||Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
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Although this festive season has no direct implication on Hindus or any other faith - but because of the Christian influence on the world- all activities centre on the Christian calendar. Hence the world winds down and goes into a festive spirit during this time of the Christian commemoration of the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. My enquiry focused around the mechanical and robotic nature of life. We have become so enslaved in the pursuit of material accomplishments that we no longer enjoy the bliss of our free spirit. Our happiness is deferred for an entire year and we try to explode and burst into jubilation and freedom for a predetermined period called the festive season.
As this enquiry was levelling out, my mind soared to the peaks of the Himalayas and the deltas of the Ganges... where in the residual of both was a civilisation that lived and enjoyed the nature of their free spirit. It was during that place and era where life, purpose and contentment happily and congenially embraced one another. The Indus valley civilisation was the seat of the Vedic way of life and culture. Driven by the quest for eternal peace, they ventured inward rather than taking instructions from the senses. This was the oasis and grand manifestation of Sanathana Dharma rooted in values and practicality.
Through attack and invasion the system was contaminated and through force and persistent brainwashing, people were lead to embrace the instant gratification of the senses and lost touch and contact with the joy of freedom within.
The Trust Deeds lodged with the Government of India will reflect that the Ramakrishna Mission and Math was officially founded on 1 May 1897 by Swami Vivekananda. As a sannyasin monk we ponder what the need for Swamiji to formalise an organisation was? Whilst living with His Guru and Master, His expressed desire to be in 'samadhi' and free was very prevalent. So after the death of Sri Ramakrishna it was the ideal opportunity for Him to roam the lands as a free iterant monk and immerse Himself in 'samadhi'.
However out of His empathy for the enslaved masses and the lost souls of the world, Swamiji bound Himself physically to the work. It was on Christmas Eve...in the same year of the Master's passing that Swamiji together with a few other disciples took their vow of renunciation before the dhuni fire. It was during this festive period that the seeds of "atmano mokshartham jagat hitaya che" -for one’s own salvation and the welfare of the world- were planted and His mission to make man understand his innate nature of freedom and capacitate him to enjoy the same was crystallised.
Thus I note with intrigue the profound coupling of Christmas Day with Boxing Day. According to recorded history, Boxing Day is an English tradition, today celebrated mostly as a bank holiday. But in the days of yore it was when servants were at work on Christmas Day busy serving their Masters and were given leave from duty on the next day with a box of left-over treats and money. Thus this day became known as Boxing Day. This was the significance of Christmas and Boxing Day in the former days. In contemporary times I see it in a different way.
Swami Vivekananda reached Kanyakumari on the eve of Christmas in 1892, He was burdened with the depression, despair and despondency of what He witnessed throughout His travels of India. He passed into a deep meditation at the tip of the Motherland... on the present and future of His country. He sought to understand the root of Her downfall. With the vision of a seer, He understood why India had been thrown from the pinnacle of glory to the depths of degradation. He reflected on the purpose and achievement of the Indian world. He perceived the realities and potentialities of Indian culture. He saw religion to be the life-blood of India’s millions. He realised in the silence of His heart that India shall rise only through a renewal and restoration of that highest spiritual consciousness that has made Her, at all times, the cradle of the Nations and cradle of the Faith. He saw Her greatness; He saw Her weaknesses as well... the central one of which was that the nation had lost its individuality.
With the Saviour and Messiah being born (Christmas Day) and living through the written word, our aim is put on the boxing gloves as we fight to free ourselves from the enslavement of the senses and mind. And instead of partaking of the left-overs and handouts, we must restore our individuality and partake of the grand feast with the Lord. Freedom is our birth-right and must be enjoyed by all. Let the fight begin.
Let the victory of freedom come to us all, is my sincere prayer.
My dear and Revered Swami Vimokshanandaji - Thank You for all your support and inspiration. Your stay in SA has been in itself a spiritual revolution to many of us. May your new posting bring you much more joy and happiness. You will forever live in our hearts.
With love and prayers