Incarnations of Shiva – Shiva Purana
In the Section 3 of Satarudra–Samhita of Shiva Purana, the countless incarnations of Shiva are mentioned. These incarnations are in fact symbolize the scheme of creation and maintenance of the universe. Other incarnations are for the benefits of devotees and protecting them from evils.
The five famous forms of Shiva are named Ishana, Tatpuruṣa, Aghora, Vamadeva and Sadyojata. Each form stands in relation to a particular element or organ as follows.
Significance - These five faces symbolize the scheme of creation evolved out of twenty-five constituents viz. five gross and five subtle elements, five organs of action and five of knowledge, besides mind, ego, intellect, nature and the individual soul.
The universe consists of the eight essentials viz. earth, water, fire, wind, ether, soul, sun and moon. These essentials are eight incarnations of lord Shiva i.e., Rudra is fire, Sarva is water, Pasupati is plants, Ugra is air, Asani is Vajra, Bhava is Indra, Mahadeva is moon and Ishana is sun.
Significance - These eight incarnations made the whole world function
Incarnation as Ardhanarishvara:
Brahma performed a great penance to enable creation produced by couples. Then the delighted Shiva appeared. Brahma said, “the gods and others were mentally created by me. But they do not multiply themselves. Hence, they are being created again and again. Hereafter I wish to make all my subjects flourish by making the creation originate from pairs.”
Shiva spoke to Shakti: “O goddess, yon have been propitiated by Brahma, through his penance. Lovingly become pleased with him and fulfil his desires.”
Receiving that behest of lord Shiva with her bent head, the goddess became the daughter of Dakṣha on the importunity of Brahma. Ever since then, creation became copulatory.
Significance - Ardhanarishvara (half-male and half-female) is symbolical of the process of creation by copulation.
In the ninth aeon of Dvapara of the seventh Varaha Kalpa, in the Vaivasvata Manvantara, Shiva’s ninth incarnation was as Rsabha to stabilize the path of yoga.
Other nineteen incarnations of Shiva took place in other aeons of Dvapara. They were Gangadvara, Satatejas Vyasa (reviver of path of renunciation), Sage Bali, Gautama in the family of Angiras, Vedasiras, Gokarna, Guhavasin, Sikhandin, Jati, Malin, Attahasa, Daruka, Suṣmayaṇa Vyasa, Sveta, Sulin, Sakti Vyasa, Sahisnu, Somasarman and Krishna.
Incarnation as Nandi:
Silada, a great sage did a severe penance of Shiva and sought a boon for a son equal to him, devoid of death and not born of a womb. Shiva granted the boon and said: “I shall become your son by the name of Nandi. I shall not be born of a womb. Thus, you shall be my father, of me who am the father of the worlds.
Incarnation as Bhairava:
When deluded by maya, Brahma made fun of Shiva’s form who appeared out of mass of flame, Shiva created Bhairava. Bhairava was with terrifying features. Kala-Bhairava, in a trice, cut off Brahma’s fifth head with the tip of the nails of the fingers of his left hand.
Significance - To detach 5th head of Brahma and latter to remain as protector in Kashi and to devour sins of those people who reach Kashi.
Incarnation as Sarabha:
Another incarnation of Shiva was Sardula. For the benefit of the gods, the wonderfully divine form of a Sarabha (the mythological animal with eight legs and capacity of killing lions) of blazing fire-like lustre was assumed by lord Shiva to control Ugra Narasimha from destroying the Universe.
Significance - To control Ugra Narasimha from destroying the Universe.
Incarnation as Agnishvara:
Grhapati, a son of Brahamin, did great penance of Shiva and secured the title of Agni and the boon that the phallic image installed by him, will be known as Agnishvara and it will be conducive to the enhancement of all splendour.
Significance - A person who worships Agnisvara, the bestower of prosperity, at Varanasi, is honoured in the region of fire even if, by chance, he dies elsewhere.
Incarnation as Yakṣeshvara:
When the gods and the Daityas have churned the milk ocean to get nectar, poison blazing as the fire of dissolution came out at first. They were highly agitated and frightened and sought refuge in Shiva. Shiva quaffed off the terrible poison afflicting gods and Asuras. Shiva retained obliquely the acute poison that he drank, in his neck. He shone much thereby and became Blue-necked. Released from the burning sensation of the poison thanks to the blessings of Shiva, the gods and the Asuras began to churn again. The nectar came out after many gems which was drank by the gods, thanks to the favour of Vishnu. Then a great battle ensued between them inflicting pain on both. The moon was eclipsed by Rahu and fled in terror of Rahu. He went to the abode of Shiva extremely agitated by fear and sought Shiva’s protection. The, Shiva wore the moon on his head as the latter had sought refuge. Then Rahu too, came there and eulogised lord Shiva with reverence. Realising his desire, Shiva fixed on to his neck his head that had been formerly cut off by Vishnu, and that was known as Ketu. Then the Asuras were defeated by the gods in the battle. By drinking nectar, the gods had become powerful and gained victory.
Deluded by Shiva’s Maya, Vishnu and others became very haughty. Then Lord Shiva, the suppressor of arrogance, became a Yakṣa. He hastened to the place, where the gods were stationed. Yakṣeshvara said to them: — “O gods, why have you all assembled here. What is your goal? Tell me the reason as I ask unto you.”
The gods said: — “O lord, a terrible battle took place here wherein all the Asuras were killed. The few that remained fled away. We are great heroes and powerful slayers of the Daityas. How insignificant in strength are those Daityas in front of us!”
On hearing the arrogant words of those gods, lord Shiva, in the form of Yakṣa said: --
“O gods, do not be arrogant. There is another lord who is the creator and annihilator. You have forgotten the great lord. You boast too much but you are devoid of strength. If you are proud and think that you know your strength to be great, O gods, split this blade of grass placed by me, with your own weapons.”
Then Vishnu and other gods professing to be heroic exerted their manliness and hurled their respective weapons. But the weapons of the gods, were rendered fruitless before the power of Shiva. Then a celestial voice arose that dispelled the surprise of the gods — “O gods this Yakṣa is Shiva who removes the arrogance of the arrogant.”
O hearing the celestial voice they became divested of their arrogance. They had realised Yakṣeshvara. They bowed to and eulogised him.
Significance - Yakṣeshvara incarnation of Shiva, that dispels the arrogance of the arrogant and lets the devotion of the good flourish.
Ten Incarnations & their significance:
Kashyapa, the father of asuras, did great penance of Shiva. Shiva on being pleased, was born in eleven forms to Surubhi, the wife of Kashyapa. These eleven Rudras are Kapali, Pingala, Bhima, Virupakṣha, Vilohita, Shastṛa, Ajapada, Ahirbudhnya, Shambhu, Chaṇḍa and Bhava.
Significance - The ten Pranas in the body, with the Atman as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make one's relatives weep. Because they make them weep (rud), therefore they are called Rudras.
Incarnation of Hanuman:
Significance - To help Lord Rama in Ramayana.
Incarnation of Mahesha:
Significance - Urged by the friendship with Bhairava Lord Shiva incarnates as Mahesa to play with him.
Incarnation of Bull:
Significance - To bring back Lord Vishnu from Patala.
Incarnation of Pipplada:
Significance - To subdue the pride of Saturn and thus helping people to overcome affliction of Saturn.
Incarnation of Vaisyanatha:
Significance - To redeem a prostitute named Mahananda who was devotee of Shiva, Lord Shiva goes to her house taking form of Vaishya and finally takes her to Shiva Loka.
Incarnation of Dvijaswara:
Significance – To test of king Bhadryu by taking form of a Brahmin.
Incarnation of Yatinatha Hamsa:
Significance – To test of a Bhilla (tribe race) by taking form of Yatinatha.
Incarnation of Krishna Darshana:
Significance - Lord Shiva taking the form of Krishna Darshana shows that the part left after the Yajna also belongs to him, also Instructs Nabhaga.
Incarnation of Avadhutesvara:
Significance - Taking the form of Avadhuta Lord Shiva subdues arrogance of Indra and the birth of Jalandhara is triggered from this event.
Incarnation of Bhikshuvarya:
Significance – To dispel the suspicion of Brahmin women.
Incarnation of Sureshwara:
Significance - Taking the form of Indra Lord Shiva tested devotion of Upamanyu.
Incarnation of Jatila:
Significance – To test the Penance of Parvati by taking the form of Jatila.
Incarnation of Sunartakanata:
Significance - Taking the form of Sunartakanata Lord Shiva goes to Himalayas house to ask hand of Parvati.
Incarnation of Sadhu Dvija:
Significance - Gods being afraid that Himalaya will attain instant salvation due to giving of Parvati to Shiva request to Shiva to delay salvation of Himalaya. So, Lord Shiva taking the form of Sadhu Dvija goes in front of Himavat and start to insult Lord Shiva.
Incarnation of Ashwatthama:
Significance - Destruction in the 18th night of Mahabharata war is carried out by Ashwatthama and so on.
Incarnation of Kirata:
Significance - Lord Shiva taking the form of Kirata tests the war skill and devotion of Arjuna.
Other incarnations of Shiva are as Durvasa and the Twelve Jyotirlinga are separately published.
Shiva’s incarnations are countless and conducive to the benefit of good devotees. Their number cannot be counted or specified.
The Devi in Sanskrit means goddess and is shakti, or the feminine spirit, manifests itself in many forms. She is symbolized as cosmic energy. Energy is the physical ultimate of all forms of matter and the sustaining force of the Spirit. The Devi assumes many aspects, according to the tasks to be performed by Her, sometimes sweet and tender, and at others terrible and devouring. It encompasses and supplements qualities such as strength, transformation, anger, beauty, compassion, fear, and power.
Feminine Tridevi goddesses play eminent roles of Creator (Maha Sarasvati), Preserver (Mahalakshmi), and Destroyer (Mahakali), with the masculine Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra.
Ma Sarasvati represents goddess of knowledge, music, art, speech, learning, and wisdom. The name Sarasvati came from “saras” (meaning “flow”) and “vati” (meaning “she who has …”), i.e., “she who has flow” or can mean Sara meaning “essence” and swa meaning “self.” The earliest known mention of Sarasvati as a goddess is in the Rigveda. Vasant Panchami on the fifth day of spring is celebrated as Sarasvati Puja and Sarasvati Jayanti. She is mother of Vedas.
Sarasvati emerged from Brahma and began to give him direction on creating order in the cosmos; the sun, moon, and stars all came into being. She later became the bride of Brahma.
She is generally shown to have four arms holding a book, a rosary, a water pot, and a musical instrument (Veena) respectively. The book symbolizes the Vedas representing the divine, eternal, and true knowledge as well as all forms of learning. The rosary of crystals, representing the power of meditation, inner reflection, and spirituality. The pot of water represents the purifying power to separate right from wrong, the clean from the unclean, and essence from the inessential. The veena, represents all creative arts and sciences and associated with the love and feelings expressed in speech or music.
A hamsa – either a swan or a goose – is often shown near her feet. The hamsa is a sacred bird, which if offered a mixture of milk and water, is said to be able to drink the milk alone. It symbolizes the ability to discriminate between good and evil. The swan is also a symbolism for spiritual perfection, transcendence, and moksha.
Ma Lakshmi, also called Sri, represents goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity (both material and spiritual). Her name is derived from Sanskrit root word “Laksya” for knowing the goal and understanding the objective. Lakshmi manifests in eight sources of wealth, the Ashtalakshmi prosperity, fertility, good fortune or good luck, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny, and power.
In the holy book of Shrimad Bhagavata, it is explained that Lakshmi ji came out of the ocean during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan). So, she is known as a daughter of the ocean. She came out of the ocean sitting on a full-bloomed lotus and having lotus flowers in both hands with two elephants by her sides holding beautiful vessels.
Lakshmi has 8 primary forms personified as Ashta Lakshmi (Ashtalakshmi) - Dhanya Lakshmi (Goddess of the Harvest), Adi Lakshmi (Mother Lakshmi resides with Lord Narayana in Vaikuntha), Dhairya Lakshmi (grants the boon of infinite courage and strength), Gaja Lakshmi (She came out of the ocean with two elephants by her sides holding beautiful vessels), Santan Lakshmi (bestowed of desirable children with good health and a long life), Vijay Lakshmi (grants victory & success everywhere, at all time, in all conditions), Dhana Lakshmi (bestower of wealth which comes in many forms: Nature, Love, Peace, Health, Prosperity, Luck, Virtues, Family, Food, Land, Water, Will Power, Intellect, Character, etc.) and Vidya Lakshmi (Grants Vidya with eighteen qualities viz. Serenity, Regularity, Absence of Vanity, Sincerity, Simplicity, Veracity, Equanimity, Fixity, Non-irritability, Adaptability Humility, Tenacity, Integrity, Nobility, Magnanimity, Charity, Generosity and Purity).
Lakshmi is depicted as a standing or siting in padmasana on a lotus throne, while holding a lotus in her hand, symbolizing fortune, self-knowledge, and spiritual liberation. Her four hands represent the four goals of human life – Dharma, Kama, Artha, and Moksha.
Ma Durga is the creator and the protector of the universe and the destroyer of evil. In different Yugas for the destruction of the distress of the gods, she assumed different forms and features. She is usually depicted as having eight to ten arms, with just as many weapons gifted to her by various gods to destroy Mahishasura. Her mount is usually a lion.
In Sri Durga Saptashati, appearance of Ma Durga (Mahakali, Chandika, Chamunda etc.) is mentioned.
In Shiva Purana, The stories of the birth and wedding of Sati and Parvati with Shiva have been lucidly recorded.
Goddess Durga has manifested in nine forms and together called Navadurga. They are worshipped during the nine days of Navratri. Navdurga, All the nine forms of Durga Devi represent nine different qualities.
1. Shailputri (Daughter of Mountain) – She represents devi in her childhood and has two hands both holding a trident and lotus. She is seated upon the behind of a white bull.
2. Brahmacharini (Mother of devotion and penance) - She represents the phase of ascetism and has two hands, both of which carried a rosary and a water utensil.
3. Chandraghanta (Destroyer of demons) - She represents the form of shakti and has ten hands, nine of them are armed by a trident, mace, bow, arrow, lotus, sword, bell and a waterpot, while one other hand blesses her devotees. She is seated upon a fierce tiger.
4. Kushmanda (Goddess of The Cosmic Egg) - She represents the form of mahashakti and has eight hands, six of which held a discus, mace, lotus, bow, and arrow in one hand, sword, and rosary and the two other hands carried a jar of honey and waterpot. She is mounted upon the back of a lion.
5. Skandmata (Goddess of motherhood and children) – She represents stage of motherhood and has four hands, two of which held lotuses, the third holding her son, the six-headed infant Kartikeya seated on her lap, and the fourth saves her devotees. She is seated upon the back of a lion.
6. Katyayani (Goddess of Power) - She represents warrior stage and is dressed in green and pink vestments. Her four hands each carried a sword, shield, lotus and trident. She's seen seated on a fearsome lion.
7. Kaalratri (Goddess of Auspiciousness and Courage) - She represents form of destruction and has four hands all held a trident, scimitar, vajra, and a cup. She is seated upon the behind of a donkey as her vehicle.
8. Mahagauri (Goddess of Beauty) - She represents form of recovery and has four hands, three of which carried a trident, mini-drum, and a pink lotus while her one hand promised her devotees protection. She is seated upon a white ox.
9. Siddhidhatri (Goddess of Supernatural Powers or Siddhis) – She represents form of mahashakti and has four hands carried a discus, conch shell, pink lotus and a mace. She is seated upon a fully bloomed lotus.
Chausath yoginis (64) - The Saptamatrika (Brahmi, Maheshvari, Kumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani and Chamunda) joined by Chandika and Mahalakshmi form the nine Matrika cluster. According to Kaula Tantra, female Goddesses Shaktis emerged from the cosmic soul of the eight principal Deities and formed Kali Durga. These eight manifested each in turn into eight Divine Shakti, thus resulting in the 64 Tantric Yoginis.
Shodash Matrikas (16) – Shodash matrikas are – Gauri, Padma, Shachi, Medha, Savitri, Vijaya, Jaya, Devasena, Svadha, Svaha, Mata, Loka Mata, Hrishti, Pushti, Tushti and Kula Devata.
Dus Mahavidya (10) – Devi Bhagwat purana mentions Das Mahavidya which represents ten divine qualities of goddess and worship of these goddesses destroys respective negative tendencies. Das Mahavidya are –
Another Tantric text Mundamaala –tantra names a slightly different set of thirteen Mahavidyas (Kali, Tara, Tripura-Sundari, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneshvari, Chinnamasta, Bagala, Dhumavathi, Annapurna, Durga, Kamala, Matangi and Padmavati).
In certain other lists, some obscure goddesses: Vasali, Bala and Pratyangira are included.
Spiritual Significance of form of Ma Durga:
Ma Durga is depicted as a warrior aspect of Devi Parvati with 8 arms who rides a lion or a tiger.
Lion or a Tiger - It symbolizes unlimited power to protect virtue and destroy evil. The tiger represents power, will and determination. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego.
Eight Hands holding following Objects of Symbolism - This suggests that she protects the devotees from all directions. She carries in the hands such as a mace, sword, disc, arrow, and trident. It conveys the idea that one weapon cannot destroy all different kinds of enemies. Different weapons must be used to fight enemies depending upon the circumstances. For example, selfishness must be destroyed by detachment, jealousy by desirelessness, prejudice by self-knowledge, and ego by discrimination.
Conch - The sound that emanates from a conch is the sound of the sacred syllable AUM (or Om), which is said to be the sound of creation. A conch in one of the Goddess's hands signifies the ultimate victory of virtue over evil and righteousness over unrighteousness.
Trident - The trident is a symbol associated with Shiva, and its three points symbolize the creation, protection, and destruction of the universe. Durga's trident or "trishul" is a symbol of three qualities - Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (non-activity) - and she is remover of all the three types of miseries - physical, mental and spiritual.
Bow and Arrow - The bow and arrows represent energy. By holding both the bow and arrows in one hand "Mother Durga" is indicating her control over both aspects of energy - potential and kinetic.
Thunderbolt - The thunderbolt signifies firmness. The devotee of Durga must be firm like thunderbolt in one's convictions. Like the thunderbolt that can break anything against which it strikes, without being affected itself, the devotee needs to attack a challenge without losing his confidence.
Lotus - The lotus in Durga's hand is not in fully bloomed, it symbolizing certainty of success but not finality. The lotus in Sanskrit is called "pankaja" which means born of mud. Thus, lotus stands for the continuous evolution of the spiritual quality of devotees amidst the worldly mud of lust and greed.
Sudarshan Chakra - The "Sudarshan-Chakra" or beautiful discus, which spins around the index finger of the Goddess, while not touching it, signifies that the entire world is subservient to the will of Durga and is at her command. She uses this unfailing weapon to destroy evil and produce an environment conducive to the growth of righteousness.
Sword - The sword that Durga holds in one of her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge free from all doubts is symbolized by the shine of the sword.
Palm - One of her hands opens the palm to indicate Her blessings.
Three Eyes Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).
Shivalinga – Shiva Purana
According to Vayu Purana, in the Holocaust, all creation which gets absorbed and which appears in the reincarnation period is called Linga. For this reason, worship of Shivalinga is a symbol. Shiva Purana is another authoritative Hindu text which explains the various aspects of Shivalinga.
Shivalinga is not just sacred in Bharat. Harappa-Mohenjo-Daro’s archaeological findings also show its importance even in 3,000 BCE from the prehistoric Indus culture. Romans referred to Lingam as ‘Prayapas’. Romans introduced the worshipping of Shivalinga to European countries. Babylon, an ancient city in Mesopotamia is said to have found statues of Shivalinga during their archaeological findings.
Some compare it to the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang. Etymologically and semantically, Yin is said to depict feminine-- the half-unity of consciousness. Yang, on the other hand, symbolises the other half-- the masculine. Jointly they embody the alliance of consciousness in the creation.
The various aspects of Shivalinga as explained in Vidhyeshwara Samhita of Shiva Purana are elaborated hereunder.
Forms of Shivalinga:
The tripundraka (the three parallel lines of ash marks on the forehead) is the essence of trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra (Chapter 18 Shlokas 73) He who has the tripundraka made of ashes with water and performs worship derives the entire benefits of the same. (Chapter 18 Shlokas 80)
Importance of Propitiation of Shivalinga:
The propitiation of the earthen phallic image is sanctifying, bestower of bliss, longevity, satiety, nourishment and fortune. A devotee endowed with unflinching faith shall worship the earthen phallic image with such modes of service as easily available. It accords achievement of all desired objects. He who worships the earthen phallic image in the three junctures of the threshold division of the day everyday gains the bliss for twenty-one future births. He is honoured in Rudraloka with this body alone. He who worships the earthen phallic emblem of Shiva everyday stays in Shivaloka for so many years. (Chapter 19 Shlokas 17-24)
Deities, asuras, persons, Gandharvas, serpents, Raksasas and many others have attained greatness after worshipping earthly phallic image of Shiva. The phallic emblem of shiva made of precious gems is considered best in Satya yuga; of pure gold in the Dwapera; of mercury in Trata and of earth in Kali yuga. (Chapter 19 Shlokas 4-7)
The devotees should worship the phallic emblem with sixteen forms of service and homage to acquire the benefits of prakriti and purusha through means of inherent or extraneous. The worship performed on Sundays with Om wards off birth. Abhishek done with five cow products (milk, curd, ghee, cow’s urine & dung (chapter 16 shlokas 109-111)
Pranav recited nine crore times, purify persons. With each nine-crore repetition of Pranav, the person wins over the five elements successively. The egotism is win over with repetition of another nine crore of times. By repeating it daily one thousand times, the devotee becomes perpetually pure. A devotee who completes one hundred eight crores of Japa of Pranav is fully enlightened and shall master suddha yoga. One who has mastered suddha yoga becomes certainly liberated person. The devotee who practices Japa of Pranava with due ritualistic placing of fingers on the body parts (Nyasa) become sage. (Chapter 17 Shlokas 16-26)
Reference: Vidhyeshwara Samhita of Shiva Purana
Hinduism, the world's oldest religion, is still commonly practiced. Because of its large following, it's also regarded as the world's third largest religion. The religious practices in many sects and religions such as Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism etc. are offshoot of Snatana Dharma., commonly called as Hinduism. The archaeological evidences of Hinduism date as far back as 7500 B.C.E. in India.
There are sufficient archaeological evidences of Shree Rama and Shree Krishna, the incarnations of Vishnu Bhagwan. The conclusive evidences of Archaeological findings of historical persons – Shree Rama and Shree Krishna are as under:
Maryada Purushottam Shree Rama, the historical person:
Valmiki, who wrote the Ramayana, was a contemporary of Shree Rama. While narrating the events in epic, he has mentioned the position of planets. Using the recent planetary software, it is possible these planetary positions actually took place precisely as specified in Ramayana.
Renowned historian and archaeological researcher Dr. Ram Avtar has unearthed more than 200 such places related to the events of the life of Shri Ram and Sita, where even today there are memorial sites, where Shri Ram and Sita stayed or stayed. The time period of the monuments, frescoes, caves etc. was investigated by scientific methods. However, to make it presentable, a few important places (with present day places) are discussed here:
They went to The Viradha Sarabhanga and Sutikshan Muni Ashrams ahead of The Dandakaranya Area and Satna. There are many monuments in Panna, Raipur, Bastar and Jagdalpur. For example, Mandavya Ashram, Shringi Ashram, Ram-Lakshman Temple etc. Ram have gone to modern Jabalpur, Shahdol (Amarkantak) from there. Shahdol to North East is sarguja region. The name of a mountain here is 'Ramgarh'. The cistern in which a waterfall falls from a height of 30 feet is called ‘Sita Kund'. There is a Vashishta cave here. The names of the two caves are Lakshman Bongra and 'Sita Bongra'.
Shree Krishna, the historical figure:
There is sufficient evidence available now to suggest that Shree Krishna was indeed a historical figure, who lived about 5000 years ago. This evidence is not just literary but also archaeological, geographical as well as astronomical, N S Rajaram, author of the book Search for the Historical Krishna.
The places mentioned in the history of Shree Krishna such as Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Govardhan, Hastinapur (Meerut), Indraprastha (Delhi), Kurukshetra, Dwarka etc. are the geographical places which are still existing.
Dwarka is mentioned in a number of texts, including the Mahabharata, the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, the Harivamsha as well as the Skanda Purana, and the Vishnu Purana. The Mahabharata says that the city was also extremely well planned: divided into six sectors which were in turn divided into residential, commercial areas and had 9,00,000 royal palaces. It is said that it was submerged in the big flood 9,000 years ago. The astronomical, archaeological and historical evidences of birth of Shree Krishna are provided as under:
Dr. S. Balakrishna of NASA, USA; Dr. B. N. Narahari Achar, Department of Physics, Memphis University, USA; Dr. R. N. Iyengar, Department of Civil Engineering, Bangalore; Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, Saraswati River Research Centre, Chennai and others submitted papers on the date of Mahabharata war based on Astronomical data with the use of Planetarium software at the two-day seminar in Bangalore, India between fifth and sixth January 2003 and agreed that there does not exist any contradiction between any two descriptions of planetary configurations given in
Sri Rama & Sri Rama Rajya
The Rama is not only for chanting but the role model for modern youth. The team builder, the team leader, the dharma, one who exemplified various relationships, the incarnation of almighty, the hope, the soul of people of Bharat.
Sri Rama can be simply described as a man who displays perfect moral as well as social behaviour. Sri Rama, in the words of Swami Vivekananda, is “the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband and above all, the ideal king”. He is a symbol of the victory of right over the evil. Lord Rama characterizes how a man should fulfil his moral commitments and should strictly follow his limits so that social order can be maintained. It is precisely due to this fact; he is known as “Marayada Puroshattam” or “The man of limits”.
Dr Hariom Pawar, the famous poet from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh wrote a popular poem. Its excerpts are as under:
“…राम मिलेंगे मर्यादा से जीने में; राम मिलेंगे बजरंगी के सीने में; राम मिले हैं वचनबद्ध वनवासों में; राम मिले हैं केवट के विश्वासों में; राम मिले अनुसुइया की मानवता को;
राम मिले सीता जैसी पावनता को; राम मिले ममता की माँ कौशल्या को; राम मिले हैं पत्थर बनी आहिल्या को; राम नहीं मिलते मंदिर के फेरों में; राम मिले शबरी के झूठे बेरों में…”
“Ram would meet by living with dignity; Ram would meet in the heart of Sri Hanuman; Ram would meet in determined inhabitants of forests; Ram met in the beliefs of Kevat; Ram met Anusuiya's humanity; Ram met in Sita-like purity; Ram met to mother of love, Kaushalya; Ram met to stone-made Ahilya; Ram does not meet in visits to temples; Ram met in the partly eaten berries of Shabri”
Ram Rajya have been the symbol of good governance, progress, prosperity, and peace - the ideal form of governance. A study of ancient scriptures tells us that during Rama's rule, there was no room for pain, poverty, disease, grief, or discrimination. He provided immediate justice and the poor were not marginalised. Truth and non-violence were the creed people followed, without coercion, and out of free moral responsibility and self-discipline. Ram's own behaviour carved that consciousness in the hearts of the subjects. According to the concept of Ram Rajya, the king ought to practice austerity, generosity, kindness, be just, welfare-oriented and capable of caring and planning for his subjects.
Challenges faced by India today:
Selfishness in Relationship:
Sri Rama set an example to treat all equally.
These days different form of terrorism is on rise which is impacting social and national security. Terrorism during the time of Sri Rama was also prevalent. When Sri Rama was less than sixteen years old and not even completed the studies, rishi Vishvamitra demanded his help to kill the immensely strong rakshasas named Tadaka, Maricha and Subahu. They were harassing rishis by destroying their Yajnas. Raja Dasaratha, who was initially hesitant but later permitted Sri Rama and Sri Lakshamna to go along with rishi Vishvamitra to protect both rishis and their Yagnas. Sri Rama obeyed the directions of his father and proceeded to terrible forest along with his brother Sri Lakshamna and rishi Vishvamitra and slayed the rakshasas. Later, during fourteen years’ exile, Sri Rama killed many Rakshasas such as Viradha, khara, Dushana, Meghnath, Ravana etc. to protect the innocent citizens.
In the olden times, people especially kings were generally holding more than one wife. Even the father of Sri Rama, Dasratha was having three wives. In those days, Sri Rama vowed to marry only once.
Sri Rama married with Ma Sita and had great love for his wife. He resisted any temptation that could come in the way of his love for his wife. He taught the way of life which eliminated crime against women. When demoness Shurpanakha disguises as a woman to seduce Rama, then stalks and harasses Rama's wife Sita after Rama refuses her. After Ravana was killed Mandodari came to Sri Rama and said, she has found one quality in Sri Rama that even the shadow of a woman other than his wife should not touch Him. Ravana, on the other hand, was willing to sacrifice so many lives in his attempt at making another man's wife his. Therein lies the difference. That one quality of Sri Rama has led to His victory, says Mandodari.
Erosion in value system:
India is facing the menace of corruption, dishonesty, violence, and deceit. The incidents of rape are increasing, corruption is entrenched at all the levels and violence is becoming acceptable in our society. It is here where we need Sri Rama again with us to tell us that it is his character that we need to emulate today. Sri Rama established a sound judicial system which ensured that every person is happy under his rule all times. Sri Rama was a selfless king who thought of his people before thinking about himself. Tulsidas mentioned that in Ram Rajya, no one suffered at physically, spiritually and bodily. Everyone lived in harmony with affection towards each other while performing their own duties as described in the scriptures. All the four limbs of the Dharma – Truth, Purity, Compassion & Charity were fulfilled.
Pre-Meditative & Meditative Asanas (Postures)
Relaxation and Pre-meditative asanas may be done for relaxation and loosening up the legs respectively. Meditative asanas are the body positions usually sitting but also sometimes standing or reclining, used to facilitate meditation.
Relaxation Asanas: -
A few relaxation practices are
Pre-Meditative Asanas: -
Meditative Asanas: -
During meditation, sitting asana position should be most stable and the body firm & immovable. This should not require efforts to keep spine upright. To sit long in the same position, loosening up of the legs is necessary which is possible by half butterfly and hip rotation.
For transmutation of the sexual energy –
Supta Vajrasana (Sleeping Thunderbolt pose) – this asana helps to transmute sexual energy into more subtle forms of energy. It also gives the benefits of matsyasana. To do this asana one should have supple back and flexible legs. Those with stiff legs should not attempt it. Process: Sit in vajrasana, knees could be together or separated, rest same as Matsyasana (lean slightly backwards, place the hands on the floor slightly behind & on the sides of the buttock, support the weight of the body on the straight arms, bend one of the arms, allowing forearm & elbow to rest on the ground, slowly bend the other arm so that both elbows rest on the ground behind the buttocks, bend the head backwards so that you can see the floor behind the head, stretch the neck as much as comfortable, slowly slide the arms forwards away from the head, lower the top of the head towards the ground, gently allow top of the head to support the body weight, relax the arms allowing head, buttocks & legs take the body weight, breathe slowly & deeply, stay in this final pose, return to the starting position. Alternatively, the arms can be folded behind the head).
Reference: A systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya – by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born at Mayapur near Navaidip, district Nadia (75 miles from Kolkata) West Bengal, who lived during 1486-1533. He was from Bengali Brahmin family. At sixteen, he was youngest professor in Nadia who attracted large numbers of students. He also challenged other scholars to debates in East Bengal and turned victorious.
Incarnation of Sri Krishna:
He is considered an avatar of Lord Krishna by his followers. Many supernatural phenomena were seen manifesting on the boy’s body. While sleeping a moon like aura was sometimes found floating over him and in his bed room many luminous figures appeared before his mother. He is believed to be Radha and Krishna came in one body.
Initiation for Worship of Radha-Krishna:
When he was around twenty years, he undertook a pilgrimage to Gaya, to perform pinda-rites for the salvation of his ancestors. After pida-rites, when worshipped at Vishnu-pada, he fell into trance. When he fell, an ascetic Isvara Puri supported him. After coming to normalcy, Sri Chaitanya requested Puri to help him realize a glimpse of Radha’s love for Sri Krishna. Isvara Puri initiated him into the Mantra for Sri Krishna worship. Immediately after initiation, his jovial mood was transformed into sorrowful mood. His soul tossed from sorrow to ecstasy and from ecstasy to sorrow.
Start of Sri Krishna Sankirtan:
After return from Gaya, he fell into trance a number of times and developed religious ecstasy. He failed to teach the students. Then he proposed to start Sri Krishna kirtan. The eight expressions of intense God-love – weeping, shivering, sweating, horripilation, fainting etc. – began to manifest in him. Such external manifestations of the onset of Sri Krishna prema were sometimes very uncontrollable and turbulent in nature. Once, he behaved strangely and declared himself as deity.
He and his followers started Sri Krishna Kirtans (Har Bol) from door to door to spread Sri Krishna bhakti.
When he was twenty four, the Radha mood began possess him more. He had taught Bhakti till then and now he wanted to teach Prema (intense love) by his own example. In Radha mood he began to heave sighs of longing, and manifest agonizing pangs of separation and collapsing.
Pilgrimage to Jagannath Puri:
He madly longed to go to Vrindavan. For five days he walked without food or rest through fields and forests and lost the way. He reached the residence of a Advaita Acharya at Santipur who persuaded him to go to Jagannath Puri. After reaching Puri temple, he rushed like one frenzied towards the image to embrace Jagannath and in the process fell down. There he met Pandit Vasudeva Sarvabhauma in Puri who advised Chaitanya that he was too young to be ascetic, that his devotional fervor, singing, dancing etc. were mere eccentricities and aberrations, and that he should now learn Vedanta under him. Chaitanya accepted the proposal. During taking lessons, the Pandit asked whether he was following his exposition, and got the shocking reply that Vedanta text was itself simple enough for him to understand, but he could not understand even a word of Shankara’s commentary. Then for a verse from Bhagavad Gita, the Pandit gave nine meanings, Chaitanya gave many more. Then the Pandit declared him full of Vedic wisdom. The Pandit surrendered himself to Chaitanya and prostrated at his feet.
When he got up and looked, he saw six armed divinity instead Chaitanya. The sight put him into a state of rapt Samadhi. Next day, Chaitanya told him: the law of Prema-Bhakti is as Radha had sung:
“Listen! The flute my beloved is beckoning me. I must go. My beloved cannot be won without sacrifice. If you desire to capture Him, you must first surrender everything to Him.”
Pilgrimage along Eastern Coast, Southern & Western Parts of India:
Sri Chaitanya travelled along east coast to south up to Kanyakumari and visited several places such as Rajamundri near east Godavari, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Udupi (seat of Madhacharya’s religion), etc. He then passed through western and middle regions of India where he visited the famous Pandarpur in Maharashtra, Dwarka, etc. Then he travelled towards Puri passing through many holy places along the banks of Tapti, Narmada and Godavari. After the stay of three years at Puri, he left Puri and proceeded for Vrindavan. On the way, he stayed at Varanasi, Prayaga and Mathura. After a few months stay in Vrindavan, he returned to Prayaga. He converted a large number of Mohammedans not by the scriptures of Vaishnavism but by argument from the Quran. The descendants of those converts are still known as Pathan Vaishnavas.
Return to Puri:
Sri Chaitanya returned Puri from Prayag. He continued to stay at Puri for eighteen years, until His disappearance in His forty-eighth year at the time of Sankirtan in the temple of Tota Gopinath. During these 18 years, His life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of the Vaishnavas having spiritual love in Radha-Krishna.
Reference: Bhakti Schools of Vedanta – by Swami Tapasyananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
“Krushnam vande jagat gurum” means I bow to Krishna, the teacher of the world.
Shri Krishna is historical figure and the Purnaavtara (complete incarnation) who appeared in this world on 18th July, 3102 BC, in the last part of Dwapar Yuga of 28th Manyavantra (around 5122 years ago). He appeared before Ma Devaki as four armed Vishnu at mid-night, Sravani Krishna Astami. The Vishnu Purana stated that it was a dreadful night with heavy rain and violent wind. He was 8th incarnation (Avatar) of Vishnu Bhagwan. He lived and died for the fellow human beings. He shared the joys and sorrows of kings and commoners alike. Not only he transmitted the wisdom of Upanishads & Vedas in form of Bhagavad Gita, but His life was also lessons on bhakti yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga and Raja Yoga. The four dimensional perspective of His personality has been attempted in this article.
No scripture could recount the entire life of Shri Krishna. It is told primarily through Srimad Bhagavatam, Garga Samhita, Visnu Purana, Brahmavaivarta Purana, Mahabharata, Harivamsa and several other puranas.
Why called as Purnaavtara (complete incarnation of the almighty):
Shri Krishna proclaimed himself as Almighty and liberated many during his lifetime. He performed several humanly impossible tasks, showed Virat form and extra-ordinary qualities.
Shri Krishna is a perfect personification of divinity. He was a revolutionary of his time. He accomplished the protection of feeble & gentle, destruction of evil-doers and installation dharma. He believed that whenever popular righteous is in opposition, one should follow the higher cause of dharma.
He is symbol of compassion, tenderness, love, destroyer of evil-doers, perfect in his different roles, man of wisdom and above all yogeshwar.
Making of Narendranath Dutta, Swami Vivekananda:
Narendranath Datta, later named as Swami Vivekananda, was born in Kolkata in an aristocratic family on 12th January, 1863 (died on 4th July, 102). His meeting with Sri Ramakrishna in 1880 changed the course of the life. Narendra was above the lure of Kamini Kanchana (lust and wealth) and dhayanasiddha – the grandeur of his renunciation and sincerity of his love for God. When family asked for matrimony, he would simply say that he was a monk, and that to him all women were as mother. He had a power of rapid reading and wonderful memory. Swamiji said that by observing strict Brahamacharya (continence) one could have not only an unfailing memory but mastery over all learning in a very short time. Once he said, “he had a special reverence for, RamaSita. He had also a great respect for Rama’s devoted servant, Hanuman.” He surrendered himself completely to Sri Ramakrishna as his guru, but it is certain that he took long time to do so. Gradually, “the doubting Naren was passing away; the devotional Naren, the spiritual Naren, the Hindu –was being born”. It was to Sri Ramakrishna that he owed his introduction to Hinduism. He had visions of god and goddesses etc. in the course of Sadhanas but they did not satisfy him. Once, he was meditating in a lying posture, when suddenly he felt that there was a great light at the back of his head, as he told.
After demise of Sri Ramakrishna, he performed Viraja Homa to assume sannyas. Swamiji had always been a seeker of super-physical knowledge and by dint of sadhanas carried on for years had reached great heights. Through the Master’s grace he had a taste of highest bliss (the nirvikalpa samadhi) but longed to have more of it. The master had tried to restrain him since, as he said, it had been revealed to him that his disciple was a nityasiddha, i.e. an ever liberated one., who had been born this time on earth for carrying special task that was willed by the divine mother. The “touch of earth” that he received during his years of travel in India “reinvigorated” him and in suffering humanity he recognized “the self that manifests itself in the universe”. He became Swami Vivekananda, who was prepared to be born again and again and share the miseries of mankind, so that he could serve the God who was the saint and the sinner and above all, the poor of all races – Daridranarayana. He went by ship to USA in 1893 to attend the Parliament of Religions of the world and raised the status of India.
In a speech delivered in California on 5th January, 1900, Swamiji said,
”the little that I gained (about meditation) I worked for thirty years of my life. It took me thirty years to learn it; thirty years of hard struggle. Sometimes I worked at it twenty hours during the twenty-four; sometimes I slept only one hour in the night; sometimes I worked whole night, sometimes I lived in places where there is hardly any sound.” Accordingly, he was seven years old when he began meditation.
He said each one of the yoga - work, wisdom, concentration and devotion, is capable of serving as direct and independent means for the attainment of freedom. However, he felt that a combination of all the four paths of liberation i.e. Path of Karma yoga (Self actions), Path of Jnana yoga (discrimination & dispassion), Path of Raja Yoga (meditation & Japa) and Path of Bhakti Yoga (devotion to chosen ideal), produce balanced character, free from the possible defects of each of the exclusive paths – the heartless of intellectuals, bigotry of the emotionalist, aloofness of meditative and arrogance of the active.
There is possible danger in the path of Jnana yoga to become dry intellectualism and in the path of bhakti yoga to lead to meaningless sentimentalism. He recommended development of will and concentration. An average mind is frittered away or is spread out on too many things.
Sri Vivekananda recommended service to the poor countrymen as veritable deities with in spirit of worship. Service originates from fullness of heart. Through heart comes inspiration. Love opens most impossible gates; love is the gate to all the secrets of the universe. Seeing God in society becomes spiritual discipline. Service of society becomes service to the God. Hence, he made spirituality practical.
He suggested the three stages of karma. These stages make work to worship i.e. ‘work and worship’, ‘work as worship’ and ‘work is worship’.
The gist of all worship is to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Siva in the poor, in the weak, and in the deceased really worships Siva; and if he sees Siva only in the image, his worship is, but preliminary.
The mere act of giving medicine or education to the suffering or ignorant is not spiritual but accompanying thought that God is in humans, makes the whole work worship. This kind of attitude towards work purifies mind. Purified mind dawns knowledge or love of God.
Philosophy to Service - Worship in Temples to Practical worship:
“Service cannot degenerate into charity”, He said. A person becomes charitable either to get rid of beggar or to get name and fame or if it is a purer motive, out of sympathy. Altruistic actions are performed for one’s own sake. The ideal of service is inspired by reverence and humility. The giver thanks to the receiver and the receiver stand up and permit. The worshipper can only serve and adore, not pity and help. No service is small, for all work is God’s service and he takes as much care of the means as of the end.
Swamiji wrote in a letter, “I desire not the supreme state with all its eight siddhis, may I assume the sorrow of all creatures that suffer and enter into them so that may be made free from grief. I have lost all wish for my salvation, may I born again and again and suffer thousands of miseries so that I may worship the only God that exists, the only God that I believe in, and the sum total of all souls.”
He exhorted. Unfurl the banner of love! ‘Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached. Nothing can be done without renunciation. If one wants to help others, one’s little self (ego) must go. He said: ‘throw away everything, even your own salvation, and go and help others.’
Swami Vivekananda identified the following important qualities of human being:
To Swamiji patriotism was an expression of true worship and loving to fellowmen, a means to the realization of the highest. He said: renunciation and service are the national ideals of India.
Swami Vevekananda asked, ‘do you feel that millions are starving today, and millions have been starving for ages’. Does it make restless? Does it make you sleepless? Are you seized with that idea of the misery of ruins, and you have forgotten all about your name, your fame, your wives, your children, your property, even your own bodies? Have you done that? This is the first step towards service, service to the nation.
Swami Vivekananda put the maximum emphasis on training and education. He said: the chief cause of India’s ruin has been the monopolizing of the whole education and intelligence of the land among a handful of men. If we are to rise again, we shall have to do it by spreading education among the masses. He further said: so long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every a traitor who, having been educated at their expense. Education is not the collection of information but liberation of inexhaustible inner potentialities of the person.
The education will be best, if it is given through religion. Spiritual training is essential in any educational scheme. The medium should be vernaculars. Education should be given orally by telling stories, history, globes, charts, posters etc. and through audio-visual means. The teachers must go to the villagers instead of expecting the villagers to come to them. This is the duty to the community.
He stressed that educationist of India must learn the lesson from ancient rishis and regenerate the ancient gurukula system with the brahmacharya idea of austerity, virtues and continence for the students.
Theoretically everybody is same. But it must be only in mind and never in practice. Wipe off this blot. The same soul resides in all. This is the basis for the equality in the rights of enjoyment. More the privileges, more is the intensity of tyranny.
Sri Ramakrishna was a great soul who realised all major religions and had vision of Ma Kali, Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Hanuman, Sri Mohammad, Sri Christ and son. He was born on February 18, 1836 (5.15 AM) at Kamarpukur (Hooghly district, West Bengal) to the parents named as Khudiram Chattopadhyaya and Chandra Devi. He was named as Gadadhar, the bearer of mace, an epithet of Vishnu.
Gadadhar experienced the spiritual ecstasy as early as at the age of six or seven. One day, he saw a flight of snow-white cranes passing in the backdrop of dark thunder clouds. Instantly, he fell unconscious and experienced an indescribable joy. Gadadhar was interested in reading & hearing the religious stories of puranas and in company of wandering monks & pilgrims on the way to Puri. Gadadhar, while playing the roles of Shiva, Radha or Krishna, often lost himself in the character he was portraying. At the age of sixteen (year 1852), Ramkumar, the elder brother of Gadadhar called him to Calcutta to assist in his Priestly duties and to study bread earning education. Gadadhar was not keen in bread earning education. Saradamani, a little girl of five, was selected as the bride for Sri Ramakrishna. The marriage ceremony was performed in the year 1859.
Spiritual Experiences & Vision of Gods:
Rani Rasmani, a rich widow belonging to the sudra caste, purchased twenty acre of land in Dakshineswar, in 1847 (6.4 Km away from Calcutta) and created a temple garden and constructed several temples including Ma Kali temple, Shiva temples, Radha-Krishna temple etc. in 1855. Sri Ramakrishna accepted the duty of priest in the temples.
The worship in the Kali temple intensified Sri Ramakrishna’s yearning for a living vision of mother Kali. He began to spend whole night in meditation. Without any great knowledge of scriptures, or the guides to help him, and with only simplicity & purity, he longed for a vision of the divine mother. He began his sadhanas for twelve years, but the vision did not come. His longing for the mother was so intense that in agony, he would rub his face against the ground and weep desperately that people, thinking he had lost his earthly mother. One day, he was very restless that it might not realise Her in this life. He determined to put an end to his life. He jumped like a madman to seize the sward of mother Kali, suddenly the blessed mother revealed Herself. The buildings and everything vanished from his sight and limitless, infinite, effulgent ocean of consciousness revealed. He fell unconscious and experienced undiluted bliss. He continued his spiritual practices more intensely. During that period of meditation, he would hear strange clicking sounds in the joints of his legs. As his spiritual mood deepened, he felt more and more to be a child of the Divine Mother. He learnt to surrender completely to Her.
Later he practiced the various attitudes of the Vaishnava schools, from Dasya bhava to madhura bhava. In each case his sadhanas ended in complete union with his object of worship. He began to meditating on Sri Hanuman by assuming the attitude of a servant. His way of life began to resemble those of a monkey. He lived on fruits and roots. He jumped from place to place instead of walking. After a short while he was blessed with a vision of Sita, the divine consort of Rama, who entered his body and disappeared there with the words, “I bequeath to you my smile.”
A Brahmin woman came to Dakshineswar. She was adept in the Tantric and Vaishnava methods worship. After listening of the experiences, visions and symptoms of madness of Sri Ramakrishna, she proclaimed openly that Sri Ramakrishna, like Sri Chaitanya, was an incarnation of God. He accepted Brahmani as his guru (in year 1861). Sri Ramakrishna now set himself to the task of practising spiritual disciplines according to traditional methods laid down in the tantra and Vaishnava scriptures. He practised all the disciplines of the sixty four principal Tantra books, and it took him never more than three days to achieve the results promised in any one of them. After the observance of a few preliminary rites, he would be overwhelmed with a strange divine fervour and would go into Samadhi, where his mind would dwell in exaltation. He saw in a vision the ultimate cause of universe as a huge luminous triangle giving birth every moment to an infinite number of worlds. He heard the Anahata Sabda, the great sound of Om. He acquired eight supernatural powers of yoga. The most remarkable experience was awakening of the Kundalini Sakti, the serpent power. He further saw that the Kundalini went upward the different lotuses bloomed. And the phenomenon was accompanied by visions and trances. Later on he described to his disciples and devotees the various movements of the Kundalini: birdlike, monkey-like, and so on.
After completing the Tantric sadhana in year 1863, Sri Ramakrishna followed the discipline of Vaishnavism. Vaishnavism humanizes God. God is regarded as the devotee’s Parent, Master, Friend, Child, Husband or Sweetheart, each succeeding relationship representing an intensification of love. There came to Dakshineswar, a wandering Vaishnava monk, Jatadhari, whose ideal deity was Ramalala. Soon Ramalala became the favourite companion of Sri Ramakrishna too. A very sweet relationship sprang up between him and Ramalala, for whom he felt the love of a mother. One day, jatadhari left, leaving the image with Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna was blessed with a vision of Sri Rama through Ramalala. In love pursuit, he regarded himself as one of the gopis of Vrindavan, mad and longing for her divine sweetheart, Sri Krishna. Day and night, he wept bitterly and forgotten food and drink. The yearning turned into mad frenzy; for the divine Krishna began to play taunt, now and then revealing Himself, but always keeping at a distance. It is advised in the Vaishnava scriptures that one to propitiate Radha and obtain her grace to realize Sri Krishna. So he turned his prayer to her. Within short time he enjoyed her blessed vision. The love of Radha is the precursor of the resplendent vision of Sri Krishna, and Sri Ramakrishna soon experienced that vision.
Totapuri, the non-dualistic Vedanta philosophy, who experienced the ultimate reality of Brahman, initiated Sri Ramakrishna into the monastic order in 1864 and performed the rituals of destroying his attachment to relatives, friends, body, mind, sense organs, ego, and world. Totapuri asked the disciple to withdraw his mind from all objects of relative world, including god and goddesses, and to concentrate on the absolute. Sri Ramakrishna remained completely absorbed in Samadhi for three days.
After nirvikalpa Samadhi, Sri Ramakrishna realised that world became glorious manifestation of the divine mother; maya became Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna discovered that maya operates in the relative world in two ways, and he termed these “avidyamaya and vidyamaya”. Avidyamaya represents the dark forces of creation: sensuous desires, evil passions, greed, lust, cruelty, and so on. It sustains the world system on the lower planes. It is responsible for the round of person’s birth and death. It must be fought and vanquished. But vidyamaya is the higher force of creation: the spiritual values, the enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, devotion. Vidyamaya elevates man to the higher planes of consciousness. Sri Ramakrishna remained in bhavamukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness, the border line between the absolute and the relative. He was to keep himself at the “sixth centre” of Tantra, from which he could see not only the glory of the seventh, but also the divine manifestations of the kundalini in the lower centres. He thus bridged the gulf between the personal and impersonal, the immanent and the transcendent aspects of reality. Sri Ramakrishna described: “when I think of the Supreme Being as inactive-neither creating nor preserving nor destroying, I call Him Brahman or Purusha, the impersonal God; when I think of Him as active-creative, preserving and destroying, I call Him Sakti or Maya or Prakriti, the personal God. The Divine Mother and Brahman are one.”
From now on the Sri Ramakrishna began to seek company of devotees and holy men. Sadhus of all denominations-monists and dualists, Vaishnavas and Vedantists, Saktas and worshippers of Rama-flocked there in ever increasing numbers. Ascetics and visionaries came to seek Sri Ramakrishna’s advice. Sri Ramakrishna had not read books, yet he possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of religions and religious philosophies. To him the service of people was the same as the worship of God.
Towards the end of 1866, he began to practice the disciplines of Islam, under the direction of his mussalman guru, Sufi Govinda Rai. He dressed as Mussalman and repeated the name of Allah. After three days, he saw the vision of a figure, perhaps Mohammad. The figure gently approached him and finally lost himself in Sri Ramakrishna. Thus he realised the Mussalman God.
In 1870, Sri Ramakrishna went with a tour party to Varanasi, Paryagraj, Vrindavan and Mathura. There, he visited the great women Vaishnava saint, Gangamayi. He later visited Nadia, the birth place of Sri Chaitanya.
In 1872, Sarda Devi (aged of around 18 years) paid her first visit to her husband at Dakshineswar. He taught her duties of household affairs and mysteries of spiritual life. They lived together above worldly plane. On an auspicious day, Sri Ramakrishna arranged a special worship of Kali, the Divine Mother and instead of an image of the Deity; he placed on the seat the living image, Sarda Devi herself. The worshipper and the worshipped went into deep Samadhi and in the transcendental plane their souls were united.
Sometime in November, 1874, Sri Ramakrishna was seized with irresistible desire to learn the truth of the Christian religion. He began to listen to reading from the bible, by Sambhu Charan Mallick. Sri Ramakrishna became fascinated by the life and teachings of Jesus. One day, when his eyes became fixed on the painting of the Madonna and Child. Intently watching it, he became gradually overwhelmed with divine emotion. The figure in the picture took on life, and the rays of light emanating from them entered his soul. Christ possessed his soul. For three days he did not set foot in the Kali temple. On fourth day, in the afternoon, as he was walking in the Panchavati, he saw coming towards him a person with beautiful large eyes, serene countenance, and fair skin. As the two faced each other, a voice rang out in the depths of Sri Ramakrishna’s soul: “Behold the Christ, who shed His heart’s blood for redemption of the world, who suffered a sea of anguish for love of men. It is He, the Master Yogi, who is in eternal union with the God. It is Jesus, Love Incarnate.” The son of Man embraced the son of the Divine Mother and merged in him. Sri Ramakrishna realised his identity with the Christ, as he had already realised his identity with Kali, Rama, Hanuman, Krishna, Brahman, and Mohammad. Sri Ramakrishna accepted the divinity of Buddha. He also showed great respect for the Tirthankaras, who founded Jainism, and for the ten Gurus of Sikhism.
In April 1885, the Master’s throat became inflamed. The doctor diagnosed the illness as cancer. The master wished to make Narendra his spiritual heir who continued the work after Sri Ramakrishna’s passing. Sunday, August 15, 1886, the master’s pulse became irregular and he took maha-Samadhi at 1.02 AM on 16th August, 1886.
Reference: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – by Swami Nikhilananda