Sri Ramakrishna in Ram’s House with Devotees
Sri Ramakrishna in the house of Ram on the Mahashtami Day
Sunday, 28 September, 1884, the Mahashtami day. Sri Ramakrishna has come to Calcutta to have the darshan of the image of the Goddess. The Shardiya (autumnal) festival of Durga is being celebrated in Adhar’s house. Thakur is invited for three days. Having had the darshan of the image at Adhar’s house, he then goes to Ram’s house. Many devotees, including Vijay, Kedar, Ram, Surendra, Chunilal, Narendra, Niranjan, Narayan, Harish, Baburam and M. are present. Balaram and Rakhal are in Vrindavan dham (place of pilgrimage).
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling at Vijay and Kedar) — A nice meeting since you both have the same bhava (spiritual mood). (To Vijay) Well, what about Shivanath? Did you …
Vijay — Yes sir, he knows about your going to his house. I have not seen him, but I sent word to him. He knows about it.
Sri Ramakrishna had gone to Shivanath’s house to see him, but because of the latter’s busy schedule, he had not been at home. Vijay had told him about the visit later.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Vijay and others) — I had four desires in my mind.
“One, that I might eat fish curry with eggplant. Two, that I might meet Shivanath. Three, that I might see devotees repeating the name of Hari on their rosaries. And lastly, that I might see and salute the Tantrik practitioners drinking eight annas worth of wine on the ashtami day.”
Narendra is seated in front of Sri Ramakrishna. He is 22 or 23 years old. While talking, Thakur glances at him. He immediately stands up and goes into samadhi. Placing his foot on Narendra’s knee, he stands there in samadhi. He is totally unconscious of the outside world. His eyes are fixed.
God personal and impersonal – Sachchidananda and Karanandamayi – rajarshi and brahmarshi – Ishvarakotis and jivakotis – the class of nityasiddhas
Sri Ramakrishna comes down from samadhi after a long time. He is still inebriated with divine joy. In a spiritual mood, speaking to himself, he repeats the name of God. Then he says, “Shall I say Sachchidananda! Sachchidananda! Sachchidananda? No. Today is the Mother’s day. She is the source and giver of divine intoxication, Karanandamayi. Doh, re, mi, fa, soh, la, ti. It is not right to stay at ti – one cannot stay there long. I would rather stay a note below.”
“Ishvarakotis (godmen) can return from the state of Mahakarana. The incarnations of God are Ishvarakotis. They ascend to high spiritual states and come down. They climb up onto the roof and come down again by the staircase to move around on lower floors. It is the case of involution and evolution. There is a seven-storied building. Some have access to the outer apartments only, but the prince can roam about on all seven stories.
“There is a kind of fireworks rocket that emits flower-like sparks. It first throws out sparks in one pattern – and then in another. It never stops emitting different patterns of sparks.
“And there is another kind of rocket which, if you light, shoots up for awhile with a hissing sound and then falls down. If an ordinary person goes up after practicing spiritual disciplines, he cannot come back to tell his experience. The jivakoti (individual soul) may attain samadhi after practicing spiritual disciplines, but he cannot come back from his samadhi and tell his experiences.
“But then there is the class of the nityasiddhas – they seek the Lord from birth and nothing worldly attracts them. The Vedas speak of the Homa bird who lives high in the sky. When its egg hatches, the chick falls toward the earth. It keeps falling for many days. During the fall its eyes open. When it is nearing the ground, it gains the awakening – it realizes that as soon as its body touches the ground it will die. In an instant the bird shrieks and darts directly upward toward its mother. Falling to earth means sure death. It is frightened at the sight of the ground and begins to yearn for its mother. She dwells high up in the sky. It flies swiftly and directly toward her! It sees nothing else.
“Those who accompany an incarnation of God are either nityasiddhas, or in their last birth.”
(To Vijay) “You people have both yoga and bhoga (spiritual inclination and worldly enjoyment). King Janaka had both yoga and bhoga. Thus he was a rajarshi, both a king and sage. Narada was a devarshi while Shukadeva was a brahmarshi (a sage who had attained Brahman).
“Shukadeva was a brahmarshi. He was not a jnani — he was the very manifestation of jnana. Who is a jnani? He who has attained jnana (spiritual wisdom) through the practice of religious disciplines. Shukadeva was the embodiment of jnana, in other words a storehouse of jnana. He became a jnani effortlessly – not by the practice of spiritual disciplines.”
While talking Sri Ramakrishna comes down to the natural state. He will now be able to talk with the devotees.
He asks Kedar to sing. Kedar sings –
Song 1 –
O friend, how can I tell you what is in my mind?
It is forbidden to speak.
Without a real and sympathetic friend, I cannot survive.
The man who can know one’s mind can understand it.
He is easily recognized. There are only one or two such people.
Such a person is filled with bhava, becomes absorbed in joy, and he comes and goes through the upstream course.
(A man in bhava frequents the ‘upstream course’.)
Song 2 –
The wave of Gaur’s love has touched my body.
By its thunder all heretics are crushed and the universe submerged.
I feel my mind should remain absorbed in divinity.
The crocodile of the intense love of moon-like Gaur has swallowed me, O my friend!
Is there any real friend who knows my misery, who can drag me out, holding my hand?
Song 3 –
He who does not recognize the shortcomings of love…
After the songs, Thakur talks to the devotees again. Keshab Sen’s nephew, Nandalal, is there. He is seated beside Thakur along with one or two Brahmo friends.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Vijay and others) — Somebody brought a bottle of wine. I tried to touch it but couldn’t.
Vijay — Ah!
Sri Ramakrishna — When one enjoys a divine mood, one is already inebriated. One doesn’t have to drink wine. The charanamrita of the Mother intoxicates me – exactly as if I had drunk five bottles of wine.
The states of a jnani and of a devotee described – rules governing the food of the jnani and the devotee
Sri Ramakrishna — In this state one cannot always take every kind of food.
Narendra — In the matter of drinking and eating, the best is that which chance brings.
Sri Ramakrishna — It is true of a particular state of mind. For a jnani nothing is prohibited. According to the Gita the jnani does not eat, he just makes an offering to his Kundalini.
“This does not hold true for the devotee. Now my mood is such that I can’t eat unless I am given bhoga (food offered to the deity) by a brahmin. Formerly, the state of my mind was such that I would enjoy inhaling the smell of the burning corpses on the other side of Dakshineswar. Now, I can’t eat food offered by everyone.
“Though I cannot eat everything, once in awhile I do. Once they took me to Keshab Sen’s theatre (Nava Vrindavan). There I was served luchis and a curry seasoned with dry chilies. I don’t know whether it was a washerman or a barber who brought the food to me (All laugh.) I ate it heartily. Rakhal asked me not to eat so much. (To Narendra) You will succeed now. You are in ‘this’ as well in ‘that’! You may eat everything now.
(To the devotees) “Blessed is the man who is attracted by the Lord, even though he may eat pork. On the other hand, shame on him who is attached to ‘lust and greed,’ even though he maybe eating havishya.”
His earlier story – Brahmajnana and loss of caste distinction after first state of God-intoxication – journey to Kamarpukur – Dhani, the blacksmith’s wife – Ramlal’s father – initiation into Allah’s name through Govinda Rai
“I had the desire to eat lentils in the house of a blacksmith. I had heard since childhood that blacksmiths said brahmins didn’t know how to cook food. So I went and ate at their home – but there was the smell of the iron smithy in it. (All laugh.)
“I received the sacred mantra of Allah from Govinda Rai. He cooked rice with onion in the Kuthi. I took some of it. I ate cooked vegetables in (the Baranagore) garden house of Mani Mallick. But then I developed some aversion to it.
“When I went to my native village [Kamarpukur], Ramlal’s father was afraid that I would go and eat in any and every house. He was afraid that I might be declared an outcaste. For this reason I couldn’t stay long in the village. I came back.”
Right conduct according to the Vedas, the Puranas and the Tantras
“The Vedas and the Puranas talk of right conduct. What the Vedas and Puranas prohibit is recommended in the Tantras as good.
“What spiritual states have I passed through! I would open my mouth wide as if it would touch both heaven and the nether world. And I would utter, ‘Ma,’ (Mother) as though I were pulling the Mother inside, just as the fishes are pulled along with the net.”
O, Kali! I am going to devour You this time. O, You who are full of compassion for the lowly, I will surely eat You up.
Though I say that I will eat You, yet I’ll not take You into my stomach.
Instead I’ll make You sit on the lotus of my heart where I shall worship You with my heart.
(I am born under the constellation Ganda yoga (evil star).)
The child who is born under the Ganda yoga constellation eats his own mother.
This time either You will eat me, or I will devour You. And thus the two will become one.
I will smear my hands, face and other parts of the body with black (black being the colour of Kali.)
When Yama (god of death) comes and binds me tight, I shall rub his face with Kali (Kali in two senses: one, Mother Kali, and the other, blackness.)
If You say that I shall be in trouble with Kala by eating Kali, I tell you that I am not afraid of it.
I will defy him while uttering the name of Kali.
I shall eat the vegetables of the Dakinis and Yoginis. I will snatch the string of skulls from them and make a sour broth with it.
I will make him understand well that I am Ramprasad, the son of Kali.
Whether it means spiritual disciplines or brings the death of the body, whatever it maybe, I shall certainly do it.
“I was like one gone mad. Such madness results from deep longing.”
Narendra sings –
O Mother, make me mad with Thy love.
What need is there for knowledge or reason?
While listening to the song. Sri Ramakrishna again goes into samadhi.
When he comes down from the samadhi, he takes up the mood of Girirani and sings the agamani song. Says Girirani, “O residents of this place, has my Uma come?” Intoxicated with intense love, Thakur sings the song.
After the song, Sri Ramakrishna says to the devotees, ‘You see, it is the Mahashtami day. So the Mother has come! That is why I feel such an arousing of divine inspiration!”
Kedar — Lord, you yourself have come. There is no Mother other than you.
Thakur glances in another direction and begins to sing the following song in a casual manner –
O, sakhi! Where is He for whom I am going mad?
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva have together broken Navadvip like mad gods.
And I have seen another mad person in Vrindavan who has made Radha his king and stands there in the garb of a police officer.
Another mad fellow I saw on the road to Navadvip carrying his love for Radha in his kamandala. He roams about with it saying, ‘Here is nectar
Again going into an ecstatic mood, Thakur sings –
You are the river of nectar, O Mother Shyama! Who can fathom your various moods?
While Thakur is singing the song, Vijay suddenly stands up and says, “Haribol, Haribol.” Intoxicated with divine emotion, Sri Ramakrishna begins to dance with him and other devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna with devotees
After the singing of devotional songs, Sri Ramakrishna, Vijay, Narendra and the other devotees sit down. All eyes are fixed on Thakur. It is not yet dusk. Thakur talks to them, making polite enquiries. Kedar folds his hands and in a most humble and sweet manner tells Thakur something. Narendra, Chunilal, Surendra, Ram, M. and Harish sit close to them.
Kedar (very humbly, to Sri Ramakrishna) — How can I get rid of my dizziness?
Sri Ramakrishna (lovingly) — It does happen. I also had it. Apply some almond oil. They say it cures dizziness.
Kedar — I shall do it, sir.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Chunilal) — I say, brother, how are you?
Chunilal — Everything is fine with me. Balaram Babu, Rakhal and the others are well in Vrindavan.
Sri Ramakrishna — Why did you send so much sandesh?
Chunilal — I have just come from Vrindavan, Sir…
Chunilal had accompanied Balaram to Vrindavan. He was there for several months. His vacation having ended, he is now back in Calcutta.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Harish) — Wait a couple of days before you go to Dakshineswar. You fell ill there. The same may happen again.
(Lovingly to Narayan) “Come and sit near me. Come to Dakshineswar tomorrow and have your meal there. (Pointing at M.) Come with him. (To M.) What do you say?”
M. wants to go to Dakshineswar with Thakur this very day. He becomes thoughtful. Surendra has been there for a long time. He went home once, but has come back and is now standing beside Thakur.
Surendra drinks liqour. He used to drink so much that Thakur had begun to worry about him. However, Sri Ramakrishna didn’t ask him to give up drinking altogether. He said to him, “Look here, Surendra, whatever you drink, first offer to the Divine Mother. And take only so much that you are not dizzy and you do not stagger. When you actively keep your mind on the Divine Mother, you will develop some aversion to drinking. She is the source of karanananda. When you attain Her, you feel a natural bliss.”
Surendra is standing beside Sri Ramakrishna. Glancing at him, Thakur suddenly asks, “Have you been drinking wine?” Saying so, he goes into an ecstatic mood.
It is dusk. As he regains a little external awareness, Thakur repeats the Divine Mother’s name and begins to sing happily –
The Mother is always lost in the ecstasy of joy in the company of Shiva
Though drunk with nectar, She reels but does not fall.
Erect She stands on Shiva’s bosom and the earth trembles under Her step.
More than mad, both are indifferent to fear and shame.
It is already dusk. Sri Ramakrishna is uttering the name of Hari, clapping his hands in between. He chants in a sweet voice, “Haribol, Haribol, Harimaya, Haribol, Hari, Hari, Haribol.”
And then he chants the name of Rama, “Rama, Rama, Rama! Rama, Rama, Rama! Rama, Rama.”
Sri Ramakrishna’s prayer – how to pray?
Now Thakur prays –
“Oh, Rama! Oh, Rama! I am without bhajan, without sadhan (austerity), without devotion (bhakti), without ritualistic worship! I take refuge in You, Oh Rama; in You I take refuge! I don’t want creature comforts, oh Rama! Nor worldly esteem, nor the eight occult powers, nor even a hundred occult powers, oh Rama! I take refuge in You, Your refuge alone, oh Rama! Just grant that I may develop pure love for Your lotus feet, oh Rama! And may I never be deluded by your world-bewitching maya! Rama, my Rama! My refuge!”
While Sri Ramakrishna prays thus, everyone’s eyes are fixed on him. Hearing his compassionate voice, many devotees shed tears.
Ram stands close by.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Ram) — Ram, where were you?
Ram — Sir, I was upstairs.
Ram was upstairs arranging a feast for Thakur and the devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling at Ram) — Isn’t it better to stay at a lower level than to go up? Water collects on low ground, but it flows off higher levels.
Ram (laughing) — True, sir.
Leaf plates for dinner have been laid on the terrace. Ramachandra takes Thakur and the devotees to the terrace and makes them eat heartily. Sri Ramakrishna, then accompanied by Niranjan, M. and others, go to Adhar’s house. The Mother of the Universe has arrived there – it is the Mahashtami day! Adhar had prayed especially that Thakur be present, for then alone would his worship be successful.
 The eighth lunar day of the bright fortnight of Aswin or Kartik which is the second day of the autumnal worship of Goddess Durga
 The eight day of either fortnight of the lunar month
 The Divine Mother, giver of divine inebriation
 A royal ascetic sage
 One who has attained Brahman and teaches its essence to others
 Spiritually perfect since birth
 One who is both a god and a saint
 Such a person is put in exalted spiritual states – his Kundalini reaches to higher spiritual centres.
 Nectar of divine feet
 Washermen and barbers are considered to be belonging to a low caste
 Meaning that Narendra is attending to both the spiritual life and the worldly life
 A holy food consisting of boiled rice with clarified butter
 Shiva, the consort of Kali
 The spirits of destruction
 For complete song see Volume I, Section XII
 Wife of King Himalaya and mother of Uma
 Any of the songs about the coming of Uma, Shiva’s wife, to her father’s house
 The milkmaid friend of Radha
 Mendicant water pot made of gourd shell
 For the full song see M. the Apostle and the Evangelist, Vol. 1, Section 13, Chapter 2
 Bliss of divine inebriation
 Repeat the name of Hari
 Singing of devotional songs