Welcome, 2016!

Welcome, 2016!

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Just a minute ago, 2015 was given a go-bye, sorry ‘Durga, Durga‘ in our parlance! And in comes a beaming 2016. A very happy, hearty New Year Day aka Kalpataru Day to every one of you!
The past year 2015 was indeed a memorable year. Singapore celebrated its Golden Jubilee. During the year-long functions here I was posted as President of our Mission centre and reached in June.
“How was your life in the bygone year?” a question I usually put to our devotees.
Some would hesitantly reply, “Don’t ask, Maharaj! It was not at all encouraging!”
So, adverse circumstances were aplenty?
Never mind.
Think what Swamiji says about Life. He defines Life as  “the unfoldment and development of a being under circumstances tending to press it down.” If you had had problems galore that were ‘pressing’ you ‘down’, thank God, because those were the best opportunities for unfoldment and development.
Life is nothing but a process of Learning.  Situations are indeed windowless, doorless and even wallless schools. A wealth of knowledge has already been accumulated through our experiences.
Tirukkural asks,
kattRadanAl Aya payan en kol vAlaRivan
nattRAl thozhAr enin” (I.1.2)

Of what avail is the Learning if divine feet of Him who possesses perfect wisdom are not worshipped?
So, God-centred Life is what we require in this New Year. Once a goal is set up, it becomes easy to navigate the course of life. Did not Master say on the 1st January of 1886, “May your spiritual consciousness be awakened!”?
May the New Year ‘gift’ us in abundance further opportunities in the ‘manifestation of Divinity already within’ us!
Swami Vimokshananda
12:01 am January 1, 2016

This digital greetings is from Dr S Adhinarayanan. As usual, it’s charming!

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Relevant Resolution?

New Year Resolution

Any more relevant?

Sri Ramakrishna Temple in Durban, SA
Sri Ramakrishna Temple in Durban, SA

Silly season

December known as ‘silly season’ aptly or not, is a month of merry-making with holidayers dotting different places around the globe. Children and equally elders too, joyfully look forward to the prospect of school-closing followed by festival-booms and the most eagerly expected New Year. They tire themselves out with routine partying extending to midnight  on the 31st December. They are overwhelmed too receiving gifts galore.

And finally the New Year peeps in. At the stroke of midnight bells, unperceived by many in the din and bustle of all the hullabaloo and unmindful of the karmic effects that this same New Year is going to thrust upon. Year by year may pass; none can escape from the karmaphala – the fruits of action. So the old saying ‘as you sow, so you reap’ stares at the face as time rolls on. The moments of despair gnaw each one of us. Fortunate are those who are brought under the gracious umbrella of divine personalities. They are made to realise what is the ultimate purpose of life that meanders sans any meaning.

Saving Message

In Ramakrishna tradition, the beginning of the New Year brings in a new awareness of our goal. The moving incident that happened on the 1st of January in the life of Sri Ramakrishna is still a beacon light to all his followers over the globe. That day, every year is called Kalpataru Day. The message of Master on that day was “may you all be illumined”.

He was undergoing treatment for throat cancer. He came down the stairs on the 1st January, 1886 and started moving in the lawns. Many devotees had assembled there. They bowed down to Master.

To Girish, the Master said, “Girish, what have you seen that makes you glorify me publicly before one and all?” Girish at once fell at the Master’s feet and said with folded hands and choked voice, “What more can I say of Him, even a fraction of whose glory Vyasa and Valmiki miserably failed to express in their immortal epics and Puranas?”

IMG_8112Master heard these words of Girish, Seeing the divinely illumined face of the Master, Girish cried out joyously, “Glory unto Ramakrishna! Glory unto Ramakrishna!”. The Master looked at all present and said smilingly, “What more shall I say to you? May you all be spiritually awakened!”

Kalpataru Tree of Grace

How and when can this Kalpataru grace turn our own life towards progress in spiritual life? Undoubtedly, unconditional is the divine grace. Yet, in our heart of hearts, we do feel that without some sort of readiness to receive the grace, we make ourselves unfit for it. Why not we take a Resolution – a strong one at that – to attend satsang once in a week faithfully and uninterruptedly ? Let us begin with this one.

Kasipur event reminds us to go beyond the physical episode and makes us deeply think  about its spiritual implication. If this was valid on that day, it is still valid today.

|| AUM Sri Ramakrishnaarpanamastu ||

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New Year noting…

Welcome 2013 !

Just a minute ago, 2012 was given a go-bye, sorry ‘Durga, Durga‘ in our parlance! And in comes a beaming 2013. A very happy, hearty New Year Day aka Kalpataru Day to every one of you!

Brother Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj joins me too! The officials from headquarters and devotees also wish you a happy New Year and Blessed Kalpataru day!

Marble image of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna
Marble image of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna

The New Year 2013 is indeed a memorable year when the 150th glorious birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda is going to to be celebrated. In fact the celebration has earnestly begun right at the start of 2010 itself as multitudes of welfare programs were and have been initiated in India and other countries. So, a very, very happy Swamiji’s Year to every one!

“How was your life in the bygone year?”

Some would hesitantly reply, “Don’t ask! It was not at all encouraging!”

So adverse circumstances were aplenty? Never mind. Think what Swamiji says about Life. He defines Life as  “the unfoldment and development of a being under circumstances tending to press it down.” If you had had problems galore that were ‘pressing’ you ‘down’, thank God, because those were the best opportunity for unfoldment and development.

Life is nothing but a process of Learning.  Situations are indeed window-less, door-less and even wall-less schools. Wealth of knowledge has already been accumulated through our experiences. Tirukkural asks, kattRadanaal aaya payan en kol vaalaRivan nattRaal thozhaar enin” (I.1.2) Of what avail is the Learning if divine feet of Him who possesses perfect wisdom are not worshipped?

So, God-centred Life is what we require in this New Year. Once goal is set up, it becomes easy to navigate the course of life. Did not Master say on the 1st January of 1886, “May your spiritual consciousness be awakened!”?

May the New Year ‘gift’ us further opportunities in the ‘manifestation of Divinity already within’ us!

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Fulfillment Day

Om Namo Narayanaya!

O! the year 2011! I bid you adieu as I watched the sun setting yesterday from standing by the side of the main dome of our Temple! It was absolutely scenic but fastest fleeting as I tried to catch the mood with my iPad…the rains came refreshingly  in a downpour!

I convey my love and best wishes and also of brother Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj to every one of you on this happy New Year Day! The officials from headquarters and devotees too join me in wishing you a happy New Year and Blessed Kalpataru day!

Why a New Year Day is important in our lives? Is the novelty of the coming year connected merely with the numbers on the calendar? Or is it something more than a mathematical event? Days after days, months after months and as the Time progresses, finally we wake up to a First Day of the next Year – calling it a New Year. This New Year Day, no doubt makes us feel happy. It brings lot of hopes. It fetches desires to fulfill many aspirations.

Undeniably, this New Year Day is eulogised as ‘Kalpataru Day’ in the Ramakrishna circle of devotees. Below are some excerpts from the Editorial that appeared in Vedanta Kesari of January 1987, throwing some light on the deeper significance of the historical event.

Swami Akhandananda writes, “It is an auspicious day for all of us. Our Master became the Kalpataru to bless his disciples at Cossipore (a Calcutta suburb). Kalpataru is one of the five trees of Heaven or Indra’s Paradise that is supposed to fulfil desires. The other four are Mandaram, Santanam, Harichandanam and Parijatam.”

May this Day train us and make us deserving to receive the boundless grace of the Master!

Swami Vimokshananda

The first day of January, besides being the New Year day, is of special significance to a Ramakrishna-devotee. This is the day of the Self-revelation of the Great Master Sri Ramakrishna when he became, what is now popularly called, the Kalpataru `the wish-fulfilling tree.’

It happened in 1886 at Kasipur where the Master had been undergoing treatment for his throat cancer. On January 1st, he felt particularly better and came down from his room for a stroll on the spacious lawns of the garden-house. About thirty devotees were present and were scattered here and there in the garden. As soon as they saw the Master, they all came near him and bowed down.

To Girish, the Master said, `Girish, what have you seen that makes you glorify me publicly before one and all?’ Girish at once fell at the Master’s feet and said with folded hands and choked voice, `What more can I say of Him, even a fraction of whose glory Vyasa and Valmiki miserably failed to express in their immortal epics and Puranas?’ Hearing these words of Girish, the Master was deeply charmed and his mind soared to a high plane. Seeing the divinely illumined countenance of the Master, Girish was thrilled and he cried out in great joy, `Glory unto Ramakrishna! Glory unto Ramakrishna!’ and began taking the dust of his feet again and again. The Master looked at all present and said smilingly, `What more shall 1 say to you? May you all be spiritually awakened!’ No sooner had he said these few words than he went into Samadhi. What followed is best described in the words of Swami Saradananda, in his magnum opus ‘Sri Ramakrishna – the Great Master’, who had seen the whole episode from a distance:

“When the devotees heard those words of blessings and protection from fear, they raised repeated cries of joy, exclaiming, `Glory to Ramakrishna.’ some of them saluted him, some showered flowers, some again came and touched his feet.”

The Master touched the devotees in that state of Samadhi and blessed them all. The effect was instantaneous.

How and when can this ‘Kalpataru‘ grace descend in our own life? True, divine grace is unconditional. Yet, in our heart of hearts, we do feel that without some sort of readiness to receive the grace, we make ourselves unfit for it.

Sri Ramakrishna's marble image - Blessings to all on this New Year's Day!

That is the significance of the Kalpataru Day celebration on the 1st of January that is observed by the devotees of Ramakrishna.

It is a reminder to every devotee of the unforgettable event at Kasipur and of the redeeming power of the Lord. It is also a gentle hint to a serious spiritual aspirant to look beyond the physical aspect of the episode and to concentrate on its spiritual implications. It is in this sense that the bestowal of the `Kalpataru grace’ is as valid and true today as it was then. And it is to recapture that mood of participation in the inspiring event at Kasipur that the 1st of January holds a special meaning to a Ramakrishna devotee.

Here is a latest photo of the Master's room in Cossipore Garden-house. Today stream of devotees are visiting in a seemingly unending queue to witness the beautifully floral bedecked bed where he attained mahasamadhi on 16 August 1886. Image courtesy: Swami Nityatriptananda

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