Sri Ramakrishna Birthday Celebration

The pulsating, ancient sound of Vedic Chanting by the Vedanta Society Nuns launched this year’s public celebration of Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday celebration at Vedanta Hall.

In his introductory comments to a panel session on Joy of Spirituality in the Light of Sri Ramakrishna’s Life and Message, Robert Grant observed that: “We’re surrounded by complicated, obsessive and expensive attempts to find joy,” citing the trend for “short but extravagant holidays: action-packed, micro-managed, dripping with luxurious locales and food, all shared in minute detail on social media;” as just one example. He contrasted this with the “mart of joy” that surrounded Sri Ramakrishna and how “waves of heavenly bliss” would flow in his room where devotional talks and singing and dance gave rise to the deepest, simplest and purest joy. Robert wryly observed that: “Here in Sydney over 140 years later we also have many ‘Marts of Joy’ every weekend with dancing and singing and people falling on the ground in ‘ecstasy.’ But while those who attended Sri Ramakrishna’s Marts of Joy woke up the following morning exclaiming: “Good morning God!” many Sydney revelers might exclaim: “O God! Morning!”

Walter Mason, blogger and writer and Vice-President of the Charles Dickens society, Sankar Chandrasekaran, retired electronics engineer and keen student of Sanskrit, Gita and the Upanishads, and Pravrajika Sridharaprana, Nun of Sri Sarada Math of the Ramakrishna Order, comprised the panel.

They explored three themes: firstly, describing ‘How they find simple joys in their everyday lives.’ Sridharaprana found it joyful to interact with and serve the devotees. Asked to ‘Share stand-out moments from their Spiritual Journey,’ Sankar described how, after several attempts, thwarted by riots in Tibet and group Visa issues, he and friends finally completed a pilgrimage to Kailash and Manasarovar leading to indescribable joy. Sridharaprana shared her life-changing experience of visiting the Sri Ramakrishna Math in Bangalore, a Centre with a rich spiritual history associated with Sri Sarada Devi, saintly monks and enthralling devotional music. With two travel books full of anecdotes of the enriching and exotic times he spent in Vietnam and Cambodia Walter described sacred meetings with Nuns and Monks and solitary ascetics.

A ‘Favourite teaching or incident related to Sri Ramakrishna’ took us to a quiet and exclusive shop in the upper levels of Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building where, with only an occasional sale to occupy him, Walter read Christopher Isherwood’s biography of Sri Ramakrishna, revealing a rich, mystical world for his imagination. Sankar had a very personal take having acted the role of Sri Ramakrishna in several plays.

Next on the program was a sublime performance of sacred music straddling Jewish, Christian and Hindu songs, by Australia’s leading performers of the art, Dr.Kim Cunio, Associate Professor at the ANU and his partner, Heather Lee, award winning soprano.

The Celebration concluded with a talk by Pravrajika Gayatriprana, President of the Ramakrishna Sarada Vedanta Society of NSW. All were served lunch.

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Veerashaivas Community of Australia pays respects to Siddhaganga Swamiji.

By: Vijayakumar Halagali.

Memorial service and Prayer meeting was organized by the Veerashaiva Samaja of Asia Pacific Inc. (VSAP) at  Sri Sai Mandir Hall, Regents Park(Sydney), Australia. This event was organized to facilitate an opportunity to the local Veerashaiva community to pay last respects to most respected and worshipped Swamiji as the “Walking God”. This event was attended by local Veerashaiva, Hindu and Sikh community leaders. Meeting started with a recital of Lord Shiva song by Sri. Bhaskar B. V.

Swamiji’s earlier life before becoming Swamiji was presented by Mr. Vijaykumar Halagali, Public Officer of VSAP and President of Sydney Kannada Sangha, who conducted the proceedings of the event.

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Walking God walks away from earth

By: Surinder Jain.

Sri Sri Sri Shivakumara Swamiji [1] a Hindu spiritual leader, revered saint, humanitarian and educator, religious figure and head of the Siddaganga Matha in Karnataka,[5] founder of the Sri Siddaganga Education Society,[6] also known as Nadedaaduva Devaru (walking God)[2] passed away at the age of 111 on Monday 21st January 2019.

Swamiji founded a total of 132 institutions for education and training, that range from nursery to colleges for engineering, science, arts and management as well as vocational training.[18] He established educational institutions which offer courses in traditional learning of Sanskrit as well as modern science and technology. He was widely respected by all communities for his philanthropic work.[19]

In 2015, he was awarded by the Government of India the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award.[2]

Swamiji’s gurukula houses more than 10,000 children from ages five to sixteen years at any point in time and is open to children from all religions, castes, and creeds who are provided free food, education, and shelter (Trivida Dasohi).[18][3] The pilgrims and visitors to the mutt also receive free meals.[18] Under the pontiff’s guidance, an annual agricultural fair is held for the benefit of the local population. The Government of Karnataka announced the institution of Shivakumara Swamiji Prashasti from 2007, the centennial birth anniversary of Swamiji.[19] A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, visited him at Tumkur and praised the initiatives of Swamiji in education and humanitarian work.[19]

In recognition of his humanitarian work, Swamiji was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the Karnataka University in 1965.[34] On his centenary in 2007, the Government of Karnataka awarded him the prestigious Karnataka Ratna award, the highest civilian award of the state.[4] In 2015 the Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan.[2]

In 2017, the Government of Karnataka and his followers sought Bharat Ratna for him for his social service.[35][4]

Swami Ji’s demise and irreplaceable loss has immersed the whole of Hindu Community into deep sorrow.

Swami Ji headed the Sri Siddaganga math since 1941. Under his watch the math run institutes students have excelled in education and are working all over the world.

 

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