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PRABUDDHA BHARATAPushpanjali to Sri Sarada Devi | Pravrajika Shraddhaprana  




               Pushpanjali to Sri Sarada Devi



               Pravrajika Shraddhaprana



     Astrange thing has happened today. All of you know that Jagaddhatri Puja is just now going on as usual in Jayrambati. Is it not strange that instead of planning a pilgrimage trip to Jayrambati, we just decided to come north-west to Delhi? But the occasion is the same, the same auspicious occasion of Jagaddhatri Puja. So you find me here in New Delhi. This is part of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devis 150th birth anniversary celebrations.


     There is so little left to tell about Holy Mother that is not known or heard at all that anything I say can only be a repetition, and this I want to avoid. But how come this lady, Sri Sarada Devi, who found it difficult to come out of the nahabat to see even Sri Ramakrishna, sometimes for a whole month, is now moving round the world? This is not my exaggeration. It was Swami Vireswaranandaji who first made us conscious of this, when he said, Do you know the West now wants Mother more than Sri Ramakrishna or Swami Vivekananda? I was surprised, but now we know how true it is. I never knew I would come to Delhi for this occasion. Since the age of three or four, I have been in contact with the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Even now I fondly remember how the Ramakrishna Math and Mission created the Sarada Math and Mission. Even now when I mention Ramakrishna Math and Mission, I say our Ramakrishna Math and our Ramakrishna Mission; for it was they who made the Sarada Math possible. That was their mission, Swamijis special message to them. That is why you find me here today instead of in Jayrambati.

     So much has been discussed for a whole year! I do not know if anything is left untold or unheard. The book Janmajanmantarer Ma was released on 16 December, when the celebration was going on in Sarada Math. You will be surprised to know that we were doubtful that we would be able to sell even 2000 copies. But before one fortnight had passed, every copy was taken. What made it happen? Mother is obviously coming to the forefront.


     Who am I to talk about Mother? This is not the time for speech making; today is the time to offer pushpanjali and pranamanjali to Thakur, Ma and Swamiji, and of course, my special pranams to Ma Jagaddhatri during this her first puja in Delhi. So recalling one or two incidents should be more than enough for today.


     Somebody asked Mother, There are very poor people who cannot afford to travel to Varanasi or any such holy place. How can they gain the merit which others visiting those places obtain? And what was Mothers reply? She said, They can gain the same merit by visiting Dakshineswar or Belur Math, provided they have such genuine faith! He for whom one visits Varanasi is present at Dakshineswar and Belur Math. That is one thing I remember.


     Once Mother was asked, Well, people call you the antaryamin; are you really so? She smiled a little and said, They say so out of devotion. Mother specially taught us, again and again, to be humble, to be prayerful, and to always remember the goal of our human birth. She did not take this role upon herself. Sri Ramakrishna had told her more than once, Well, my dear, wont you do anything? Should I do everything single-handed? Is this only my responsibility? It is yours too. What, after all, have I done? You will have to do much more. And that is true. Swami Gambhiranandaji wrote the authentic biography, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, on the occasion of Mothers birth centenary. But now, fifty years later, if another biography were to be written, several chapters will have to be added to that book. Since then many more incidents have come to light. But then, as I said, this is not the time for a long speech.


     I can only reminisce about what I have heard from the disciples of Holy Mother. Swami Madhavanandaji was then President of the Order and giving initiation. He once got a letter from a person seeking diksha. The candidate thought it his duty to describe his past life to his guru. He had led a miserable life. So Pramathanandaji, Madhavanandajis secretary, said to him, Shall I ask him to come? You had better interview him. Madhavanandaji replied, What! Did Holy Mother interview me before she initiated me? Had she done that, I would probably not have been blessed with initiation. That was their attitude; they were never discriminating.


     As I told you in the beginning, Mother is coming to the forefront; we have entered the Sarada age. And here in Delhi, you have invited Sarada Math to your celebration of Mothers 150th birth anniversary. For this I am grateful to all of you, and I take it to be your way of honouring Swamijis words: Mother has been born to revive that wonderful Shakti in India; hence it is her Math that I want first. We must first build a Math for Mother. First Mother and Mothers daughters, then Father and Fathers sons. In this terrible winter I am lecturing from place to place and fighting against odds, so that funds may be collected for Mothers Math. I shall be relieved when you will have purchased a plot of land and establish there the living Durga, the Mother. Although Swamiji did not live long enough to realize his dream, it is but natural that the wish of a person like Swamiji can never go in vain. It did come about and everything was done by the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.



     Guiding Wisdom and Insight



     There are many related incidents; I will mention only two. First, when the land for Belur Math was purchased, is it not strange that Sarada Devi was asked to do the first puja of Sri Ramakrishna in that old Math building at Belur? Why? She was not a sannyasini, nor had she performed Viraja Homa; she had rarely been seen doing puja in public. Even while giving initiation she always pointed to Sri Ramakrishna and said to the disciple, He is your guru. If anybody asked, So who are you then? she would just say, I am your mother. She always assumed the role of the mother. Anyhow, why was Holy Mother invited to perform that first puja?


     Second, Master Mahashay had then finished writing the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. But he was hesitant about publishing it. Girish Ghosh asked him the reason for it, because many in his place would not have said no. He said, You may get it after my death. Something seemed to work inside him. He thought it was better to read out part of the Gospel to Holy Mother, and he did it. What was Mothers response? She said, You need not be afraid to publish them. It was the Master who left these words in your keeping. Now he is bringing them out according to the needs of the time. You should know that peoples spiritual consciousness will not be awakened unless these words see the light of day. So, even for publishing the Gospel they needed Mothers permission.


     Again, when Swamiji was thinking of going to the West, Sri Ramakrishna had appeared to him in a symbolic dream, indicating that he should go. Still Swamiji thought of informing Mother. Mother took some time, but ultimately consented. When you hear this now, in 2004, it may not appear to be important, significant or surprising at all. But at that time, for any good Hindu to cross the ocean was a sin, not to speak of a sannyasin. So Swamiji needed Mothers permission. What idea could Mother have had about the West or where America was? But she took a little time and sent him her consent and blessings.


     In 1898 there was, as you know, a plague epidemic in Calcutta. Swamiji came down from Darjeeling. When sufficient funds for relief work were not forthcoming, he said, We shall sell the newly bought Math ground at Belur, if necessary! We are sannyasins; we must be ready to sleep under the trees and live on daily bhiksha as we did before. What! Should we care for Belur Math and possessions when by disposing of them we could relieve thousands suffering before our eyes! Swamijis gurubhais did not know how to stop him. Swami Shivananda suggested, Wont you take Mothers permission? At this, Swamiji said, You have spoken correctly, Tarakda. I shall go this moment to get her permission. And he went to Mother and, in his own forceful, appealing way, told her, Mother, there is no money to serve the plague victims. So I have thought of selling the Math property and using the money to continue our relief work. We are, after all, sadhus. We can pass our days living under a tree. We seek your permission. What was Holy Mothers response? She said, No, my son, you cannot sell the Math. It does not belong to you. It belongs to Thakur. Holy Mother Sarada Devi said that she, who had not received even elementary education, in the modern sense of the word! As she saw it, one relief operation could not be allowed to exhaust the potentialities of Belur Math, and the entire struggle that had gone into bringing it into existence; Belur Maths mission was meant to cover the whole world, for a long period of time.


     Adjusting to the modern age in a positive way, Swamiji himself had proclaimed that this was the time when Vedanta had to be preached to all and that Belur Math would have to do it - and Belur Math opened the Sarada Math. Why? As I said before, that was Swamijis special order to the future sannyasins of Belur Math. And today I express my gratitude to them. I have come here. I feel that all the respect, all the attention that is being shown to me is, in fact, being shown to Sri Sarada Devi. I have not come here to sit and speak before you as the President of Sri Sarada Math; that idea is not in me as I utter these words. I have come as a very humble servant of the Ramakrishna Sangha, which includes the Sarada Sangha. Swamiji himself thought so. Therefore I request you to go through the lives of Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi. Even Jogin Ma was assailed by doubt: she had seen the Master as a man of extreme renunciation, but found Mother so worldly-minded! Day and night she was occupied with her brothers, nephews and nieces. Of course Jogin Ma was fond of Mother, she had great regard and respect for her; and Mother also depended on Jogin Ma. Nevertheless, Jogin Ma had this doubt. Then, one day, as she was sitting on the banks of the Ganga trying to meditate, Sri Ramakrishna appeared to her in a vision and said, Look at the Ganga. Dirty things are floating on it, but can the Ganga be polluted at any time? Think of her [Sarada Devi] also in that way. Do not entertain these doubts. Know her and me as identical.


     That is what I have learnt from Holy Mothers disciples. And I am happy that you made me express my real, deep sentiments about Mother in front of you all. Just now, I am looking at you as sons and daughters of Sri Sarada Devi; I forget that many of you are very distinguished citizens of Delhi. I do not know who you are, but I know you have come here to join me in my prayers, in my pranamanjali. I repeat, today is not a day for speech making; it is a time for pranamanjali and pushpanjali. So please join me and let us pray. Holy Mother taught us especially how to pray and what to pray for. Once she said to Nalini Didi, Please pray with me to the Master so that he may completely wipe away from my mind all trace of ego. As we have already seen, Jogin Ma was told by Sri Ramakrishna to look upon him and Holy Mother as one and the same. Sri Ramakrishna persuaded Sarada Devi to take up the responsibility of spreading his message and continue his mission. I remember what Swami Bhuteshanandaji once said. Somebody asked, How should we think of Holy Mother? He said, We must learn from her how to pray, how to be humble, how to bow down before God. Holy Mother has taught us especially to be prayerful, to be humble, and nothing else.

     Now let us pray: Ma, make us your worthy children. Make us your worthy sons and daughters. India is in great need of such people. I am not a very learned person, I am not a scholar; but since my childhood I have learnt certain things, picked up some sentiments from the very venerable swamis of the Order who made me aware of the requirements of our times. India has never been in lack of prophets or learned and religious persons. But in the modern age, all their ideas and teachings have been expressed by and have been given to us through Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi. As I was looking at Holy Mothers picture in the temple just a few minutes ago, it occurred to me that what we need most today is the example of a true mother. That is very important. So let us pray that the worthy sons and daughters of todays India may become worthy fathers and mothers of tomorrow. That is what is necessary-good parents; good homes are what our children need today, in addition to good ideals. Lastly, they must know the value of human birth. If they lose this opportunity, where is the guarantee that they will be reborn once again as human beings? The supreme goal before us is God realization. Only in this human birth can we have God realization. Let us never forget that.



International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015








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