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




BRAHMO DEVOTEE: "Sir, can't we realize God without complete renunciation?"

MASTFR (with a laugh): "Of course you can! Why should you renounce everything? You are all right as you are, following the middle path-like molasses partly solid and partly liquid.  Do you know the game of nax? Having scored the maximum number of points, I am out of the game.  I can't enjoy it.  But you are very clever.  Some of you have scored ten points, some six, and some five.  You have scored just the right number; so you are not out of the game like me.  The game can go on.  Why, that's fine! (All laugh.)

"I tell you the truth: there is nothing wrong in your being in the world.  But you must direct your mind toward God; otherwise you will not succeed. 
Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God.  After the duty is over, you will hold to God with both hands. 

Bondage and liberation are of the mind:
"It is all a question of the mind.  Bondage and liberation are of the mind alone.  The mind will take the colour you dye it with.  It is like white clothes just returned from the laundry.  If you dip them in red dye, they will be red.  If you dip them in blue or green, they will be blue or green.  They will take only the colour you dip them in, whatever it may be.  Haven't you noticed that, if you read a little English, you at once begin to utter English words: Foot fut it mit? Then you put on boots and whistle a tune, and so on.  It all goes together.  Or, if a scholar studies Sanskrit, he will at once rattle off Sanskrit verses.  If you are in bad company, then you will talk and think like your companions.  On the other hand, when you are in the company of devotees, you will think and talk only of God. 

"The mind is everything.  A man has his wife on one side and his daughter on the other.  He shows his affection to them in different ways.  But his mind is one and the same. 

"Bondage is of the mind, and freedom is also of the mind.  A man is free if he constantly thinks: 'I am a free soul.  How can I be bound, whether I live in the world or in the forest? I am a child of God, the King of Kings.  Who can bind me?' If bitten by a snake, a man may get rid of its venom by saying emphatically, 'There is no poison in me.' In the same way, by repeating with grit and determination, 'I am not bound, I am free', one really becomes so-one really becomes free. 

"Once someone gave me a book of the Christians.  I asked him to read it to me.  It talked about nothing but sin.  (To Keshab) Sin is the only thing one hears of at your Brahmo Samaj, too.  The wretch who constantly says, 'I am bound, I am bound' only succeeds in being bound.  He who says day and night, 'I am a sinner, I am a sinner' verily becomes a sinner. 

Redeeming power of faith
"One should have such burning faith in God that one can say: 'What? I have repeated the name of God, and can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more? How can I be in bondage any more?'

"If a man repeats the name of God, his body, mind, and everything become pure.  Why should one talk only about sin and hell, and such things? Say but once, 'O Lord, I have undoubtedly done wicked things, but I won't repeat them.' And have faith in His name."

Sri Ramakrishna became intoxicated with divine love and sang:
If only I can pass away repeating Durga's name, 
How canst Thou then, O Blessed One, 
Withhold from me deliverance, 
Wretched though I may be? .  .  .

Master's prayer:
Then he said: "To my Divine Mother I prayed only for pure love.  I offered flowers at Her Lotus Feet and prayed to Her: 'Mother, here is Thy virtue, here is Thy vice.  Take them both and grant me only pure love for Thee.  Here is Thy knowledge, here is Thy ignorance.  Take them both and grant me only pure love for Thee.  Here is Thy purity, here is Thy impurity.  Take them both, Mother, and grant me only pure love for Thee.  Here is Thy dharma, here is Thy adharma.  Take them both, Mother, and grant me only pure love for Thee.'

 (To the Brahmo devotees) "Now listen to a song by Ramprasad:
Come, let us go for a walk, O mind, to Kāli, the Wish-fulfilling Tree, 
And there beneath It gather the four fruits of life.  
Of your two wives, Dispassion and Worldliness, 
Bring alone Dispassion only, on your way to the Tree,
And ask her son Discrimination about the Truth.

When will you learn to lie, O mind, in the abode of Blessedness, 
With Cleanliness and Defilement on either side of you? 
Only when you have found the way 
To keep these wives contentedly under a single roof, 
Will you behold the matchless form of Mother Syama.

Ego and Ignorance, your parents, instantly banish from your sight; 
And should Delusion seek to drag you to its hole, 
Manfully cling to the pillar of Patience.  
Tie to the post of Unconcern the goats of Vice and Virtue, 
Killing them with the sword of Knowledge if they rebel.  
With the children of Worldliness, your first wife, plead from a goodly distance, 
And, if they will not listen, drown them in Wisdom's sea.  
Says Ramprasad: If you do as I say, 
You can submit a good account, O mind, to the King of Death, 
And I shall be well pleased with you and call you my darling. 

"Why shouldn't one be able to realize God in this world? King Janaka had such realization.  Ramprasad described the world as a mere 'framework of illusion'.  But if one loves God's hallowed feet, then-
This very world is a mansion of mirth; 
Here I can eat, here drink and make merry.  
Janaka's might was unsurpassed; 
What did he lack of the world or the Spirit? 
Holding to one as well as the other, 
He drank his milk from a brimming cup! 
(All laugh.)
"But one cannot be a King Janaka all of a sudden.  Janaka at first practised much austerity in solitude. 

Solitude for householders:
"Even if one lives in the world, one must go into solitude now and then.  It will be of great help to a man if he goes away from his family, lives alone, and weeps for God even for three days.  Even if he thinks of God for one day in solitude, when he has the leisure, that too will do him good.  People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children.  But who cries for the Lord? Now and then one must go into solitude and practise spiritual discipline to realize God.  Living in the world and entangled in many of its duties, the aspirant, during the first stage of spiritual life, finds many obstacles in the path of concentration.  While the trees on the foot-path are young, they must he fenced around; otherwise they will be destroyed by cattle.  The fence is necessary when the tree is young, but it can be taken away when the trunk is thick and strong.  Then the tree won't be hurt even if an elephant is tied to it. 
Malady of worldly people and its cure:
"The disease of worldliness is like typhoid.  And there are a huge jug of water and a jar of savoury pickles in the typhoid patient's room.  If you want to cure him of his illness, you must remove him from that room.  The worldly man is like the typhoid patient.  The various objects of enjoyment are the huge jug of water, and the craving for their enjoyment is his thirst.  The very thought of pickles makes the mouth water; you don't have to bring them near.  And he is surrounded with them.  The companionship of woman is the pickles.  Hence treatment in solitude is necessary. 

"One may enter the world after attaining discrimination and dispassion.  In the ocean of the world there are six alligators: lust, anger, and so forth.  But you need not fear the alligators if you smear your body with turmeric before you go into the water.  Discrimination and dispassion are the turmeric.  Discrimination is the knowledge of what is real and what is unreal.  It is the realization that God alone is the real and eternal Substance and that all else is unreal, transitory, impermanent.  And you must cultivate intense zeal for God.  You must feel love for Him and be attracted to Him.  The gopis of Vrindāvan felt the attraction of Krishna.  Let me sing you a song:
Listen! The flute has sounded in yonder wood.  
There I must fly, for Krishna waits on the path.  
Tell me, friends, will you come along or no? 
To you my Krishna is merely an empty name; 
To me He is the anguish of my heart.  
You hear His flute-notes onlv with your ears, 
But, oh, I hear them in my deepest soul.  
I hear His  flute calling: 'Radha come out! 
Without you the grove is shorn of its loveliness.' "

The Master sang the song with tears in his eyes, and said to Keshab and the other Brahmo devotees: "Whether you accept Radha and Krishna, or not, please do accept their attraction for each other.  Try to create that same yearning in your heart for God.  Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him."

Gradually the ebb-tide set in.  The steamboat was speeding toward Calcutta.  It passed under the Howrah Bridge and came within sight of the Botanical Garden.  The captain was asked to go a little farther down the river.  The passengers were enchanted with the Master's words, and most of them had no idea of time or of how far they had come. 

Keshab began to serve some puffed rice and grated coconut.  The guests held these in the folds of their wearing-cloths and presently started to eat.  Everyone was joyful.  The Master noticed, however, that Keshab and Vijay rather shrank from each other, and he was anxious to reconcile them. 

Disagreements necessary for enriching life:
MASTEIR (to Keshab): "Look here.  There is Vijay.  Your quarrel seems like the fight between Śiva and Rama.  Śiva was Rama's s guru.  Though they fought with each other, yet they soon came to terms.  But the grimaces of the ghosts, the followers of Śiva, and the gibberish of the monkeys, the followers of Rama, would not come to an end! (Loud laughter.) Such quarrels take place even among one's own kith and kin.  Didn't Rama fight with His own sons, Lava and Kusa? Again, you must have noticed how a mother and daughter, living together and having the same spiritual end in view, observe their religious fast separately on Tuesdays, each on her own account-as if the welfare of the mother were different from the welfare of the daughter.  But what benefits the one benefits the other.  In like manner, you have a religious society, and Vijay thinks he must have one too.  (Laughter.) But I think all these are necessary.  While Sri Krishna, Himself God Incarnate, played  with the gopis at Vrindāvan, trouble-makers like Jatila and Kutila appeared on the scene.  You may ask why.  The answer is that the play does not develop without trouble-makers.  (All laugh.) There is no fun without Jatila and Kutila.  (Loud laughter.)

"Ramanuja upheld the doctrine of Qualified Non-dualism.  But his guru was a pure non-dualist.  They disagreed with each other and refuted each other's arguments.  That always happens.  Still, to the teacher the disciple is his own."
All rejoiced in the Mastcr's company and his words. 

MASTER (to Keshab): "You don't look into people's natures, before you make them  your disciples, and so they break away from you. 

"All men look alike, to be sure, but they have different natures.  Some have an excess of sattva, others an excess of rajas, and still others an excess of tamas.  You must have noticed that the cakes known as puli all look alike.  But their contents are very different.  Some contain condensed milk, some coconut kernel, and others mere boiled kalai pulse.  (All laugh)

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna




Sri Durga Arati
In West Bengal, Durga Puja is celebrated grandly on Mahalaya, Shasthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabomi and Bijoya Dashami. It starts on Shasthi when Goddess Durga is welcomed to house.This year it is celebrated from October 20 2012 (Saturday) to October 24 2012 (Wednesday). In rest of the country it is celebrated as Navratri from October 16 2012 (Tuesday) to October 23 2012 (Tuesday).

Navratri, the festival of nights, lasts for 9 days with three days each devoted to worship of Ma Durga, the Goddess of Valor, Ma Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Ma Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge. During the nine days of Navratari, feasting and fasting take precedence over all normal daily activities amongst the Hindus. Evenings give rise to the religious dances in order to worhip Goddess Durga Maa.

1st - 3rd day of Navratri :
On the first day of the Navaratras, a small bed of mud is prepared in the puja room of the house and barley seeds are sown on it. On the tenth day, the shoots are about 3 - 5 inches in length. After the puja, these seedlings are pulled out and given to devotees as a blessing from god. These initial days are dedicated to Durga Maa, the Goddess of power and energy. Her various manifestations, Kumari, Parvati and Kali are all worshipped during these days. They represent the three different classes of womanhood that include the child, the young girl and the mature woman.

4th - 6th day of Navratri:
During these days, Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped. On the fifth day which is known as Lalita Panchami, it is traditional, to gather and display all literature available in the house, light a lamp or 'diya' to invoke Saraswati Maa, the Goddess of knowledge and art.

7th - 8th day of Navratri:
These final days belong to Saraswati Maa who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge. This in turn will free us from all earthly bondage. But on the 8th day of this colourful festival, yagna (holy fire) is performed. Ghee (clarified butter), kheer (rice pudding) and sesame seeds form the holy offering to Goddess Durga Maa.

The festival of Navratri culminates in Mahanavami. On this day Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered new clothes as gifts by the worshiper. This ritual is performed in most parts of the country.



Happy Mahalaya and Durga Puja to all.
May Mother Durga bless us with Devotion, Knowledge and Bliss. 

This year  Mahalaya fall on 15th October. Mahalaya signifies the end of Pitri Paksha and the beginning of Devi Paksha.It is said that Devi Durga begins her journey from Kailash to her paternal home on this day.

This year the Goddess Durga arrives on an elephant and departs on a boat. Her arrival on an elephant signifies good harvest while her departure on a boat signifies flood, misery and good harvest. May Mother protect us all.

Durga Puja 2012 Dates:

October 15 2012 (Monday) - Mahalaya Amavasya
October 20 2012 (Saturday) - Maha Sashti (Shashti).
October 21 2012 (Sunday) - Maha Saptami.
October 22 2012 (Monday) - Maha Ashtami. (Durgastami)
October 23 2012 (Tuesday) - Maha Navami.
October 24 2012 (Wednesday) - Vijayadasami
Below Video is Kumari Puja held at Belur Math on Maha Ashtami

Goddess Durga
Durga, in Sanskrit means "She who is incomprehensible or difficult to reach." Goddess Durga is a form of Sakti worshiped for her gracious as well as terrifying aspect. Mother of the Universe, she represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of a female dynamism. The manifestation of Goddess Durga is said to emerge from Her formless essence and the two are inseparable.

She is also called by many other names, such as Parvati, Ambika, and Kali. In the form of Parvati, She is known as the divine spouse of Lord Shiva and is the mother of Her two sons, Ganesha and Karttikeya, and daughter Jyoti. Destroyer of demons, she is worshiped during an annual festival called Durga puja, especially popular among Bengalis.

Her Appearance:
There are endless aspects of Durga described in the Puranas and Agamas and the iconography is consequently very varied. She is usually pictured as having ten arms holding Sword, Conch, Discus, Rosary, Bell, Winecup, Shield  Bow, Arrow, and Spear. She is most often shown riding a lion from which comes Her august name, Simhavahini, "She who stands astride the king of beasts". She is gorgeously dressed in royal red cloth and has several ornaments decorating Her personage. Her hair is dressed up in a crown (karandamukuta) which then flows out in long luxuriant tresses that are darkly luminous and soothing to the eye. The various tools reflect the eminent supremacy that helps in controlling the universe and obey Her will.

Weilding Energy:
Goddess Durga exists eternally, always abiding in her own sweet nature and inhabits the hearts and minds of her ecstatic devotees. As Shakti power, she shapes, nurtures, and dissolves names and forms, while as subtle spiritual energy called Kundalini, She lights the lotuses of the seven centres of awareness in the sacred human body. Goddess Durga killed the powerful demon Mahish and all his great commanders. When demonic forces create imbalance all god unite becoming one divine force called Shakti or Durga.

various forms of Durga Devi:
Devi is the great Goddess of the Hindus, the consort of Shiva and she is worshiped in various forms corresponding to her two aspects: benevolence and fierceness. She is Uma, "light"; Gauri, "yellow or brilliant"; Parvati, "the mountaineer"; and Jagatmata, "the-mother-of-the-world" in her milder guise. The terrible emanations are Durga "the inaccessible"; Kali, "the black"; Chandi, "the fierce"; and Bhairavi, "the terrible."

Descent of the Goddess:
Durga, a beautiful warrior seated upon a tiger, was the first appearance of the great goddess. The circumstance of her miraculous arrival was the tyranny of the monster-demon Mahishasur, who through terrific austerities had acquired invincible strength. The gods were afraid of this water-buffalo-bull because neither Vishnu nor Shiva could prevail against him. It seemed that the joint energy of Shakti was only capable of vanquishing Mahisha, and so it was the eighteen-armed Durga who went out to do battle.

She went to battle on her ferocious mount lion, armed with the weapons given to her by the other Gods. Durga is one of the angry and aggressive aspects of the goddess Shakti, whose role in Hindu mythology was to fight and conquer demons and also personify the Sakti or female aspect of any male deity. In the battle, she fought and killed the evil Mahishasura and restored heaven to the Gods. Since then the goddess is invoked for protection from the powers of evil. Durga Puja is observed in her honor, to celebrate her victory over evil.
Durga Image, Belur Math 
She has been worshiped from about 400 AD, but probably earlier, to the present. Her literary references are chiefly the Ramayana and Mahabharata, epic and Puranic texts, and she is mentioned by name in Vedic literature. In general, Durga is regarded in northern India as the gentle bride epitomizing family unity while in southern India she is revered more in her warrior aspect.

NINE Forms of Durga:
As the ten-armed Goddess, Goddess Durga presents a radiantly beautiful form that is bewitching to behold. That special form is somehow simultaneously wrathful and benign and transmits profound spiritual teachings in an exacting manner. The nine-day period from the new moon day to the ninth day of Ashvina is considered the most auspicious time of the Hindu Calendar and is hence the most celebrated time of the year as Durga Puja.

The nine different forms of Devi are worshiped over the nine days:

1.    Durga Shailputri (Daughter of Mountain)
She is a daughter of Himalaya and first among nine Durgas. In previous birth she was the daughter of Daksha. Her name was Sati - Bhavani. i.e. the wife of Lord Shiva. Once Daksha had organized a big Yagna and did not invite Shiva. But Sati being obstinate, reached there. Thereupon Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati could not tolerate the insult of husband and burnt herself in the fire of Yagna. In other birth she became the daughter of Himalaya in the name of Parvati - Hemvati and got married with Shiva. As per Upnishad she had torn and the egotism of Indra, etc. Devtas. Being ashamed they bowed and prayed that, "In fact, thou are Shakti, we all - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv are capable by getting Shakti from you."

2.    Brahmacharini
The second Durga Shakti is Brahamcharini. Brahma that is who observes penance(tapa) and good conduct. Here "Brahma" means "Tapa". The idol of this Goddess is very gorgeous. There is rosary in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand. She is full with merriment. One story is famous about her. In previous birth she was Parvati Hemavati the daughter of Himvan. Once when she was busy in games with her friends. Naradaji came to her and predicted seeing her Palm-lines that, "You will get married with a naked-terrible 'Bhole baba' who was with you in the form of Sati, the daughter of Daksh in previous birth. But now you have to perform penance for him." There upon Parvati told her mother Menaka that she would marry none except Shambhu, otherwise she would remain unmarried. Saying this she went to observe penance. That is why her name is famous as tapacharini - Brahmacharini. From that time her name Uma became familiar.

3.    Chandraghanta
The name of third Shakti is Chandraghanta. There is a half-circular moon in her forehead. She is charmful and bright. She is Golden color. She has three eyes and ten hands holding with ten types of swords - etc. weapons and arrows etc. She is seated on Lion and ready for going in war to fight. She is unprecedented image of bravery. The frightful sound of her bell terrifies all the villains, demons and danavas.

4.    Kushmanda
Name of fourth Durga is Kushmanda. The Shakti creates egg, ie. Universe by mere laughing .She resides in solar systems. She shines brightly in all the ten directions like Sun. She has eight hands. Seven types of weapons are shining in her seven hands. Rosary is in her right hand. She seems brilliant riding on Lion. She likes the offerings of "Kumhde." Therefore her name "Kushmanda" has become famous.

5.    Skanda Mata:
Fifth name of Durga is "Skanda Mata". The daughter of Himalaya, after observing penance got married with Shiva. She had a son named "Skanda." Skanda is a leader of the army of Gods. Skanda Mata is a deity of fire. Skanda is seated in her lap. She has three eyes and four hands. She is white and seated on a lotus.

6.    Katyayani:
Sixth Durga is Katyayani. The son of "Kat" as "Katya". Rishi Katyayan born in this "Katya" lineage. Katyayan had observed penance with a desire to get paramba as his daughter. As a result she took birth as a daughter of Katyayan. Therefore her name is "Katyayani" . She has three eyes and eight hands. These are eight types of weapons missiles in her seven hands. Her vehicle is Lion.

7.    Kalratri:
Seventh Durga is Kalratri. She is black like night. Durga hairs are unlocked. She has put on necklaces shining like lightening. She has three eyes which are round like universe. Her eyes are bright. Thousands of flames of fire come out while respiring from nose. She rides on Shava (dead body). There is sharp sword in her right hand. Her lower hand is in blessing mood. The burning torch (mashal) is in her left hand and her lower left hand is in fearless style, by which she makes her devotees fearless. Being auspicious she is called "Shubhamkari."

8.    Maha Gauri:
The Eighth Durga is "Maha Gauri." She is as white as a conch, moon and Jasmine. She is of eight years old. Her clothes and ornaments are white and clean. She has three eyes. She rides on bull She has four hands. The above left hand is in "Fearless - Mudra" and lower left hand holds "Trishul." The above right hand has tambourine and lower right hand is in blessing style. She is calm and peaceful and exists in peaceful style. It is said that when the body of Gauri became dirty due to dust and earth while observing penance, Shiva makes it clean with the waters of Gangas. Then her body became bright like lightening. There fore, she is known as "Maha Gauri" .

9.    Siddhidatri
Ninth Durga us Siddhidatri. There are eight Siddhis viz., Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva & Vashitva. Maha Shakti gives all these Siddhies. It is said in "Devipuran" that the Supreme God Shiva got all these Siddhies by worshipping Maha Shakti. With her gratitude the half body of Shiv has became of Goddess and therefore his name "Ardhanarishvar" has became famous. The Goddess drives on Lion. She has four hands and looks pleased. This form of Durga is worshiped by all Gods, Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Yogis, Sadhakas and devotees for attaining the best religious asset.

Navratri, the festival of nights, lasts for 9 days with three days each devoted to worship of Ma Durga, the Goddess of Valor, Ma Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Ma Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge.                                                                
 Read more

COURTESY: durga-puja.org



This is one more interesting story from the Hitopadesha Tales. Once upon a time, there lived a Lion by the name of Madotkata in a forest. Among his followers, a Jackal, a Crow and a Wolf had developed friendship with him. However, all the three had a selfish motive behind this so-called friendship. They knew that the Lion was the King of the forest and friendship with such fierce creature would always help them. To meet their selfish ends, they started obeying and were always available at the service of the Lion.

They didn’t have to make any efforts to search for their food, as the Lion used to give his leftover meals to them. Moreover, they became powerful as they were next to the King of the forest. So like this, all the three selfish friends were passing their days happily being the friends of the Lion. One day, a Camel, who came from some distant land, lost his way and entered the same forest where these friends lived. He tried his best to find out the way, but could not make it.
In the meantime, these three friends happened to pass through the same way where the Camel was wandering. When they saw the Camel, at once it came to their mind that he didn’t belong to their forest. The Jackal suggested to his other two friends, “Let’s kill and eat him”. The Wolf replied, “It is a big animal. We could not kill him like this. I think, first we should inform our King about this Camel”. The Crow agreed upon the idea given by the Wolf. After deciding, all of them went to meet the Lion.

On reaching the Lion’s den, the Jackal approached the Lion and said, “Your Majesty, an unknown Camel has dared to enter your kingdom without your consent. His body is full of flesh and he could make a nice meal for us. Let’s kill him”. The Lion roared loudly on hearing this and said, “What are you saying? The Camel has come for refuge in my kingdom. It is unethical to kill him like this. We should provide him the best shelter. Go and bring him to me”. All of them got dispirited to hear such words from the King.

They unwillingly went to the Camel and told him about the desire of the Lion, who wanted to meet him. The Camel was scared to know about the strange offer. He thought that his last moment had come and in a little while he would become the meal of the Lion. As he couldn’t even escape, so he decided to meet the Lion and left everything on the destiny. The selfish friends escorted the Camel to the Lion’s den. The Lion was happy to see the Camel. He welcomed him warmly and assured him of all the safety in the forest during his stay.

The Camel was totally amazed to hear the Lion’s words. He got very happy and started living with the Jackal, the Crow and the Wolf. One day, when the Lion was hunting for food, he had a struggle with a mighty Elephant. The Lion got badly injured in the struggle and became incapable of hunting for his food. Stricken by bad luck, the Lion had to sustain without food for days. Due to this, his friends too had to go hungry for days as they totally depended on the Lion’s kill for their food. But the Camel was satisfied grazing around in the forest.

All the three friends got worried and discussed the matter among them. On reaching a conclusion, they approached the Lion and said, “Your Majesty, you are getting weak day by day. We can’t see you in this wretched condition. Why don’t you kill the Camel and eat him?” The Lion roared, “No. How can you think such thing? He is our guest and we should not kill him. Don’t give such suggestions to me in future”. As the jackal, the crow and the wolf had set their evil eyes on the camel; they met once again and devised a plan to kill the Camel.
They went to the Camel and said, “Dear Friend, you know our King has not eaten anything from the past many days. He is unable to go for hunting due to his wounds and sickness. Under such circumstances, it becomes our duty to sacrifice ourselves to save the life of our king. Come with us, we will offer our bodies to make his food”. The Camel didn’t understand their plan, but innocently he nodded in favor of their plan. All of them approached the den of the Lion.

First of all, the Crow came forward and said, “Your Majesty, we didn’t succeed in getting any food for you. I can’t see you like this. Please eat me and make me obliged”. The Lion replied, “Dear, I will prefer to die than to perform such a sinful deed”. Then, the Jackal came forward and said, “Your Majesty, Crow’s body is too small to satisfy your appetite. I offer myself to you, as it is my duty to save your life”. The Lion politely rejected the offer. As per the plan, now it was the turn of the Wolf to offer himself to the King.

So, the Wolf came forward and said, “Your Majesty, Jackal is quite small to gratify your hunger. I offer myself for this kind job. Please kill me and satisfy your hunger”. After saying this, he lay prostrate before the Lion. But the Lion didn’t kill any of them. The Camel, who was watching the whole scene felt reassured of his safety and also decided to go forward and complete the formality. He marched forward and said, “Your Majesty, why don’t you kill me. You are my friend. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Please allow me to offer you my body”.

The Lion found the offer quite appropriate, as the Camel himself had offered his body for food, his ethics were maintained. The Lion attacked the Camel at once, ripped open his body and tore him into pieces. The Lion and his friends ate the delicious flesh to their fill. They feasted on the poor Camel for days together.

Moral: Beware of Mean Friends

COURTESY: www.culturalindia.net




October 27, 1882 
Different manifestations of Kāli:
Mother Kali
KESHAB (with a smile): "Describe to us, sir, in how many ways Kāli, the Divine Mother, sports in this world."

MASTER (with a smile): "Oh, She plays in different ways.  It is She alone who is known as Maha-Kāli, Nitya-Kāli, Smasana-Kāli, Raksha-Kāli, and Syama-Kāli.  Maha-Kāli and Nitya-Kāli are mentioned in the Tantra philosophy.  When there were neither the creation, nor the sun, the moon, the planets, and the earth  and when darkness was enveloped in darkness, then the Mother, the Formless One, Maha-Kāli, the Great Power, was one with Maha-Kala, the Absolute. 

"Syama-Kāli has a somewhat tender aspect and is worshipped in the Hindu  households.  She is the Dispenser of boons and the Dispeller of fear.  People worship Raksha-Kāli, the Protectress, in times of epidemic, famine, earthquake, drought, and flood.  Smasana-Kāli is the embodiment of the power of destruction.  She resides in the cremation ground, surrounded by corpses, jackals, and terrible female spirits.  From Her mouth flows a stream of blood, from Her neck hangs a garland of human heads, and around Her waist is a girdle made of human hands. 

Beginning of a cycle:
"After the destruction of the universe, at the end of a great cycle, the Divine Mother garners the seeds for the next creation.  She is like the elderly mistress of the house, who has a hotchpotch-pot in which she keeps different articles for household use.  (All laugh.)

"Oh, yes! Housewives have pots like that, where they keep 'sea-foam', blue pills, small bundles of seeds of cucumber, pumpkin, and gourd, and so on.  They  take them out when they want them.  In the same way, after the destruction of the universe, my Divine Mother, the Embodiment of Brahman, gathers together the seeds for the next creation.  After the creation the Primal Power dwells in the universe itself.  She brings forth this phenomenal world and then pervades it.  In the Vedas creation is likened to the spider and its web.  The spider brings the web out of itself and then remains in it.  God is the container of the universe and also what is contained in it. 

"Is Kāli, my Divine Mother, of a black complexion? She appears black because She is viewed from a distance; but when intimately known She is no longer so.  The sky appears blue at a distance; but look at it close by and you will find that it has no colour.  The water of the ocean looks blue at a distance, but when you go near and take it in your hand, you find that it is colourless."

The Master became intoxicated with divine love and sang:
Is Kāli, my Mother, really black? 
The Naked One, of blackest hue, 
Lights the Lotus of the Heart.  .  .  . 

The Master continued: "Bondage and liberation are both of Her making.  By Her Maya worldly people become entangled in 'woman and gold', and again, through Her grace they attain their liberation.  She is called Saviour, and the remover of the bondage that binds one to the world."

Divine Mother's sport:
Then the Master sang the following song in his melodious voice:
In the world's busy market-place, O Syama, Thou art flying kites;
High up they soar on the wind of hope, held fast by maya's string.
Their frames are human skeletons, their sails of the three gunas made;
But all their curious workmanship is merely for ornament.
Upon the kite-strings Thou hast rubbed the manja-paste of worldliness,
So as to make each straining strand all the more sharp and strong.
Out of a hundred thousand kites, at best but one or two break free;
And Thou dost laugh and clap Thy hands, O Mother, watching them!
On favouring winds, says Ramprasad, the kites set loose will speedily
Be borne away to the Infinite, across the sea of the world.

The Master said: "The Divine Mother is always playful and sportive.  This universe is Her play.  She is self-willed and must always have Her own way.  She is full of bliss.  She gives freedom to one out of a hundred thousand."

A BRAHMO DEVOTEE: "But, sir, if She likes, She can give freedom to all.  Why, then, has She kept us bound to the world?"

MASTER: "That is Her will.  She wants to continue playing with Her created beings.  In a game of hide-and-seek the running about soon stops if in the beginning all the players touch the 'granny'.  If all touch her, then how can the game go on? That displeases her.  Her pleasure is in continuing the game.

Therefore the poet said:
Out of a hundred thousand kites, at best but one or two break free; 
And Thou dost laugh and clap Thy hands, O Mother, watching them!

Reassurance to householders:
"It is as if the Divine Mother said to the human mind in confidence, with a sign from Her eye, 'Go and enjoy the world.' How can one blame the mind? The mind can disentangle itself from worldliness if, through Her grace, She makes it turn toward Herself.  Only then does it become devoted to the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother."

Whereupon Sri Ramakrishna, taking upon himself, as it were, the agonies of all householders, sang a song complaining to the Divine Mother:
Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart, 
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake,
There should be robbery in my house.  
Many and many a time I vow to call on Thee, 
Yet when the time for prayer comes round, I have forgotten.
Now I see it is all Thy trick.

As Thou hast never given, so Thou receivest naught; 
Am I to blame for this, O Mother? Hadst Thou but given, 
Surely then Thou hadst received; 
Out of Thine own gifts I should have given to Thee.  
Glory and shame, bitter and sweet, are Thine alone; 
This world is nothing but Thy play.  
Then why, O Blissful One, dost Thou cause a rift in it?

Says Ramprasad: Thou hast bestowed on me this mind, 
And with a knowing wink of Thine eye 
Bidden it, at the same time, to go and enjoy the world.  
And so I wander here forlorn through Thy creation, 
Blasted, as it were, by someone's evil glance, 
Taking the bitter for the sweet, 
Taking the unreal for the Real.

The  Master continued: "Men are deluded through Her maya and have become attached to the world. 
Says Ramprasad: Thou hast bestowed on me this mind, 
And with a knowing wink of Thine eye 
Bidden it, at the same time, to go and enjoy the world."

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishan