Saturday, May 28, 2011

The story of a little squirrel

Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhyay (1894-1950), the famous writer and novelist of Bengali literature has drawn a beautiful character in the novel Aryanayak. The name of this character was Jugalprasad. In this novel, Satyacharan (the hero of this novel) was working as a Manager in the dense forest of the then Purneia district. One day he was returning through the dense forest on his horse from a survey camp. Suddenly he saw a man was digging some holes in the dense forest near Saraswati Kundi. Gradually he learnt that the name of the man was Jugalprasad. He purchased beautiful flower plants from nearby towns like Purneia and Bhagalpur and planted these saplings in this dense forest. That was his hobby. Jugalprasad wanted to see the beautiful flowers blooming in this forest. The selfless services of Jugalprasad stunned Satyacharan. (Aryanayak, 69-72)

Occasionally we criticize our environment, by observing its gradual deterioration. We blame our society, our government, our local area, even our own family except ourselves. However, blaming to others will not get any result. It is one type of escapism. If you really want to see a better tomorrow, please come and do something as per your ability to improve this situation. All we have some ability and we have to use it properly. If we want to change the environment, first we have to change ourselves. Charity begins at home. First, we have to do our allotted duties properly. We have to make our life, our character perfect, neat, and clean. Ignoring our own life, if we want to do any social service, that service will not be beneficial for the society in the end. Actually, social services will help us to make our life perfect. Swami Vivekananda said, `Be Man and Make Man`. First `Be`. This is a very important message to everyone.

Gradually, as per our ability, we can spread the positive message to our near and dears. When you are giving a picture of a great man or a book as gift to some school-going children, you are spreading a positive message. When you are lending a good book to your peer for further reading, you are spreading good message. When you are telling the stories from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata to tender kids, you are spreading good messages. These steps are small no doubt, but they have no alternatives. Swami Vivekananda said, ``All the powers of good against all the powers of evils``.

The story of a little squirrel

We can take a lesson from the story of a little squirrel. Swami Vivekananda delivered a lecture on ``The Ramayana`` at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California on 31 January 1900. There he told the story of a little squirrel who was working to the best of his ability for the Setu-Bandha. Swamiji said: ``Learning everything about Sita from Hanuman, Rama collected an army, and with it marched towards the southernmost point of India. There Rama`s monkeys built a huge bridge, called Setu-Bandha, connecting India with Ceylon. …..The monkeys removed the hills, placed them in the sea and covered them with stones and trees, thus making a huge embankment. A little squirrel, so it is said, was there rolling himself in the sand and running backwards and forwards on to the bridge and shaking himself. Thus in his small way he was working for the bridge of Rama by putting in sand. The monkeys laughed, for they were bringing whole mountains, whole forests, huge loads of sand for the bridge – so they laughed at the little squirrel rolling in the sand and then shaking himself. But Rama saw it and remarked: ``Blessed be the little squirrel; he is doing his work to the best of his ability, and he is therefore quite as great as the greatest of you.`` Then he gently stroked the squirrel on the back, and the marks of Rama`s fingers, running lengthways, are seen on the squirrel’s back to this day. (CW: 4: 71-72)

An artist`s view: Shri Ramachandra is blessing
the little squirrel during the Setu-Bandha

We can also take participation to improve the present environment like the little squirrel. As per our ability, we can also contribute something for a better tomorrow. Gradually our ability will increase through our selfless services. God will help us as we are trying to serve better to our sisters and brothers of our Motherland by being a good and honest citizen. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Use your leisure time in a meaningful way

Leisure time? Sorry, I have no leisure time. From morning till night I have to work hard for my family. The load of samsara is increasing day by day. My leisure time will come when I will go to the burning ghat – This is our general conception regarding leisure time. But this is not the real picture. Man is not a machine. From morning till night, a man (generally) cannot work hard at a stretch. There must be some leisure time. But the burning question is how we can spend our leisure time? Because upon the effective utilization of our leisure time, the shape of our life depends.

Let us look at a glance, generally how we spend the twenty four hours.
Sleep & Rest
± 7 hours
Own preparation & for 2Tiffin, 2Meal
± 2 hours
Office time/ School & Colleges
± 8 hours
Journey to office/  School & Colleges
 (up and down)
±2 hours
Family duties and marketing etc./ Play in the playground
± 3 hours

± 22 hours
Leisure time
± 2 hours
24 hours

If our leisure time in a day is ± 2 hours, that means we are getting ± 60 hours in a month and ± 730 hours in a year! 730 hours means more than 30 days extra in a year.

We must remember that the shape of our future life will depend on this leisure time and its effective utilization. There are two roads and we are standing in a junction. Now we have to take decision solely regarding our life. If we want to make our life beautiful, want to make our character perfect, then we have to utilize effectively and positively our leisure time in a meaningful way.
Leisure time
Road 1
Road 2

Idle leisure time
Leisure time used in positive and meaningful way

Idle thinking
Construction and positive thinking

Idle work
Positive work

Idle habits
Positive habits

Formation of idle character
Formation of
positive and constructive character

Idle pattern of life
Beautiful and meaningful pattern of life

Use your leisure time in a meaningful way. Try to use every opportunity. Time is going on. Learning is a continuous process. There is no end of learning. Enrich yourself. Our character is the bundle of habits. We can make our character as per our habits. We are the makers of our own life. Our future is uncertain, but we can control our future by controlling the present time, which we are passing. Make a routine of your daily life and try utmost to follow it. If we use our leisure time in a meaningful way, we can enrich ourselves. Start from today to utilize your leisure time for a better tomorrow.

Some may ask, yes, I have some leisure time, but what I will do? The summer is going on. Especially the students of school and colleges are enjoying the summer vacation. My humble suggestion is, please read the following books during this vacation.

  1. The Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples (Vol.I & II)
  2. Lectures from Colombo to Almorah
  3. Letters of Swami Vivekananda

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Sadhu with the lamp

Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh, India) is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage centre from the reign of king Mandhata. Here, you can visit the famous temple of Lord Omkareshwar and Lord Mamaleshwar on the banks of the sacred river Narmada. During 2008 we went to Omkareshwar. Everyday in the evening we have seen a Sadhu is going to the temple of Lord Omkareshwar with a lamp for vesper services. All the arrangements were his own. He was silent and went to the temple exactly at the same time.

This is called `sincerity`, which is a quality of human character. If we are sincere in every respect then only we can expect success in our own destination. Genuine love must be there for the causes, otherwise sincerity will not come. `Sincerity` saved the life of famous Persian poet Hafez. This is an interesting story. Once Swami Akhandananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, told this story to the devotees in the presence of Swami Shivananda. Interested reader may please read from the Bengali book ` Swami Akhandanandake jerup dekiachi- compiled by Swami Chetanananda, Udbodhan Office, Kolkata. (Page: 10-13).

Swami Vivekananda wrote in a letter to Alasinga Perumal: ``Be pure, staunch, and sincere to the very backbone, and everything will be all right. If you have marked anything in the disciples of Shri Ramakrishna, it is this – they are sincere to the backbone.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pushkar Ghat at Rajahmundry

Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh (India) is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage centre on the banks of the sacred river Godavari. There are many ancient temples like Sri Kotilingeshwer Temple, Sri Markendaya Swami Temple etc. and there are many ghats on the river Godavari. Today Rajahmundry is a very busy business centre and a developing town in Andhra Pradesh.

In 1911 (February – March) Holy Mother Sarada Devi went to pilgrimage to South India from Kothar in Orissa. Holy Mother along with a group started her pilgrimage tour from Bhadrak railway station by Madras Mail. Next morning she halted at Brahmapur and stayed in the house of the Manager (a Bengali devotee) of Kelner Company as per previous arrangement of Swami Ramakrishnananda. In this pilgrimage tour Holy Mother visited Madras, Madurai, Rameshwaram and Bangalore. During return journey, Holy Mother stayed one day in Rajahmundry in the house of the local District Judge Mr. M.O. Parthasarathy Ayenger. Holy Mother took a bath in the Godavari in this holy Pushkar Ghat. Later in 1991, a monument was erected in this ghat by Sri Sarada Sangha, Rajahmundry commemorating the visit of the Holy Mother.

After 100 years, this year, the Centenary of Holy Mother’s visit to South India was celebrated at Bangalore, Chennai and Rajahmundry centres of the Ramakrishna Math & Mission. For the report of this auspicious function, please read The Vedanta Kesari (May, 2011 issue) or please visit

If you want to know about the details of this pilgrimage tour, please read:

  1. The Reminiscences of Sri Sarada Devi by Ashutosh Mitra.
      (This reminiscences has its own historical importance as
 Ashutosh Mitra was one of the members of this pilgrimage party)

  1. Holy Mother in the South by Swami Prabhananda.

  1. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi by Swami Gambhirananda.

Sunset at Pushkar Ghat

Monday, May 2, 2011

Three pea experiment

Three pea experiment is a popular experiment in seed germination. Unless you create proper and suitable environment, there will be no germination of seed. The effect of proper and suitable environment is the main theme. This is true in our life also. We have infinite energy, divine potentiality. But the proper environment for the unfoldement is also essential. The flower of life will be bloom properly, when there is favorable environment.

But, what environment we are facing?  Certainly it is not favorable for the positive inner growth of our life. We are swimming through the wave of negative thoughts and ideas in our daily life. In this scenario, it is very difficult to make our life beautiful.

Now, what we can do? Just sit idle and blame our fate? Certainly NO. Create your own environment. It is a time taking process, no doubt. But there is no alternative. If you want to make your life beautiful, want to make your own character perfect, then think seriously. Create your own environment.

First, make your own room (in which you are living) neat and clean. Please keep everything in proper order. Keep some photos of great men in wall (as their lives are the burning examples of character), keep some flowers. Light incense sticks will help you to create a favorable environment. Everyday clean the room. Use dustbin and keep it in proper place. In the early morning when you leave your bed, keep your bed neat and clean. Arrange your books and study materials in proper way. The neatness of a student can be known from his/her study table. Everything must be in a proper place and in proper order. This is the first step of creation of environment. Let us start from this point. Your positive effort will encourage the other members of your family.

Swami Saradananda
When you are not getting proper environment, read some good books or magazines which will give you strength .Or listen some devotional songs.  You may exchange books to your peers or friends. You may call your peers or friends in a Sunday afternoon in your home. In this assembly, you can read some chapters from a good book. Others may discuss their views. Somebody may present devotional songs. In this way, you can create a good environment of one hour. Everybody will feel positively. Next Sunday you may assemble to other’s house. Gradually your Study Circle will get attraction to others. They will also join. Your small step may create favorable and positive environment.

But remember, we must get support from our own mind for this work. Our mind is restless. We must take steps to control our mind. We may go to the caves of the Himalayas, but, if our mind is uncontrolled, the natural scenery or the local calm environment will not help us. On the other hand, if our mind is under our control, we can make our own environment. We can learn from the life of Swami Saradanandaji Maharaj. If you visit, the Mother’s House at Baghbazar, Calcutta, you can watch the small room to the left of the entrance in the ground floor of Swami Saradananda. Swami Saradananda was the Secretary of Ramakrishna Math & Mission for nearly 30 years. This small room was his office from where he organized the movement throughout the world. In this room Swami Saradananda wrote Sri Sri Ramakrishna Leela Prasanga - the authoritative biography of Sri Ramakrishna in Bengali. Swami Saradananda wrote this biography in spite of many difficulties and responsibilities. We can get the real picture under which Swami Saradananda wrote this book in his own words: ``when Leela Prasanga was being written, there were so many problems – Holy Mother was staying upstairs, Radhu was there, the crowed of devotees, maintaining accounts, the burden of loan – as had to be taken care of. While sitting in the small room and writing, no one ventured to talk to me, all were afraid. If someone came to have a word, I would tell them to `finish quickly` and end the matter there.``