Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

Sri Sarada Devi: The Universal Mother – Part 1

Source from An article by Swami Sarvagatananda which appeared in Prabuddha Bharata – December 2004

Swami Sarvagatananda

This is a very special occasion for all of us to think about Holy Mother: what she was, what she means to us now. It is rather difficult to picture her because our knowledge about her is only second-hand: we get a glimpse of her from writings on her by swamis, by others who saw her and by those who had heard about her from still others. You will be surprised and perhaps shocked to know that not many in the beginning were inclined to go to Holy Mother because they could not really see her, since she was always veiled and never spoke anything about philosophy, religion and the like. Not many could grasp the greatness of Holy Mother: they thought she was great because she was Sri Ramakrishna’s wife.

Coming down from Divinity to Human Level

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that it is rather easy to get into an ecstatic mood, raise our consciousness, dwell in that highest divine realm and be lost to the outside world. But, having had the highest spiritual experience, it is very difficult to come down to the human level and work like anyone else, without betraying any traces of having had that ecstatic experience. That was the uniqueness of Holy Mother.

Her Life Was Her Sermon

I am sure many of you know about an incident from Buddha’s life. There was a hall where he addressed his monks and other disciples. One day, on entering the hall, he surveyed it in a moment to see if everyone was present. One monk was absent. And Buddha asked the others, ‘What about him?’ ‘Well, sir, he is sick. He’s staying in his room,’ was the reply. ‘Is there anyone to serve him?’ Buddha asked. ‘No, sir.’

Buddha got up, slowly walked up to the sick monk’s place, took a towel, soaked it in water, squeezed it and washed him and served him. When the monk was asleep, Buddha came out. The other monks were waiting for him. Buddha was about to go away without a word. Some monks asked him, ‘Sir, what about the sermon?’

‘I rendered the sermon,’ he said. That is it. ‘I rendered the sermon.’ That, again, was Holy Mother. To serve others is very difficult. We can talk, we can explain things, but, with that full awareness inside, to behave just like an ordinary human being is practically impossible. That is why many could not understand her in the beginning. The more they lived with her, the more they began to understand how it was possible for a human being to serve others as she did. She was daughter to her parents, wife to Sri Ramakrishna and spiritual guide and teacher to many, but more than all this, she was a mother, unique in every way.

Our Real Mother

She lived true to her pronouncement ‘I am the Mother of all.’ Anybody, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, high class or low class, known or unknown – all received from her that wonderful love and affection. That is one important thing I discover in her life. Anybody could go and feel, ‘Here is someone who is my very own.’ Day or night, people visited her. Slowly her name spread, and more people started coming. Without exception all felt that she was heavenly. That is why I say she is holy and she is motherly. Everyone had that kind of feeling – monks, devotees, the Western disciples of Swami Vivekananda who accompanied him to India, and those who visited India after his passing way. Their common refrain was, ‘She is our real mother.’

Motherly, Compassionate and Forgiving

We could love others like a mother for a day, or maybe for some days, but throughout our life? That is very difficult. Even when she was sick, she was ready to help anyone. In the Chandi we read about the glory of the Divine Mother: ‘Ya devi sarvabhuteshu matrirupena samsthitha; … Ya devi sarvabhuteshu dayarupena samsthita; … Ya devi sarvabhuteshu kshantirupena samsthita; Namastasyai. Namastasyai. Namastasyai namo namah.’ (’Salutations to the Divine Mother, who dwells in all beings as mother, as compassion, as forgiveness.’)

God as mother, as compassion, as forgiveness – all this we hear about. Well, maybe we also try to imagine. Until we see a person translating these things into action, we don’t really understand. Holy Mother was such a person. She was not only motherly to everyone, but also compassionate and forgiving.

There is not one but many incidents in her life to illustrate how people received her blessings. Of all those who received her grace, that Muslim robber comes to my mind again and again, the one who went to jail many times. He was not allowed to even reach and see her. One day he climbed the wall and jumped into the place just to have a glimpse of Mother when she was sick. As he stood before her, she asked, ‘Baba, where were you all these days?’ ‘Oh, I did some robbery and then I was caught and was put in the jail. Just the other day they released me,’ he said. And she made him sit there and served him.

A devotee once asked her, ‘Mother, why do you waste so much time for him?’

‘Because he is lost.’

‘Do you know he robbed such and such a place the other day?’

‘What else can he do? They have lost their jobs.’ (They used to work in a silk industry. Due to an unfortunate competition, that industry was dead. And all those workers, very strong Muslims, had nothing to do. Therefore, they took to robbing others.) ‘If you give him some work he will certainly do that. When there is no work, how does he maintain his family? So robbing has become his profession. And therefore he comes here. I cannot say no to him.’ Look, Mother did not take it very badly!

Whatever Was Hers Was for Others

Imagine, if any robber comes from jail and walks into your house, how would you feel? Mother felt at home with him, not once, but many times. There are so many such incidents in her life. In the Bhagavadgita there is a nice saying from Sri Krishna: ‘Four types of persons worship me: those who are in distress, those who seek material benefits, those who are seekers of truth and those who know me (jnanis).’1 All these people worship the Lord. Now, we all do it. All religions have this kind of approach. It is easy to go to a shrine or a chapel and sit down and say, ‘Oh, God …’ and submit our petition to Him. And then, maybe our prayer is sanctioned or maybe not, but we live on faith and hope. With Mother, it is not like that. You go with all these things to her, someone sitting before you in flesh and blood. And whatever you want, you ask her.

It is easy to pray to a deity and expect that something will happen after some time. Here it is not like that. To a living person you say this and get the things done. That I call impossible in this world, but she did it. People used to go to her for many things. If she had what they wanted, she immediately gave them that. Otherwise, she made them sit, procured the thing and gave it. She never denied anyone anything. Where do you have another like her?

Once it so happened that somebody came to her clad in a small length of cloth. Mother had no money to purchase cloths. Somebody had given her a new cloth. It was on the clothesline, washed, dry and ready to wear. She immediately brought it, folded it and gave it to the person. If she had anything, it belonged to people. She was always concerned about others. She was a nurse, maid, mother—all in one. And she served everyone, day or night.

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Convocation & Inauguration of Vivekananda Sanskrit Course

On 06-07-2015 the Sanskrit course in two levels in collaboration with Samskrita Bharati inaugurated. This “Vivekananda Samskrita Adhyayana Sarani” was started as part of 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda.  So far four batches of students have successfully completed the course.

The inaugural function of the 5th batch and the convocation of the 4th batch was done  between 7.15 and 8.45 p.m. at the Chennai Math premises. During this occasion certificates were distributed for those who have completed the course Level I & II successfully.  70 students in Level I and 35 students in Level II have received the certificates for the completion of the course. This enable them the desired goal  “To speak in Sanskrit and also understand simple Sanskrit slokas.”

106 candidates  in Level I and 35 candidates in the Level II aspiring to study Sanskrit have registered their names for the 5th Session. The admission for the candidates into the two levels is over .The classes will commence from 3rd week of July after a 10 days training program- “Vadatu Samskritam” to the freshers. The next session will commence in January 2016.

Sanskrit Course-1

Sanskrit Course-2

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Youth Camp Photos: Day 3(last day) – 2015-07-05

5.7.2015 – Sunday – Morning Programmes
4.30 am   : Wake up
5.00 am   : Mangala Arati @ Universal Temple
5.10 am   : Guided Meditation @ PSHS School ground : Swami Nilamadhavananda
5.35 am   : Yogasana & Suriya Namaskar @ PSHS School ground
6.40 am   : Bathing etc.
7.15 am   : Breakfast
8.00 am   : Assemble @ Hall and taking pledge
8.15 am   : Reading from letters of Swamiji
8.20 am   : Bhajans : Bhaktaswara Yuva Mandali
9.00 am   : Lecture : Justice S Sathiyamurthy Senior Civil Judge, Salem Dist. Topic : Vivekanandar virumbum samudaaiyathai padaippom
10.00 am : Tea
10.25 am:  Group wise short speech on various subjects by youngsters
11.15 am : Lecture : Swami Vimurtananda Topic : Saadhippavargal enna seigiraargal
12.15 pm : Lunch Prasad

Evening Programmes
12.45 pm : Traditional Games
2.15 pm   : Video Show on “Swacch Bharat”
3.00 pm – 5.00 pm : Swacch Bharat around Mylapore Math & Mada Streets
5.30 pm   : Feedback by Members
6.00 pm   : Refreshment & Disperse

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Youth Camp Photos: Day 2 – 2015-07-04

4.7.2015 – Saturday – Morning Programmes
4.30 am : Wake up
5.00 am : Mangala Arati @ Universal Temple
5.10 am : Guided Meditation @ PSHS School ground – Swami Bhaktivridananda
5.35 am : Physical Exercise @ PSHS School ground
6.40 am : Bathing etc.
7.15 am : Breakfast
8.10 am : Assemble @ Hall and taking pledge
8.20 am : Reading from letters of Swamiji
8.25 am : Bhajans : Swami Nilamadhavananda
9.15 am : Lecture : Buddhidananda Topic : Indhiargal Endrum Perumaippadum Ilaijnargal
10.00 am : Tea
10.30 am : Lecture : Dr. R.Senthuran President, United Vision 2020  Topic : Naatirkku vendiya Ilaijnargal
11.30 am : Lecture : Swami Paramasukhananda Topic: Vivekanandar edhirpaarkkum Illaijnan
12.15 pm : Lunch Prasad

Afternoon Programmes
12.45 pm : Traditional Games @ PSHS School ground
2.00 pm : Quiz Programme on Swamiji  Professor Va.Ve.Subramaniam, Former Principal, Vivekananda College, Chennai
3.00 pm : Encouraging Lecture: Sri R Sathiyamurthy  International Wheel Chair Tennis Player
3.45 pm : Lecture : Swami Satyaprabhanananda Topic : Mana orumaippadu enum mandiram
4.30 pm : Tea
5.00-6.00 pm : Group Discussion with Swamis of the Math

Evening Programmes
6.30 pm : Arati and Prayer @ Universal Temple
7.10 pm : Submission of Problems, Challenges, Prayers to Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna
7.35 pm : Swami Vivekananda Potri – Archana
8.00 pm : Lecture :  Srimat Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj, Adhyaksha, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. Topic : Ilaijnargalukkana Vivekanandar
8.45 pm : Dinner Prasad
9.30 pm : Open Air Meditation in front of Dhuni
10.15 pm : Go to Sleep

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Youth Camp Photos: Day 1 – 2015-07-03

03.07.2015: Friday – Programmes
4.15 pm   : Registration at Math Office
5.00 pm  : Tea
5.30 pm  : Assemble @ Swami Ramakrishnananda Hall
5.35 pm  : Welcome Address:Swami Apavargananda
5.45 pm  : Group Formation – Introduction of Group Head and assigning responsibilities
6.30 pm  : Arati & Prayer @ Universal Temple
7.15 pm   : Lecture – ‘Crazy’ Mohan Topic: Siri; Sindhi
8.00 pm  : What do I expect from this camp? – Brief by Participants
8.30 pm  : Dinner Prasad
9.15 pm   : Open Theatre Dramas
10.00 pm: Go to Sleep

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Youth Camp Lectures – July 03-05, 2015

A residential Youth Camp was conducted at our Math from July 03-05, 2015. About 200 youth from various parts of Tamilnadu arrived at the camp towards the evening of 3rd July and enjoyed 2 eventful days of yogasanas, music performances, dramas, games and to top it all and lectures by eminent monks and high ranking citizens of the society. Some of the lectures have been reproduced below

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Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam – July 2015 issue

சிறுகதைப் போட்டியில் ஆக்கப் பரிசு பெற்றது
குருவே சரணம் – எஸ்.பாலசுப்ரமணியன்
சுய முன்னேற்றப் பகுதி: நீ தன்னிகரற்றவனாக மாற… – கர்னல் கணேசன்
ஒரு மேலைச் சிற்பியின் பக்தி – மோகனா சூரியநாராயணன்
பாரதத்தை வாழ்விக்கும் மொழி – பத்மன்
மாணவர் உலகம்: ரோமகிருஷ்ண மிஷன் மாணவர்களின் சாதனை
ஒரு துறவியின் சீனப் பயணம் – சுவாமி துர்கானந்தர்
துயரச் சுரங்கம் – சாஹித்ய அகாடமி விருது பெற்ற கு.சின்னப்ப பாரதி
மாதா பிதா பூஜை-ராஜமாதா
ஹாஸ்ய யோகம்: நான் போய்ச் சொல்கிறேன் – இலங்கை ஜெயராஜ்
ஆசிரியர் உலகம்
மாணவனின் கவனம் பெறும் தேன்கூடு வித்தை – சுவிர்
கரு உண்மை: உரு கற்பனை
அந்திமகிரியை -பாமதிமைந்தன்
முதலில் இறைவன்; பிறகு உலகம் – சுவாமி விமூர்த்தானந்தர்
சிறப்புக் கட்டுரை: குருவைப் போற்றுவோம்!- ராஜவிட்டல்
அண்ணா சுப்ரமணியன் என்ற ஒரு ரிஷி – சுவாமி தத்புருஷானந்தர்
குரு ஸ்துதி – ஸ்ரீசமர்த்த ராமதாஸர் அருளியது
சங்ககுரு சுவாமி வீரேஸ்வரானந்தர் – சுவாமி தத்புருஷானந்தர்
திருமூலர் உணர்த்தும் குரு தத்துவம் – சுவாமி அபவர்கானந்தர்
வண்ணப் படக்கதை: சாமானிய தியாகச் சீலர் – ராஜமாதா

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The Vedanta Kesari – July 2015 issue

Gita Verse for Reflection Editorial
The Story of Desire
Learning to Contribute: An Approach to Karma Yoga – V Srinivas
Balaram Mandir and Swami Brahmananda – Hiranmoy Mukherjee
Dissolving Boundaries – Pravrajika Virajaprana
Four Encounters with Surdas – Krishnaswamy
God Exists And We Can See Him: Two Short Stories – Swami Sudarshanananda
New Find
Unpublished Letters of Swami Saradananda
The Order on the March
Book Reviews
Simhâvalokanam (How Can We Live a Clean Unworried Life?)

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Aratrikam Hymns – Evening vesper service to Sri Ramakrishna

These evening hymns are sung during the vesper service at all the centres of Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission. The songs are dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi.

1) Khandana Bhava Bandhana – Composed by Swami Vivekananda
2) Om Hrim Rtam – Composed by Swami Vivekananda
3) Sarva Mangala Mangalye – Dedicated to Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi
4) Prakritim Paramam – Dedicated to Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi composed by Swami Abhedananda

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The Vedanta Kesari Centenary Celebration

The Vedanta Kesari, ‘the Lion of Vedanta’, is the spiritual and cultural monthly of the Ramakrishna Order published from Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai, since 1914. The Vedanta Kesari now completes a century of its service to the cause of spreading Vedanta and Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology of holistic spirituality and man-making.

Swami Vivekananda played a pivotal role in spreading and popularizing the Vedanta philosophy in modern times. A group of Swami Vivekananda’s disciples in Madras, which included Alasinga Perumal, started on 14 September 1895 a monthly bearing the title Brahmavadin (‘The Messenger of Highest Truth’).

It continued its march for 14 years, until Alasinga’s demise in 1909. From 1909 to 1914, the publication of Brahmavadin became irregular. The last issue was brought out in 1914 (March-April). Soon after, the Brahmavadin’s legacy was continued by a new journal, The Vedanta Kesari, started by Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai, and has been in circulation ever since.

This video was aired on DD Bharathi in commemoration of this special occasion.

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