Netherlands to Afrilands

Visiting Swami 

Swami Sarvatmanandaji speaking on "Shri Krishna's Assurance to humanity"...
Swami Sarvatmanandaji speaking on “Shri Krishna’s Assurance to humanity”…
Image courtesy: Veresh

It’s an honour for our Centre to receive one of our senior monks of the world-wide Ramakrishna Order today. The Saturday evening Satsang aptly provided an opportunity to extend our warm traditional welcome to the visiting Swami. The monk was Revered Swami Sarvatmanandaji Maharaj. The occasion was the Gita Jayanti celebration.

Swami Sarvatmanandaji in worship of Holy Trio
Swami Sarvatmanandaji in worship of Holy Trio at the Netherlands Ramakrishna Vedanta Society shrine

He has come on a 9-day visit to South Africa. He is presently the Minister-Incharge of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Vereniging Nederland (Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of Netherlands). Earlier he visited Mauritius and from there he landed yesterday at 10 pm via Johannesburg in Durban airport where he was heartily welcomed by brother Saradaprabhananda, officials and Self. He is accompanied by Shivashankar Reddy, a devotee and research scholar doing his Ph.D in Netherlands. They are scheduled to return on the 17th by the evening flight.

The Gita Jayanti

Gita Jayanti tithi falls this year on the 23rd of this month. Since on that date, we have scheduled a day-long Vedanta Retreat, we felt that it would be beneficial for the devotees to listen to the visiting Swami on the Gita and seeing to his convenience, we celebrated  Gita Jayanti in all its solemnity two-weeks earlier. The program included opening and closing prayers, singing of bhajans, meditation, chanting from Srimad Bhagavad Gita and a speech by Revered Sarvatmanandaji Maharaj. His Talks, well-put in simple language so that even a child could grasp, centred around on “Shri Krishna’s Assurance to Humanity”.

In his address, revered Maharaj pointed out that thinking of Lord is essential while carrying out all our activities. Struggles in life could be faced only when remembrance of God happens. Hence Shri Krishna’s prompting “maamanusmara yudhya cha”.

Revered Swami Sarvatmanandaji Maharaj, Head, Ramakrishna Vedanta Society, Amstelveen, Netherlands on a 9-day visit to SA
Revered Swami Sarvatmanandaji Maharaj, Minister-Incharge, Ramakrishna Vedanta Society, Amstelveen, Netherlands on a 9-day visit to SA – Image courtesy: Nolan

Maintain Secrecy

The Swami had spent 15 years in USA and before that another 15 years in Belur Math itself. I cannot but remember with nostalgia about his readiness in helping me out with the drafting of sannyasa application in 1981. He rendered ably his ‘boro babu‘ – Chief officer – duties to Swami Gambhiranandaji Maharaj at Belur Math General office for 9 years and to Swami Vandananandaji maharaj there for 6 years. His position was so pivotal that he knew almost everything about every monk and brahmachari. One day I asked him how could he maintain such a ‘secrecy’ of official matters; he replied that he was only a ‘postman’, delivering good and bad mails and a postman never gets attached to what he carries. I learnt that day if one sincerely performs his allotted duties, it could be possible to remain ‘unattached’ too.

Senior monk

Revered Maharaj joined the Ramakrishna Order in December 1964. He initially rendered seva as brahmachari at our Shillong Ashrama in Meghalaya. He was subsequently in Belur Math Headquarters Office from 1970 to 1985. Initiated by Swami Madhavanandaji maharaj, he received his sannyasa from Swami Vireshwaranandaji maharaj in 1974.

From 1985 to April 1997 he was stationed in Boston and Providence Centres in the USA as Assistant to Swami Sarvagatanandaji maharaj. He moved to Southern California and took charge of the San Diego Centre where he stayed until 2000.

Public Lectures

He is leaving tomorrow for host of other places where our branches are located such as Pietermaritzburg, Estcourt, Ladysmith, Dundee, Newcastle, Chatsworth and Phoenix. He is also pleased to make a visit to Sri Sarada Devi Ashram at Asherville in Durban on the penultimate day of his stay.

His public lectures have indeed interesting topics. A list is given below for your information and dear reader, if you are anywhere near the place of our branch centres, I encourage you to attend the program.


Altar of Sri Ramakrishna Temple...Draped in blue garment on the occasion of Gita Jayanti...
Altar of Sri Ramakrishna Temple…Draped in blue garment on the occasion of Gita Jayanti…a colour well-suited to Bhagawan Shri Krishna
Swami Sarvatmanandaji's Public Programme in SA
Swami Sarvatmanandaji’s Public Programme in SA


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10 thoughts on “Netherlands to Afrilands

  1. Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam
    Aum Namo Narayanaya
    My saluations to Holy Trio and Maharaj. Welcome back Maharaj, I trust you had an exceptional African experience at the Kruger Park.
    We are are truly blessed that Master’s grace is sprinkled upon us through the visits of Swamis who come to South Africa. By their presence here all are slowly purified.
    May Master bless you always Maharaj!
    With love
    Tongaat, SA


    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Yogan
      Yes, the Kruger experience was unique. I just returned the other day, only to travel again with the visiting Amsterdam Swami. The natural scenery was superb and seeing our four-legged brethren in their own habitat was much more scintillating! Fortunately there was no rains there. By Master’s grace all the Big Five gave darshan to me and accompanying devotees in one day! There were some memorable occasions which I have caught in my camera. I hope to place some of the photos in due course.
      May Bhagawan Shri Ramakrishna bless you!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  2. We are indeed blessed to have such an elevated soul visiting our shores.
    May his stay here be a joyous and memorable one and may all devotees derive spiritual benefit from his visit and talks here!
    Dharam Ramkissoon
    Durban, SA


    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Dharambhai
      Thanks for your hearty wishes!
      Fortunate we are to get the holy company often when Swamis from outside this country visit!
      Such visits provide an extra opportunity for the parched souls to quench their spiritual thirst.
      May Bhagawan Shri Ramakrishna bless you!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  3. Aum Namo Narayanaya Maharaj!
    I would like to echo the same sentiments of the other devotees, of welcoming Revered Swami Sarvatmanandaji Maharaj, to South Africa and thanking Maharaj for enlighting us on the Bhagavad Gita, at the Gita Jayanti celebration at HQ, on Saturday, 8/12/2012.
    May Maharaj have an enjoyable stay in South Africa!
    Danny Raghunundan
    Durban, SA


    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Danny
      Indeed, Danny that the visiting Revered Sarvatmanandaji is very happy to be in South Africa.
      So far he has travelled to, besides Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Estcourt, Ladysmith, Dundee and Newcastle centres. He will be at Phoenix and Chatsworth tomorrow. He is simply overwhelmed by the devotion of the devotees.
      May Bhagawan Shri Ramakrishna bless you!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  4. Dear Swamijee
    Humble and loving pranam!
    To be in the esteemed and holy company of Revered Swami Sarvatmanandaji Maharaj was really refreshing and revitalising to the mind and soul. It meant a great deal to us, devotees, to spend quality time with our Revered Swamijis this past weekend.
    The purity that oozes from our Swamijis’ is so intoxicating. We felt sad to depart from Swamijis holy company on Monday evening. I would like to re-iterate that moments with our Swamijis are priceless.
    Respectful pranam
    Avitha Partab
    Pietermaritzburg, SA


    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Avitha
      Many a devotee have echoed your sincere feelings to me about their holy association with the visiting Swami.
      If we, as devotees can utilise such God-given occasions, how wonderful we all would blossom in our spiritual life! And for that very purpose these incidents occur. Shri Adi Shankaracharya commends this holy company – maapurusha samshrayah – as one of the three rare things to obtain, the other two being birth as a human – manushyatvam, yearning for liberation – mumukshatvam.
      May Bhagawan Shri Ramakrishna bless you!
      Swami Vimokshananda


  5. Om Namo Bhagvate Sivanandaya!
    Pranam at the lotus feet of our beloved Swamiji!
    Swamiji! How blessed we were to have had darshan of both Swamijis!
    To have been in Swamijis’ company was the highlight of our weekend.
    How blessed we are to share in these moments steeped in the nectar of spirituality, and to recharge our own sadhana! We loved every moment spent with Swamiji and look forward to many, many more! It was indeed a depressing Monday when Swamiji departed. Always greedy for Swamiji’s company and words of love!
    Prem & Om
    Your child
    Estcourt, SA


    1. ||Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Ashina
      It was a wonderful feeling to bask in the warmth of the visiting Swami.
      All the devotees in Estcourt went out of their way to provide comforts and hospitality.
      Especially the short Satsang that was held under the blue sky with intrepid black clouds overlooking the still lake waters was indeed enjoyable. Till we left the place, to our great relief, the threatening clouds “just barked, not biting” as they say. On our return we encountered of course a welcome thunderous torrential rain.
      Yesterday I had another visiting Swami, straight from Rishikesh Sivananda Ashram. It was a spiritual feast on a lunch-prasad table for me to have had Revered Swami Padmanabhanandaji maharaj, who is the General Secretary of the Rishikesh Ashram.
      May Bhagawan Shri Ramakrishna bless you!
      Swami Vimokshananda


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