Thursday, October 23, 2008


Ramprasad (1723 – 1803) is a well known poet and a Kali devotee in Bengal. Ramprasad’s songs are the favorites of Sri Ramakrishna.
I came across this name, while I was reading The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. This is how I was blessed to know these 2 great saints and sons of Kali Maa.

Ramprasad is always immersed in meditation and spiritual practice. Among other sadhanas, he was known for standing neck-deep in the Gangai, deeply absorbed in the thought of the Divine Mother and singing songs (Bengali) to Kali. And this would attract the by standers. He also always ends the song with his name added into the song

I would strongly suggest that you buy and read Ramprasad, The Melodious Mystic by Swami Budhananda if you want to know more about this saint.

Below is one of Ramprasad’s poem that has been translated to English.

O mind, you do not know how to farm!
Fallow lies the field of your life.
If you had only worked it well,
How rich a harvest you might reap!
Hedge it about with Kali’s name
If you would keep your harvest safe;
This is the stoutest hedge of all,
For death himself cannot come near it.

Sooner or later will dawn the day
When you must forfeit your precious field;
Gather, O mind, what fruit you may.
Sow for your seed the holy name
Of God that your Guru has given to you,
Faithfully watering it with love;

And if you find your task too hard,
Call upon Ramprasad for help.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Swami Advaitananda

Gopal Chandra Ghosh of Sinthi, Kolkata, lost his wife when he was fifty-five years of age. Brokenhearted and unable to bear his overwhelming grief, Gopal went to a friend, Dr. Mahendra Pal of Sinthi, for consolation. Mahendra was a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna, so he suggested that Gopal see the master at Dakshineshwar. Sometime in March or April 1884, Mahendra accompanied Gopal on a visit there. There first visit was a simple visit. The second time Gopal went to Dakshineshwar, Sri Ramakrishna, like a good physician, gave him an infallible antidote for his grief.

Gopal later narrated what happened after his third visit: “The Master possessed me. I would think of him day and night. The pang of separation from the Master gave me chest pain. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t forget his face.”
Gopal Chadra Ghosh was born in 1828 at Rajpur (Jagaddal) in 24- Paraganas, nearly 25 miles north of Kolkata.

As he had no family ties after the death of his wife, Gopal moved from Sinthi to Dakshineshwar to serve the Master. Sri Ramakrishna accepted Gopal as his disciple and would address him as “the elder Gopal” or “Overseer.” The other disciples called him “Gopal-da”, since he was eight years older than Ramakrishna.

The Master introduced him to Holy Mother, who needed a person who could shop and run errands for her. Sri Ramakrishna praised Gopal’s managerial capacity in household affairs and his sweet behavior with people. In spite of his age, Gopal tried to keep the same pace as the other young disciples. When Narendra would sing to the accompaniment of the Tanpura (a stringed instrument0 in the Master’s room, Gopal would play the Tabala (drums)
In September 1885 Ramakrishna moved to Shyampukur in Kolkata for cancer treatment and Gopal accompanied him. He served the Master like a nurse, giving him medicine and proper diet. Usually Holy Mother prepared the Master’s food and carried it to his room. Gopal acted as holy Mother’s messenger; he was free with her, and she did not cover her face with a veil in front of him.

On Tuesday, 12 January 1886 (Makar-Sankranti), Gopal gave the ochre clothes and rosaries to the Master, who touched them and sanctified them with a mantram. He himself then distributed them among his young disciples. The disciples who received the ochre clothes were: Narendra, Rakhal, Niranjan, Baburam, Shashi, Sharat, Kali, Jogin, Latu, Tarak, and Gopal. The 12 th cloth and rosary, according to the Master’s instruction, were set aside for Girish Ghosh.
After passing away of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Advaitananda visited many holy places in India. He passed five years in Varanasi practicing austerities and forgetting the mundane world. Swami Advaitananda was entrusted a job of leveling the new plot of land purchased at Belur. Apart from leveling the ground and other construction work, Advaitananda started a vegetable garden and a dairy farm. Swami Adbhutananda recalled about the early days: “Without Gopal-da the monks of Belur Math would not have had vegetables along with their rice. He worked so hard to produce various kinds of vegetables in the monastery garden.”

He kept himself busy in the service of Sri Ramakrishna and couldn’t bear lazy people. Because of his age and temperament he did not engage in public activities such as relief work and preaching; his monastic life was therefore uneventful. In spite of that, he definitely set an example for all and he was a source of inspiration to many.

Swami Advaitananda passed away at 4.15p.m. on Tuesday, 28 December 1909.
Sri Ramakrishna made him a role model for elderly seekers of God. He will be remembered by the Ramakrishna Order for his cheerful manner and methodical ways, his self-reliance, his untiring zeal in every work he undertook, and his implicit devotion to the Master and his cause.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Kolam is something I enjoyed doing during my young days, but I could not boast that I was very good at it...... I was just an average and there were limited patterns that I could draw. Along the way, due to my schedule and priorities, these were conveniently forgotten...... Until last week, whereby I was forced to do Kolam by my kutties… Below is the outcome…

I also gathered the below information, from Wikipedia,

Kolam (Tamil: கோலம் kõlaṁ) is a form of sandpainting that is drawn using rice powder by female members of the family in front of their home. It is widely practised by Hindus in South India. A Kolam is a sort of painted prayer — a line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots.

Kolams are thought to bestow prosperity to homes. Every morning in southern India, millions of women draw kolams on the ground with white rice powder. Through the day, the drawings get walked on, rained out, or blown around in the wind; new ones are made the next day. Every morning before sunrise, the floor is cleaned with water, the universal purifier, and the muddy floor is swept well for an even surface. The kolams are generally drawn while the surface is still damp so that it is held better. Occasionally, cow-dung is also used to wax the floors. Cow dung has antiseptic properties and hence provides a literal threshold of protection for the home. It also provides contrast with the white powder.
Decoration was not the sole purpose of a Kolam. In olden days, kolams used to be drawn in coarse rice flour, so that the ants don't have to work so hard for a meal. The rice powder is said to invite birds and other small critters to eat it, thus inviting other beings into one's home and everyday life: a daily tribute to harmonious co-existence. It is a sign of invitation to welcome all into the home, not the least of whom is Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity. The patterns range between geometric and mathematical line drawings around a matrix of dots to free form art work and closed shapes. Folklore has evolved to mandate that the lines must be completed so as to symbolically prevent evil spirits from entering the inside of the shapes, and thus are they prevented from entering the inside of the home.

3x3 dot all and only symmetry 9 Goddesses Swastika Kolam with a single cycle by Nagata S, each of which is corresponded to one of the nine Davi of the Hindu or the nine Muses in Greek
It used to be a matter of pride to be able to draw large complicated patterns without lifting the hand off the floor standing up in between. The month of Margazhi was eagerly awaited by young women, who would then showcase their skills by covering the entire width of the road with one big kolam.
The ritual kolam patterns created for occasions such as weddings can stretch all the way down streets. Patterns are often passed on generation to generation, from mother to daughter.
For special occasions limestone and red brick powder to contrast are also used. Though kolams are usually done with dry rice flour, for longevity, dilute rice paste or even paints are also used. Modern interpretations have accommodated chalk, and more recently vinyl stickers (that defeat the original purpose).

Rangoli in front of house during Pongal
Kolam is not as flamboyant as its other Indian contemporary, Rangoli, which is extremely colourful.

- a pattern, in which a stroke (Kambi, Sikku in Tamil) runs once around each dot (Pulli), and goes to the beginning point (endless/cycle), as a mostly geometrical figure. The stroke called as Neli from a snaky line. The stroke has Knot (Sikku) structure.
-a pattern, in which a stroke runs around each dot not completely, but open.
-a pattern, in which strokes (Kodu/Kotto)are connected between the dots. Sometimes it represents kinds of objects, flowers, or animals etc.
-a pattern, in which dots are set in a radial arrangement, called Lotus.
-a pattern, which is drawn in a free style and mostly colourised.

Fruit Trees

Apart from being a vivid vegetable, I and my husband, also have planted some fruit trees. Hoping in 3 years time, we will be able to enjoy the harvest of our hard work....

Rambutan Pomegrate Soursop

Lemon Mango Banana

Dragon Fruit Chasew nut


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I was determined to write a little everyday on this Navarathri, but I was unable to fulfill. Despite of that, I am happy that the prayers with my family have been going on well. I have been singing the Lalitha Navaratna Maalai and have been trying to sing the Abirami Anthathi, I have to admit as a beginner, my pronunciation is out.....but am sure Amma would forgive me and accept my prayers... I am planning to sing this daily, instead of just for this Navarathri, with HER blessings.

Practice makes perfect......

Below is the altar at our humble home........


Thursday, October 2, 2008

2nd Ocotber 1869

Today, I remember another great person, who have made history, and I personally consider him to be a saint, MOHANDAS KARAMCHAND GANDHI. Gandhiji was born on October 2, 1869, at Porbandar, a small town on the western coast of India.
I am sure all are aware about Gandhji’s life and and His preaching of Ahimsha. Today I would like share on something that I have read about Gandhji that have touched my heart.

The below is a part of the lecture by Professor Madhu Dandwate on "Gandhi's Human Touch”. I read this some years back, but every time I read this, my mind fails to control the tears that swells in my eyes…..

If only we could practice even a small friction of what Ghandji have preached… the world would be a better place to live…Don’t you agree with me????

Women in Champaran

Sensitivity for the problems of women as the weakest among the weak was another trait of Gandhi. Gandhi had sent a team of workers to study and report on the problems of the Champaran district. But the report they gave him did not refer to any problems of the women there. "How can any report be complete without an account of the women's problems?", he asked. The workers told Gandhi that the women of Champaran were very shy and would not meet them. Gandhi then deputed Kasturba Gandhi and Avantikabai Gokhale to visit Champaran to report on women's agony. The women of Champaran would not first meet them and even open their doors.
At sunset, Kasturba Gandhi knocked one door and told the women inside: " We are moving round your town from sunrise to sunset. We are now thirsty. Will you not offer us a glass of water ?" A door was then slightly opened. A woman's hand peeped out with a glass of water on her palm. Kasturba drank water and then said: " Sister we have seen your hand. We have seen the glass of water on your palm. But we want to see the woman behind this hand." The woman inside broke down. She said: "Three women of our household share only one untorn saree and as one woman has gone out with that saree how could others open the door for you and expose our semi-naked bodies?" Kasturba told the weeping woman: "Close the door. The doors of your heart are opened." Kasturba and Avantikabai, touched by the reply, returned to Gandhi with this heart-rending report about women in Champaran. It steeled Gandhi's determination not to rest till the honour of these women were restored.