Devi wrote recently about our pilgrimage to sacred sites in Varanasi, Kolkata, and Serampore. On our last day in Serampore a very special gift was given to us.
This city is on the banks of the Ganges and was the location of Sri Yukteswar’s ashram, where Paramhansa Yogananda spent the better part of ten years in training with his beloved guru. During that period, Yogananda often visited the family of his elder brother, Anantalal Ghosh, who also resided in Serampore.
We had lunch with members of the Ghosh family. We have known Durlov and his son Ishan for years, having first met them many years ago with Swami Kriyananda. At the end of the meal we withdrew to a private patio where they presented us with an extremely precious plate that had been in the family for well over one hundred years. Here is a description given to us by Ishan of this sacred relic:
“The object which we gave you is a plate made of stone. My father heard from his grandmother, that is, the wife of Anantalal Ghosh, that this plate was there when she was married. That means it must have been bought by either Guruji’s parents or someone else in the family in or before the year Anantalal Ghosh was married. Plates like this are usually used in Indian families for offering food to the gods. Usually, they rest at family altars, and so was the case with this plate as well. However, when Paramhansa Yogananda became a sanyasi, it was not possible for him to accept food at home, since all of the kitchen plates were somehow in touch with meat or fish. Therefore, he was offered food instead on plates from the altar; the plates in which food has been offered to the gods; the plate which we gave you. When Paramhansa Yogananda came back to India, he had his meals on these plates as always. This plate has been there in our family for more than a hundred years, and we gifted it to you since we feel that more people should have the opportunity to drink from its spiritual vibrations. We are so pleased that the gods gave us the opportunity to forward such priceless spiritual vibrations into your hands. We are so pleased that you accepted it with such deep reverence and joy.”
Presently the plate rests on the lap of a statue of Master that sits in our meditation room in Delhi. We will soon place it along with other sacred objects where visitors and pilgrims can meditate and feel the holy vibrations.
The plate also embodies a deep spiritual lesson for us all. Food is a symbol of the gift of life from Divine Mother, and Yogananda would only eat if the food had first been offered back to God. But everything is a gift from Divine Mother, and God-offering should be applied to all aspects of life. Yogananda spoke of this truth poetically in his beautiful poem “God! God! God!”
When we first rise from slumber, the day ahead should be offered to God. When we break our fast, we should be aware that the very food we eat is a form of Divine Mother. If, during our working hours, the spotlight of our mind ever keeps returning to God, our work can be transformed into sacred service. Giving God our worries, our memories, and our dreams transforms the mundane into the sacred. Ultimately, it is our love above all that must be purified through offering it to God.
Gradually, all that we “own,” and all that we think we “are,” must be offered into God’s light. He will receive our offerings, purify them, and then playfully join us in a life free from attachment to the delusion of “I” and “mine.”
Isn’t is interesting that the essence of the spiritual path is somehow magically condensed into a single sacred plate?
In the light,
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (7:49):
Sweet gesture, Jikaidevi
Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
Thank you for sharing this excellent blog and the story behind the Plate. Wow!
Such a great gesture by Ishan. We would like to see the sacred plate and meditate before it.
Yes, the last lines are profound. How a sacred plate explains about the Spiritual Path
I’m.giving a sacred plate to my cousin for his 60th birthday. I see see see so much more inside the gift now.
I love this story of your receiving the plate.
The stone plate is a heritage piece; it had been used by the Master’s ancestors for offering fruits etc to family deity and holy men visiting Ghosh House at Garhpar, Kolkata, India. Later, family’s eldest son inherited it and brought it to Srirampore, at the proximity to Kolkata (Master’s ancestral place). Master’s sister in law used to offer fruits to family deity in this plate. She herself used to have swatik meal on this plate during Puja/ after prayer. Yogi/ priests visiting that house had used it. So, it is sacred. Probably, it was crafted in northwestern India centuries ago. Many heritage families in Kolkata possess this type of stone plates that are used for offering fruits during prayers.
Thank you for the post. It is highly informative.
Dear Spiritual Leaders,
Thank U for sharing this wonderful message.
Pranams Jyotish Ji,
Wow. It was goosebumps moment when I read your blog. Our very own dear Master’s ate in that plate. What a blessings to have that as part of Ananda relics.
Thank you for sharing this inspiring and beautiful story ⭐️⭐️
How Beautiful! I’m so looking forward to reverently breaking my fast!
Dearest Spiritual Friends, I am deeply grateful for your clear and deeply uplifting guidance. Even though you are half a world away you are also here with me, deeply in my heart. Your wise and powerfully uplifting words, and even more precious, your Divine vibrations of urging us always to give everything to God, keep me moving ever Godward. In Divine Gratitude and Love, Steve
How touching, how profound… thank you for sharing about this special event and ageless wisdom!
Thank you, Jyotish, for this sweet message. 🙏
A beautiful gift into the hands of inspiring kriyacharia. The vibrations of this sacred plate will be cherished and shared with countless gurubais.
Your devotion is inspiration every day.
Joy, Mary Jo Cleaveland
The humbleness of the people who gifted it (to many) is deeply moving. The stone , as material must have a VERY powerful vibration. Speak in Western, practical terms: It holds the charge like a battery. like a battery ! Thank you for sharing facts and symbolism.
Thank you Baisakhi and Sarkar for adding content about this type of stone plate. Imagine how these plates were traded, the distances they travelled, the occasions when they were “bestowed” , and gifted like this one.
As I write this I realize that WE, all of us, TODAY, must use plates, designate plates that HOLD and AMPLIFY Energy. Plastic and tin will not do. Wood holds energy. But the density of stone is superior. Some stone holds energy better than others. Some stone is outright Magnetic.Plates like this were made of stone that did not chip easily. The site where the stone was quarried, how it was cut and tooled, all these things have significance. Clay breaks and that too has its own significance. “Stone-ware” is a beautiful option potters choose since ages, to shape on the wheel dishes on which to serve food and eat from.
This account triggers in us a WOW moment, as we associate the plate with our yogananda and his family members. This plate re-minds us, that we too, be mindful how and where we eat, and that we designate utilitarian objects in OUR households, for purposes that make the object “sacred” – and the food we place upon it. A call goes out to artisans and to people who will want to use their plates: “Craft (plates) for generations to come. We honor your skills, we add our energy to yours. The stone plate account teaches about having right relationship with the inherent charge of matter, and that our own Energy can amplify that charge
Yes it is!
Want Spiritual grace through activity…..FEED PEOPLE. And the plate represents the opportunity to be filled and served and to create fullness of body, mind and Soul.
And Jyotish and Devi, On your beautiful altar I see the sandalwood Krishna, intricately carved, and it appears to be the very one I bought in Agra after coming down from Dunagiri mountain in 1981. I donated it to Swami and his museum home and it sat in the window overlooking the pool for decades. If it is the one, I am honored and if not, I honor you both as always. Best to you both in God and Gurus, Jeff
I can say no more :)
Nice story. Nice gift. Powerfully influencial. I need to step it up. Mahalo to you both!