om sthāpakāya ca dharmasya sarva-dharma-svarūpiṇe |
avatāra variṣṭhāya rāmakṛṣṇāya te namaḥ ||
om namaḥ śrī bhagavate rāmakṛṣṇāya namo namaḥ ||
om namaḥ śrī bhagavate rāmakṛṣṇāya namo namaḥ ||
om namaḥ śrī bhagavate rāmakṛṣṇāya namo namaḥ ||
1 You are the mystic sounds Om and Hrim. You are truth and the immutable reality. You have conquered the gunas—nature, and yet are adored for your gunas—your virtues. Since I do not worship your holy feet, capable of destroying all delusion and full of compassion, with longing day and night, therefore, O friend of the lowly, you are my only refuge.
2 Devotion, divine qualities, and worship, which break the bonds of the world, are indeed sufficient to take one to the highest truth. But though I utter these words with my lips, they find no echo in my heart. Therefore, O friend of the lowly, you are my only refuge.
3 They quickly transcend the fire of this world who are devoted to you; all their desires are fulfilled in you, O Ramakrishna, who are the path to truth. Your feet, like nectar to mortal beings, quell the waves of death. Therefore, O friend of the lowly, you are my only refuge.
4 O Lord, your name, ending in “shna”, is auspicious and pure. It destroys all taint and turns evil into virtue. O sole goal of all the worlds, as I have no place to go for shelter, therefore, O friend of the lowly, you are my only refuge
0 Salutations to you, O Ramakrishna, the establisher of dharma, the embodiment of all religions, and the paragon of avataras.
Om, salutations to Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna, salutations again and again.
The brilliance of Swami Vivekananda is seen in providing us with the three vital mantra for praying to Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Such a stotra which has a mantra hidden inside is called ‘Mantra Garbha Stotra’. The mantra is derived by taking the FIRST SYLLABLE of every line of the four stanza, except the last line which is an offering omhrīṁṛtaṁtvam acalo guṇajid-guṇeḍyo naktaṁ divaṁ sakaruṇaṁ tava pāda-padmam | mohaṅ-kaṣaṁ bahu-kṛtaṁ na bhaje yato’haṁ
tasmāt tvameva śaraṇaṁ mama dīna-bandho || 1||
bhaktir-bhagaśca bhajanaṁ bhava-bheda-kāri gacchanty-alaṁ suvipulaṁ gamanāya tattvam | vaktrod-dhṛtopi hṛdi me na ca bhāti kiñcit
tasmāt tvameva śaraṇaṁ mama dīna-bandho || 2||
This article deals with the pages of history to find out why Calcutta’s 16 Bosepara Lane has been declared a Heritage Building.
“My home is, in my eyes, charming” writes the illustrious resident of 16, Bosepara lane, Calcutta at the dawn of the last century. “With its two courtyards, its limited second story, and its quaintly-terraced roofs, built at five different levels, it is a rambling specimen of the true old Hindu style of building. In the whole place there is not an inch of glass: the lower casements are protected by iron and the upper by wooden bars, and so, while the sunlight outside my little study is softened by mats made of dark green splints, my bedroom is always open to the stars”. A house, she describes “crowded with memories” still stands. The house by the lane that twists in and out of the pages of history. On the threshold of this century, it brings to life the remarkable woman who once graced its portals and immortalized it. Sister Nivedita, the spiritual daughter of Swami Vivekananda is a living presence here.
Sister Nivedita’s name was Margaret E.Noble who was born in Ireland on 28th October 1868. she had met swami Vivekananda in London in 1895, she was inspired by the philosophy he preached and decided to dedicate her life to India. She arrived in Calcutta in February 1898. She was initiated to Brahmacharya vows and given the name Nivedita – ‘the dedicated’ by Swamiji. She was trained for the next eight months so as to reorient her thoughts and outlook to feel one with the Indian women. The woman who inspired many and gave her all to India’s awakening. The house remembers
It was not easy to procure a house for an English woman in the native quarters of Calcutta. Somehow the house at 16 Bosepara lane, Bagbazar could be taken on rent on 1st November 1899. Nivedita moved around the lane, her mind busy with plan by setting up a school for girls in the area. Her neighbours were curious at first, intrigued by the appearance of a blue-eyed, golden-haired white woman in their midst. But then… there she was crying over a starved child dying in her arms. There she was lending solace to a bereaved woman with gestures of comfort. There she was walking around the clock in the slums with money and food as offerings for the deprived lot.
On 13th November 1898, it was in the same premises that Nivedita started her school which was inaugurated by Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi in presence of Swami Vivekananda and his brother disciples. This is the first and only women’s education started by Ramakrishna Order during Swamiji’s lifetime and in his presence. It was the first school imparting national education to women in the line of Indian tradition blending it with theing the best knowledge of Western culture . But it was not an easy beginning. Hurdles cropped up at every step. Nivedita went from house to house pleading, cajoling, explaining to the elders to send girls to her school. While teaching young girls she adopted methods using materials locally available, like tamarind seeds, models in clay prepared by the people themselves for teaching Mathematics and so on.
There was an epidemic of plague in March-April of 1899, the house remembers. Sister Nivedita started her relief work from 16 Bosepara lane. She wrote an appeal to the citizens of Calcutta which was translated into Bengali by Girish Chandra Ghosh. She organized a group of young men and started cleaning the streets of Bagbazar. She nursed the afflicted never caring about her health.
In those early days it was an unending struggle to run the school. The school actually had to close down a few months after its opening due to paucity of funds. Nivedita went abroad to collect money and came back to India in 1902 and restarted the school. On returning from the West, Sister Nivedita hired 17, Bosepara Lane in 1902 but as the work expanded the house at 16 bosepara lane was also rented again in 1904. The houses being also the residence of Sister, steady stream of luminaries for all works of life filled up her little room – be they politicians, poets, scholars, scientists, historians or statesmen. Her visitors not only included many highly placed British men and women like Ramsay Macdonald and the then vicerein Lady Minto but also several national leaders who looked up to her for inspiration. Irish–born Margaret had become a flaming emblem of Indian nationalism. She always reminded her girls that they were daughters of Bharat Varsha and when the singing of Vande Mataram in public was banned by the government, she introduced it in her school.
There is a big list of names of distinguished visitors to that house. Some of them were Jagadish Chandra Bose, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Aravinda Ghosh, Bipin Chandra Pal, G.K.Gokhale, Bala Gangadhara Tilak, Subramaniya Bharati, Jadunath Sarkar, Radha Kumud Mukherjee, Ramananda Chatterjee, William T. Stud, S.K. Ratcliffe, etc. Her house was a haven for men of thoughts. The house remembers – how in one afternoon in a gathering party contemporary giants came face to face with each other: Swami Vivekananda, the all–conquering spiritual hero who was Nivedita’s spiritual mentor, and Rabindranath Tagore a king among poets. The description of this gathering of great men is found in a letter of Sister Nivedita written on 13th January 1899. In this house Holy Mother Sarada Devi lived for 3 months from November 1902, so the house is also blessed by the Holy Mother’s stay.
Nivedita was greatly interested in the revival of Indian art. She wrote in a letter “the rebirth of the national art is my dearest dream. When India gets back her old art, she will be on the eve of becoming a strong nation”. She had relentlessly written on varied aspects of Indian culture, education, artsforms, empowerment of women, to name a few. She inspired the artists namely Nandalal Bose, Asit Halder, Abanindra Nath tagore and many others. Asit Halder said , “ … in our hands rest the task of rejuvenating the lost art of our country – and that is the major responsibility in the process of India’s re-awakening and independence. That is what she used to tell us.”
Ravindra Nath Tagore wrote, “…. She is to be honored not because she was like us but because she was greater than us”. Nivedita immensely helped Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose in his scientific works because she had firm faith and believed, in Acharya Jagadish, that his work will place India in a glorious position in the world. Once Jagadish Bose and others asked her to shift to a healthier part of the city when she was precariously ill, Nivedita replied, “How can I leave the lane that first gave me the shelter?” The house remembers. In the houses 16 and 17 Bosepara lane the Sister Nivedita School functioned still 1922 when the school was shifted to its own building at 5, Nivedita Lane, Kolkata – 3 which is the present address.
Mere pundits are like diseased fruit that becomes hard and will not ripen at all. Such fruit has neither the freshness of green fruit nor the flavour of ripe. Vultures soar very high in the sky, but their eyes are fixed on rotten carrion on the ground.
The book-learned are reputed to be wise, but they are attached to ‘woman and gold’. Like the vultures, they are in search of carrion. They are attached to the world of ignorance.
Compassion, love of God, and renunciation are the glories of true knowledge.
Newspaper Reports on the nirvana (passing, moksha) of Gurumā Pravrajika Shraddhaprana Mataji
Kolkata, Feb 3 (IANS) Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission president Pravrajika Shraddhaprana Mataji died at Dakshineswar Tuesday after being indisposed for three months. She was 90.Mission sources said Shraddhaprana was suffering from severe gastro-intestinal problems since October last year. She developed acute chest infection and tracheostomy was also performed on her for proper management of respiratory distress.
(Translated from Bengali by Swami Chetanananda)
4th July 1902 was a memorable day. Swami Vivekananda, a great prophet of modern India, passed away at about 9:00 pm while he was in meditation. The flame of his life-lamp, which brightened the spiritual world, suddenly blew out in the deep darkness of night. The next morning this sad news spread throughout Calcutta and all over India. Swamiji’s disciple Kanai Maharaj (Swami Nirbhayananda) came to our house in Ahiritola and gave us the news. I was then busy performing worship in a temple nearby. I returned home before 9:00 am to find my mother crying loudly. When I asked why she was grieving, she said, ‘My son, a great calamity has taken place. Swamiji is no more. He has passed away – and you never did take me to see him.’ I replied, ‘Mother, all monks in the monastery are called “Swami”. Which swamiji are you talking about? Perhaps you have misunderstood something.’ My mother answered: ‘Oh no, Kanai came early this morning and said that the head Swamiji passed away last night at nine o’clock. He asked all of you to go to Belur Math.’ I consoled my mother, saying, ‘It is not good to express grief for the death of a monk.’
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