Adorable Angad

The above is Sri Ram durbar in a South-Indian style of painting. Cute Angad is standing opposite Sri Hanumanji. Picture appeared as the front cover image in Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam, March 2010 issue. Courtesy: Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam, The Tamil Monthly of Ramakrishna Math & Mission

Today is Sri Ramanavami. On this holy occasion, I convey to every one of you my hearty wishes and prayers. The last 8 days were indeed hectic. The first day was at HQ where I spoke on The Three Queens of King Dasharath. Second day was at Chatsworth sub-centre where my topic was The Two Birds – Trials and Triumphs. On Friday and Saturday at Pietermaritzburg sub-centre. On Sunday at Asherville Sri Sarada Devi Ashram. Monday at HQ. Tuesday at Phoenix sub-centre and today at HQ again on The Divine Birth of Sri Ram.

My earlier write-up on lord Sri Rama and his sweet name is still having the highest number of views compared to other posts. When I was thinking what I should place here today, I had just glanced the Tamil Monthly magazine of our Order, Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam, brought out by Chennai Math and was thrilled to see the cover page image that gives a picture of Ram durbar as it is generally known.

The picture depicts the coronation ceremony of Sri Rama as ascending to the throne and thus made King of Ayodhya. The attraction of this picture is the inclusion of Angad. In the above painting one can see that Hanumanji holds the footrest below the throne wherein Rama and Sita seated and Angad stands erect as a security guard with his drawn sword held in his hand as Kamban in his Tamil poem explains in his inimitable style: ariyaNai anuman thaanga angadhan udai vaaL Endha

In North-Indian painting of the Ram Durbar, Angad is rarely included.

The epic Ramayana whether one reads Valmiki’s invaluable original in Sanskrit or Tulasidas’ charming creation in Hindi or Kamban’s mesmerizing masterpiece in Tamil, surely abounds with the galaxy of characters. Some are major and others are minor. But each character stands for some sparkling quality and none is insignificant.

Angad, losing his father Vaali in the hands of Sri Rama slowly raises to the occasion. Rama’s protective cover guides him to such an extent that he goes to Lanka and meets Ravana as Rama’s messenger! What a naughty boy he was in the presence of mighty Ravana!

Tulasidas’ description of the encounter Angad had with Ravana at his assembly is undoubtedly an all absorbing account. It shows that Angad was absolutely fearless. Understandably there were some comical moments in the forceful dialogues between the unequal two, yet the whole episode signifies the wonderful physical and mental strength of Angad at that young age and his unwavering devotion to the holy feet of Lord Raghunath and thus, I feel Angad rightly deserves a place in the Ram durbar.


Merry X-mas!

To all devoted readers - Merry X'mas!
Merry X-mas! The above digital painting was sent from India by Dr S Adhinarayanan












Vedanta Retreat

Devotees of the Ramakrishna Centre found a spiritually enjoying way of the Christmas holiday by participating in the ‘Vedanta Retreat’. It was held on Thursday, 25 December 2008 (6 a.m. – 6 p.m.) at the Centre, Glen Anil.

Satsang in temple hall
Satsang in temple hall

The program for the day started in a serene atmosphere with satsang, which included the chanting of hymns, singing of bhajans and kirtans like pranam mantras, Sri Ramakrishna Jaya Ashtakam, prakritim paramam, murta maheshvaram and bhajan on Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, song on Lord Ganesha and bhajan on the Divine Mother, reading from the ‘Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’ and chanting of Vedic shanti mantram.

Seminar in progress
Seminar in progress

Thereafter, all the participants of the Retreat moved over to the spacious Nischalananda Hall. A seminar was conducted on the Bhagavad Gita on the following topics when each speaker presented his/her theme with a captivating slide show presentation.
1. Divine Manifestations (Chapter 10) by Miss Jyothi Bhana.
2. Moral Code for Hindus (Chapter 16) by Prof. V B Jogessar.
3. Surrendering to God – Sri Krishna’s Final Message (Chapter 18) by Mr Bhavanesh Parbhoo.

Discourse on Isa Upanishad
Discourse on Isha Upanishad

This was followed by a discourse on: “First and Second Verses of the Isha Upanisad” by Sri Swami Vimokshananda. While explaning what the first two verses imply, the Swami first focussed on the Invocation mantra “purnamadah purnamidam”. He went on then to narrate the significance of the three aspects in each verse namely, permeation of everything by God, enjoyment by renunciation, not coveting others’ wealth in the first verse and living a long life, doing work unabated, keeping the attitude of non-attachment in the second verse.

A DVD presentation thereafter on Ganges was enjoyed by all. After a short break the devotees assembled in the Temple where Sri Hanuman Chalisa was recited in chorus. Devotees enthusiastically participated in the Guided Meditation, conducted by Swami Vimokshananda . At the end of Meditation, shanti invocations were chanted.

Swati Kulkarni in concert
Swati Kulkarni in concert

After Lunch prasad at  Dining Hall a devotional concert by Mrs Swati  Kulkarni (Vocalist) from India was heard attentively by the devotees. She was accompanied by two artistes namely Sam Rugbeer on Harmonium and Manesh Maharaj on Keyboard. Tabla support was provided by Ravi Rugbeer. Swati’s daughter Neha also sang and supported her mother. This was followed by a Talk: “The Holy Mother as an Example for Householders” by Pravrajika Ishtaprana of Sri Sarada Devi Ashram, Asherville. She used the slide show presentation deftly in order to bring home the simple but significant ideas of the Holy Mother, that can be practised in day to day life by anyone.

After a short break for Tea, devotees were asked to do the Likhit Japa. Question/Answer session was conducted by Dr H Parbhoo when Sri Swami Vimokshananda gave the answers.

All devotees once again assembled in the Temple Hall for the final session. It had the usual Silent Meditation, Arati, Evening Hymns, Bhajans and Concluding Prayers. Supper was served to all in the Dining Hall. This Retreat was restricted to 300 devotees.