The Belur Math and The Dakshineshwar Temple
The post that I had promised earlier, after those crazy posts in the mean time.
During my recent visit to Kolkata, I had been to the Belur Math - the place where The Ramakrishna Mission was established by Swami Vivekananda when he placed the ashes of his master Sri Ramakrishna, and laid the foundation for a temple for it. The temple has a beautiful and pleasant dark sandstone colour. The interiors when I went in was filled with devotees and the evening bhajans/kirtans were being sung.
As soon as I entered it, I was in some other world. The temple is like any other Ramakrishna Math with an idol made of marble of Sri Ramakrishna seated in Samadhi, and Sarada Devi's photo in the left side inside a little room. The kirtans were so soul stirring that I just sat there in rapture for a while as this melodious song was being sung by a large group of monks; as if the whole of the temple was vibrating in consonance with positive energy, my hairs stood at an end, and then after a while I knew I had to leave.
I found my parents and cousins and family, and others outside. Apart from the main temple there are temples of Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda (here his ashes are preserved) and also Swami Brahmananda. I also bought a few books from the Book Centre.
Before going to main temple as soon as you enter after a few minutes of walk, on the left hand side is a RKM Museum � a big one. At its entrance you see the buggy in the olden days people traveled on these pulled by horses I guess(I am not sure). Inside there are two floors full of artifacts, personal belongings of Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda and the brother monks. Items on display include models of the houses or the places that the Swami and his master visited, books, clothes etc etc. Its a great journey into the lives of those spiritual giants. Its to be seen to be experienced.
Then later on we also went to the Dakshineshwar temple after a short meal in the adjoining local eatery. It had rained heavily and by the time we reached darkness had fallen. The huge courtyard was all wet with rains. This temple was made in the mid 1800 my Rani Rashmoni � the windowed landlady of great riches and equally great devotion. The right hand side as you enter the courtyard has twelve identical Shiva temples . Then first on the left is the RadhaKanta, Radha Krisha temple followe d by the Kali(Bhavatarini) temple. The temples are grand in their own right and late evening prayers (Arati) were going on when we went to the main Kali temple. Opposite the main Kali deity is the Natya Mandir where cultural events used to be held (I am not sure if they are held even today). The temple actually has a outlook of harmony towards all forms of Hindu worship - Vaishnav, Shaiva and Shakti; hence the different temples in the same premises.
Later we asked about and located the room in which Sri Ramakrishna stayed. The bed is preserved and covered with glass. In front of the bed, devotees sat and a group of singers were singing devotional songs/kirtans; here too the atmosphere was serene and I felt great joy and peace of mind. Right opposite down the road is the Nahabat � where the holy mother Sarada Devi used to stay, cook and meditate.
After visiting all of the above we headed homeward, with a sense of accomplishment; a grand experience it was for me having somewhat linked up to our rich spiritual heritage.