Tuesday 20 February 2024

Rammandir to Rashtramandir : Yuva Bharati February 2024

 Rammandir to Rashtramandir


We witnessed surcharged atmosphere of enthusiasm, devotion and sense of happiness for being part of the historical moment throughout Bharat regarding the consecration of Ram temple at Ayodhya. Many artists, writers, speakers and various people have dedicated and are still dedicating their tributes in various ways to welcome Shri Rama. Many singers were singing a song with their devotion and talent, 'Mere jhopadi ke bhag Aaj khula jayenge Ram aayenge -The fortune of my hut will frutify today, as Rama will come in it'. That song filled the joy in the hearts of many. What is the meaning of this song? This is not the meaning that only Rama is being enshrined in the temple of his birth place. There is a deeper, almost a mystic meaning to it. 


It is said about Shri Rama by his admirers as well as opponents that, 'Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmah - रामो विग्रहवान् धर्म:।' - If we want to see the form of Dharma, then it will be like Rama. That is, Shri Rama is the embodiment of Dharma. From life of Sri Rama we ​​can understand and learn how to follow Dharma. Dharma is not religion, in the sense of worshipping a specific form of God, in a specific prescribed way. But Dharma is a way of life based on oneness of existence and striving to realise that oneness. Thus for a Dharmik the basis of life is truth, purity, compassion for all and cheerful performance of duties towards family, society, nation and the whole existence. Swami Vivekananda used to say, 'Dharma is the life-center of India.' And the form of Dharma is Shri Ramchandra. Therefore, Shri Rama is the concretised form of life-center of India. 


About 500 years ago, invaders attacked Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple and destroyed that temple. For 500 years, many have tried, fought to establish Shri Ramchandra in the temple at his birthplace. Many brave sacrificed everything they had, even their lives for it. They kept striving to overcome the pain and negativity that had come because of destruction of the temple, by facing the situation with courage, and used all their strength to change the situation. Those who were common people gradually became victims of this pain and hence became dejected and turned away from their duties, from uprightness in life. The third type of people, denied the very existence of not just the temple but even Sri Rama to forget that inner pain. These were three ways in which the people of India faced and endured this sorrow as Sri Rama belongs to all. 


But now, Shri Rama is again established in the temple at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya. This has a deep, mystic and subtle meaning in the collective subconscious of the people of Bharat. The Pranapratishtha ceremony should not be considered as just one incident. There are certain mystic meanings beyond history, and logic. The song that was sung by so many since last month that, 'My hut would be very fortunate as Sri Rama will enter it today' that hut is not just any hut. That hut is our heart. The karmic poverty, negation, pain, avoiding duties, falsehood, lack of self discipline, hopelessness etc. that was there in our life due to being deprived of Sri Rama would vanish as Sri Rama would enter it.


Sri Rama is going to be established in our hearts also as the he is now in the temple at Ayodhya. The fate of this hut-our heart is changing and that is why just as Sri Rama is revered in the temple of Shri Ramjanmabhoomi, similarly every person of India would enshrine Sri Rama in his life too by practicing Dharma. Sri Rama will definitely be established in our hearts even if with only little effort we invoke Him with devotion and action. We all have to do that Pranapratishtha of Sri Rama in our hearts.
The enthusiasm, readiness to work, discipline and commitment that we see in the life of Shri Ramchandra will be reflected in our lives too. The earlier wrong-doings, transgressions, offences that we committed against our nation, Dharma, people for last few generations would be erased with this Pranapratishtha done by each one of us in our hearts. Sri Rama has come! Sri Rama would come in our hearts too. He belongs to all.


Deepotsav was celebrated on 22 January, as Diwali was celebrated when Shri Ramchandra returned to Ayodhya. Similarly, we will celebrate the festival of lights by removing the darkness of Tamas, the darkness of lust, the darkness of indiscipline, the darkness of laziness in our lives. If we welcome Shri Rama in our heart, if


we welcome him in our life and in our work, then our life will definitely become blessed and enlightened. This Ram-mandir will emerge as a Rashtra-mandir.


We will start our journey from Ram Mandir to Rashtra Mandir if with Pranpratistha in the temple we too continue the Pranapratishtha in our hearts. Shri Ramchandra, who lived gloriously his entire life with his utmost compassion for all and commitment to duty, became an embodiment of Dharma, in the same way we will also transform and elevate our lives. This song that we sang and are still singing, 'The fortune of my hut will frutify today, as Rama come', has this deeper meaning. Our heart will now give up pettyness, selfishness, and will become a grand place to enshrine the Divine in it i.e. it will encompass the whole society rooted in practice of Dharma. Bharat thus established in Dharma will guide and benefit the mankind.  


When we are enshrining Shri Ramchandra in our hearts, making our lives blessed, then the meaning of Dharma in our lives will not be limited only to worship, but will mean doing always that what sustains the society, to make it a caring society, a society which is based on oneness. Our nation with such elevated, caring, affluent and spritual society will guide the world to teach the deeper meaning of Dharma. If we strive like this to do Pranapratishtha of Sri Rama in our hearts, our life will become fortunate. When our life will be lived with evolved consciousness then definitely Bharat will also become a Jagat-Guru and she will teach the whole world the deeper meaning of Dharma by living it.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nivedita Raghunath Bhide
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Vice President


Saturday 20 January 2024

Sri Rama: The Soul of India : Yuva Bharati January 2024

 

Sri Rama: The Soul of India



The whole nation is waiting for the grand and great moment, of the fulfilling the desires of the crores of people since the last five hundred years for the opening of Sri Ramajanmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya on 22nd January. We publish an article that was written on the day of Shilanyas of this historical temple.

 

As on 5th August the whole country celebrates the Shilanyas of Sri Ram Mandir at Sri Ram Janma Bhoomi, crores of hearts would be overwhelmed, the eyes would be blurred with tears of happiness that the wait of almost 500 years is over, a silent prayer would be offered with gratitude for all those who died for the cause and deep satisfaction that we have lived to see this day, an inner feeling would be experienced that celebrations of Independence starts this year 10 days before the Independence Day. Three incidents float my memory.  

 

It was one week after 6th December 1992. The Sarvodaya leaders along with religious leaders of Kanyakumari organized a peace meeting at Gandhi Mandapam located at sea shore. Various heads of the religious, social, political and educational organizations were invited. Vivekananda Kendra elders attended it, with them I too attended. It was decided that some passages of some universal meaning would be read from Bible, Koran and Vedas. There would be few talks, appeal for peace etc. And then with silent prayers the meeting would be concluded.

 

The meeting proceeded as planned. As it was concluded and we were about to get up, a booming voice rang, ‘What is this? You are having a meeting in Gandhi Mandapam and concluding it without Ram Bhajan?’ The organizers got jittery, they turned and found an old man, coming towards the gathering from the door. “Who are you?’ asked the organizers apprehensively. ‘I am Ahamed (I hope I am remembering the name correctly) the watchman at the Gandhi Mandapam’. Saying so, before the organizers could object him, he started the Bhajan, ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram…’ All gathered, joined him.


It was not just singing Bhajan but what was suppressed all this time so to say spontaneously came out. Seeing that a person from Muslim community was leading the Ram Bhajan, the organizers though shocked by the turn of events a bit helplessly, let the people sing Bhajan.

 

Actually, whatever was going on till now was so superficial that there was heaviness in the atmosphere. But once the Bhajan started and as all enthusiastically joined in it, the air around became light and friendly. A common man in India whatever may be his religious affiliation adores Rama. Sri Rama has entered in the soul of India like no other historical personality of India.

 

When I was Principal of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, I had made it a point to take the moral science classes for all the sections. To save my time, I used to combine the sections of each class. The syllabus was made as to in which class what values and behavioural changes would be stressed through stories. The stories for each class were also decided. Whatever I wanted to tell the children would be told through the dialogues in the mouth of the personalities in that story. Thus, the stories would be very long. For example, for class III the Ramayana would go all through the year. As much as children loved listening to the stories, I loved narrating it to them. Sometimes while walking through the veranda, a child would tell me, ‘Didi, tomorrow Friday! Your moral science period on our class’, as if I needed a reminder! Or if a holiday comes on Wednesday the children having the moral science period on that day would come to me and complain, ‘Didi, why all holidays are coming this year on Wednesday only?’ As if not only time table but even the calendar was my creation!

 

Once, I went to class III for the moral science period. Before entering generally, their noise would reach me as more than 80 children of both the sections would be sitting in one class room. But that day there was no sound at all. I was bit surprised. As I entered the class and students greeted me with Namaste, I was stunned to see the table, chair and place around decorated with many flowers. More than 80 pairs of shining innocent eyes were looking at me expectantly for my response. Thinking they might have taken the flowers from the beach garden which was looked after tirelessly by Saraswatididi, the vanaprasthi Karyakarta and if so then later how I would have to listen to her outburst, I asked bit worried, ‘From where did you bring so many flowers?’ ‘From my home Didi.’ Replied all those who had brought it. ‘But why have you covered all this with flowers?’, I asked puzzled. ‘Ramarajyabhishekam! Didi today there will be coronation of Srirama, so celebration!’ I was overwhelmed. I turned my back on them as if I was seeing the flowers and controlled myself. As I was wearing a white colour saree, I started to remove the flowers from the chair. ‘No, Didi, that is like the Simhasanam – throne of Sri Rama. Please do not remove the flowers.’ I could not disregard the feelings of those tender hearts. Even today when I remember that incident, my heart fills with joy. Sri Rama moves hearts of such tiny tots also.

 

The third incident is just few years back. Though I had gone for Kendra work many times to Lucknow, I had not visited Ayodhya. I had not asked for that, may be deep down I was avoiding the pain to see Ramlala in a tattered tent. But as the work started in Gorakhpur, Ayodhya and other places, in my one pravas (organizational tour) the visit to each branch was planned. At Ayodhya, visit to the temple was also included in the itinerary.


Through many security gateways we had to pass. No bag or mobiles were allowed in the hand. At last we reached a place where we could enter the strong iron barricades to ultimately reach the temple. Due to the varying time at each security gate the Karyakartas accompanying me were behind and I was in the group of pilgrims who appeared to be from some interior villages of Tamilandu. It was very hot. After walking through many barricade lines at last we reached the last but two lines. A person near me started asking, ‘enna da Kovil enge irukkiradu? Oh.. where is the temple.?’ One Jawan standing little away from us spoke in Tamil loudly so as to attract our attention. ‘Keep looking right. Do not look here and there or you would miss the Darshan.’ There were tents for the Jawans to rest, drink water etc. Many Jawans of various armed forces were posted at various locations.


Because that Jawan had told, we did not miss the Darshan. The tent was discoloured, tattered. While walking through barricades if a person looks for 3-4 steps in other direction, he would miss the Darshan, so narrow was the opening and so inconspicuous was the tent to pay attention to it. As we moved further in the barricade towards exit, one old man in that group said, ‘The one who protects us all, he needs to be protected here…’ The other old person said in fatigued tone, ‘I hope in my life time, my Rama gets the temple at his birth place.’ The simple words but they represented the longing and waiting of so many hearts since 500 years; what tears I was trying to hold back started flowing.

 

Why does this Shilanyas of Sri Rama temple at Ramjanmabhoomi move us so much? Swami Vivekananda had said Dharma is the soul of India and Srirama is called as ‘Ramo Vigrahvan Dharma’. Sri Rama is Dharma incarnate. This Bhoomipoojan grips us so much because Sri Rama is deeply embedded in the inner being of this nation. Ve Sabke Ram hai.

 

Let us keeping aside what caste, creed, community, religion we belong, chant the name of Srirama, all the heaviness that our political or ideological affiliations bring, would be gone and we would experience the lightness as Ahamad made us feel that day.

Let us touch the child-like innocence in our heart and our heart would rejoice and celebrate 5th August, as my tiny-tots that day celebrated.

 

Feel the long wait in many old hearts of all our earlier generations in the past 500 years and we will be grateful that we are alive to cherish this great historical moment.

Friday 1 December 2023

Gita Jayanti : Yuva Bharati December 2023

 


Gita Jayanti is an auspicious day celebrated by Hindus around the world to commemorate the birth of the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text that holds immense spiritual and philosophical significance. The Bhagavad Gita, often referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the Indian epic Mahabharata. The Gita Jayanti is observed on the Shukla Ekadashi, the 11th day of the waxing moon in the month of Margashirsha, according to the Hindu calendar. This usually falls in November or December in the Gregorian calendar. The day is marked by various rituals, prayers, and recitation of verses from the Bhagavad Gita.

The Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Prince Arjuna and the god Krishna, who serves as his charioteer. The dialogue takes place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra just before the great war is about to begin. Arjuna is filled with moral dilemma and despair about fighting in the war, which involves his own relatives and teachers on the opposing side. In response, Krishna imparts spiritual wisdom and guidance to Arjuna, addressing profound concepts such as duty (dharma), righteousness, devotion, and the nature of existence.

Gita Jayanti is not just a celebration of the historical event of the scripture's revelation but also an occasion to reflect on the timeless teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita provides a comprehensive guide to leading a righteous and purposeful life, offering insights into the nature of the self, the importance of selfless action, and the path to spiritual realization.

One of the key teachings of the Bhagavad Gita is the concept of "Karma Yoga" or the path of selfless action. Krishna advises Arjuna to perform his duties without attachment to the fruits of his actions. This means that individuals should focus on doing their duty without being attached to success or failure, recognizing that the results are not entirely within their control. This philosophy encourages a sense of detachment, leading to a more balanced and equanimous approach to life.

The Gita also introduces the concept of "Bhakti Yoga," the path of devotion. Krishna emphasizes the importance of surrendering to a higher power with love and devotion. By cultivating a deep and sincere connection with the divine, individuals can attain spiritual growth and liberation.

Furthermore, the Bhagavad Gita delves into the nature of the self (atman) and the ultimate reality (Brahman). It explores the idea that the true self is eternal and beyond the physical body. This realization can lead to a sense of inner peace and liberation from the cycle of birth and death (samsara).

Gita Jayanti celebrations typically involve reading and reciting verses from the Bhagavad Gita, organizing discourses and lectures on its teachings, and engaging in devotional activities. Many devotees also fast on this day and participate in charity, emphasizing the importance of selfless service.

The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita have transcended geographical and cultural boundaries, influencing thinkers, philosophers, and spiritual leaders worldwide. Its universal message continues to resonate with people facing the challenges of modern life, offering timeless wisdom and practical guidance.

In addition to its spiritual significance, the Gita has also inspired numerous commentaries and interpretations by scholars and philosophers throughout history. Each commentator brings their unique perspective, enriching the understanding of the scripture and its applicability to different aspects of life.

Gita Jayanti serves as a reminder of the enduring relevance of the Bhagavad Gita's teachings in navigating the complexities of existence. It encourages individuals to strive for self-improvement, righteousness, and a deeper connection with the divine. As the celebration unfolds, it brings communities together in a collective reflection on the profound wisdom encapsulated in this ancient scripture.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Sadhana Diwas 2023: : Yuva Bharati November 2023

Sadhana Diwas 2023


This year Sadhana Diwas we shall be celebrating during the year of Vishesh Prashikshan Varsh which we have taken up as part of our Sadhana to be a best instrument of Divine.

It was the Divine Destiny that led Eknathji to start Vivekananda Kendra. The penance of Mother Kanyakumari and Meditation of Swami Vivekananda came to fruition in the form of Vivekananda Kendra.

For a nation builder the realties are to be taken into account to chalk out a path. Mananeeya Eknathji understood the natural ethos of the Indian mind. The Indian mind by nature is spiritual, it longs for Mukti, for God- realization, for eternal peace. Society can be taken ahead on the path of least resistance only. This natural longing of Indian mind if given a deeper dimension in the present context, it would make the people vibrant. Eknathji therefore focused on the message of Swami Vivekananda: "Serve man Serve God". Swami Vivekananda had said, 'what vain gods shall we go after and yet cannot worship the god that we see all around us, the Virat (Janata Janardan?) When we have worshipped this, we shall be able to worship all other gods.'

Eknathji felt that limiting God only to idols and temples and having no confidence in oneself is degrading our people. He said, "The remedy for the ills of our country, therefore, lies in launching a mighty movement of right thought sweeping the entire country. It has to be a two-pronged move. On the one hand, it is to be aimed at (1) transforming our people’s inherent God-wardness into the right spiritual urge rising out of the teachings of the Upanishads, namely, (a) each soul is potentially divine and (b) faith in God, in turn means faith in one’s self, i.e. in one’s potentiality to rise to divine heights. On the other hand, it is (2) to convert the spiritual fervour thus released into works of national reconstruction”.

The realization of Sri Ramakrishna "Shivabhave Jivaseva" was given as a message "Serve man Serve God" by Swami Vivekananda. Eknathji gave an opportunity to Karyakartas like us to practice this realization of Sri Ramakrishna and message of Swami Vivekananda in an organized way. Thus Vivekananda Kendra - a spiritually oriented service mission came into being.

Eknathji gave a higher dimension to service. So to do service we do not have to pray for poverty around or famines, floods or earthquakes. Awakening man to his great potential, to realize the divine within and thus to chanelise that awakened power for national reconstruction, for well- being of humanity, is spiritually - oriented service. Eknathji always insisted that our inspiration to work should be perennial. He pointed out that those who worked for the freedom of our country lost all enthusiasm, and zeal to work for nation, once we became independent. Therefore, we must have the perennial source of inspiration. It is necessary that we work to eliminate  anti-national forces, to organise our society, or work to make India great, but what after that? It is not perennial source of inspiration, but to manifest the divinity in our lives and life of others is perennial drive.  

If we see the history of mankind, God seem to have created each nation and culture to contribute to the evolution of man. Thus each nation has some destiny to fulfill. India, so to say, represents the soul of the human world. As long as India lives the world is safe. So only it was said "If India lives, who dies and if India dies, who lives". The very purpose of the existence of India is for the spiritual evolution of man. For the good of the world India has to come up. Swami Vivekananda had said that one vision that he saw clear before his eyes was the ancient motherland of ours rising once again more glorious than ever! Thus Eknathji said that it is God's plan that this nation has to come up to give light to the world, so Ishvara has chosen us as instrument. When we do work of national regeneration with this Bhava of instrumentality then it is Sadhana. Thus: 'Sadhana of Service.' If this 'sadhan -instrument' bhava is there then Karyakarta can never get disturbed by difficulties, nor will one deviate from the path. Sadhana Diwas is the day to remind ourselves that we are the instruments in His hands. 
 
On Sadhana Diwas we have to remember these thoughts.

1. As we are born in India, our mission of life cannot be different from the mission of nation. Our life should be such that it helps nation in delivering its message.

2. As a nation builder, we have to dive deep into our Upanishadic teachings and also see its deeper meanings relevant for the time. As Eknathji has done giving the meaning of Seva, of seeing God in oneself and around and therefore having confidence in oneself to rise to divine heights and work with that spiritual energy for the regeneration of nation.  

3. We are the chosen instruments. We have to do our best, rest He would take care.

4. For the well-being of the humanity, we work for the nation-rebuilding. For that we have to bring all people together so we have to see their goodness and urge to work for  nation. At the same time we have to steer clear of any sectarian views whether in political, social or religious field.

5. Ultimately, any philosophy boils down to what we are doing about it in our daily life. So, taking up a definite responsibility in Kendra Karya and fulfilling it, is required. The organizational responsibility can be discharged only if it is done regularly. Thus, the question that each Karyakarta should ask himself/herself is 'whether I give supreme most importance to organizational obligations so as to fulfill my Dayitva?' Thus, Sadhana means doing definite work for nation regularly for higher purpose.

6. To fulfill our Dayitva, we should work hard. One is struck with the purposeful hard work done by Eknathji all his life. And, therefore, nothing was impossible for him. He could mould himself as per the need of the work. He created teams for each type of work and in each region. It requires a great Sadhana to be a part of team as well as to mould ourselves and others to work harmoniously.

7. In the context of this year of Vishesh Prashikshan Varsh, can we take three sankalpas.

a. We take up collectively in our  Nagar or Prakalp the study of Kendra Prarthana by reading and discussing 'The Goal and The Way' for three consecutive days for 2-3 hours either preceding or succeeding Sadhana Diwas.

b. For a year take up the sankalpa of Apekshit-Upasthit. ‘Whether in Kendra Varga, baithak or Prashikshan Shibirs, I shall be present come what may. For Vishesh Prashikshan Shibir which is once in 50 years, I shall attend it. In any case, no-one can get 7 days leave from their seniors. It has to be taken. And this would be my sadhana, I shall take it. If I have missed my shibir then I shall attend next shibir, but I shall undergo it. Sadhana is not an easy word. If sadhana has to be done then it has it’s cost, and I am ready to pay it.’ Can we take such Sankalpa?

c. Can our Nagars take the collective Sankalpa that in Vishesh Prashikshan Shibir, upasthity would be between 95-100%. We take such sankalpa and fulfill it, in order to really celebrate Sadhana Diwas and with Nishtha to protect our Desh and Dharma.

As celebration of Sadhana Diwas is for Shaktisamvardhan, let us with sankalpa and striving really make it so.
    

                                                                                                                         Nivedita Raghunath Bhide

                                                                                                                               (Vice-President)

Monday 2 October 2023

Nari shakti : Yuva Bharati October 2023

 

Nari shakti

The successful soft landing of Chandrayaan 3 on Moon is significant on more than one count. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has seen the active participation and contribution of women scientists in various roles. Women scientists at ISRO have played pivotal roles in missions such as the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and the Chandrayaan missions. Their achievements have not only showcased their capabilities but have also inspired young girls to pursue careers in science and technology.  This surge in the presence of women in public sphere is due to the various measures taken by the Govt to empower women. The Indian government has launched various initiatives to promote women's empowerment, such as the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child) campaign, the Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme, and the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (a maternity benefit program). These initiatives aim to improve the status of women in society, ensure their education, and provide support for maternal health. Access to education for women has improved in India. Various scholarship programs and reservations in educational institutions have been introduced to encourage women's education and promote gender parity in academia. Women's participation in the workforce has increased, with more women joining diverse sectors of the economy. Programs like MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) have supported women entrepreneurs by providing financial assistance for starting and expanding small businesses. Women's representation in politics has been steadily increasing in India. The reservation of seats for women in local government bodies (Panchayats and Municipalities) has led to greater political participation. The Women's Reservation Bill, which seeks to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of India's parliament) and state legislatures for women, will provide more impetus to the women empowerment drive. Bharath has always been a land which respects and reveres women. The latest enactment will ensure that our country women will get more opportunities at the Governance too, which they rightly deserve.


                                                                                                                                  V.V. Balasubramanian

                                                                                                                                                           YB-ET