||Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
So here I am in 2013, which means that the world didn’t end as expected on 21/12/12, so I take this opportunity in wishing you and your families a blessed and spiritual 2013. With so many systems of thought, scientists etc. still trying to ascertain the cause and beginning of the universe... then, how is it that one can decisively claim the time to the end of this creation? As students or aspirants of Vedanta, we gather confidence from the experiences and realisations of great Yogis to know that we are nitya (eternal).
Although we have migrated into the New Year, some incidents in the last few days of the year gone by still leave a bitter taste in my mouth... so much so that like the summer heat, it evaporated portions of my faith. I refer to the horrific gang-rape incident in India - bringing to light the cracks and erosion in the fabric of many societies. Many have asked: but this occurs everywhere and why does this incident trouble you personally? I think more because I have looked to India as the bastion of all that is noble and moral. Being the custodian of ancient truths; and rich, noble and lofty ideals of perfection, I always thought that she will lead by example.
Land of the Ganga and Himalayas; and touched by the feet of Gods and holy men - today lays siege to crimes of passion. All these thoughts started to form clouds of despondency and rain heavily upon my ideas that India will show the way. However, the Lord did not let me cross into 2013 in such a state, and enlightenment came in the form of springs by Swami Vimokshananda, and the readings of Swami Vivekananda which re-hydrated my faith and encased it secure in the loving grace of the Divine.
On 30 December 2012, Swami Vimokshananda corrected my first error. In His Tirukurral class on that day, He shattered my misconception that God was partial. In seeing India as the holy land or God's chosen land would mean He did not have any interest in the other countries. Why then should we worship a partial God? But God is not partial and all are seen equal in the eyes of God. The next question that will logically follow is why then did Ganga, Kailas and so many avatars come to India when this entire creation comes from God alone? The answer simply is: they prayed for it. Through the great tapasya and austerities of Yogis, who had a burning desire to find God, India has benefitted (from their sacrifice).
Swamiji (Vimokshananda) on Kalpatru Day (1 January) then put my remaining doubts to death when He said... this entire world is a kalpana (a dream /it is not real). We must not place emphasis on all that is unreal but concentrate on the only real which is Brahman (God). In that moment, all fell into place and everything made sense. In my study of Swami Vivekananda's life, I have constantly come across reference to the eternal India. His reference was not to the physical land which was being decayed by time, plagued by poverty, disease and other challenges that come with having a population exceeding a billion. Swamiji, Himself being the awakener of the world, used India as a metaphor, for divinity. Man, who has 3 tendencies according to Swamij, (animal, human, divine), the sole aim is to manifest the divinity within. If we break-up the word India into two [in- internal] and [dia- light], it refers to that divinity which is within.
Swamiji once said to His brother disciple: “I don’t know anything about your religion, all I know is that my heart is expanding." Once after 3 days of continuously speaking to a group of people without being offered even a glass of water, a nearby cobbler having seen this approached Swamiji with the intent of offering Him food. He was so afraid of being punished by the King, because of being a low caste and offering a Sannyasin food, he offered only the ingredients so that Swamiji could prepare it Himself. Swamiji heard nothing of it and asked him to prepare the meals for him. After this experience, Swamiji declared that in the huts of the lowly lives the eternal India.
When we manifest the divinity that is within us, from our hearts will gush forth compassion, love, respect, honesty, integrity, truth and peace - all of which the world seems to be lacking in huge proportions.
We have become a buffet society, drawn by the horses of our senses. Infatuated by the colours, scents and tastes of the variety of dishes, we pile our plates even with things we can’t eat... all out of greed resulting in obesity, chronic diseases and laziness. In the same way... we expose our lives to unnecessary attractions, dulling our minds, allowing it to become a breeding ground for base thoughts and actions.
Like in a restaurant where the best dishes are never on the buffet menu, and are always A’la Carte distinctly marked SQ; divinity comes by special order only and can only be enjoyed by those who have worked for it.
Therefore for 2013, it should be our intent to clear all the weeds and debris that occupies our heart and restore it to its glory of being the home of God. Take advice from Sri Tulsidas to clean the mirror of our minds, so that it will reflect the God in our hearts. It is then, and only then, will we start to see the eternal India 'rise like the phoenix from the ashes' of years of misery in every nook and cranny of the world. The Ganga will flow in every land, giving rise to Jyothir Lingas on every continent. Shivas shall then walk upon the earth.
May this year, the year of Swami Vivekananda bring awakening and illumination to every man, so he may understand his true nature, is my sincere prayer.
PS: Be sure to tune into Radio Hindvani this weekend for special programming dedicated to the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
Durban: 91.5 I PMB: 102.3 I Audio-Stream: www.hindvani.co.za
FRIDAY, 11 JANUARY 2013: 10-11am I SATURDAY, 12 JANUARY 2013: 6-8am
SUNDAY, 13 JANUARY 2013: 6-9am I MONDAY, 14 JANUARY 2013: 6-7pm
Multimedia Clips, Live Interaction with Swami Vimokshananda, Themed Music, Messages By Swami Vimokshananda , Swami Saradaprabhananda & Pravrajika Ishtaprana Mataji, Tributes By Youth Of The Ramakrishna Centre & Sri Sarada Devi Ashram, Audio Documentary: The Story Of Swami Vivekananda - The SA Perspective, Plans & Programmes of The Ramakrishna Centre of SA in 2013, Book Giveaways, Readings from The Gospel Of Sri Ramakrishna, Discourses on the Relevance of Swami Vivekananda’s Teachings in The 21st Century.
With Love and Prayers Always