Swami Sardananda (1865-1927)

     While in ecstasy Sri Ramakrishna's behavior would often be mysterious. One day in such a mood, he sat on the lap of a young man, Sharat Chandra by name, and remarked, 'I was testing how much weight he could bear'. This Sharat Chandra who was later known as `Swami Saradananda' successfully bore the burden of running Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission as its (General) Secretary for nearly three decades.Sharat Chandra Chakravarti (b. 23rd December 1865) was born at Calcutta in a rich and orthodox Brahmin family. He and Shashi, who later became Swami Ramakrishnananda, were not only cousins and family friends but also studied together at the Metropolitan College of Calcutta.

       The first contact of the two cousins with Sri Ramakrishna during October 1883 -- was a turning point in their lives. Friendship with Narendranath (Swami Vivekananda) gave a further fillup to their spiritual and monastic aspirations.

      Sharat,who was an adept in serving the sick, both by temperament and by experience, was one of the few important disciples of Sri Ramakrishna who nursed him during his fatal illness. After his passing away, Sharat too joined the select band of monastics under the leadership of Narendra and became `Swami Saradananda'.

       Like his other monastic brothers, Swami Saradananda also spent a few years as an itinerant monk practising severe austerities. However, when Swami Vivekananda called him for continuing his work in the West, Saradananda went to London first and later to New York for the same. While he was proving to be a great success in the West, especially due to his spiritual attainments, he was recalled to India in 1898 by Swami Vivekananda to take over the executive responsibility of the Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission as its (General) Secretary in which capacity he served till his last day.

       The way he served Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother, was a model par excellence for anyone to emulate, In order to build a residence for her at Calcutta which would also house the office of the Udbodhan, the Bengali Monthly of the Ramakrishna Order, he labored hard. To repay the debts he had incurred in doing so, he wrote the now monumental work Sri Ramakrishna Lilaprasanga (`Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master').

      The Swami was as learned as he was spiritual. His courtesy and gentleness were so overwhelming that even the rudest of men would melt into submission. Equanimity and coolheadedness, even under very trying circumstances, were another remarkable characteristic of his.

      Soon after successfully convening the Ramakrishna Mission Convention at Belur Math in 1926, he took ill and shuffled off the mortal coil on the 19th August 1927.
       Through selfless work the mind gets purified. And when the mind becomes pure, there arise knowledge and devotion in it.

       Whatever work stands in the way of God-realization and increases discontent is bad work. You should wholly discard it.

      The Ramakrishna Mission does not like to express any opinion, good or bad, about political discussions, for the Master did not instruct us to do anything of the kind, and Swamiji asked the Mission to keep itself aloof from such effort. That is why the Mission has been all along engaging itself in spirituality and service to humanity.

      Now-a-days there are so many religious societies, but people lose all interest in them after a few days. What is the reason for this? The reason is our words are not in accord with our thoughts. The first step in religion is to be sincere to the core.

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