Ramakrishna Temple, Belur Math
[Continued from yesterday]
The opportunity for this visit came fortuitously by way of an invite to a family wedding in Kolkata. I always wanted to visit Belur Math but could not make it. Earlier, once I was in Kolkata for two nights with no time for such a visit. I remember a post-card written to me by Swami Jagadathmanandaji of ‘Badukalu Kaliyiri’ (§zÀÄPÀ®Ä PÀ°¬Äj) book-fame from Belur Math. I knew the Swamiji when he was here in Mysore. In his post-card written in Kannada, he had invited me to Belur Math, ‘a place sanctified by the footprints of Swami Vivekananda’ [¸Áé«Ä «ªÉÃPÀ£ÀAzÀgÀ ¥ÁzÀUÀ½AzÀ ¥À«vÀæªÁzÀ £É®zÀ°è £ÀqÉAiÀÄ®Ä §¤ß]. This letter had left an indelible imprint on my mind and the Belur Math began to beckon me ever since. And I made it on 17th and 18th of July 2014.
I must admit, however, that this visit to Belur Math in Kolkata would not have been as fulfilling as it was but for the helpful briefing I received from Swami Mukthidanandaji of Ramakrishna Ashram, Mysore, who is also a Trustee of Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata. He also gave me a contact that is ultimate for any Kannadiga visitor to Belur Math — Sri Vinay Chandra Maharaj, aka Swami Mahamedhananda. Both names are certainly eponymous for he is the cornucopia of Vinay (humility) and as cool as Chandra (moon). He is a BA (Journalism), MA in English and Ph.D from Mysore University. Indeed a Mahamedha (super intellect). A Mysore boy, no matter hailed from Bangalore.
A sneak peek into his student life that transformed him into a sanyasin (monk), gleaned from hearsay, though sketchy, may be pardoned if perceived not proper. Fearing indiscretion, out of modesty, I had refrained from subjecting him to an inquisition despite my cat-like curiosity and instead decided to source information from my local contacts. He was the only son from a rich family come to Mysore with his mother who now lives in Kashi for religious ...more