Milk of kindness

Swami Vivekananda on Lord Buddha’s heart
He was the only man who was ever ready to give up his life for animals to stop a sacrifice. He once said to a king, “If the sacrifice of a lamb helps you to go to heaven, sacrificing a man will help you better; so sacrifice me.” The king was astonished. And yet this man was without any motive power. He stands as the perfection of the active type, and the very height to which he attained shows that through the power of work we can also attain to the highest spirituality… I wish I had one infinitesimal part of Buddha’s heart.
…what did Buddha say with his dying breath? “None can help you; help yourself; work out your own salvation.” He said about himself, “Buddha is the name of infinite knowledge, infinite as the sky; I, Gautama, have reached that state; you will all reach that too if you struggle for it.” Bereft of all motive power, he did not want to go to heaven, did not want money; he gave up his throne and everything else and went about begging his bread through the streets of India, preaching for the good of men and animals with a heart as wide as the ocean.
…In Buddha we had the great, universal heart and infinite patience, making religion practical and bringing it to everyone’s door…
Buddha photo courtesy : thusness

During the weekly satsang on last Saturday, in my Talks on Buddha, I dwelt upon the Buddha’s infinite compassion to the suffering beings of this world and how much adoration Swami Vivekananda had for the Buddha’s heart! Today being Buddha Purnima, I want to share with my readers a glimpse of that Buddha’s heart that I witnessed some years ago in our Most Revered President Maharaj, Srimat Swami Atmasthanandaji whose birthday happily falls on Buddha Purnima!

It was the year 2002 when the present President Maharaj, most Revered Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj visited Ranchi Sanatorium. His stay during that period coincided with Buddha Purnima, the well-known thrice blessed day due to the fact that on the same purnima tithi falls Buddha’s birthday, His Nirvana day and His Mahaprayan day.That was also a thrice blessed Day indeed for the Sanatorium devotees. In the words of one devotee from Kolkata, Debraj Mitra (thanks Debraj! for the photo courtesy) who was present on that day: “Indeed, May 26 2002 was  a thrice blessed day, as we were privileged to witness three major events on that day. Firstly, in the morning, President Maharaj replaced the old photos of THAKUR, SRI SRI MAA & SWAMIJI  with new ones in the shrine. Secondly, Maharaj released the Commemorative Souvenir on Revered Swami Gambhiranandaji’s Centenary and also all the monks celebrated Maharaj’s birthday. Thirdly, in the evening, Revered Maharaj delivered a lecture on Lord Buddha and then he followed it up with a guided meditation – A  BONUS.”

Revered Atmasthanandaji had worked at this centre as Assistant Secretary way back from 1952 to 58. He knew all about the poverty that surrounds in the neighbouring villages. His keen observation has not missed the malnutrition prevalent among the tribal children. While taking morning walk, during his visit to Sanatorium in 1999, on the road leading to Indoor wards, suddenly he turned to me and said, “Why don’t you start giving milk to the children here? I see your dairy farm has grown in size and the milk is very good indeed.” he continued after a pause, “How much milk we pour on Shivalinga! Just imagine! Shiva will be truly pleased if we can only pour milk in these children’s stomachs!

That was it! Immediately the scheme of feeding milk to 100 Children was started. We would obtain fresh milk from our own Dairy farm within the campus. It was just situated on the back of our Ashrama kitchen. But from where the required money will come? By blessings of the Revered Maharaj the scheme started attracting kind-hearted people all around who began sending their donations. I remember the first donor was my gurubhai Ranjit Sinha who immediately paid the money. Well, the scheme that started with 100 children initially began to grow so fast that it doubled within two years. Now I understand, it caters to 280 children.

It was sight to see the children coming in queue from the Vivekananda Vidyalaya to Ashram first, and after making pranam to the Holy Trio at the shrine, they would march on to the central kitchen where they would be fed with 200 ml of milk with bakery made rusks. On the way if they happen to see me or any other Maharaj, they would all in chorus shout loudly Pranam Maharaj!  Today that sweet sound of the children is reverberating in my ears diffusing the deterrent distance between India and South Africa! 


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17 thoughts on “Milk of kindness

  1. “Today that sweet sound of the children is reverberating in my ears diffusing the deterrent distance between India and South Africa!” —–PRNAAM MAHARAJJI.
    How lucky and blessed those children must be that their PRANAAMS are REVERBERATING in your ears even after 6 years…Maharajji, today I want to ask you a question: WHAT IS LOWER TRUTH as compared to HIGHER TRUTH?
    a devotee of Devotees of Holy Trio


  2. Pranam Maharaj

    This is truely a beautiful article- it would have been lovely to hear the discourse given at HQ on Saturday. I do hope Maharaj is feeling well rested after yesterday.

    Yours in the service of Master


  3. Dear Maharaj, thank you for this blog. It is especially inspiring because many are recent, real life experiences. Maharaj’s articles ‘Milk of Kindness’ and ‘Expansion is Life’ are both wonderful and thought provoking. We so often forget the ‘human god’!

    At the lotus feet of Sri Sri Ma


  4. Pranams Revered Maharaj

    Delicious, Nutritious, Wholesome Fresh milk from the dairy farm given to the tribal children daily, must have been a Great Privilege for Revered Maharaj, as Maharaj’s heart bleeds for the poor! Truely the person that serves the hungry and needy is a Real Mahatman. My Prostrations at the Feet of Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj for having conceived the idea and to Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj for carrying out this Great Duty. PRANAM MAHARAJ!!


  5. Pranam Maharaj jee,

    It was so nice to see you in pics here.It was awesome feeling seeing kids coming in que for mid day meal,and milk.It’s almost 2 years ,i haven’t got the chance to visit the school and ashram.This feeling just reminded me everything and it feels so fresh.

    Charan Sparsh


  6. Pranam maharaj
    What a beautiful article this milk of kindness is ! The sound of the children echoed thru your article. Instead of mere philosophical expositions these kind of case histories would motivate lot more people to contribute their little mite in the cause of helping the needy.We are awaiting more such articles from you.


  7. Respected Maharaaj,
    On the day of Buddha Purnima this article came to me as an oasis. The starting point itself wonderful with the sayings of Swamiji. To me the message of this article is: Not only to remember Lord Buddha through His advices, to follow His way through the path of our own lives.
    I was going through the other comments as well. I read Bharat Chriwala’s comments:”How lucky and blessed those children must be that their PRANAAMS are REVERBERATING in your ears even after 6 years”. I have listened them, not only Maharaaj I am also same in views. They actually loved Maharaaj so much, that love always came through their voice. I really love to recollect those moments when I saw Maharaaj with them.
    Pronaam Maharaaj.


  8. Pranam Maharaj,

    I remember I stroll with you at Tupudana on a winter evening when you had related little bit of this story among others. It has been more than a couple of years now and time has gone roolled a full circle.
    I believe the children today are more blessed to continue to fall in a queue, waiting for his/her turn for a glass of milk virtually being poured out by Thakur himself, as if.


  9. Ever so grateful to Swami Vimokshanandaji for sending me the link of his Blog. I am so blessed to have met Maharaj. Nothing new to add as others said them all. I think today’s real Heritage of India remains with these poor, downtrodden but honest people. Pranams


  10. Revd. Maharaj,
    Sadar pranam. A thought of great man and timly action works wonder. You your self are an example of such noble deeds. You your self are very kind hearted. I recollect your spontaneous sanction 25 years ago to provide free dylasis to Ward nurse Ambolis husband at Sewa Pratishthan.
    Once Revd. Atmasthananda Jee Maharaj was at Sri Lanka on Buddha Purnima day, it slipped our memory that today is Maharaj’s birthday. That evening Rashida bahan phoned from Bhawnagar and she said, today is Maharaj’s birthday and I want to make pranam to him. Then we all hurridly rushed to Maharaj’s room with flowers. Maharaj is full of joy. He said’ Nandu what special today’ go and see how many children are born at Sewa Prathishthan.


  11. Dear Recreation
    First thanks for your recent visit and comment.
    Second, sorry that you ‘missed the point’.
    One of The traditions in India, while worshipping the GOD in the form of SHIVA, is to pour milk on SHIVA’s symbol. Its like ‘feeding’ SHIVA Himself. The symbol is made of stone. The reference is to that. The point is “why dont you feed milk to the poor children?”
    Hope this is clear now.
    Once again thanks to you
    May peace be to you!
    Swami Vimokshananda


  12. Respected Maharajji,
    Heartiest Thanks for posting such a beautiful story about my most endeared father. “Ahetuki kripa” is what has always been the characteristic trait of Ramakrishna Math…isnt it the most “ahetuki kripa” that you are in net to bless us with such enlightenments?.
    If you could post some more beautiful stories about Him,we all would be more than blessed.
    Satakoti Pranams.


  13. Respected Maharaj,

    I enjoyed reading your post ‘Milk of Kindness’ and tried posting a reply there, but I think it was discarded. I don’t know why. Anyway, let me again write one or two of the thoughts I tried to post there.

    Swami Atmasthananda Ji is indeed a kind soul, a compassionate sadhu. I have had the good fortune of having his darshan and talking with him too on a few occasions, and receving replies to my mails to him on other occasions. After my first meeting with him in 1993 at New Delhi when along with some advice, he commented on my name as being a good one, my regard for him increased when I saw him garlanding and making pranam to Revered Bhuteshananda Ji at Belur Math with simple devotion. Indeed, I found refuge at the Holy Feet of Bhuteshananda Ji thanks to Atmasthananda Ji only. Even last year in response to a letter, he bolstered my faith in the Guru and also told me to pray to Holy Mother and Sri Ramakrishna who will grant me whatever I wish, he wrote.
    Just sharing some thoughts.
    With regards,
    Guwahati, Assam, India


    1. Dear Ankur
      Glad to see you here. You have received the gift of sadhusanga – holy company. Keep in contact with such great monks of our glorious Order.
      May your devotion be steadfast at the feet of Holy Trio.
      With prayers
      Swami Vimokshananda


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