^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ SYMBOLS OF TWELVE MAJOR WORLD RELIGIONS ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^



It was on a New Year Day Sri Ramakrishna blessed every one saying: “May you all be blessed with the spiritual awakening?”  Some one may raise a question: ‘Does God bless only on new year day or on all days too? Whoever presents himself/herself before God with prayerful attitude then it is a New Year day and surely it is a day of blessing.  It is said by Sri Ramakrishna that the wind of God’s grace is incessantly blowing. One who keeps the sail of one’s mind unfurled will catch the favourable wind of His grace and reach one’s destination. Jesus Christ also said, “… One who seeks will find, and for one who knocks it will be opened” (The Gospel of Thomas,94).

 This wonderful incident happened on 1st January in1886. At that time Ramakrishna was suffering from cancer and lying sick at  Cossipore Garden House[see picture] in Kolkata. On that particular New Year day he felt better. Being a holiday many of his devotees had come to see him and have his blessings. Though he used to lie down all the time in his room he came down for a walk in the vast garden.

“When Sri Ramakrishna came downstairs at 3 pm more than thirty devotees were there. As soon as they saw him, all got up out of reverence and bowed down to him. When he came to the middle of the path leading to gate, he saw devotees Girish (known as the father of Bengal Drama), Ram (a doctor), Atul and a few others. Sri Ramakrishna addressed to Girish [see the picture], “Girish, I find, you say to one and all every where so many things about ‘this’ [that I am an incarnation of God]; what have you seen and understood (about me) to make you to do so?” Girish remained completely unmoved, and kneeling down on the ground near his feet, said in a choked voice with his hands folded and face turned upwards, “what more can I say of Him, whose greatness Vyasa and Valmiki [great poets of Indian Epics Mahabharat and Ramayana]could not find words to express?” Sri Ramakrishna was charmed at fervent utterance of Girish, and blessing all the devotees assembled there through their representative Girish, said, “what more shall I say to you? May you all be blessed with the spiritual awakening?”Beside himself with love and compassion for the devotees, hardly had he said those few words when he went to Bhavasamdhi. Those words of profound blessing, untouched by the slightest tinge of the ego-sense, directly entered the devotees’ hearts, where they raised high billows of bliss [see below picture: Sri Ramakrishna in Samadhi]. 

The devotees became eager to bow down to him and take the dust of his feet; and filling the quarters with cries of “Victory to Ramakrishna”, began to saluting him one after another. As they were bowing down to him, the sea of Sri Ramakrishna’s compassion transcended all bounds and brought a wonderful phenomenon. He now began touching each of the devotees assembled on that day in that divine mood. The joy of the devotees knew no bounds at that act of Sri Ramakrishna.

Some devotees like Ramachandra have described the happening of that day as the transformation by Sri Ramakrishna of himself into the Wish fulfilling tree (Kalpataru- as per the Indian mythology is a magical tree, which blesses a person with anything which he or she desires.). But it is more reasonable to call it “the Self –revelation of Sri Ramakrishna or “the bestowal of freedom from fear on all devotees by revealing himself”.

It is very interesting to know about the spiritual experiences of the following two devotees whom Sri Ramakrishna touched on that occasion:

1. Ramlal Chattopadhyaya[See picture], a relative of Sri Ramakrishna was present that day and received his grace. When asked about his experience he said, “I could formerly see a part only of the holy Person of my chosen Ideal [Deity] with my mind’s eye at the time of meditation – when I saw the Person from the face to the waist, but could not see the holy feet; and whatever I saw never seemed to be alive. But no sooner had Sri Ramakrishna touched me that day then the form of my chosen Ideal appeared suddenly from head to foot in the lotus of my heart and looked benign and effulgent.”

2. Another devotee Vaikunthanath also received Sri Ramakrishna’s grace on that day. Sri Ramakrishna had earlier given him spiritual instruction and moulded his life.  Further he rendered his life full of bliss by initiating him in a mantra.

“As soon as Sri Ramakrishna had blessed two or three of the devotees by his potent touch, Vaikunthanath came before him, bowed down to him with devotion and said, “Sir, please bestow your grace on me!” “But you have been given every thing,” said Sri Ramakrishna. “When you say,” said Vaikuntha, “every thing has been given, it is certainly so; but kindly do so, and that I too can understand it. Saying, “So be it,” Sri Ramakrishna touched his chest only for a moment in the ordinary way. “But,” said Vaikunthanath, “as the result of it, a great revolution took place in my mind. I saw the figure of Sri Ramakrishna lit up with gracious smile in the sky, in the houses, trees, plants, men and in whatever else I looked at. I did not know how to contain my delight within myself. That mental attitude and vision of mine continued for some days throughout my waking state. I became amazed and charmed with the holy vision of Sri Ramakrishna in all things. It continued to be so wherever I went, to the office or elsewhere on any business.” 

Let us all pray to God on this New Year Day to bless us with eternal joy, peace and enlightenment.




These Photos were taken by this blogger between Chandanwadi and Amarnath Cave. They will give you a fair idea about the travelling route which covers many up and downs with beautiful scenes. 



May Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi bless us all on this auspicious day of her 158th birthday.
Sri Sarada Devi Temple & Image at Jayrambati
Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi 's life is a life of Devotion and Dedication, Inspiration and Illumination and, Service and Sacrifice. It is also a source of Solace and Solution for  Spiritual aspirations of many people. 

1. Birth and parentage:

Sri Sarada Devi was the wife and Divine Consort of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the spiritual luminary of West Bengal, who lived in nineteenth century.  She is also reverentially addressed as the Holy Mother by the devotees and monks of the Ramakrishna order. Sri Sarada Devi played a vital role in the growth of the Ramakrishna Movement. The followers of the Sri Ramakrishna movement regard Sri Sarada Devi as an incarnation of the Divine Mother.

Sri Sarada Devi was born of Brahmin parents as the eldest daughter on December 22, 1853, in an obscure village named Jayarambati. It is situated about 75 km northwest of Kolkata in West Bengal. Her parents, Ramachandra Mukhopadhyaya and Syamasundari Devi, were poor but pious. Her father Ramachandra earned his living as a farmer and through the performance of priestly duties. After the birth of Sri Sarada Devi, Ramachandra had one more  daughter and five sons.[Picture:  Sri Sarada Devi's house at Jayarambati where she lived for the majority of her life]

It is interesting to know that Sri Sarada Devi’s parents had visions and supernatural events foretelling the birth of a divine being as their daughter. The Holy Mother herself had given an account of an incident regarding her mother’s spiritual vision: “My mother in my grandmother’s house once went out and was sitting under a Vilva tree. At that time she saw a beautiful young girl of six, swinging from the tree. Seeing her, my mother was over powered. The small girl came down from the tree. However, my mother did not see the girl-child and afterwards felt something had entered her womb and she lost consciousness!” The Vilva tree stands even today and is seen behind monument at Sarada Math, Sihore. [Picture: courtesy to saradamath.org]

In the case of Ramachandra too, a few days back, an incident of similar nature happened. One day Ramachandra dreamt that a small girl was playing on his stomach holding his neck with both her hands. The form and the ornaments she wore gave the impression that the girl was a divine being. “Who are you? he asked. In a sweet voice, the little girl replied, “I have come to you!” When the dream ended he felt as if Goddess Lakshmi had graciously appeared before him.


As in the case of most girls of rural upbringing, Sri Sarada Devi did not receive any formal education. On her own effort Sri Sarada Devi learnt to read and write in Bengali. Later years she could read herself Ramayana and other religious literatures. But she learned to serve others as she helped her mother to run a large household and looked after her younger brothers.  During the terrible famine of 1864, Sarada worked ceaselessly as her family served food to hungry people.  She was interested in the clay models of goddesses Kali and Lakshmi, which she worshiped regularly. She is said to have started meditating from her childhood and had many spiritual visions and experiences.

3. marriage:

Sri Ramakrishna who was a priest of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple since 1855-was practicing intense spiritual practices. His mother Chandramani and brother thought that a marriage would be a good steadying effect on him, by diverting his attention away from  severe spiritual austerities and visions.

In May 1859, Sri Sarada Devi was married to Ramakrishna. Then Sarada was only 5 years old and Ramakrishna was 23.After the marriage, Sarada was left to the care of her parents and Ramakrishna returned to Dakshineswar.

After this Sri Sarada Devi had seen Sri Ramakrishna only once, but she was only a small girl then. After that in her thirteenth and fourteenth year she went to Kamarpukur twice for short     periods and stayed there. During her forth visit to Kamarpukur an extraordinary incident happened. She used to see a bevy of eight girls of her age coming from an unknown place, and escorted her in the chores during her childhood.
 [To read this anecdote (click here)]

4. at dakshineswar kali temple:

Sri Sarada joined Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar in 1872 on her own accord when she was eighteen, after hearing many rumors about his mental health. She found Ramakrishna to be a kind and caring person. In Dakshineswar she lived in a small room on the south side ground floor of the Nahabat (Musical tower) [Pictures: Nahabat and Sri Sarada Devi's tiny room on the ground floor of the Nahabat (now a shrine)].

Ramakrishna imparted Sri Sarada Devi instructions on
meditation and spiritual life. Both of them lived lives of
unbroken continence, showing the ideals of a householder and of the monastic ways of life. She was unique in being the devoted wife, perfect sannyasini, affectionate mother and guru for innumerable and monks and devotees.

About her life in Dhakshineshwar she expressed it in later days: “I felt as if a pitcher of bliss kept in my heart. From that time onwards, the joy continued throughout my life. It is impossible for me to describe the divine joy that I was experiencing in my mind.”

Sarada Devi stayed at Dakshineswar until 1885, except for short periods when she visited her village Jayrambati. By this time Ramakrishna had already embraced the monastic life of a sannyasin; as a result, the marriage was never consummated. On the day of Phalaharini Kali Puja, Sri Ramakrishna worshiped Sri Sarada Devi as Shodashi [ie. worshing Divine Mother as a sixteen year old virgin]. She was made to sit in the seat of Goddess Kali, and worshiped as the Divine mother. During the worship both went into Samadhi. Sri Ramakrishna always regarded Sri Sarada Devi as the incarnation of Divine Mother.

Sri Sarada Devi's day began at 3 am. After finishing her ablutions in the Ganges, she would practice japa [counting the beads] and meditation until daybreak.  Ramakrishna taught her the sacred mantras, and instructed her how to initiate people and guide them in spiritual life. Sri Sarada Devi is regarded as Ramakrishna's first disciple.  Except for her hours of meditation, most of her time was spent in cooking for Ramakrishna and the growing number of his devotees. While Sri Sarada Devi remained completely in the background, her unassuming but warm personality attracted female devotees – Golap-Ma, Yogen-Ma, Gopal-Ma and others. Some of them became her lifelong companions. Ramakrishna had commissioned her to continue his mission after his passing away and wanted his disciples not to make any distinction between himself and her. 

During Ramakrishna's last days, during which he suffered from throat cancer, Sri Sarada Devi played an important role in nursing him and preparing suitable food for him and his disciples. After Ramakrishna's passing away in August 1886, when Sri Sarada Devi tried to remove her bracelets as the customs dictated for a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna in which he said, "I have not passed away, I have gone from one room to another." According to her, whenever she thought of dressing like a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna asking her not to do so.

5. Pilgrimage:

After his death, Sri Sarada Devi began her pilgrimage to North India, accompanied by a party of women disciples including Lakshmi Didi, Gopal Ma, and Ramakrishna's householder and monastic disciples. The party visited the Vishwanath Temple of Lord Shiva at Banaras and the city of Ayodhya, which is associated with life of Lord Sri Rama.

Later, Sri Sarada Devi visited Brindavan which is associated with Lord Sri Krishna. At Brindavan, she experienced nirvikalpa Samadhi. Here she began her role as guru after Sri 
Ramakrishna appeared before her and told to initiate his disciple Swami Yogananda. Later she also initiated several of the Ramakrishna's disciples including Mahendranath Gupta. In course of time she started giving initiation to innumerable number of devotees without refusing any one.
Again, in 1888 she went to Puri and then Gaya. On the invitation of Swami Ramakrishnananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, in 1911 she went to Chennai and visited Rameswaram temple[see picture] and some other temples in Tamil
Nadu.[picture:courtesy:indugodwallpaper. blogspot.com].

6. AT Kolkata:

After the pilgrimage, Sri Sarada Devi stayed alone in Kamarpukur, Ramakrishna's native village and endured poverty and starvation for a year. When the news reached the lay and monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna that she needed their care and attention, they invited her to Kolkata and arranged for her stay. Swami Saradananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, built a permanent house (called Udbodhan House) for Sri Sarada Devi in Kolkata where she spent the longest period of her life.

At Udbodhan House, Sri Sarada Devi was accompanied by other women disciples of Ramakrishna, Gopal Ma, Yogin Ma, Lakshmi Didi and Gauri Ma. Here an increasing number of people began to flock for guidance, instructions and spiritual initiation. Other Western women followers of Ramakrishna Order including Sister Nivedita [UK] and Sister Devamata [USA] formed close relationship with her. She regarded all her disciples as her own children. Sri Sarada Devi’s hospitality was unique and was characterized by motherly care and solicitude.

Traditional accounts recount the mystical experiences of her devotees. Some devotees dreamt of her as a Goddess in human form though they had never seen her picture before. Others reportedly received their initiation from her in their dream. One such example is of Girish Chandra Ghosh, the father of Bengali drama, who reportedly saw Sri Sarada Devi in a dream when he was nineteen years old and received a mantra. When he met her many years later, to his astonishment it was the same person in the dream.

7. last  days:

Sri Sarada Devi spent her final years moving back and forth between Jayrambati and Kolkata. In January 1919, Sri Sarada Devi went to Jayrambati and stayed there for over a year. During the last three months of her stay, her health seriously declined. Her strength was greatly impaired and she was brought back to Kolkata on February 27, 1920. For the next five months she continued to suffer.

Before her death, Sri Sarada Devi gave the last advice to the grief stricken devotees, "But I tell you one thing—if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child: this whole world is your own!” This is considered as her last message to the world. She passed away at 1.30 am on July 20, 1920 in Udbodhan house. Her body was carried to Belur Math and cremated. In Belur Math now stands a beautiful temple facing the Ganges, the most sacred river of the Hindus and much loved and adored by the Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi.

                   *              *                *               *




Ramakrishna appeared in various forms to different devotees at different times and revealed his Divine nature. Their visions prove that Sri Ramakrishna was God with multiple forms – Rama, Krishna, Chaitanya, Christ etc.  Sri Ramakrishna himself told his devotees many times:  “I am an Avatar[incarnation]. I am God in human form”. Christ, Gauranga, and I are one.

Here is an account of the fact that Sri Ramakrishna is God incarnate and he revealed Himself as Jesus Christ to an ardent devotee of Christ.

At that time Sri Ramakrishna was staying in a rented house [now called Sympukur Bati (see picture)] at Sympukur in  Kolkata and undergoing cancer treatment. One day he suddenly told his household devotee Ram and others: “Hallo Ram(see picture). Just now I had a vision of a monk with a well-built body who was wearing an ochre cloth. I have never seen him before.”

Ram replied with a smile: “Sir, what do we know? You see so many things in heaven and earth. How can we comprehend them all?” “Really I have seen a monk,” said Sri Ramakrishna. “But I don’t know who he is.”

About an hour passed. A man came wearing a black shirt and a black cap. He asked a devotee: “Sir, does Ramakrishna Paramahamsa live here? I have come to see him. Could I see him right away?” “Of course,” replied the devotee. He took him to Sri Ramakrishna’s room [now kept as a shrine room].

After sitting there quietly for a while, he said to Sri Ramakrishna: “Sir, I am a Christian, and for a long time I have mediated in solitude on Christ. Though I am a Christian and my Chosen Deity is Christ, my mode of worship is like the Hindus, and I believe in their Yoga Scriptures. Once I had a desire to find someone who had attained the highest spiritual realization while still in the world. One day in meditation I saw two persons. I had the strong feeling that one of them had attained the highest and that the other one seated at his feet, though he had not yet reached the highest, was not an ordinary person.

“After this vision I felt certain that such great souls must exist, but where were they, and how could I find them? I travelled to many places especially in the western part of India, seeking the two I had seen in my vision. At last I heard of Pavahari Baba of Ghazipur, and I went to see him. But when met him, I was greatly disappointed because he bear no resemblance whatever to either of the two men I was seeking. To my astonishment, however, I saw a picture of one of them hanging on the wall in his room. When I asked Pavahari Baba about it, he said it was a picture of   Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Eagerly I asked, ‘Where can I find him?’ Then Pavahari Baba told me that for many years he had lived at Dakshineswar, but was now very ill and his devotees had moved him to Kolkata for treatment. So I am here, having come to Kolkata at Pavahari Baba’s suggestion.”

Then the man went on to say: “These clothes that I am wearing are not my usual dress.” And as he spoke he stood up and removed his outer garments, revealing an ochre cloth. Instantly Sri Ramakrishna also stood up and went into Samadhi, raising his hand, as it is seen in the picture of Christ. At this, the monk* knelt down before him with folded hands and looked intently at Sri Ramakrishna. The monk was shedding tears and was shivering.

After some time   Sri Ramakrishna came back to normal consciousness and sat on his bed. The monk looked at the devotees, his face beaming with joy, and exclaimed: “Today I am blessed.”

Then he was taken to an adjacent room to give food. Finally he was asked the cause of his ecstasy. “Well, he replied, “today I saw the one on whom I have meditated for so many years. I saw Lord Jesus in him.”

*Note: The monk’s name was Prabhudayal Mishra. His birth place was in the western part of India, and he belonged to the Quaker sect of Christianity.

Source Book:  “Ramakrishna as we saw Him”

Pictures:Courtesy to- shyampukurbati.org

       *           *          *          *



Once Sri Ramakrishna undertook  pilgrimage to Kasi, one of the most sacred places of Hindus. One day there he had an extraordinary vision of Lord Shiva while going in a boat in the Ganges.

About his wonderful vision Sri Ramakrishna described to his disciples later. He said: “I saw a tall, white person with tawny matted hair walking with solemn steps to each pyre in the [Manikarnika] burning- ghat, raising carefully every Jiva and imparting into his ear the Mantra of Supreme Brahman.

On the other side of the pyre, the all-powerful Mahakali was untying all the knots of bondage, gross, subtle and causal,of the Jivas, produced by past impressions, and sending them to the indivisible sphere by opening with Her own hands the door to liberation.

Thus did Visvanatha, the divine Lord of the Universe, endow the Jiva in an instant with the infinite Bliss of experiencing Non-duality, which ordinarily results from the practice of Yoga and austerity for many cycles. Thus did He bless the Jiva with the fulfillment of the highest object of life.” [Pictures:Courtesy:shuvashree.sulekh.com & islandcrisis.net]




Mahadev is a devoted monk lived in a Buddhist monastery. He spent his time in meditation. After years of concentration on a particular mantra, he had attained enough insight to begin his teaching. The student's humility was far from perfect.

A few years of successful teaching left Jnani with no thoughts about learning from anyone; but upon hearing about a famous hermit living nearby, the opportunity was too exciting to be passed up.

The hermit lived alone on an island at the middle of a lake, so Mahadev hired a man with a boat to row across to the island. He was very respectful of the old hermit. As they shared some tea made with herbs Mahadev asked him about his spiritual practice. The old man said he had no spiritual practice, except for a mantra which he repeated all the time to himself. He was pleased that the hermit was using the same mantra he used himself -- but when the hermit spoke the mantra aloud, he was horrified!

"What's wrong?" asked the hermit.
"I don't know what to say. I'm afraid you've wasted your whole life! You are pronouncing the mantra incorrectly!"
 "Oh, Dear! That is terrible. How should I say it?"

Mahadev gave the correct pronunciation, and the old hermit was very grateful, asking to be left alone so he could get started right away. On the way back across the lake he, now confirmed as an accomplished teacher, was pondering the sad fate of the hermit.

"It's so fortunate that I came along. At least he will have a little time to practice correctly before he dies." Just then, Mahadev noticed that the boatman was looking quite shocked, and turned to see the hermit standing respectfully on the water, next to the boat.

"Excuse me, please. I hate to bother you, but I've forgotten the correct pronunciation again. Would you please repeat it for me?"
"You obviously don't need it," stammered Mahadev; but the old man persisted in his polite request until he relented and told him again the way he thought the mantra should be pronounced.

The old hermit was saying the mantra very carefully, slowly, over and over, as he walked across the surface of the water back to the island.
Courtesy: http://dharma-haven.org/tibetan/

               *                    *                          *                             *



There was a poor man who wanted some money, and somehow he had heard that if he could get hold of a ghost, he might command home to bring money or anything else he liked; so he was very anxious to get hold of a ghost. He went about searching for a man who would give him a ghost; and at last he found a sage, with great powers, and besought his help. The sage asked him what he would do with a ghost. “I want a ghost to work for me; teach me how to get hold of one, sir; I desire it very much”, replied the man. But the sage said, “Don’t disturb yourself, go home.”

The next day the man went again to the sage and began to weep and pray, “Give me a ghost; I must have a ghost, sir, to help me.” At last the sage was disgusted, and said, “Take this charm, repeat this magic word, and a ghost will come, and whatever you say to him he will do. But beware; they are terrible beings, and must be kept continually busy. If you fail to give him work, he will take your life.” The man replied, “That is easy; I can give him work for all his life”.

Then he went to a forest; and after long repetition of the magic word, a huge ghost appeared before him, and said, “I am a ghost. I have been conquered by your magic; but you must keep me constantly employed. The moment you fail to give me work I will kill you.” The man said, “Build me a place.” And the ghost said, “It is done; the palace is built.” Bring me money,” said the man. “Here is your money,” said the ghost. “Cut this forest down, and build a city in its place.” “That is done,” said the ghost, “anything more?” Now the man began to be frightened and thought “I can give him nothing more to do; he does everything in a trice.” The ghost said, “Give me something to do or I will eat you up.” The poor man could find no further occupation for him and was frightened. So he ran and ran and at last reached the sag and said, “O sir, protect my life!” The sage asked him what the matter was. And the man replied, “I have nothing to give the ghost to do.

Everything I tell him to do he does in a moment, and he threatens to eat me up if I do not give home work.” Just then the ghost arrived, saying, “I’ll eat you up.”And he would have swallowed the man. The man began to shake and begged the sage to save his life. The sage said, “I will find you a way out. Look at that dog with a curly tail. Draw your sword quickly and cut the tail off and give it to the ghost to straighten out.” The man cut off the dog’s tail and gave it to the ghost saying, “Straighten that out for me.” The ghost took it and slowly and carefully straightened it out, but as soon as he let it go, it instantly curled up again. Once more he laboriously straightened it out, only to find it again curled up as soon as he attempted to let go of it. Again he patiently straightened it out, but as soon as he let it go, it curled up again. So he went on for days and day, until he was exhausted and said, “I was never in such trouble.” “I will make a compromise with you,” he said to the man, “you let me off, and I will let you keep all I have given you and will promise not to harm you.” The man was much pleased and accepted the offer gladly. 

             *                *                 *                    *



Great Teachers of the World taught his Disciples and Devotees through Stories. Swami Vivekananda was an Expert Story Teller. They have both charm and Spiritual Benefit for the Readers.

SL.NO.       STORY TITLE              REMARKS                                    
2. Each is great in his own place - See Below
4. YOU ARE A MIGHTY LION - [ Click here ]
 A young Sannyâsin went to a forest; there he meditated, worshipped, and practiced Yoga for a long time. After years of hard work and practice, he was one day sitting under a tree, when some dry leaves fell upon his head. He looked up and saw a crow and a crane fighting on the top of the tree, which made him very angry. He said, "What! Dare you throw these dry leaves upon my head!" As with these words he angrily glanced at them, a flash of fire went out of his head — such was the Yogi's power — and burnt the birds to ashes. He was very glad, almost overjoyed at this development of power — he could burn the crow and the crane by a look.

After a time he had to go to the town to beg his bread. He went, stood at a door, and said, "Mother, give me food." A voice came from inside the house, "Wait a little, my son." The young man thought, "You wretched woman, how dare you make me wait! You do not know my power yet." While he was thinking thus the voice came again: "Boy, don't be thinking too much of yourself. Here is neither crow nor crane." He was astonished; still he had to wait.

 At last the woman came, and he fell at her feet and said, "Mother, how did you know that?" She said, "My boy, I do not know your Yoga or your practices. I am a common everyday woman. I made you wait because my husband is ill, and I was nursing him. All my life I have struggled to do my duty. When I was unmarried, I did my duty to my parents; now that I am married, I do my duty to my husband; that is all the Yoga I practice. But by doing my duty I have become illumined; thus I could read your thoughts and know what you had done in the forest. If you want to know something higher than this, go to the market of such and such a town where you will find a Vyâdha (The lowest class of people in India who used to live as hunters and butchers.) who will tell you something that you will be very glad to learn." The Sannyasin thought, "Why should I go to that town and to a Vyadha?" But after what he had seen, his mind opened a little, so he went.

When he came near the town, he found the market and there saw, at a distance, a big fat Vyadha cutting meat with big knives, talking and bargaining with different people. The young man said, "Lord help me! Is this the man from whom I am going to learn? He is the incarnation of a demon, if he is anything." In the meantime this man looked up and said, "O Swami, did that lady send you here? Take a seat until I have done my business." The Sannyasin thought, "What comes to me here?" He took his seat; the man went on with his work, and after he had finished he took his money and said to the Sannyasin, "Come sir, come to my home."

On reaching home the Vyadha gave him a seat, saying, "Wait here," and went into the house. He then washed his old father and mother, fed them, and did all he could to please them, after which he came to the Sannyasin and said, "Now, sir, you have come here to see me; what can I do for you?" The Sannyasin asked him a few questions about soul and about God, and the Vyadha gave him a lecture which forms a part of the Mahâbhârata, called the Vyâdha-Gitâ. It contains one of the highest flights of the Vedanta. When the Vyadha finished his teaching, the Sannyasin felt astonished. He said, "Why are you in that body? With such knowledge as yours why are you in a Vyadha's body, and doing such filthy, ugly work?" "My son," replied the Vyadha, "no duty is ugly, no duty is impure. My birth placed me in these circumstances and environments. In my boyhood I learnt the trade; I am unattached, and I try to do my duty well. I try to do my duty as a householder, and I try to do all I can to make my father and mother happy. I neither know your Yoga, nor have I become a Sannyasin, nor did I go out of the world into a forest; nevertheless, all that you have heard and seen has come to me through the unattached doing of the duty which belongs to my position."

        *                 *                  *                   *                *


A certain king used to inquire of all the Sannyasins that came to his country, "Which is the greater man — he who gives up the world and becomes a Sannyasin, or he who lives in the world and performs his duties as a house holder?" Many wise men sought to solve the problem. Some asserted that the Sannyasin was the greater, upon which the king demanded that they should prove their assertion. When they could not, he ordered them to marry and become householders. Then others came and said, "The householder who performs his duties is the greater man." Of them, too, the king demanded proofs. When  they could not give them, he made them also settle down as householders.

At last there came a young Sannyasin, and the king similarly inquired of him also. He answered, "Each, O king, is equally great in his place." "Prove this to me," asked the king. "I will prove it to you," said the Sannyasin, "but you must first come and live as I do for  a few days, that I may be able to prove to you what I say." The king consented and followed the Sannyasin out of his own territory and passed through many other countries until they came to a great kingdom. In the capital of that kingdom a great ceremony was going on. The king and the Sannyasin heard the noise of drums and music, and heard also the criers; the people were assembled in the streets in gala dress, and a great proclamation was being made. The king and the Sannyasin stood there to see what was going on. The crier was proclaiming loudly that the princess, daughter of the king of that country, was about to choose a husband from among those assembled before her.

It was an old custom in India for princesses to choose husbands in this way. Each princess had certain ideas of the sort of man she wanted for a husband. Some would have the handsomest man, others would have only the most learned, others again the richest, and so on. All the princes of the neighbourhood put on their bravest attire and presented themselves before her. Sometimes they too had their own criers to enumerate their advantages and the reasons why they hoped the princess would choose them. The princess was taken round on a throne, in the most splendid array, and looked at and heard about  them. If she was not pleased with what she saw and heard, she said to her bearers, "Move on," and no more notice was taken of the rejected suitors. If, however, the princess was pleased with any one of them, she threw a garland of flowers over him and he became her husband.

The princess of the country to which our king and the Sannyasin had come was having one of these interesting ceremonies. She was the most beautiful princess in the world, and the husband of the princess would be ruler of the kingdom after her father's death. The idea of this princess was to marry the handsomest man, but she could not find the right one to please her. Several times these meetings had taken place, but the princess could not select a husband. This meeting was the most splendid of all; more people than ever had come to it. The princess came in on a throne, and the bearers carried her from place to place. She did not seem to care for any one, and every one became disappointed that this meeting also was going to be a failure. Just then came a young man, a Sannyasin, handsome as if the sun had come down to the earth, and stood in one corner of the assembly, watching what was going on. The throne with the princess came near him, and as soon as she saw the beautiful Sannyasin, she stopped and threw the garland over him. The young Sannyasin seized the garland and threw it off, exclaiming, "What nonsense is this? I am a Sannyasin. What is marriage to me?" The king of that country thought that perhaps this man was poor and so dared not marry the princess, and said to him, "With my daughter goes half my kingdom now, and the whole kingdom after my death!" and put the garland  again on the Sannyasin. The young man threw it off once more, saying, "Nonsense! I do not want to marry," and walked quickly away from the assembly.

Now the princess had fallen so much in love with this young man that she said, "I must marry this man or I shall die"; and she went after him to bring him back. Then our other Sannyasin, who had brought the king there, said to him, "King, let us follow this pair"; so they walked after them, but at a good distance behind. The young Sannyasin who had refused to marry the princess walked out into the country for several miles. When he came to a forest and entered into it, the princess followed him, and the other two followed them. Now this young Sannyasin was well acquainted with that forest and knew all the intricate paths in it. He suddenly passed into one of these and disappeared, and the princess could not discover him. After trying for a long time to find him she sat down under a tree and began to weep, for she did not know the way out. Then our king and the other Sannyasin came up to her and said, "Do not weep; we will show you the way out of this forest, but it is too dark for us to find it now. Here is a big tree; let us rest under it, and in the morning we will go early and show you the road."

Now a little bird and his wife and their three little ones lived on that tree, in a nest. This little bird looked down and saw the three people under the tree and said to his wife, "My dear, what shall we do? Here are some guests in the house, and it is winter, and we have no fire." So he flew away and got a bit of burning firewood in his beak and dropped it before the guests, to which they added fuel and made a blazing fire. But the little bird was not satisfied. He said again to his wife, "My dear, what shall we do? There is nothing to give these people to eat, and they are hungry. We are householders; it is our duty to feed any one who comes to the house. I must do what I can, I will give them my body." So he plunged into the midst of the fire and perished. The guests saw him falling and tried to save him, but he was too quick for them.

The little bird's wife saw what her husband did, and she said, "Here are three persons and only one little bird for them to eat. It is not enough; it is my duty as a wife not to let my husband's effort go in vain; let them have my body also." Then she fell into the fire and was burned to death.

Then the three baby-birds, when they saw what was done and that there was still not enough food for the three guests, said, "Our parents have done what they could and still it is not enough. It is our duty to carry on the work of our parents; let our bodies go too." And they all dashed down into the fire also.

Amazed at what they saw, the three people could not of course eat these birds. They passed the night without food, and in the morning the king and the Sannyasin showed the princess the way, and she went back to her father.

Then the Sannyasin said to the king, "King, you have seen that each is great in his own place. If you want to live in the world, live like those birds, ready at any moment to sacrifice yourself for others. If you want to renounce the world, be like that young man to whom the most beautiful woman and a kingdom were as nothing. If you want to be a householder, hold your life a sacrifice for the welfare of others; and if you choose the life of renunciation, do not even look at beauty and money and power. Each is great in his own place, but the duty of the one is not the duty of the other.

                       *                 *                  *                   *


After the battle of Kurukshetra the five Pandava brothers [heroes of the Mahabharatha Epic] performed a great sacrifice and made very large gifts to the poor. All people expressed amazement at the greatness and richness of the sacrifice, and said that such a sacrifice the world had never seen before.

But, after the ceremony, there came a little mongoose, half of whose body was golden, and the other half brown, and he began to roll on the floor of the sacrificial hall. He said to those around, “You are all liars; this is no sacrifice.” “What!” they exclaimed, “You say this is no sacrifice; do you not know how money and jewels were poured out to the poor and every one became rich and happy? This was the most wonderful sacrifice any man ever performed.”

But the mongoose said: “there was once a little village, and in it there dwelt a poor Brahmin, with his wife, his son and his son’s wife. They were very poor and lived on small gifts made to them for preaching and teaching. There came in that land a three years’ famine, and the poor Brahmin suffered more than ever. At last when the family had starved for days, the father brought home one morning a little barely flour, which he had been fortunate enough to obtain, and he divided it into four parts, one for each member of the family. They prepared it for their meal, and just as they were about to eat there was a knock at the door. The father opened it, and there stood a guest. Now, in India, a guest is a sacred person; he is a god for the time being, and must be treated as such. So the poor Brahmin said, ‘Come in sir; you are welcome.’ He set before the guest his own portion of the food, which the guest quickly ate and said, ‘Oh, sir you have killed me; I have been starving for ten days, and this little bit has but increased my hunger.’ Then the wife said to her husband, give him my share,’ but the husband said, Not so.’ The wife however insisted, saying, Here is a poor man, and it is our duty as householders to see that he is fed, and it is my duty as a wife to give him my portion, seeing that you have no more to offer him.’ Then she gave her share to the guest, which he ate, and said he was still burning with hunger. So the son said, “Take my portion also; it is the duty of a son to help his father to fulfill his obligations.’ The guest ate that, but remained still unsatisfied; so the son’s wife gave him her portion also. That was sufficient, and the guest departed blessing them. That night those four people died of starvation.

A few granules of that flour had fallen on the floor, and when I rolled my body on them half of it became golden, as you see. Since then I have been travelling all over the world, hoping to find another sacrifice like that, but nowhere have I found one; nowhere else has the other half of my body been turned into gold. That is why I say this is no sacrifice.’

SOURCE: Complete Works of  Swami Vivekananda

        *                    *                     *                     *




1.Vedic chanting helps to calm our minds and also creates a spiritual vibration in and around us. Here you can chant along this video voice and get it by-hearted. Correct pronunciation is very important to produce right result. More chanting videos will be added later.


COURTESY: youtube.com