KINDNESS GALORE

Best portions of a good person’s life. His little nameless unremembered acts of LOVE and KINDNESS:

When we have a good heart, good life will follow. Being kind and loving, is the essence of a good heart. Most people think that we give, share, help or show kindness for others’ sake. NO. First beneficiary is us since these make us feel good about ourselves, which is the best feeling one can have. Do a random act of kindness on a daily basis without expectation of return and see your happiness graph scaling new heights. As per Robin Sharma “Kindness, quite simply, is the rent we pay for space we occupy on this planet”.

While we keep clamoring for God’s mercy, we should also be kind and merciful to His creations. Your house-maid or servant for example! It is because of their labors and efforts, our life is so comfortable. We prosper because of the hard work put-in by people working for us and share responsibilities in our businesses. Labour who works for the construction of the beautiful house we dream or boy who tends to the punctured wheel of your car in the hot sun, and umpteen other chores done as service, so that you can be comfortable. When you pay a little extra to show your kindness, it will not make any difference to you, but shall make much difference to the receiver.

Whatever we give or share out of our kindness, makes our God much happier with us than many temple visits we undertake to appease Him. With our kind acts, we show that we have been fair with His bounty entrusted to us and have not monopolized it for our selfish ends.

‘KINDNESS’ is a small word but covers great many virtues. Kindness can be anything for someone, the power of a sympathetic touch, smile to a person for whom that might be the only touching moment of the day, a kind word, an attentive listening ear, a few honest appreciative words about a job well accomplished by the team or individual, even a small act of caring, which might cost or mean nothing to you but has the potential to change a life.

Expressions of compassion and kindness reduce fear, induce feel-good factor, boost confidence and has the potential to generate immense inner strength for the doer. It makes his inner being rock-solid. It is the closest thing you can do to make God notice you. Visiting temples, doing all sorts of pujas and rituals to appease the Gods, hardly make any sense when we ignore the poor beggars sitting outside the temple waiting for some alms, so that they can eat something. When you touch a fellow human being with love and kindness, you are doing God’s work. Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar. Be generous in giving and bestow kindnes and see your wealth do wonders to your happiness and wellbeing. Even when your kindness is not acknowledged by the receiver, remember that God smiles in heaven for your kind act and feels proud of you.

A Story by Revered Swami Ranganathanandaji

Kindly read the following story In full as told by Revered Swami Ranganathanandaji, thirteenth President of the Ramakrishna Order. A VERY INTERESTING AND ILLUMINATING ONE.
” I will tell you about a lady, by name Kiliani, who died just two years ago. I was with her in Paris, as well as in a village near Munich. She was the lady-in-charge of the four daughters of
Aristotle Onassis, that famous shipping magnate of Greece. Those four girls grew up. By the time they were 20 or 23, they were all married. Kiliani retired after twenty years of
service with the Onassis family. She has never thought of God or religion. She came to Paris. What was she to do in Paris? One Saturday, she saw in the papers that there was a
Ramakrishna-Vedanta centre in Gretz and there was going to be a talk there. She decided, ‘let me go there.’ All along she had never thought about spiritual things. She went there and
saw the beautiful ashrama. So many people were there. There she purchased the famous book on spiritual life, ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.’ She started reading the book.
It was entirely new to her, but deeply inspiring. She had also read my book, ‘The Message of the Upanishads’, by the time I went there. Then she told me her story. At her request for a
Sanskrit name, I gave her the name, Kalyani, ‘the auspicious one’. And the most important part of her story was, she was so full of joy; she told me, why did I waste my seventy years
without knowing this truth ! This is something wonderful. But then she got a phone call from Mrs. Onassis from London, ‘Ms. Kiliani, what is the matter with you? Are you okay?’
‘Yes, I am perfectly okay, madam.’ ‘No, no, you are in an ashrama. How can you be okay? Unless you are in trouble you cannot be there.’ She kept telling me, ‘How can I make
them understand! What a joy I am having! All these seventy years have been a waste, I find. If I had heard these beautiful ideas earlier, how nice it would have been!’ That is the story
of Kiliani; hundreds of people have the same story—people not knowing that their religion can be a religion of joy.”

Story told by Rev. Ranganathanandaji Maharaj

Online Magazines by Ramakrishna Math Publications

Dear Friends
Here procedure is provided for downloading various important online magazines of Ramakrishna Math publication houses. November 2016 edition of these magazines is provided here for easy access.


Magazine Name: Vivek Jyoti

Language: Hindi
PDF for November 2016 is available link
More PDFs can be downloaded directly from this
link

Magazine Name: Prabhuddha Bharata
Language: English
PDF for November 2016 is available link
More PDFs can be downloaded directly from this
link

Magazine Name: Vedanta Kesari
Language: English
PDF for November 2016 is available link
More PDFs can be downloaded directly from this
link

Magazine Name: Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam
Language: Tamil
PDF for November 2016 is available link
More PDFs can be downloaded directly from this
link

With Regards
Webteam

TAMIL ARTICLES by SWAMI KAMALATMANANDAJI

Dear Friends
Please find below few articles in Tamil by Swami Kamlatmanandaji.
Thanks
Web team

1-all-are-god

2-annai-saradadevi-message

3-srk-kali-darishanam

4-selva-charukku

6-1-24-swami-vivekanandas-matter

selva_charukku_1

selva_charukku_2

srk-kali-darshanam

srk-kali-darshanam2

srk-kali-darshanam3

srk-kali-darshanam4

srk-kali-darshanam5

annai_sarada_devi_message

annai_sarada_devi_message2

annai_sarada_devi_message3

all_are_god_1

all_are_god_2

selva_charukku_3

GOD OF BEGGARS AND GOD AMONG BEGGARS

A temple was being built in Guvahati, Assam,Ramakrishna Math.The devotees formed into groups and went to several villages to collect money. Two or three devotees went to a small village called Palaswadi 30kms from Guwahati. Devotees went there for 8 or 10 days. Once by the time they reached a small hut they were very thirsty ,so they knocked softly.
An old woman, aged more than 80, came out. She wore torn clothes.They conveyed that they wanted water by their action. She went inside and brought water in a broken glass and also in a brass vessel.
Then she spread a mat and fanned with an old hand fan. She was a beggar woman. She had no one of her of her own. Devotees wanted to give her money. She did not take it. She showed a piece of paper. It was an old torn photograph of Sri Ramakrishna. They asked her “Do you recognize him?” She got this photograph on the road. She saw the shining face and kept it in her hut.She used to do puja daily. She did not know about the picture. But she had the firm belief that this was God. Daily she used to do Pranam to the photo and go for begging. Then came back, took bath and did naivedya with her bhikshanna and ate the bhikshanna as Prasad.That was her daily routine.
Palaswadi was on the bank of Brahmaputhra. Devotees asked her how she could stay in that little hut at the time of heavy rain, because floods in Brahmaputra would take away the small hut in no time. She said that no flood has done her any harm because this Bhagavan is protecting her. Devotees were wonderstruck.They came and told the story to the then President Swami Ijyanandaji Maharaj.
Next Sunday Maharaj went to see her. She was not there. After some time she returned. She was excited to see Swamiji. She spoke to him as an old acquaintance. She took his hand in her own hands and called him Baba . “I know you Maharaj but you came to me only today? She never asked where they were living etc. Maharaj wanted to see the photo, so she brought the photograph. Maharaj asked her “Do you know whose photo is this?” She did not want to know, to her He was the Bhagavan who always protected her. Maharaj gave her prasadi sari, sweets, fruits etc. Then he told her about Sri Ramakrishna and the Math. He wanted to take her to the Math for the birthday festival of Guru Maharaj. The devotees were collecting money for the temple. Then she laughed showing her broken teeth. She went into the hut brought a tied small cloth. She gave it to Maharaj. It contained old notes and coins from 15 years of begging. Maharaj could not hold back his tears. When they counted it had Rs 11223. Maharaj took both her hands kept on his chest and wept.

-From Udbodhan

ITS CALLED MINDSET

Its Called Mindset

Even simple acts of greetings matter

Juan worked at a meat distribution factory. One day, when he finished with his work schedule, he went into the meat cold room to inspect something, but in a moment of bad luck, the door closed and he was locked inside with no help in sight.

Although he screamed and knocked with all his might, his cries went unheard as no one could hear him. Most of the workers had already gone, and outside the cold room it’s impossible to hear what was going on inside.

Five hours later, whilst Juan was on the verge of death, the security guard of the factory, eventually opened the door and saved Juan’s life.

Juan then asked the security guard how he got to open the door, as it wasn’t part of his work routine, and he explained thus:”I’ve been working in this factory for 35 years, hundreds of workers come in and out every day, but you’re one of the few who greets me in the morning and says goodbye to me every night when leaving after working hours. Many treat me as if I am invisible.

Today, like every other day, you greeted me in your simple manner ‘ Hello ‘ at the entrance when resuming for work. But curiously,after working hours today, I observed I’ve not heard your ‘ bye! see you tomorrow”. Hence I decided to check around the factory. I look forward to your ‘ Hi ‘ and ‘ bye ‘ every day. To you, I am someone. By not hearing your farewell, I knew something had happened.

Then I sought and found you!’

Lesson to reflect upon:
Be humble, love and respect those around you. As life is too short! Try to have an impact on people in ways we can’t even imagine, especially the people that cross our path every day. Someone seemingly so insignificant and irrelevant today could be the only help you can get tomorrow.

தலைவர்களைத் தேசத்திற்குத் தந்த குரு

தலைவர்களைத் தேசத்திற்குத் தந்த குரு

வியாபார நோக்கத்திற்காக மேலை நாடுகள் அம்மா தினம், அப்பா தினம், காதலர் தினம், காதைச் சொறிபவர் தினம், ஜலதோஷம் வந்த தினம் என்று தினங்களை அடையாளம் காட்டி், அந்த நாட்களைப் பணத்தைக் கொட்டிக் கொண்டாட நம்மை மறைமுகமாக வலியுறுத்திவருகிறார்கள். அவை நம் கல்லாப்பெட்டிகளைக் காலியாக்கும் நாட்களாகவே இருக்கின்றன.
நம் மரபிலும் இதே போல நாட்களை அடையாளம் கண்டிருக்கின்றனர். நம் முன்னோர்கள் அவர்களின் உய்வுக்குக் காரணமானவர்களுக்கு நன்றி தெரிவிக்கவும், வழிபட்டு வலிமையும் பெற்று, வரப்போகும் சந்ததிக்கு இவ்வளமையான மரபை எடுத்துச் செல்ல முன்னிறுத்திய முக்கியமான நாட்கள் பல. அவை நம் கர்ம வினைப் பெட்டிகளைக் காலியாக்கும் நாட்களாகவே இருக்கின்றன.
இன்று குரு பூர்ணிமா.
ஹிந்துக்கள் தங்களுடைய குருமார்களைக் கொண்டாடி வணங்கும் நாள். நான்கு வேதங்களைத் தொகுத்தவரும், மகாபாரதத்தை இயற்றியவரும், பதினெண் புராணங்களை ஆக்கியவராகக் கருதப் படுபவரும் ஆன உலக குரு வியாச முனிவரின் பிறந்த நாளாகவும் சம்பிரதாயமாக இந்நாள் அறியப் படுகிறது. உலகம் முழுதும் இதுவரை தோன்றியுள்ள குருமார்களைப் போற்றும் வண்ணம் இக் கட்டுரையை இங்கு சமர்ப்பிக்கிறேன்.
ரங்கநாதானந்தரின் காலடியில்
 
ஆங்கில மூலம்: எல். கே. அத்வானி (நன்றி: lkadvani.in )
மொழியாக்கம்: பனித்துளி
இந்தியாவின் பண்டைய மற்றும் நவீன ஆன்மீக குருக்களிடம் இருந்து பலவற்றை அரசியல்வாதிகளும் ஏனைய துறைகளைச் சேர்ந்தவர்களும் கற்றுக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்.
எல்லைகளற்ற துறவி
the_monk_1சில நாட்களுக்கு முன்பு, ஒரு புதிய புத்தகம் எனது மேஜைக்கு வந்தது. The Monk Without Frontiers – Reminiscences of Swami Ranganathananda (எல்லைகளற்ற துறவி – ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானதர் பற்றிய நினைவலைகள்). இது ராமகிருஷ்ண இயக்கத்தின் சமீப வெளியீடு. ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர் அவதரித்து நூறாண்டுகள் (2008) ஆகிவிட்டதை நினைவுகூறும் பொருட்டு வெளியிடப்பட்டுள்ளது
ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர் குறித்து என்னுடைய சுயசரிதையில் (My Country My Life, Rupa & Co வெளியீடு) இங்கனம் சொல்லியிருக்கிறேன்:
“…நம்முடைய வாழ்நாளில் இருப்பதிலேயே பிரகாசமான ஆன்மீகப் பொலிவை இந்திய சமூகத்தின்மீது ஒளிர்ந்த விளக்கு”.
கராச்சியில் நான் கழித்த முதல் இருபது வருடங்களில் (1927 – 47) இந்த மகானுடனான என்னுடைய அனுபவங்களைப் பற்றி என்னுடைய சுயசரிதையில் இருந்த சில தகவல்கள், இந்தப் புத்தகத்திலும் இருப்பதைக் காணும்போது மகிழ்ச்சி ஏற்படுகிறது. புது தில்லியில், 15 மே 2005ல் ராமகிருஷ்ண இயக்கத்தில் நான் பேசிய பேச்சின் சிறுபகுதியும் இந்த புத்தகத்தில் இருக்கிறது. ஸ்வாமிஜி உடலை நீத்த 26 ஏப்ரல் 2005 அன்று அவருக்கு இறுதி மரியாதை தெரிவிக்க பிரதமர் மன்மோகன் சிங் மற்றும் முன்னாள் பிரதமர் ஐ. கே. குஜ்ரால் ஆகியோரும் வந்திருந்தனர்.
அந்த புத்தகத்தில் என்னுடைய அந்த சில அனுபவங்களைக் கண்டவுடன், அந்த அனுபவங்களை என்னுடைய இந்த வலைமனையில் உங்களோடு பகிர்ந்துகொள்ள எண்ணினேன். உங்களுடைய கருத்துக்களை எனக்குக் கண்டிப்பாக அனுப்புங்கள்.
——————
கராச்சியில் என் கடைசி மூன்று வருடங்களில் என் வாழ்க்கையையே மாற்றும் மற்றும் ஒரு ஆற்றலுக்கு ஆட்பட்டேன். ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தரின் பகவத் கீதை உபன்னியாசத்தைக் கேட்க ஒவ்வொரு ஞாயிறு மாலையும் ராமகிருஷ்ண ஆசிரமத்திற்குச் செல்ல ஆரம்பித்தேன். மகாபாரதத்தில், வீரனான அர்ஜுனனோடு குருட்சேத்திரப் போர்க்களத்தில் கிருஷ்ணன் மேற்கொண்ட மனதை மயக்கும் தத்துவ உரையாடல்களைத் தெளிவாகவும், நேரடியாகவும் அத்தோடு ஆழமான பாங்கிலும் தெள்ளென அவர் விளக்கியது, ஸ்வாமிஜியின் கம்பீரமான ஆளுமையைப் போலவே என்னை வசீகரித்தது.
அப்போது ஸ்வாமிஜி, கராச்சி ராமகிருஷ்ண இயக்கத்தின் தலைவராக ராமகிருஷ்ண பரமஹம்ஸர் மற்றும் அவரது சீடரான விவேகானந்தரின் போதனைகளை ஆறு வருடங்களாகப் பிரச்சாரம் செய்துவந்தார். எங்கோ தொலைதூரத்தில் இருந்த பர்மாவில் பல்லாண்டுகள் சேவை செய்தபின் கராச்சிக்கு அவர் வந்தார். இத்தனைக்கும் அவருடைய ஆரம்பமோ கேரளாவிலிருந்து ! ஆன்மீக மற்றும் மானுட சேவையாலான பாதையை மிக இளைய வயதிலேயே தேர்ந்தெடுத்த ஸ்வாமிஜி, பந்தாக்களில்லாத எளிமையான, இனிய மனிதர். வெகுவிரைவிலேயே அவர் என்மேல் அலாதியான அன்பைக் காட்டினார். சேவைநோக்கமும், அர்ப்பணிப்பும், அத்தோடு ஞான கோபுரமாகவும் இருந்த அந்த ஆளுமை என்னை ஆட்டிப்படைக்கும் கவர்ச்சியாகத் திகழ்ந்தது.
“இந்தக் குணங்களை நானும் வளர்க்க வேண்டும்” எனக்கு நானே சொல்லிக்கொண்டேன்.

கராச்சி ராமகிருஷ்ண இயக்கம்:
 
advani_and_swamijiஆரம்பத்தில் இந்த கீதை உபன்னியாசத்திற்கு வந்த பார்வையாளர்களின் எண்ணிக்கை மிகச் சிறியது – ஐம்பதிலிருந்து நூறுவரை இருப்பார்கள். ஆனால், இந்த எண்ணிக்கை வாரா வாரம் அதிகரித்துக்கொண்டே போய் ஆயிரத்தை எட்டியது ! ஆசிரமமானது முஸ்லீம்கள் அதிகம் வாழும் பகுதியில் இருந்ததால், சில முஸ்லீம்களும் உபன்னியாசத்தைக் கேட்க வர ஆரம்பித்தனர். வந்தவர்களில் கிறுத்துவர்களும், கராச்சியின் முன்னாள் மேயராக இருந்த நஸர்வஞ்சி மேத்தா போன்ற பார்சிகளும் இருந்தனர். ஆசிரமமானது தன்னார்வத்தோடு சமூக சேவை செய்பவர்களினாலான தேன்கூடாக மாறியது, அதில் நானும் என் பங்கைச் செய்தேன்.
ஆங்கிலேயர்களுடைய போர்க்கால கொள்கையினால், 1943ம் ஆண்டு வங்காளத்தில் ஏற்பட்ட பஞ்சம் நினைவுக்கு வருகிறது. உணவு உள்ளிட்ட நிவாரண உதவிகளைத் திரட்டி பஞ்சத்தால் பீடிக்கப்பட்ட மக்களுக்குத் தருவதற்காக ஸ்வாமிஜி ஒரு வேண்டுகோள் விடுத்திருந்தார். மக்களின் தயாள உணர்வை அந்த வேண்டுகோள் தூண்டியதால், உடனடியாக ஐந்து லட்ச ரூபாய்கள் திரட்டப்பட்டன. அந்த மூலதனத்தைக் கொண்டு அரிசி வாங்கிய ஸ்வாமிஜி, ஸ்ரீலங்காவில் இருந்து வங்காளத்திற்குச் செல்லவிருந்த ஒரு நீராவிப்படகின் மூலம் அந்த அரிசியை ஏற்றுமதி செய்ய சிந்து மாகாண அரசின் அனுமதியைக் கோரினார்.
ஒரு அதிகாரி அவரிடம் சொன்னார், “நீங்கள் காத்திருக்க வேண்டும். ஏனெனில், இதே காரணத்திற்காக முஸ்லீம் லீக்கும் அனுமதி கோரியுள்ளது. இந்த விஷயத்திற்காக அரசு அனுமதித்துள்ள கோட்டாவில், முஸ்லீம் லீக் பயன்படுத்தியது போக மீதி இருப்பதைத்தான் நாங்கள் தரமுடியும்”. சில வாரங்களில், அதே அதிகாரி ஸ்வாமிஜியிடம் சொன்னார், “முஸ்லீம் லீக் 60 டன் மட்டுமே அனுப்பியுள்ளது. கோட்டாவில் எஞ்சியிருப்பது முழுக்க இப்போது உங்களுடைய பங்குதான்”. ராமகிருஷ்ண ஆசிரமம் அனுப்பிய அரிசியின் அளவு 1240 டன்கள் !
மேன்மைமிக்க பல பெரியோர்களை ஸ்வாமிஜி ஆசிரமத்திற்கு அழைப்பது வழக்கம். அழைப்பை ஏற்று டாக்டர் ராதாகிருஷ்ணன் மடத்திற்கு தந்த வருகை மறக்க முடியாத நிகழ்வாக என் நினைவிற்கு வருகிறது. காசியில் உள்ள ஹிந்து பல்கலைக்கழகத்தின் துணைவேந்தராக இருந்த அவர் அக்டோபர் 1945ல் மடத்திற்கு விஜயம் செய்தார். அவர் இரண்டு பிரசங்கங்களைச் செய்தார் – ஆசிரமத்தில் ஒன்று, டி.ஜெ. ஸிந்த் கல்லூரியில் ஒன்று. இரண்டு பிரசங்கங்களும் மிகப் பெரிய கூட்டத்தை வரவழைத்தன. அப்போது வாரணாசி ஹிந்து பல்கலைக்கழகத்திற்குக் கொஞ்சம் நன்கொடைகளைப் பெற்றுத்தர வேண்டும் என ராதாகிருஷ்ணன் ஸ்வாமிஜியிடம் வேண்டினார். கராச்சி வாழ் மக்கள் ரூபாய் 50, 000/- மதிப்புள்ள பணமுடிப்பைத் தந்தனர். அந்த அளவு பணம் கிடைப்பது அந்தக் காலத்தில் மிகவும் பொருள்வாய்ந்த நிகழ்ச்சி.
[டாக்டர் சர்வபள்ளி ராதாகிருஷ்ணன் (1885 -1975) இருபதாம் நூற்றாண்டில் உலகப்புகழ் பெற்ற இந்திய தத்துவ மேதையாகவும், கல்வியாளராகவும் திகழ்ந்தவர். இந்தியாவின் முதல் துணை ஜனாதிபதியாகவும் (1952 -62), இரண்டாவது ஜனாதிபதியாகவும் (1962 – 67) விளங்கினார்.]
கராச்சியில் சுவாமிஜின்
 உரைகேட்கும் கூட்டத்தினர்

கராச்சியில் சுவாமிஜியின் உரைகேட்கும் கூட்டத்தினர்
1947ம் ஆண்டு நான் கராச்சியில் இருந்து வெளியேறினேன். ஆனால், இனி ராமகிருஷ்ண இயக்கத்தின் பணிகளைத் தொடர முடியாது என்ற நிலை ஏற்படும்வரை ஸ்வாமிஜி அங்கேயே தொடர்ந்து சேவையாற்றினார். மிகுந்த இதயவேதனையோடு கராச்சி மையத்தை மூடிய ஸ்வாமிஜி ஆகஸ்ட் 1948ம் ஆண்டு கராச்சியில் இருந்து வெளியேறினார். அவரோடு எனக்கிருந்த தொடர்பு, பிப்ரவரி 2005ம் ஆண்டு, தனது 98ம் வயதில் அவர் உடலை உகுத்த நாள்வரை தொடர்ந்தது.
தில்லியில் உள்ள ராமகிருஷ்ண மடத்தின் தலைவராக அவர் 1960களில் இருந்தபோதும், அதன்பின்பு ஹைதராபாத் மடத்தின் தலைவராக அவர் நீண்டகாலம் பணியாற்றியபோதும் அவரை அடிக்கடி சந்திப்பேன். 2003ம் ஆண்டு கொல்கத்தாவில் நடந்த ஒரு கூட்டத்திற்காகச் சென்ற நான், அகில உலக ராமகிருஷ்ண இயக்கத்தின் தலைவராக அப்போது இருந்த அவரை, அந்த இயக்கத்தின் தலைமையகமான பேலூர் மடத்தில் கடைசியாகச் சந்தித்தேன்.
இந்த கடைசி சந்திப்பின்போது கராச்சியில் எங்களுடைய கடைசி நாட்களைக் குறித்தும், அப்போது நடந்த துயரமான நிகழ்ச்சிகளைக் குறித்தும், தேசப்பிரிவினையில் முகம்மது அலி ஜின்னாவின் பங்கு குறித்தும் நாங்கள் பேசிக்கொண்டிருந்தோம். எங்களது அந்த உரையாடலின்போது, 11 ஆகஸ்ட் 1947ல் பாக்கிஸ்தான் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் வரலாற்றுப் புகழ் பெற்ற ஜின்னாவின் பேச்சு குறித்து, முக்கியத்துவம் கொடுத்துப் பேசிய ஸ்வாமிஜி, “செக்யூலரிசம் என்றால் என்ன என்பது குறித்து மிகத் தெளிவான விளக்கத்தை ஜின்னாவின் அந்த உரையில் காணலாம்” என்றார். மே – ஜூன் 1945ல் பாக்கிஸ்தானில் ஜின்னா பற்றி நான் கூறிய கருத்துக்களை உருவாக்குவதில் ஸ்வாமிஜியுடன் நான் நிகழ்த்திய இந்த கடைசி உரையாடல், அடிமனத்தில் இருந்து, பெரிதும் பங்கு வகித்தது.

ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர்:
 
ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர் நம்முடைய வாழ்நாளில் இருப்பதிலேயே பிரகாசமான ஆன்மீகப் பொலிவை இந்திய சமூகத்தின்மீது ஒளிர்ந்த விளக்கு. மேன்மையடைந்த ஆத்மா, ஆன்ம வேட்கையாளரான அவர், சமையல்காரராகவும், பாத்திரம் தேய்ப்பவராகவும் தனது ஆன்மீக வாழ்க்கையை ராமகிருஷ்ண மடத்தில் ஆரம்பித்து, ராமகிருஷ்ண விவேகானந்தர்களின் போதனைகளை இந்தியாவிலும், வெளிநாடுகளிலும் பரப்பிய பூஜிக்கப்பட்ட பிரச்சாரகர்.
தன் சொந்த முக்தியைப் பற்றிப் பேசி வருகிற வழக்கமான ஆன்மீக பிரச்சாரகராக அவர் இருந்ததே இல்லை. ஊக்கமளிக்கும் வகையில் அவர் வடிவமைத்த பொன்மொழி: “இறைசார் வேட்கையை மனிதம்சார் வேள்வியாக மாற்றுதல்”.
உலகம் சந்திக்கிற பல்வேறு வகையான வேதனைகளையும், சவால்களையும் மானுட உறவுகளை ஆத்மீகமாக திசை திருப்புவதனால மட்டுமே சமாளிக்க முடியும் என்பதை உலகத்திற்குச் சொல்வதுதான் அவருடைய வாழ்நாள் முழுவதும் வியாபித்திருந்த நோக்கமாக இருந்தது.
எழுதுவதிலும் பேசுவதிலும் ஸ்வாமிஜி திறன் மிக்கவராயிருந்தார். தொடர்ந்து பயணிப்பவராக இருந்த அவர், இந்தியாவிலும் உலகில் உள்ள மற்ற நகரங்களிலும் ஆயிரக்கணக்கான பிரசங்கங்களைச் செய்துள்ளார். தேசத்தை உருவாக்குவதில் ஆசிரியர்கள், நிர்வாகிகள், அறிவியலாளர்கள் மற்றும் வியாபாரிகளின் பங்கு என்ன என்பது உள்ளிட்ட பல்வேறு தலைப்புகளில் இந்த லௌகீக உலகில் இருந்து முற்றிலும் பற்றற்ற ஆன்மீக தலைவராக இருந்த ஒருவருடைய பிரசங்கங்களும் எழுத்துக்களும் அமைந்திருந்தன. வேறுபட்ட பிண்ணனிகளைச் சேர்ந்த அரசியல் மற்றும் சமூக தலைவர்களோடும் அவர் தொடர்புகொண்டிருந்தார். “மாறிவரும் சமூகத்திற்கான மாறாத மதிப்பீடுகள்” (Eternal Values for a Changing Society) என்ற நான்கு தொகுதிகள்கொண்ட புத்தகம் உலக மதங்களின் போதனைகளுக்கு மரியாதை செய்விக்கிறது.
swamj_ranganathanandaநான்கு தொகுதிகளாக ஸ்வாமிஜி எழுதிய பகவத்கீதையின் சுருக்கமான பதிப்பை சமீபத்தில் கவனிக்க நேர்ந்தது. கீதையின் அழகும் ஆற்றலும் (The Charm and Power of Gita) என்ற தலைப்புக் கொண்ட இந்த புத்தகத்தில், கீதையை சம்பிரதாயமான பார்வையோடு அணுகுவதற்கும், மனிதரை உருவாக்குவதும், தேசத்தைக் கட்டமைப்பதும் (man-making and nation-building) என்று விவேகானந்தர் அறிவித்த பார்வையோடு அணுகுவதற்குமுள்ள வித்தியாசத்தை ஸ்வாமிஜி விளக்குகிறார். “கடந்த காலங்களில் கீதையை மக்கள் ஒரு சமய ஆச்சாரத்திற்காகவோ அல்லது கொஞ்சம் மன நிம்மதி பெறுவதற்காகவோ வாசித்து வந்தனர். இந்த புத்தகம் முழுக்க முழுக்க நடைமுறை உபயோகத்திற்கானது என்பதை நாம் உணர்ந்துகொள்ளவே இல்லை. நாம் மட்டும் புரிந்துகொண்டிருந்தால் ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகளாக தொடர்ந்து நடந்த படையெடுப்புகளோ, நமக்குள் நடக்கும் ஜாதிப் பிரச்சினைகளோ, பிரபுத்துவ கொடூரங்களோ, பிரம்மாண்டமான ஏழ்மையோ ஏற்பட்டிருக்காது. நாம் கீதைக்கு முக்கியத்துவமே தரவில்லை; ஆனால், இப்போது தரவேண்டிய கட்டாயம் நமக்கு ஏற்பட்டிருக்கிறது. மானுட கண்ணியத்தை, சுதந்திரத்தை, சமவாய்ப்பை அடிப்படையாகக் கொண்ட ஒரு வளம்சார்ந்த சமூகத்தை உருவாக்குவதற்கு நமக்கு ஒரு தத்துவம் தேவைப்படுகிறது. இப்படிப்பட்ட ஒரு பார்வையை, இந்த நடைமுறை அணுகுமுறையை கீதைக்கு இந்த நவீன உலகில் முதன்முதலில் அளித்தவர் ஸ்வாமி விவேகானந்தரே.”
செப்டம்பர் 2007 அன்று ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தரின் சரிதத்தை வெளியிடுவதற்காக, கேரளாவில் அவர் அவதரித்த திருச்சூருக்கு சிறிது தொலைவில் உள்ள பரனாட்டுக்கராவிலுள்ள ராமகிருஷ்ண மடத்திற்கு அழைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தேன். அந்த சரிதையில், ஸ்வாமிஜியின் பல்லாண்டு சகாவான டாக்டர் டி.ஐ. ராதாகிருஷ்ணன் ஒரு சுவையான தகவலைப் பதிவு செய்துள்ளார். ஒரு முறை ஸ்வாமிஜி இஸ்லாம் மற்றும் முகம்மது நபியைக் குறித்து கராச்சியில் பேசிக்கொண்டிருந்தபோது, அங்கே வந்த ஒரு மனிதர் கடைசி வரிசையில் போய் உட்கார்ந்துகொண்டார். அவர் முகம்மது அலி ஜின்னா.
கிடைத்த தகவலின்படி, பிரசங்கம் முடிந்தவுடன் மேடைக்கு விரைந்த ஜின்னா, “ஸ்வாமிஜி, இதுவரை நான் என்னை ஒரு உண்மையான முஸ்லீம் என்று எண்ணிக்கொண்டிருந்தேன். உங்களுடைய இந்த பேச்சைக் கேட்டபின்பு, நான் ஒரு முஸ்லீம் இல்லை என்பதைப் புரிந்துகொண்டேன். உங்களது ஆசிகளோடு உண்மையான முஸ்லீமாக முயல்வேன்”. “நாங்கள் மதிக்கும் அந்த கிருத்துவானவர்” (The Christ We Adore) என்ற தலைப்பில் ஸ்வாமிஜி பேசியபோதும் இதே போன்ற அனுபவங்கள் கிறுத்துவர்களோடும் ஏற்பட்டது என்று இதே கட்டுரையின் ஆசிரியர் குறிப்பிடுகிறார்.
சுவாஜியின் இந்த உரையிலிருந்து ஒரு பகுதி : நன்றி – ஜடாயு வலைத்தளம்
“தெய்வ அவதாரங்களில் ஒருவர் என்று இந்துக்கள் கண்டுணர்ந்து போற்றத் தகுந்த பல அம்சங்கள் ஏசு கிறிஸ்துவின் வாழ்விலும், உபதேசங்களிலும் உள்ளன. அவரது வாழ்வு இனிமையும், மென்மையும், துயரமும், சோகமும் இழைந்து ஆன்மீகத்தால் நிரம்பியது. ஆனால், இந்துக்களாகிய நமக்கு அவரது முடிவு என்பது ஒரு சோகம், அவ்வளவு தான். ஆன்மிகம் ததும்பும் அழகுணர்ச்சி எதுவும் அதில் இல்லை. நமது தெய்வ அவதாரங்களான ஸ்ரீராமன், ஸ்ரீகிருஷ்ணன் இவர்களது வாழ்க்கை முடிவுகளும் பெரும் சோகம் ததும்பியதாகவே இருந்தன. ஆனால் அந்த முடிவுகள் மீது நாம் சமயத்தைக் கட்டமைக்கவில்லை. இந்த மரணங்களை இயற்கை நியதியாக ஏற்றுக்கொண்டு அவர்களது வாழ்வின் அற்புதமான தருணங்களின் மீதே நம் சமயம் கட்டப் பட்டிருக்கிறது. ஏசு என்பவர் சிலுவையில் அறையப் படாமலே இருந்தாலும், அவரது வாழ்வும், உபதேசமும் இந்துக்களுக்குப் பிரியமானதாகவே இருக்கும். ஆனால் கிறிஸ்தவ மதத்திற்கும், மேற்குலகிற்கும், இந்த சிலுவையில் அறைதல் என்ற துன்பியல் நிகழ்வு இல்லாமல், “ரத்தம் தோய்ந்த” தியாகம் இல்லாமல், ஏசுவின் வாழ்க்கை சாதாரணமானதாகவும், சக்தியற்றதாகவுமே தோற்றமளிக்கிறது. கிரேக்க துன்பியல் காவியங்களின் மரபில் தோய்ந்த மேற்குலகம் கிறிஸ்தவத்திற்கு இந்தத் தன்மை அளித்தது போலும்! ஆனால் இந்து மனத்திற்கோ வாழ்வு முழுவதும், உலகம் முழுவதுமே பிரபஞ்ச வடிவிலான இறைவனின் தெய்வ லீலை என்பதாகவே தோன்றுகிறது”.
தற்காலத்திற்கான ஆதிசங்கரர்:
 
ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர் கேரளாவில் உள்ள திரிசூரில் 1908ல் அவதரித்தார் என்பதை நான் படித்தபோது, அவர் பிறந்த ஊர் காலடிக்கு மிக அருகில்தானே இருக்கிறது என்பது மனதில் தோன்றியது. ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர், தற்காலத்திற்கான ஆதிசங்கரர் என்றே நான் எண்ணுகிறேன். மாபெரும் துறவியும், ஞானக்கடலுமான ஆதிசங்கரர் பகவத்கீதை, உபநிஷதங்கள், புராணங்கள் போன்ற வைதீக நூல்களுக்கே உரித்தான சிக்கலான தத்துவ தரிசனங்களுக்கு மிகத் தெளிவான விளக்கங்களை அளித்தார். அவருக்குச் சில நூற்றாண்டுகளுக்குப் பின் ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தரும் தனது முன்னோடியின் அசாதாரண பண்புகளோடும், குணங்களோடும் தோன்றினார். எல்லா வகைகளிலும் ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர் ஆதிசங்கரரை ஒத்தவரே.
கராச்சியிலிருந்து, டெல்லி ராமகிருஷ்ண இயக்கத்தின் தலைவராக ஸ்வாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர் வந்து சேர்ந்த போது அவருடைய உபன்னியாசங்களைக் கேட்கச் சென்றிருக்கிறேன். பின் அவர் ஹைதராபாத்திற்கு பணிக்கப்பட்டார். ஆனால், எப்போதெல்லாம் அவர் டெல்லிக்கு வந்தாரோ அப்போதெல்லாம் அவரோடு தொடர்பு கொள்ளும் வாய்ப்புகள் எனக்கிருந்தன. இந்த தேசத்தை உருவாக்க உழைத்த மேன்மையாளர்களான பண்டித ஜவஹர்லால் நேரு, இந்திரா காந்தி, ராஜீவ் காந்தி, வாஜ்பேய்ஜி போன்ற பலர் மனவெழுச்சி பெறுவதற்காகவும், விவேகம் நிறைந்த ஆலோசனைகளுக்காகவும் ஸ்வாமிஜியைச் சந்திப்பதை வாடிக்கையாகக் கொண்டிருந்தது குறிப்பிடத்தக்க தனிச்சிறப்பு. அது அவருடைய மகத்துவத்தையும், உச்சமான ஆளுமையையும் பேசுகிறது.

STOP NOT TILL THE GOAL IS REACHED

When you start to make  positive changes in your life, it is not easy. You want results right away. When you don’t, you easily want to give up. 

I like the story of the Chinese bamboo tree: You take a little seed, plant it, water it, and fertilize it for a whole year, and nothing happens.

The second year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens.

The third year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens. How discouraging this becomes!

The fifth year you continue to water and fertilize the seed and then—take note. Sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and grows NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS!

Life is much akin to the growing process of the Chinese bamboo tree.

It is often discouraging. We seemingly do things right, and nothing happens. But for those who do things right and are not discouraged, things will happen.

It might take years, but if you are persistent enough, you might have “overnight success” that others will see. But in your heart, you know the results came from doing the right things over a long period of time.

The situation you are in right now is the result of the seeds that you planed 5 years ago. Are you getting the results you want? If not, begin today to sow the seeds of what you want 5 years from now.

Remember, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get the results you’ve always gotten.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA ON GOD IS GUIDING

CW, Vol. VII, pp. 454-55

Letter to Adhyapakji dated 2 October 1893

I am now going to be reconciled to my life here. All my life I have been taking every circumstance as coming from Him and calmly adapting myself to it. At first in America I was almost out of my water. I was afraid I would have to give up the accustomed way of being guided by the Lord and cater  for myself–and what a horrid piece of mischief and ingratitude was that. I now clearly see that He who was guiding me on the snow tops of the Himalayas and the burning plains of India is here to help me and guide me. Glory unto Him  in the highest. So I have calmly fallen into my old ways. Somebody or other gives me a shelter and food, somebody or other comes to ask me to speak about Him, and I know He sends them and mine is to obey. And then He is supplying my necessities, and His will be done !

 

“He who rests [in] Me and gives up all other self-assertion and struggles I carry to him whatever he needs” (Gita).

 

So it is in Asia. So in Europe. So in America. So in the deserts of India. So in the rush of business in America. For is He not here also? And if He does not, I only would take for granted that He wants that I should lay aside this three minutes’ body of clay — and hope to lay it down gladly.

 

CW, Vol. IX, p. 26

Letter to Mrs. G.W. Hale dated 19 July 1894

I am a sort of mystic and cannot move without orders, and that has not come yet.

Inspiring Message

Inspiring Message

THE LIVING PRESENCE OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA– A REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE

The Epiphanic Moment

A couple of months back, I had gone to address a group of principals from CBSE schools. There I met
a lady who is a heritage specialist. After her inspiring address, she started narrating her life story. She
said after struggling for two decades, she had to call off her marriage in 2005. Soon after, she visited our
Belur Math RK Mission headquarters in Kolkata with a group of students. Standing on the banks of the
Ganga behind the temple of Swami Vivekananda — where his mortal remains were consigned to flames
— she closed her eyes and stood in silence for two minutes. When she opened her eyes, she ‘saw’
Swami Vivekananda standing by her side. He placed his hand on her head and blessed her. She said that
since then, she has not looked back. Even recalling the experience seemed to move her to tears and new
resolve.

From the talk
The Monk Who’s A Youth IconBy: Swami Shantatmananda on Jan 05, 2013—secretary, RK Mission, Delhi.

A Letter by Jamsetji N. Tata

In his letter dated 23rd November 1898, Jamsetji Tata wrote to Swami Vivekananda as follows[i]:
Dear Swami Vivekananda,
I trust, you remember me as a fellow traveller on your voyage from Japan to Chicago. I very much recall at this moment your views on the growth of the ascetic spirit in India, and the duty, not of destroying, but of diverting it into useful channels.
I recall these ideas in connection with my scheme of Research Institute of Science for India, …
…I am of the opinion that, if such a crusade in favour of an asceticism of this kind were undertaken by a competent leader, it would greatly help asceticism, science and the good name of our common country; and I know not who would make a more fitting general of such a campaign than Vivekananda….
… … …
With kind regards,
I am, dear Swami,
Yours faithfully,

Jamsetji N. Tata
23rd November 1898
Esplanade House, Bombay

READINGS ON THE GOSPEL OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA- Swami Yatiswarananda

The story of the boy dancing with Sri Krishna on a Lotus

THE STORY OF THE BOY DANCING WITH SRI KRISHNA ON A LOTUS

( The above image depicts the vision of Sri Ramakrishna. This image is found in the village called “Sikra-Kulingram”, the birthplace  of Swami Brahmananda.)

Sri Ramakrishna was married to Sarada Devi but they never had marital relations. The Divine Mother told Sri Ramakrishna in a vision that he was to have a spiritual son, an eternal companion, who was Rakhal.

“Just a few days before Rakhal’s ( Rakhal Ghosh, later Swami Brahmananda) coming I saw Mother putting a child into my lap and saying, ‘This is your son: I shuddered at the thought and asked her in surprise, ‘What do you mean? I too have a son?’ Then She explained with a smile that it would be a spiritual child, and I was comforted. Shortly after this vision Rakhal came, and I at once recognized him as the boy presented by the Divine Mother.”

 Prior to Rakhal’s arrival, Sri Ramakrishna had a second confirming experience.

“A few moments before Rakhal actually arrived [Sri Ramakrishna had a] vision. Suddenly he saw a hundred-petaled lotus blooming on the bosom of the Ganges, each of its petals shining with exquisite loveliness. On the lotus two boys were dancing with anklets on their feet. One of them was Sri Krishna himself; the other was the same boy he had seen in his earlier vision. Their dance was indescribably beautiful; every movement they made seemed to splash foam, as it were, from an ocean of sweetness. Sri Ramakrishna was lost in ecstacy.

“Just then a boat arrived carrying Manomohan and Rakhal. Sri Ramakrishna looked at Rakhal in bewilderment. ‘What is this?’ he thought to himself; ‘Here is the boy I saw standing under the banyan tree; here is the boy Mother placed on my lap; here is the boy I saw just now dancing on the lotus with Sri. Krishna. This is the pure-hearted companion I prayed for to Mother.’” (23)

As with Naren, so with Rakhal: Sri Ramakrishna explained that if he was to remember his former identity as Krishna’s boyhood companion, he too would leave his body.

“Since Mother revealed to me that Rakhal is the playmate of Sri Krishna and one of the shepherd boys of Brindavan [sic], I was afraid lest he should be reminded of his past incarnation. If he remembered his association with Sri Krishna while at Brindaban, he might give up his body there.” (24)

Swami Brahmananda’s disciple, Swami Prabhananda, explained how all of the latter’s disciples knew not to divulge the secret.

“I have already described how Sri Ramakrishna saw Rakhal dancing with Sri Krishna on a mystic lotus shortly before the boy’s first visit to Dakshineswar. Only a few intimate disciples knew of this vision, and Sri Ramakrishna had warned them never to reveal it to Maharaj, explaining that if he realized his true nature as the Eternal Companion of Krishna, he would leave his mortal body. The secret had been very carefully guarded.” (25)

Under the master’s watchful eye, Rakhal was initiated into spiritual life with a vision of his Chosen Ideal, Sri Krishna:

“‘Look,’ said the Master [Ramakrishna], ‘there is your Chosen Ideal!’ Rakhal in ecstatic vision saw his chosen aspect of the Godhead standing before him — living and luminous, with a smile playing on his lips. When Rakhal regained his external consciousness and saw Sri Ramakrishna, he prostrated at his feet with loving devotion. He had known and experienced the divine power and grace of his guru.” (26)

As Swami Brahmananda, Rakhal was graced with high visions of God:

Finally at Omkarnath Templel, Swami Brahmananda attained the coveted experience of nirvikalpa samadhi. (He later attained higher states.)

“Here, amidst charming natural surroundings, [Swami Brahmananda] lived continuously in nirvikalpa samadhi for six days and six nights, completely unconscious of the outside world. When at last he came back to normal consciousness, his face shone with a heavenly joy. He had experienced God in the impersonal, absolute aspect, and had realized the identity of Atman with Brahman.” (28)

In March 1922, Maharaj went to Calcutta to stay for a while at the home of Balaram. Balaram had already passed away, but his whole family were sincere devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, and his beautiful house was always at the disposal of the swamis of the Order. It is now regarded as a place of pilgrimage, sanctified as it was by the presence of so many holy men.

. One day Maharaj asked Ramlal Dada to sing for him the songs he used to sing to Sri Ramakrishna. It was arranged that many disciples and devotees should be present to hear the singing.

Ramlal Dada began to sing songs about Krishna and the shepherds and shepherdesses of Brindavan. At first, everyone was merry as Ramlal mimicked the gestures of the shepherdesses, making his audience laugh. Suddenly, Maharaj, who had also been enjoying the fun, became serious. Ramlal Dada was singing: ‘Come back, O Krishna, come back to Brindavan. Come and reign in the hearts of your beloved shepherds and shepherdesses. Do not forget that you are shepherdesses. Do not forget that you are a shepherd yourself.’ “Ramlal Dada was singing: ‘Come back, O Krishna, come back to Brindaban….’ At that moment Maharaj seemed transported to a realm beyond this earth. The joking and laughter stopped. The atmosphere became calm and serene. It may be at this moment Maharaj got a partial glimpse of his true nature and knew himself to God’s Eternal Companion. The events that followed seem to point to some such revelation.” (29)

A few days later, at midnight, Nirvanananda, a disciple and personal attendant of Maharaj, saw him sitting on his bed in a very grave mood. The disciple stood silently before him, waiting for him to speak. Maharaj looked at him, and said: ‘I woke suddenly and saw Sri Ramakrishna standing just there.’ He pointed to a spot in front of a couch, adding: ‘He didn’t speak to me. He stood there silently for a while and then disappeared. I don’t understand it.’ After a few moments Maharaj continued in a low, earnest voice: ‘I can’t give my mind to the things of this world any longer. The mind wants to take complete refuge in Him and Him alone.’

A devotee asked: ‘Maharaj, are you suffering very much?’

‘Please try to realize,’ Maharaj answered, ‘that in my condition I have to bear all physical suffering, patiently and without complaint.’

But as he said this, his face lighted up with a divine radiance. The pain seemed to have melted away. He lost external consciousness and became absorbed in meditation.

About nine o’clock that same evening, he placed his hand on Nirvanananda and said: ‘Do not grieve. You have served me well. You shall be merged in God and attain the knowledge of Brahman. I give you my blessing that you may attain this.’

Then he called all the disciples and devotees who were present to his side. For each he had a blessing and an affectionate word.

‘Ah, my children,’ he said tenderly, ‘never forget God and you will realize the highest good. Do not grieve. I shall be with you always.’

Once more he became absorbed in his transcendental vision. After some time had passed, he continued in a sweet, tender voice: ‘I am floating; I am floating on the leaf of faith and knowledge in the ocean of Brahman.’ Then suddenly he exclaimed; ‘Ah! The feet of Sri Ramakrishna – I know them! Viveka, my brother Vivekananda! Premananda…Yogananda…’

Thus, with his divine sight, he recognized the brother-disciples who had already passed away. He was living in that transcendental realm where he had lived throughout his life; but now he no longer concealed the fact. He began to describe his visions.

‘Ah,’ he murmured softly, ‘the blissful ocean of Brahman! Om!

Salutations to the Supreme Brahman! Om! Salutations to the Supreme Atman!’

While speaking of his divine experiences, his throat became dry. A disciple offered him a drink, saying: ‘Maharaj, please drink this water. It has lemon in it.’

‘The mind doesn’t want to come down from Brahman, Pour Brahman into Brahman,’ said Maharaj slowly and like a child he opened his mouth for the water to be poured into it.

Then he turned to Swami Saradananda and said: ‘Brother, Sri Ramakrishna is real His divine incarnation is real.’

After this Maharaj was silent for a while. He was deeply absorbed in meditation, and his face wore an expression of great sweetness. The minds of those who were present were so uplifted that they felt no grief, only joy and silent calm. All sense of the world and of death was lost.

Suddenly, out of the silence, the voice of Maharaj was heard: ‘Ah, that inexpressible light! Ramakrishna, the Krishna of my Ramakrishna…I am the shepherd boy. Put anklets on my feet, I want to dance with my Krishna. I want to hold his hand – the little boy Krishna…Ah, Krishna, my Krishna, you have come! Krishna….Krishna… Can’t you see him? Haven’t you eyes to see? Oh, how beautiful! My Krishna… on the lotus…eternal…the Sweet One! My play is over now. Look! The child Krishna is caressing me. He is calling me to come away with Him! I am coming….’ The tenderness and heavenly compassion that filled his heart were expressed in every word he uttered.

The whole atmosphere of the large hall where he was lying seemed to vibrate with this emotion. No one can describe the extraordinary sense of holiness which was created by his presence. Everyone knew that the fateful hour was approaching, and that Maharaj was taking his final leave.

During the early hours of the morning, he remained silent for some time and fell into a slumber. At seven o’clock he awoke, and was again possessed by this high spiritual mood. He called the few disciples who had just arrived and who had not been present the previous night. To each he gave his blessing, bestowing comfort and fearlessness.

But so great was the power of his mind, so completely was it freed from the meshes of physical matter, that it remained completely unaffected by the condition of his suffering body. He maintained perfect consciousness right up to the last moment of his life.

As that last evening faded into night, his chest suddenly heaved. It was as if a great wave of breath passed up the body to the throat. His half-closed eyes opened, and he gazed into the distance, his eyes shining with brilliance and unspeakable beauty.

Thus it was that, on April 10, 1922, the life left his body.

‘Do, not grieve. I shall be with you always.’ Those were his last words to his disciples. After his passing away, we all had the feeling that Maharaj was intensely present within us. He was closer to us than ever before. For as long as Maharaj was in the physical body there was a barrier which was now no more.

More than forty years have passed since that day, and every disciple can bear witness to the fact that Maharaj still lives, protects and guides him onward toward the goal.

When I was about to leave India and take up my duties in the United States, Swami Shivananda said to me: ‘Never forget that you have seen the Son of God. You have seen God.’

Ramakrishna Movement in Haripad :- from archives of the Vedanta Kesari

Ramakrishna Movement in Haripad (Kerala)

Entries from the Archives of The Vedanta Kesari

From 1922 to 2000

(references given at the end of each entry)

 

Reference: 1

A few months after his return to Madras Swami (Swami Ramakrishnananda) went to Bangalore. No centre was opened at Trivandrum as Swami probably thought the number of persons who took real interest in the movement was too few to justify a Sannyasin being spared for the work. As a result of the Gita classes a small Vedanta Society was started in Trivandrum soon after to keep up the spirits of the few who took interest in Vedantic culture, and matters went on like this until January 1912 when Swami Nirmalanandaji of the Bangalore Math came to Haripad, a village in middle Travancore, where I (Tampi) was stationed at the time, on the invitation of the local Vedanta Society.

1922, July, p.107

—Swami Ramakrishnananda, The Movement in Travancore, By K. Padmanabha Thampi, B.A., B.L

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 2

Swami Nirmalanandaji Maharaj, the President, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Banglore, has just returned to his headquarters after four months of tour and work in Kerala. He visited all the Maths in Travancore and opened a new Ashrama at Muttam, some four miles distant from the Ashrama at Haripad. Seven more Brahmacharins were, this time, initiated in Sannyas. A new Ashrama is under construction at Ottapalam. Two plots of land, one at Trichur and the other at Ollur, inCochin, were given by devotees for Ashramas.

1925, October, p.234

—News And Reports: Swami Nirmalanandaji in Kerala

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 3

Swami Nirmalanandaji Maharaj, the President, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Banglore, has just returned to his headquarters after four months of tour and work in Kerala. He visited all the Maths in Travancore and opened a new Ashrama at Muttam, some four miles distant from the Ashrama at Haripad. Seven more Brahmacharins were, this time, initiated in Sannyas. A new Ashrama is under construction at Ottapalam. Two plots of land, one at Trichur and the other at Ollur, inCochin, were given by devotees for Ashramas.

1925, October, p.234

—Swami Nirmalanandaji in Kerala

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 4

This report, sent to us by a devotee of the Ramakrishna Movement in Kerala, gives a detailed history of the work of theMissionthere for the last two years. Thirteen years of silent, steady work by Swami Nirmalanandaji had already borne fruit in about seventeen young men girding up their loins to devote themselves to the cause of Renunciation and Service under the flag of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna and the growth of four centres of work at Haripad, Tiruvella, Quilandy and Trivandrum and the widespread distribution of the Mission literature in Malayalam by the publication department at Trivandrum. The period under review opens with the auspicious and solemn function of receiving into the Monastic Order of Ramakrishna eleven disciples in the Haripad Ashrama thus carrying out the first item in the programme of work  proposed by Swami Vivekananda for Modern India, viz., Man-making which was the method suggested and adopted by the Swami himself. Then followed the grand opening ceremony of the Brahmananda Memorial Mutt atTrivandrumin March, 1924, with a splendid public demonstration which gave a new start to the march of events in future…

Mention is next made of the increasing local support and the growing appreciation of the work of the oldest centres at Haripad, Tiruvella, and Quilandy. Attached to the Ashrama at Haripad have been working a Primary School for the “depressed classes,” a Weaving Institute, and a Medical Dispensary for the poor. The Wearing institute in particular has trained up and sent out twelve boys, all of whom have started independent work of their own and are making a living out of that profession and many of whom, it is noticed, belong to the ” depressed ” classes….

Mention is next made of a donation by a devotee of Rs. 3,000 towards the expenses of the Pooja in the Brahmananda Ashrama at Trivandrum, of another Rs. 400 for the roofing of the newly put up shed there, of an acre of paddy land yielding an annual income of Rs. 50 for the Ashrama at Haripad and of another plot of land in Pattenamthitha Taluq. But with all this the income of the Ashramas ” is hardly adequate to keep them above want and penury ” and we trust that the appeal for more funds to enable the movement to extend its activities will meet with a generous response from the public….

1925, December, p.315

—Report of the Ramakrishna Mission Work in Kerala, 1924-1925.)

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 5

The Birth-day was also celebrated at the Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama Bangalore; Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama Haripad, Malabar . . .

—1928, April, p.480

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 6

Srimat Swami Madhavanandaji Maharaj, the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math andMission, arrived atTrivandrum, on the 6th of June, on a visit to all the Centres of the Math in Kerala. …

After leaving Trivandrum, he visited Haripad, Tiruvalla, Kottayam, Vaikom, and Kaladi in theTravancoreState. He also visited the Math Centres at Trichur inCochinState and Ottapalam in Malabar District. In all these places he was given public addresses.

1940, August, p.P-157

—Swami Madhavanandaji’s tour in Kerala

’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 7

Glimpses of Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) P. Seshadri

Once Sri Tampi went to Belur Math accompanied by a Brahmachari of the Ramakrishna Ashrama at Haripad to pay his respects to Maharaj. The Brahmachari was all eagerness to be initiated by Maharaj and made his humble request for that purpose. …The next day, the Brahmachariwas duly initiated. His devotion to Maharaj knows no bounds. He would often say how much he used to feel blessed in the presence of Maharaj during the morning Bhajan at Belur Math. He took Sannyasa after some years.

1957, May, p.7

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 8

The Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideas had a great impact on Kerala….

Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Haripad : The Ramakrishna Ashramas in Kerala were started with the inspiration of Swami Ramakrishnanandaji and the fondling care of Swami Nirmalanandaji, the former visiting Trivandrum as early as 1904 and the latter from 1911 onwards. Sri Padmanabhan Tampi (Swami Parananda) was the main organiser of Haripad Ashrama. Sri Venkatasubrahmanya Iyer (Swami Chitsukhananda) gave the land and Sri Subbaraya Iyer donated a handsome amount. The Ashrama was consecrated on 4th May, 1913. This is the first Ramakrishna Ashrama in Kerala. Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj visited this Ashrama in 1916. Along with the normal activities of the Ashrama, it renders services to children and Harijans. This along with the following five Ashramas is managed by a committee….

—1957, September, pp.230-231

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 9

Some time later, Swami Nirmalananda asked me whether I had paid my respects to Maharaj. On my answering in the negative the Swami took two devotees and me to Maharaj and introduced us. When it was told that I was a native of Haripad, a village in Travancore, Maharaj benignantly remarked: ‘One from Haripad (the feet of Hari, the Lord), He should be a Bhakta.’ I. felt blessed.. . . Maharaj stayed at Quilon that time for ten days. My mind grew restless day by day. Some aspirants had been initiated by Maharaj at Haripad and Kanya Kumari. I was very eager to get initiation. A week had passed and there was no talk, not even a hint about it. I spent sleepless nights in silent tears because of the thought that I might be deprived of that Grace even after seeing Maharaj. It would seem that Maharaj had little sleep. After all had retired, I could see Maharaj coming out of his room and pacing up and down with measured steps. That sight would aggravate my feelings and I would pray from the depth of my heart for his grace.

One night, Swami Nirmalananda called me aside and asked me whether I wished to be initiated by Maharaj. I answered that if he thought me fit, I would very much like to have that rare blessing. Then the Swami said: ‘ Initiation and the like cannot be given without asking. Why have you not asked Maharaj to bless you?’ I remained silent. The Swami again asked, ‘Do you really want it?’ I merely replied, ‘If you think me fit.’ Then, he took me to Maharaj and requested him for my sake. Maharaj said that he would give me initiation the next morning if he felt well. We took leave of Maharaj. The Swami told me, ‘Bring some fruits and flowers tomorrow morning after your bath. Do not take coffee or anything else. Maharaj will give initiation if he feels well. You should not be disappointed even if he does not give.’

My joy knew no bounds. But I had one regret however. A friend at Haripad who was initiated by Maharaj, had informed me that he as well as others had given clothes etc. as offerings (Dakshina). I had only a rupee. So, I requested a friend to try to get for me a sum of not less than five rupees the next morning. He returned early in the morning and said that he could not get for me anything. I was sorely disappointed. Another friend who was overjoyed at my being promised initiation had undertaken to supply me with fruits and flowers and hence I had no difficulty on that score.

The 27th December was the date fixed for initiation. When I returned after bath that morning I found Swami Nirmalananda sitting alone in the veranda. I ventured to ask him this question, ‘Should I buy…’ On the evening of the initiation day, Swami Nirmalananda suddenly turned to me and said: ‘We have engaged a special steam launch to take us to Ernakulam. You need not spend money unnecessarily. You can come along with us and we will drop you at Trikkunnapuzha (a village about 5 miles from Haripad, my native place).’… When the boat reached Trikkunnapuzha, I went to Maharaj to take leave. He said, ‘ You promised to come along with us. Why do you drop midway? This is bad.’ I told him that my native place was Haripad and that I would like to go to my house. He asked me as to how far Haripad was from there. I informed him. Then he sweetly remarked: ‘When I see you, I also like to go to Haripad.

—1957, October, pp.259-261

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 10

While the activities of the Ramakrishna Math were developing inMadras, the beginnings of the work in Malabar were made by Swami Nirmalananda, who in January 1909, took charge of the Bangalore Ashrama. For nearly a quarter of a century he worked, withBangaloreas his base of operations.

In February 1911 he was invited to Haripad in Travancore, eighty miles north of Trivandrum, to preside over Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday celebrations organised by the Vivekananda Association, of which Sri Padmanabhan Tampi was the president. In September of the same year he visited Trivandrum on invitation from the Vedanta Society, of which Dr. Raman Tampi was the president. Dr. Tampi became a staunch supporter of the Math’s work in Trivandrum. Swami Nirmalananda stayed there for some time and gave classes and public lectures. In 1912 he visited Badagara and Quilandy in British Malabar and made contacts which later on blossomed forth into centres of activity. On 4th May 1913 the first Ashrama in Kerala was opened at Haripad, and the second in June 1914 at Quilandy. When Swami Brahmananda visited Kerala in 1916, Swami Nirmalananda requested him to lay the foundation stone of the Trivandrum Ashrama on 9th December 1916. The consecration of this Ashrama came off in March 1924. Between 1925 and 1935, nearly half a dozen centres were opened in different parts of Kerala. . . Swami Saswatananda went on lecturing tours to Kerala and developed close associations with the centres at Trivandrum, Tiruvella, Haripad etc. He leftMadras in February, 1944 to join the Headquarters, and was succeeded by Swami Kailasananda in September 1944.

—1972, August, pp.177-182

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 11

A new centre of the Ramakrishna Math has been started at Haripad in Kerala with the land, buildings, etc., received from Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Haripad. Its address is, Ramakrishna Math, P.O. Haripad, Dist.Alleppey, Kerala- 690 514.

—2008. August, p.319

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 12

Foundation stone for the proposed temple at Ramakrishna math, Haripsd, the first new building at the Ashrama complex was laid on 28 January, 2009. In this connection a public meeting was also held by a large procession of devotees, school children and general public.

—2009, April, p.159

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Ramakrishna Vivekananda Movement In Kerala

RAMAKRISHNA VIVEKANANDA MOVEMENT IN KERALA

BY SWAMI SIDDHINATHANANDA

(An article from the souvenir Viveka Tarangam of the first all kerala Ramakrishna Vivekananda Bhakta Sammelan in 2001)

 

 

After the Mahasamadhi of Sri Ramakrishna, his disciples dispersed and went to different places.  Narendra towards North India for some time and later reached Kerala.  At Kanyakumari he noticed a rock projecting out of the sea.  He swami towards it and sat on it facing the Goddess and was soon engrossed in deep meditation.  The object of the young Sannyasin’s meditation was the fate of his Mother Country.  He realized the mission of his life.  Later he wrote, “Sitting on the rock in the southern periphery of India, I visualized a Plan.”  The uplift of the common man and woman was the focal point of his ambitious plan.  He hoped to achieve it by imparting education to them.  To facilitate the execution of this plan, he set sail to America.  A Parliament of religious was on the anvil there, as a part of the Celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus.  Narendra transformed as Vivekananda and reached America.  After overcoming many obstacles, thanks to his merit and personality, he obtained recognition as a delegate to the conference as the representative of the Hindu religion.

 

Swami Vivekananda addressed the great conference on the 11th of September 1893.  When he addressed the audience as “Sisters and brothers of America”, there was a tumultuous applause.  They heard the voice of a new universal Philosophy.  This world view of considering entire humanity as belonging to a single family was novel and appealing to the west and evoked enthusiastic response and thunderous applause.  But, for Swamiji, the concept of “Vasudaiva Kudumbakam (universal family) which was the traditional belief of the Hindus, was quite natural.

 

Then the Swami explained to that mostly western audience, India’s message of “Advaita” (The philosophy of considering diversities of nature as the different manifestations of a unity of existence) and India’s spiritual view of life.  The audience was very receptive to these ideas and the thinkers there, accepted Vivekananda as a great teacher.

 

The fact that an ascetic of India, which was at that a time a British Colony, won recognition from the American intelligentsia, thrilled the Indian nation.  It echoed in Kerala also.  Vivekananda became the cynosure of the entire world and India particular.  When the Swamiji returned after 3-4 years of intense propagation of the Vedanta and whirlwind tour, there were spontaneous and enthusiastic receptions and magnificent replies by Swamiji from Colombo to Kolkatta.  He stayed for some time in Tamilnadu and gave thunderous speeches that enthused his audiences.  Many Keralites who were studying in Tamilnadu at that time, had the opportunity of listening to Swamiji’s speeches.  Many of them later became promoters instrumental to the start of the Ramakrishna Movement in Kerala, directly or indirectly.  Sarvasree Ampadi Sankara Menon and swami Ambananada was some of them.  It is known that Sri Mancheri Rama Iyerhad an opportybity to meet the Swamiji at that time.

 

As a wandering mendicant, swami Vivekananda had the opportunity to stay with Dr.Palpoo for some time.   Due to his low birth, Dr.Palpoo was denied a job in the erstwhile Travancore state.  There was untouchability in other states also. But in Kerala in addition to the untouchability there was unapproachability also.  Dr.Palpoo informed Swamiji about the antic practices in Kerala.  Swamiji advised Dr. Dr.Palpoo

To identify a spiritual luminary from among their community and organize them on the lines of his teachings.  Accordingly, Dr. Dr.Palpoo sought the advice of Sri Narayana Guru, and in response to his instructions gave shape to the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam  (SNDP).  It was from Dr.Palpoo that Swamiji heard about the outdated, archaic, malpractices of the Hindus society in Kerala, which prompted him to call Kerala a Lunatic asylum. This remonstrance and scathing criticism of Swamiji enabled Keralites to mend their ways and cure themselves of this malady.

 

Swamiji’s triumph in America echoed all over India.  Kerala also took pride in it.  In many parts of Kerala, people inspired and electrified by the message of Vivekananda organized groups of devotees.  At that time Kalipada Ghosh, a householder devotee  of Sri Ramakrishna had come to Trivandrum in connection with the promotion of his business enterprises.  He invited Swami Ramakrishnananda, a close c0-disciple of Swami Vivekananda and the then president of the Sri Ramakrishna Math at Madras, to Trivandrum.  Accepting this invitation Ramakrishnananda came to Trivandrum in 1904 and stayed there for a few months.   Many people drew inspiration from his contact.  Spiritual organization sprouted up in many places.  Such a group came into existence in Haripad.  In 1911 this group invited Sri Ramakrishananda to participate in a Sri Ramakrishna birthday celebration function.  Mr.Padnamabhan Thampi who was the president of this unit had earlier an opportunity contact Swami Ramakrishnananda at Madras.  Swami Ramakrishnananda deputed co-disciple Swami Nirmalananda to Haripad.  Swami Nirmalananda was instrumental in establishing the Ramakrishna-Vivekannda movement in Kerala on a from footing.  Contact with him proved a turning point in the lives of many.  Some people even dedicated their lives for the propagation of the ideals of Sri Ramakrishna.  A devoted person donated a piece of land in Haripad to build an Ashram.  Many others donated funds.  Thus an Ashram was established there in due course.  Subsequently Ashrams were set up at Thiruvalla and Trivandrum.  In Trivandrum the patrons of the Ashram were Sri Padmanabhan Thampi and his  younger brother Dr.Raman Thampi.

 

In these Ashrams caste was not recognized.  Irrespective of caste and creed, all were accepted and treated with equality without any discrimination.  It was a time when orthodoxy and traditional customs reigned supreme in Kerala.  The die hard orthodox sections were furious with the Swami and his companions for discarding discrimination against the low caste people.

 

Kerala’s first Ramakrishna Ashrama was inaugurated in Haripad in 1913 with pomp and fanfare. Everybody had permission to worship in the new temple.  Orthodox sections raised many obstacles  before the Ashram workers.  In the next year’s birthday celebrations more and more people irrespective e of caste differences participated in a mass feast conducted in the Ashram.  After it the plantain leaves on which the food was served and the remnants of food particles had to be removed.  But the workers deputed for the task refused to discharge that duty because low caste people too had participated in the party.  Swami Nirmalananda who was closely observing the program, smelled the trouble.  He said, ‘They are all devotees of Bhagawan, their low birth notwithstanding.  Iam their servant.  I have no Caste.”  Saying this, he began to remove the leaves.  When he lifted one or two leaves, everybody rushed in and within minutes removed the waste.  With this heavy blow he broke the backbone of the monster caste.  It was the first fell blow against the entrenched fortress of Caste.  By subsequent blows the fortress collapsed and we are free.  The first blow was administered by NIrmalalanda, the follower of Sri Ramakrishna—Vivekananda.

 

Subsequently, Ashrams were founded in Thiruvlla, Trivandrum, quilandy, ottappalam, Kozhikode, Alappuzha etc.,.  In those times kerala was divided into three entities, Travancore, Kochi and British Malabar.  Though geographically and culturally these three units were a homogenous entity, all the three, maintained their identies.  Each constituent viewed others with scorn.  But Nirmalananda brought his followers from different parts together.  He brought the natives of ottappalam to Trivandrum and Haripad and vice versa.  Even much before, the politicians visualized a unified Kerala, Nirmalaanda gave shape to a spiritually unified Kerala.  He brought Sri Brahmanandaji Maharaj, the spiritual son of Sree Ramakrishna, co-discple of Swami Vivekananda and the then president of the Ramakrishna Mission, for a pilgrimage to Kanyakumari.  They stayed in different places on the way.  Many people got the opportunity to pay obeisance to Swamiji and got initiation from him.  All of them became friends and participants of the movement.  Many people attracted by the message of Ramakrishna Vivekananda, by contact with Nirmalananda dedicated their lives for spirituality.  Many house holder devotees contributed lavishly for the conduct of the different activities of the Ashram.  Many Keralites who had the opportunity to meet and draw inspiration from Vivekananda, Ramakrishnananda and Brahmananda at Madras, came forward to propagate the ideals of the mission in Kerala.  Among them a notable person was Swami Agamananda, the founding father of the Ashram at Kalady.  A gifted orator, he toured the length and breadth of Kerala and propagated Vedanta and the ideals of Vivekananda. Swami Thyageesananda a disciple of Brahmanandaji Maharaj, founded an Ashram inThrissur.  Swami Tapasyananda built a modern hospital in Trivandrum.  Swami Niranjananada who was always engrossed in study and meditation was instrumental founding many Ashrams in Central Travancore.  The loving personality of Swami Vageeswarananda committed many people to the Ramakrishna Movement.  The scholarly swami Vimalananda kindled spiritual instinct in many people.  Many other sannyasins too, by virtue of their enterprise and silent services, developed the mission into a mighty movement in Kerala.

 

Now in Kerala, many ashrams are engaged in activity in different humanitarian activities.  They are Ashrams at Trivandrum, Thornville, Palai, Kalady, Trichur, Kozhikode and quilandy.  In Trivandrum the ashram conduct a modern hospital with all amenities and more than 250 beds.  In Thiruvalla there is a beautiful Sree Ramakrishna Temple.  In Palai there is a Sanskrit college.  In Thrissur there is a higher secondary school, a beautiful temple , a student’s hostel, a publishing house that brings out many useful books, the monthly, Prabuddha Keralam, a hospital are the main institutions conducted by the Ashram.  During every X’ mass five day long ‘antar yogam’ is held which attracts a lot of devotees.  In Kozhikode, a higher secondary School, student’s hostel and a dispensary are run under the auspices of the Ashram.  The quilandy ashrama, apart from the daily services a homeopathic dispensary too is conducted by the ashramites.  Apart from the above, many smaller Ashrams, spread all over kerala are engaged in many silent creative activities. 

 

In 1952 in connection with the centenary of Sri Sarada Devi, an organisataion called Sree Ramakrishna Sarada Mission was started with the objective of spreading the message of Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Vivekananda among women.  In Trichur, Trivandrum and Kozhikode, its units function and impart signal service to the society.

 

In Kerala about one hundred people have dedicated their lives for propagation of this ideal.  The first generation of such people are now no more.  The noble tasks kick started by the ancestors are actively being pursued by the next generation and they are developing on it.

 

The most notable of the house holder devotees are Sri Padmanabhan Thampi, Dr. Raman Thampi and Sri Seshadri Iyer.  The poets and littérateurs of Kerala have got intimate awareness of the mission’s literature.  Some of them have written books for the propagation of the mission’s ideals.  Sri Kuttamathu kunniyooru kunjikrishna Kurup and ottoor Unni Nampoothiripad deserve special mention in this connection.  Kumaran Asan has translated Vivekandna’s Raja Yogam in to Malayalam.  The publication which Asan started for the SNDP was named “Vivekodayam”.  Vallathol had composed a poem about a crisis situation in the life of Narendra.  Dr.PK Narayana Pillai wrote a two Sanskrit poems one called “Dharmasagaram” about Sri Ramakrishna and another called “Vishwabhanu” about Swami Vivekananda.  Sri Mannath Padmanabha Pillai the founder of the NSS was inspired by the ideals of the Swamiji.  The NSS started its maiden High School on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda.

 

Kerala not only imbibed the Ramakrishna movement, but also contributed many outstanding personalities for the propagation its ideals abroad.  Some of them are Swami Siddheshwarananda founder of the Vedanta Centre at Paris, swami Ghanananda who established a centre in London, Swami Ranganathananda the present president of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Nissreyasananda who established different Vedanta centres in Africa and Swami Nithyabodhananda who founded a centre in Geneva.  These great personalities are the contributions of Kerala.

 

The temple entry proclamation permitting all castes to enter the temples was historic declaration sponsored by Sir C.P. Ramasami Iyer, the then Dewan of Travancore.  When its Silver Jubilee was celebratetd, CP Ramasami Iyer declared that it was the call of Swami Vivekananda that prompted him to sponsor this feat.

 

The antaryogas, publications, educational institutions, student hostels, conventions, hospitals, services for the suffering, conducted on the auspices of the different centers in Kerala are aimed at the spiritual, educational and physical uplift of the people in general.  They function silently  and with the expertise needed.  The Sri Ramakrishna Vivekananda ideal of Siva seva through Manava seva is the propelling force and inspiration for all these activities.

 

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanahu

 

Spiritual precepts of Swami Brahmananda

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Thoughts

“Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry
with the right person, to the right degree, at the right
time, for the right purpose and in the right way – that is
not easy. ” – Aristotle, Philosopher

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your
envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.
– Glenn Clark”

Two Episodes from Sri Ramakrishna’s Life

This article appeared in Prabudha Bharata, September 1955 edition.

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15 Steps to Fulfilling Your Wildest Dreams

According to Bill Gates there are 3 keys to success in any new
venture:

1) Being in the right place at the right time. (You could well be
already there!)

2) Have a vision of where the industry/business you’re working in is
going!

3) Taking Massive and Immediate Action! (It is time to act!)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the quality of their
dreams.” Was it Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, the famous German poet and
philosopher who said those wise words?

Here are my 15 steps to fulfilling my wildest dreams…

1. KNOW YOURSELF
Know and accept your weaknesses and faults (we all have them),
but even more so your strengths, abilities and gifts. Build on your strengths and try
to minimize or improve on your weaknesses. An honest, objective
analysis of yourself is the first step in preparing you for success and realizing
your dreams. Celebrate you for just being you, a unique creation.

Aim for mental clarity about what you most want out of life. Think
about it and write it down. If it’s happiness, what do you mean by
happiness: a sense of belonging, recognition, independence, love, money or security? If
you don’t know where you are and where you want to go with your life,
how will you ever get there? Aim at nothing and you’re sure to hit it.

2. GET PASSIONATE
Don’t apologize for getting passionate. What excites you the most?
If you are not enthusiastic and excited about what you’re doing, your path
in life, you’ll never get others to share your dream. Once you find your
passion, you will have found your POWER, MEANING and PURPOSE in life.

3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PASSION

Always be aware. Negative people will poison your dream faster
than anything else.
Motto: “If you can’t be positive, shut up!” Try and stay positive…even in the face of negativity.

4. ACCEPT FROM THE START THAT YOU WON’T PLEASE EVERYONE
You’re going to be misunderstood, misquoted, hurt some feelings,
perhaps even lose some friends (for the time being). Motto: “What other
people think of me is none of my business!” Repeat this statement to yourself,
especially when you doubt or feel discouraged.

5. ALWAYS BE YOURSELF
To thine own self be true. (Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, act I.3.) This is
supremely important, no matter what the world may think of you.
The masses are conditioned to mediocrity and other people’s success can make
them not feel inferior for their own insignificant little lives. Accept yourself.
Learn from others–but don’t be intimidated by them, or pretend to
be someone you’re not; because…”We are most effective when we’re
being ourselves.”

6. DON’T BE SCARED OF MAKING MISTAKES
The only real mistake is one from which you learn nothing.
Motto: “Far better to try something and fail, than try nothing and succeed!”

7. ACCEPT THAT IT WILL NEVER BE EASY
Realizing your dream may be the hardest, most uphill thing you’ll
ever do. A truth …”You can’t coast uphill.” The key ingredient in success is
never giving up. Keep on keeping on with your quest. It has been said that
“success is 99% made up of failures”.

8. STAY HUMBLE (no matter how successful you may be)

Don’t ever think you’ve made it and arrived–there’s always a lot
ahead, more to do, higher mountains to climb. Motto: “The greatest way to
do our thing has yet to be discovered!”

9. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOURSELF
There is incredible power in yourself (in the form of the unique
human mind), but far more so in the forces of the Universe. Make them
work for you by living your life in harmony with these natural forces. Like positive
energy attracts like.
Enough “spiritual” thoughts! Back to the “real world” and you. Avoid
developing an inferiority complex (Who am I, a ‘nothing’?”). Don’t
be filled with feelings of self-pity (“nobody likes me”), or think “I can’t do it.”
These thoughts will steal your dream.

10. HAVE FUN
Nothing is ever as bad as it seems–don’t get too solemn, or serious
or too downcast when things go wrong (as they surely will from time to
time). Take a leaf from Thomas Edison’s book: “I never did a day’s work in my
entire life: it was all FUN!”
Laugh at life’s funny moments…and there are plenty of them. “The
secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one
does.” – J.M. Barrie

11. DEVELOP ‘THE WILL TO LIVE’
There will be plenty of times when you’ll face the death of your
dream. When failures, disappointments, and criticisms come you need the will and
faith to keep going. Remember: We learn far more from our failures than
our successes, because failures show us what doesn’t work. So, failure is just
one step closer to ultimate success. Often the difference between
failure and success is trying just one more time, picking yourself up off the
canvas after being knocked down time and again.

12. DEVELOP ‘THE WILL TO HELP AND SERVE OTHERS’ Success on its own (i.e., for its own sake) will pollute and corrupt
you–it’s a dead end street unless you have meaning in your life. The
years of struggle breed fortitude and character. The gold may be an inch
away from the seam, where your fellow miners have given up. You need to
succeed for a reason, a purpose, a cause that’s bigger than you! and IF (a very big
if) you’ve fulfilled all the above requirements…

By the time you finish reading this you will realise its just 12 steps
and not 15………..

A Cry for Help

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, and all of the others, including Love.

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink,
so all repaired their boats and left.

Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until
the last possible moment.

When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness,
can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No I can’t..There is a lot of
gold and silver in my boat. There is no place for you here.”

Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful
vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and
might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness let me go
with you.”

“Oh…Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not
even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an
elder.

Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the
elder her name.

When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Love,
realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who
helped me?”

“It was Time”, Knowledge answered.

“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only
Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

Change the world by changing ‘Me’

The Sufi Bayazid says this about himself: “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord give me the energy to change the world.’”

“As I approached middle age and realized that half my life was gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me. Just my family and friends, and I shall be content.’”

“Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, my one prayer is, ‘Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’

If I had prayed for this right from the start I should not have wasted my life.’”

‘BE AND MAKE’ , LET THIS BE OUR MOTTO” SAID SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

The five commandments of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna for Householders

 

A discourse by Swami Gokulanandaji Maharaj, Secretary Sri Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi.

The topic of my talk today is the ‘Five commandments of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa’ for householders. While you have all heard of ‘The Ten Commandments’ of The Bible, it is really interesting to note that it is probably the first time that we are talking of these ‘Five Commandments’ of Sri Ramakrishna. I shall read out the relevant portions from the fifth Chapter of the first volume of ‘Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’ (in English) or Vachanamrita (in Hindi) or ‘Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita’ (in Bengali).

In this chapter, Master Mahashay (in short ‘M’) the author of Kathamrita raises four questions before Sri Ramakrishna.

It is in the reply to the first two questions, that we find these ‘Five Commandments’.

The first question is ‘How to keep the mind on God’. Our mind is so fickle that it is very difficult to keep it concentrated on God. It keeps wandering to worldly things, in extroversion rather than intro-spection. God resides in us, as Bhagavan Sri Krishna tells Arjuna in Gita – “Isvarah Sarvabhutanam, hrddeserjuna tisthati” – but we do not look inwards towards this God residing within; we are all the time engrossed in our family, friends, and worldly pleasures. God resides in us, but alas! We do not reside in Him. So the mind keeps wandering, and ‘M’ wants to know from Sri Ramakrishna how to keep the mind focused on God. In reply to this first question, Thakur gives the first four commandments.

The First commandment

‘Keep on chanting the name of God all the time and talk of his Glory.’ In the words of Sri Ramakrishna in Bengali – ‘Ishwarer naam guna gaan sarbada korte hoy.’ So we must all the time keep remembering God’s name, his greatness and glory, to help us concentrate on him.

The Second Commandment

‘Do Satsanga, Sadhusanga’. Go to Godly people, spend time with them, listen to their discourses, and spend time at places where people are engrossed in God?s name, in Kirtan etc.

The Third Commandment

‘Spend time in solitude, and think of him’. We are all the while caught up in worldly thoughts, being surrounded completely by this materialistic world. It is therefore necessary once in a while to get away from all this and spend some time in solitariness, thinking about God, thinking about the purpose of life, thinking about what one is doing, and what one should do. It is the time when one is totally with oneself, without any distractions so that the mind can focus on the God within. Thakur further elaborates this by saying that when the plant is tender, It needs to be protected from cattle etc. by putting a fence around it. Likewise, we have to protect our nascent inclination towards God, by getting away from the things that distract us. Thakur is not saying that all must renounce the world and go to mountains or forests. No! you are householders and you must discharge your duties towards your family, society etc. as a father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter and so on. What Thakur says is that it is important to spend some time amidst your all activities solitariness, to think about God, to meditate, to chant his name, do Japam. Thakur says that mediate on Him in your heart, in a corner, in a forest.

The Fourth Commandment

Continuously discriminate between Right and Wrong, Nitya and Anitya’. God alone is true, God alone is permanent. Everything else is untrue, impermanent. Whatever we see around is all untrue; all this is going to perish sooner or later. Nothing of this is going to accompany us when the eternal call comes. All this will remain behind. It is only the God’s name and our good deeds, that will go with us. You never know when the eternal call comes. So start on your journey towards God today itself, right away. Do not put it off for tomorrow. Who knows whether you or me would be there in the next moment or not.

One of our devotees did a recording of my discourse on ‘Chhandogya- Upanishad’ on the 12th Dec. 2001 and promised to give me a transcript so that other devotees would benefit from it. She wrote it down too, but could not give it to me herself, as she died in a tragic car accident on the 24th Dec. 2001. This is an example of the uncertainties of life, as I was explaining earlier. So, do not wait for tomorrow, start rightaway on the path of God. While discriminating (Vichar), between the true and untrue, Nitya and Anitya, Sat and Asat, gradually detach yourself from the untrue, ‘Anitya’, ‘Asat’ and move towards ‘Nitya’, ‘Sat’, the truth, the God.

The Fifth Commandment

The Fifth Commandment of Thakur comes in response to the second question of ‘M’ – ‘How to spend our time in the household, in this world’. ‘M’ being a householder himself asks this question, that many house-holders keep asking. Do we have to leave everything, renounce the world and go to forests to realize God? Is it possible to realize God while remaining within our households? The apparent presumption is that only Monks have access to God. I am telling you that nothing could be farther from truth. And I am saying it with conviction because I have had the good fortune to come across at least two householders who realised God in this life, who were full of Brahmananda.

There was a mother, an elderly lady, in Digboi (Assam), whom I used to visit often, because I loved to do so. Imagine an old lady, afflicted by paralysis, confined to her bed, reduced to a skeleton that she was. But every time I asked her “Mother, how are you?” Her face would get lit up with a divine glow and she would reply with a smiling face – “I am fine Maharaj, as Thakur has kept me. How are you Maharaj?” There was not an iota of self-pity or of any nagging or complaint towards God for her sorry physical state. She had surrendered completely to God and was therefore in that ever-blissful state, residing in Thakur.

The other person I came across was when I once want to Cossipore Bungalow, even before I joined the Ramakrishna Order. A person was singing some devotional song which enchanted me. As I like songs very much, I approached him later and struck a friendship with him. I came to know that he was Sri Pramathanath Ganguli, who had composed about two hundred devotional songs, on the inspiration of Sri Ramakrishna as he used to say. Thereafter, I invited him several times to my place and enjoyed his singing. Towards the end of his life, he was ‘inspired’ to compose a song which prays to God that “O the Divine, when the call from the other world will come, I do not know whether I would be able to take your name. Even if I forget, you please do not desert me. Please be with me and take me with you”. After he composed this song, he was so enamoured with it that Pramatha Babu would on his own sing this song at the end of each of his recitals. And every time he sang this, tears would stream down his eyes and one would get a feeling as though Pramatha Babu was actually seeing God in front of him and singing out for Him from his heart. When he died in a hospital, he asked the nurse to prop him up on the bed saying that Sri Ramakrishna had come to take him, and he didn?t want to receive Him lying down. So he sat up and breathed his last chanting – ‘Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna —–‘. I even wonder how many of us would die such a glorious death.

Therefore, I speak with full conviction that householders have as much claim over God realization as the monks who have renounced the world. In fact merely becoming a monk does not entitle one to a claim to Godliness, unless one practices spiritual disciplines. A householder can realise God if he or she is fully convinced of the utterly unreal character of the world. Thakur says – ‘Discharge all your duties but keep your mind on God. Consider all family members ? father, mother, spouse, children as your own, but remember in your heart of hearts that it is only God, who is your own, and none else’. I am reminded of a song that was a very favourite of Thakur- “O my mind, in this world no one is your own, so do not forget to remember Dakshina Kali by getting entangled into this Mayajal, this illusion of your world”. We are under the illusion that my beloved loves me so much but the moment one is dead, no one wants to spend time with the dead body, they want to dispose it off as soon as possible. So long as one is a big officer everyone salutes him. But the moment he dies, all that is reduced to ashes and everyone starts saluting the next person who occupies that chair. Today I am Secretary, Delhi Center – all of you come to my discourses, pay me your respects. As soon as I die, someone else will occupy this position, and all of you would start paying your obeisance to him. Gokulananda would become just a handful of ash and some distant memory.

Therefore, all of us must learn to detach ourselves from these worldly strings, affections, bondages. These become a block between us and self realization, realization of God. As Thakur says, discharge your duties like the housemaid. She moves around with the master?s son in her lap, saying ‘My son, my darling! etc.’ but she knows in her heart of hearts that they are none of hers. The moment she is off the job, all this is forgotten and there are no strings that bind her to this house. We have to discharge our duties, with full responsibility, but always keeping in mind that God alone is true, God alone is permanent, God alone is ours, and all the other things are untrue, unreal, impermanent and not belonging to us.

To recollect once again, the ‘Five Commandments’ of Sri Ramakrishna for householders are :

1. Keep chanting the God’s name, thinking of his glory.

2. Do Sadhusanga, Satsang, being with holy people; visit places where there are holy thoughts.

3. Go to a solitary place once in a while and meditate. Protect and nurture your godly feelings and thoughts.

4. Constantly deliberate and discriminate about right and wrong, true and untrue, real and unreal, right and wrong, ‘Nitya’ and ‘Anitya’, ‘Sat’ and ‘Asat’. God alone is true, ‘Nitya’, permanent, real, ‘Sat’, Right.

5. Discharge your duties as a householder with full responsibility but always keep in mind that none of this belongs to you.

If we can follow these ‘Five Commandments’ there is no doubt that we can realize God in this life itself. Time is running out every moment, so we must start immediately and continue practising these commandments all the time. May Lord Sri Ramakrishna help and bless us.

Ten Commandments for Sri Ramakrishna Devotees by Revered Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj

1. Be regular and steady in your spiritual practices. This is the best way of serving one’s Guru.

2. Keep in touch with the Ramakrishna Sarada Devi Vivekananda literature as much as you can.

3. Visit the Math regularly, at least once a week and take part in the prayers and discourses. Do not miss the important celebrations.

4. Try to keep in personal touch with the monks by seeking interviews with them, once in a while, and make the best use of it and not fritter away the time in worldly talks.

5. Kindly remember to keep a percentage of your income for the service activities of the Math and thereby help the Math in rendering its services effectively.

6. Try to visit Belur Math, Dakshineshwar, kamarpukur and Jayarambati at least once in your lifetime, if not more, by properly planning your pilgrimage.

7. Though you are free to visit other religious centres and persons, please remember that it should be without prejudice to your own way of life adopted as per the Ramakrishna Vivekananda traditions. It is better, therefore, you consult the local Head before doing so.

8. Avoid all occult practices and magic and miracles that will harm your spiritual life.

9. Co-operate with the activities of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, as much as you can, whole heartedly.

10.Make it a point to present only Ramakrishna–Vivekananda literature as gifts on happy occasions to your relatives and friends. This is the best form of spiritual practices for this age.


Swami Brahmananda in Haripad by Swami Kaivalyananda

Story of Ramakrishna Math Haripad by a Devotee- Sri Attupuram Mohan

Swami Vivekananda returned to India on the 15th January 1897 after his glorious speech at Chicago Art Institute Columbus hall in the World Parliament of Religions. Swamiji was given an auspicious welcome at Madras (Chennai).In the procession he was moving in a cart driven by horses. The over enthusiastic youth and students removed the horses and they themselves drove the cart. At that time many of the students from Kerala were studying at Presidency College Madras. They included Mr Padmanabhan Thampi, Mr Raman Thampi, Mr M.R.Narayana Pillai and others. By this time Ramakrishna Maths were established at Madras and Bangalore. The visit of Swamiji, fame of Chickago conference and the functioning of the Matts at Madras and Bangalore aroused the strong desire for establishing Sri Ramakrishna movement in Kerala.

In 1904 Sri Kalipada Ghosh the house hold devotee of SriRamakrishna came to Trivandrum and resided there on his official duty in The John Dickinson Company. Sri Ghosh requested Swami Ramakrishnananda (Sasi Maharaj) who was heading the Madras centre to make a visit to Trivandrum.

He came and stayed for one month conducting satsangs and giving discourses. Spiritual and intellectual people from the important places of the erstwhile state of Travancore attended these functions.In the mean time the students studied at Madras who witnessed the triumphant welcome function of Swami Vivekananda returned home and obtained key Government Posts. The visit of Swami Ramakrishnananda paved way to the formation of SriRamakrishna Bhakta sangs at Trivandrum, Haripad and Thiruvalla.

In 1905 Swami Ramakrishnananda came to Alapuzha and laid the foundation stone of the Sanathana Dharma College at Alapuzha managed by the Gauda Saraswath Community which migrated to Kerala from the western costal areas of Karnataka ,Goa and other states when their temples and other establishments were attacked and destructed by the Portugeese in the 14th century.

The Ramakrishna Bhakta Sangh at Haripad was headed by Sri Padmanabhan Thampi who was by the time posted as First Class Magistrate of Haripad.The Secretary was Sri Subbaraya Iyer, a lawyer . Haripad was a place of spiritual, cultural and intellectual heritage. The Tamil Brahmin community which migrated from various parts of the erstwhile Madras state during the muslim invation in the 16th century was very much dominant in the town. Most of the intellectual personalities in and around the area got associated with the Bhakta Sangh. The functioning of the organization got high momentum.

Swami Ramakrishnananda was invited to attend the SriRamakrishna Jayanthi sammelan for 1911. Swamijis condition of health became worse. So he adviced the organizers of Haripad Bhakta Sangh to invite Swami Nirmalananda (Thulasi Maharaj) who was heading the Bangalore centre to attend the function. The Haripad devotees went to Bangalore and invited Swami Nirmalananda. He readily accepted the request.

Swami Nirmalananda reached Ernakulam south railway station on the 15th February 1911. From Ernakulam he went to Alapuzha in a steam boat. Swamiji was welcomed at Alapuzha by a huge gathering consisting of all section of people including students of Sanathana Dharma Vidyalaya. At SDV School Beasant hall he spoke about Bhakti . The next morning he started to Haripad in a boat. Swamiji was received at Haripad by a huge crowd. The welcome speech was in English and Sanskrit. The next day was Birthday celebration. There was Bhajan and Procession.About two thousand five hundred people were given feast. In the Sammelan Swamiji spoke about Power (Shakti) inherent in the Hindu religion.The English speech was translated Malayalam.The next day he interacted with the students of Shanmugha Vilasam School. He gave them many valuable advices, spoke about spiritual subjects and explained some portions of Bhagavad Gita. He spoke about the responsibility of children. He discussed with the members of the Bhakta Sangh about the action plan for the work to be done. After the function Sri Subbaraya Iyer donated Rs1000/-to Swamiji. He told Mr Iyer to keep the money with him for establishing an Asram at Haripad. From Haripad Swami Nirmalananda went to Kollam.

The Bhakta Sangh carried out the work according to the action plan. Regular satsangs, bhajans and other activities were conducted. Schemes were initiated to establish an Asram. Meanwhile Sri Venkita Krishna Iyer an young devotee donated his land at Pilapuzha by the side of the beautiful paddy fields and canals to build the Asram. Swami Nirmalananda was invited to lay the foundation stone of the Asram building. Swamiji reached Haripad and laid the foundation stone on Krishnashtami day the 12th September 1912. Construction of the Asram went on very fast utilizing the first donation of Rs1000/- given by Sri Subbaraya Iyer and donation from all section of people. Meanwhile Sri Padmanabhan Thampi (later he became Swami Parananda) was transferred from Haripad. The members of the Bhakta Sangh those associated with the movement were upset.The situation was brought to the notice of swami Nirmalananda. That night Swamiji had a dream in which Swami Vivekananda telling him that the work of GURUMAHARAJ will go on smoothly without any obstacle. The next day Sri Thampi got an order cancelling his transfer. The happiness and enthusiasem of the devotees increased. The work went on fastly.

Swami Nirmalananda came to Haripad again on 27th April 1913. This time he was accompanied by Swami Vishudhananda. They discussed with the organizers and Swamiji himself supervised the remaining work for the inauguration.On 4th May 1913 (Malayalam Era 22nd Medam 1088) at six in the morning the function started with reading Sree Rudram, Chandi and Gita,then Vedic Pooja and Homa followed by Inauguration ,Bhajans and Procession . Thus The Sri Rama Krishna Asram Haripad the first one in the state of Kerala came in to existence.

During April 1914 Swami Nirmalananda again reached Haripad to attend the Sri Ramakrishna Jayanthi sammelan.The celebration was on 10th April. On this occasion one boy from the lower caste was made Brahmachari. After Pooja, Bhajan and discourse a common feast was served. At that perod of time people belonging to the lower caste were not allowed to dine with upper caste people. Food was served in plantain leaves. After the feast the organizers belonging to the upper caste were reluctant to remove the leaves. Swamiji understood the situation and started removing the leaves. Immediately members of the Bhakta Sangh rose to the occasion and did the job.

This was the beginning of a silent revolution in the State. It may be noted that Gandhiji came to Vaikkam in 1936 to attend the Sathyagraha demanding entry of lower caste people to temples .On this occasion a common feast was served. This function attained significance and attained place in the history of Modern India. It took twenty two more years for the political leaders of the nation to organize such a movement. The farsightedness of a single monk with no man power or publicity changed the whole history. The ruling Kingdom of Travancore was pious, generous and closely associated with the Sri Ramakrishna Movement. The Maharaja of Travancore in a declaration proclaimed permission to entry of lower caste people to temples.

Swami Brahmananda reached Olavakkod (Shornnur) railway station on the 26th November 1916 by Madras mail. From there he boarded a train to Ernakulam. Reached Ernakulam the same day and resided in a two storied building by the side of Periyar (Aluva puzha).Swamiji took a boat trip in the Periyar. Started to Kottayam on the 29th by boat.Spent two days in Kottayam.From Kottayam reached Haripad by car.Swamiji was received in front of Sree Subrahmonya Swamy temple with Poornakumbha, Pallak and Music. Went to the Asram at Pilapuzha one and a half kilometers away from the temple in front of a procession. Stayed in the Asram for three days. He gave initiation to Neelakanta Bhaktan(Swami Purushothamananda) from Thiruvalla and Venkita Subrahmonya Iyer (Swami Chitsukhananda) of Haripad who donated the land for constructing the Asram. From Haripad Raja Maharaj went to Kollam. Stayed there for two days.From Kollam he went to Thiruvananthapuram and laid the foundation stone of the Sri Ramakrishna Asram at Nettayam at 8 am on the 9th December 1916. Swamiji reached Kollam on the 30th December. From Kollam went to Ambalapuzha,then to Ernakulam and to Madras.From Madras went to Kolkota.

Swami Nirmalananda again reached Haripad on the 22nd December 1923. The next day conducted a Viraja Homa at the Asram and gave Ochre clothes to eleven Brahmachariees. They are

Swami Chitsukhananda, Swami Nirvikarananda, Swami Niranjanananda, Swami Sekharananda, Swami Chidambarananda, Swami Naishtikananda, Swami Chitbhasananda, Swami Shubhrananda, Swami Vageeswarananda and Swami Dheeswarananda. Attainig sanyasin Swami Chitsukhananda became head of the Haripad Asram. The centre developed very fast. Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya was established mainly for the study and upliftment of the children belonging to the lower castes. A spinning loom centre was started for vocational training and employment. Charitable and social programmes in addition to spiritual activities were regularly conducted. The Asram developed as a centre of spiritual excellence.Celeberations were conducted in a royal manner.

From 1942 Swami Sekharananda headed the centre. In 1964 a library was inaugurated by Sri V V Giri, the former President of India while he was The Governor of Kerala. In 1978 the Monk who headed the centre passed away.

By 1930 a difference of opinion arose between Swami Nirmalananda and some of the Board of Trustees of The Ramakrishna Mission,Belur on his accepting the chairmanship of Vivekananda Mission, Calcutta. This kept him away fro m the central leadership of the Mission. Swamiji came to Ottappalam and stayed there till his passing away on the 26th April 1938. By this time many centres started functioning in Kerala. Most of the centres including Haripad stood by him and dissociated with Belur Math. When the monk in charge of the Haripad centre passed away nobody in the Sri Ramakrishna order was available to be substituted.

A litigation between a section of local people and The Mission arose resulting the centre and its movable and immovable properties coming under the control of an Official Receiver appointed by the court.For some time Swami Golokananda who was heading the Thiruvananthapuram centre looked after the court proceedings. Thereafter Swami Sakrananda who was President of the Trichur centre took the responsibility of conducting the process with the help of the noted business man turned spiritual activist Sri K. Prabhakaran Nair.During this period Swami Kaivalyananda took charge of the Kayamkulam centre. Being young and dynamic he managed to handle the activities. The litigation went on from lower court to upper courts and vice versa.

In 1987 monthly retreat started in a rented building in the town under the leadership of Sri Prabhakaran Nair. One or two times this retreat was conducted in the Asram itself with the permission of the court which later became difficult to obtain. Swami Sakrananda and Swami Niswananda used to attend the monthly retreat. After one year Swami Sakrananda expressed their their inability to attend every month.He promised to arrange a monk belonging to this order.Later Sakranandaji informed that an young and enthusiastic monk has taken over charge of the Palai centre and he has agreed to attend the retreat. Thus Swami Swaprabhanandaji came to the scene. The retreat went on smoothly with lalitha sahasranama archana, study of bhagavad gita, bhajans and arathi in the moning session followed by lunch Prasad and reading from Sri Ramakrishna vachanamritha and Upanishad classes in the afternoon session. Prasad and food were prepared and brought from Sri Nairs house .Much man power was necessary for this.So the retreat was later shifted to Prabhakaran Nairs house at Pallipad. By this time many of the devotees from Haripad got initiated and used to attend the functions of the mission. After twelve years the retreat was arranged to be conducted in the devotees houses with a view to spread the message in and around the surrounding villeges. A large number of people including children used to attend the retreat regularly. The first All Kerala Sri Ramakrishna Bhakta Sammelan was held at Ernakulam on the 11th and 12th May 2002. Fifteen devotees from Haripad attended the function,the highest number from a non-affiliated centre. Activities of a centre with regular programmes and retreat continued.The devotees kept in touch with other centres,attended the celebrations there, and took part in the sammelans. This process went on smoothly under the guidance of Swami Swaprabhananda and advice of Swami Kaivalyananda.

By GURU MAHARAJs grace The Sub Court Mavelikara in its final judgement on the 6th October 2007 directed the Belur Matt Kolkota to appoint a sanyasin to head the Haripad centre and to advice a list of eight devotees from Karthikappally and Mavelikara Taluks to assist him in carriying on the activities of the centre. As such The Belur Matt appointed Swami Golokananda of Kozhikode centre to Haripad and adviced a list of eight devotees. Swamiji took possession of the remaining unfertile sand and existing old trees at 2pm on the 15th December 2007 from the Official Receiver. The assets and resources flowed away during the custody of the centre with the Receiver.The building, furniture, vessels, library, books, every thing even the photos of Guru Maharaj, Mathrudevi , Swamiji Maharaj and Swami Brahmananda kept in the SHRINE vanished.

Now One Monk of Ramakrishna Math is looking after the Centre. The centre is slowly picking up. Regular retreat on second Sundays and spiritual classes on every Sundays at the town centre by the side of NH- 47 south of Sri Subrahmonya swamy temple Haripad and Jayanthi and other celebrations at Pilapuzha the old centre near Vathukulangara Devi temple are being conducted.

Author can be reached at :- mohan attupuram@gmail.com.

Swami Nirmalananda : His life and teachings

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Spiritual precepts of Swami Brahmananda

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Ramakrishna Vivekananda Movement In Kerala

RAMAKRISHNA VIVEKANANDA MOVEMENT IN KERALA

BY SWAMI SIDDHINATHANANDA

(An article from the souvenir Viveka Tarangam of the first all kerala Ramakrishna Vivekananda Bhakta Sammelan in 2001)

After the Mahasamadhi of Sri Ramakrishna, his disciples dispersed and went to different places. Narendra towards North India for some time and later reached Kerala. At Kanyakumari he noticed a rock projecting out of the sea. He swami towards it and sat on it facing the Goddess and was soon engrossed in deep meditation. The object of the young Sannyasin’s meditation was the fate of his Mother Country. He realized the mission of his life. Later he wrote, “Sitting on the rock in the southern periphery of India, I visualized a Plan.” The uplift of the common man and woman was the focal point of his ambitious plan. He hoped to achieve it by imparting education to them. To facilitate the execution of this plan, he set sail to America. A Parliament of religious was on the anvil there, as a part of the Celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. Narendra transformed as Vivekananda and reached America. After overcoming many obstacles, thanks to his merit and personality, he obtained recognition as a delegate to the conference as the representative of the Hindu religion.

Swami Vivekananda addressed the great conference on the 11th of September 1893. When he addressed the audience as “Sisters and brothers of America”, there was a tumultuous applause. They heard the voice of a new universal Philosophy. This world view of considering entire humanity as belonging to a single family was novel and appealing to the west and evoked enthusiastic response and thunderous applause. But, for Swamiji, the concept of “Vasudaiva Kudumbakam (universal family) which was the traditional belief of the Hindus, was quite natural.

Then the Swami explained to that mostly western audience, India’s message of “Advaita” (The philosophy of considering diversities of nature as the different manifestations of a unity of existence) and India’s spiritual view of life. The audience was very receptive to these ideas and the thinkers there, accepted Vivekananda as a great teacher.

The fact that an ascetic of India, which was at that a time a British Colony, won recognition from the American intelligentsia, thrilled the Indian nation. It echoed in Kerala also. Vivekananda became the cynosure of the entire world and India particular. When the Swamiji returned after 3-4 years of intense propagation of the Vedanta and whirlwind tour, there were spontaneous and enthusiastic receptions and magnificent replies by Swamiji from Colombo to Kolkatta. He stayed for some time in Tamilnadu and gave thunderous speeches that enthused his audiences. Many Keralites who were studying in Tamilnadu at that time, had the opportunity of listening to Swamiji’s speeches. Many of them later became promoters instrumental to the start of the Ramakrishna Movement in Kerala, directly or indirectly. Sarvasree Ampadi Sankara Menon and swami Ambananada was some of them. It is known that Sri Mancheri Rama Iyerhad an opportybity to meet the Swamiji at that time.

As a wandering mendicant, swami Vivekananda had the opportunity to stay with Dr.Palpoo for some time. Due to his low birth, Dr.Palpoo was denied a job in the erstwhile Travancore state. There was untouchability in other states also. But in Kerala in addition to the untouchability there was unapproachability also. Dr.Palpoo informed Swamiji about the antic practices in Kerala. Swamiji advised Dr. Dr.Palpoo

To identify a spiritual luminary from among their community and organize them on the lines of his teachings. Accordingly, Dr. Dr.Palpoo sought the advice of Sri Narayana Guru, and in response to his instructions gave shape to the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP). It was from Dr.Palpoo that Swamiji heard about the outdated, archaic, malpractices of the Hindus society in Kerala, which prompted him to call Kerala a Lunatic asylum. This remonstrance and scathing criticism of Swamiji enabled Keralites to mend their ways and cure themselves of this malady.

Swamiji’s triumph in America echoed all over India. Kerala also took pride in it. In many parts of Kerala, people inspired and electrified by the message of Vivekananda organized groups of devotees. At that time Kalipada Ghosh, a householder devotee of Sri Ramakrishna had come to Trivandrum in connection with the promotion of his business enterprises. He invited Swami Ramakrishnananda, a close c0-disciple of Swami Vivekananda and the then president of the Sri Ramakrishna Math at Madras, to Trivandrum. Accepting this invitation Ramakrishnananda came to Trivandrum in 1904 and stayed there for a few months. Many people drew inspiration from his contact. Spiritual organization sprouted up in many places. Such a group came into existence in Haripad. In 1911 this group invited Sri Ramakrishananda to participate in a Sri Ramakrishna birthday celebration function. Mr.Padnamabhan Thampi who was the president of this unit had earlier an opportunity contact Swami Ramakrishnananda at Madras. Swami Ramakrishnananda deputed co-disciple Swami Nirmalananda to Haripad. Swami Nirmalananda was instrumental in establishing the Ramakrishna-Vivekannda movement in Kerala on a from footing. Contact with him proved a turning point in the lives of many. Some people even dedicated their lives for the propagation of the ideals of Sri Ramakrishna. A devoted person donated a piece of land in Haripad to build an Ashram. Many others donated funds. Thus an Ashram was established there in due course. Subsequently Ashrams were set up at Thiruvalla and Trivandrum. In Trivandrum the patrons of the Ashram were Sri Padmanabhan Thampi and his younger brother Dr.Raman Thampi.

In these Ashrams caste was not recognized. Irrespective of caste and creed, all were accepted and treated with equality without any discrimination. It was a time when orthodoxy and traditional customs reigned supreme in Kerala. The die hard orthodox sections were furious with the Swami and his companions for discarding discrimination against the low caste people.

Kerala’s first Ramakrishna Ashrama was inaugurated in Haripad in 1913 with pomp and fanfare. Everybody had permission to worship in the new temple. Orthodox sections raised many obstacles before the Ashram workers. In the next year’s birthday celebrations more and more people irrespective e of caste differences participated in a mass feast conducted in the Ashram. After it the plantain leaves on which the food was served and the remnants of food particles had to be removed. But the workers deputed for the task refused to discharge that duty because low caste people too had participated in the party. Swami Nirmalananda who was closely observing the program, smelled the trouble. He said, ‘They are all devotees of Bhagawan, their low birth notwithstanding. Iam their servant. I have no Caste.” Saying this, he began to remove the leaves. When he lifted one or two leaves, everybody rushed in and within minutes removed the waste. With this heavy blow he broke the backbone of the monster caste. It was the first fell blow against the entrenched fortress of Caste. By subsequent blows the fortress collapsed and we are free. The first blow was administered by NIrmalalanda, the follower of Sri Ramakrishna—Vivekananda.

Subsequently, Ashrams were founded in Thiruvlla, Trivandrum, quilandy, ottappalam, Kozhikode, Alappuzha etc.,. In those times kerala was divided into three entities, Travancore, Kochi and British Malabar. Though geographically and culturally these three units were a homogenous entity, all the three, maintained their identies. Each constituent viewed others with scorn. But Nirmalananda brought his followers from different parts together. He brought the natives of ottappalam to Trivandrum and Haripad and vice versa. Even much before, the politicians visualized a unified Kerala, Nirmalaanda gave shape to a spiritually unified Kerala. He brought Sri Brahmanandaji Maharaj, the spiritual son of Sree Ramakrishna, co-discple of Swami Vivekananda and the then president of the Ramakrishna Mission, for a pilgrimage to Kanyakumari. They stayed in different places on the way. Many people got the opportunity to pay obeisance to Swamiji and got initiation from him. All of them became friends and participants of the movement. Many people attracted by the message of Ramakrishna Vivekananda, by contact with Nirmalananda dedicated their lives for spirituality. Many house holder devotees contributed lavishly for the conduct of the different activities of the Ashram. Many Keralites who had the opportunity to meet and draw inspiration from Vivekananda, Ramakrishnananda and Brahmananda at Madras, came forward to propagate the ideals of the mission in Kerala. Among them a notable person was Swami Agamananda, the founding father of the Ashram at Kalady. A gifted orator, he toured the length and breadth of Kerala and propagated Vedanta and the ideals of Vivekananda. Swami Thyageesananda a disciple of Brahmanandaji Maharaj, founded an Ashram inThrissur. Swami Tapasyananda built a modern hospital in Trivandrum. Swami Niranjananada who was always engrossed in study and meditation was instrumental founding many Ashrams in Central Travancore. The loving personality of Swami Vageeswarananda committed many people to the Ramakrishna Movement. The scholarly swami Vimalananda kindled spiritual instinct in many people. Many other sannyasins too, by virtue of their enterprise and silent services, developed the mission into a mighty movement in Kerala.

Now in Kerala, many ashrams are engaged in activity in different humanitarian activities. They are Ashrams at Trivandrum, Thornville, Palai, Kalady, Trichur, Kozhikode and quilandy. In Trivandrum the ashram conduct a modern hospital with all amenities and more than 250 beds. In Thiruvalla there is a beautiful Sree Ramakrishna Temple. In Palai there is a Sanskrit college. In Thrissur there is a higher secondary school, a beautiful temple , a student’s hostel, a publishing house that brings out many useful books, the monthly, Prabuddha Keralam, a hospital are the main institutions conducted by the Ashram. During every X’ mass five day long ‘antar yogam’ is held which attracts a lot of devotees. In Kozhikode, a higher secondary School, student’s hostel and a dispensary are run under the auspices of the Ashram. The quilandy ashrama, apart from the daily services a homeopathic dispensary too is conducted by the ashramites. Apart from the above, many smaller Ashrams, spread all over kerala are engaged in many silent creative activities.

In 1952 in connection with the centenary of Sri Sarada Devi, an organisataion called Sree Ramakrishna Sarada Mission was started with the objective of spreading the message of Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Vivekananda among women. In Trichur, Trivandrum and Kozhikode, its units function and impart signal service to the society.

In Kerala about one hundred people have dedicated their lives for propagation of this ideal. The first generation of such people are now no more. The noble tasks kick started by the ancestors are actively being pursued by the next generation and they are developing on it.

The most notable of the house holder devotees are Sri Padmanabhan Thampi, Dr. Raman Thampi and Sri Seshadri Iyer. The poets and littérateurs of Kerala have got intimate awareness of the mission’s literature. Some of them have written books for the propagation of the mission’s ideals. Sri Kuttamathu kunniyooru kunjikrishna Kurup and ottoor Unni Nampoothiripad deserve special mention in this connection. Kumaran Asan has translated Vivekandna’s Raja Yogam in to Malayalam. The publication which Asan started for the SNDP was named “Vivekodayam”. Vallathol had composed a poem about a crisis situation in the life of Narendra. Dr.PK Narayana Pillai wrote a two Sanskrit poems one called “Dharmasagaram” about Sri Ramakrishna and another called “Vishwabhanu” about Swami Vivekananda. Sri Mannath Padmanabha Pillai the founder of the NSS was inspired by the ideals of the Swamiji. The NSS started its maiden High School on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda.

Kerala not only imbibed the Ramakrishna movement, but also contributed many outstanding personalities for the propagation its ideals abroad. Some of them are Swami Siddheshwarananda founder of the Vedanta Centre at Paris, swami Ghanananda who established a centre in London, Swami Ranganathananda the present president of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Nissreyasananda who established different Vedanta centres in Africa and Swami Nithyabodhananda who founded a centre in Geneva. These great personalities are the contributions of Kerala.

The temple entry proclamation permitting all castes to enter the temples was historic declaration sponsored by Sir C.P. Ramasami Iyer, the then Dewan of Travancore. When its Silver Jubilee was celebratetd, CP Ramasami Iyer declared that it was the call of Swami Vivekananda that prompted him to sponsor this feat.

The antaryogas, publications, educational institutions, student hostels, conventions, hospitals, services for the suffering, conducted on the auspices of the different centers in Kerala are aimed at the spiritual, educational and physical uplift of the people in general. They function silently and with the expertise needed. The Sri Ramakrishna Vivekananda ideal of Siva seva through Manava seva is the propelling force and inspiration for all these activities.

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanahu

Ramakrishna Movement in Haripad :- from archives of the Vedanta Kesari

Ramakrishna Movement in Haripad (Kerala)

Entries from the Archives of The Vedanta Kesari

From 1922 to 2000

(references given at the end of each entry)

Reference: 1

A few months after his return to Madras Swami (Swami Ramakrishnananda) went to Bangalore. No centre was opened at Trivandrum as Swami probably thought the number of persons who took real interest in the movement was too few to justify a Sannyasin being spared for the work. As a result of the Gita classes a small Vedanta Society was started in Trivandrum soon after to keep up the spirits of the few who took interest in Vedantic culture, and matters went on like this until January 1912 when Swami Nirmalanandaji of the Bangalore Math came to Haripad, a village in middle Travancore, where I (Tampi) was stationed at the time, on the invitation of the local Vedanta Society.

1922, July, p.107

—Swami Ramakrishnananda, The Movement in Travancore, By K. Padmanabha Thampi, B.A., B.L

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 2

Swami Nirmalanandaji Maharaj, the President, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Banglore, has just returned to his headquarters after four months of tour and work in Kerala. He visited all the Maths in Travancore and opened a new Ashrama at Muttam, some four miles distant from the Ashrama at Haripad. Seven more Brahmacharins were, this time, initiated in Sannyas. A new Ashrama is under construction at Ottapalam. Two plots of land, one at Trichur and the other at Ollur, inCochin, were given by devotees for Ashramas.

1925, October, p.234

—News And Reports: Swami Nirmalanandaji in Kerala

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 3

Swami Nirmalanandaji Maharaj, the President, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Banglore, has just returned to his headquarters after four months of tour and work in Kerala. He visited all the Maths in Travancore and opened a new Ashrama at Muttam, some four miles distant from the Ashrama at Haripad. Seven more Brahmacharins were, this time, initiated in Sannyas. A new Ashrama is under construction at Ottapalam. Two plots of land, one at Trichur and the other at Ollur, inCochin, were given by devotees for Ashramas.

1925, October, p.234

—Swami Nirmalanandaji in Kerala

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 4

This report, sent to us by a devotee of the Ramakrishna Movement in Kerala, gives a detailed history of the work of theMissionthere for the last two years. Thirteen years of silent, steady work by Swami Nirmalanandaji had already borne fruit in about seventeen young men girding up their loins to devote themselves to the cause of Renunciation and Service under the flag of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna and the growth of four centres of work at Haripad, Tiruvella, Quilandy and Trivandrum and the widespread distribution of the Mission literature in Malayalam by the publication department at Trivandrum. The period under review opens with the auspicious and solemn function of receiving into the Monastic Order of Ramakrishna eleven disciples in the Haripad Ashrama thus carrying out the first item in the programme of work proposed by Swami Vivekananda for Modern India, viz., Man-making which was the method suggested and adopted by the Swami himself. Then followed the grand opening ceremony of the Brahmananda Memorial Mutt atTrivandrumin March, 1924, with a splendid public demonstration which gave a new start to the march of events in future…

Mention is next made of the increasing local support and the growing appreciation of the work of the oldest centres at Haripad, Tiruvella, and Quilandy. Attached to the Ashrama at Haripad have been working a Primary School for the “depressed classes,” a Weaving Institute, and a Medical Dispensary for the poor. The Wearing institute in particular has trained up and sent out twelve boys, all of whom have started independent work of their own and are making a living out of that profession and many of whom, it is noticed, belong to the ” depressed ” classes….

Mention is next made of a donation by a devotee of Rs. 3,000 towards the expenses of the Pooja in the Brahmananda Ashrama at Trivandrum, of another Rs. 400 for the roofing of the newly put up shed there, of an acre of paddy land yielding an annual income of Rs. 50 for the Ashrama at Haripad and of another plot of land in Pattenamthitha Taluq. But with all this the income of the Ashramas ” is hardly adequate to keep them above want and penury ” and we trust that the appeal for more funds to enable the movement to extend its activities will meet with a generous response from the public….

1925, December, p.315

—Report of the Ramakrishna Mission Work in Kerala, 1924-1925.)

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 5

The Birth-day was also celebrated at the Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama Bangalore; Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama Haripad, Malabar . . .

—1928, April, p.480

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 6

Srimat Swami Madhavanandaji Maharaj, the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math andMission, arrived atTrivandrum, on the 6th of June, on a visit to all the Centres of the Math in Kerala. …

After leaving Trivandrum, he visited Haripad, Tiruvalla, Kottayam, Vaikom, and Kaladi in theTravancoreState. He also visited the Math Centres at Trichur inCochinState and Ottapalam in Malabar District. In all these places he was given public addresses.

1940, August, p.P-157

—Swami Madhavanandaji’s tour in Kerala

’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 7

Glimpses of Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) P. Seshadri

Once Sri Tampi went to Belur Math accompanied by a Brahmachari of the Ramakrishna Ashrama at Haripad to pay his respects to Maharaj. The Brahmachari was all eagerness to be initiated by Maharaj and made his humble request for that purpose. …The next day, the Brahmachariwas duly initiated. His devotion to Maharaj knows no bounds. He would often say how much he used to feel blessed in the presence of Maharaj during the morning Bhajan at Belur Math. He took Sannyasa after some years.

1957, May, p.7

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 8

The Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideas had a great impact on Kerala….

Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Haripad : The Ramakrishna Ashramas in Kerala were started with the inspiration of Swami Ramakrishnanandaji and the fondling care of Swami Nirmalanandaji, the former visiting Trivandrum as early as 1904 and the latter from 1911 onwards. Sri Padmanabhan Tampi (Swami Parananda) was the main organiser of Haripad Ashrama. Sri Venkatasubrahmanya Iyer (Swami Chitsukhananda) gave the land and Sri Subbaraya Iyer donated a handsome amount. The Ashrama was consecrated on 4th May, 1913. This is the first Ramakrishna Ashrama in Kerala. Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj visited this Ashrama in 1916. Along with the normal activities of the Ashrama, it renders services to children and Harijans. This along with the following five Ashramas is managed by a committee….

—1957, September, pp.230-231

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 9

Some time later, Swami Nirmalananda asked me whether I had paid my respects to Maharaj. On my answering in the negative the Swami took two devotees and me to Maharaj and introduced us. When it was told that I was a native of Haripad, a village in Travancore, Maharaj benignantly remarked: ‘One from Haripad (the feet of Hari, the Lord), He should be a Bhakta.’ I. felt blessed.. . . Maharaj stayed at Quilon that time for ten days. My mind grew restless day by day. Some aspirants had been initiated by Maharaj at Haripad and Kanya Kumari. I was very eager to get initiation. A week had passed and there was no talk, not even a hint about it. I spent sleepless nights in silent tears because of the thought that I might be deprived of that Grace even after seeing Maharaj. It would seem that Maharaj had little sleep. After all had retired, I could see Maharaj coming out of his room and pacing up and down with measured steps. That sight would aggravate my feelings and I would pray from the depth of my heart for his grace.

One night, Swami Nirmalananda called me aside and asked me whether I wished to be initiated by Maharaj. I answered that if he thought me fit, I would very much like to have that rare blessing. Then the Swami said: ‘ Initiation and the like cannot be given without asking. Why have you not asked Maharaj to bless you?’ I remained silent. The Swami again asked, ‘Do you really want it?’ I merely replied, ‘If you think me fit.’ Then, he took me to Maharaj and requested him for my sake. Maharaj said that he would give me initiation the next morning if he felt well. We took leave of Maharaj. The Swami told me, ‘Bring some fruits and flowers tomorrow morning after your bath. Do not take coffee or anything else. Maharaj will give initiation if he feels well. You should not be disappointed even if he does not give.’

My joy knew no bounds. But I had one regret however. A friend at Haripad who was initiated by Maharaj, had informed me that he as well as others had given clothes etc. as offerings (Dakshina). I had only a rupee. So, I requested a friend to try to get for me a sum of not less than five rupees the next morning. He returned early in the morning and said that he could not get for me anything. I was sorely disappointed. Another friend who was overjoyed at my being promised initiation had undertaken to supply me with fruits and flowers and hence I had no difficulty on that score.

The 27th December was the date fixed for initiation. When I returned after bath that morning I found Swami Nirmalananda sitting alone in the veranda. I ventured to ask him this question, ‘Should I buy…’ On the evening of the initiation day, Swami Nirmalananda suddenly turned to me and said: ‘We have engaged a special steam launch to take us to Ernakulam. You need not spend money unnecessarily. You can come along with us and we will drop you at Trikkunnapuzha (a village about 5 miles from Haripad, my native place).’… When the boat reached Trikkunnapuzha, I went to Maharaj to take leave. He said, ‘ You promised to come along with us. Why do you drop midway? This is bad.’ I told him that my native place was Haripad and that I would like to go to my house. He asked me as to how far Haripad was from there. I informed him. Then he sweetly remarked: ‘When I see you, I also like to go to Haripad.

—1957, October, pp.259-261

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 10

While the activities of the Ramakrishna Math were developing inMadras, the beginnings of the work in Malabar were made by Swami Nirmalananda, who in January 1909, took charge of the Bangalore Ashrama. For nearly a quarter of a century he worked, withBangaloreas his base of operations.

In February 1911 he was invited to Haripad in Travancore, eighty miles north of Trivandrum, to preside over Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday celebrations organised by the Vivekananda Association, of which Sri Padmanabhan Tampi was the president. In September of the same year he visited Trivandrum on invitation from the Vedanta Society, of which Dr. Raman Tampi was the president. Dr. Tampi became a staunch supporter of the Math’s work in Trivandrum. Swami Nirmalananda stayed there for some time and gave classes and public lectures. In 1912 he visited Badagara and Quilandy in British Malabar and made contacts which later on blossomed forth into centres of activity. On 4th May 1913 the first Ashrama in Kerala was opened at Haripad, and the second in June 1914 at Quilandy. When Swami Brahmananda visited Kerala in 1916, Swami Nirmalananda requested him to lay the foundation stone of the Trivandrum Ashrama on 9th December 1916. The consecration of this Ashrama came off in March 1924. Between 1925 and 1935, nearly half a dozen centres were opened in different parts of Kerala. . . Swami Saswatananda went on lecturing tours to Kerala and developed close associations with the centres at Trivandrum, Tiruvella, Haripad etc. He leftMadras in February, 1944 to join the Headquarters, and was succeeded by Swami Kailasananda in September 1944.

—1972, August, pp.177-182

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 11

A new centre of the Ramakrishna Math has been started at Haripad in Kerala with the land, buildings, etc., received from Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Haripad. Its address is, Ramakrishna Math, P.O. Haripad, Dist.Alleppey, Kerala- 690 514.

—2008. August, p.319

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Reference: 12

Foundation stone for the proposed temple at Ramakrishna math, Haripsd, the first new building at the Ashrama complex was laid on 28 January, 2009. In this connection a public meeting was also held by a large procession of devotees, school children and general public.

—2009, April, p.159

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

The story of the boy dancing with Sri Krishna on a Lotus

THE STORY OF THE BOY DANCING WITH SRI KRISHNA ON A LOTUS

( The above image depicts the vision of Sri Ramakrishna. This image is found in the village called “Sikra-Kulingram”, the birthplace of Swami Brahmananda.)

Sri Ramakrishna was married to Sarada Devi but they never had marital relations. The Divine Mother told Sri Ramakrishna in a vision that he was to have a spiritual son, an eternal companion, who was Rakhal.

“Just a few days before Rakhal’s ( Rakhal Ghosh, later Swami Brahmananda) coming I saw Mother putting a child into my lap and saying, ‘This is your son: I shuddered at the thought and asked her in surprise, ‘What do you mean? I too have a son?’ Then She explained with a smile that it would be a spiritual child, and I was comforted. Shortly after this vision Rakhal came, and I at once recognized him as the boy presented by the Divine Mother.”

Prior to Rakhal’s arrival, Sri Ramakrishna had a second confirming experience.

“A few moments before Rakhal actually arrived [Sri Ramakrishna had a] vision. Suddenly he saw a hundred-petaled lotus blooming on the bosom of the Ganges, each of its petals shining with exquisite loveliness. On the lotus two boys were dancing with anklets on their feet. One of them was Sri Krishna himself; the other was the same boy he had seen in his earlier vision. Their dance was indescribably beautiful; every movement they made seemed to splash foam, as it were, from an ocean of sweetness. Sri Ramakrishna was lost in ecstacy.

“Just then a boat arrived carrying Manomohan and Rakhal. Sri Ramakrishna looked at Rakhal in bewilderment. ‘What is this?’ he thought to himself; ‘Here is the boy I saw standing under the banyan tree; here is the boy Mother placed on my lap; here is the boy I saw just now dancing on the lotus with Sri. Krishna. This is the pure-hearted companion I prayed for to Mother.’” (23)

As with Naren, so with Rakhal: Sri Ramakrishna explained that if he was to remember his former identity as Krishna’s boyhood companion, he too would leave his body.

“Since Mother revealed to me that Rakhal is the playmate of Sri Krishna and one of the shepherd boys of Brindavan [sic], I was afraid lest he should be reminded of his past incarnation. If he remembered his association with Sri Krishna while at Brindaban, he might give up his body there.” (24)

Swami Brahmananda’s disciple, Swami Prabhananda, explained how all of the latter’s disciples knew not to divulge the secret.

“I have already described how Sri Ramakrishna saw Rakhal dancing with Sri Krishna on a mystic lotus shortly before the boy’s first visit to Dakshineswar. Only a few intimate disciples knew of this vision, and Sri Ramakrishna had warned them never to reveal it to Maharaj, explaining that if he realized his true nature as the Eternal Companion of Krishna, he would leave his mortal body. The secret had been very carefully guarded.” (25)

Under the master’s watchful eye, Rakhal was initiated into spiritual life with a vision of his Chosen Ideal, Sri Krishna:

“‘Look,’ said the Master [Ramakrishna], ‘there is your Chosen Ideal!’ Rakhal in ecstatic vision saw his chosen aspect of the Godhead standing before him — living and luminous, with a smile playing on his lips. When Rakhal regained his external consciousness and saw Sri Ramakrishna, he prostrated at his feet with loving devotion. He had known and experienced the divine power and grace of his guru.” (26)

As Swami Brahmananda, Rakhal was graced with high visions of God:

Finally at Omkarnath Templel, Swami Brahmananda attained the coveted experience of nirvikalpa samadhi. (He later attained higher states.)

“Here, amidst charming natural surroundings, [Swami Brahmananda] lived continuously in nirvikalpa samadhi for six days and six nights, completely unconscious of the outside world. When at last he came back to normal consciousness, his face shone with a heavenly joy. He had experienced God in the impersonal, absolute aspect, and had realized the identity of Atman with Brahman.” (28)

In March 1922, Maharaj went to Calcutta to stay for a while at the home of Balaram. Balaram had already passed away, but his whole family were sincere devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, and his beautiful house was always at the disposal of the swamis of the Order. It is now regarded as a place of pilgrimage, sanctified as it was by the presence of so many holy men.

. One day Maharaj asked Ramlal Dada to sing for him the songs he used to sing to Sri Ramakrishna. It was arranged that many disciples and devotees should be present to hear the singing.

Ramlal Dada began to sing songs about Krishna and the shepherds and shepherdesses of Brindavan. At first, everyone was merry as Ramlal mimicked the gestures of the shepherdesses, making his audience laugh. Suddenly, Maharaj, who had also been enjoying the fun, became serious. Ramlal Dada was singing: ‘Come back, O Krishna, come back to Brindavan. Come and reign in the hearts of your beloved shepherds and shepherdesses. Do not forget that you are shepherdesses. Do not forget that you are a shepherd yourself.’ “Ramlal Dada was singing: ‘Come back, O Krishna, come back to Brindaban….’ At that moment Maharaj seemed transported to a realm beyond this earth. The joking and laughter stopped. The atmosphere became calm and serene. It may be at this moment Maharaj got a partial glimpse of his true nature and knew himself to God’s Eternal Companion. The events that followed seem to point to some such revelation.” (29)

A few days later, at midnight, Nirvanananda, a disciple and personal attendant of Maharaj, saw him sitting on his bed in a very grave mood. The disciple stood silently before him, waiting for him to speak. Maharaj looked at him, and said: ‘I woke suddenly and saw Sri Ramakrishna standing just there.’ He pointed to a spot in front of a couch, adding: ‘He didn’t speak to me. He stood there silently for a while and then disappeared. I don’t understand it.’ After a few moments Maharaj continued in a low, earnest voice: ‘I can’t give my mind to the things of this world any longer. The mind wants to take complete refuge in Him and Him alone.’

A devotee asked: ‘Maharaj, are you suffering very much?’

‘Please try to realize,’ Maharaj answered, ‘that in my condition I have to bear all physical suffering, patiently and without complaint.’

But as he said this, his face lighted up with a divine radiance. The pain seemed to have melted away. He lost external consciousness and became absorbed in meditation.

About nine o’clock that same evening, he placed his hand on Nirvanananda and said: ‘Do not grieve. You have served me well. You shall be merged in God and attain the knowledge of Brahman. I give you my blessing that you may attain this.’

Then he called all the disciples and devotees who were present to his side. For each he had a blessing and an affectionate word.

‘Ah, my children,’ he said tenderly, ‘never forget God and you will realize the highest good. Do not grieve. I shall be with you always.’

Once more he became absorbed in his transcendental vision. After some time had passed, he continued in a sweet, tender voice: ‘I am floating; I am floating on the leaf of faith and knowledge in the ocean of Brahman.’ Then suddenly he exclaimed; ‘Ah! The feet of Sri Ramakrishna – I know them! Viveka, my brother Vivekananda! Premananda…Yogananda…’

Thus, with his divine sight, he recognized the brother-disciples who had already passed away. He was living in that transcendental realm where he had lived throughout his life; but now he no longer concealed the fact. He began to describe his visions.

‘Ah,’ he murmured softly, ‘the blissful ocean of Brahman! Om!

Salutations to the Supreme Brahman! Om! Salutations to the Supreme Atman!’

While speaking of his divine experiences, his throat became dry. A disciple offered him a drink, saying: ‘Maharaj, please drink this water. It has lemon in it.’

‘The mind doesn’t want to come down from Brahman, Pour Brahman into Brahman,’ said Maharaj slowly and like a child he opened his mouth for the water to be poured into it.

Then he turned to Swami Saradananda and said: ‘Brother, Sri Ramakrishna is real His divine incarnation is real.’

After this Maharaj was silent for a while. He was deeply absorbed in meditation, and his face wore an expression of great sweetness. The minds of those who were present were so uplifted that they felt no grief, only joy and silent calm. All sense of the world and of death was lost.

Suddenly, out of the silence, the voice of Maharaj was heard: ‘Ah, that inexpressible light! Ramakrishna, the Krishna of my Ramakrishna…I am the shepherd boy. Put anklets on my feet, I want to dance with my Krishna. I want to hold his hand – the little boy Krishna…Ah, Krishna, my Krishna, you have come! Krishna….Krishna… Can’t you see him? Haven’t you eyes to see? Oh, how beautiful! My Krishna… on the lotus…eternal…the Sweet One! My play is over now. Look! The child Krishna is caressing me. He is calling me to come away with Him! I am coming….’ The tenderness and heavenly compassion that filled his heart were expressed in every word he uttered.

The whole atmosphere of the large hall where he was lying seemed to vibrate with this emotion. No one can describe the extraordinary sense of holiness which was created by his presence. Everyone knew that the fateful hour was approaching, and that Maharaj was taking his final leave.

During the early hours of the morning, he remained silent for some time and fell into a slumber. At seven o’clock he awoke, and was again possessed by this high spiritual mood. He called the few disciples who had just arrived and who had not been present the previous night. To each he gave his blessing, bestowing comfort and fearlessness.

But so great was the power of his mind, so completely was it freed from the meshes of physical matter, that it remained completely unaffected by the condition of his suffering body. He maintained perfect consciousness right up to the last moment of his life.

As that last evening faded into night, his chest suddenly heaved. It was as if a great wave of breath passed up the body to the throat. His half-closed eyes opened, and he gazed into the distance, his eyes shining with brilliance and unspeakable beauty.

Thus it was that, on April 10, 1922, the life left his body.

‘Do, not grieve. I shall be with you always.’ Those were his last words to his disciples. After his passing away, we all had the feeling that Maharaj was intensely present within us. He was closer to us than ever before. For as long as Maharaj was in the physical body there was a barrier which was now no more.

More than forty years have passed since that day, and every disciple can bear witness to the fact that Maharaj still lives, protects and guides him onward toward the goal.

When I was about to leave India and take up my duties in the United States, Swami Shivananda said to me: ‘Never forget that you have seen the Son of God. You have seen God.’

Haripad Story by Swami Raghunathanandaji Maharaj

Haripad Story by Swami Raghunathanandaji Maharaj

SRI RAMAKRISHNA VACHANAMRITA MAHIMA

From a letter

From : Swami Raghunathananda, Camp — Kalady dated 24.11.09

To Swami Virabhadrananda

Sub.:– Swami Japananda

Dear Virabhadrananda,

As I told you, I give below a short account of late Rev.Japanandaji Maharaj’s visit to Haripad Ashrama when he was a young monk many years ago. Sri P.Seshadri, Director of an institution in Thiruvananthapuram, who was an initiated disciple of most Rev. Brahmanandaji Maharaj was at Haripad at that time. Rev. Japanandaji recalled that, since Sri Seshadri was serving harijan boys, this orthodox father did not allow him to stay in the house. Seshadri was staying in the out house and his food was served by is mother in the verandah. They were such orthodox Brahmins. Seshadri, with a few friends was regularly studying Sri Ramakrishna Vachanamritam. His father wanted to know what they were reading had heard the Gospel read to him on a few days.

When Rev. Japanandaji visited Haripad, Seshadri, with his father and devotees one day visited the Ashrama at evening Arati time. After the Arati, one of the harijan boys of the Ashrama was giving Charanamrita, the holy water as prasadam to all present. When the boy gave the water to Seshadri’s Father, the old man kept it in his hand and suddenly fainted to the anxiety of others present. When he was revived and came to consciousness, Seshadri and others begged his pardon for causing this inconvenience of not informing that the boy was a harijan. But to the surprise of Rev. Japanandaji Maharaj and others, the old man told them that he was not offended by the caste of the boy, but was over whelmed with feeling and wondered whether he was fit enough to be blessed by the touch of Sri Ramakrishna’s puja water. He was so transformed by hearing the Gospel for a few days read to him.

The above incident was narrated to us with feelings by Rev. Japanandaji Mahara, when we were in the Training Centre in 1959 or so.

S/d Ram Maharaj

Swami Raghunathananda

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