Sunday 14 April 2024

Nava-Ratri Special : Devi Sarada - 4


As the worship proceeded, Sarada and Sri Ramakrishna lost outer consciousness and were united in the transcendental unity of samadhi. Both realized their identity with the Absolute. Long after midnight, regaining some awareness of the outer world, Sri Ramakrishna offered himself to the Divine Mother, now manifest in the form of Sarada. He surrendered himself, along with his japamala and the results of all his sadhana, at her feet and then recited a sloka from the Chandi: 'O Consort of Shiva ings! O , the most auspicious of all auspicious be- Doer of all actions! O Refuge of all! O three-eyed goddess of golden complexion! O Power of Narayana, I salute You again and again' (352).

Ordinarily one performs the worship of Tripurasundari, the Shodashi Puja, with some intent of personal gain or a desired result. What was Sri Ramakrishna's motive? We can certainly rule out personal gain. The Bhairavi Brahmani had already declared at the end of Sri Ramakrishna's Tantric sadhana that he was established in divyabhava, a state of consciousness in which he experienced the whole universe as the Divine Mother10. We find his own vivid description of that exalted mood in his account of his experience in the Kali temple when he saw everything as consciousness. We can rule out personal gain as his reason for performing the Shodashi Puja, but was there another result that he wished to bring about? For him the puja was the culmination of twelve long years of sadhana, an act of complete self-surrender to the Divine Mother. At the same time, it was the means to awaken Sarada to the great spiritual power that was potential in her. With this worship Ramakrishna
acknowledged her as a partner in his earthly mission. No other divine consort, not even Sita or Radha. has played such an active role in spreading the avatara's message11." As his shakti, Sarada Devi was Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual equal, destined to become the guiding and protecting force of the monastic order that would some day be established in his name. For these and other reasons, the significance of the Shodashi Puja cannot be overestimated; yet even after this defining moment in her earthly life, Sarada Devi remained to outward eyes the simple, devoted, hard-working wife of the holy man of Dakshineswar.

Since everything Sri Ramakrishna did was guided by the Divine Mother, so was this Shodashi Puja. He did not divulge the details of it to anyone, not even to Hriday and Dinu, who had assisted with the preparations. They had no idea that he would evoke the Mother in the form of Tripurasundari, which was a total break with precedent on the new- moon night of the Phalaharini Kali Puja12. The shastras enjoin that Tripurasundari, or Shodashi, be worshipped on the night of the full moon. Different times are auspicious for the worship of different aspects of the Divine Mother. Kali, during Maharatri (cosmic dissolution), is in her nirguna state; it is then that mind, form, and all other attributes dissolve into 'no-thingness' (not nothingness, but a positive state devoid of all qualities), leaving only infinite, self-luminous consciousness. Tripurasundari is just the opposite. Rather than revealing 'no-thingness, she manifests purnatva, the divine fullness of beauty, grace, and all other virtues. In invoking Tripurasundari, Sri Ramakrishna revealed Sarada Devi as the power of divine fullness and universal motherhood (28-9). That explains why when Holy Mother was once asked if she were the mother of all, she replied, 'Yes.' When pressed further with the question, 'Even of these birds and animals?' her reply was, 'Yes, of these also'.13

References :

10. Pravrajika Vedantaprana, 'Sarada Shodashi', in Eternal Mother, 32-3.

11. Pravrajika Bhavaniprana, "The Fulfilment of Sri Ramakrishna's Mission', in Eternal Mother, 78.
12. 'Sarada Shodashi', 23-4-

13. Her Devotee-children, The Gospel of the Holy Mother (Chennai: Ramakrishna Math, 2000), 75.

-by Devadatta Kali (courtesy : Prabuddha Bharat 2007 April)

To be continued ...


--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Saturday 13 April 2024

Nava-Ratri Special : Devi Sarada - 3


Although we speak of her all-embracing love, it will be instructive to remember that throughout the long span of Indian religious history, and even back in prehistoric times, the Divine Mother has been known to have two faces, the gentle (saumya) and the fierce (ugra). Neolithic images portray her as life-giving, nurturing, and benevolent or, alternatively, as hooded, grim-faced, and presiding over death. It is easy to imagine these figurines as the antecedents of the benevolent Lakshmi and Saraswati or of the sometimes frightening Durga and Kali. Because Indian religion has always portrayed the Mother in gracious and formidable forms, the obvious conclusion is that both aspects represent an underlying spiritual reality. That reality is the all-encompassing nature of the Divine Mother, in whose supreme oneness all the opposing characteristics of duality are reconciled and resolved. That sublime truth is patently manifest in the powerful iconography of Kali.

Naturally reticent, Sarada Devi was reluctant to reveal her true nature, but occasionally a hint of it would slip out from behind her veil of humility. Many incidents in her life afford a brief glimpse of one of her Devi aspects, most often a saumya manifestation, but occasionally an ugra form as well. From the time of her early childhood and continuing through every phase of her life, she would give signs to suggest that she was an earthly manifestation of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga, and Kali. We shall consider three incidents that illustrate some of these Devi aspects.

Devi Awakened

Sri Sarada Devi assumed human form to serve Sri Ramakrishna, and he, in turn, worshipped her as the Divine Mother, losing his sense of 'I' in her (21). Nowhere is this more dramatically illustrated than in a pivotal event that took place either on 5 June 1872 (according to Sarada Devi's own account found in Sri Sri Mayer Katha) or on 25 May 1873 (as recorded by Swami Saradananda in
Sri Sri Ramakrishna Lilaprasanga)9. On the night when the Phalaharini Kali Puja was to be celebrated in the main temple at Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna ordered preparations made for a private puja in his room. His nephew Hriday and Dinu, the priest of the Radha-Govinda temple, assisted in procuring the necessary items: flowers, bel leaves, food offerings, and all the rest. To the right of the
worshipper's seat was placed a beautifully decorated wooden seat, intended for the image of the goddess. When the preparations were completed, Sri Ramakrishna remained alone in his room. At his request, his young wife Sarada arrived at 9 p. m. After he had carried out the preliminary steps of the worship, he indicated for her to take the seat reserved for the image. Already in a high spiritual mood, she complied. Sprinkling sanctified water on her, Sri Ramakrishna then invoked the deity, saying: 'O Divine Mother Tripura-sundari! O Eternal Virgin, possessor of all power! Please open the gate of perfection. Purify her body and mind, and manifest Yourself through her for the welfare of all' (352).

References :

9. See Swami Saradananda, Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, trans. Swami Chetanananda (St Louis: Vedanta Society, 2003), 350, note 3.

-by Devadatta Kali (courtesy : Prabuddha Bharat 2007 April)

To be continued ...


--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Friday 12 April 2024

Nava-Ratri Special : Devi Sarada - 2


Devi Ramakrishna

The second Kali of Shyamapada's song is Sri Ramakrishna himself. Swami Vivekananda expressed the same idea in 1898, while travelling in the Himalayas with Sister Nivedita, Sara Bull, and Josephine Mac Leod. He told them that there was 'a feminine some- thing somewhere, that wanted to manifest', and that it had manifested in male form as Sri Ramakrishna, who spoke of himself as 'My Divine Mother'4. The following year Sister Nivedita told Vivekananda that she always looked upon Sri Ramakrishna as an incarnation of Kali. She asked if the future would call him that. 'Yes, Swamiji replied, 'I think there is no doubt that Kali worked up the body of Ramakrishna for Her Own Ends'5. Concerning this same question, we also have Sri Ramakrishna's own words. On 15 March 1886, five months before his mahasamadhi, he told Narendra and the other devotees present, 'There are two persons in this [his own] body-one is the Divine Mother-yes, the Mother is one of them-the other is her devotee'6.

Devi Sarada

Sri Sarada Devi is the third Kali of Shyamapada's song. It should not be surprising that the same great power that expressed itself through the form of Sri Ramakrishna also embodied itself as Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother. Customarily a divine incarnation comes accompanied by his shakti. Rama had his devoted wife Sita, and Krishna had his beloved Radha. Sri Ramakrishna, who revealed to Narendra that he himself was an incarnation of the same God that had assumed human birth as Rama and Krishna (303), equated Radha with citśakti, the energy of consciousness. Where God is present, so is his shakti. What does that say about Sarada Devi? What did she herself say?

Once while she was staying with Balaram's family at Kothar in Orissa, a disciple found her sitting alone in a corner of the women's quarters, absorbed in thought. Although her eyes were wide open, she did not notice his presence for some fifteen minutes. Then she confided to him: 'This repeated journey to the earth ! Is there no escape from it? Wherever is Šiva there is Sakti. They are always together. It is the same Siva again and again, and the same Sakti too'. Later in the conversation she revealed that she regarded herself only as the handmaiden of Sri Ramakrishna and wished she could do more to relieve the suffering of the world7. Thus we understand that the same great power that expressed itself through the form of Sri Ramakrishna also embodied itself as Sri Sarada Devi in order to give fuller expression to her all-embracing love8.

References :

4. The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1995), 1.363.

5. Letters of Sister Nivedita, ed. Sankari Prasad Basu (Calcutta: Nababharat, 1982), 157.
6. Christopher Isherwood, Ramakrishna and His Disciples (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1974), 299.

7. Swami Nikhilananda, Holy Mother (New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1962): 188-90.
8. Pravrajika Jnanadaprana, "There Is Somewhere a Great Power', in Eternal Mother (Dakshineswar: Sri Sarada Math, 2004), 19.

-by Devadatta Kali (courtesy : Prabuddha Bharat 2007 April)

To be continued ...



--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Thursday 11 April 2024

Nava-Ratri Special : Devi Sarada - 1


'THREE Kalis appeared in Dakshineswar'-so begins a Bengali devotional song, 'Tin kalir uday', composed by Shyamapada Basu Ray. The song describes three aspects of the Divine Mother Kali. The first
is Bhavatarini, who lives enshrined in the magnificent temple built by Rani Rasmani. The second is Sri Ramakrishna, who never ceased to call out to the Divine Mother Kali though he himself was Kali,
The third is Ma Sarada, who as the embodiment of Kali, never ceased to serve Kali in the form of Sri Ramakrishna.¹

The song urges its hearers to go to Dakshineswar and see these three Kalis 'with a full heart'. Behind this beautiful devotional spirit lies a great principle of philosophy and religion concerning three
aspects of divinity-three that from another angle appear as two, and two that are ultimately one. The song suggests a triad of the formless Absolute, God with form, and the divine power. These three can be reduced to two: Brahman (nirguna and saguna) and Shakti, or consciousness and its power. Ultimately, even these two are one. An inquiry into the philosophical foundation of this song will help us to understand who Sri Sarada Devi really is.

Who can guide us through our inquiry better than Sri Ramakrishna himself? Let us begin by looking at his understanding of Kali. For him the image of Bhavatarini in the temple represented the Divine Mother of the Universe, who is not different from the formless Absolute. Repeatedly he told his disciples that Kali and Brahman are one. 'One cannot think of Brahman without Sakti, or of Sakti
without Brahman.... Kāli is verily Brahman, and Brahman is verily Käli. It is one and the same reality'2. On one occasion he identified these two aspects of the One as cidātmā and citśakti, consciousness as Self and consciousness as energy (381).

What is the basis for Sri Ramakrishna's teaching? It obviously reflects what India's great spiritual traditions have taught all along, but its authority rests ultimately in his own experience of the divine reality. As a young priest performing the worship of Kali in the Dakshineswar temple, Sri Ramakrishna found himself ever more drawn toward the Mother by an irresistible current of love and longing until the separation became unbearable. Determined to end his life, he grabbed the Mother's sword that was kept in the shrine, and at that moment Kali revealed herself. Everything vanished from sight, and he saw only 'a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. Feeling that it was about to engulf him, he collapsed into a steady flow of undiluted bliss' in which he 'felt the presence of the Divine Mother' (13-14).

Sri Ramakrishna recounted another occasion in the Kali temple when he saw everything as full of consciousness the Mother's image, the altar, the worship vessels, the door-sill, the marble floor.
Everything was consciousness; everything was saturated in bliss; everything vibrated with the Mother's power. Clearly perceiving that it was Kali herself who had be- come everything, he even fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother (345-6).

For Sri Ramakrishna, Kali was both the infinite ocean of consciousness-bliss and its manifestation as the universal Mother, whose love is boundless and unconditional. His experience reconfirms for the present age a timeless message that the great Shaiva mystic and philosopher Abhinavagupta expressed some nine hundred years earlier. At the beginning of his Para-trishika-vivarana he wrote: 'Sakti surely should not be considered as different from Siva (na hi śaktiḥ śivāt bhedamamarśayet)3.

References :

1. Rachel Fell McDermott, Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal (New York: Oxford, 2001), 89, 164-5.

2. M, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami Ni- khilananda (Chennai: Ramakrishna Math, 2002), 134.

3. See Jaideva Singh, Para-triśikā-Vivarana: The Secret of Tantric Mysticism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass,2005), 8 (English text) and 2 (Sanskrit text).

-by Devadatta Kali (courtesy : Prabuddha Bharat 2007 April)

To be continued ...

 
--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Tuesday 9 April 2024

नव वर्ष की शुभमनाएं

Do not be in a hurry, do not go out to imitate anybody else. This is another great lesson we have to remember; imitation is not civilisation....Imitation, cowardly imitation, never makes for progress... And do not imitate, do not imitate! Whenever you are under the thumb of others, you lose your own independence....- Swami Vivekananda (Common Bases of Hinduism)

वर्ष-प्रतिपदा (09 अप्रैल) से युगाब्द 5126  विक्रमी 2081 तथा शालिवाहन शक संवत्‌ 1946 का शुभारम्भ हो रहा है। अंग्रेजों के भारत में आने के पहले तक भारत का जन-समुदाय इन्हीं संवतों के अनुसार अपना जीवन व्यापन करता था ।  समाज की व्यवस्था ऐसी थी कि बिना किसी प्रचार के हर व्यक्ति को तिथि, मास व वर्ष का ज्ञान हो जाता था ।  अमावस्या को स्वतः ही बाजार व अन्य काम-काज बन्द रखे जाते थे ।  एकादशी, प्रदोष आदि पर व्रत-उपवास भी लोग रखते थे । तात्पर्य यह है कि समाज की सम्पूर्ण गतिविधियाँ भारतीय कालगणना के अनुसार बिना किसी कठिनाई के सहज रूप से संचालित होती थी ।  आज भी समाज का एक बड़ा हिस्सा भारतीय तिथि-क्रम के अनुसार ही अपने कार्य-कलाप चलाता है ।
 
पश्चिमी कालगणना अर्थात्‌ ग्रेगेरियन-कैलेण्डर की व्यापकता और प्रत्येक क्षेत्र में इसकी घुसपैठ के बाद भी भारतीय कैलेण्डर का महत्व कम नहीं हुआ है । यह सही है कि ईस्वी सन्‌ की कालगणना सहज एवं ग्राह्य है तथा तिथियों-मासों के घटने-बढ़ने का क्रम भी इसमें नहीं है । फिर भी यह सटीक नहीं है. पूरे विश्व में "मानक' के रूप में प्रयुक्त होने के बाद भी न तो यह वैज्ञानिक है, न ही प्रकृति से इसका कोई सम्बन्ध है । इसका वैज्ञानिक आधार केवल एक ही है कि जितने समय में पृथ्वी सूर्य का एक चक्कर लगाती है, ईस्वी सन्‌ का वर्ष भी लगभग उतने ही समय का है।  वास्तव में ईस्वी सन्‌ का इतिहास भी पश्चिम की अन्य संस्थाओं की तरह प्रयोग है जो अभी तक पूर्णरूप से सफल नहीं हुआ है।  दस महीनों का वर्ष- पश्चिमी कालगणना का प्रारम्भ रोम में हुआ । शुरू में रोम के विद्वानों ने 304 दिनों का वर्ष माना तथा एक साल में दस महीने तय किये । महीनों के नाम भी यूं ही रख दिये गये ।  सितम्बर, अक्तूबर, नवम्बर तथा दिसम्बर नाम सातवें, आठवें, नवें तथा दसवें महीने होने के कारण ही पड़े । बाद में सीजर जूलियस तथा सीजर आगस्टस के नाम से दो महीने जुलाई और अगस्त और जुड़ गये तो सितम्बर से दिसम्बर नौंवे से बारहवें महीने हो गये । बारह महीनों के साथ एक साल के दिन भी 360 (12×30) हो गये । जूलियस सीजर ने ईसा से 45 वर्ष पहले 365.25 दिनों का वर्ष तय किया । इसीलिये वर्षों तक इसे "जूलियन-कैलेण्डर' कहा जाता रहा । जूलियन कैलेण्डर की सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बात यह है कि इसमें साल की शुरुआत 25 मार्च से होती थी । पूरे यूरोप में ग्रेगेरियन कैलेण्डर लागू होने तक नया वर्ष 25 मार्च से ही प्रारम्भ होता रहा । जूलियन-कैलेण्डर के एक वर्ष तथा पृथ्वी द्वारा सूर्य की एक परिक्रमा के समय में काफी फर्क था । पन्द्रह सौ सालों में यह अन्तर 11 दिन का हो गया । अतः ईस्वी सन्‌ 1532 में पोप ग्रेगरी (तेरहवें) ने जूलियन-कैलेण्डर में संशोधन किया । यही संशोधित रूप ग्रेगरी के नाम पर "ग्रेगेरियन कैलेण्डर' कहलाता है । इसके मुख्य संशोधन इस प्रकार हैं –
(1) वर्ष का प्रारम्भ 25 मार्च के स्थान पर 1 जनवरी से.
(2) सन्‌ 1532 के 4 अक्तूबर को 15 अक्तूबर माना जाये ताकि 11 दिन का फर्क दूर हो जाये.
(3) हर चार साल बाद फरवरी का महीना 29 दिन का हो. सरलता के लिये 4 से विभाजित होने वाले वर्ष की फरवरी के दिन 29 किए गये |

कई देशों ने फिर भी कैलेण्डर को मान्यता नहीं दी ।  इंग्लैण्ड ने सन्‌ 1739 में इसे स्वीकार किया । लेकिन यह संशोधन भी इस कैलेण्डर को सटीक नहीं बना पाया । अब भी पृथ्वी के परिभ्रमण-समय तथा "ग्रेगरी-वर्ष' में अन्तर आता रहता है । इसलिये अक्सर घड़ियों को कुछ सैकण्ड आगे या पीछे करना पड़ता है । दूसरी ओर भारतीय कालगणना में सृष्टि के प्रारम्भ से लेकर अब तक सैकण्ड के सौवें भाग का भी अंतर नहीं आया है ।
 
पूर्ण शुद्ध काल-गणना- भारत में प्राचीन काल से मुख्य रूप से "सौर' तथा "चन्द्र' कालगणना व्यवहार में लाई जाती है ।  इनका सम्बन्ध सूर्य और चन्द्रमा से है ।  ज्योतिष के प्राचीन ग्रंथ "सूर्य सिद्धान्त' के अनुसार पृथ्वी सूर्य का चक्कर लगाने में 365 दिन, 15घटी,31पल,31 विपल तथा 24 प्रतिविपल (365.258756484 दिन) का समय लेती है।  यही वर्ष का कालमान है ।
 
आकाश में 27 नक्षत्र हैं तथा इनके 108 पाद होते हैं । विभिन्न अवसरों पर नौ-नौ पाद मिल कर बारह राशियों की आकृति बनाते हैं । इन राशियों के नाम मेष, वृष, मिथुन, कर्क,सिंह, कन्या, तुला, वृश्चिक, धनु, मकर, कुम्भ और मीन हैं । सूर्य जिस समय जिस राशि में स्थित होता है वही कालखण्ड "सौर-मास' कहलाता है । वर्ष भर में सूर्य प्रत्येक राशि में एक माह तक रहता है । अतः सौर-वर्ष के बारह महीनों के नाम उपरोक्त राशियों के अनुसार होते हैं । जिस दिन सूर्य जिस राशि में प्रवेश करता है । वह दिन उस राशि का संक्रांति दिन माना जाता है । पिछले कुछ वर्षों से सूर्य 14 जनवरी को मकर राशि में प्रवेश करता है, इसीलिये मकर-संक्रांति 14 जनवरी को पड़ती है ।
 
चन्द्र वर्ष- चन्द्रमा पृथ्वी का चक्कर जितने समय में लगा लेता है । वह समय साधारणतः एक "चन्द्र-मास' होता है । चन्द्रमा की गति के अनुसार तय किए गये महीनों की अवधि नक्षत्रों की स्थिति के अनुसार कम या अधिक भी होती है । जिस नक्षत्र में चन्द्रमा बढ़ते-बढ़ते पूर्णता को प्राप्त होता है । उस नक्षत्र के नाम पर चन्द्र वर्ष के महीने का नामकरण किया गया है ।  एक वर्ष में चन्द्रमा चित्रा, विशाखा,ज्येष्ठा, आषाढ़ा, श्रवण, भाद्रपदा, अश्विनी, कृत्तिका,मृगशिरा, पुष्य, मघा और फाल्गुनी नक्षत्रों में पूर्णता को प्राप्त होता है । इसीलिये चन्द्र-वर्ष के महीनों के नाम चैत्र, वैशाख, ज्येष्ठ, आषाढ़, श्रावण, भाद्रपद, आश्विन, कार्तिक, मार्गशीर्ष, पौष, माघ और फाल्गुन रखे गये हैं । यही महीने भारत में सर्वाधिक प्रचलित हैं. मास के जिस हिस्से में चन्द्रमा घटता है, वह कृष्ण-पक्ष तथा बढ़ने वाले हिस्से को शुक्ल-पक्ष कहा जाता है ।
 
चन्द्रमा के बारह महीनों का वर्ष सौर-वर्ष से 11 दिन, 3 घटी तथा 48 पल छोटा होता है । सामंजस्य बनाये रखने के लिये 32 महीने, 16 दिन, 4 घटी के बाद एक चन्द्र-मास की वृद्धि मानी जाती है. यही "अधिक मास' कहलाता है । 140 या 190 वर्षों के बाद एक चन्द्रमास कम भी होता है । किन्तु "वृद्धि' या "क्षय' भी नक्षत्रों की स्थिति के अनुसार ही होते हैं । तीन साल में एक बार ऐसा अवश्य होता है कि दो अमावस्या (चन्द्र-मास) के बीच में सूर्य की कोई संक्रान्ति नहीं पड़ती । वही मास बढ़ा हुआ माना जाता है । इसी प्रकार 140 से 190 वर्षों में एक ही चन्द्र मास में दो संक्रांति आती हैं । जिस चान्द्र-मास में सूर्य की दो "संक्रान्ति' (एक राशि से दूसरी राशि में जाना) आती हैं । वही महीना कम हुआ माना जाता है. सौर वर्ष और चन्द्र वर्ष में इस प्रकार सामंजस्य बनता है ।
 
सबसे छोटी व बड़ी इकाई- वर्ष, महीने, दिन आदि की गणना के साथ-साथ प्राचीन भारत के वैज्ञानिकों ने समय की सबसे छोटी इकाई "त्रुटि' का भी आविष्कार किया । महान्‌ गणितज्ञ भास्कराचार्य ने आज से चौदह सौ वर्ष पहले लिखे अपने ग्रन्थ में समय की भारतीय इकाइयों का विशद विवेचन किया है. ये इकाइयां इस प्रकार हैं ।
225 त्रुटि = 1 प्रतिविपल
60 प्रतिविपल = 1 विपल (0.4 सैकण्ड)
60 विपल = 1 पल (24 सैकण्ड)
60 पल = 1 घटी (24 मिनिट)
2.5 घटी = 1 होरा (एक घण्टा)
5 घटी या 2 होरा = 1 लग्न (2 घण्टे)
60 घटी या 24 होरा या 12 लग्न = 1 दिन (24 घण्टे)
इस सारिणी से स्पष्ट है कि एक विपल आज के 0.4 सैकण्ड के बराबर है तथा "त्रुटि' का मान सैकण्ड का 33,750वां भाग है ।  इसी तरह लग्न का आधा भाग जो होरा कहलाता है ।  एक घण्टे के बराबर है । इसी "होरा' से अंग्रेजी में हॉवर बना. इस तरह एक दिन में 24 होरा हुये ।
इस प्रकार स्पष्ट हो जाता है कि इतने सूक्ष्म काल (1/33,750सैकण्ड) की गणना भी भारत के आचार्य कर सकते थे । इसी तरह समय की सबसे बड़ी इकाई "कल्प' को माना गया. एक कल्प में 432 करोड़ वर्ष होते हैं । एक हजार महायुगों का एक कल्प माना गया । इस बड़ी इकाई का हिसाब भी इस प्रकार है-
1 कल्प = 1000 चतुर्युग या 14 मन्वन्तर
1 मन्वन्तर = 71 चतुर्युगी
1 चतुर्युग = 43,20,000 वर्ष
प्रत्येक चतुर्युगी के सन्धि-काल में कुछ "सन्धि-वर्ष' होते हैं, जो किसी भी युग में जोड़े नहीं जाते । उन्हें जोड़ने पर 14 मन्वन्तरों के कुल वर्ष 1000 महायुगों ( चतुर्युगियों) के बराबर हो जाते हैं । इस समय श्वेतवाराह "कल्प' चल रहा है. इस कल्प का वर्तमान में सातवां मन्वन्तर है । जिसका नाम वैवस्वत है. वैवस्वत मन्वन्तर के 71 महायुगों में से 27 बीत चुके हैं तथा 28 वीं चतुर्युगी के भी सतयुग, त्रेता तथा द्वापर बीत कर कलियुग का 5126 वां वर्ष आगामी वर्ष-प्रतिपदा से प्रारंभ होगा. इसका अर्थ है कि श्वेतवाराह कल्प में 1,97,29,49,126 वर्ष बीत चुके हैं । अर्थात्‌ सृष्टि का प्रारम्भ हुए 2 अरब वर्ष हो गये हैं. आज के वैज्ञानिक भी पृथ्वी की आयु 2 अरब वर्ष ही बताते हैं ।

वर्ष-प्रतिपदा से जिन भारतीय संवतों का प्रारम्भ हो रहा है, उनमें कुछ महत्वपूर्ण संवत्‌ निम्न हैं-
कल्पाब्द – 1,97,29,49,126
श्रीराम संवत्‌ – 1,25,69,121(श्रीराम जन्म से प्रारम्भ)
श्रीकृष्ण संवत्‌ – 5,250 (श्रीकृष्ण जन्म से प्रारम्भ)
युगाब्द (कलियुग सं.)- 5,126 (श्रीकृष्ण के महाप्रयाण से)
बौद्ध संवत्‌ – 2,599 (गौतम बुद्ध के प्रादुर्भाव से)
महावीर संवत्‌ – 2,551 (भगवान महावीर के जन्म वर्ष से)
श्री शंकराचार्य संवत्‌- 2,304 (आद्य शंकराचार्य के जन्म से )
विक्रम संवत्‌ – 2081,
शालिवाहन (शक)- 1,946
हर्षाब्द – 1,417
संवत की तालिका में हम और भी बहुत कुछ जोड़ सकते है । पर शरुआत के लिए इतना पर्याप्त है ।
अंधे अनुकरण से बचे और आज, नए साल पर हम यह हमारी धरोहर याद करे और उसे आगे बढ़ाए ।  नव वर्ष की शुभमनाएं ।

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कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

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सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Monday 8 April 2024

Vande Mataram!

A littérateur par excellence whose trailblazing novels steered the Bengali literary world towards a new progressive direction and whose patriotic verses went on to be embraced as India's national song, Vande Mataram, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was not only a luminary of the Bengal Renaissance, but continues to be a literary giant in our times. His journalistic authenticity and social satires inspired generations of writers and authors who came after him.

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was born during the high-noon of British imperialism in 1838 at present day Naihati town in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal and passed away passed away in Calcutta (now Kolkata) at the age of 65 in 1891 (April 8). He studied at the Hooghly Mohsin College and subsequently at the Presidency College, making him one of the early graduates of Calcutta University. He had a long career in bureaucracy and served as a deputy magistrate across several Indian states.

His youthful compositions made appearances in the Sambad Prabhakar but it was in 1858 that he published his anthology of poems, Lalita O Manas. Rajmohan's Wife (1864) was his only English literary work. Chattopadhyay, in the words of the great Bengali reformist-philosopher Debendranath Tagore, took "the Bengali heart by storm" with his novel Durgeshnandini (1865) which revolves around a Rajput hero and a Bengali heroine. In fact, it is through Durgeshnandini and subsequently, Kapalkundala (1866) and perhaps most importantly, Vishabriksha (The Poison Tree) that Bankim made a stellar case for women's rights and trenchantly criticized the evils of child marriage, caste discrimination, child widowhood. Bankim Chandra's newspaper, Bangadarshan, was first published in 1872 and ushered in a new era in journalism and literary creativity. Bangadarshan soon became the holy sanctum of Chattopadhyay's works. Several of his later novels were published in a serialized manner in the newspaper such as Radharani, Chandrashekhar, Rajani, Krishnakanter Uil, Debi Chaudhuran, Sitaram among others.
(Ananda The Abbey of Bliss Second Edition, 1883)
Almost serving as a revolutionary call to arms, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's Ananda (The Abbey of Bliss, 1882) ignited the spirits of the Indian youth. It became a clarion call for reclaiming national pride and serving the motherland even at the cost of one's own life. Today's national song, Vade Mataram, featured as a poem within the novel and almost single-handedly imagined the Indian subcontinent as a Mother. Drawing from the strong shakti tradition of Bengal, Bankim Chattopadhyay envisioned India as the profound Mother Goddess or the divine Bharat Mata. But this Mother (India) was dying under the yoke of the British rule and it was the responsibility of the sons of this soil to rise in resistance against the diabolical nature of the alien rule. Set against the Sannyasi Rebellion or the Monk Rebellion (1770-1777) that had been led by ascetics, fakirs and hermits of Bengal against the English East India Company and its rabid revenue policies, Ananda, for the first time, drove home the urgency of radical and revolutionary action for the greater good of the nation.

Vande Mataram! (I praise thee Mother!) became a clarion call during the anti- Bengal Partition or Swadeshi movement in 1905 and for the entire freedom struggle at large. Slogans of Vande Mataram rang not only in the streets of urban Bengal, Bombay or Madras but throughout India, across all its nooks and corners. The British state swiftly launched a ban on Ananda and heavily cracked down on Indian civilians who used the slogan. The very act of pronouncing the words became a revolutionary act and filled common men and women with an unprecedented nationalist pride.

A telling passage from the book that brings to the fore Bankim Chandra's idea of an inclusive India is when Mahatma Satya initiated Mahendra and 'the stranger' into the revolutionary ascetic order of Ananda to dedicate themselves to the service of Mother India. It stressed that the national identity was far above their individual community identity. In an instance from the book, Mahatma Satya upon initiating the stranger says,

"Splendid! Do you both renounce your castes? For all Children belong to the same caste. In our work we do not differentiate between Hindu or Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh, Parsee or Pariah. We are all brothers here — all Children of the same Mother India. What do you say?"

We agree to forget caste altogether. We all are Children of the same Mother.

Now I am willing to initiate you. You must never break your promises. God and Mother India are your witnesses. Hell is the only fitting punishment for those who break their word of honour.'

'Yes, we realise that indeed.'
'Then sing Bande Mataram.'
They sang Bande Mataram from the depths of their hearts"

(Symbol of Anushilam Samiti)
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's political philosophy stemmed from the firm belief that Indian society must synergize the best practices of the West without acknowledging a total subservient self-surrender to Western culture. He was thoroughly interested in European literature, Enlightenment thought, Western polemic on rationality and morality. His own worldview was shaped by Comtean Positivism, Bentham's Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill's audacious take on social and gender philosophy and in fact, also by strands of French Socialism. He was a champion of modernity and progressive cosmopolitanism, yet he emphatically promoted the need to reclaim one's Indian roots.

Bankim Chandra also asserted that the lack of physical strength and will power among Indian men was causing them to continuously submit to foreign rule. The pejorative titles used by Englishmen against Bengali men in particular and Indians in general, of being armchair intellectuals and 'effiminate' outraged Chattopadhyay who countered such vile allegations through his plot-lines while simultaneously imbuing them with strong patriotic fervour.

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's novels and writings were deeply embedded in History, a case in point being his novel, Rajsimha (1881). This was primarily because he believed that one of the biggest assets of a region lay in their ability to write about their past. A fact he thought was not the case with Indians. There was a gaping hole in Indian historical traditions where memorializing one's past was never undertaken seriously and this allowed for ambiguity in narratives which was skillfully manipulated by the imperialists to dub Indians and Indian pasts as being inferior to the West.

His abhorrence for the despicable nature of English rule becomes buoyant as one recounts his interaction with Ramkrishna Paramhansa, a philosopher and preacher from Bengal. Upon meeting Bankim Chandra, Ramkrishna had endearingly quipped that what was it that had caused him to "bend" as bankim literally means 'bent a little'. To this, Bankim Chattopadhyay had humorously replied that it was the 'kick of the Englishman's shoe' that had caused him to bend.

Spiritualism and a deep sense of philosophy pervaded his literary works. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was inspired by the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of 14th and 15th century Bengal and it is from Bengal's 'bhakti' traditions that he coined the idea of 'anushilan' in order upend the supremacy of Western cultural domination. Here, 'anushilan' as a functional idea was predicated wholly on the traditions of 'bhakti' which in turn was divided into knowledge and duty. He writes at length about his understanding of this bhakti in Dharmattatva where he exhorts the need to combine devotion and knowledge to aspire for power and civilizational greatness.

Interestingly, Chattopadhyay critiqued the Sankhya philosophy in his essay on the Sankhya tradition, and its underlying principle of 'bairagya' or ultimate renunciation/non-attachment. He believed that this trend of philosophical understanding tended to sap the Indians of vigour and they meekly acknowledged the supremacy of other races. Instead, we see Chattopadhyay making a strident case for 'physical invincibility' of Indians, extolling the idea of self-assertion and will power, as seen particularly in his portrayal of strong protagonists in Ananda, Debi Chaudhurani and Krishna Charitra.

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay thus hoped for a spectacular national regeneration and urged the youth of his times to embrace the duties of being a son of the soil and wresting national freedom with force and self-belief from the British.  His penned words had a supreme impact on young minds. In fact, it was his Anushilan Tattva that inspired Praanath Mitra to start the Anushilan Samiti---a secret revolutionary group that was to create an unprecedented revolutionary legacy in India in the early 20th century. His works left an indelible mark upon Rabindranath Tagore who acknowledged Chattopadhyay to be his literary mentor and reverentially wrote about him:

Bankim Chandra had equal strength in both his hands, he was a true 'sabyasachi' (ambidextrous). With one hand, he created literary works of excellence; and with the other, he guided young and aspiring authors. With one hand, he ignited the light of literary enlightenment; and with the other, he blew away the smoke and ash of ignorance and ill-conceived notions.

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was revered in Bengal and across India not only for his progressive literary style but also for being a strident nation-builder. With his words he spun a national dream of freedom from not just a foreign rule but also from the self: he championed a victory over the vices of the self and a victory over retrograde societal ideas and norms so that India could awaken to a bold and glorious future that was inclusive and assertive of its rightful place in the global stage of nations.

Source: Indian Culture Portal

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कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Sunday 7 April 2024

On Appreciation of Indian Classical Music - by Pandit Ravi Shankar

Indian classical music is principally based on melody and rhythm, not on harmony, counterpoint, chords, modulation and the other basics of Western classical music.

The system of Indian music known as Raga Sangeet can be traced back nearly two thousand years to its origin in the Vedic hymns of the Hindu temples, the fundamental source of all Indian music. Thus, as in Western music, the roots of Indian classical music are religious. To us, music can be a spiritual discipline on the path to self-realisation, for we follow the traditional teaching that sound is God - Nada Brahma: By this process individual consciousness can be elevated to a realm of awareness where the revelation of the true meaning of the universe - its eternal and unchanging essence - can be joyfully experienced. Our ragas are the vehicles by which this essence can be perceived.


The ancient Vedic scriptures teach that there are two types of sound. One is a vibration of ether, the upper or purer air near the celestral realm. This sound is called Anahata Nad or unstruck sound. Sought after by great enlightened yogis, it can only be heard by them. The sound of the universe is the vibration thought by some to be like the music of the spheres that the Greek Pythagoras described in the 6th century B.C. The other sound Ahata Nad or struck sound, is the vibration of air in the lower atmosphere closer to the earth. It is any sound that we hear in nature or man-made sounds, musical and non-musical.

The tradition of Indian classical music is an oral one. It is taught directly by the guru to the disciple, rather than by the notation method used in the West. The very heart of Indian music is the raga: the melodic form upon which the musician improvises. This framework is established by tradition and inspired by the creative spirits of master musicians.

Ragas are extremely difficult to explain in a few words. Though Indian music is modal in character, ragas should not be mistaken as modes that one hears in the music of the Middle and Far Eastern countries, nor be understood to be a scale, melody per se, a composition, or a key. A raga is a scientific, precise, subtle and aesthetic melodic form with its own peculiar ascending and descending movement consisting of either a full seven note octave, or a series of six or five notes (or a combination of any of these) in a rising or falling structure called the Arohana and Avarohana. It is the subtle difference in the order of notes, an omission of a dissonant note, an emphasis on a particular note, the slide from one note to another, and the use of microtones together with other subtleties, that demarcate one raga from the other.

There is a saying in Sanskrit - "Ranjayathi iti Ragah" - which means, "that which colours the mind is a raga." For a raga to truly colour the mind of the listener, its effect must be created not only through the notes and the embellishments, but also by the presentation of the specific emotion or mood characteristic of each raga. Thus through rich melodies in our music, every human emotion, every subtle feeling in man and nature can be musically expressed and experienced.

The performing arts in India - music, dance,drama, and poetry - are based on the concept of Nava Rasa , or the "nine sentiments." Literally, rasa means "juice" or "extract" but here in this context, we take it to mean "emotion" or "sentiment." The acknowledged order of these sentiments is as follows: Shringara (romantic and erotic): Hasya (humorous): Karuna (pathetic): Raudra (anger): Veera (heroic): Bhayanaka (fearful): Vibhatsa (disgustful): Adbhuta (amazement): Shanta (peaceful).

Each raga is principally dominated by one of these nine rasas, although the performer can also bring out other emotions in a less prominent way. The more closely the notes of a raga conform to the expression of one single idea or emotion, the more overwhelming the effect of the raga.

In addition to being associated with a particular mood, each raga is also closely connected to a particular time of day or a season of the year. The cycle of day and night, as well as the cycle of the seasons, is analogous to the cycle of life itself. Each part of the day - such as the time before dawn, noon, late afternoon, early evening, late night - is associated with a definite sentiment. The explanation of the time associated with each raga may be found in the nature of the notes that comprise it, or in historical anecdotes concerning the raga.

Although there are 72 "melas" or parent scales upon which ragas are based, Indian music scholars have estimated that, with all their permutations and combinations, there exist over 6,000 ragas ! But a raga is not merely a matter of the ascending - descending structure. It must have its "chalan "- or certain note patterns characteristic of the raga; its principle important note (vadi); the second important note (samavadi); and its main feature known as "jan" (life) or "mukhda" (face), the cluster of a few notes by which a raga is immediately recognised.

In terms of aesthetics, a raga is the projection of the artist's inner spirit, a manifestation of his most profound sentiments and sensibilities brought forth through tones and melodies. The musician must breath life into each raga as he unfolds and expands it. As much as 90 percent of Indian music may be improvised and because so very much depends on understanding the spirit and nuances of the art, the relationship between the artist and his guru is the keystone of this ancient tradition. From the beginning, the aspiring musician requires special and individual attention to bring him to the moment of artistic mastery. The unique aura of a raga (one might say its "soul") is its spiritual quality and manner of expression, and this cannot be learned from any book.

It is only after many long and extensive years of "sadhana" (dedicated practice and discipline) under the guidance of one's guru and his blessings, that the artist is empowered to put "prana" (the breath of life) into a raga. This is accomplished by employing the secrets imparted by one's teacher such as the use of "shrutis" (microtones other than the 12 semitones in an octave, Indian music using smaller intervals than Western music: 22 within an octave): "gamakas" (special varieties of glissando which connect one note to the other), and "andolan" (a sway - but not a vibrato). The result is that each note pulsates with life and the raga becomes vibrant and incandescent.

Next to be considered are the "talas" or "rhythmic cycles" of a raga. There is unique intricacy and rhythmic sophistication in Indian music. There are talas ranging from a 3 beat cycle to 108 beats within a cycle! The most popular talas are those which have 5,6,7,8,10,12,14, and 16 beats to a cycle. There are also other cycles such as 9,11,13,15,17, and 19 beats, etc., which are only played by outstanding musicians on rare occasions.

The division in a tala, and the stress on the first beat (called sum), are the most important rhythmic factors. While there are talas having the same number of beats,they differ because the division and accents are not the same. For example, there is a tala known as "Dhamar" which has 14 beats in the cycle divided 5+5+4: another tala, "Ada Chautal" has the same number of beats, but is divided 2+4+4+4: still another tala, "Chanchar: is divided 3+4+3+4.

In vocal music, a drummer will accompany a singer either in slow, medium, or fast tempo at the start of a song in whatever tala the singer chooses. He will do the same when he accompanies an instrumentalist in the gat section of a composition. Like ragas, talas also have their own characteristics. Some of the older traditional talas , such as "Chautal" (12 beats) and "Dhamar" (14 beats) are played on a two-faced drum known as pakhawaj. This accompaniment is used in the old traditional "Dhrupad-Dhamar" form of singing and in instrumental performances on the veena, rabab, surbahar, etc. Today, most vocal and instrumental music is based on the contemporary form called"khyal" and is accompanied by the tabla, a two-piece drum.

The improvisatory nature of Indian classical music requires the artist to take into consideration the setting, time allowed for his recital, his mood and the feeling he discerns in the audience before playing. Since Indian music is religious in origin, one finds the spiritual quality in most of the musician's performances.

The traditional recital begins with the alap section - the stately and serene exploration of the chosen raga. After this slow, introspective, heartfelt, sometimes sad beginning, the musician moves on to the jor. In this part, rhythm enters and is developed. Innumerable variations on the raga's basic theme are elaborated. There is no drum accompaniment in either the alap or the jor.

The alap and the jor evolve into the gat, the fixed composition of the raga. Here the drums enter with the wonderful rhythmic structure of the gat and its time cycle, the tala. This section in based on the "Khyal: form. From this moment on, the gat (which can be anything between 4 and 16 bars of fixed composition) becomes the vehicle for the musician to return to after his improvisation. While the artist has complete freedom to improvise, he may do so only as long as he does not leave the format of the raga and tala. This freedom within the bounds of artistic discipline comes only after many years of training and sadhana. This is why one cannot rightfully compare the improvisation in Indian music with the improvisation of jazz.

The step-by-step acceleration of the rhythm in the gat finally culminates in the jhala portion as it becomes more and more playful and exciting.Sawal jabab ,the dazzling and rapid dialogue between sitar and tabla, has the power to enthrall even the most uninitiated listener with its thrilling interplay.

Often at the conclusion of a recital, the musician may choose to play a "thumri' or "dhun." This semi-classical style is much freer and completely romantic, sensual and erotic.

Indian music is much more appreciated and respected today in the west. Many composers and musicians have been influenced by our music. The openness, willingness to learn, and sincere enthusiasm of western audiences are a continuing source of inspiration and delight.

courtesy : https://www.ravishankar.org/music.html
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Some Highlights from the His life
  • 1920: Ravi Shankar was born on April 7, in Varanasi, India.
  • 1930s: He began his career as a dancer with his brother Uday Shankar's dance troupe, traveling extensively.
  • 1938: He started his music training under the tutelage of Allauddin Khan, a renowned musician and sarod player.
  • 1940s: Ravi Shankar emerged as a solo artist, gaining recognition for his virtuosity on the sitar.
  • 1950s: He began touring internationally, introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences.
  • 1960s: Shankar's popularity soared globally, especially after his association with George Harrison of The Beatles. This led to a surge of interest in Indian classical music in the West.
  • 1967: He performed at the Monterey Pop Festival, which further expanded his audience in the West.
  • 1971: Shankar organized the Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison, a landmark event in the history of benefit concerts.
  • 1980s-1990s: Shankar continued to tour extensively, collaborate with musicians from different genres, and receive numerous awards and honors.
  1. Bharat Ratna (1999)
  2. Padma Vibhushan (1981)
  3. Padma Bhushan (1967)
  4. Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1962)
  5. Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1975)
  6. Kalidas Samman from the Government of Madhya Pradesh for 1987–88
  • 2000s: He remained active in music, despite health issues, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
  • 2012: Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away on December 11, in San Diego, California, leaving behind a profound legacy in Indian classical music and cross-cultural musical collaborations.

Throughout his life, Ravi Shankar's contributions to music, cultural exchange, and global understanding have been immense, making him one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.

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  • कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Saturday 6 April 2024

Sacrifice

It was the 19th Vaishâkha (April-May) of the year 1303 B.S. Swamiji had agreed to initiate the disciple today. So, early in the morning, he reached the Alambazar Math. Seeing the disciple Swamiji jocosely said, "Well, you are to be 'sacrificed' today, are you not?"

After this remark to the disciple, Swamiji with a smile resumed his talk with others about American subjects. And in due relevancy came along such topics also as how one-pointed in devotion one has to be in order to build up a spiritual life, how firm faith and strong devotion to the Guru have to be kept up, how deep reliance has to be placed on the words of the Guru, and how even one's life has to be laid down for his sake. Then putting some questions to the disciple, Swamiji began to test his heart: "Well, are you ready to do my bidding to your utmost, whatever it be and whenever it may come? If I ask you to plunge into the Ganga or to jump from the roof of a house, meaning it all for your good, could you do even that without any hesitation? Just think of it even now; otherwise don't rush forward on the spur of the moment to accept me as your Guru." And the disciple nodded assent to all questions of the kind.

Swamiji then continued: "The real Guru is he who leads you beyond this Mâyâ of endless birth and death — who graciously destroys all the griefs and maladies of the soul. The disciple of old used to repair to the hermitage of the Guru, fuel in hand; and the Guru, after ascertaining his competence, would teach him the Vedas after initiation, fastening round his waist the threefold filament of Munja, a kind of grass, as the emblem of his vow to keep his body, mind, and speech in control. With the help of this girdle, the disciples used to tie up their Kaupinas. Later on, the custom of wearing the sacred thread superseded this girdle of Munja grass."

Disciple: Would you, then, say, sir, that the use of the holy thread we have adopted is not really a Vedic custom?


Swamiji: Nowhere is there mention of thread being so used in the Vedas. The modern author of Smritis, Raghunandana Bhattacharya, also puts it thus: "At this stage,1 the sacrificial girdle should be put on." Neither in Gobhila's Grihya-Sutras do we find any mention of the girdle made of thread. In the Shâstras, this first Vedic Samskâra (purification ceremony) before the Guru has been called the Upanayana; but see, to what a sad pass our country has been brought! Straying away from the true path of the Shastras, the country has been overwhelmed with usages and observances originating in particular localities, or popular opinion, or with the womenfolk! That's why I ask you to proceed along the path of the Shastras as in olden times. Have faith within yourselves and thereby bring it back into the country. Plant in your heart the faith of Nachiketâ. Even go up to the world of Yama like him. Yes, if to know the secrets of the Atman, to liberate your soul, to reach the true solution of the mystery of birth and death, you have to go to the very jaws of death and realise the truth thereby, well, go there with an undaunted heart. It is fear alone that is death. You have to go beyond all fear. So from this day be fearless. Off at once, to lay down your life for your own liberation and for the good of others. What good is it carrying along a load of bones and flesh! Initiated into the Mantra of extreme self-sacrifice for the sake of God, go, lay down for others this body of flesh and bones like the Muni Dadhichi! Those alone, say the Shastras, are the real Gurus, who have studied the Vedas and the Vedanta, who are knowers of the Brahman, who are able to lead others beyond to fearlessness; when such are at hand, get yourself initiated, "no speculation in such a case". Do you know what has become of this principle now? — "like the blind leading the blind"!

(CWSV / Volume 6 / Conversations and Dialogues)
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कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Friday 5 April 2024

And Sharayu keeps flowing...


On invitation from Shri Ram janmabhoomi trust, I reached Ayodhya on 21 January for the prana pratishtha samaroh. When I went from Lucknow to Ayodhya, from 10 km onwards, the roads were decorated with hoardings and  flowers. All the trees on road divider too were decorated with flower-garlands. Houses on both sides of roads were proudly displaying flags. After keeping the luggage in residence of a Sangh Swayamsevak, we went for a walk on the banks of Sharayu. Though Sharayu appeared flowing as ever silently, gracefully, I felt she has been a  witness to all happenings in the great city of Ayodhya. How she must be feeling today? I looked at her intensely.  With a gentle humming she started narrating.
 
Sharayu:

What shall I say about how do I feel today? When I look back...but how far should I look back? The day when Dasharath Maharaj performed Putra kameshti yagna to get a son or the day when the people of Ayodhya were dancing joyfully on the roads because four sons were born to Maharaj Dashrath? Or that most significant day of my life when the toddler Rama entered my waters, when his little feet touched me like the blue lotus? His divine touch transformed me forever making me mother Ganga as many devotees call me.  Surely, my whole life became divine in the context of Sri Rama; the purpose of my life became only to watch him, to see him smiling, to listen to his name and to keep flowing carrying that sacred name of Sri Rama forward.
 
Or should I look back on the day when Sri Rama along with Lakshmana and Sita left for 14 years of Vanavas, with the people of Ayodhya crying and walking behind them and entreating Rama to take them along with him as they could not live without him? Even I was wondering how shall I live without him? But those very very long 14 years also made us realise that Rama is within us though I still longed to see him. Little did I know that it was also a glimpse of  future of a very long wait of almost 500 years to await return of Rama.  

Or should I tell about the day when Sri Rama returned after 14 years of Vanavas? How the Ayodhya decorated herself! The people were dancing on the roads joyfully, chanting his name, decorating Ayodhya with flowers, mini flags, lamps. As Sri Rama entered Ayodhya he looked at all. What an electrifying, endearing look! Each one felt that Rama looked at him or her.  People walking on my banks were narrating - 'do you know when Rama came he first looked at me and nodded'.  The other person said, 'No, he looked at me, he recognised me.'  A 10 year old boy told, 'Do you know? I was not there when Sri Rama left Ayodhya. When he returned he first looked at me with his beautiful and compassionate eyes  and smiled. He knows me.' Listening all their chatting, how happy I had felt!  

Or shall I tell the most touching moment of my life of complete fulfillment and at the same time moment of loss, when Sri Rama alongwith his brothers and people of Ayodhya immersed in me and gave up their bodies! But Shri Rama continued in the temple at Ram Janm Bhumi and also in the hearts of millions and millions of people. As the years passed, the impact of Sri Rama in the life of many increased. Varied stories of Ramayana started enlightening and elevating the lives of people.
 
Or should I tell about that fateful day when when the barbarous army of that  Babar just broke the temple. The hearts of so many were shattered. I kept flowing mingleing my tears with my waters. My waters must have become bit saline then than before. Or should I narrate the painful incidents of those courageous movements after movements when people tried to get back Sri Ram Janma Bhoomi and were killed mercilessly. The structure that was constructed in the place of Sri Rama temple become an eyesore. Everyday while flowing I tried to avoid looking at it but the pain in the heart continued.
Or should I tell that when many persons disregarding their life, their hardships continued to fight for that and ultimately removed that eyesore, how a glimmer of hope rose in my heart that I would see the reconstruction of Temple and my Rama standing there and blessing all. I did not know that even then, I will have to wait for a 30 long years.
 
But why should I remember all those painful days; it's all over. See, today the whole Ayodhya, why Ayodhya, the whole Bharat and even beyond there is a great joy in anticipation of tomorrow's Prana Pratishtha. See, how many persons are walking, enjoying,  dancing with happiness; some persons are raising the flags in their hands and dancing to the tune of Ramnama. The bright lights of cameras of media interviewing the luminary VIPs, common man, the devotees, Sadhus etc. has added to the lighting and decorations in Ayodhya.
 
See that woman, she has walked all the way from Vrindavan carrying Bala Krishna - Kanhaiya on her head. She wants to show Ramlala to Kanhaiya. See that Sadhu is dancing with goggles on his eyes though it is evening, he seems to be in his own world laughing, singing and dancing. The happiness around is boundless, infectious and elevating. I am flowing fast eagerly waiting for tomorrow. Do you know, when Sri Rama murti was being made, everyday Vedas were chanted near it. While listening to that I got transported to those days when all the three queens were pregnant and would be listening everyday to various chantings and narrations from our scriptures. I am sure tomorrow Ramlala's darshan would be as delightful and elevating as it was of Rama in Ayodhya in those days.
 
On the evening of 22nd January, Sharayu continued:
Did you notice how VVIPs started coming very early to the venue? The morning yagnas and chanting further heightened the eagerness of all to see Sri Rama. My waters swelled when the Prime Minister with his penance of 11 days for this pooja, arrived for Prana Pratishtha. Sri Rama went out of the way in performance of his duties towards others, the people of his nation and that is why he became so dear to all.  The same tradition is continued by his this devotee and other devotees. How satisfying it is I can't tell you!

At last the very long awaited moment of Prana Pratishtha arrived. The sankalp of Pooja was heard by me and I couldn't control my tears. The well being of all and their families who sacrificed for actualising the rebuilding of temple, of those who worked day and night to complete the temple, of those who did right justice in case of Sri Ram Janmabhoomi, of those who contributed for the temple, the devotees - all this was covered. After Prana Pratishtha two Garuds came and flew around the temple completing the Pradakshina, I was so thrilled that my waters stopped few seconds. Did you notice it? It was  as if the whole nature is welcoming the arrival of Sri Rama. What endearing Darshan all had! Tears on the cheeks of Sadhus, Sants and many others were flowing as freely as my waters, making it difficult to see him. I have no words to communicate my feelings. If anyone listens to my waters they would hear only Rama, Rama, Rama. I am too full to speak. I would keep flowing watching the happiness on the faces of many who would be coming in lakhs for darshan in coming days. But do you know, I would keep flowing to see Sri Rama entering the hearts of all and that would usher Ramrajya in Bharat.
 
....And Sharayu kept flowing mingleing her tears of joy in her waters and humming Ramnama. The thousands of lamps lighted on her banks reflected her happiness and hopes of many for Ram-darshan and Ramarajya. And Sharayu keeps flowing awaiting Ramarajya.


- Ma. Nivedita Raghunath Bhide
(Vice - President Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, Padmashri, )
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कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26