Kalpataru Day in India Date in the current year: January 1, 2024

Kalpataru Day in India Kalpataru Day, also known as Kalpataru Utsav or Kalpataru Divas, is an annual religious festival observed by members of the Ramakrishna Order and affiliated Ramakrishma Mission and Vendanta Societies. It is observed on January 1.

Ramakrishna was an Indian mystic, saint and religious leader who was active in the 19th century Bengal. He was born Gadadhar Chattopadhyaya into a very poor Brahmin family. Although his parents belonged to the highest ranking social class, they struggled to make the ends meet. To help his family, Ramakrishna was sent to Dakshineswar Kali Temple to help his elder brother Ramkumar, who served as the priest there. When Ramkumar died a year later, Ramakrishna took his place.

Since early childhood, Ramakrishna experienced periods of spiritual ecstasy, during which he completely lost touch with his surroundings. Some saw them as a sign of mental instability, while others believed they were a sign of holiness. As rumors began to spread about Ramakrishna’s instability, his mother and elder brother decided to get him married, hoping that marriage would steady him.

In 1859, Ramakrishna married Sarada Devi, who was only five years old at the time. Naturally, their marriage wasn’t consummated right away (or, as it would turn out, ever). Their next meeting occurred when Ramakrishna was 32 and his wife was 14; they spent three months together and then continued to live apart until Sarada Devi turned 18. By that time, Ramakrishna had embraced the life of renunciation (sannyasa), so they never consummated their marriage and spent their married life as spiritual partners.

Ramakrishna’s teachings were based on the idea that to realize God is the one goal in life. According to Ramakrishna, all religions move toward realizing the same God, though each uses a different path. Although he recognized all religions, Ramakrishna’s philosophy is considered Hindu; some people even claim that his teachings gave Hinduism a second wind.

In his final yeas, Ramakrishna was diagnosed with throat cancer and moved to a small garden house in Cossipore (a neighborhood of North Kolkata) with his closest followers. On January 1, 1886, Ramakrishna was feeling relatively well and decided to take a walk in the garden. There, he asked one of his followers, “Who do you say that I am?”, and the follower responded, “God incarnate, come to Earth out of mercy for humankind”.

Ramakrishna replied, “What more shall I say? May you be awakened”, entered a spiritual state and began to touch his followers, making them experience vivid visions and other new states of consciousness.

Ramachandra Dutta, one of Ramakrishna’s followers, explained that upon entering a spiritual state Ramakrishna became kalpavriksha (also known as kalpataru or kalpadruma), a wish-fulfilling tree in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology and Sanskrit literature, and imparted cosmic knowledge and memories to his disciples. Due to this, Dutta suggested that January 1 be commemorated as Kalpataru Day.

Kalpataru Day is observed by the followers of Ramakrishna’s teachings throughout India and abroad. The biggest celebration is held at the garden house in Cossiopre where Ramakrishna spent his last months.

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