Sri Ramakrishna at the Shyampukur House
With devotees at the Shyampukur House on Kali Puja Day
Sri Ramakrishna is standing in the southern room on the second floor of the Shyampukur house. It is nine o’clock. He is dressed in a freshly laundered cloth and wears a sandal paste mark on his forehead.
At the behest of Thakur, M. has brought some prasad from the Siddheshwari Kali Temple. Holding it in his hand, Thakur very devotedly eats some and touches a little to his forehead. Before eating, he takes off his sandals. He says to M., “Very nice prasad.”
It is Friday, 6 November 1885, the Amavasya of the month of Aswin. Kali’s worship will be performed today.
Thakur had asked M. to offer morning worship to Mother Siddheshwari Kali at Thanthania – with flowers, green coconut, sugar and sandesh. After taking a bath, M. had gone barefoot to the puja and offered worship. He has now come to Thakur, still barefoot, with the prasad.
Thakur had also asked him to purchase books of the songs of Ramprasad and Kamalakanta to give to Doctor Sarkar.
M. says, “I have brought the books. They have the songs of Ramprasad and Kamalakanta.” Sri Ramakrishna says, “All these songs shall enter his (Doctor Sarkar’s) mind.”
Song – O my mind, why are you reasoning so much about Him, like a mad man in a dark room?
It is an emotional matter. Can you catch it without emotion?
Song – Who knows what Kali is like? Even the six systems of philosophy cannot give a glimpse of Her.
Song — O my mind, you do not know how to farm. This human land has remained unattended. If you had cultivated it, it would have yielded gold.
Song – Come, O mind! Let us go for a walk.
M. — Yes, sir.
Thakur paces the room with M. He has slippers on his feet. He is so sick, but his face is beaming.
Sri Ramakrishna — This song is nice too: ‘The world is a veil of deception.’ And the other one, ‘This world is a mart of joy. Come, brother, let us enjoy ourselves in the mart.’
M. — Yes, sir.
Thakur’s body suddenly jerks. He at once takes off his slippers and stands motionless. He enters into deep samadhi. It is the day of the worship of the Mother of the Universe. Is it because of this that he frequently starts and goes into samadhi? After a long time, he exhales a long breath, as if it were with great difficulty that he controls his ecstatic state.
With devotees on the Kali Puja day
Thakur is seated with the devotees in the same second floor room. It is ten o’clock. He is seated on the bed, leaning against a pillow. Devotees sit around him: Ram, Rakhal, Niranjan, Kalipada, M. and many others. The topic of conversation is Hriday Mukherji, a son of Thakur’s sister.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Ram and others) — Hriday is still talking about land. When he was in Dakshineswar, he said, ‘Give me a shawl or I will take you to court.’
“The Divine Mother removed him. Whenever visitors came, he would ask them for money. Had he continued to stay, all those people would have stopped coming [to Dakshineswar]. The Mother took him away.
“ ‘Go’ also began to act like that. He began to find fault with others. If he was to accompany me in the carriage, he would delay our departure. He would become upset when other young men would come to see me. If I went to Calcutta to visit them, he would say, ‘Are they going to renounce the world that you go to see them?’ Before giving refreshments to everyone, I would say to him out of fear, ‘Eat, and give some to them.’ It seemed to me that he would not stay.
“Then I said to the Divine Mother, ‘Mother, don’t take him away altogether like you did Hriday.’ Later I heard that he was going to Vrindavan.
“If ‘Go’ had stayed on at that time, none of these young men would have come to me. When he went to Vrindavan, the boys started visiting me.”
‘Go’ (humbly) — Sir, that was not in my mind.
Ram Dutta — Can you understand your mind as he can?
‘Go’ remains silent.
Sri Ramakrishna (to ‘Go’) — Why do you behave this way? I love you more than a father loves his child.
“Now keep quiet. You no longer have that attitude.”
After talking with the devotees, when they had gone to the other room, Thakur called ‘Go’ and asked him, “Are you thinking about something?”
‘Go’ — No, sir.
Thakur says to M., “It is the Kali Puja day. It would be nice to make some arrangements for the worship. Go tell the devotees. Ask them if they have brought a stalk of jute for fuel.”
M. goes to the parlour and speaks to the devotees about it. Kalipada and the others begin to make arrangements for the worship.
The Doctor comes to see Thakur at about two o’clock. A teacher named Nilmani is with him. A number of devotees are seated around Thakur: Girish, Kalipada, Niranjan, Rakhal, Khoka (Manindra), Latu, M. and others. After talking a little to the Doctor about his sickness and medicine, Thakur smiles and says to him, “We have these books for you.”
M. gives both books to the Doctor.
The Doctor wants to hear some songs. At Thakur’s request, M. and another devotee sing some songs of Ramprasad –
Song – How can you, O my mind, know His essence, groping like a mad man in a dark room?
Song – Who knows what Kali is? Even the six systems of philosophy cannot give a glimpse of Her.
Song – O my mind, you do not know how to farm.
Song – Come, my mind! Let us go for a walk.
The Doctor says to Girish, “Your song is good – the one about the vina. It is from Buddha’s life.”
Thakur beckons Girish and Kalipada to sing. They chant the song –
This is my beloved vina, in which I have intertwined a garland of strings.
He who plays the vina carefully, ever gets nectar from it.
If you are able to sing a song of inspiration having a nice musical note, sweet melody flows out in a hundred streams.
The vina does not play music by stretching or breaking its soft string, or by loosening a string.
Song – I want peace. Where can I get it?
Where have I come from and to what do I swim?
I go and return repeatedly. How much I laugh and weep!
So I ask myself, where should I go?
Who is making me play? And why should I play at all?
Even though I am awake, I am asleep – as if by a spell.
What darkness is this? Will there ever be a dawn?
I am running ceaselessly, like a strong current of wind.
I do not know who has come from where, why he has come, and where he is being taken.
I swim and swim, and reach so many countries. A din of the cries of distress surrounds me.
So many come and go, laughing and singing – now they are here, then they are not.
What has brought me here and what work have I engaged myself in? Who knows what play is being staged.
Can the current of water stop? Where am I to go? Is there no bank?
O Consciousness, make me conscious!
Who is conscious? When will this dream of mine end?
If you have become awakened, do not sleep again. This deep darkness is very frightening.
Dispel the darkness, Lord! And bring light, O Lord.
Except for You, there is no way, so I pray for refuge at Thy feet.
Hold me, Nitai. Today my soul is writhing terribly.
Nitai is now ready to give Hari’s name to all embodied beings.
It is like a wave rising on the river of ecstatic love; and I am now sinking into this wave.
Nitai, to whom shall I convey my inner feelings of distress?
I am becoming immersed in the sorrows of embodied souls.
Come, let us call ‘Hari, Hari’ with a heart full of devotion.
Come on, Jagai and Madhai, let us dance.
Come, let us enjoy the intense love of the teen-aged Radha. A tide of intense love is flowing!
Love is flowing in a hundred waves. One receives as much as one wants.
The lass of ecstatic love is heartily dispensing love of her own will.
Call out ‘Hari’ in the intense love of Radha.
She intoxicates my soul with ecstatic love.
She makes one dance on the wave of prema. Come, come on, in the love of Radha, call out ‘Hari’!
Two or three devotees go into ecstasy listening to the songs – among them are Khoka (Manindra) and Latu, who had been sitting beside Niranjan. After the songs are over, Thakur talks with the Doctor about other things. The previous day, Pratap (Majumdar) had given the medicine nux vomica to Thakur. Hearing this, the Doctor becomes upset.
The Doctor — I am not dead yet! Why nux vomica?
The Doctor — I have never had avidya.
The Doctor takes avidya to mean a woman of easy virtue.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — Oh, no. Mother ignorance of a sannyasin dies giving birth to discrimination as her son. When mother ignorance dies giving birth to the son, impurity [because of the death] develops in the house. So they say that the sannyasin must not be touched.
Hariballav enters. Thakur says to him, “I am happy to see you.” Hariballav is a very humble person. He takes his seat on the bare floor, not the mat, and then fans Thakur. He is a noted attorney in Cuttack.
Nilmani, the teacher, is seated nearby. Thakur, out of consideration for him, says, “It’s a great day for me today.” After awhile, the Doctor and his friend, Nilmani, leave. Hariballav, who is also leaving, says, “I shall come again.”
Worship of Sri Kali (worship of the Mother of the Universe in the person of Thakur)
It is Amavasya in autumn, time 7:00 p.m. All arrangements for the worship have been done in the same second floor room. The devotees have brought Thakur flowers of different kinds, sandal paste, vilwa leaves, hibiscus flowers, milk pudding and sweets of various kinds. Thakur is sitting, surrounded by devotees: Sarat, Sashi, Ram, Girish, Chunilal, M., Rakhal, Niranjan, the Younger Naren, and Behari among others.
Thakur says, “Bring some incense.” After awhile he offers all the articles to the Mother of the Universe. M. is seated close to him. Thakur glances at him and says, “All of you, meditate for awhile.” They all meditate for some time.
Soon after, Girish offers a garland of flowers at Thakur’s feet. M. also offers flowers and incense. He is followed by Rakhal. Ram, too, offers flowers at his feet.
Niranjan offers flowers at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna, chanting, ‘Brahmamayi, Brahmamayi,’ and prostrates himself touching his head to Sri Ramakrishna’s feet. They all repeat, “Victory to the Mother! Victory to the Mother!”
In no time, Sri Ramakrishna goes into samadhi. How wonderful! The devotees see an amazing transformation. Thakur’s face is resplendent with celestial light. Both of his hands grant fearlessness to the devotees. His body is motionless and he has lost outer consciousness. He sits facing north. Has the Mother of the Universe Herself manifested Herself through him?
Everyone is speechless gazing at this wonderful form of the Mother of the Universe granting fearlessness to Her devotees.
They now chant a hymn of praise. Each of them sings the hymn individually, and then in unison.
Girish sings the following hymn –
Who is this woman of the colour of dark blue clouds in the celestial assembly of gods?
Who is She, standing with both red lotus feet on Shiva’s chest?
Who is She whose toe-nails shine with the light of the moon?
Her feet shine as so many suns. Her face is radiant with a soft smile, but then She thunders in a loud voice.
He sings the following song as well –
You redeem the helpless, You are the Saviour from one’s sins, and You contain the three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas.
You, who create, preserve and dissolve, are with form as well as Formless, O my Mother. You are indeed manifested in all forms.
You, Yourself, are Kali, Tara and the great Primordial Power.
You, Yourself, incarnate as avatar in the form of a fish, a tortoise and a boar.
You, Yourself, are earth, water, fire and air.
You, Yourself, are ethereal space, You indeed are Mother of the Absolute.
The votaries of the systems of philosophy of Samkhya, Patanjali, Mimamsa and Nyaya,
Think of You alone and meditate on You.
Vaisheshika and Vedanta are confused and have not been able to know You until now.
In order to comprehend You, spiritual aspirants define you with beginning and end, and identify You with adjuncts.
Taking up the five forms of Ganesha and others (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Bhavani and Ganesha), You are able to deceive Kala and dispel the fears of the world.
You are always present in the three periods of time: past, present and future.
For the votary of God with form, You manifest with form.
And for the worshipper of the Formless, you manifest without form.
Some say that Brahman is all-illumining. You are that daughter of the mountain.
When a person transcends his mind, he calls you Parabrahman.
After this is the state of Turiya, which is beyond speech.
You are all, O Mother Tara – immanent in the three worlds.
Behari now chants this hymn –
O my Mother, seated on a corpse, listen to my prayer.
O Mother, when they perform my antarjali (at death), please appear before me.
Then I’ll pick hibiscus flowers from the forests of my heart.
And Mother, mixing them with the sandal paste of divine love, I will make an offering of them at Your feet.
Mani sings, accompanied by the devotees –
All is Your will, O Mother Tara! You are free to will.
You do all works in the world, Mother! People say that they do it.
You mire the elephant in mud and make the lame cross hills.
To some You grant the seat of Indra, and others You take downward.
I am the machine and You are the operator.
I am the house and You are the resident.
I am the chariot and You are the charioteer.
I move as You make me move.
By Your compassion, O Mother, people are going across and being liberated.
Unsurpassable obstacles like mountains – all hurdles – are removed.
You are the mine of blessings – You are always dispensing goodness.
Why, then, am I worried so about the good or bad result of anything?
O Mother! You are the very image of joy and bliss. Pray do not rob me of my happiness.
O my Mother! Your effulgent form shines forth in pitch darkness.
Thakur comes down to normal consciousness. He asks for the following song to be sung –
Song – In what moods do you remain, Mother Shyama, the river of nectar?
The song over, Thakur asks for this song to be sung –
Song – The Divine Mother is lost in an ecstasy of joy in the company of Shiva.
Though She staggers, She does not fall.
Thakur takes a little farina pudding to make the devotees happy but, suddenly overwhelmed with divine emotion, he loses outer consciousness.
After some time the devotees all salute him, take some prasad, and go to the parlour. They eat the prasad there, full of joy. Thakur sends word that the worship of Kali would be performed tonight at Surendra’s house and that they should go there to participate.
Enjoying themselves on the way, the devotees reach Surendra’s house on Simla street. With affection, Surendra takes them upstairs to the parlour. He asks them to be seated. The atmosphere is one of celebration, with everyone singing or playing a musical instrument.
It is past midnight before they take prasad and return home.
 The darkest night of the month
 Six Systems of Hindu Philosophy: Samkhya of Kapila, Yoga of Patanjali, Vaiseshika of Kanada, Nyaya of Gautama, Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini, and Vedanta of Badarayana
 Reference to Rakhal, through his association with Sri Krishna as gopal, a cowherd boy
 The Hindu rite of keeping immersed the lower part of the body of a dying person in a holy river
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