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Dakshineshwar Kali temple

Dakshineshwar Kali temple:

Dakshineshwar Kali Meditation:

I meditate on the Divine Mother Kali Who instructed Rani Rashmani to build Her temple.

(Ref: Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master - Part 2 Ch 4)

Dakshineshwar Kali temple:

Dakshineshwar Kali Events:

Ref: Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master - Part 2 Ch 4: Introduction: Dakshineshwar Kali temple was founded by Rani Rashmani of Kolkata. The life of Sri Ramakrishna is intimately connected to this temple. It was here that Sri Ramakrishna performed a series of sadhanas and had the vision of God through various paths. It was here that Sri Ramakrishna declared: "As many faiths, So many paths". Hence the history of this temple is of great importance to the spiritual aspirants. And the Will of the Divine Mother is evident from the many events which took place related to this temple.

About Rani Rashmani: Rani Rashmani was a famous, wealthy and respectable lady who lived in Janbazar in the south of Kolkata. Her house is still there. She was a great devotee of Mother Kali. The Rani inherited the huge property of her husband Rajchandra Das. Even though she was born in the Kaivarta family (considered as low birth), her wealth and sympathy for the poor earned her the title "Rani" (meaning the queen). Due to her devotion to Mother Kali, she engraved in the official seal of her estate: "Sri Rashmani Dasi, longing for the Feet of Kali.".

About Mathuranath Biswas: Mathuranath Biswas, the son-in-law of Rani Rashmani, played an important role in the life of Sri Ramakrishna. He was the right-hand of Rani and virtually the owner of the temple property. When Sri Ramakrishna was absorbed in the different sadhanas in the Dakshineshwar temple, Mathur Babu provided him with all the required provisions.

Divine Mother gives divine instruction to Rani Rashmani to build Her temple: The Dakshineshwar Kali temple came into existence by the Will of Divine Mother for manifesting a greater divine plan. Divine Mother Herself instructed Rani Rashmani to build this temple. Once when out of a strong desire to visit Kashi, the Rani made all the arrangements, she got a dream instruction from Mother Kali the night before the departure. Mother Kali instructed: "There is no need to go to Kashi. Install my stone image on a beautiful spot on the bank of river Bhagirathi and arrange for my daily worship and food offering. I shall manifest myself in the image and accept your worship daily."

Rani Rashmani starts searching for the temple land: Getting the divine instruction the Rani was overjoyed. She started searching for a suitable piece of land on the bank of river Ganga. Initially she searched on the western bank of the river, considering the western bank to be comparable to Varanasi. However due to the objections of the landlords she was unable to get a land there. Thereafter the Rani started searching on the eastern bank of river Ganga. By the Will of the Mother she got a land with some good characteristics. There was a graveyard associated with a holy man and the land had the shape of the back of a tortoise. Such a land is commended in the Tantras for Shakti sadhana.

Rani Rashmani starts constructing the temple: After purchasing a spacious land on the bank of river Ganga, the Rani started constructing a temple by spending a huge sum of money. The construction of the temple was going on for seven or eight years when the Mother gave further guidance for installation of the idol.

Rani Rashmani starts practising austerities during the making of the Image: The Rani started practising austerities from the day the making of the Image of Mother Kali started. She took bath three times a day, took simple food, laid on the floor and practised Japa and worship.

Divine Mother guides the installation ceremony of the temple: When the Image-making was over it was kept packed in a box. But the Image started perspiring and the Rani got a command in the dream that: "How long will you keep me confined in this way? I feel suffocated. Install me as soon as possible." The Rani hurriedly consulted the almanac for the nearest auspicious day and decided on the Snanayatra day on 31st May, 1855 AD for installing the deity.

Divine Mother connects Rani Rashmani to Sri Ramakrishna: The Rani had a desire to offer cooked food to the goddess but her low birth and custom of the society stood against her wish. The Rani sought Sastric opinions from several Pandits but could not find a way out. Finally Ramkumar, the elder brother of Sri Ramakrishna showed her the light. He prescribed that: "If the Rani makes a gift of the property to a brahmin and he installs the goddess in the temple and make arrangements about offering of cooked food, the principles of the scriptures will be accurately observed: and the brahmins and other high castes will not incur blemish if they take prasada in the temple."

Rani decides to consecrate the temple in the name of her family guru: The Rani decides to consecrate the temple property in the name of her family guru and with his permission take the position of an officer to superintend the property and service of the temple. However even this decision did not find favour with the brahmins to accept the prasada in the temple.

Rani starts searching for a suitable priest: The Rani did not appoint the family of her spiritual teacher for the service of the temple. The intelligent Rani considered them unfit to perform the divine services due to their ignorance of the scriptures. Therefore the Rani started searching for a suitable priest to officiate the worship of the temple. However due to the prevailing custom of the society no brahmin came forward to officiate the temple worship.

Maheshchandra Chattopadhyaya comes forward to procure brahmins: A brahmin named Maheshchandra Chattopadhyaya of Sihar village near Kamarpukur who served in the estate of the Rani came forward to procure brahmins for different posts in the temple like priests, cooks etc. Maheshchandra appointed his elder brother Kshetranath as the priest of the Radha-Govinda temple. However it still remained difficult to get a priest of the Kali temple.

Divine Mother makes Ramkumar Her priest: Mahesh knew about Ramkumar and advised the Rani to approach Ramkumar and request him to officiate as a priest atleast on the day of the installation of the Image. The Rani had a good opinion about Ramkumar. She requested with great humility: "I am now ready to install the Mother of the universe on the strength of your prescription and have also arranged everything in order to perform that ceremony at an auspicious moment on the day of the coming Snanayatra. We have got a priest for Radha-Govinda. But no suitable brahmin is coming forward to officiate as the priest of Mother Kali and help me in the act of Her installation. Therefore, please make an arrangement that may seem possible to you and deliver me from this predicament. As you are a good scholar well-versed in the scriptures, it is needless for me to tell you that anyone and everyone cannot be appointed to officiate as the priest." Mahesh personally conveyed this letter to Ramkumar and persuaded him to take up the position. Finally Ramkumar agreed to officiate as a priest until a suitable one was available. Later on upon the humble request of Rani and Mathur Babu, Ramkumar took up that position permanently. In this way the Divine Mother made way to bring Sri Ramakrishna nearer to Her temple.

Divine Mother brings Sri Ramakrishna to Dakshineshwar: When Ramkumar performed the installation ceremony of the Dakshineshwar Kali temple on Thu, May 31, 1855 on the day of the Snanayatra, Sri Ramakrishna came to the temple probably for the first time and took part in the festivities. However he had reservations against accepting the prasada of the temple. Sri Ramakrishna then returned to Jhamapukur. On the next day he again came there to see his brother but again retuned to Jhamapukur inspite of Ramkumar asking him to stay there. After about a week when Ramkumar did not return to Jhamapukur Sri Ramakrishna once again came there to see his brother. Realizing that his brother had accepted the temple service permanently, Sri Ramakrishna expressed his disapproval saying that their father did not officiate the sacrifices of the sudras. Ramkumar tried to support his actions through various scriptural arguments but could not convince him. Finally Ramkumar took the recourse of Dharmapatra (leaf of impartiality) which represented the divine opinion. The Dharmapatra read: "Ramkumar did not incur any blame in accepting the office of the priest. It will be beneficial to all".

Sri Ramakrishna starts staying at Dakshineshwar: The opinion of the Dharmapatra made Sri Ramakrishna free from the anxiety of his brother's decision. However he still had reservations about partaking the prasada of the temple. Ramkumar suggested to take the provisions from the temple and cook his own food on the bank of river Ganga, the Ganga which purifies all. Sri Ramakrishna had great devotion to Ganga. He accepted this suggestion and started staying at Dakshineshwar cooking his own food for sometime.

Divine Mother starts attracting Sri Ramakrishna: The environment of Dakshineshwar started attracting Sri Ramakrishna gradually. The beautiful river Ganga for which he had great devotion, the Panchavati garden filled with the songs of birds, the temple service performed with devotion, the devotional attitude of Rani Rashmani and Mathur Babu; all these started attracting him greatly. Thus the Divine Mother made Sri Ramakrishna settle at Dakshineshwar.

Ref: Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master - Part 2 Ch 5: Divine Mother brings Hriday to Dakshineshwar: When Sri Ramakrishna started staying at Dakshineshwar after consecration of the temple, Hriday the cousin of Sri Ramakrishna came there. Divine Will is conspicuous behind this incident because Hriday would become the right-hand of Sri Ramakrishna during his years of sadhana. During that time Hriday was sixteen and Sri Ramakrishna was twenty. Hriday was a strong, fearless and resourceful person, bereft of contemplative mood. He was a suitable character to closely take care of Sri Ramakrishna during his period of sadhana. And this Hriday did like a shadow. Hriday himself said: "Many a time I felt an indescribable attraction towards the Master since then and always remained with him like a shadow. Even a minute's separation from him was painful to me. I bathed with him, walked with him, sat with him and lay down with him."

Divine Mother engages Sri Ramakrishna in Her service: After the arrival of Hriday, the Divine Mother engaged Sri Ramakrishna in Her service and set the stage for his sadhanas. Sri Ramakrishna did not want to take up any job because the aim of his life was deeply etched in his mind which was: "would not serve anyone but God". However after staying at Dakshineshwar for two or three months, Sri Ramakrishna agreed to perform the service of the Divine Mother on the request of Mathur Babu. The service involved dressing up the Image in the temple. The service was not a normal job but a sadhana for Sri Ramakrishna. He accepted the service with the condition that someone else need to take care of the jewelry of the Goddess. Mathur Babu was attracted towards Sri Ramakrishna at the very first sight and wanted him to dress up the Image of the Goddess. He had earlier conveyed his intention to Ramkumar. However Ramkumar dissuaded him telling that the mental condition of Sri Ramakrishna was not suitable to take up any service. Mathur Babu however was not dissuaded but waited for an appropriate moment. So when Sri Ramakrishna put the condition that someone else need to take care of the jewelry of the Goddess, Mathur Babu readily agreed to it and asked Hriday and Ramkumar to assist him. Another incident of Sri Ramakrishna that impressed Mathur Babu was an Image of Shiva made by him. The Image was so expressive of divine qualities that both Mathur Babu and Rani Rashmani highly appreciated his skills. Hence to them Sri Ramakrishna was a highly suitable person to take up the service of the Divine Mother. Thus the Divine Mother engaged Sri Ramakrishna in Her service. This engagement turned out to be a divine sadhana to show the spiritual light to mankind.

Divine Mother engages Sri Ramakrishna in the service of Radha-Govinda: Dakshineshwar temple is an unique temple in the sense that on the bank of river Ganga is housed the shrines of Devi, Shiva and Krishna in the same temple complex. Earlier, Maheshchandra Chattopadhyaya who was procuring brahmins for the Dakshineshwar temple had appointed his own elder brother Kshetranath Chattopadhyaya as the priest of the Radha-Govinda temple. However this arrangement turned out to be temporary as the Divine Mother had a different plan. The plan was to engage Sri Ramakrishna in the service of Radha-Govinda also. Thus towards the end of 1855 AD on the day of Nanda festival (the day after Krishna Janmashtami) the priest Kshetranath while carrying the Image of Govinda to another room, fell down and broke the foot of the Image. There was a great commotion. Kshetranath was dismissed from the service for negligence. Suggestions were floating to replace the broken Image of Govinda. But Sri Ramakrishna in ecstasy suggested that the broken Image need not be replaced. He then himself set the foot of the Image so well that even today the broken part cannot be detected. Later when Jayanarayan Bandyopadhyaya, a landlord asked Sri Ramakrishna: 'Sir, is Govinda of that temple broken?', Sri Ramakrishna replied: 'Ah, what a fine understanding! Can One, who is an indivisible whole, be broken?' Thus Sri Ramakrishna was engaged in the service of Radha-Govinda by the Will of the Divine Mother. In subsequent years the worship service of Mother Kali and Radha-Govinda continued to be shared among Sri Ramakrishna, Ramkumar and Hriday.

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Last updated on Oct-2019

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