The change of guard

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Aum flag flying aloft at the ashram…image courtesy: Jaya Ramjogi

Renunciation, that is the flag, the banner of India, floating over the world, the one undying thought which India sends again and again as a warning to dying races, as a warning to all tyranny, as a warning to wickedness in the world. Ay, Hindus, let not your hold of that banner go. Hold it aloft. Even if you are weak and cannot renounce, do not lower the ideal. 

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

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Count down begun

The news of my transfer from South African Durban Centre has spread like a wild fire. I have been receiving lots and lots of mails, smses, phone calls and visits from innumerable devotees, friends and admirers of the ashram. The surge of emotion that fills the hearts of so many well-wishers is just overwhelming to say the least. Nonetheless, the time has come and I must announce the final date of departure to every one; yes the count down has begun! It’s just 50 days left for 30th December 2014.

One close devotee in a sad tone remarked the other day that I was a ‘guardian angel’ to her children and they would definitely miss me. I reassured her that the case is not so. We, in the Ramakrishna Order have a wonderful system of passing on the heritage to the next comers and it is this tradition that makes all the difference and also makes the stream of angel’s presence flow uninterruptedly. If one ‘guard’ goes then another ‘guard’ comes in. Who remains is not any more a matter but what sustains is all that one needs.

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After taking over the charge, Swami Vishwatmananda flanked by Swami Saradaprabhananda and Swami Vimokshananda Image Courtesy: Vinod, Phoenix

A whiff of fresh air

So, it was a joyous occasion for all of us to extend a hearty welcome to the new incumbent Revered Swami Vishwatmanandaji Maharaj on the last Saturday special satsang at Sri Ramakrishna Temple in Glen Anil, Durban. I handed over the ‘Charge’ to him one day before that is on the 7 November 2014 in the morning when we had a Trustees’ Meeting. Thus my tenure that lasted for seven years, seven months and seven days came to an end.

Revered Maharaj  arrived at Durban from Mumbai on the 5 November which was a holy day – the birth tithi of Swami Vijnananandaji Maharaj, one of the direct disciples of Bhagwan Sri Ramakrishna. There we two resident Swamis along with Brahmachari Akhilachaitanya and some senior officials received him. It was my honour to garland him and utter ‘swaagatam, suswaagatam‘!

The Satsang function went off very well. In the traditional welcome that was accorded to him, brother Saradaprabhananda garlanded Revered Maharaj. In my Welcome address, I alluded to the oft-repeated question that was put to me : How is the new Swamiji? I answered that every one of the monks was unique and one could never find a carbon copy of another. Swami Vivekananda has strongly recommended us to be ‘original’ and hence no two Swamis will be alike. Yet a thread of unity courses through our veins and breath that gives a ‘holistic’ whole instead of segmented parts. That is called ‘Ramakrishna-sutra’ that binds every one with love, compassion and empathy.

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The out-going President Swami Vimokshananda welcoming the new President Swami Vishwatmananda Image Courtesy: Jaya Ramjogi

Admirable administrator

Still the curiosity remains as to know about him. Revered Swami Vishwatmanandaji joined the Ramakrishna Order in 1968. Maharaj has served in various capacities at the Ramakrishna Ashrama (Rajkot), Ramakrishna Mission Higher Secondary Residential School (Arunachal Pradesh) until his posting to the Ramakrishna Mission Hospital, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh in1984. A long stint of 25 years he spent in organising and running the most popular hospital service in the capital city unto 2009.

Here only I came into close contact with Revered Maharaj for nearly four years. The hospital has just started taking its wings of multi-various development. A stern administrator was the need of the hour and he fulfilled his role very admirably.

From 2009 to this year, Maharaj has been the Coordinator of the nationwide (India) humanitarian and educational projects undertaken by the Ramakrishna Mission to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. This work took him all around India to monitor various welfare projects. He is a silent worker. When I think of the enormity of tasks involved in his work, the smooth sailing of his responsibility that he carried on his shoulders without much ado is amazing and it shows how humble he is.

He is an initiated disciple of Swami Vireshwarananda, tenth President of the Ramakrishna Order from whom he also had his monastic vows in 1978. Three years later I also had the blessed opportunity to have sannyasa from the same sangha-guru.

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52 comments

  1. Respected Ramesh Maharaj
    Nice to see you at South Africa.
    Now we have to come to South Africa as well as Singapore.
    Pranam to you and Sunder Maharaj!
    Dr K Zaman
    Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh,India

    Like

  2. Pranam Maharaj
    I hope wherever you go, you will keep blogging because it is a ‘whiff of fresh air’ in my life and keeps me connected to Thakur and Maa.
    Please keep blogging, wherever you go!
    Maharaj…BTW, where are you being posted now Maharaj?
    Regards
    Gayatri
    Pune, India

    Like

  3. Aum My Dear Maharaj
    A lovely post…Satsang was indeed a paradox…exciting to see Revered Maharaj Vishwatmanandaji and simultaneously very saddening as the reality of your departure became quite glaring.
    Hope that across the seas we still have the blessed opportunity to interact with you “from our pockets”!
    With tons and tons of love
    Niriksha
    Durban, SA

    Like

  4. Dear Revered and Beloved Maharaj,
    Thanks so much for the photos, to make me live with the event with your Holiness, I think so much at Maharaj about that God’s will.
    I send Maharaj my Love, respect, regards, best thoughts, best wishes. Maharaj is an ‘angel’ for me too. i hope it will be possible to keep contact with you even if Maharaj is in another place. I think yes.
    Aude is well by Your Grace. Infinite gratefulness…
    pranam, deep pranam, very deep pranam
    Isabelle
    France

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  5. Jai Majaraj!
    I shall never forget your kindness, hospitality and love that you have given to all and to me.
    love
    Kanday, Annie and children
    UK

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  6. Dearest Maharaj
    On behalf of family, I would like to thank our beloved Maharaj for giving us the taste of unconditional love. I can recall the first talk on Raam Naumi when all I could see was the divine aura or glow. I questioned myself, has Raam come to us? The seven years of stay in Durban may be compared to Lord Rama’s stay in the forests. I console myself with the thought that just as Lord Rama could not be confined to devotees in the forest, similarly our beloved Maharaj cannot be confined to us in South Africa, for like King Rama duty calls to another geographical site.
    However, the blog will allow us to communicate I guess. I have found a role model, none other than Swami Vimokshanandaji.
    Our humble pranam to Maharaj!
    Mandusha and family
    Durban, SA

    Like

  7. Estimado Swamiyi gracias por permitirme compartir este tiempo sus nutritivas y hermosas publicaciones. Ese amor y dedicación al trió y todas las lecturas de filosofía etc. Thakur, la Madre y Vivekananda siempre estar con ud. Cariños y bendiciones. Quizás
    este conectado con sus seguidores en algún momento.! Hasta pronto.!

    Dear Swamiji
    Thanks for allowing me to share this time through this blog’s nutritious and beautiful publication. That love and dedication to the Trio and all readings in philosophy etc., I wish you that Thakur, Mother and Vivekananda always be with you.
    Affection and blessings.
    Perhaps this connected with fans at some point! See you soon!
    Rosa
    Argentina

    Like

  8. Pujya maharajji charan sparsh.
    We Indians are very happy to see photos of grand welcome of Revered Vishwatmanandji Maharaj and simultanesusly we are happy and ready to welcome you back in India.
    Regards
    Dr Dilip Kumar
    Patna, India

    Like

  9. Loving Maharaj,
    My deepest love and pranam at Maharaj‘s feet.
    I feel so blessed to have had the great opportunity to be in Maharaj‘s holy company over the past 7 years. In that alone is a life long memory that I will never forget. We, in SA, are truly privileged to have gained the spiritual and administrative knowledge from a beautiful soul like Maharaj. Maharaj will be sorely missed, and we all need to come to terms with the fact that we have to let go in order for others to benefit from Maharaj‘s discourses and holy presence.
    Thank you Maharaj, from the bottom of our hearts for all that you have thought us and the unconditional love that you have spread to all the devotees. Maharaj will leave us with words of wisdom, courage and love that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
    With the same token, we will receive Revered Vishwatmanandaji Maharaj with the same love and reverence.
    DURGA DURGA DURGA
    Until we meet again Maharaj, Love and pranam at Maharaj‘s holy feet.
    Sarika G
    Durban, SA

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  10. My pranaam at the holy feet of Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj and Swami Vishwatmanandj Maharaj.
    To Swami Vishwatmanandj Maharaj we say Suswaagatam and may your stay in South Africa be a peaceful, joyous and blessed one.
    To Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj, it is with a sad heart we say farewell. The intellect understands, as taught by Maharajji, that there must be no attachment but the heart does not accept. We thank Swami V for gracing our country with his holy presence for seven ‘short’ years. We pray that our paths cross many times in the future so that we can bathe in the holy presence of Maharaj again and again.
    With Love and Regards
    Rajen and Family
    Durban, SA

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  11. Revered maharaj 🙏 my loving Pranam to you…🌸
    Maharaj, reading your article entitled ‘The change of guard’, not only brought tears to my soul but made me somewhat understand that there is a bigger picture to each potentially divine soul’s existence.
    That we may not understand this immediately…But one day we shall all look back and say ‘ah! So that was his divine plan…’
    Maharaj! You are truly remarkable!
    May your blessings always and forever dwell with us!
    Jai Sri Ramakrishna 🙏🌻
    Davitaa Jugwanth
    Johannesburg, SA

    Like

  12. Aum Namo Narayanaya
    Dear Swamiji,
    I hope that this mail finds Swami well. It is, however, with a heavy heart that I have finally decided to send an email to Swami.
    Ever since I heard of Swami‘s new post, I have wanted to meet with and be in Swami‘s presence for one last time and to be filled with the humility that Swami so effortlessly seems to infuse in every being that comes into His presence.
    Alas, time hasn’t been too friendly with me and I haven’t been able to make this wish of mine happen.
    Nonetheless, I read the posts from Swami and wish to pass my best wishes to a Swami who is blessed with the humblest and most divine qualities I have ever seen in a mortal being….
    Dearest Swami Vimokshanandaji, there is already a settling sadness in me regarding Swami‘s inevitable departure and I can only send light, best wishes and warmth in Swami‘s direction as Swami “changes guard” to spread His own divinity, love and purest nature to another part of this beautiful world.
    Keep in touch
    Aum
    Jenisha Dukhea
    Johannesburg, SA

    Like

  13. Respected Maharaj
    Please accept my Pronam.
    Your blog has become like a Scripture for me…I have received so many beautiful lessons from your blog over the years…hence, I thank you, from the core of my heart, for your kindness and grace.
    With Pronam to Holy Trio,
    Deep Regards,
    Debanjan
    Kolkata, India

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  14. Dearest Maharaj
    Pranam and love at Maharaj‘s Holy Feet!
    Maharaj, please receive our love and prayer wherever Master has chosen to take You. Time has flown by and we would not easily forget the grace, love and blessings showered upon us all these short years by Revered Maharaj. You will forever remain etched into our hearts, mind and soul.
    Bon Voyage and until we meet again!
    With lots of love from
    Nisha and family
    Chatsworth, SA
    ————————————-
    To Revered Swami Vishwatmanandaji Maharaj
    Pranam at Maharaj‘s Holy Feet!
    Welcome to South Africa. We wish You all the best on Your new venture. We look forward to a long and lasting association with
    Revered Maharaj as well.
    With Love and Pranam
    Nisha and family
    Chatsworth, SA

    Like

  15. Aum Namo Narayanaya
    Our humble pranam at Your holy feet Maharaj.
    I trust that this message finds You well. Maharaj, after reading all the previous replies, one is left speechless. What more can one add? We echo the sentiments of every reply and pray that Master, Mother and Swamiji bless You with every success attainable in Your new “home”. Their children there eagerly await Your arrival whilst Their children here are saddened by Your planned departure.
    Many thanks Maharaj for the ocean of spiritual knowledge that You shared with us and also the life’s lessons that You so kindly and subtly taught us. Your physical presence will be missed sorely, but be assured that You will be present in our minds, hearts and conversations forever.
    Maharaj, please accept this message also from all those devotees that You have inspired and blessed over the years, but have no access to You or this site to convey their heartfelt gratitude to You.
    Keep well Maharaj and please remain connected via this blog and e-mail.
    With our warm love and regards,
    Durga, Durga!
    Tish, Tilly, Sushen and Nerie
    Ladysmith, SA

    Like

  16. Respected Sundor maharaj,
    Where are you going next? You might be talking about the change of guard…..but for most of the laymen like me there can be just one maa, only one baba and only one sundor maharaj. I am worst at communicating but still I need to know where I can reach you.
    With lots of love and gratitude,
    Indrani Chatterjee
    Mumbai, India

    Like

  17. Aum Namo Narayanaya,
    Dearest Maharaji,
    I read your post with a sense of loss. For seven years we have sat at your feet and received spiritual nourishment which you so lovingly imparted to us. Like a mother you have fed us who were hungry for knowledge, brightened our minds which were in darkness and sometimes administered strong medicine to correct the fever of worldliness and the faults in our character. The very uniqueness of each Swami that you speak of is perhaps what makes your students and admirers retract so quickly from the thought of your impending departure, (just like a finger that touches a hot plate).

    I consider this country blessed to have played a part by sheltering you in your life’s journey. How much more blessed then is this city and us, who have had the opportunity to sit beside you, a true representative of that great Swami Vivekananda, who boldly pioneered the spreading of Vedanta philosophy in its purest form, to the west, and that manifestation of the Supreme, Shri Ramakrishna along with the Holy Mother, who graced this earth out of His mercy and compassion.

    Dearest Maharaji, your presence lifted our hearts and your words flowed with compassion and gave us inspiration and direction. Despite the loss of your physical presence in Durban, I pray that you may still remain in contact with us through email and your blog posts and should I find myself fortunate enough to visit Singapore, I will surely not miss the opportunity to visit you.

    The message of our scriptures echoed through Swami Vivekananda’s voice, presents before us worldly men what seemingly is the bitter ideal of detachment. In this storming ocean of life we hold steadfast with both hands, either to the principle of love, or to detachment, but never both, even while knowing that only these together may rescue us from the storming waves of this world. Maharaji’s display of both love, and detachment gives us assurance that we should not fear, that we don’t need to cling tightly onto one and that holding onto both is not contradictory and entirely possible.

    Maharaji, You have given us so much, that it is with a sense of uneasiness that I make one request. That before you leave, you bless this land that it may find peace among its people. It is almost daily that we read about or encounter some form of violence in society and young lives full of hopes and potential are being lost, and older persons tortured.

    Dearest Maharaji, I am greatly appreciative of the kindness you have shown; the many words of wisdom and the lighthearted moments you have shared. I will always remain humbly at your service. Please call on me should you require anything.

    Love
    Dr Ajiv Maharaj
    Durban, SA

    Like

  18. Dear Maharaj
    My pranam!
    One of the many reasons why I so admire the sadhus of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission is encompassed in this article.
    Each one of us who comes into contact with them is truly blessed.
    Jai Thakur, Maa and Swamiji!
    Anila Gupta
    New Delhi, India

    Like

  19. Ramakrishna Sharanam
    ———————————–
    Respected Maharaj,
    Please take my Pronam.
    I am really happy of getting your blog. Hope, you are comming in India. Your information from South Africa always keep us happy. My pronam to Revered Swami Vishwatmanandaji Maharaj.
    Please bless us so that we can always stay in the shadow of Thakur, Ma, Swamiji.
    Pijush Das Gupta
    New Delhi, India

    Like

  20. My humble pranam to Revered Swamiji!
    Aum Namo Narayanaya
    We wish you well on your onward journey to new grounds. We pray that Master, Mother & Swamiji continue to shower their love & blessings upon us all through the new “Guard”.
    We thank you for your stay with us & pray that we will remain connected by His Grace.
    Will miss you!
    Shaneel, Shannon & Sandi
    Ladysmith, SA

    Like

  21. Respected Maharaj,
    Kindly accept my most respectful Pranam at your feet.
    Read your most beautiful new post. It is so touching and yet so practical. Yes, indeed Thakur makes the next soldier ready for his work. But with all the South Africans I also feel sorry for your departure. You were such a father figure to all of us. You are one of the most affectionate sadhus I have met.
    But these changes will make everyone understand the true meaning of renunciation and detachment.
    Anyway, I shall pray for your new assignment in Singapore. If you go via Delhi, do let me know. I will come to visit you. I am keeping well here. As you know I am functioning as Principal of our school here and give the weekly lectures in our Mission. Some IIT Delhi professors starting attending the classes and now they have started a Vivekananda Study Circle (VSC) in IITD. They have made me mentor of VSC and so I regularly take classes in IIT. It is a good experience for me also since it makes me study really hard.
    I seek your blessings for my spiritual life.
    Please continue your enlightening posts on your blog even after your shift to Singapore.
    With humble and respectful Pranam at your feet,
    Yours affectionately,
    Divyanandaprana
    New Delhi, India

    Like

  22. Aum Sai Ram Swamiji
    My Most Humble Salutations
    Is it true Swamiji that you are leaving South Africa? It was my most humble privilege to have met you and been inspired by your love and humility. It will be a great loss to the South African devotees of the Lord. Mostly I will miss the inspiring messages received from you.
    Sincere gratitude to you Swamiji for responding to our invitations and giving me an audience I Pray Sri Ramakrishna, the Holy Mother and Swami continue to keep you in good health and continue also to inspire you on your noble and sacred mission
    Loving Sai Ram
    Savy Ramlall
    The Sri Sathya Sai Organisation
    Durban, SA

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  23. Dear Maharaj
    Aum Namo Narayanaya
    We are deeply saddened by the news of your departure. We offer our apologies for having not spent more time in your holy company these past few years. As new parents, we are still finding our feet. You are constantly in our thoughts.
    We would like to offer our sincere appreciation to you. You brought a new vibrancy to our spiritual lives. In your charming and joyful way you made the Holy Trio’s teachings simple and applicable to each of us. You have always shown us the utmost care.
    To say that you will be missed does not suffice. We know that our beloved Master has his own plans and that you will be treasured and valued where ever you go.
    Thank you for the many blessings we received whist in your company. Thank you for blessing our home, our children and our family.
    You have touched us so deeply. We will keep you in our hearts and thoughts forever. We look forward to seeing you in Dundee and are certain our paths will cross again, where ever you may be.
    Always at the feet of our Master,
    Sashnee, Shaiel, Avani and Vidya
    Dundee, SA

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  24. Dear Swami Vimokshananda,
    It has been good to be back at the Bhagavad Gita classes. I have attended scripture classes at Headquarters since 1986, when Swami Shivapadananda gave classes on the Upanisads, which I loved. The place has wonderful associations and memories for me.
    I write to say that I am going to England for five weeks to visit my sons and their families. I have heard that you have been transferred to Singapore. I do not know when you will leave, but in case it is before I get back, I wanted to say goodbye.
    You have been a gift to the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa and I think that many people are going to miss you very much. God has sent some special people into my life who have had an influence on my spiritual life and you have been one of them. It has been a privilege to know you and sometimes when I see you, you bring to mind verse 54 in Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita, where it says, “How does the man firm in wisdom speak, how sit, how walk?”
    You have a gift to tell stories and some of them I will always remember and some I have repeated. I wish you a blessed and productive time in Singapore.
    with love and prayers,
    Barbara Mason
    Durban, SA

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  25. ||Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
    AUM NAMO NARAYANAYA
    Dearest Maharaj,
    By grace of Master, Holy Mother and Swamiji with my palms folded I wish Maharaj a happy morning. In a way I feel like Gyana Sambandar having received divine nourishment of love, compassion, affection and inspiration by association with Maharaj‘s holy company who is the embodiment of our Narayana .
    Yes, we as South Africans dread that day when will need to bid farewell to our Maharaj at the airport. The imprint of Maharaj‘s love has churned the milk of our ordinary existence into the butter of divine life. He has touched the lives of every type of people across the lenght and breadth of South Africa. It was a miracle to see how people from different organisations united in prayer when Maharaj took ill.
    We have all become his spiritual children and we shall live by Maharaj‘s values and teachings and make Maharaj proud no matter where he is posted.
    With pranam
    Yogan
    Tongaat, SA

    Like

  26. Om Namo Narayanaya
    Pranam to our Dearest Swamijee
    I hope that Swamijee is well.
    I am sad to hear that Swamijee will be leaving SA and heading for Singapore soon.
    This is quite unexpected as silly me thought that our loving Swamijee is here to stay!
    I feel sad that the Ashram (we all) will be losing someone so loving and caring and that is our loss.
    Maharaj has taken the place of Swami Shivapadananda in so many ways. We don’t want to see Swamijee go!
    Thank you for all Maharaj has done, for making time, for being loving and spiritually uplifting.
    This has been priceless and will always be remembered and cherished.
    We have been blessed to be in Swamijee‘s company.
    I pray that all will be well and good for Swamijee.
    We will miss you. And to Kimaya, she will miss her ‘nanaswami‘ !
    With Prem and Om,
    Pranisha and family
    Cape Town, SA

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  27. Om Namo Narayayana
    There are many thing I am extremely grateful for that Maharaj has done for me personally, what stands out like a flash of lightning is when Maharaj allowed me to do Master‘s Arathi and Puja at headquarters. I do feel privileged and will cherish the experience for always. We must be one of the very few householders in the world that have this rare privilege, I pray to Master that this privilege is not taken away when our new President arrives. (For this I always remember and am grateful to Swami Chandikananda for informing Maharaj that I also do Puja and Arathi at our Chatsworth sub-centre.)
    I am also very grateful for your advice and support during the time I thought was my worst personnel crisis, your advice in chanting Devi Kavacham and adding Chapters 1, 4 and 5 to Ch 11 which my Most Revered Guru had already advised me to do has really brought a tremendous amount of calmness, forgiveness in my mind, for this I will always remember and be grateful to Revered Maharaj.
    There are many other stories and antidotes that Mararaj has related to me that has a huge impact on my life, the most recent being at breakfast yesterday. You telling me about you experience with Revered Gitananandaji Maharaj regarding Master‘s puja instructions was most inspiring .
    We normally do Master‘s puja every Wednesday morning, this morning I really enjoyed myself and felt very free expressing my feelings and felt no restrictions in following the norms according the puja book. I treated the puja as my sadhana and felt a personal relationship with Master and myself and felt free during the puja to express my thoughts in words and song.
    You may leave that shores of South Africa but the memory of you love, kindness and goodwill will remain with me for ever.
    We plan to visit Belur Math and through the grace of the Master we will go via Singapore.
    JaI Sri Ramakrishna!
    Chatsworth, SA

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  28. Most Revered Swamiji
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    Please accept my family’s love and greetings. I write with a very sore heart. I heard about Swamiji going to leave us for Singapore. All of us here in Glencoe are very, very sad. Just when we had being accustomed to having Swamiji around then Master is playing a leela with us. Why Master is doing this to us, the way I understand it, should never be questioned.
    So I am not going to question Master. Though I must say we are going to miss having you around so much. Our hearts are sore, but Swamiji can be sure that whoever Master sends to lead us will recieve the same respect that we gave to you because surely that is what Master would expect of His devotees.. Getting used wont be easy but Master will make it easy.
    I promise that in this life time I will try my utmost to visit Swamiji in Singapore and behind me will be hundreds if not thousands of devotees from South Africa. Swamiji‘s spiritual presence, your selfless humility and your concern for your devotees will travel with you for eternity.
    Lovingly yours
    P Bisram
    Glencoe

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  29. Dear Respected Maharaj
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    We pray Maharaj is in the best of health and spirits.
    Maharaj, we are indeed very sad to hear about this. Over the years, Maharaj – your spiritual and general guidance and love you gave to me and my family is indeed unique and overwhelming. You have become an important source of sharing the Master‘s, Mother‘s and Swamiji’s message practically. Just thinking about the unselfish love, care and affection you have given us makes me very emotional and grateful to have come in your holy company.
    We fondly remember the nights you stayed with us and pray that you would be able to bless us with your presence in our home again for a meal in the future.
    We pray that we will be able to visit you in the new country you will be posted and more importantly be able to continue sharing this special relationship we have all developed with you.
    Kind regards, with love
    Your children
    Amith, Sugendree, Dhyana and Garvita
    Johannesburg, SA

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  30. Revered Maharaj
    Aum Namo Narayanaya
    Trust that Maharaj is well.
    I was on leave for a week and was out of town with no access to e-mails.
    This morning I was so shocked!! To read an e-mail that Maharaj has been appointed to the Singapore Ashram.
    My heart is so saddened and heavy and tears brim as I write this e-mail.
    We have been so fortunate and blessed to have been associated with Maharaj for the last couple of years.
    I thank our Master for giving us this opportunity to be in your holy company.
    I know that our lives have been enriched with your blessings, and presence.
    We most certainly will miss Swamiji. I am so so heart sore.
    Yours at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna
    Reena Maharaj
    Newcastle, SA

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  31. Aum Revered Maharaj
    Trust you are well.
    I pen this mail with a lot of emotion… after hearing from Unna that you will be leaving SA this year to take up position elsewhere.
    It perhaps goes against everything we have been taught… detachment… continuing the work despite the figure-head not being there… getting to used to something / someone, etc.
    But I suppose, for us who are still learning the art along the way… it remains difficult still.
    I am sure we still have time to thank you immensely for all you have done and how you continue to enrich us personally, stand as our inspiration and guide us through the VK Project.
    Take care. Looking forward to the “retreat” !
    Warm Regards
    Merisha Lalla
    Durban, SA

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  32. Dear Maharaj,
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    My humble pranam at Thy Lotus Feet!
    Maharaj, I wish Maharaj didn’t have to leave South
    Africa. I took Maharaj for granted and thought Maharaj will be with us forever.
    I’m feeling very sad to know Maharaj is leaving. I should have attended more satsangs and spent more time in Maharaj‘s divine company.
    My association with Maharaj was for a short period,yet it feels like I have known Maharaj all my life. If I were to describe Maharaj in 3 words it will be Love, Compassion and kindness as every cell of Maharaj‘s being exudes with unconditional love, compassion and kindness. Maharaj, you have touched my heart and enriched my soul.
    Thank You Maharaj for coming into my life. I wish Master didn’t have to take Maharaj away from us.
    With sincere gratitude for all that You have given us.
    Love always,
    Jotirekha
    Chatsworth, SA

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  33. Om Namo Narayanaya
    Revered Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj
    Please accept our loving Pranam! Trust Swamijee is keeping in good health.
    The news we received last Sunday night was devastating. We never realised that Swamijee will be leaving South Africa so soon. Maybe Swamijee can change his mind and remain here.
    We fondly recall our inspiring monthly Gospel classes and we were waiting so eagerly for the classes to resume. Both Rishie and I always felt the Presence of Master when we were in Swamijee‘s holy company. Words cannot describe the sadness we feel right now.
    We shall miss Revered Swamijee’s profound discourses. Swamijee brought out the best in all of us. We learnt the true meaning of tolerance, love and compassion from Swamijee. Our sincere thanks to Revered Swamijee for the unconditional love that Swamijee gave us. We shall always have fond memories of Swamijee.
    Thank You Swamijee
    With humble pranam
    Urmilla and Rishie Bhikha
    Pietermaritzberg, SA

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  34. Revered Swamiji
    Please accept my humble greetings.
    Sonal & I as well as my mother-in-law were really sad to hear the news of Swamiji’s transfer to Singapore. We could not help but shed tears & reminisce over all the times we shared with Swamiji. Swamiji has touched our lives in many ways with expressing love & kindness to all and albeit the distance (Durban or Singapore) Swamiji will always remain in our hearts forever. Please take care Swamiji and looking forward to meeting up soon.
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    Regards from
    Ranitha, Naveen, Akshar and Sonal
    Pietermaritzberg, SA

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  35. Aum Namo Narayanaya Maharaj
    We trust that Maharaj is keeping well.
    Maharaj, I made an announcement at the shrine at satsang with regard to Maharaj going to Singapore. Once again – complete silence, with a look of disbelief and shock among many devotees. Devotees were very sad.
    Aum Maharaj
    Maharaj’s loyal and humble devotee!
    Raisha Singh
    Newcastle, SA

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  36. Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam
    Most Revered Swamiji
    We trust that by Master’s and Mother’s grace you are well!
    As for me I am totally shattered and highly depressed when I heard from Ravinbhai that Maharaj would be leaving us and going to another country. What is going to happen to all the love and guidance that we received from You. Swamiji nobody would be able to conduct the Gita classes in the manner that You have done.
    I have looked upon You as my spiritual mentor. I am going to be at a total loss now. You have done so much for my spiritual progress. I am disappointed. We all truly honour your presence and spiritual guidance.
    With warmest love and good wishes
    Raveen Bharuthram
    Lotus Ins. Brokers (DBN)
    Durban, SA

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  37. Aum Namo narayanaya Maharaj,
    It was good to see you yesterday.
    I am very sorry to have become so emotional in your presence.
    Big Swamijee had cautioned me on becoming attached to a personality. He knew that I could not live without him.
    He had told me that he will distance himself from me before he leaves the body. And he did that.
    Now you are going, what are we supposed to do?
    Love and good wishes
    ‘Shyam’ G. Chetty (Sam)
    Durban, SA

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  38. Om Namo Narayanaya
    Revered Maharaj.
    My ‘limbs feel weak’ and that is the feeling of my fingers as I type this mail. My dear mother and I are in tears and the heartache is unbearable.
    Maharaj has spiritually guided, inspired and given us tremendous encouragement. For that Maharaj, words cannot explain our deepest gratitude. Maharaj has given us hope in life through the teachings of the Holy Trio. Master hears the footfall of even an ant. I should have prayed harder and more sincerely had I known that relocation is possible.
    I do pray that Holy Trio gives us all here in SA strength and courage on hearing this news. The next few months will be our most difficult test that Master has placed before us. I must visit Singapore.
    Our most Humble Pranam at Your Lotus Feet
    Ma Hansjee and Anusha Hansjee
    Durban, SA

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  39. Aum Namo Narayanaya
    Revered Maharaj,
    I speak on behalf of myself not as an official but as a devotee. I was shocked and heart sore when I heard Maharaj‘s relocation to Singapore. I sat at the table with mixed emotions, happy on one hand because it’s a new experience and environment for Maharaj in Singapore, and very sad for the others because you have to leave us behind in South Africa.
    I am not sure how we as devotees and “fans” of Maharaj will cope with this news. Maharaj, I lovingly thank you for all the spiritual guidance given to us over the years. We have learnt so much over the last 7 years and cannot believe how time flies, for us now to say “Durga, Durga, Durga”. I remember when Maharaj said to us one day, when someone takes leave don’t say Good Bye, rather say Durga Durga Durga, because we would want to meet again.
    Maharaj, there are no words to express what I feel right now, tears in my eyes I write to you to say that we all will miss you and remember you always…Never forget us as we will never forget you Maharaj. I did not have the opportunity to have a personal conversation with Maharaj but I know in my heart I have the blessings of Revered Maharaj.
    I wish Maharaj all the best in Singapore and hopefully one day when we decide to visit Singapore on holiday, we will surely seek the grace of Maharaj’s holy company.
    Yours in the service of Sri Ramakrishna
    Sarika Govindsamy
    Chatsworth, SA

    Like

  40. Most revered Swami,
    Namaskaram.
    Krishnan and Raja were asking why I should be sad about your leaving since you are already a long way off.But just like I know that I can see my mother whenever I go to Kochi, or just like HM is there to take care I have this confidence that whenever we travel to SA we can visit the ashram and we will get a warm welcome.
    I was also hoping that someday again we can have a programme like we had last year. Please continue to guide us through
    your blog and the Skype.
    Raja will call you soon.Pranam from Krishnan and Raja.
    Seeking your blessings
    Sreedevi Raja
    Gaborone, Botswana

    Like

  41. Revered Maharaj
    Please accept pranam at your feet.
    Words cannot express our deep sorrow on hearing about Maharaj‘s departure in the near future. We will certainly lose a very great and loving Son of the Master, Holy Mother and Swamiji.
    The devotees of Singapore will be very blessed and fortunate to have the grace and blessings of Revered Maharaj in the future. We were fortunate to have learnt much from Maharaj but, it seems, this has to go to others now.
    Few only can recognise the inner transformation of people’s lives by the presence of a great Soul. Please forgive us.
    We pray that Maharaj will always be happy.
    Maharaj must please remember us in your prayers, wherever you may be.
    With pranam,
    At the feet of Holy Mother,
    Pravrajika Ishtaprana
    Sri Sarada Devi Ashram
    Asherville, Durban, SA

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  42. Om Namo Narayanaya
    Most Revered Maharaj
    My prostrations at the Feet of Maharaj.
    I was informed that Maharaj will be stationed at Singapore…The devotees in Singapore must have done something marvellous to deserve Maharaj in their midst.
    Of course it is the will of Master that Maharaj takes on the position in Singapore, but am I compelled to resign myself to this ungrudgingly? When Maharaj first came to South Africa a few years ago, I felt that the organization and the country as a whole benefited from Maharaj’s presence here. I also believed that the Ramakrishna Organization in Belur had sent us their best, their crown jewel!
    Maharaj’s personal and loving interest in every individual, however worthy or unworthy, was like a breath of fresh air. To have free and easy access to Maharaj was such a blessing and nothing like what we have been accustomed to.
    And now to have this wrenched away from us! I am afraid this is not something I can accept easily. I wish that there is still something that can be done to reverse this decision. I pray that this is the case. If Master hears the footfall of an ant, then surely He must know the silent language of the heart too.
    I am also concerned about Maharaj’s health. Is it realistic for Maharaj to travel this distance and to start afresh at a new place under different conditions? Were these factors taken into consideration when this decision was made?
    With prayers
    Dr Nirmala Balkaran
    Ladysmith, SA

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  43. Dear Swamiji,
    Aum Namo Narayanaya
    We hope that, with the Grace of the Holy Trio, Maharaj is keeping well.
    Maharaj, we were chatting to Naveen from PMB, and we were so disheartened to hear that Maharaj will be leaving us later this year. This news came as a great shock to us, as we have grown so close to Maharaj, and Maharaj has become such a significant source of inspiration and guidance to us. We will certainly miss Maharaj‘s cheerful presence, and we will also miss the great abundance of knowledge that was passed on to us by Maharaj.
    We hope that we will have the opportunity to meet Maharaj before Maharaj‘s departure from South Africa. We also pray to Mother that we will have the opportunity to meet Maharaj again as often as possible, wherever Maharaj will be.
    Love and best wishes from Chucks, Roshnie, Yashteel and Chiara.
    Nani, Yuvraj, Reshmee, Prajna and Pranav from Estcourt also send their love and best wishes to Maharaj.
    Aum Namo Narayanaya
    Chuks and Family
    Ladysmith, SA

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  44. Aum Namo Narayanaya
    Maharaj
    It was with great sadness today that I had to hear from my mom of Maharaj’s relocation to Singapore.
    From the very first moment I met Maharaj, opening the door of your car when Maharaj</strong visited Ladysmith for the 65th Anniversary celebrations of the Centre, I felt an instant bond was reawakened within me – a bond between me and Maharaj. Now, on hearing the news of your departure, I feel a great sense of regret, that I did not spend enough time with Maharaj. I did not use the opportunity given to me by Master. I ask for Maharaj’s forgiveness, and I feel greatly ashamed.
    Experiencing the pure love of Maharaj during the few precious moments of your company has given me a sense of the love Holy Mother has for Her children, and it is with this thought that I realise that others, elsewhere in the world should also have the opportunity to experience your love. I realise that it is none other than Holy Mother Herself who has willed for you to relocate to Singapore, in the same way She did when Maharaj relocated from India to South Africa.
    I would just like to say that above everything else, Maharaj gave all devotees here in South Africa, a sense of belonging, a sense of family. We all belong to Master. We are all His children. This was not present in many of our hearts before Maharaj.
    I will always remain your humble disciple and son and Maharaj’s love can never be forgotten. I pray that I see Maharaj before your departure and look forward to seeing Maharaj in the settings of Singapore, Mother‘s will.
    Always your loving son,
    Shohan Mootheeram
    Ladysmith, SA

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  45. Aum Namo Narayanaya
    Dear Swamiji
    It is with very heavy heart that I pen this little note. We were shocked to hear that you will be relocating to Singapore in the next few months. Oh Swamiji, what can this poor soul say as you was my light in this weary world?
    With tears flowing down my eyes, which I cannot express in public, it was You who drew me to Master, Holy Mother and Swamiji. You, who lighted the path of many in the course of your brief stay in South Africa and brought happiness and solace to so many that needed your guidance and shoulder to cry on. I too wanted to cry many times but providence told me otherwise to pour my troubles to Master in the Shrine or to the Holy trio at home and to the temple at Brake Village which I go to every Monday morning.
    Your name itself represents one who has got ridden of Bondage and what of this poor soul. You are in my thoughts together with Master, Holy Mother, Swamiji and the Supreme Lord Siva on my wake from sleep, before I go to bed and during the waking hours when permissible. You will forever be in my thoughts and prayers. Please do the same for us all.
    Your teachings and sermons at Satsang were an inspiration and soul lifting to us who tuned in to your world.
    Thank you for all that you have done so unselfishly to us all and pray that the our Holy Trio Bless, Guide and Protect you wherever You are.
    You will always be in our Thoughts.
    Your Loving Devotee
    Shiva Moodley
    Tongaat, SA

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  46. Pranam and Divine Greetings of love and peace!
    Dear Maharaj
    Thank you dear Maharaj for your holy and powerful presence of love and peace in South Africa. I am truly blessed to have served your holy feet and will certainly miss your lectures, company, love and kindness that you showered. The past 7 years have been the most blessed journey of spiritual evolution for me as Maharaj had so lovingly nurtured and blessed my journey. The South African devotees will be saddened by your absence yet revitalised by the teachings of the Holy Trio that you have imprinted on our minds.
    As you depart and bid farewell to this rich Land of Africa let us salute your great heroism and spirit of togetherness that you created and inspired in South Africa. I will forever cherish the blissful moments we shared at Ashram and the many great lessons of Vedanta that i have learned at your feet.
    May Thakur allow Maharaj to continue blogging and sharing your holy inspiration.
    Farewell Maharaj
    Love and Warmth
    Dr Sharad Hansjee
    North West Province, SA

    Like

  47. What a great tribute to the Order that holds and binds every one with the THREAD as mentioned by Swami Vimokshanandaji!
    The golden rays of the thread is love that Sri Thakur has for every one of us leave alone the Swamis of the Order even to every one who came to Him and took His name. No Loss, therefore to South Africa and No gain to Singapore!
    Swamijis Vimokshananda and Vishwatmananda will serve the people, the children of Sri Ramakrishna as their very own, wherever they are placed.
    Jai Ramakrishna! Jai Ma!
    Swami Tatpurushananda
    Chennai, India

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    1. My heart literally cried to see-off “my” SWAMI VISHWATMANANDAJI.
      I worked under him for a short period from April to October (2014). But his very contact made me realise at once that I am lacking so many good qualities which are worth inheriting from this monk. But, alas! This monk, though very senior, poured out brotherly love on me unstintingly, has left me suddenly….
      The only solace now is the returning of Revered Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj from whom I do have received “true love”….
      Swami Nityatriptananda
      Belur Math 711 202, India

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  48. Hari Om Swamijie
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    I take this opportunity to wish you well as you leave SA for your new position in Singapore.
    Swamijie! you are indeed one of the greatest Swamajies that we have met. We thank the Master for bringing you in contact with us. We will always value our interaction with you and also thank you for your spiritual guidance and direction during our difficult times. I trust that the Master will grant you a smooth transition as you adapt and adjust to your new spiritual journey and good health, peace, happiness and prosperity. I hope our paths will cross again.
    To prostate at your lotus feet was indeed an honour and a spiritual blessing.
    Om Namo Narayanaya Swamijie
    Kind regards
    Krishna, Nisha, Kerina and Dineshen
    Pietermaritzburg, SA

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  49. Om Namo Narayanaya
    Swami Maharaj
    Thank you for your approximately 8 years stay with us in South Africa – you will leave an indelible mark with us.
    You have worked tirelessly touching the hearts of so many people – You have uplifted me, and my colleagues and even placed us on a religious and spiritual pathway – there is no turning back.
    The world is surely round so we may meet somewhere somehow. In my prayer I see you more clearly and in spirit I know your Grace is upon me. May you spend your last few days in great happiness and rest!
    With tears of both sadness and happiness I wish you happy travel – our loss is now others Gain!
    By the Grace if you have a chance please share my humble pranam to my Guru (am not sure if you are going to Head Quarters or straight to Singapore as I would have liked to send Guru Darshan).
    Jay shree Ramakrishna Sharanam at the feet of the Holy Trinity
    Om Namo Narayanaya and Durga Durga
    Be Blessed in whichever way GOD appears to you
    Paddy Maharaj (P S Maharaj)
    Pietermaritzburg, SA

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  50. Jai Sri Sri Thakur,
    Revered Swamiji,
    Our humble pronam at your lotus feet.
    With the saddened heart, I am writing this little note caming from bottom of my heart.
    I came as a stranger 10 years ago and had difficulties in finding my foot down until you came into our lives. You are representative of my guru, you are the child of Thakur and you played a very special role in my life.
    You not only taught me to progress with the spiritual life, but also mentored me how to live a householder’s life in harmony and how to survive in a stranger’s land. As you mentioned in one of your posts, all the monks are the angels of God, I am sure that incumbent Swami will also play a special role in our life. We still feel the loss of you. Our loss will be the gain of those devotees in Singapore.
    I am at the same time glad that Burma is not far from Singapore and I want to at least invite you to Burma for the devotees who do not have a chance of meeting a Swami for a long time since our Guru Swami Gahananada‘s last visit and left us forever. It is not the end.
    I will be reading your blog and will feel your presence and your grace on ma and me.
    With jonom jonom tapasha, we met you and wish we will meet you again.
    May Thakur grant you healthy long life to continue carrying out his teachings. Lots of devotees from Singapore who were formerly from Burma are looking forward to your arrival.
    You will still be in our thoughts and prayers,
    With obeisance,
    Ma and NiNi (Formerly from Myanmar)
    Pietermaritzburg, SA

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  51. Aum Namo narayanaya!,
    Dear Swami Vimokshanandaji,
    We have been blessed with your presence in so many ways. We have seen you live your message of Oneness and experienced your ability to reach each and everyone of us.
    Swamiji, thank you for love and guidance and for bringing Master‘s teachings home.
    Our family is so sad. We each have a message from you that has resonated personally. I will definitely recall your message of forbearance.
    We pray that you are in always in Mother‘s care.
    On behalf of the Moodley family in La Mercy,
    Anusha Wong
    Seattle, WA, USA

    Like

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