A great history of devotion and service dawned on Madras (now Chennai) in 1897, when Shashi Maharaj (Swami Ramakrishnanandaji), on the direction of his brother disciple and leader Swami Vivekananda, came to this city of orthodox and ancient culture. This Swami, the apostle of Sri Ramakrishna to the South, established the Chennai Math and spread the message of his Master in South India against all odds.
The swami lived for 14 years between 1987 and 1911 in this city of Chennai. The several schools and colleges run by the Ramakrishna Mission not only in the city but all through the state, the mighty Students’ Home for the poor and orphaned children and the Girls School run by Math in the Mint area speak volumes of his dedication, service and vision. Apart from establishing centers at Chennai and Bangalore, he was instrumental in the Ramakrishna Mission taking roots in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra States.
Swami Ramakrishnananda’s 150th Jayanti was impressively celebrated on 17th July 2012 at Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai with various programmes from 15th-17th July 2012. Installing an image of the swami in a newly constructed Mandapam (a memorial) at the very spot where he had lived in this Math a century ago, releasing his Complete Works in three volumes, arranging an exhibition and opening a new treasure house of books in his name were some of the acts by which the Chennai Math expressed its love to its founder.
Day 1 (15th July, 2012):
The opening day started at 4:30 in the morning with Nadaswaram, Suprabhatam and Mangala Arati followed by Vedic chanting and bhajans by Swami Atmaghanananda at the Universal Temple of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna.
At 6 am Swami Gautamanandaji, Adhyaksha, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, carried the picture of Swami Ramakrishnanandaji from the temple and performed three pradakshinas (circumambulation) of the temple accompanied by a large number of monks and devotees. Nadaswaram and bhajans accompanied the procession. Nature expressed its happiness by blowing cool breeze accompanied by a slow drizzle! The procession proceeded from the Universal Temple gate to the Old Math gate through the road to reach the Mandapam.
The procession of monks made pradakshina of the Mandapam once and then Swami Suhitanandaji, the General Secretary, Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission, unveiled the image of Swami Ramakrishnanandaji in the midst of Vedic chanting by the swamis present. Swami Gautamanandaji placed the picture of Shashi Maharaj on an altar arranged in front of the image and performed Arati to Swami Ramakrishnanandaji and unveiled the plaque. Swami Somanandaji, a senior monk of the Order, other assembled Swamis and Brahmacharis offered flowers to Swami Ramakrishnanandaji.
The Mandapam is a small and simple structure. The image of Shashi Maharaj, made of bronze, looks grand with a divine smile on his face, which is often mentioned by his reminiscers. He was adorned with the offered garlands of Kapaliswara, Parthasarathy and also Sri Ramanuja of Sriperumpudur, the Acharya of the eternal adoration of Shashi Maharaj.
Swami Divyanandaji, a Trustee of Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission, declared open the Ramakrishnananda Exhibition organized in an adjacent place for the occasion. The exhibition, apart from containing Swami’s rare photographs, depicted his life in paintings by Sri Venkatesh, an artist working in Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, and was appreciated by one and all.
It was almost 8 am when ‘Ramakrishnananda Book Treasures’, a new book-sale shop, near the office complex was declared open by Swami Somanandaji by lighting a lamp and the first purchase from the stores made by Swami Suhitanandaji.
Once the Mandapam was inaugurated, a special puja to Sri Ramakrishna was started at the Mandapam site. This was followed by Ramakrishna Sahasranama Homa chanting ‘Om Aim Sarvadevadevi svarupaaya Sri Ramakrishnaaya svaahaa’ and offering bilva leaves and ghee. Puja and Homa were performed by Swami Vimurtananda assisted by Swamis Natarajananda, Bhasvatananda, Apavargananda and Suprajnananda.
In the food offering made to Shashi Maharaj, apart from prasad of Sri Ramakrishna, the prasad of Kapaliswar and Parthasarathy too had been included. A special curry prepared of ‘Thoodhuvalai’ green, dear to Shashi Maharaj for its special place in the life of Yamunacharya, also was offered to him. About two thousand devotees enjoyed the divine atmosphere and partook the prasada at about 12:30 pm.
While the puja was going on, bhajans were performed by Swami Jnanadananda, Swami Atmaghanananda and Swami Abhiramananda at the old temple. Though a special pandal was erected for conducting the programs, these bhajans had to be conducted indoor owing to rains.
The afternoon session started at 1:15 pm in the pandal, with Sri Vittal Bhajan Mandali, a leading bhajan group in Chennai, singing the songs of Saint Tukharam hailing the glory of the Guru.
The nextsession was unique with a special retreat arranged for the auto drivers of Chennai representing the working class – unique, for this program represents the concern of Swami Ramakrishnananda for the working class. Swami Gautamanandaji presided this session with Sri G Narayanaswami, a leading auditor and philanthropist, as the Chief Guest. Swami Harivratananda, welcomed the auto drivers and set the tone for the programe with his melodious singing.
The interaction during the session highlighted the issues faced by the working class. Two speakers, Sri Prabhakar and Sri Vijayakumar, representing the working class felt the need to orient the brethren to higher values in life and felt elated at the recognition of their services to the society by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. Sri Prabhakar spoke about the contributions made by the auto drivers for eye donation camps and also their help for mentally retarded persons. He added that some of the auto drivers, by writing Tirukkural, a Tamil classic on moral values, every day on their autos invoke good thoughts among their passengers. Sri Vijayakumar spoke about the insecurity of the auto drivers, education of their children and host of other issues faced by them. He also pointed out their contribution to the society by helping people during emergencies like pregnancy, immediate hospitalization of the sick and also in maintaining the Hindu culture by celebrating festivals like Pongal, Deepavali, Ganesh chaturthi and so on.
Sri G. Narayanaswamy expressed the view that the auto drivers are the mirrors of the society. He appreciated the role played by the auto drivers in the society. He also stressed on the urgent need to raise their status in the society.
Swami Gautamanandaji, addressing the 150 auto drivers present, assured them that they are all devotees as they have all come under the influence of Sri Ramakrishna. Swami also welcomed them to visit the temple on any day of their choice. He wanted them to turn a new leaf in their lives by saving money, feeling for fellow human beings and service to society. He reminded the concern of Swami Vivekananda and Swami Ramakrishnananda for the working class, the need to raise them and treat them as equals. All the auto drivers were presented with books and also given photos of Holy Trio for affixing in their autos. Apart from these mementos, a scheme of free medical treatment for four members of each auto driver was offered by Swami Gautamanandaji; an identity card was issued to the auto drivers for availing these medical facilities.
The main event of the evening function at 6 pm was the release of Commemorative Souvenir, books in English and e-Books. Swami Suhitanandaji presided over the function. Swami Atmashraddhananda in his introductory speech briefed the source, importance and value of the new books released on this occasion.
Swami Suhitanandaji released the Souvenir published to commemorate Swami Ramakrishnananda’s 150th Birthday & Dedication of Ramakrishnananda Mandapam and also released new books on Swami Ramakrishnananda. Swami Jnanadananda received the first copy of the commemorative souvenir and the books. The English books released at the function were:
Complete Works of Swami Ramakrishnananda (3 Volumes)
Swami Ramakrishnananda as We Saw Him
Swami Ramakrishnananda : A portrait in pictures
Swami Ramakrishnananda: The Apostle of Sri Ramakrishna to the South (Special Edition)
Two Great Worshippers of Sri Ramakrishna
Swami Lakshmidharananda explained the features of the e-books, how it could be used in modern gadgets like i-pad and also how it can be purchased on-line. Then Swami Suhitanandaji inaugurated the special e-books. A video show was presented detailing the features of the web site www.vedantaebooks.org through which information about the books can be obtained and purchased on-line.
Swami Jnanadananda spoke on the holiness of this Math. He called it a pilgrim centre as it was sanctified by the visits and stay of disciples of Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother Sarada Devi.
Swami Suhitanandaji in his presidential address elaborated the role played by Swamiji and Shashi Maharaj in the creation of the Chennai Math. He underlined the spiritual vibration of the Math and the services rendered by Shashi Maharaj in spreading the message of Vedanta. He also spoke about the untiring efforts of Shashi Maharaj in starting the publication of the Math, initiating new centres far and wide. He appreciated the role of a project of Chennai Math called Viveka Murasu – the mobile vehicle travelling to remote villages and for making the lives of the villagers better by teaching them about health, religion and life.
After the evening Arati, at 7 pm Maharanyam Sri Muralidhara Swamigal, a popular exponent of Hindu scriptures, gave an inspiring talk in Tamil on the life of Swami Ramakrishnananda. He hailed Sri Ramakrishna as an Avatara, and also praised the ancestry, life and role of Shashi Maharaj and his discipline in carrying out the work of his Master Sri Ramakrishna.
A function that would have immensely satisfied Shashi Maharaj was organized in Meyyur, a village about 70 kms from Chennai. It is located in Tiruvallur, one of the most backward districts of Tamilnadu. For more than 10 years, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai has been providing free educational training to the poor boys and girls of this village appreciably enhancing their educational standards. In addition free medical camps are being arranged every fortnight.
On 1st July 2012, Swami Ramakrishnanandaji’s birthday was celebrated in the above village with puja, bhajans, and discourses. A free medical camp was also organized on that day. Swami Gautamanandaji addressed the gathering said that he was surprised to see the enthusiasm shown by the villagers and highlighted importance of service to society. He also wished that the village to have a college and university in the days to come. All the 1200 families of the village were given the prasada and each family was given a coconut sapling.
Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai as one of its activities is rehabilitating the leprosy affected persons (LAP) since 1988.
Over the last 23 years over 1200 affected persons have been rehabilitated.
Math is helping the LAPs with treatment & self- employment materials and sponsoring the education of the LAPs and their Children.
Also Math is working to integrated these people back into the society and lead a dignified life.
Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, on the occasion of Sri Ramakrishna’s 175th Birth Aniversary Celebrations Feb 22-26, 2012 worshiped leprosy afflicted persons as manifestation of God – ‘Nara seva is Narayana seva’.
Nara Narayana Seva day began with morning Mangala arti followed by Usha kirtan by Swami Atmajnananda. Bajans and temple pradakshina was by Ramakrishna Sarada Samithi Trichy. Sri Radhe Krishna Bajan Mandali a team of young boys and girls offered soulful music at 8 am.
Students of Balamandir of Ramakrishna Math presented an interesting account of Sri Ramakrishna`s life,the values dear to him and his adherence to truth aparigraha, love of all irrespective of barriers of any type – all in the form of short sweet narratives of 5 minutes . They got a Birthday Cake for their friend Bala Gadhadar and cut it to greet him Happy Birthday.
Over 500 youth who had already registered for the youth convention came in to Math campus with lot of enthusiasm to hear eminent speakers . Dr Ambika Kameswar one of the speakers opened the theme of the Youth convention with a hymn of Sankara that asks How does it happen -Tathah kim tathah kim .
Swami Atmashraddhananda welcomed the youth to the convention which had its theme AS long as I live ,so long do I learn. He explained the genuine enthusiasm which Sri Ramakrishna had in learning new things from any one who came to Him . His spirit of enquiry and urge to verify all truth by personal experience marked His uniqueness
Sri Vijay Menon International Trainer of Human Resources cited 4 different real life personalities and their skills in acquiring ability, knowledge, love of fellow humans and the will to bear the suffering for the sake of others . He cited case pf Pullela Gopinath the star Baadminton champion`s struggle to overcome knee injury and the lesson he learnt from a foreigner who had immense faith and respect for our Indian values – Divinity of River Ganga. He cited Wright`s assessment of Swami Vivekananda as the collective wisdom of all the dignitaries assembled at Chicago Parliament of Religions and quoted the creativity of a budding Management Trainee when left in dirty lonely Bihar village. This boy built structure in the minds of the villagers aand not on the ground
Swami Vidyanathananda-Mahaan Maharaj from Vivekananda University who had received the prestigious Shanthi swaroop Bhatnagar Award for Mathematics for the year 2011 , beganhis speech with the life of young Vivekananda . He cited 3 things from Swamiji`s life
Desire to know- Jignyasu
Desire to go beyond
Desire to enquire
Mahaan Maharaj quoted stories of Satyakama jabhala, Newton , and the urge to know from Nature
Questions were asked from various groups of students and other than the 3 speakers Swamini Krishna Priya Amba also explained process of learning .
Nara Narayana Seva was conducted at 12.30 pm . 175 leopracy affected people were honoured by the Math and worshipped as Narayana . They were given new dress , garlanded offered flowers and deepa aradana was performed to them . Prior to this in the meeting that explained the service activities done to them by Math since 1987.
Evening session witnessed a marvelous pictorization of life of Sri Ramakrishna by students of Ramakrishna Mission Students` Home. Songs ,Dance weaved through incidents from Master`s life captured the appreciation of all .
A Public meeting was held in the Evening. Swami Sukhadevananda Secretary Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College welcomed the gathering. Swami Ilayapattam Marudhajalam Wwamigal of Perur Santhalinga Adigalar Adheenam addressed the gathering and expressed his love for Sri Ramakrishna and his message.
Padmabhushan Dr N Mahalingam Industrialist and Chairman SAKTHI groups pointed how he got inspiration fro reading Ramakrishna`s life and Ramakrishna Vijayam the Tamil journal . He appreciated the spiritual ,educational and relief works done by the Math and Mission and pointed out how this proved to be service to Siva . Pazha Karuppiah Member of the Legislative Assembly from Chennai Harbour constituency appreciated concept of Universal temple that harmonises all religions . He criticized the current thinking of people worshiping God for only material gains.Quoting from Vallalar, Poet Kannadasan, Ramayanam, and Tirukkural
Sri A K Ganguly the retiring Judge of the Supreme court replied to encomiums paid to him for his just judgements in sensitive cases of corruption, said that he received inspiration for truth only from the life and message of Sri Ramakrishna.He read out silent aspects from the life Sri Ramkrishna and traced his love for truth , courage and love of all our traditional values.The metaphors and anecdotes in the Gospel Of Sri Ramakrishna was underlined by the Justice.
Swami Gautamananda presented memontoes to the guests while Swami Satyjnananandaji Secetary Ramakrishna Mission Students Home proposed Vote of thanks
Sri Sukhi Sivam the popular exponent of scripture and literature spoke on Guruvum Thiruvum . His lively talk with quotes from epics and day to day life incidents brought to light the message of Sri Ramakrishana
The Day represented respect to all Sampradayas or traditions in our religion and named it as Sarva Sampradaya Samanvaya day. It began with morning vesper service at 5 am followed by Bhajans and Temple pradakshina by Swami Harivratananda . At 8 am holy chanting of Vedic Mantras by Chellagare brthers, Thevaram the great Saivaite Hymns in Tamil by Sivathiru Sargurunathan of Kapaleswarar Temple, and Divyaprabandam,the Vaishanvaite hymns of Alwars of yore , went at three different locations in the Temple complex.
From 8.30 am Monks of different traditions Saivaite,Vaishnavaite along with diverse traditions like Chinmaya Mission, Divine life Society were welcomed with Poorna Kumbha in the Vedic tradition and it was a sight for the Gods to see the respect given to Monasticism .
With Swami Gautamanandaji as the president, monks of all traditions ( Sampradaya) were seated on the decorated seats . Swami Atmaghanananda welcomed the sadhus of traditions to the meet. Addressing the meet Dharmapura Adheenam Mouna Kumaraswami Thambiran Swamigal pointed out how Sri Ramakrishna through his simple stories could bring nearness to God Sri Appan Parakaala Embaar Ramanuja Jeer of Embaar Jeer Madam Sriperumbudur underlined how Sri Ramakrishna pointed out the goal of human life as realization of God . He also said that Master had stressed the path of love in our approach to the Divine Lord . Swami the explained the siddhanta of Vaishnavism.
Sri la Sri Sathyagnana Mahadeva Desika Paramacharya Swamigal of Velukkurichi Adheena Thirumadam explained Love of fellow human beings as worship of SIVA and appreciated how Swami Vivekananda`s ideas of education has provided scope for imparting our heritage, dharma and values to children through schools run by Ramakrishna Mission and affiliated centers.
Thiruvavadudurai adheenam`s Kattalaithambiran Swamigal hailed the tradition of India that revolves around GOD and appreciated the efforts of Ramakrishna math in organizing such monks meet thereby underlining the tradition of respecting renunciation and monasticism.
Gnanagureu Saakthasri Sivalingheshwara Swamigal of Kamatchipuri Adheenam pointed out how the efforts to mitigate the sufferings of people had been the aim of Indian culture, He also praised the holiness attached to Prasad ( food offered to God) at Ramakrishna Maths.
Thavathiru Kumaraghurubara Swamigal of Siravai Adheenam explained the glory of such Monks` meet and elaborated on the message of Swami Vivekananda. Stressing the need to follow Swami Vivekananda`s message, the Adheenam pointed out the beauty of the simple spiritual messages of Sri Ramakrishna. Citing a comparison or parallelism between Sri Ramakrishna and Vallalar Ramalinga Adigal, Arulthiru Ooran adigalar of Vallalar Sanmarga Sangam Vadalur, hailed this period of late 19th century as Golden age of Indian spiritual tradition. He underlined the greatness of our Ancient Hindu religion, the brotherhood attitude of Swami Vivekananda, his affinity to the youth of Madras and the stress on Renunciation and service made by Ramakrishna Math and Mission. He called Sri Ramakrishna Math as a punya theertha.
Swamis Guruprakashanandaji of Divine Life Society, Swami Sivayoganandaji of Chinmaya Mission and Sri Gnanaprakasa Desikar of Thulavur Aadheenam spoke on the role of such meets in arising the conscience of our people. Swami of Mayilam Bramhamapura Adeenam and Swami Ananthanandaji of Ramakrishna Ashram ,Ulundurpet also graced the meet with their benedictory addresses. Pontiff of Vanamamalai Madam Nanguneri Srimath Paramahamsa Kaliyana Ramanuja Jeer Swamigal spoke on his long association with Ramakrishna Vijayam,its former editor swami Paramarthananda . He elaborated on the Vaishnava tradition by chanting hymns in Tamil and Devanagari . He hailed the glory of Ramakrishna Incarnation , its message and uniqueness.
With the concluding remarks by Swami Gautamanandaji President of Monk`s Meet who spoke on the great life of renunciation lived by Sri Ramakrishna, the love and admiration he had for youth leading a life in pursuit of realization of self ,the meet was a declaration of the glory of Monasticism.
Swami Budhidananda offered gratitude and pranams to all monks of all different sampradayas for their spiritual presence at the Ramakrishna Math Chennai on the great occasion of Sri Ramakrishna`s 175th Jayanti celebrations
Bajans by sri Ramakrishna Sarada Samithi Trichy in the afternoon was well received
A Poets` symposium on the glory of Sri Ramakrishna was held at 3 pm.Dr V V Subramaniam former Principal of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College was the President of poets`meet. Kavignar Jonny `s poetical welcome was crisp and lively
Poetical compositions on Sri Ramakrishna were presented by Poets Dr.Tiruppur Krishnan, Ramanan, Dr T.S Prema Satishkumar, Veeraraghavan and Dr Rammohan
Special discourses on Sri Ramakrishna`s guidelines for welfare of women was the highlight of the evening session.Swami Gautamanandaji presided over the session Sri Nalli Kuppuswami Chettiar traced his long association with Ramakrishna math through his studentship at T.Nagar school and later with the swamis of the Order .
Yateeswari Krishnapriya Amba of Tiruvannamalai spoke on the women devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and also stressed on His concern for the welfare of women both in social and spiritual life.
Smt Vani Jairam, the popular playback singer spoke on the life of Sri Ramakrishna , Sarada Devi , the Holy Mother and also on his eagerness to deliver spiritual message to them Smt Vani sang few songs and thrilled the gathering.
Sri S.Pandurngan welcomed the audience and speakers while Sri Palanivelu proposed vote of thanks
Musical discourse by the popular exponent of Kathakalakshepam Smt Vishaka Hari drew huge crowds to the premises of Math in the night . Over 2000 people heard her discourse on`Self surrender according to Sri Ramakrishna. Smt Vishaka Hari traced the birth of Gadhadar, his father`s dream and then moved on to little boy Gadhai . His devotion and saranagati to Divine Mother that led him to come face to face with Divine Mother . She pointed out the saranagati of Holy Mother as well as the that of Narendranath to his Guru Sri Ramakrishna.
175th Birth Anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna & 12th Anniversary of Universal Temple Consecration Celebrations – Feb 22-26, 2012
On the 4th day of the Celebrations Smt. Vishaka Hari, a Harikatha Exponent, gave a Musical Discourse on Sri Ramakrishna in Tamil on the topic ‘Self surrender according to Sri Ramakrishna‘.
The day began with Mangalarati, Ushakirtan followed by bhajan by Bhaktaswara Bajan mandali . Swami Atmaghanandaji sang devotional songs and namavali .
Devotees read selected pages from Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and it brought to our minds not only the sayings but the divine presence of Sri Ramakrishna.
At 9.30 am a unique session on religious harmony called Parliament of religions began. Swami Atmaghananandaji in his welcome address underlined the need to have this interaction of thoughts for better sharing and harmony of minds. Bikku Rajan of VIPASANA Meditation center Chennai beautifully highlighted the principles of Buddhism with couple of quotes from Bhagavat Gita. If the Holy Book is Dhammapada, the aim of life is like moving from the Himalayas to the ocean by spreading the dew of love . He pointed out the need to have right speech, right thought and right action. Purity ,both inner and outer is absolutely essential, he said. He showed that there are 4 types of awareness such as calmness, purity etc. No doubt there is righteous life that is the ultimate truth.
Kavikko Janab Abdur Rahman, Chairman of Waqf Board Tamilnadu, stressed the need for Religious harmony by citing the story of an elephant being viewed by different people as different objects. Never they concur and they go on fighting for ever, he said. Prophet Mohammed has shown that God will send His prophets to different places for leading them in the right path. He underlined that religions are signboards directing the seeker towards God and spiritual life and yet people change their directions towards their own ends. Sri Dhulichand Jain read out a paper on what Jainism stands for. Both men and women are eligible for emancipation; Human effort is needed for spiritual life; Need for Internal purity, critical Knowledge, Righteousness, non-violence and austerity, respect for the monks and simple vegetarian life. It is the right living that matters and truth will be revealed to them
Swami Atmashraddhanandaji, Editor of Vedanta Kesari, spoke on all principles of Hinduism paying rich tributes to sages of yore who gave the Srutis by their meditation, the speaker explained Sruti, Smriti, Darshanas of philosophy, Soul Brahman and man`s effort to realize Himself.
Sri Harbhans Singh Anand, Secretary, Sri Gurunanak Sathsangh Sabha ,Chennai dwelt on the origin of Sikhism from the sound of OM. Sikhism stresses on nama japa and service to society, he said. All the Gurus have insisted on world brotherhood and they dedicated their lives for this, he said. Mr Singh said that all members of Sikh community respect Sri Ramakrishna and Ramakrishna math .
Sister Dr.Margaret Bastin ,Principal Kalaikaveri college of Fine Arts, Trichy opened her speech with song by Ramalinga Vallalar and felt blessed to have come down to this holy centre, a visit that was dear to her since her school days. Sister Margaret traced the origin of Christianity to centuries before Christ. Saranagati –total surrender unto God`s mercy, Charity, Faith in the words of Lord are all underlined by her.
Prasad was distributed to over 3000 devotees.
Afternoon session began with Bhajans by Students of Sarada Vidyalaya T.Nagar. Swami Harivratananda of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya Coimbatore gave a musical discourse on the great life of Nandanar.
Evening session was a special public meeting on Sri Ramakrishna . Srimat Swami Harshanandaji, Adhyaksha, Ramakrishna Math Bangalore. Sri S M Manohar of SM Silks, Kanchipuram spoke on the glorious life of Sri Ramakrishna and the blessing he had received from Monks of Ramakrishna order.
Justice of Chennai High court Sri Ramasubramanian spoke on the relevance of Sri Ramakrishna to our times . Pointing out the hollowness of modern life , Justice expressed concern over rampant Jealousy and discontentment that is prevailing in the minds of men. He wanted us to imbibe the message of Sri Ramakrishna who came to energize the existing faith according to Romain Rolland. Our rushing to Temples today is to seek prosperity and we are digging wells of 6 feet depth 10 times instead of digging at one place for 40 or 50 feet. Instead of spiritualizing our material life ,the Justice laughed at hoe we materialize even our spiritual life.Plenty of parables of Sri Ramakrishna came from him and they drove His message in to the listener.
At 7 pm Swami Omkarananda of Sri Chidbhavananda Ashrama Theni gave a talk on Vedamurthy Sri Ramakrishna. Proving the truth of His own words Lord came down as sarva dharma samya moorthy this time, said the Swami. Speak the truth Follow Dharma are the vedic dicts and Sri Ramakrishna lived true to them. Everything in his life went as per dharma the eternal law of the world. Sradhavan labhathe jnanam- yes Sri Ramakrishna was the very embodiment of this great sradha.
This is the holiest day as it marks the birthday thithi pooja of Sri Ramakrishna. Morning vesper service were followed by Vedic chanting and Usha kirtan. Swami Shankaratmananda led the Temple pradakshina with bhajans on the Holy Trio. Sri Ramachandran & team played devotional songs on the shehnai, Bhajans were sung at the temple by Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj, Smt. Vishnupriya and students of Ramakrishna Mission Students home.
Grand shodasopachara worship, Homa, and Bhajans thrilled the 1500 or more devotees who had assembled at the temple. After Maha Arati of 11.45 am over 2000 devotees took Prasad.
The afternoon session was marked by a grand play of devotional songs on Holy Trio by Sri Vittal Bhajan Mandali, Chennai. At 3 pm over 800 devotees performed 1008 Tamil Archana in praise of Sri Ramakrishna.
At 4.30 pm a function was held to release of 2 new books published by Math to mark the occasion of 175 th Jayanti of Sri Ramakrishna. Swami Sivayogananda of Chinmaya Mission, Madurai spoke on how Sri Ramakrishna is a marvelous personification of the entire message of Upanishads, Everything that sprang from the lips of Sri Ramakrishna came out of his own experience. He elaborated on the advaita sadhana, his struggle to get away driving his mind out of saguna bhava & the final merger into the nirguna brahman He pointed out how he stood firm on keeping off money that ever stood in the way of realizing the Ultimate. His message stands on how sri Ramakrishna interprets Gita as Tagi meaning renouncing everything for God realization.
Dr. Arumga Tamizhan spoke on the role of Guru in driving out darkness of ignorance and make the disciple eligibile to realize God. He warned how even when themselves being blind to the Truth, many start behaving like Guru and wondered is it not similar to blind leading the blind. Realizing one`s own self is the truth and Guru,the master should lead the disciple to the goal .
Ramakrishna Jayanthi Lectures by Swami Asutoshananda,Manager Chennai Math and Swami Gautamanandaji Adhyaksha, Chennai Math were the concluding part of the Jayanti this day.
No wonder, Birth Day thithi pooja of Sri Ramakrishna, was grand and this time it was much grander too as it coincided with 12th year of Temple consecration .
Temple opened with Holy chanting of Veda, Suprabatham and Ushakirtan. Then all devotees assembled at the front of the Universal Temple. With Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj at the helm, Pradakshina of Temple began with mangala Vadyam and bhajans by Swami Dharmishtananda.
Pooja of Divine mother commenced at 6.30 am in the specially decorated shrine of Divine mother. Chandi homam with the chanting of verses from Devi Mahatmyam and offerings ghee and other holy materials was performed by Swamis Atmaghanananda, Swami Satyavidananda, Swami Lakshmidharananda and Swami Budhidhananda. Huge assembly of devotees from all over Tamilnadu and Karnataka got Mother’s blessings. Final oblation and Maha Arati went up at 12.30 pm. Prasad was distributed to over 3000 devotees.
At Swami Vivekananda Auditorium, every one witnessed the visual presentation of Universal Temple consecration held on 7th February 2000. Sri Krishna Bhajan Mandali Troupe led by Smt. Kala Seshu and accompanied by Sri S.V.Ramani on Mridangam gave a soulful bhajan . Evening was dominated by nostalgia of the consecration held 12 years back. Swami Gautamanandaji presided over the Happy Reminiscences of the Consecration addressed by Sadhus and lay devotees who took part then in 2000. Address by Swami’s Asutoshananda, Atmaghanananda Atmajnananda, Atmasraddhananda, Apavargananda was followed by devotees. Every one stressed on the perfection, dedication and devotional fervor that marked the consecration. All praise went to the Lord who got His work done through His chosen soldiers who never had any prior experience or share in Temple consecration.
A very well laid colorful shamina in front of the century old shrine, opened with devotional songs by students of Smt. Ramkumari Devi Fomra Vivekananda Vidyalaya, Chrompet, at 5 pm. Sikkil C. Gurucharan, an upcoming young artist and an alumni of Vivekananda College, Chennai ,gave a lovely melody of Classical music. His songs wove a garland of musical compositions on the Lord`s bosom. Over 1500 people enjoyed the young Gurucharan’s melodious music.
Thus the day marking the 12th Anniversary of Consecration of a universal temple went off with all grandeur and devotional spirit.