Sri Ramakrishna with Devotees at Kali Temple in Dakshineswar
With devotees in Dakshineswar – on the Phalaharini puja day
Manilal, Trailokya, Biswas, Ram Chatterji, Balaram, Narendra and Rakhal
The fourteenth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Jaishtha. People are fasting on the fourteenth day of savitri. The Phalaharini puja will be celebrated at night on the last day of the dark fortnight. Sri Ramakrishna is sitting in the shrine of the Kali Temple in Dakshineswar. The devotees are coming to see him. It is Monday, 4 June, 1883.
M. had visited Sri Ramakrishna last Sunday. The Katyayani puja was held last night. Thakur, full of emotion, stands in front of the Mother in the natmandir. He says –
Mother, You are the Katyayani of Braja. You are heaven, You are the earth. And You are the nether world.
Hari, Brahma, the twelve Gopals, ten great sciences and ten avatars have all originated out of You.
This time You shall have to take me across by any means.
Thakur sings and talks to the Mother. He is fully intoxicated with divine love. Now he goes to his room and sits down on his cot.
The Mother was worshipped until midnight.
The following morning, a Monday, Balaram and some other devotees have arrived. Trailokya and other proprietors of the garden have come with their families for the Phalaharini puja.
It is nine o’clock. Thakur sits on the round verandah overlooking the Ganges with a smile on his face. Playfully he places Rakhal’s head on his lap – Rakhal is lying down. For some days, Thakur has regarded Rakhal as Gopala (baby Krishna).
Trailokya is going to the temple for Mother Kali’s darshan. On his way he passes Thakur’s room. Attendants holding an umbrella accompany him. Sri Ramakrishna exclaims, “Rakhal, ‘Get up.’ ”
Sri Ramakrishna sits up and Trailokya bows down to him.
Sri Ramakrishna — Brother, was there no yatra (musical performance) yesterday?
Trailokya — No, it could not be arranged.
Ramakrishna — Well, let it pass this time, but you must see to it that it is not forgotten in the future. One must continue to observe the injunctions.
Trailokya, assenting, leaves. Shortly after, Ram Chatterji, the priest of the Vishnu temple, arrives.
Sri Ramakrishna — Ram, I said to Trailokya, ‘The yatra was not performed. You must see to it that it is not forgotten in future.’ Should I have said that?
Ram Chatterji — Sir, what is wrong with it? You were right. One must follow the traditions.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Balaram) — Please eat here today.
Before the meal, Thakur tells the devotees a number of things about his spiritual state. Rakhal, Balaram, M., Ramlal and one or two other devotees are present.
Sri Ramakrishna is angry with Hazra – seeing God in man
Sri Ramakrishna — Hazra used to instruct me, saying, ‘Why do you think so much about the young men?’ One day in a carriage, on the way to Balaram’s house, I was very worried about it. I said to the Mother, ‘Mother, Hazra asks why I think so much of Narendra and the other young men. He asks why I spend so much time worrying about them, instead of meditating.’ While I was saying this, She immediately showed me that She had indeed become a human being. One can clearly see Her in a very pure mind. Having seen Her form, when I came down a little from samadhi, I was very angry with Hazra. I said to myself, ‘That rascal has defiled my mind!’ Then I said, ‘Well, after all, he was not to be blamed. How could he know?’
Sri Ramakrishna’s first meeting with Narendra
“I see the young men as the very manifestations of Narayana. When I met Narendra for the first time, I noticed that he did not have body consciousness. I just touched his chest with my hand and he lost all external consciousness. When he returned to his normal state, he exclaimed, ‘I say, what did you do to me? I have my father and mother!’ This happened in Jadu Mallick’s house. Gradually, I felt more and more longing to see him. I became restless for him. Then I asked Bholanath, ‘I say, brother, what is the matter with me? There is a boy, kayastha by caste, named Narendra. Why do I feel such attraction for him?’ Bholanath told me, ‘The Mahabharata explains it. When the mind of a person who goes into samadhi comes down, he wants to live and associate with sattvic people. He feels contented only when he meets such people.’ When I heard this that was I at peace with myself. At times I sat down and wept to see Narendra.”
His Earlier Story: Sri Ramakrishna intoxicated in divine mood and his vision of God’s form
Sri Ramakrishna — Oh, what a state I was in! When I had this state, I didn’t know how days and nights passed by. Everybody said that I had gone mad. So they married me off. I was in the state of divine madness. First I was worried for my wife. Then I thought, ‘Well, she can live, eat and drink normally, as I do.’ I went to my father-in-law’s house where a big kirtan was being performed. Nafar, Digambar Bannerji’s father, and others attended. There was a lot of devotional music. At times I felt worried about the future. Then I said to the Mother, ‘Mother, if the zemindar (landlord) of the village talks to me and shows me his respect, I will know that all my spiritual realizations are true.’ And he did come on his own to talk to me nicely.
His Earlier Story: Worship of sundari and kumari – witnesses Ramlila and balloon in the Maidan – feeding of cowherd boys in Sihore – with Mathur in his Janbazar house
“What a state I passed through! A very ordinary thing would at once fill me with inspiration. I worshipped sundari. She was a fourteen-year old girl. I saw her as the manifestation of Mother Herself. I offered her a rupee and bowed down to her.
“I went to see Ramlila. I saw the real Sita, Rama, Lakshmana, and Bibhishana before me. So I worshipped all the actors who were playing these parts.
“I invited kumaris and worshipped them. I saw them as the Mother Herself.
“One day I saw a girl in blue robes standing under a bakul tree. She was a prostitute, but my mind at once became filled with Sita. Instead of the girl, I saw Sita herself coming to Rama after being freed from Lanka. For a long time I was unconscious, in the state of samadhi.
“Another day I went for a walk in the Fort Maidan. A big crowd had gathered to watch a balloon being released. My eyes fell on a European boy leaning against a tree with his body bent in three places. My mind was at once filled with the consciousness of Sri Krishna, and I passed into samadhi.
“In Sihore I served snacks and drinks to cowherd boys, as though they were real cowherds of Braja. Then I ate with them too.
“I often lost consciousness, so Mathur Babu kept me with him in his Janbazar house for a number of days. I felt as though I had truly become a maid of the Mother of the Universe. The women of the household were as comfortable and free with me as with a small boy or a girl. With the maidservant, I used to escort Mathur’s daughter to her husband’s room to sleep.
“Even now my mind is transported at the thought of the slightest thing. Before, I could not keep myself still when I saw Rakhal mumble while performing japa. I would immediately be transported by the thought of the Lord.”
Sri Ramakrishna narrates many other things about his prakriti bhava (feminine state). He says, “I told a male musician about the tips of female musicians. He said, ‘How well you do it! Where did you learn it?’ ” Thakur then begins to mimic a female musician, giving tips on how she sings. None of the devotees could keep from laughing.
Thakur with Manilal – an ocean of motiveless grace
Sri Ramakrishna is resting awhile after eating. He is not sleeping, but is a bit drowsy. Manilal Mallick, an old Brahmo devotee, enters and bows down to Thakur. He takes a seat. Thakur remains lying on his bed. Manilal talks to him casually. Thakur is half-asleep, half-awake. He responds to Manilal.
Manilal — Shivanath is all praise for Nityagopal. He says that Nityagopal is in a very nice spiritual state.
Thakur is still lying on his bed, his eyes a bit drowsy. He asks, “What does he say about Hazra?” Thakur now sits up and talks to Manilal about Bhavanath’s bhakti.
Sri Ramakrishna — Oh, what a nice spiritual state he is in! His eyes fill with tears when he sings. At the sight of Harish he goes into ecstasy. He says that Harish is truly a very good man. You see, Harish leaves his own house and stays here [at Dakshineswar] at times.
Sri Ramakrishna asks M., “Well, why does he have so much bhakti? Why do Bhavanath and others get inspired with God?”
M. remains silent.
Sri Ramakrishna — You know how it is? All men look alike on the outside, but some of them have ‘sweetened milk’ within. The pooli may have lentils as its filling, or sweetened milk. In both cases it looks alike. A filling of ‘sweetened milk’ is the desire to know the Lord and to have ecstatic love for Him.
Salvation and vision of one’s own real Self by Guru’s grace –Thakur grants fearlessness
Now Thakur grants fearlessness to the devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — Some think that they will never gain jnana and bhakti, that they are bound souls. But when the Guru’s grace descends on someone, he need not fear. A tigress came into a flock of goats. When it sprang on its prey, it gave birth to a cub. The tigress died, but the cub grew up in the flock of goats. The goats ate grass and so did the cub. They bleated, so the cub also began to bleat. The cub grew to become a big tiger. One day another tiger happened to come into the flock of goats. It was amazed to see a tiger eating grass. It ran toward it and grabbed it in its paws. The latter began to bleat. The wild tiger dragged it to a pond and said, ‘Look at your face in this water. You are exactly like me. Here is some meat, eat it.’ Saying so, it forced the meat into the mouth of the grass-eating tiger. It at first refused to take it and began to bleat, but having tasted blood, it began to eat the meat. The wild tiger said, ‘Have you understood now? You are just like me. Now accompany me to the forest.’
“If the grace of the Guru dawns, there is no fear. The Guru makes you understand who you are, what your real nature is?
“If you practice a little spiritual disciplines, the Guru tells you everything: Do this now and that later. In time, one begins to understand what is real and what is unreal. The Lord is the Reality and the world illusory.”
Even pretense of spiritual practice is useful – a jivanmukta may live in household
“One night a fisherman was casting his net in a garden pond and stealing fish. When the owner of the garden came to know of it, he surrounded the fisherman with his men. They started searching for him with torches etc. In the meantime the fisherman had smeared his body with some ash and sat under a tree like a sadhu. The men looked for the fisherman everywhere, but could not find him. They only saw a sadhu with ash smeared on his body sitting under a tree meditating. The next day the whole neighbourhood was agog with the news that a sadhu of high spiritual attainment had arrived in the garden. Many people went to the sadhu and offered him flowers, fruits, sandesh and sweetmeats to show their respect. They also offered him a lot of money. The fisherman said to himself, ‘What a wonder! I am not a real sadhu. Yet people have so much devotion for me. Should I become a genuine sadhu, I would assuredly realize the Lord. There is no doubt about it.’
“Even the pretense of spiritual practice brought awakening. Had it been true sadhana, how much more awakening would one acquire? One would know what is real and what is illusory. The Lord, indeed, is the Reality and the world transitory.”
A devotee is thinking, “Is the world transitory? The fisherman renounced the world. But what about those who continue to live in the world? Must they also renounce it?” Sri Ramakrishna, the ocean of motiveless grace, immediately says to M., “If a clerk is sent to jail, he has to finish his term there. But when he is released, does he begin to dance joyfully in the street to the beat of the drum? He again finds the job of a clerk and takes up his old profession. By the grace of the Guru, having acquired jnana, one continues to live in the household as a jivanmukta.”
Saying so, Sri Ramakrishna grants fearlessness to the householders.
Sri Ramakrishna with Manilal and others – God without-form
Manilal (to Sri Ramakrishna) — At what place should I meditate during my daily worship?
Sri Ramakrishna — The heart is a well-known place, meditate on God there.
Faith is all-important – Haladhari believes in the formless God – Sambhu’s belief
Manilal, a Brahmo devotee, believes in the formless God. Addressing him, Thakur says, “Kabir used to say that God with form was his mother and the formless God his father. And he added, ‘Whom to slight and whom to worship? Both sides of the scales are even.’ ”
“Haladhari used to live with God with form during the day and the formless God at night. That is why, whichever bhava you adopt, you can succeed if you have the right kind of faith. Whether you believe in God with form, or in the formless God, you must have sincere faith.”
His earlier story: The first ecstasy – is the Lord the doer or is it coincidence?
“Sambhu Mallick used to come to his garden on foot from Baghbazar. Somebody said to him, ‘It is so far away, why don’t you take a cab? Some misfortune could occur on the way.’ Sambhu blushed with anger and said, ‘What! I set out on my journey after repeating God’s name. How can there be any unfortunate incident?’ By having faith in Him, you can do anything! I used to say that I would believe only if I saw such and such person – if such and such accountant talked to me. At that time, whatever used to come to my mind would come to pass.”
M. had studied logic. He had read that it is just coincidence that morning dreams tally with actual events; that, in fact, it was just superstition. He had read this from a chapter on fallacies. So he asks Sri Ramakrishna –
M. — Well, did it ever happen that the actual event did not tally with what you thought?
Sri Ramakrishna — It always tallied. I would repeat His name and whatever I believed would come to pass. (To Manilal) But do you know the fact? Unless you are guileless and generous, you cannot have sincere faith.
“People with such physical traits as a neck bone that is too prominent, and hollow or squint eyes, do not easily acquire faith. ‘It is a misfortune to meet bad omens such as a banana tree in the south, the pui creeper in the north and a black tomcat passing in front of you!’ ”(All laugh.)
Thakur’s compassion for Bhagavati, the maidservant – Sri Ramakrishna and a wife’s chastity and faithfulness toward her husband
It is dusk. The maidservant comes and burns incense in the room. Manilal has left but there are still one or two people in the room. It is still and fragrant. Thakur is sitting on the smaller cot. Rakhal is also there.
After some time Bhagavati, the maidservant of the temple proprietor, salutes Sri Ramakrishna from a distance. Thakur asks her to sit down. Bhagavati has been serving for a very long time. She has been with the proprietor for several years. Thakur has known her for many years. Since childhood she has been temperamental, but Thakur is an ocean of compassion, a savior of the fallen. He talks to her about things in the past.
Sri Ramakrishna — You are getting old. Do you feed sadhus and Vaishnavas with the money you earn?
Bhagavati (smiling) — How can I say that?
Sri Ramakrishna — Have you been to Kashi, Vrindavan and so forth?
Bhagavati (a bit hesitant) — How can I say it myself? I have paid for building a ghat paved with stones and my name is engraved on one of the slabs.
Sri Ramakrishna — What are you saying?
Bhagavati —Yes, my name is engraved there as Srimati Bhagavati Devi.
Sri Ramakrishna — Nice, very nice indeed.
Now taking courage, Bhagavati takes the dust of Thakur’s feet.
Sri Ramakrishna stands up stunned, uttering, “Govinda, Govinda,” just like a person bitten by a scorpion is startled and stands up suddenly. There was the Ganges water in a pitcher in a corner of the room – it is still there. He reaches the pitcher out of breath, as if frightened, and starts washing the spot, she had touched, with the Ganges water.
One or two devotees present in the room watch this affair in silent amazement. The maid is seated there as if dead. Sri Ramakrishna, the ocean of compassion, the savior of the fallen, addresses the maid and says in a touching voice, “You may salute me from a distance.” Saying so, he goes back to his seat and tries to make her forget the incident. He says, “Now listen to some songs.” And he begins to sing.
The bee of my mind drinks deeply at the blue lotus-like feet of Mother Shyama.
At the blue lotus-like feet of Shyama, at the blue lotus-like feet of Mother Kali.
The honey of all worldly things – the flowers of lust and so on – has lost all charm for it.
The feet of the Mother are black-hued, so is the bee; black has mixed with black.
The five elements, turbulent and fascinating, have broken away on seeing this play.
It is only now that Kamalakanta has seen the fulfillment of his hopes.
Joys or sorrows are the same to him; the ocean of joy rolls on.
The kite of mind was soaring high up in the sky of the feet of Mother Shyama.
The rough wind of ‘faults’ made it fall circling to the ground.
Maya’s pull made it heavy and I could not raise it again.
It got entangled with the string of the love for wife and children.
Alas! The crest of jnana [of the kite] is rent. One may pull at it but it falls down.
It has lost its crest, so how can it fly? The six passions have overpowered it.
It was tied to the string of bhakti. While playing, it fell into illusion.
O Nareschandra! Rather then weep or laugh, it was better not to have come to play.
O my mind, live by yourself,
Don’t go to any other’s house.
Search within yourself,
You will find there all you are looking for.
I say, brother, He Himself is the philosopher’s stone, the supreme wealth,
He can give you all you want.
At the door of Chintamani (wish-fulfilling gem; God) there are heaps and heaps of gems.
 On this day a fast is kept by Hindu married women
 On this day the Divine Mother is worshipped as the consumer of the karmas of the devotee
 Worship of Goddess Durga
 Bholanath was a clerk in the Kali Temple. Later he became the treasurer.
 A beautiful girl
 An unmarried young girl
 Play of Lord Rama
 A ring shaped sweetmeat with some filling in it
 One liberated in this very life
 A creeper used as a pot herb
 Followers of Sri Chaitanya; worshippers of Lord Vishnu
 She means yes. In India, people usually do not mention about their pious deeds.