Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Prema in Heart

Listen, friend, I will speak my heart to thee;
I have found in my life this truth supreme --
Buffeted by waves, in this whirl of life,
There's one ferry that takes across the sea.

Formulas of worship, control of breath,
Science, philosophy, systems varied,
Relinquishment, possession, and the life,
All these are but delusions of the mind --
Love, Love -- that's the one thing, the sole treasure.

In Jiva and Brahman, in man and God,
In ghosts, and wraiths, and spirits, and so forth,
In Devas, beasts, birds, insects, and in worms,
This Prema dwells in the heart of them all.

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                     from ‘To A Friend’ - poem in Bengali

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ganga and Gita

What wonderful relation is this between mother Ganga and the Hindus? Is it merely superstition? May be. 

They spend their lives with the name of Ganga on their lips, they die immersed in the waters of the Ganga, men from far off places take away Ganga water with them, keep it carefully in copper vessels, and sip drops of it on holy festive occasions. Kings and princes keep it in jars, and at considerable expense take the water from Gangotri to pour it on the head of Shiva at Rameshwaram! 

The Hindus visit foreign countries -- rangoon, Java, Hongkong, Madagascar, Suez, Aden, Malta -- and they take with them Ganga water and the Gita.

The Gita and the sacred waters of the Ganga constitute the Hinduism of the Hindus. 

Last time I went to the West, I also took a little of it with me, fearing it might be needed, and whenever opportunities occurred I used to drink a few drops of it. And every time I drank, in the midst of the stream of humanity, amid that bustle of civilisation, that hurry of frenzied footsteps of millions of men and women in the West, the mind at once became calm and still, as it were. 

               - Swami Vivekananda, 
                Memoirs of European Travel 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mother's Work

Disciple: If you give up work for some time and take rest, then you will be all right. Your life means good to the world.

Swamiji: Am I able to sit quiet, my son! Two or three days before Shri Ramakrishna's passing away, She whom he used to call "Kali" entered this body. It is She who takes me here and there and makes me work, without letting me remain quiet or allowing me to look to my personal comforts.

Disciple: Are you speaking metaphorically?

Swamiji: Oh, no; two or three days before his leaving the body, he called me to his side one day, and asking me to sit before him, looked steadfastly at me and fell into Samadhi. Then I really felt that a subtle force like an electric shock was entering my body! 
In a little while, I also lost outward consciousness and sat motionless. How long I stayed in that condition I do not remember; when consciousness returned I found Shri Ramakrishna shedding tears. 
On questioning him, he answered me affectionately, 
"Today, giving you my all, I have become a beggar. With this power you are to do many works for the world's good before you will return." 
I feel that power is constantly directing me to this or that work. This body has not been made for remaining idle. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                   Conversations and Dialogues, 
                   recorded by Sharat Chandra Chakravarty in 1901 
                  (Swamiji was ill at that time)