Sri Ramakrishna on the Main Road to Calcutta with his Devotees
Sri Ramakrishna leaves the Dakshineswar Kali Temple by carriage. He is on his way to Calcutta, accompanied by Ramlal and a couple of devotees. As soon as he is out of the gate, he sees M. approaching on foot with four fazli mangoes in his hand. He asks for the carriage to stop. Mani salutes him, placing his head on the carriage.
Saturday, 21 July 1883, the first day of the dark fortnight of Ashada. It is about four o’clock. Thakur is going to Adhar’s home, then to Jadu Mallick’s and, last of all, to Khelat Ghosh’s.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling, to Mani) — Why don’t you come with us? We’re going to Adhar Sen’s home.
Saying, “As you wish,” M. gets into the carriage.
Mani is English-educated and did not formerly believe in samskaras, but a few days ago he admitted to Thakur that the reason Adhar had so much love and devotion for him was because of his samskaras. However, when he returned home and thought about it, he decided that he still did not have full faith in the idea of inherited tendencies of past lives. It is to tell Thakur this that he has come to see him today. Thakur speaks.
Sri Ramakrishna — Well, what do you think of Adhar?
Mani — Sir, he has great love for you.
Sri Ramakrishna — Adhar thinks very highly of you.
Mani is silent for awhile. Then he raises the subject of past life samskaras.
One understands nothing of God – very secret talk
Mani — I don’t have much faith in the idea of previous life samskaras. Will it retard my love and devotion to God in any way?
Sri Ramakrishna — It is enough to have the faith that everything is possible in His creation. Don’t allow the idea to come to your mind that what you think is the only truth and that what everyone else thinks is false. Then God Himself will make you understand.
“How can a man understand His activities? They are limitless. Don’t even try to understand them. I have heard that anything is possible in His creation. So instead of worrying about these things, I only meditate on God. One day Hanuman was asked the date. He said, ‘I don’t know either the day or the position of the stars. I only contemplate Rama.’
“Can one ever understand His works? God is so near to us – yet we don’t know Him. Balaram did not recognize Krishna as the Lord.”
Mani — Yes, sir. You said the same thing about Bhishma Deva.
Sri Ramakrishna — Yes, yes. Please tell me what I said about him.
Mani — Bhishma Deva wept as he lay on a bed of arrows. The Pandavas said to Sri Krishna, ‘Brother, how strange this is! So spiritually wise is our grandfather and yet he weeps at the thought of death.’ Sri Krishna replied, ‘Please ask him why he is crying.’ Bhishma said, ‘I am crying because I fail to understand anything of God doings. Krishna, you accompany the Pandavas wherever they go, protecting them at every step. Even then, there is no end to their troubles.’
Sri Ramakrishna — God has hidden everything with His maya. He doesn’t let you understand anything. ‘Lust and greed’ constitute maya. Only he who removes the veil of maya can behold His vision. I was explaining to somebody that God is truly amazing, when He suddenly showed me a pond in the countryside (Kamarpukur). A person pushed aside the green scum covering the surface and drank the water below. The water was as clear as crystal. This showed that Sat-chit-ananda is covered by the maya of ‘green scum’. Only he who can remove the scum can have His vision.
“Listen – I’ll tell you a great secret. While I was answering the call of nature in the Jhautala (willow grove), I saw in front of me something that looked like the door of a secret chamber. I couldn’t see what was inside it. I tried to make a hole with a nail knife, but I couldn’t. The moment I would make a hole, the earth would fall back and fill it up. At long last I was able to make a big opening.”
Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna paused. After awhile, he says, “These are lofty spiritual matters. Look, somebody is pressing my mouth to stop me from divulging them.”
“I saw with my own eyes God’s presence in the female genital organ. I saw Him once in the mating of a dog and a bitch.”
“The universe is conscious on account of God’s Consciousness. At times I see His Consciousness flashing in small fish.”
The carriage reaches the Darmahata crossing at Shovabazar. Thakur adds –
“Sometimes I see the universe permeated with Consciousness just as the earth is soaked with rain water.
“Though I have seen so much, I am not puffed up with pride.”
Mani (with a smile) — For you to speak of pride!
Sri Ramakrishna — Truly, I swear to you that I never feel the least pride.
Mani — There was a man in Greece by the name of Socrates. A voice from heaven announced that he was the wisest of all men. Socrates was amazed. He reflected on it a long time in solitude before he understood. Then he told his friends, ‘Now I have understood that I know nothing.’ People think they have gained so much knowledge. The fact is that all men are ignorant.
Sri Ramakrishna — Now and then I say to myself, ‘What do I know that so many people visit me?’ Vaishnavcharan was a great pundit. He used to say, ‘Whatever you say tallies with the scriptures. Then why do I visit you? I want to hear it from your lips.’
Mani — All your words tally with the scriptures. Navadvip Goswami in Panihati also said that the other day. You said, ‘By repeating the words ‘Gita’ a number of times, it becomes ‘tyagi’. Actually it gets reversed to ‘tagi’, but Navadvip Goswami said that ‘tagi’ and ‘tyagi’ convey the same meaning. They are both derived from the root ‘tag’.
Sri Ramakrishna — Does anyone resemble me – any pundit or sadhu?
Mani — God has made you with His own hands, but He has made others by machine – according to the law of creation.
Sri Ramakrishna (laughing, to Ramlal and others) — Hello! See what he says!
Thakur’s laughter continues. At last he says, “Truly, I swear, I don’t feel the least pride.”
Mani — Education does one good thing in that one realizes: I know nothing and I am nothing.
Sri Ramakrishna — True, very true. I am nothing, I am nothing indeed. Well, do you believe in Western astronomy?
Mani — According to it, new discoveries can be made. Noting the irregular movement of Uranus, with the help of a telescope, the brightly shining new planet Neptune has been discovered. And a new calculation can be made about the eclipse.
Sri Ramakrishna — Yes, it is possible.
The carriage is rolling on and has almost reached Adhar’s house. Thakur says to Mani –
“Stick to truth. It will lead to God-realization.”
Mani — And you said yet another thing to Navadvip Goswami, ‘O Lord, I want You! See that You do not enchant me by the splendour of Your world-bewitching maya. I want You!’
Sri Ramakrishna — Yes. This is what one must say sincerely.
In the joy of devotional songs at Adhar Sen’s house
Sri Ramakrishna has come to Adhar Sen’s house. Ramlal, M., Adhar and many other devotees are seated near him in the parlour. Three or four people of the neighbourhood have come to see Thakur. Rakhal lives with his father in Calcutta.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Adhar) — Have you not informed Rakhal that I was coming?
Adhar — Yes sir, I told him.
Noticing Thakur’s eagerness to see Rakhal, Adhar sends a man in his carriage to fetch him, though he does not mention it.
Adhar sits close to Thakur. He was very eager to see Thakur today, but such a visit was not planned. He has arrived by the Lord’s will.
Adhar — You haven’t been here for such a long time! I cried for you today, shedding tears.
Sri Ramakrishna (happily, smiling) — Did you really?
It is already dusk. The parlour has been lit. Thakur folds his hands and pays his obeisance to the Mother of the Universe; perhaps he mentally repeats the mulamantra. Now he chants the Name in a sweet voice: Govinda, Govinda, Sat-chit-ananda, Haribol! Haribol! Repeating the holy Name, he showers nectar all around. The devotees drink the nectar of the Name, speechless with wonder. Ramlal now sings –
You have enchanted the whole world, O Mother. You, the enchantress of Shiva Himself.
O Mother, sitting on the great lotus in the Muladhara, You enjoy Yourself, playing the vina.
In the machine of the human body, You manifest Yourself. With Your great mantra, You pierce the three gunas which reside in the three nadis, or nerves, of the Sushumna, Ida and Pingala.
You provide energy to the three musical scales.
You abide in the six-petalled lotus of Svadhisthana as Bhairava musical mode.
You reside as Hindola musical mode in the Vishuddha chakra, and in the Ajna lotus as eardrum. You pierce the seventy-three melodies with the three octaves: keynote, metre and tempo.
O Mahamaya, you easily bind all creatures with the net of infatuation.
You become absorbed in the Supreme Consciousness and establish there as lightning.
Nanda Kumar says: who knows for certain what Your quintessence is? But you sing like the cuckoo and Your essence is the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas.
Ramlal sings another song –
O Bhavani, I have heard Your fear-dispelling Name, so I have placed my burden on You this time. Redeem me or not, as You wish.
You, O Mother, hold the entire universe, and You are immanent in it. Who knows whether you are Kali or Radha?
O Mother, You dwell in all beings. As Kundalini, You abide in the Muladhara lotus of four petals.
You rise through the Sushumna and reach the Vajrasana of the six-petalled lotus of Svadhisthana.
Then O Divine Mother, You go upward to the ten-petalled blue lotus of the Manipura centre at the navel.
O Mother, the begetter, You live among the lotuses on the path of the Sushumna. O Lady of lotuses!
Above it, there is the charming red lotus with twelve petals in the reservoir of nectar. If you open it with Your lotus feet, all darkness of the heart is dispelled.
Above that, in the region of the throat is the smoke-hued sixteen-petalled lotus of the void, the source of water.
When this void is experienced, the universe is dissolved in the Void.
Above it, at the forehead, is the two-petalled lotus. When the mind remains ever lodged there, staying on the two petals, it wants to witness the sport of existence.
Above this centre, at the top of the head at a most charming spot, is the thousand-petalled lotus. There the Supreme Shiva Himself dwells.
O Mother, You abide there near Shiva as Primeval Energy, a woman who has conquered the senses. The great yogis and munis meditate on You as the daughter of the Lord of the mountains.
You are the Shakti of Shiva. Pray destroy my cravings so that I am not born again in this world.
O Mother, You are Primordial Power. You are the five elements, and You are also beyond the five elements.
You take a form for the sake of the devotees in the creation, and You are indeed formless even when the five elements are dissolved.
Vision of Formless Sat-chit-ananda – piercing the six spiritual centres and attainment of samadhi
Ramlal sings –
Above it in the region of the throat is the smoke-hued sixteen-petalled lotus of a void, the source of water.
When this void is experienced, the universe is dissolved in the Void.
M. — Yes, sir.
Sri Ramakrishna — After crossing over the maya of the universe and created beings, one reaches the Nitya. Passing beyond the sound nada, one attains samadhi. While practicing the spiritual discipline of repeating ‘Om,’ one goes beyond the nada sound and attains samadhi.
Jadu Mallick’s house – before Goddess Simhavahini – in samadhi
Adhar treats Thakur to fruits and sweets in his house. Thakur says, “I have to go to Jadu Mallick’s house today.”
Thakur arrives at Jadu Mallick’s house. It is the first lunar day of the dark fortnight in the month of Ashada. The night is bathed in moonlight. Thakur comes with the devotees to the room in which Goddess Simhavahini is daily worshipped. Having been adorned with sandal paste, garlands and flowers, the Mother looks supremely graceful. A priest is sitting in front of Her. A lamp is lighted in front of the image. Thakur asks one of his intimate companions to offer a rupee to the Goddess and salute Her; it is a Hindu custom to make an offering when one visits a deity.
Thakur stands before the Goddess Simhavahini with folded hands. Behind him the devotees also stand with folded hands.
Thakur looks a long time at the Goddess.
How wonderful! While looking at Her, he suddenly passes into samadhi. He stands there motionless, like an image of stone, without blinking.
After a long time he exhales a long breath. His samadhi breaks. He says, as if drunk, “Mother, I am bidding good-bye.” But he cannot move. He stands there in the same mood.
Next he says to Ramlal, “Sing that song. Then I will be restored to normal.” Ramlal sings, “You have enchanted the whole world, O Mother. You, the enchantress of Shiva Himself.”
The song comes to an end.
Now, accompanied by the devotees, Thakur walks toward the parlour. On his way, he says, “Mother, please dwell in my heart!”
Jadu Mallick is seated with his friends in the parlour. Thakur is still in a divine mood. As he enters, he sings –
O Mother, ever blissful as Thou art,
Do not deprive me of bliss.
As the song ends, he says to Jadu, still intoxicated in the same spiritual mood, “Tell me, sir, what shall I sing?” Shall I sing this song, “Am I a weakling, delivered in the eighth month of conception?” Saying this, Thakur sings –
Mother, am I your eight-month old son?
I am not afraid of Your eyes shot red with anger.
Your red feet are my wealth – the same feet Shiva keeps on His breast.
Whenever I ask for Your wealth, I am put off by deceit.
I have put away in my heart Shiva’s hand-written deed.
This time I am going to take my case to the Lord’s court and win it by just one submission.
I’ll make You see how a son can fight a case.
Says Ramprasad, ‘When a son goes to court against his mother, it is so exciting!’
I will be pacified only when You take me in Your arms to quiet me.
The lawsuit between the Mother and son shall gain great momentum, says Ramprasad.
I shall only rest when the Mother, having pardoned me, raises me in Her arms.
When his mood comes down a little, he says, “I will eat the Divine Mother’s prasad.”
Mother Simhavahini’s prasad is given to Thakur.
Jadu Mallick is sitting with a number of his friends and relatives on chairs close to Thakur. Some of them are flatterers.
Thakur sits on a chair facing Jadu Mallick and talks with him in a happy mood. Some of Thakur’s devotees are in an adjacent room. M. and a couple of devotees sit near him.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — Well, why do you keep court jesters with you?
Jadu (smiling) — Won’t you redeem them even if they are?
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — The Ganges doesn’t purify wine casks that float in it!
Sticking to truth and Sri Ramakrishna – a man must keep his word
Jadu had promised Thakur that he would arrange for a recital of the Chandi in his house. Many days have elapsed, but the recital has not taken place.
Sri Ramakrishna — Well, what about the recital of the Chandi?
Jadu — I was busy with so many engagements, I couldn’t arrange for it.
Sri Ramakrishna — What! A man has to keep his word!
“The words of a man and an elephant’s tusks do not go back.
“A man must keep his word. What do you say?”
Jadu (smiling) — That is so.
Sri Ramakrishna — You are a calculating man. You calculate profit and loss before you start a work. A brahmin’s cow must eat little, produce a lot of cow dung, and yield pails of milk. (All laugh.)
Thakur says to Jadu after awhile, “I now understand your nature. You are like the stone of Ramjiwanpur, half of which is hot and the other half cold. You have your mind on the Lord and also in the world.”
Thakur eats the prasad of the Divine Mother – fruits and sweets – along with the devotees. Now he leaves to go to Khelat Ghosh’s house.
Auspicious visit at Khelat Ghosh’s house – instruction to a Vaishnava
Sri Ramakrishna enters Khelat Ghosh’s house about ten at night. The house and its big courtyard are bathed in moonlight. As he enters the house, Thakur passes into a spiritual mood. Ramlal, M. and a couple of devotees are with him. There are rooms on all four sides of the big courtyard. The inner apartments are reached by climbing two flights of stairs and walking some distance through a verandah to the south, then turning east, and again some distance to the west.
It looked like there was nobody in the house, in the big rooms, or the long verandah in front.
Thakur is taken to the northeastern room and given a seat. He is still in ecstasy. The devotee who lives in the house and who had invited Thakur comes in to greet him. He is a Vaishnava; his body is marked with sandal paste, and he carries a small rosary bag. He is old. He is a relative of Khelat Ghosh. He sometimes visits Dakshineswar to see Thakur, though some Vaishnavas are very narrow-minded and disparage Shaktas and jnanis. Thakur now talks.
Sri Ramakrishna’s harmony of religions – the Religion of Love
Sri Ramakrishna (to the Vaishnava devotee and others) — It’s not right to think that only my religion is right and all others are wrong. There is but one God, one without a second. Different people call Him by various names. Some call Him God, others Allah, some call Him Krishna, some Shiva, and some Brahman. Say there is a reservoir containing water. At one of its bathing ghats people call it jal, at another water, and at yet another pani. Hindus call it jal, Christians call it water, and Muslims call it pani. Yet there is only one substance. As many religions, so many paths – every religion is a path which leads to the Lord. It is like rivers coming from different directions but uniting in the same ocean.
“Sat-chit-ananda is the only truth established in the Vedas, the Puranas and the Tantras. In the Vedas, He is Sat-chit-ananda Brahman; in the Puranas Sat-chit-ananda Krishna, Ram and so on; and in the Tantra, He is Sat-chit-ananda Shiva. Sat-chit-ananda Brahman, Sat-chit-ananda Krishna and Sat-chit-ananda Shiva are one and the same.”
They all sit silent.
The Vaishnava Devotee — Sir, why should I meditate on God?
Instructions to the Vaishnava – who is a jivanmukta? Who is a superior devotee? Signs of one who has had His vision
Sri Ramakrishna — If one truly has this understanding, one is already liberated in his lifetime. But not everybody has such faith. They only talk. Worldly people have heard that God exists and everything happens by His will. But they don’t have faith in it.
“Do you know what the God of worldly people is like? Like children who swear by God while quarrelling. They have heard the word from their elderly aunts who are quarrelling.
“Can everybody understand Him? He has created good people as well as bad, devotees as well as non-devotees. He has created believers in God and non-believers. There is such variety in His sport! There is a greater manifestation of His Power at one place than another. There is a greater reflection of the light of the sun on water than on the earth, and again there is more of its reflection in a mirror than on water.
“Besides, there are classes of devotees: superior devotees, mediocre devotees and inferior devotees. The Gita speaks of all this.”
The Vaishnava — True, sir.
Sri Ramakrishna — The inferior devotee says, ‘God exists up there in the sky very far away.’ The mediocre devotee says, ‘God is present in all beings as Consciousness, as life.’ The superior devotee says, ‘God Himself has become everything. All that I see are the different forms of God. He Himself has become maya, the universe and living beings –nothing exists apart from Him.’
Sri Ramakrishna — One does not attain this state unless one has seen God. But there are signs of whether a man has attained His vision. Sometimes he laughs, weeps, dances, or sings like a mad man. Sometimes he behaves like a child – like a five-year old child: guileless, generous, without vanity, not attached to anything, not subject to any of the gunas and always blissful. At other times he behaves like a ghoul: he does not discriminate between purity and impurity; he sees no difference between right conduct and wrong. Or at times he becomes inert, as if he had the glimpse of something unique. So he cannot do any work; he is not able to strive for anything.
Is Sri Ramakrishna referring to all the states he has gone through?
Sri Ramakrishna (to the Vaishnava devotee) — ‘You and Yours’ comes from spiritual knowledge; the feeling of ‘I and mine’ is ignorance.
“Oh Lord, You are the doer, I am a non-doer – this is Knowledge. Oh Lord, all belongs to You – body, mind, home, family, the universe and its living beings – they are all Yours, nothing belongs to me. This feeling is Knowledge.
“An ignorant man says, ‘The Lord exists there, very far away.’ The man of Knowledge, on the other hand, knows that the Lord exists ‘here, here indeed,’ so very near, within the heart, as the antaryami. And that He has assumed each of the various forms that are.”
 A species of mango grown in Malda
 Tendencies inherited from one’s past births
 Man of renunciation
 An esoteric word or words of great power repeated during prayer and meditation
 A stringed musical instrument
 Indian musical mode of rainy season
 An Indian musical mode
 A centre in the Sushumna
 Earth, water, fire, air and ether
 Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute
 Ether, the subtlest of the five elements, the vehicle of life and sound
 The Absolute
 This sound rises from the navel and originates in the Supreme Brahman
 For complete song, refer Volume I, Section XIV, Chapter Three
 A premature child delivered in eighth month of conception who is generally weak
 One liberated in this very life
 The Inner Controller