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Service to humanity is the highest form of worship -Swami Vivekananda

YUVA BHARATI - September 2007

Vol. 35 No.2
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Shravana-Bhadrapad 5109

September 2007


Editorial - P.P arameswaran .Parameswaran The Significance of Krishnavatara - Swami Krishnananda A Lesson for those in Old Age - Seema Burman Light on Idol Worship Vivekananda Kendra Samachar Vivekananda Kendra Arunachal Pradesh Then and Now

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YUVA BHARATI - September 2007

Vichitrasphuradratnamaalaakireetam Kireetollasacchandrarekhaavibhuusham Vibhuushaikabhuusham bhavadhvamsahetum Ganaadheesameesaanasuunum tameede. I extol that son of Lord Siva and the Lord of the attendants (of Lord Siva). He wears the crown studded with a garland of shining gems of variegated colours. The shining streak of the crescent moon adorns the crown. He has beauty as the only ornament. He is the cause of the destruction of the cycles of birth and death. - Ganesabhujangastotram.

The Search for Universal Brotherhood
Swami Vivekananda on 11 September 1893, in the World Parliament of Religions held at Chicago gave a call for Universal Brotherhood and placed forth the principles for achieving universal brotherhood. In Vivekananda Kendra this day is celebrated as Universal Brotherhood Day. This search for Universal Brotherhood is going on since the beginning of the development of human society. The search for strife-less society, was and is going on all over the world. It was felt that the differences lead to clashes, so if there is oneness then it can bring about brotherhood. But this search for oneness in the West led to insistence in uniformity of god, declaring ones own god as the only
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true god, whereas in India it led to the principle that everything is true and valid and is called differently as per the evolution, situation or needs of the people. Swami Vivekananda explains this in detail in his speech The Mission of Vedanta given at Kumbakonam. He says, We observe in the histories of Babylon and among the Jews an interesting religious phenomenon happening. We find that each of these Babylonian and Jewish peoples was divided into so many tribes, each tribe having a god of its own, and that these little tribal gods had often a generic name. The gods among the Babylonians were all called Baals, and among them Baal Merdoch was the chief. In course of time one of these many tribes would conquer and assimilate the other racially allied tribes, and the natural result would be that the god of the conquering tribe would be placed at the head of all the gods of the other tribes. Thus the so-called boasted monotheism of the Semites was created. Among the Jews 4

the gods went by the name of Molochs. Of these there was one Moloch who belonged to the tribe called Israel, and he was called the Moloch-Yahweh In time, this tribe of Israel slowly conquered some of the other tribes of the same race, destroyed their Molochs, and declared its own Moloch to be the Supreme Moloch of all the Molochs. And I am sure; most of you know the amount of bloodshed, of tyranny, and of brutal savagery that this religious conquest entailed. Later on, the Babylonians tried to destroy this supremacy of Moloch-Yahweh, but could not succeed in doing so. It seems to me, that such an attempt at tribal self-assertion in religious matter might have taken place on the frontiers of India also. Here, too, all the various tribes of the Aryans might have come into conflict with one another for declaring the supremacy of their several tribal gods; but Indias history was to be otherwise, was to be different from that of the Jews. India alone was to be, of all lands, the land of toleration and of spirituality; and therefore the fight between tribes and their gods did not long take place here. For one of the greatest sages that was ever born found out here in India even at that distant time, which history cannot reach, and into whose gloom even tradition itself dares not peep in that distant time the sage arose and declared, Ekam Sad Viprah Bahudha Vadanti He who exists is one; the sages call Him variously. This is one of the most memorable sentences that was ever uttered, one of the grandest truths that was ever discovered. And for us Hindus this truth has been the very backbone of our national 5

existence.Therefore the world is waiting for this grand idea of universal toleration. It will be a great acquisition to civilization. Nay, no civilization can long exist unless this idea enters into it. No civilization can grow unless fanaticism, bloodshed and brutality stop. No civilization can begin to lift up its head until we look charitably upon one another; and the first step towards that much needed charity is to look charitably and kindly upon the religious convictions of others. The religions like Christianity and Islam which are the further developments in Semitic religion of Jews also followed the same suit. Their search for unity became exclusive saying their religion alone is true. This exclusive approach led them to work vigorously and violently to wipe out any dissenting voice, idea or way of worship. But though it all started with the search for brotherhood or in the name of brotherhood, actually instead of brotherhood it led to more bloodshed. This search for unity based on the person or ideology is such an illusive thought that even the variations in their own religion are not tolerated. Thus the wars between Catholics and Protestants or Shia and Sunni continue. The universal brotherhood is missing even in amongst these particular exclusive religions. The conversion of each other within the religion also goes on. The Protestants want to convert the Catholics and vice-versa. Once I had met a foreign catholic Christian father who was working for nearly 50 years in Ranchi area. I asked him, why do you convert? He said, if I have something good with me should I not
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share it with others. When I know that believing in Jesus alone would give salvation, it is my duty to tell that to others. I asked him, but then why do you convert the Protestants? They are following the same Jesus. He said, They have to take to Jesus through our Church only. Swami Vivekananda says, I have found out by experience that all evil comes, as our scriptures say, relying on differences and that all good comes from faith in equality, in the underlying sameness and oneness of things. People in the world can be brought together only on the basis of principles. In many of the Christian countries they do not allow the Church of the other countries to work in their own country though the god that they follow is the same! For example, a Lutheran Church (of Germany) cannot work in England. Recently the Church authority were worried over the conversion of Catholics to Protestants in Latin America, though the same Vatican spends millions of dollars to convert others in Asia and Africa. People cannot be brought together in the whole world in the name of one god. Our sages gave the principle to rally the people around, Ekam Sad Viprah Bahudha Vadanti. Once an Arunachali commented, The Christian missionaries have divided us not only as Christians and Non-Christians but also in amongst Christians there are divisions like Catholics, Baptists etc. So they keep on fighting and converting each other, whereas when we were not converted we all used to celebrate our festivals together, we used to even till each
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others lands, help each other in building their houses. Thus the forcing of exclusive religion for universality, for brotherhood has led to more bloodshed and hostility than brotherhood. It is this internal strife within exclusive religions which made Swami Vivekananda say that It is in vain we try to gather all the peoples of the world round a single personality. It is difficult to make them gather even round eternal and universal principles. If it ever becomes possible to bring the largest portion of humanity to one way of thinking in regard to religion, mark you, it must be always through principles and not through persons. The brotherhood is possible only if each one respects others religions, way of life and do not resort to convert them to destroy it. As long as such actions of deriding others religions as false and converting others by force or fraud continue, there would be clashes and restlessness. Diversity is the rule of nature. But that need not lead us to differences if we accept everything as legitimate and valid for each other. This respect for all traditions, cultures and religions alone would bring universal brotherhood, would help all the local traditions in the world to survive. It is an admitted position that there is no tradition outside the Hindu tradition, which is founded on respect for all traditions, cultures and religions. The western and middle-eastern traditions are smeared in blood. Thus the foundation for Universal Brotherhood is in the Hindu tradition which respects all the traditions. In a convention organized for the Vanvasi 6

communities of North-East India, Sri David Frawley, a well-known American Scholar said that Hindu is a common name given to the local traditions in India. In a World Congress at Delhi organized by Swami Dayananda Saraswati for the nonconverting indigenous traditions of the world, many leaders of indigenous traditions from America, Africa etc. said that, Our hope is in India, in one billion Hindus, who have protected various traditions over the ages. The British historian E. P. Thompson wrote, India is perhaps the most important country for the future of the world. All the convergent influences of the world run through this societyThere is not a thought that is being thought in the West and East that is not active in some Indian mind. Only when the diversity is recognized, all can follow their traditions unhindered and with respect to each other without

denouncing the others. If India dies, who lives and if India lives, who dies! As humanity seeks universal brotherhood, the survival of strong India, India awakened to her purpose of existence is very much the need of the hour. Hindus have a great responsibility in working towards this. The Muslim and Christians in India are fortunate for having been brought up in the atmosphere of Universal acceptance in India. Thus they have a great responsibility of making their religions inclusive, by not forcing it on others but respecting others traditions and thus ushering in, the era of Universal Brotherhood. India has a great role to play to give social principles to the world where each ones right to follow their own tradition is gladly accepted and each one is helped to strive for the spiritual evolution on ones own line. India alone has the philosophy and experience of peaceful co-existence in the society. Therefore, she would have to play her role if this search of human society for universal brotherhood is to succeed .

Nivedita Raghunath Bhide

YUVA BHARATI - September 2007

The Significance of Krishnavatara

Swami Krishnananda

Significance of Krishna Janmashtami Krishna Janmashtami is the most important vrata and utsava celebrated throughout the country. The Padma, Matsya and Agni puranas extol the greatness of Krishna Janmashtami. When there is Rohini nakshatra it is simply Janmashtami. If a man observes fast on that tithi, the sins committed in many lives are destroyed. (Ref.Bhaavishyotara Purana). The main items in Janmashtami Vrata are:-Fasting; worship of Krishna; keeping awake at night; uttering hymns of praise; listening to stories about Krishna. Glory of Lord Krishna Scriptural Evidence: The foremost Vaishnava scripture Srimat Bhagavata proclaims Sri Krishna as the Supereme Godhead. While all these are the parts and particles of the Supreme Being. Krishna is He, the Bhagavan Himself. Krishna is the full revelation of the Lord, while the others come from age to age for the relief of the world from the sufferings caused by particular sets of Asuras. Bhagawan Vyasa declares in Bhagavad
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Gitas Gita Dhyanam, Slokas 5 and 8, that Sri Krishna is the Jagadguru, who is source of Supreme Bliss:I salute Lord Krishna, the world teacher, the son of Vasudeva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanura, the supreme bliss of Devaki. I salute that Madhava, the Source of Supreme Bliss, whose grace makes the dumb eloquent and the cripple cross mountains. In Bhagavata, Lord Krishna is praised as the sovereign Godhead, who is worshipped by Brahma, Rudra, Indra, Maruts, and praised by Vedas, Sankhya and Upanishads, whose vision Yogis get in Dhyana and whose end is not known in Suras and Asuras! Another great authoritative scripture, Sri Brahma Samhita unequivocally declares:Krishna is the Supreme, Godhead and is Eternal, Blissful spiritual body. Govinda is the origin of all. He has no other origin. He is the prime cause of all causes. The entire fifth chapter of Sri Brahma Samhita describes Lord Krishna as the


Sole Supreme Godhead with unrivalled spiritual body of super excellent charm. The formless, Nirguna Brahman is merely a penumbra of the transcendental, blissful Krishna. The other deities are merely emanations of Lord Krishna of Goloka. Bhagawad Gita also makes this fact very clear. He is the Father, Mother and Dispenser. There is nothing higher than him. He exhorts us to renounce all other dharmas and take refuge in him alone. One may refer to other scriptures like: Garga Samhita, Brahma Vaivarta Purana; Uddhav Gita; Sri Ananda Vrindavanachampu; Sri Gopalachampu etc., to confirm the fact that Lord Krishna is the Suprme, ultimate Godhead. Realisation of Saints and Philosophers Great Saints and Philosophers have also realized the Glory of Lord Krishna. Sri Ramanujacharya Thou art my mother and thou art my father too; Thou art my friend and teacher too; Thou art the knowledge and wealth; Oh! Lord of Lords, Supreme, thou art everything in my life! Adi Shankaracharya : 1. Oh! Dull-witted, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda; when the last moments of death approach, and grammatical recitations like Duhrung Karane will not save you. 2. I remember child Mukunda always; who is lying on the banyan

leaf, with his, lotus foot in his lotus mouth, put in by his lotus hand! Sri Vallabhacharyas Madhurashtaka Sweetness Incarnate : Sweet are his lips; sweet is the face; Sweet are his eyes; sweet his smile; Sweet is his heart; Sweet is the gaint; Sweet is everything of the great Lord of Mathura. Sri Kulasekharas Mukundamala : Victory, Victory to the Lord, the Darling of Devaki; Victory, victory to Lord Krishna the effulgent light of Vrishni race; Victory, victory to the Lord of dark cloudy tint; with soft limbs; Victory, victory to Mukunda, the reliever of Earths burdens! Sri Haridasa - Sole Refuge : To me bereft of all hope; Depending always on others; Full of sin and weak, Sri Krishna is my sole refuge. Sri Vedanta DesikaAbode of Mercy : Thou, all merciful, are alone my protector; you curb my sins and also forgive them. Sri Madhvacharya Worship Vasudeva, Imperishable Brahman : Actions dedicated to Vasudeva, become at once imperishable; All the miseries perish by uttering the name of Vasudeva. Sr i R u p a G o s w a m i n G r a n t m e steadfast faith: O Lord of all the worlds, I seek not wealth, nor servant nor women fair nor poems; Grant me devotion to Thee, birth after 11
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birth; one pointed devotion to the Lord of Mine! Sri Madhusudhan Saraswati (great advaitic philosopher) Nothing Higher than Krishna : I know no tattwa higher than Krishna; whose hands carry the flute; whose lips are smeared with butter; who wears Pitambara and whose lips resemble Aruna Bimba fruit; whose face is beautiful like a full moon and eyes are like lotuses! Renowned bhaktas like Gopis of Vrindavan, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Surdas, Meerabhai and Narasimha Mehta had realized the glories of Lord Krishna, through the path of devotion. In the present times, Hare Krishna Movement is vigorously spreading all over the world, through the efforts of ISKCON, founded by Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Mysteries of three aspects of Lord Krishna : The great mystic and saint, Mahamati Prannath has revealed the mysteries of three aspects of Lord Krishna, in his Magnum Opus Kulzam Swarup (or Taratmya Vani or Taratam Sagar), consisting 14 books, and containing nearly 18,000 verses. Today about 2 million followers of Mahamati Prannath, called Pranamis (or Sundersaths) practice his teaching of Krishna Bhakti. He has advised the devotees to worship the Aksharatita, Poorna Brahman, Purushottama Lord Krishna. At the Krishna Mandir at Panna a 3-year rigorous training course in Kulzam Swarup is available, for ardent devotees.
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Mahamati Prannaths tumultuous life (16181964 A.D.) is full of inspiring and heart rending incidents. Here we will see two remarkable incidents:1. Daring attempt to Aurangzeb (1679 A.D.) : enlighten

Mahamati Prannath wanted to enlighten Aurangzeb about the Unity of all religions so that he may cease to persecute the Hindus. To accomplish this hazardous task, Mahamati and his chosen 12 disciples (including two Muslims also) camped in Delhi and Anupsahar for 16 months. A letter in Persian script was written to Aurangzeb. The appearance of Imam Mehdi and the Day of Judgment was explained and the real meaning of Islam and the qualities of a real Muslim were elucidated. The emperor was urged to follow the path of truth and guide the world in the right direction. The real meaning of JIHAD is to wipe out the satanic instincts within ones mind. Aurangzeb was impressed with the message and wanted to meet Mahamati. But, the Mullahs misled him and the dialogue was prevented. Aurangzeb regretted this lost chance and uttered these last words on his deathbed I dont know why I came into this world? I could not fulfil my aim in life. The Lord came to my door but I did not recognize Him. The last sentence refers to Mahamati Prannath. (Ref: Jadunath Sarkars History of Aurangzeb; Vol.5; Page 210) 2. Mahamati initiates Maharajah Chhatrasal (1683 A.D.) : Mahamati gave a clarion call to all Hindu


Kings to unite and fight the atrocities of Aurangzeb. The great Bundela King and heroic warrior, Maharaja Chhatrasal was highly inspired by Mahamatis teachings and became his ardent disciple. Swamiji presented him a sword and covered his head with a scarf and blessed thus: You will always be victorious. Diamond mines will be discovered in your land and you will establish an ideal Kingdom at Bundelkhand (1680 A.D.). Maharaja Chhatrasal was victorious in his numerous battles with Mughal armies.

with capital at Panna. Chhatrasal became a terror to Aurangzeb. People of different religions lived in harmony and peace in his Kingdom. Mysteries of Krishna Leelas Revealed : Mahamati revealed the mysteries of three distinct aspects in Lord Krishnas leelas, which explains certain apparent anomalies in his life: 1. Vaikunta Vishnu Aspect : This is a lower aspect with lesser powers of Chaturbhuja Vishnu of Vaikunta, seen during the major part of his incarnation, from the time of his 18 battles with Jarasandha to his last leelas at Dwaraka. Akrura had darshan of this Vishnu aspect, while dipping in Yamuna. But here also for a brief period, when he delivers the famous Bhagavat Gita sermon to Arjuna at the battlefield of Kurukshetra, the Avesh of Aksharatita Purushottama (The highest power of Supreme, Transcendental Brahman) manifests in him, and enables him to reveal deeper mysteries of Akshara Brahman, Aksharatita Brahman (Purushottama) and Kshara Brahman (lowest aspect). This supreme power is withdrawn, when the sermon was over. As Vishnu Avatar, Sri Krishna, used various weapons in battles with Jarasandha, Banasura, Narakasura, Paundraka, Salva, Dantavaktra and Sambara. 13

Diamond was discovered and mined near Panna. A veritable, prosperous Rama Rajya was established at Bundelkhand


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Ultimately he witnesses the destruction of Vrishni Race, due to the curse of Rishis. Then, he is felled by the arrow of the hunter, Jara and departs to Vaikunta. In his last sermon to Uddhava (known as Uddhava Gita), he advises him to go to Badrikashrama, wear barks of trees, live on roots, and do severe tapasya. The higher mysteries regarding Purushottama, Aksharatita Brahman and Akshara Brahman are not revealed in Uddhava Gita, because here the sermon is given by Vaikunda Vishnu Avatara, Sri Krishna (and not by Purushottama, Aksharatita Brahman, who was speaking in Bhagavad Gita). 2. Akshara Brahman Aspect : This aspect of Krishna Avatara, though considered lower to Supreme Aksharatita Brahman, is an unimaginable, mighty power, manifested during the critical 11 days (7 days in Vrindavan and 4 days in Mathura). As per direction of cruel King Kamsa, Krishna and Balarama, accompany Akrur to Mathura. Witness how the young boy, Krishna kills the fearsome, mighty elephant Kuvalayapeeda with bare hands (using no weapons). Next he kills the giant, invincible Wrestler Chanura and his associates like Sala, Tosalaka with effortless ease! Thereafter, Krishna caught the mighty Kamsa by hair and threw him on the arena killed him and dragged him along the ground. The entire assembly stood and hailed his victorious feats. All these miraculous feats were accomplished with bare hands, using no weapons at all! Earlier, Krishna had transformed hunch14

backed, royal maidservant, Trivakra into a most beautiful damsel, by giving a pull at the Chin. But, after he liberates from prison, his parents, Vasudeva and Devaki; and removes the cow-herd dress, bathes and dons princely attire, this Avesh of Akshara Brahman is withdrawn to Akshara Dhama. Now, Yogiraj Krishna does leelas like restoring the dead son of his guru, Sandeepani Rishi. Vishnu Avatara leelas start with the 18 battles with huge armies of Jarasandha. He calls for his weapons like discus from Vaikunta. He beheads Sishupala with the discus (Prakata Vani of Mahamati; Sl.5558). Sanat Kumar Samhita, (35/51), throws light on this mystery; The killer of Kamsa was Vasudev, Sri Krishna and not the son of Nanda. Action performed in Dwaraka were from God Vishnu, the Lord of this world, who is par tial manifestation of Vasudev Krishna. 3. Aksharatita Brahman, Purushottama Aspect : This supreme power of Purushottama, Aksharatita Brahman manifested in Krishna, for only 11 years and 52 days of his boyhood in Gokul and Vrindavan (called Vraja Leela and Kishore Leela). This Purushottama Krishna, the Supreme Godhead, the fountainhead of all other deities, is to be worshipped. Vallabacharya worshipped Balakrishna while Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu worshipped Kishore Krishna. Witness the unimaginable power of child Krishna, despatching the terrible Putana to the Golokadhama, sucking the prana out of her breasts. He playfully dispatched mighty asuras like

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Kakasura, Sakatasura, Trinavarta, Vatsasura, Bakasura, Vyomasura, Agasura and Pralambasura. He subdues the most poisonous, terrible, Kaliya Nag, by dancing on its heads. When the child Krishna yawned, Yashoda saw the entire universe within his mouth. Vrajeshwar Nanda sees the whole universe in his mouth, when he discovers that the child has hidden the Holy Saligrama in his mouth! Lifting the mountain Govardhana, with his finger is a

mind-boggling miracle! Mahamati Prannath exhorts the devotees to worship this Purushottama. Lord Krishna, with Ananya Bhakti! Bhagavata, III/2/26, elucidates this mystery thus; The Life of Krishna up to eleven years of his age is a profound mystery. Alamdar Samhita, VI, 114 makes this point crystal clear. Krishna, the Supreme, performed his sport, for eleven years and fifty two days and thereafter withdrew his force to his abode.

Do you know Me?

1. I am the forerunner for Sri Rash Behari Bose and Sri Subhas Chandra Bose, in organising an Indian Army abroad to strike against the ruling Britishers at home. 2. I started the Indian National Volunteer Corps during the First World War, gave military uniform, disciplined them, and engaged them in the war. 3. I popularised the Slogan Jai Hind so much, that it got stuck to my name. 4. I have a unique connection with September. I was born on September 15th, 1891. I formed the International Pro-India Committee at Zunich in September 1914. 5. On September 22nd, 1914, I rocked the British empire by spearheading a German Submarine Emden. The bombing spree made Britishers flee Madras. 6. On September 16th, 1966, my ashes were brought to India, 32 years after my death. Unique isnt it? If you are still cluelessturn to Page No. 31


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A Lesson for those in Old Age

Seema Burman

Older people grumble that nobody pays attention to them. A mind that is not trained to be spiritual feels lonely in old age. But those who develop affinity with live souls, love to feed them and look after them. This gives us a happy connection with existence. Those who build up their love for God or a guru establish a relationship with their favourite deity. The satisfaction of such a relationship is soothing for the mind, body and spirit. With changing times, rules too are changing. Children find elders a nuisance and neglect or abuse them. Gurus now advise the old not to relinquish their property to their children as long as they are alive. In a true case a retired man distributed his three floors to his three sons after his wife died and lived with the eldest son. One day the son complained that his brothers were not contributing to the fathers food

and an arrangement was reached that each sons family would cook food by turn. The arrangement soon fell apart. The father started going to a nearby dhaba. His friends got together and hatched a plan. One day he gathered his sons and gave them tickets for a vacation. When they returned, a builder was waiting for them to take away their belongings as the house had been sold and their father had left without leaving behind any address. The biggest mistake we all commit is of getting attached to people and possessions. When discarded by our loved ones, we are saddened. That is why saints ask us to devote more time to spiritual attainment. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said that the best way to live life is like a caretaker. A caretaker is not attached to possessions. When worldly things are snatched from him, the caretaker remains calm and unconcerned. (Courtesy - The Indian Scouter)

Published and printed by N Viswanath on behalf of Vivekananda Kendra from 5, Singarachari Street, Triplicane, Chennai-5. at M/s. RNR Printers and Publishers, 8, Thandavarayan Street, Triplicane, Chennai-5. Editor: P Parameswaran.

YUVA BHARATI - September 2007


Light on Idol Worship

A person purchased a mud idol of Vinayaka and began worshipping it on Vinayaka Chathurthi. At the end of three days of Puja, he carried the idol and immersed it in a river. This was seen by a friend of his who had hardly any knowledge of idol worship and was puzzled by what he saw. Friend: You were worshipping the idol with great faith. Yet, now, you have thrown it into the river. Why? Worshipper: Originally, the idol had no sanctity and was just a beautifully-shaped piece of mud. Then, at the commencement of worship on Vinayaka Chathurthi day, I duly invoked Lord Ganesha into it. Thereafter, it became sacred. Treating it as the Lord Himself, I performed Puja to it. At the end of the stipulated period of worship, I requested the Lord to withdraw His special presence in it. The idol lost its sanctity and became just a piece of mud. It was that mud piece which I immersed into the river. Friend: How is it possible for a mere piece of mud to become holy and to then revert to its original state? Further, how can a devotee have the capacity to effect such transformations?

Worshipper: Consider an example. There is an ordinary man with whom we are all familiar. We are able to meet him whenever we wish. If he desires to see a high-ranking government official, he has to struggle to get an appointment. At the suggestion of people like us, he contests an election and, because of our votes, wins. He then gets appointed as a minister. Thereafter, if we want to see him, we have to fix up an appointment. The very officials whom he had difficulty in meeting now came 29
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to him and carry out his orders. He is provided with security and good accommodation. After his tenure as minister, he contests on election again. This time, the people do not vote for him as before, he becomes a common man. The special privileges and the authority of a minister are not his any longer. People like us, by our votes, cause this ordinary man to become a minister and then we revert him to his earlier state. Likewise, in response to the devotees Aavahana, invocation, the Lord specially graces an idol and the idol then becomes holy. Having accepted the devotees worship, the Lord withdraws His special presence in response to the devotees request; the idol loses its sanctity. An idol in a temple may have originally been a part of a rock on a hill; people might have walked over that rock and may have even urinated on it. A sculptor fashions what is an ordinary rock into a beautiful idol by chiselling it. Even then it does not become holy. It, however, becomes sanctified when it is duly consecrated in a temple. Thereafter, people worship it. The very sculptor, who earlier delivered hammer blows to it, prostrates before it and does not so much as touch it. Friend: Why did you make reverential offerings to the idol during your worship? After all, it did not even move a millimetre to accept anything. Worshipper: When a venerable guest comes to our house, it is in our holy tradition
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to receive him with honour. He is offered a seat and his feet are washed. He is fed. Devotees see in the idol not just mud or stone but the living presence of God. They hold that God does accept what is offered to Him, though the idol itself does not stretch out its hand to take what is given. That is why, in the course of my worship, I offered God a seat, just as I would, to a holy one who comes to my house. Then, I offered Padyam, water to wash His feet. Subsequently, I fed Him; this was my offering of Naivedyam. Suppose a guest proves unworthy of the respect that is shown to him by misbehaving with a female in the hosts house or by pilfering costly items. It is likely that the host will hand him over to the police. In the case of God, there is no possibility of His ever proving unworthy of the devotees worship. Hence, devotees never discard the idol they worship in the middle of the Puja. Friend: On Vinayaka Chathurthi day, Ganesha is worshipped in many places at the same time. Which idol does He chose to specially abide in? What influences His choice? Worshipper: All idols wherein God is properly invoked become sanctified. Wherever there is a drop in pressure, air rushes there. Likewise, God, who is everywhere, specially occupies all the idols where He is worshipped, regardless of the number and the location of such idols. Friend: In some places, the food that is offered is very small in quantity and in others, it is very large. Is not the former


insufficient for a deity and the latter excessive? Worshipper: No. In the Vedas, it is said that the offering gets modified in accordance with the wishes of the Devata to whom it is offered. What is important is that if a devotee were to resolve to offer a certain number of Modakas, say 1000, in a Ganapathy Homa, that is the number he must offer. He should

not think, This is too much for Ganesha to eat, and offer less. Actually, the Lord needs nothing but accepts and becomes sated with whatever is offered by a worshipper with devotion. (Source: Edifying Parables of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal, Sri Vidyatheertha Foundation, Chennai.)

Answer to the Questions on Page 15 is Jai Hind Champakaraman Pillai

God send us a Setupati now

Rameswaram is immortalized in the Ramayana. From Dhanushkodi, just close to it, Hanuman and his army bridged the strait between India and Lanka (now Sri Lanka), where Sita was held captive by Ravana. After Rama had recovered Sita, and on his return to the mainland, he is said to have set up with due ceremony a Shiva-lingam at Rameswaram. It is around this symbol of Shiva that the great temple of Rameswaram is built; and to it pilgrimage is made from all parts of India. The Rajas of Ramnad have from ancient times had dominion over Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. To this fact they owe the title Setupati, or Lord of the Bridge; meaning that they control the approach to Ramas bridge, or more correctly, causeway, which, as mentioned, extended from Dhanushkodi to Lanka.

Source- The Life of Swami Vivekananda : By His Eastern and Western Disciples 31
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VK Samachar
VKICs Sanskriti Anveshak Forum Interactive Sessions on the Vision of Srimanta Sankaradeva

One of the subjects of study and interaction for Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture [VKIC] since 2003 has been the contribution of Srimanta Sankaradeva to the nation. The study has been formulated with the objective to understand, adapt and apply his vision to the contemporary scenario. As a logical sequel to the Sattra Darshan programme organised in New Delhi last November, VKIC under its Sanskriti Anveshak forum has started an Interactive series on the Vision of Srimanta Sankaradeva. The details are given subsequently. First Session: 23 May 2007 Topic: Srimanta Sankaradeva and Bharateeyata Moderator: The interactive session that followed was moderated by Prof A C Bhagawati, former Vice-Chancellor of Arunachal University and Member of the VKIC Research Council. Margdarshak: Pujya Shri Narayan Ch Goswami, Sattradhikar Prabhu of Sri Sri Natun Kamalabari Sattra, Pujya Shri Karuna Kanta Kalita, Padadhikar Bap of Srimanta Sankardev Sangha and Pujya Shri Bhadra
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Krishna Goswami, President of Assam Sattra Mahasabha.

Sailent points from the Margdarshan: Sankaradevas religion and philosophy was based on the Puranas and the Bhagawatam. It was he who ushered in the Bhakti movement in Assam with his innovations incorporating the local nuances. Through his literary writings and creations in the form devotional songs, nritya, ankiya-nat (plays), crafts, paintings, he took the essence of the Indian scriptures, Upanishads, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to the common people. He went on to praise the greatness of India in his writing. Examples of this can be found in the Sankaradeva Bhagawat, Bhakti Pradip and Uttarakanda Ramayana. Sankaradeva had repeatedly said that India is the source of all religions and science and technology. He had tried to communities together to live in harmony maintaining strong bonds of love


thereby actualising the concept of Sutre Manigana Eva and laying down the approach towards a harmonious society. References were made to the various compositions of the Mahapurusha and that the neo-Vaishnava movement in Assam can show the way as to how to do away with our differences and intolerance and perceive Lord Narayana all around us. This attitude will lead to mutual trust and understanding thus leading to harmony amongst communities. The Mahapurusha emphasis of working amongst the downtrodden in the society: Even today following the footsteps of the Mahapurusha if all work to strengthen the downtrodden sections

of our society there will be harmony amongst all. The Mahapurusha delegated organisational responsibility to Govinda from the Garo community, Narottam from the Naga community and Paramananda from the Mising community so that all get habituated to work for collective welfare. On both the Sanskriti Anveshak sessions Mananeeya Shri Dipok Kr Barthakur, Chairman VKIC presided over the function and while delivering the welcome address spoke about the work of the Institute in general and particularly about our work on the Sattra Institution of Assam and the purpose of this series of Interactive session.

Kallubalu: Gurupoornima was celebrated teachers who excelled in their carrier were
on 30th July 2007 with different programmes. Guru Sloka and Hanuman Chalisa competitions were conducted for students, teachers and for parents, separate elocution competition on the Significance of Guru was organized for parents and well wishers. On this auspicious day Justice C. N. Ashwath Narayana Rao was the chief guest and he distributed the prizes and two Govt school toppers of SSLC(class X) were facilitated during the function. felicitated during the programme. Different schools performed cultural programme, followed by Prasad distribution. Around 300 people attended the function. Three Yoga satras were organized during July and August -2007, in which 65 participants benefited. One Yoga Satra was conducted for 15 days from 26th July for the officials of Kuthiramukh Ore Company, in which 25 employees attended. During the camp, one day non residential camp was orgaized for them. Regular Bhajan Sandhya, Samskar varga, Swadhyaya varga.

R T Nagar: Dr Jayaprakash Zilla Karyavagh of RSS was the chief guest for the vibrant programme organized during Gurupoornima. Two different Govt school


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On 29th July, Guru Poornima a day dedicated to the entire lineage of Gurus was celebrated. On this auspicious occasion, a current Vivekananda Kendra Patrika (Vol.35 No.2) on the theme Sri Guruji a living example of Spiritual Nationalism was released by Sri K.Suryanarayan Raoji, a close associate of Ma.Eknathji and All India Working Committee Member, RSS. Sri D.Bhanudasji, General Secretary, Vivekananda Kendra, also graced the occasion. In his keynote address, he spoke on the concept of OM and the significance of the Vedas in our day-to-day life.

He narrated some of Gurujis life experiences to the audience. He also said that how Guruji (Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkarji) was deeply involved in the service of his Master, Swami Akhandananda, unmindful of his food, sleep, etc. During his talk, he advised the younger generation, to read the two books of Swami Vivekananda namely, (1) Lectures from Colombo to Almora and (2) Rousing Call to Hindu Nation (published by Vivekananda Kendra), through which one can render service for the downtrodden in a better manner. He also lauded Sri Gurujis efforts of translating the Swamijis Chicago speeches into Marathi.

He concluded advising the younger generation Dr.Rukmini Bai, Gynaecologist, received the to always think what we have contributed to First Copy from the honourable Chief Guest. the Nation rather than what the Nation has done to us. The Chief Guest, in his address, recalled that he had also participated in the function of the Sri L.Madhavan, Nagar Sanchalak, presented Inaugural issue of the Vivekananda Kendra a memento to the chief guest on the occasion. Patrika way back in 1972. A large gathering attended the programme.


Guru Poornima was celebrated at two places on 29th and 30th July. Sri Nirmal Kumar Das, Retd.Deputy Secretary Govt. of Orissa, spoke on the significance of the day. On 30th the function was held at Duttas Residential College. Prof.Gangadhara Behera of Seemanta
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Mahavidyalaya, Prof.Anil Kumar Kar, Nagar Pramukh, Prof. (Retd.) S.Patnaik, Nagar Sanchalak, were the speakers on the occasion. Prof.B.Sahu, Principal of the Institute, presided over the function. There was a good gathering.


Vivekananda Kendra Arunachal Pradesh Then and Now

Arunachal Pradesh, the land of rising sun, is a hilly State of 83,743 sq. kms. surrounded by China, Myanmar and Tibet. The temperature here varies from place to place. Itanagar, the capital, has a minimum temperature of 9.5 degrees and maximum of 30.9 degrees Centigrade. Its forest covers 68,847 sq. kms (82.21% of the total area), with thick jungles and varieties of wild life. It is populated by about 11 lakhs of peace loving and innocent people. Their needs are few and are met from local sources be they construction materials, cooking utensils, clothes. The State has only two seasons summer and winter. It rains most of the time and in summer the rivers will over flow, unlike in other parts of the country where the rivers dry up or the water flow diminish. Vivekananda Kendra started its work here in 1974. At that time it was a Union Territory of five districts Tirap, Siang, Lohit, Subansiri and Kameng. These are names of the major rivers of the State. Shri K.A.A. Raja was the Lt Governor The interior places could be reached only after several days trekking or by helicopters of the Indian Air Force and messages could

be sent only by wireless or by runners. Pasighat, considered the only developed town in the State, could be reached either by train from Silapathar or by boat crossing the mighty Brahmaputra from Dibrugarh which took 7 to 8 hours. Silapathar and Dibrugarh are in Assam. There was only one college - Jawaharlal Nehru College at Pasighat. The State had 11 English medium Higher Secondary Schools with CBSE syllabus and a few middle and primary schools situated in interior places.

Vivekananda Kendra, established in 1972, started training Jeevanvrati in 1973. One of the Kendras objectives is to Serve Man Serve God - Arta Vipanna Seva. It was keen to work in remote areas, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh. The Government was in need of trained teachers for its schools. This was a welcome opportunity and Kendra sent a number of trained Karyakartas (Jeevanvratis) and selected teachers to work in government schools. The Karyakartas thus sent were able to gain first hand knowledge of the State and its people. Kendra became popular because of their good work.


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Mananeeya Balakrishnanji - who is presently Vice President of Vivekananda Kendra then as Zonal Organizer was in charge of the North-east region. He used to visit the Karyakartas to guide them in their work. Kendra had centers in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Sikkim besides in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Arunachal secretariat was then in Shillong and therefore Kendra also located its zonal office there. There were meetings of all Karyakartas of North East, especially of the teachers of Arunachal Pradesh, twice a year at Shillong till 1976. One was held during Durga Pooja holidays and another during vacation in March/April. Mananeeya Eknathji was invariably present at these meetings. When Kendra started its own schools in 1977, the Zonal office was shifted to Dibrugarh and the meetings were held in Dibrugarh or Tinsukia. As mentioned earlier, the workers and selected teachers were posted to all the Government schools in the five districts of the State. Some of them had to work in remote places like Sagali, which could be reached only after five days walk. Kendra karyakartas with students and villagers started social service during vacation in different places. Yoga classes and shibirs also were organized during the holidays. This resulted in better understanding the dynamics of the State and its people within a few years. The first Yoga Shiksha Shibir of onemonth duration in 1974 was at Pasighat with
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an attendance of 60 participants. Mananeeya Eknathji was also present for fifteen days. Many youths from Secondary and Higher Secondary schools of the State were selected and trained in yoga way of life. The camp was an outstanding success. The name of Kendra and its work became well known. The first phase work through Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas (VKV) Swami Vivekananda said - We want the education by which character is formed, Strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on ones own feet. Kendra was chalking out a program to give such a type of education, as it was the need of the hour of the infant State in those days. Though there were three private schools - two of Ramakrishna Mission and one of Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, there was a demand for more residential schools. Shri KAA Raja, Lt Governor, was keen that Vivekananda Kendra should start its own residential schools to impart value-based education to Arunachal children to enable them to imbibe the national ethos. Thus Kendra started seven residential schools - Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas (VKV) in 1977. The villagers donated 30 acres of land to the government who in turn handed it over to the Kendra. The government put up some temporary buildings to start the schools immediately. Later pucca buildings were constructed according to a master plan with 100% Government aid to run the schools. Kendra


withdrew its karyakartas and some teachers from the government schools and posted them to VKVs. A central office Vivekananda Kendra Shiksha Prasar Vibhag - was also opened at Dibrugarh (Assam) with Jeevanvratis to manage the schools. These seven residential schools were exclusively for the boys. In the initial stages, Karyakartas as teachers had to go from village to village with the help of the local administration and the village Gaon to select students for admission to the schools. With difficulty, 30 boys were selected. But it became hard to convince the villagers to allow their wards to stay in the hostels. The children were not afraid of the forest or the wild animals and would occasionally run away to the jungle. The teacher karyakartas with the help of the locals had to search and catch them and again bring them to the school. Some times the children would run away with whatever their tiny hands could lay on. They knew how to reach their homes. . They are sharp and smart and quick to learn whatever, curricular or co-curricular, is taught. The daily routine started at 0430 hrs and ended at 1900 hrs. In the north-east Sun rises and sets very early. So getting up at 0430 was not difficult. These close-tonature children are adepts in singing, dancing, acting, and painting. Their pronunciation of Sanskrit is faultless and they could speak any new language fast and correctly. They are agile and learnt gymnastics, band music etc, a number of patriotic songs and also some chapters of Bhagwat Gita.

Non-vegetarian food was supplied from time to time. Kendra did not want to wean them away from their natural food habits. During local festivals celebrated in the schools they had opportunities to exhibit their varied talents to compose songs and present skits. The first rally of 7 Vidyalayas was organized in 1978 at Naharlagun (Itanagar). The Lt Governor and many officials, who watched the cultural programmes presented by the tiny tots, appreciated them very much. This programme showed to the parents and the public how Vivekananda Kendra was imparting the man making education to their children. This was a landmark in the annals of VKVs in the State. The year 1979 was declared World Childrens Year. To celebrate this, Vivekananda Kendra Shiksha Prasar Vibhag (Arunachal Pradesh) organized the second rally at VKV Roing on the Universal Brotherhood Day in September. Thirty students from each Vidyalaya took part in different events - sports, games, and competitions. Mananeeya Eknathji was present on the last two days. This highly successful and meaningful event is now a regular feature of VKVs. The Kendra organizes annual orientation and subjectwise camps for the teachers of VKVs. The popularity of VKVs for boys made the public to raise a question: Our boys are getting educated but what about our girls?


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They also should be given good education. So there should be girls schools Mananeeya Balakrishnanji told them that Kendras policy was to power both the wings of the society and soon schools for girls too would be opened. The first school was to come up at Along district headquarters of Siang District, but there was some delay to open it. Therefore the school for girls started in 1980, at Tafrogam, a village 11 kms from Tezu, district headquarters of Lohit district became the first one and proved very popular. Thereafter, Kendra opened many more schools one after another and now there are 22 schools in which 8440 students study. Five schools are exclusively for the girls and the remaining are for both boys and girls. 18 are secondary schools, five of them at higher secondary level. Hundreds of students, boys and girls, have passed out of these schools. They are spread all over the State as

Engineers, doctors, advocates, Lecturers, IAS officers etc. in government and hold high posts in private organizations. Some have joined in VKVs as teachers. Some are working in other parts of the country and abroad and are doing well. Wherever and whatever they are, they hold their head high as Men with capital M as Swamiji wanted. Each one of them has a distinguished place in Arunachal. Thus, Kendras aim to generate creative leaders is also being fulfilled. The problem of holding the children is no more. But what confronts us now is how to meet the needs of all the parents seeking admission of their children in VKVs. The number of Vidyalayas (22) is too short to meet the increasing demand. Some more schools have to be added soon. Swamiji said - Men, men are wanted, rest every thing will come. Now society is coming forward to shoulder the responsibility. To reach the whole of the society Kendra started the next project.

The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves. That faith calls out the divinity within. You can do anything. You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power. As soon as a man or a nation loses faith, death comes. - Swami Vivekananda

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