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J uly 2010

VOL. 97, No. 7 ISSN 0042-2983


Started at the instance of Swami Vivekananda in 1895 as Brahmavâdin,

it assumed the name The Vedanta Kesari in 1914.
For free edition on the Web, please visit:

July 2010
Vedic Prayers 245
The Reality Behind the Veil 246
„ Prayer of the Heart 255
Pravrajika Brahmaprana
„ Reminiscences of Master Mahashay 250
Ramesh Chandra Sarkar
„ ‘World’s Largest Act of Faith’
—Glimpses of Mahakumbh Mela in Haridwar-2010 259
New Find
„ An Unpublished Letter of Swami Saradananda 268
Special Column
„ Influence of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda on
Contemporary Bengali Literature - III 270
Hironmoy Mukherjee
The Order on the March 279
Book Reviews 281
Simhâvalokanam (Swami Adbhutananda)—249, Vivekananda Tells Stories—276

Cover Story: Page 4


The Vedanta Kesari

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Cover Story
Sri Ramakrishna Temple, Manasadwip
Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Manasadwip (situated in Sagar
Islands). The Ashrama runs a number of educational institu-
tions besides a homoeopathic dispensary and weekly medical
camps. It also carries on relief and welfare work. †
Note: The April 2010 issue carried the picture of Sri Rama-
krishna Temple at Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mis-
sion Seva Samiti Karimganj, Assam. This centre of the Rama-
krishna Order was started in 1917 and was made a branch of
the Ramakrishna Order in 1929. The activities of the centre
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van, and relief operations during calamities. The temple of Sri
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Continued on page 45
VOL. 97, No. 7, JULY 2010 ISSN 0042-2983


Vedic Prayers
Tr. by Swami Sambuddhananda
EH$mo XodÖ gd©^yVofw JyT>Ö gd©Ï`mnr gd©^yVm›VamÀ_m &
H$_m©‹`jÖ gd©^yVm{YdmgÖ gmjr MoVm Ho$dbmo {ZJ©wU¸ &&
—Shvetashvatara Upanishad, VI, 2
EH$Ö one XodÖ God gd©^yVofw in all beings JyT>Ö is concealed gd©Ï`mnr all
pervading gd© ^yVm›VamÀ_m the inner self of all creatures H$_m©‹`jÖ Lord of
all actions gd©^yVm{YdmgÖ the abode of all beings gmjr witness MoVm pure
consciousness Ho$dbÖ single {ZJw©UÖ free from three gunas—Sattva, Tamas
and Rajas M and.
God, the only One, exists hidden in all beings. He is all pervad-
ing and is the inner self of all creatures. He is the Lord (presiding
over) of all actions and the abode of all beings. He is the witness and
pure consciousness free from the three gunas of Nature.

Do not disturb your mind by vain arguments; this truth only becomes
effulgent in the heart which has been made pure. He who cannot be
seen without the greatest difficulty, He who is hidden, He who has
entered the cave of the heart of hearts—the Ancient One—cannot be
seen with the external eyes; seeing Him with the eyes of the soul, one
gives up both pleasure and pain. He who knows this secret gives up all
his vain desires, and attains this superfine perception, and thus becomes
ever blessed. That is the way to blessedness. He is beyond all virtue,
beyond all vice, beyond all duties, beyond all non-duties, beyond all
existence, beyond all that is to be; he who know this, alone knows.
—Swami Vivekananda, CW, 2:408-9
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 245 ~ D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 9
The Reality Behind the Veil
Swami Brahmananda, an eminent direct According to Vedanta, God or Ultimate
disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, though indrawn Reality is hidden behind a screen, as it were.
by temperament, was known for his keen sense Says Sri Krishna in the Gita [3.38]:
of humour and innocent pranks. Often he Yy_oZm{d´`Vo d{ï`©WmXem} _boZ Mü&
would visit or stay at the Calcutta house of
`WmoÎ~oZmd•Vmo J^©ÒVWm VoZoX_md•V_≤ü&&
Balaram Basu, a great householder devotee of
Sri Ramakrishna. The grandchildren of Bala- As fire is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by
dust, as an embryo by the placenta, so is
ram Basu greatly loved ‘Maharaj’, as Swami
Knowledge covered by desire.
Brahmananda was affectionately called. At
times he would play simple games with them An eminent translator of the Gita explains
and crack jokes with them. The following this verse thus:2
story, narrated by Swami Ashokananda, re- Three states of the over-clouding of knowledge
veals how he would have fun with them:1 or Self by desire are described by the three
He [Swami Brahmananda] was always fond of illustrations here given.
children; he liked to play with them, and they The first stage is sattvika—‘fire enveloped by
responded to his affection. One day when he was smoke’—the rise of a slight wind of discri-
visiting Balaram Basu’s family, he dressed himself mination dispels the smoke of desire in a sattvika
in a bearskin that covered him from head to foot heart.
and, thus disguised, appeared, before Balaram’s
The second, the rajasika—the removal of ‘the dust
grandchildren to scare them. They screamed with
on a mirror,’ requires some time and preparation.
genuine alarm, but after the first cry one little
boy said through his tears: ‘I know it’s you, While the third—the tamasika, takes a much
Maharaj. You can’t freighten me! But why did longer time like the release of ‘the embryo’ from
you do it!’ Then Swami Brahmananda laid aside the placenta after birth.
the bearskin and took the little boy in his lap.
Reality of God thus is covered by the
Similarly, when faced with difficult three gunas or qualities of sattva (serenity), rajas
situations and painful moments, we too cry (activity) and tamas (inertia). These three
out to God—with whatever name we may call qualities hide the reality from us.
Him—and ask, ‘I know it’s You. . . But why The Vedanta speaks of this covering as
did you do it!’ Of course, God reveals Himself an avarana or covering. The reality lies covered
and takes us in His lap, in His own way. The up, as it were, and we suffer in the darkness
important thing is recognising that behind all of unreality. This covering is made of avidya
our frightening situations stands He, smiling or ignorance of our divinity and being covered
and reassuring. by it we feel empty within, a kind of lack and
deficiency, which we try to fill up by sensory
The Covering over the Reality enjoyments, possessions and ego-satisfaction.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 246 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Once while explaining this idea to a disciple, behind the veil, we can remove the veil in
Sri Ramakrishna suddenly covered his face four ways:
with the towel and asked him whether he was Y The first way is the way of analysis
able to see his (Sri Ramakrishna’s) face. Of and contemplation. One learns to refine and
course, no. Likewise, he said, there is a use the faculty of discrimination and analyse
covering before our eyes and we are not able the veil called avidya. This requires a keen
to see the reality of our being—or, that of intellect, freedom from all attachments and a
Ultimate Reality called God. Sri Ramakrishna tremendous will power. One realizes, especi-
called this covering as ego. Before the house ally, by freeing oneself from all impurities in
of God is the wall of ego. If one wants to enter the form of attachments and aversions. This
God’s house, one has to scale over the wall. enables one to understand the falsity of the
Not only is there a screen before our eyes, veil. After all, ego or avidya, is only a miscon-
this screen is further covered up by all kinds ception and a misconception can be removed
of sights, sounds, odours, touches and other by correcting our understanding and that is
fascinating things that senses perceive and are what self-analysis does. This is the path of
attached to. It is the world of fascinating Jnana or Knowledge through analysis and
events, persons and places we live in. This investigation into the nature of Reality.
second ‘layer of distractions’ is called vikshepa, Y Another way is to calm the mind and
or ‘scattered’. So, most of us busy ourselves free it from all distractions. A calm and focused
with what is ‘scattered’ over the covering. We mind, in its meditative state, sees the Truth
busy ourselves with the film called life, being beneath the ocean of existence. So, one begins
played on the covering of avidya. We rejoice by withdrawing the mind and concentrating
and suffer after identifying ourselves with all it within, seeking the Reality. Once the mind
that is happening over the screen. A few probe is completely stilled, the Reality stands
deeper and become aware of the underlying revealed. This is the path of meditation—Raja
covering of ego that separates, or seems to Yoga. It is uncovering the veil by concentrating
separate us, from our divinity. Fewer still go on the Reality behind the veil.
further and succeed in removing the covering Y The third way is to understand that
forever and bask in the magnificent light of the veil is opaque from our side. From the
Self behind the separating, limiting and fear- other side, one can see through it. Hence, the
producing add-on called ego (jivatva). Reality called God behind the veil is constantly
seeing and watching us. Feeling His Presence,
Removing the Covering one then does all actions merely for love of
How does one remove this covering? In Him. Freed from all greed and attachment,
the first place, the covering is not a permanent one then performs all works as worship. This
thing. It is described in a contrasting language is the path of doing righteous action in right
—‘it is there and yet it is not there.’ In other spirit—Karma Yoga. The aim of Karma Yoga
words, it is a kind of illusion, real now but is to purify the mind by examining one’s
unreal ultimately. motives, and freeing oneself from all attach-
Let us try to understand the process by ments and selfishness.
extending the simile with which we began. If Y The fourth, and the final, way is to
Ultimate Truth or God has hidden Himself simply cry out one’s heart to the One who is

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 247 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

hiding behind the veil and ask Him to reveal alluring when we look at it from our side.
Himself. It is the path of Bhakti or pure devo- Everything looks golden and alluring from a
tion. It is born of the realisation of the fact distance. So this sage prayed, ‘Your face is
that all efforts to remove the veil are meaning- covered with a golden disk. Do You remove it
less and futile unless He decides to reveal so that I may see the Truth.’ That is the fact:
Himself. It is the path of surrendering and everything is alluring here; everybody is eager
for the things of this world; but that is not seeing
praying to Him to remove the veil.
the Truth. You have to ask Him who is protecting
All the four paths are relevant and effec-
you and the world to remove the golden disk
tive in removing the veil. According to Swamiji
which covers His face. And, you know, that is
synchronizing all the four for removing the
what we have been praying for; we may not
veil covering the Reality is the best. Though
recognize it, but that is always our prayer.
all are valid, one can use one or combine all
How is that disk to be removed? Of course, the
the four and try to remove the veil.
common answer would be that we pray to God
and He will remove the disk from His face. But
The Golden Disk
that is not how it is done. You have to pray to
Though it may look easy, it is not easy God, but you have to make other efforts as well.
to remove the veil. It is so firmly and thoro-
What do you have to do? You have to remove
ughly covering the divine reality of our being
those things within you that make you see the
that any attempt to remove it has to go on for
golden disk over the face of everything. Why do
a long time. A verse in the Isha Upanishad (15) we find this world so alluring and so charming?
speaks of this idea of covering of truth thus: Because we are fools, and we want those things.
{ha _`oZ nmÃoU gÀ`Ò`m{n{hVß _wI_≤ü& The world looks so beautiful. As you outgrow
VŒdß nyffinmd•Uw gÀ`Y_m©` —ÓQ>`oü&& childhood everything seems to tempt you
everything looks beautiful. That is what is called
The face of Truth is covered by a golden cover. youth. Your body has matured, your senses have
Do thou, O Sun, open it so as to be seen by me become stronger; the inner senses look upon
who am by nature truthful. everything through the outer senses, and every-
Here is an insightful observation on what thing looks tempting. So if you can remove this
is meant by ‘the face of Truth is covered by a inner sense of glamour and do not pursue these
golden disk’, temptations, the world will not look alluring. . .
You will catch a glimpse of the real golden colour
Isn’t it true that this world is covered with a
of the face of Truth.3
golden disk? Everybody wants the golden disk.
. . .The word golden wasn’t meant here to To ‘catch a glimpse' of the ‘real gold’ is
symbolize wealth. Why, then, is the disk that what we are all trying knowingly or unknow-
hides the face of Truth called golden? I think ingly. At last we find that the gold is not out
you know the answer. If the moon were to see there but within us. All our search for the gold
the earth, it would find it golden—certainly outside is actually the search of ‘gold’ within:
alluring—just as we find the moon golden and the gold of joy, peace and eternal life. †

1. God Lived with Them, Swami Chetanananda, Swarupananda, Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, p.92
Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata; p.119 3. When the Many Becomes One, Swami Ashokananda,
2. Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Tr. and notes by Swami Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, pp.89-90

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 248 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
From the Archives of THE VEDANTA KESARI
(June-July, 1920-21, pp. 63-64)

Swami Adbhutananda

He [Swami Adbhutananda] had no book knowledge. The

story runs that Sri Ramakrishna brought a first primer of Bengali
alphabets and wanted to teach him, but his peculiar intonation made his Master burst into a
loud laughter and Sri Ramakrishna gave him up for a hopeless case. So his studentship was
nipped in the bud. But he would listen to the sacred books with great attention and could
easily understand and assimilate their import. Through the grace of his Master, he knew that
by knowing which all other things become known. So nothing was new to him. One day one
Sannyasin read out to him a sloka from the Katha Upanishad [II.iii.16]:—
AìxÓR>_mÃÖ nwÈfmo@›VamÀ_m gXm OZmZmß ˆX`o gß{Z{dÔ>Öü&
Vß Òdm¿N>aramÀ‡d•ho›_wƒOm{XdofrH$mß Y°`}Uü&
‘The Purusha of the size of a thumb, the inner soul, dwells always in the heart of beings.
One should separate Him from the body as the stalk from a grass.’ He was very pleased to
hear this and said ‘It is quite right.’ As he had attained this stage, he could easily understand
the most subtle indication of the above Sruti. Hearing from other people he arrived at such
well-thought solutions of all intricate problems of life that even modern cultured people would
be astonished to hear his clear expositions of them in plain and simple language punctuated
with homely illustrations. The perfection which is the aim of all education, he did achieve.
The immortal Swami Vivekananda used to say, ‘If we think of the humble circumstances
which Latu came from and how he was illumined in spirituality just the same like all of us, he
must be regarded much greater than any of us. All of us are born of high family and came to
the Great Master with cultured minds and tutored intelligence. But Latu knew not the a, b, c,
of his own language. When we could not continue meditation and higher religious practices,
we would take to reading for some time for a change. But he had to continue the same routine
of Sadhana throughout his life. But still he kept his brain cool. We get the proof of his innate
strength and the boundless grace of the Master upon him from the high spiritual attainments of
Latu Moharaj was of a peculiar temperament. He could mix with all—both the young and
old—equally and wholeheartedly. All people would flock to him. Egoism was completely killed
in him. He was very frank, plain spoken, and at times fiery even. His holy conversation with the
devotees was but the breaking forth of the fire of spirituality which was burning within. †
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 249 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
Reminiscences of Master Mahashay

Master Mahashay, Mahendranath Gupta, or ‘M’, was an eminent householder disciple of Sri
Ramakrishna. He recorded the conversations of Sri Ramakrishna in Bengali and published them later
as Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita (translated into English: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna). The
following is the translation of reminiscences of ‘M’ from Srima Samipe, [In the Proximity of ‘M’], a
book in Bengali, edited by Swami Chetanananda (Udbodhan Office: Calcutta, 1996), pp.69-87. Swami
Chetanananda (the translator of the present article) is the Head of Vedanta Society of St. Louise, USA.
He has to his credit several notable books in Bengali and English, translations as well as original.

Morton Institution: Sunday, 2 February Weaklings weep and wail as they sit in their
1919, 5:30 pm boats. There is a kind of bird named the stormy
My friend Banabihari and I visited M. in petrel. When a cyclone starts in the ocean, the
his bedroom. He was reclining on his bed. He animals onshore become afraid and hide in
asked us to sit down, and then he sang some the forest. At that time the stormy petrel
songs in a low voice. ‘What do you do?’ he emerges from the cleft in the cliffs and flies
asked me. joyfully against the strong wind [M. demon-
I responded: ‘I want to give up my strated by spreading his arms]. Likewise, we all
studies.’ must go through difficulties in life, and we
‘Why?’ need courage and self-effort to do so.
‘I have many problems and no peace.’ “Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, bes-
‘Well, that is natural. As long as you have tows favour on bold and enthusiastic people;
a body, you will face unrest and anxiety.’ cowards say that luck brings favour.” Self-
‘I need your blessing.’ effort is a small part of that infinite power. If
‘Pray to God wholeheartedly. He will you lack strength, please apply to the head
definitely listen.’ office—i.e., God. God does everything. As a
M. gave us some rock candy prasad, then snake, He bites; and again as a doctor, He
continued: ‘Why do we experience suffering? cures. He traps human beings with maya, yet
It is so that we can realize that this world is as the guru He awakens their consciousness.
like a dream. God put lust and anger and other It is impossible to understand His lila [play].’
things into our minds so that He could make
us great souls. Only an expert boatman can Morton Institution, 3 February 1919, 4 pm
save his boat from a storm. One or two M. asked me to sit on the carpet and gave
boatmen are happy when they face tidal me a copy of Sri Ramakrishna Punthi to read.
waves. They boast, “Watch how we can break Then he asked Banabihari to sing a song.
through these waves and save our boats.” Banabihari sang: ‘O black bee of my mind, be

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 250 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

absorbed in the nectar of the lotus feet of in that temple. Every day during meditation,
Ramakrishna.’ you should think of that place and mentally
‘Very good!’ M. exclaimed. ‘Devotional bow down to the Divine Mother. Thus you
songs lead the mind to God. Yogis keep their will achieve meditation on the Master. A place
minds focussed on God. One will float in bliss where the Master has been even once becomes
if one can develop a little love for Him. So holy. He is the avatar, the Lord of the Uni-
yogis do not let their minds wander to other verse.’
objects. Direct your mind towards God and M. then put his hand under his chadar
try to love Him. What will you gain if you and began to repeat his mantra, becoming
only love your family members and concen- deeply absorbed.
trate upon them all the time? One day they
will all die; and when you lose them you will Morton Institution, 4 February 1919, 4 pm
suffer from grief. I bowed down to M. and sat on the
One of my friends built a hut on the bank carpet. After handing me an issue of the
of the Narmada River. There he has been Udbodhan magazine to read, he began to cough.
chanting the name of Rama for the last thirteen ‘I see you are not well today,’ I said.
years, striving to realize God.’ M. replied: ‘You see, I am now an old
He then sang: man. This body will get a disease and then
die. This is nothing to wonder about. I am an
Raghupati raghava raja ram, patita pavana sita-
old man; why should I worry about something
that is inevitable? A raw fruit does not fall
Ram ram jaya raja ram, ram ram jaya sita-ram.
even during a storm, whereas a ripe fruit falls
[O Rama, King of the Raghu dynasty, you even when the wind is still. When lust and
are the saviour of the soul. Victory to Rama and anger appear in the mind during one’s youth,
Victory to Sita.] one should not be discouraged or think that
When the elderly attendant wanted to one’s spiritual life is doomed. At that time,
light the kerosene lantern, M. said to him: ‘Not one should resolve: “I must overcome these
now. It is not yet evening.’ Then I got up to obstacles.” When some people experience lust
close the window, and M. saw Sri Ramakrishna and anger, they think they are great sinners
Punthi lying on the carpet. He said: ‘Never and become depressed. Don’t pay any atten-
put holy books on the floor near the feet. Pay- tion to those things. They are natural impulses,
ing respect to the scriptures is a sign of devo- normal to the human system.
tion.’ He then sprinkled Ganges water on his In one’s youth one should fight against
head and on the others present. Now and then such animal instincts, as the stormy petrel
he checked to see if he could see the hair on fights against the wind. For this reason, our
his arm; when he could not, he asked that the sages introduced brahmacharya [celibacy] to
lantern be lit.1 prepare us to face these obstacles. There are
A brahmachari arrived who had received so many obstacles in this world! God has
prasad at the temple of Siddheswari Kali of created these obstacles, yet as a guru He
Thanthania, which Sri Ramakrishna had rescues us and tells how to overcome them.
visited many times. M. said to the brahma- He created great souls so that we can have the
chari: ‘You are blessed to have received prasad company of the holy.’

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 251 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

In the Gita [2.54], how did Arjuna ask He is the doer and makes others act. We may
Krishna for the signs of a great soul? “How or may not realize this.’
does the man of steady wisdom speak; how
does he sit; how does he move?” Their actions, 8 February 1919, Evening
their words, even their facial expressions—all I visited M. in the evening; a few devo-
are exquisite. Have you not read in the Gospel tees were present.
how one moment the Master would be M. said: ‘What divine intoxication the
laughing and the next he would continue Master experienced! What attraction for God!
talking on exalted spiritual topics? Everything Ah, those days are gone. One day the Master
about him was connected with God. There came to Calcutta, but he was eager to return
have been so many great souls born in this to Dakshineswar. He was like a fish floun-
country, and so many seers of God! There are dering on the ground, desperate to return to
so many holy places on the banks of the the water. Calcutta was infested with lust and
Ganges and in the Himalayas. We are blessed gold, but Dakshineswar was the abode of
to have been born in this country. Look at the Mother Kali—free from worldly things. When
West, how they are killing each other in the the Master saw the attendants of the Divine
war. [This was during the First World War.] Life Mother, he would experience Her presence.
is empty to them. Now they may try to accept One day Rasik, the temple sweeper,
the Master’s message that God alone is real.’ bowed down to the Master with folded hands
‘Do you think the world will accept this and asked, “Master, shall I achieve anything
idea?’ I asked. in this life?” The Master replied: “Of course
‘Why not? The idea of God is common you will get something. You will have a divine
to all. Is the Master limited to a small body? vision. You are a servant of the Mother and
He is God and sees everyone equally. He loves you keep this temple clean.”
everyone in every nation. But we are fortunate Once I saw the Master sweeping the
that He was born amongst us.’ garden path in Dakshineswar. He remarked,
“Mother walks on this path.” As he said this
Thakur Bari, 6 February 1919, 11 am he went into ecstasy, repeating, “Mother,
I asked M.: ‘When did you write the Katha- Mother.” He would talk to the devotees for
mrita? Did you write at night after working all their welfare. The Master said: “It is normal
day? It must have been exhausting.’ for this mind [i.e., his mind] to remain absorbed
M. replied: ‘Is it possible to achieve in God; the reverse is abnormal.” The normal
anything without hard labour? Yes, I used to state of bamboo is to be straight, but due to
write at night. Sometimes I listened to the gravity it bends—that is abnormal. You see,
Master’s conversation, and then wrote it down one should accept the Master’s words. He said
in my diary the next day after meditation.’ that Chaitanya was an avatar; therefore we
Then he opened a page from the Chandi [4:11] should believe this firmly.
and recited, “O Devi, you are the intelligence One day after samadhi he touched his
by which the essence of all scriptures is chest and said, “I am the avatar in every age.”
comprehended.” Have I done this work? It God has form and is also formless. He comes
was the Master’s work; he did it. He appeared as an avatar. The Master said this, so it must
in me as medha [the power of remembrance]. be true. What do you think?

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A devotee asked: ‘Does anybody achieve from the Divine Mother and come down to
anything by visiting a holy place?’ the cage of flesh and bone.’
M. replied: ‘One should not cultivate a A monk had sent a devotee to M. with
negative attitude, such as, “It is useless to visit some string beans from the Belur Math garden.
a holy place” or “I have no devotion.” One When the beans were cooked, M. offered them
should have self-confidence. Please develop to the Master. He took a little and distributed
faith in the scriptures and holy places. The the rest among the devotees. What great regard
Master said, “If you bite a chilli, whether you he had for Belur Math!
know it or not, your tongue will burn.” It is
the quality of the chilli and not of the eater. Wednesday, 12 February 1919, 1:30 pm
Similarly, if one associates with the holy people A devotee from Ballygunj said to M.:
in a sacred place, one comes under their influ- ‘You are very fortunate to have touched, seen,
ence automatically and new samskaras [impres- heard, and served Sri Ramakrishna.’
sions] grow. A holy place is not an ordinary ‘I am not the only fortunate one,’ M.
place: it is where the deities, avatars, and holy responded. ‘The Master said that all his
people live. Their influence is palpable there.’ children would inherit his treasures: discri-
mination, renunciation, knowledge, devotion,
11 February 1919, Afternoon and love. Those who think of the Master
After visiting Swami Saradananda at develop good qualities.’
Udbodhan and Swami Brahmananda at
Balaram’s house, I went to see M. I raised the Friday, 15 February 1919
topic of reliance on God. A brahmachari said to M.: ‘You were the
M.: ‘God takes responsibility for human first person to preach the Master’s teachings.’
beings. There are so many birds and beasts. M. replied: ‘The Master preached his own
Who takes responsibility for them? Men? Men teachings. Arjuna said in the Gita [10:12-13]:
cannot even take responsibility for themselves.’ “All the sages have declared You to be the eter-
One should learn to endure pain and nal, self-luminous Person, the first of the gods,
suffering. At one time the Master’s arm broke. unborn and all-pervading; likewise have
Some devotees tried to cover it up so that the divine sages Narada, Asita, Devala, and
people would not know that such a holy man Vyasa proclaimed. So, too, have You said unto
had broken his arm. But the Master would me.”’
show people his injury and say, “Look, my A gentleman asked M.: ‘Did you visit
arm was fractured.” Ah, he embraced suffer- Paramahamsadeva? Are you his disciple?’
ing, so that others could learn to endure ‘It is hard for me to say that I am his
suffering. This was a song he sang then: disciple,’ M. said. ‘I am the servant of his
Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my servants. My Lord is the Lord of the Universe.
heart, Did he come for one person only? He came
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I for the whole of humanity. We are all his
am wide awake, children. He is an avatar.’
There should be robbery in my house.
He could have cured himself with a mere Tuesday, 18 February 1919, 4:30 p.m.
wish. But he could not force his mind away I arrived at M.’s at 4:30 p.m.

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M. was speaking on the Kathamrita: ‘What God? While thinking of a formless God, some
a wonderful thing the Master produced! Such imagine a Being seated on a big throne with
a thing does not exist for other avatars. The his feet hanging down. We are limited, so how
Kathamrita is like a photograph, an exact can we conceive of That which is unlimited?
reproduction. It depicts the place, time, tithi Can you put six ounces of water in a one-
or lunar day, even the high and low tides of ounce pot? Although God is infinite, He
the Ganges. If someone reads this book after becomes finite when he takes a form as an
visiting Dakshineswar, he or she will experi- avatar. He does this so that devotees can
ence deep meditation. meditate on Him. The Master told some of his
We need the company of the holy. I wan- devotees: “It is not necessary to think of other
ted to visit those places where the Master went deities. Just think of me.”
and to have the company of the holy. But I When the Master was ill in Cossipore,
am old and it is hard for me to walk. What to one night at 1:00 am Swamiji came to him
do? So I meditate on the monks, which is akin besmeared with ashes. He said to the Master,
to holy company. After visiting sadhus, one “Would you like to hear a song?” With his
should meditate on them. It is marvellous to beautiful voice he sang a hymn asserting that
meditate on the avatar, the King of the Sadhus. the Master was God Himself in human form.
Paramahamsadeva was an avatar. One cannot When a person like Swamiji accepts the Master
reach God without meditating on the avatar.’ as an incarnation of God, we have no other
M. then read from Swami Vivekananda’s option than to admit this. To the man whom
Bhakti Yoga: ‘We cannot conceive of God except the Master loved and considered to be a good
through these human manifestations.’ vessel for his teachings, he revealed his true
He continued: ‘Some say that God is nature. He told Swamiji: “I am an avatar. It
formless. How can one think of a formless will be enough if you meditate on me.”’ †
Note : 1. The practice among many orthodox Hindus is to lit the lamp or perform arati in the evening when it
is neither fully bright nor fully dark. This semi-dark moment is determined by looking at the hair on
one's arm. When the hairs are not visible, that is considered as the right time for lighting the evening
lamp or performing arati.

It is no exaggeration to call Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings an

Upanishad. A sage like the rishis of old was born in our age.
This was Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. . . Learned men with a
command of language can and do write excellent essays and
discourses. But these writings lack true life. Sri Ramakrishna was a
mahatma who saw God in his heart and in all things in the world outside. He
saw Him in all things with the same certainty and strength of feeling with
which we see each other. . . There is a peculiar power in the words of those
who lead a godly life. They have a force which the exhortations of merely learned
and intellectual men do not have. When a maharishi talks, it is his whole life that
speaks through him, not mere intellect.
—C. Rajagopalachari

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 254 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
Prayer of the Heart

(Continued from previous issue. . .)

Inner Conversion hands and the exhalation of his body was to

As we practice japam with patience and inoculate it with holy power—the power of the
perseverance through the ups and downs of first man’s innocence.39
life, our love for God will grow and we will We are reminded of a similar incident
begin to feel nearer to Him. When our mind that occurred in Vrindavan and recorded in
becomes fixed like a mariner’s compass, we the Eternal Companion:
will begin to feel prompted from within to
An aged holy man of the Vaishnava sect was
call upon God alone. At this stage, we will sitting in one corner (of a Krishna temple),
feel the joy of spiritual life from within our counting his beads. Suddenly he turned toward
own heart. Maharaj and beckoned him to approach,
Not only does prayer transform the body, indicating with affectionate gestures that he
it empowers the rosary. should sit down beside him. The two began to
One winter evening, as the Pilgrim was meditate; as Maharaj became absorbed, he felt
walking alone through the forest, a great wolf the Vaishnava touch his head with his beads.
suddenly appeared and leapt at him. Armed He did this repeatedly, and each time, as
only with his starets’ woollen rosary, the Brahmananda received the saint’s touch, the hair
Pilgrim swung at the wolf with that. Mys- on his body stood on end and he experienced
teriously, it was torn out of his hands, caught an ecstatic joy.40
on the bough of a dead tree, and simul-
taneously twisted around the wolf’s neck—a The Power of Mantra
fluke. When the Pilgrim took hold of the The Jesus Prayer, or mantra japa, not only
rosary, the wolf then snapped it and fled. transfigures, empowers and protects, but it is
When the frightened Pilgrim finally ventured first and foremost a means to final illumi-
on to the closest village further, he met an old nation. Through repetition of the Name of the
man, who upon hearing the story, explained Lord, the Pilgrim received many beautiful
the ‘fluke’: spiritual experiences—experiences which tally
What is the meaning of sanctity? …When the closely with the scriptures and revelations of
soul becomes holy the body becomes holy also. rishis in the Hindu tradition. Without over
The rosary has always been in the hands of a analysis and thus running the risk of dimini-
sanctified person: the effect of the contact of his shing their sanctity, we can feast on the

Pravrajika Brahmaprana is a nun at the Vedanta Society of Southern California, Hollywood. In addition to writing
articles for various publications in America and abroad, she has also edited With the Swamis in America and
India, by Swami Atulananda, the Vivekacudamani of Sri Sankaracarya, translated by Swami Turiyananda, and
volume 9 of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. …

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 255 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

mystical experiences of others, and thereby his disciple. With the dawn of mantra-shakti,
enrich our own level of consciousness and the presence of the guru, or guru-shakti, is
spiritual practices by their light. also awakened in the mantra. The Pilgrim
The Pilgrim described the Jesus Prayer experienced this phenomenon. He wrote:
as ‘the radiant Name’, because along with its I felt the action of the Prayer in my heart . . .
repetition, came light—the light of pure con- Suddenly I saw something flash quickly before
sciousness which was given to the mind and my eyes, in the air as it were, like the figure of
increased his capacity to understand the my departed starets, I started, and so as to hide
scriptures. In his words, ‘I could easily grasp the fact I said, ‘Excuse me, I must have dropped
and dwell upon matters of which up to now I asleep for a moment,’ Then I felt as though the
had not been able even to think of.’ Any soul of my starets made its way into my own, or
sincere seeker can experience this, as it is a gave light to it, I felt a sort of light in my mind,
common revelation—especially to those who and a number of ideas about prayer came to
daily read the same scripture—that often me.42
deeper meaning of a passage will suddenly
dawn, or, perhaps, an overlooked passage will Japa and Sàkshi Bhava
simply strike one for the first time. This is a Repetition of the Jesus Prayer also
sign of spiritual progress. brought in its wake a concentrated spirit of
With any experience, there are various detachment, strongly resembling what is
levels. The Pilgrim attained a very high degree known in Vedanta as ‘the Witness state of
of knowledge, as he was even able to discern consciousness.’ An outer clue to this inner
the speech of all created beings—even in the experience is the Pilgrim’s calm reaction to
animal kingdom. what would look to us like an unfortunate
Those of us who are familiar with Sri chain of events.
Ramakrishna, the Great Master, are aware that In this connection, once a devoted, young
through his sadhana, Sri Ramakrishna’s yogic girl whom the Pilgrim had instructed in
senses were so heightened, that in the words prayer, pursued him as he left her village and
of Swami Saradananda: begged to be saved from a pending marriage,
The Master heard, arising naturally and un- by being safely placed in a convent some-
ceasingly everywhere in the universe, the where. The Pilgrim was at a loss as to what to
Anahata Dhvani, the great Pranava sound, which do, but no sooner had she arrived at his side,
is the aggregate of all the different sounds of than several men rode up in a carriage, seized
the universe. the girl and the Pilgrim too. The girl was sent
Some of us heard this from the Master himself back to her parents, but the Pilgrim was
and also heard him say that he could at that brought to trial for the false charge of attemp-
time understand the meaning of the cries of all ted abduction. But the amazing thing is the
animals.41 way in which the Pilgrim described this
Those who are familiar with the Tantric experience:
mantra shastras and the practice of japam are Early in the morning, two country policemen
acquainted with the idea that the guru came, flogged me and drove me out of the
empowers the mantra and thus ‘lives,’ as it village. I went off thanking God that He counted
were, in the Holy Name he has transmitted to me worthy to suffer for His Name. This com-

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 256 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

forted me and gave still more warmth and glow This level of consciousness was experi-
to my ceaseless interior prayer. None of these enced by Swami Brahmananda. ‘There are
things made me feel at all cast down. It was as times when it becomes impossible for me to
though they happened to someone else, and I teach anyone,’ he said.
merely watched them. Even the flogging was No matter where I look, I see only God, wearing
within my power to bear. The Prayer brought many masks. Who am I, the teacher? Who is to
sweetness into my heart, and made me unaware, be taught? How can God teach God? But when
so to speak, of anything else.43 my mind comes down again, to a lower level, I
Sri Ramakrishna told a similar story see the ignorance in man and I try to remove
about a pious weaver to describe this spiritual it.46
attitude of complete nonattachment. The
weaver related his story to the magistrate: The Bliss Ultimate
Your Honour, by the will of Rama, I was sitting Not only does mantra sadhana reveal
in the courtyard. By the will of Rama, it was God within oneself, and within others, but also
very late in the night. By the will of Rama, I was it reveals Brahman with eyes open. From the
meditating upon God and repeating His holy
Jesus Prayer, any aspirant like the Pilgrim can
name. By the will of Rama, a band of robbers
have the Upanishadic realization: ‘In joy
passed that way. By the will of Rama, they
springs this universe; in joy dwells this
dragged me away with them. By the will of
universe; and in joy dissolves this universe.’
Rama, they broke into a house. By the will of
Rama, they piled a load on my head. By the will
This is the experience of ananda—Bliss
of Rama, I was caught. Then by the will of Rama, Absolute. To quote the Pilgrim:
I was kept in prison and this morning I am The whole world outside also seemed to me full
brought before your Honour. of charm and delight. Everything drew me to
The magistrate, seeing the innocence and love and thank God, people, trees, plants,
spirituality of the man, ordered him to be ac- animals. I saw them all as my kinsfolk, I found
on all of them the magic of the Name of Jesus.47
quitted. Coming out, the weaver said to his
friends, ‘By the will of Rama, I have been This is not simply a mood, but an actual
released.’44 experience corroborated by rishis of a high
Such is the power of the Name that one order. In the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna we can
can transcend this maya, no matter how pain- read the Master’s experience in his own words:
ful or brutal. I used to worship the Deity in the Kali temple.
Not only did the Pilgrim see God within, It was suddenly revealed to me that everything
but also without. He experienced Christ’s is Pure Spirit. The utensils of worship, the altar,
dictum: ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself.’ How? the door-frame—all Pure Spirit. Men, animals,
In the words of the holy Father Nicetas and other living beings—all Pure Spirit. Then
like a madman I began to shower flowers in all
directions. Whatever I saw I worshipped.
He who has attained to true prayer and love has
no sense of the difference between things; from One day, while worshipping Shiva, I was about
the sinner, but loves them all equally and judges to offer a bel-leaf on the head of the image, when
no man, as God causes His sun to shine [light of it was revealed to me that this Virat, this
the Atman] and His rain to fall [law of karma] Universe, itself is Shiva. After that, my worship
on the just and the unjust.45 of Shiva through the image came to an end.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 257 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Another day, I had been plucking flowers, when the kingdom of heaven within, the Christ loka,
it was revealed to me that the flowering plants while living. In this connection, a senior swami
were so many bouquets.48 of the Ramakrishna Order said, ‘When you
From The Way of a Pilgrim, we can see are doing japa or meditating—you are already
how one aspirant entered the kingdom of in the presence of the Ishta. That itself is its
heaven. But how can this apply to us, here fulfilment.’ Put a little differently, a pioneer
and now? Once Swami Vijnanananda asked swami in America once related to an intimate
Mahapurush Maharaj where he would go after gathering of long-time devotees:
giving up the body, Swami Shivananda
I’ll tell you a secret: as you go to meditate, be
answered: ‘Ramakrishna loka’; whereupon
aware that the Lord is seated in your heart. That
Swami Vijnanananda replied: ‘To keep
is no imagination; it is the reality. When you
constant recollectedness of Him here and now
have His vision, you will realize that He knew
is Ramakrishna loka—in this world while
all the time, that He accepted all that you offered
Him.50 †
Similarly to repeat the Name of Christ
and to remember him constantly is to enter (Concluded.)

39. The Way of a Pilgrim, p. 45. 45. Ibid., p.97
40. The Eternal Companion, pp 47-8. 46. The Eternal Companion, p.87
41. Swami Saradananda, Swami Jagadananda, trans., 47. The Way of a Pilgrim, p. 106
Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master (Madras: Sri 48. Swami Nikhilananda, The Gospel of Sri Rama-
Ramakrishna Math, 1952), p. 201. krishna (Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai), p. 396
42. The Way of a Pilgrim, pp. 83-4. 49. Swami Apurvananda, compiled Swami Vijnana-
43. The Way of a Pilgrim, p. 54. nanda (Muthiganj: Sri Ramakrishna Math,1954),
44. Swami Abhedananda, The Gospel of Ramakrishna Pp.90-1
(New York: The Vedanta Society, 1907), p. 91. 50. Unpublished Reminiscences

Upagupta, one of Buddha’s great disciples, was a holy man. In the course of his
travels, he met a charming young woman of loose morals who wanted him to be her
lover. ‘Physical enjoyments bring suffering in the long run’, Upagupta said as he left
her, but he promised to return if she needed him. Years rolled by, and the woman
became a prey to a disease which ravaged her beauty until she was nothing but a mass
of rotting flesh. She thought intensely of Upagupta and he returned to her at once.
‘When my body was beautiful and adorned with silken garments and many jewels, you
refused to come. Why do you come now when I have become so disgusting?’ Upagupta
replied, ‘Sister, for him who sees and understands, you have lost nothing. My love for
you is deeper than that love which depends on the vain outer appearance.’ Her eyes
brightened and hope returned to her. Ultimately she was able to receive Buddha’s
message of enlightenment and found illumination and peace.
—Meditation and Spiritual Life, p.583-584

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 258 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
‘World’s Largest Act of Faith’
Glimpses of Mahakumbh Mela in Haridwar-2010

(Continued from previous issue. . .)

2010 Kumbh—Some Facts undertook the mighty task of organising the

Taking a holy dip in Ganga is central to Mahakumbh Mela. Elaborate arrangements
Kumbh Mela or Parva. Based on astrological were made and several hundreds of crores of
calculations, specific dates, held as auspicious, rupees were spent by the State Government
are fixed for the holy baths. for the smooth running of the Mela. Temporary
This time, beginning from January 14, the camps were set up to accommodate about 12
Parva continued until April 28th, comprising lakh pilgrims and monks. Nearly 60,000
all full moon (purnima), moonless nights security personnel manned the Mela area
(amavasya) and other sacred days that fell which covered nearly 130 square km spanning
during this period. Haridwar, Dehradun, Tehri and Pauri districts.
The Mela arrangements and related The entire Kumbh Mela area was divided
administration were efficiently carried out by into 12 zones and 32 sectors. Many temporary
the Uttarakhand State Government which and permanent bridges were constructed to

A view of the temples on the banks of the Ganga

The author is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 259 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

decongest movement of pilgrims. Several new According to the State Government, this
bathing ghats were constructed, extending the time, from January 14 to April 28, more than
total length of ghats to 25 km; many stretches six crore people took bath in the Ganga.
of roads were relaid to spruce up the whole According to another source, it was ‘the
Kumbh area. world’s largest peaceful gathering ever’.
Townships of festooned tents stretched
wherever eyes could see. Multitudes of people At Haridwar
kept pouring in through every inlet and the We arrived at Haridwar some four days
police were doing a near impossible job of before the main bathing day of April 14th
directing them to riverbanks that overflowed (mukhya shahi snan). As we alighted at the
with people resting, cooking, sleeping, bathing, Haridwar Railway Station (the station building
singing or just waiting. has the look of a Hindu temple), we could
There were elaborate arrangements in sense the festivities vibrant in the air. Although
place to maintain law and order and provide the Indian Railways had run several Kumbh-
medical care and other assistance to the special trains, yet nearly all the trains that came
pilgrims. A Central Control Room (CCR) with in and left the station were overflowing with
modern communication systems was establi- people. More than 90 percent of passengers in
shed for round-the-clock monitoring and the train, in which we travelled, too, were
management of the pilgrims’ movement, pilgrims.
especially in the Hari-ki-pauri area. While proceeding to our ‘camp’ at the
A public address system covering the Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama at Kankhal,
entire city of Haridwar and Kankhal was busy the century-old charitable hospital started at
announcing, besides other pieces of infor- the instance of Swami Vivekananda, we could
mation, the names or descriptions of the young see many eye-catching billboards by various
and the old who had lost their relatives. At sadhus and organisations, welcoming pilgrims
times, the announcements (such as an old lady to the Kumbh. Besides welcoming, these
who had got separated from her relatives and billboards also informed about the dates and
was waiting for six hours) moved our hearts. venues of various Kathas and Pravachans
Several thousands of such incidents would (discourses) in progress. There was such
have happened, we were told. variety of billboards! One board that had its
presence all over the Kumbh areas was that of
a monk bearing the name Soham Baba,
advising people to plant more trees, do better
waste disposal and work seriously to check
global warming. There were also boards
urging the Hindus to wake up to the need of
the hour and protect and nurture their religion
and culture.
At the Kankhal Sevashrama arrangement
had been made to accommodate 2000 devotees
A sadhu on from all over India. There were similar
one of the Ganga-ghats arrangements in many akhadas and ashramas.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 260 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

The whole of Kankhal Ashrama, its temple, offered lamps and flowers and even milk and
hospital and other buildings, had been honey. What love and shraddha for Ganga Mai!
illuminated with serial lights and a colourful There was, again, a young man from the
Pandal for conducting cultural and religious nearby mountains, who had brought his ailing,
programmes had been put up. old mother. As she could barely stand, he
In the next four days, we went to Hari- carried her on his back all the time. Another
ki-pauri everyday and had our bath there—in man, on one of the ghats, kept bringing Ganga
the midst of crowds of pilgrims. In view of water, in his cupped hands, to be poured on
the Mela, all private and public vehicles had his old mother who was too infirm to get into
been restricted and except for a few police waters. While children frolicked around on the
jeeps, a small number of cycle rickshaws and ghats, quite a few were scared by the ice-chill
official vehicles, no vehicles were allowed to waters and pleaded with their elders to spare
ply during the Mela days. Roads, lanes, ghats, them from taking a bath. But once inside the
all were crowded with people. People, people, Ganga Mai, they were all joy and invigorated!
people everywhere! What a mind-boggling After their baths, while some sat down
diversity of humankind it was! All forms of on the steps and offered short pujas, many
traditional Indian clothing were visible as also others just relaxed, watching the Ganga flow
were heard diverse languages and dialects by. There were also people observing Kalpa-
spoken in India. vasa, a month-long vow wherein the practi-
As we walked along the ghats, we could tioner rose early, bathed in the Ganga, ate self-
see pilgrims bathing—old, young, men, cooked food once a day and repeated a certain
women, sadhus. While bathing, they made number God’s name (japa). Most of them
water-offerings to the Mother Ganga; some would observe it on the banks of the Ganga.
Shops in the narrow lane and bazaar
behind the ashrama and temples did brisk
business. There was much trade of rudraksha
and sphatika malas, black and red thread malas,
brass and copper vessels for puja, pictures of
gods and goddesses and bhajan CDs, along
with prasad packets and eatables of all kinds.
Pilgrims thronged shops to buy memorabilia
to commemorate their Kumbh visit.
We may mention here that this Kumbh
Mela was perhaps the most photographed
Kumbh Mela—thanks to digital cameras and
mobile cameras. For every little event or place,
one could see someone taking a photograph!
Haridwar wore a festive look. Many
buildings had been painted and illumined by
serial lights. Faith and joy were in the air.
While endless number of people kept walking
Pilgrims cooking by the road side towards Hari-ki-pauri and other ghats, there

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 261 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

was no anxiety on their faces. Pilgrims were Neeldhara of Ganga, accommodating Vaish-
pouring in—in big and small groups, nay nav Ani, or the Bairagi Akhadas. It was a huge
whole villages. All they carried was a bag or affair. There were, perhaps, nearly 60-70
two placed on their head or hung on their akhadas who had put up their camps there.
shoulders, and an unshakable faith in the glory In all akhadas, devotees and Bairagi sadhus,
of their Ganga Mai. There were, for example, with large religious marks (tilak or namam) on
a number of village women, who came in their foreheads, attended to their rituals and
groups, singing some folk songs in praise of practices in the morning and in the evening.
Ganga, Kumbh or God. Their singing was full There were Pravachans, arati and Prasad dis-
of joy for ‘having come to Kumbh.’ We saw tribution. There were also cultural program-
some village women playing kar-tals (round mes depicting scenes from the lives of Rama
metal instrument used for keeping time while and Krishna. Some of the camps had huge wel-
singing) while they sang Bhajans, and danced. come arches and fancy facades. In one camp,
After the bath, we saw one night, they we saw an organisation’s efforts to provide
just settled down under some roadside tree, free medical care to polio victims. Free sur-
spread a sheet of cloth and slept over it. They geries had been conducted on affected children
lit small kerosene stoves that they carried, or who were seen recouping in a make shift camp
put two bricks and lit a fire of small pieces of nearby. They were also provided with artificial
wood and made their simple fares of chapattis limbs and an exhibition on the organisation’s
and dal. They were pilgrims to the core! service activities had been put up.
In another Bairagi akhada, we saw
Amazing Sights people sitting amidst a circle of fire lit using
There were two visits which we espe- cow-dung cakes, meditating and doing Japa.
cially remember. One was to the Bairagi Whatever one might say about it, that was
Akhada Camps—a temporary township on the quite an inspiring sight!
Spread over several acres,
the Bairagi akhadas’ camp was
colourfully decorated. But as it
was located in an otherwise dry,
dusty place, the constant move-
ment of pilgrims had raised a
dust cloud which had covered
the whole place! At night the
whole place looked so different,
it was filled with a variety of
sounds—bhajans, discourses,
cultural programmes, announ-
cements and so on. A religious
cacophony at its best!
Some of the monks who
had gone to visit Mandaleshwar
A view of the Bairagi akhadas’ camp Nagar, on the Gauri Shankar

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 262 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Dweep, on the other side of Neeldhara recalled respects to the naga sadhus, who in return
similar arrangements for the Dashanami gave them some ash or touched their heads
monks. There were also camps where the with peacock feathers or steel tongs (chimta).
Shankaracharyas of Dwarka and Puri were Signs of modernisation were also visible every-
accommodated. In a relative sense, the Man- where. Though without any clothes, many
daleshwar Nagar was rather calmer and silent. naga sadhus were seen talking on their
Another experience was that of visiting mobiles. Some camps had portable TV sets
some of the Chaavanis (camps) of the Juna playing religious films.
and Nirvani akhadas. Juna akhada is located There was one Sadhu, bare-bodied, who
in the heart of Haridwar town, consisting of a had his right hand raised all the time—for the
few two-storied buildings around the Maya- last 12 years! We did not try to go into the
devi Mandir. A lane or two away, they have a logic of such practice; we just admired his will
bathing ghat on the Ganga. The Chaavani of power and remembered Swami Vivekananda’s
Juna akhada consisted mainly of makeshift words that for the sake of a religious purpose,
tents, with a number of naga sadhus occupying people in India do extraordinary things. How
them. Besmeared with ashes, the naga sadhus true.
sat in their camps, often with a burning dhuni Referring to this orientation of the Indian
(fire) in front while some of them smoked from mind, in comparison with the Western mind,
their chillums. Visiting devotees offered their Swamiji said,6

Glimpses of sadhus, sannyasins and Mandaleshwars in the Mahakumbh Mela, Haridwar

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 263 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Just as your people [in the West] are practical in

many things, so it seems our people [Indian] are
practical in this line. Five persons in this country
will join their heads together and say, ‘We will
have a joint-stock company’, and in five hours it
is done; in India they could not do it in fifty
years; they are so unpractical in matters like this.
But, mark you, if a man starts a system of
philosophy, however wild its theory may be, it
will have followers. For instance, a sect is started
to teach that if a man stands on one leg for twelve
years, day and night, he will get salvation—there
will be hundreds ready to stand on one leg. All
the suffering will be quietly borne. There are
people who keep their arms upraised for years
to gain religious merit. I have seen hundreds of
them. And, mind you, they are not always
ignorant fools, but are men who will astonish
you with the depth and breadth of their intellect.
So, you see, the word practical is also relative.
There were so
many types of sa-
dhus. In the Juna
akhada, for insta- Kankhal Sevashrama—public meeting and
nce, we also saw cultural programme
the Jangamas, a attended by more than a thousand monks.
type of sadhus who Devotees were seen giving dakshina or
had a distinct style pranami (money-offering) to the sadhus; many
of dressing them- others just stood around respectfully watching
selves: white kurta the sadhus eat. It was an atmosphere of
and dhoti, and a reverence and sanctity.
white headgear
with an upturned A Memorable Congregation
metal cup having The Kankhal Ramakrishna Mission
peacock feathers. Ashrama organised a public meeting on 13th
They moved in April. Swami Gautamanandaji, head of
groups and sang Chennai Math, spoke in Hindi (on Sri Rama-
bhajans. krishna); Swami Bhajananandaji, Assistant
In the Nir- Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and
vani akhada we Mission, spoke in English (on Swami Viveka-
attended a sadhu nanda), and Swami Suviranandaji, another
bhandara (commu- Assistant Secretary of the Math and Mission,
A Jangama sadhu nity feast of monks) spoke in Bengali (on Holy Mother Sri Sarada

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 264 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Devi). Swami Gurusharananandaji, the Head their camps and set out on their tastefully
of Bada Udasin Akhada, presided over the decorated ‘chariots’ (mostly tractors or large
public meeting and gave an hour long talk on cars), with the head of their camp, revered
the significance of Kumbh Mahaparva. Mahamandaleshwarji, wearing a flower gar-
On other days, the Sevashrama organized land and sitting on a throne like seat, with a
cultural programmes such as ras-leela, bhajans chattri (ceremonial umbrella) held over him
by noted artists and screening of religious films and, in some cases, a chamara (hand fan) being
and documentaries. waved by a disciple. (On some occasions,
horses and elephants were used). In front of
Shahi Snan or the Great Royal Bath every decorated vehicle stood a number of
Then, finally, came the day of mukhya followers and devotees with yellow or orange
shahi snan, the main royal bath. It is called flags, or some insignia such as Om. They
‘royal’ because on this auspicious day, all the chanted bhajans or stotras and gave ‘Jai’ now
akhadas go in a royal procession, to take bath and then. Several bands, hired for this purpose,
in the Hari-ki-pauri. The time and order of played popular bhajans and religious lyrics to
Shahi Snan is predetermined. When the go with the occasion.
akhadas take their holy dip at Brahmakund, There were several processions, repre-
public is not allowed there. senting different akhadas. At the head of each
Many Shahi Snans, let us mention here, akhada was a dharma dhvaja, several foot-high
are held during a Kumbh Mela. This time the flag of their sampradaya. Then came a chariot
Main Shahi Snan was on the 14th April, the containing the metal image of their deity or
New Year day for Bengali, Punjabi, and Tamil adi-guru, with two naga sadhus playing
speaking people. drums, mounted on horses. This was followed
Akhada processions (called peshwai, in by decorated chariots of various sects and sub-
Hindi, meaning ‘presentation’) during the sects of ashramas and mathas affiliated to the
Kumbh have great public attraction. Monks respective akhadas. Many sadhus carried a
of different akhadas were given time-slots for staff tied with ochre cloth while some had
the shahi snan. Accordingly, they gathered in trishuls (trident) in their hands.

The procession of chariots heading towards shahi snan; a sadhu blowing the bugle during the procession

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 265 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Some of the Mahamandaleswars were tees had set up counters for providing drinking
quite young. Some women Mahamandale- waters for the monks and devotees. The sun
swars were also seen so also one group of was scorching and blistering but the enthu-
westerners with a Mahamandaleswar sitting siasm of the devotees and monks was no less
in the chariot. igniting.
After the dashanami sadhus of various Near the crossing, called Shankaracharya
akhadas was the turn of Bairagi akhadas. Chowk, some of the groups who did not
We, more than 250 monks from the belong to the official list of dashnamis were
Ramakrishna Order, started from the Kankhal taken out from the procession. This created a
Sevashrama, around nine in the morning. We long gap in the procession and as the time-
reached the neighbouring Nirvani akhada to slot set for our bath was nearing, we had to
join the procession for the shahi snan. Many practically run to cover up the gap. It was
chariots were being done up with garlands rather arduous but then nothing comes
and other decorations. It took several hours without paying for it!
for the procession to start. One reason for the We reached the Hari-ki-pauri around
delay was a dispute between naga sadhus and 1.30 pm. Unlike other days, there was not
devotees as sequel to a jeep accident, near the much crowd there. Police officials and re-
Hari-ki-pauri area. We were told of such presentatives of akhadas were regulating the
incidents taking place in the past also—on shahi snan. As we crossed the temporary
much larger scale. Unfortunate and sad. bridge leading to Hari-ki-pauri, some of the
Finally, after some three hours’ delay, the policemen on the ghat greeted the monks with
procession began. The place resounded with folded hands.
the shouts of har har mahadev. As the procession In the Hari-ki-pauri, a number of security
slowly moved, thousands of devotees on either men were present to maintain law and order.
side, greeted the monks by offering namaskars They also saw to it that bathing takes place
from the balconies and rooftops. Some devo- speedily. ‘Three dips Maharaj, three dips!’

The procession of monks proceeding for shahi snan

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 266 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

some of them were seen requesting the monks. It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that,
Yes, there were others waiting for their turn. that can make multitudes upon multitudes of
The security men had folded up their trousers the old and weak and the young and frail enter
and were helping the older monks in the waist without hesitation or complaint upon such
deep, ice cold waters, to finish their bath. incredible journeys and endure the resultant
We had our holy dip without much miseries without repining. It is done in love, or
it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No
hassles. We offered water-arghya to the Ganga
matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is
Mai, did japa and walked back to the place of
beyond imagination, marvellous to our kind of
our ‘chariot’ which was parked along with
people, the cold whites.
other chariots on the other side of Ganga.
After the bath, many of the devotees were We were reminded of Swami Viveka-
seen carrying the Ganga water in a large nanda’s words,8
Kumbh placed in a vehicle, to the accompani- Each [race] represents, as it were, one peculiar
ment of music and singing. They obviously note in this harmony of nations, and this is its
headed towards their villages carrying the very life, its vitality. In it is the backbone, the
Kumbh water as Prasad. foundation, and the bed-rock of the national life,
The Government sources said that nearly and here in this blessed land, the foundation,
the backbone, the life-centre is religion and
1.6 crore people had taken bath in the Ganga
religion alone. . . This is the very reason, the
on the shahi snan day.
raison d’etre, that this nation has lived on, in spite
As we prepared to leave the place, we
of hundreds of years of persecution, in spite of
saw some women devotees quietly slipping
nearly a thousand year of foreign rule and
through the barricades and collecting the dust foreign oppression. This nation still lives; the
and sand from the road on which the monks raison d’etre is it still holds to God, to the treasure-
had walked. This was their ‘collection of the house of religion and spirituality.
holy dust’. Does it not sum up the spirit of the One thing we may note, that whereas you will
Kumbh, this sense of devotion and of sanctity? find the good and great men of other countries
It was a humbling experience to see the reli- take pride in tracing back their descent to some
gious fervour and solemnity that pervaded the robber-baron who lived in a mountain fortress
place. The Kumbh was an effective spiritual and emerged from time to time to plunder
and cultural integration of India. From strange passing wayfarers, we Hindus, on the other
and bizarre to beautiful and charming, the hand, take pride in being the descendants of
Kumbh Mela had something for everyone; the rishis and sages who lived on roots and fruits in
paradox of Hinduism seemed visibly illus- mountains and caves, meditating on the
trated and personalized. It was an experience Supreme.
unforgettable and well cherished. Participating in the Kumbh Mahaparva
After visiting the Kumbh Mela of 1895, was a great experience and a reaffirmation of
Mark Twain wrote:7 Swamiji’s discerning words. (Concluded.)

References: 6. CW, 2.24 7. Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World 8. CW, 3: 148, 139
Notes: For a graphic history of Haridwar and Kumbh in Hindi, see Main Haridwar Bol Raha Huin, by
Dr. Kamlakant Budhkar, Hindi Sahitya Niketan, Bijnor, U.P.; Kumbha—India's Ageless Festival by Dilip
Kumar Roy and Indira Devi, 1955, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chhaupatty, Bombay

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 267 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
An Unpublished Letter of Swami Saradananda1
April 4th 1899, Morvi
My dear Doctor,
You can see from the above that I am still in my tour through Western India. We have
come very near Mr.Gandhi’s birth place, which we intend seeing in a few days.
Your very kind letter of Feb. 20th was forwarded here, also the pamphlet and the magazine,
containing your writings. I have just finished reading them and I think they are highly interesting
and instructive. I thank you very much for them.
The idea that the Oriental Philosophy is pessimistic is both true and untrue. It was not
pessimistic during the time of the Vedas and the Upanishads as any one, who [has] read them,
well knows. But the pre-Budhistic and the after Budhistic periods are markedly so. I think
Buddha is one of the chief causes to bring it in India, if I might say so with all due respect for
his great genius, unbounded mercy and pure life. He forbode the meat eating; he made his
whole family to take up the life of sanyassin; had started great monasteries and nunneries and
took away really the flowers of the then existing society and the rest crippled as they were
naturally, took to the idea that they were in the world and the family life on account of their
weakness and want of self-control. These ideas once established would surely degenerate the
ideal of marriage and the social life, as it did. Before the time of Buddha, the great teachers of
the Vedanta were not the Brahmins but crowned kings, who lived and moved and led vigorous
life in the world, and only became monks—some of them—during the last years of their lives.
But Buddha in his rebellion to give the highest knowledge to the mass of the people, established
an institution which gave a very high position to the monks & nuns in society and brought
forth this degeneracy and decay of the social fabric. There was another natural cause of this, it
seems and that is the great development of the resources of the country. It might not be
compared with that of the present age; but it was the highest that any country or society had
reached at the time. The pendulum of social advancement went to one extreme, people became
sick of constant enjoyment and did not know what to do with the accumulated riches and
naturally Buddhism gave a great outlet at once ethical and religious. People began to establish
hospitals for men and animals, gave all to the poor and to the building of great monasteries
and stupas and later on temples and took to the life of the monastery. Most of the puranas
which were written during the downfall of Buddhism, have very little or none of the old Vedic
religion, and are but faint echoes of the non-killing of the lower animals of the former religion
mixed up with certain rites and ceremonials, to be performed not before the symbols started
by the Buddhists, but before like symbols of creation and salvation as the Kally[?] or the
Lingam, started by the revivalists of that time and placed sometimes in the very shrine of the
Buddhists, when they could get hold of them or in like shrines built up very near the existing
Buddhist shrines. The task became the more easy as Buddhism never thoroughly annihilated

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 268 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

the then existing worships and ceremonies and made little or no opposition to their remaining
alongside itself. The modern Hinduism as you find in India is this mixture of some of the
tenets of Buddhism with some [of] the Vedas and the worships, … & rituals that were introduced
during the period of its re… most of which you [will] not find in the Vedas at [all.] Hence the
ring of pessimism you find in what is called the orthodox Hinduism; but it is disappearing by
coming in touch with the western thought.
I am so sorry to hear both the little girls were unwell. I hope they will be themselves
again before this reaches you. My love and blessings to them always.
The Swami Vivekananda is much better and has resumed class works in the Math,
though he is not quite himself yet. I had letters from Calcutta to inform he is keeping well
under the light work and we may hope of his perfect recovery very soon.
I do not know the full name of our late friend. His initials were J.J.Goodwin. Mr.Sturdy of
England might know the full name. Greenacre cannot afford to lose you, if it is to stand at all. I
am so sorry to hear of it. I do not know anything as yet of the Benaras Congress. I will inquire
when I go back to Calcutta, soon.
Many here feel that your country is going to give up a very high ideal. Of course a great
change will come over your social, political and industrial life, if you keep the Phillipines and
begin to rule. Perhaps it is another instance of what the Vedanta teachers say, that a perfect
society and [an] ever upwards local progress in the earth or in any sphere, is impossible.
Perhaps the Indian pessimism has also come after long and repeated struggles to create a
perfect society and an ever continuous social progress. If America can realize what India has
failed to realize in the past, why, we shall be obliged to change this sad teachings of our
thought and I hope and pray that it shall be so!
Remember me to Mrs.Farewell and Miss Wyre, when you meet them next; and to all
friends kindly.
Have you read the article of Mr.Deussen on the New Thought in the January number of
The Arena? He has said in one place—‘I express the hope and I say it advisedly, after a careful
comparison of the two systems of thought, that the tendency toward Orientalism will go no
further.’ Of course Orientalism means here the Vedanta as the former paragraph of the essay
shows. Kindly tell him if you meet, that if the Vedanta has nothing to give to the world we
shall be the first to give it a pension and push it aside to make room for better and higher
truths. But because the so-called new thought tickles men’s interests a little by curing a few
headaches or the diseases brought about by over-sensitiveness and hence mostly mental in
morbid organisms, we cannot lay aside one of the great systems of thought in the world,
unique in its breadth of toleration, and its ability to meet all the planes of life with due
reverence as steps or links in a continuous chain, the end of which is the infinite and merciful
With very kind regards to Mrs.Janes and yourself always, dear friend. I am yours faithfully

1. A direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna 2. Dr. Lewis G Janes, a friend of Swami Vivekananda
Courtesy: Ramakrishna Museum, Belur Math

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 269 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
Contemporary Bengali Literature - III
(Continued from previous issue. . .)
It will not be possible to do justice to all much that he gave the title ‘Rangoon-Ratna’ to
the Bengali writers and poets who were deeply him.33
influenced by the philosophy of Sri Rama- He would also listen to the discourses
krishna and Swami Vivekananda in this write delivered by the Swami. It is believed that the
up; we would restrict ourselves to mention character of Swami Vajrananda in his cele-
only some of them. brated novel Srikanta
was based on the
Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay monks of Rama-
Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay was a krishna Math and
prolific writer and next in importance to reflections of Swami
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Rabin- Vivekananda’s per-
dranath Tagore. Sharatchandra held Sri Rama- sonality. On the occa-
krishna, Swami Vivekananda and the Rama- sion of a function to
krishna Movement in high regard. Not many observe Swami Vive-
people were aware that Sharatchandra was a kananda’s birthday
good singer. In 1905 when Swami Rama- in 1937 in Kolkata,
krishnananda was visiting Rangoon, Sharat- Saratchandra had ob-
chandra, who was at that time staying there, Sharatchandra served, ‘It is my sin-
would meet him daily and sing devotional Chattopadhyay cere belief that had
songs on Sri Ramakrishna. Earlier in a we followed the ideals of Swamiji sincerely,
reception given to Swami Ramakrishnananda the country would have advanced further.’34
on his arrival at Rangoon, Sharatchandra sung
a welcome song which pleased Swami so Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay
Dr. Hironmoy Mukherjee is a devotee from Nagpur who retired as Chief Controller of Explosives, Nagpur, Ministry
of Industry, Government of India. †

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 270 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

corollary of Sri Ramakrishna. To Tarashankar,

Sri Ramakrishna and Bhavatarini were as close
as Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. In a poem
on Vivekananda which was later included in
the book Ramakrishna Vivekananda: Yuger Aloke,
he said, ‘The message of Buddha has faded. . .
but now comes a new messenger, rishi Rama-
krishna to raise the consciousness of mankind
through Vivekananda.’35

Bibhuti Bhushon Bandyopadhyay

Another unforgettable writer was Bibhuti
Bhushan Bandyopadhyay (1894-1950). His
Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay artistic mind, gifted with spiritual sensibility,
Another stalwart in modern Bengali always held the oneness of man with nature.
literature to be recalled here is Tarashankar In his writings nature appeared at the centre
Bandopadhyay (1898-1971). He acknowled- of his novels. His writings were awash with
ged the influence of Swami Vivekananda in the ideas of Sri Ramakrishna. At the time of
his writings. The idealist young Tarashankar writing his famous novel Devyaan he was
adored three men as his heroes: Swami reading the lives and teachings of Sri Rama-
Vivekananda, Bankimchandra (author of krishna and Swami Vivekananda.36 Obviously,
Anand Math) and Khudiram, the well-known this had influence on the novel. In his another
revolutionary. In his times Swamiji’s ideal of well-known novel Ichamoti he writes in course
‘service to divine in man’ and sacrifice of self of a dialogue:
had fired the imagination of youth in India. Not only God has created me, I am His relative,
Tarashankar was naturally influenced by his a close relation. I have the full right to look at
times and engaged himself in serving the poor His face, lighted by billions of sparkling stars,
and distressed. He organised Daridra with love and without hesitation because he is
Bhandars [‘stores for the God in poor’] as well my Father. Not a toy made by him but His—
as a team to fight fires in villages, a problem only His son.37
common in rural Bengal in those days. As the In his personal life, he was a devotee of
secretary of Sevaksangh, he nursed cholera Sri Ramakrishna and was closely associated
affected persons in his own village. with Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ashrama at
He wrote glowingly about Sri Sri Rama- Ghatsila [in Jharkhand] and was for some time
krishna Kathamrita [The Gospel of Sri Rama- Vice president of the Ashrama. An ardent
krishna] which to him was a straightforward devotee, as his end neared he asked the sacred
and purest message of human civilization. In name of Sri Ramakrishna to be chanted and
an article in Udbodhan which was later passed away listening to the recitation.38
included in the book Bhabasamahita Sri Rama-
krishna he observed the advent of Sri Rama- Bibhuti Bhushon Mukhopadhyay
krishna as a fulfilment of a historical necessity Another prolific writer was Bibhuti
and wrote that Vivekananda was a natural Bhushon Mukhopadhyay (1894-1987). Many of

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 271 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

his novels dealing with social problems and a bow—one end of which was touching the
politics had in them, the ideals of Swami Mother Earth and the other end touching the
Vivekananda such as fighting against injustice, celestial sky; in one state he was a Guru
robust manliness and readiness for sacrifice. concerned about his disciples as well as a
This could be seen in his novels Navasannyas compassionate person concerned about the
and Urmi Ahbane. Swargadapi Gariasi, his welfare of mankind, and in the other state he
magnum opus, had the idea of Motherhood was in samadhi immersed in the con-
behind as its theme and behind this was the templation of the Infinite.
philosophy of Sri Ramakrishna. About Swami In the last years of his life, while writing
Vivekananda he wrote in an article, in his book Sri Ramakrishna O Tar Kathamrita,
There is no other Indian who was daring, a he said,
prophet, and a social reformer all together. . . What shall I say of Sri Thakur—I feel that He is
He was not only a Karmayogi, Bhaktiyogi or my eternal friend and the most intimate friend.
Jnanayogi of Gita rather he was a combination One can open oneself to him, tell him all confi-
of all the three . . No other person has been able dential personal matters; one can confess every-
to bring such a revolution in the nation’s thing to him. . . in spite of knowing everything,
thinking and endeavour in such a short time He has shown love to me. . . . there is no person
after Shankaracharya [as Swami Vivekananda].39 who did not get to meet him; he did not refuse
Girish . . . my Thakur is my own, all the twenty-
Pramathananth Bishi four hours.
Pramathananth Bishi (1902-85) was About Swami Vivekananda, he wrote,
another writer who delved deep into Rama- ‘there has been no other person of such forceful
krishna Vivekananda Philosophy. Prama- and dynamic personality in India in the
thanath was an expert in using similes in his nineteenth century other than Swami Viveka-
writings. In his book Chitra-Chariira, he nanda.’40
compared Sri Ramakrishna with the snow
capped Himalayas and Swami Vivekananda Rajsekhar Basu
and his brother disciples with the Himalayan Another well-known writer in this
rivers such as Indus, Sutlej, Ganges and context was Rajshekhar Basu (1880-1960), well-
Brahmaputra. Bishi looked upon the snow- known by his pen name ‘Parasuram’. It is quite
capped Himalayan peaks as the eternal con- obvious that Swamiji’s lectures in Chicago and
sciousness of Sri Ramakrishna while the fast- other places (which were then appearing in
moving rivers represented the active con- newspapers and periodicals) left a deep im-
sciousness of Swami Vivekananda and other pression on young Rajshekhar.
brother monks. Both, he emphasized, should Swamiji used to consider strength and
be seen as a whole in order to appreciate the courage as synonym to religious knowledge,
uniqueness of Sri Ramakrishna’s advent. and weakness as well as cowardice was to him
Again, through a simile he explained the an equivalent to committing sin. Further,
significance of two well-known photographs Vivekananda had said about importance of
of Sri Ramakrishna—one in sitting meditative worshipping Sri Krishna of Kurukshetra, Sri
position and, the other in standing meditative Rama, Sri Hanuman and Mother Kali which
position. He compared Sri Ramakrishna with would make people more active and strong.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 272 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

That was why ‘Parasu- you, you will be a sinner if you do not offer ten
ram’ had written in his slaps in return.41
book Jaticharitra,
Vivekananda is the only Dinesh Chandra Sen
monk who has preached Dinesh Chandra Sen (1866-1939) was a
in India a religion cham- well-known historian of Bengali literature; his
pioning strength and book Bangabhasa O Sahitya was a major
which is very appropriate landmark in Bengali literature. He wrote two
for modern age. articles titled ‘Dakshineswar’ and ‘Belur’ in
Swamiji had said Bangabasi magazine. In ‘Dakshineswar’ he
Rajsekhar Basu
that Buddhism was ill- wrote,
advised by advocating monasticism for all and Keshab Chandra Sen wrote, “We merely know
sundry which had resulted in grave harm to the names of Chaitanya, Jesus and others. But
the country. This Basu illustrated in his story today we are really gratified to meet a great soul
Nidhiramer Nirbandha. Nidhiram, a man of like him”, referring to Sri Ramakrishna.
good character and intelligence and a patriot, In the context of Dakshineswar temple,
went to heaven after his death and requested he wrote,
God to do something beneficial to the country;
The God within realizing the sincere devotion
pleased with Nidhiram God offered to elevate of Rani Rasmani accepted it [the construction of
one fourth of the population to the spiritual temple] and gave her a priest who was king of
level of Sri Chaitanya or Sri Ramakrishna. all the priests. When Sri Ramakrishna himself
Nidhiram then pleaded, ‘O, Lord, if 25% of became a priest of that temple it stands to no
the population leave household duties and doubt that God himself took His seat there and
become devotees and the remaining 75% Dakshineswar temple became the cynosure of
follow them, then the society will go to dogs.’ all the temples of Bengal.
This is what Swamiji firmly believed in. In ‘Belur’ he wrote about the temple
He wanted that people should become more there, relation between Vivekananda and
active, diligent and hard working. Nidhiram, Girish Chandra, Swamiji’s interest for develop-
the protagonist of the novel, too wanted from ing a Math exclusively for women, Udbodhan
God normal ordinary workers comprising of magazine and so on. He wrote,
farmers, artisans, masons, artists, scientists,
Here is a meeting ground of all people, like Puri;
teachers etc. with good characters. In his story
here is a current of Bhakti like in Vrindaban;
Nabajatak, Panchubabu blessing the newborn here is inspiration for offering service like in a
son of Somnath, says, ‘Let him become a strong large hospital of Europe . . . All these have turned
and bold man. I do not want him to be become this place of pilgrimage into a centre of live
a ruffian; rather he should be able to give back philosophy.42
three slaps to one who slaps him once.’ The
blessings given by Panchubabu were similar Shankari Prasad Basu
to the words written by Swamiji in his book Among the large number of books in
Prachya O Paschatya: Bengali on Ramakrishna-Vivekananda, Pro-
Non violence is right . . .but scriptures say that fessor Shankari Prasad Basu’s pioneering work
if you are a house-holder and if someone slaps in seven volumes, Vivekananda O Samakalin

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 273 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Bharat Barsha, occupies a place of pride. One day Sri Ramakrishna saw in Samadhi seven
Professor Basu, now is his eighties, relates as venerable sages in meditation who surpassed
to how William Hastie, the Principal of Scottish even the gods and goddesses in wisdom and
Church College in Calcutta, motivated young holiness. As Sri Ramakrishna was admiring their
Naren to visit Sri Ramakrishna which was to unique spirituality, he saw a portion of the
became a turning point in the spiritual history undifferentiated Absolute become congealed, as
it were, and take the form of a divine child.
of India. The book brings to light the social,
Gently clasping the neck of one of the sages with
political and cultural condition of contempo-
its soft arms, the child whispered something in
rary India as described in two English dailies—
his ear and at this magic touch, the sage awoke
Hindu published from Madras and Tribune
from meditation. He fixed his half open eyes
published from Lahore. It also gives details of
upon the wondrous child, who said in great joy:
the malicious attacks which certain old- ‘I am going down to earth. Won’t you come with
fashioned sections of Bengal carried on me?’ With a benign look the sage expressed
Swamiji’s ideas and plans. assent and returned into deep spiritual ecstasy.
Professor Basu describes Swamiji’s role When Sri Ramakrishna saw Naren for the first
in organizing a broad-based youth movement, time he immediately recognized him as an
covering all Indian youth who were rejuve- incarnation of the sage. He also admitted that
nated by Swamiji’s powerful message. It des- the divine child who brought about the descent
cribed as to how Swamiji brought a revolution of the sage was none other than himself.44
in Bengali literature, contributed to national ‘If Vivekananda is that venerable sage,
integration, his dealing with leading perso- then Sri Ramakrishna is naturally the divine
nalities and intellectuals of those days and child’, Majumdar wrote and went on to
lastly his influence on the next generation of add, ‘
politicians, writers and intellectuals and youth. and it is seen that the sage is the repository of
The book is an encyclopaedia on Vivekananda vast spiritual knowledge while the child is a doll
in Bengali like Mary Louise Burke’s six-volume made of love and spiritual knowledge. The touch
book, Swami Vivekananda in America—New of child’s divine love making the placid sea of
Discoveries.43 knowledge burst forth into waves of love. . .
The condensed spiritual consciousness gets
Mohitlal Majumdar melted into spiritual joy. . . in this meditative
Mohitlal Majumdar (1888-1952) was a dream Sri Ramakrishna looks at himself but there
reputed poet and critic of the first order in is no trace of sense of ego in this act; such an
Bengali literature. He was also a prolific writer instance of lack of self-consciousness is rare in
spiritual history. . . neither is there any sense of
of Bengali prose. His books include Bangiar
ego nor a sense of embarrassment. . . ‘I am going
Navayug, Vividha Katha, Bir Sannyasi Viveka-
down to earth. Won’t you come with me’ was it
nanda and others. A major portion of his book
an order or an appeal—it cannot be understood
Bangiar Navayug dealt with Ramakrishna- in normal earthly language. . . that scene of
Vivekananda who were, he felt, the best heaven was enacted in this earth as well.’ Of
representative of the modern era. course, Narendra, the sage, continued to
In Vividha Katha, in the section ‘Sri Rama- remember that benign look to the child that was
krishna Vivekananda’, he referred to the well- Sri Ramakrishna. Narendra often said about his
known vision of Sri Ramakrishna thus: Master: ‘I felt his wonderful love.’45

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 274 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Before concluding this section of article, Mukhopadhyay (Banaful), Satyandra Nath

let us mention that we have not included the Majumdar, Girijashankar Roy Chowdhary,
monumental works of Swami Saradananda (Sri Shankar, Sanjeeb Chattopadhyay and many
Ramakrishna Leela Prasanga), Swami Gambhira- others who have enriched the Bengali litera-
nanda (Sri Ma Sarada Devi, Yuganayak Viveka- ture with their writings on Sri Ramakrishna
nanda), both, biographical in nature, which are and Swami Vivekananda.
literary treasures in Bengali. In the final instalment of this article, we
There were many other authors in prose will discuss some of the eminent Bengali poets.
like Achintya Kumar Sengupta, Dr. Balaichand (To be continued . . .)

33. Udbodhan, Dec. 2001, p.1006 40. Ibid Pp.605, 606
34. Vivekananda O Samakalin Bharat Barsha Vol IV 41. Udbodhan, Sept 2007 Pages 787, 788
p.160 foot note no. §§ 42. Vivekananda O Samakalin Bharat Barsha, Vol 11
35. Ibid, Vol VII Pages 600, 601 Pp.607, 608
36. Udbodhan, March 2009 p.201 43. The Story of Ramakrishna Mission, 2006 P 776
37. Ibid, May 2009 p.341 44. Vivekananda—a Biography, Swami Nikhilananda
38. Vivekananda O Samakalin Bharat Barsha Vol VII, p.35
p.602 45. Vivekananda O Samakalin Bharat Barsha, Vol VII
39. Ibid, Pp.603, 604 Pp.609, 610

Everything requires to be changed a little according to place,

time, and civilisation. Henceforth I am thinking of writing essays
in Bengali. Litterateurs will perhaps rail at them. Never mind—
I shall try to cast the Bengali language in a new mould.
Nowadays, Bengali writers use too many verbs in their
writings; this takes away the force of the language. If one
can express the ideas of verbs with adjectives, it adds to
the force of the language; henceforth try to write in that
style. Try to write articles in that style in the Udbodhan.
Do you know the meaning of the use of verbs in language?
It gives a pause to the thought; hence the use of too
many verbs in language is the sign of weakness, like
quick breathing, and indicates that there is not much vitality
in the language; that is why one cannot lecture well in the
Bengali language. He who has control over his language,
does not make frequent breaks in his thoughts.
—Swami Vivekananda, CW, 7: 171

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 275 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
Swami Vivekananda was a great storyteller. His talks and
writings are interspersed with numerous anecdotes, examples, similes, and
illustrations mirroring his vast knowledge of human nature—its potential and its relative
limitations. Some of these stories are well known, many others are little known. We
present here some more of these insightful stories, selected from his Complete Works.

The Story of Mahabharata (Continuation of previous issue. . .)
It came to pass that after having visited Dyumatsena who has lost his kingdom—a
all the different royal courts, Savitri at last prince without a patrimony, who lives a
came to this hermitage, or holy place. Not even monastic life, the life of a Sannyasin in a forest,
the greatest king could pass by the hermitages, collecting roots and herbs, helping and feeding
or Ashramas as they were called, without his old father and mother, who live in a
going to pay homage to the sages, for such cottage.’
honour and respect was felt for these holy On hearing this the father consulted the
men. The greatest emperor of India would be Sage Narada, who happened to be then
only too glad to trace his descent to some sage present there, and he declared it was the most
who lived in a forest, subsisting on roots and ill - omened choice that was ever made. The
fruits, and clad in rags. We are all children of king then asked him to explain why it was so.
sages. That is the respect that is paid to And Narada said, ‘Within twelve months from
religion. So, even kings, when they pass by this time the young man will die.’ Then the
the hermitages, feel honoured to go in and king started with terror, and spoke, ‘Savitri,
pay their respects to the sages. If they approach this young man is going to die in twelve
on horseback, they descend and walk as they months, and you will become a widow: think
advance towards them. If they arrive in a of that! Desist from your choice, my child, you
chariot, chariot and armour must be left shall never be married to a short-lived and
outside when they enter. . . fated bridegroom.’ ‘Never mind, father; do not
So Savitri came to this hermitage and saw ask me to marry another person and sacrifice
there Satyavan, the hermit’s son, and her heart the chastity of mind, for I love and have
was conquered. She had escaped all the accepted in my mind that good and brave
princes of the palaces and the courts, but here Satyavan only as my husband. A maiden
in the forest - refuge of the King Dyumatsena, chooses only once, and she never departs from
his son, Satyavan, stole her heart. her troth.’
When Savitri returned to her father’s When the king found that Savitri was
house, he asked her, ‘Savitri, dear daughter, resolute in mind and heart, he complied. Then
speak. Did you see anybody whom you would Savitri married prince Satyavan, and she
like to marry?’ Then softly with blushes, said quietly went from the palace of her father into
Savitri, ‘Yes, father.’ ‘What is the name of the the forest, to live with her chosen husband
prince?’ ‘He is no prince, but the son of King and help her husband’s parents.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 276 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Now, though Savitri knew the exact date he had become the presiding deity over all
when Satyavan was to die, she kept it hidden those that die. He judges whether, after a man
from him. Daily he went into the depths of has died, he is to be punished or rewarded.
the forests, collected fruits and flowers, So he came himself. Of course, he could go
gathered faggots, and then came back to the inside that charmed circle, as he was a god.
cottage, and she cooked the meals and helped When he came to Savitri, he said, ‘Daughter,
the old people. Thus their lives went on until give up this dead body, for know, death is the
the fatal day came near, and three short days fate of mortals, and I am the first of mortals
remained only. She took a severe vow of three who died. Since then, everyone has had to die.
nights’ penance and holy fasts, and kept her Death is the fate of man.’ Thus told, Savitri
hard vigils. Savitri spent sorrowful and walked off, and Yama drew the soul out. Yama
sleepless nights with fervent prayers and having possessed himself of the soul of the
unseen tears, till the dreaded morning young man proceeded on his way. Before he
dawned. That day Savitri could not bear him had gone far, he heard footfalls upon the dry
out of her sight, even for a moment. She leaves. He turned back. ‘Savitri, daughter, why
begged permission from his parents to are you following me? This is the fate of all
accompany her husband, when he went to mortals.’ ‘I am not following thee, Father,’
gather the usual herbs and fuel, and gaining replied Savitri, ‘but this is, also, the fate of
their consent she went. woman, she follows where her love takes her,
Suddenly, in faltering accents, he com- and the Eternal Law separates not loving man
plained to his wife of feeling faint, ‘My head and faithful wife.’ Then said the God of Death,
is dizzy, and my senses reel, dear Savitri, I ‘Ask for any boon, except the life of your
feel sleep stealing over me; let me rest beside husband.’ ‘If thou art pleased to grant a boon,
thee for a while.’ In fear and trembling she O Lord of Death, I ask that my father-in-law
replied, ‘Come, lay your head upon my lap, may be cured of his blindness and made
my dearest lord.’ And he laid his burning head happy.’ ‘Let thy pious wish be granted,
in the lap of his wife, and ere long sighed and duteous daughter.’
expired. Clasping him to her, her eyes flowing And then the King of Death travelled on
with tears, there she sat in the lonesome forest, with the soul of Satyavan. Again the same
until the emissaries of Death approached to footfall was heard from behind. He looked
take away the soul of Satyavan. But they could round. ‘Savitri, my daughter, you are still
not come near to the place where Savitri sat following me?’ ‘Yes, my Father; I cannot help
with the dead body of her husband, his head doing so; I am trying all the time to go back,
resting in her lap. There was a zone of fire but the mind goes after my husband and the
surrounding her, and not one of the emissaries body follows. The soul has already gone, for
of Death could come within it. They all fled in that soul is also mine; and when you take
back from it, returned to King Yama, the God the soul, the body follows, does it not?’
of Death, and told him why they could not ‘Pleased am I with your words, fair Savitri.
obtain the soul of this man. Ask yet another boon of me, but it must not
Then came Yama, the God of Death, the be the life of your husband.’ ‘Let my father-
Judge of the dead. He was the first man that in-law regain his lost wealth and kingdom,
died—the first man that died on earth—and Father, if thou art pleased to grant another

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 277 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

supplication.’ ‘Loving daughter,’ Yama Satyavan’s sons.’ And then the God of Death
answered, ‘this boon I now bestow; but return smiled. ‘My daughter, thou shalt have thy
home, for living mortal cannot go with King desire now: here is the soul of thy husband,
Yama.’ And then Yama pursued his way. he shall live again. He shall live to be a father
But Savitri, meek and faithful, still and thy children also shall reign in due course.
followed her departed husband. Yama again Return home. Love has conquered Death!
turned back. ‘Noble Savitri, follow not in Woman never loved like thee, and thou art
hopeless woe.’ ‘I cannot choose but follow the proof that even I, the God of Death, am
where thou takest my beloved one.’ ‘Then powerless against the power of the true love
suppose, Savitri, that your husband was a that abideth!’ against the power of the true
sinner and has to go to hell. In that case goes love that abideth!’
Savitri with the one she loves?’ ‘Glad am I to This is the story of Savitri, and every girl
follow where he goes, be it life or death, in India must aspire to be like Savitri, whose
heaven or hell,’ said the loving wife. ‘Blessed love could not be conquered by death, and
are your words, my child, pleased am I with who through this tremendous love snatched
you, ask yet another boon, but the dead come back from even Yama, the soul of her husband.
not to life again.’ ‘Since you so permit me, The book is full of hundreds of beautiful
then, let the imperial line of my father-in-law episodes like this.(4: 86-90)
be not destroyed; let his kingdom descend to (To be continued...)

'I just want to live like a TV'

One day a teacher of a primary school asked her students to write an essay about
what they would like God to do for them. Later in the evening while going through those
essays at home, she came across one that moved her much. Her husband, who just
walked in, enquired: 'What happened?' Handing over a sheet of paper, she answered,
'Read this. It's an essay by one of my students.' The husband read the following essay,
titled, 'I just want to live like a TV':
Oh God, tonight I ask you something very special:
Make me into a television. I want to take its place.
I want to live like the TV in my house.
Have my own special place and have my family around ME.
To be taken seriously when I talk . . .
I want to be the centre of attention and be heard without interruptions or questions.
I want to receive the same special care that the TV receives even when it is not working.
Have the company of my dad when he arrives home from work, even when he is tired.
And I want my mom to want me when she is sad and upset, instead of ignoring me...
And . . . I want my brothers to fight to be with me . . .
I want to feel that family leaves everything aside, every now and then, just to spend some
time with me.
And last, but not the least, make it that I can make them all happy and entertain them.
Lord I don't ask you for much . . . I just want to live like a TV.'
Having finished reading the essay, the husband gravely remarked: ‘My God, poor kid.
What horrible parents!’ Tears rolling down her cheek, she looked up at him and calmly
said: ‘That essay is written by our son!!’ —Cyberspace

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 278 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
 At Madurai Math 
As a prelude to the 18th All Tamil Nadu Sri Ramakrishna-Swami
Vivekananda Devotees’ Meet to be held at Madurai from 3 to 5
December 2010, the Ramakrishna Math at Madurai organised a
conference on 20 May 2010.
Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, addressed
the gather and also answered questions from an audience of more than
2700 devotees, students and admirers. In the course of his talk, Dr.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
observed, ‘Rama-
krishna Mission is
striving to develop
our motherland and
youths according to
Swami Viveka-
nanda’s ideals.
Swamiji dreamt of
rejuvenation of India
through awakened
Youths. The ideal of
Ramakrishna Mission
is to create this type
Dr. Kalam receiving a set of books during the function (left)
of youths.’ † and making floral offerings to Swamiji's statue at Madurai Math (right)

 General News 
Y The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kolkata organized Value Orientation Programme
to carry the man-making message of Swami Vivekananda to the youth through 205 Youth Conferences held
in 11 districts of West Bengal. Approximately 39,000 youths participated during January 2009 to December
2009. Apart from these, 9 district-level Youth Conferences were also held. 5 District Level Teachers’
Conferences were held in which 600 teachers participated and 1 Organisation Representatives’ Conference
was held on 31 May at the Institute where 162 organisations participated. Besides these, 2 Central Youth
Conventions were held on 29 March and 29 November at the Institute in which 2450 youth delegates and 478
observers participated. †
Y Foundation Day of the Ramakrishna Mission was celebrated at Belur Math on 1 May. Revered
President Maharaj chaired the meeting and released a commemorative volume on Ramakrishna Mission and
a booklet on Ramakrishna Mission’s relief services. Swami Smarananandaji, Swami Prameyanandaji, Swami
Prabhanandaji, Swami Suhitanandaji and two lay members addressed the gathering. In all, 325 monastics, 46
lay members, 51 associates and about 250 devotees attended the programme. †

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 279 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Y The newly set-up Critical Care Unit at Thiruvananthapuram hospital was inaugurated on 5 May.
Y On 6 May, the Government of Delhi State organized a function in connection with the launching of
their new website on Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), in which Smt. Sheila Dikshit,
Chief Minister of Delhi, presented a memento to our Delhi centre for its outstanding service in the area of
TB control. On 21 May, the centre organized an interfaith seminar on ‘A Tobacco-free Mankind’ in which
several religious leaders participated.
Y On 15 May, Swami Prameyanandaji, Vice President of the Ramakrishna Order, laid the foundation
stone for the proposed building with four rooms at Bamunmura Ashrama to be used by our monks intending
to do tapasya there.
Y The newly constructed dispensary building at Visakhapatnam centre was inaugurated on 16 May.
Y The anthropological museum at Cherrapunjee centre was inaugurated on 27 May. †

Ramakrishna Mission, Dhaka

With the help of the Ministry of Social-Welfare,
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and
under the project, ‘Support Services Program For the
Vulnerable Group (SSPVG)’, Ramakrishna Mission, Dhaka
distributed stipend among 1200 poor students on 22 May
Mr. Enamul Haq Mostafa Shaheed, Minister for Social
Welfare, and several government officials, devotees and
monks attended the function. †

 Relief News 
1. Storm Relief:
Assam: Silchar centre continued relief work in Cachar district affected by a devastating storm. During the
last month, the centre distributed saris, dhotis, CGI sheets, CGI tulis (ridges) and GI wires to 870 storm-
affected families of 15 villages in Palongghat and Barkhola blocks, Cachar district.
2. Laila Cyclone Relief:
Andhra Pradesh: In the wake of the recent Laila Cyclone in Andhra Pradesh, our Vijayawada centre
distributed dal (lentils), edible oil, duppats (cotton blankets), and towels, steel plates, steel ladles and
aluminium cooking pots to 1013 severely affected families of seven villages in Prakasam district. †

Laila Cyclone—distribution of relief material in Andhra Pradesh

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 280 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0
publishers need to send us
two copies of their latest publication.

GREAT THINKERS ON RAMAKRISHNA Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Paul Brunton, R. C.

VIVEKANANDA Majumdar, Romain Rolland, Sarojini Naidu, Subhas
Chandra Bose, Will Durant, William James, Bal
Published by Ramakrishna Mis- Gangadhar Tilak, J. C. Bose, Rabindranath Tagore,
sion Institute of Culture, Golpark, S. Radhakrishnan, Subrahmanya Bharati, and
Kolkata - 700 029. Second others.
revised edition 2009, paperback, It is evident from the pages of the book that
pp. 210, Rs. 60. all of them were overwhelmed by Sri Ramakrishna’s
In 1983 Swami Lokesh- inner spirituality and utter simplicity, apparently
warananda brought out a small unsophisticated but nectarine, overflowing, un-
book titled World Thinkers on Rama- alloyed love and universality. Richard Schiffman,
krishna-Vivekananda. After several reprints, a says, ‘To one and all, Ramakrishna offered a vision
revised edition of this well-known book was of hope’, whereas Romain Rolland aptly calls him
brought out in 2007. The present book is its second ‘the symphony of India’.
revised edition, with many additions and an On the other hand, it is the leonine strength,
improved organization of matter. virility of Swamiji, his love for motherland, en-
Ramakrishna and Vivekananda are two shrinement of the Advaitic principle in his life,
aspects of the same truth. While Sri Ramakrishna bracing self-reliance, humour, courage, and his all-
was an infinite storehouse of spirituality, Swamiji encompassing love for all that cast a magnetic spell
broadcast this precious treasure to one and all. The on the great savants. Almost all of them voice their
universality and all-inclusiveness of their lives and admiration for Swamiji’s stupendous contribution
message drew, and continues to draw, great think- towards harmonizing East and West, religion and
ers the world over. Inspired by their life and science, past and present, in fact, life itself. In the
message, many of these great men and women have words of Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Vivekananda’s
articulated their admiration and reverence in the gospel marked the awakening of man in his fullness
form of glowing tributes and thoughtful obser- and that is why it inspired our youth’.
vations. The book attempts to present a cross-section Reading the book is an excellent opportunity
of such tributes and observations. to get a peep into what some of the most gifted
The first and the second parts of the book and greatest contemporary thinkers from diverse
deal with the tributes offered to Sri Ramakrishna fields have said of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami
and Swami Vivekananda respectively, and the third Vivekananda. It enables the readers to get a better
part encompasses the short and snappy biographical understanding of the life and message of Sri
sketches of the great thinkers whose tributes have Ramakrishna and Vivekananda—in a larger,
been included in the book. The list of the legendary international perspective. One feels imbued with
people include famous philosophers and thinkers, the spirit of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda after
eminent writers and litterateurs, educationists, reading the book. It is stimulating to explore further
historians, painters, statesmen, and scientists from about the immensity of these great lives.
all over the world, renowned in their respective Modestly priced and elegantly designed, the
fields. To name a few: Aldous Huxley, Christopher book is recommended to all libraries, including the
Isherwood, Max Müller, Huston Smith, Sri Auro- personal collections of devotees and intellectuals.
bindo, Jawaharlal Nehru, K. M. Munshi, Leo ______________________ CHETANA MANDAVIA, JUNAGADH.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 281 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

SRI RAMAKRISHNA of supplication before Kali and later by listening to

PARAMAHANSA the moving experience of Gopaler Ma with her
Gopala. Both, Naren, the vociferous questioner and
By Dushyanta Pandya Yogin, another young man observing Sri Rama-
Published by Readworthy Publi- krishna ‘in day and at night’ were provided
cations (P) Ltd. A-18 Mohan opportunities to ‘test’ the genuineness of the Master.
Garden, Near Nawada Metro In fact, the Master was in favour of a pupil
Station, New Delhi - 110 059. subjecting the prospective teacher to tests.
2008, paperback, pp.182, Dushyanta Pandya has portrayed the avatara
Rs.220. of our times in simple language. Sri Ramakrishna
The divine life of Sri Ramakrishna as an avatara is an enigmatic personality, and books
and his teachings were originally written with on his life should be treated as Holy Scripture.
utmost care by Swami Saradananda through Sri ______________________________ P. S. SUNDARAM, CHENNAI
Sri Ramakrishna Lilaprasanga and by Mahendranath
Gupta (M) in Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita or The E XPLORING H ARMONY AMONG
Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. The Lilaprasanga was RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS IN INDIA
rendered in English with equal care by Swami
Jagadananda over 50 years ago titled Sri Rama- Published by Ramakrishna Mission
krishna, The Great Master and more recently giving Institute of Culture, Gol Park,
a new look and special focus by Swami Chetana- Kolkata - 700 029. 2008, hard-
nanda in his Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play. back, pp. 386, Rs.150.
In writing these books, the learned monks This book is a collection of
were anxious that as the contents concern an avatara, papers read in a seminar held at
these should be accurately presented and properly the Ramakrishna Mission Insti-
understood by readers especially by those un- tute of Culture, Kolkata, from January
familiar with Indian tradition, culture and philo- 4 to 6, 2007. The book also contains the
sophy. record of the discussions following each paper and
Dushyanta Pandya, the author of the present the panel discussion on the concluding day of the
book, has had the benefit of a long period of close seminar.
association with the Ramakrishna Movement in The papers presented in the book are by
various capacities. His book therefore reflects his knowledgeable teachers and practitioners of
familiarity with the subject and attempts to Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity,
enlighten the reader about the life and teachings of Judaism, Sikhism, Sidda Yoga, Bahai Faith and
the Great Master. It takes the reader through Sri followers of Sri Ramanuja, Sri Chaitanya, Sri
Ramakrishna’s early life, experiments with spiritu- Nimbarka and Sri Ramakrishna. Together, the
ality, the preceptors who initiated him, married life, papers present a beautiful bouquet of the religious
interaction with devotees, unique methods of diversity of modern India. The papers also discuss
training his disciples and finally the mahasamadhi. the problems faced in peaceful and constructive
Mr. Pandya greatly extols the devotion of dialogue between the religions, and the possible
Mathurbabu, the son-in-law of Rani Rasmani. To solutions.
Mathurbabu Sri Ramakrishna alone was real, The outstanding paper by Reverend Dr Roger
everything else unreal. Guru-sishya episodes of Sri Gaikwad introduces the various paradigms like
Ramakrishna with the Brahmani and Totapuri exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism. Exclusivism
reveal the superior wisdom of the sishya. Sri Rama- is the view that one’s own religion only is true and
krishna renounced the world but unlike his all the other religions are false. Inclusivism holds
preceptor, he was aware that ‘the world, samsara, that one’s own religion is true and all other religions
is also God’s creation…it is permeated by God.’ are preparations for this religion, or in the best case,
Sri Ramakrishna was a tactful Master. Naren’s all other religions are included in this religion.
hostility to ‘idol worship’ ended in due course in Pluralism holds that all world religions are true,
his eventual acceptance through the aborted prayer revelations are many, there are several paths to

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 282 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

salvation and no single religion is complete by itself. form is very much needed. The knowledge gained
He also presents how several groups of churches by just reading the papers is an ample proof of the
are striving towards a pluralistic approach from a necessity of such interfaith dialogues on a regular
Christian point of view. basis.
Dr. Jaswanth Singh Neki shows how the Sikh _____________________________ GOKUL MUTHU, BANGALORE
religion is itself a living example of religious
pluralism. He shows by various quotations from FOUNDATIONS OF DHARMA
and statistics of the Guru Granth Sahib how the
By Paramananda Bharati Swami.
ideas of Hindu saints, Muslim sufis and Sikh gurus
have been blended into a single harmonious system. Published by Jnanasamvardhani
Swami Bhajanananda explains these para- Pratishthanam, Sumukha Resi-
digms from a Hindu perspective and also intro- dency, #302, 3rd Floor, #33,
duces one more paradigm—universalism—based on M.V.Seetharamaiah Road, Gavi-
the works of Swami Vivekananda. Universalism is puram, Bangalore - 560 019.
the view that there exists a set of universally valid Reprint 2008, paperback, pp.131,
religious principles common to or unifying all Rs.60.
religions. He explains at length how Sri Rama- Let us begin with certain inte-
krishna’s idea of religious harmony was from resting facts:
personal experience and not merely based on If instinct is that which comes without
academic study. practice, it comes from previous birth. Naturally
Professor I.H.Azad Faruqi gives insight into then, Jiva, the embodied being, should have
how Islam is a pluralistic religion that looks beyond preceded body. Jiva has been taking innumerable
the narrow walls of caste, creed, colour and race. births in all species. So, every jiva has instincts of
He gives several quotations from the Quran to every species. So, a Japanese sea creature comes all
support his view. the way to the Orissa coast to lay eggs. The chicks,
Acharya Srivatsa Goswami gives a historic once out of the egg go back to Japan intact.
perspective to religious harmony in India by The information content in the DNA is not
showing how religious harmony existed even lost as energy is not lost. The last vak, mano and
during the peak of the Moghul rule in India. He prana vrittis of a jiva form the blueprint of the future
describes how the Mathura-Vrindavana complex body. A scientist says that life is not the secret of
was built by support from both Raja Man Singh DNA but DNA is the secret of life.
and Emperor Akbar. An embryo of 240 days in a cow spends 9.7%
There are also papers in the book describing of the time in wakeful state, 32% of the time in
the salient principles in different religions. Swami dream, 5.8% of the time in deep sleep. Since dreams
Atmapriyananda gives an overview of Hinduism. can be only on the basis of the past experience, the
Prof. Hossainur Rahman gives important points of Hindu scriptures say that as long as the child is in
Islam. Prof. Geshe N. Samten gives an overview of the womb, it remembers the past.
Buddhism. Prof. M.A.Lakshmithathachar briefs the One Roger Sperry’s discovery, namely the
teachings of Sri Ramanuja. Dr.Brindaban Bihari Das right part of the human brain is concerned with
briefs the teachings of Nimbarka. Rabbi Ezekiel subtle activities while the left is to do with the gross
Isaac Malekar briefs the teachings of Judaism. things, will be more meaningful to us if we read
Dr.A.K.Merchant talks about Bahai Faith. Dr.Bibhu the statement in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, ’The
Das describes his personal experience with Siddha soul lives in the right eye and so is called
Yoga. All of them also show how the religions and Dakshinakshi-purusha. He rules all the worlds and
sects support religious harmony. the desires in man.’
During current times of disharmony and Peter Roster, another scientist, has found that
mutual distrust among religions, mainly caused by even the single aspect of the Gayatri chandas in the
political parties and other groups with vested first Sukta of the Rig Veda has a mysteriously
interests, such a conference as this and the complicated symmetry which suggests that the
proceedings widely available in an easy to access Vedas must be of non-human origin.

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 283 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

The total period of 600 million years of a Unlike the common man’s mistaken notion
Manvantara corresponds exactly to the Cambrian that ‘Swaraj’ means political freedom, the votaries
Age. Scientists tell us that the fossils of evolved of ‘Swaraj’ attached a deeper significance to it. Dr
animals are found only within this age; prior to Mohapatra brings out what these great leaders
this they are blank. envisioned by quoting from their writings. Swaraj
These are only a few of the interesting details is a multidimensional concept and it is based on
that the author of the book under review has shared the knowledge gained from our scriptures—the
with his audience by way of answering their Vedas and the Upanishads. Gandhiji described
questions after his lectures. The format of the book Swaraj as self-rule of each individual and not mere
is one of questions and answers. The language is political independence. Tilak was the one who had
non-technical presenting an interface of science and proclaimed ‘Swaraj is my birth right and I shall
Vedanta. All the arguments about life and death have it.’ The concepts of Sri Aurobindo’s Sanatana
are drawn from Adi Shankara’s commentaries on Dharma, Raja Rammohun Roy’s love for liberty,
Upanishads and Gita. Tagore’s philosophical expositions on the equality
The learned author proves that Vedic state- of all religions, of man’s dependence on nature and
ments are verifiable through inference and of the bond between man and god, and Swami
experience. Disbelievers and sceptics who came to Vivekananda’s spiritual fervour have been des-
scoff must have remained to pray. cribed by the author in relation to Swaraj. These
The Epilogue contains valuable advice for the enlightened thinkers had brought to light the
youth of the country who run the risk of many a essence of Swaraj through their various works and
pitfall wherever they turn. The book is well written programmes.
except that the possessive determiner, ’its’ is printed ‘Swaraj’ has always been a part of our culture
as ‘it’s’ throughout the book. Is it a slip? and heritage. It can be exercised only if individuals
The wrapper highlights ‘OM’ with the rising take pride in our culture, and work towards the
sun in the sylvan background being reflected in revival of a heritage every Indian ought to be proud
the placid waters below. It appropriately reflects of. This is the reason why most of the visionaries
the spirit in which the book is written. proposed a universal religion on a higher note, and
___________________________ K. PANCHAPAGESAN, MUMBAI emphasised the importance of imparting education
in one’s mother tongue rather than in English. The
SWARAJ author describes ‘Culture’ as a way of life and
‘Swaraj’ as a step towards it.
By A.R. Mohapatra
Dr Mahopatra gives the reader a tour through
Published by Readworthy Publi- the views of the great leaders regarding the concept
cations (P) Ltd. A-18 Mohan of ‘Swaraj’. The myth that ‘Swaraj’ is just freedom
Garden, Near Nawada Metro from foreign intervention has been effectively
Station, New Delhi - 59. 2009, disproved. The innate divinity of man has been
paperback, pp.102, Rs.120. emphasised as the pedestal on which the edifice of
Swaraj, as a spiritual and ‘Swaraj’ stands.
moral concept, is an inseparable The book gives us an understanding of what
part of human existence for all Indians. the proposers of Swaraj meant and makes the reader
Swaraj, the book under review, elaborates the idea realise that Swaraj, in its widest sense, is yet to be
of Swaraj with the help of views of the great leaders attained.
of modern India. It provides an insight, though The book, although needing careful proof-
cursorily, into the thoughts and ideas of visionaries: reading and refinement of expression, is a timely
such as Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Rabin- publication.
dranath Tagore, and Swami Vivekananda. ______________________ PROBAL RAY CHOUDHURY, KERALA

If really you have offered your all, your mind and heart to God, then you are beyond
all duties; you are no longer ‘you’, neither have you anything that is ‘yours’.
—Swami Premananda

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i ~ 284 ~ J U L Y 2 0 1 0

The Vedanta Kesari Library Scheme Continued from page 4

4310. A Devotee of Sri Ramakrishna Shree Somnath Sanskrit University, Gujarat - 362 265
4311. -do- ICFAI Business School, Gujarat - 380 054
4312. -do- Srimad Rajchandra Inst. of Mgt., Gujarat - 394 350
4313. Mr. R.L. Mittal, Punjab Atma Ramkumar Sabha Senior Sec. School, Patiala, Punjab
4314. Mr.M.L. Nath R.R. Institution, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal
4315. Dr. Chetan Trived, Vadodara Basappa Memorial Hospital, Jayalakshmipuram, Mysore - 570 012
4316. Ms. Aparna Dalal, Maharastra Rigvi Inst. of Mgt. Studies and Res., Bandra (W), Mumbai - 400 050
4317. D.R. Zala, Vadodara The Barton Library, Bhav Nagar, Gujarat - 364 001
4318. -do- The Govt. District Library, Vadodara - 390 007
4319. Mrs. Shanti Natarajan, Chennai Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Sarada Public Library, Tenkasi - 627 811
4320. Mrs. Sallitha Devi, Chennai Sri Sairam Engineering College, Chennai - 600 045
4321. Mr. A.N. Gupta, Rishikesh Swami Vivekananda Yogashram, Delhi (E) - 110 051
4322. Mrs. Bama Pandurang, Bangalore Basavangudi Union Service Club, Bangalore - 560 004
4323. Dr. Vijay Nyati, Rajasthan Sri A.V. Jain Kanya Maha Vidyalaya, Rajasthan - 335 001
4324. Mr. K. Saikiran, Chennai Sathyabama Engineering College, Chennai - 600 096
4325. Mr. Veera Narayan Sreepathe, A.P. Amitaranjan Sankaribala Vedavidya Mandir, W.B. - 712 122
4326. -do- S.M. Krishna College, A.P. - 509 357
4327. -do- Kottan Institute of Advanced Studies, A.P. - 509 125
4328. Mr. Arindam Chowdhury, W.B. Seva Samithy Library, Murshidabad, W.B. - 742 103
4329. Westland Limited, New Delhi Educational Resource Dept., Kodaikanal - 624 101
4330. Ms. K. Chandan, Bangalore Magnus School of Business, Bangalore
4331. A Devotee of Sri Ramakrishna Vikram Sarabai Space Centre, Trivandrum - 695 022
4332. Mrs.P.Bhattacharya, Delhi Ramakrishna Seva Sangha, 24 Parganas (S), W.B. - 743 337
4333. Mr. Sushanta Kumar Chandra, U.P. Kendriya Vihar, Noida, U.P.
4334. Ashish Sharma, Chandigarh Swami Sarvanand Institute, Gurudaspur Dist. - 143 531
4335. -do- S.A.S. Institute of Information Technology, Punjab
4336. A Devotee of Sri Ramakrishna Yugantar Education, Maharastra - 440 001
4337. -do- Y.N. College, W.G. Dist., A.P. - 534 275
4338. -do- Wigan & Leigh College, Hyderabad, A.P. - 500 038
4339. -do- Wigan & Leigh College, Mumbai, Maharastra - 400 011
4340. -do- V.S.M. College, East Godavari Dist., A.P. - 533 255
4341. -do- V.R.S. & Y.R.N. College, Prakasam Dist., A.P. - 532 157
4342. -do- Vivekananda School, Hyderabad, A.P. - 500 073
4343. -do- Sri Saiva Vuvathee Samakhya, Secunderabad - 500 061
4344. -do- Vivekananda Post Gradute Centre, Karimnagar, A.P. - 505 001
4345. -do- Vivekananda College of Arts, Rajaji Nagar, Bangalore - 560 010
4346. -do- Vivekananda School, Panjagutta, Hyderabad - 500 073
4347. -do- Vivekananda Education Societies, Mumbai, Maharastra - 400 071
4348. -do- Vivek Vardhini College, Jambagh, Hyderabad - 500 095
4349. -do- Viswa Bharathi Engg. College, Kukatpally, Hyderabad - 500 072
4350. -do- S.R. Institute, Rajbagh, Srinagar - 190 009
4351. -do- Vishveshwarya Inst. of Engg., Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P. - 203 207
4352. -do- VIVA Institute, Vasai, Maharastra - 401 303
4353. -do- Visakha Institute, Visakhapatnam, A.P. - 530 022
4354. -do- Vikram University, Ujjain, M.P. - 456 010
4355. -do- Vijaynagar Institute, Karnataka - 583 104

4356. -do- VIF School, Monibad, A.P. - 500 075

4357. -do- Vidya Bharati Institute, C.K. Naidu Marg., Amravati - 444 602
4358. -do- Vidhrabha Institute, Akola, Maharastra - 444 001
4359. -do- Velammal College, Red Hills Road, Chennai - 600 066
4360. -do- Velankanni Institute, Nellore Dist., A.P. - 524 320
4361. -do- Velangini Institute, Hyderabad, A.P. - 501 301
4362. -do- Vathsalya College, Nolgonda, A.P. - 508 116
4363. -do- Vaishali Institute, Bihar - 842 002
4364. -do- Vaikunth Mehta National Institute, Pune, Maharastra - 411 007
4365. -do- Vaagdevi College, Warangal Dist., A.P. - 506 001
4366. -do- V.V.S. Vijayanagar Institute, Bellary, Karnataka - 583 104
4367. -do- V.R. Institute, Nellore, A.P. - 524 001
4368. -do- University School of Management Studies, Delhi - 110 006
4369. -do- University School of Management, Punjab - 151 302
4370. -do- University Post Graduate College, Warangal, A.P. - 506 001
4371. -do- University Post Graduate College, Khammam, A.P. - 507 002
4372. -do- Alkesh Dinesh Mody Inst. of Investment Studies, Mumbai - 400 032
4373. -do- University of Jammu, J & K - 180 004
4374. -do- Bhagalpur University, Bihar - 812 007
4375. -do- Kakatia University, Warangal, A.P. - 506 001
4376. -do- Punjab University, Punjab - 160 014
4377. -do- United Institute of Management, Uttara Pradesh - 211 003
4378. -do- Unique Institute of Management, Ghaziabad, U.P. - 201 201
4379. -do- TTI College, Mysore, Karnataka - 570 009
4380. -do- Trinity PG College, Khammam, A.P. - 507 002
4381. -do- Rajgad Institute, Pune, Maharastra - 411 043
4382. -do- Trimurty Institute, Bharuch, Gujarat - 392 150
4383. -do- Transformation Institute, Mangalore, Karnataka - 575 002
4384. -do- Training and Advanced Studies in Mgt. and Communication, Pune - 411 014
4385. -do- TJPS College, Guntur, A.P. - 522 006
4386. -do- Mukund Lall College, Haryana - 135 001
4387. -do- Thiagarajar School of Management, Madurai, T.N. - 625 005
4388. -do- The Pedanandipadu College, Guntur Dist., A.P. - 522 235
4389. -do- The Oxford College, Hosur Road, Bangalore, Karnataka - 560 068

To be continued . . .

 India’s Timeless Wisdom 

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Và X°d_{^Ï`∫ß$ nm°Èfß nm°d©Xo{hH$_≤ü&&
Success of actions rests equally on destiny and one’s efforts. Of these two,
destiny is the expression of the efforts made in a previous life.
—Yajnavalkya-Smriti, I. 349
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 47 J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University

(Declared by Government of India under Section 3 of UGC Act)
PO Belur Math, Dist Howrah 711202, West Bengal
Phone: (033) 2654 999 / 2654 3503; Fax: (033) 2654 4640
Swami Vivekananda once prophesied, ‘Now, the aim is to gradually develop this [Belur]
Math into an all round university.’ Ramakrishna Mission’s newly established University at Belur,
inaugurated on 4 July 2005, is a humble first step in this direction.
The uniqueness of the University consists in (i) the emphasis on certain ‘thrust areas’ which
are also ‘gap areas’ in that these areas scarcely receive any attention in the conventional
universities in India, (ii) the multi-campus character of the University—it operates through a
wide network of specialized Faculty at the various branch-centres of Ramakrishna Mission some
of which have been working in these areas for decades, (iii) the inculcation of higher human
values in our attempt to realize Swami Vivekananda’s vision of value-based education forms the
essential component of all the courses run by the University.
Some of the courses and programmes being offered at present are:
(i) B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses as well as M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in Disability
Management and Special Education
(ii) Courses in ‘General & Adapted Physical Education and Yoga’ including Special
Olympics meant especially for mentally retarded children—the first of its kind in Asia by any
(iii) M.Sc. courses in Integrated Rural Development and Management (IRDM) as well as
Integrated Rural and Tribal Development (IRTD)
(iv) Postgraduate Diploma course in Agro-based Bio-technology
(v) Diploma courses in ‘Integrated Self-Development’—Essentials of Indian Cultural and
Spiritual Heritage, etc.
(vi) Integrated M.A. course in Sanskrit, taught fully in Sanskrit medium, in gurukula spirit
with free food and accommodation; M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in Sanskrit Studies
(vii) M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Bengali Literature and Language Studies, doctoral and post-
doctoral programmes in Ramakrishna-Vivekananda philosophy and thought, Translation
Studies, Consciousness Studies etc.
(viii) M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, M.Phil.
and Ph.D. programmes in Theoretical Physics
We urgently need to create a sizeable corpus fund—at least 25 crores in the next couple of
years—to strengthen the foundations of the University and make it grow further. We therefore
appeal to all the friends, devotees, followers, well-wishers and admirers of Ramakrishna-
Vivekananda ideology to contribute generously for building up such a corpus fund. Donors to
the University will enjoy 100% exemption from Income Tax under a special provision—Section
80G, subsection 2(a) (iiif ) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, as notified by the Ministry of Finance,
Government of India.
Swami Atmapriyananda
Belur Math, 1 October 2009
Vice Chancellor
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 48 J U L Y 2 0 1 0

Sri Vivekananda Ashramam, Vellimalai

Vellimalai, Kalpadi P.O. Kanyakumari District.Tamil Nadu – 629 204
Ph: 04651 – 237411, 214632, Mob: 94430 02840

An Appeal for Sri Ramakrishnar Aalayam and

Swami Madhuranandar Manimandapam
Having received spiritual inspiration on seeing Swami Vivekananda at Madras in 1897,
Swami Ambanandaji was blessed with mantra deeksha from Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. He
started Vivekananda Ashramam in Vellimalai on Thaipoosam day in 1940.
Swami Madhurananda succeeded him in 1951 and all service activities initiated by him are
successfully carried on till this day by Swami Chaitanyanandaji.
Some of these activities are:
Y Training and guiding youth to spiritual
Y Monthly spiritual retreats for devotees
Y Assistance to poor for education,
marriage and Health
Y Weekly spiritual classes at 850 local
temples for the benefit of 2000 teachers
and 30,000 students
Y Deepa Pooja at various temples every
Y Prayer for peace and prosperity at
devotees’ houses.
At an estimated cost of rupees one crore, construction of the following was started
1) Sri Ramakrishna temple and Prayer Hall to accommodate 200 people.
2) Swami Madhuranandar Manimandapam with seating capacity for 1000 people
during spiritual retreats programmes
3) A library of spiritual books
As the construction is halfway Rs.50 lakhs more is required to complete it. We seek your
generous help in completing this task which would benefit the spiritually hungry in this remote
Donation of Rs.10,000 will be published in festival souvenir and Rs.50,000 will be
inscribed in stone plaque. Donations are exempt from IT under 80 (a) I.T. act.
Cheques / Demand Draft, payable at Nagar Kovil, in the name of ‘Sri Ramakrishna Seva
Sangam’ may be sent to Sri Vivekanananda Ashramam, Vellimalai, Kalpadi P.O. Kanyakumari
District – 629 204.
In the Service of Sri Guru Maharaj
Swami Chaitanyananda
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 49 J U L Y 2 0 1 0


For details contact

Course coordinator, Eknath Bhavan, No. 19, Gavipuram Circule,
Kempegowda Nagar, Bangalore - 560 019
Ph: 080-2661 2669, 2891 6384, 2263 9961, 2263 9997
Telefax: 2660 8645; e-mail:
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i J U L Y 2 0 1 0


(Hqs.: Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math)
P.O. Kalady, Ernakulam-683574; Ph: 0484-2462345.
The Ashrama has been running a free hostel for the poor, underprivileged and orphan
children from classes V to X since 1936. There is an urgent need for repair and renovation of
the old buildings and also creating a corpus fund for maintaining the hostel of 100 children,
providing them with food, uniform, accommodation and study materials free of cost.
We appeal to the generous public and well wishers to donate liberally for: 1) Hostel
Corpus Fund and/or 2) Hostel Renovation Fund, which are exempt 100% from Income Tax
under 35AC.
An Endowment of Rs.1 lakh and above may be created in memory of the loved ones.
Donations towards other activities of the Ashrama- Daily Puja, Charitable Dispensaries,
Celebrations, Maintenance etc. (General Fund) are exempt from I.T. under 80G.
Cheques/Bank Drafts/M.O. may be drawn in favour of Sri Ramakrishna Advaita
Ashrama, Kalady and sent to the above address.
Donors from foreign countries can send their contributions online to our F.C. A/C No.
338602010005806 while the Indians can send to the I.C. A/C No.338602010009164 at Union
Bank of India, Kalady (IFSC Code: UBIN0533866). Swami Amaleshananda

A new translation by Swami Harshananda
The celebrated Sanskrit work on various aspects
of jivanmukti—‘free while living’—by the 14th cen-
tury scholar-saint Vidyaranya
Translated from Swami Harshananda’s Kannada
translation by Dr. H Ramachandra Swamy, with copi-
ous notes and cross references

Price: Rs. 90/- + postage: Rs.25/- per copy

No request for VPP entertained

Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore,

Chennai - 600 004
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 51 J U L Y 2 0 1 0
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 52 J U L Y 2 0 1 0

A comprehensive account of
Swami Vivekananda’s nine-day stay
at the Ice House/Castle Kernan
(now called Vivekanandar Illam—
the Tamil word for a house;
‘Vivekananda House’) after his
triumphal return in 1897, followed by the founding of Chennai Sri
Ramakrishna Math there and the hardships and challenges Swami
Ramakrishnananda underwent during the initial years. The book brings
alive, with the help of archival photographs and memoirs, the history of
the building, and its association with many eminent people of
contemporary India. It was at the Vivekanandar Illam that the first centre
of Ramakrishna Math in South India functioned for 11 years.
A source of inspiration to thousands of people who visit it every year,
it is located on the picturesque Marina beach road in Chennai and houses
a ‘Permanent Exhibition on Indian Culture and Swami Vivekananda’,
maintained by Chennai Ramakrishna Math.
The hardbound book (size 1 x 4 crown) has 256+viii pages, with more
than 300 photographs in colour—printed on glossy paper—spread over
18 chapters and 12 appendices.

Price : Rs.200/- + postage: Rs. 40/-. No request for VPP entertained

T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 53 J U L Y 2 0 1 0
T h e V e d a n t a K e s a r i 54 J U L Y 2 0 1 0
The Vedanta Kesari Regd. with the Registrar of Newspapers for India
under No.1084 / 57. Postal Registered No. TN / CH (C) / 190 / 09-11
Licenced to Post WPP No. 259 / 09-11
Date of publication: 26th of every month

Teach yourselves, teach everyone his/her real nature, call upon the
sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will
come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that
is excellent will come, when this sleeping soul is roused to self-
conscious activity.
—Swami Vivekananda


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121-122, Mittal Chambers, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400 021
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Taps Post, Boisar - 401 504
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Subscription (inclusive of postage) Annual : Rs. 100 10 years: Rs. 1000

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