Sri Ramakrishna with Ram, Baburam, M., Chuni, Adhar, Bhavanath, Niranjan, and Other Devotees at the Dakshineswar Temple
Life of Thakur in his own words – beliefs of the Ghoshpara and Kartabhaja sects
Sri Ramakrishna is seated on the smaller cot in his room at the Dakshineswar temple with devotees. It is about eleven o’clock. He has not yet been served the noon meal.
Yesterday, on Saturday, Thakur paid a visit to Adhar Sen’s house with the devotees. He made everyone happy by celebrating the Lord Hari’s name through devotional singing. Today Shyamdas will perform kirtan. Many devotees are assembling to witness Thakur’s joy in devotional singing.
The first to arrive are Baburam, M., the brahmin from Srirampur, Manomohan, Bhavanath, and Kishori. Then Chunilal, Haripada, and others come, followed by the Mukherji brothers, Ram, Surendra, Tarak, Adhar, and Niranjan. Latu, Harish, and Hazra are now staying at Dakshineswar. Ramlal is the priest in Mother Kali’s temple, and he looks after Thakur. Ram Chakravarty is the priest in the Vishnu temple. Today is Sunday, 7 September 1884 ; 23rd Bhadra, 1291 B.Y., the second day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra.
After M. has saluted Thakur, Sri Ramakrishna says to him, “Hasn’t Narendra come?”
Narendra could not come that day. The brahmin from Srirampur has brought a book of songs by Ramprasad. Now and then he reads some of the songs to Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the brahmin): “My dear, do continue reading.”
Brahmin: “Put on clothes, Mother – ”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Stop! Songs like this are absolutely useless. Read only those songs that inspire love and devotion for God.”
Brahmin: “Who can know what Kali is? Even the six philosophies cannot reveal Her.”
Thakur’s sympathetic friend – the paramahamsa, the baul, and the sai
Yesterday at Adhar’s house I felt a pain in one of my legs when I was in ecstasy. That’s why I take Baburam with me. He is a sympathetic soul.
Saying this, Thakur sings:
How can I tell you, O friend, what is in my heart?
I am forbidden to speak.
I cannot live without a kindred soul.
Such a one can be recognized from the look of his eyes.
Rare indeed is such a soul who swims in bliss on a tide of intense love.
The man of the heart trades in love.
Where can one find a man of the heart,
Who carries under his arm only a tattered rag?
He says not a word, but travels on the high road.
A man of the heart only walks along the higher path.
“The bauls sing songs like this. And they also sing songs like this one:
Wait, O wandering monk, with your water-pot!
Stand and let me behold your beauty.
“When a baul attains perfection, he is known as a sai. For him there is no distinction – half of his necklace is made of cow-bones and the other half of the sacred tulsi plant.
“Hindus call him Nir and Muslims call him Pir.”
Alekh (the incomprehensible) – about the spiritual current – spiritual centre – the function of syrup – taking the pot off
“A sai calls the Ultimate Reality ‘Alekh.’ In the Vedas it is called Brahman; the sais call Him Alekh, the incomprehensible. They say of the individual soul that Alekh comes and Alekh departs. That is to say, the individual soul comes from the unmanifest and then merges back into it.
“The Bauls ask, ‘Do you know about the wind?’
That is, about the rising of the spiritual current within the ida, pingala, and sushumna, when the kundalini is awakened.
“They ask, ‘In which centre are you?’ The sixth centre is the sixth centre of consciousness.
“If he says that he is in the fifth, it means that his mind has risen to the vishuddha spiritual centre.
(To M.) “There is the vision of the formless God then. As the song says.”
Saying this, Thakur chants: “Within the petals of this lotus lies hidden a secret, subtle space. Passing beyond it, one beholds the world dissolve.”
His earlier story – arrival of the Bauls and followers of the Kartabhaja and Ghoshpara
“A baul once came here. I asked him, ‘Has your syrup been refined? Is the pot down from the fire?’ The more you boil syrup, the more refined it becomes. First you have sugarcane juice. Then it turns into molasses, then into jaggery, and then sugar, then sugar candy; last of all are sugar balls. It becomes refined more and more only gradually.
“When should the pot be taken down? In other words, when will spiritual practices end? They will end when the senses are conquered. Senses are loosened the same way a leech drops off when lime is applied to it. Though one might live with a woman, one does not engage in intercourse with her.
“Many of these people conduct themselves according to the Radha Tantra. They practise spiritual disciplines with the five basic elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether – through the use of excrement, urine, menstrual flow, and semen. It is a very dirty practice, like entering a home through the toilet.
“One day when I was eating in the courtyard, a man of the Ghoshpara sect came. He asked, ‘Are you eating, or are you feeding someone else?’ The meaning was that the person who attains spiritual perfection sees that God dwells within.
“Those who perfect themselves in this sect call people of other sects ‘bound souls.’ They don’t talk in the presence of people of different views, saying, ‘There are strangers here.’”
His earlier story – visit to his birthplace. In Shari Pathar’s house with Hriday
“I saw a woman of this belief in my native village – Shari (Saraswati) Pathar. People of this sect eat in each other’s houses, but they won’t take a meal in the homes of people of other sects. The Mallicks ate at Shari Pathar’s house, but they didn’t eat at Hriday’s. They say that these people are ‘bound souls.’ (Laughter.)
“One day when I was taking a stroll, I went to her house with Hriday. She had a beautiful tulsi garden. She offered parched rice with urad lentils. I ate some. Hriday ate a lot – then he felt sick.
“They call the state of perfection natural (sahaja). There is a class of people who go around saying, ‘sahaja, sahaja.’ They mention two characteristics of this state of sahaja: one, the body no longer has the ‘smell of Krishna’; two, a bee will sit on a lotus but will not sip its honey. That there is no ‘smell of Krishna’ means that all divine feelings are within and there are no outward signs, not even the name of Hari on his lips. And the meaning of the second is that there is no attachment to women – one has acquired mastery over the senses.
“They don’t like worship of the deity in an image or the like. They want a living person. That is why they are known as Kartabhaja, that is, those who adore and worship [bhaja] the spiritual preceptor [karta] – the guru – as God Himself.”
Sri Ramakrishna and the harmony of religions – why all scriptures and all religions are true
Sri Ramakrishna: “You see how many doctrines there are? Every belief is a way to reach God. Innumerable are the beliefs and paths.”
Bhavanath: “Then, what is the way for us?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “You have to hold on to one of the paths tightly. To reach the roof, you can climb brick steps. You can also climb a bamboo ladder or a ladder made of rope. Also a piece of rope or a piece of bamboo will take you up. But if you place your foot first on one path and then on another, your effort will be in vain. You have to hold tightly to one. If you want to attain God, you have to take one path resolutely.
“And you should think of all religions as so many paths. You must never entertain the idea that your path is correct and all others are false. You must have no feeling of malice toward other beliefs.”
To which path do I belong? The beliefs of Keshab, Shashadhar and Vijay
“So, to which path do ‘I’ belong? Keshab used to say, ‘You have the same path as we do – you are gradually accepting the formless God.’ Shashadhar used to say, ‘You belong to us.’ Vijay (Goswami) also used to say that I belonged to his path.”
Is Thakur saying that since he has reached God by treading all the paths, he knows all of them? And that people of all religions will come to him and find peace?
Thakur goes toward the panchavati with M. and one or two other devotees. He wants to wash his face. It is twelve o’clock. The flood tide is about to begin. Hearing about it, Thakur waits for a while on the path to the panchavati.
Essence of bhava and mahabhava – Thakur watches the tides on the Ganges
Thakur says to the devotees, “What a wonderful thing the flood and ebb tides are!
“But notice this – they only occur in the river when it is near the sea. Away from the sea, the current flows only in the one direction. What does this mean? Dwell on that fact. Only those who are very near to God experience divine emotions and love for God. One or two (ishvarakotis) may have mahabhava, intense love for God, and so on.
(To M.) “Well, why are there flood and ebb tides?”
M.: “Western astronomy says that they are caused by the pull of the sun and the moon.”
M. draws figures on the ground to show the movements of the earth, the moon, and the sun. Looking at them for a moment, Thakur says, “Oh, stop! It makes my head reel.”
As they are talking, the flood tide rises. Soon the sound of the rising waters begins to be heard. Striking the bank near the temples, the flood flows toward the north.
Thakur watches the tide fixedly. Noticing a boat in the distance, he suddenly exclaims like a child, “Look, look! What’s going to happen to that boat?”
While they are talking, Sri Ramakrishna and M. come to the foot of the panchavati. Thakur places his umbrella on the platform. He now talks about Narayan, whom he looks upon as the very manifestation of Narayana (the Lord Himself). He is very fond of him. Narayan is a student.
Instructions to M. – right use of money – his concern for Narayan
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): “Have you noticed Narayan’s nature? He can associate with everybody – with the old as well as the young. This isn’t possible without some special power. Besides, everybody loves him. Is he really so simple and guileless?”
M.: “Yes, sir. He appears to be very guileless.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Does he visit you?”
M.: “Yes, sir, he did come once or twice.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Would you give him a rupee, or should I ask Kali about it?”
M.: “Very well, sir. I’ll give him one myself.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Very good. It’s good to give to those who love God. That’s the right use of money. What good is spending everything in worldly pursuits?”
Kishori has children, but he doesn’t earn much – not enough to meet his needs. Thakur says to M., “Narayan was telling me that he would find work for Kishori. Do remind him of it.”
M. is standing in the panchavati. Thakur returns from the jhautala after a while. He says to M., “Please ask someone to spread a mat outside my room. I’ll be back soon. I’d like to lie down for a while.”
Reaching his room, Thakur says, “None of you remembered to bring the umbrella back. (All laugh.) A scattered mind doesn’t notice something even if it is nearby. A fellow went to a friend’s house to light some charcoal for his tobacco. And he was holding a lantern in his own hand!
“Another fellow, looking everywhere for his hand towel, found it on his own shoulder!”
Thakur’s midday meal – Baburam and other intimate companions
The prasad of Mother Kali is brought for Thakur. It is about one o’clock. After eating he wants to rest for a while, but the devotees remain sitting in the room. When they are told, they go outside. Harish, Niranjan, and Haripada will go to the dining room to have their midday meal. Thakur says to Harish, “Please take some amsattva (a thin cake made of mango juice) for yourself.”
Thakur rests for a while. He says to Baburam, “Baburam, please come sit near me.” Baburam answers, “I am preparing betel leaf.”
Sri Ramakrishna says, “Leave it. Don’t make the betel leaf.”
While Thakur rests, a number of devotees sit under the bakul tree in the panchavati – the Mukherji brothers, Chunilal, Haripada, Bhavanath, and Tarak. Tarak has just returned from Vrindavan. The devotees listen to him talk about Vrindavan. He was there with Nityagopal.
Thakur in the joy of devotional singing – dancing with devotees
Thakur has rested for a while. Shyamdas begins singing songs relating to episodes in Mathura.
First he sings:
Lord, the joy of seeing You…
The lake of happiness seemed to them as dry as the desert.
The chatak bird dying of thirst gazes at the clouds.
Thakur goes into an ecstatic mood, hearing about Radha’s state of separation from Krishna. He is sitting on the smaller cot while Baburam, Niranjan, Ram, Manomohan, M., Surendra, Bhavanath, and other devotees sit on the floor. But the music has not yet picked up rhythm.
He asks Nabai Chaitanya of Konnagar to sing. Nabai is Manomohan’s uncle. Having retired with a pension, he practices spiritual disciplines and devotional singing on the bank of the Ganges at Konnagar. He often visits Thakur.
Nabai sings in a loud voice. Leaving his seat, Thakur begins to dance. Immediately Nabai and the devotees begin to dance and sing the kirtan in a circle around him. The kirtan atmosphere becomes intense with spiritual fervour. Even Mahimacharan begins to dance with Thakur.
Thakur returns to his seat when the kirtan ends. After repeating Hari’s name, he repeats the name of the All-Blissful Mother. He is absorbed in divine emotion and repeats the name of the Divine Mother. He begins to sing of Her, his eyes turned upward.
O Mother, who are Bliss itself, do not deprive me of Your bliss…
Again he sings:
As is one’s meditation, so is his heart moved by love.
As one feels, so does he gain. The root of all is faith.
If the mind can dip into the reservoir of nectar that is Mother Kali’s feet,
Then worship and oblations, sacrifices and rituals are of no avail.
O Mother Tara, this world is Your madhouse!
What shall I say of Your virtues?
Giving up Your elephant you ride on a bull like one depraved. Willfully you cast aside Your jewels and pearls and put on a garland of skulls.
Unmindful of others, You roam the cremation grounds.
Says Ramprasad, You must lead me beyond my wanderings in this maze of the world.
Why go to Gaya, Ganga, Prabhas, Kashi, or Kanchi, if I can breathe my last chanting Kali’s name?
Of what use are rituals for one who utters Kali’s name at dawn and noon and dusk? Worship itself will follow in his footsteps, never catching up.
Charity, vows, and almsgiving no longer appeal to Madan’s mind. His worship alone is surrender at the Mother’s blessed feet.
Lord Shiva Himself, the God of Gods, with all His powers, sings Her praises. Who, then, can conceive of the power of Her holy name?
Then he sings:
Dwell, O my mind, within yourself,
And enter no one else’s house.
If you search within yourself,
You will find there all you seek.
The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delight to the blue lotus flower of Mother Shyama’s feet.
And once more he sings:
Cherish the beloved Mother Shyama in your heart.
O mind, may you and I alone behold Her, and let no one else intrude.
Thakur stands up while singing this song. He is nearly intoxicated with intense love for the Divine Mother. He repeats again and again the words ‘the revered Mother Shyama,’ as though for the benefit of the devotees.
He appears intoxicated, as though he has drunk too much wine. He dances now as he sings:
Is my Mother really black? The Naked One, in her blackness, lights up the lotus of my heart.
Noticing that Thakur is staggering while he is singing, Niranjan goes up to him to hold him. In a sweet voice, Thakur stops him, saying, “Don’t touch me, you rascal.” Seeing Thakur dancing, the devotees rise to their feet. He grasps M.’s hand and says, “Dance, you rascal!”
Mahima, the Vedantist, in the company of Thakur – dancing during the kirtan, and Thakur’s joy
Thakur sits on his bed. He is filled with divine intoxication.
When the ecstasy subsides a little, he says, “Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Kali.” And then he says, “I want a smoke.” Most of the devotees are standing. Mahimacharan fans Thakur as he stands.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Please sit down, all of you. (To Mahima) Please recite something from the Vedas.”
Mahimacharan recites “Victory to Jajjman” and so forth. And then he recites a verse from the Mahanirvana Tantra.
Om, I bow to You, the true origin of the universe.
I bow to You, the support of all the universe, whose essence is pure Consciousness.
I bow to You who are non-dual, the One, the liberating truth.
I bow to the eternal Brahman, all-pervading and beyond all qualities.
You alone are the refuge; You alone are worthy of adoration.
You are truly the cause of the universe, the Creator, the Preserver, the Destroyer.
You are whole and beyond all thought,
Most frightening of all that is frightening, most terrible of all that is terrible,
The purifier of the pure, the goal of all creatures.
You are the Ruler of those in high places,
The Chief of chiefs, the Protector of protectors.
We meditate on You and sing hymns in Your praise.
We bow to You, the witness of the universe.
You are the vessel that takes one across the sea of life, the self-existent divinity, the refuge of all. We take shelter in You.
Thakur listens to the verse with folded hands. When it is over, he salutes devotedly. The devotees also salute.
Adhar arrives from Calcutta and salutes Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): “We had fun today! Mahima Chakravarty is beginning to agree with us. Didn’t you see his joy in the recitation of Hari’s name?”
M.: “Yes, sir.”
Mahimacharan is interested in the path of knowledge. Today he has chanted the name of Hari and even danced during the kirtan. Thakur is very happy about it.
It is almost evening. Most of the devotees bow to Thakur and take their leave, one by one.
Worldliness or non-worldliness – Adhar’s job – admiration of the worldly and taking a job under them
It is evening. The lamplighter has lit the lamps in the long southern verandah and the western semi-circular verandah. In Thakur’s room the lamp has already been lit and incense burnt. Soon the moon rises. The temple courtyard, the garden path, the bank of the Ganges, the panchavati, and the tops of trees are all flooded with moonlight.
Thakur is sitting on his bed, repeating the name of the Divine Mother and meditating upon Her.
Adhar comes in and sits down. M. and Niranjan are also in the room. Thakur talks with Adhar.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Well, my dear, you have come now. How much kirtan and dancing we had! The kirtan was by Shyamdas, Ram’s music teacher. But I didn’t like it very much. I felt no desire to rise from my seat and dance. Later I came to know about him. Gopidas’ substitute told me, ‘He has as many mistresses as I have hair on my head.’ (All laugh.) Did you get the job?”
Adhar is a deputy magistrate with a salary of three hundred rupees a month. He had applied for the vice chairmanship of the municipality of Calcutta, which paid a salary of one thousand rupees a month. Adhar had met many prominent people of Calcutta to get this job.
Non-worldliness is better – to adore worldly people of poor understanding to get a job
Sri Ramakrishna (to M. and Niranjan): “Hazra said, ‘Please pray to the Divine Mother a little so Adhar can get the job.’ Adhar also asked me. I prayed to the Mother a little: ‘Mother, he comes to see You very often. If it’s all right, let him get the job.’ But I also said: ‘Mother, what poor understanding he has! Instead of asking for knowledge and devotion, he asks You for things like this.’
(To Adhar) “Why do you associate so much with people of poor understanding? You have seen so much and heard so much! To read the seven sections of the Ramayana and yet ask whose wife Sita was! Such-and-such Mallick is a man of low intelligence. He arranged for a service boat when I planned to go to Mahesh. And when we reached his home, he asked Hriday, ‘Hriday, have you arranged for the carriage?’”
Adhar: “One has to do all this to run a household. You haven’t forbidden me from doing that.”
About the temple treasurer asking Thakur to sign a receipt for his monthly salary when his state of madness for God was over
Sri Ramakrishna: “Indeed, desirelessness is good, not worldliness. After that state of mine, I was called by the treasurer to sign a receipt for my salary, like all the others. I told him, ‘I can’t do that. I’m not asking for any salary. Give it to someone else if you want.’
“I’m only the servant of the Lord. How can I be the servant of anyone else?
“Noticing that I would be late for my meals, Mallick engaged a brahmin cook for me – for only one rupee a month. I was embarrassed. I had to run to the kitchen as soon as he called for me. It would have been different if I could have gone there of my own will.
“Worshipping people of mean intelligence! Such things do happen in household life – and much more.”
His earlier story – Thakur’s prayer after his state of divine intoxication – contentment
“When I attained that state and saw how the affairs of the world are run, I said to the Divine Mother, ‘Mother, please change the direction of my mind right now.’ No more food from the beautiful lady. I cry after taking it. No more, no more of it.” (All laugh.)
Childhood story – about seeing the deputy magistrate, Ishwar Goshal, in Kamarpukur
“Go on with the job that you are doing now. People hanker after a salary of fifty or a hundred rupees. You are receiving three hundred. I saw a deputy magistrate in the village of Kamarpukur, Ishwar Goshal. He wore a turban on his head. People trembled at his sight. I saw him when I was a child. Is being a deputy such a small thing, my dear?
“Go on serving him whom you are serving now. Service to one person soils the mind and you are seeking service under so many!”
Condemns service – Sambhu and Mathur’s love and regard for money – Narendra as headmaster
“Once a woman felt attracted to a Muslim. She invited him to talk to her. The Muslim was a holy person. He said that he wanted to urinate and would go and get his piss pot. The woman said, ‘You can do it here. I can give you a piss pot.’ He said, ‘That won’t do. I will use the same piss pot to which I have already been exposed. I don’t want to be immodest before a new piss pot.’ Saying this, he left. The woman came to her senses. She understood that the piss pot meant a paramour.”
Narendra has fallen on very difficult days after his father’s death. He is looking for a job to feed and support his mother and brothers. For a few days he had worked as headmaster in Vidyasagar’s Bow-bazar school.
Adhar: “Well, would he accept a job?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, he would. He has his mother and brothers.”
Adhar: “Well, Narendra can manage with fifty rupees. He can manage with a hundred, too. Will Narendra not try for a hundred?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Worldly people have great regard for wealth. They think there’s nothing like money. Sambhu said, ‘This is my desire – to place all this wealth at His feet when I depart.’ Does God need worldly wealth? He wants spiritual know-ledge, love, discrimination and dispassion.
“When the jewelry was stolen from the temple, Mathur Babu said, ‘O Bhagavan, could You not guard Your own jewelry? Goddess Hamseshwari protected hers so well!’
Difficult rules of conduct for sannyasins – Mathur’s suggestion of gifting some land
“Mathur Babu said that he would transfer a piece of land to my name. I overheard it when I was in the Kali temple. Mathur Babu and Hriday were in consultation. I came out and said to Mathur Babu, ‘Look, give up this idea. It would be very harmful to me.’”
Adhar: “There may not have been more than six or seven people like you since the beginning of creation!”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Why do you say that? There have surely been men of renunciation. People come to know of them only when they have renounced their wealth. And there are others whom the world does not know. Are there not such people in western India (Punjab and United Provinces)?”
Adhar: “I know one such person in Calcutta, Devendra Tagore.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “What are you saying! Who else has enjoyed pleasures of life the way he has? When I went to his house with Mathur Babu, I saw many small children. A physician had come and was writing out prescriptions. If the one who is a father of eight sons and some daughters will not meditate on God, who else will? The world condemns people who have enjoyed so much wealth but don’t meditate on God.”
Niranjan: “He repaid all the debts of Dwarkanath Tagore [his father].”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Stop this. Don’t bother me anymore about it. Is he a real man who has the wherewithal and yet does not pay off the debts of his own father?
“But worldly people remain completely immersed in worldliness. Compared to them, he is a great deal better. They can learn from him.
“There is a tremendous difference between a householder devotee and a genuine all-renouncing devotee. A true sannyasin, a devotee of real renunciation, is like a bee. A bee sits nowhere else but on a flower. It drinks nothing but honey. The other – the householder devotee – is like a fly. It sits on sandesh as well as on a festering wound. He is sometimes in a fine spiritual mood and other times he is busy with ‘lust and greed.’
“A real all-renouncing devotee is like a chatak bird. A chatak bird won’t drink any water but rainwater when the star Svati is ascendant. The seven seas and the rivers are full of water, but it doesn’t drink from them. A person of real renunciation will not touch ‘lust and greed,’ nor will he keep them near him lest he become attached.”
Chaitanya Deva, Sri Ramakrishna and name and fame
Adhar: “Chaitanya also enjoyed worldly pleasures.”
Sri Ramakrishna (surprised): “What did he enjoy?”
Adhar: “Such a big pundit! What name and fame he enjoyed!”
Sri Ramakrishna: “It may have been name and fame according to others – for him it was nothing.
“You have respect for me and so has Niranjan. It’s just the same for me. I tell you the truth. It’s not my desire to have a wealthy man under my control. Manomohan told me that Surendra said, ‘It isn’t correct that Rakhal should live with him. His family complained about it.’ I said to him, ‘Who is this Surendra? He has kept this carpet and pillow here and gives some money.’”
Adhar: “He gives ten rupees a month, doesn’t he?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Ten rupees meet expenses for two months. Some devotees live here. He gives for their support, the virtue accrues to him. What is it to me? I love Rakhal and Narendra. Do I derive any benefit from it?”
M.: “It is like a mother’s love.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Even a mother does so much for her child, hoping that he will provide for her after getting a job. I love them because I see them as living Narayana – I don’t just say this.”
God takes on the burden of an all-renouncing devotee – ‘who, precluding all else, meditates on Me’
Sri Ramakrishna (to Adhar): “Listen. When you light a lamp, there is no scarcity of moths. When you realize God, He provides everything. There is no dearth of anything. When He resides in the heart, many people arrive to serve.
“A young sannyasin went to beg alms at a householder’s home. He was a sannyasin from birth. He knew nothing about the world. A young woman came to the door to offer him alms. The sannyasin asked, ‘Mother, does this girl have an abscess on her chest?’ The mother of the girl said, ‘No, my child. She will bear an infant. God has given her breasts, so that the baby can drink milk from them.’ The sannyasin then said, ‘Why do I need to worry then? Why should I beg for alms? He who has created me will provide me with food.’
“Listen, she who has given up her all for the sake of her paramour can say, ‘O rascal, I’ll sit on your chest and eat.’”
Story of Totapuri – king’s service to sadhus – Thakur meets the leader of Nanak’s followers in their math near the Durga Temple in Kashi, in 1868
“The Naked One (Totapuri) told me that a king served food to sadhus using gold plates and tumblers. I saw in Kashi what reverence the head of the math was given. A number of very rich and wealthy Hindustani men stood there with folded hands, saying, ‘At your command.’
“The right kind of sadhu, a true holy man, does not want gold plates, nor reverence. But God does not let him lack anything. He provides for everything that is necessary for realizing Him. (Everybody keeps silent.)
“You are a magistrate. What can I tell you? Do what you think is right. I am a fool.”
Adhar (laughing, to the devotees): “He is examining me.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling, to the devotees): “Dispassion is better. Just see, I didn’t sign [for receiving a salary]. God indeed is the Reality, everything else is unreal.”
Hazra comes in and sits on the floor near the devotees. Hazra sometimes repeats, “So ’ham, so ’ham (I am He).” He says to Latu and other devotees, “What is the use in making offerings to God in worship – giving His own thing back to Him? One day he said the same to Narendra.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Hazra): “I explained to Latu. Who is it the devotee worships?”
Hazra: “The devotee calls upon his own self.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “That is a very elevated idea. Vrindavalli said to King Bali, ‘What wealth can you give to Brahman?’
“All spiritual practices, all chanting of His name and glories are done to realize what you are saying.
“When you see your Self within yourself you have attained the goal. It is to attain this that all spiritual practices are undertaken. The body is also to carry out spiritual practice. As long as a gold image is not cast, one needs a clay mould. When the image is made, the clay mould is thrown away. One can give up the body after God-realization.
“He is not only within – He is both within and without. The Divine Mother showed me in the Kali Temple that everything is filled with divine consciousness. The Divine Mother Herself has become everything – the deity, myself, the worship vessels, the door sill, the marble floor. All is consciousness.
“It is to experience this that one calls upon Him, carries out spiritual practices – chanting His name and glories, and so on. It is for this that one practices devotion to God. These people (Latu and others) are like this – they have not yet reached such a high state. They practice love of God. Don’t say ‘I am He’ (So ’ham) and such things to them.”
The compassionate Gurudeva, Sri Ramakrishna, is protecting the devotees like a mother bird sheltering its young ones under its wings.
Adhar and Niranjan go to the verandah for refreshments, then they return. M. is sitting on the floor near Thakur.
A Brahmo boy with four university degrees – discussing and reasoning with him
Adhar (smiling): “We talked so much, but he (M.) didn’t say even one word.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “A boy of Keshab’s group with four university degrees (named Varda?) laughed when he saw people arguing with me. ‘What?’ he said, ‘To reason even with him!’ I saw him again at one of Keshab’s gatherings. Somehow his appearance had changed.”
Ram Chakravarty, the priest of Vishnu temple, enters the room. Thakur says, “Look here, Ram. Did you talk about sugar candy with Dayal? No, there is no need for it. There have already been many discussions.”
Thakur’s evening meal – ‘I can’t eat food offered by everybody’
Thakur’s evening meal is the prasad from Mother Kali – one or two luchis and a little farina pudding. He is seated on the floor to eat. M. is sitting near him. Latu is also in the room. The devotees have brought some sandesh and other sweets. Touching one piece of sandesh with his hand, Thakur says to Latu, “What rascal has brought this sandesh?” He drops it from the plate of pudding. (To M. and Latu) I know about it all. It was brought by one of the boys of the Anand Chatterji family, the one who visits the Ghoshpara woman.”
Latu: “Shall I give you this sweet?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Did Kishori bring it?”
Latu: “Will it be agreeable to you?”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “Yes.”
M. is an English-educated man. Thakur says to him, “I can’t eat food offered by everybody. Do you believe this?”
M.: “Sir, I shall gradually have to believe in everything.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes.”
Thakur goes to the western verandah to wash his hands. M. pours water on them.
It is winter. As the moon rises, the clear sky and the water of the Ganges begin to sparkle. It is ebb tide and the Ganges is flowing south. Washing his face, Thakur says to M., “So will you give a rupee to Narayan?”
M.: “Yes, of course. Would I not?”
. Kamandalu, or water pot of a wandering ascetic, a symbol of renunciation and purification.
.Gur, the stage in the refinement of sugar in which it is moist and dark brown.
. M.’s brother.
. The gopis of Vrindavan.
. Nabai is the younger brother of Manomohan’s father.
. Sadhan and bhajan.
. For the complete song refer to Section XII, Chapter IX of Volume I
. For the complete song refer to Volume II, Section II, Chapter VII.
. For the complete song refer to Section IX, Chapter I.
 Pravritti: inclination to outer enjoyment.
. Nivritti: inwardness of the mind.
. Jnana, bhakti, viveka, vairagya.
. ananyäçcintayanto, Bhagavad Gita 9:22.
. Kosha, kushi, etc.
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