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Where science meets spirituality

Where science meets spirituality

Author: Kumar Chellappan
Publication: Deccan Chronicle
Date: January 31, 2009
URL: http://www.dc-epaper.com/DC/DCC/2009/01/31/ArticleHtmls/31_01_2009_004_009.shtml?Mode=0

There is going to be a con fluence of science and spirituality at Rameswaram. Starting February 4, visitors to Rameswaram will get a panoramic view of the Bay of Bengal and some of the exotic uninhabited islands thanks to a high power telescope installed at the Vivekananda Memorial at Kundhukal near Pamban. The US-built Cassegrain telescope which costs Rs 1.5 lakh has been installed by Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre, Chennai.

"This telescope is capable of magnifying the images 100 times over. It offers a crystal clear view of the adjoining islands, birds, Dhanushkodi and the ships and fishing boats passing through the Bay of Bengal," S Soundararaja Perumal, joint director, TNSTC, told Deccan Chronicle. He said Muyaltheevu and Kurusadai islands frequented by fishermen could be clearly seen through the telescope.

It is a dream come true for descendents of Raja Bhaskara Sethupathi, at whose request Swami Vivekananda undertook the 1893 trip to USA. The Vivekananda Memorial has been built to commemorate Vivekananda's return to India. "The Swamiji returned to India in 1897 via Sri Lanka. He landed at Kundhukal in Ramanathapuram district where he was received by Raja Bhaskara Sethupathi, the then king of Ramanathapuram," said Raja Kumaran Sethu pathi, the reigning head of the Sethupathi royal family at Rameswaram.

The kings of Ramnad were the traditional custodians of Ram Sethu, the historical bridge built by Lord Rama and the monkey brigade. It is said the title Sethupathi was conferred on them by Lord Rama himself.

Swamy Sudhananda, the head of the Ramakrishna Mutt at Rameswaram, said Swami Vivekananda stayed at Rameswaram for a couple of days as a guest of King Sethupathi and gave a spiritual discourse. "The house where he stayed is being renovated and rebuilt as a hall named Vivekanda Bhaskaram," said the monk. A nine and half feet tall statue of Vivekananda has also been installed at the memorial. Both the memorial and the hall have been constructed by the union government and the Ramakrishna Mutt.

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