedience to scriptural injunctions. a family well-known for its wealth. enduring enmity. She was deprived of her share of property and had to raise Vishwanath under very hostile circumstances. and the Head of Vedanta Society. A few months after Viswanath was born. Islamic and Western cultures and developed into a man with a modern outlook. He grew up as an orphan in the family of his uncle Kaliprasad. One has to imagine how difficult it was for her to raise her son with great affection under such conditions. though he was well aware that he was cheated by him at every step. He paid only a brief visit to Calcutta after twelve years of spiritual practices and that. his father Durgaprasad had a strong desire to become a monk and renounced the world in 1835.

’ Once. Hindu women down the ages invoke the grace of God to deliver them from their difficulties in life by making their wants and grievances known to Him.’4 An Excellent Wife and Mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi (1841-1911) was the only child of her upper middle-class parents who were very well known in northern T h e Calcutta. Makara Sankranti. An elderly aunt of the family who was living in Varanasi was also asked to ‘make the necessary offerings and prayers to Vireshwar Shiva that a son might be born to her. He was very liberal-minded and deviated a little from orthodox Hindu traditions in his food and dress and other personal habits. her food pure. for years. A man of liberal temperament. He not only read the Hindu scriptures. their son Narendranath was born at a very auspicious time. Vishwanath’s huge earnings in the legal profession were spent extravagantly to maintain a large retinue of dependents. and their second. and make others happy by practicing charity as far as possible—these constituted the highest purpose of his life. what are you going to leave me?’ Viswanath answered. According to ancient tradition. Vishwanath and Bhuvaneshwari Devi had four sons and six daughters. Once. practicing various austerities and reading scriptures. he worshipped the Divine Mother Durga in a picture and enjoyed her festival in the company of many people by offering them consecrated food.’6 Bhuvaneshwari Devi observed all the injunctions meticulously. Once. she had a vivid dream: ‘She saw the Lord Shiva rouse Himself from His meditation and take the form of a male child who was to be her son. a son.12 Vishwanath enrolled himself as an attorney-at-law in the High Court of Calcutta. He was completely at home with his Muslim and English friends. He was very fortunate to have Bhuvaneshwari as his wife. stand before your mirror. for example. ‘All of religion is to be found in this one book. When Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar championed the marriage of young widows.’3 In fact. Swamiji said: She was a saint to bring me into the world. As one of his sons later wrote. J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 8 ~ . ‘Extending charity to the poor and the distressed was like a disease with him. Their next three children were daughters. ‘Father. Their first child. Because she did that. ‘to earn money.’2 Vishwanath was free of superstitions. One night. he presented a copy of the Bible to his son Narendranath and remarked. ‘But. the birth of a son is always welcome in a Hindu family and Bhuvaneshwari Devi naturally longed for a son.5 Bhuvaneshwari Devi observed somvara vrata. he read the poems of Hafiz and the Bible as well. she became his beneficial and moral companion in every respect and shared the joys and sorrows of her husband’s large joint family. a daughter. in Lahore. he enjoyed the good culture and literature of people belonging to other religions.’ according to Swami Saradananda. and you will see what I leave you. She once fasted for fourteen days at a stretch. fasted and prayed on Mondays and prayed to Lord Shiva. her clothes pure. she kept her body pure. live amply. when young Narendranath asked his father. she deserves worship. Vishwanath supported it. ‘Go. At age ten she was married to sixteen-year-old Vishwanath Datta. because I would be born. Her devotion to Lord Shiva was fulfilled through his grace.’7 On Monday. His eminence in legal practice took him to many places in northern India. died in childhood. Faithfully following the traditional Hindu life. her imagination pure. 12 January 1863.

come what may. It has been written of Bhuvaneshwari Devi that: Above all. what does it matter? It may be unjust and unpleasant. to these two. He [Swamiji] considered a good memory one of the signs of spirituality. Training Her Children Bhuvaneshwari Devi told all her children emphatically and often that in spite of hardship and troubles they should never abandon the moral principles. whose influence was to shake the world. She imprinted eternal values of healthy living in their developing minds. she passed on to her children as their great heritage. she can recite what she has heard. and that essence. who revised them and immortalized them with her own style in her Cradle Tales of Hinduism. and used daily to perform herself the worship of Shiva. Narendranath learned many stories from the epics and the Puranas at her knee. The last two children were sons. and who was to lay the foundation of a new order of things. as heard in religious dramas. Durgaprasad. taste for sacred music and extraordinary memory. Her Great Character The most exalted law of motherhood is the law of sacrifice. noted for her unusual memory and knew by heart long passages from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. She was not given to much talking. the lifeblood of a mother’s existence. Their seventh and eighth children were both daughters. Swamiji was the sixth child of his parents. More important. She was. and reserve characterized this noble Hindu woman. Swamiji’s features strongly resembled those of his saintly paternal grandfather. He shared many of these with Sister Nivedita. Calm resignation to the will of God in all circumstances. she could learn their songs by listening only once.’ Many times he suffered. infinite patience and constant prayer.13 At birth. Swami Vivekananda had one elder sister. Swarnamayee. He also inherited his mother’s melodious voice. Bhuvaneshwari Devi had a very sweet voice and could sing beautifully the songs on Sri Krishna.8 Sister Christine recalls her exceptional memory: [Swamiji said:] ‘After she hears the Ramayana read. Bhuvaneshwari Devi raised her prayer-born child with utmost care. that the boy who was to become the greatest man of his age. Thanks to her prodigious memory. dignified and humane. Her entire being was absorbed with loving concern for her child Narendranath. power. The poor and the helpless were the special objects of her solicitude. many times he was misunderstood J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 9 ~ . she had absorbed the essence of these T h e timeless epics. . then. ‘The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Mahendranath and Bhupendranath. both of whom lived long lives. was born. chaste. . Bhuvaneshwari Devi was deeply religious in temperament. She always counseled them to be truthful.’ On one occasion when Narendra spoke to his mother about being unfairly punished by his schoolteacher without justification. It was. There is some truth to the familiar saying. my boy. Like Vishwanath. who lived a long life. When beggars singing religious songs came to the house to beg. who had renounced hearth and home for God. 9 Bhuvaneshwari Devi would read daily from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. but do what you think right. we are struck by the deep impact of her personality upon the formation of his character. she consoled him by saying: ‘If you are right. together with the culture to which it was the key. Vishwanath and Bhuvaneshwari Devi.’ . Reading about his early life. indeed.

where Narendranath could study for his B. Dhar. How she was torn between her disapproval of the life he had chosen and her pride in the name he had made for himself. his anguish had no effect at all on the aunt and uncle. 9. The maxim he had learned. 10. for conducting the law-suit brought against us by our aunt. p.. it was right. know that from her he inherited his regal bearing.’13 His father returned to their ancestral home. Swamiji once described it in a letter to the Raja of Khetri as ‘a hovel. ‘How is it that I who earn so much money see that my wife does not get [a] bellyful to eat!’ Still. Examination. 1975). [Hereafter Reminiscences] CW. 1. 3. A. in his opinion. . Those of us who were privileged to see his mother. 174-5 Bhupendranath Datta. . can only be imagined. His Eastern and Western Disciples.14 even by those nearest and dearest to him when he adopted a course which to them seemed strange. who grumbled. where Narendranath studied to prepare himself for the B. His brother Bhupendranath wrote. but which to him was inevitable because. who. After Vishwanath Datta’s death. 2000). much to the uncle’s consternation. his family was sheltered by Swamiji’s grandmother Raghumani (c.11 Her Silent Forbearance and Fortitude Except for a brief time. (To be continued. 10 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 References 1. 10 Ibid.12 After a particularly harsh family quarrel. 11. 1825-1911) at her house at 7 Ramtanu Basu Lane. [Hereafter Life] S. dead or alive!’10 Sister Christine recalls: Many were the stories he told of his mother— the proud. p. Life. p. Bio. PatriotProphet. 184. The Life of Swami Vivekananda (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama. rented land . .. She had to part with . . This was eventually noticed by her husband. pp. She supported us and suffered for us. our family removed temporarily from the ancestral place and hired a house at 7. and he moved to another place. 14.A. See also Comp. 1: 8-9 Sister Christine in Reminiscences. 4. ‘We stayed with her till 1903. p. p.. with others foiled their every legitimate claim at every opportunity. 11 Life. and which he followed always in life was.] Ibid Sister Christine in Reminiscences of Vivekananda (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama.. Bhuvaneshwari Devi lived in the Datta family nearly her entire long life. A Study (Calcutta: Nababharat Publishers) p. 1: 34 Sister Christine in Reminiscences. 12.) 6. little woman who tried so hard to hide her emotions and her pride in him. Patriot-Prophet. Ibid. ‘After separation. V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 10 ~ . Swami Vivekananda. N. from her marriage at age ten until her death in 1911. 8. This tiny woman carried herself like a queen.’ Bhupendranath wrote. 2004). 7. 6 [Hereafter Comp. [Hereafter Patriot-Prophet] 13. p. separation was forced on Vishwanath Datta. 4. 111. 107. In spite of the harsh injustices inflicted on her by her guardian uncle-in-law and his wife—to the extent of not providing her with more than one sari to wear—she demonstrated a profound capacity to silently endure all the wrongs they heaped on her. . 8: 60-1 passim. T h e 2. A Comprehensive Biography of Swami Vivekananda (Madras: Vivekananda Prakashan Kendra.’ 14 The court case started in 1877 and dragged on beyond the year of Swamiji’s departure from life. Bio. 174 Life. Bhuvaneshwari Devi’s difficulties in a joint family headed by an unscrupulous uncle. 5. ‘Stick to your guns. Bhairav Biswas Lane. . p.

Reminiscences of Master Mahashay
MAHENDRA KUMAR CHAUDHURY

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.136-39. 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. In 1921 I was staying at 47, Amherst Street, which was very close to M.’s school, the Morton Institution. I heard that the recorder of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna lived there and that many devotees met with him in the evenings. I was anxious to see him and enjoy his holy company. One day I arrived at twilight, and no devotees were there. M. cordially received me and asked me to meditate. I was impressed by his dignified appearance and his overflowing beard. Gradually other devotees arrived and M. began to narrate to us the history and teachings of the Gospel. Here are some of M.’s sayings, as I remember them: Either keep company with the holy or live alone like a lion. Pray to God in solitude, secretly with a longing heart. What will you gain by chatting with others? One should spend that time practising meditation and spiritual disciplines. A human being has three bodies: gross, subtle, and causal; or body, mind, and spirit. The spiritual body does not care for worldly enjoyment; it enjoys only divine ecstasy. When
T h e

a spiritual person hears about God, he or she gets goose bumps and tears flow from the eyes. The spiritual body merges into Brahman through meditation and samadhi. When someone asked the Master about reincarnation, he replied that it is true and one should not doubt it. The goal of human life is to realize God. One should adopt any means to attain Him. Too much talking and planning are useless. The Master said: ‘You have come to eat mangoes. What is the need for counting the trees and fruits?’ If you know God, He will teach you everything. If you meet Jadu Mallick, he will tell you how much money and how many stocks and bonds he has. Some think that one should first learn by reading books, and then try to know God. First try to know God and then He will make you know everything. Holy company is the best means to attain God. God incarnates in every age and makes the difficult and inscrutable spiritual path simple and easy. As a guru the avatar makes the way to God-realization smooth. The Master
J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1

V

e d a n t a

K

e s a r i

~ 11 ~

16

said that one could reach God by meditating on him [meaning Ramakrishna]. It is better to follow the avatar’s teachings than to talk about God. Jesus said: ‘Thou sayest O God, God, God, but why dost thou not do what I say unto you?’ A disciple should not have any worries once he receives the guru’s grace. A magician threw a string with many knots into a large audience and asked someone to untie the knots, but no one could loosen them. Finally, he shook the string once or twice, and immediately all the knots came undone. Similarly all fetters fall off in a moment by the grace of the guru.

Practise meditation and spiritual disciplines in solitude and study holy books. Hearing is better than reading. Do not disturb another’s faith; rather one should help others on their own path. All paths lead to God. It is true that God can be reached through many paths, but one cannot walk on many paths at the same time. One should begin one’s spiritual journey with faith and devotion. One can climb to the roof by means of a staircase, a ladder, a bamboo pole, or a rope. While descending also one should adopt only one means. Similarly, one should follow one path for God-realization.

The Master told us again and again that ultimately the aspirant attaints nondual knowledge by realizing his identity with the object of his worship, whether he treads the path of devotion or knowledge. As proof of this, the Master’s sayings are cited: ‘Pure devotion and pure knowledge are the same thing.’ ‘There [in the ultimate state], all jackals howl alike [all knowers of God speak of the same realization].’ Thus, although he was of the opinion that nondual knowledge was the Ultimate Truth, he always instructed people living in the world on the teachings of qualified nondualism [which teaches that all living creatures and matter are parts of Brahman], and also how to love God in a dualistic way. He felt disgusted with those people who had no high spiritual experience nor intense love for God, and yet held forth, with high-sounding words, on the philosophies of nondualism and qualified nondualism. He did not hesitate to condemn such behaviour in harsh words. One day the Master asked our friend Vaikuntha Nath Sanyal whether he had read the Panchadashi and other such books. Receiving a negative reply, the Master said with relief: ‘It is good that you have not. Some boys read those books and, giving themselves airs, come here. They do not practice anything. They simply come to argue. It is a torment to me.’ —Ramakrishna As We Saw Him, p.167

T h e

V

e d a n t a

K

e s a r i

~ 12 ~

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 1

Sri Ramakrishna, the Kalpataru
SWAMI AMARESHANANDA

To the devotees and admirers of the Ramakrishna Movement, first January has a symbolic and special meaning. It was on this day, on January first in 1886, that Sri Ramakrishna bestowed his grace on devotees in a remarkable manner. It is also a day of Sri Ramakrishna’s self-revelation, and bestowal of freedom from fear. Hence the day is called the Kalpataru Day, or the day when Sri Ramakrishna became a wish-fulfilling tree (an allusion to the Kalpataru mentioned in the Hindu scriptures). He did so by raising the consciousness of some thirty devotees present there, granted them freedom from fear and blessed them. Freedom from fear is the final fruit of spiritual practices. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (4.2.4), when Janaka attains the highest Knowledge, he is addressed as having ‘become free from fear.’ The Backdrop Sri Ramakrishna came to public attention when in 1875, the well-known Brahma Samaj leader, Keshab Chandra Sen wrote about him in the newspapers and spoke about him in Brahma Samaj gatherings. This brought many people from the elite circle of Calcutta to Dakshineswar to see Sri Ramakrishna. Later, Sri Ramakrishna too visited many devotees’ place as well as many eminent people, and gradually came to be known in the spiritual and cultural circle. Sri Ramakrishna’s intense

renunciation, and selfless attitude and pure love attracted a large number of youth and devotees. Towards the middle of 1885 Sri Ramakrishna developed throat pain. Gradually it became acute and besides difficulty in speaking, Sri Ramakrishna could only take milk with a little rice or boiled coarse flour of wheat. As time passed, at the request of some devotees, Sri Ramakrishna agreed to come to Calcutta for treatment as it was easier to attend to him there. He first stayed at Balaram Bose’s house. Well-known physicians of Calcutta, such as Gangaprasad, Gopi Mohan, Dwarkanath and others, were called to examine the Master. After examining Sri Ramakrishna one of the doctors declared it to be ‘Rohini which the western doctors call cancer.’ As too much drugging never agreed with the Master’s constitution, the devotees thought it desirable to have him treated according to homoeopathy. At Shyampukur House For better treatment and care, a house on Shyampukur street, owned by Gokul Chandra Bhattacharjee was rented in the beginning of September 1885 and the Master was shifted and placed under the care of Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar. Dr. Sarkar on learning that the expenses of the Master were met by devotees’ contribution, after the payment of

A senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, the author lives at Ramakrishna Math, Kankhal, Haridwar, Uttarakhand. T h e

V

e d a n t a

K

e s a r i

~ 13 ~

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 1

At Shyampukur.18 the first day. Rajendranath was invited to treat the Master and the Master. One in the middle was a spacious hall. he expressed his J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 14 ~ . one day the Master had a wonderful vision. and the burden of their sins was thereby transferred to him. a search for better location started. Hearing about the Master’s illness Dr.1 The Master was shifted to this Garden House on the 11th December 1885 and Dr. As the Master felt better. it had a row of rooms and one of them was used as kitchen. As a consequence he had developed sores in his subtle body. the Divine Mother explained to him that the people who had committed various evil deeds had become pure by touching him. He saw that his subtle body came out of his gross body as he was strolling up and down in the room and he observed that especially the region of the throat of the subtle body was covered with sores. Autul informed this to Dr. side by side. The main building had two rooms upstairs and 4 rooms down stairs. son-in-law of famous Lal Babu. immediately above the hall below. From the west of the rooms a flight of steps lead to the first floor. The hall on the first floor. None raised any objection and Dr. Besides the main two-storied building. and the Master wanted to have open space for walking and fresh air. To the north of it there were two rooms smaller in size. The room on the eastern side was occupied by the Holy Mother during her stay there. Mahendralal Sarkar as well as all the devotees. Rajendranath Dutta belonging to the wealthy family of Akrur Dutta of Boubazar. As he wondered about it. on the broad road that runs through North Calcutta and connects Bagh Cossipore Garden House T h e Bazar quarters with Baranagar. The Cossipore Garden House had an area of 4. It was the first day of January 1886. Brother of Girish Chandra Ghosh) to inform Doctor Mahendra Lal Sarkar to administer this medicine to the Master. Cossipore Garden House Meanwhile.66 acres. a garden house was found in Cossipore. ‘Lycodium 200’ was the medicine best suited for the Master and asked Autul Ghosh (Advocate. thoroughly studied the literature on homoeopathy system and found that. served as the Master’s sick room. As there was no visible improvement and the house was small and congested. The garden house belonged to late Gopal Chandra Ghosh. derived much benefit from this for more than a fortnight. treated the Master freely as a mark of respect. Mahendra Lal Sarkar continued to treat him.

There were some devotees (some thirty of them) engaged in conversation under trees. ‘What more shall I say to you? May you all be blessed with spiritual awakening!’ Beside himself with love and compassion for the devotees. suddenly. they too came closer to him joyfully. But it seems more appropriate to call this event ‘the self-revelation of the Master’ or ‘the bestowal of freedom from fear on all devotees by revealing himself’.19 desire to have a stroll in the garden. he said. Baikuntha. Ram. They found in him a loving mother. and seemed to forget their earlier resolve to not to touch him as it might aggravate his illness. Akshay and Mahendranath Gupta. Some worshiped him with flowers. The devotees were inspired to see him in this mood. The Kalpataru is believed to give whatever good or bad is asked for. addressing Girish. ‘What more I can say of Him. Harmohan. Overcome by his compassion and sympathy. a divine being who had come down to help them to go across the ocean of relative existence. a saviour. you say to one and all so many things about this (about himself). The happenings of the day are often described by the devotees as the Master turning into a Wish-fulfilling Tree (Kalpataru) as mentioned in Puranas. Atul. When the devotees saw him coming. Kneeling down on the ground near the Master’s feet. Interestingly. He came down around 3 pm. I find. Navagopal. Then. Some had vision of their ishta-devata and some experienced an indescribable inner joy. This divine touch brought about remarkable spiritual experiences in each one of them. Haran. Whose greatness Valmiki and Vyasa could not find words to express?’ The Master was pleased at this fervent utterance of Girish and blessed him and through him all devotees assembled there. they stood up in reverence and bowed down to him. however. ‘Girish. none of the future monastic J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 15 ~ . But the Master did much more than that and bestowed protection against all evil and fear to one and all. they eagerly bent down to touch his feet and filled the place with the shouts of ‘Victory to Ramakrishna’. As he came closer to Girish and others. hardly had he said these words than Sri Ramakrishna entered into a deep spiritual mood (bhavasamadhi). Only ten names have been mentioned—Girish. Ramlal. He slowly proceeded on the garden path leading to the main gate. Kishori (Roy). T h e Sri Ramakrishna’s room at Cossipore Garden House He now began touching each one of the devotees in that divine mode. But what have you seen and understood about me to make you do so?’ Grish was completely unnerved. he said in a choked voice with folded hands and face turned upwards. Soon. that mood of the Master came to an end and everyone gained his normal composure again.

’ For as soon as I prayed in that manner.’ said Vaikuntha. but could not see the holy feet. I became amazed and charmed with the holy vision of the Master in all things. My firm conviction is that they were removed by the same extraordinary Being from whom I had got them. Bengali word used by the young girl basana has two meanings—desire (basana) as well as the ashes made of banana stem used as washing agent. ‘O lord. bowed down to him with devotion and said. ‘Sir. Vaikuntha Nath Sanyal. . but kindly do so. again perhaps I saw the Person from the face to the waist. Ramlal Chattopadhayay (Ramlal Dada). I saw the figure of the Master lit up with a gracious smile in the sky.1026-27 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 16 ~ . It continued to be so wherever I went. Sri Ramakrishna Math. Swami Saradananda. overheard a washerman’s daughter asking her father as to when was he going to charge the vessel the cloth for cleaning since the sun was setting soon. On finding that my work was suffering. trees. please bestow your grace on me!’ The Master said. that I too can understand it.’ said Vaikuntha. It is said that Lal (or Lala) Babu.when I saw the lotus feet. please ordain that it may come to an end. plants. . . . ‘as the result of it.’ ‘When you say. men and in whatever else I looked at. ‘But. perhaps because there arose no prayer in my mind for its complete removal. Why did I pray so? Why did I not keep my faith firm in him? And why did I not wait patiently to see its ultimate developments? .’ Another devotee.2 touched his chest only for a moment in the ordinary way. Lal Babu took the second meaning: since he is becoming old (evening of life)—when is he going to give up desires (basana) and seek spiritual emancipation! He forthwith renounced the world. a nephew of the Master who was present on the occasion. Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master. ‘everything has been given. . . but failed in my attempt to do so.’ I now think. was also present on that occasion. 3. a Zamindar. As soon as the Master had blessed two or three of the devotees by his potent touch. I could formerly see a part only of the holy Person of my Chosen Ideal [ishta devata] with my mind’s eye at the time of meditation . I am not able to contain this mental state. I could not attend to the work on hand and it suffered. .20 disciples were present among the devotees blessed on that day. ‘So be it’.’ Saying. Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master. and whatever I saw never seemed to be alive. As to what the nature of experience which devotees experienced was. . Asked about it. I tried to forget that vision for sometime. the said vision and mental state came to an end one day. describes his experiences thus3: Vaikuntha was present on the spot at the time of this day’s occurrence. But no sooner had the Master touched me that day than the form of my chosen Ideal appeared suddenly from head to foot in the lotus of my heart and moved and looked benign and effulgent. But he preserved compassionately a partial capacity of the mind to recapture it. the Master References 1. Endowed with a spiritual bent of mind. to the office or elsewhere on any business. I then prayed to the Master again with fear. in the houses. it is certainly so. . . Vaikuntha came before him. Pp. That mental attitude and vision of mine continued for some days throughout my waking state. I felt blessed and amazed at the sudden appearance of this vision a few times daily—the vision of the gracious figure of the Master made effulgent by the divine mood. T h e 2. ‘But you have been given everything. ‘. I could not see the face. let us cite here two of them. a great revolution took place in my mind. . also received the Master’s grace. he said. . Chennai.1025 Ibid. p. while going in a palanquin.

Jojo & all friends.Sara C.Unpublished Letters of Swami Saradananda1 August 10th 1899 Math.S. newly married. It has given a rude blow to the Mother. A great mishap has taken place. But perhaps this is no news to you. I undertook the nursing with another young man of the Math. My dear Mrs. U. for I have passed through that phase. India. though I give the address of the Math above.James. Every thing else is going on as usual here & in the Math. Howrah. for she brought him up as her own child from the very day of his birth. but to write him just a general letter. a student of the Calcutta Medical School and perhaps the most promising of all the members of the family. This brother was twenty one years old.Golconda has reached London on the 31st July.Vaughan & the Shapleighs & your brother. Belur. Mass. The papers have published the telegram intimating that the S. On second thoughts. With very kind regards to yourself and wishing to be remembered to Mrs.Bull.Briggs. I can see his course plain. You will understand by this if my letter is not to the point. The youngest brother of Srimati Sarada Devi has died of Cholera about ten days ago. which have been appreciated. I am glad I have sent my brother to the West. The time is nearing when they shall have to close the business & sell the house etc. though I am treating it in a little different way.2 I am in Calcutta today at 57 Ramkanta Bose’s St. Kindly tender my regards to Mrs. He will come round in a short time. Yours Sincerely Saradananda On the cover:: Mrs.America T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 17 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . I do not think it necessary to send you his letter too. Dr.K. 168 Brattle Street Cambridge. Bull The Studio House. The R. Perhaps there is a letter from you waiting for me at the Math. Serious problems are sometimes presenting themselves regarding my family.Mission meetings are going on & I have already given two talks. I made up my mind not to answer that letter of the Swami. My subject is Raja Yoga this time.S. he might come back a man and better late than never. Miss O’neill. My father & mother will come to Calcutta for a short time in October. In the meantime they are being harassed with little law suits in the court for little debts.

the latter having a peculiar sanctity of its own. Mrs. This [is] the third since granny did the first for me. But surely we will meet sometime. I went to Srimati Sarada Devi.Briggs. in one’s whole life. 16th was most welcome. I am Faithfully yours. With very kind regards to you always. Sara Bull.Bull). My toil here has but just begun & I always remember. in such company in September. way across the waters. We are to meditate the whole night that day – it being the day we worship the Divine Mother. as of the partaking of the sacrament! One has to prepare oneself for it and there are but very few such days. ‘I in you and you in me’—is complete and can never be broken.J. It is thus—Jm°pa—in Bengali thus— ëKï[¹. It gives me great pleasure to think & place you.22 August 1899 My dear Mrs. Mrs.S. an American disciple of Swami Vivekananda Courtesy: Ramakrishna Museum. and also to Jojo (Miss MacLeod) and Sàrà (Mrs. Remember me kindly to your mother. if not more. Briggs 2. who has desired to be remembered with love and regards—and she requested me to send Santi her love and blessings. somewhere even if it were not in India.Briggs. and sends her heart’s love. how there is one Santi. References 1. I shall have to work for two at least. A direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna 3. as you have been doing. Step by step. I am sorry you are still feeling ill. Saradananda P.A. Harry and all friends. You have been bearing your cross bravely for Sri R. not forgetting Mr. and everyday almost on Jan 8th. and I am sure you will never lose heart.3 Your kind letter of Aug.. only yesterday and told her. I live many a times in my thought over the Greenacre days. May God bless you always and may you ever be at rest in the full love the Master! I am sorry I forgot to give you the Sanskrit of Gouri. and I do not know how I will feel myself. how very near she feels of your presence. I am going to have a bon fire again of my belongings by the side of the Ganges & in the lawn on the 12th Oct. even as Jesus said. Belur Math T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 18 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . I have been led to regard you as one of the few who are very near to my heart. The union with my friends in Sri R. Write me all about these days—every little detail—if you do not feel ill. if you are taken away. Mother wishes me to tell you. and best wishes.

who was at the topmost rung of the ladder in a particular field. Is this maturity? True Maturity What is maturity? Maturity is samyagdrishti—to use the words of the first of the A monk of the Ramakrishna Order. excessive attachment to money. Despite having so many qualified individuals. Fourth. He wanted his juniors to be less competent than himself. But he was seen weeping before a saint. we come face-to face with the harsh reality. And about exams. maturity and social status go hand in hand. To many others. But the fact remains that many modern qualified indivi- duals are not really as qualified as their degrees show. the individual is naturally more mature. Third. it is not at all true that money brings maturity. Nowadays every locality has many postgraduates and several doctorates. To still others. doctorates and post-graduates—almost in every family. The misery of the world is largely due to our not respecting those who are to be respected. The saint asked him in surprise: ‘My child. the less said the better. To some others. On the contrary. We have doctors and engineers. perhaps we hardly get an opportunity of dealing with mature people in our lives. and they alone are mature people. To some. T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 19 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . There was a person. the more number of university degrees an individual has. or to be more precise. society has had mature individuals who have brought us hope. Second. you are at the topmost position. they say certificates are being sold for money. a monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order.Understanding Maturity SWAMI SUNIRMALANANDA Facets of Maturity Many people talk about maturity. the author is former editor of Prabuddha Bharata. brings immaturity. status in society cannot instil maturity. there was no hope at all for anyone. The tragedy of the whole thing is. What else do you need?’ That man wept because he was jealous of his juniors. getting money. What is more. And so the world remains what it is. we become more mature. Had it been so. We realise to our dismay that such people are far from being mature individuals. From time to time. Of course there are definitely many hardworking and sincere students and they greatly contribute to others’ well being. He wanted more. the whole world is childish and immature. However. when we deal with such ‘mature’ people in our day-to-day lives. it is not true that the whole world is childish and immature. and respecting those who are of the common run. it is ignorance to think that with university degrees. It is not true that the higher the position in society. maturity and money are two faces of the same coin. such immature people think they are mature because of their qualifications and pass indiscrete comments on really mature people—the flower of the earth. the more mature he or she is. What is this apparently strange quality called maturity? First.

it appeared that a little light shone at a distance. He may not even open the door. And so he heard a loud bang. We have lost the faculty of objective vision. he was a bit cautious. will that man. It was indeed a house. He was startled. we understand that this world. An example may explain this better: A certain educated man. Someone drunk. Most of us colour things before even looking at them. ambitions. But when there is a death in my house. and so on. when I am in deep sorrow. On the way. The objective world is neither good nor bad. As he walked. as it is. and a big shot in society. He wanted help. Now.’ As such thoughts agitated his mind. and so on knocked often. What is this? Are not we human beings? Does this man think he is so pious as to sleep in his cosy bed while another has his car broken on the street and is helpless? Is there no such a thing called compassion in this world?’ As he thought more and more. Unfortunately for him. He began to pray to God for safety. We must know what this world is. it was dark. These days people are very selfish and do not T h e care about others’ difficulties at all. So. maturity is to understand the ‘simple statement of facts—what we are and what we see around us. who was known to help others as much as he could. Using Swami Vivekananda’s singular explanation of maya in his Jnana Yoga lectures. and that is maturity. perhaps. an objective vision. his car broke down. since many lives. So to know that pleasure and pain are subjective and to understand that this world can neither bring happiness or bliss.’ What We See Around Us What is this right vision and this ‘statement of facts’? Right vision or the ‘statement of facts’ is to know of things as they are. A very poor and unlettered farmer lived there. So we need to have right vision of things. It is matter—just dead matter. The difference between a fool and a mature individual lies in this right vision. whoever he is. he thought: ‘If this man does not open the door. He too definitely had had his share of suffering because of the situation of his house—robbers. Since birth. I shall bang it till he does. neither desirable nor undesirable. rather. We look at things through ‘our angle’ of vision—that is. and what we are. and never opened the door. is neither pleasure-producing nor pain-giving. It was a forest. correctly. Walking further. in his old age. I shall break his door. Perhaps a house? Perhaps a human being? He started walking towards that light. he thought: ‘Well. It is J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 20 ~ . This is the mature view of the world. we have conditioned ourselves to look at the world as we wish it to be—as our desires want it to be. drunkards. he became angry all the more. There was indeed an old gentleman. we paint them using such colours as our ego. was almost breaking his door. is the correct view of life. Fortunately for him. desires. He was eager to reach home. And he reached the place. Beethoven brings immense joy to my heart— whenever I listen to him. correctly. he became angry. I become angry if someone plays Beethoven. and it was almost midnight.24 eightfold paths of the Buddha. entertain me? He may think I am a robber. was driving along a lonely path. Dead matter cannot bring joy or happiness. what is the correct vision about this world? Reading Vivekananda’s ‘statement of facts’ definition of things. there was no human habitation anywhere or so he thought. Samyag-drishti means right vision of the world and of life— this is maturity. A mature individual never makes a mistake in this regard.

assuming it to be real. We thought this world was permanent. if we think this world is real and permanent. Why is it there? The interesting point comes here. No university teaches us this. modify it. stupidity as brilliance. degrees and position. better it. and all Indian schools of thought. So something must be wrong with us—with ourselves. Vedanta can give us that education. It is impermanent. We must work constantly in such a world. got attached to it like mad. assuming that we shall reform it. and colleges cannot give us that. Repeated blows showed us that perhaps it was not so. and its so-called joys and pleasures too are impermanent. It tells us the truth. and therefore. got deeply involved in it. and get deeply involved in it. and so on. We are getting more involved in this objective world. Some people say we are lost for ever. vasana and so on in the scriptures. But we continue getting attached to it because we are helpless. though we may have money. To be mature means to know that the world is impermanent. as all saints repeatedly warn us. has thrown us into the prison. It is anitya. All of Vedanta exhausts itself in teaching us this simple truth. Vedanta is always positive. But. The world is there—neither good nor bad. So we are here due to karma. wanted more and more of the world. the source of all joy. without getting attached to it. etc. real or unreal—it is there. So. and seek happiness from it—we are having wrong vision of things. because it is dead matter. But Vedanta. are immature. This is living a mature life. and leaves us to choose for ourselves what we think is best for us. says that we shall definitely come out of the prison once we have the correct vision of things. for all time to come. This involvement. there is one more thing: the world is not there permanently. without changing. We are damned. This is maturity. they say. But Vedanta says that is not true. that is all. The very karma that brought us to this fate where we see darkness as light. We saw that the correct vision of the world is that it is neither good nor bad. derive more happiness from it. True education is to have the right understanding of things. Vedanta opens our eyes by giving us the ‘statement of facts’. We need positive education. trishna. without attachment. and think that this is the only way to survive and to live in happiness. and the results are showing now. beautiful. impermanent. called tanha. It is there so that we can be released from the prison in which we have thrown ourselves. What is it? J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 21 ~ . Why did he say so? He said so because the education we receive in universities is adding more and more locks to the doors of our prison. neither wonderful nor miserable—it is just there till we know who we are. So we are here to work—to undo what we did through attachment in the past and redo things correctly. They call this karma. and misery as perfect bliss will once again take us to the correct vision of things. What We Are We said that right vision of the world and of ourselves is called maturity. Then why should we work? To overcome the influence of the world. shows us that we are being deceived by others. Hence Vivekananda’s advice is that education is not the number of degrees you have. That which is impermanent is also unreal—anitya is asatya.25 there. There was a time when due to our immaturity we thought the world was everything for us—colourful. Vivekananda said that the education that we receive is all negative. Why are T h e we here then? We are here because we made the terrible mistakes in the past.

St Francis of Assisi. Happiness is not outside. we are ignorant. while we are foolish and sick in mind. Our saints say: ‘Imagine your situation! You are using impermanent tools.’ So there is no end to misery and sorrow. We are hypnotizing ourselves with the foolish thought that we are wise and perfectly all right. Just try to find out who you are. etc. So we are ignorant about ourselves. So maturity does not come with position in society. us. is truly peaceful and happy. We saw the Beethoven example already. have lessened the problem by saying that it is sufficient if we know who we are. We try to impose ourselves on others. Not only that. and the world in which this bodymind complex is. Maturity is in knowing who we are. we must know what this world is. Let it be as it is. Imagine the horror of living with totally wrong ideas! It is like sitting on a sleeping snake and thinking we are perfectly safe. hardly possessed a hut. or the ego. Swami Adbhutananda. They seem to say: ‘Do not worry about the world. We saw that what we see around us is not what we think we see around us. To get out of the prison in which we have placed ourselves due to wrong interpretations of the world and of ourselves. power.26 This brings us to the second aspect of maturity: right vision of ourselves. And Vedanta tells us that our mind and intellect too are parts of the world. full of sympathy and compassion for us ignorant people. Jesus Christ. they were mature individuals—they had attained inner peace and supreme happiness. saying that ‘I am a qualified person’ and want the world to know and respect us. Money. Many of the saints could hardly read and write. or a place to sleep. They knew the world as J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 22 ~ . Rabia. Nanak. Holy Mother.’ They also say that the microcosm and the macrocosm are the same—knowing the microcosm. and such other things do not bring inner peace.’ We try to impose ourselves on the world thereby. and who we are. or the mind. hardly got the meal of the day. power. nor powerful in society. The moment you begin to ask yourself who you are. Maturity does not demand university degrees. and seeking peace and happiness in this way is immaturity pure and simple. thinking that we can modify or better it. or social power. When we do not have what we crave for. or money. we are confused. respect from others. Rumi—and an army of such extraordinary children of Light were neither university masters. nor rich. but we are immature all the same until we know something about ourselves. Some served as servants of rich people. The great Vedanta teachers. If we think we are this personality called body. some mended shoes. Similarly. When we say that the world is a producer of joy or sorrow. enjoyments. we try to have more and more—money. Kabir. and yet we think we are learned. because we consider our body-mind complex as permanent. may be we are big inventors. is sufficient to be released from T h e the self-imposed imprisonment. No person—though having huge qualifications or being in the biggest positions of the world. and you shall be free. your body and mind. This is the height of immaturity. Ramakrishna. we forget that our body too is a part of this world. you are becoming more and more mature. to get joy from the impermanent world—a tiny soap bubble trying to attach itself to a huge soap bubble so as to be happy. what we are is not what we think we are. Further. we become miserable. Know who you are. May be we are the managers and directors of big companies. Yet. We are immature. The saints also say: ‘Study yourself constantly. All Hallaj. degrees. as permanent.

symbolically kanchana —‘me and mine’—is ignorance. the baby was taken care of by his relatives. At once all his anxiety for his own child vanished. which says it all. and they knew themselves. is immaturity. Those who are trying to be free from the influence of these are mature individuals. True and lasting contribution can be made only by really mature people. it is the voice of the mature individual alone that the society listens to. The world remembers all these great ones with reverence. as hard as the rocks of a mighty mountain. While ego-battered. He [Swami Subodhananda] very often narrated to those who came to him for guidance the following story of Shridhara Swami. One day as he was sitting deeply absorbed with these thoughts. p. they contributed immensely for the good of the world. —Neeti Shatakam. which it caught and swallowed in a moment. the great Vaishnava saint and a commentator on the Gita: Spurred by a spirit of renunciation. who never think they have contributed anything.552 India’s Timeless Wisdom gÂ`Àgw _hVmß {MŒmß ^dÀ`wÀnbH$mo_b_≤& AmnÀgw M _hme°b{ebmgL≤>KmVH$H©$e_≤&& At the time of prosperity. The egg broke as a result of the fall and a young lizard came out. the heart of great people is as soft as a lotus flower and during difficult and trying times. symbolically kamini¸ and attachment to one’s false ego. But no contribution is greater than the contribution made by truly mature individuals. —God Lived with Them. they are actually not benefiting much at all. which sing in unison. Shridhara felt worried about the baby and was seriously thinking about how to provide for the child before retiring from the world. With every change in society they disappear with their contributions into oblivion. the egg of a lizard dropped from the roof in front of him. Maturity and Decision-Making We speak of the contributions made by highly qualified people and socially important individuals. Just then a small fly came and stood near the young lizard.27 it is. and he immediately renounced the world. With all the power and position people may hold in society. who influence society positively through their words and actions. For us common people to attain to maturity. more importantly. 66 T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i tt ~ 23 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . Shridhara Swami was thinking of giving up the world when his wife died giving birth to a child. sense-bound power lovers think that they are ‘benefiting society’ by their intelligence and maturity. Attachment to worldly enjoyments. At this the thought flashed in the mind of Shridhara that there is a divine plan behind creation and that every creature is provided for beforehand by God. Of course. And. Sri Ramakrishna has given a simple formula.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 24 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . an Indian state.’ It is difficult to understand what Sri Ramakrishna meant by this but possibly he meant that she should visit the holy places in India which he could not visit. It is a notable coincidence that just two weeks after the Master’s demise. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and many direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. and by cart to Puri. they went by steamer from Calcutta to Chandbali on 7th November 1888 from where they proceeded by a launch to Cuttack*2. steeped in a deep religious culture. Immediately on arriving at Puri. the Holy Mother and the women devotees went to live in a house The author is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order at its Nagpur Centre. second was in 1904. is hallowed by two temple cities of Bhuvaneshwar and Puri. ‘You visit all those places which it was not possible for this (meaning himself) to visit. As the coastal railroad had not yet been constructed. earlier known as Utkal and also known as Kalinga in ancient days. After the darshan. they visited the temple of Lord Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi Jagannath as an inauspicious period as per the temple-tradition was to commence from the next day. the Master had one day said to the Holy Mother. the Holy Mother started on a pilgrimage of Upper India (as north India was generally called then). Holy Mother’s First Visit Towards the end of his life. Her first visit to Orissa was in 1888. Golap-Ma. YoginMa’s mother and Laxmidevi started with her. Sri Ramanujacharya. had been sanctified by the visits of spiritual luminaries such as Adi Shankaracharya. In this article we shall try to describe Holy Mother’s visits to Orissa which she visited four times. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.1 The proposal for pilgrimage to Puri attracted quite a number of devotees. the third and the fourth were while on her pilgrimage towards South India and while returning from there in the year 1910 and 1911. and thus Swamis Brahmananda. Yogananda.Holy Mother’s Four Visits to Orissa SWAMI TANNISHTHANANDA Orissa (or Odisha). Orissa. Sarada- nanda*1 as also Yogin-Ma.

’ When she shared her thought with Yogin-Ma. and with tears of joy she thought within herself.2 Mother’s Second Visit At the end of November 1904 the proposal for her going to Puri took shape. As the Master had never been to Puri. called the Kshetrabasir Math or a ‘monastery for the dwellers in the holy place’. ‘Hey-day! Good luck! So many people will be freed (through this vision of the Lord)!’ But the next moment it occurred to her. for she believed that ‘the picture and its prototype were the same. From Puri she returned to Calcutta on the 12th January 1889.29 of Balaram Basu.’ It was thus that she visited the temple. The monks had their own separate place. only those rare few T h e who have no worldly desire will be freed. the Mother carried his picture under her cloth so as to show him the image of the Lord Jagannath by showing his picture to the deity. concurred. On her visit Shashi Niketan An archival picture of Kshetra-basir Math to the temple she was delighted to see the great concourse of pilgrims.’ At another time she said that she saw the god (Jagannath) as Shiva. She also visited all the noted places at Puri. she said. At Puri the Mother’s characteristic humility was revealed in bold relief. ‘No.’ About Jagannath she said. she bathed in the Ganges at Nimtola. and she spent long hours regularly in meditation at the temple of Mahalaxmi. and next day. The Mother stayed here for a little more than two months. the Panda of Balaram Basu’s family. returning to Calcutta in the middle of January next year (1889). ‘No. Govinda Shingari. the latter. Govinda. The Bengal Nagpur railway had by this time been J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 25 ~ . When he placed this proposal before the Mother. you will walk in front as a guide and I shall follow you as a poor humble woman to visit Jagannath. too. thought that in keeping with honour of that family a palanquin should be arranged for carrying their guru’s wife to the temple. ‘I saw Jagannath as the best of all persons sitting on an altar of gems with myself serving him as a handmaid.

the consecrated food from the temple for their daily meals. and communicated the Mother’s invitation to grandmother (Shyamasundari) and uncle Kali who alone were expected to come. The devotee went via Vishnupur by train. and a villager named Sitaram started by way of Garbeta. on payment. A few days after this. and two sons. The Mother travelled in a reserved second-class compartment with her uncle Nilmadhav. please don’t be offended. as was her habit on such occasions.’ This unexpected move irritated the Mother a little at first. On this occasion about fifty temple priests were sumptuously fed. he came on the next day with a young doctor ostensibly to pay their obeisance to the Mother.30 completed. while Swami Premananda and others went to their second house near the sea called Shashi Niketan. the Mother had a boil on her foot. The doctor now brought out his knife and in the act of saluting by touching the feet opened the boil and then begged her pardon saying. A devotee was accordingly sent to Jayrambati. and yet she did not allow it to be operated on. sat covering herself completely with a cotton sheet. Swami Premananda and two devotees got into an inter class compartment. uncle Kali with his father-in-law. for she was too envious to brook anybody else sharing the Mother’s affection or money which were to be monopolized by or kept in reserve for herself and her daughter. Chunilalbabu’s wife and Kusumkumari. Surabala (the mad aunt). The Holy Mother and others used to obtain. When Swami Premananda heard this. and went on castiJ A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 26 ~ . wife. On subsequent days it was her daily task to visit the temple with others early morning and evening. ‘Mother. Master Mahashaya’s wife. she heartily blessed her sons despite their dare devilry. At Puri. But when through proper dressings the pain subsided and the wound healed up in a T h e trice. She. Radhu. which gave her intense pain. the feast for the priests was also arranged similarly. One day a Katha by a temple priest was arranged at her residence. The train reached Puri in the morning and the Mother with her relatives and women companions took up residence in Kshetra-basir Math of the Basus. But at news of the pilgrimage the number swelled till a big party consisting of grandmother. Sister Laxmi. the railway line on that side having been laid a little earlier. GolapMa. The Mother’s first duty at Puri was to go to the Jagannath temple to have darshan at the Lord. One day in the temple somebody’s foot touched the boil thereby causing excruciating pain to her. This had to be done without the mad aunt’s knowledge. who narrated the story and glory of Jagannath from the ancient books. the Mother wanted to bring her mother and a brother to Puri to Shyamasundari give them an opportunity to see the Lord. No sooner did they step into the Kshetra-basir Math than Surabala got into frenzy.

Subhadra and Lord Jagannath Jagannath temple temple was opened. LaxmiJala. Holy Mother joyfully observed everything and told that this sight of shringara will calm down one’s mind. The Mother continued there for some time more. Then by applying sandal paste to all the three deities and decorating them with clothes and ornaments started the shringara ceremony. that prasad put into one’s mouth by even a man of the lowest caste. 3 One day Holy Mother wished to attend the sandhyarti. Harivallabha Basu. etc. The moment the T h e Images of Balaram. Accordingly three cots J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 27 ~ . and they too joined in it. The arrangement was made for the shayana (ritual indicating ‘going to bed’) of the three deities. After sometime Panda Govinda Shringari announced that the temple would open soon. left again in December 1904. Holy Mother instructed everyone to do Japam of Ishtamantra. she spoke of many anecdotes of the Master’s life and of the Dakshineshwar days. was not acute. While this merry ceremony was going on. Master Mahashay and uncle Varada came there by coincidence from Calcutta. the rheumatism too. so much so. As her mind was cheerful at this time. All those who came from Jayrambati except grandmother. She also circumambulated the Jagannath temple and bathed twice in the sea. They all went to temple. shringar (ritual consisting of adorning the deities) and other ceremonies late in the evening. everybody present there entered the temple sanctum sanatorum. Govardhan Math. Therefore she moved about happily visiting the sacred places such as kitchen of Jagannath. and the body was healthy. Her foot was now cured of the boil. Narendra Sarovar. When he was informed about this. at the Anandbazar within temple precincts. The Mother showed her respect for this hoary custom by putting the prasad into the mouth of the devotees and asking them to put into hers. elder cousin of Balaram Basu. may not be refused.31 gating the Mother by all kinds of gestures and postures and doggerel verses. It is an immemorial tradition at Puri that no caste distinction is observed so far as the prasad of Jagannath is concerned. Gundicha Bari. he made all necessary arrangements. was much respected by the Pandas (priests) of Jagannath Temple. It was a very calm and serene environment.

Vivekananda Ashram Cuttack on 14th January 1993. Holy Mother was very much touched. The land belonged to Late K.26-31 Footnotes *1. Then MM 3. Sri Sarada Devi: The Holy Mother by Swami Tapasyananda p. the deities were requested to get up and take their seat on the altar. What do I find in America and Europe?—the worship of Shakti. the door was opened and party entered the temple sanctum sanatorum. Here the Holy Mother was so much engrossed in the darshan that others had to remind her that the temple was being closed. Health Service departments and also Coaching Classes and Vocational Training Centre. the worship of Power.99 Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi by Swami Gambhirananda p. Bengali Sri Ma by Ashutosh Mitra p.Basu. Then the mangalarti began.K. With the chanting of Suprabhatam. what a lot of good they will achieve. Without the grace of Shakti nothing is to be accomplished. then. looking upon Her as their Mother! —Swami Vivekananda T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 28 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . At this Holy Mother commented that this simple and sweet image (vigraha) of the Lord is very good to meditate upon. The first Girls’ School of Orissa was started in that house which is now known as Ravenshaw Girls’ High school. From the Mata Math Ghat. After mangalarti was over the ornaments of deities were removed and teeth were washed. (Page-107) *2. Holy Mother returned to her residence.) References 1. Yet they worship Her ignorantly through sense-gratification. Holy Mother came to Cuttack by steamer and alighted at the Mata Math Ghat probably on 10th November 1888 where Vivekananda Ashram was started later on. Swami Niranjanananda was a member of this party while Laxmididi’s name did not appear.165 Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi by Swami Gambhirananda p. who later donated it.32 were decorated and made ready. According to Sri Sri Mayer Jiban Katha in Bengali by Swami Bhumananda. Holy Mother and her party again came to the temple in the early morning for mangalarti. At present the Ashrama has Library and Book Sale. Srimat Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj consecrated it on 31st October 2006. 2. she went to Harivallabha Basu’s House near Chaudhari Bazar and stayed there for the night and went to Puri by bullock cart next morning. 200. Pandas sought the deities’ forgiveness for waking them up. . Hearing this. Vivekananda Ashram Cuttack occupied this place on 12th January 1988 to bring out the procession on National Youth Day. It was registered in the name of Sri Ramakrishna Vivekananda Bhava Prachar Samiti. By seeing local people praying in Oriya language. . Imagine. Construction of the temple started in 2000. The college has now been shifted to another place at Cantonment Road now known as Shailabala Women’s College. the birthday anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The first Women’s College of Orissa was also started at the same place. in a Sattvika spirit. who will worship Her with all purity. (To be continued .

the disciple lay unconscious on the ground. A disciple went to the forest to gather wood for the sacrificial fire. and began to sing its praises. why didn’t you trust the mahut’s words? You should have heeded the words of the mahut God. Since all are manifestations of God. One day he taught them to see God in all beings and. exactly at that time. You will be able to walk on the water. his teacher and his brother disciples came to him and carried him to the hermitage. Mylapore. he would even make gestures and change the tone of his voice to bring in a lively element in his narrative. examples and analogies to drive home his point. With the help of some medicine he soon regained consciousness.’ The man was walking easily on the water of the sea—such is the strength of faith—when. my child. While he spoke of profound spiritual truths and mystery of human life. (p. I didn’t run away.90) J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 29 ~ . Therefore. Then why should he run away from it? He stood still. the peacock came back. The following stories. ‘You knew the elephant was coming—why didn’t you leave the place?’ ‘But’. He reasoned that the elephant was also God in another form. The mahut of the elephant was shouting: ‘Run away! Run away!’ But the disciple didn’t move. The next day. 106-107) The Peacock and the Opium [Presently the Master explained the cause of his laughter to the devotees. 84-85) The Power of Faith A man was about to cross the sea from Ceylon to India. ‘our teacher has told us that God Himself has taken all these forms. He said:] A man once fed a peacock with a pill of opium at four o’clock in the afternoon. of animals as well as men. thinking it was only the elephant God that was coming. he said. Hurt and bruised. having gone part of the way. Hearing what had happened.’ (Pp. it is true that the elephant God was coming. It had felt the intoxication of the drug and returned just in time to have another dose. anecdotes. In a forest there lived a holy man who had many disciples. (Pp. Bibhishana said to him: ‘Tie this thing in a corner of your wearing-cloth. cast him to one side. or you will sink. ‘What is this wonderful thing Bibhishana has given me. but the T h e mahut God forbade you to stay there. and instantly he sank. But be sure not to examine it. and went on its way. Suddenly he heard an outcry: ‘Get out of the way! A mad elephant is coming!’ All but the disciple of the holy man took to their heels. bowed before the animal. Chennai) are an attempt to present before the readers Sri Ramakrishna’s rich storehouse of stories which are both illuminating and simple. At times. mainly culled from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (published by Sri Ramakrishna Math. he amply used stories. ‘Oh. to bow low before them all. just this!’ he thought. Someone asked him.’ At this the teacher said: ‘Yes. and you will cross the sea safely.Sri Ramakrishna was a master story teller. that I can walk even on the water?’ He untied the knot and found only a leaf with the name of Rama written on it. knowing this. while narrating a story. 1 Mahut God Let me tell you a story. The animal seized him with its trunk. he thought.

Then our vision will be free from distortions. let us presume certain facts about the reader himself. While she was physically present. The reader has perhaps some knowledge about the spiritual and humanitarian ideas of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda world. the holiness personified.. her infallible advice and blessings were sought on all occasions—no matter whether it is Vivekananda’s journeys within the country or abroad. But whatever may be his motive. abides in this ‘world’ as the Supreme Controller. or finding a way out of worldly afflictions. T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 30 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . We shall get answers to all our preliminary inquiries and realise that this letter of benediction is indeed the brief yet prophetic evaluation of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita. She. M. the Chronicler and His Mindset It will helpful to refresh ourselves with some information on the chronicler of the book [reader may kindly observe that we have used the word ‘Chronicler’ instead of ‘Author’ on purpose. or introduction of worshipping the goddess Durga in the Math sans ritualistic animal sacrifice. what do I stand to gain? Does what is said in the book stand to reason? Is the author of the book competent enough? Before we try to answer these questions.An Approach to Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita DHARITRI KUMAR DAS GUPTA Approaching the Kathamrita A reader wishing to read the Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamarita (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna in English) may intend to do so for various reasons—an intellectual curiosity. a few likely questions that may arise in his mind are: Why should I read it. The reader may observe that the Kathamrita begins with a brief letter of benediction (written to M. the reasons shall be made known later] and its publication. diseases and worries. and appreciates them. Holy Mother’s Letter of Benediction Should we be able to realise the significance of the Holy Mother’s letter of benediction. our mind freed from anxiety. it shall act as the true guide to our journey to study the Kathamrita. or even as trifling as reinstate- ment of a delinquent servant. the chronicler of the book) by the Holy Mother. Let us now try to find out its significance with an open mind. or establishment of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. We firmly believe that without her intervention it would have never seen the ‘blaze of daylight’. or a genuine aspirant seeking spiritual knowledge. made at a time when the book was still in the making. Dharitri Kumar Das Gupta is a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna from Kolkata. May be he is also aware of the paramount position of the Holy Mother Sarada Devi in the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda world. He has to his credit the translation of Kathamrita Prasanga of Swami Bhuteshanandaji into English. such realisation shall enable us to understand why we should study and practice whatever has been said therein.

One and all. alias a devotee. Besides. J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 31 ~ . The path of presentation of divine truths to humanity is chequered one. we come to appreciate his faculty of mental reflection and his unerring belief of having received some invaluable treasure which by no means he could allow to lose or distort. alias Englishman. And it takes different courses. In such a distressed state of mind and without the least preparation. directed by chance.’s own words. a learned professor in eastern and western arts and science.1 I developed the habit of writing diary right from my boyhood days. Thakur saw him.’s first attempt to argue a point with the Master and happily the last.. This habit of mine made me write down whatever conversations I heard [at Thakur’s place] including the precise day. T h e Master’s Dispensation Analysing M. Thakur had already identified and trained him to act as an instrument for educating the masses. had a brief session of discussions and argumentation. intent on retaining invaluable treasure for the welfare of the mankind. assumes varied forms at different ages.’s above simple statement. Nakshtra and the date. he reached the divine presence of Thakur [as Sri Ramakrishna is often addressed in the Ramakrishna Order]. In this regard M. Disinfectant for all the time! A pure receptacle without the least chance of its contents ever becoming tainted! Later we find that Thakur often examined whether the things were properly stored in right sequence and in right context—what we say in modern term ‘stock-taking’. traditionally considered purifying and a disinfectant]. is essentially a Master Mahashay [teacher].’ Enlightened with modern education. He felt so unhappy and wretched that he thought of putting an end to his life. Having regard to the then state of M. Tithi. remained to pass through a spiritual ascension without physical death. ‘This was M. The apprehension that the burden of worldly life might make me forget or confuse whatever I had received from him at Dakshineswar made me note down his words and ideas. I would immediately note them down in my diary. But Thakur’s dispensation was different. the man who went to die. In the words of Swami Tapasyananada. A complete surrender! It was as if Thakur. Whenever at any place I heard good lectures or discussions of God and divinity. He wished to be enriched by sincere application of the advices in his own life. and gave up all his intent to argue and reasoning. told later. Ganga water mixed with a bit of cow-dung. alias Master Mahashay—was in deep trouble having fallen in the whirlwind of family life and failed to make any way out it. was literally swept away by the force of Sri Ramakrishna’s words. In M. Literally. And before I would again visit him I used to read those words of his and reflected on them in my mind. it can be said that the matter could have ended there. indeed everybody needs it. M. the true purpose of his earthly sojourn. So this invaluable treasure can never be meant for the limited spiritual elevation of an individual— M. alias Mani or Manimohan. Thus I started noting down [his words and ideas] for my own benefit so that I might be able to follow his advice more effectively in my own life.2 He was filled with an inexplicable sense of trust and confidence. He further reflected. He now found the real vocation of his life.35 Mahendranath Gupta—alias M.’s mind. Indeed Thakur made him swear not to argue. put in place a chalice after thoroughly washing it with ‘Gobar and Gangajal’ [lit. Because of my worldly preoccupations I couldn’t go to him as often as I wished. M.

who acknowledged it in no uncertain terms. had visited her with an anxious heart. All the words of His that you have with you—every one of them is true. thirteen years ago when this inept child of yours took up the arduous task of chronicling J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 32 ~ . You need not feel any diffidence about it. a son of the Lord and disciple’ joined his Master leaving the mortal plane even before the last one saw the light of the day. reading. There are many tales—documented. she stayed ‘in a rented house near the Ganges on the Sarkar Bari Lane (Baghbazar). Then M. Four additional volumes followed.) Indeed the Holy Mother’s blessings and boon of freedom from fear were greatest treasures of M. the Holy mother sent words of blessings for him. very likely. And it is He who is now bringing them to the light of the day according to the needs of the times. Whatever you had heard from Him [Thakur] is nothing but the Truth. in parts. ‘You need not feel any fear about it. Udbodhan and Bangadarshan. read out T h e from his diary notes. while M. invigorating sunrays.. The In-dwelling Mother knew every bit of her child’s anxiety. a son of the Lord and disciple]’ from Madras. in Bengali through several periodicals like Tattvamanjari. who probably thought of using it as a gem of an introduction to his upcoming book. So she bestowed her blessings and boon of freedom from fear.3 Jayarambati 21st Asha 1304 (4th July 1897) Dear Child. was still holding on to the treasury of Thakur’s words all to himself anxious. We have taken the liberty to translate the second line of the letter literally—Ihâte tomar kona bhay nai. diffidence and reservations et al. the last one in the year 1932. and perhaps. blessed him and blotted out his sense of fear and diffidence. perceived his agony.’ (Here the term fear is generic one that includes his sense of anxiety. Besides oral blessings. Thereafter after compiling and editing all the parts. in a rather incomplete form and in instalments it came out first in English periodicals like Brahmavadin and later in Prabuddha Bharata. But the legendary ‘M. Know it for certain that unless those words are brought out. the Holy Mother (at M’s request) sent M. At that time. everybody wished that it should be published in Thakur’s own language as well. Holy Mother heard him. the first volume of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita came out in the year 1902. she must have been in a Supremely Divine state and her divine intervention made the publication of the book possible. Here is the text of Mother’s letter. Thus we find that on the eleventh year after passing away of Thakur. Almost simultaneously it came out in pamphlets entitled The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna [according to M. unsure and hesitant. But it is not necessary to go into details of these in the present context. To quote from his words. sixteen years after the passing away of Thakur. a letter of benediction from Jayarambati. We will do well to revert to our original pursuit and try to understand the true significance of Holy Mother’s letter of benediction. enjoying and meditating. At one time it was He who had placed those words in your custody. undocumented and oral— behind this important historical event.’ M. When Kathamrita or The Gospel began to come out in parts in English language. We have reasons to believe that at the hour of blessing M and his mission. Holy Mother’s Divine Intervention One day. man will not have his consciousness awakened.36 like one does the ever-purifying. One day when you read them out to me I felt as if it was He who was speaking. Ma. also had it published.

you showered your blessings and the boon of freedom from fear. the book documents as much Thakur’s own words. the Holy Mother assures that. the flesh and the seeds. So the Holy Mother exhorts us to shed all such different perceptions and believe implicitly that everything said therein is true. .37 Sri Sri Kathamrita. Ma. Holy Mother says that its publication is divinely ordained. Girish and other brothers are encouraging me without end. It was He [Thakur] who was speaking.’ M. Incidentally. In a firm and determined tone so as to create an unfailing trust. To know the real weight of the fruit. He would start writing only when the entire scene would surface clearly before his mind. Realisation of truth is dependent on individual’s state of mind.5 Significances of Holy Mother’s Words In our estimate.’ A question may arise what is meant by saying ‘every one is true’? Is it possible that truth has relative validity? The answer is both yes. indeed nothing but truth.’s power of observation and his sense of creativity. Will you leave aside the shell and the seeds and weigh only the flesh? Not at all. Whatever is thought to be extraneous or incidental. Sashi. ‘At one time it was He who had placed those words in your custody.’ True—‘every one of them is true. They are beautifully painted with rare artistic skills and grace. Even today Sriyukta Baburam. you must weigh of the whole of it—the shell. thus. advice. the letter of benediction is extraordinary. It is most brief yet so complete! Analysing the truths behind her words we come to the following conclusions. While meditating.’ It does not contain anything that can be discarded. discussions with others. . That is why different people have different perceptions of truth. But here is also something of a mystery. he would meditate on the scene of the day related to those words. On attainment of the Supreme knowledge one realises the Truth. heard is true. the Holy Mother says that everything M. M. But realisation of truth that is reflected on an individual’s mind depends on its state of consciousness. Thus while studying Kathamrita we will be guided by the belief that whatever it contains is true. 1. one’s level of consciousness. Before starting to write the Gospel. This is the fruit of M. T h e This explains that to a reader ‘everything is true. It is Truth at all times under all circumstances and does not suffer any change. he used to record Thakur’s words very briefly in his diary. and eternal. 2. comments of his associates and devotees as much as the physical ambience and natural scenery in which they were given. thy blessings and boon of freedom from fear are the only treasures of Thy servant of servants. ‘. Should we wonder what the nature of truth is. the whole scene of each day under consideration would appear clearly before him. As he confided later. which were so cryptic that it had no meaning to others. Sri Narendra and other brother-disciples also encouraged me utmost. those were objects of J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 33 ~ . is. and no. Truth absolute is Truth per se. simply a trustee or custodian of Sri Ramakrishna’s words. Only then can you tell its real weight. And it is He who is now bringing them to the light of the day according to the needs of the times. firmly believed that Thakur’s words were not merely to be heard. the flesh and seeds of a bel-fruit and someone asks you the weight of the fruit. what has so far been read and those that wait to be brought to light—everything is true. We may explain the matter using Thakur’s own imagery. Whatever is apparently thought to be extraneous or incidental is also true.4 Suppose you have separated the shell.

Holy Mother’s benedictory letter also contains a very significant statement where she assured M. We should try to practice what we reflect over. A vital question tormented Milton’s mind—he was unable to make proper use of the rare ‘talent lodged’ by the Lord that lay ‘useless’ for half of his life was spent in the ‘dark world and wide’. Besides. living in close quarter with the God Incarnate. This explains why Kathamrita took long eleven years after the passing away of the Master to see the light of the day. . He might chide and ask Milton to present ‘true account’.38 meditation. It was more so because Thakur gave different sets of advice to his monastic disciples and associates who made use of them. as to how and to what extent he should bring them to light. all his human weaknesses and sense of fear must have left him. was no ordinary person. Perhaps. who best bear His mild yoke. . or His own gifts. reflecting on and trying to emulate them in his own life. hence. When returning to the Lord. this may explain the history of eleven long years of anxious silence— it remained with him.6 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 34 ~ . Re-living the total scene is necessary to help us meditate. man will not have his consciousness awakened’. —‘You need not feel any fear about it’. And his state of consciousness must have been turned nectarean by the very touch of nectar. Shall the words brought to light necessarily awaken man’s consciousness? In this regard Thakur’s advice is identical with those of Lord Krishna’s advice in the Gita where he says that a spiritual aspirant seeking inner change should always practice (do abhyasa). and how best to make use of the words and power to be able to do so. to read and go back on the wings of imagination. rather diffidence and anxiety must have sustained in his mind that stood in the way of publication of Kathamrita. At first he thought that he would use them for his own personal benefit. What should he answer? At last realisation dawned on him— . then what is its nature? It appears to us that his first and foremost anxiety was as the receiver of these invaluable treasures since entrusted on him. M’s Sense of Fear But why at all does such sense of fear come from? If it does. 3. to relive those old ecstatic days and experiences he had during Thakur’s lifetime. . What to practice? That is why there is need for proper set of advice suited to modern days conveyed in the language of the common man —a new commentary on the Gita. rather anxious. the Holy Mother emphatically says ‘unless those words are brought out. should be followed by a reflection over what we read. . A regular study the Kathamrita. his thoughtfulness. Why? What is the need to bring them to light? We have already said that these are not meant for personal benefit of any individual. An aspirant must regularly practice spiritual precepts. It was Thakur himself who credited M. We may draw some likeness of his anxiety with those of Milton after he had become blind. So here fear does not refer to normal human attribute of T h e fright. But fear. So its publication is divinely ordained. Of course as the trustee or receiver he certainly took good care and preserved them but he was uncertain. God doth not need either man’s work. with necessary artistic skill.’s custody and it was He who was bringing them to light according to the needs of the time. Holy Mother says that Thakur had placed those words in M. Fear! What to fear about? It is worth remembering that M. they serve Him best. studying.They also serve who only stand and wait. .

He has recorded Master’s own words. stern advices were placed in a rather soft way. not to set aside anything. would he be able to do that?10 We know by Holy Mother’s grace he did it! The September 1918 reflections are associated with the Pravrajika Bharatiprana Mataji.39 But this realisation was not sufficient for M. That is why he was anxious and the thought ever tormented him as to how and to what extent he would publish them. during the course of personal discussions and having regard to the need of explaining with reference to the context and the specific circumstances. That indeed may have made M. We should not lose sight of the fact that Sri Ramakrishna did not come to destroy anything. Worse. one of Mother’s attendants. social. sir. This explains why M. He had been identified as an instrument—the ‘Master Mahashay’—for awakening peoples’ consciousness. He has now become old. wary and anxious. . and touched upon many influential persons of the day. Whatever is untrue or malignant shall automatically wither away. This is the time. That is always the way of the world. they also faced the frowning of the then royalty and the police vigil with harassments that followed at times. many things had crept in which could not be avoided. Besides the Master’s own words. thoughts. M. ‘How intelligent people are these days—they have taken Thakur’s picture.’9 Besides this we refer to only two instances of her observations dating as late as July and September 1918. . Many pundits. using colloquial lingo. And M. not even the meanest of the creatures. or after lapse of twentyone years. it is as if the Master himself is speaking in our presence. ‘One shouldn’t forcibly tear off the green branch of a coconut tree. which is perhaps the most important of all. but those were sharp-edged and unkind at times—his talks reflected on many contemporary socio-religious beliefs. What sweet words! I heard that there is so much material that there could be four or five parts. considered Holy Mother’s blessings and her boon of freedom from fear invaluable treasures. religious communities and many influential personalities of the day were openly hostile towards them. the discussions also contained words and comments of his associates and devotees. he came to rejuvenate and reconstruct. Hence Thakur never criticised anything.’7 It falls off when the time is ripe. M. whom to criticise? Does not the Thakur comprise good and whatever is seemingly bad? However. One’s hair stands on end!’ Once Mother remarked.8 In this regard we may do well to remember that contemporary society was not at all sympathetic towards the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda world. As she heard it she would say. She said. we would read the Gospel to Mother. Well. Thakur’s unalloyed. In July 1918 Holy Mother spoke about ‘M’s book’ as ‘good’. Indeed Swami Ishanananda. Holy Mother’s Reflections on the Book She reflected on the book many a time later during her homely discussions. was wary about yet another grave matter. That his anxiety had been substantive was also corroborated later as conveyed to him by Vivekananda himself. T h e . was anxious that disclosure of all these may raise a storm of protests and slanders. because he had yet another worldly duty as a ‘Master Mahashay’ [teacher]. J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 35 ~ . later recalled: In the evening. insects.—is he an ordinary person? He managed to record everything Thakur said. ‘Oh. to use Thakur’s own words. That injures the tree. habits and practices.You will have many blessings on you and many more curses..

62. Holy Mother said. devotees.T. dated October 1897. Sri Krishna hence chose to deliberate on the old history of the knowledge of Parambrahma.238 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 36 ~ . p. If I had known how to write I would have noted them down. Holy Mother must have been in a spiritually high state and facilitated a historical event divinely ordained.73. because: ‘By knowing Him alone one transcends death. Sarala. has many parallels in our scriptures. Ye.328. References 1. Sri Ramakrishna Math. way back in July 1897. 8. How fine his teachings were! How could we know then that things would take this turn! …Often he (Thakur) would tell me nice words of advice. afflicted and distressed people! Let us enrich ourselves with the Holy Mother’s blessings and set out to study the Kathamrita or the Gospel. The text of the letter of benediction of the Holy Mother is taken from The Condensed Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna [M. The Way to God As Taught by Sri Ramakrishna. 2. pp. victorious Arjuna requested Sri Krishna to re-state the teachings Conclusion Come ye all—wise readers.1910] The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Swami Nikhilananda) p. it is mentioned that before the Kurukreshtra War Sri Krishna gave his immortal message of the Gita. 38. Udbodhan (1st Ed. Well. Swami Lokeswarananda [RMIC] 1st Ed. for instance. not exactly that. xiii -xiv M’s statements as reported in Vivekananda O Samakalin Bharatvarsa Vol II. inquirers of truth! Let us move ahead no matter how perilous the path is. 9th Impression 2001) p. Gospel p. Lord Krishna then expressed his inability to do so because while speaking of the Gita he had been in the high state of consciousness (yogayukta) and now he was in a different state. Chapter 16). M: You once said that one comes down to the plane of Lila in order to enjoy the divine play.1992.40 the first President of the Sri Sarada Math.254. please read something today. (Indian Ed. simple discussions. F. We shall reach the goal.1993). (3rd Ed. hereafter Gospel T h e 6. Swami Tapasyananda. 12.’ Sarala began to read from the Kathamrita the Bengali original of the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Master: No. 9 . p. her sense of apparent wonder (‘How could we know then that things would take this turn’) make us believe that while blessing M. Ibid. 12th Impression. Pub. 3. In the Mahabharata (Ashvamedha Parva.27.11 once again. p. and more so. 487. as he had forgotten what Sri Krishna told earlier. as cited above. Swami Vivekananda’s letter to M.10. Ed. 10. 4. 5. Ed. The Gospel. 56. The Gospel of the Holy Mother recorded by Her Devotee-Children. The Lila is real too. The Condensed Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.1991) p. is: Master…It is good to remain on the plane of the Lila after reaching the Nitya. 7. M’s submission in his Introductory Note to Vol.Palgrave.12 Such unpretentious. Chennai (4th Impression 1996) p. ‘Sarala read about Sri Ramakrishna.’s own English version] edited by Swami Tapasyananda. 11. (Third Reprint 1981) Sankari Prasad Basu. The high spiritual state. p. in Sri Thakur’s own words.IV (of Gospel in original Bengali) dated 10th Asvin 1317 BS [Sept. there is no other path to go by’ (tameva viditva atimrityumeti nanyah pantha vidyateayanaya). After the War. Being in a high state of spiritual consciousness. It is also supported by her reminiscences as incorporated in Matridarshan compiled by Swami Chetanananda. The Golden Treasury. Twelfth Impression.

Durga Puja Celebrations Durga Puja was celebrated at Belur Math from 14 to 17 October 2010 with all solemnity. the Kadapa centre of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission conducted an All Andhra Pradesh Written Quiz based on a small book of the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Prime Minister of Bangladesh. State Minister of Religion. Cooch Behar. Durga Puja (in image) was celebrated at the following 24 centres in India: Antpur. Rahara. Thousands of devotees attended the Puja on all the four days to receive the blessings of the Divine Mother. Dhaleswar (under Agartala). Mauritius and Toronto (Canada) Ashramas and the following nine centres in Bangladesh: Baliati. Prizes worth two lakh. Dhaka City Corporation Mayor. Ghatshila. and several other distinguished persons attended the Durga Puja celebration. Minister of Home Affairs. besides certificates to more than 2400 students. Mr Shamsul Haq Tuku. there was no rain during the main Puja hours. T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 37 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . also attended the Sandhi Puja. Durga Puja (in image) was performed at Durban (South Africa). The prize distribution ceremony was held on 21 November 2010. Comilla. Mr Ahad Ali Sarkar. Mr Shah Jahan Miah. Silchar and Durga Puja Celebrations—Belur Math Varanasi Advaita Ashrama. Contai. Barasat. Mumbai. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Water Resources Ministry. were awarded to the winning students. The Kumari Puja performed on 15 October drew huge crowds. Barisal. Port Blair. and the Sandhi Puja on that afternoon was also attended by many devotees. Jamshedpur. Though the weather was cloudy. Malda. Patna. Habiganj. State Minister of Home Affairs. Mr Hossain Mohammad Ershad. Ms Sheikh Hasina. At Dhaka centre. Mr Abdur Razzaq. Dhaka. Chittagong. Asansol. Kadapa Centre’s Written Quiz on Swami Vivekananda As part of its Centenary Celebrations. Governor of West Bengal. Over 79. All the 759 educational institutions which took part in the Quiz were presented a set of books. Kamarpukur. Dinajpur. Shillong. Guwahati. Cooked Prasad was served to more than 47. Geneva (Switzerland). Mr Sadeque Hossain Khoka. Narayanganj and Sylhet. Jayrambati.000 school and junior college students participated in the quiz. State Minister of Sports. Shella (under Cherrapunji). Kolkata Doordarshan telecast live the Puja at different times on all the days. Sri M K Narayanan.000 devotees on Ashtami day and to about one lakh devotees during the four days. Medinipur. Karimganj. Ms Sahara Khatun. former President of Bangladesh. Lucknow. Jalpaiguri.

in recognition of its outstanding service activities and its efforts to achieve fraternity and equality in society. The award carries a memento with citation. USA. 2. These awards are jointly presented by MOE (Ministry of Education) and AECES (Association of Early Childhood Educators Singapore). Bhopal. handed over the award comprising a citation and a sum of Rs. Government of Madhya Pradesh. in the presence of Dr Manmohan Singh. Bhilai Steel Plant conferred the Bhilai Mitra Puraskar on our Narainpur centre on 14 November 2010 for the centre’s excellent welfare activities for the poor and backward people. Singapore. on 28 November and released the book Celebrating Shri Ramakrishna authored by Swami Tathagatananda. Mr Masagos Zulkifli. handed over the award comprising a citation and a sum of Rupees two lakh to the General Secretary on 8 October 2010 at Bharat Bhawan. handed over the awards on 23 November.000/. conferred Maharaja Agrasen Rashtriya Samman on Ramakrishna Mission. Minister of State for Education & Home Affairs. (2) ‘Merit’ for Outstanding Kindergarten Teacher. Ministry of Culture.50.on 31 October 2010 in a function held at Teen Murti House auditorium. Prime Minister of India. New York. Government of Madhya Pradesh. Belur Math. President. and (3) ‘Merit’ for Good Practices. Counsellor. Indian National Congress conferred Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for the Maharaja Agrasen Rashtriya Samman being presented year 2009 on Narainpur Ashrama. Sarada Kindergarten of our Singapore Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration being presented centre has won the following prestigious MOEAECES 2010 awards: (1) ‘Distinction’ for Innovation. Sri Anupam Ray. Smt Sonia Gandhi. New Delhi. Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations. Minister of Culture. Indian National Congress. T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 38 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 .42 Awards Presented Swaraj Sansthan Sanchalanalaya. Sri Laxmikanta Sharma. visited Vedanta Society. and several other dignitaries.

etc. The following centres distributed various items. 45 kg flour. Kozhikode centre organized an Eye Care Programme in which 3731 students of our school there underwent eye check-up. 63 dhotis. 1358 pants. shown in brackets. Swami Suhitanandaji. 800 blankets. The new office block at Ponnampet centre was inaugurated on 15 September. Kolkata. After the evening arati. there was a poetic presentation (in Kannada) on the glory of Indian Culture and Traditions (called Jago Bharat) by Sri Sulebele Chakravarthy and party. 8 kg sugar. 337 children’s garments and 24 assorted garments). released a DVD containing the archives of 60 years of The Bulletin of the Institute of Culture. a public meeting was held. T h e Inauguration of office block at Ponnampet Ashrama V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 39 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 . 478 saris and 400 blankets to 200 flood-affected families of Vrindaban Khadar area in Mathura district. (ii) Kankhal centre provided medical relief to 1200 flood-affected patients of 9 nearby villages. On 1 October. 800 mats. reading from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Belur Math and Padmashri Dr. among others.43 Ponnampet Ashrama’s Temple Dedication Anniversary The first Anniversary of the Consecration of its recently-built temple of Sri Ramakrishna at Ramakrishna Sharadashrama.. Taki (100 saris and 50 dhotis). (a) Haryana: Chandigarh centre treated 300 flood-affected patients in Panipat district last month. National Blood Donation Day. The morning programme consisted of special puja. Relief News Flood Relief: Our centres in North India continued relief operations among the flood victims. to the victims of Ganga Katari area in Kanpur district last month. Chief Minister of Tripura. Viveknagar (Tripura) centre organized a workshop on health awareness. 8 kg dal. 10 dhotis. It was addressed by. 1516 shirts and 2146 children’s garments). a youth convention has held at the Ashrama premises. The cardiology clinic at Thiruvananthapuram hospital was inaugurated on 1 October. shown in brackets. inaugurated a 20-bed primary health care unit at Ranchi Sanatorium on 9 October. (ii) Vrindaban centre distributed 1000 kg rice. Assistant Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Governor of Jharkhand. a Harikatha presentation was held. (c) Uttarakhand: (i) Almora centre distributed 5000 blankets to 1674 families in Almora district. It was attended by 850 students and many teachers and invitees. 27 lungis. On the previous day (14 November). Mr M O H Farook. 4 sets of steel utensils (each set containing 2 plates. Jalpaiguri (500 saris). (b) Uttar Pradesh: (i) Kanpur centre distributed 803 saris. A blood donation camp was held on the following day in which 47 persons donated blood.00. 500 kg bleaching powder. Details of the operations are given below. 4 plastic buckets. 800 lungis. General News Srimat Swami Atmasthanandaji. Garbeta (110 kg rice. 2020 kg rice. 200 kg dal. 2. the revered President Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Order. on 11 October. which was inaugurated by Sri Manik Sarkar. 56 students with refractory errors were given free glasses. Nalli Kuppuswamy Chettiar. 157 dhotis. Distress Relief: The following centres distributed various items. 25 vests. 174 saris.000 halogen tablets. Cooch Behar (317 saris. Of these. 374 lungis. Ponnampet (Kodagu. 2 glasses and 3 cooking vessels). to needy people: Belgharia (1573 saris. to the needy: Agartala (435 saris. Karnataka) was celebrated on 15 November 2010. 20 lungis and 102 pairs of socks). Karimganj (355 saris and 65 dhotis). A number of monks and eminent people addressed the gathering. In the post-lunch session. and bhajans. parayana. In the afternoon. homa. 113 dhotis and 470 children’s garments).

Hardback. Otherwise no meaningful discussion would be possible. Strong. publishers need to send us two copies of their latest publication.For review in THE VEDANTA KESARI. for the past few years. indicating the complexity of the study. Consciousness and its relation to the Brain. The topics covered ranged from Neurosciences to Vedantic perspectives. has been organizing every year. scholars from diverse disciplines have used their own individual definitions. with different meanings and definitions. Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. has been dealt with in the fifth session. an interdisciplinary discussion does serve a useful purpose. Pp. The third session was devoted to Vedanta. and about the role of Avidya. under review. J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 40 ~ . unless one becomes aware that Consciousness is a spectrum. The final paper throws up suggestions for an interdisciplinary dialogue about Consciousness.700 029. is the latest in this series. One can come to appreciate the views of others. Kolkata. Rs. as well as the relation of Consciousness with Cognitive Science. with a presentation of basic issues like— ‘What is Consciousness?’ The fourth session presented a viewpoint according to Buddhism. especially on Consciousness. Golpark. and is clear as to which part of the spectrum one is referring to. The get-up of the book is. The research methodology used in investigations of Consciousness. Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture should be thanked for the excellent work they have been doing organising these seminars. The Institute should continue organizing such seminars for the benefit of the scholars and the general public. The point of view of Neurologists is the theme of the sixth session. leading to an understanding of the spectrum of Consciousness.175. BANGALORE RELICS OF THE BUDDHA By John S. Yoga and its relation to the Unconscious are discussed in the last session. in which scholars appear to think on parallel tracks. UNDERSTANDING CONSCIOUSNESS— RECENT ADVANCES Published by Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. The inaugural session was devoted to a comprehensive overview of the existing knowledge. excellent. It has also been publishing the proceedings in the form of books. Nevertheless. whose proceedings are reported in this book. The first session was about the integration of Knowledge and Consciousness. without any indication of convergence. Hence. thus making a total of fifteen papers. ______________________________ NVC SWAMY. 2009. No wonder that the last paper by Prof. 469. except the last one (which had three). Kolkata . a seminar on topics of contemporary interest. had seven academic sessions. It has been studied under various disciplines. Each academic session had two presentations. T h e The second session was about Meditation and Yogic Integration. All discussions about these fifteen papers have been compiled and presented after the texts of all the papers. Mukunda talks of an interdisciplinary dialogue! But. for the benefit of the general public. This has led to a piquant situation. which is needed for a proper understanding of Consciousness. along with an inaugural session and a valedictory session. to reach a common ground may not be so easy. The seminar. The papers thus represent a wide range of opinions about Consciousness. so that a meaningful discussion could take place. as usual. It is evident that serious thinkers on Consciousness would benefit a great deal by a close study of the papers. The present book. The concept of Consciousness has intrigued human beings since time immemorial.

Asoka and the Buddha relics.1000 for one set . The data collected about the relics and the perfect description make the readers wonderstruck. etc. sincere and systematic fashion.000 places throughout his domain and hence they gain significance. relics and eschatology and an originally research oriented conclusion. Delhi . his robe. The T h e author himself acknowledges that these will be preposterous or absurd to some readers. 2009. The syntactic and the semantic approaches with authentic source and authoritative reference reveal the deep erudition. an able ruler and a devout lay Jain devotee. GOPALAKRISHNAN. Jawahar Nagar. but also many more scriptures. whose literal translation would be ‘Biographies of Sixty-three Illustrious Personalities. __________________________ R. Parts -1. comprising as many as 35 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 41 ~ . Right from the introduction the work describes the relics of the previous Buddhas. in the 12th century AD. The Sakhyamuni or the Tathagatha was adored as the God among men since he preached and practiced the truths promulgated by him leading to the attainment of emancipation which is free from an iota of pain without God’s grace and the soul’s involvements as the theistic religions proclaim. the comments of modern scholars. Jawahar Nagar. not only wrote this classic. of the still living Buddhas. UA Bungalow Road. it is more a mythological text rather than the history of the origin and the growth of Jainism. UA Bungalow Road. The legendary and cultic traditions of the South and the Southeast Asia enabled the author to highlight the glory of the relics such as Buddha’s footprints. Hence there is no wonder that his followers not only venerated his whole physical structure as an embodiment of divinity but also revered the various limbs and organs of his body. Rs. the records of inscriptions. The philosophy of Buddhism remarkably centres on the noble truth that the nature of the universe is always in a state of flux and this theory of impermanence forced the Buddhists to deny the existence of a permanent self and an omniscient Being called God. 290. Delhi . 595. 2 and 3. of doctrines.1800. This great epic. of the Bodhisaattvas. mostly associated with his preaching or his community of followers. appropriate acumen and elegant expressions of the subject matter. but others may view them as profound expressions of religious devotion or experience.110 007. Paperback Pp. The bibliography and the index are worthwhile and have pragmatic value. As a religion.. reports of pilgrims. The author of this book under review has endeavoured earnestly and enthusiastically in explicitly elucidating and justifying as well the respectful tributes paid by the devotees of the Buddha to his relics. and his Bodhi tree. Hardback. The best example is the Prince-turned Enlightened Buddha. stories of various traditions. Rs. It is said that the author prayed to the goddess Saraswati and with her blessing. This book is a translation of one of the most important Jain epic Tri-sasti-Shalaka-Purnima-charitra. A cursory glance of the contents shows the architectonic pattern followed by the author who has comprehensively presented the chosen theme in a serious.110 007. The ‘exegetical exploration’ of the author involves myths. The pilgrims from overseas countries had discovered the prevalence of the physical remains of the Buddha. legends. CHENNAI THE JAIN SAGA By Kalikal Sarvagna Acharya Hemchandrasuriswarji Maharaj.’ Although the cover mentions it as the ‘Brief History of Jainism’. It was firmly believed that King Asoka had enshrined the relics of the Buddha in 94. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited. One may wonder as to how a faith without a soul and God could attain global popularity and everlasting prosperity.000 stanzas was written by the author at the request of King Kumarpal. 41. which helped the author to narrate resourceful information about the relics. On the whole this book will be a treasure trove to the inspiring followers of the Buddha and a resourceful and fascinating piece of information to the general reader.45 Published by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited. 2007. his bowl. it insists that even an ordinary human being can be elevated to the heights of perfection through arduous discipline and assiduous practices. comprising 34. 41. stories. pp. his personal belongings.

one is amazed at the inexhaustible knowledge of the author. giving the English names of the Indian plants.. the former is born as Indra and latter as his vehicle airavata in one such story. two cultures flourished almost simultaneously. Part 2 deals with the eleventh to twenty-first Tirthankaras.46 million verses. austerity. Sita. etc. The book abounds in much needed explanatory footnotes. forms the main bulk of this part. The case most eloquent in this respect is that of the only lady Tirthankara. The epic excels in literary classical descriptions. In India. which are in fact three separate volumes of more than five hundred pages each. are also included. the killings of Kansa. from pre-historic times. The editor has also given a table of meanings of certain ‘hard words’. the reader finds it difficult to understand the technicalities of Jainism. and naturally. except a few concepts. While this division may appear sensible. However. Dharma is a shield in danger from enemies. making certain excuses and thus fasted even on the day of breaking fast. Acharya Hemchandra Suriswar has been eulogized as ‘Kalikala-Sarvagna’. the Vedic or the T h e Indus Valley culture. of alternate day fasts. The present Part I contains the life of first ten tirthankaras. While describing the life of Neminath. Jarasandha. Parashurama. Nonetheless. as one goes through the pages of the book. she was a male Jain ascetic who with six of his friends had an agreement that they will all do equal penance. As we read the lives of Jain prophets side by side with the life of Hindu prophets like Rama and Krishna. Krishna. Take for example. Naturally. he was born as a woman in the next incarnation. The Hindu heroes are shown inferior to the Jain prophets and even as lay followers of Jainism. Both have characteristics distinct from each other. Ravana. since they are equally accepted in Hinduism as well as Jainism. It seems the first English edition was in six volumes. Because of the penance mixed with deceit. in spite of much pains taken by the editor in explaining ‘hard words’.’ Indeed. Bhagiratha. vocal and mental activity. from a desire for superior results. total giving up of all physical. Jainism is pre-eminently a monastically oriented religion laying great stress on mendicancy. etc. For. these stories are very much different from the Hindu versions. This. Balarama. i. Yet. the original division into ten books or parvas has been given up. Nala-Damayanti. pleases like a friend. and the other the Shramana or Magadhan culture. Part 3 deals with the remaining three Tirthankaras. each being the life of one Tirthankara. Instead. named Malli. the author has taken up the story of Krishna and the Bhagavatam. protects like a father. The life of Mahavirswami. The present English translation is in three parts. ‘omniscient sage of the present Iron Age. Dharma nourishes like a mother. The previous incarnations of all the Jain prophets and other heroes have been described and it has been shown due to which specific karma they took another incarnation. Dharma is heat for J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 42 ~ . and much space is allotted to the Jain Ramayana.. the previous male incarnation of Malli. marked by italics in the text. Malli. Mahabala. Dharma shows the road for crossing the wilderness of samsara. like Rama-Lakshman. Of these. restraint and finally. fasting. Dharma bestows heaven and emancipation. deceived his friends. mendicancy. Dharma imparts very fine qualities like a guru. the noble values like total dedication of Sita and Damayanti to their husbands (pativratya) as well as dharma as practised by Rama and other Hindu heroes are accepted and extolled. renunciation. Damayanti is described as a devout Jain lay woman. However. all through Jainism is shown to be superior to other faiths. This is highlighted over and over again in the book through stories. which come up with great force: austerity. this passage: Dharma is the highest happiness. and is loving like a kinsman. In her earlier birth. the story of Rama and Sita.e. the author has done by including and re-narrating the stories of such Hindu heroes. the distinction is clearly visible. Dharma is a mansion of bliss. Bana. In the present translation. standing or sitting still in a specific posture (vyutsarga). Ahimsa or non-violence and the theory of Karma which forms the back bone of Jain philosophy. However. Dharma confers a distinguished position like a master. the whole book is now divided into twenty four chapters. it would have been better if a glossary of Jain technical terms were given. etc. etc. greater space has been allotted to the life of Risabhaswami and Ajitanath. it has made some chapters very brief. totaling 1800 pages. A Jain lay devotee is considered even superior to a Vaishnava ascetic and after death. An important task which the author had to accomplish was to integrate the Jain society with the much larger Hindu society—both of which existed together.

The cakra returned to the cakravartin’s hand again. Neninath. like a pupil to his guru. human and even by gods who tortured him to test his fortitude and to force him to give up his resolve to remain standing in a steady posture are described in details. if one wants to learn about the way in which that religion manifests in practice in society and individual J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 43 ~ . austerity (shila). rather than attempting to give their meaning. for. being. from Dharma a god. (Part I. What is not accomplished by Dharma? Dharma is so called from supporting creatures who have fallen into a bad condition of existence. all this must be considered later: first I must know the extent of its power. from Dharma a Rama. Rishabhswami by the name Marichi. the 23rd and 24th Tirthankaras. etc. the Tirthankaras. we enter from the realm of mythology into the period of history. its guardians. The Cakravartin’s cakra has no effect on even an ordinary man belonging to the same family.47 the destruction of cold. many of Mahavirswami’s innumerable previous incarnations are described in details. From Dharma one attains Ahamindraship in the Graveyaka and Anuttara heavens. and especially such a man with the very best body. While one or more past incarnations of all the Tirthankaras have been described in short. the cakra approached and made the pradaksina to him. like a bird to its resting-place. Jainism. expressing sublime sentiments. Mahavirswami’s twelve years of austerity. especially the acharyas of the future are mentioned in the form of Mahavir’s prophecies. all three are presented. describing its principles and practices. has. Philosophy is like the kernel while the other two are like the outer husk. (Bahubali thought) ‘Shall I break it quickly with the staff. mythology and philosophy. One almost gets the feeling that one is reading the original Sanskrit. From Dharma a creature could become a king. the hardships and attacks by sub-human creatures. The original is replete with synonyms. Look at this page from one of the most important stories of conflict between Bharata chakravartin and his younger brother Bahubali: Lord of Bharata hurled the chakra at Bahubali. No one could do such a superlative translation as has been done by Miss Helen without profound knowledge of both Sanskrit and English. like a horse to its stable. It is fourfold with the divisions of offering (dana).’ (Part I page 202) According to Swami Vivekananda. a revolt against the predominantly ritualistic Hinduism. one also develops deep reverence for the Arhat and the message he has to convey through his life. from Dharma a cakrin. the 22nd. nonetheless. penance (tapas). After reading this translation one gets a strong impetus to read the original Sanskrit. Pp 9-10) It also abounds in illustrations and metaphors. are historical while the rest of the earlier prophets are mythological. While mythology forms the warp. with my staff like grain with a grindstone? Still.. in the form of numerous sermons which are scattered all through. according to scholars these last two. each religion has three aspects: rituals. and indeed only those who know both the languages well. Dharma knows the weak points of sins. from Dharma an ardhacakrin. the best known among T h e them being the bath ritual of the new born prophet. From Dharma one attains Arhatship. can appreciate the excellence of the translation. Besides. like an old dish? Or shall I strike it gently and then throw it back like a ball? Or shall I throw it up in the sky as easily as a knife? Or shall I put it in the ground like an infant’s navel-cord? Or shall I catch it in my hand like a young sparrow flying up? Or shall I merely repel it to a distance immediately like a criminal unworthy of slaughter? Or shall I speedily crush the thousand Yaksas. the king of gods. philosophy is inter-woven into it like woof.’ While the king of Taksaasila was making these reflections. especially the various names and epithets of gods. throwing it with all his strength. and state of mind (bhava). Better is the study of the original scriptures. The history of the post-Mahavir period is also mentioned in short. each surpassing the other. which protects the philosophy. With the biography of Parswanath and Mahavir. in a way. like Indra. It is interesting to note that in one of his previous births Mahavirswami was one of the sons of the first Tirthankara. In The Jain Saga. and from Dharma an Indra. and also perhaps. there are scores of enthralling stuties or hymns of praise. and the translator has rightly kept them as such. One can learn about an alien religion through articles. As one shudders to read the description of these inhuman attacks described in a forceful and poetic language by the scholarly author. Still better is the study of the mythological texts. chiefly by Indra. certain rituals.

leading finally to the ultimate goal of illumination—moksha. Nariana Industrial Area Phase –I. The Jain Saga is a piece of finest poetic literature. it is a ‘Must-Read’ for all. ‘The Wisdom of Having no Views’. THIRUVALLA V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 44 ~ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 .RAMANARAYANAN. Each Sutta is a discourse of the Buddha in answer to a question by an interlocutor. These drawbacks. but Mara is more conciliatory than menacing. It is better to live your life. Mara retreats with words of praise for his victor.350 This is a translation into modern English of the last 47suttas of Sutta Nipata.’ By living a holy life/And by feeding the sacrificial fire/You will acquire much merit. New Delhi -110 028. As has been said by the Editor. Kokaliya.C. The translation is interspersed with the translator’s explanations. Buddhist scriptures known as the Tripitaka or the Pali Canon. a Jain will become a better Jain: his faith and understanding will deepen and he will be inspired to undertake rigorous discipline.’ (p86) The story of the Buddha we encounter on these pages is different from the Buddha of later romanticized works. contains innumerable printing mistakes. the reader does not like to leave it even though one might at places skip over certain purely descriptive portions.48 adherents./But by striving what will you achieve?’ ‘The path of striving is difficult to tread. The Sutta Nipata is a division of the oldest. whose biographies are contained herein. demolishes his arguments and makes known his great determination. without any metaphysical obscurities. A lay reader will find it pleasant reading and a valuable guide in his spiritual life. the book affords glimpses into the spiritual core of Buddhism and its founder’s life. ‘There is Only One Truth’. _______________ SWAMI BRAHMESHANANDA./ Venerable One . Rs.240+xviii. There are profound sermons like ‘Dropping All Philosophical Views’.16-17). which gives a touch of the drama to it. of insights and instructions and an illustrator of intricacies of human nature. In short./ It is difficult to do and difficult to succeed’. which embody the pristine philosophy of the great master. as he goes through these pages. and human destiny. The allegory of a military confrontation is implicit in the imagery used. together with a table of 63 illustrious personalities. I will crush it/With wisdom/As with a stone/One would smash an unfired earthen pot. For example ‘The Hidden Danger in Slander’ is about a monk. proof-reading and editorial attention. however. ‘Within the mouth of man/ is born an axe at birth/ with which the fool /Destroys himself/By giving expression/to ill-spoken words. Pp. do not hinder the flow of reading and once picked up. persisted even after proof-reading. etc. This is most conspicuous in the third Sutta which describes Gotama’s conquest of Mara. which neither gods nor men can crush to death. The simplicity and directness of language bring out the flavor of the Master’s original speech. paperback. A non-Jain. ______________________M. CHANDIGARH SERENITY HERE AND NOW By Susunaga Weeraperuma Published by New Age Books. On reading this book. of science and wisdom. who became jealous of his fellow monks for the respect people showed them and started spreading tales about them. 2009. Every sermon is placed in the context of a narrative. ‘This army of yours. However. Sri Weera Peruma is a practicing Buddhist brought up in the Theravada T h e tradition of Sri Lanka. Such an invaluable book deserves greater printing. Their inclusion into the book would have increased the charm of the book many fold. Someone. though printed in a readable font on Bible paper. not interested in religion can yet read this Saga and enjoy hundreds of interesting stories. ‘Whereas a thousand parts of you/Are owned by death./ By living you can do meritorious deeds./ Only one part of you is owned by life. will imbibe at least some of the Jain values.’ (Pp. The Buddha chides the Evil One as friend of the lazy and slothful.. The Jain Saga. He sounds more like the worldly wise man than a ferocious antagonist. which have unfortunately. only few of these pictures are printed on the covers of the volumes as miniatures and the beautiful table is altogether missing. which are clear as crystal. It may also serve as a corrective to the popular perception of this great religion as merely a social reform movement aimed at correcting the many evils engendered by the Vedic religion. The brochure released to introduce the book contains a number of very beautiful pictures of Jain paintings. A-44.

All donations are exempt from Income tax under section 80G. the first President of the Ramakrishna Order. India 743 428 Ph: 03217 . distress relief. It became a blessed hamlet with the birth of Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj (1863-1922). child welfare. non-formal schools. Belur Math. and other need-based services are provided in the remote Sunderbans area. Cheque or Demand Draft favouring Ramakrishna Mission. and Staff Quarters Rs.249 980 . To upgrade the present infrastructure we request you for liberal financial help to strengthen the corpus fund.5 lakhs Yours in the Service of Lord Swami Vitaragananda Secretary Ramakrishna Mission Sikra-Kulingram. Since its very inception. For donations of more than Rupees one lakh. Auditorium-cum-Library. Sikra Kulingram is a small village in West Bengal about 60 km from Kolkata. 24 Parganas (N) West Bengal. West Bengal. medical services.76.100 lakhs General Fund for Ashrama Rs. Monks’ quarters. 7 lakhs Corpus Fund for Rural Development Services Rs. the centre has been carrying on various welfare service schemes for the upliftment of the poor and backward classes including SC/ST/OBC and other minority communities living in nearby villages. Dining Hall. Sikra may be sent to the above mentioned address. Construction of Office. Services like free coaching. A few monks and the local devotees are carrying out these services in a severely resource constrained setup. Sikra Kulingram is a branch centre of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. Computer Training Centre.5 lakhs Furniture and office accessories Rs. suitable marble slabs shall be put up in relevant places. Free Coaching centre.T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 49 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 JOIN US IN SERVING GOD IN MAN Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. Kitchen.5 lakhs Tube Well pumping Unit Rs.7.

glossary.+ Postage: Rs. Mylapore. Maharaj quietly carried the mantle of guiding the fledgling Ramakrishna Order in its first 21 years and also provided spiritual guidance to numerous spiritual aspirants. monastic and lay. Pages 588 + xii Price: Rs.sriramakrishnamath. Hardbound. who came in touch with him.per copy No request for VPP entertained Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math. Chennai . 200/. The book has six appendices. Also known as Raja Maharaj or simply ‘Maharaj’.org . This book is a compilation of their reminiscences and personal accounts culled from various sources. Swami Brahmananda was the first President of the Ramakrishna Order.600 004 For Online orders: www. A man of deep meditative temperament and down-to-earth wisdom and humour.T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 50 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 Swami Brahmananda (1863-1922) was a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna who regarded him as his spiritual son. introductory notes about the contributors and is illustrated with around 100 photographs.35/.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 51 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 .

Chennai – 600 004. has been effectively disseminating Indian Ethos and Values. with search facility indexed author-wise. Chennai and send to: The Manager.60/. title-wise. monks and practitioners of Vedanta is now available in one DVD.500/charges: Rs.chennaimath. Email: mail@chennaimath. savants and admirers. Sri Ramakrishna Math. A veritable encyclopedia of Vedanta is now available to you at the click of a button! Rs.500/-Packing and Posting Price: Rs.(within India) For ordering your copy. The entire collection of archival articles (1914-2009) contributed by scholars and thinkers.T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 52 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 The containing DVD containing the Archives Archives of Now available! The Vedanta Kesari. with uninterrupted publication for the last 96 years. plus other features. year-wise and by keywords. a spiritual and cultural monthly of the Ramakrishna Order since 1914. The DVD has 14300 articles running into 48000 pages by 2400 authors.org/estore/96-years-of-the-vedanta-kesari-a-dvd-collection Vedanta The Vedanta Kesari . Mylapore. draw your DD in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Math.org You can also order online at: www.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 53 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 .

Donations towards other activities of the Ashrama.in The Ashrama has been running a free hostel for the poor.+ Postage: Rs.O. unselfishness and purity of heart. he wanted men with a well-developed personality. We appeal to the generous public and well wishers to donate liberally for: 1) Hostel Corpus Fund and/or 2) Hostel Renovation Fund. 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. A/C No.1 lakh and above may be created in memory of the loved ones. under 80G. actively involved in teaching and implementing different aspects of Personality Development. 338602010005806 while the Indians can send to the I. Cheques/Bank Drafts/M. Swami Vivekananda said. Swami Amaleshananda Adhyaksha . Contains 30 thought-provoking articles by monks and lay writers.25/. Belur Math) P. underprivileged and orphan children from classes V to X since 1936. Pages 352 + vii Price: Rs. which are exempt 100% from Income Tax under 35AC. methods and ways of Personality Development.338602010009164 at Union Bank of India.: Ramakrishna Math & Mission. Ph: 0484-2462345. In other words.per copy No request for VPP entertained Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math. Mylapore.Daily Puja. Donors from foreign countries can send their contributions online to our F. Kalady (IFSC Code: UBIN0533866). (General Fund) are exempt from I. Celebrations.T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 54 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 New Release Personality development is the key to all progress and happiness. providing them with food. How to Shape the Personality describes various aspects. full of all noble virtues such as sincerity. uniform.C. men these are wanted. An Endowment of Rs. accommodation and study materials free of cost.C. Kalady and sent to the above address. Chennai . Maintenance etc. ‘Men. A/C No. Charitable Dispensaries. 70/.600 004 SRI RAMAKRISHNA ADVAITA ASHRAMA (Hqs. E-mai1:srkaadv@dataone. Kalady. everything else will be ready’.O.T. Ernakulam-683574. may be drawn in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Advaita Ashrama. Paperback.

Navajeevan Free Eye Hospital 3. Sponsor one poor aged person for one year 5. Navajeevan Free Home for Aged 4. TIRUPATI . Navajeevan Sharanagati Vridhashram 6. 7000/– Rs. Vidyadan—Educational aid for one Child – Rs. ‘We can attain salvation through social work’ – Swami Vivekananda K.] E-mail: navajeevan@sancharnet. 50000/– Rs. Tirupati are eligible for Tax Relief U/S 80G of Income Tax Act. Navajeevan Harijan Sewa Ashram 5. Sponsor one blind child or Orphan child for one year 4. 5000/– Rs. Navajeevan School & Hostel for Blind Children 2.2009 1. 2000/- Donor devotees can send their contributions by cheque/DD/MO to the above address on the occasion of birthday. 5000/– Rs.T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 55 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 NAVAJEEVAN BLIND RELIEF CENTRE (FREE HOME FOR THE BLIND.org An Appeal 31 Years of Service to Humanity 1979 . Sponsor one day Annadan to Blind Children and aged 2. Ph : 0877-2239992. 6000/– Rs.in Website: www. Navajeevan Eye Care Centres – Tirupati & Orissa – Tirupati – Tirupati & Rishikesh – Kothapeta – Tirupati – Parlaki Mudi [Orissa] Berhampur [Orissa] Serango [Orissa] A Humble Request for Donation 1.517503. wedding day or any other special occasion and receive prasadam of Lord Balaji Venkateswara of Tirupati as blessings. Contributions to NAVAJEEVAN BLIND RELIEF CENTRE. Sponsor one free eye camp at Rural/Tribal area 6. Navajeevan Rural Medical Centres 8. Navajeevan Orphanage 7. ORPHAN AND AGED) TIRUCHANOOR. 9908537528 [Mob. Sponsor 5 IOL Cataract Eye Operations 3. Sridhar Acharya Founder/ President .navajeevan.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 56 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 1 .

.

400 021 Tel: 91 22 6632 5141 (11 Lines) Fax: 91 22 6632 4979 / 6632 4421 / 2282 0577 E-mail: lavino@vsnl. UK .1084 / 57. Mittal Chambers. Chennai. Tarapur Industrial Area Taps Post. Boisar . and everything that is excellent will come. goodness will come.The Vedanta Kesari Regd. when this sleeping soul is roused to selfconscious activity. teach everyone his/her real nature. —Swami Vivekananda LAVINO-KAPUR COTTONS PRIVATE LIMITED 100% Export Oriented Unit * Registered Export House Approved BVQI/UKAS . TN / CH (C) / 190 / 09-11 Licenced to Post WPP No. MIDC. Power will come. Tel: 02525-2722 90/91/92 Subscription (inclusive of postage) Annual : ` 100 10 years: ` 1000 Contact: Sri Ramakrishna Math.401 504 District .absorbent-cotton.Higher Retail Supplier (Manufacturers of Absorbent Cotton & Health Care Products) REGD. Mumbai . OFFICE: 121-122. glory will come. Nariman Point. Postal Registered No.org .com Website: www.ISO 9001:2000 SGS.chennaimath. purity will come. with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under No.Thane. 259 / 09-11 Date of publication: 26th of every month Teach yourselves.com TARAPUR PLANT: H-1. Website: www. call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful