Birth Tithi Puja of Sw. Ramakrishnananda Ji Maharaj - 30th July 2019 (TUE)
Shashi’s father Ishwara Chandra Chakravarty was an expert in ritualistic worship, and Shashi imbibed from him love for ritualistic worship. After passing out of the village school, he went to Kolkata and lived with his cousin Sharat (later, Swami Saradananda) for higher education. A brilliant student, he chose mathematics for the B.A. course which, however, he could not complete owing to the terminal illness of Sri Ramakrishna at Cossipore.
While studying in college Shashi and Sharat joined the Brahmo Samaj, and heard about Sri Ramakrishna from Keshab Chandra Sen himself. In October 1883 they visited Dakshineswar and were deeply attracted to Sri Ramakrishna. The Master used to say that Shashi and Sharat had been the followers of Jesus Christ in their previous birth.
Shashi distinguished himself most by the self-sacrificing spirit and devotion with which he served Sri Ramakrishna during his last illness at Shyampukur and Cossipore. After the Master’s passing he joined the Baranagar Math and underwent sannyasa ordination, assuming the name Ramakrishnananda. He took charge of the worship of the Atmaramer kauta, the urn containing the relics of Sri Ramakrishna in the Math’s shrine. He felt the living presence of the Master, and so his worship was not a mere ritual but loving service to a living God. It was Swami Ramakrishnananda who formulated and introduced the system of daily ritualistic worship to Sri Ramakrishna that is followed in the Ramakrishna Movement.
He seldom went out on pilgrimage, and devoted himself to daily worship at the Math. But when Swami Vivekananda, after his return from the West, asked him to go to Chennai and open a branch centre of Ramakrishna Math there, he obeyed without any hesitation. The saga of sacrifice and hardship that he underwent in preaching the message of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda for 14 years under unfavourable conditions has been recorded in letters of gold in the annals of the Ramakrishna Movement. In the South he travelled extensively. The starting of centres in Trivandrum, Mysore, Bangalore and Mumbai owed much to his pioneering efforts.
Incessant work, however, told upon his health, and he contracted tuberculosis. He breathed his last in a state of ecstasy on 21 August 1911.
Recommended for further reading
- The Complete Works of Swami Ramakrishnananda
- Swami Ramakrishnananda As We Saw Him: Reminiscences of Monastic and Lay Devotees
- Swami Ramakrishnananda—a Portrait in Pictures. Published by Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
- God Lived with Them by Swami Chetanananda.
The Ramakrishna Mission's logo is composed of a lotus, and a Swan spreading on a lake that has wavy waters, with the Sun rising in the horizon, and a serpent encircling all this. The wavy water represents Karma, Lotus stands for Bhakti, the sunrise is for Jnana, and the snake is for the Raja Yoga. The Swan in the middle of the logo, is the representation of Paramatman (the Supreme Being). On the whole, the idea of the logo of the Ramakrishna Mission is that only by the union of Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Yoga, the vision of Paramatman is reached.With this logo, Swami Vivekananda gives an image of his ideal of the Yogas harmony. Karma yoga: The Moving Water :
The Karma Yoga represents activity.Like the moving water, this world of Karma is always in motion. It changes all the time, taking new shapes, developing new situations, and new horizons. In Sanskrit, this moving world is called Bhava-Sagara, the ocean of relative existence. A Karma Yogi learns to travel through these changes by remaining calm and detached. Sri Ramakrishna best describes the ideal of the Karma Yogi by comparing the human spirit to a boat. He says that the boat may be in the water, but that the water doesn't come in the boat.Bhakti Yoga : The Lotus :
The lotus represents the heart. Mahanarayana Upanishad says : "In the citadel of the body, there is this little lotus, pure and devoid of all sin, where the heart is the supreme being." The lotus is the symbol of the love of God. It also represents purity and absence of attachment. Bhakti of the love of God is not a means to achieve a goal but a goal in itself.Jnana Yoga :The sunrise :
Knowledge is always related to the Sun. Intelligence reveals the truth and lights up the darkness of ignorance. According to Swami Vivekananda, sunrise represents Jnana, or the path to Jnana. Jnana Yoga consists in suppressing ignorance by purifying the spirit through the denial of existence of ignorance itself.
Jnana Yoga does not aim at collecting knowledge on objects of our senses or to understand the maximum of ideas in a book. It is, rather, a process of discovering the inner being. It's like searching unbiased knowledge and at the best level, discovering what makes the world in an existential manner.
Raja Yoga: The snake :
The snake represents the Kundalini. Kundalini means "wrapped around". The Hindu texts attest the presence of a spiritual power present in each of us: the Kundalini. From a physiological point of view, the Kundalini is at the base of the spine, the first and lowest of the Chakras along the spine. When the power of our Kundalini is asleep, we live only to eat, sleep and reproduce ourselves. The world remains of interest only to satisfy material needs. It is only when we begin to live in denial of ourselves, in service and prayer, that the journey towards higher Chakras and higher life begins.
An approach to channel and guide the spiritual power has been explained in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The basic principle of this Yoga is controlling mind to separate us from the grip of the body through concentration and meditation. This path is called the royal road, Raja Yoga, because it is the most direct approach to the science of the mind.Paramatman: The Swan :
The Swan is the symbol of ultimate reality for reasons more than one. The Swan is the symbol of the knowledge born out of differentiating between the real and the unreal. This representation is based on a belief that if milk diluted in water is given to a Swan, he will drink the milk, leaving behind the water. Water is ignorance, unreal. The milk symbolizes the real knowledge.
Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy - by one, or more, or all of these - and be free.This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.
- Swami Vivekananda
ADDRESSES AT THE PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS
RESPONSE TO WELCOME Chicago, September 11, 1893
Sisters and Brothers of America, It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: "As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee." The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me." Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.
EducationVivekananda believed education is the manifestation of perfection already in men. He thought it a pity that the existing system of education did not enable a person to stand on his own feet, nor did it teach him self-confidence and self-respect. To Vivekananda, education was not only collection of information, but something more meaningful; he felt education should be man-making, life-giving and character-building. To him, education was an assimilation of noble ideas.
Education is not the amount of information that we put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life building, man making, character making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library..Swami Vivekananda felt that the education that young boys and girls receive is very negative. He thinks they do not gain confidence or self-respect from these education, so according to Swami Vivekananda only positive education should be given to children. Swami Vivekananda told, if young boys and girls are encouraged and are not unnecessarily criticized all the time, they are bound to improve in time. He also told the youth:
Set yourselves to the task of spreading education among the masses. Tell them and make them understand, "You are our brothers—a part and parcel of our bodies, and we love you and never hate you."