The 184th Birthday of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna was celebrated on 10 March 2019 at Eire Vedanta Society, Dublin in Ireland.
The programme began with a Puja of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Vimokshananda assisted by Swami Purnananda. The little boy Advaith surprised everybody by appearing in the make-up of Swami Vivekananda and retold the thrilling words of Swami Vivekananda from his Chicago Addresses.
Basil Conroy did the Readings from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. The portion highlighted the child-like mood of Sri Ramakrishna that brought the occasion so much merriment. The children from the John Scottus School of Dublin chanted Vedic Peace Prayers followed by a few verses from Srimad Bhagavad Gita. The audience delighted at the diction of the Indian and Irish children who pronounced the Sanskrit lines remarkably.
Tapas Chatterjee read out from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – the part where Thakur was making fun of ‘M’ when he had come to visit Thakur; Thakur was addressing Swamiji and other young monks and gave the example of the peacock. Rai Kamal read out a portion of ‘The Great Master’, vol 2 – the chapter on Spiritual Teachings by the Master; section 21 to 23 – where Thakur gave examples to Swami Brahmananda about the Tamasic qualities of certain people who wanted to meet Thakur, and Thakur’s advice to stay away from them. Another section talked about how Swami Vivekananda would bring his like-minded friends to meet Thakur. Sudipto sang in his mellifluous voice a few solo bhajans.
Jeff Delmar sang a song “Shepherd Boy” in an Irish famous tune, the poem that Swami Brahmananda Ji, a Direct Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna rendered during his last days. The children from Sanatana Ireland did many charming bhajans on Ganesha, Krishna and Shiva. Lucy, a daughter of Paul Hipwell played Cello instrument to the delight of the devotees. The Chai & Chant Group from Dublin performed several bhajans that brought exuberance among the listeners. The newcomer Hariharan of the Sanatana Ireland played dholak admirably.
The programme came to an end with a chorus singing of “Ramakrishna sharanam…” led by the Ramakrishna Choir, followed by Bhogarati and Pushapanjali and Prasad distribution. Earlier Swami Vimokshananda spoke on the importance of the holy occasion. He thanked on behalf of Eire Vedanta Society all those volunteers who supported mentally and assisted with donations and labour of love (tan, man, dhan – as he put it) for the success of the function.
The Ramakrishna Vedanta Association of Thailand (RVAT) organised the twin birthday celebrations of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda on Saturday 18 March 2017 at Lotus Hotel in Bangkok. Read for the details…
We saw in our last post the efficacy of the holy name “Rama”. Mere understanding of its importance is not enough. The name has to be recited with utmost love, says Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna.
Yesterday at our daily satsang in the evening, Havasen, a senior member of the Ramakrishna Choir group, was singing a charming bhajan. That triggered some thoughts about the song itself. The writer (well, I do not know who was that poet) of the bhajan explains how we must ‘take‘ the name of Sri Rama. He says :
With the heart full of Love, recite the name of Rama.
(the name) cuts down sins and removes miseries and to cross the ocean of birth and death it becomes a pleasant boat.
The Eternal Rama’s name (brings) supreme peace; a repository of bliss and is the only support of those who have no support.
Supremely secret and ever living Rama’s name is the mantra that resides in the hearts of sages.
The name of Rama is everything! It is Mother, Father, Relation, Friend. The only life-long treasure of the devotee is Rama’s name. (Chant the mantra) Shri Rama Rama Ram!
I heard a recorded bhajan sung by Sri Satya Sai Baba online recently. While listening to that melodious singing, (I heard him singing live way back when I was just an eighteen years’ old lad that left me with a lasting impression) one is enraptured by the mystic two syllable name Ra Ma. If His name is repeated continuously with love, who will take care of us? Will He meet our needs?
The Tale of Two Monks
Swami Brahmananda had a great desire to visit Ayodhya, the birth place of Sri Rama. During his wanderings in places of pilgrimage, he reached Ayodhya along with his brother-disciple Swami Turiyananda.
It was the turn of Turiyananda to go out and beg alms for food and bring it to Brahmananda. The latter would be immersed in reciting the name of Lord and was averse to go for begging as it diverted his mind from doing continuous japa. Turiyananda had great regard for the sensibilities of Brahmananda and hence offered this service.
One day Turiyananda received a boiled kachu – an edible root – and gave the same to his brother. Kachu doesn’t suit every one and Brahmananda felt much irritation in his throat. It grew to such an extent that it almost was stinging and burning. The result was swelling of his mouth!
This effect is nothing but a sort of allergy and the best remedy known to Turiyananda was to give a piece of lime, which could work as an antidote. With great efforts Turiyananda at long last found a lime grove and sought the owner of the grove to hand him over one lime. The owner, of course was gracious and gave the only one lime that was left on the trees.
Turiyananda ran back to Brahmananda and beseeched him to keep a piece of lime in his mouth and instantly he was relieved of the pain and the attendant discomforts.
That night Brahmananda had brushed off his Master. Since no alms was received that day they had to fast. Addressing Sri Ramakrishna, he said: ‘Master, why did you take me from my home if you could not provide a morsel of food? Tomorrow morning if I get hot khichuri (rice and lentils cooked together) I shall understand that you are with me’. That was a challenge to Master!
Yoga kshemam vahaamyaham
Lord accepts at every challenge thrown at Him. The next morning both the monks got up and went to take their bath in the Sarju river. This is a famous river wherein Sri Ram, the prince and his three divinely brothers would enjoy swimming and water sports. As the two monks were getting up the steps of the bank, they saw a sadhu running towards them.
He said to Brahmananda, “Swami, I understand that both of you fasted yesterday. Please come to my cottage and have prasad! I am a devotee of Sri Rama and I offered the meal to Him and thus it became prasad.”
In his cottage he made these two monks sit on asanas and served them hot, hot khichuri. Tasty pickles were served too! The Swamis relished their meals. On being questioned, how did he select these two monks while hundreds of monks are moving around here and there, the host sadhu replied in all his humility:
“Blessed am I, blessed am I ! For the last 24 years I have been practicing sadhana here in order to have vision of my chosen ideal or to hear the voice of Lord Sri Rama. Today the beloved Lord has blessed me!” The monk’s cheeks were drenched with tears. On being prodded by Brahmananda he elaborated thus:
“While I was sleeping last night, I saw that Lord Rama touched my body with His soft hand and said, ‘Get up! I am hungry! Cook khichuri and offer it to me. Tomorrow morning you will see two devotees of mine bathing at the ghat of the Sarju river. They are fasting. Offer my prasad to them.’
The sadhu in his trembling voice continued, “It is by your grace that I had the vision of Lord Rama.” The two monks smiled at each other. Now they knew that the Lord’s promise – He would bear the burden of yoga-kshema for His devotees – in the Gita was undoubtedly true!
If faith can move mountains, can it not bring a morsel of food?