Swami Saradaprabhananda

“Om namo Naaraayanaaya!”

Swami Saradaprabhanandaji
Swami Saradaprabhanandaji

With these auspicious words, I greeted this monk, on his arrival at Durban airport from India this morning. No, not any new monk from Belur Math, our international HQ in India but our well-known brother Saradananda – the Vice-President of our centre – who has been re-christened with a new name  “Swami Saradaprabhananda”! 

Henceforth he shall be known in this new name only. In India, he spent a little more than two months recently visiting different centres there.

The new name “Swami Saradaprabhananda”, was bestowed on the holy birth tithi of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna on Friday, 27 February, 2009.  That was the day he was inducted into the Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission as a regular member of the Ramakrishna Order of Monks, when Most Revered President Maharaj – Srimat Swami Atmasthanandaji – was pleased to bless him with the “yoga-patta” of the new name.

On his arrival at Durban, Swami Saradaprabhananda was given a befitting welcome reception by the devotees and self at HQ’s Ramakrishna Temple at Glen Anil. In his reply to welcome address, Swami Saradaprabhananda explained his holy tour of Belur Math and other centres of the Ramakrishna Math & Mission in India and thanked everyone who had come to greet him.

It is well-known that the august Ramakrishna Order of monks was started by Sri Ramakrishna himself when he distributed the ochre cloth to his disciples in 1885. Explaining the raison d’être for the change in the name, I spoke about the tradition of this Order, as per which the names of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, and the names of the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and also the names of the Trustees were not to be used again. As such, the erstwhile name Swami Saradananda, – that was the name of Sharad Maharaj, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna – had to be replaced with a new name Swami Saradaprabhananda on his joining this holy Order.

Swami Nischalananda -The Gurudev
Swami Nischalananda -The Gurudev

The Trustees of the Ramakrishna Math had accepted the affiliation of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa which was formalized when I was appointed the President on Sri Rama Navami 2007. With the admission of Swami Saradaprabhananda into the Belur Math, the integration of the local Ramakrishna Movement started by Sri Swami Nischalanandaji Maharaj in 1942 into the worldwide Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission is complete. This had been the vision and prayer of Swami Nischalanandaji Maharaj and his disciple Swami Shivapadanandaji Maharaj. Due to historical reasons this integration was not possible earlier in our history.

Swami Shivapadananda
Swami Shivapadananda

I am here reminded of the earnest prayer of the holy saint Swami Shivapadanandaji at the  famous shakti peetha Kalighat Kali temple in Kolkata some years back. This was retold by a reliable source which I narrate for those who have not heard of it.

During one of his visits to the temple of Divine Mother Kali, Swami Shivapadanandaji stood silently at the barricade in front of the Mother doing his japa. The plate wherein the puja articles and a garland were placed was being carried by an attendant-devotee. As usual it was terribly a crowded day. Scores of people – men, women, children in their traditional costumes – have been queueing up in front of Mother Kali. Even the mantras uttered by the worshipping pujari (priest) was not audible. The pujari was seen taking the garlands from each and every devotee’s plates and placing them over the shoulder of the  Divine Mother.

Divine Mother Kali of Kalighat in Kolkata, India
Divine Mother Kali of Kalighat in Kolkata, India

Swami Shivapadanandaji had only one prayer…that was the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa had to be duly affiliated with Belur Math. When?… was not the question, but, it had to be done. So, when he saw his attendant-devotee taking the garland plate to the pujari, the Swami made a prayer and wanted to know mentally from Mother, whether She had accepted his prayer! He wished in his mind that if the pujari took the garland and kept it at the holy feet of Kali, then, that would be a definite indication that She has granted his prayer. This was not expected as the pujari was wont to place the garland on the neck of the Mother.

But, lo! the Mother confirmed! When the pujari received the Swami’s garland, suddenly he turned and amidst the din and bustle of the crowd, he simply placed the garland at Mother’s feet instead of placing it on Her shoulders. That was enough for Swami Shivapadanandaji. He narrated this incident to Swami Saradaprabhananda and told him to keep up the confidence in Mother’s grace by which one day this Centre’s affiliation to Belur Math would be an accomplished task. 

May Mother Kali bless all the devotees here and everywhere!

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35 comments

  1. Respected maharaj!
    Om namo narayanaya!
    Thank you for your posts on the blog. i enjoy reading your updates and it is a blessing indeed to be able to given these treasures by yourself…..Master, Mother and Swamiji.
    with my respect and pranams,
    Niriksha Singh –
    Asherville branch, SA

    Thank you Niriksha for your visit to this blog…I am happy to find the readership number is quietly on increase. Well, I consider these pieces of writings as another kind of seva and would be glad if that brings peace and happiness and enthuse our devotion at the feet of the Holy Trio.
    May Their blessings be with you!
    Swami Vimokshananda

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    1. Om Namo Narayanaya
      Revered Maharaj
      It was as usual a very blessed and happy moment to listen to your divine talk at SSD ashram on Sunday. It becomes encouraging to listen to Maharaj’s talk and be reassured by the stories narrated that our Master is so close to us.

      My sincere and loving pranams are also conveyed to HH Sri Swami Saradaprabhanandaji. It is a happy occassion to have you back with us in SA. Sw Saradaprabhanandaji has been a pillar of support to the Centre and personally He has been very encouraging, especially as He has always imparted guidance in both secular and spiritual aspects of my life. I pray that I continue to abide by the gems you have imparted to me and I keep you proud by keeping Master’s, Mother’s and Swamji’s name flying high!!

      My Parents and Nirasha also convey their pranams to our Revered Swamiji and Maharaj.

      with love and respect,
      Niriksha
      Durban, SA

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  2. OM!
    Thank you for your ‘everso’ kind words to Swami Saradaprabhanandaji. Yes, we all are very happy and blessed to have him back. He was ever so beaming yesterday at the welcome function, and I know that he will take Africa by storm in the near future and place Master, wherever he lands his feet. I cannot help but to add, that he is simply another Swamiji.
    In the name of Master
    Jaya Ramjogi
    Durban, SA

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  3. Revered Swamiji
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    My humble pranams at your lotus feet,
    It is indeed a proud moment in the history of the Centre. Learning of the hardships, sacrifice and dedication of our beloved founders, one truly feels proud to be a part of the Ramakrishna family.
    We have just arrived from our pilgrimage of India, and also have been to Belur Math. We met many devotees from all over the world, and in an instant it seemed we were all linked with a fine silk thread. This is surely the work of our beloved Thakur, Ma and Swamiji.
    Welcome back Swamiji and let the work of our Master spread like wild fire.
    Thank you Swamiji for this wonderful blog.
    My humble pranams at your holy feet.
    jyothi
    Asherville, SA

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  4. Om namo narayanaya!
    We the devotees from Newcastle, would like to welcome
    Swami Saradaprabhananda back to South Africa and thank Respected Maharaj for his blog. We are always kept well informed through the grace of Master’s blessing.
    Aum
    Natasha Rampersad
    Newcastle, SA

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  5. “Om namo Naaraayanaaya!”
    Salutations and prostrations at the Feet of the Holy Trinity, beloved Swamiji Maharaj and revered Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj.

    It is with great joy that we welcome back Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj in our midst. We offer our thanks to Mother Kali for answering the prayer of Swami Shivapadanandaji Maharaj, uttered with obvious faith so many years ago. While Mother Kali’s response might to all appearances have been slow to those of us not blessed with the gift of patience, we are nonetheless overwhelmed by Her surpassing Swamiji’s prayer…for Mother has given us both Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj and Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj! How well this anecdote demonstrates the power of prayer and Mother’s generosity.
    Nirmala Balkaran
    Ladysmith, SA

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  6. Revered Maharaj,
    Sri Sri Thakur, Ma and Swamiji truly love their children in South Africa. We are extremely priviledged and blessed to have our Most Revered Guru Maharaj returned to us. Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj is truly a rare Gem, and we are most grateful to be able have his darshan again.
    With our humble pranaam, love and devotion,
    we welcome Swamiji Maharaj’s return to South Africa.
    Daya Family
    Durban, SA

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  7. AUM Namo Narayanaya!
    Revered Swamiji my humble pranaam at your Lotus feet.
    Just to have Swami Saradaprabhanada back, was just absolutely wonderful and brought tears to my eyes just to see him again.
    This is definitely a wonderful moment for the South African Branch as you mentioned the affiliation is now complete. We need to spread our wings into Africa and Swami Saradaprabhanada is most suited to carry out this massive venture.

    Swamiji welcome back and I am humbly blessed to be able to work beside you on some of the Ashram projects.
    My humble pranaams at your holy feet

    Jugdeesh Daya
    Durban, SA

    Like

  8. Pronam maharaj ji,
    Jai maa sharada,
    om namo naarayanaya !
    .
    maharaj ji ,
    read the blog of mother Kali and Swami Saradaprabhanada.
    Liked it very much.
    Regards
    abhishek
    Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

    Like

  9. Adarneey Maharajji,
    Saadar Pranaam!.
    I will like to start with my oblations to Rev. Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj and to you with one word and one word only TOMAR KHELA TU HI JANE… (Your Divine Play ONLY YOU KNOW!)

    It is an accepted practice that MIRACLES ARE NOT STRESSED OR HIGHLIGHTED OR PUBLICISED IN RAMAKRISHNA ORDER, still TO MENTION OF “THAKURER KHELA” is in no way called as MIRACLE…

    Otherwise what else can explain this PHENOMENON OF DESIRE OF A “MONK” (IT IS ALSO SAID THAT “MONKS” OR “SANNYASINS” DO NOT KEEP ANY DESIRE! Still A DESIRE ROSE IN HEART OF THIS GREAT “SAADHU” THAT HIS CENTER SHOULD BE AFFILIATED TO BELUR MATH, AND LO! IT STARTED ON AUSPICIOUS DAY OF RAM NAVAMI (Birthday of ONE INCARNATION) and COMPLETED ON “THAKUR DWITIYA” (BIRTHDAY OF ANOTHER INCARNATION!) ISN’T IT TRUE “THAKURER KHELA”…

    I tried my level best that I could have DARSHAN OF REV. SWAMIJI DURING HIS VISIT TO INDIA AND MUMBAI….but I was not fortunate enough to have his DARSHAN. I sincerely and most humbly REQUEST YOU TO CONVEY MY “PRANAAM” TO REV. MAHARAJJI.
    Bharat Churiwala
    Mumbai, India

    Like

  10. Revered Maharaj ji,
    This is a wonderful story indeed of divine providence.
    Faith can move mountains and the sincere prayer of dearest devotee child of Divine Mother was heard and fulfilled accordingly.
    The above incident is reminiscent of ample incidents of truths which occur every day by the grace of Divine Mother.

    Jai Sri Guru Maharaj ji ki jai!
    Jai Maha Mai ki jai!
    Jai Swamiji Maharaj ji ki jai!

    With Sincere Regards,
    Subhadip dutta,
    Noida, India

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    1. Hari Om Sri Ramakrishna

      we were blessed to have Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj at Kodungallur Vivekananda Kendra Vedic Vision Foundations. For the inmates and specially to Dr. Lakshmi Kumari, it was most blessed moment to be with Swamiji trying to recall the time she had spent at South Africa.

      with prayerful pranams
      sudhakar

      Like

  11. Om Namo Narayanya!
    I would like to thank Revered Swamiji for such blogs, it really helps those of us away from such functions to feel as though we are there as well and experienced it along with our fellow devotees in Durban.
    Welcome back to Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj, we look forward to receiving your darshan here in Johannesburg.

    with my humble respect and pranams,
    Bhavani Daya
    Pretoria, SA

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  12. Revered Maharaj
    Humble Pranams.
    Yet again Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj has manifested His Divinty Within! Great in heart, Great in mind and great in deed. A Spiritual Dynamo, who fulfilled His Guru’s wish. His rousing call.. The Spiritual Growth in all of us… The Power of Prayer! and to Help all in whatever way possible. Our deep obeisances to Swamijee. Thanking Maharaji once again for this knowlegable and most brilliant blog!!
    Pranam Revered Maharaji!
    Yours in the Name of the Master
    Avithaa
    PMB, SA

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  13. Dear Maharaj
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    We are so blessed to have Revered Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj back home. We are looking forward to hear Swamijee’s experiences in India. Thank you Maharaj, for the wonderful writings.
    With love and regards
    Sunil
    PMB, SA

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  14. Om Namo Narayanaya
    My prostrations to Master, Holy Mother and Swamiji.
    Revered Maharaj thank you for this wonderful resource. Indeed I am so greatful that Swami Saradaprabhanandaji is back. He is a great inspiration in my life.

    May the holy Trio bless all .
    Yogan Naidoo
    Tongat, SA

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  15. My pranam and well wishes to Revered Maharaj.
    I would like to thank Revered Swamiji for all the wonderful and informative blogs.
    A very warm welcome to Revered Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj
    With love and pranams
    Kashir Girhow
    Umhlanga, SA

    Like

  16. Revered Maharaj
    Om Namo Naraynaya
    The picture of Revered Swami Saradaprabanandaji is really great! On behalf of the youth in Pmb we are very happy that Swamiji is back home safe and sound. Looking forward to meet our Swamijis soon.

    Om Namo Narayanaya
    Srish
    PMB, SA

    Like

  17. Om namo Naaraayanaaya
    My humble pranams and well wishes to Revered Maharaj.
    We the devotees from Glencoe, would like to welcome
    Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj back to South Africa and thank Respected Maharaj for all the wonderful and informative blogs.
    RISHI LUCKAN
    GLENCOE, SA

    Like

  18. Om Namo Narayanaya!
    Pranams Swamiji
    Very inspiring article. Feel extremely blessed to be a part of the International Ramakrishna family.
    Rishie and I would like to welcome Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj back to South Africa.
    Thank you Swamiji for this wonderful blog.
    My humble pranam
    URMILLA BHIKHA
    PMBURG, SA

    Like

  19. Ramakrishna Sharanam!
    Most revered Maharaj,
    Pranam.
    Oh! What happiness and enjoyment it gave me, to read about His Holiness Srimat Swami Shivapadanandaji and Srimat Swami Saradaprabhanandaji!!

    I would like to mention one saying of Sri Sri Thakur on Sri Sri Kali..
    “My Mother is the principle of consciousness. She is Akhanda Satchidananda; indivisible Reality, Awareness, and Bliss. The night sky between the stars is perfectly black. The waters of the ocean depths are the same; The infinite is always mysteriously dark. This inebriating darkness is my beloved Kali.”
    ah!! Though, the flowing crowd and boomering demands of the priests always engulf Kalighat, One will feel the THING, when he will be able to see the Mother after all the rushing and pushing…Her face is beaming with joy…..she is always sacchidananda swarupa…

    Sri Sri Ma paid a visit to Kalighat once…We can imagine the situation whence Divine mother went to see Divine mother….After the puja, she took the sanctified vermillion from the priest and as the custom goes, was applying it on the forehead of the Married ladies over there….When she applied some vermillion on the forehead of one lady, she jumped in pain…
    “What happened my dear? did I hurt you?” Said mother.
    The Lady just looked at mother with her dark big eyes, there was a THIRD EYE on her forehead…Sri Sri Ma’s applied vermillion had fallen in it….!!Sri Sri Kali herself had come to take the vermillion from Mother!!

    Jay Jay Ma!!
    Jay Jay Sri Ramakrishna!!

    Sabuj Biswas
    Pune, India

    Like

  20. Revered Maharaj,
    Pranams.
    Thankyou very much for enlightening us all on the glorious history of the holy Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa.
    Mahathmas teach us so many instructive lessons through their each and every action. It is up to us, how to be receptive and learn them in the proper way from their divine lives.

    In that way, Rev.Swami Nishcalanandaji Maharaj and Rev.Swami Shivapadanandaji Maharaj have taught every one of us the power of prayer and the glory of patience. It is indeed a great lesson about how Sri Gurumaharaj answers our sincere prayers.

    My most humble pranams to Rev.Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj. Somehow I missed to have his darshan and blessings during his Chennai Visit.

    Most Rev. Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj often used to tell in his lectures, “To be unaware of the lives of great men, is to spend our lives in eternal childhood.”

    Maharaj, our humble prayer to you, is by the grace of Sri Gurumaharaj we should keep on getting such wonderful lessons through you.

    With humble pranams,
    Dr.S.Adhinarayanan
    New Delhi, India

    Like

  21. Revered Swamiji
    My humble Pranams and Prostrations.
    What a heart warming picture!
    On behalf of all members of the Pietermaritzburg branch we are delighted to welcome Swamiji back and look forward to meeting with Swamiji soon.
    With respectful love
    Karishta Singh
    PMB, SA

    Like

  22. Revered Maharaj
    Om Namo Naarayanaya
    My most humblest pranams and prostrations to Revered Maharaj.
    Thank you Maharaj for this enlightening and splendid blog. The articles and illustrations depicted are most informative and delightful.
    A very warm welcome to Revered Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj to South Africa and humblest prostrations.

    Om Namo Narayanaya.
    With love and respect
    Janisha Dilrajh
    Durban, SA

    Like

  23. Om Namo Narayanaya!
    Revered Maharaj
    Welcome Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj, respected Swamiji has really fullfilled his guru’s Revered Swami Shivapadanandaji’s wish. Absolutely happy that Swamiji is back with us. Indeed a really heart warming picture of Swamiji.
    Thank you Revered Maharaj for your wonderful, inspiring and informative blog.

    With love and pranams
    Sanjiv, Sandra and Shruti Poonmassy
    Durban, SA

    Like

  24. I am very much surprised to read the experience of Swami Shivapadanandaji at Kali Ghat Temple. Is this possibe. I wonder that there are many things which cannot be explained by our materialistic mind. I found and satisfaction to read this story.
    With my pronams to respected Vimokshanandaji who has blessed me and my family with religious teachings, good wishes. I pray to Sri Ramakrishna for his health.
    With pronams
    Om nama narayanaya!
    Santi das Chakravarty
    Bokaro Steel city, Jharkhand, India

    Like

  25. Pranam Maharaj,
    It was very enlightening to read the story. It is instances like these that give us hope and strength.
    Som Dutta
    Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

    Like

  26. Respected Maharaj
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    Thank you very much for your blogs. We enjoy reading them and have found them to be very informative and uplifting. It helps to bridge the gap between the country of our birth and our adopted country, and makes us feel close to home.

    Our most humble pranams to Rev. Swami Saradaprabhanandaji Maharaj.

    With love and respect
    Vinay & Shirwanie Jokhun
    Auckland, New Zealand

    Like

  27. Dear Maharaj,

    I do not know you, but my respectful pronam to you. I am amazed at the work Thakur is doing after his mahasamadhi through his devotees. Truly he was/is an avataar.
    Dr. Shubhashish Sircar

    Dear Subhashish
    Welcome to this Blog! It doesn’t matter whether you know me personally or not as we, being the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, wherever be, are connected by the sutra of His Name. You may find the following extract pertinent to our belief from the newly published book by Swami Chetananandaji Maharaj of Vedanta Society, St Louis, USA “HOW TO LIVE WITH GOD’.
    May your devotion to Sri Sri Thakur be intense!
    Swami Vimokshananda
    Ramakrishna as an Avatar
    There are many signs of an avatar. In the Gita, Krishna mentioned the sign given in the scriptures: When religion declines and irreligion prevails, God incarnates as an avatar. He protects the holy and punishes the evil.
    There are other signs of an avatar: he is full of compassion for all beings; he is a saviour to sinners; he comes to fulfill, not to destroy; he is endowed with supernatural powers; he is the embodiment of purity and renunciation; he is totally unselfish and eradicates the bad karma of his devotees; he establishes a new religious path. Moreover, when God incarnates as a human being, he is very charismatic.
    When we study Ramakrishna’s life, we find that he enacted his divine play in three phases:
    First phase: Suresh Chandra Datta wrote that the mother of Gayavishnu Laha was very fond of little Gadadhar. Whenever she cooked any special dishes, she would first offer him a taste. She remarked: “Gadai, it seems you are not a human being; you are God.” Prasanna Laha also recognized Ramakrishna’s divinity when he was young. In addition, an old shopkeeper in Kamarpukur saw the divine mood of Gadadhar and realized that he was not human; he had descended to earth to enact his divine play. One day he carried a basket of sweets with him and privately made an offering of them to Gadadhar in a field. Choked with emotion, the old shopkeeper said to him: “Gadai, I am too old. I shall not be able to see your future divine play.”
    One day at Dakshineswar Ramakrishna said to M.: “It is God alone who incarnates Himself as man to teach people the ways of love and knowledge. Well, what do you think of me?
    “Once my father went to Gaya. There Raghuvir said to him in dream, ‘I shall be born as your son.’ Thereupon my father said to Him ‘O Lord, I am a poor brahmin. How shall I be able to serve You?’ ‘Don’ worry about it,’ Raghuvir replied. ‘It will be taken care of.’
    “My cousin, Hriday’s mother, used to worship my feet with flower and sandal paste. One day I placed my foot on her head and said to her ‘You will die in Varanasi.’”

    Second phase: During this period the Master was recognized as a avatar by great scholars and highly evolved spiritual aspirants. Swami Saradananda wrote:
    We heard that one day during this period the Master and Mathur were at the Panchavati, and Hriday was also present. In the course of conversation the Master told Mathur the Brahmani’s findings about him. He said: “She says that all the signs of the avatars are in this body and mind (pointing to himself). She is well versed in the scriptures and she has many books with her.” Mathur replied with a laugh: “Father, whatever she may say, according to the scriptures there are no more than ten avatars. So how can her words be true? But it is true that Mother Kali has bestowed Her grace on you.”
    While they were talking, Mathur saw a nun approaching them. He asked the Master, “Is this the woman?” “Yes,” replied the Master. Pointing to Mathur, the Master told the Brahmani: “Mother, I was just telling him what you say about me. But he says that the scriptures mention only ten avatars and no more than that.” Mathur saluted the Brahmani and admitted that he had raised that objection. She immediately replied: “Bhagavan Vyasa mentioned twenty-four avatars in the Bhagavata and then indicated an infinite number of them. Moreover, the Vaishnava scriptures clearly indicated that Chaitanya would be incarnated again. In addition, there is a striking resemblance in many characteristics between him and Sri Ramakrishna. “Unable to respond to the Brahmani, Mathur remained silent.”’

    Swami Saradananda continued:
    During three important periods of the Master’s sadhana, three eminent spiritual pandits who were well versed in the scriptures came to him, observed his spiritual condition, and had an opportunity to discuss their impressions. Pandit Padmalochan met the Master when he had become perfected in ‘the Tantra sadhana; Pandit Vaishnavcharan met him when he had attained success in the Vaishnava Tantra; and Pandit Gauri was blessed to see the Master endowed with divine splendour at the completion of all his sadhanas. When Padmalochan saw the Master, he said, “I see God’s presence and divine power in you.” Vaishnavcharan, in ecstasy, composed a hymn to the Master in Sanskrit and sang it to him, declaring him to be an avatar. When Gauri met the Master, he concluded: “I see that everything I have read in the scriptures concerning high spiritual states is manifest in you. In addition, I see other exalted states that are not recorded in the scriptures. You have reached a spiritual plane that surpasses anything described in the Vedas, Vedanta, or other scriptures. You are not human. Ishwara, the source of all avatars, dwells in you.”
    Although the Master had no formal education, he was not afraid to be challenged by his disciples. He told them: “Examine a holy man by day and by night before believing in him”; “Test me as a money-changer checks for a fake coin.” The Master was established in truth, and he was not afraid to be challenged.

    Third phase: A king visits his kingdom incognito. When people recognize him, he quickly returns to his palace. During the last years of his divine play, the Master revealed his divinity to his devotees, bestowed fearlessness upon them, and then was eager to return to his own abode. He said: “The same avatar rose here from the ocean of Satchidananda and declared himself as Krishna, and rose there and declared himself as Jesus Christ.”
    Keshab Sen said to Ram Datta: “You do not know who Sri Ramakrishna is. That is why you people are touching him and making him sing and dance. Cover his body in a soft velvet cloth and place him in a glass case. Offer a few good flowers to him and salute him from a distance.”
    Before Suresh Datta met the Master, he was a member of the Brahmo Samaj and was devoted to Keshab Sen. Suresh wrote: “I don’t know whether my Brahmo friends know or not, but I heard from a reliable source that Keshab secretly worshipped the Master as an avatar towards the end of his life. One day when the Master went to Keshab’s house, the latter asked the Master to visit his shrine to sanctify it. The Master went to the shrine. Keshab then worshipped the feet of the Master with flowers and asked him not to disclose it to anyone.”
    Towards the end of the Master’s divine play, Girish openly began to say that the Master was an avatar. On 1 March 1885, the Master asked Narendra: “Do you agree with Girish about me?”
    Narendra: “He said he believed you to be an Incarnation of God. I didn’t say anything in answer to his remarks.”
    Master: “But how great his faith is! Don’t you think so?”
    A few days later the Master asked Narendra: “Well, some people call me an avatar. What do you think of this?”
    Narendra: I won’t form an opinion based on others’ views. I will say so only when I can understand and believe it myself.”
    At the Cossipore garden house the Master suffered excruciating pain from throat cancer. He could not even swallow gruel. One day Narendra was seated nearby He thought to himself that if at this critical moment the Master said he was an avatar, he would believe it. Immediately the Master said: “He who was Rama and he who was Krishna is now Ramakrishna in this body.” Narendra was dumbfounded.
    When Ramendrasundar Bhaktitirtha was a boy, he met Ramakrishna. He knew a Christian Bengali professor of Scottish Church College, who was one of Vivekananda’s professors. That professor described for Ramendra the following conversation, and Ramendra later recorded it in his reminiscences:
    Professor: “Well, Narendra, what have you done? At last you have surrendered yourself to a mad priest! I also hear you think that priest is God and that he has come to the world as a saviour. Do you believe all these cock-and-bull stories?”
    Vivekananda calmly replied: “Sir, you have heard the right thing. I believe that he is God and he has come to the world as a saviour. Previously, like you, I would have considered this to be a fairy tale. I said so to Sri Ramakrishna himself many times. To that, he would smile like a child, and say, ‘Do I ask you to believe in me?’ But, sir, I had to believe it at last. He showed me one day that God Himself had descended in that Ramakrishna-body. He who was Rama and he who was Krishna, he has become Ramakrishna. He first showed me the form of Rama and Krishna separately and then he showed me that both had merged into the Ramakrishna-body. It was not a hallucination. I saw it clearly with open eyes. Apart from this vision, I understood, realized, and saw in many ways that Ramakrishna was God Himself.”

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    1. Dear Maharaj,

      Sometimes I wonder whether it is really necessary to believe that Thakur was an Avatar (descent of divinity into flesh). When I see the fanatics of other religions speaking of their prophets being the final prophet and no word may be added to what they have said, and their religion is the only true religion, I smile to myself.

      In the New Testament, Jesus tells Joseph of Evamathier, “The wind blows, but you see it not” (meaning thereby that Prophets may not be recognised except by their divine permission). God does not want his secrets broadcasted promiscuously, so I believe.

      Only those in his close circle may recognise him….and what about the others? …..are they to believe only because it is written in the scriptures? Unless a man experiences, Sabikalpa or Nirbikalpa Samadhi, it is impossible to recognise a true master. And Thakur was more than a master.

      In addition to this, how does it matter whether he was an Avataar? His stature is not diminished by our disbelief. His existence is not dependant on our belief. Silently but surely he works (both while in a body, or without one) to take the worlds to the logical end.

      I will love Ramakrishna for the person he was. I do not think that there ever was a person on this planet who so selflessly loved others. This is what we all need to learn. To selflessly love others.

      That is why I believe, Swami Vivekananda spoke little of his Christlike master even in the west. He spoke instead of the eternel principles of Vedanta that Thakur exemplified.

      With regards and pronam,
      Dr. Shubhashish Sircar
      Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

      Dear Shubhashish
      Nice to read your observations on Ramakrishna as Avataar.
      Please also note that there are many angles to view this matter and each has its own place in the scheme of things as infinite levels of ‘understanding’ of an Incarnation is possible. hari anant hari kathaa anantaa
      With love and prayers
      Swami Vimokshananda

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  28. Respected Maharaj,

    Thank you sincerely for your postings which I enjoy reading. The ones on Durga Maharaj and this present one I have especially liked. As you say Hari Ananta, Hari Katha Ananta, it is a blessing to hear the nectarine account of the lives of holy men. I trust you may have recieved my account of one such holy monk of the Ramakrishna Order sent at your GMail address yesterday.

    With good wishes for the South Africa Ramakrishna Centre.

    Kindly accept my Pranam,

    Ankur
    Guwahati, Assam, India

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    1. Dear Ankur
      Nice to know that you enjoyed the posts. Yes, I received recently your pdf file on Revered Swami Ijyanandaji Maharaj. Undoubtedly its a moving account. While reading your description, I was transported to those old days from 1979 to 1986 when I was in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) and used to frequent Guwahati Ashram at least thrice in a year and spend 7 to 10 days everytime with Ijyanandaji Maharaj. His love, compassion and understanding human nature made me look at him with awe and wonder. To many he was an enigma but to those who loved him he was verily a Mother. Meticulous by nature, his mind was constantly on the Holy Mother. A great soul ! My pranams to him!
      May these pure, beacons light up our paths!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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      1. Thank you, Respected Maharaj for your kind reply which I accessed just now, and for your valuable words of reminiscences of Revered Ijyananda Ji Maharaj.
        It is nice to know that you were in Arunachal and met Ijyananda Ji oft times. Really, these pure souls of steady wisdom are upholding our Earth by their penance. Dhirah tapah dharayanti prithivyah. In 1999 on Janmasthami Day, my mother and self had gone to Belur Math. Though it was his day of mouna, Revered Ranganathananda Ji gave darshan that day. As I was about to enter his presence, I wondered how I would face him with my disturbed and ‘fallen’ mind. Very briefly I prayed to Swami Ji (Vivekananda). I think he immediately answered my prayer. I remained in a good frame of mind; Ranganathananda Ji remained with folded hands as we walked by in front of him, and then when I stopped a few moments to look at him, the above quoted verse about the men of steady wisdom came spontaneously to my mind with regard to Revered Ranganathananda Ji. That was my last darshan of Ranganathananda Ji, though he has blessed me with dream darshan a few times, once quite recently. I consider myself blessed to have received the love and blessings of such exalted pure holy souls like Ijyananda Ji , Ranganathananda Ji, and many others. Then recollecting those moments I forget my wretchedness and consider myself dhanya, one of good fortune.

        With pranam, Maharaj.

        Ankur
        Guwahati, Assam, India

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  29. Dear and Revered Swamiji

    My sincere salutations again and again to Him who makes the dumb eloquent and the cripple cross mountains.

    Srimat Swami Saradaprabhananda has been a powerful and perennial spring of joy and inspiration to myself, and noticibly countless others. The effects of His holy company I don’t think we will ever fully realize.

    I hope and pray that Sri Ramakrishna keeps him with us and lead us from darkness to light, death to immortality.

    Prem Namaste

    Kamal
    Durban, SA

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    1. Yes, Kamal! Its true that holy men’s influence is like the unseen morning dews, slowly and gently making the buds blossom into beautiful flowers through which the fragrance of God’s glory is spread far and wide. Keep a diary and write down about those precious moments when you had palpably felt that kind of influence.
      Wishing you all the best!
      Swami Vimokshananda

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