When the world celebrates New Year by lighting lights, arranging parties, bursting crackers and shouting out the countdown; Ramakrishna Mission organizes Kalapataru day. Kalapataru Day celebrations preach the teachings of the great Guru – Shri Ramakrishna. You can drop down at any of the Ramakrishna mission ashrams anywhere in India or abroad to witness the most sacred and satisfying new year ever. Let’s check out what Kalpataru New Year is about.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (Bengali: রামকৃষ্ণ পরমহংস) About this sound Ramkṛiṣṇo Pôromôhongśo 18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886), born Gadadhar Chatterji or Gadadhar Chattopadhyay (Bengali: [Gôdadhor Chôṭṭopaddhae]), was an Indian mystic and yogi during the 19th-century.
Ramakrishna was given to spiritual ecstasies from a young age and was influenced by several religious traditions, including devotion toward the goddess Kali, Tantra and Vaishnava bhakti and Advaita Vedanta.
Admiration for him amongst Bengali elites led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda, who acquired worldwide influence in the spread of modern Hinduism.
One of the most eventful days in the life of Shree Shree Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (also called THAKUR) and his followers is Kalpataru Day, the first day of English calendar i.e. 1st January.
The first Kalpataru Day, January 1, 1886, was “an event of unusual consequence and meaning” in the life of Shree Shree Ramakrishna and his followers. Ramakrishna was suffering from throat cancer at that time, and his health was declining. He and his closest followers had moved to a garden house (farmhouse) in the northern Calcutta neighborhood of Cossipore. January 1 was a relatively good day for him, and he took a walk in the garden. There, he asked one of his followers, Girish, a question he had often asked before, “Who do you say that I am?” Girish responded that he believed that Ramakrishna was “God incarnate, come to Earth out of mercy for humankind”. Ramakrishna replied, “What more shall I say? May you be awakened.” Ramakrishna then entered an “ecstatic state” and began touching all of his followers. Those he touched reported experiencing a variety of new states of consciousness, including vivid visions. For one, Vaikuntha, the visions persisted and interfered with daily life, so that he feared that he might be going insane.
One disciple, Ramachandra Dutta, explained that Ramakrishna had, in effect become Kalpataru (also called Kalpavriksha), the “wish-fulfilling tree” of Sanskrit literature and Hindu mythology. Dutta named the commemoration of this mystical event “Kalpataru Day” as a result. This event “carried meanings and memories of cosmic import for the disciples” and also prepared them for Ramakrishna’s death”, which occurred only a few months later, on August 16, 1886.
None of Ramakrishna’s monastic disciples were present during this event. Most had spent the night in meditation and keeping watch over the ailing Ramakrishna were taking rest, while others took the opportunity to clean Ramakrishna’s room, bedding, etc. One of these disciples was Saratchandra Chakravarty, later known as Swami Saradananda. Having witnessed the day’s event from the rooftop of Ramakrishna’s residence, Saradananda later commented that “Kalpataru Day” is a misnomer, since the mythological wish-fulfilling tree (Kalpataru) grants anything, good or bad, and Ramakrishna gave only what was spiritually beneficial. Saradananda rather referred to the event as “the bestowal of freedom from fear on all devotees by revealing himself” (ātmaprakāśe abhayapradāna)
Kalpataru Day also called Kalpataru Diwas or Kalpataru Utsav is an annual religious festival observed by monks of the Ramakrishna Math monastic order of Hinduism and lay followers of the associated Ramakrishna Mission, as well as the worldwide Vedanta Societies. These organizations follow the teachings of Ramakrishna, the 19th-century Indian mystic, and figure in the Hindu Renaissance.
The event commemorates the day on January 1, 1886, when his followers believe that Ramakrishna revealed himself to be an Avatar, or God incarnate on earth. It is held each January 1. Although the observances are held in many locations, the most significant celebration takes place at Cossipore Garden House (Farm House) or Udyanbati (in Bengali) near Kolkata (then called Calcutta), present Ramakrishna Math, a branch of Ramakrishna Order, the place where Shree Shree Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (THAKUR) spent last days of his life. It is classified as one of the “Lord’s special festivals” by followers of Shree Shree Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (THAKUR).
Nowadays also Kalpataru Day also called Kalpataru Diwas or Kalpataru Utsav is celebrated through most of the establishments of Ramakrishna order.