Sri Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar with Devotees
Sri Ramakrishna’s first intoxication of divine love
His earlier story – Devendra Tagore, Dean Mukherji and Kumar Singh
It is the last day of the dark fortnight, 5 June, 1883. Sri Ramakrishna is at the Kali Temple garden. Since it is Tuesday, not many visitors have come. It is on Sundays that there is greater gathering of the devotees.
Rakhal and Hazra are with Sri Ramakrishna. Seating arrangements have been made on the verandah in front of Thakur’s room. M. has been staying here since the previous Sunday.
The musical drama ‘Krishna Yatra’ was staged on Monday night in the natmandir of Mother Kali’s temple. Thakur attended it for some time. This musical play was to have been staged on Sunday night, but was postponed until Monday.
After the midday meal, Thakur again narrates his state of divine ecstasy.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — What states of consciousness have I passed through! I did not eat here; I would go to the house of a brahmin either in Baranagore or Dakshineswar or Ariadaha. And I would go there at the wrong time. I would go and just sit there without saying a word. If I was asked anything, I would only say that I wanted to eat there. I said nothing else. I would go to Ram Chatterji’s house in Alambazar. Sometimes, I went to the house of Savaran Choudhury of Dakshineswar. I did eat there, but I didn’t like it. I found a distinctive smell of fish and meat.
“One day I decided to go to Devendra Tagore’s [Ravindra Nath Tagore’s father’s] house. I said to Mathur Babu, ‘Devendra repeats the Lord’s name. I want to see him. Will you please take me to him?’ Mathur Babu was a very arrogant person. He would not go to other people’s houses easily. He tried to dissuade me but later said, ‘Devendra and I were class fellows. I will take you to his house, baba (father).’
“Another day I heard that a fine person and devotee, Dina Mukherji, was living near the Baghbazar bridge. I approached Mathur Babu saying that I wanted to go to Dina Mukherji’s house. Mathur Babu was helpless; he took me in his carriage. It was a modest house, and here was a great man in a big carriage. They, as well as we, felt embarrassed. He was celebrating his son’s sacred thread ceremony. Where could he seat us? We were going to enter a nearby room when he said, ‘There are women in that room, you may not go in.’ Great embarrassment! When we left, Mathur Babu said to me, ‘Baba, I shall no longer listen to you.’ I laughed.
“What states have I passed through! Kumar Singh was giving a feast to the sadhus to which I was invited. When I got there, I found a number of sadhus present. I sat down and some of them asked who I was. As soon as they asked, I got up and sat down separately. I said to myself, ‘What does it matter?’ Later, when everyone was made to sit with leaf plates on the floor, I began to eat before anybody asked me to. I heard some sadhus saying, ‘Look what he is doing!’ ”
Conversation with Hazra – dialogue between Guru and disciple
Sri Ramakrishna (to Hazra) — Yes, to your way of thinking, all difficulties are over. It is He who is a believer and it is He who is an atheist; it is He who is good or bad; besides He is real and also unreal, that is, all the states of sleep etc. are also His. And then He is also beyond all states.
“A son was born to a peasant late in life. He raised the boy with great care. The boy grew up in time. One day the peasant was working in the field when somebody came to him and said, ‘Your boy is seriously ill. He might not survive.’ When the man reached home, his boy was dead. His wife was weeping bitterly but the eyes of the peasant remained dry. She complained to a neighbour sadly, ‘He has lost such a nice son, but there is not a tear in his eye!’ After a long time, the peasant said to his wife, ‘You know why I am not crying? I had a dream last night. I saw that I had become a king and the father of seven sons. I also saw in the dream that the boys were people of great quality. As they grew, they acquired knowledge and religion. Then the dream ended. I say to myself: Should I cry for your one son – or those seven sons?’ Jnanis believe that the state of dream is as true as the wakeful state.
“The Lord indeed is the doer. Everything happens according to His will.”
Hazra — But it is very difficult to understand. A sadhu of Bhukailas was tortured so terribly that he almost died. The sadhu was in samadhi. First they buried him, then they immersed him in water, and then they branded him with a hot iron. That is how he was brought back to consciousness. Because of such torture he died. People tortured him but he died by the Lord’s will.
Problem of evil and immortality of soul
Sri Ramakrishna — One reaps the consequences of one’s actions. By the Lord’s will the sadhu who was in samadhi died. The Kaviraj (Indian physician) makes makaradhvaja in bottles. They smear the bottles all around with mud and put them in a furnace. The gold in the bottles melts, gets mixed with other ingredients, and becomes makaradhvaja. The physician then carefully breaks the bottle and takes the makaradhvaja out. Obviously, the bottle is of use no longer – it makes no difference if it is or is not there. Similarly, though people killed the sadhu in ecstasy, perhaps he had already attained the goal. After attaining Bhagavan, what does it matter whether the body survives or dies?
Distinction between sadhu and avatar
“The sadhu from Bhukailas was in samadhi. Samadhi is of various kinds. My state tallied with what the sadhu of Rishikesh said. Sometimes I would find the spiritual current creeping up like an ant in my body, and sometimes it would hop up, just as a monkey jumps from one branch of the tree to another. Sometimes it moved like a fish. Only he who has experienced it can understand. He forgets the world. When his mind goes down a little, he prays, ‘Mother! Please cure me. I would like to talk.’
“Unless one belongs to the class of Ishvarakotis, one cannot return to life after samadhi. Some people go into samadhi as a result of their sadhana, but they don’t return. But when God Himself comes as a man, as an avatar, He has the key to the liberation of human beings in his hand. Then he returns from samadhi for the good of humanity.”
M. (to himself) — Does Thakur hold the key to the liberation of human beings in his hand?
Hazra — One can succeed just by pleasing the Lord – even without the avatar.
Sri Ramakrishna (laughing) — Yes, yes. There is a big registration office in Vishnupur. If you get the deed registered there, you don’t have to bother about the Goghat office!
Dialogue between Guru and disciple – life of Thakur narrated by himself
It is Tuesday, the day of new moon. It is dusk. Arati is being performed in the temple. Conch shells, bells and some other instruments are being sounded in the twelve Shiva Temples, in Radhakanta’s Temple and that of Mother Bhavatarini. After the arati is over, Sri Ramakrishna passes through his own room to the southern verandah. It is pitch dark, but lamps are lit at various places in the temple. The Bhagirathi (Ganges) reflects the dark sky on its bosom. It is the day of the new moon, Sri Ramakrishna has slipped easily into bhava. Today his bhava is becoming intense. From time to time he utters “Om” and the Mother’s name. It is hot weather. The room is very hot, so he has come to the verandah. A devotee’s offering of a thinly woven mat is now spread on the verandah. These days Thakur thinks about the Divine Mother all the twenty-four hours. He talks in a whisper with Mani as he lies on the mat.
Sri Ramakrishna — Look, the Lord can be seen! So and so has seen Him. But please don’t talk of it to others. Well, which one do you like better? God with form, or God without form?
Mani — At present I have greater liking for God without form. Even so, I am realizing gradually that He has taken all the different forms.
Sri Ramakrishna — Look, can you take me by carriage to the Mati Seal lake in Belgharia? If you throw a little puffed rice in the lake, all the fish gather to eat it. Oh, how the fish swim playfully! It is such a joyful sight! You will feel inspired, as if the fish of the Atman is sporting in the sea of Sachchidananda. In the same way if you stand in a big open field, you are inspired by the Lord – you feel as though you were a fish from an earthen pot which has jumped into the lake.
“You have to perform sadhana if you wish to see Him. I myself have undergone very hard austerities. How many kinds of spiritual disciplines have I practiced under the Bel tree! I would lie under the tree, crying, ‘Mother, please reveal Yourself to me.’ My body would become drenched with tears.”
Mani — You have undergone so many spiritual disciplines. How can people succeed in a moment? Can one construct a wall just by moving a finger all around the room?
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — Amrita says, ‘A man lights a fire and ten men take its heat sitting around it.’ And then, this is very true: it is good to remain in the lila (divine play) after having attained the Nitya (Absolute).
Mani — You said that lila is for enjoyment.
Sri Ramakrishna — No, even the lila is real. Look, bring some little offering when you come to me. Perhaps I shouldn’t say it myself; it may look egoistic, but I also say to Adhar, ‘Please bring something worth one paisa.’ To Bhavanath, I say, ‘Buy me betel leaves for a paisa.’ ‘Have you noticed what bhakti Bhavanath has! Narendra and Bhavanath are like male and female. Bhavanath is Narendra’s faithful follower. You must bring Narendra here in a carriage. Bring something to eat for him too. It will do you a great deal of good.
Philosophy and skepticism
“Jnana and bhakti are both paths to God-realization. In the path of bhakti, one has to observe more religious rules and rites. In the path of jnana, if somebody commits an unscriptural deed, it gets destroyed and does no harm. It is like a banana tree thrown into a roaring fire and is burnt.
“The path of jnana is the path of reasoning, which sometimes makes one become skeptical. In the case of a devotee who sincerely seeks Him, even if he becomes skeptical, he does not give up meditation on the Lord. If the ancestors of a person have been farmers, he does not give up farming, even if he has no crop for want of rain, or because of heavy rain in that year.”
Lying down, Thakur rests his head on a big pillow and continues talking. He says to Mani, “My feet are aching. Please stroke them a little.”
While rendering service to Thakur, the ocean of motiveless grace, Mani listens to the words of the Vedas issue from his holy lips.
 I am That
 Eternally free and perfect souls, born on earth for the good of mankind, with at least some of the characteristics of an avatar