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Sri Ramakrishna in Samadhi with Devotees in the Dead of Night of the Kali Puja in Dakshineswar
M., Baburam, Gopal, Haripada, Niranjan’s relative, Ramlal and Hazra
It is Saturday, 18 October, 1884, the occasion of the Kali Puja. The worship will start at ten or eleven o’clock at night. A number of devotees intend to see Sri Ramakrishna in this deep dark night of the new moon. They are coming in hastily.
M. has come alone about eight in the evening. Reaching the garden, he sees that the great celebrations at the Kali Temple have already started. The glow from the lamps in the Temple light up the shrine beautifully. Every now and then the music of the roshan chowki is heard. The employees of the Temple move about quickly from one place to another in the garden. The villagers of Dakshineswar have heard that there will be a celebration tonight at the Kali Temple of Rasmani. Late at night, a musical play will be staged. Many people from the village – old men, women and children – frequently come to the Temple for the darshan of the deity.
The Chandi was recited earlier in the evening by Rajnarayan. Thakur, full of divine joy, heard it with the devotees. Today the Mother of Universe will be worshipped, so Thakur is overwhelmed with joy.
Arriving at eight o’clock, M. finds Thakur seated on the smaller cot with a number of devotees sitting on the floor facing him. They are Baburam, the Younger Gopal, Haripada, Kishori, a young man related to Niranjan and another young man from Ariadaha. Ramlal and Hazra come and go at short intervals.
The relative of Niranjan is seated in front of Thakur. He is meditating as Thakur had asked him to do.
M. salutes Thakur and sits down. After awhile, Niranjan’s relative salutes Thakur and takes his leave. The other young man from Ariadaha offers his obeisance and rises to leave with him.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Niranjan’s relative) — When will you come next?
The Devotee — Possibly on Monday, Sir.
Sri Ramakrishna (lovingly) — Do you need the lamp? Would you like to take it with you?
The Devotee — No, Sir. I don’t live far from the garden. I don’t need it.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the young man from Ariadaha) — Are you also leaving?
The Boy — Sir, I have a slight cold.
Sri Ramakrishna — Then you must cover your head on your way home.
They both salute Thakur again and leave.
Sri Ramakrishna with devotees, in the dead of night at the Kali Puja in Dakshineswar – in the joy of devotional songs
It is a deep dark night of the new moon and the worship of the Mother of the Universe is being performed. Sri Ramakrishna is leaning against a pillow on his cot. He is in a pensive mood. He says a word or two to the devotees now and then.
Suddenly he looks at M. and the devotees and says, “Oh, how that young man meditates!” (To Haripada) “I say, what a meditation it was!”
Haripada — Yes, sir. He was just like a log of wood.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Kishori) — Do you know him? He is a cousin of Niranjan.
Again there is complete silence. Haripada is gently stroking Sri Thakur’s feet. Thakur had heard the Chandi sung late in the afternoon. It is as though it now comes spontaneously from him. He softly sings –
Is there anybody who knows Kali, She who is the consort of Kala? Even the six schools of philosophy do not reveal Her.
The yogi meditates on Her at the Muladhara and Sahasrara.
A goose and a gander go about in this wilderness of lotuses and associate with each other. They are Kala and His consort.
My Divine Mother is the most beloved of Shiva (the Absolute), even as Sita is the most beloved of Rama.
She appears in Her majesty in each ghat (finite being) as an individual, just as She pleases. She is Ichhamai.
It is the Mahakala (Spirit of Eternity, Absolute) that knows the greatness of my Divine Mother – greatness, which is hidden from the view of ordinary beings. Who else can know to such an extent?
My Divine Mother gives birth to the Universe – now think of Her greatness!
Says Prasad (the psalmist): ‘To think that one can know Her is to think that one can swim across the mighty ocean. People only laugh at the idea.’
I understand this well enough with my mind, but alas, my prana (heart) will not see this. It is a dwarf aspiring to get to the moon.
Thakur sits up. It is the day of the worship of the Mother, so he is going to recite Her name. Next he sings with great enthusiasm –
All this is the sport of my mad Mother (whose maya has deluded the three worlds). All this is the infallible secret play of that lady.
She Herself is mad, mad is Her husband, and so are both of Her disciples.
One cannot see in what form She is, what attributes are Her’s, how She conducts Herself, or what Her bhava (mood) is.
With burning poison in his throat Shiva chants Her name.
She starts a controversy between God Personal and God Impersonal.
She breaks one clod of earth with another.
This lady is happy with everything except work which angers Her.
Says Prasad, ‘Float the raft patiently on the sea of life.
It will drift up with the tide and drift down when it ebbs.’
Thakur is intoxicated with divine love as he sings the songs. He says, “All these songs indicate the state of divine inebriation.” He then sings –
O, Kali! I am going to devour You this time…
Therefore, I ask You, O Kali…
O, ever blissful Kali, the enchantress of the heart of almighty Mahakala.
You dance alone. And You sing alone clapping Your hands.
O Mother, You are the first Cause, the Eternal One, in the form of the Void and wearing the moon on Your forehead.
When the universe did not exist, where did You find Your string of severed human heads?
You alone are the Mover in everybody; we are but instruments in Your hands.
We move as You make us move; we speak as You make us speak.
But the restless Kamalakanta gently chides You, saying,
‘Mother, the Destroyer of all, holding Your sword, now You have devoured both my virtue and vice!’
If I die uttering, ‘Victory to Kali, victory to Kali!’
I shall assuredly attain Shivahood. Then what use is going to Benares?
Infinite are my Mother Kali’s forms. Who can find the end of Kali?
Knowing a little of Her greatness, Shiva lies prostrate at Her red-hued feet.
As the song ends the two sons of Rajnarayan come and salute Thakur. Rajnarayan had chanted the Chandi song in the evening in the natmandir. His two sons had chanted with him. Thakur sings the song again with the boys.
All this is the sport of my mad Mother.
The younger boy says to Thakur, “Can’t we have that song again, ‘O Lord, so full of compassion…’ ”
Sri Ramakrishna says, “Gaur and Nitai, you two brothers…” Saying so, he sings the song.
O Lord, Gaur and Nitai, you two brothers are so full of compassion…
The song ends. Ramlal enters the room. Thakur says to him, “Sing a little. It is the day of the worship of Kali.”
Ramlal sings –
Who is this Woman who lights the battlefield?
Her body is like a dark storm cloud. And Her teeth flash like lightening.
Her hair is disheveled and She runs about fearlessly among the gods and the demons.
She destroys the demons with terrible laughter on Her face. Thus She flashes like lightening in battle.
The drops of diligence falling on Her body of red lotuses look beautiful!
Beholding Her Sea of Beauty, the moon has shed its lustre.
Is it impossible that Shiva, who enthralls the Universe, is lying at Her feet as if dead?
Kamalakanta wonders who this Woman with the gait of an elephant can be.
Who is this Woman in the midst of the battlefield, dark as the sky at midnight?
She who is floating like a blue lotus on the red sea of blood…
The bee of my mind drinks deep at the blue lotus-like feet of Mother Shyama…
The music and the dance end. The devotees again sit on the floor and Thakur sits on the smaller cot.
He says to M., “You were not here. How nice the Chandi was!”
In samadhi, on the occasion of Kali Puja – voice from above concerning intimate disciples
Some of the devotees go into the Kali Temple for darshan of the deity. Others, having paid their homage, sit alone on the ghat steps on the bank of the Ganges and silently recite the Name. It is about eleven o’clock deep in the night. The Bhagirathi (Ganges) flows toward the north in flood tide. One has glimpses of the dark-coloured water under the light of the lamps on the bank.
Ramlal comes to the Mother’s shrine with a book titled Rituals of Worship to place in the shrine. Seeing Mani looking eagerly at the Mother, he says, “Would you like to come in?” Mani enters the shrine gratefully. He sees the Mother beautifully decorated. The shrine is well lit. There are two lamps in front of Her and chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The offerings of worship fill the floor of the shrine. At Mother’s feet are hibiscus flowers and vilwa leaves. The priest in charge of clothing Her has decorated the Mother with various garlands. Mani sees a chamara (deer hair fly whisker) hanging in front of him. It suddenly comes to his mind how Sri Ramakrishna fans the Goddess with the same chamara. Hesitatingly he asks Ramlal whether he can use the chamara for awhile. Ramlal permits him to fan the Mother with it. The worship has not yet started.
All those devotees who had gone out return to Sri Ramakrishna’s room and assemble there.
Beni Pal has sent an invitation for Thakur to visit the Sinthi Brahmo Samaj the next day. He had, however, made a mistake in the letter concerning the date.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — Beni Pal has sent an invitation. But I would like to know why he has given this date?
M. — Sir, there is a mistake. The letter has not been written carefully.
Thakur is now standing in the room with Baburam beside him. He is talking about Beni Pal’s letter. He touches Baburam and at once passes into samadhi.
The devotees stand all around Sri Ramakrishna. They gaze in speechless wonder at this great saint in samadhi. His left leg is extended and his neck is bent a little forward. He has placed his hand at the nape of Baburam’s neck, near the ear.
After some time he comes out of samadhi. He stands with his hand on his cheek, appearing worried.
Smiling a little, he addresses the devotees –
Sri Ramakrishna — I have seen how far you all have advanced. I have seen Rakhal, him (Mani), Surendra, Baburam, and many others!
Hazra — Me?
Sri Ramakrishna — Yes.
Hazra — Is there still much bondage?
Sri Ramakrishna — No.
Hazra — Did you see Narendra?
Sri Ramakrishna — No, I didn’t see him. But I can say this, that he is a bit entangled. But I saw that everybody will succeed.
(Casting his glance at Mani) “I saw that all were hiding themselves.”
The devotees are speechless and listen to the wonderful words of Thakur as though a voice from above.
Sri Ramakrishna — But I passed into that mood when I touched him (Baburam).
Hazra — Who comes first?
Sri Ramakrishna doesn’t reply. After awhile, he says, “All are not like Nityagopal.”
Thakur is still thoughtful. He stands in the same mood.
He adds, “I wish Adhar Sen had less work. But then I am afraid his British boss might scold him. He might say, “What is all this nonsense?” (All smile a little.)
Thakur returns to his seat. The devotees are sitting on the floor. Baburam and Kishori gently stroke Thakur’s feet.
Sri Ramakrishna (looking at Kishori) — Why so much service today!
Ramlal enters and prostrates himself to salute Thakur. He takes the dust of his feet in a deep devotional mood. He is going to offer worship to the Mother.
Ramlal (to Thakur) — May I go now?
Sri Ramakrishna — Om Kali, Om Kali. Offer the puja very carefully. Then you have to sacrifice a ram.
It is a deep dark night. The puja has begun. Sri Ramakrishna comes to watch the worship. He witnesses the puja, standing near the image of Mother Kali. Now the sacrifice. People stand in rows. The sacrificial ram has been consecrated before the Deity. Now the animal is being taken away for slaughter.
Sri Ramakrishna leaves the shrine and returns to his room. He is not in a frame of mind to see the animal slaughtered.
Some devotees stayed in the Mother’s shrine till two o’clock. Haripada comes to the Kali Temple and says, “Let’s go. They are asking for us. The food is ready.” The devotees take the prasad of the Goddess and sit down wherever they can find a place.
It is morning. The mangalarati of the Mother has been performed. In front of the Mother is the natmandir. A musical play is being staged there. The Mother is watching it. Sri Ramakrishna arrives from the bigger brick courtyard of the Kali Temple to see the play. He is accompanied by Mani. Mani is about to leave.
Sri Ramakrishna — Why are you leaving now?
Mani — You are going to Sinthi this evening. I also plan to be there, but I am going home first.
While talking they reach the Mother’s shrine. The natmandir is not far away. The theatrical performance is going on there. Mani prostrates on the ground and takes the dust of Thakur’s feet.
Thakur says, “Well, you may leave now. Just bring two pieces of simple cloth for me to use with my bath.”
 A symphony of sanai and other instruments
 The Spirit of Eternity
 Muladhara is the first lotus with four petals and is the root of the Sushumna in the spine. The Kundalini is coiled up at the Muladhara lotus.
 Sahasrara is the lotus of a thousand petals which is the goal of the Shakti awakened by the yogi at the Muladhara. When the Shakti reaches the Sahasrara and becomes united with Shiva or Brahman, the result is samadhi, Brahmajnana.
 She has Her own way in everything
 For complete song refer Section XII, Chapter III
 For complete song refer Section II, Chapter VII of this volume
 Waving of lights before the deity at dawn
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