Sri Ramakrishna at the Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Sri Ramakrishna with Narendra and other devotees at the Dakshineswar Temple
Sri Ramakrishna is seated on the smaller cot in his aforesaid room by the Kali Temple. He is listening to devotional songs being sung by Trailokya Sanyal of the Brahmo Samaj.
It is Sunday, 2 March, 1884, 20th Falgun, the fifth day of the bright fortnight, 1290 B.Y. Devotees, including Narendra, Surendra (Mitra) and others, are sitting on the floor listening to the songs.
Narendra’s father was an advocate of the High Court. After his passing away, the family has fallen into such dire straights that they sometimes have nothing to eat. Because of these difficult circumstances, Narendra is greatly troubled.
Thakur has not recovered fully from his broken arm. It has been in a splint for many days.
Trailokya is singing a hymn about the Divine Mother. He is saying through the song;
“O Mother, take me on your lap and hold me to Your bosom, covering me with the end of your sari.”
Let me lie covered in Your lap, O Divine Mother.
May I see your face and cry, “Mother, Mother.”
Immersed in the sweetness of Bliss and Consciousness, overwhelmed by the sleep of the Great Communion,
May I gaze on You with unblinking eyes and retain Your form in my mind’s eye.
I am frightened by the sight and sounds (of this world) and cry bitterly because of this fright.
Hold me to Your bosom, having covered me with the end of Your cloth, O Divine Mother.
As Thakur listens to the song, he sheds tears of divine love and exclaims, “Ah! What feeling!”
Trailokya sings again –
O Hari, You are the destroyer of my shame.
(Please fulfill my wish.)
Who but You can save the honour of Your devotee, O Lord?
You are the Master of my soul, the support of my life. I am Your slave forever.
Bigger measure of kirtan
I have made Your feet my haven. Giving up all ideas of caste and ancestry, I have given up all fear and shame.
Tell me, O Lord, where can this wayfarer go?
Now I have lost reputation for Your sake. How people in the world find frivolous fault with me!
Because I love You, I am reprimanded at home.
All my shame and mistakes are now Yours. Take them or leave them, they are Your responsibility.
O Lord Hari! The honour of Your slave is Your honour.
O Lord of my heart, I derive all honour from You. Do as You will, O Lord.
Smaller measure of kirtan
Taking me from home, enchant me with Your love, O Lord Hari! Give me shelter at Your feet.
Feed me with the honey of Your divine love day after day. O friend of my soul, redeem your Premdas.
Sri Ramakrishna again sheds tears of divine love and then sits on the floor. He begins to sing a song of Ramprasad.
All fame and dishonour, all sweetness and bitterness, belong to You, O Divine Mother!
Why do You ruin my joy and sweetness, O Goddess of all joy and bliss?
Thakur says to Trailokya, “Ah, how sweet your songs are! Your songs are authentic. Only he who goes to the sea can bring sea water and show it to others.”
Trailokya sings again –
O Lord, You sing and You dance and You Yourself keep the beat.
Man is only a witness to it; foolishly does he think, ‘Me and mine.’
The life of man is only the shadow of a puppeteer’s marionette. Only if he walks Your path can he become a god.
You are the driver of the machine of this body. You are the charioteer of the chariot of the Atman. A human being makes mistakes, thinking he has free will.
You are the Lord of the heart, the Soul of the soul, and the Mainstay of all. You can transform an unholy person into a saint by the Power of your holiness.
The Absolute is identical with the phenomenal world – perfect knowledge, or vijnana
When the song ends, Thakur speaks.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Trailokya and others) — It is Lord Hari who is the Master, and He Himself is the servant – this is the attitude of a man of perfect knowledge. First following the path of ‘not this, not this,’ one realizes that the Lord is the only Reality and all else is illusory. Then one sees that it is the Lord Himself who has become everything – that the Lord Himself has become maya: living beings and the universe. The Puranas say that evolution is followed by involution. For example, take the bel-fruit. It has a shell, seeds and kernel. Throw away the shell and seeds and you have the kernel. But if you want to know the weight of the bel-fruit, it will not do to throw away the shell and the seeds. That is why, after negating the universe and its living beings to reach Sat-chit-ananda, one sees that He Himself has become the entire universe and its living beings. The kernel belongs to the bel-fruit, just as the seeds and shell do. Butter is a part of milk, just as buttermilk is; they belong to the same substance.
“Even so, one may ask how Sat-chit-ananda has become so hard – touch the earth and you find it hard. The answer is that blood and semen are fluids, but they produce such a big creature as man. It is possible for God to do anything.
“One must first reach the Indivisible Sat-chit-ananda and then, coming down, observe these things.”
World does not exist without God – distinction between a yogi and a devotee
“It is God alone who has become everything. The world does not exist apart from God. Having studied the Vedas from his guru, Ramachandra felt a spirit of dispassion. He said, ‘If the world is like a dream, one might as well renounce it.’ Dasharatha [his father] became frightened at this. He sent guru Vaishishtha to dissuade Rama. Vaishishtha said, ‘Rama, why do you talk of giving up the world? Please tell me, does the world exist apart from God? If you can convince me that the world is not born of God, you may renounce it.’ Rama was silenced; he could give no reply.
“All elements are finally dissolved into the ether. At the time of creation, ether evolves into mahat, and from mahat emerges the ego. The world is created in this order. It is the process of involution and evolution. The devotee accepts everything. He accepts not only the Indivisible Sat-chit-ananda, but also the phenomenal world and its creatures.
“The yogi, however, treads another path. He reaches the Supreme Atman but does not return. He becomes united with the Supreme Atman.
“He who sees the Lord in one limited area only is a man of ‘partial wisdom’. He believes that God does not exist beyond that particular thing.
“There are three classes of devotees. The inferior class of devotee says, ‘God is out there’ – in other words, he points to heaven. The mediocre devotee says, God resides within the heart as its Inner Controller. And the highest class of devotee says, ‘God has become everything. Indeed, all I see are His various forms.’ Narendra used to make fun of this, saying, ‘He indeed has become all – so He is the pot and the pan.’ ” (All laugh.)
Doubts vanish after God-vision – leads to renunciation of work – omnipresent Shiva
“All doubts vanish when one sees God. It is one thing to hear about God and quite another thing to have His vision. Through hearing alone, one cannot have one hundred percent faith. However, by having a direct vision of God, one is wholly convinced.
“After God-realization one gives up formal worship. I have given up that kind of worship. I used to worship in the Kali Temple. It was suddenly revealed to me that everything is made of pure Spirit – the koshakushi, the altar and the door-frame – everything made of Spirit; men, birds and beasts all made of Spirit. So I began to shower flowers all around like a crazy man. I began to worship anything and everything I saw.
“One day when I was offering bel-leaves on the head of Shiva, it was revealed to me that the vast universe itself, Virat, is Shiva. Then I stopped worshipping the image of Shiva. And when I was picking flowers, it was suddenly revealed to me that every flowering plant is like a bouquet.”
Distinction between joy of poetry and God-realization – ‘no poetry, O Lord of the Universe’
Trailokya — Oh, how beautiful God’s creation is!
Sri Ramakrishna — Oh no, it was revealed to me in a flash, not through calculation. It was shown to me that every flowering plant is a bouquet decorating the Universal Form of God. I stopped picking flowers from that day. I see men in the same way. God indeed moves around in the form of a human body. I see it like a pillow floating on a wave, rising and falling to and fro. Lifted by the wave, it rises; and it descends again with the tide.
Why did Thakur take up a human body? Thakur’s desire
“The body is momentary; God is the only Reality. The body now is and the next moment it is not. Many years ago, when I was suffering terribly from dysentery, Hriday said, ‘Do ask the Divine Mother to cure you.’ I felt ashamed to ask Her to cure my illness. Instead I said, ‘Mother, I saw a human skeleton in the Asiatic Society. Oh Mother, it was given a human shape by joining the bones with wires. Pray fortify my body a little so that I can sing Your glories and repeat Your Name.’
“Why this desire to live? After killing Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana entered Lanka. When they entered Ravana’s palace, they saw Ravana’s mother, Nikasha, running away. Lakshmana was surprised and asked Rama, ‘Rama, Nikasha’s whole clan has perished, but she still has so much attraction for life.’ Calling her to him, Rama said, ‘Do not be afraid! Why were you running away?’ Nikasha said, ‘Rama, I was not fleeing out of fear. I have been able to see so much of your divine sport because my life was spared. If I live still longer, how much more of it I will witness! That is why I desire to live.’
“If one has no desires, the body does not last.
(Smiling) “I had one or two desires. I said, ‘Mother, grant me the company of those who have renounced ‘lust and greed’.’ I also said, ‘I would like to keep the company of Your jnanis and devotees. So grant me a little strength that I may be able to move around a little and visit people here and there.’ But She did not grant me the strength to move about.”
Trailokya (smiling) — Have your desires been fulfilled?
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — A few remain. (All laugh.)
‘The body is indeed ephemeral. When I broke my arm, I said to the Divine Mother, ‘Mother it gives me so much pain!’ A carriage and its driver were then revealed to me. One or two screws of the carriage had fallen out. The carriage moved as the driver moved it. The carriage had no power of its own.
“Then why do I try to take care of my body? So that I may enjoy myself with God. So that I may repeat His name and sing His glories. So that I may move about here and there to associate with His devotees and jnanis.”
In the company of Narendra and others – Narendra in happiness and sorrow – happiness and misery related to the body
Narendra is sitting on the floor in front of Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Trailokya and the devotees) — The body is indeed subject to happiness and sorrow. Take the case of Narendra – his father has died and, as a result, his family is in a dire state. Nothing seems able to solve his problems. Sometimes God keeps one in happiness, at other times in misery.
Trailokya — Sir, the Lord will be merciful to him (Narendra).
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — When? No one remains hungry in Annapurna’s home at Kashi, yet some have to wait for food until evening.
“Hriday asked Sambhu Mallick for some money. Sambhu Mallick held the views of the English. He said, ‘Why should I give you money? You can earn your livelihood by working. Anyway, you are earning something. But if somebody is extremely poor, it is a different matter. The purpose of charity is fulfilled when one gives to the blind, the lame, or the handicapped.’ Then Hriday said, ‘Sir, then I don’t want your money. I pray to the Lord that I do not become blind, handicapped or extremely poor. I don’t want you to have to give, nor do I wish to receive.’ ”
Narendra and atheism – the Lord’s way of work and Bhishma Deva
Thakur speaks as if piqued that the Lord has not yet shown mercy to Narendra. He looks affectionately at Narendra every now and then.
Narendra — I am studying atheism.
Sri Ramakrishna — There are both theism and atheism. Why not study the former?
Surendra — The Lord is just. He will certainly look after His devotee.
Sri Ramakrishna — The scriptures say that one who has given in charity in a previous life gains wealth in this life. Even so, do you know how it is? This world is God’s maya. And there is a lot of confusion in the domain of maya. It is all incomprehensible.
“The ways of the Lord are inscrutable. Bhishma Deva was lying on a bed of arrows. The Pandavas, accompanied by Krishna, went to see him. After awhile Bhishma began to weep. The Pandavas said to Krishna, ‘Krishna, how amazing! Grandfather Bhishma is one of the eight Vasus. There is no man of spiritual wisdom like him. Yet he weeps during his last moments.’ Krishna replied, ‘Bhishma is not weeping because of that. Ask him why he weeps.’ When asked, Bhishma replied, ‘Krishna, I have not been able to understand the ways of God at all. I am weeping because I see that Narayana Himself is a constant companion of the Pandavas – still there is no end to their trials and tribulations. When I reflect on this, I realize that it is impossible to understand anything of God’s ways.’ ”
Pure Atman is immutable like Mount Sumeru
“God revealed to me that the Paramatman, which is described as the pure Atman in the Vedas, is immutable, like Mount Sumeru, unattached and beyond happiness and sorrow. There is great confusion about the working of His maya. No one can say what event will come after this, or if this will produce that.”
Surendra (smiling) — If one gives away in charity in a previous life and gets wealth in the next, then we should give in charity now.
Sri Ramakrishna — He who has money should give in charity. (To Trailokya) Jaygopal Sen is a wealthy man, so he should give in charity. It is contemptible that he doesn’t do so. Some people are miserly even when they are rich. Nobody is sure who will enjoy his riches after he dies.
“Jaygopal came here the other day. He comes by carriage. The carriage carried a broken lantern and was driven by a horse that looked like it had come straight from the charnel house. The coachman looked as if he had just been discharged from the Medical College Hospital. And he brought two rotten pomegranates!” (All laugh.)
Surendra — Jaygopal Babu belongs to the Brahmo Samaj. It seems that Keshab’s Brahmo Samaj has no worthwhile men now. Vijay Goswami, Shivanath and some others have founded the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling) — Govinda Adhikari would not keep good actors in his theatre for the yatras, lest he should have to share the profit with them.
“The other day I saw one of Keshab’s disciples. A play was being staged at Keshab’s house. I saw that fellow dancing with his son in his arms. I understand that he delivers lectures. There is no knowing who is going to teach him!”
Trailokya sings: The waves of love and bliss are rising high in the sea of Knowledge and Bliss Absolute.
The song over, Sri Ramakrishna says to Trailokya, “Do please sing that song: O Mother, make me mad with Thy love.”
 Purna jnana
 Akasa; the subtlest of the five elements
 Cosmic Intelligence
 Virat; the all-pervading Spirit in the form of the universe
 A kosha is a small water container, a kushi is a small spoon for removing water from it. Both are usually made of copper and are used in ritualistic worship.
 A compact group of eight devas (gods)
 Religious theatrical performances