Category: Sarva Dharma Sambhav


The hundred and sixty-second birth tithi of Sri Sarada Devi also known as Sarada Ma will be celebrated on Saturday December 13, 2014 at Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Mumbai. All are welcome to attend the daylong event.

Sri Sarada Devi was the wife and spiritual partner of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who was the guru of Swami Vivekananda. In that sense, Sri Sarada Devi is considered the Holy Mother of monks from the Ramakrishna Order and all their followers. She played a pivotal role in spreading the Ramakrishna Movement.

To know more about here, click HERE.

Sri Sarada Devi (Picture: Wikipedia)

Sri Sarada Devi (Picture: Wikipedia)

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The following is a detailed schedule of the Janma Tithi function:

Schedule extracted from rkmkhar.com

Schedule extracted from rkmkhar.com

By: Keyur Seta (Copyright Protected)

Mumbai’s Versova locality is a residence for the rich and the super-rich of the city. As the price of a single apartment is easily over Rs 2 crore, it is impossible for the middle-class to reside in this suburban vicinity. This is solely the reason for the area to be home for a large number of film and television artists. Hence, owning a big apartment in this part of the city is proof enough of a family or a person’s healthy financial condition.

The same is the case with Dubey’s, who lived on the 10th floor of a typical posh Versova tower, overlooking a famous multiplex. With Mr Dubey striking gold in his garment business since more than a decade, his house is blessed with all the luxuries Mrs Dubey could ask for. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the family has maids and servants for every household chore. This ensures that Mrs Dubey can spend her day mostly watching television and socializing while their only child, Rajiv, juggles between school and coaching classes.

On one morning at around 11 am, Devi, their maid, returned with a stock of vegetables for the family. Like her normal routine, she stored them in the fridge. It was like an age old exercise except for the fact that the plastic bag carrying potatoes was torn, which the maid didn’t notice before storing. So the main bag, in which Devi carried all vegetables, had few potatoes left.

Around three hours later, Mrs Dubey ventured into the kitchen for her post-lunch fruit session when she noticed few potatoes lying in the bag. Cursing the maid, she decided to put them with the main stock.

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versova

A tower in Versova (Picture: Mid-Day)

Not so far away from Versova falls the locality called Oshivara. There isn’t much difference between Versova and Oshivara but for the presence of some shanties in the latter. In one such namesake of a home stayed Shanta with her seven-year-old son Ramesh. Her husband and Ramesh’s father passed away few years back after falling prey to alcoholism. Considering their situation and the place they call home, it is needless to say that they literally lived from hand-to-mouth. Plus, Shanta’s self-respect doesn’t allow her to ask or beg for food from anyone.

Shanta, off late, has been in a dilemma as to whether she should continue sending Ramesh to the government school as her income as a sweeper and through some odd jobs is clearly not sufficient to support the two in today’s price-rise era. She is toying with the idea of getting Ramesh employed as a worker in a nearby plywood store. Her idea has created a bad blood between the mother and son as the latter wishes to study.

The tussle between the two reached a new level today. There were literally no vegetables left and there was still time before she got her next payment. On top of that, the vegetable vendor had plainly refused credit any more. This was enough for Shanta to force Ramesh in giving up studies so that he can earn. Although deep inside she didn’t like this at all, the thought of starving was too scary for her to ignore.

After a lot of conflict, Shanta announced, “Okay. If we get some food by today evening through some miracle, I will let you continue your school. If God really wants you to study, he will arrange something for our stomach by evening. If not, you should join that store from tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, while feasting her eyes on the sunset at Versova beach from Dubey’s apartment and at the same time speaking with someone over the phone, the chief maid was waiting for the woman who brings groceries for the family from the market. When the woman arrived, the chief maid signaled her to take the main bag and the money kept in the kitchen, which was the normal practice since months.

When Shanta picked up the main bag, she felt some heaviness. When she peered in she realized there were a few potatoes. She was highly surprised. But soon a wide smile emerged on her face. She recalled how Mrs Dubey had long back handed over few extra vegetables to her. She was sure she had done the same again. Now, she didn’t need to drop Ramesh from school.

“God wants Ramesh to continue studying,” she happily thought while leaving the house. How would she know that a phone ring had stopped Mrs Dubey for storing those potatoes after which she forgot about it? Few potatoes were no big deal for Mrs Dubey. But for Shanta, they were not only a big deal but a new lease of life.

When an unintentional distribution of food can bring more than a ray of hope, just imagine the positive effect of a small amount of intentional donation by those with surplus wealth. Considering India has 100 billionaires (out of the 2325 worldwide) and many rich and super-rich, it is surely not a big deal for them.

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By: Keyur Seta

We are well aware that well-known lyricist and script writer Prasoon Joshi has penned a heartwarming song for the ongoing Swachha Bharat Abhiyan by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sung by Kailash Kher, the song is called ‘Swachh Bharat Ka Irada’.

But he didn’t want his contribution to be limited to this. He was keen to contribute physically too by literally cleaning up a locality. So he took up the task of cleaning the garbage laden compound of Sofi Mahal Building in Mumbai’s Lalbaug area along with some bloggers and volunteers. This particular event was called Clean Sweep and it was in association with IndiBlogger.

Children in Lalbaug’s Sofi Mahal building were unable to play cricket in their compound since long due to the presence of huge amount of garbage being dumped there. But after Joshi’s initiative, the kids were finally able to resume play much to their joy. The occasion was celebrated with a professional cricket match between the two teams of the locality.

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prasoon-joshi-swach-bharat1

Picture: Radioandmusic.com

“This initiative has induced consciousness in the country regarding cleanliness. It’s not that people didn’t know what cleanliness is. But in spite of that, there was this inertia regarding this issue. Even in this locality, it wasn’t that people were unaware about keeping their surroundings clean, which would also enable these kids to play. But I am glad that our PM’s initiative has spread awareness about this,” says Joshi.

An interesting thing about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is that the celebrity, who cleans up a locality, should nominate 9 people for the same task. “I was nominated by Anil Ambani. I have nominated Kiran Rao (producer and Aamir Khan’s wife), Venu Srinivasan (CMD of TVS Motors), Mr Birla, Shankar Mahadevan (composer and singer), Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (spiritual guru), Irrfan Khan (actor), Jeev Milkha Singh (golfer), Nitish Kapoor (CEO Reckitt Benckiser [Dettol]) and Aman and Ayan Ali (music composers).”

There is always a section of the public that is cynical for every social movement. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is no different. Joshi has a message for people with such a mindset. “To those who keep saying that we will gain nothing from this, I would like to assert that if I am asked to choose between doing and not doing, I will always choose the former. Of course, there won’t be change overnight. But there will definitely be some difference. In our culture, we are asked to keep our hearts clean. But now it is high time we clean up our country too.”

Obviously, the success of this initiative largely depends on whether the masses would stop littering the roads. Like many others, Joshi too feels they should be penalized. “There is a need for a law. If there is fear of getting caught and fined, people will stop doing it. Plus, they also need to be taught the difference between dry and wet waste and how to separate it.”

Even the most humongous task starts with a single step. Here’s hoping that this single step is followed by million others.

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News

Braille transcription of Jain Sadhvi duo Nidhi-Kripa Shri’s books — Jeena Aaye to Zindagi and Karm Jigyasa — was unveiled at Parliament’s Balayagi Auditorium on November 9, 2014. The aim of this Braille transcription is to make it possible for the visually-impaired to own these books and enrich their lives as per the guidance of Bhagwan Mahavir.

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Picture Source: Artnindia.com

Picture Source: Artnindia.com

Along with the unveiling of Braille transcription of duo’s book, Nandita Jain and Mridu Jain also unveiled a book ‘Jiyo Barass Likho Baras’ — a biography of the duo — on the same day, which also marks the 50th birth anniversary of the two Sadhvis.

Duo’s books propagate the teachings such as non-violence and guide people to lead a content life in the light of Bhagwan Mahavir’s teachings. ‘Jeena Aaye to Zindagi’ helps the reader to enrich life by multiplying good qualities and defeating grey shades, on the other hand ‘Karm Jigyasa’ is Bhagwan Mahavir’s tool to open the doors to understanding and tolerance.

The two Sadhvi’s mission is ‘knowledge for all’ and believe that even in the materialistic world people can be enlightened. In line with this mission, the books of two Sadhvi’s are available in audio format through Daisy format (digital talking book) for the visually-impaired.

Sadhvis Nidhi Shri was born in Mumbai and Sadhvi Kripa Shri was born in Jalna, Maharashtra, and together got Jain consecration around 32 years ago. The two started giving discourses after the consecration and started writing books from 1997 onwards.

(This is the second episode of the series ‘Lessons from Mahabharata’. The sole aim of this series is to highlight that the many messages given in the greatest epic are completely relevant even today and will be forever… For Episode 1, click HERE.)

By: Keyur Seta

All of us must have heard the phrase ‘Quality is above Quantity’ a number of times in our lives. Be it our elders, teachers, friends or bosses; someone at some point utters these words with regards to different contexts. One might think that this phrase is relevant to the current professionals from various fields. Although there is no denying this, I feel it has been relevant since ages; since thousands of years ago.

Yes, I am talking about the Mahabharata. There is a huge and obvious example of ‘Quality above quantity’ in the epic. Strangely, I haven’t heard or read anyone referring to this event in the context of this phrase. Or maybe many must have drawn a link of this incident with the phrase; such is the magnanimity of the many events of this epic. The episode I am talking about took place much before the commencement of the Great War of Kurukshetra between the Pandavas and Kauravas.

krishna-duryodhanAfter the war was announced and the preparations about the same were on in full swing, Duryodhana, the evil antagonist, and Arjuna, the righteous Pandava, visited Lord Krishna to ask for his assistance in the war. Krishna said he can either offer himself weaponless or his huge army (with weapons) to any one of them. As Duryodhana was the first one to arrive, he was given the opportunity to choose first. Despite knowing Duryodhana’s evil intentions, Krishna agreed to help him too since it was against the dharma for a Kshatriya to say no to a relative.

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We all know how materialistic Duryodhana was. For people with a materialistic mindset, numbers matter the most. In fact, their mindset always forces them to judge people and situations on the basis of numbers. Therefore, without giving it a second thought, Duryodhana chose Krishna’s army and was delighted about his choice.

On the other hand, Arjuna too was immensely pleased for getting the services of Krishna, although without weapons. Arjuna’s mind was unlike Duryodhana. As he didn’t measure things in terms of numbers, he very well knew the importance of having Krishna on his side as his charioteer. He knew Krishna alone is many times mightier than any army in the world.

The result of Duryodhana’s choice was devastating for the Kauravas. In fact, we can even infer that the biggest turning point in the Great War of Kurukshetra arrived much before it commenced. A change of choice by Duryodhana would have turned around the entire result on its head. However, some people do believe that if Duryodhana had chosen Krishna, the latter would have either convinced him against fighting the war or would have still ensured a victory for Pandavas. I too would like to believe it.

So there we are! We have had the biggest example of ‘Quality above quantity’ thousands of years ago, which is relevant even today and will be as long as the earth exists; such is the timelessness of the epic.

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I would like to list down few examples of this theory out of our daily living:-

  • In today’s age we have gadgets for almost everything. The basic aim of every gadget or machine is to save our time and at the same time achieve more perfection. However, we had more contentment and free time when we were less dependent on gadgets.
  • The number of TV channels today is well above a thousand! But we were more satisfied when there was just one channel or a handful of channels. And despite such huge number of channels, many are seen spending their time just flipping channels as they aren’t satisfied with any. The same goes for movies.
  • The numbers of shopping centers and shopping malls have increased rapidly over the years. People are also seen indulging in shopping like never before. The reason for this is their lack of satisfaction from whatever they buy. Although he or she is happy initially after buying something, the satisfaction derived out of it lasts only few moments, forcing them to shop more and repeat the cycle. On the other hand, people were more satisfied when they used to spend on simple items with less frequency.
  • Since a decade or so, we have also been witnessing an overdose of cricket. Obviously, this had had a great impact on our satisfaction derived from the sport. Plus, the emergence of Indian Premier League (IPL) made matters worse by staging around 80 matches in less than two months! And since it is becoming more and more a batsman’s game, the value of a century or six-hitting has reduced. For how long do we now feel happy when a batsman scores a 100?
  • In today’s social media savvy era, we have hundreds of friends. But how many are there really with whom we can share our heart out comfortably?

(This is the first episode of the series ‘Lessons from Mahabharata’. The sole aim of this series is to highlight that the many messages given in the greatest epic are completely relevant even today and will be forever… For Episode 2, click HERE.)

By: Keyur Seta

Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya,
Glanir Bhavati Bhaavat,
Abhyutthanam Adharmasya,
Tadatmanam Srujamy Aham

Through the above Sanskrit Mantra, Lord Krishna has assured that whenever and wherever evil or adharma will threaten to take over good or dharma, he will manifest or arrive on earth to ensure that evil is destroyed.

Although this is one of the most scared mantras, it is also making people ask this question again and again – If the mantra is true, why hasn’t God arrived on earth considering the numerous ghastly evils on earth? I too have asked this innumerable times. However, I have stopped asking it in recent times. In fact, I have also started believing that it is futile to ask such a question.

Before I explain the reason for this, I would like to clearly state that this is just my way of looking at an episode of Mahabharata and I don’t possess any concrete proof to support my theory.

krishna-and-arjunIt is well-known that Lord Krishna helped Arjuna and other Pandava brothers to win the great war of Kurukshetra against the evil Kauravas. Looking at this incident, one would ask then why isn’t he helping the world right now to fight these many evils. But the analogy is not as simple as it appears. A deeper perception is required.

Just before the start of the war, Arjuna straightaway refused to fight as he wasn’t ready to kill his own kinsmen, grandfather Bheeshma and his teacher Dronacharya. So Krishna encouraged him to fight through a long conversation, which later came to be known as the Bhagavad Gita. It is only after he agrees to fight that Krishna helps him by his various tactics.

So if Krishna is God, why he didn’t use his powers to eliminate the Kauravas right at the start of the war? He had the power to end the war in a matter of seconds so why didn’t he do that? Well, this incident gives a clear message that God helps us in our fight against any evil only if we are ready to fight against it with all our might. Until and unless we, in huge numbers, are determined to put in all our efforts in battling against various evils, God is not going to help us.

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We humans have enough power and strength to wage a war against adharma. By fearing and underestimate ourselves and overestimating the evil forces, we are falling prey to negativity. And where there is negativity, there is no God. History is full of examples of ordinary human beings fearlessly battling against oppressors. So it is not right to blame Him of not doing anything to alleviate if we are not willing to dedicate and ready ourselves for a mighty fight against evil forces.

So, according to me, as a large majority of us (including me) aren’t doing anything to wipe out the corrupt and wicked forces, God isn’t using his powers to free us from various evils. Until and unless we don’t pull up our socks (mind you, in huge numbers) for the task, we shouldn’t expect God to perform any miracles.

No doubt, there are a lot of people selflessly working for the upliftment of the downtrodden but the number isn’t enough. We can expect some miracle only if a large majority of us enter the battlefield of the various Kurukshetras of the world.

Maybe the Lord is already present on earth just waiting for us to unanimously enter the battlefield. Maybe he is present is small quantities in many of us and just wants us to unite ourselves and Him. Either ways, the need is the same – stand up and fight!

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Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. He is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who specially took birth as the child of Devaki and Vasudev to wipe out various evils from earth. As a child, Krishna eliminated his own evil uncle Kansa. His entire life has been full of messages for the entire human population, not just Hindus. His biggest and most important contribution was seen in the great war of Kurukshetra where he helped the Pandavas defeat their evil cousins Kauravas.

As his mission on earth was accomplished with the victory of the Pandavas, Krishna descended to heavenly abode after the completion of the war. But he assured his devotees that he would arrive on earth whenever an evil force will pose danger to win over the good.

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For the entire life story of Lord Krishna, visit these links:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna

http://archives.amritapuri.org/bharat/symbolism/srikrishna.php

 

Happy JANMASHTAMI to all! May the various evils of the world be wiped out.

 

Lord Vishnu's reincarnation as Krishna, the child of Devaki and Vasudeva. (Picture Source: http://www.twitsnaps.com)

Lord Vishnu’s reincarnation as Krishna, the child of Devaki and Vasudeva. (Picture Source: http://www.twitsnaps.com)

 

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Eid-Al-Fitr is an Islamic festival marking the end of Ramadan (also knoawn as Ramzan), the month of fasting. Muslims all over the world fast daily in the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk known as Roza. After sunset, they break the Roza and consume food. This is done for the entire month of Ramadan till the day of Eid. People generally wish each other ‘Eid Mubarak’, ‘Eid-Ul-Fitr Mubarak’, ‘Happy Eid’ and so on depending on each language. For more information on Eid, click this link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Fitr

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Although Eid is an Islamic festival, it is celebrated by people of all faiths world over.

Picture Source: smsblaze.com

Picture Source: smsblaze.com

 

Picture Source: The Hindu

Picture Source: The Hindu

 

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Easter is a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection (rising from dead) of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion on Good Friday, which is a public holiday in most parts of the world. Mostly, Easter is a movable Holiday and is celebrated on the First Sunday between March 22 and April 25 in accordance to the Vernal or Spring Equinox.

 

Wishing all a Very Happy Easter. May there be new hope for humanity all around the globe!

 

For a detailed meaning and information of Easter, see these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter

http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatiseaster.htm

 

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Picture Source: text.medjugorje.ws/

Picture Source: text.medjugorje.ws/

 

By: Keyur Seta

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, Pakistan’s renowned Islamic scholar and politician, is highly impressed by the teachings and message of Swami Vivekananda. In fact, for Swamiji’s 151st Birth Anniversary, he sent his wishes to India through his Indian friend Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is a socio-political activist and columnist.

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Picture Source: Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni

Picture Source: Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni

“I had a chance of meeting Qadri. But before meeting him, I sent him a few books about Swamiji. When I met him, he said he read the books and is highly impressed by Swamiji’s message. He praised Swamiji by quoting from his Parliament of Religion speech at Chicago. Just imagine, a Muslim, a Pakistani being impressed by Swamiji’s message.” said Kulkarni while speaking at Swami Vivekananda’s 151st Birth Anniversary aka National Youth Day function organized by Ramakrishna Mission and Math, Mumbai. He also stressed on religious tolerance by urging people to celebrate festival of all religions.

A large group of people gathered at the Vivekananda Hall were both surprised and delighted to hear this. Similarly, other dignitaries – Chitra Ramkrishna, MD & CEO of National Stock Exchange Mumbai, Dr Priya M Vaidya, Asst. Prof. of Philosophy, University of Mumbai, B. N. Srikrishna, retired Supreme Court Judge ((he prepared Srikrishna Report of 1992 riots) and Professor Narendra M. Naidu from Modern College Pune – too presided over the event encouraging people to walk on the path shown by Swamiji.

The event also saw a dance drama on Swamiji’s life and message by Keka Sinha and her group and a Classical concert by Padmashri Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty.

More pictures from the event:

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

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