He empowered through discourses
T. N. GANAPATHY
Swami Ranganathananda gave diksha through his presence and writings.
Swami Ranganathananda, who attained maha-samadhi on April 25, was one of the greatest spiritual luminaries. He initiated and empowered many people by his special kind of diksha by his writing about the eternal values of a changing society through his message of the Upanishads and his universal message of the Bhagavad Gita. Swami Ranganathananda's diksha is based on empowerment through spiritual discourses. He preserved the unbroken tradition, the guru-parampara, of the Ramakrishna Order, especially his great predecessor Swami Vivekananda, by giving diksha to people the world over by his presence and by his books and lectures. Thayumanavar compares the guru to a ripe plantain fruit in the midst of a cluster of unripe ones. The very contiguity of the ripe fruit changes the unripe ones into ripe fruits. Swami Ranganathananda was such a spiritual teacher.
Following the dictum of his great master Swami Vivekananda, he believed in having a strong mind in a strong body.
His favourite things
Swami Ranganathananda was interested in water sports and was a great swimmer. Wrestling and volleyball were his favourite games. People had witnessed him doing exercise on the parallel bars in the Belur Math compound. He loved to listen to music and was also gifted with a keen sense of humour.
To him, tyaga or self-denial was the basis of social force and social ethics. As a school student, he broke the rules of untouchability and caste superiority. He found joy in service and his sanyasa garb was a matter of inner transformation for him, which made him a citizen of the world, nay the universe. Since he was free from within, he maintained an innocent cheerfulness throughout his life and simplicity was the hallmark of his greatness.
Swami Ranganathananda's weekly classes and public lectures were `Vedanta Thought Bombs' (to use his own words) which strengthened the basic values of life. Detachment from society and formal asceticism are not the ways of the Ramakrishna Order. and Swami Ranganathananda's spirituality was in tune with it. He always helped the distressed by his own enlightenment. He conducted moral and religious classes for the prisoners in the Bangalore and Mysore jails.
In Delhi, Swami Ranganathananda organised social services at hospitals and worked for the relief of leprosy patients. He was a teacher par excellence, an ocean of motiveless compassion; and was ever interested in the good of all beings. His books are the beacon lights to humanity. In all his lectures, Swami Ranganathananda had stressed on the philosophy of eternal religion, a practical Vedanta, which teaches universal acceptance not mere tolerance.
In the words of Swami Ranganathananda, "Acceptance is based on understanding, sympathy and reverence and leading to harmony and active fellowship."
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