Sri Ramakrishna with the Devotees at the Dakshineswar Temple
Sri Ramakrishna at the Kali Temple in Dakshineswar with devotees
Sri Ramakrishna is happy in the company of the devotees. Baburam, the Younger Naren, Paltu, Haripada and a few others are seated on the floor. A young brahmin who has been staying with Sri Ramakrishna for two or three days is also there. It is Saturday, 7 March 1885, 25th day of Phalgun; the time is about 3 o’ clock. It is the 7th day of the dark fortnight of Chaitra.
The Holy Mother is living in the nahabat these days. Occasionally she comes to Sri Ramakrishna’s room to serve him. Mohini Mohan has arrived by hired carriage with his wife and Navin Babu’s mother.
The ladies have gone to the nahabat to have the darshan of the Holy Mother and salute her. They have stayed there. They will pay their obeisance to Sri Ramakrishna when the male devotees have gone. Thakur is sitting on the smaller cot. As he looks at the young devotees, his face beams with joy.
Rakhal is not living in Dakshineswar at the present time. He had been in Vrindaban with Balaram for some months. Since his return, he lived at home.
Sri Ramakrishna (laughing) — Rakhal is on ‘pension’ these days. Since his return from Vrindaban, he has been staying at home. His wife is there. But he says, ‘I will not take a job, even if I am paid a thousand rupees a month.’
“One day when he was resting here he said, ‘I don’t even like you.’ Such was the exalted state of his mind then.
“Bhavanath is married, but he only talks of spiritual matters with his wife.
“Both of them pass their time talking about God. When I said to him, ‘Have fun with your wife,’ he spoke sharply in anger, ‘What! Shall we live a life of frivolity?’ ”
Sri Ramakrishna is now talking about Narendra.
Sri Ramakrishna to the devotees — I haven’t felt the same strong longing for the Younger Naren that I have for Narendra. But the Younger Naren doesn’t have as much yearning as Narendra has.
(To Haripada) “Do you go to Girish Ghosh’s house?”
Haripada — His house is quite close to ours. I often go there.
Sri Ramakrishna — Does Narendra go?
Haripada — Yes, sometimes I see him there.
Sri Ramakrishna — What is his opinion of Girish Ghosh’s view (about Divine Incarnation)?
Haripada — He (Narendra) was defeated in arguement.
Sri Ramakrishna — No. He said, ‘Girish Ghosh has so much faith, why should I argue with him?’
The brother of Judge Anukul Mukhopadhaya’s son-in-law has arrived.
Sri Ramakrishna — Do you know Narendra?
The brother of the son-in-law — Yes sir. Narendra is an intelligent boy.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees) — Since he has praise for Narendra, he himself must be a good man. Narendra came the other day. He and Trailokya sang, but I found their songs insipid.
Baburam and guarding ‘both the worldly and the spiritual’ – go beyond knowledge and ignorance
Sri Ramakrishna looks at Baburam and speaks. Baburam is in the entrance class (tenth) in the school where M. is teaching.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Baburam) — Where are your books? Don’t you want to study? (To M.) He wants to cling to both the worldly and the spiritual.
“This is very difficult. What use is it to know God only a little? Even Vaishishtha, though a rishi, suffered at the death of his son. Seeing this, Lakshmana was surprised and asked Rama about it. Rama said, ‘Brother, what is strange? He who has knowledge also has ignorance.’ When a thorn is embedded in your foot, you have to look for another thorn to pull out the first one. Having done that, you should throw away both thorns. The thorn of jnana is needed to get rid of the thorn of ignorance. And then you should go beyond both.”
Baburam (laughing) — That’s what I want.
Sri Ramakrishna (laughing) — But my boy, can you do it while holding to both? If you really want that, come away.
Baburam (laughing) — Pull me away.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — It was different when Rakhal was here. His father had agreed to it. It would create such a disturbance if these boys lived here.
(To Baburam) “You are faint-hearted. You don’t have enough courage. Just see what the younger Naren says – that he would come again immediately.”
Now Sri Ramakrishna goes and sits with the young devotees on a mat spread on the floor. M. is nearby.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — I am looking for one who has renounced lust and greed. When I find some young man, I think that perhaps he might stay with me, but everyone has an excuse.
“A ghost was looking for a companion. If a person dies an unnatural death on Saturday or Tuesday, he becomes a ghost. So, as soon as this ghost saw that somebody had fallen from the roof or had swooned on one of these days, he would run to him, hoping that the fellow, through an unnatural death, would turn into a ghost and keep him company. But as luck would have it, he saw each one of them survive. He did not find a companion.
“Just see, Rakhal is always talking about his wife. He says, ‘What will happen to her?’ When I put my hand on Narendra’s chest, he half fainted and said, ‘Oh! What have you done to me? I have my father and mother!’
“Why has the Divine Mother kept me in this state? Chaitanyadeva embraced sannyasa – so that everybody would pay him obeisance. Whoever salutes an Incarnation, even once, is liberated.”
Mohini Mohan has brought some sandesh in a straw container for Sri Ramakrishna.
Sri Ramakrishna — To whom does this sandesh belong?
Baburam pointed to Mohini Mohan.
Sri Ramakrishna utters “Om,” and touches the sandesh; then he eats a little of it, transforming it into prasad, and gives it to the devotees. To everyone’s surprise, he feeds Naren and a couple of other devotees with his own hand.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — This has significance. The Lord is more manifest in pure souls. When I used to go to the countryside (Kamarpukur), I would feed some of the boys in this way. Chiney Shankhari would say, ‘Why doesn’t he feed us that way?’ How could I? Some of them had affairs with their brother’s wife or some other women. How could I feed them?
His great word about devotees in samadhi
Sri Ramakrishna is swimming in a sea of joy with his devotees around. He sits on the small cot and imitates the manners of a woman kirtan singer. The woman singer is in her best dress. She stands, holding a coloured handkerchief in her hand, and coughs as if it were natural and then spits, raising her nose ring. When any important person comes in, she welcomes him, “Come in please,” while still singing. At times she raises her arms and uncovers her amulet, armlet, bracelet and other jewelry for everyone to see.
Seeing Sri Ramakrishna’s imitation, all the devotees burst into laughter. Paltu can’t control his laughter. Thakur looks at him and says to M., “Isn’t he a child? He is beside himself with laughter!”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Paltu, laughing) — Don’t tell your father all this. What little regard he has for me will disappear. He is an ‘Englishman’.
Gossip during japa and dip in the Ganges
(To the devotees) “So many talk about worldly things during their daily prayers and devotions.
“Without uttering a word, keeping their mouths shut, they speak by signs: bring this, take that away, ’Uh, Huh’. They do all these kinds of things. (Laughter.)
“And some bargain for fish with fishermen while counting their beads. Doing japa, with a finger they point out a particular fish. A ripe time indeed to settle their accounts! (All laugh.)
“Some of them go for a bath in the Ganges, but instead of thinking of God, they gossip about different worldly matters: ‘Your son has been married, what jewelry did they give as a dowry?… So-and-so is very ill… Has so-and-so returned from her father in-law’s house?… So-and-so came to see the girl (for matrimonial purposes). She would give a lot in dowry and have a very festive wedding ceremony… Harish is such a loving boy. He can’t live without me for even a moment… I couldn’t come these many days because I had to settle the marriage of such-and-such girl. I was so busy, you see.’ All this gossip.
“Just see, they have come for a holy dip in the Ganges and talk only about worldly things.”
Sri Ramakrishna looks steadily at Naren and soon goes into samadhi. Is he seeing the presence of God in a pure soul?
The devotees watch Sri Ramakrishna, this image of samadhi. There had been so much laughter, but now the room is still, as if no one were there. His body is motionless, his eyes fixed, and he is sitting with folded hands, as in a picture.
After awhile his samadhi breaks. His breathing had stopped; now he heaves a long sigh. Slowly he gains external consciousness. He looks at the devotees.
He is still in ecstasy. He addresses each devotee to some extent – about his state of mind, or what he will attain. (To the Younger Naren) “I had great longing to see you. You will attain the goal. Do come here once in awhile. Well, what do you prefer? Knowledge, or love and devotion for God?”
The Younger Naren — Only love and devotion for God.
Sri Ramakrishna — To whom will he offer his love, if he doesn’t know Him? (Pointing at M. and laughing) If you don’t know him, how can you offer him your love? (To M.) But since a pure soul has said that he wants only love and devotion, it certainly has some meaning.
“Without inborn tendencies, love and devotion for God does not come spontaneously. This is the mark of prema-bhakti. Jnana-bhakti is love of God based on reasoning. (To the Younger Naren) Let me see your body. Take off your shirt. Let me see. If your chest is fairly broad, you will succeed. Do come here now and then.”
Sri Ramakrishna is still in divine ecstasy. He affectionately addresses each devotee, saying –
(To Paltu) “You, too, will succeed spiritually. But it will take a little more time.”
(To Baburam) “Why don’t I pull you here? Because it would create a row in the end.
(To Mohini Mohan) “You are already there. Only a little remains. When that is done, all household duties will fall off. But should all of them fall off?”
Saying this, Thakur looks affectionately at him, as if to read the feelings of the innermost recesses of his mind. Was Mohini Mohan thinking that one should give up everything for the sake of God? After awhile Sri Ramakrishna adds, “God keeps a teacher of the holy word tied by a single string. Otherwise, who would propagate the holy word? He keeps this bond to enable him to teach humanity. The Divine Mother has kept you in the world just for this.”
Now he addresses the young brahmin.
Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga – the state of the Brahmajnani and that of the liberated in this very life
Sri Ramakrishna (to the young man) — Give up knowledge and reasoning. Take up bhakti instead. Bhakti is the essence. Have you already been here for three days?
The Young Brahmin (folding his hands) — Yes, sir.
Sri Ramakrishna — Have faith. Depend on Her. Having done this, you will not have to do anything. Mother Kali will do everything.
“Knowledge can go to the outer gate. But love and devotion can enter the palace. The pure soul is unattached. He has both knowledge and ignorance within him, but he is not attached to either. There is fragrance in the air, sometimes good and sometimes foul, but the air is free from both. Vyasadeva was going to cross the Jamuna. The milkmaids came to the same crossing. They had to go to the other side to sell curds, milk and butter, but there was no boat. How were they to cross? They were standing there wondering how they could cross.
“Just then Vyasadeva said, ‘I am very hungry.’ The milkmaids fed him with milk, cream, and butter. Vyasadeva finished almost all they had.
“Addressing the river Jamuna, Vyasadeva then said, ‘Oh Jamuna! If I have not eaten anything, may your waters part and make a path for us to cross over.’ And this is exactly what happened. The Jamuna divided itself, leaving a path between the waters. Vyasadeva and the gopis crossed over the river by this path.
“The significance of Vyasadeva’s words, that he had eaten nothing, is that he was a pure soul and the pure soul is unattached – it is beyond nature. It has neither hunger nor thirst, neither birth nor death; it is deathless, it never grows old – like mount Sumeru.
“He who has attained this knowledge of Brahman is liberated in this very life. He rightly realizes that the body and the Soul are separate.
“After God-realization one’s identification with the body disappears. One realizes that the body and the Soul are separate – like a dry coconut. When the milk inside it dries up, the kernel becomes separate from the shell. The Atman continues to move about in the body. As soon as the water of worldliness dries up, one realizes the Self – one knows that the Atman is separate from the body. An unripe betel nut and an unripe almond cannot be separated from their shells.
“But when they are mature, the betel nut and the almond are separate from their shells. When ripe, the juice is dried up. Similarly, on realizing Brahman, the water of worldliness dries up.
“But this knowledge is very difficult to attain. Brahmajnana is not attained by just talking. Some people pretend to have attained it. (Laughing) A certain person used to tell lies, but he said, ‘I have attained Brahmajnana.’ When reprimanded, he retorted, ‘But why not? This world is like a dream. If it is all illusion, is the truth otherwise? Falsehood is, of course, false – but truthfulness is also false.’ ” (All laugh.)
For establishment of righteousness, I am born age after age – a mystic talk
Sri Ramakrishna is sitting with his devotees on a mat spread on the floor. He is smiling. He says to the devotees, “Please stroke my feet a little.” The devotees render him this service. (Laughing to M.) “This service has great significance.”
Placing his hand on his chest, he continues, “If there is anything here, this service will erase all ignorance and illusion completely.”
Then suddenly he goes into a profound mood – perhaps he will reveal a mystic experience.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — There is no outsider here. The other day when Harish was here, I saw Sat-chit-ananda come out of this sheathe. It said, ‘I incarnate myself age after age.’ I thought perhaps I was giving vent to my own thoughts, but I kept silent. Again Sat-chit-ananda spoke and said that Chaitanya had also worshipped Shakti.
The devotees listen to Sri Ramakrishna in amazement. Some of them wonder whether God – Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute – is Himself seated before them in the form of Sri Ramakrishna, whether God has once again incarnated Himself.
Addressing M., Sri Ramakrishna says, “I saw His perfect and full manifestation. But His supreme splendour was manifested through the quality of sattva.”
The devotees are speechless with wonder as they listen to him.
Yogamaya – the Primordial Power – and the worldly sport of the avatar
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — I said to the Mother (of the Universe), ‘I can no longer talk much.’ And I said, ‘Grant, Oh Mother, that a person may attain awakening by just a touch.’ Such is the supreme power of Yogamaya, She can perform this magic. In Her sport in Vrindavan, Yogamaya performed this magical feat. It was by Her power that Subol brought Radha to meet Krishna. Yogamaya – that is, Primeval Power – has this power to attract. I have made use of the same power.
“Well, do you think they who come here gain something?”
M. — Yes, sir. Why else would they come?
Sri Ramakrishna — How do you know?
M. (laughing) — Everybody says, ‘Whoever goes to him never returns to the world.’
Sri Ramakrishna (laughing) — A big frog fell into the clutches of a non-poisonous snake. The snake could neither swallow it nor let it go. The frog suffered such pain – it croaked continuously. This was pain from a non-poisonous snake. Had it been caught by a cobra, it would have quieted down after a single croak. (All laugh.)
(To the young boy devotees) “Please read the book by Trailokya called Bhakti Chaitanya Chandrika. Get a copy from him. It contains beautiful facts about Chaitanyadeva.”
A Particular Devotee — Will he give it to us?
Sri Ramakrishna (laughing) — Why not? If there is a big crop of green melons in the field, the farmer can easily give away two or three. (All laugh.) Why won’t he give it to you?
Sri Ramakrishna (to Paltu) — Come here now and then.
Paltu — I shall come to visit you whenever possible.
Sri Ramakrishna — Come and see me in Calcutta when I go there.
Paltu — I shall try.
Sri Ramakrishna — This is the answer of a calculating mind.
Paltu — If I didn’t say that I would try, it would have been a lie.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — I don’t think they lie in what they say. They are not free (to move at will).
Sri Ramakrishna is talking to Haripada.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Haripada) — Why doesn’t Mahendra Mukherji come?
Haripada — I’m not quite sure.
M. (laughing) — He practices jnana yoga.
Sri Ramakrishna — No. The other day he promised to send his carriage for us to see (the play) ‘the Life of Prahlada’. But he didn’t. Maybe that is why he doesn’t come.
M. — One day he went to see Mahima Chakravarty and talked with him. It seems that he often visits him.
Sri Ramakrishna — But why? Mahima also talks of love and devotion to God. How nicely he chants the hymn, ‘What is the need of austerities if God is worshipped with love?’
M. (laughing) — He [Mahima] repeats the hymn when you ask him to.
Girish Ghosh has just begun to visit Sri Ramakrishna. These days he talks of nothing but Sri Ramakrishna.
Hari — Girish Ghosh sees many visions these days. When he leaves this place, he remains absorbed in spiritual moods – and he sees many things.
Sri Ramakrishna — This is possible. When one goes to the Ganges, one sees many things: boats, ships and what not.
Hari — Girish Ghosh says, ‘I will now engage myself only in work. I will sit down with pen and ink at a certain time every morning. And the whole day keep writing.’ He says this, but he can’t do it. As soon as he sees us, he only talks about you. You asked for Narendra to be brought here. Girish Babu said, ‘I will arrange a carriage for him.’
It is now five. The Younger Naren is going home. Standing alone on the long northeastern verandah, Sri Ramakrishna is giving him various instructions. After some time, the Younger Naren salutes Thakur and leaves. Many other devotees also leave.
Sitting on the smaller cot, Sri Ramakrishna talks with Mohini. Mohini’s wife has almost gone mad because of the death of her son. She laughs, then she cries. But when she comes to Dakshineswar to see Sri Ramakrishna, she becomes peaceful.
Sri Ramakrishna — How is your wife?
Mohini — She becomes peaceful here. But at home she sometimes makes a terrible disturbance. The other day she wanted to commit suicide.
Hearing this, Sri Ramakrishna worries for some time. Mohini says humbly to him, “Do please say a word or two to her.”
Sri Ramakrishna — Don’t let her cook. It heats the brain. And she must not be left alone.
The strange state of sannyasa of Sri Ramakrishna – conversation with Tarak
It is already dusk. Preparations are being made for arati in the temple. A lamp has been lit and incense burnt in Sri Ramakrishna’s room. Sitting on the smaller cot, Thakur has offered obeisance to the Mother of the Universe and is chanting Her Name. There is no one in the room except M.
Sri Ramakrishna rises, so does M. too. Pointing at the western and the northern doors of the room, Thakur says to M., “Please shut those doors.” M. shuts the doors and goes to Sri Ramakrishna, who is on the verandah.
Sri Ramakrishna says, “I would like to go to Kali’s shrine.” Saying this, he holds M.’s hand. Leaning on him, he reaches the platform of Kali’s shrine. Before sitting down, he says to M, “Please call Baburam.” M. fetches Baburam.
Having had the darshan of Kali, Sri Ramakrishna now returns to his room, walking through the middle of the extensive courtyard. He chants, “Mother, Mother Rajarajeshvari.”
Returning to his room, Sri Ramakrishna sits down on his small cot. He is in a particularly strange state of mind. He cannot touch anything metal. He says, “It seems that the Divine Mother is taking my mind completely off material riches.” He takes water in an earthen vessel. Since he cannot touch the metallic pot used for washing, he has asked the devotees to bring an earthen pot. The moment he touches a metal pot or plate, his hand aches as if pricked by a horned fish.
Prasanna has brought a number of utensils; they are very small. Laughing, Sri Ramakrishna says, “The utensils are very small, but this boy is good. He stripped naked in front of me when I asked him to. How childlike!”
The devotee and woman; beware, sadhu
Tarak of Belgharia and a friend have arrived.
Sri Ramakrishna is sitting on the smaller cot. A lamp is burning in the room. A couple of devotees are there, including M.
Tarak is married. His parents don’t allow him to visit Sri Ramakrishna. His home is in Bowbazar, Calcutta. Tarak stays at home most of the time. Sri Ramakrishna is very fond of him. Tarak’s companion is somewhat lazy (tamasic). He is inclined to ridicule religion and Sri Ramakrishna. Tarak is about 27 years old. When he arrives, Tarak prostrates before Sri Ramakrishna.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Tarak’s friend) — Why don’t you go to see the temple?
Tarak’s Friend — I have already seen it.
Sri Ramakrishna — All right. What do you think of Tarak’s visiting here?
Tarak’s Friend — You know best.
Sri Ramakrishna (pointing at M.) — He is a headmaster.
Tarak’s Friend — Oh!
Sri Ramakrishna makes polite enquiries of Tarak and talks to him about a lot of things. After a long spiritual talk, Tarak wants to leave. Sri Ramakrishna cautions him about several things.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Tarak) — Beware, sadhu! Beware of ‘lust and greed’. Once you are drowned in the maya of lust, it is impossible to rise. There is a deep whirlpool in the Vishalakshi river. He who falls into it once can never again rise out of it. Please come again.
Tarak — My people won’t let me.
A Devotee — If somebody’s mother says, ‘Don’t go to Dakshineswar and swears, ‘You will be drinking my blood if you ever go there…’
One may go against the advice of one’s superior for God’s sake
Sri Ramakrishna — The mother who says such a thing is not a mother. She is the image of ignorance. There is no harm in not listening to such a mother. Such a mother places hurdles in the way of God-realization. There is no harm in disobeying the Guru for the sake of God. Bharata did not listen to Kaikeyi for the sake of Rama. The gopis did not listen to their husbands when they forbade them the darshan of Krishna. Prahlada did not listen to his father. King Bali did not listen to his guru, Shukracharya, for love of God. Bibhishana did not listen to Ravana, his elder brother, to reach Rama.
“You must listen to everything they say except in the matter of walking the path to God. Let me see your hand.”
Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna seems to weigh Tarak’s hand. After awhile he says, “There is a little hurdle. But it will pass in time. Pray to Him and visit this place now and then. You will get rid of it. Have you rented the Bowbazar house in Calcutta?”
Tarak — Not I. They have done it.
Sri Ramakrishna (laughing) — Is it you or they? Are you afraid of the ‘tiger’?
By ‘tiger’ Sri Ramakrishna means women [of non-divine nature, who take the mind toward darkness and away from God].
Sri Ramakrishna lies down on the smaller cot. Perhaps he is thinking of the welfare of Tarak. Suddenly he says to M., “Why am I so worried about him?”
M. does not say anything. Perhaps he is thinking what to say. Sri Ramakrishna insists on a reply, “Do speak up.”
In the meantime Mohini Mohan’s wife enters the room, salutes Sri Ramakrishna, and sits to one side. Thakur is talking to M. about Tarak’s companion.
Sri Ramakrishna — Why did Tarak bring him here?
M. — It is a long distance, so he brought a companion with him.
Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna addresses Mohini’s wife, “One becomes a she-ghost when one dies an unnatural death. Beware. You must control your mind. After hearing so much and seeing so much, is it going to end this way ultimately?”
Mohini is taking leave of Thakur. He lies prostrate on the ground. His wife also salutes Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna stands near the northern door of his room. The wife, covering her head, says something to him in a low voice.
Sri Ramakrishna — You wish to stay here?
The Wife — Yes, I want to come and stay in the nahabat with the Holy Mother.
Sri Ramakrishna — That is good. But when you talk of dying, I am frightened – the Ganges is flowing so near.
 He means English educated
 The Bhagavata Pundit
 Dharmasaàsthapanärthäya sambhaväami yuge yuge (Gita 4 : 8)
 Sri Ramakrishna’s body