Swami Girishanandaji, Trustee and Treasurer of Belur Math Visits VSGH


By Sanchali Basu
HOUSTON: Vedanta Society of Greater Houston devotees had a great opportunity to meet Swami Girishananda, a trustee and the office manager of Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in West Bengal, on his very short whirlwind tour through Houston on June 16 and 17.

On Sunday, June 16 after his late afternoon arrival, Swamiji gave a lecture on the guru (teacher)-shishya (disciple) relationship between Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. As the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda continue this year, it was good to hear about how important a role a guru plays in spiritual life. He described a guru as one who has got the realization of the interpretation of the scriptures, has no bad intentions, lust or evil in mind. When one approaches the Guru to know the truth, he has the power (Guru Shakti) to choose the path to follow. The shishya has to depend on the Guru to be exempt from the repeated birth and death cycles of human life. The Guru holds the hand of the shishya and helps cross Samsara (worldliness) by making ignorance/darkness go away with faith.

The Guru must be respected and there needs to be immense earnestness to learn and give absolute surrender. The guru must be served with utter devotion and questions must be asked with humility and humbleness to extract truth. The Guru will then bless and advise and direct the shishya in the right path.

Sri Ramakrishna had various Gurus beginning with Kenaram Chattopadhyay, then Bhairavi Brahmani and then Totapuri and each played a great part in him attaining Sat-chit-ananda (truth-consciousness-bliss). Swami Vivekananda who initially had several doubts in his mind about Sri Ramakrishna tested him in various ways before accepting him as his Guru when he realized that Sri Ramakrishna was indeed an incarnation of the Divine Power. As the chief disciple he then took on the colossal work of spreading his Master’s message, once the dormant power (Brahmakundalini) within him was awakened. Sri Sarada Devi, Sri Ramakrishna’s consort in whom Sri Ramakrishna saw the Holy Mother, provided support to Swami Vivekananda on the Master’s passing. So much so that in the short 18 years of his life after Sri Ramakrishna’s death, Swami Vivekananda was the first key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world and was credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion in the late 19th century. He was ahead of his time in preaching the motto that all the different religions lead to the same goal – realization is one.

On Monday, June 17 there was a Satsang at the center where Sw. Girishananda answered questions asked by the devotees. “What is the relationship between God-guru and the shishya?” was the question posed.  He replied that one does not have to be an intellectual to have spirituality and God realization. These come to the most common man through unimaginable absolute renunciation. Mother Kali made Sri Ramakrishna follow all the religions including Christianity, Islam and non-dualism to find out the ultimate truth for himself. Incomparable renunciation of lust and attachment to gold made his mind crystal pure leading him to go into Samadhi (pure ecstatic state) often. Discrimination is the other asset and seeing God in everything and looking at all work as God’s work is the other tool for the highest spiritual transformation.

The events of both the nights were well attended and ended with Arati and Prasad dinner. The efforts of the VSGH to attain a resident swami were well accepted by Sw. Girishananda. He mentioned that patience and perseverance needs to be practiced and to then leave it in God’s hands and left the dedicated volunteers of the VSGH very hopeful of achieving their goal.

For information on upcoming events and Swami visitwww.houstonvedanta.org