Kalpataru Day

It is not good to feel that one’s own religion alone is true and all others are false. God is one only, and not two. Different people call on Him by different names: some as Allah, some as God, and others as Krishna, Siva, and Brahman. It is like the water in a lake. Some drink it at one place and call it ‘jal’, others at another place and call it ‘pani’, and still others at a third place and call it ‘water’. The Hindus call it ‘jal’, the Christians ‘water’, and the Mussalmans ‘pani’. But it is one and the same thing. Opinions are but paths. Each religion is only a path leading to God, as rivers come from different directions and ultimately become one in the one ocean.

—Sri Ramakrishna

Smt. Indira Gandhi, Ramakrishna Math, Delhi, June 4, 1971

“I often talk of progress and modernity. Progress to me means the blossoming and deepening of the human personality of the individual and also of the nation.“

—PM Smt. Indira Gandhi

Smt. Indira Gandhi at Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi

Smt. Indira Gandhi at the Ramakrishna Mission. Swami Ranganathanandaji on the right

Duty of the Rich

The rich should ponder well as to what their duty is today. They who employ mercenaries to guard their wealth may find those very guardians turning on them. The moneyed classes have got to learn how to fight either with arms or with the weapon of non-violence.

For those who wish to follow the latter way, the best and most effective mantra is:[tyen tyakten bhunjithaha] (Enjoy the wealth by renouncing it). Expanded it means: “Earn your cores by all means. But understand that your wealth is not yours; it belongs to the people. Take what you require for your legitimate needs, and use the remainder for society.”

This truth has hitherto not been acted upon; but, if the moneyed classes do not even act on it in these times of stress, they will remain the slaves of their riches and passions and, consequently, of those who overpower them.

—Mahatma Gandhi

Unnameable Objects

In Henry James’ novel The Ambassadors published not long before World War I, and not long before his death, he recounts the story of a middle-aged New Englander, assigned by his middle-aged bride-to-be-a widow-the task of rescuing from the flesh-pots of Paris her only son. She wants him to come home to take over the direction of the family factory. In the event, it is the middle-aged New Englander-The Ambassador-who is seduced, not so much by Paris, as by a new and less utilitarian view of life. He counsels the young man to “live. Live all you can. It is a mistake not to.” Which I translate as meaning “Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.”

Jazz musicians know this. Those old men and women who waved and sang and wept as we marched in Montgomery know this. White Americans, in the main, do not know this. They are still trapped in that factory to which, in Henry James’ novel, the son returns. We never know what this factory produces, for James never tells us. He only conveys to us that the factory, at an unbelievable human expense, produces unnameable objects.

-James Baldwin

Rehearsal by Beauford Delaney

Song: “Dawn of Blessedness”

Late in the afternoon Narendra sang. Rakhal, Latu, (A young disciple of the Master, who later became a monk under the name of Swami Adbhutananda.) M., Hazra, and Priya, Narendra’s Brahmo friend, were present. The singing was accompanied by the drum:

Meditate, O my mind, on the Lord Hari,
The Stainless One, Pure Spirit through and through.
How peerless is the light that in Him shines!
How soul-bewitching is His wondrous form!
How dear is He to all His devotees! . . .

After this song Narendra sang:

Oh, when will dawn for me that day of blessedness
When He who is all Good, all Beauty, and all Truth,
Will light the inmost shrine of my heart?
When shall I sink at last, ever beholding Him,
Into that Ocean of Delight?

-Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

The Bronze Legacy (To a Brown Boy) – Effie Lee Newsome

Jacob Lawrence, Panel no. 3: From every southern town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north, 1940–1941.

‘Tis a noble gift to be brown all brown

Like the strongest things

Up this earth,

Like the mountains grave and grand,

Even like the very land,

Even like the trunks of trees –

Even oaks, to be like these!

God builds his strength in bronze.

To be brown like thrush and lark! Like the subtle rain so dark!

May, the king of beasts were Brown:

Eagles are of the same hue.

I think God then, I am brown. Brown has mighty things to do

Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 57: The female workers were the last to arrive north
Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 29: The labor agent recruited unsuspecting laborers as strike breakers for northern industries

Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 11: Food had doubled in price because of the war

Poem: The Rosenbergs, June 1953 – W.E.B Du Bois

Pablo Picasso, untitled lithograph of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, 1952.

From floods of wrath, avenging God,

Pour down the curse on us the murderers, who crucify the Jews!

Hammer home the nails, thick through our skulls;

Crush down the thorns;

Rain red the bloody sweat,

Thick and heavy, warm and wet.

We are the killers, hurling mud!

We the witch hunters, drinking blood!

To us shrink all the lynched,

the thousands mobbed,

the millions dead in useless war.

But this, this shameless deed we do this day,

the senseless blasphemy of mother and child,

Fills full the cup!

Hail hell and glory to damnation!

Oh bloodstained nation,

Stretch out your hands:

Cover them, judges, with your glory gowns;

Come lawyers in your Sheets of shame,

Proud partners of thugs and thieves

Cautious rabbis, silent priests

Calling all cowards in cap and gown

Calling all cowards, home!

Crawl wedded liars, hide from sight,

In the nasty murk of night

We hold high vigil with the dawn!

Death calls!

Holy mother, son of God!

Tortured a thousand days

To the last pale gasp!

Dying the death magnificent

Scorning to trade with the president

Life for a lie!

Two pale and tight lipped children.