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Friday, February 27, 2015

An Ideal and a Role Model

by Srikanth

Definitions from Oxford Dictionary:

Ideal: A person or thing regarded as perfect. A standard of perfection; a principle to be aimed at.

Role model: A person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.

In the last class, Swamiji said, "Sri Ramakrishna is an ideal householder and an ideal monk," i.e., Sri Ramakrishna shows what the goal of a monk or a householder is.  As Swamiji pointed out, the purpose of marriage is not physical pleasure, but it is a means to get over the sexual drag. Both Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi, being celibate, demonstrated how an ideal couple should live in the world. Sri Ramakrishna is also an ideal monk because he had tremendous renunciation besides having no employment for his own subsistence by relying entirely on what others provided to him. Swamiji brilliantly said contradictions exist between an imperfect monk and imperfect householder, where as perfect monk and perfect householder have a harmony which is found in Sri Ramakrishna's life.

Thus Sri Ramakrishna is an ideal for anyone, i.e., a state of perfection to be achieved. However, is he a role model? A role model has a life like us, but his/her certain actions make him/her achieve the ideal thereby giving confidence to others that they could achieve the same too. Would life of Sri Ramakrishna evoke that confidence within you that you could achieve the goal from the state where you currently are? Bear in mind that if you treat him as an incarnation, then it gets harder to treat him as a role model as you create an impregnable wall between him and yourself by thinking that he and you are not the same.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yoga of Play

by Chinmaya

As the sun set slowly on western bank of the Ganges, tiny waves of the river sparkled in its crimson rays. The crisp air was filled with dense chirps of countless birds, excited to fly homewards. On the eastern bank, sounds of bells and musical instruments in preparation for the evening vespers permeated the temple grounds of Dakshineshwar Kali. In a small room by the temple courtyard was seated Sri Ramakrishna, surrounded by a group of eager listeners, both young and old. The group was immersed in an intense discussion on the unique signs of an Avatar. Hardly were they aware of the events in the outer world. As Sri Ramakrishna spoke, a sublime smile flashed through his face illuminating the entire room. Silence interspersing the talks charged the room with ecstatic vibrations, filling the hearts of the listeners… which also included a young boy named Chinmaya. While talking, as the benign gaze of Ramakrishna fell upon Chinmaya, he felt a thrill of intense joy! And gradually his whole being merged in oneness with Sri Ramakrishna’s Divine Being.

Chinmaya experiences this bliss every evening, when after a long day’s work as a hi-tech professional, he sits for meditation in his small apartment room in the bustling city of New York. As he closes his eyes the entire scene gets vividly enacted, breaking through the limits of time and place . . . and the deep joy of that spiritual experience stays with him all the time. This practice of meditation is often called “Leela Dhyana” – meditation on the actions or ‘leela’ of a divine incarnation and imagining oneself in that divine company.