History of Dakshineshwar
About Dakshineshwar, Swami Shivananda a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna says the following : “Dakshineshwar is our heaven on earth; it is our Kailasa, our Vaikuntha. Is that an ordinary place? The Panchavati (a groove made up of five trees, replanted by Sri Ramakrishna, at Dakshineshwar) is a great seat of spiritual perfection, where the Master (Sri Ramakrishna) had innumerable spiritual experiences of a very high order. For twelve long years he practised different modes of divine communion at Dakshineshwar. The divine visions and spiritual realizations that he had here are without any parallel…. The Master brought the dust of Vrindaban and spread it on the ground of the Panchavati. Every particle of dust in Dakshineshwar is holy.”
Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna know it to be his Leelasthan (place of His Divine Play). This is where he stayed for most of his life, where he practiced severe austerities, where he found his Mother, as well as the pinnacle of spirituality in every mode of religious worship that he undertook. The temples, the Ganga, the room where he stayed, the Panchavati, the bel tree, the meditation hut where he practiced Advaitic sadhana are all part of this huge temple complex. The Nahabat where the Holy Mother stayed is also a part of the complex.
(Visitors and devotees will be surprised to see the extent to which the temple complex has changed over the years. People and tourists abound this place, dust and dirt make it difficult to realize what a haven it was for spiritual seekers during the time of Sri Ramakrishna. But the room where the Master stayed has been well-kept and during the early hours of the day, is an ideal place for quiet meditation. Do read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna when you are here.)
More details about Dakshineshwar can be had from the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, New Delhi’s publication, ‘Sri Ramakrishna’s Dakshineshwar’.
Dakshineswar in the Early 1980s and Before
In the early decades of the 1800s, there were only a few huts in Dakshineswar and the adjacent villages on the eastern bank of the Ganges. We can get an idea of the condition of this area about a decade before the temple was built in a description given by J ? Marshman in the January 1845 issue of Calcutta Review. There he wrote: ‘A little higher up we have the village of Dukhinsore, remarkable chiefly for the country seat, mapped down in the map of Hastie’s Garden, but which has repeatedly changed hands during the last thirty years. To the north of it lies the Powder Magazine. During the last four years which have elapsed since Joshep’s map was published, four elegant houses have sprung up to the south of the garden.’ The houses mentioned here include the garden houses of Jadulal Mullick and Shambhucharan Mullick.
According to an old legend, the illustrious King Vana had his palace at Deulpota, which is now the heart of the urban area of Dakshineswar. The original name of the village was Sonitpur, though some say it was called Sambhalpur. As the family deity of King Vana was known as Dakshineswar Shiva, eventually the village came to be known by the name Dakshineswar. Some say that Dakshineswar Shiva can no longer be traced, while others say that the present Buro Shiva of Shivtala, near the bank of the Ganges, is indeed this same Dakshineswar Shiva.
About three hundred years ago the entire area of what is now Dakshineswar, including Doulpota, was a dense forest. Only a handful of families of fishermen and boatmen were settled here and there in the area. Then Durgaprasad Roy Choudhury and Bhavaniprasad Roy Choudhury, of the well-known Savarna Choudhury family, came from Barisha and settled there. They brought with them a number of people, cleared the forest, and developed the village in their own way. An illustrious descendant of this family was Yogindranath, who became a monastic disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and was known as Swami Yogananda. From such an obscure origin, Dakshineswar has risen to become an internationally renowned spiritual centre. Today the life of Dakshineswar centres around the Kali temple that was constructed by Rani Rasmani and sanctified by the life and spiritual practices of Sri Ramakrishna.
Dakshineshwar Kali Temple
Dakshineshwar Kali temple has an interesting story. The construction of this fabulous temple was initialized in the year 1847 and got completed in 1855. The credit for the formation of Calcutta Dakshineswar Kali temple goes to the queen Rasmani of Janbazar. Located on the bank of the Ganges, north of Belur Math in Kolkata, it is dedicated to Goddess kali. It is a spacious temple covering an area of about 25 acres.
Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the famous spiritual leader is also associated with this temple, as it was over here only that he had worshipped Goddess Kali and formed a rare form of love for her, which is popularly known as maha-bhava in Hinduism. Read on to know about the history of Dakshineshwar Temple Of Kolkata, India.
The legend associated with the establishment of the temple suggests that the queen Rasmani was all set to leave for the sacred city of Banaras to worship the divine mother and seek her blessings. During those times, going by boat was the only feasible option, as there were no railway lines between Calcutta and Banaras. But one night before, it happened that divine mother kali appeared in the dreams of Rani Rasmani and instructed her to construct a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges River and install her idol in it. She also said that she would manifest herself in the image over there and accept her devotion. It is one of the largest temples in Kolkata.
dakshineswar kali temple, Website
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