Does God exist and is He good?

on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Does God exist and is He good?

Life's important Questions - 1

Subject: Conversation about the existence of God

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty.
He asks one of his new students to stand and.....

Prof: So you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, sir.

Prof: Is God good?
Student: Sure.

Prof: Is God all-powerful?
Student: Yes.

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?
(Student is silent.)

Prof: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?
Student: No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?
Student: From...God...

Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?
(Student does not answer.)

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?
(Student has no answer.)

Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you.
Tell me, son...Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist.
What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.
Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Prof: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold
Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir.
(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)
Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold . Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat . We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy . Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it .
(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light....But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir
(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)
Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?
(The class breaks out into laughter.)
Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established
rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir.
With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)
Prof: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir... The link between man & god is FAITH . That is all that keeps things moving & alive.

The Student was none other than APJ Abdul Kalam India's former president!!

God is in the Gap Between Breaths

on Monday, July 26, 2010

God is in the Gap Between Breaths

By Swami Chaitanya Keerti

God is in the breath inside the breath, said Kabir. He showed that anyone can become illumined from within. Osho once explained a sutra from Kabir’s song: “Student, tell me what is God?” he asks. He provides the answer. “He is the breath inside the breath.”

God is your subjectivity; He is your innerness. Buddha made it a great technique for meditation, watching the breath, because through watching if you will come to know the breath inside the breath. ‘Breath’ means life. In Sanskrit it is pran or In Hebrew, the word for breath means spirit. In all languages, breath is synonymous with life, spirit or soul. But breath is not the soul.

Try this experiment: sitting silently, just watch your breath from the entrance of the nose. When the breath comes in, feel the touch of the breath at the entrance of the nose – watch it there. The touch will be easier to watch, breath will be too subtle. The breath goes in, and you feel it going in: watch it. And then follow it go with it. You will find there comes a point where it stops – near your navel, for a tiny moment, for a pal. Then it moves outwards again. Follow it – again feel the touch, the breath going out of the nose. Follow it, go with it outside – again you will come to a point, the breath stops for a very tiny moment. Than again the cycle starts.

Inhalation, gap, exhalation, gap, inhalation, gap. That gap is the most mysterious phenomenon inside you. When the breath come in and stops and there is no movement, that is the point where one can meet God. Or when the breath goes out and stops and there is no movement. Remember, you are not to stop it; It stops on its own. Otherwise, the doer will come in and witnessing will disappear. You are not to change the breath pattern, you are to neither inhale nor exhale. It is not like pranayam of yoga, where you start manipulating the breath. You don’t touch the breath at all – you allow its naturalness, its natural flow. When it goes out you follow it, when it comes in you follow it.

Soon you will become aware that there are two gaps. In those two gaps is the door: And in those two gaps you will find that breath itself is not life – maybe a food, not life itself. Because when the breathing stops you are there – you are perfectly conscious. And the breath has stopped, breathing is no more there, and you are there. And once you continue this watching of the breath – what Buddha calls Vipassana or Anapanasati – if you go on watching it, slowly you will see the gap is increasing and becoming bigger. Finally it happens that for minutes together the gap remains. One breath goes in, and the gap… and for minutes the breath does not go out. All has stopped. The world has stopped, time has stopped, thinking has stopped. Because when the breath stops, thinking is not possible. And when the breath stops for minutes together, thinking is absolutely impossible – because the thought process needs continuous oxygen, and your breathing are very deeply related.

Your breathing goes on changing with the moods of the mind. The vice versa is also true – when the breath changes the moods of the mind change. And when breath stops, mind stops. In that stopping of the mind the whole world stops – because the mind is the world. And in that stopping you come to know for the first time what is the breath inside the breath: life inside life. The liberating experience makes you aware of God – and God is not a person but the experience of life itself.

Words Of Bhagwan Sri Ramakrishna

>He is born in vain who, having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.
>One cannot have the vision of God as long as one has these three – shame, hatred, and fear.

>Do not let worldly thoughts and anxieties disturb your mind. Do everything that is necessary in the proper time, and let your mind be always fixed on God.

>You should remember that the heart of the devotee is the abode of God. He dwells, no doubt, in all beings, but He especially manifests Himself in the heart of the devotee. The heart of the devotee is the drawing room of God.

>Live in the world like a waterfowl. The water clings to the bird, but the bird shakes it off. Live in the world like a mudfish. The fish lives in the mud, but its skin is always bright and shiny.

>One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kaliyuga. The practice of yoga is not possible in this age, for the life of a man depends on food. Clap your hands while repeating God's name, and the birds of your sins will fly away.

-Sri Ramakrishna

July 26th The Kargil Day

The nation will on Monday remember its soldiers who were killed in the summer of 1999 while protecting the Kargil heights in Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani raiders and camouflaged regular troops in an audacious invasion attempt that was met with heroic deeds and a decisive military victory.
Officers and soldiers as well as families of many of those killed will place wreaths at the war memorial in the capital. More than 500 Indian soldiers were killed in the Kargil war that lasted two long months.

In the past 11 years, the day has been marked by emotive gathering as parents and siblings of soldiers assemble at various places for functions to pay homage to their loved ones who perished while fighting Pakistani raiders in the high altitude and inhospitable battleground.

The war took place on the peaks of Kargil near the Line of Control - the de facto border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Like in the better known Tiger Hill and Tololing, heavy fighting took place in 1999 for the strategic hills off Drass, the second coldest inhabited place in the world located about 60 km from Kargil town.

The entire region falls in Kargil district, giving the 1999 military showdown the name of "Kargil war".

Pakistan-backed Islamist insurgents as well as regular soldiers sneaked into Jammu and Kashmir and quietly took control of the hills until they were first detected by nomads. Their discovery in Indian territory led to full-fledged fighting between Indian forces and the heavily-armed infiltrators, almost triggering the fourth full-scale India-Pakistan war and leading to an intervention by the US.

The battle for Drass was immortalised by the death of Captain Vikram Batra of 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles who helped capture two peaks and then died fighting for the control of Point 4875.

He came under attack while trying to rescue an injured officer. His final words, according to his colleagues, were "Jai Mata Di"!

The intruders, who had come for a long haul, came as close as 300 metres to a key national highway connecting Srinagar with Leh and the border town of Kargil. Drass town suffered heavy damage in the fighting.

The intrusion took place as India was busy celebrating then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's successful Lahore peacemaking visit.

Kargil gave the country many young and fearless champions. Names like Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Vikram Batra and Lieutenant Manoj Pandey became household heroes.

July 26 is annually celebrated as "Kargil Diwas" or Kargil Day.

Lets pray for the brave souls who died for this war to rest in peace and also for their families well being.
Jai Hind!!!!

In Tamil:

Spiritual thoughts published by Dinamalar

on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20, 1920- Remembring Sarada Devi

on Monday, July 19, 2010

 Her Life:

Sarada Devi, (1853—1920), born Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya, was the wife and spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a nineteenth century mystic of Bengal. Sarada Devi is also reverentially addressed as the Holy Mother. Sarada Devi played an important role in the growth of the Ramakrishna Movement.

Sarada Devi was born in Jayrambati. At the age of five she was bethrothed to Ramakrishna, whom she joined at Dakshineswar when she was in her late teens. According to her biographers, both lived lives of unbroken continence, showing the the ideals of the householder and of the monastic ways of life. After Ramakrishna's passing away, Sarada Devi stayed most of the time either at Jayrambati or at the Udbodhan office, Calcutta. Her whole life is regarded as one of service, self-sacrifice—to her husband, to her brothers and their faimiles, and to her spiritual children. The disciples of Ramakrishna regarded her as their own mother, and after their guru's passing looked to her for advice and encouragement. Although Sarada Devi led the life of a simple rustic woman, she is accorded worship—and was, even during her lifetime—considered an incarnation of the Divine Mother.

Family house

Birth and Parentage:

Sarada Devi's house at Jayrambati (centre) where she lived for the majority of her lifeSaradamani Devi, was born of Brahmin parents as the eldest daughter on December 22, 1853, in the quiet village of Jayrambati. Her parents, Ramchandra Mukhopadhyaya and Syamasundari Devi, were poor but pious. Ramchandra's earned his living as a farmer and through the performance of priestly duties and was considered generous. It is reported that Ramachandra and Syamasundari had a vision foretelling the birth of a diving being as their daughter.

Sarada lived the simple life of an Indian village girl. Her early childhood was spent, as in the case of most girls of rural upbringing, in various domestic chores like caring for younger children, looking after cattle and carrying food to her father and others engaged in work in the field. She had absolutely no schooling, though she learnt the Bengali alphabet and practiced a little of reading and writing in later days by herself. It is reported that she was interested in the clay models of Kali and Lakshmi, which she worshiped regularly. She is said to have started meditating on the Divine Mother from her childhood and is reported that she had mystic visions and experiences. Recalling her childhood days, Sarada Devi says that she used to see a bevy of eight girls of her age coming from she knew not where, and escorting her in the chores.


In accordance with the then prevailing custom, Sarada was betrothed at the age of five to Ramakrishna, who was then twenty-three in May 1859. Ramakrishna was then practicing sever austerities at that time and his mother and brother thought that this marriage would be a good steadying effect on him. It is reported that Ramakrishna himself indicated the bride to his mother—"Vain is your search in this place and that. Go to Jayrambati, and there in the house of Ramachandra Mukhopadhyaya, you will find her who is marked out for me." After the betrothal, Sarada was left to the care of her parents and Ramakrishna returned to Dakshineswar.

Sarada next met Ramakrishna when she was fourteen years old, and she spent three months with him at Kamarpukur. She received instructions on meditation, spiritual life by Ramakrishna. At the age of eighteen, she heard rumors that Ramakrishna had become insane, but at the same time she also heard that he had become a great mystic. She decided to go to Dakshineswar and meet Ramakrishna. During the journey on foot to Dakshineswar, Sarada Devi fell gravely ill and she describes a vision in which a "woman, pitch dark in complexion" resembling Kali said that her health would improve soon and said that "she was her sister".

Kali Temple of Dakshineswar

At Dakshineswar Kali Temple:
The south side of the Nahabat (Musical tower), where Sarada Devi lived in a small room on the ground floor.

Sarada Devi's tiny room on the ground floor of the Nahabat, now a shrineAfter arriving at Dakshineswar, her worst fears and doubts were allayed, as she could see for herself that the rumor was only the "idle gossip of worldly-minded people". She looked upon Ramakrishna as a mystic with spiritual greatness. At Dakshineswar, she stayed in a tiny room in the nahabat (musical tower). Sarada Devi stayed at Dakshineswar until 1885, except for short periods when she visited her village Jayrambati.

As a priest Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremonies—the Shodashi Puja (the adoration of womanhood)—and considered Sarada Devi as the Divine Mother. Sarada Devi was made to sit in the seat of Kali, and worshiped with flowers and incense. Ramakrishna looked on her, as on every woman, as an incarnation of his Divine Mother, Kali. Their Marriage remained always a purely spiritual partnership. The marriage was never consummated because Ramakrishna regarded Sarada as the Divine Mother in person. According to Saradananda, Ramakrishna "married in order to show the world an ideal," the ideal of a sexless marriage.
Regarding Ramakrishna's treatment of her, Sarada Devi said, "I was married to a husband who never addressed me as 'tui.'(you) Ah! How he treated me! Not even once did he tell me a harsh word or wound my feelings." Sarada Devi is considered as his first disciple.

Sarada Devi practiced spiritual disciplines according to the instructions of Ramakrishna; of these, japa and meditation formed an important part. Her life began every day at three a.m. and being a observer of purdah, she finished her ablutions in the Ganges before daybreak when people began moving about. Sarada Devi was absorbed in japa and meditation until daybreak. She never came out till about one p.m., when there would be no one round about. She lived so quietly and unobserved there that the temple manager said once, "We have heard that she lives here, but we have never seen her." It is reported that Ramakrishna foresaw that Sarada Devi was destined to continue his spiritual mission. He taught her mantras, and instructed her how to initiate people and guide them in spiritual life. During Ramakrishna's last days, during which he suffered from throat cancer, Sarada Devi played a important role in nursing him and preparing suitable food for him and his disciples. It is reported that after Ramakrishna's passing away in August 1886, when Sarada Devi tried to remove her bracelets as the customs dictated for a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna in which he said, "I have not passed away, I have gone from one room to another." According to her, when ever she thought of dressing like a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna asking her not to do so. After Ramakrishna's death, Sarada Devi continued to play an important role in the nascent religious movement.


Two weeks after Ramakrishna's passing away Sarada Devi began her pilgrimage through North India and was accompanied by a party of women disciples including Lakshmi Didi, Gopal Ma, and Ramakrishna's householder and monastic disciples. The party visited the Vishwanath Temple at Banaras, Ayodhya associated with life of Rama. Later she visited Vrindavan which is associated with Krishna . It is reported that at Vrindavan, she experienced nirvikalpa samadhi and it was here that she began her role as guru. She initiated several of the Ramakrishna's disciples including Mahendranath Gupta, Yogen with a mantra.

At Calcutta:

Sarada Devi worshipping at her Udbodhan residence in Calcutta.After the pilgrimage, she stayed alone in Kamarpukur for a few months. She was encountering difficulties in meeting her ends and was lonely. In 1888, when the news reached the lay and monastic disciples of Ramakrishna that she needed their care and attention, they invited her to Calcutta and arranged for her stay. Swami Saradananda built a permanent house for Holy Mother in Calcutta. This is the Udbodhan House, named after the Bengali monthly magazine conducted by the Ramakrishna Math. It is also appropriately called Mayerbati or "Holy Mother's House", where she spent the longest period of her life outside Jayrambati. Here an increasing number of people began to flock for guidance, instructions and spiritual initiation.

After Sarada Devi's mother, Syamasundari Devi, passed away in 1906, Sarada Devi virtually became the head of her family. She took care of her brother's widowed mother Surabala, who gave birth to a daughter called Radharani, or more familiarly Radhu. Radhu grew up to be stubborn and mentally deficient and was a constant source of anxiety and trouble to Sarada Devi. Sarada Devi played the part of a mother towards Radhu and patiently put up with her.

The Holy Mother received the highest reverence from the Ramakrishna Order and its devotees. Ramakrishna had bade her continue his mission after his passing away and wanted his disciples not to make any distinction between himself and her. According to her devotees and biographers, the hospitality of the Holy Mother was unique and was characterized by motherly care and solicitude. It is reported that a few of the devotees had mystical experiences after their contact with the Holy Mother. Some dreamt of her as a goddess in human form though they had never seen her picture before. Others reportedly received their initiation from her in their dream. One such example is of Girish Chandra Ghosh, the father of the Bengali drama, who reportedly saw the Holy Mother in a dream when he was nineteen years old and received a mantra, and when he met her many years after, he found to his astonishment that it was the same person that he had seen in the dream.

At her Udbodhan residence, Sarada Devi was accompanied by other women disciples of Ramakrishna, Gopal Ma, Yogin Ma, Lakshmi Didi and Gauri Ma being the best known. People continued to visit her for spiritual instructions. According to her biographers, her innate motherliness put visitors at ease. Though she had no children of the flesh, she had many of the spirit. She regarded all her disciples as her own children.

Ramakrishna temple of Belur Math

Last Days:

In January 1919, the Holy Mother went to Jayrambati and stayed there for over a year. During the last three months of her stay her health seriously declined. Her strength was greatly impaired and she was brought back to Calcutta on February 27, 1920. For the next five months she continued to suffer. Before her passing away, she gave the last advice to the grief stricken devotees, "But I tell you one thing—if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child: this whole world is your own!". This is considered as her last message to the world. She passed away at 1.30 a.m on July 20, 1920. Her body was creamated at the Belur Math.

"I tell you one thing. If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own."
-Sarada Devi

Source: Article taken from wikipedia and Ramakrishna Math site.

Swami Vivekananda's Words.

►If a man with an ideal makes a thousand mistakes, I am sure that the man without an ideal makes fifty thousand. Therefore, it is better to have an ideal.

►Life is ever expanding, contraction is death. The self-seeking man who is looking after his personal comforts and lending a lazy life , there is no room for him even in hell.

►You must remember that humanity travels not from error to truth, but from truth to truth; it may be, if you like it better, from lower truth to higher truth, but never from error to truth.

►This I have seen in life , he who is overcautious about himself falls into dangers at every step; he who is afraid of losing honour and respect, gets only disgrace; he who is always afraid of loss always loses.

►This world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.

►Take up one idea. Make that one idea our life , think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

►Stand up and fight! Not one step back, that is the idea. Fight it out, whatever comes. Let the stars move from the spheres! Let the whole world stand against us! Death means only a change of garment. What of it? Thus fight! You gain nothing by becoming cowards. Taking a step backward, you do not avoid any misfortune. You have cried to all the gods in the world. Has misery ceased? , The gods come to help you when you have succeeded. So what is the use? Die game. You are infinite, deathless, birth less. Because you are infinite spirit, it does not befit you to be a slave. Arise! Awake! Stand up and fight!

PURI YATRA - JULY 13, 2010

on Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PURI YATRA - JULY 13, 2010

Taking out the Lord in chariot, singing his divine name, is an effective form of sadhana and worship bringing in harmony and fraternity in society. Pulling the chariots around the temple garbha mandira though found in many of the temples, taking out side the temple for a distance of 4 is unique in Puri JagannathYatra. It is said seeing the Lord seated in chariot makes one free from entangling again in the cycle of birth and death.

Millions of people throng to this small coastal town to touch the 50 metre long rope and to have the glimpse of the Lord seated in the Rath.

The 13.5 m height chariot of Lord Jagannath with 16 wheels comes lost.

The 13.2 m height chariot of Lord Balabhadra with 14 wheels comes in the middle.

The 12.9 m height chariot of Mother Subhadra with 12 wheels comes in front or sometimes in between the chariots of her two brothers.

Every year these three wooden chariots are made out of sal wood and at the end of Rath Yatra these chariots are dismantled and the pieces of wood are given to devotees as prasad. Only a particular family of carpenter is given the task of making these 3 chariots. The work starts on Akshaya Tritiya Day which normally falls 3 months ahead of Rath Yatra Day.

Mother Sarada Devi along with her companions had darshan of Lord Jagannath in 1888. Even now, in the Mahalaxmi shrine of the temple, a small plaque about mother’s visit is kept and devotees of Sri Ramakrishna during their visit to this temple spend few moments in this Mahalaxmi shrine for japam and dhyanam.

Though one’s scientific temper may doubt the annual recurring of events like the three deities taking bath with 108 pitchers of water and as a result becoming ill for 15 days and then coming out on Rath Yatra occasion, the devotional fervour that is generated during this event can never be under estimated.

Does this Rath yatra signify the philosophy that our body itself is the chariot? Each and every one is pulling out his own chariot in the world. Since the Lord is seated on the chariot, we are supposed to be careful in pulling out the chariot lest it will disturb His travel. When the journey is over and the chariot is dismantled, we take up new chariot and continue the travel again. When we are tired in pulling the chariot, we turn back to the Lord, pleading for complete rest. This turning back towards the Lord seeing his permission to us free is what is expected out of us. Unless and until it happens we will be busy in our travels enjoying some times and suffering some times forgetting the travel is not meant for us but to the One who is seated inside.


Swami Nishthatmananda
Ramakrishna Mission

July 4th

on Sunday, July 11, 2010

We came to this earth with cries, but while leaving we have to smile and express joy in our face.

During our life time, if we are blessed to smile, that it self is a great achievement and how can we guarantee our smiling while we leave this earth, the time which is not under our control?” – That’s a genuine question.

We have the life of Swami Vivekananda that gives us the necessary guidance to prepare for ourselves for the joyful journey. All through his life, Swamiji tuned every event as preparation for his ultimate journey.

In the year 1898, Swami Vivekananda during his pilgrimage to Amarnath, had received a boon from Lord Shiva not to die until he himself should choose to do so.

Sri Ramakrishna had said about Narendranath that ‘when he realizes who and what he is, he will no longer remain in the body’.

Hence, as a village boy, who had never seen an aero plane on the earth and who had been told that he would be taken in an air travel next week, would eagerly await for the golden day of his air travel, so also Swamiji was waiting to take up his eternal flight to be boarded by him on July 4, 1902 the day which was chosen by himself. Here below are a few events on his last day of physical existence.

· On July 4, 1902 during his 2 hours morning meditation in the shrine of Ramakrishna, he had the doors and windows closed, while he was accustomed to meditate only in a well-ventilated room. Coming down from the shrine, he had a walk in the courtyard. While walking he spoke to himself in a half-audible tone: “If there were another Vivekananda, he would have understood what (this) Vivekananda has done! And yet,-how many Vivekanandas shall be born in time!

· He had his noon lunch along with all, which was again quite unusual, since owing to his ill health he used to take his meals in his own room. On that day he ate full meal and remarked humorously,” two days before, owing to my fast for ekadasi on Wednesday, my hunger has greatly increased. I ate full meal but left the cups and plate (without eating them up) with great difficulty.

· After a short rest, Swamiji took class on Sanskrit grammar to young brahmacharins for three hours and made the class so interesting that no one felt any monotony.

· During his evening walk along with Swami Premananda he expressed his desire of founding a Vedic college at Belur Math. Premananda asked him,”What, Swamiji, will be the good of studying the Vedas?” for which Swamiji replied, ”It will kill out superstitions”.

· In the evening after the prayers, he sat for meditation. After an hour’s meditation he called his attendant, lying down on his bed with the rosary in his hand. He asked him to fan his head. After another hour or so, his attendant noticed that Swamiji’s hand shook slightly; then he took two deep breaths; the gaze became fixed at the eye brows and the face lit up by an extra ordinary radiance and smile. His head rolled to one side and then all was silent. It was seen in the next morning that the eyes were bloodshot and that a little bleeding had occurred through the nostrils and mouth.

Lord Krishna says in the 8th chapter of Gita, “At the time of passing away whoever fixes his prana between his brows and meditates on the Ruler of the world, reaches the Supreme Truth.” Swamiji’s physical death is a yogic Samadhi as stated by Lord Krishna. Swamiji raised his coiled – up spiritual power and made it to pierce through the mystic centres in the spinal column and the head and thrown away the body like a worn-out-garment.

When one is attached to the body and his possessions, death is terrible, but to one who had disciplined his body, death has no threats or no secrets.

Normally, we relate death with sadness, inauspiciousness and fear.

But, it is quite possible to make the event filled with joy, auspiciousness, hope and strength.

God-men like Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and others had thus shown the way to us.

It was Swamiji’s last message to the world – “Welcome the death calmly and boldly.” For Swamiji, death means just getting out of the physical body. As a spiritual force he continues to live and work with us and that is why he said, “I shall inspire men everywhere, until the world shall know that it is one with God.

July 4th is thus a day of great joy, hope and strength to all followers of Swamiji. His Master chose to leave His mortal coils on 15th August in the year 1886, knowing well that after 61 years that India would get freedom from foreign rulers. And our Swamiji chose July 4, the day of America's Independence. Though these are occasions for rejoicing country's political freedom, these God-men have chosen to leave the physical frame thus symbolising that death is not a sad event but a step towards eternal freedom and bliss.

Let us prepare ourselves from now on to face that great moment filled with happiness, strength and absolute freedom.

nishthatmananda of muzaffarpur


on Friday, July 09, 2010


It was on this day 612 years ago that Sant Kabir was born in India in 1398 AD. He lived for 120 years during which our India saw the beginning of Bhakti Movement.

Kabir was one of India’s leading spiritual saints who lived in the northern part of India in the holy city of Benares. He is widely renowned for his couplets and songs that connect life and spirituality in a simple yet powerful way. Kabir’s genius has been in that he has inspired the scholars/poets like Rabindranath Tagore and the common masses. His words were in a universal language that, literally and figuratively, broke down barriers to experiencing the divine.

He was born to a Hindu woman, even though he was raised by a Muslim family and he was a disciple of a Hindu Guru, Ramananda. The child was found in one of the ghats of Ganga in Kasi. A Musim couple – Neeru and Neema – happened to find the child and thus became his foster parents. Muslims tend to emphasize his Muslim upbringing and his initiation into the Sufi traditions. Kabir though married, never had any physical relationship with his wife. Kabir’s songs show that he was influenced very much by the Kundalini practices. Sikh and Shabad-based traditions say that the essence of Kabir’s practice was based on tuning in to the internal sounds.

Kabir was quite unimpressed and even irreverent to the dogmas of organized religion and society. His essence was far more subtle, pervasive, unconstrained and universal – in short, beyond the boundaries laid down by religious, sectarian and social traditions.

A weaver by profession, Kabir ranks among the world's greatest poets. Back homein India, he is perhaps the most quoted author. The Holy Guru Granth Sahib of Sikh Religion contains over 500 verses by Kabir. The Sikh community holds Kabir in the same reverence as the other ten Gurus.

Kabir openly criticized all sects and gave a new direction to the Indian philosophy. This is due to his straight forward approach that has a universal appeal. It is for this reason that Kabir is held in high esteem all over the world

Inspite of the simplicity of Kabir's poetry, it is hard to translate.

The hall mark of Kabir's poetry is that he conveys in his two line poems (Doha), what others may not be able to do in many pages.

One of his dohas is given hereunder:

Kabira Teri Jhompri Gal Katiyan Ke Paas
Jo Karenge So Bharenge Tu Kyon Bhayo Udaas

O Kabir! Your Hut Is Next to the Butchers' Bay
Why Do You Feel sorrow? They will pay for their actions.

When Kabir lived, the society was too much ritualistic oriented. Religious heads aggressively promoted the ideas of purity and righteousness. Kabir was largely unimpressed and irreverent to these external rules and regulations. Through his life and teachings he emphasized the importance of internal purity.

Being a weaver of lower caste, Kabir lived in an area close to the butcher's shop. Kabir gave his religious teachings sitting in what the "pundits" (of higher caste) considered an "unholy" place; for which they criticized him. Kabir, while not countering the criticism directly, via this Doha, took the discussion on this matter to a totally different level. In his humble way, Kabir teaches us here the idea of detachment. In spiritual texts this concept is likened to the existence of the Lotus - a beautiful flower that grows in swampy and dirty ponds and rises above it.

Here Kabir tells us to live in the world and focus on our own journey and not worry about the good, bad or ugly going on around us. According to him the world and its ways will take care of itself, that's not our job - we should focus our attention only on the real reason of coming to the world, to find out who we truly are.

We remember here the saying of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna that having come to the orchard we are supposed to eat the mangoes not counting the branches and leaves of the trees.

Another beauty of Kabir's poetry is that he picks up situations that surround our daily lives. Thus, even today, Kabir's poetry is relevant and helpful in guiding and regulating our lives, in both social and spiritual context.

The following example is an apt illustration:

Looking at the grinding stones,
Kabir laments
In the duel of wheels,
Nothing stays intact.

Kabir’s uniqueness and ingenuity is that he communicates his message through the use of easy-to-understand metaphors, drawing inspiration from day-to-day life. Whether it is comparing God to a weaver, body to a cloth, Guru to a washerman, ignorance to a crow, cosmic experience to the ocean, senses to the deer, humility and steadfastness to the tree, grace and beauty of solitude and completeness to a swan, longing for God to the longing of a newly-wed bride, he is able to establish a very vivid and instantaneous channel of communication with his audience. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Kabir’s followers and admirers come from a wide array of backgrounds.

However, Kabir’s true mysticism becomes apparent only when one starts living the words. The authenticity of Kabir’s words is rooted in the depth of his own experience that has a seed-like latent quality to it. That is, through one’s care and nurturing, Kabir’s words have the potential to flower into a variety of experiences that are not immediately obvious in the first engagement.

Here, in this doha, it is one thing to intellectually understand the meaning of

Chalti Chaaki Dekh Kar Diya Kabira Roye,

Dui Pataan Ke Beech Mein Saabat Bacha Na Koi”,

but totally a different thing to experience the truth of that statement. What is obvious in Kabir’s words is often suggestive, but what’s veiled is significant. Kabir himself describes this mystical instruction as – “Gunge Ki Sain Jin Jani Un Mani” (Those who recognized the indication of the mute, found the truth).

It is clear from his songs and teachings that he was a very observant and thoughtful person, who questioned everything that was taught or presented to him. It is likely that he spent considerable time observing nature, as his teachings also draw inspiration and learning from the trees, animals, birds and the ocean. Long-standing traditions of Kabir in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bengal, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh indicate that either Kabir or his leading disciples travelled to those parts, and his popularity drew seekers from these parts to come and learn from him and later returned to establish a following in their native areas.

Kabir was distinguished from other “gurus” in his inner conviction and in his trust for his own self and experience. He seems to have questioned and challenged all scriptural teachings, traditions and rituals, until he himself was able to validate their truth. This, however, should not be taken to imply that he rejected all teachings and practices. To the contrary, given his familiarity with, and his use of stories/teachings from, a variety of traditions, he appears to have openly embraced and accepted any path that could be validated by his own experience. Perhaps, this is why it is so difficult to typecast Kabir into this or that faith or tradition. Sometimes, he was this, sometimes he was that and at other times he was neither this nor that!

Kabir was courageous enough to speak his truth. From his work, we know that he was quite critical of hypocrisy especially among religious leaders. Even though we cannot ascertain whether he was tolerant of genuine devotees who worshipped physical forms of God, we can be reasonably confident that his own spiritual path was focused more on an internal form of devotion to God and Guru – terms that he often used interchangeably to convey the cosmic force.

In essence, the core of Kabir’s life and teachings are based on honesty, truth, conviction and simplicity, renewed continuously by inner experience and propelled by an unceasing detachment from the web of physical and mental realities.

Kabir tried to bridge the gap among various castes and religious sects. Even though Kabir showed a healthy disregard for conventional boundaries of society and organized religion, his intrinsic pursuit was rooted in spirituality and spirituality alone. In the process of conveying the innate spirituality of all of creation, Kabir, in all likelihood, had to deal with and overcome prevalent parochial barriers.

Kabir’s life was deeply ingrained in spirituality, and in the process of conveying his teachings he probably used poetry and metaphors. Therefore, his magnificent contribution to Hindi literature is only secondary and, indeed, a testimony to the fundamental spiritual message of his teachings.

Finally, Kabir did not use the name “Ram” to imply the deity, Rama. Rather, to Kabir, Ram is a symbolic representation of the inner sound or experience. Similarly, it is unlikely that Kabir used any reference to Krishna or any of the other Hindu gods, as his practices were primarily inwardly directed. The use of the signature line “Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho…” in his songs shows his feeling of brotherly love towards all the people on the earth. Sometimes one gets the feeling that the conversational teachings of Kabir, are actually a dialog between Kabir, the Master and Kabir, the disciple, inside of him. Despite his open criticism of dogmas and sects, Kabir is very embracing of every seeker and includes himself in that category. It’s a bond of friendship that Kabir extends to everybody by his simple calling – “Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho…” In this simple way he affirms the intrinsic divinity in each of us and opens up an intimate and direct channel of communication with each one of us.

Even now Sant Kabir is calling all of us with his motherly voice -“Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho” and I wish that all of us keep our ears and hearts wide open to him.

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