Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

Antaryogam Photos – July 2014

Antaryogam – a 3 day spiritual camp for adults, was conducted at the Math from 25-July 2014 to 27th July 2014. As a part of the camp, guided meditation, bhajans, spiritual talks, music and drama presentations were organised. At the end of the day, a homa was conducted for the participants. 

Below are some photos taken during the camp:

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Mother’s Love – Swami Ishanananda – 5

Swami Ishanananda, the writer of these reminiscences, was indeed a blessed soul. He had the good fortune of becoming Holy Mother’s close attendant and helper when he was just an eleven-year-old schoolboy. He belonged to the group of young novices living at the Koalpara monastery, close to the Mother’s village, who used to assist the Mother in running her household. The Swami met the Mother in 1909 and served her until her passing away in 1920.

Source: Matrisannidhye (Bengali book). (A free translation by Br. Bodhi Chaitanya)

A Brahmachari tries to serve Holy Mother

When Holy Mother was living at Koalpara, a new Brahmachari came from Belur Math to pay his respects to her. When he met the Mother, he expressed his wish to stay on for some days, but she told him: `My son, if you stay here you will have to put up with many inconveniences. Here I am, in this jungle, with Radhu; and there is so much work to do.’ The Brahmachari, however, kept on insisting, and Holy Mother finally said: `All right, you may stay at the Koalpara Ashrama for some days.’ After a few days the Mother asked the Brahmachari: `Look, Radhu is on a special diet. Do you think you could cook her meals?’ The boy was overjoyed, and agreed at once to do the job.

The next day he cooked Radhu’s meal at the Ashrama. As he was taking the food to Holy Mother’s house nearby, the tray he carried felt so hot that his hands began to burn, and finally the tray fell on the ground, spreading its contents around! A perplexed Brahmachari presented himself before the Mother, empty tray in hand! He then told her what had happened. The Mother was rather displeased; and that day, of course, Radhu could not have her usual food. In the evening, when Varada went to visit the Mother, she told him: `Look, as a sadhu (holy man) the boy is quite good. But at the moment, here the work cannot go on without efficient people. This kind of work cannot be performed by sadhus that dwell under trees (i.e., sadhus indifferent to outward events).

Again, on the impulse of some temporary enthusiasm anybody can do a good job, but the nature of a person can be known by observing in detail just how they perform their every-day work.’

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Swami Ramakrishnananda Jayanti Audio Discourses & Music – July 24, 2014

The 152nd Birth day Tithi puja of Swami Ramakrishnananda was celebrated with Special Puja and Homa at the Math on Thursday, 24th July 2014.

 

Srimat Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj delivered a wonderful speech detailing the life and teachings of Srimat Swami Ramakrishnanandaji Maharaj in English. Swami Atmapriyanandaji spoke in Tamil on the importance of sharanagati or total dependance on the grace of God as practised by Swami Ramakrishnanandji Maharaj. Swami Harivratanandaji beautifully etched the life and teachings of Srimat Swami Ramakrishnanandaji Maharaj in a Tamil Musical story-telling presentation (Kathakalakshepam). Members of the HarikripaMandali presented a beautiful rendition of the Divyaprabandam in music form.

Recordings of some lectures                                                  Downloading Audio

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Mother would eat last

Source: http://vimokshananda.com/2008/02/21/mother-would-eat-last/

We normally believe that culture blossoms, flowers and sustained well with the education. A highly educated person is supposed to exhibit good cultural traits. However culture can be manifested even if a person is unlettered or not educated. One such case came to my notice when I found an illiterate woman belonging to a poor village, eking out a living by preparing and selling hadia (home brewed rice-beer) expressing a very high cultural attitude through her action.

saradadurgablog.jpgThis lady heard about Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. The life and teachings of Holy Mother fascinated her. She eventually proved that even without formal education, one can adopt Sarada Devi’s teachings in life. This episode was recently published in our monthly journal, Prabuddha Bharata, published by Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, Himalayas which is reproduced below:

It was during Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations. The Ranchi Sanatorium is surrounded by villages inhabited mostly by people of the Oraon and Munda tribes. We had a meeting with the villagers, and what they told us frankly surprised us. They said that all the six villages would take part in a big procession, starting in the morning, and would reach the ashrama campus by 11 a.m. Each village would have a jhanki or tableau specially made for the occasion.

On the tithi-puja day, the procession started from Tupudana, and reached the ashrama after a journey of 1 km. One of the jhankis, from the village Dungri, which had a little girl fully draped in a white sari like the Holy Mother with her long hair flowing over her shoulder, evoked lot of interest. She was seated on a thelagadi, a push-cart, and behind her there was a picture of Belur Math, drawn on a sheet of cardboard.

pbarati.jpgThe girl was known to us as Arati Kachhap, studying in class five. I asked her to sit by my side on the lawn in front of our temple, and she came down from the push-cart. Several devotees were also sitting there as the temple was full inside.

I asked Arati at what time she had left her home. She said, ‘By seven in the morning the didis (the elder girls of the village who were supervising the arrangements) came and dressed me up like Ma Sarada, and asked me to sit on the cart.’ Then I asked her, ‘Arati, did you eat anything before leaving your home?’

She replied that she had had nothing. Sensing that for a long time this little girl had been sitting on the cart without having had even a snack, I immediately asked one elder girl to bring prasad from the temple. When I gave her the prasad, she held it in her little hands but did not eat it. Surprised, I said, ‘Arati, take it! Oh! You have not had anything since early morning. Have it now!’

To my surprise, Arati refused to eat. When I asked her why she didn’t want to eat, her reply surprised me all the more. She said that her mother had instructed her not to eat. I was stunned, as I knew her mother well. She was a poor tribal woman eking out a living and supporting three children by preparing and selling hadia (home-made rice beer) in the bazaar. Her husband was of no use to the family. I asked Arati how it was that her mother did not approve of her eating prasad. Arati replied, after some hesitation and after my repeated prodding, ‘My mother told me, “Look Arati! Today you are dressed up like Holy Mother. You should not take any food at the ashrama until all the Dungri village people are fed – because Holy Mother would always eat last, after feeding all the devotees.”‘

Tears came to my eyes. Arati’s mother, an unlettered villager who brewed and sold hadia – just imagine what culture she exhibited! She had imbibed one of the core qualities of the Holy Mother, and was trying to fashion her daughter’s life with what she understood! If people would follow even a fraction of the Holy Mother’s teachings, how good our society would be. May Holy Mother inspire everyone!

 

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Tamilnadu Youth Camp Photos – 2014

Our Math conducted a Personality Development Camp for Youth (shortly, Youth Camp) from June 20th (Friday) to June 22nd (Sunday), 2014. Gents in the age group of 15 – 30 years participated in this Camp.

In the course of the camp, Youth were guided on the following themes (based on the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda):

  • Right living
  • Nurturing Leadership Qualities
  • Personality Development
  • Yoga 
  • Meditation

Some snaps from the Youth Camp

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Dakshinamurthy Stotram Lecture Series in Tamil by Swami Asutoshananda

The Dakshinamurthy stotram is a small hymn written by Adi Shankara. The stotram by no means is a mere eulogy to Lord Dakshinamurthy. It conceals within it’s simple verses, very deep and profound aspects of Advaita Vedanta.

The wisdom conveyed by its verses can bring about a radical transformation of one’s world view by removing ignorance about the world, about God, and about oneself. This transformative knowledge is capable of destroying the mula avidya (fundamental ignorance) that is the ultimate cause for all suffering. Thus the Daskhinamurti Stotram is moksha shastra, a scriptural teaching that can by itself lead to one’s liberation.

Swami Asutoshananda, a monk of the Ramakrishna Order will deliver the weekly lecture in Tamil every Monday at the Math Auditorium. The lecture will begin at 5.30 pm. All are welcome. Please refer to the monthly calendar for more information http://www.chennaimath.org/category/events/monthly-calendar

Listen and Download the Lecture                                                      Downloading Audio

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Guru Purnima Discourse by Srimat Swami Gautamanandaji (Video) – July 12, 2014

In the evening Srimat Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj gave a succinct discourse on the importance of accepting the right guru and surrendering ourselves to him, in order that we may realise God. A wonderful explanation of the dictum – Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya.

Duration: 50 min

Click here to listen and download the audio lecture.

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Guru Purnima Discourse by Srimat Swami Gautamanandaji – July 12, 2014

Guru Purnima was celebrated at our Math on July 12, 2014.

In the evening Srimat Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj gave a succinct discourse on the importance of accepting the right guru and surrendering ourselves to him, in order that we may realise God. A wonderful explanation of the dictum – Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya.

Duration: 50 min

Listen and Download the Lecture                                Downloading Audio

 

Click here to view the video lecture.

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Mother’s Love – Swami Ishanananda – 4

Swami Ishanananda, the writer of these reminiscences, was indeed a blessed soul. He had the good fortune of becoming Holy Mother’s close attendant and helper when he was just an eleven-year-old schoolboy. He belonged to the group of young novices living at the Koalpara monastery, close to the Mother’s village, who used to assist the Mother in running her household. The Swami met the Mother in 1909 and served her until her passing away in 1920.

Source: Matrisannidhye (Bengali book). (A free translation by Br. Bodhi Chaitanya)

Holy Mother’s efforts to cure Radhu

In 1919 Radhu was pregnant, and gradually becoming mentally unbalanced. Seeing the Mother at a loss to know how to cure her, Nalini suggested that they make Radhu wear bangles offered to the `Mad Goddess Kali’ of the Tirol village, since that had once worked in lessening Radhu’s mother’s insanity in the past. The Mother agreed at once and, turning to Varada, said:

`Look, Nalini is right.Varada, tomorrow without fail please go to Tirol, offer worship to Mother Kali there, and bring the bangles with you.’

Varada left for Tirol the next day, spending the night at a devotee’s house on the way. Arriving in Tirol on the second day, he offered worship to Mother Kali and bought the bangles, returning to Holy Mother at Koalpara in the evening. The following morning before breakfast, Radhu was bathed and the bangles were put on her wrists according to scriptural injunctions. Holy Mother prostrated herself in the direction of Mad Goddess Kali’s shrine, and fervently prayed for Radhu’s recovery. Radhu’s condition, however, did not change or improve in the least by wearing the bangles; rather, Radhu’s mother’s madness took a turn for the worse! She began to quarrel with Nalini for having prescribed the bangles for Radhu. After a few days, Radhu’s mother began to reproach Holy Mother again and again, telling her: `Why did you bring Radhu from Calcutta? If she had stayed there, she could have received proper medical treatment. Now the weather is so hot; in Calcutta they would have applied ice on her head, and that would have alleviated her condition. If you can manage to procure ice and apply it on Radhu’s head, she will be cured.’ Holy Mother again believed in the new proposal and turning to Varada said:

`Varada, she is right. Tomorrow please go by bicycle to Bankura and bring some ice.’

As his bike was not in a very good condition, Varada was reluctant to cycle all the twenty-four miles distance to Bankura, but the Mother assured him: `It will be all right, you please go.’ The next morning Varada presented himself before the Mother, ready to depart. The Mother did some japa (repetition of a holy mantra) on his head and chest, and gave him an offered flower to tie in his cloth. Travelling by bicycle and by train, Varada managed to return to the Mother with twenty pounds of ice nicely packed, by five in the afternoon the next day. At the Bankura Ashrama the members had given Varada some cucumbers and other things for the Mother’s household, so in the end the young man had to carry a forty-pound load! While Holy Mother and Radhu’s mother were happily applying the ice to Radhu’s head, Uncle Kali (Holy Mother’s brother) happened to come that way. Hearing of the new treatment prescribed by the mad aunt (Radhu’s mother was known by that name), he said to Holy Mother: `Sister, do you apply ice on the head of a pregnant girl on the advice of the mad aunt? Take care that she doesn’t catch a cold.’, and: `Sister, you don’t understand. If the big doctors of Calcutta have admitted defeat, being unable to cure her, then this is no disease at all. In my opinion she is possessed by a ghost. In the village of Sushnegere there is a tantrik practitioner; why don’t you send for him and get his opinion about Radhu?’ At these words the Mother stopped applying ice on Radhu’s head and said to her brother:

`Fine. Tomorrow Varada will go to Jayrambati; from there you will take him to Sushnegere. Explain the case to the man and see if you can bring him with you.’

The next day Uncle Kali and Varada arrived in Sushnegere and, as soon as they approached the tantrik occultist, the latter threw some mustard seeds at both of them, and at his altar, and then said: `Yes, I have understood everything. In the next couple of days I will have to go there. I have received the command.’, etc. Uncle Kali still told him in detail about Radhu’s mental condition and requested him to come to Koalpara to examine her. On the way back to Koalpara, Uncle Kali began to talk to Varada on different subjects, and finally said, referring to Holy Mother: `Look, Varada, if my sister would save all the money that the devotees give her, she could be very well-off, but instead of that, she spends it all on Radhu and her brothers, she doesn’t save at all. Well, to whom do you think she gives most?’ Seeing that Varada uttered no response, the uncle continued: `Look, Varada, my sister is not at all attached to money, that is why she is respected by so many people. Her relatives try to take advantage of her generosity as much as they can. If she were attached to money like ordinary people, then she wouldn’t be respected. That is why she is not a human being Ñshe is a Goddess, do you understand, Varada? Well, you boys have given up home and family at such an early age, and are busy serving Sister day and night. You are your parents’ only son. I know your father, he is a God-fearing, noble soul. You boys of Koalpara, how much you serve Sister! And Sister also is so gracious to you! Taking upon herself such a heavy burden as Radhu, Sister depends on you for help and support. Varada, you are indeed blessed!’ While the uncle talked in this manner, the two finally reached Jayrambati. The uncle stayed at his home and Varada proceeded alone to Koalpara. When he met Holy Mother she asked him in detail about the tantrik charmer, and then asked him further: `What did Kali say all along the way?’ As Varada repeated Uncle Kali’s words, the Mother smiled lightly and said: `Kali is always thinking about money. As if Sister were a money-bearing tree! But he also has some devotion and faith. It is Kali alone who stands by his sister through thick and thin, who always enquires about her. All the other brothers, if they can get some money, that’s enough for them!’ The next morning the charmer arrived at Koalpara. Holy Mother prostrated before him in all humility and explained in detail about Radhu’s condition. He examined the patient and attributed the malady to the influence of spirits. The remedy he prescribed, however, was impossible to procure: the oil extracted from ten pounds of sesame seeds; four gallons of Rui fish oil; iron obtained from distant, inaccessible places; and various kinds of plants and herbs. All these ingredients had to be heated in a fire made of bull-dung cakes. The resulting oil had to be applied on Radhu’s body, and from the iron from far-off places an amulet had to be made. Having given all these instructions, the charmer took a five-rupee fee and left. At first the Mother was very eager to get all the ingredients collected, but with the passing of the days it became obvious that the task was simply impossible. In this regard the Mother said, after a few days:

`How many deities do I pray to for Radhu’s sake, but I get no response at all. Whatever is to happen, will happen. Oh Master, you are the only protector!’

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