Sri Ramakrishna with Rakhal, Ram, Nitya, Adhar, M., Mahima, and Other Devotees at the Dakshineswar Temple
Why is Sri Ramakrishna restless in illness? – the state of a vijnani
After the midday meal Sri Ramakrishna is sitting with Rakhal, Ram, and some other devotees. He is not completely recovered; his arm is still in a splint. It is Sunday, 23 March 1884, the 11th day of Chaitra, 1290 B.Y.
Though Sri Ramakrishna himself is not well, he has created a mart of joy in his room. Groups of devotees visit him, delighted with his incessant talk about God. Sometimes there is devotional singing and other times they watch Thakur in wonder as he enjoys the bliss of Brahman in samadhi.
Narendra’s marriage: Narendra, the leader
Ram: “Narendra is going to be engaged to R. Mitra’s daughter. Mr. Mitra says he will give a lot of money.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “He may become a leader in society, or something like that. Wherever his path leads, he will prove his worth.”
Thakur does not allow the topic of Narendra to continue.
(To Ram) “Well, why do I get so restless when I’m ill? First I ask one man how I can get well, then I ask another.
“Do you know what the fact is? One should either believe everyone or no one.
“God Himself has become the doctor or medic. That’s why you have to put your faith in all of them. If you simply think of doctors as humans, you won’t have faith in them.”
His earlier story – illness of Sambhu Mallick and Haladhari
“Sambhu was seriously ill. Dr. Sarbadhikari examined him and said, ‘It is due to the heat of the medicine.’
“Haladhari put out his hand so that the doctor could feel his pulse. The doctor said, ‘Let me see your eyes. Oh! You have an enlarged spleen.’ Haladhari said, ‘I have nothing of the sort!’ But Dr. Madhu’s medicine is good.”
Ram: “It’s not the medicine that heals, but it does help nature to cure.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “If medicine doesn’t do any good, why does opium stop diarrhea?”
About Keshab Sen – printing Thakur’s talks in the Sulabh Samachar
Ram is talking about Keshab’s death.
Ram: “You were right, ‘A gardener exposes the roots of a superior rose plant so that the roots can absorb the dew to make the plant grow rapidly.’ The words of perfected man have borne their fruit.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “What do I know, my dear? I didn’t calculate when I said it. It is you who say so.”
Ram: “The Brahmos have gotten something printed about you (in the Sulabh Samachar).”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Printed! What’s this? Why do they print now? I just eat, drink, and make merry. I don’t know anything else.
“I asked Keshab Sen, ‘Why do you print anything about me?’ He said, ‘So people will visit you.’”
Instruction to mankind by the power of God – the wrestling match of Hanuman Singh
(To Ram and others) “A man hasn’t the power to instruct mankind. One cannot subdue ignorance without the power of God.
“Two people wrestled – Hanuman Singh and a Punjabi Muslim. The Muslim was physically very strong. He ate a lot of meat and ghee on the day of the match and for fifteen days before it. Everyone thought he’d win. Hanuman Singh, on the other hand, clad in a dirty cloth, had eaten sparingly but had chanted the name of Mahavir. On the day of the wrestling match, he kept a complete fast. Everyone thought he’d surely lose. But he won. The one who had been eating heavily for fifteen days lost.
“What is the use of publishing in papers? Whoever teaches mankind derives strength from God. Besides, one cannot teach without having renounced.”
His childhood – Sri Ramakrishna listens to the scriptures recited by sadhus at the home of the Lahas in Kamarpukur
“I am a most stupid person.” (All laugh.)
A devotee: “Then how is it that so much of the Vedas and the Vedanta and other things come out of your mouth?”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “During my child-hood I could understand what the sadhus read at the Lahas’ in Kamarpukur, but I would miss a little. If a pundit comes and speaks to me in Sanskrit, I can understand him. But I can’t speak Sanskrit myself.”
Is learning the goal of life? – the ignorant and God’s grace
“The goal of life is to realize God. While aiming his arrow, Arjuna said, ‘I can see nothing but the eye of the bird. I don’t see the kings or the trees, not even the bird.’
“It is enough to realize God. It doesn’t matter if you know Sanskrit.
“God grants His grace not only to pundits, but also to the ignorant if they long for Him. A father has equal love for all his children.
“Say a father has five sons. One or two call him ‘baba’ while some call him ‘ba,’ and some ‘pa,’ those who can’t pronounce the whole word. Does the father love those more who call him ‘baba’ than the ones who say ‘pa?’ The father knows that they are little children and can’t pronounce baba correctly.”
Sri Ramakrishna’s mind drawn to God’s play as a human being
“My state of mind has been changing since I broke my arm. It is becoming drawn toward God’s play as a human being. God Himself is playing as a human being.
“If God can be worshiped in a clay image, why can’t He be worshiped as a man?
“The ship of a merchant sank near Ceylon. He swam to the shore and was brought to Bibhishana on his orders. ‘Ah! He looks like my Ramachandra! The same human form.’ Saying this, Bibhishana was filled with exuberant joy. Dressing him with fine clothes and jewels, Bibhishana worshiped him, waving holy lights before him.
“When I heard this story for the first time I felt such great joy, I could not express it.”
His earlier story – Vaishnavcharan – about Kartabhaja in Phului Shyambazar
“When I asked Vaishnavcharan, he said, ‘The mind goes quickly to God when one accepts the beloved as one’s chosen ideal.’ If someone asks, ‘Whom do you love?’ ‘A certain person.’ ‘Then take him as your chosen ideal.’ I said to those at Shyambazar near Kamarpukur, ‘I have a different way. I look upon all women as the Divine Mother.’ I have seen that those who talk big lead immoral lives. When the women asked me if they could attain liberation, I said, ‘Yes, you will if you have single-minded devotion to one man, taking him as God.’”
Ram: “Perhaps Kedar Babu visited the Karta-bhaja sect.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “He collects honey from many different flowers.”
Haladhari’s father – my father – ecstasy in Vrindavan at seeing cows return home
(To Ram, Nityagopal and others) “When you have one hundred percent faith that so-and-so is your chosen ideal, you realize God – you have His vision.
“People used to have great faith. What faith Haladhari’s father had!
“He was going to his daughter’s house. Seeing beautiful flowers and bel leaves, he gathered them for offering to the family deity, and he walked five or six miles back to his home.
“There was a performance of the Ramlila. Kaikeyi asked Rama to go into exile. Haladhari’s father had gone to see the play. He stood up immediately and went up to the person who was playing Kaikeyi, exclaiming, ‘You vile wretch!’ He wanted to burn the actress’s face with an oil lamp.
“After taking his bath, he would stand in the water and chant, ‘Raktavarëaà caturmukham,’ then meditate, tears flowing down his cheeks.
“When my father walked on the road wearing wooden slippers, the shopkeepers would respect-fully rise from their seats. They would say, ‘See, there he comes.’
“When he would go to the Haldarpukur for his bath, other people would not have the courage to bathe at the same time. They would first find out if he had left after his bath.
“When he would repeat, ‘Raghuvir, Raghuvir,’ his chest would become very red.
“It was the same with me. When I saw the cows return from pasture in Vrindavan, my body would become red from ecstasy.
“People in those days had intense faith. I’ve heard people say that the Lord used to dance in the form of Kali when the devotees clapped!”
The hatha yogi of the panchavati
A yogi lives in the panchavati hut these days. Ramprasanna, the son of Krishnakishore of Ariadaha, and many others are devotees of this hatha yogi. But his opium and milk cost twenty-five rupees a month. Ramprasanna came to Thakur and said, “So many devotees come to you. Perhaps you could ask them to give something for the hatha yogi.”
Thakur asks a number of devotees to go to the panchavati and see what kind of person the hatha yogi is.
Advice to Thakur Dada and Mahimacharan
Thakur Dada comes in with a couple of friends and salutes Thakur. He is about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old and lives in Baranagore. He is the son of a brahmin pundit and practises the recital of scriptural and mythological stories. He is saddled with family responsibilities. He had disappeared for some days in a mood of dispassion. Even now he practices spiritual disciplines.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Have you come on foot? Where do you live?”
Thakur Dada: “Yes, sir. I live in Baranagore.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “What has brought you here?”
Thakur Dada: “Sir, I have come to see you. I pray to God. Why then do I sometimes become restless? Three or four days pass joyfully. Why do I feel so restless later?”
The mechanic – faith in the mantra – a devotee of God – two signs of knowledge
Sri Ramakrishna: “I understand. There are teething problems. Things aren’t fitted right yet. A mechanic adjusts the machine so the cogs of the wheels fit together smoothly. Even so, it sometimes gets stuck a little somewhere.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Have you been initiated with a mantra?”
Thakur Dada: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Do you have faith in the mantra?”
A friend of Thakur Dada says that he can sing well. Thakur asks him, “Please do sing a song.” Thakur Dada sings:
I shall live as a yogi in a cave of Love’s mountain.
I shall sit absorbed in yoga beside the spring of bliss.
I shall gather the fruit of truth and satisfy my hunger for knowledge.
I shall worship the lotus feet of God with the flowers of dispassion.
I shall not go to the well for water to quench the thirst of separation,
But shall draw the water of peace to fill the vessel of my heart.
Climbing to the heights of ecstasy, I shall drink the holy water that has bathed Your feet. I shall laugh and weep and dance and sing!
Sri Ramakrishna: “Ah! What a beautiful song! ‘The spring of bliss! The fruit of truth! I shall laugh and weep and dance and sing!’
“You sing so beautifully. What more do you need? You have to face happiness and sorrow in worldly life. It is natural to feel restless once in a while. When you live in a room full of soot, you can’t avoid its stain.”
Thakur Dada: “Please tell me what I should do now.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Chant the name of Hari morning and evening, clapping your hands, ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol.’
“And come again when my arm is healed a little.”
Mahimacharan comes in and salutes Thakur.
(To Mahima) “Oh, he sang a very special and beautiful song! Do please sing it again.”
Thakur Dada again sings: “I shall live as a yogi in a cave of Love’s mountain.”
When the song ends, Thakur says to Mahimacharan, “Please recite that verse – the one about devotion to Hari.”
Mahimacharan recites a verse 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?
Sri Ramakrishna: “Chant that one, too: ‘From Him, learn how to love the Lord.’ Mahimacharan chants:
Desist, O my child, desist from further austerities.
Hasten at once to Shiva, the ocean of divine knowledge.
From Him, learn how to love with that pure love extolled by the lovers of God,
A love that, like a sword, cuts asunder the fetters of the world.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Shankara will grant love and devotion to God.”
Mahima: “The Eternal Shiva is free from all bondage.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Shame, hatred, fear and suspicion – all these are bonds. What do you say?”
Mahima: “Yes, sir. Also secrecy and feeling embarrassed when praised.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “There are two signs of spiritual knowledge. First, a firm understanding. One may have to face a thousand pains and sorrows, a number of catastrophes and obstacles, yet one remains steady, like the anvil in a blacksmith shop which receives so many hammer blows. Second is perseverance, inner strength: if lust and anger can hurt me, I shall immediately renounce them. When a tortoise pulls its limbs inside, it doesn’t put them out again, even if you cut it into four pieces.”
Deep dispassion, mild dispassion, and momentary dispassion
(To Thakur Dada and others) “There are two kinds of dispassion, deep and mild. Mild dispassion is slow, like a slow beat on the tabla. Deep dispassion, on the other hand, is like the sharp edge of a razor. It cuts the bondage of maya in two at once.
“A farmer was trying to cut a channel from the lake to his field for some days, but the water did not reach his field. He had no strength of mind. But another farmer resolves after three or four days that he will see to it that the water gets to his field that day. He postpones his bath, even eating. The whole day he labours hard, and in the evening water comes gurgling into his field. Oh, what joy! Then he returns home and says to his wife, ‘Now let me have some oil. I’m going to have my bath.’ Having taken his bath and eaten his dinner, he sleeps peacefully.
“A wife said to her husband, ‘So-and-so has developed great dispassion, but you have attained nothing at all.’ The man who had attained dispassion had a number of wives. He was giving them up one by one.
“The husband of the woman was just then going to take his bath. He had a small towel on his shoulder. Her said to his wife, ‘Silly woman! That man won’t be able to renounce the world. It can’t be done little by little. But I can renounce. Just see. Here I go!’
“Without making any arrangements for his family, he left home as he was, with the towel on his shoulder. This is known as intense dispassion.
“There is another kind of dispassion. It’s called monkey renunciation. A householder burned by the fire of worldly life puts on gerua and goes to Kashi. For many days there is no news about him. At last a letter is received, ‘Please don’t worry. I have found work here.’
“There are always burning problems in family life: your wife may be stubborn, you may be earning only twenty rupees a month, you have no money to celebrate your son’s rice-eating ceremony, you may have no means to send your boys to school, your home may be dilapidated, the roof may be leaking and you can’t afford to get it repaired.
“That is why, when the boys visit me, I ask about their guardians or relatives.
(To Mahima) “Why do you need to give up family life? What troubles sadhus have to face! A wife said to her husband, ‘Why do you want to renounce the family? You would have to beg alms from eight different houses. Instead, you get food from just one house. Isn’t that better?’
“A sadhu may have to go out of his way six miles to find a free meal. I’ve seen sadhus returning from Jagannath. They’ve had to leave the main road and take a detour to find an eating place.
“It’s nice if you can fight from a fort. There are great disadvantages to standing in the open field and fighting from there. And dangers! Bullets may hit you.
“But for spiritual knowledge you must retire to a solitary place for few days. Then you can return to worldly life. Janaka lived a worldly life after attaining knowledge. You can live anywhere after attaining knowledge. Then nothing matters.”
Mahimacharan: “Sir, why is man bewitched by things of the world?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Because he lives among them without having realized God. You don’t get bewitched after realizing Him. A moth doesn’t like darkness any more once it has seen light.”
Unbroken continence, restricted continence and God-realization – difficult rules for the sannyasin
“One has to observe strict continence to attain God.
“Sukadeva and people like him were men of absolute and unbroken continence. They never discharged semen.
“There are others who have discharged semen earlier but now conserve it. A person conserving semen for twelve years builds up a special power. He develops a new nerve of mental power. When this nerve develops, one remembers everything, can know everything.
“The discharge of semen dissipates a person’s strength. But there is no harm in nocturnal emission. That semen is from food. After discharge, a man retains enough to succeed. But he must not have intercourse with a woman.
“What remains after nocturnal discharge is very refined. The Lahas stored pots of molasses with holes in the bottom. After a year it was found that the molasses had turned into crystals, like sugar candy. Whatever liquid there was had come out through the holes.
“A sannyasin must completely renounce woman. However, there is no harm in your already having been involved.
“A sannyasin mustn’t even see the picture of a woman. An ordinary person can’t do this. Do re me fa so la ti. One can’t stay long on ti.
“It is very harmful for a sannyasin to discharge semen. He has to be very careful not to even look at a woman. Even if she is a devotee, he must leave that place. Even to see the picture of a woman might cause the discharge of semen in a dream, if not in his waking hours.
“Even if a sannyasin has mastered his senses, he should not talk with a woman, as an example to mankind. Even if she is a devotee, he must not talk with her very long.
“A sannyasin is like one observing a waterless fast on the eleventh day of the lunar month. There are two other kinds of fasts on the eleventh day: One, when one may eat fruits; and the other, when one eats fried luchi. (All laugh.) With the fried luchi, maybe you also have two chapattis soaked in milk. (All laugh.)
(Smiling) “You can’t keep an absolutely waterless fast of the eleventh day of lunar month.”
His earlier life – Krishnakishore’s ekadashi – Rajendra Mitra
“I saw Krishnakishore eating luchis and vegetable curry on an ekadashi day. I said to Hriday, ‘Hridu, I’d like to observe Krishnakishore’s ekadashi!’ (All laugh.) I did it for a day. I ate till my stomach was full. The next day I couldn’t eat a thing.” (All laugh.)
The devotees who went to see the hatha yogi have returned. Sri Ramakrishna says to them, “Well, how did you find him? You measured him with your own yardstick, didn’t you?”
Thakur noticed that hardly any of the devotees was willing to offer a rupee to the hatha yogi.
Sri Ramakrishna: “One doesn’t like a sadhu he has to give money to.
“Rajendra Mitra earns eight hundred rupees a month. He had been to the kumbhamela in Prayag. I asked him, ‘What kind of sadhus did you see at the mela?’ Rajendra replied, ‘I didn’t come across one real sadhu. I noticed one, but even he accepted money.’
“I say to myself that if sadhus are not given any money how will they eat? You don’t have to make any offering here; that’s why people come here. I say to myself, ‘Oh, how they love their money! So let them keep it.’”
Thakur rests for a while. One of the devotees is sitting on the north end of the smaller cot, gently stroking his feet. Thakur whispers to him, “He who is formless also has form. You must also accept God’s forms. When an aspirant meditates on the form of Kali, he has the vision of Kali. But later he finds that the form has merged into the Indivisible. He who is indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute is also Kali.”
Mahima’s scholarship – Mani Sen, Adhar, and the meeting
Thakur is on the western circular verandah talking about the hatha yogi with Mahima and others. Ramprasanna is the son of Krishnakishore, the devotee. That is why Thakur is fond of him.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Ramprasanna just goes around doing nothing, like a vagabond. The other day he came here and sat down but didn’t say a word. He just pressed his nostrils doing pranayama. He was given some refreshments, but he didn’t eat them. Another day I called him and made him sit here. He sat with one leg over the other and a foot toward the Captain. I weep at his mother’s sorrow.
(To Mahima) “He [meaning Ramprasanna] asked me to tell you about the hatha yogi. His expenses are six annas and two pice a day. But he wouldn’t ask for it himself.”
Mahima: “But who would listen if he himself asked?” (Thakur and others laugh.)
Going into his room, Thakur sits down. Mani Sen, whose home is in Panihati, has come with a couple of friends. He asks about Thakur’s fractured arm. One of his companions is a doctor.
Thakur is under the care of Dr. Pratap Majumdar. Mani’s doctor friend does not approve of his treatment. Thakur says to him, “But Pratap is not a fool. Why do you talk about him this way?”
Just then, Latu exclaims that the medicine bottle has broken.
Hearing about the hatha yogi, Mani (Sen) says, “What is a hatha yogi? ‘Hath’ [hot] means that it is warm.”
Thakur later talks to the devotees about Mani Sen’s doctor, “I know him. I told Jadu Mallick that this doctor of his was absolutely useless. He is even less intelligent than the other doctor.”
Sri Ramakrishna talks with M. privately
It is not yet evening. Seated on his cot, Thakur is talking with M., who sits facing west on the foot rug near the cot. In the meantime, Mahimacharan is on the semi-circular verandah, facing west and discussing the scriptures loudly with Mani Sen’s doctor. Thakur hears this from his seat and says to M. with a little smile, “He is delivering himself. This is rajas. A rajasic person wants to show off his learning and lecture to others. But sattva makes a person introverted, wanting to hide himself. But Mahima is an excellent person. He shows so much enthusiasm and takes such delight in talking about God.”
Adhar comes in, salutes Sri Ramakrishna, and sits near M.
Adhar Sen, about thirty years old, is a deputy magistrate. His home is in Banetola of Sobhabazar in Calcutta. He has been coming to see Thakur almost daily for quite some time, in the evening after working hard in his office the whole day. However, he hasn’t visited Thakur for a few days.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Hello! Why haven’t you been here for such a long time?”
Adhar: “I got involved in so much work! I had to attend conferences and school meetings.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “So you forgot everything because of school meetings.”
Adhar (humbly): “Sir, it was all hidden away inside. How is your arm?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Just look, it is not yet healed. I’m taking Pratap’s medicine.”
After a while, Thakur suddenly says to Adhar, “Look, all this is impermanent – all these meetings, schools, and offices. God is the only reality, and all else is unreal. You must worship Him alone with your whole mind.”
Adhar is silent.
“Everything else is transitory – the body now is and then is no more. You mustn’t hesitate to call upon Him.
“You don’t have to renounce everything. Live in the world like a tortoise. A tortoise moves around, feeding itself in the water, but it keeps its eggs on the dry bank. Its whole mind is where its eggs are.
“Captain has developed a beautiful disposition. When he sits down for worship, he looks like a rishi. Besides, he performs the arati with lighted camphor and the hymns and holy text beautifully. When he rises after the worship, his eyes are swollen with emotion, as if ants have been biting them. And he devotes himself to studying sacred texts such as the Gita and the Bhagavata. Once I spoke a couple of English words and he was cross with me. He said, “English-educated people are irreverent.”
After a while Adhar says very humbly, “You haven’t visited our house for a long time now. It’s as if the sitting room smells and there is darkness everywhere.”
Hearing these words of the devotee, Thakur’s affection rises like a wave in the sea. He stands up suddenly and, full of emotion, blesses Adhar and M., touching their foreheads and hearts. Full of affection, he says, “I look upon you as Narayana. You are indeed my own.”
Mahimacharan comes into the room and sits down.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mahima): “What you were saying about men of continence is correct. One cannot hold these spiritual teachings without conserving semen.
“Someone said to Chaitanya Deva, ‘You give the devotees so much instruction. Why aren’t they able to make much progress?’ He replied, ‘They squander it all by intercourse with their wives. That’s why they’re not able to hold on to spiritual instruction.’ If you fill a leaky pail with water, the water trickles out little by little.”
Mahima and the other devotees remain silent. After a while Mahimacharan says, “Please pray to God for us, that we may develop that power.”
. Brahmo magazine.
. A name for Hanuman, the patron deity of wrestlers.
. See Max Muller’s Hibbert Lectures [regarding the origin and growth of the conception of God historically and anthropologically].
. Sri Lanka.
. Two or three kosas.
. A theatrical performance about the life of Rama.
. Invocation of the Deity as red-hued with four faces.
. For the complete song refer to Section X, Chapter V.
. Three kosas.
. Udharva reta and dhairya reta
. Udharva reta.
. Dhairya reta.
. Medha nadi.
. Nirjala ekadeshi.
. Later Swami Adbhutananda.
. Adhar died just a few months later.
 Month of Ashada.
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