Saturday, December 13, 2014

We have a Mother... The Mother!

                             ll ॐ श्री सारदा मात्रे नमः ll

             यथाग्नेः  दाहिका  शक्तिः रामकृष्णे  स्थिता  हि या l

            सर्व-विद्या-स्वरूपां  त्वां   सारदां   प्रणमाम्यहम्  ll

Sri Maa Sarada Devi's advent day is celebrated all over the world today. She came to heal those scorched by the world of becoming... Samsara. She came as 'Sara'da, the embodiment of knowledge hence, to enlighten, to free Her children.
"When you are in distress, just remind yourself that you have a Mother...", is Her abhaya-vaakya, providing refuge with effusive love. Well then, what really matters is, do we know this? Her real advent is then, when you know Her as Your Mother... your very own!!
Fire's burning power is inseparable from it, as is the Holy Mother from Sri Ramakrishna. For us, His healing and loving power, that touches our core... as the fount-head called Ma!
The name Maa, short, simple sweet, intimate.... for all... newborns to the decrepit .... The Mother of all, awaits our call... Her advent!

Sri Sri Thakur on Kamalasana watches as all the worship, Homa, songs, Arati and Pushpanjal​i are offered... to Him, His Shakti!!
We capture the celebration in a few images for you...
Jai Sri Maa

Swami Sheshadri

Friday, October 24, 2014

KALI THE MOTHER, being worshipped now!


शिवश्शक्त्या युक्तो  यदि भवति शक्तः  प्रभवितुम् 
न   चेदेवं   देवो   न   खलु   कुशलः  स्पन्दितुमपि l
अतस्त्वां    आराध्यां       हरि-हर-विरिञ्चादिभिरपि 
प्रणन्तुं    स्तोतुं   वा    कथमकृत-पुण्यः    प्रभवति ll 

Says Acharya Shankara in this exquisitely devotional hymn, Soundarya Lahari, about the Divine Mother, "Even the Quiscent Reality, Shiva, is stirred to activity only by Her power - else He is, as we see Him, lying quietly and inactively under Her feet!" Can we know Him without Her? Could we comprehend fire without its heat and burning-power? Inseparable as the word and its meaning!
"Vishnu, Rudra and Brahma revel in adoring you alone, O Mother!" 
"How can any one without great Punya even extol you or worship you, physically or mentally?"

Sri Ramakrishna echoed this again and again, "Well, O Mother, it is only through Your grace that one could even approach You!" 
It is all Your will, Your power! O My Shyama Maa, do grant that Bhakti to this ignorant child... 

Even as  a child choicelessly, naturally, effortlessly and without being taught - adores, loves, calls on and depends upon the Mother in complete innocent trust, .... so may this child immersed in Samsara come to You!

With the background and atmosphere reverberating with the deafening noise of the Diwali fire-crackers all around - reminding one of the Samara-bhoomi, Samsaara - Her worship proceeds, complete with melodious Kali Keertan.... a symbolic setting indeed.

And Sri Sri Thakurji watches in joy, the adoration of His Mother............

A few more images of the ongoing Kali worship, this Amavasya night are appended! 
Amavasya night, Mahakali sporting with Mahakala... and Sri Thakurji divinely poorna Bhaava... is an inspiring reminder!!

Jai Sri Maa!!

Swami Sheshadri

Friday, October 17, 2014

Human Development In Line With Swami Vivekananda's World View


Dear Bhaktas, 

Shri Swami Nikhileshwaranandaji, Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Memorial, Vadodara, delivered the First "Reginald D. Devaraj Memorial Lecture", at the Ramakrishna Mission, Jaipur's Vivekananda Sabhagrha last Sunday, 
He spoke on "Human Development In Line With Swami Vivekananda's World View".

Referring to the 'World view' of Swamiji, he said that it was only Vedanta and not else! Well, of course, it was one that we had virtually forgotten then. It was hence a revival for us, and also the most practical approach to Human development in the light of Vedanta. 
The aim of Vedanta is to know the Self as Brahman, the truth and to appreciate the relativity (or मिथ्यात्व ) of the Jagat. He put this aim as the motto of the Ramakrishna Order that he founded, "आत्मनो मोक्षार्थं जगद्-हिताय च" - for one's own liberation, and for the welfare of the world.
If the Universe be so relative, what did the great Swamiji want anyone to serve this  मिथ्या जगत् world, or 'improve' it for? Well, it is surely akin to attempts at straightening a dog's curved tail, but equally surely, it would strengthen your arms and straighten you instead - very desirable indeed! चित्तशुद्धि , would doubtless accrue from Seva, getting you closer to the aim. Vivekananda thundered to the world the message of the Upanishads, the Divinity of Man, and pointed out that the aim is to Manifest just that, to know that one is the Limitless. 

For this, he said, one has to harness all the inner resources we have, the 4 faculties - his charter for human development. He called it Work, Worship, Knowledge and Psychic control, and emphasized the need for a synthetic approach. He said that 'eternal' or 'limitless' love is not possible between two finite beings whose minds are constantly changing, both moving towards death -  and hence  must one yoke oneself only to the Limitless.

Synergism or synthetic approach overcomes the drawbacks of any one particular inner resource:
 i) Action approach - Work ( कर्म ), even 'Seva' often results in a bloated ego, but if one were to temper it with ( भक्ति ) devotion to the Lord, and surrender the action and results to Bhagavan, it solves the issue!
ii) Emotional approach - Worship ( भक्ति ) can sometimes turn into foolish sentimentalism. It is best tempered with knowledge and Intelligence.
iii) Knowledge (ज्ञान ) - a purely intellectual faculty may often result in dryness and sometimes insensitivity. Devotion there brings joy and compassion!
iv) Purely psychic/mind-control ( राजयोग ) may also go 'out of control', and end with Neurosis or even worse. Hence is needed a timely tempering with service ( सेवा ) to beings - it holds sanity in place!

This mixing judiciously ( समन्वय ), reduces the drawbacks of each approach, allowing for a balanced personality.
The speaker referred to the Monks and Brahmacharis of the Order, whose daily lives strives to be  योग - a healthy blend of the four:
The morning is spent in Contemplation, Meditation and devotion (ज्ञान-ध्यान-भक्ति ), the day spent in work, action in the right spirit (कर्म-योग) and evening and night again in Devotion, Knowledge and Meditation (भक्ति-ज्ञान-ध्यान) - a smooth and fluid holistic human development!

It is said, the IQ - deals with how to play the game of life, whereas, EQ - deals with playing it in changing circumstances and change of strategies consequently. SQ (Spiritual Quotient), however, raises fundamental questions pertaining to the aim, and tries to solve them... the Why and Whether of actions aims and strategies!! One, of course, needs all the three to develop well!

All-round development, holistic, does not leave out any one of the following four:
1. Physical development - for health, courage, self-esteem and action. Today's  only 'physical' enjoyment culture takes you down this road - fast food....!
2. Intelligence - is the next very important development dimension, that catapults you, yet that is not enough alone - see the rate of depression and suicides amongst the most 'educated'. Worse, one could also 'Nuke' the world!
3. Emotion and mind - have to develop well. There has to be concentration of the mind and its proper handling, for success. It is said, ' By आहार-शुद्धौ (purity of all intake) accrues - सत्त्व-शुद्धिः (purity of the mind) and as a result - ध्रुवा-स्मृतिः concentration and sharp recall'.
Even these three alone are inadequate. Did not Ravana have all the three and yet did kidnap Seeta Devi? True, without the key dimension, the fourth,
4) Spiritual and moral development - human development does not fulfil, does not express the divinity - his aim!

Bhartrhari, the great sage described humans in four categories:
One Satpurushas, who strive only for the welfare of the others - at any cost. Second, the Saamaanyas or ordinary, who would help others insofar as it does not harm their selfish interests. He calls the third Manava-raakshasas (demons in human garb), who harm others if it serves their selfish interests. Alas! for the fourth category, he laments, he can't even find a name, for they harm others without any reason, including selfish!!

Well then, he would have swooned if he were alive today, to see that there is a fifth category - who will harm, even kill others, even if they themselves die in the process... we all know 9/11 and more..!!

Thus Vivekananda wanted 'Man-making, Character-building education ...for Satpurushas are today a miniscule minority!

One has heard of the famous 'Three Monkeys' of Mahatma Gandhi, symbolic of 'see not evil' (eyes closed), 'hear not evil' (ears closed) and 'speak not evil' (mouth closed). But the speaker was surprised to discover a strange departure when he visited Switzerland. The three 'Swiss monkeys' were modelled as one eye open, one ear open, and mouth partially open! 
Yes, unable to figure out ....till the Upanishad Shanti Mantra struck him in full, 'भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवाः may we hear all that is auspicious (though hearing no evil), भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः may we see all that is auspicious (though seeing no evil), स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवाङ्ग् सस्तनूभिः....... with able limbs and bodies and auspicious speech (speaking not evil), may we spend this life for Thee alone, O Lord!' How wonderful!!

Nikhileshwaranandaji concluded by reciting Bahadur Shah Zafar's insightful Sufi song that was dear to both Sri Ramakrishna and Swamiji - जो कुछ  है सो तू ही है ..All that IS - is YOU alone..A song that echoes Vedanta, and Swami Vivekananda's World view, distinctly.....

Reginald D. Devaraj (1954-1994), was born in Singapore, served as a Captain in the Army there before pursuing his interest and business in showcasing Culture, particularly dance and music from the then Soviet Union. He shifted to later to Bucharest, Romania, where he passed away. He was an avid mountaineer with abiding charm for the Himalayas. His family and kin have initiated  Memorial Lecture to be held annually, on October the 17th, his birth day. Our sincere thanks to them, as this very first lecture had  a salutory impact on the listeners, and shall reach hundreds more through the posting of this summary. 


Swami Sheshadri

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jyotirajyoti Ujala Hrdi Kandhara..

ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll

Dear Devotees,
Following Shaaradeeya Navaratri, the Sharad-Pournamasi just went past... and the beauty of Sharatchandra was there for all to see. In Bharatavarsha, that beauty of the Sharat full moon only reminds us of the radiant face of the Lord, the delight of the devotees' hearts!
The Divine Mother is alluded to in the Lalitha Sahasranama as 'शरच्चन्द्र-निभानना .'

Thakurji, being 'Sarvadeva-devi-swaroopaha' delights us all with the same radiant face, familiar to us as our very dearest - Ishta ! At Jaipur, the glow is for all to see, every day - Nitya-sharachchandra!
May that radiance, dispel the darkness in our hearts... prays Swamiji in the Aaraatrikam...

ज्योतिरज्योति  उजल  हृदि-कन्धर 
                                          तुमि  तमो  भञ्जन-हार !!   प्रभु ....

Swami Sheshadri

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Aratrikam in 'Jaya varsha'

ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll

Dear Bhaktas,
With Mesha-Ravi Sankrama,​ comes Baisakhi, Vishu, Bihu or Poila baisakh!
​It marks the New year day in most of solar calenders in India​. It is Bangla and Tamil New year day. In Shashthi Samvatsaras, this is the year 'Jaya'.  For us then, it rightly starts with "Jaya jaya Aarati tomar"!!.....
Sri Thakurji, decked in the finery of a bordered Peetambara, woven in Andhra... smiles to bless His Bhaktas this day at the Jaipur Temple....

Today's Arati is captured in a few frames for you.

May that bring Jaya to everyone is our prayer!

जय श्री गुरु महाराज जी की .... जय!!

Swami Sheshadri

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Come to peace...

ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll

Dear Bhaktas,

Indeed, the opening of Sri Sri Thakurji's Temple was a memorable and grand event. It is even more important that now one could come to this temple and be in the lap of peace, meditation and prayerfulness! We brought you pictures, and a few words woven to bring an inner image... there is no substitute, however, to experiencing it oneself. Please do come... any day!

Some Bhaktas wished to have pictures of the thematic back-drop. While it would not have been easy to photograph it in the settings it was in, we bring the design file itself to you in .jpeg, which is more clear. The upper written text was a separate visual, but it is given here together as you saw.
Also attached is the explanatory text on the concept and theme, as a word document.

Swami Sheshadri

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sri Ramakrishna Temple Jaipur : The 'elevation' at Dusk!

ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll

Dear Bhaktas,
I am sure you were delighted to see our Beloved Thakurji, ere His 'arrival', His first darshan. Once we were able to behold Him seated majestically on the Kamalasana, delighting every heart, we could truly say that He descended for us! A salutation to Him was offered through 'Vandanam', and it reached most devotees that beheld Him on the opening. Here He is, in Avatarana, we reproduce...

The worship began with a special Pooja in the morning.  As the dusk set in and the sky turned crimson, the conch shell blew, bells rang... and it was Aaratrikam,  salutations to Him again and yet again.. "नमो नमो प्रभु वाक्य-मनातीत...." Bhaktas rejoiced in the divine music and sheer spiritual splendour of Sri Sri Guru Maharaj's presence. O how delighted Sri Swamiji would be at this sight... His divine Sankalpa at work!

Pancha-pradeepa, Karpoora neerajana, Shankha-teertha-snaapana, Udvartana, Hrdaya-kusuma-samarpana and Chamara-upachara....with such elevating Aaraatrikam sung soulfully....

Outside, the temple glowed in colourful celebration to Mano-vachanaikaadhara... with Jyoti...

We leave you here with hte pictures of Aaraatrikam, every step of it and with a 'celestial' view of the Shrine at night....
  access the entire postings till date, just click this link 
(or the 'Blog' icon on the right top of RKM Jaipur website)

...and don't you forget to forward this to any deserving person you know!

श्री गुरु महाराज जी की जय !!

Swami Sheshadri