FAQs
 
Frequently Asked Questions
We have answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions. If you have specific questions, please intimate us through the feedback form in the ‘Contact Us’ page.

Are there direct buses available to Ponnampet from Bangalore?
Although there are no frequent direct buses to Ponnampet, there are many direct buses to Virajpet. You can get down at Gonikoppal, which is around 5 kilometers from Ponnampet. There are plenty of buses and auto rickshaws at Gonikoppal, which can take you to the Ponnampet ashram.

Is there a direct train to Ponnampet from Bangalore?
No. There are no train facilities to Ponnampet.

How far is Ponnampet from major cities and towns?
Bangalore ~ 231 kilometers
Mysore ~ 94 kilometers
Mangalore ~ 184 kilometers
Madikeri ~ 55 kilometers
Virajpet ~ 21 kilometers
Gonikoppal~ 5 kilometers

Are there accommodation facilities at the Ponnampet Ashram?
If visiting the Ponnampet ashram alone is your sole motive, you can intimate the ashram authorities in advance about your visit.

There are ample hotels, home stays and resorts available in and around Ponnampet.

Can I combine my ashram visit with local sight-seeing?
Yes. Kodagu is blessed by nature’s bountiful offerings in the form of mountains, lush green valleys and free flowing streams, interspersed with coffee and cardamom plantations. The salubrious climate, which has brought Kodagu the epithet ‘Scotland of India’, has made Kodagu the most sought after location for nature lovers.

Combine this with the Kodagu’s hospitable people, culinary exquisites and vibrant culture, which cater to any ardent traveller and adventurist alike.

Come. Explore and savour the many variants of Kodagu’s uniqueness!

Can I participate in the Spiritual Retreats conducted by the Ashram?
Yes. The Ashram conducts spiritual retreats on a regular basis. Rejuvenate and replenish your mind and soul, with the soothing spiritual currents reverberated by the spiritual discourses, bhajans and satsangs conducted by the ashram authorities.

Contact the Ashram authorities for the upcoming spiritual retreats.

Can I participate in the Temple Arati service?
Arati is done to Sri Ramakrishna, who is the presiding deity at the Universal Temple, daily on mornings and evenings.

You are most welcome to join the Arati, and be showered with blessings from the ever flowing bouquet of lord’s grace. You can also meditate in solitude, sitting in the vast temple main hall.

Can I volunteer my service in the Ashram activities?
Yes. An important principle that Swami Vivekananda learnt from his Master, Sri Ramakrishna was 'Shiva Jnane Jiva Seva' i.e, 'To Serve Jiva as Shiva'. Man is potentially divine! Each soul is potentially divine!! Service to man is indeed service to God. Instead of looking upon a needy person as an object of pity and contempt, we need to look upon the needy soul as an object of worship. Such an encompassing attitude towards service elevates both the giver and the recipient to a higher realm of existence, worthy of untarnished acclaim.

Service to mankind can be expressed in multifarious ways. If you are a skilled expert in any field, and would wish to put your expertise into a selfless zeal, we can explore ways to channelize your willingness to serve.
Please contact the Ashram office to explore ways to channelize your urge to serve.

Can I donate to the Ashram activities?
Yes. You are welcome to be a part of the Lord’s service. Your heartfelt generosity and magnanimity in sharing your assets for Ashram activities is sure to be acknowledged and blessed by Sri Ramakrishna.

Donations may be sent by A/C payee cheques or demand drafts drawn in favour of "Sri Ramakrishna Sharadasharama, Ponnampet". The donations are exempt from income tax under section 80G. Please send your donations to the Ashram office (Sri Ramakrishna Saradashrama, Ponnampet, Kodagu District, Karnataka – 571216, India).

If you wish to donate by kind rather than cash, contact the Ashram office for more details.

You will receive a receipt for the donation made, by post.

I want to know more about the Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Sharada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. Can you suggest me a few resources where I can know more about them?
We have given a brief life history sketch on the Holy trio under the ‘Holy Trio’ section of the website.

If you would like to explore more on the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and would like to dive deep into the ecstatic spiritual world as elucidated by Swami Vivekananda in his talks and teachings, please navigate to the following section of the website – ‘Gallery >> Read Online >>’. Here we have provided links to 3 online resources. These 3 resources are a precursor to your journey into the inner world of peace and tranquility, as experienced by Sri Ramakrishna and authenticated by Swami Vivekananda.

Can you give a brief overview of the book ‘Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’, written by Mahendranath Gupta?
Every staunch follower of the Ramakrishna Order would no doubt have read this wonderful and marvelous modern day classic. The genuineness and guilelessness, with which the conversations between Sri Ramakrishna and his devotees have been captured in free flowing text used in everyday parlance, can be effortlessly assimilated by seekers.

This book written originally in Bengali, titled Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita, was written by Mahendranath Gupta (March 12, 1854-June 4, 1932), also famously known as M and Master Mahashay. Master Mahashay was an ardent householder disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

The year 1882 must be written in the golden annals of history, as this was the year through divine will, that M met Sri Ramakrishna and undertook the task of noting down the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. M was attracted to the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, the first time he met him. M instantly knew that he was in the company of an Avatar. An Avatar’s words are like divine nectar and the divine nectar needs to be stored for eternity. Nothing happens by chance. The will of the Lord is supreme. And it must surely have been a divine ordination that M was god sent for this divine task. As we all now know, this modern day classic has been a divine tool through which Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings have been seamlessly propagated through the years.

It must have been a divine will that this modern day classic was to be penned by the most humble and genuinely lovable devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. This book has inspired many a soul, on the cross roads of confusion, to view the futility in pursuit of materialism, and the bountifulness in store for seeking a life of spiritual splendor. M maintained a stenographic record of Ramakrishna's conversations and actions in his diary, which finally took the form of the book ‘Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita’. Initially when M began writing the diaries, he had no plans of publication. Regarding his methodology M wrote,

"I wrote everything from memory after I returned home. Sometimes I had to keep awake the whole night...Sometimes I would keep on writing the events of one sitting for seven days, recollect the songs that were sung, and the order in which they were sung, and the samadhi and so on...Many a time I did not feel satisfied with my description of the events; I would then immediately plunge myself in deep meditation ...Then the correct image would arise...That is why in spite of the big gap in the physical sense, this story remains so fresh and lifelike in my mind as if it happened just now."

In each of his Kathamrita entries, M records the date, time and place of the conversation. Sri Ramakrishna’s wife, Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda later testified to Mahendranath's faithfulness to Ramakrishna's words. The first four volumes were published in 1902, 1904, 1908 and 1910 respectively and the fifth volume in 1932. The Kathamrita contains the conversations of Ramakrishna from 19/26 February 1882 to 24 April 1886, during M's frequent visits to the Master. The Kathamrita is regarded as a Bengali classic and revered among the followers as a sacred scripture. Famous English translations of Kathamrita include works by Swami Nikhilananda and Dharma Pal Gupta.

Paramahansa Yogananda, a 20th century philosopher and a yogi was an admirer of M. In his book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, Yogananda dedicated an entire chapter to describing his association with M. Yogananda described M as having a "silky white beard and large lustrous eyes" and described his personality thus:

'His role in the world was humble, as befitted the greatest man of humility I ever knew. In this Amherst Street house, Master Mahasaya conducted a small high school for boys. No words of chastisement passed his lips; no rule and ferule maintained his discipline. Higher mathematics indeed were taught in these modest classrooms, and a chemistry of love absent from the textbooks. He spread his wisdom by spiritual contagion rather than impermeable precept. Consumed by an unsophisticated passion for the Divine Mother, the saint no more demanded the outward forms of respect than a child.'

Yogananda went on to describe several seemingly miraculous experiences with M. Later, Yogananda said about him that "I would roll on the ground where he’d walked, so great was my love for him. I felt that even that ground had been sanctified."

Can you provide a brief overview of the book ‘Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’?
To put in a nut shell, Swami Vivekananda was a spiritual tornado, whose life mission was to spread the universal message of peace and love, as authenticated by the religious scriptures. His power and dynamism which captivated many a person, and won him many an admirer, is unparalleled. The aura of Swami Vivekananda has left an indelible imprint on the human psyche, and his ever relevant teachings continue to inspire humanity as a whole.

His series of lectures, conversations, teachings and writings on Hinduism have been collected in a 9 book volume. His lectures and conversations with the spiritual multitude, both in India as well as during his travels in Europe and United States have been collected for posterity.

The book contains a treatise on Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga, which are the four spiritual ways of God realization as per the Hindu way of life. There are elaborate chapters solely devoted to the powers of the mind, which are captivating as well as self-assuring. This collection is not only a connoisseur’s delight, but also a treasure trove of spiritual nuggets, that would delight a novice wanting to swarm in the vast ocean of spiritual ecstasy. During Swami Vivekananda’s conversations and lectures, he quotes parables and real life experiences, thereby lending credence to the points and facts that he puts across.

The series of lectures that Swami Vivekananda gave at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, have been collected in the following section – ‘Gallery >> Lectures of Swami Vivekananda’. As is well known, these awe inspiring lectures catapulted Swami Vivekananda into a well-known religious preacher, across the world.

I want to know more about the book ‘Learn to Live’ written by Swami Jagadatmananda. Can you give a brief overview?

Every religious scripture stresses on the essence of purity, morality and ethics in life. As is the wont of humans immersed in worldly pursuits, practicing the essence of the scriptures in toto is purportedly cumbersome. The book ‘Learn to Live’ demystifies the intricacies, tribulations and purpose of human life in simple yet subtle language, which can be easily and effortlessly assimilated by one who yearns for inner solitude and peace. The illustrative and demonstrative examples drawn from the lives of well known personalities as well as the common man, makes the book achieve its desired objective in instilling a sense of higher purpose in life.

Many books have been written down the ages, which have extolled the virtues of prayer, will power, faith and devotion in achieving success and overcoming difficulties in life. The goal always remains the same, but the means to reach the goal can vary, depending on the circumstances, environment and commitment of the individual. The book ‘Learn to Live’ undoubtedly is a road map to anyone who is yearning to find the means to reach the desired goal.

The book which was originally written in kannada as ‘Badukalu Kaliyiri’, has been translated into many languages, including English.


 
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