Shri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Rajkot

Publication : History

The Life And Teachings Of Sri Ramakrishna

Teaching of Sri Ramakrishna in Gujarati

After Swami Vivekananda's visit to Gujarat in 1891-92, it was Kalipada Ghosh who was chosen, as if, by Sri Ramakrishna to spread his message in the western parts of India. Kalipada Ghosh was one of those wayward souls like the famous Girish Ghosh whose life was transformed by the touch of the Master. It was Sri Ramakrishna's blessings and unrestrained love that transformed an out-and-out bohemian and drunkard into a great devotee. Though he was not a writer and a playwright like Girish, he composed many songs and published them in a booklet entitled Ramakrishna Sangeet in 1893.

It was Kalipada who inspired and supported Bhagubhai F. Karbhari, the founder editor of the Gujarati weekly Prajabhandhu in his mission of publishing Swamiji's books in Gujarati. This weekly was later converted into a daily, Gujarat Samachar, which is today one of the leading dailies of Gujarat. Prajabandhu published a life sketch of Sri Ramakrishna serially from its 9th July 1899 issue onwards. Bhagubhai was also a dealer of paper manu- factured by the firm M/s John Dickinson & Co.Ltd., London with office in Ahmedabad.

It was primarily due to the efforts of Kalipada Ghosh, who was at that time in charge of the Bombay office of M/s John Dickinson and Co., that this company could open many offices in the main cities of India. It was through Kalipada's inspiration that Bhagubhai published Sanatana Hindu Dharma (I Edn: January 1897, pp. 36, Vijay Pravartak Press, Ahmedabad), a Gujarati translation of Swamiji's addresses at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago. In the appendix to this book he gives a brief biographical sketch of Swamiji in which he refers to 'Dharmik Purusho' published by Gujarat Vernacular Society, Ahmedabad, in June 1893. This book of hundred pages authored by the famous Gujarati writer Narayan Hemchandra (1855-1904), contains the life sketches of twelve great prophets and saints like Sri Chaitanya, Nanak, Kabir and Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna's biographical sketch of 13 pages in this book might as well be the first to be published in any vernacular after Ramachandra Dutta's Bengali biography was published in 1890. However, the author refers to only Keshab Sen's writings in the Indian Mirror and Dharma Tattwa and the book Paramahmaser Ukti (1889) in this biography.

On the back cover of Sanatana Hindu Dharma, Bhagubhai has printed a list of eleven books on Swamiji, which were then under preparation. Of these books Karma Yoga was published in 1897 from Saraswati Bhavan, Ahmedabad, where he had earlier started a press with the machinery that he had purchased from his friend Shyamji Krishna Verma. In the introduction to Karma Yoga (I Edn: Sept. 1897, pp. 96) and Swami Vivekanandana Patro (I Edn: Jan 1912, pp. 284 N.M.Tripathi & Co., Mumbai), Bhagubhai mentions some interesting facts. He was first introduced to Swamiji at Bombay in 1892 by his friend Pareshchandra Ghosh (later Swami Shyamananda). He also mentions that he used to receive letters from Swamiji regularly and in one such letter dated 8-8-1896 written from Switzerland Swamiji wrote, 'The Karma Yoga, you ought to translate from the American Edition and not the English.' Some other books on Swamiji translated by Bhagubhai like Raja Yoga (I Edn: 1899, pp. 112 ), Patanjala Yoga Darshan (I Edn: 1903, pp. 240) both published by Mahadev Ramachandra Jagushte, Ahmedabad and Swami Shishya Samvada (II Edn: 1914, pp. 60, Meghji Hirji & Co., Mumbai) are preserved in the archives of B.J Vidyabhavan Granthalaya (formerly Gujarat Vernacular Society), Ahmedabad, in addition to the books mentioned earlier.

Anandashanker Dhruva (1859-1942) was an eminent litterateur and educationist, the founder of the famous Gujarati journal Vasanta (in 1902) and Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University for nearly 20 years. He inspired and helped his friend Motishankar Udayshankar to publish the Gujarati translation of Ramakrishna : His life and Sayings by Max Muller with the title Sri Ramakrishna: Jivan Tatha Vachanamrita. (I Edn: 1901, pp. 164, Union Printing Press, Ahmedabad)

Kevalram Mavji Dave of Rajkot, a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi, was so much fascinated by Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita (The Gospel in English) that he went all the way to Calcutta in February 1911 to seek M.'s permission to translate the Gospel into Gujarati. Through his letter dated 14 May 1911, which is partly published in the foreword to the Gujarati translation, M. gave him the permission but with certain conditions. One of the conditions was that whatever profit that accrued from the sale of the book, it should be sent to Belur Math for Sri Thakur Seva at Advaita Ashrama, Varanasi. The Gujarati translation, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsana Sadvachana, was finally published by Kevalram Dave in 1913 at Damodardas Printing House, Rajkot.

Several other translations of selections from Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita were published soon after, the most notable among them being Paramahamsa Ramakrishna Sudhasindhu- I, translated by Narmadashankar Balashankar (I Edn: 1913, pp. 88, Granthamuktavali Office, Surat) and Sri Ramakrishna Vaksudha-I, translated by Dwivedi Jayshankar Ambalal (I Edn: Sept. 1914, pp. 116, Sahitya Prakash Karyalaya, Nadiad)

The first three volumes of Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita in Bengali were translated into Gujarati and published in two parts by Sastu Sahitya Vardhak Karyalaya in 1918 and 1919 respectively. More than 4000 copies of this highly subsidized publication were sold out within a year. Hence a combined edition was published in 1924. The Gujarati translation was done by Narmadashankar B. Pandya who became a sannyasin in later life assuming the name Swami Sevananda. Subsequently, the translation of the fourth volume of Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita was published in two parts under the title Sri Ramakrishna Vartalapa in the year 1947.

Again during the years 1949-51, Sri Ramakrishna Seva Samiti, Ahmedabad, founded in 1918 by Dahyabhai Ramachandra Mehta and his friend Nanabhai Desai, published fresh Gujarati translations of the first three volumes of Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita made by Swami Chaitanyananda of Nasik. Swami Chaitanyananda subsequently translated the remaining two volumes. Finally, in 1965 Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Rajkot published a standard edition of Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita in two volumes using Swami Chaitanyananda's translations. The text, which was the Gujarati translation of all the five volumes of the original Bengali version, was also rearranged chronologically.

The Life of Sri Ramakrishna

Dahyabhai Ramachandra Mehta (1870-1952), the founder of Gujarati monthly Bharat Jivan from Bombay in 1902, wrote the first exhaustive biography of Sri Ramakrishna in Gujarati titled Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in 1918. Three thousand copies of this demy sized book of more than 750 pages were distributed free of cost by the author in just a few months. He also asked several prominent literary figures like Chaganlal Pandya to review this book as a result of which Sri Ramakrishna's life and message became well known in Gujarat's literary circles.

An author of several books on religion, Dahyabhai wrote or translated at least fifteen books connected with Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Movement like Swami Vivekananda-Jivan Charitra, Raja Yoga (in 2 parts), Sri Ramakrishna Vachanamrita, and biographies of householder disciples of Sri Ramakrishna like Nag Mahashaya and Ramachandra Dutta. An initiated devotee of the Ramakrishna Math, his obituary, which appeared in the March 1953 (Phalgun 1360) issue of the Udbodhan, acknowledged his invaluable contribution towards the propagation of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology among the Gujarati reading public.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.- Swami Vivekananda

A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.- Swami Vivekananda

Arise ! Awake ! And Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached.- Swami Vivekananda

All power is within you, you can do anything & everything !- Swami Vivekananda

To be good & to do good, that is the whole of religion.- Swami Vivekananda

Purity, Patience & Perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all Love !- Swami Vivekananda

Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny !- Swami Vivekananda

We are what our thoughts have made us, so take care about what you think.- Swami Vivekananda