Sri Ramakrishna with Devotees at the House of a Devotee
Sri Ramakrishna at Ram’s house
Sri Ramakrishna has come to Ram’s house. He is sitting in the ground floor parlour surrounded by devotees. He is smiling and full of joy talking to them.
It is Saturday, 23 May 1885. The 10th day of the bright fortnight of Jaishtha. The time is about five o’clock. Mahima is sitting in front of Thakur. M. is on his left side and Paltu, Bhavanath, Nityagopal and Harmohan sit around them. When Sri Ramakrishna had entered the room, he had enquired after the welfare of the devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — Hasn’t the Younger Naren arrived yet?
The Younger Naren appears in a few minutes.
Sri Ramakrishna — And that person hasn’t come?
M. — Who, sir?
Sri Ramakrishna — Kishori. And aren’t Girish Ghosh and Narendra coming?
Narendra soon arrives and salutes Sri Ramakrishna.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees) — It would have been nice if Kedar (Chatterji) had come. He agrees with Girish Ghosh. (Laughing, to Mahima) He, too, says the same [that Sri Ramakrishna is an incarnation of God.]
A kirtan is being arranged in the room. With folded hands, the musician says, “Please give your permission to start singing.”
Thakur says, “I wish to have some water first.”
After having refreshments, he takes some spice powder from a small bag and asks M. to close the bag.
The kirtan starts. The sound of the drum puts Thakur in an ecstatic mood. As he hears ‘Gaur Chandrika,’ he merges completely in samadhi.
Nityagopal is close to him. Thakur stretches his legs out on Nityagopal’s lap. Nityagopal is also passing into ecstasy. All the devotees watching his state of samadhi are speechless with wonder.
Yoga, subjective and objective – identity of the Absolute, the soul and the cosmos
Partially returning to outer-consciousness, Thakur speaks, “Descending from the Absolute to the phenomenal and ascending from the phenomenal to the Absolute.” (To Nityagopal) “Which one do you like?”
Nityagopal (humbly) — Both are good.
Sri Ramakrishna says, shutting his eyes, “Is God visible only in this way? Is it that He is visible only when you shut your eyes, and He does not exist when you don’t? The Absolute belongs to the same Reality as the phenomenal world; the phenomenal world belongs to the same Reality as the Absolute.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mahima) — I say this to you, my dear, just once.
Mahimacharan — Sir, both are by the will of God.
Sri Ramakrishna — Some people climb seven stories and cannot come down. But some, having climbed the seven stories, can come down – and ascend again as well.
“Uddhava said to the gopis, ‘He whom you call Krishna dwells in all beings and the elements – He has become the world and its creatures.’
“So I ask: Is meditation possible only with eyes shut? Is it not possible with eyes open?”
Mahima — I have a question to ask.
A Devotee — Doesn’t he need to attain Nirvana sometime?
His earlier story – Totapuri wept – is Nirvana the end of life?
Sri Ramakrishna — It is not essential to attain Nirvana. There is, in fact, the Eternal Krishna and there are His eternal devotees. Krishna is the embodiment of Consciousness, and His realm is Consciousness too.
“There is the moon and there are stars. Just so, where there is the Eternal Krishna, there are also His eternal devotees. Don’t you yourself say, ‘If the Lord is seen both within and without, what is the need for austerity?’ I told you that if a devotee is born of Vishnu, his seed of love and devotion for God does not vanish. I fell into the hands of a jnani. He taught me Vedanta for eleven months. But the seed of bhakti did not die in me. Wherever my mind would go, it came back to repeat, ‘Mother, Mother.’ The Naked One would weep when he heard me sing devotional songs. He would say, ‘Oh, how wonderful!’ See, he was such a big jnani and even he was moved to tears! (To the Younger Naren and others) Once the seed of bhakti has fallen into your heart, it cannot but sprout. Gradually you will see its tree, its fruit and its flowers.
“ ‘The pestle will destroy the whole clan’. The pestle was rubbed a great deal, until most of it was ground away. Yet a little piece of it still remained. And the whole dynasty of the Yadus was annihilated with that small piece of pestle. Reason and argue a thousand times, but if you have the seed of love and devotion for the Lord within, you will come back and chant ‘Hari, Haribol.’ ”
The devotees listen to Sri Ramakrishna without uttering a word. Laughing, Thakur asks Mahimacharan, “What do you like most?”
Mahima (smiling) — Nothing. However, I like mangoes.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — Would you eat them all yourself? Or would you share with others?
Mahima (smiling) — I have no great desire to share. It is enough for me to eat them myself.
Sri Ramakrishna’s correct attitude
“When one has realized God, one knows that He Himself is self-existent as well as the All-pervading in the form of the universe. He is the Indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute and He has also become the world and its living beings.”
Mere knowledge of scriptures is illusory – direct knowledge is obtained by practice of spiritual disciplines
“The practice of spiritual disciplines is essential. Mere study of scriptures does no good. I found Vidyasagar very learned. But to what end? Didn’t you see that his only joy was to teach boys how to read and write? He has never tasted the Bliss of God. What will mere study do? What does one assimilate of the injunctions of the scriptures? The almanac says there will be twenty measures of rainfall, but however much you press the almanac, not a drop of water comes from it.”
Mahima — There are so many duties that one has to do in the world. Where is the time for the practice of spiritual disciplines?
Sri Ramakrishna — Why, don’t you yourself say that the world is like a dream?
“Seeing the ocean in front of him, Lakshmana took a bow and arrow in his hand and said angrily, ‘I am going to kill Varuna. This ocean keeps us from going to Lanka.’ Rama explained to him, saying, ‘All that you see is like a dream, ephemeral. The ocean is ephemeral – and so is your anger.’ To dispel the unreal with the unreal is illusory too.”
Mahimacharan remains quiet.
Karma Yoga or Bhakti Yoga? Who is the Sadguru?
Mahimacharan has many household duties to perform. Also, he has founded a new school – for the purpose of doing good to humanity.
Sri Ramakrishna now talks about other things.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mahima) — Sambhu said to me, ‘I want to spend this money on acts of public good – to build schools and dispensaries, construct roads and build bathing ghats on the river.’ I said, ‘It will be good if you can do it without expecting any return. But it is very difficult to work without any selfish motive. Some desire somehow creeps in. I ask you this: If the Lord reveals Himself to you, will you pray to Him for such things as schools, dispensaries and hospitals?’
A Particular Devotee — Sir, what is the way for worldly people?
Sri Ramakrishna — Keeping the company of holy men and listening to spiritual talk.
“Worldly people are intoxicated – they are inebriated with ‘lust and greed’. A drunkard gradually comes to his senses if he is fed rice water in small quantities at regular intervals.
“And one must listen to the instructions of a Sadguru. There are signs of a Sadguru. One should listen about Kashi from one who has visited Kashi, who has seen it. A man of mere learning will be of no help. One should not listen to the instructions of a pundit who has not realized that the world is ephemeral. Only a pundit who has gained discrimination and dispassion has the right to instruct mankind.
“Samadhyayi said that the Lord is totally devoid of sweetness, love and bliss. He called Him joyless and tasteless who is the very fountain of love and bliss! Somebody said, ‘My maternal uncle keeps a cowshed full of horses.’ (Everybody laughs.)
‘I’ and ‘mine’ constitute ignorance – jnana and vijnana
“Worldly people are intoxicated with worldliness. They are always thinking: ‘I am the doer of all these actions. And this home and family are mine.’ Baring his teeth, a man says, ‘What will happen to them (wife and children)? How will they manage without me? Who will look after my wife, my family?’ Rakhal said, ‘What will happen to my wife?’ ”
Harmohan — Did Rakhal say that?
Sri Ramakrishna — What else could he do? He who has knowledge also has ignorance. Lakshmana said to Rama, ‘Rama, how strange! Even a saint like Vaishishtha Deva is suffering the bereavement of his son!’ Rama said, ‘Brother, he who has knowledge also has ignorance. You must go beyond both knowledge and ignorance.’
“Take, for example, a person whose foot is pierced by a thorn. He finds another thorn to take out the first one. After he has removed the former with the help of the latter, he throws away both thorns. To pull out the thorn of ignorance, one has to use the thorn of knowledge. When one throws away both the thorns of knowledge and ignorance, one attains vijnana. Assimilating the idea that the Lord exists, one has to know Him in a special way. One must talk to Him intimately. This is vijnana. That is why Sri Krishna said to Arjuna, ‘You must go beyond the three gunas.’
“To attain vijnana, one has to take refuge in vidya maya. Vidya maya includes the discrimination that the Lord is the Reality and the world ephemeral – this idea, in other words, constitutes discrimination and non-attachment. Besides, vidya maya also includes chanting His Name and glories, meditation, keeping the company of holy people, prayer, and so on. Vidya maya is like the last few steps leading to the roof – climb a step or two more and you are on the roof. To be on the roof is God-realization.”
Worldly people and young men who have renounced ‘lust and greed’
“Worldly people are intoxicated – inebriated with ‘lust and greed’. They have lost their awareness. That is why I am fond of the young men. ‘Lust and greed’ have not yet entered their minds. They are ‘good receptacles’ and can be of use in the Lord’s work. Worldly people are full of worthless stuff. They are like bony fish – trying to eliminate the bones, one is left with nothing in the end, very little meat.
“They are like mangoes struck by a hail storm. They can be eaten only when purified by sprinkling them with Ganges water. They cannot, generally speaking, be offered in the worship of the Deity. If one has to use them at all, one has to take recourse to the knowledge of Brahman, that is to say, tell the mind that God Himself has become everything.”
A Theosophist gentleman has arrived with Aswini Kumar Dutta and the son of Behari Bhaduri. The Mukherji brothers come in and salute Thakur. Arrangements for a kirtan have been made in the courtyard. At the sound of the drum, Sri Ramakrishna leaves the room and comes to the courtyard. The devotees follow him and take their seats there.
Bhavanath introduces Aswini to Sri Ramakrishna. Thakur introduces M. to Aswini by pointing at him. They are both in conversation when Narendra arrives and sits down. Thakur says to Aswini, “This is Narendra.”
 Total annihilation of the ego
 Nitya Krishna
 Refer Narada Pancharatra to find the complete text of this hymn.
If Hari is both inside and outside what need is there of penance. And if He is not there, what need of penance? If you worship Hari, what need is there of penance? And if you do not, what need of penance? So, O brahmin, get disengaged, dear boy. What is the need of penance? Go at once to Shankara, the sea of jnana. Attain deep devotion for Hari, which the Vaishanavas speak of.
 Müsalam kulanäçanam
 Reference: a story in the Mahabharata in which a curse on a pestle destroyed the Jadu clan
 Svarata; He alone exists, without any support
 The presiding deity of the waters
 A perfected Master; a genuine spiritual preceptor
 Viveka and vairagya
 Vidya maya is the aspect of maya which leads man closer to the realization of Brahman