Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Lion Roars!

ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll नमो विवेकानन्द सद्गुरवे ll

रामकृष्णप्रियं नित्यमुक्तं ऋषिं,  युवतापसोत्तमं सद्यस्कमेव l
वेदान्त-केसरीं तं ब्रह्मचारिणं,  शक्तिरूपं विवेकानन्दमाश्रये ll

नूतनं शङ्करं मायाssशु-नाशकं,  दीन-नारायणस्यार्चकं सेवया l
भारतोद्धारकं  विरजं नरेन्द्रं,  चिदानन्द-रूपं  यतीन्द्रं  नमामि ll

The roar that woke us up, the echoes of it that continue to prop our staggering selves, still emanate in the immortal words that instill hope and power for us Indians steeped in Tamas, and for humanity at large!

Such unshakable faith had he in the future of India, and in even the hapless Indian of then, and 'free' Indian of today, that none else but the vision of a Rsi could have beheld it!

Did anyone in the recent past love us so 'fiercely'? Had anyone concerned Himself so intensely about us? He did, for He was a condensed Bhaarata himself. He is the voice of India, nay the roar of India, that the world unmistakably heard! 

Does our bosom swell in 'legitimate' pride when today the West 'celebrates' India and Indians; haven't we shared those golden moments when for the first time the world stood up to applaud our Prime Minister and now does it every often.... a sense of National Identity fills us and the Indian diaspora all over. Can we then not imagine the scene where the lone Indian Lion roared about a Century and a quarter ago? 

All alone, in an absolutely unfamiliar land... He thundered enough to be called a 'Cyclonic' Monk! That roar shook the 'civilized' part of the world like an earthquake, and subsequently our sleeping selves... like a Tsunami that follows!!
The maker of Modern India, the embodiment of Ancient India, our beloved benefactor - Swamiji.

Is it without reason that He was 'Ramakrishna-priya'? His very bones worked out His Guru's will!
Who but He could say this, "My life's allegiance is to this my motherland; and if I had a thousand lives, every moment of the whole series would be consecrated to your service, my countrymen, my friends."

Bhaaratoddhaaraka indeed. How may my little self salute you, O Hero of Heroes! You have no parallel.

The words of fire that emanated from your lips, "Strength is life, weakness is death," infused in us the strength to throw off the oppressive foreign yoke, and hold our heads high.... they still do, and we need them more than ever before. 

We are also able to see the plight of the Country today, that instead tread for over seven long  decades in pursuing 'education for employability and money.'

May the Lord let Bharata see that the only panacea lies in what you have taught us..."Man-making, Character-building Education";
नान्यः पन्था विद्यते भारताय ! There is no other way, no other way... for it is character energy that we have lost in our selfish material pursuits!

Swami Sheshadri

Monday, January 2, 2017

ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय कल्पतरवे

ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय कल्पतरवे ll 

धर्म-हानि-हारकन्त्वधर्म-कर्म-वारकम् ,
लोक-धर्म-चारणञ्च   सर्व-धर्म-कोविदम् l
त्यागि-गेहि-सेव्य-नित्य-पावनाङ्घ्रि-पङ्कजम् ,
तन्नमामि   देव-देव-रामकृष्णमीश्वरम् ll

Dear Bhaktas,

If one were to seek from the Lord one's wish, which would have a guaranteed fulfilment, what would one choose? Actually, it is a boon we are talking about!

We would, of course, first want to be sure that it would be fulfilled, for it is too good a proposition, and thus, hard to be so sure of these days!

Which wish must take precedence over the others crowding up, would be difficult to say. I would have chosen something yesterday, which I would not do today, but would ask for something different now in the light of my present understanding! And I can scarcely predict what I would ask in future, may be, feeling also that I had asked for something not so worthwhile previously!

Does my mind clearly know what is the most prudent thing to ask? Perceptions seems to change , complicating  matters! Can I seek help and guidance in asking, or is desire more personal and individual, than can be generalized?

Bhagavan Himself declares something interesting, in the Geeta : 'I am desire itself, but that which is unopposed to Dharma.'धर्माविरुद्धो भूतेषु कामोsस्मि  भरतर्षभ !'

Sri Ramakrishna came to establish and uphold dharma, not allowing it to slide down..., teaching jivas to desist from actions that are not in consonance with dharma. He set a personal example to the 'Dharmis' in order that there is never a compromise. Like Rama is celebrated as 'विग्रहवान् धर्मः ' (embodied dharma itself), in this Kaliyuga Sri Ramakrishna was the same, against odds!! Such amazing dharmanishtha, "if I dance sixteen steps, you will at least dance one!" he would say to all; Swamiji called him  'सर्व-धर्म-स्वरूपिन् ' in salutation.

If such is the Kalpataru, what should we be asking Him for? Well, we have the famous incident from the life of Swamiji, wherein Sri Ramakrishna sends him to ask from Mother Kali whatever he desired, and the Kali 'Kalpataru' would fulfill the same without a shade of doubt. We know how impossible it turned out for Swamiji to beg for anything material and menial, and that he could only ask for Jnana, Vairagya and Shuddha Bhakti - in the three attempts encountering the benevolent Divine Mother, even in dire penury. He set the standard, the ideal, of what should be sought from the Lord. You can not be as foolish as to ask for a brinjal when you meet the King, was Thakurji's point!!

So then, from Kalpataru Thakurji, should we ask for Jnana-Bhakti-Vairagya? Today, for most of us, they are not more than unassimilated words, with unclear meaning, and even really not something which is our heartfelt-need. Do we actually want them? What do we do then, if we are not to ask what we really want and are not sure we honestly want what should be asked for? 

Why not do something honest and sensible, by following what our most benevolent Rishis taught us... that most relevant of all possible prayers - the gift of Rishi Vishwamitra to humanity:

O Lord, धियो  नः प्रचोदयात् ! May you illumine our intellects, so that we can think correctly. Endowed with right thinking, we may even know what to ask of you. You - who are all-knowledge, all-power and is all-pervading!

हे कल्पतरो, श्री राम-कृष्ण भगवन् , नो धियः प्रचोदयताम् !!

​So sings the lone Kite perched on the Shikhara of Sri Thakurji's temple, on Kalpataru day.... yes the Kite we call

Swami Sheshadri