It happened on January 1, 1886, at Kashipur where Sri Ramakrishna was undergoing treatment for his throat cancer. He felt somewhat better that day and came down from his room for a stroll on the spacious lawns of the garden-house. About thirty devotees were present and were scattered here and there in the garden.

As soon as they saw the Master, they all came near him and bowed down. The Master said to Girish, “What have you seen that makes you glorify me publicly before one and all?” Girish at once fell at the Master’s feet and said with folded hands and choked voice, “What more can I say about him, even a fraction of whose glory Vyāsa and Vālmīki m

The kalpataru event occurred near the tree in the foreground

Seeing the divinely illumined face of the Master, Girish was thrilled and he cried out in great joy, “Glory to Ramakrishna! Glory to Ramakrishna!” and began taking the dust of his feet again and again. The Master looked at all present and said smilingly, “What more shall I say to you? May you all be spiritually awakened!” No sooner had he said these few words than he went into samādhi. What followed is best described in the words of Swami Saradananda, who had seen the whole episode from a distance:

When the devotees heard those words of blessings and protection from fear, they raised repeated cries of joy, exclaiming, “Glory to Ramakrishna.” Some of them saluted him, some showered flowers, some again came and touched his feet.

The Master touched the devotees in that state of samādhi and blessed them all. The effect was instantaneous. Swami Saradananda’s account continues:

….there arose by that marvelous touch a wonderful mood in the mind of each. Some of them began to laugh, some to weep, some to meditate, and some again to call aloud all others in order that they might also be blessed by receiving the grace of the Master … and be sharers in the bliss that was overflowing.

On later enquiry it was known that the devotees blessed by the Master on that day had wonderful spiritual experiences and visions. Some felt bliss and a sort of divine intoxication, some experienced the creeping blissful sensation of the rising kuṇḍalini, some saw ecstatic visions of their chosen deities, and some saw divine light. All the experiences were unique, each in its own way. Although they differed in their content, the feeling of being filled with an extraordinary divine bliss was common to all.

As the Master had granted unstinted grace to one and all, some felt that he had revealed himself as the kalpataru on that day. The first of January thus came to be known as the Kalpataru Day. The Kashipur residence (which now houses a center of the Ramakrishna Order) became naturally the focus of attention. Sri Ramakrishna had stayed in the house for more than eight months and, to crown it all, had showered this special grace on the devotees on the 1st of January. Even today, devotees of Sri Ramakrishna from all over the world pour into the holy precincts of the Kashipur house to feel the living presence of the Master and to share in the spiritual legacy left behind by him. The climax is reached every year on the Kalpataru Day when thousands and thousands rush to

Kashipur to recapture the “kalpataru grace” granted by the Master in 1886.

Speeches of Swami Vivekananda at Chicago

At the World’s Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 11 September 1893

Sisters and Brothers of America,

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honour of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: ‘As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.’

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world, of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: ‘Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me.’ Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

The Emblem

The emblem which was designed by Swami Vivekananda, on the order of Ramakrishna is a unique and unequaled work of art created by one of the richest minds in contemporary history in an exalted mood of spiritual alleviation. It’s a profound symbol of harmony and conflation for reverential contemplation in this present age of conflict and discord. This symbol is the epitome of Swamiji’s communication of harmony and conflation, leading to life’s fulfillment. This is indeed the most eloquent expression of what he really sermonized, what he wanted every man and woman to be, to realize, either in the East or in the West. The thing is to realize, indeed in this very life, one’s real Tone, the tone-effulgent Atman, the Swan in the hallmark and through this consummation to be free of all limitations, all enslavement and all littleness. This spiritual freedom is one thing to be aspired for and achieved in this very life. It releases one from one’s captivity- house of limited individuality and confers upon him or her, the blessing of universal actuality. He also becomes bone with Actuality- Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.‘ Be free. This is the total of religion’ said Swamiji. The meaning behind this hallmark, in the language of Vivekananda himself
“ The crimpy waters in the picture are emblematic of Karma, the lotus of Bhakti, and the rising- sun of Jnana. The encircling serpent is reflective of Yoga and awakened Kundalini Shakti, while the swan in the picture stands for Paramatman. Thus, the ideal of the picture is that by the union of Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Yoga, the vision of the Paramatman is attained.”
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