Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Padmavibhushan For Vivekananda Kendra President Mananeeya P. Parameswaranji

Kendra workers all over India and Patriots and adherents of Hindu Dharma rejoice at the honour done to Kendra President Ma. P. Parameswaranji. He has been chosen for Padma Vibhushan award for the 2018 Republic day.Born in Shertalai in Alappuzha district of Kerala in 1927, Shri Parameswaranji completed his college education in S.P. College of Changanassery and Tiruvanathapuram University College taking his B.A., (Hons) degree in history.

On the advice of Pujya Guruji Golwalkar he became an R.S.S. Pracharak in 1950. He became the Organizing Secretary, All India General Secretary and the Vice President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. He underwent imprisonment during the emergency 1975 – 77. In 1977 he left active politics and dedicated himself to whole time writing, speaking and constructive work. He became the Director of Deen Dayal Research Institute Delhi and served that Institute for four years.

In 1982, he returned to Kerala, founded the National Research Centre, Bharatiya Vichar Kendra with its Head Quarters at Tiruvananthapuram. He became the Vice President and then the President of Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee and Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari. He used to speak to our youth on Swami Vivekananda and his National and spiritual ideals.

He is a patron of Gita Swadhyaya Samiti which takes the message of the Gita to the younger generation.He was associated with the Kalady Advaita Ashrama and its founder Swami Aghamanandaji. Sri. P. Parameswaranji is also well connected with Ramakrishna Math.

He has great faith in the Gita concept of Selfless work and its efficacy in solving the society’s problems. In 1998 he started the Gita Decade. The Trichur Gita Sangamam involved 2000 youths. He organized in the year 2000, a National Seminar on Gita’s answers to contemporary problems and published the research papers as a useful volume. 1500 professors, researchers and thinkers participated in the seminar led by the then Human Resources Central Minister Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi and the Dalai Lama.

Sri. Parameswaranji played a useful role in the centenary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago speech (1993).Widely travelled and well-versed in our Dharmic Literature Sri. P. Parameswaranji is a powerful speaker in Malayalam and English.

His untiring patriotic and Dharmic work was recognized by Kolkatta Bada Bazaar Library (Hanuman Prasad Poddar award in 1997), Jawaharlal Nehru, University Delhi appointed him as its Senate member. Mata Amritananda Mayi Math conferred its Amrita Kirti Puraskar upon him in 2002. He became a Padma Shree in 2004.

He has been the editor of Kesari and Manthan. He is the editor of all Kendra Periodicals. He is the Chief editor of Pragati the Research Quarterly.He is the author of numerous books on Sri Narayana Guru, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Indian Culture and values. His books on Marx and Vivekananda, From Marx to Maharshi, Bhagawad Gita and Hindu Dharma have been translated into Indian languages. His poems have been collected and published under the title Yajna Prasad. 

His 90th year celebrations were inaugurated by the Home Minister Sri Rajnath Singh in August 2017 in Kochi. The concluding programme at Tiruvananthapuram in December 2017 saw his collection of Articles, essays, speeches and other writings under the title “Heart beats of the Hindu Nation” being released by Pujaneeya Shri Mohanji Bhagawat the Sarsanghchalak. Sri. Parameswaranji continues to serve the nation through his sage counsel,  work and writings.   

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Man who saw GOD

As a young seeker Narendranath was very curious not just to know about God, but also to see him. With this keen interest he went to many great saints whether they could help him see God. But to his dismay none could give him the answer which he expected. Disappointed and desperate the young man one day, along with his friends, went to meet Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a somewhat eccentric priest of the Kali temple at Dakshineswar in Calcutta. At the first opportunity Narendranath asked him the same question - "Sir, have you seen God?"

But Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, unlike the erudite saints whom Narendranath met before, replied in rural dialect without mincing words - "Yes, I have seen God. I have seen Him more tangibly than I see you. I have talked with him more intimately than I am talking to you. But my child, who wants to see God! People shed jugs of tears for money, wife and children. But if they weep for God for only one day they would surely see Him."

Narendranath was astounded. For the first time, he was face to face with a man who asserted that he had seen God. For the first time, in fact, he was hearing that God could be seen. He could feel that Ramakrishna's words were uttered from the depths of an inner experience. But on encountering Ramakrishna, Narendranath’s skeptical mind could not understand Ramakrishna’s ecstatic devotion to goddess Kali. He viewed Ramakrishna’s ecstasies and visions as mere imagination and hallucinations. He placed many questions and arguments before Ramakrishna, who patiently prodded him to “try to see the truth from all angles”. He intuitively knew that here was a genuine man to whom God was a living reality and not at all a philosophical concept or an intellectual pastime. It was under the tutelage of Sri Ramakrishna that Narendra Nath Dutta evolved into a full-blossomed spiritual soul, later to be known as Swami Vivekananda.

The spiritual initiation given by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa evolved Swami Vivekananda as an Advaitic, who can see the existence of God in the things that exist. From his guru Ramakrishna, Vivekananda learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the Divine; therefore, service to God could be rendered by serving mankind.

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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Swami Vivekananda and his path

India owes in a great measure to the wisdom given by Swami Vivekananda and the path shown by him. Likewise in equal measure the western society also is indebted to Swami Vivekananda. Prior to the emergence of Swamiji the impression that west had about India was that it is land of snake charmers and poor mendicants. An eminent Englishman described the Hindu religion as ‘idolatry with all rabble of impure deities, its monsters of wood and stone, its false principles and corrupt practices and its lying legends and fraudulent impositions.’ You can imagine the state of mind of west from which Swamiji has transformed it. When Swamiji spoke at the world parliament of religions at Chicago, it was reemergence of Vedic Indian wisdom which swept the western world. They got a better and proper understanding of the Oriental Philosophy and Culture.   Swami Ranganathananda, a great saint himself and Former president of the Ramakrishna Mission says that, ‘Swami Vivekananda is the one person who stands as a golden link between India and the western world, and who promises to be such a link between India and the rest of the world as well.’ He further says, ‘the west will one day learn to feel proud of this Emissary of modern India and learn from him the philosophy of comprehensive spirituality and total life fulfillment and the way to its own redemption from a soul killing materialism.’  

As the present society veers away from the social and spiritual message of Swami Vivekananda, the message becomes more and more relevant. Arnold Toynbee the distinguished Historian said, ‘It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history, the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way. Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together in to a single family.’ The Vedantic wisdom clearly stands as the antidote for the evils that plague the modern society. Swami Vivekananda who took this wisdom to the doorsteps of the western world stands as the modern day messiah.


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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Swami Vivekananda: Very Special, Very Relevant…

The essence of India is its spirituality. Each and every century in India’s calendar has its own great seers and saints of that age. While spiritual  personalities are dime a dozen in this land of mystic charm, it requires more than some revelations and miracles, for a person to be revered and followed even after 100 years of his death. Every Guru and Saint is unique in his own way. But there is something which makes Swami Vivekananda special and very relevant even today. To know that we must know about the circumstances in which Swami Vivekananda grew up. Our nation was reeling under extreme poverty and hunger during the period in which he was born. Between 1850 and 1899, India suffered 24 major famines, a number higher than in any other recorded 50-year period, resulting in millions of deaths. Three years after his birth India suffered one of the worst famines ever. Nearly 10 million people died in Odisha alone during that famine. Bengal saw around 1.5 lakh people perish during that time because of that famine. Seeing all these sufferings of the poor around him impacted Narendranath Dutta, which later evolved into his wonderful exposition of Practical Vedanta when he became Swami Vivekananda. This also led Swami Vivekananda to lay more emphasis on social service. Swamiji was never interested in a world negating spirituality. He was one who didn’t want to disconnect himself from the sufferings seen around, in the guise of spirituality. 

Swamiji thought that it is a sin to preach religion to a man when he is suffering from hunger. He said,”I do not believe in a god who cannot give me bread here, giving me eternal bliss in heaven! Pooh! India is to be raised, the poor are to be fed, education is to be spread, and the evil priestcraft is to be removed”.  He insisted that, So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every person a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them!”.  So, for swami Vivekananda spirituality is not some elitist otherworldly idea, but a synchronization of that wonderful Realisation with the reality around us. He believed and rightly so, that the misery of our countrymen can be wiped off only with this kind of synchronization. 

With this undercurrent Swami Vivekananda went to the rock on December 25th 1892. He sat there on meditation for 3 days in order to find his life’s mission. He meditated on India’s past, present and future. During that meditation he got the vision that he should work for the resurgence of Dharma, which alone will make India come out of its pathetic situation and become great once again. It is this resolve and the work pursued thereafter which makes him special and very relevant. Not stopping with himself Swami Vivekananda created a monastic order which trains people for this onerous job of selfless service, and in the last hundred years many great monks have emerged from that Institution. This speaks volumes of his intense desire to awaken his Motherland from the slumber of ignorance. Swami Ranganadananda, another illuminating soul who got moulded in the Institution started by Swamiji feels that,failure of having this synchronization led to the social decadence and loss of political freedom. He says that, “We failed to stress this whole gamut of social virtues and graces, and to impart the relevant secular education which is the source of them. Instead we stressed an other-worldly excellence with its passive virtues, with inaction as its watchword; we failed to understand that social welfare comes from an activist ethics in the context of interaction with other members in society. The result was that we failed to achieve the more attainable ideals of character, work-efficiency, public spirit, and general well-being, while equally failing to achieve the high ideal of mukti and the virtues and graces associated with so great an ideal. The high spiritual inaction of the mukti path and ideal became deformed into laziness, inertia, and human unconcern, along with a type of worldliness, or “a piety-fringed worldliness” as I prefer to call it, more harmful than the worldliness of the modern Western type, which has at least character-efficiency and human concern to enrich it”. 

Those 3 days of meditation which paved way for India’s Freedom and awakening is celebrated as “Samarth Bharath parva”. A period to remind ourselves about the Great Monk, about the need to dedicate ourselves for the still unfinished work of social regeneration. Swamiji’s Vedanta starts with our self-purification through selfless service. When this purification happens, the detachment, which is a prerequisite for liberating ourselves from the bondages, will happen. It is not a detachment from this world, but being in this world by working to alleviate the miseries of poor and at the same time doing it as a sadhana, which is the essence of karma Yoga.


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Friday, 3 November 2017

To Rise up or not…

Last year Supreme Court had ordered cinemas across the country to play the National anthem before film screenings to encourage citizens to “feel this is my country and this is my motherland”. But this October they have reversed their stand by asking whether National anthem should be played in a place like Cinema theatre where the chances of National anthem getting disrespected is more. The sudden ‘U’ turn by the Apex court is surprising, but the excitement with which the so called liberals have welcomed this question is not a surprise though.  Debate shows are filled up by left weaning ‘scholars’ who repeatedly ask whether it is necessary for anyone to wear their patriotism on their sleeves. It was first said by Asaduddin Owaisi, a leader from the Hyderabad based Political party, and later echoed by all other ‘liberals’.

At this point we will have to remember the fact that this practice of playing National anthem in the Cinema theatres was first introduced after the 1962 India-China war. The whole of India was reeling under the sagging spirit after the terrible defeat in the war. Those were the times when we needed a succor of high national fervor. So the Government at that time decided that playing National anthem in Cinema halls, would instill that fervor. That practice was discontinued decades later because the generation which was ignorant of all these history, was not respecting the National anthem.  Later, while passing orders on a public interest litigation, On 30 November 2016, the Supreme Court said that the National Anthem must be played in public theaters across the country before a movie, without any dramatization. It also ordered that the national flag be shown on screen when the anthem is being played. The Supreme Court ruling invited sharp criticism, with many asking if patriotism can be forced upon citizens. Some critics pointed out the order was likely to embolden right wing groups pushing a strident brand of nationalism aimed at curbing dissent, while others said it raises questions on an individual's fundamental rights. It was under these circumstances the Supreme Court has given the above mentioned observations now. 

The majority in this country are not ruffled neither by the order to play nor by the order to stop playing the Anthem. But the people who orchestrate the protests in the name of liberalism are the ones who worry them. These are people who owe allegiance to ‘faiths’ and ‘isms’ which have committed pogroms and mass murders in the past. The leftists, for whom the term nationalism is a very bitter one, will conveniently hide the fact that people in china are convicted for disrespecting their National Anthem. And it is these people and their apologists who have filled up all the vantage positions in our country. Academia, literary field, cinema, arts and all other positions which will influence the public mind are held by these forces. So when these forces raise their voice against our National anthem, it is a matter of concern.  Students and academics who do not have a leftist bent of mind are being regularly victimsed by these comrades in their campuses. Any attempt to instill patriotic fervor among our people will be resisted by these groups as they dream of a pan national empire of their own ‘faiths’ and ‘isms’. 

These forces know very well that the purport of singing our National anthem or our National song is to raise the dormant spiritual energy which binds us together. It is exactly for that reason they oppose it. Let us  remember Swami  Vivekananda, who said,” For our national welfare, we must first seek out at the present day all the spiritual forces of the race, as was done in days of yore and will be done in times to come. National union in India must be a gathering up of its scattered spiritual forces. A nation in India must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the same spiritual tune”.

Patriotism is not just an emotional feeling. It is an expression of our solidarity and gratitude towards our hoary tradition which has given us our precious wisdom. This nation is a repository of that collective wisdom. Patriotism is a way by which we show our gratefulness to all those who have done immense sacrifice for the sake of protecting this Nation. Patriotism is an expression of harmony by the people, who otherwise have a lot of diversity. It is a way to show our camaraderie towards our fellow countrymen and instill the sense of belonging in all.   Patriotism is not an anti-thesis to humanism.  In fact it is the step which will lead us to that utopian ideal. 


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