IT was afternoon of January 1, 1886 when Shri Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansadev had blessed his disciples with divination saying, Tomader Chaitanya Hoke (you all be blessed with holy enlightenment) at Kashipur Garden House in North Kolkata. The disciples blessed on the day had described this incident as the transformation of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa into a Kalpataru. A Kalpataru, as per the Indian mythology is a magical tree, which blesses a person with anything which he or she desires. It is believed that Ramakrishna Paramahansa cured the diseases of some people by just touching them on that auspicious day.Since then all devout Hindus are observing January 1 as the Kalpataru Day by joining mass prayer meetings organised by the Ramakrishna monks all over the world.
Now for the first time after 123 years of that auspicious day, Dilip Bandopadhyay, an ardent devotee of Ramakrishna Dev and an active Swayamsevak, alongwith the Vivekananda Sahitya Kendra in Kolkata has proposed that henceforth the day should be observed as the “Day of Chaitanya” by exchanging Happy Kalpataru New Year greetings on January 1 every year.
Bandopadhyay and Vivekananda Sahitya Kendra had distributed several lakhs of leaflets containing appeals to Ramakrishna devotees who congregated at Kashipur Garden House, Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Kankurgachi Yogodyan on the first day of the new year 2010. The idea seemed to have caught the minds of the Ramakrishna devotees and many were heard exchanging Happy Kalpataru New Year greetings in these places.
Kalpataru Utsav is mark the metamorphosis of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa into a Kalpataru or magical tree. This festival is celebrated every year to commemorate the divine transformation of the great soul of India, Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who is also famous as the Guru of Swami Vivekananda. A large number of devotees move in to the Dakshineswar Kali temple to celebrate the Kalpataru Utsav every year. The Dakshineswar Kali temple is located on the eastern bank of the River Hooghly and it is devoted to the Goddess Kali as well as Lord Shiva. Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa passed a considerable amount of his life, serving the deity Kali, in this temple.
On the 1st of January 1886, Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa made up his mind to go for a short walk in the lawns of the garden since he was feeling well after a long illness. Since that day was not a working day, a number of disciples of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa started to gather in the garden. At last, when he came downstairs at three ‘o’clock, about thirty disciples have already gathered inside the hall and also in the garden under the trees, whispering with each other.
As Ramakrishna Paramahansa reached the middle of the path which leads to the main gate from the building, he found his disciples Girish, Atul, Ram and others in the west lawn, under the tree’s shade. Finding him, the disciples of the Swami also greeted him with deep respect and came to him. Before the breaking of silence by anyone else, he first asked Sri Girish Chandra that he always speaks to different people regarding the incarnation of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa and thus he wanted to know what he has seen in him. In reply, Sri Girish Chandra told to him with hands folded and kneeling down, that he is not in a position to pass any comment on a personality who is in the same platform to that of the sages like Valmiki and Vyas.
Overwhelmed with the innocent and simple reply of Sri Girish Chandra, Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa addressed others present there that they will gain cognizance and after that he went into a trance. Then, one by one, all the disciples of the Thakur started to take his blessings by touching the feet of the Swami. In this phase of meditation the Thakur blessed the disciples by providing them the sight of holy enlightenment. Overawed with this, most of the disciples were speechless and continued to watch him with awe. A number of his disciples called others to take the blessings of their Swami while several other disciples chanted hymns and prayed the Thakur with flowers. Some of the disciples of Thakur like Sri Ramachandra explained this incident as the transformation of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa into a Kalpataru.