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




Once a rich man was passing through a forest, when three robbers surrounded him and robbed him of all his wealth. After snatching all his possessions from him, one of the robbers said: 'What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him.

'Saying this, he was about to strike their victim with his sword, when the second robber interrupted and said: 'There's no use in killing him. Let us bind him fast and leave him here. Then he won't be able to tell the police.' Accordingly the robbers tied him with a rope, left him, and went away.

"After a while the third robber returned to the rich man and said: 'Ah! You're badly hurt, aren't you? Come, I'm going to release you.' The third robber set the man free and led him out of the forest. When .they came near the highway, the robber said, 'Follow this road and you will reach home easily.'

'But you must come with me too', said the man. 'You have done so much for me. We shall all be happy to see you at our home.' 'No,' said the robber, 'it is not possible for me to go there. The police will arrest me.' So saying, he left the rich man after pointing out his way.

"Now, the first robber, who said: 'What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him', is tamas. It destroys. The second robber is rajas, which binds a man to the world and entangles him in a variety of activities. Rajas makes him forget God. Sattva alone shows the way to God. It produces virtues like compassion, righteousness, and devotion.

Again, sattva is like the last step of the stairs. Next to it is the roof. The Supreme Brahman is man's own abode. One cannot attain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one transcends the three gunas.

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Once two friends were going along the street, when they saw some people listening to a reading of the Bhagavata. 'Come, friend', said the one to the other. 'Let us hear the sacred book.' So saying he went in and sat down. The second man peeped in and went away. He entered a house of ill fame. But very soon he felt disgusted with the place.

'Shame on me!' he said to himself. 'My friend has been listening to the sacred word of Hari; and see where I am!' But the friend who had been listening to the Bhagavata also became disgusted. 'What a fool I am!' he said. 'I have been listening to this fellow's blahblah, and my friend is having a grand time.' In course of time they both died.

The messenger of Death came for the soul of the one who had listened to the Bhagavata and dragged it off to hell. The messenger of God came for the soul of the one who had been to the house of prostitution and led it up to heaven. "Verily, the Lord looks into a man's heart and does not judge him by what he does or where he lives.

'Krishna accepts a devotee's inner feeling of love.' "In the Kartabhaja sect, the teacher, while giving initiation, says to the disciple, 'Now everything depends on your mind.' According to this sect, 'He who has the right mind find the right way and also achieves the right end.'

 It was through the power of his mind that Hanuman leapt over the sea. 'I am the servant of Rama; I have repeated the holy name of Rama. Is there anything impossible for me?'—that was Hanuman's faith. "Ignorance lasts as long as one has ego. There can be no liberation so long as the ego remains. 'O God, Thou art the Doer and not I'—that is knowledge.

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                                  Happy Holi To All

Today is Holi Festival. It is one of the major festivals of India and celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. There are many legends and various significances associated with Holi Festival.

Holi gets us close to Religion and Mythology as it is essentially the celebration of various legends associated with the festival.

1. Foremost is the legend of  Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap.  Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the 'Holika dahan' comes mainly from this legend. 

2. Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying colour on Radha and other gopis. This prank of Krishna later became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities. 

3. Mythology also states that Holi is the celebration of death of Asura Woman Putana who tried to kill infant Krishna by feeding poisonous milk to it.

4. Another legend of Holi which is extremely popular in Southern India is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. 

5. Also there is a popular legend of Ogress Dhundhi who used to trouble children in the kingdom of Raghu and was ultimately chased away by the pranks of the children on the day of Holi. Showing their belief in the legend, children till date play pranks and hurl abuses at the time of Holika Dahan.



Young Sri Krishna is known to be very playful and mischievous. The story goes that as a child, Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha's fair complexion since he himself was very dark. 

One day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the injustice of nature which made Radha so fair and he so dark. To pacify the crying young Krishna, the doting mother asked him to go and colour Radha's face in whichever colour he wanted.

In a mischievous mood, naughty Krishna heeded the advice of mother Yashoda and applied colour on her beloved Radha's face; making her one like himself.

Well, there is also a legend to explain Krishna's dark complexion. It so happened that once a demon attempted to kill infant Krishna by giving him poisoned milk. Because of which Krishna turned blue. But Krishna did not die and the demon shriveled up into ashes.

The beautiful scene of Krishna's prank in which he played colour with Radha and other gopis has been made alive in myriad forms in a number of paintings and murals.


Somehow, the lovable prank of Krishna where he applied colour on Radha and other gopis using water jets called pichkaris gained acceptance and popularity. So much so that it evolved as a tradition and later, a full-fledged festival.

Till date, use of colours and pichkaris is rampant in Holi. Lovers long to apply colour on their beloveds face and express their affection for each other.

This legend is wonderfully brought alive each year all over India, particularly in Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon-the places associated with Krishna and Radha. 

In fact, the entire country gets drenched in the colour waters when it is time for Holi and celebrate the immortal love of Krishna and Radha.

In some states of India, there is also a tradition to place the idols of Radha and Krishna in a decorated palanquin, which is then carried along the main streets of the city. All this while, devotees chant Krishna's name, sing devotional hymns and dance in the name of the lord.

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Yet another legend says that there was an Ogress known as Putana. Lord Krishna's devil uncle Kansa seeked the help of Pootana to kill infant Krishna by feeding him poisonous milk.

Putana disguised herself as a simple and pious woman and treacherously fed baby Krishna with her poisoned breast. Lord Krishna, however, sucked her blood which revealed the monster behind that pious woman and laid her to death.

On the night before Holi, there is a practice to burn an effigy of Putana - the asura woman who nearly killed Lord Krishna. The tradition is symbolic of victory of divinity over demonic forces. It also shows the end of winter and darkness - as typified by Putana.

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The legend has it that when Lord Shiva's consort Sati committed herself to fire due to disgrace shown by her father Daksha to Shiva, Lord Shiva became extremely sad. He renounced his worldly duties and went into deep meditation.

Meanwhile, the daughter of the mountains, Parvati started meditating to acquire Shiva as her husband. Moreover, since Shiva was least interested in the affairs of the world complications began to generate in matters of the world which made all the gods concerned and afraid.

The gods then sought the help of Lord Kaamadeva, the god of love and passion to bring Shiva back to his original self. Kaamadeva knew that he might have to suffer the consequences of doing this, but he accepted to shoot his arrow on Shiva for the sake of the world.

As planned Kaama shot his love arrow on Shiva while he was in meditation. This made Shiva extremely angry and he opened his third eye - reducing Kaamadeva to ashes. However, Kaamadeva arrow had the desired effect and Lord Shiva married Parvati.

A short while after this, Kaamadeva's wife, Rati pleaded Lord Shiva and said this was all the plan of the gods and asked him to  kindly revive Kaamadeva. An embodiment of love himself, Lord Shiva gladly accepted to do so.Thus the incident had a happy ending for all.

THE CELEBRATION:  It is believed that Lord Shiva burned Kaamadeva on the day of Holi. Down to south people worship Kaamadeva-the Love-god for his extreme sacrifice on the day of Holi. In Tamil Nadu, Holi is known by three different names - Kamavilas, Kaman Pandigai and Kama-Dahanam

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It is believed that there was once an Ogress called Dhundhi in the kingdom of Prithu (or Raghu). The female monster used to specially trouble little children who became fed- up of her.

Dhundhi, had a boon from Lord Shiva that she would not be killed by gods, men nor suffer from arms nor from heat, cold or rain. These boons which made her almost invincible but she also had a weak point. She was also cursed by Lord Shiva that she would be in danger from boys going about crazy.

Deeply troubled by the Ogress, the King of Raghu consulted his priest. Giving the solution, the priest said that on Phalguna 15, the season of cold vanishes and summer starts. Boys with bits of wood in their hands may go out of their house, collect a heap of wood and grass, set it on fire with mantras, clap their hands, go around the fire thrice, laugh, sing and by their noise, laughter and homa, the ogress would die.

The legend has it that on the day of Holi, village boys displayed their united might and chased Dhundhi away by a blitzkrieg of shouts, abuses and pranks. Children also take great pleasure in burning Holika.

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There was once a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father.

Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed. 

Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion. 

Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.  Holi is also celebrated as the triumph of a devotee. As the legend depicts that anybody, howsoever strong, cannot harm a true devotee. And, those who dare torture a true devotee of god shall be reduced to ashes.

Even today, people enact the scene of 'Holika's burning to ashes' every year to mark the victory of good over evil. 

In several states of India, specially in the north, effigies of Holika are burnt in the huge bonfires that are lit. There is even a practice of hurling cow dungs into the fire and shouting obscenities at it as if at Holika. Then everywhere one hears shouts of 'Holi-hai! Holi-hai!'.

The tradition of burning 'Holika' is religiously followed in Gujarat and Orissa also. Here, people render their gratitude to Agni, the god of fire by offering gram and stalks from the harvest with all humility. 

Further, on the last day of Holi, people take a little fire from the bonfire to their homes. It is believed that by following this custom their homes will be rendered pure and their bodies will be free from disease.

At several places there is also a tradition of cleaning homes, removing all dirty articles from around the house and burning them. Disease-breeding bacteria are thereby destroyed and the sanitary condition of the locality is improved. 

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Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassure the people of the power of the truth as the moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil. The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad also points to the fact that extreme devotion to god pays as god always takes his true devotee in his shelter. 

All these legends help the people to follow a good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful. This is extremely important in the modern day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture one who is honest. Holi helps the people to believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight away the evil.

Besides, holi is celebrated at a time of the year when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest. This gives a people a good reason to rejoice, make merry and submerge themselves in the spirit of Holi.

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Holi helps to bring the society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country. For, the festival is celebrated by non-Hindus also as everybody like to be a part of such a colouful and joyous festival.

Also, the tradition of the Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hardship that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood.

In the evening people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts, sweets and greetings. This helps in revatalising relationships and strengthening emotional bonds between people.

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It is interesting to note that the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun.

We also need to thank our forefathers who started the trend of celebrating Holi at such a scientifically accurate time. And, also for incorporating so much fun in the festival.

As Holi comes at a time of the year when people have a tendency to feel sleepy and lazy. This is natural for the body to experiences some tardiness due to the change from the cold to the heat in the atmosphere. To counteract this tardiness of the body, people sing loudly or even speak loudly. Their movements are brisk and their music is loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the system of the human body.

Besides, the colours when sprayed on the body have a great impact on it. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.

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There is yet another scientific reason for celebrating the Holi, this however pertains to the tradition of Holika Dahan. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenhiet. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrima (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it.

The way Holi is celebrated in south, the festival also promotes good health. For, the day after the burning of Holika people put ash (Vibhuti) on their forehead and they would mix Chandan (sandalpaste) with the young leaves and flowers of the Mango tree and consume it to promote good health.

Some also believe that play with colours help to promote good health as colours are said to have great impact on our body and our health. Western-Physicians and doctors believe that for a healthy body, colours too have an important place besides the other vital elements. Deficiency of a particular colour in our body causes ailment, which can be cured only after supplementing the body with that particular colour. 

People also clean-up their houses on Holi which helps in clearing up the dust and mess in the house and get rid of mosquitoes and others pests. A clean house generally makes the residents feel good and generate positive energies. 

COURTESY: holifestival.org
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Ramakrishna Temple,
Every evening Arati of Sri Ramakrishna is performed at Kamarpukur, the birth place of Sri Ramakrishna along with enthralling Arati hymn composed by Swami Vivekananda [given below in Sanskrit and English with meaning etc.], the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Image of Sri Ramakrishna was installed at the very spot where Sri Ramakrishna took birth in 1836. Now it is an International pilgrimage place. 



Khandana Bhava Bandhana [Breaker of this World’s Chain] 

By Swami Vivekananda

खण्डन भव बन्धन जग वन्दन वन्दि तोमाय।
निरञ्जन नर-रूप-धर निर्गुण गुणमय॥
मोचन अघदूषण जगभूषण चिद्घनकाय।
ज्ञानाञ्जन-विमल-नयन वीक्षणे मोह जाय॥
भास्वर भाव-सागर चिर-उन्मद प्रेम-पाथार।
भक्तार्जन-युगल चरण तारण-भव-पार॥
जृम्भित-युग-ईश्वर जगदीश्वर योगसहाय।
निरोधन समाहितमन निरखि तव कृपाय॥
भञ्जन-दुःखगञ्जन करुणाघन कर्म-कठोर।
प्राणार्पण जगत-तारण कृन्तन-कलिडोर॥
वञ्चन-कामकाञ्चन अतिनिन्दित-इन्द्रियराग।
त्यागीश्वर हे नरवर देहपदे अनुराग॥
निर्भय गतसंशय दृढ़निश्चय-मानसवान।
निष्कारण-भकत-शरण त्यजि जाति-कुल-मान॥
सम्पद तव श्रीपद भव-गोष्पद-वारि यथाय।
प्रेमार्पण समदरशन जगजन-दुःख जाय॥
नमो नमो प्रभु वाक्य-मनातीत मनोवचनैकाधार।
ज्योतिर ज्योति उजल-हृदिकन्दर तुमि तमो-भञ्जन हार॥
धे धे धे लङ्ग रङ्ग भङ्ग बाजे अङ्ग सङ्ग मृदङ्ग
गाहिछे छन्द भकतवृन्द आरति तोमार॥
जय जय आरति तोमार हर हर आरति तोमार
शिव शिव आरति तोमार॥
खण्डन भव बन्धन जग वन्दन वन्दि तोमाय॥
जय श्रीगुरुमहाराज्जि कि जय॥

khaṇḍana bhava band­hana jaga van­dana vandi tomāy |
nirañ­jana nara-rūpa-dhara nirguṇa guṇamay ||
mocana aghadūṣaṇa jagabhūṣaṇa cidghanakāy |
jñānāñjana-vimala-nayana vīkṣaṇe moha jāy ||
bhās­vara bhāva-sāgara cira-unmada prema-pāthār |
bhaktārjana-yugala caraṇa tāraṇa-bhava-pār ||
jṛmbhita-yuga-īśvara jagadīś­vara yogasahāy |
nirod­hana samāhi­ta­mana nirakhi tava kṛpāy ||
bhañjana-duḥkhagañjana karuṇāghana karma-kaṭhor |
prāṇārpaṇa jagata-tāraṇa kṛntana-kaliḍor ||
vañcana-kāmakāñcana atinindita-indriyarāg |
tyāgīś­vara he nar­avara deha­pade anurāg ||
nirb­haya gatasaṁśaya dṛṛhaniścaya-mānasavān |
niṣkāraṇa-bhakata-śaraṇa tyaji jāti-kula-māna||
sam­pada tava śrīpada bhava-goṣpada-vāri yathāy |
premārpaṇa samadaraśana jagajana-duḥkha jāy ||
namo namo prabhu vākya-manātīta manova­canaikād­hār |
jyotira jyoti ujala-hṛdikandara tumi tamo-bhañjana hār ||
dhe dhe dhe laṅga raṅga bhaṅga bāje aṅga saṅga mṛdaṅga
gāhiche chanda bhakatavṛnda ārati tomār ||
jaya jaya ārati tomār hara hara ārati tomār
śiva śiva ārati tomār ||
khaṇḍana bhava band­hana jaga van­dana vandi tomāy |
jay śrī gurumāhārājji ki jay ||

A fairly lit­eral translation

We adore you, O breaker of the bondage of the world, wor­shipped by all humankind! You are stain­less, yet have taken a human form. You are beyond all attrib­utes, yet are the embod­i­ment of all virtues.
O puri­fier of all defects! O gem of the world! O embod­i­ment of pure con­scious­ness! Your stain­less eyes, sanc­ti­fied by the col­lyrium of knowl­edge, remove our igno­rance at a mere glance.
You are ver­ily a sea of light and divine moods, ever filled with the waves of ine­bri­at­ing love. Your holy feet, attained through devo­tion, are the raft that car­ries us across the ocean of this world.
You are the Lord of the uni­verse, the man­i­fest incar­na­tion of the age and our guide along the path of yoga. We have real­ized this truth through your grace, you whose mind is estab­lished in samadhi.
O destroyer of the mass of suf­fer­ing! O embod­i­ment of com­pas­sion! O tremen­dous per­former of deeds! You have sac­ri­ficed your life to redeem the world and cut the bonds of the Kali Yuga.
You have con­quered lust and greed and have spurned the entice­ments of sense plea­sure. O Lord of renounc­ers! O best among men! Grant us love for your blessed feet.
You are beyond fear and free from doubt. Your mind is unwa­ver­ing in resolve. You have renounced all pride of birth and caste and, with­out any motive, are a refuge for all your devotees.
O gift of love and embod­i­ment of same-sightedness! Their suf­fer­ing van­ishes who look upon your holy feet as their great­est trea­sure. For them, this tran­si­tory world seems like the pud­dle that fills the hoof-print of the cow in the clay.
Salu­ta­tions to you, O Lord, salu­ta­tions to you! You are beyond mind and speech, and are also the ground of mind and speech. Light of all lights, you shine forth in the cave of the heart. Destroy the dark­ness of igno­rance there, O Lord, destroy the dark­ness of ignorance.
To the accom­pa­ni­ment of the mri­danga, with its rhyth­mic tones, your devo­tees are singing this arati to you: jaya jaya, hara, hara, shiva shiva.
We adore you, O breaker of the bondage of the world, wor­shipped by all mankind! You are stain­less, yet have taken a human form. You are beyond all attrib­utes, yet are the embod­i­ment of all virtues.
Vic­tory to the great guru!

Poetic trans­la­tion by Swami Prab­ha­vananda and Christo­pher Isherwood

Breaker of this world’s chain,
We adore Thee, whom all men love.
Spot­less, tak­ing man’s form, O Puri­fier,
Thou art above the gunas three,
Knowl­edge divine, not flesh;
Thou whom the cos­mos wears,
A dia­mond at its heart.
Let us look deep in Thine eyes;
They are bright with the wis­dom of God,
That can wake us from Maya’s spell.
Let us hold fast to Thy feet,
Tread­ing the waves of the world to safety.
Oh, drunk with love, God-drunken Lover,
In Thee all paths of all yogas meet.
Lord of the worlds, Thou art ours,
Who wert born a child of our time;
Easy of access to us.
O Mer­ci­ful, if we take any hold
Upon God in our prayer,
It is by Thy grace alone,
Since all Thine aus­ter­i­ties
Were prac­ticed for our sake.
How great was Thy sac­ri­fice,
Freely choos­ing Thy birth,
In this prison, our Iron Age,
To unchain us and set us free.
Per­fect, whom lust could not taint,
Nor pas­sion nor gold draw near,
O Mas­ter of all who renounce,
Fill our hearts full of love for Thee.
Thou hast fin­ished with fear and with doubt,
Stand­ing firm in the vision of God;
Refuge to all who have cast
Fame, for­tune, and friends away.
With­out ques­tion Thou shel­ter­est us,
And the world’s great sea in its wrath
Seems shrunk to the pud­dle
That fills the hoof­print in the clay.
Speech can­not hold Thee, nor mind,
Yet with­out Thee we think not nor speak.
Love, who art par­tial to none,
We are equal before Thy sight.
Taker-away of our pain,
We salute Thee, though we are blind.
Come to the heart’s black cave, and illu­mine,
Thou light of the light.

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 Today  Sri Ramakrishna's 175th Birthday is celebrated in all centres of Ramakrishna Order all over the world.  This article is posted on this auspicious occasion.

Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna’s chief disciple narrates his own experience:

One day while Sri Ramakrishna was staying at the Cossipore garden, his body in imminent danger of falling off forever. I was sitting the side of his bed and saying in my mind, “Well, now if you can declare that you are God, then will I believe you are really God himself.” It was only two days before he passed away. Immediately he looked up towards me and said, “He who was Rama, he who was Krishna, verily is he now ramakrishna in this body, and not in your Vedandic sense.” At this I was dumb.

What is the Vedantic sense?

According to the doctrine of the Vedanta each soul, in reality is Brahman. Thus it may be presumed that there is no difference between an Incarnation of God and an ordinary human being. To be sure, from the standpoint of the Absolute no such difference exists. But from the relative standpoint a difference must be admitted. Embodied human beings reflect godliness in varying degrees but in incarnation it is fully manifest. Further an incarnation is not under control of the Maya where as a jiva is always under its control of Maya.  Thus an incarnation is different from an ordinary human being. 

More will be added later...

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Sri Ramakrishna

Pyne's  Shiva Temple
Once during Shiva-ratri a dramatic performance had been arranged near Pyne’s Shiva Temple. A troupe from the neighbouring village was to perform a religious drama depicting the glory of Shiva. The performance was to begin about half an hour after dusk. That evening, news reached the village that the boy who was to play Shiva had become seriously ill and that the director could not find a substitute. Disappointed, the director sent an apologetic message that the performance must be postponed. What could be done? How could night long vigil be kept? The elders assembled to discuss the matter. They sent word to the director asking whether he could conduct the drama that night if they found someone to act in the role of Shiva? He responded in the affirmative. The village council met again to select someone who could play, and they decided on Gadadhar [childhood name of Sri Ramakrishna]. Although he was young, his looks were right for the part and he knew songs of Shiva. The director himself could tactfully manage the few spoken lines required for the role. Gadadhar was approached. Seeing the eagerness of all, he agreed. The performance began on schedule, an hour after dusk.

Gadadhar in Divinemood
Dharmadas Laha, the landlord of the village, was a close friend of the Sri Ramakrishna’s father. So his elder son, Gayavishnu Laha, and Sri Ramakrishna become close friends. When Gayavishnu learned that his friend would play the role of Shiva, he and his companions helped him with make-up for the part. Once he was in costume, Gadadhar sat in the dressing room and thought of Shiva. When he was called to appear on the stage, one of his friends led him there. He mounted the stage at his friend’s request. Absent-mindedly, without looking in any direction, he slowly walked to the middle of the stage and stood there motionless. The audience was overwhelmed with joy and awe upon seeing Gadadhar in that costume, with matted hair, bedecked with rosaries, and smeared with ashes. He entered with slow and steady footsteps, and then stood motionless, with heavenly, indrawn, unblinking gaze, and a sweet smile on the corners of his lips. According to village custom, the audience suddenly cried out, chanting the name of Hari. Some women made auspicious sounds and some blew conches. To claim the audience during the pandemonium, the director began to sing a hymn of Shiva. At this the audience quieted slightly. But beckoning and nudging one another, they began to comment in hushed voices: “Bravo, Bravo!” “How beautiful Gadai looks!” “We never thought the boy could act in the role of Shiva so wonderfully!” “ If we somehow secure this boy, we can form a yatra party of our own.”

Gadadhar remained standing thee all the while; moreover, tears continually trickled down onto his chest. Thus some time passed, and Gadadhar neither changed his position nor said anything. Then the director and a few elderly villagers went over to Gadadhar and found that his hands and the feet were numb and that he seemed to have lost all external consciousness. At this point the commotion in the audience increased terribly. Some shouted, “Water! Splash water on his eyes and face!” Some said, “Fan him!” Some called out, lord Shiva has possessed him. Chant Shiva’s name!” again some grumbled, “This boy has spoiled everything. Now they will have to stop the play!” After a long while, when all efforts had failed to bring him back to normal consciousness, the audience dispersed. Some men carried Gadadhar home on their shoulders. We have heard that his family wept because despite all their efforts Gadadhar could not be roused from his ecstatic sate that night. He became normal again after sunrise the next day.

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