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



This year Janmastami falls on 28.8.13. May Sri Krishna bless us all with Devotion and Knowledge on the auspicious day of Janmastami. 
Enjoy this nice song with beautiful scenes.


Janmashtami Celebration at Belur Math:
Janmashtami Decoration at Belur Math

Sri Suka said:
1.    Now came the most auspicious and favourable time when the star Rohini was in the ascendant and all the other stars and planets were in a very beneficent disposition.

2.    Peaceful silence reigned in all quarters. The stars shone clear in the sky. All the villages, cowherd settlements and mining quarries saw the dawn of a prosperous era.

3.    The rivers flowed with pellucid water. The tanks were full of lotus-blossoms. The woodlands were resonant with the chirping of fluttering birds and the buzzing of bees from flowers.

4.    Soft blew the breeze, dust-free and fragrant, and gently glowed the fires in the sacrificial hearths of the holy.

5.    Exceeding the minds of evil ones like Kamsa, the minds of all good men felt peace within. In the heavens the kettle-drums (Dundubhi) of the celestials sounded announcing the imminent birth of the Lord, who has no birth.
6.    The Kinners and Gandharvas sang; Siddhas and Charanas hymned; the Vidydharas with Apsaras joyously danced.

7.    The Munis together with Devas showered flowers with delight; and the clouds roared gently in tune with the ocean.

8.    At such a time, in the pitch darkness of midnight, Mahavishnu, the resident in the hearts of all, was born of the divinely beautiful Devaki, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon.

9.    & 10. Lotus-eyed, four-armed, sporting the conch, mace and other weapons; with the luminous Srivatsa mark on the cheast and the shining Kaustubha on the neck; wearing a yellow cloth; possessed of the majesty and grace of a heavy rain cloud; with locks gleaming with the lustre of the diadem and ear-rings stubbed with precious stones; bedecked with splendorous ornaments like bracelets, armlets and waist girdle-such was the luminous form of the luminous child that greeted Vasudevas’s vision.

11. Looking with eyes wide-open with wonder at the form of Hari born as his child, Vasudeva in the excitement of the festivity of Krishna’s birth mentally gifted ten thousand cows to Brahmanas.

12. Realising the child to be none other than the Supreme Being and  recognishing his prowess, Vasudeva, with his intellect purified and mind free from fear, saluted and prostrated himself before him who was illuminating the whole of that lying-in room with his divine lustre, and began to praise him.

(From Srimad Bhagavata, Volume-III, Skandha-X: Chapter-3 Translation by Swami Tapasyanandaji)

Courtesy: Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai-4

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Kathamo puja is performed in Belur Math on Janmashtami day. 
Kathomo is the word for the bamboo structure on which the clay idol is built.

Kathamo puja




Thursday, December 14, 1882
Bondage removed by strong renunciation:
VIJAY: "What must the bound soul's condition of mind be in order to achieve
Vijay Krishna Goswami
MASTER: "He can free himself from attachment to 'woman and gold' if, by the grace of God, he cultivates a spirit of strong renunciation.  What is this strong renunciation? One who has only a mild spirit of renunciation says, 'Well, all will happen in the course of time; let me now simply repeat the name of God.' But a man possessed of a strong spirit of renunciation feels restless for God, as the mother feels for her own child.  A man of strong renunciation seeks nothing but God.  He regards the world as a deep well and feels as if he were going to be drowned in it.  He looks on his relatives as venomous snakes; he wants to fly away from them.  And he does go away.  He never thinks, 'Let me first make some arrangement for my family and then I shall think of God.' He has great inward resolution.

Parable of the two farmers:
"Let me tell you a story about strong renunciation.  At one time there was a drought in a certain part of the country.  The farmers began to cut long channels to bring water to their fields.  One farmer was stubbornly determined.  He took a vow that he would not stop digging until the channel connected his field with the river.  He set to work.  The time came for his bath, and his wife sent their daughter to him with oil.  'Father,' said the girl, 'it is already late.  Rub your body with oil and take your bath.' 'Go away!' thundered the farmer.  'I have too much to do now.' It was past midday, and the farmer was still at work in his field.  He didn't even think of his bath.  Then his wife came and said: 'Why haven't you taken your bath? The food is getting cold.  You overdo everything.  You can finish the rest tomorrow or even today after dinner.' The farmer scolded her furiously and ran at her, spade in hand, crying: 'What? Have you no sense? There's no rain.  The crops are dying.  What will the children eat? You'll all starve to death.  I have taken a vow not to think of bath and food today before I bring water to my field.' The wife saw his state of mind and ran away in fear.  Through a whole day's back-breaking labour the farmer managed by evening to connect his field with the river.  Then he sat down and watched the water flowing into his field with a murmuring sound.  His mind was filled with peace and joy.  He went home, called his wife, and said to her, 'Now give me some oil and prepare me a smoke.' With serene mind he finished his bath and meal, and retired to bed, where he snored to his heart's content.  The determination he showed is an example of strong renunciation.
"Now, there was another farmer who was also digging a channel to bring water to his field.  His wife, too, came to the field and said to him: 'It's very late.  Come home.  It isn't necessary to overdo things.' The farmer didn't protest much, but put aside his spade and said to his wife, 'Well, I'll go home since you ask me to.' (All laugh) That man never succeeded in irrigating his field.  This is a case of mild renunciation.

"As without strong determination the farmer cannot bring water to his field, so also without intense yearning a man cannot realize God.  (To Vijay) Why don't you come here now as frequently as before?"

VIJAY: "Sir, I wish to very much, but I am not free.  I have accepted work in the Brahmo Samaj."

Attachment to "woman" creates bondage:
MASTER: "It is 'woman and gold' that binds man and robs him of his freedom.  It is woman that creates the need for gold.  For woman one man becomes the slave of another, and so loses his freedom.  Then he cannot act as he likes.

Story of Govindaji's priests:
"The priests in the temple of Govindaji at Jaipur were celibates at first, and at that time they had fiery natures.  Once the King of Jaipur sent for them, but they didn't obey him.  They said to the messenger, 'Ask the king to come to see us.' After consultation, the king and his ministers arranged marriages for them.  From then on the king didn't have to send for them.  They would come to him of themselves and say: 'Your Majesty, we have come with our blessings.  Here are the sacred flowers of the temple.  Deign to accept them.' They came to the palace, for now they always wanted money for one thing or another: the building of a house, the rice-taking ceremony of their babies, or the rituals connected with the beginning of their children's education.

Story of twelve hundred nedas:
"There is the story of the twelve hundred nedas and thirteen hundred nedis.  Virabhadra, the son of Nityananda Goswami, had thirteen hundred 'shaven-headed' disciples.  They attained great spiritual powers.  That alarmed their teacher.  'My disciples have acquired great spiritual powers', thought Virabhadra.  'Whatever they say to people will come to pass.  Wherever they go they may create alarming situations; for people offending them unwittingly will come to grief.' Thinking thus, Virabhadra one day called them to him and said, 'See me after performing your daily devotions on the bank of the Ganges.' These disciples had such a high spiritual nature that, while meditating, they would go into samādhi and be unaware of the river water flowing over their heads during the flood-tide.  Then the ebb-tide would come and still they would remain absorbed in meditation.
"Now, one hundred of these disciples had anticipated what their teacher would ask of them.  Lest they should have to disobey his injunctions, they had quickly disappeared from the place before he summoned them.  So they did not go to Virabhadra with the others.  The remaining twelve hundred disciples went to the teacher after finishing their meditation.  Virabhadra said to them: 'These thirteen hundred nuns will serve you.  I ask you to marry them.' 'As you please, revered sir', they said.  'But one hundred of us have gone away.' Thenceforth each of these twelve hundred disciples had a wife.  Consequently they all lost their spiritual power.  Their austerities did not have their original fire.  The company of woman robbed them of their spirituality because it destroyed their freedom.

Degrading effect of serving others:
(To Vijay) "You yourself perceive how far you have gone down by being a servant of others.  Again, one finds that people with many university degrees, scholars with their vast English education, accept service under their English masters and are daily trampled under their boots.  The one cause of all this is woman.  They have married and set up a 'gay fair' with their wives and children.  Now they cannot go back, much as they would like to.  Hence all these insults and humiliations, all this suffering from slavery.
"Once a man realizes God through intense dispassion, he is no longer attached to woman.  Even if he must lead the life of a householder, he is free from fear of and attachment to woman.  Suppose there are two magnets, one big and the other small.  Which one will attract the iron? The big one, of course.  God is the big magnet.  Compared to Him, woman is a small one.  What can 'woman' do?"

Worshipping woman as Divine Mother:
A DEVOTEE: "Sir, shall we hate women then?"
MASTER: "He who has realized God does not look upon a woman with the eye of lust; so he is not afraid of her.  He perceives clearly that women are but so many aspects of the Divine Mother.  He worships them all as the Mother Herself.
(To Vijay) "Come here now and then.  I like to see you very much."
VIJAY: "I have to do my various duties in the Brahmo Samaj; that is why I can't always come here.  But I shall visit you whenever I find it possible."

Difficulties of preaching:
MASTER (to Vijay): "The task of a religious teacher is indeed difficult.  One cannot teach men without a direct command from God.  People won't listen to you if you teach without such authority.  Such teaching has no force behind it.  One must first of all attain God through spiritual discipline or some other means.  Thus armed with authority from God, one can deliver lectures.
"After receiving the command from God, one can be a teacher and give lectures anywhere.  He who receives authority from God also receives power from Him.  Only then can he perform the difficult task of a teacher.
"An insignificant tenant was once engaged in a lawsuit with a big landlord.  People realized that there was a powerful man behind the tenant.  Perhaps another big landlord was directing the case from behind.  Man is an insignificant creature.  He cannot fulfil the difficult task of a teacher without receiving power direct from God."
VIJAY: "Don't the teachings of the Brahmo Samaj bring men salvation?"
MASTER: "How is it ever possible for one man to liberate another from the bondage of the world? God alone, the Creator of this world-bewitching maya, can save men from maya.  There is no other refuge but that great Teacher, Satchidananda.  How is it ever possible for men who have not realized God or received His command, and who are not strengthened with divine strength, to save others from the prison-house of the world?

"One day as I was passing the Panchavati on my way to the pine-grove, I heard a bullfrog croaking.  I thought it must have been seized by a snake.  After some time, as I was coming back, I could still hear its terrified croaking.  I looked to see what was the matter, and found that a water-snake had seized it.  The snake could neither swallow it nor give it up.  So there was no end to the frog's suffering.  I thought that had it been seized by a cobra it would have been silenced after three croaks at the most.  As it was only a water-snake, both of them had to go through this agony.  A man's ego is destroyed after three croaks, as it were, if he gets into the clutches of a real teacher.  But if the teacher is an 'unripe' one, then both the teacher and the disciple undergo endless suffering.  The disciple cannot get rid either of his ego or of the shackles of the world.  If a disciple falls into the clutches of an incompetent teacher, he doesn't attain liberation."

SOURCE: The  gospel of Sri Ramakrishna