Swami Vivekananda’s composition ‘Hymn to Sri Ramakrishna’, sung during evening prayers by thousands of devotees around the world, is special in many ways. It is a prayer that addresses the impersonal aspect of Sri Ramakrishna and, from the literary point of view, it is an acrostic poem in which the first syllables of every line, put together, form the powerful mantra om namo bhagavate ramakrishnaya.
The line entitled above occurs in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and refers to the unitary experience—the supreme spiritual unity of everything. This unity is in our true Self; its nature is pure Consciousness. This unitary knowledge is the goal of our spiritual search.
It is extremely difficult to fathom the greatness of the direct monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. All were men of the highest realization and purity of character. Swami Vivekananda was the bearer of Sri Ramakrishna’s message to the world and the inheritor of his spiritual power, and Swami Brahmananda was looked upon by Sri Ramakrishna as his very own spiritual son.
We begin encountering karma as soon as we are born.
Our whole life is ceaseless action—tiresome, but unavoidable. When we retire from the waking state, we go to the dream state where we encounter dream activities. There, too, we cannot escape karma. Even when we sleep there is karma.
It was in San Francisco that Swami Vivekananda declared that souls should defy nature, that they should live and die game. This is the story of one of his brother monks, Swami Trigunatita, who did just that in our city, San Francisco. He lived here, earnestly serving the people of this city, and he died game in that service.