Brushing Bhagawan off…!

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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19 comments

  1. Revered Maharaj
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    What a wonderful surprise to see the picture of the PMB altar!
    The article on the Tale of Two Monks made enjoyable reading.
    Yes, steadfastness and complete surrender to the Lord not only gives one strength, it gives courage and hope to overcome obstacles that one experiences.
    Many thanks Maharaj for the continued posts.
    With loving pranam
    Avitha
    Pietermaritzburg, SA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Avitha
      Thanks for sending me the photo of PMB Sub-centre altar which reached me in time. Hence I placed it in this blog. What appealed to me in the photo was the tasteful deco of the altar, perhaps a person of devotion has performed the deco work!
      Yes, the incident in the life of Swami Brahmanandaji is indeed inspiring to grow the faith in the Lord and leave it to Him to manage ‘our’ affairs. He definitely ‘does’ better than us!
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  2. Revered Maharaj
    This is the magic of divine incidents! How many times we hear about it or read it, still every time it brings tears on our eyes! Thank you Maharaj for such a wonderful experience!
    Pronam
    Adrija
    Bangalore, India

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Adrija
      I am happy that you were moved by this incident. Yes, such flow of grace from the Lord has to be thought of repeatedly. The remembrance never becomes stale. The remembrance also boosts our faith.
      In the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna one will find many of the concepts are being repeated. ‘M’ never felt inclined to remove them. They are a veritable source of joy.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  3. Revered Maharaj,
    The articles have two lessons for us.
    The meaning of the song will motivate us to learn the words and meaning – thus improving memory.
    To lovingly offer all our actions to God, and to daily reflect on my activities for the day. A simple conversation with our beloved diety will eventually become a habit.
    Pray to God to increase our awareness of God’s Divine presence in all situations.
    Hari aum tat sat
    Mandusha
    Durban, SA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Mandusha
      Deeply appreciate your enumerating what lessons we all can learn from the happy happening in the lives of great saints.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  4. Aum Swamiji
    Such a wonderful tale!
    Remembering this tale will be a constant reminder of faith even in the toughest times.
    Shaimel
    Johannesburg, SA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Shaimel
      Indeed your expressed feelings brought joy to my mind.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  5. Aum namo Narayanaya Maharaj!
    Love and greetings from Chatsworth Sub-centre, and yes, it is absolutely wonderful to note that Ram Naumi was celebrated with so much of love and devotion.
    Beautifully decorated shrines and discourses that was mind blowing and bhajans sung with so much of love. So much of spiritual food was given to us during this period.
    Thank you Maharaj for all Maharaj‘s guidance.
    Sarika Govindsamy
    Chatsworth, SA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Sarika
      Thank you for conveying greetings from all of Chatsworth Sub-centre!
      I was deeply impressed at what I saw in the Sub-centre during my recent visit. It was spic and span all through. Well remodelled and a breeze of positive loving vibrations was blowing off our feet! I regret I could not stay longer there! But on the ensuing Sunday, 20th April I shall have another opportunity to hold the Gospel class at the ashram. Looking forward to meet all the devotees…!
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  6. Revered Maharaj,
    Please accept my heartfelt pranam.
    We can’t thank you enough for this wonderful article!
    To the best of my knowledge, the song mentioned in this article (Prema Mudita Man se kaho) was written by Sri Hanuman Prasad PoddarJi, the multifaceted editor of ‘Kalyaan‘, a freedom-fighter and founder of famed Gita Press, Gorakhpur.
    I am at the shelter of your blessings!
    Sabuj
    New Delhi, India

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Sabuj
      Thank you very much for supplying the info about the author of the wonderful bhajan!
      I have had opportunities – all by His grace – to go through the writings of Sri Hanuman Prasad Poddarji. I think I have not come across any other person writing on spiritual subjects in Hindi so clearly, in a simple style and understandable even to the learners of Hindi. I was instructed and encouraged way back in 1971 by recently late Swami Purananandaji to study his writings when I joined our Kanpur ashram so that I could pick up the language as well along with the devotional thoughts.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  7. Sri RMK Sharanam!
    The altars are beautiful and touching.
    We appreciate the photos and stories which are always so encouraging and bolster the spirit.
    Thank you,
    Susan Anne Gerhard
    St Louis, USA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Susan
      After a long time I received your response…yes, I am happy about that.
      Whenever I get some spare time, I indulge in this pastime of writing through the eMedia thinking that this should be a small service that I could carry on with His grace. If devotees like you get satisfaction by reading these articles, I feel it as an indication of the Master’s satisfaction!
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  8. Revered Maharaj
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    So wonderful to see the altar! So beautiful!
    Makes us feel like we seated in the shrine, even though we so far away.
    Many thanks for sharing
    Om
    Annie and Kandy
    United Kingdom

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Annie and Kandy
      Internet technology has brought us – people from distant places – together and made us feel that we all belong to this global village. You both are so devoted to our Holy Trio and hence the nostalgia after seeing the altar picture must have made you see virtually seated there in the shrine. From childhood you had been associated with this holy place and I am not at all surprised at your intense feelings. When you visit Durban next, please make it a point to visit the ashram.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  9. Revered Maharaj
    Jai Sri Ramakrishna!
    I hope Maharaj is well and basking in the Glories of Sri Ram. Many Thanks for this beautiful article, this touched me the most:

    “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.

    Blessed are we who belong to the Ramakrishna Parivaar, to have received Mantra Diksha from the most knowledgable and Divine Souls of the Order, which allows us to perform Sadhana twice a day, just by doing Sadhana it purifies the mind and helps reinforce one’s FAITH in the Lord. It took this Divine Soul 24 years to receive the merits of his Sadhana, how much longer will it take us – ordinary souls – to attain this, perhaps births, depending on the destiny we create for ourselves in this birth. One that has Faith never gets brushed away by the Lord, The Lord always provides and protects his devotees that pray to him with Love, Faith and Devotion and I know He always listens; some answers may take time to come but they definitely come.
    Thanks Maharaj for always lighting up our hearts and minds with these beautiful posts that help us reinforce our Faith.
    Love Always
    Meera
    Durban, SA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Meera
      You have rightly said that to be part of this grand world-wide Ramakrishna Parivaar, it is indeed a blessing. It is true for ordinary mortals like us it may even take many births to attain the vision of one’s chosen ideal. But never mind the number of births! Ultimately we shall have that vision – this very thought fills our hearts with zeal and enthusiasm to proceed in our spiritual path.
      Master gives a parable of two yogis who ask Narada when they would gain the vision of Sri Hari. The yogi who was told that it would take as many years as the number of leaves in the tamarind tree got immediately depressed. But when the same answer was given to another yogi, he was ecstatic and started to dance. Whereupon Narada asked him why he was so joyful? Did he understand the import of his statement? The yogi replied that he was so because ultimately one day he would attain the vision and hence he was happy.
      This Faith in oneself and in God will take care of our future births!
      May the blessings of Master be with you all is my prayer!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  10. Dear Swamiji,
    Beautifully written verses on Sri Ram.
    I can write pages with only his name.
    Warm Regards,
    Shubha Kota
    Singapore

    Like

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