Vedanta in practice

Blog from Swami Vimokshananda now in South Africa

Vedanta Retreat

Posted by svp on April 19, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 6.38.36 AMA Good Friday Gift

Vedanta Retreat

A Good Friday Gift was presented by the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa to devotees in the form of its annual Vedanta Retreat on Friday, 18 April 2014 from 6 a.m to 12:30 p.m at the Glen Anil Ashram.

The programme commenced at the Sri Ramakrishna Temple with a satsang that included the opening prayer, singing of stotrams/bhajans, silent meditation and the chanting of the Vaidika Dasha Shantih Mantras. Reading from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna was done by Ms Kirthi Rabikissoon. Dr Rajesh Singh, a member of the Executive Committee welcomed the audience.

Swami Saradaprabhananda addressing the audience...

Swami Saradaprabhananda addressing the audience…Image courtesy: Veresh Singh

After breakfast the devotees assembled at the Nischalananda Hall and were treated to an enlightening message by Swami Saradaprabhananda on the topic “Sage Uddalaka’s Teachings to Svetaketu: The Highest Nature of God” where he emphasised that the true purpose of learning was to uplift oneself to higher truths. He then introduced ‘Likhit Japa’  when the devotees were advised to write AUM in any language with concentrated mind for 10 minutes.

Swami Vimokshananda addressing the audience...

Swami Vimokshananda addressing the audience….Image courtesy: Veresh Singh

Swami Vimokshananda, the President of the Centre, delivered an inspiring message on the topic “The Universalism of Vedanta” clarifying the difference between the common understanding of universalism and the Vedantic concept of universalism. He also introduced a Silent Reading of Srimad Bhagavad Gita with the advise that the devotees should do the reading with complete focus on the thoughts of Gita.

Y Rugunandan, a youth speaker, delivered a message entitled “Swami Vivekananda’s Laws of Life”.

Y Rugunandan, a youth speaker, delivered a message entitled “Swami Vivekananda’s Laws of Life”. .Image courtesy: Veresh Singh

Brahmachari Akhilachaitanya eloquently chanted selected verses from the Shiva Sankalpa Suktam. The Shiva Sankalpa Sukta is a powerful six-verse hymn from the Rig Veda that entreats the mind “to dwell on the auspicious will of the Divine,” and helps one cultivate conscious resolve in alignment with the cosmic auspiciousness. Mr Y Rugunandan, a youth speaker, also delivered a message entitled “Swami Vivekananda’s Laws of Life”.

Pravrajika Ishtaprana conducting closing prayers...

Pravrajika Ishtaprana responding to a question on Brahmarpanam verse of the Gita….Image courtesy: Veresh Singh

The programme also included screening of a DVD entitled “Karma & Reincarnation” guided meditation and an enlightening question and answer session. The programme was well attended and enjoyed by all present. Ms Nikita Rugunandan was the MC for the hall program.

|| Aum Shri Ramakrishnarpanamastu ||

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Good Friday Gift!

Posted by svp on April 16, 2014

Detailed items of Program on Vedanta Retreat

Detailed items of Program on Vedanta Retreat

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Hanuman Jayanti

Posted by svp on April 13, 2014

Program Invite

Program Invite

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Brushing Bhagawan off…!

Posted by svp on April 8, 2014

The Ramakrishna altar at the Pietermaritzburg Sub-centre tastefully decorated...image courtesy: Avitha

The altar at the Pietermaritzburg Sub-centre tastefully decorated…image courtesy: Avitha

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 :

Prema Mudita Manase Kaho Rama Rama Ram
Rama Rama Ram Sri Rama Rama Ram
Papa katey Dukha Mitey Lekey Rama Nam
Bhava Samudra Sukhada Nava Eka Rama Nam
Shri Rama Rama Ram
Parama Shanti Sukha Nidhana Nithya Rama Nam
Niradhara Ko Adhara Eka Rama Nam
Rama Rama Ram Shri Rama Rama Ram
Parama Gopya Parama Nithya Mantra Ram Nam
Santa Hrudya Sada Vasatha Eka Rama Nam
Rama Rama Ram Shri Rama Rama Ram
Mata Pita Bandhu Sakha Sub hi Rama Nam
Bhakta Janara Jivana Dhana Eka Rama Nam
Shri Rama Rama Ram Shri Rama Rama Ram

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?

Today at Sri Ramakrishna altar Master as well as Rama adorned with yellow robes...

Today at Sri Ramakrishna altar of the Glen Anil Main centre, Master as well as Rama adorned with yellow robes…

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.

Swami Brahmananda's temple in Belur math

Swami Brahmananda’s temple in Belur math

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?

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|| Aum Shri Ramakrishnarpanamastu ||


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