With Rakhal, Latu, M., Mahima, and Others at the Dakshineswar Temple
Sri Ramakrishna injures his arm – while in samadhi he talks to the Mother of the Universe
Sri Ramakrishna is living in the same room at the Dakshineswar temple. It is three o’clock on Saturday, 2 February 1884, 20th of Magha, 1290 B.Y., the sixth day of the bright fortnight.
One day when Thakur was going alone to the pine grove, he fell near the railing in an ecstatic mood. A bone of his left arm was dislocated and caused him severe pain. M. has now brought him a splint, a pad, and bandages from the devotees in Calcutta.
Rakhal, Mahimacharan, Hazra, and some other devotees are in the room. M. comes in and prostrates before Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Hello. Have you been ill? Are you all right now?”
M.: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mahima): “Tell me, brother, why this happened when ‘I am the instrument and you the Operator?’”
Thakur is seated on his wooden cot, listening to Mahimacharan talk about his visits to places of pilgrimage. The visits took place twelve years before.
Mahimacharan: “I saw a brahmachari in the Sikrol garden in Benares. He said he had been there for twenty years. But he didn’t know whose garden it was. He asked me, ‘Sir, do you work in an office?’ I replied, ‘No.’ Then he asked, ‘Then are you a wandering holy man?’
“I saw a sadhu on the bank of the Narmada. He was chanting the Gayatri mentally. The hair on his body stood on end. Then he chanted the Gayatri and Om out loud in such a way that it thrilled everyone sitting near and made their hair stand on end.”
Thakur has the nature of a child. Feeling hungry, he asks M., “Well, what have you brought?” He looks at Rakhal and goes into samadhi.
When the samadhi is over and he returns to normal consciousness, he says, “I shall eat jilibi. I want some water to drink.”
Weeping like a child, he says to the Mother of the Universe, “Brahmamayi, why have you done this to me? My arm hurts badly!” (To Rakhal, Mahima, Hazra, and the others) “Will my hand be cured?”
The devotees console him as they would a child, “Why not? It will surely get well.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Rakhal): “It’s not your fault, even though you’re here to look after me. Even if you had gone with me, you wouldn’t have gone as far as the railing.”
Sri Ramakrishna in the mood of child – ‘a million salutations to the knowledge of Brahman’.
Thakur again becomes absorbed in a deep spiritual mood. He says, “Om, Om, Om, Mother! What am I saying? Please Mother, don’t make me unconscious by giving me the knowledge of Brahman. I am only a child – easily afraid. I want Mother! A thousand farewells to the knowledge of Brahman! Give it to those who want it. O, All-Blissful Mother! The All-Blissful Mother!”
Thakur weeps as he says loudly, “The All-Blissful Mother, the All-Blissful Mother!” Then he says:
This is the grief that weighs on my heart: though You, my Mother, are here and I am wide awake, thieves of passion rob my house.
Thakur then says to the Divine Mother, “What wrong have I done, Mother? Have I done anything wrong? It is You who do everything, Mother. I am an instrument, You are the Operator.”
(To Rakhal, smiling) “Take care that you also don’t fall. Don’t be full of pride and hurt yourself.”
Thakur again says to the Divine Mother: “Am I crying because of the hurt? No, it’s just that:
This is the grief that weighs on my heart: though You, my Mother, are here and I am wide awake, thieves of passion rob my house.
How to call upon God: yearn for Him
Sri Ramakrishna now laughs and talks like a child, just as a child sometimes laughs and plays even though seriously ill. He talks to Mahima and the other devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna: “If you have not realized Sat-chit-ananda, you have done nothing – nothing at all, my dear sir.
“There is nothing like discrimination and non-attachment.
“The love of worldly people for God is only momentary, transient like a drop of water falling on a hot plate. Seeing a flower, he may say, ‘Ah, how wonderful is God’s creation!’
“Yearning for God is essential. When a son bothers his parents for his inheritance, the parents consult one another and give him his share in advance. When you are earnest, God is sure to listen. Since He has created us, we certainly have a share in His house. He is our Father and Mother. We can force Him. ‘Reveal Yourself to me or I will cut my throat with a knife!’”
Thakur is teaching the devotees how to call on the Divine Mother: “I used to pray to the Divine Mother this way, ‘O, All-Blissful Mother, reveal Yourself to me if You are indeed there.’
“And at times I would say, ‘Come, O Lord of the humble, Lord of the Universe, I am not outside the universe. Lord, I am without knowledge, without spiritual discipline, without love and devotion. I know nothing. Be kind and reveal yourself to me.’”
Speaking in the most touching tone of voice, Thakur teaches the devotees how to call on God. When they hear these touching words, their hearts melt. Tears fall from Mahimacharan’s eyes. Noticing this, Thakur adds:
Cry out with yearning, O mind, and see how Mother Shyama can withhold Herself from you!
Devotees from Shivapur and the power of attorney – Dr. Madhu
Devotees from Shivapur have arrived. Having made great effort to come such a distance, Sri Ramakrishna cannot remain silent. He talks to them about very important things.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the Shivapur devotees): “God alone is the reality, all else is ephemeral. Take the case of the owner of a garden. God and His splendour. People only see the garden. How many want to find out who the owner is?”
A devotee: “Sir, what is the way?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Discriminate between what is real and what is unreal. Reflect constantly on this: God alone is the reality, all else is ephemeral. Call on Him with yearning.”
A devotee: “But, sir, where is the time?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Those who have time should practice meditation and chanting of God’s name. Those who cannot do so should bow down to God very lovingly and with respect, both morning and evening. God is the ruler within the heart, He understands what people of the world have to do. You have no time to call on Him. Therefore, you must give Him the power of attorney. If you do not realize Him, if you do not see Him, you have not achieved anything.”
A devotee: “Sir, seeing you is the same as seeing God.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Never say that again. The waves belong to the Ganges, the Ganges doesn’t belong to the waves. Unless you rid yourself of the idea, ‘I am a big man – I am so and so,’ you cannot realize God. Level the hill of your ‘I’ by drenching it with the water of love for God.”
Why family life? – when desire for enjoyment is over, one feels yearning for God and realizes Him
A devotee: “Why has He kept us in the world?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “To keep the creation going. That is His will. That is His maya. God has bewitched us with ‘lust and greed.’”
A devotee: “Why has He bewitched us? Why does He will this?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “If He granted the bliss of God even once, no one would live a householder’s life. And that would lead to the end of creation.
“Rice is stocked in big bags in a warehouse. So that rats don’t find the rice, the grain dealer keeps some puffed and sweetened rice in a husking pan. The rats like the sweetened rice and eat it through the night. They don’t look for the bagged rice.
“But look, you can make fourteen times the volume of one seer of rice with puffed sweetened rice. How great is the bliss of God compared to the joy of ‘lust and greed!’ Contemplating His beauty, even the beauty of Rambha and Tilottama appears like ashes from a fire.”
A devotee: “Why don’t we develop that yearning to realize God?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “A person doesn’t feel yearning for God until the desire for enjoyment is over. Until the desire for ‘lust and greed’ is satisfied, a person doesn’t remember the Mother of the Universe. A child busy playing doesn’t look for his mother. When his play is over, he says, ‘I want to go to my mother.’ Once Hriday’s son was playing with a pigeon. He was calling out to it, ‘Come here, tee tee!’ As soon as he had enough of playing, he began to cry. A stranger came by and said, ‘Come, I’ll take you to your mother.’ The boy even climbed on the man’s shoulders to be taken.
“Those who are born perfect don’t have to go through the householder’s life. They are already free from the desire for enjoyments since their birth.”
Dr. Madhu arrives – Madhusudana and the importance of God’s name
It is five o’clock. Dr. Madhu has arrived. He is going to put Thakur’s hand in a splint and bandage it. Thakur laughs like a child and says, “Here is the Madhusudana of this world and also of the next.”
Dr. Madhu (smiling): “I am burdened carrying the weight of my name.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “Why? Is the name insignificant? There is no difference between God and his name. When Satyabhama was weighing the Lord against gold and jewels in a scale, it didn’t balance. But when Rukmini put the tulsi leaf with the name of Krishna written on it, lo, it balanced!”
The doctor is going to tie the splint on Thakur’s hand. A bed is made on the floor. Thakur, laughing, lies down on it. He chants, “Radha is in her last stage. Vrinde says, who knows what else is going to happen?”
The devotees sit around Sri Ramakrishna, who sings:
All the gopi friends of Radha sat together on the lake shore.
Thakur laughs. So do the devotees. When the splint has been tied, Thakur says: “I don’t have much faith in doctors from Calcutta. Sambhu was delirious, but the doctor (Dr. Sarbadhikari) said, ‘This is nothing – it is only the medicine that makes you feel groggy.’ Just after that, Sambhu died.”
Instruction to Mahimacharan
Evening arati has been performed in the temples. Soon after, Adhar arrives from Calcutta and prostrates before Thakur. Mahimacharan, Rakhal, and M. are in the room. Hazra comes in and out of the room.
Adhar: “How are you?”
Sri Ramakrishna (affectionately): “Look how I have hurt my arm. (Smiling) How could I feel?”
Adhar sits on the floor with the devotees. Thakur says to him, “Please stroke my hand.”
Adhar, seated toward the north of the smaller cot, strokes Sri Ramakrishna’s feet instead. Thakur talks to Mahimacharan.
The important thing is spontaneous love for God – know your own real Self
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mahima): “Love for God that wells up spontaneously from the depths of the soul – it would be very good if you could practice that.
“I want none of these – liberation, name and fame, wealth, or recovery from disease. I only want You. This is selfless love. Many people go to visit a rich gentleman and ask for things. If there is one who doesn’t want anything from him but has only come out of love, that person gets any amount of love from him.
“Prahlada had unselfish love. His love for God was pure and motiveless.”
Mahimacharan says nothing. Thakur adds, “Well, I’m going to tell you something that you will agree with. Just listen. According to Vedanta, one has to know one’s own real Self. But this isn’t possible without first renouncing ‘I-ness.’ This ‘I’ is like a stick which appears to split water into two parts: I am one and You are another.
“On attaining samadhi, ‘I-ness’ disappears and one has the inner consciousness of Brahman.
Perhaps some of the devotees are asking themselves, Has Thakur attained the knowledge of Brahman? If he has attained it, why is he using the word I?
Thakur continues, “You must renounce the ‘I’ which says, ‘I am Mahima Chakravarty, a learned man.’ However, there is no harm in the ‘I of knowledge.’ Shankaracharya retained the ‘I of knowledge’ to teach mankind.
“Unless you are very cautious about ‘lust,’ you cannot attain the knowledge of Brahman. For this reason, it is difficult for one who leads a worldly life. However clever you may be, you will get a black stain on your body if you live in a room of lampblack. In the company of a young woman, even a man without desire develops a feeling of passion. “But there is no harm if a man of knowledge cohabits with his wife occasionally. Discharge of semen is just like other eliminations – defecation, urine, and so on. After answering the call of nature, a person forgets all about it.
“It is like eating half a sweetmeat! (Mahima laughs). It is not so harmful for a householder.”
Difficult rules for sannyasin and Sri Ramakrishna
“But it is very wrong for a sannyasin. The sannyasin must not even look at a picture of a woman. For sannyasins, keeping the company of women is like swallowing spit already spat out.
“A sannyasin must not sit near women and talk with them, even if they are extremely devout. He should not talk with them even though he may have controlled his passions.
“A sannyasin must renounce both lust and gold. Just as he must not look at the picture of a woman, he must not touch gold – money. Having money near is bad in itself. With money comes keeping accounts, worry, pride of wealth, and anger at others. You are looking for the sun and, lo, it is covered by clouds!
“That’s why when a rich Marwari wanted to deposit money with Hriday for our use, I said, ‘No. Not even this. Clouds will arise wherever there is money.’
“Why such difficult rules of conduct for a sannyasin? They are there for the instruction of humanity as well as for his own good. Even if a sannyasin lives unattached, having controlled his senses, he should renounce ‘lust and greed’ in order to teach mankind.
“People will muster the courage for renunciation only if they see the one hundred percent renunciation of a sannyasin. Then only will they endeavour to renounce ‘lust and greed.’
“If a sannyasin doesn’t impart this instruction of renunciation, who else will?”
Janaka and others entered worldly life after realizing God – the rishi and eating pork
“One should lead a householder’s life only after attaining God. It is like keeping butter in water after it has been churned. Janaka led the life of a householder only after attaining the knowledge of Brahman.
“Janaka wielded two swords: one of spiritual knowledge and the other of action. A sannyasin renounces work. Thus he wields only one sword, that of knowledge. Householders who are men of knowledge, like Janaka, can eat both the fruit off a tree and fruit on the ground. They can serve holy men and entertain guests as well. I said to the Divine Mother, ‘Mother, I don’t want to be a dry sadhu.’
“After attaining the knowledge of Brahman, one doesn’t discriminate about food. The rishis who had attained the knowledge of Brahman and experienced the bliss of Brahman could eat any food, even pork.”
Four stages of life [ashramas] – the essence of yoga and Sri Ramakrishna
(To Mahima) “Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of yoga: Karma Yoga and manoyoga – union with God through work and union through mind.
“There are four stages of life: brahmacharya (celibate student life), garhasthya (family life), vanaprastha (life of retirement, non-attachment, and contemplation of God) and sannyasa (complete renunciation). Work is necessary in the first three stages of life. Although a sannyasin carries a staff, a water pot, and a begging bowl and may perform daily Vedic duties, his mind is not attached to them. He is not conscious of them; his mind is attached only to God. A few sannyasins attend to daily duties only to teach mankind. If a house-holder or a person of the other stages of life can perform work without expectation of any reward, he attains union with God through such work.
“In the case of a paramahamsa like Sukadeva and others, all work falls off – such actions as worship, repetition of the name, offering of water to the deities, and daily evening prayer. In this state there is union with God in the mind alone. Such a person performs work outwardly at times for the instruction of mankind. But his mind remains always in remembrance and contemplation of God.”
Thakur hears Mahimacharan’s reading of the scriptures and goes into samadhi
The conversation continues to about 8 p.m. Thakur asks Mahimacharan to chant some verses from the scriptures. Mahimacharan takes a book and chants the first verse of the Uttara Gita concerning the Supreme Brahman:
He, Brahman, is one – partless, stainless, and beyond the ether.
Without beginning or end, unknowable by mind or intelligence.
In due course, he chants the seventh verse from the third chapter.
Fire is the deity of brahmins;
the deity of sages is in the heart;
for people of average intelligence, the deity is the image;
and for the great yogi who perceives oneness, the deity is everywhere.
When Mahimacharan chants the phrase “for the great yogi who perceives oneness, the deity is everywhere,” Thakur suddenly rises from his seat and goes into samadhi. His arm is still bound with splints and bandages. The devotees are wonder-struck as they watch this great yogi of similar vision.
He stands in this way for quite some time before returning to normal consciousness and resuming his seat. He asks Mahimacharan to chant the verses about love for God. Mahima chants from the Narada Pancharatra:
If God is worshipped with devotion, what is the need for austerities?
If He is not so worshipped, what again is the use of austerities?
If Hari is both inside and outside, what need is there of austerities?
And if He is not there, what is the use of austerities?
If you worship Hari, what need is there of austerities?
And if you do not, what is the use of austerities?
So, O brahmin, detach yourself, dear boy.
What is the need of austerities?
Go at once to Shankara, the ocean of Knowledge.
Attain the deep devotion for Hari, of which the Vaishnavas speak.
From Him you’ll learn how to love the Lord. Such love has been spoken of by Vishnu’s worshipers,
A love that never fails, a love that like a sword cuts asunder the fetters of this world.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Ah! Ah!”
Vessel and the universe – You are Knowledge and Bliss Absolute – not I, not I
Hearing these verses, Thakur is again about to go into ecstasy and controls it only with difficulty. Now a passage from the Yatipanchaka is chanted:
I am She, the Divine Mother, the embodiment of consciousness, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, who is the Self of the universe, in whom this appearance of the moving and unmoving is seen, being the play of Her mind.
Now he recites the Six Stanzas on Nirvana from the Nirvana Ashtakama.
Om, I am neither the mind, the intellect, the ego, nor the mind-stuff,
Nor I am the ears, the tongue, the nostrils, the eyes.
I am neither the sky nor earth nor fire nor air.
Neither am I ether, sky, nor the earth; neither heat nor air.
I am pure Knowledge and Bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva!
Whenever Mahimacharan repeats, “I am pure Knowledge and Bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva!” Thakur says with a smile:
“Not I, not I – You, You, You are pure Knowledge and Bliss!”
Mahimacharan reads the description of the six spiritual centers from the Jivanmukti Gita. He says that he himself had witnessed the death of a yogi in the state of yoga at Benares. He describes the terrestrial and aerial mudras. He also talks about sambhavi, when one wanders about aimlessly.
His earlier story – Thakur hears narration of the Rama Gita from sadhus
Mahima: “The Rama Gita has many beautiful things to say.”
Ramakrishna (smiling): “You are a confirmed Vedantist to talk so much of the Rama Gita. How many books like it the sadhus used to read here!”
Mahima reads the description of Om:
It is like an unceasing flow of oil, like the long peal of a bell.
Then he reads about the characteristics of samadhi:
The man established in samadhi sees the upper region filled with Atman, the nether region filled with Atman, the middle region filled with Atman. He sees all filled with Atman.
Adhar and Mahimacharan salute Sri Ramakrishna and leave.
State of intoxication – guilelessness and telling the truth
The next day is Sunday, 3 February 1884, 21st day of Magha, 1290 B.Y., the seventh day of the bright fortnight of Magha. Thakur is seated on his cot after the midday meal. Worried when they heard of his injury, Ram, Surendra, and some other devotees have come from Calcutta. M. is seated near Sri Ramakrishna, who has his hand in a splint. He talks with the devotees.
His earlier story – state of divine inebriation, stay in Janbazar – guilelessness and telling the truth
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “The Divine Mother has kept me in such a state that I can’t hide anything. It is the state of a child.
“Rakhal doesn’t understand. Lest anybody should notice it and then talk ill of me, he covers my arm by wrapping a cloth around my body. He took Doctor Madhu aside and told him all about it. Then I shouted, ‘Where are you, Madhusudana? Come and see, I have broken my arm!’
“I used to sleep in the same bedroom with Mathur Babu and his wife. They loved me and looked after me as if as I were their child. I was in a state of divine inebriation at that time. Mathur Babu would say, ‘Father, do you hear what we say?’ I would say, ‘Yes, I do.’
“Suspecting her husband of something, Mathur’s wife said, ‘If you go anywhere, Bhattacharya Mahashay (Sri Ramakrishna) will accompany you.’ Once he went to a certain place and made me sit downstairs. Returning in half an hour, he said, ‘Come on, Father, let’s go to the carriage.’ When his wife questioned me, I told her exactly what had happened. I said to her, ‘Look, we went by carriage. He made me sit downstairs, and he went upstairs alone. Returning in half an hour, he said to me, ‘“Come on, father! Let’s go.”’ She figured it out as well as she could.
“A partner of Mathur’s estate used to take cart- loads of cauliflower and fruits from the temple garden to his home. When the other partners asked me, I told them all this exactly.”
. For the complete song refer to Volume I, Section XX, Chapter V.
. For the complete song refer to Volume I, Section I, Chapter V.
. Two beautiful celestial dancing girls.
. A name of Krishna.
. Shambu Mallick died in 1877.
. Ahetuki bhakti.
. Bodhe bodha.
. Bhuchari and khechari mudras, expressions of particular states of consciousness or yogic awareness.
. Sejo Ginni.
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