Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar Temple with Devotees
Sri Ramakrishna, seated on the smaller cot, is meditating inside the mosquito net. It is seven or eight o’clock at night. M. is seated on the floor. Hari Babu, one of his friends, has come with him. It is Monday, 20 August 1883, the second day of the dark fortnight of the month of Shravana.
Hazra is living at Dakshineswar these days. Rakhal is often there too, though he sometimes stays with Adhar Sen. Narendra, Bhavanath, Adhar, Balaram, Ram, Manomohan, M. and others visit overnight almost every week.
Hriday, who had been of great service to Thakur, is now ill at his village home. Thakur is very anxious to hear about him. A devotee gave ten rupees to Ram Chatterji to send to Hriday, but Thakur was not present and does not know about it. This devotee has brought a tumbler, having been asked by Thakur, “Bring a tumbler for drinking water for the devotees’ use.”
Hari Babu, M.’s friend, lost his wife some eleven years ago; he has not remarried. He serves his father, mother, brother and sister, for whom he has great love and affection. He is twenty-eight or twenty-nine years old. Thakur comes out of his mosquito net when the devotees arrive and take their seats. M. and the other devotees prostrate to salute him. The mosquito net is now removed from the cot. Sitting on the smaller cot, Thakur talks to them.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.) — I was meditating inside the mosquito net. I thought to myself that God is only a form one imagines during meditation, so I didn’t enjoy it. One is successful when God reveals Himself all of a sudden – in a flash. So then I said to myself, ‘Who is it that meditates, and on whom does he meditate?’
M. — Yes, sir. You said that He Himself has become everything – the universe and its living beings. That even he who meditates is also God.
Sri Ramakrishna — And one cannot do anything unless He makes one do it. One meditates only when God makes it possible for one to meditate. What is your opinion?
M. — Sir, there is no ‘I-consciousness’ in you, that is why you feel this way. Only he who has no ego has this understanding.
Sri Ramakrishna — But it is good to retain this much ego: ‘I am His servant.’ As long as one thinks that one does anything, the attitude ‘I am your servant and you are my Master’ is good. It is good to cherish the relationship of servant and Master when one feels that one is performing activities.
Manimohan [M.] continually reflects on the nature of the Supreme Brahman. Thakur talks to him about it.
Sri Ramakrishna — Brahman is like akasa, without any modification. It is like fire, which has no colour. Only by His Power has He taken up various forms. Sattva, rajas and tamas are the three qualities of God’s Power. If you put something white in fire, it appears white; if you put something red, it appears red; if black, the fire appears black. Brahman is beyond the three qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas. What He is cannot be expressed in words – He is beyond speech. What remains when you continue the practice of saying, ‘Not this, not this’ is the essence of Bliss, is Brahman.
“The husband of a young girl has arrived and is sitting with other young men of his age in the outer room. The girl and her companions of the same age are peeping through the grill of a window. The companions don’t know her husband, so they ask her, ‘Is that your husband?’ The girl smiles a little and says, ‘No.’ Pointing to another person, the girls ask, ‘Is that one your husband?’ She again says, ‘No.’ Again they point at a third person and ask her, ‘Is that your husband?’ She again says, ‘No.’ At last they point to her husband and ask, ‘Is that your husband?’ Then the girl says neither ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ – she only smiles suddenly with a short catch of her breath; she remains silent. Her companions then know that he is her husband. When one attains the knowledge of Brahman, one becomes silent.”
Company of the holy – duties of a householder
(To Mani) “Well, why do I talk so much?”
Mani — You talk to awaken the spiritual consciousness of the devotees. You yourself say that if one puts unbaked luchi in boiling ghee, it makes a sizzling sound.
Thakur talks about Hazra to M.
Sri Ramakrishna — Do you know what the nature of a saintly person is? He doesn’t hurt anybody, he doesn’t harass anybody. Some people have such a nature that, when invited to a feast, they say they would like a special seat. If one has genuine love and devotion for the Lord, one does not take a false step, does not give trouble to others for nothing.
“It is not right to keep the company of bad people. You must keep some distance from them. You must save yourself from them. (To Mani) What do you say?”
Mani — Sir, the company of wicked people brings the mind way down. But, as you say, it is different with heroes.
Sri Ramakrishna — How is that?
Mani — If you throw a stick into a fire burning feebly, it goes out. But when the fire is blazing, you may throw a plantain tree into it and nothing happens to the fire – though the tree is burnt to ashes.
Sri Ramakrishna asks M. about his friend Hari Babu.
M. — He has come to see you. His wife died a long time ago.
Sri Ramakrishna [to Hari Babu] — What are you doing these days?
M. — Nothing in particular. But at home he serves his brother and sister and parents with great care.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — What is this! You have become a ‘pumpkin-cutting elder uncle’. You are neither a man of the world nor a devotee of God. This is not right. In some homes an old man is busy day and night only with the children of the family. Sitting in the parlour, he smokes his hubble-bubble and does no work – except that sometimes he goes inside the house and cuts a pumpkin for the family. The ladies of the family don’t cut pumpkin; they send him word through the boys to come in and cut it for them. The old man cuts the pumpkin into two. It is the only work this man has to do. That’s why he is called a ‘pumpkin-cutting elder uncle’.
“Please do ‘this’ as well as ‘that’. Attend to worldly duties, but keep your mind at the lotus feet of the Lord. And when you are alone, read devotional scriptures like Srimad Bhagavata, or Chaitanya Charitamrita.”
It is almost ten at night. The Kali Temple has not yet been closed. M. walks through the courtyard, talking with Ram Chatterji. First he pays obeisance in the Radhakanta Temple and then in Mother Kali’s shrine. The moon appears in the sky. It is the second day of the dark fortnight of the month of Shravana. The courtyard and the temple spire look beautiful.
M. returns to Thakur’s room where he sees him seated for dinner. He is facing south. His meal consists of some farina pudding and one or two luchis. After some time, M. and his friend salute Thakur and take their leave. They will return to Calcutta tonight.
Dialogue between Guru and disciple – secret talk
Sri Ramakrishna is sitting on the smaller cot in his room talking alone with Mani. Mani is sitting on the floor. It is Friday, 7 September 1883, the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Bhadra. It is about 7:30 in the evening.
Sri Ramakrishna — I went to Calcutta the other day. While going along in the carriage, I saw that everyone’s attention was on lower things. They were all worried for their stomachs – they were running around to earn a living. They all had their minds on ‘lust and greed’. Only one or two people had fixed their sight on higher things, had their minds turned toward God.
Mani — The present times add to our worry about the upkeep of the stomach. Imitating the English, people are drawn more and more to creature comforts. Thus their wants have increased.
Sri Ramakrishna — What do the English think about God?
Mani — They believe in the formless God.
His earlier story – Sri Ramakrishna sees no difference in the state of Brahmajnana – he sees the same Consciousness pervading all: the English, Hindus, depressed classes, in animals, in insects, excreta, urine, and in all elements
Sri Ramakrishna — We, too, have the same belief.
Both of them are silent for awhile. Thakur now describes his state of Brahmajnana.
Sri Ramakrishna — One day I saw that it was all one Consciousness that pervades everything – without any distinction. At first I was shown several men and some animals and other creatures – among them were the educated rich, Englishmen, Muslims, myself, a chandala, a dog and a Muslim with a long beard holding a porcelain plate of rice in his hand. He put the rice from the plate into everybody’s mouth. I tasted a little too.
“Another day I was shown excreta, urine, cereal and all kinds of foodstuff. Suddenly the soul emerged from within [my body] and tasted all of them – like the flame of a fire. It was just like a tongue licking each article one by one. It tasted everything, including the excreta and urine. I was thus shown that it is all one, without any difference.”
His earlier story – vision of his intimate disciples – is Thakur an avatar?
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mani) — Another day the devotees who visit me here – my intimate disciples, my very own – were revealed to me. Thereafter, as soon as the conch shell and the bells of the evening worship sounded, I would climb to the roof of the Kuthi and cry aloud with yearning, ‘I say, where are you people? Please, come here! I am dying to see you!’
“Well, what do you feel about all these visions of mine?”
Mani — God is playing His sport in your body. I have understood that you are the instrument and He the Being who uses the instrument. He has created every other creature as if with a machine, but He has created you with His own hands.
Sri Ramakrishna — Well, Hazra says that one acquires the six divine powers after God-realization.
Mani — They who want pure love and devotion for God do not care for these powers.
Sri Ramakrishna — Perhaps Hazra was a poor man in his previous birth and that is why he is so very keen to have riches. He asks me what I talk about with the cook. He says, ‘By talking to the treasurer of the temple, I can get you whatever you want!’ (Mani laughs loudly).
(Laughing) “That is how he talks about these things. I listen to him silently.”
A devotee can easily comprehend that God incarnated as a man – powers and sweetness
Mani — You have said several times that the pure devotee does not want to see His grandeur. The pure devotee likes to see God as Gopala. First, God becomes the magnet and the devotee the needle. In the end the devotee becomes the magnet and God the needle. In other words, God becomes small to the devotee.
Sri Ramakrishna — It is like the sun at dawn. One can look at it easily – it doesn’t dazzle the eyes. Instead, the eyes are satisfied. God becomes tender for the sake of His devotees. He appears before them, leaving His powers behind.
Both of them are silent.
Mani — Why should your visions not be real? If they are not real, then the whole world is all the more unreal – for it is the same mind that is the instrument of perception. All these visions come to your pure mind, and our minds see worldly things.
Sri Ramakrishna — Now I see you understand well that the world is ephemeral. Well, tell me, what do you think of Hazra?
Mani — Oh, he is a man of a particular type. (Thakur laughs.)
Sri Ramakrishna — Well, do you know anybody similar to me?
Mani — No, sir.
Mani — No, sir. You are incomparable.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — Have you heard of the ‘achina tree’?
Mani — No, sir.
Sri Ramakrishna — It is a special kind of tree, but nobody can recognize it.
Mani — Sir, you cannot be recognized either. The more one understands you, the more he will progress.
Mani is silent and says to himself, “Thakur has talked of the ‘sun at dawn’ and the ‘achina tree’. Do these indicate an incarnation of God? Is it God’s sport as a human being? Is Thakur himself an incarnation? Is that why he used to stand on the roof of the Kuthi and call out with yearning to his intimate disciples, ‘I say, where are you all? Please come!’ ”
 Dhyana Yoga, or communion with God by meditation
 The Absolute
 Neti, neti
 Fried bread
 Knowledge of the Absolute
 A man who cremates; a scavenger
 Baby Krishna
 Highest class of saints who have attained supreme knowledge and sanctity