Thursday, August 28, 2008

Long Bean

I was doing my weekly, weekend task of plucking some of the long bean leaves. I believe it would encourage more beans to grow, if there are less leaves. This is when Prami told me that the young leaves is cooked and ate in her home town, Indonesia…. I was thrilled, never knew this can also made into a dish…. But she was afraid that we might not like the taste…… Whatever it is, I decided to give it a try and cooked the young leaves of the long beans….

I stir fry these like the mustard green, with onion, garlic,ginger and a little shredded coconut towards the end. The tasted was different but it was nice....Planning to cook again in future. I can now proudly add another green leave in the stir fry list....

I read, that the leaves of chili's are also good for stir fry.....Next in the list, to be experimented...

Thursday, August 21, 2008



Swami Nirvikalpananda is the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama in Dehra Dun, India.

(This article was originally published in the January, 2008 issue of Prabuddha Bharata).

In this article, I would like to relate two touching incidents that I witnessed while I was serving at Jayrambati some years ago, and an anecdote that is told at the Jayrambati ashrama.

Undaunted Prayer
There was an old man named Habu Munda who belonged to the Santal tribe and lived near the village of Jayrambati. He was around eighty years old, very lean and thin, and seemed to be a beggar in appearance. He would come to the Matri Mandir (Sri Sarada Devi's temple) every day, but would never enter inside the temple. Standing below the stairs, he would talk to Mother pleadingly—sometimes crying, sometimes getting angry—and act like a mad man. Without entering the temple he would touch the last step of the staircase with his forehead and leave the place. What surprised everybody was that not even heavy rains or winter cold could deter him from coming to the temple after evening arati to make his prayers! Also, if any devotee, seeing his sad, beggarly appearance, would try to give him some money, he would not accept it, and would show them the temple's donation box.

One day Swami Dhireshananda came to Jayrambati and saw Habu acting abnormally outside the temple. The swami came to Rammay Maharaj (Swami Gaurishwarananda, the then-president of Jayrambati ashrama), complained about him, and asked Maharaj to take some action immediately. Habu was called and asked why he behaved in this way and what he wanted. Thereupon the old man related his story in his mixed Santal-Bengali tongue.

It so happened that when Habu was a child he had come to Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi, at Jayrambati along with his father at the time when Mother's new house had just been completed. There is a custom in the Santal community that when a guest comes to one's house for the first time, the host should call the guest near and ask about his or her home, well-being, requirements, and so on. So Habu too expected Mother to call him to her side, but Mother, being too busy with the house-opening ceremony, failed to give any special attention to him, which hurt him. But he happened to meet Sharat Maharaj (Swami Saradananda), who asked him to go once more to Mother. This time too when he went to her, she didn't pay him any attention, which pained him immensely.

He returned with deep sorrow to Sharat Maharaj, and said emphatically that henceforth he wouldn't go to Mother unless she herself called him. Then Sharat Maharaj told him with affection that if he prayed to Mother wholeheartedly she would definitely bestow her grace on him. The child believed this completely and started praying to Mother. Later on he came to know that Mother had left the world. Thenceforth he started coming to the temple and praying to Mother from outside to call him near her. Hearing this tale of unheard prayer, Swami Dhireshananda, though a staunch Vedantin, couldn't restrain his tears. Sometimes when Rammay Maharaj saw Habu, he would tease him, saying, "Why are you wasting your time? Mother won't call you!" At this, Habu would affirm with conviction, "No, Mother will, Sharat Maharaj has told me!"

After some days, Habu's grandson came to the ashrama with the news that his grandfather was bedridden and wanted to see Rammay Maharaj. But since Maharaj was not well enough to travel, he asked us to go to see him. So some of us sadhus went to see the old man. As soon as he saw us he said with brightened eyes, in broken Bengali, "Mother came! She gave darshan and called me to herself!" and repeated these words several times with unbounded joy, his face beaming with bliss. Mother had finally heard the prayers of her son and had given him her blessed darshan. How long could she restrain herself from answering the cries of her child? She had come to take him in her arms.

After hearing this from us, Rammay Maharaj understood that this was the final moment, and had someone bring him charanamrita (holy water) from Mother's temple before he breathed his last. In Habu Munda we see a wonderful example of faithful prayer and devotion. And we also witness the compassionate grace of the Holy Mother, who is also the Divine Mother of the universe.

Steadfast Service
The following anecdote is related to Sri Ramakrishna's temple at Garbeta. A man who served as a porter in the nearby railway station used to come to this temple. Every morning at early dawn he would come to the ashrama and sweep the entire area from the gate to the temple, meticulously removing all garbage and dried leaves; thus the temple authorities were relieved of this morning work. Prabhu Maharaj (Swami Vireswarananda, the tenth president of the Ramakrishna Order) once came to Garbeta and saw the wonderful service rendered by this man. He was highly impressed, and asked who this employee was. The monk in charge informed Prabhu Maharaj that he was not an employee but offered this service out of his own shraddha—deep faith—without being asked to do so.

After seeing the poor condition of the villagers in that area, Prabhu Maharaj asked Sri Shiv Shankar Chakravarty, the then director of Ramakrishna Mission Lokashiksha Parishad, to start a project of service to the poor (Pallimangal) in Garbeta, which was launched later on. This man, being a porter, usually carried the luggage of those ashrama guests and visitors who came by train to Garbeta. Once it so happened that when he came to the ashrama, Holy Mother's janma tithi or birthday celebration was going on, and a swami was speaking about Holy Mother to the devotees. In the course of his talk, the swami related the local legend behind the temple.

Once, when Holy Mother was returning to Jayrambati after a pilgrimage to Puri, along with Master Mahashay ("M", the author of the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna) and others, the train stopped at the Garbeta station for a long time. Mother asked the reason for this long delay and was told that the engine of the train was being filled with water and coal. Hearing this, she became excited like a child and came out of the train to see it herself. As soon as she stepped on the platform, she saw Sri Ramakrishna standing there smiling at her and then moving out of the station to some distance; then he disappeared. She told the devotees present that a temple should be built for Sri Ramakrishna in that place.

In 1915 a Ramakrishna Math was started at Garbeta, and later a Ramakrishna temple was also built. In the course of the lecture, the devotee porter heard that Holy Mother had initiated a Bihari porter at the Vishnupur railway station and had given him darshan as Mother Janaki (Sita). Being also a Bihari, he related this incident to himself. He was a man of simple faith, and believed without doubt that Holy Mother was Mother Janaki herself, and that she would one day give darshan to him too, as she had done long before to someone who was, perhaps, some distant relative of his.

This inspired him to come to the ashrama before going to his regular work every day and to do some selfless service in his own way. This he did without fail as long as he lived in Garbeta, and before leaving the place, he came to the temple with some offerings for the Holy Mother. What happened to him afterwards we don't know, but he was a great lesson to all of us in simple faith and devotion.

Worship with a Broom
This is the story of another son of Holy Mother. His name was Shantiram Das. He belonged to Haldi, a village near Jayrambati. His birth itself was a blessing of the Mother. Shanti's father, Yogesh Das, was an ardent devotee of Holy Mother and regularly served Mother as a palanquin bearer. Occasionally, he would sweep and clean the compound of Mother's new house. He had five daughters and greatly yearned for a son. So one day he came to Mother and expressed his sorrow, saying, "Mother, I have five daughters who work with their mother. If I had a son, I could have brought him here along with me and engaged him in your service. It is my humble prayer to you, Mother, that if another child is to be born to me, it should be a son. Without that I shall have no peace."

Mother thought for a while and said, "All right, I shall pray to Thakur." As it happened, a male child was born to him the next year. Yogesh's joy knew no bounds; he came running to the Mother and exclaimed, "Mother, by your grace I have got a son." Mother smilingly asked, "So now are you at peace?" He replied, "Yes Mother, my heart is full of peace." Then Mother said, "Then let the boy be named Shanti (peace)." During the boy's annaprashan ceremony, when the child is fed with cooked cereals for the first time, Mother gave him a pair of gold-plated bangles, which he preserved throughout his life.

His family believed that after Shanti received these bangles from Mother, whom they looked upon as Goddess Lakshmi herself, their financial condition improved greatly. As the boy Shanti grew older, he started coming to Mother's house along with his father. Yogesh had his son on one shoulder and his youngest daughter on the other, the latter being only one and a half years older than Shanti. So whatever fruit Mother had she would divide exactly into two for the children, lest they should fight.

When Shanti saw his father cleaning the compound with a broom, he too started doing the same—with difficulty, as the broom was very big for him. Seeing him struggle with the big broom, Mother procured a smaller one and gave it to him, saying, "This is the broom for you; you can serve with this one." Thereafter, he unfailingly continued his devotional service to Mother with great zeal and enthusiasm.

A few years passed in this way, during which Shanti enjoyed Mother's unbounded love and affection. Eventually, Holy Mother became seriously ill, and it was decided that she would move to her Calcutta residence. As Mother was about to leave, Shanti asked her with tearful eyes, "Now for whom shall I work, Mother, whom shall I serve?" Mother replied with affection, "My child, you shall continue your service to me, thinking that I am always present here and am always watching you. Where shall I go?" Shanti's simple heart couldn't doubt Mother's words; he continued his service to Mother daily with the same enthusiasm as before, feeling her eternal presence even after she left the mortal world.

In 1923, the Matri Mandir was established on the birthplace of Holy Mother, and the things in Jayrambati changed, but there was no change in Shanti's attitude and sincerity. In fact, his faith and devotion increased with time, and whether it was winter, summer, or the rainy season, Shanti was seen every morning with a broom in hand, serving with a blissful heart. He never accepted any money for his service, as it was all for his own Mother. On festival days he accepted a dhoti and chadar—gifts that were distributed to all. He had a job as the chowkidar (watchman) of the Haldi village and thus earned his living, but he spent most of his spare time at the ashrama.

When he became old and weak, the ashrama authorities asked him not to exert himself in hard work, but nobody could persuade him to stop his service to Mother. If somebody asked him to stop his work he would answer promptly, "Who are you to ask me to stop? It is Mother who appointed me to this service. I am her servant. She didn't teach me any shastra or sadhan-bhajan; she only gave me a broom. Hence this is my sadhana, my worship to her." His service continued until he became bedridden.

On his last day, lying in bed, suddenly his face became bright and blissful. And he breathed his last with a smile on his face and Mother's name on his lips. Shanti's last rites were performed with due respect at the ghat on the bank of the Amodar river at Jayrambati. He was honoured as a great devotee of Mother. The bangles which Mother had given to him are preserved by his family. Also, many of his relatives serve at the ashrama. Countless are the living examples of Mother's grace and infinite love. She used to say repeatedly, "I am the Mother of all." How many of us have the kind of unbounded faith in her words that Shanti had?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ROSES and.....

Okay, this will be the last post from me on 'Garden'.... This time, I would like to share the pictures of the roses and another flower that I do not the name of.....

And this flower is small and white and smells a little like jasmine...

That's all for today......


I never knew that I can grow my own cucumber....... My joy knew no bounds, seeing the flowers bloom and now there are kuti kuti (small) cucumbers....

Beautiful...don't you agree with me??


I am a big fan of Mr Tomato.....This is one of the vegetable that is 'always must be available' in my list.I use about 4 to 5kg of tomatoes in a week.

Normally it costs me about RM1.50/kg (about 0.45USD), however recently the price went up as high as RM4.80 (about 1.44USD).

I also read somewhere that a vegetable garden is not complete without Mr.Tomato...

With all this in mind, I marched and planted my first Mr Tomato...The packaging of the seeds states this as the Cherry Tomato....

Baby tomatoes...

Flowers have started to bloom....

With fruits...

Will update once the fruits have riped.... Please be patient yaaa..

Monday, August 18, 2008


I saw HER sitting in HER throne. HER beauty mesmerized me………HER hair was adorned with lots of jasmine. Her forehead with a red kum kum,tilak.

SHE looked majestic and SHE was vibrating with untainted, beauty and in that I sense the motherly love……

It was as if SHE was asking me to come closer to HER so that SHE can embrace me…

That very thought, brought tears to my eyes……

I am not alone, my MOTHER is here. Please bless me and please guide me, Ma....

I know, I have a long way to go….. much to learn and so much more to apply…..If YOU don’t guide me who else would?????

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Have you seen GOD

Have you felt that you face a lot of roadblocks on your spiritual journey?? That is true, you are not alone, all faithful seekers that choose this path, will have to go through this…but these are not roadblocks, they are merely, lessons for us to learn and apply. These are to make us stronger and better. Therefore in this journey, never lose faith, Shraddha……Your ultimate goal must be crystal clear.

This is from Sister Niveditha,
If we cannot see God and live-let us then die-what is there to fear? Consume us in primal fire, dissolve us into living ocean, but interpose nothing, no, nor the shadow of anything, between the soul and the divine draught for which it thirsts! True. Yet for each of us there is a chosen way. We ourselves may still be seeking it, where and when still hidden from our eyes. But deep in our hearts is rooted the assurance that the moment will yet come, the secret signal be exchanges, the mystic name will fall upon our ears, and somewhere, some when, somehow, our feet shall pass within the gates of Peace, we shall enter on the road that ends only with the Beatific Vision.

Till then, well says the old Hindu poet of the folk-song to himself;
“Tulsi, coming into this world,
Seek thou to live with all-
For who knows where or in what guise,
The Lord Himself may come to thee?”

I pray your day will be great and blessings in your quest..

First Life 360- A blog of humor, nature and spirituality#links


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Do you know where....

Greetings and Vanakam to all,

I was making some quires and also net searching regarding soil for gardening. Some information were too technical, these,I am still trying to digest but I also found out some interesting facts about soil.

All in all, it was a interesting and amazing search and I have managed to understand a little about soil…..With that, I am looking for fiber from the dried coconut and grain husk, sekam.

I would appreciate if you can drop a line if you know,where I get these items…

Would prefer if it is near to my hometown, Seremban……….☻☻

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why Blog???

I was going through some of the blogs that promotes on how to make money through blogging…… It was interesting to read the content and equally interesting was the comments made by the viewers and this gave me an opportunity to view their blogs…

My blog is still young and still needs a lot of face lifting comparing to theirs. And as for the writing skills,needs a lot of polishing. I am not a talented or a passionate writer but I love to tell my family and my friends of what I have read.

Apart from that, this also gives me the motivation and strength to live through the time when it is not a so smooth sailing…

With all this in mind, Shraddha was born.

The question that is often asked by the bloggers, ‘Are you making money?’ My answer is ‘No’ not yet… I did not plan for my blog to earn me a decent income, however if it can earn me revenue, than I would be thankful and be blessed…

I wanted to share and gain more information and knowledge on the stuffs that interest me the most, especially about

• The Holy Trio’s, there’s so much to know and learn from THEM. I just forget myself reading about their life, their struggles and their LOVE.
• Gardening, I never knew I was a passionate gardener until now…The satisfaction to see them grow and mature …
• Herbs, I have been cooking with all these herbs without knowing their nutritious value. It is amazing how much they help to keep us healthy.

I am sure there are many out there that are like me, so this blog is to help to be the platform for sharing and gaining….
This I am yet to see….. I do not want this to be another boring, plain blog and eventually face an immature death….

The journey is long and there’s lot more to see and learn…. Looking forward for a better tomorrow..

GOD gave me nothing I wanted
HE gave me everything I needed…
Swami Vivekananda

Sort of Square Foot Gardening

I read many interesting tips, do's and don'ts about square foot gardening in the blogs.Excited with all these reading, I updated hubby and we started planning for our FIRST Square Foot Gardening (SFG). However we used bricks instead of planks or plastic rails...

I with hubby's help planted chili and into the small white cups, I throw the mustard greens seeds.

After all the planting was completed, we covered the young seeds with the coconut leave. This is how it was done when I was young back in the kampung,village.

And now after few weeks, this is how it looks like... I have taken out the plastic cups and have rearranged the growing mustard grees...

I am happy with the result and everyday I pay them a visit and look for any insects, but so far all looks well...Hope they'll grow strong and healthy. I am looking forward to plant more varieties...

What have you planted at your backyard/garden...Care to share the pictures or comment....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nivedita: the Dedicated One

Margaret Noble was of Irish parentage and was born at Tyrone, Ireland, on October 28, 1867. Her father Samuel was a priest of an Irish Church, and her mother Mary was a kindhearted young lady. Her grandfather John Noble was also a priest with deep love for God and his motherland. From her grandfather Margaret inherited undaunted courage and vigorous patriotism, while from her father she inherited boundless compassion for the poor. Margaret often went with her grandfather and her father to the homes of the poor and rendered service to them. After finishing her education at the Halifax College, she started working as a teacher in various girls' schools.

In 1892, at the age of 25, she opened a school of her own in Wimbledon. Margaret was endowed with a sharp intellect, an enquiring mind, and a deep insight of love. Along with these she possessed a breadth of heart to a remarkable degree.

As a result there was growing dissatisfaction in her with the ways of the then existing orthodox religion and was tormented by doubt and a feeling of uncertainty.It was at this time, that Swami Vivekananda reached London with his message of Vedanta. And his words came as "living water to men perishing of thirst", to quote Margaret's own words.

In March 1899 a plague epidemic broke out in Kolkata. Inspired and guided by Vivekananda, Nivedita plunged into action to save the city. She formed a committee of dedicated workers from among the inspired youth who helped her fight this menace. They cleaned the streets and lanes and nursed the victims. Nivedita worked round the clock, often foregoing food and rest. She often gave up drinking milk to save the money to help others. Her health was seriously impaired as she ran from home to home, hoping against hope to overtake and defeat death. At times, Nivedita stayed on with the bereaved for hours together, offering them her consolation and sympathy. Nivedita and her team incessantly carried on their formidable effort for a full month before they succeeded in controlling the disease.

Nivedita started her school at No.16, Bosepara Lane in Bagh Bazar, Kolkata on November 13,1898 with the blessings of Holy Mother. Parents in the Orthodox Indian society at that time hesitated to send their daughters to school and more so to a school run by a woman of an alien culture. Nevertheless Nivedita succeeded in beginning with a few girls of varying ages. It was extremely difficult to meet the expenses of the school and have enough left sustain herself

In June 1899, Nivedita went to Europe and America to get financial help for her school in India. She returned in February 1902 and that very year, Swami Viveknanda attained Mahasamadhi. To fulfill his trust she sprang in to action shaking off her grief. Her conviction grew that a nation under foreign domination could not dream of regeneration be it social, political or cultural. She vowed to work for the liberation of the country she had adopted. Nivedita made her school a centre of nationalistic activity where Bankim Chandra’s national anthem, Vande Mataram was the school prayer. She preached that nationalistic sentiment and faith on the ideals of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda would usher in a new dawn of hope. Nivedita's life had become one continuous round of political campaigns, public addresses and writing books.

Her writings and speeches inspired young men to lead nobler and purposeful lives. She was an unfailing source of inspiration to Rabindranatha Tagore and to eminent political leaders like Surendranath Bannerjea, Gopalakrishna Gokhale, Ramesh Chandra Dutta, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh. The political leaders Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi paid their respects to her.

Nivedita wrote books on Indian cultural heritage. She encouraged gifted artists like Abanindranath Tagore,Nandalal Bose and funded their study of the works of art of Ajanta, Ellora and other great Indian artists of the past. From 1902 to 1904 she went on extensive lecture tours, urging people to strive to make India free: addressing meetings in Patna, Lucknow, Varanasi, Bombay, Nagpur and Madras. The colonial British rulers grew furious, but could not silence her. On the contrary, several distinguished Englishmen like Ramsay Macdonald, who was to become Britain's Prime Minister, and Lady Minto, whose husband became the Viceroy of India, visited her school and commended its work.

When the British Government partitioned Bengal which resulted in a great agitation, Nivedita jumped into the fray. Soon after, there was a devastating flood in East Bengal. This was followed by famine. Nivedita waded through the water for miles to see the plight of the flood victims and report it in newspapers and journals, pointing out the gross negligence and failure of the British-Indian government to undertake relief measures. She harnessed the youth of Bengal into relief work. Incessant work and lack of rest took its toll on Nivedita’s health. But she would not rest and at last, she made a legal Will in which the property, the little money she had and the copyright of her writings she left to the Belur Math to be used for the national education of Indian women. She breathed her last on the 13th October, 1911 at Darjeeling, leaving behind her name as the deathless symbol of sacrifice and service.

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Friday, August 8, 2008


Amma was a good cook and still is. When we, the children, were growing up, we did not bother much about the nutrition value in the food that we consume. The verdict were always based on our taste bud, it was either nice or not NICE.....But now, when I am a mother, I make sure my children gets all the nutrition, although some of the dishes does not taste that nice..... and this reminds me the cycle that my mother went through,and the cycle that all mothers goes through....MOTHERHOOD

There are many Keerai,green leafs out there, that is consumed, especially known to th Indian community that has medicinal properties.

Some that I have managed to gather from my reading in the net are.............

Vallarai good for improving memory power, it is also a nerve tonic and good for getting rid of ulcer, dysentery and pimples. Can cook into chutney, into sambar or boil as a drink...

Vendaya Keerai (greens of fenugreek) supposed to cool the body and is good for diabetics. Has iron content and fibre. Stir fry with dal,into sambar,into dosai or chapati or idli

Thoodhuvalai Keerai removes congestion due to cold; good for Asthma and improves brain capacity. Makes a wonderful chutney..

Manathakkali Keerai – has lot of vitamins in it. Is good for mouth & stomach ulcers. I love this keerai.....I like the aroma after cooking... Cooked once every 2 days, when my husband had his gastric issues lately...

Ponnanganni Keerai – Improves eye sight, good for improving complexion, reduces flabbiness. It is good for Piles complaints. Cook with dhal or with other keerai...

Arugampul – One of Nature’s gift to mankind; the juice controls Cholesterol; purifies blood;. I have tried cooking this yet or tyring the juice....However I have planted this at home.

Modakkathan (Cardios Permum Halica Cabum) – It is good for Arthritis, and nervous weakness; it is also a laxative. Can make a rasam out of this..

Pudhina or mint, which contains vitamin A heals ulcers and is good for digestion.
Wonderful as chutney, and drink (just got a recipe from a friend) and I throw this into almost all of my curries...

Murungaikkerai or the green leaves of drumsticks improves blood supply, energy level and purifies blood. It is a laxative too. This needs no introduction. Cook the keerai with the Vallai Poo, or coconut or into Thani Saar

Araikkeerai (Amaranths) which contains vitamin A is again a nerve tonic. This can be stir fried by itself or add with other keerai as Keerai Kaadaiyal with Pullichai Keerai(Gongura).. this is my all time favourite...

Thiruvatchi leaves help reduce kidney problems. I have never used this keerai...will need find out more information about this..

And the list goes on..... There are many blogs with detailed picture (I can't post here from their blog, that is 'stealing') and recipes. Spend sometime going through these blogs and cook these Keerai for your loving family...I have planted of them in my garden, so you can try doing that also....

Let's go green with Keerai.....

Friday, August 1, 2008


Shashi Bhushan Chakrabarty was born on Monday, 13 July 1863, in Ichapur Village (Hooghly District, West Bengal). After finishing his education in the village school, Shashi went to Kolkata for higher English education. He lived with his cousin Sharat (Later, Swami Saradananda). He passed Kolkata University Entrance examination, and, as he was a brilliant student, won a scholarship.

One day in October 1883, Shashi, Sharat and some of their friends went to Dakshineshwar to visit Sri Ramakrishna. After the first meeting Shashi felt an irresistible attraction for Sri Ramakrishna, and he began to visit him frequently.

Observing that other disciples were experiencing ecstasy and devotion, one day Shashi prayed to the Master for those spiritual experiences. The Master said to him, “If you have that experience, you won’t be able to serve me.” “Then I don’t need it,” replied Shashi. “I don’t care for that ecstasy which will take my opportunity to serve you.” He was the very embodiment of service. He was convinced that service to the guru was the highest form of religion. He practiced no spiritual discipline, knew no other asceticism, travelled to no holy places. For getting his personal comfort, he was always ready to serve the Master.

Shashi Maharaja’s life was a glowing example of the “Servant” attitude towards God. He forgot huger and thirst, sleep and rest, and above all his body.

It is said that Swami Vivekananda at the time of sannyasa wanted to take the name of `Ramakrishnananda' for himself, but gave it up in favor of Shashi Bhushan, who, he thought, deserved it best, knowing that his devotion to the Master was second to none.

At Monastery (Baranagar and Alambazar) Shashi Maharaj performed the Mater’s worship as one serves a living human being. One summer night when he was lying in his room at Alambazar Monastery, and fanning himself with a palm- leaf fan, he felt that the Master too must be suffering from the heat. At once he entered the shrine and stood near the bed of the Master, fanning him till dawn. Sri Ramakrishna used to chew some spices, so Swami Ramakrishnananda used to keep those spices in a small bag near the Mater’s bed. He used to dry them after washing them, and clean them one by one so that there would bet be any tiny stone particles in them.

Maharaj was learned and devotional, but was not a gloomy ascetic. After dinner he would dramatically read Mark Twain’s The Innocents at Home and The Innocents Abroad. He would roar with laughter as he read them, and the others would laugh along with him. He enjoyed solving mathematical problems. He also translated the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna from Bengali into Sanskrit verses and got them serially published in Vidyodaya, a Sanskrit journal.

Returning from America in January 1897, Swami Vivekananda stayed for nine days in Madras. Swamiji created great enthusiasm among the people in Madras, and they asked him to send one of his brother monks to start a monastery there. With Ramakrishnananda in mind, Swamiji told them, “I shall send you one who is more orthodox than your most orthodox Brahmins of the South and who is at the same time incomparable in performing worship, scriptural knowledge, and meditation on God.”

Swami Ramakrishnananda was cordially received by the Madrasi devotees of Vivekananda. They first rented Flora Cottage, shortly afterwards he was offered a first floor of Ice House, to start his work.

Within five years of his arrival in Madras, Swami Ramakrishnananda became well known in the city, and his work was appreciated by many.

Castle Kernan came up for auction after the death of Mr. Biligiri Iyengar in 1906. A devotee tried to acquire the house for Swami Ramakrishnananda, but he was outbid by a rich landlord. In the same year a student of the swami donated a piece of land on Boris Road in the Mylapore area. On an auspicious day, Swami Ramakrishnananda conducted the religious ceremonies, and Swami Abhedananda, who was visiting from U.S.A. at that time, laid the foundation stone. The building was dedicated by swami on 17 November 1907.

In February 1911 Holy Mother went to Madras and stayed for a month in a two-storyed house that Swami Ramakrishnananda had rented near the monastery.

From 1897 to 1911 Swami Ramakrishnananda travelled all over South India, preaching the Hindu religion and philosophy as well as the message of Sri Ramakrishna.

In 1903 Swami Ramakrishnananda visited Bangalore and Mysore and lectured extensively.

He wrote a beautiful Sanskrit hymn on Swami Vivekananda; in addition, he composed Sanskrit mantras for the brahmacharya vows of the Ramakrishna Order. Further, he introduced and systematized the ritualistic worships of Sri Ramakrishna, which is now more or less followed by the centers of the Order.

He contributed many articles to the Bengali Udbodhan magazine, and wrote Sri Ramanuja Charit in Bengali, an authoritative life of Ramanuja, the profounder of the qualified-monastic Vedanta. (This book has been translated into English), Swamiji’s main works in English are: God and Divine Incarnation, The Message of Eternal Wisdom, Sri Krishna: Pastoral and King-maker, For Thinkers on Education, The Ancient Quest, Sri Ramakrishna and His Mission, and Search After Happiness.

Swami Ramakrishnananda’s service to Sri Ramakrishna is now legendary in the Ramakrishna Order. During the last illness of the Master, Shashi toiled and stayed until night to serve him and to look to his comforts. After Sri Ramakrishna's demise, when the relics were gathered and established in the shrine of the maiden monastery at Baranagore, it was Shashi who took upon himself the responsibility of worshiping it and also take care his monastic brothers who had been fired by an intense spirit of renunciation. No mother would have served her children with greater feeling and care than Shashi cared for them.

Swami Ramakrishnananda kept the Master alive in his mind through his intense love. One day he was resting when all of a sudden he had a desire to feed Ramakrishna hot luchis, which was his favorite dish. Immediately swami got up and made the dough, then he fried luchis. He placed a plate in front of the Master and carried hot, crispy luchis to him one after another, as if the Master were eating and enjoying his favorite dish.

Swami Ramakrishnananda’s life was short but eventful. For fourteen years he worked hard to spread the message of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda in South India. He burnt his energy quickly.

Swami Ramakrishnananda left his body while in Samadhi at 1:10p.m. on Monday, 21 August 1911.

Sayings of Swami Ramakrishanandaji

'Meditation means complete self-abandonment. Meditation requires complete annihilation of self- consciousness. You know that before a great light, lesser lights disappear; so before the effulgent glory of God, the little glory of the ego will completely vanish, as stars vanish when the sun rises.’

‘Science is the struggle of man in the outer world. Religion is the struggle of man in the inner world.’

‘Work for others is self-amelioration. We need to serve others in order to lift ourselves up out of the state of degradation and selfishness into which we have fallen. We should be grateful to the needy for making it possible for us to raise ourselves. That is the only real good that comes out of all that we do for others; we merely better ourselves.’

‘All your anxieties and worries come from egotism and selfishness. Let go your little self and they will all disappear.’

“Disbelief is a great obstacle in spiritual life. It is not only an obstacle but a disease. One will have to clear up the past life tendencies ingrained in the mind by practicing spiritual exercises and good deeds. He on whom faith descends is very fortunate. He needs nothing else.’

‘Faith in God is a precious treasure.’

‘Religion is the highest chemistry, for it analyzes the compound man into the elements, ego and non ego, the self and the non self, the soul and the body. Religion is the burning furnace in which is burnt up all the dross of his heart.’

'What kind of devotion takes us to God? The child's devotion to the mother. Why does the baby go to the mother? Because it has reasoned out that the mother is the best friend it has. And why do you go to God? Because you have previously reasoned out that God will help you and no one else can. So, as the baby goes to the mother, you will go to God.'

'So long as we have no ideal to follow, we will have to heed the calls of our lower nature. A characterless man is slave to all worldly enjoyments.'

'You have been worshiping this god of your body for so many lives; it is not easy to begin worship the true God all at once. If you would raise you Self, you must crucify the body and conquer the senses.'