Swami Smaranananda on eternal departure

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Amidst the hustle and bustle of the grand festival of Lok Sabha elections, a news came which brought a pause in the mind for a few moments. The demise of Shrimat Swami Smarananand Ji Maharaj, a brilliant personality of India’s spiritual consciousness, is like a personal loss. A few years ago, the great demise of Swami Atmasthanand ji and now the departure of Swami Smarananand on his eternal journey has left many people bereaved. My heart is also sad like crores of devotees, saints and followers of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

Earlier this month, during my visit to Bengal, I visited the hospital and inquired about the health of Swami Smarananand Ji. Like Swami Atmasthanand Ji, Swami Smarananand Ji dedicated his entire life to the global spread of the ideas of Acharya Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Mata Sharda and Swami Vivekananda. While writing this article, the memories of my meetings and conversations with him are coming alive in my mind.

During my stay at Belur Math in January 2020, I meditated sitting in Swami Vivekananda ji’s room. During that trip, I talked to Swami Smaranand ji for a long time about Swami Atmasthanand ji.

You know what a close relationship I have with Ramakrishna Mission and Belur Math. As a seeker of spirituality, in a span of more than five decades, I have met different saints and mahatmas and been to many places. Even in Ramakrishna Math, among the saints who dedicated their lives to spirituality, I got to know, personalities like Swami Atmasthanand Ji and Swami Smarananand Ji were prominent. His sacred thoughts and his knowledge gave constant satisfaction to my mind. In the most important period of my life, such saints taught me the true principle of public service and service to God.

The lives of Swami Atmasthanand Ji and Swami Smarananand Ji are an indelible example of the principle of Ramakrishna Mission ‘Atmano Mokshartha Jagaddhitay Cha’.

We all are inspired by the work being done by Ramakrishna Mission for the promotion of education and rural development. Ramakrishna Mission is working on India’s spiritual awakening, educational empowerment and resolve for humanitarian service. In 1978, when the disaster of flood struck Bengal, Ramakrishna Mission won the hearts of everyone with its selfless service. I remember, during the 2001 Kutch earthquake, Swami Atmasthananda was one of the first people to call me and say that Ramakrishna Mission was ready to provide all possible help for disaster management. As per his instructions, Ramakrishna Mission helped the people a lot during that earthquake crisis.

In the past years, Swami Atmasthanand Ji and Swami Smarananand Ji laid great emphasis on social empowerment while holding various positions. Those who know the lives of these great personalities will definitely remember how serious saints like you were towards modern learning, skilling and women empowerment.

The specialty of Swami Atmasthanand Ji’s great personality that impressed me the most was his love and respect for every culture and every tradition. The reason for this was that he had spent a long time in different parts of India and he used to travel continuously. He learned to speak Gujarati while living in Gujarat. Even to me, he used to talk in Gujarati only. I also liked his Gujarati very much.

At many points in India’s development journey, our motherland has been blessed by many saintly saints like Swami Atmasthanand Ji, Swami Smaranand Ji who have given us a new consciousness of social change. These saints have given us the initiation to work together for the welfare of the society. These principles are eternal till now and in the coming period, these ideas will become the resolving power of developed India and immortality.

Once again, on behalf of the entire country, I pay my tribute to such saintly souls. I am confident that all the people associated with Ramakrishna Mission will further pave the path shown by him.

om Shanti.

-Narendra Modi

(The author is the Prime Minister of India)

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