Online Booking for Manik Darshan Calander 2021

Due to Covid – 19 pandemic, we are introducing online purchase of Manik Darshan Calendar 2021. Those who wish to purchase can place an order in advance on or before 15th December 2020. The Calendar may or may not be available at the Samsthan’s counter during Jayanti Mahotsava 2020.

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MANIK DARSHAN CALENDAR – 2021

इस वर्ष कोरोना संक्रमण के कारण बहुत से भक्तजन इच्छा होते हुए भी माणिकनगर आकर प्रभु जयंती महोत्सव में सम्मिलित नहीं हो पाएंगे।  इस बात को ध्यान में रखते हुए, ‘माणिक दर्शन २०२१’ कॅलेंडर को श्रीसंस्थान की वेबसाइट पर ऑनलाइन बिक्री के लिए रखा गया है। १५ दिसंबर तक वेबसाइट पर आप कॅलेंडर की एडवांस बुकिंग कर सकते हैं और खरीद भी सकते हैं। महोत्सव के समय माणिकनगर में माणिक दर्शन कॅलेंडर बिक्री के लिए उपलब्ध न हों ऐसी भी संभावना है। इसलिए इस ऑनलाइन सुविधा का उपयोग करके कॅलेंडर को प्राप्त करें। ऊपर दिए गए लिंक को क्लिक करके आप कॅलेंडर की बुकिंग कर सकते हैं।

 

Inauguration of SCG

On the auspicious occasion of Anant Chaturdashi, Shreeji inaugurated the newly built Siddharaj Cricket Ground in the Manik Public School premises. Situated in a serene and picturesque surrounding, the SCG is a state-of-the-art turf cricket ground which has the potential to host Ranji Trophy and National-level cricket matches in future. It is also the first full-fledged cricketing facility in North-Karnataka approved by the KSCA. Considering the global pandemic, the inauguration ceremony was a very simple and modest affair.

Veterans of Manik Prabhu Kreeda Mandal who had the fortune of playing cricket with His Holiness Shri Siddharaj Manik Prabhu Maharaj such as Shri G.H. Kankatkar, Shri V.G. Rotte, Shri Subhash Ravba and Shri Aravind Bhalkikar were present for the ceremony and played with Shreeji to mark the official opening.

With the inauguration of the ground, preparations for the 11th Siddharaj Manik Prabhu Inter-State Cricket Tournament to be held from October 6th have begun. Principal and Staff of the Manik Public School, Ramesh Khadke, Ajay Chauhan, Kapil Bhalkikar, Bheemsen Sambrani and other senior members along with the present team of Manik Sports Academy were present.

Mountain of Pearls

(Illustration: Govinda Joshi)

There was once a guru who had taught his shishya to be happy, always. Even though he had been poor, he never shed a tear, never was unhappy.

Understandably, people were jealous of this man. How could he be always happy? One of his friends, who was never happy to see him always happy, presented him with a ‘magic cup’ and told him that if he wept into the cup, his tears would turn into pearls.

That changed all. He started finding ways to make himself unhappy, so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grow.

His guru, on his return from a pilgrimage, to his utter dismay, found his favourite shishya sitting on a mountain of pearls, weeping helplessly into the bowl. People also informed him that the man, in his desperate attempt to find ever new ways of being unhappy, had also murdered his own kin and wept his heart out so that he produced enough tears to add to the pile of pearls.

The guru, naturally, was greatly pained to hear all this. Ordering the shishya to get down from the mountain of pearls, he gave him a sound dressing down. ‘You are an idiot,’ roared the guru. ‘You could have enjoyed all this wealth without being unhappy. There was no need to shed real tears. You could have just kept on smelling onions. That would have served the purpose. There would be enough tears and lots of pearls. And, you would have remained the same ‘happy man’ that you were.

Only a true guru can give such an advice. To all of us, who, like the man who effortfully cried in order to produce pearls of tears, our sadguru – Shri Martand Manik Prabhu Maharaj, chastises in the sternest fashion – ‘बंध मुगति नहीं ब्रह्म तू साचा क्यों रोता रंडा’ (for you, neither is there bondage, nor liberation; then, why do you make yourself miserable, when YOU are verily the Brahman – the inexhaustible source of all happiness). Always forgetting that happiness is ‘intrinsic’ to our nature, we tend to find newer ways of being unhappy, shedding tears, in the greed that we may have pearls of material happiness.

How fortunate we are, to have a sadguru like Shri Martand Manik Prabhu Maharaj, who always comes to our rescue in our times of despair and dilemma, with a reassuring advise to treat the maya like an ornament and wear it gracefully without allowing it, instead, to become a noose around our neck – तव भूषण ही माया, तुज मंगल शुभ हो.

So, the next time someone presents you with a ‘magic cup’, just remember your guru, and, instead of shedding tears of grief, look for an onion peel.

Shravan during troubled times

The prevailing pandemic has not thwarted but has hampered the calendar events of Samsthan. The events that have been known for the all the pomp are being held with an austere, that is so unknown.

The Vendanta Saptah Mahotsava concluded days before the national lockdown was announced. The next two events: Ramnavami and Hanuman Jayanti were held behind closed doors with not more than a dozen participating.

And after a few months, the month long Shravan  commenced, though the first few days saw the devotees coming to the temple albeit in thin numbers, but soon that too stopped as the Covid-19 cases spiked in the region. The doors of the temple were closed for the public and Nagarkhaana was barricaded.

The morning Mahapooja which is followed by the Sakaldevta Darshan, i.e. a visit to almost all the temples in Maniknagar, was discontinued. Plus, the Satvar Bhajan during the evening Pradosh Pooja, which was attended by many is now performed by a handful of staff.

While, the archaks in Prabhu Mandir and the students of Veda Pathshala are seen wearing a silk-cloth turned mask. When asked how it felt while chanting mantras, one said, “It is not comfortable. But we have to adjust. ” Another added, “It is the first time that we are wearing masks in a sanctum-sanctorum, it feels a bit awkward.”

Surprisingly the Monsoon this year seems to be healthier. The timely showers have made the weather pleasant to the extent that the veterans have recalled their days of yore, by saying, “Maniknagar used to be like this in our childhood.”

Whereas, in these tough times, the devotees from their homes, watch live videos, react to the social media posts and send messages wanting to visit Maniknagar at the earliest.

There is an air of uncertainty, of doubt about how the upcoming events will unfold, we hope soon that will fade, as HE only and only HE will act sooner than later to bring back the lost sheen of events and the smile on everyone’s face.

Keep the ‘I’ aside

Shri Martand Manik Prabhu Maharaj brought about changes in peoples’ lives not always with his lofty philosophical writings, but, sometimes also with a simple corrective scribble.

It was a minor correction which majorly corrected a man’s life.

Just as the Tehsildaar of Rajeshwar started for Maniknagar to have Shreeji’s darshan on a horseback, a snake glided hissing in the front making the horse neigh nervously. The equine swished its tail, stiffed its ears and reared violently, while the rider, losing control, fell on the ground. Considering this a bad omen, the official cancelled his visit.

He turned back home and disappointedly penned a letter to Shreeji, saying: “I, the tehsildaar of Rajeshwar, wanted to see your Holiness. While I was coming for darshan, I fell off the horse as it was confronted by a snake in the way. Hence, I could not make it. Why did this happen to me?”

Shreeji in one of his compositions says, “मी मोठा दंभ हा हटवा”, meaning, “One must not carry arrogance”. And for the letter from Rajeshwar, he had the same message.

Highlighting all the “I” (s) in the officer’s letter, Shreeji wrote a small footnote,  “Because you were carrying this with you [I], you could not make it for darshan. Next time around make sure you don’t carry this [I] with you.”

The reply made the self-centered Tehsildaar swallow all his pride.

The reformed and humbled officer lost no time is seeing Shreeji and seeking his forgiveness. This time, ensuring that he did not carry the hefty baggage of ‘I’ with him.

Of Simplicity and Saintliness

How do you identify a real saint? What are his essential qualities? We often commit the unpardonable blunder of mistaking a man behaving like God for a saint; whereas, in reality, it is the other way round. A saint is God himself trying to behave like a man. In other words, saints are the closest we come to God on earth, exemplifying the highest human virtues of kindness, compassion, piety and humility. Simplicity is another inseparable attribute of a saint. Shri Shankar Manik Prabhu Maharaj was an embodiment of all this and more.

He donned the exalted mantle of the peethadhipati of Shri Manik Prabhu Samsthan after the maha-samadhi of his Guru and maternal Uncle Shri Martand Manik Prabhu. The change of role from acting as the Secretary of the Samsthan to heading the spiritual mission of Shri Prabhu was not an easy one. It was indeed a challenging assignment that he accepted with all humility, and as the will of Shri Prabhu.

Shreeji was an example of how simple and unassuming a person on a high spiritual platform could be, unlike the gurus and god-men of today, who try to impress people with an ostentatious display of outward simplicity. Shreeji’s simplicity was grounded in his belief in humanity. Even though the exigencies of his office demanded a respectable distance between him and the common masses, he connected remarkably well with everyone around him – his family, his devotees and his associates in the administration of the Samsthan, in his own affable way.

As the guru and head of the Samsthan he interacted with hundreds of people on an everyday basis, making everyone feel equally at home. Stories of his social connect, of how he caringly nurtured a personalized relationship with all those around him are numerous.

The Deshmukhs of Krishnapur (a small village in today’s Telangana, tucked into the agriculturally prosperous lateritic plains surrounding Bidar) are among those families that came into the fold of Shri Prabhu Sampradaya during the time of Shri Martand Manik Prabhu Maharaj and remained inseparably attached to the Samsthan for generations. Anna Saheb and Nana Saheb were two brothers from the Deshmukh family of Krishnapur, who, through their sheer dedication for the cause of Shri Prabhu and his mission, had earned the love and affection of Shri Martand Manik Prabhu Maharaj. Both the brothers were enthusiastic volunteers for the Samsthan. Being roughly of the same age, and sharing his progressive vision, they became close companions to Shri Shankar Prabhu, assisting him in all possible ways and being with him in good and bad times while he worked as the Secretary of the Samsthan. In this way, they remained his closest confidants, both during his stint as the Secretary of the Samsthan and even after he took over as the head of Shri Prabhu Samsthan after Shri Martand Prabhu’s maha-samadhi.

It was a cold December night of 1941. In Maniknagar, the annual Datta Jayanti Mahotsava was drawing to a close with the Prabhu Jayanti Darbar in progress. Shri Shankar Manik Prabhu Maharaj was seated on the divine simhasan (spiritual seat) of Shri Prabhu. He was patiently meeting hundreds of devotees who were standing in queues for the whole night amidst the biting cold to have his darshan. In the middle of the darbar, a shocking news came that Nana Saheb Deshmukh of Krishnapur, who was not keeping well for some time, had passed away. This was an absolutely disturbing news for Shreeji, both personally and otherwise. Nana Saheb had been a pillar of support to the Samsthan and a very dear friend of his. The loss was unfathomable.

Shreeji somehow rushed through the celebrations and asked his personal attendants to prepare for his journey to Krishnapur the next evening after all the devotees and guests who had gathered for the Datta Jayanti celebrations had left Maniknagar for their homes. This, for the officials of the Samsthan, was not in keeping with the conventions, as they had not seen the presiding head of the Samsthan attend anybody’s funeral or visit anyone personally to pay his condolences. This would be a clear breach of protocol. A fierce discussion broke out between Shreeji and the muntazims of the Samsthan as to the propriety of his intended ‘personal visit’ to Krishnapur to pay his condolences to the bereaved family. But Shreeji’s resolve was as solid as rock. Nothing would deter him from changing his mind. Justifying his position, he said, “For me, people are more important than any rule or precedent. I am as ‘human’ as all of you. I too have feelings and emotions. Nana dedicated his life for Shri Prabhu’s cause. It would be grossly ungrateful of me not to be with the family in their hour of grief. Even Adi Shankaracharya broke his vows of sanyasa dharma to perform the last rites of his mother. So, please do not come in the way of my duty.” Nobody dared to counsel him further.

With a few assistants, such as Hanumant Rao muntazim, Nathraja of Sagroli, his personal attendant Ambaji and Driver Nabi, Shreeji drove straight to Zaheerabad in his steel-grey Hudson. As he crossed Zaheerabad and reached Ranjol, he was informed that the road ahead was not motorable as a small stream in the way, which did not have a culvert, was overflowing. This impediment too could not dampen Shreeji’s resolve. Dumping the car at Ranjol, he decided to walk the remaining distance. The Deshpande of Ranjol, who was also a devotee of Shri Prabhu, came up with necessary help like providing sticks and gas lanterns for this rather difficult mid-night trek. The Deshmukh family was speechlessly overwhelmed to have Shreeji in their midst to express his feeling of grief and solidarity. By day-break Shreeji was back in Maniknagar, again, to carry on with his duties as the head of the Samsthan. Words can never express Shreeji’s thoughtfulness.