श्री राम वन्दना

श्री रामचन्द्र दया निधान,
दयालु हे! जगदीश्वरम्।
तम तोम तारक सुर सुधारक,
सौम्य हे! सर्वेश्वरम्।
मन मणि खचित रवि निकर
सम, छविधाम आप जगत्पते।
सौन्दर्य की उस राशि के
आधार हों सीतापते!
लखि रूप मोहित देव सब
ब्रम्हा, उमा-महेश्वरम्।
श्री रामचन्द्र दया निधान,
दयालु हे! जगदीश्वरम्।
शत् काम लज्जित राम तव
आनन निहारि निहारि के।
सँग नारि सीता रूप छवि,
नव कलित रूप निवारि के।
अस सुयश गावहिं जगत के
सब मनुज हे! अखिलेश्वरम्।
श्री रामचन्द्र दया निधान,
दयालु हे! जगदीश्वरम्

राजेश तिवारी “विरल”

Rush Hours

There’s no cadence in morning rush hours
The frustration from the brevity of time
As anger burst like atomic bombs
and words splattered
like spilt tea on a white sheet;
Even self consciousness
becomes unconcious
as it swallowed benevolence
as it unchewed conversations
and devoured the serene day.
This wild madness
In morning rush hours
Ceased to numbness
as we rush in through the day-
May be the ritual of our madness
Pays salary to the oblivion
and owes debt to morning rush hours.
This wild madness
In morning rush hours

Rangkitbok C Dikrud

Showers from the lord

Our Heavenly lord, the Creator.
Touching everyone with the down pouring.
The welcoming of Dawn with the drizzling coupled with fog and thunderstorm.
The slight sprinkles on the face having imagined.
laying on bed, waking up from this dream
the showers from the lord in reality, fills one with Divine grace.
Announcement of morning with the light rain.
Starting out with daylight occupied with showers,
escaping the walls of the room.
The warmth of the sun is not what the heart desires
but dampening the fires of anger, jealousy and frustrations in this joyous showers.
Rain filled wind blends with the soul.
Making one complete and whole.
With the coming of noon, rain comes with force.
But the sense of peace and happiness remains intact, in spite of the heavy violent pour.
The evening comes with a steady shower
and the mumbles of denizens offering prayers.
Rain drops at night lulls watchers to sleep
where the soul is bonded with a feeling of a new tomorrow
and more positivity as well as goodness to borrow.
Erasing the misery and sorrows are the Showers from the lord.



For good or for evil, the religious ideal has been flowing into India for thousands of years; for good or for evil, the Indian atmosphere has been filled with ideals of religion for shining scores of centuries; for good or for evil, we have been born and brought up in the very midst of these ideas of religion, till it has entered into our very blood and tingled with every drop in our veins, and has become one with our constitution, become the very vitality of our lives.

-Swami Vivekananda


The epic Mahabharata as a legend is considered the foundation of Indian history and philosophy. With 2,111 chapters, 100,000 verses, 18 books (or “parvas”), 107 sub-parvas, and the appendix Harivamsha, is the longest epic in existence. The magnitude of this work is eight times larger than the size of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey combined. Not only is it a captivating story, but it also holds a wealth of profound knowledge and understanding about Indian culture and values. It has enthralled generations and remains an inspiration to people today.

The great sage Veda Vyasa, also known as Krishna Dvaipayana, is credited with writing this epic according to folklore. The Mahabharata introduces us to a wide variety of human characters, ranging from the sublime to the absurd. No human emotion, act of bravery, charity, selflessness, or malice is overlooked in this epic. Śri Krishna is undoubtedly the most brilliant and picturesque personality projected by the epic. He appears on the scene suddenly at the time of Draupadi’s svayamvara and continues to appear throughout the story. All his energies are channeled in one direction: protection of the right and the good, and punishment or destruction of the wicked. His remarkable prowess, matched only by the bewitching beauty of his perfect form, sage counsels, superb stratagems, and immensely superior statesmanship, captivate our hearts. The epic portrays him as God Himself come down to save mankind, as he himself admits in the Bhagavad Gita, which is a part of this great Epic.

In this edition of Ka Jingshai- the Light, we are delighted to present the Khasi rendition ‘Ka Mahabharata. Translated by Sri H L Pde and prof Streamlet Dkhar in 1974. This timeless classic had been lost to the annals of history.

In the English section of this edition, we bring you a rich variety of articles. You can read about the Vivekananda Cultural Centre from the memoirs of Smt. Champa Sen Choudhury, reminiscences of the late Dr. Bidhu Bhushan Dutta, and an exclusive interview with Prof. Ruth Harris from Oxford University. These articles offer unique perspectives on Indian culture and provide readers with valuable insights into the cultural legacy.

In the unexplored pages of history, tribute is paid to the freedom fighters of Northeast India – ‘Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma’ of Meghalaya and ‘Pioli Phukan’, a freedom fighter of Assam, who sacrificed their lives. This issue also raises serious contemporary issues such as the increasing migration from villages. The literary section features the poem ‘Jheeni-Jheeni Beeni Chadariya…’, while short stories ‘Catherine’ and ‘Moch’ are devoted to social concerns. The arrival of the season of spring ‘Basant’ and strength ‘Shakti’ are celebrated in Poesy.

We express our gratitude to the authors for entrusting us with their extraordinary works, allowing us to share them with our esteemed readers. With this edition of Ka Jingshai, we present a wonderful opportunity for our readers to explore the multifaceted and vivacious culture of India. We sincerely hope that this edition brings you immense pleasure and that the articles within it touch your hearts and inspire you to develop a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of India.

Keep sending us your suggestions.

‘Escape to the Blue Sea’

‘Escape to the Blue Sea’ is a 30×40 cms large original expressionist seascape painting of a blue sea with a boat in the middle of it. The colours are blues, lilacs and pinks and the scene shows a small boat sailing amidst the blue sea, as a wave breaks on the beach from the calm sea. My aim in painting this was to limit my usually very bright colour palette to just a few colours as I wanted the scene to be relaxing and contemplative. The sky above is extremely dramatic symbolizing as though the calm may end soon. I think the sea speaks to all of us and I often paint seascapes in order to have bit of a reminder of that holiday feeling you get when looking out over an ocean. It is painted on deep edge canvas, white edges, ready to hang, no frame needed.

Akangsha Chakraborty
An artist based in Delhi and I paint large original landscape and seascape paintings in oil on canvas. In her words…
“My painting style is a fusion of Expressionist, Semi-abstract, a little Art Nouveau and whatever mood I am in that day. I am inspired by the patterns of nature and the energy, colours and spaces of the landscapes and animals around me. I like to think that paintings have ‘little souls’ woven into them by artist’s and that these are what call to a viewer (or not as the case may be) and give a painting presence and desirability. My aim is to make art that offers a glimpse of spaces and possibilities where people can escape the manic pace of life and imagine themselves somewhere better – even if just for a little while.”

Back to Autumn 2020

Certainly Uncertain

Ka lynti ka kylluid
Ka mon ka laitluid
La me kwah ban long briew
Ne me kwah ban long ksuid

The path is wide, the will is free, whether you wish to be a human, or you wish to be a demon.

Mawphlang, 27 May 2020
They were playing outside their hut, and little Daphi was dangling from her father’s arm. It had been pouring for days. The picturesque village of Madan Bitaw was gloomy beyond words, but still, the joy of a father and a daughter filled the atmosphere with an air of lightness. It rained incessantly, and the rumbling of clouds muffled some unmistakable omens. Suddenly they heard a massive thud and turned back to discover that a part of their house, was lying in the gorge below.
Beirut, 4 August 2020
Merged in himself, Zuhair was gliding his fingers through the piano. Initially, he did not notice that the clock was unusually jittery, and the small statue of Buddha on his table came to life with a sudden shudder. As the eerie movements continued for a few more seconds, he fell back on his musical mood and tried hard to ignore them. But soon, he failed not to see the curtains blowing up, and the room strewn with glasses with a bang and a dazzling light, only to be cursed to darkness right after.
If we struggle to go beyond the confines of certainty, we reach an elusive expectation of regularity. The rhythm of life that we have got used to over the years of going through the ruts, with our repetitive thoughts, actions, and even dreams, gets a jolt when something unusual happens. It happens in imperceptible forms in our daily lives, but seldom does it take the shape of the present crisis humanity has been going through. The pandemic has made us stand in front of the precipice of uncertainty. With everything slipping from our hands, we are clenching our fists against anything floating by. Is it in anger or desperation? We do not know.
Heisenberg tells us that the basis of the universe is uncertainty at the micro-level. But still, even at the cosmological scale, Nature displays perfect regularity. As if it is testifying to an oxymoron! Being the conscious centres of it, we have an immense opportunity to explore the mysteries and to find ways through the mire of incongruence – an incongruence that bewilders us.
Standing in front of the yawning chasm of death we wonder what this inchoate life means. We turn our eyes inwards, and as we go towards the centre of the revolving wheel, we start discovering a peace that permeates all our actions. We open our eyes, wondering how we missed the underlying symphony in a world full of apparent discord and in this flux of events, we learn to hold on to the stream that flows steadily through us.
Tip briew, tip blei. To understand man is to understand the Great Divinity beyond. The One who is beyond the world of sorrow and uncertainty.

Back to Autumn 2020

The Leech: A Khasi folktale

Once there lived a young cowherd, in the rolling lush green hills of the Khasis. As in olden days, and even in today’s village life, every member of a family are allotted certain duties to perform on a daily basis2.

U Bahep (a nickname given to the cowherd by his family and known to everyone in the village) was a very lazy young man. Every day by sunrise, there would be hustle and bustle in the village, as most of the people would be up and about doing their daily chores.

All, except for Bahep; who even after being roused several times by the shrill voices of his mother and sisters; though awake, would still laze in bed. He was always the last person to get out of bed, and also the last one to start his daily chores and this was known to everyone in the village.
It would almost be noon, by the time he took his cattle out to graze in the open pastures. Upon reaching, he would let his cattle loose and climb onto a nearby tree branch to have a bird’s eye view of his cattle grazing.

On more than one occasion, he would have to climb down the tree, to look for a cow that had strayed, and he knew he would be held accountable for any missing cow, which bothered him, as he intended to relax and nap on a tree branch without any disturbance.

He pondered over the same, and came up with a solution that if one did not see a thing happen, then one cannot be held responsible for such incidents. Therefore, to maintain a clear conscience, he devised a way to remove his eyeballs from his eye sockets, which he then wrapped in a leaf, and tied with a length of vine and hung them on a nearby branch. This became a daily habit of his, and at dusk, satisfied with his nap would reach for his eyeballs and put them back in his eye sockets. He would then round up his cattle, and drive them back to their shed. One many occasions, when one or more of the cattle would be missing, and he would be scolded by his father, Bahep would delegate the task of looking for the lost cow(s) to his younger brothers and cousins by bullying and threatening them.

One afternoon, ‘U Khlieng’ a kite, perched upon the tree Bahep was napping on, looking for insects to feed on, and spotted the eyeballs in the leaf hanging by the vines on one of the branches. Thinking it was some sort insect; the kite picked them up and flew away. When the dusk set in, U Bahep started to grope in the dark for the vines in which he had strung his eyeballs in, but alas!! it was all in vain. Bahep, frantic, fell off the tree on the ground below, and desperately kept on groping around in the hope of finding his missing eyeballs.

Days, nights, weeks and months passed, and his search continued amongst the pastures and the trees he used to frequent. In this search he strayed and was lost in the middle of nowhere. As time passed, he shrunk in size little by little, as he had little or no food to sustain him, and this took a heavy toll on his entire being, which to adapt, evolved and metamorphosised into a leech without eyes and only a mouth, which he used, to attach himself to the cows to feed on their blood when they grazed in the pastures.
Moral of the story: Don’t be lazy! The cowherd was a strong, healthy and able bodied young man, but due to his laziness he shunned all his responsibilities and was completely careless. His irresponsible and irrational behavior reduced his whole being from a full-fledged human who once herded cows out to graze on the green pastures, to being a leech, which clings to the grasses and latches onto the same cows to feed himself. According to Khasi Folklore this is how a leech, one of Nature’s Creations, came into being.

Back to Autumn 2020

Does Humanity Have a Future?:The Need for a Philosophy of Universal Acceptance

Jeffery D. Long
With each passing day, it seems that our world becomes a more dangerous and frightening place. There is of course the coronavirus, as well as the wider environmental crisis that has given rise to it. And then there are conflicts between human beings of different religions, nationalities, and ethnic groups. One may be tempted to ask if humanity has a future, given all of these many, very serious problems that we all face. One might even go further and ask if humanity deserves to have a future, given that we have ourselves created the problems that we are experiencing. For young people, especially, who did not create these problems, but are inheriting problems that are the result of poor decision making by older generations, the issue of survival is particularly urgent.

Yet, in the midst of all of these problems, we see cause for hope. The coronavirus is a very serious issue, but, like all the diseases that have ravaged humanity in the past, it will one day be cured or managed. While our environmental issues are also quite grave, there are also innovative technologies being developed and new ways of organizing ourselves economically that are being imagined which have the potential to show the way out of this dire situation. And in the midst of even the worst conflicts across communities, one finds pockets of sanity, in which members of one community will rescue members of the other community from the violence that threatens them. In my own country, the United States, where there are, as I am writing this, massive protests against racism and violence carried out by the police, there are also police who support these protests, so long as they are peaceful, and who themselves wish to see a society free from racial prejudice.
There is reason for hope because, if human beings have created the problems that we now face, it is also human beings who will develop the means for solving them. We are a species with great potential both for creation and for destruction. We have been tremendously destructive, but have also been tremendously creative as well. It is our positive creativity, which, in the Vedanta tradition is seen to be a manifestation of our inner divinity, that has the ability to save the day.
Focusing specifically on conflict across belief systems and ethnic and national groups, two of the greatest visionaries of history, who had the capacity to perceive how we might all learn to co-exist, were Swami Vivekananda, and his teacher, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Swami Vivekananda, or Swamiji, who was the first Indian spiritual teacher to travel to the Western world in the modern era to share the wisdom of Vedanta with Americans and Europeans, taught a vision of what he called “universal acceptance.” In his famous welcome address, given at the World Parliament of Religions, which was held in Chicago in 1893, he proclaimed his pride in belonging “to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.”1
Two important things need to be noted about Swami Vivekananda’s teaching of universal acceptance. First, there is the distinction between acceptance and tolerance. Secondly, there is the question of what it means to accept all religions as true.
I have asked my students on many occasions, “If your friend, or a beloved family member, said to you today, ‘I tolerate you, ’ how would you feel?” Tolerance is, of course, much better than intolerance. If someone is intolerant, it means that they cannot even stand our existence. They are so hostile to us–perhaps because of our beliefs, or our appearance, or our language, or our ethnic origin–that they truly wish that we did not exist. They cannot tolerate the fact that there are people who are different from themselves.
But tolerance is not the highest ideal to which we can aspire. If we are tolerated, it is as if we are merely being allowed to exist. It does not mean that our existence is a cause for rejoicing. It is more like the person who tolerates us would rather we were not there, but they are not going to act on that feeling. Swamiji understood this very well. He said, in another one of his lectures, “Why should I tolerate? Toleration means that I think that you are wrong and I am just allowing you to live. Is it not a blasphemy to think that you and I are allowing others to live?”2 Who am I, and who are you, to say that one person or another deserves to live, or does not deserve to live?
Tolerance, again, is better than intolerance. It is certainly much better to ‘allow’ people to live than not to allow them to live: to murder them. But even this sense of ‘allowing’ another to live falls far short of the highest ideal which we are capable of achieving. Can we not do something more than not murdering others? What is this ideal? This is the ideal which Swami Vivekananda calls acceptance, saying, “I believe in acceptance.”3
What does acceptance mean? Swamiji elaborates upon it as follows:
I accept all religions that were in the past, and worship with them all; I worship God with every one of them, in whatever form they worship Him. I shall go to the mosque…I shall enter the Christian’s church and kneel before the crucifix; I shall enter the Buddhistic temple, where I shall take refuge in Buddha and in his Law. I shall go into the forest and sit down in meditation with the Hindu, who is trying to see the Light which enlightens the heart of every one. Not only shall I do all these, but I shall keep my heart open for all that may come in the future.”4
Acceptance, particularly in regard to different religions, involves seeing different paths not as rival ways of being with which one is in competition, but as many paths to the same ultimate goal. This is rooted in the teaching of Swami Vivekananda’s guru, Sri Ramakrishna, who himself practiced a wide array of spiritual disciplines, drawing from many diverse traditions, and found that each of the paths that he followed led to the experience of samādhī, or absorption in the divine:
I have practiced…all religions–Hinduism, Islam, Christianity–and I have also followed the paths of the different Hindu sects. I have found that it is the same God toward whom all are directing their steps, though along different paths…Wherever I look, I see men quarrelling in the name of religion…But they never reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called Śiva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Āllāh as well–the same Rāma with a thousand names.5
How is it possible, though, to accept many paths as true, given the real differences amongst the world’s religions? Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains, for example, believe in rebirth, while in the Christian and Islamic traditions, this idea is denied. How can both understandings be true?
Universal acceptance does not mean that one necessarily must believe everything taught in every religion. This is clearly not possible, given the contradictions among religious worldviews. It does mean, though, that one is open to the particular perspective on truth which a given religion expresses. Each religion captures a different aspect of reality, much like the different parts of the elephant grasped by the various blind men in the famous Indian metaphor of the blind men and the elephant. The important thing, according to Sri Ramakrishna, is that the practice of any religion can be effective in helping one advance toward God realization. This does not mean the religion has to be true in every single respect, but that its core values and its basic orientation toward infinite Reality enable the practitioner to be transformed: to overcome ego and to realize the true, divine Self within.
Does humanity have a future? This will depend on our choices, in the present moment and in the years to come. We need to reduce our greed and attachment to material comfort and work for an ecological state in which all beings, and not only human beings, can thrive and flourish. We need to change many of our habits, and move from a state of ego-centeredness, or even national-centeredness (which can be a mere extension of the ego), to a state of cosmic consciousness. And we need to see one another’s religions and perspectives as alternate paths, alternate views of reality from which we can learn, and ways to realization in their own right, and not as rivals.
If the philosophy of universal acceptance taught by Swami Vivekananda–and lived out to its fullest extent by Sri Ramakrishna, with his practice of many paths–were to be widely adopted worldwide, then there would be good reason to hope for the future of humanity and a peaceful world.
Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works, Volume One (Mayavati: Advaita Ashrama, 1979).
Swami Nikhilananda, trans. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (New York: Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center, 1942).

Jeffery D. Long is a religious studies scholar who works on the religions and philosophies of India, particularly Hinduism and Jainism. He is a professor of religion and Asian studies at Elizabethtown College.
Dr. Long is associated with the Vedanta Society, DĀNAM (the Dharma Academy of North America). A major theme of his work is religious pluralism. Dr. Long has authored several books.

Back to Spring 2021

The Golden Casket

Melban Lyngdoh
The Golden Casket
Bloom of a new light,
Gold - as precious as diamond.
Box full of new mystery.
Open it and you will be swallowed,
Ignore it and you will be chased.
Wonders that were never seen
Time and day will fail to cease.
Dark as the starry sky you see,
Feelings that were never heard or felt to spell
You may see it but fail to be felt
You cannot get out until you answer it,
You cannot hear it until you question it.
Once you answer it day will come
You will forget it all, and it will vanish.
You won’t find it,
You won’t see it.
The secret will be revealed for once and forever,
Days will start again from where it stopped.

Back to Autumn 2022