Thakur with Latu, M., Manilal, Mukherji, and Other Devotees at the Dakshineswar Temple
Instruction to Manilal, the Brahmo, to give up dogmatism
Sri Ramakrishna is at the Dakshineswar temple with devotees.
It is Thursday, 2 October 1884, 17th of Ashwin, 1291 B.Y. – the twelfth and thirteenth day of the bright fortnight of Ashwin, two days after the Vijay Dashami day. The previous day Thakur had graced Adhar’s house in Calcutta with a visit. A number of people were there – Narayan, Baburam, M., Kedar, Vijay, and others. During the kirtan Thakur danced with the devotees. [See Volume II of the Kathamrita.]
Latu, Ramlal, and Harish are living with Thakur these days. Ramlal is the priest of Mother Bhavatarini. Baburam stays there at times, and Hazra also lives there.
Manilal Mallick, Priya Mukherji, his relative Hari, a Brahmo devotee from Shivapur (Dari), and some Marwari devotees from 12 Mallick Street in Burrabazar are present. Gradually, some youngsters from Dakshineswar, Mahendra Kaviraj from Sinthi, and other devotees arrive. Manilal is an old member of the Brahmo Samaj.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Manilal and the others): “It’s better to salute mentally. What is the need to touch the feet with your hand? Besides, mental salutation won’t embarrass anybody.
“It isn’t good to feel that only your religion is true and all others are false.
“I see that God Himself has become all – human beings, images of the deity, Shalagram. In everything, I see only one. I see none else.
“Many people think that only their belief is correct and that all others are wrong, that only we have won and all others have lost. Those who have advanced a little may perhaps have been stopped for a while. But those who had lagged behind might have advanced in the meantime. In the game of golakdham, the piece may advance a great deal – but it may fail to reach the goal because one fails to throw the right dice.
“Victory and defeat are in God’s hands. A person can’t understand God’s ways. You see, a green coconut grows high in the tree so it gets a lot of sun, yet its fruit is cool. On the other hand, a water-chestnut grows in water, but its nature is to heat the body.
“Just consider the human body. The head, which is the foundation (the root), is at the top.”
Sri Ramakrishna, the four ashramas and the essence of yoga – Brahmo Samaj and concentration on God with the mind
Manilal: “What is our duty now?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “To remain united with God no matter what work you do. There are two paths: the path of karma yoga, or work, and the path of manoyoga, or mental effort.
“Householders unite themselves with God through work. There are four stages of life: brahmacharya, garhasthya, vanaprastha and sannyasa. A sannyasin has to give up working with desire (i.e. hankering after health, wealth, long life, progeny, name, fame, title, and social status) but must perform his daily duties without any desire for reward. Carrying a staff, begging for food, pilgrimage, worship, and japa – this work unites one with God.
“Whatever work you do, if you renounce the desire for its fruit, without craving anything, you will be united with Him.
“The other way is union with God through the mind. Such a yogi shows no outward sign. It is all within. For example, Jada Bharata and Sukadeva. There are so many others, but these two are well known. Such people don’t cut their hair or beard; they let them grow naturally.
“Work falls off in the stage of a paramahamsa. Such people remember God and meditate upon Him always. Their minds ever remain united with Him. If a paramahamsa ever performs work, it is to teach others.
“Whether union with God is achieved by work or through concentration, a person knows everything when love of God is developed.
“Through love of God suspension of breath comes about by itself. When the mind is concentrated, the breathing becomes regular. Only when the mind is concentrated is the breath steadied, and when the breath is steady, the mind becomes one-pointed – the intellect becomes steady. The person who experiences this isn’t even aware of it.”
His earlier story – prays to the Mother of the Universe during the period of spiritual disciplines – bhakti yoga
“You can achieve everything through bhakti yoga. I said to the Divine Mother, weeping, ‘Mother, let me know what yogis came to know by practicing yoga, what men of knowledge have known by discrimination. Please reveal it to me.’ The Divine Mother showed it all to me. When one weeps before Her with yearning, She conveys all knowledge. She has revealed to me everything that is in the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Puranas, the Tantra – all these scriptures.”
Manilal: “What about hatha yoga?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Hatha yogis are sadhus who are concerned with their bodies. They practice neti, and dhauti – they take care of the body only. Their aim is to add years to their life. Day and night they serve the body – this is not good.”
Mani Mallick, the worldly man, and mental renunciation – about Keshab Sen
“What is your duty? You should mentally renounce ‘lust and greed.’ You can’t look on the world as nothing but the droppings of a crow.
“The goswamis are householders. So I said to them, ‘You have the duties of worship and service to the deity. How can you renounce the world? You can’t brush family life aside by calling it maya.’
“Chaitanya Deva listed the duties of house-holders as: compassion for living beings, service to Vaishnavas, and chanting God’s holy name.
“Keshab Sen once said, ‘Now he [Sri Rama-krishna] asks us to attend to both, but one day he will sting us.’ But that’s not true. How can I sting?”
Mani Mallick: “So please sting us.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “Why? You are quite all right as a householder. Why should you renounce?”
A religious teacher’s renunciation of ‘lust and greed ’ – only then is he able to teach – difficult rules for the sannyasin – advice to Brahmani Lal
Sri Ramakrishna: “Those through whom God will teach mankind must renounce the world. It is essential for religious teachers to renounce ‘lust and greed.’ Without it, their teachings are not accepted. It is not enough for them to renounce inwardly. They must also renounce outwardly. Only then can they teach mankind. If they don’t, people will think that they are being asked to renounce ‘lust and greed,’ while they secretly enjoy them.
“An Ayurvedic physician prescribed some medicine to a patient and said, ‘Please come again another day and I will tell you about diet.’ That day, there were a number of jars of molasses in his room. The patient lived quite far away. He came another day. The physician said to him, ‘Be careful about your diet. Molasses is not good for you.’ When the patient had left, somebody asked the physician, ‘Why did you cause him the trouble of coming here again, all that way? You could have said this to him the first day.’ The physician laughed and said, ‘There is a reason. I had some jars of molasses in my room that day. If I had asked him to give up molasses, he wouldn’t have trusted me. He would have thought, He has so many jars of molasses in his room, he must surely be eating some of it. In that case it can’t be so bad. Today I have hidden the jars; he will now believe me.’
“I have seen the religious teacher of the Adi [Brahmo] Samaj. I hear that he has married two or three times. And that he has grown sons. Such are religious teachers! If these people say that only the Lord is real and all else is an illusion, who will believe them? You can guess very well what kind of disciples they will have.
“‘If a guru goes to relieve himself, his disciple must at least emit gas.’ If a sannyasin has renounced mentally but lives with ‘lust and greed,’ he can’t teach. People will say that he secretly eats molasses.”
Sri Ramakrishna’s renunciation of gold – he returns five rupees to the physician
“Mahendra of Sinti (a physician) gave five rupees to Ramlal, but I didn’t know about it.
“When Ramlal told me, I asked him, ‘For whom was that money given?’ He replied, ‘For you.’ At first I thought I should use it to pay what I owed for milk. But, my mother! I woke up in the night very disturbed. It felt like a cat was scratching my chest. I went to Ramlal again and asked if the money was for his aunt. He said no. So I said to him, ‘Please go right now and return it.’ He returned the money the next day.
“Do you know what it’s like for a sannyasin to accept money, or to be greedy? Like a brahmin widow who has lived for a long time on vegetarian food and observed celibacy taking a man of low caste as her paramour. (Everybody is stunned.)
“In my native village, the low caste oil woman, Bhagi Teli, had many devotees and disciples. Noticing that so many people paid respect to a shudra, the landlord sent a wicked man to tempt her. He corrupted her and all her spiritual practices and strivings ended in dust. A fallen sannyasin meets such a fate.”
Faith in God result of association with the holy – Keshab Sen and Vijaykrishna Goswami
“You are householders. It is essential that you keep the company of holy men. Association with them brings faith in God. How can people gain faith and love for God if holy men do not chant the name and glories of God? People respect a person when they know him to be rich; then they seek his company.
(To M.) “You must practice disciplines even after you attain spiritual knowledge. The Naked One used to say, ‘What is the use of cleaning a brass pot only once? It will get tarnished if you don’t polish it.’
“I’ll go to your house one day. If I know where your residence is, I can meet other devotees there. Please go see Ishan some time.
(To Manilal) “Keshab Sen’s mother came here. The boys of her family chanted the name of the Lord. She circumambulated them clapping her hands. I saw that she was not overcome with sorrow. She came here and observed [the fast of] Ekadashi; she repeated the name of God on a rosary. I was impressed by her great devotion to God.”
Manilal: “Keshab’s grandfather, Ramkamal Sen, was a devotee of God. He used to sit in a tulsi grove and repeat the name of God. Keshab’s father, Pyarimohan, was also a devoted Vaishnava.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Unless the father is so devoted, the son could not be a devotee. Just see what a state Vijay is in. His father would lose consciousness in ecstasy when he read the Bhagavata. Vijay often stands up chanting the name of God.
“The visions (of divine forms) that Vijay has these days are all real. About God with form or the formless God, Vijay said, ‘It is like a chameleon – sometimes red, sometimes blue, and then at other times green. And it may even be colourless. God is sometimes with attributes and sometimes without them.’”
Vijay is guileless – ‘when one is simple and guileless at heart, one realizes God’
“Vijay is very simple at heart. You cannot realize God if you’re not large-hearted and guileless.
“Vijay went to Adhar Sen’s house yesterday. He felt like it was his own house and everybody who lived there was his own.
“Unless your mind is free from calculating this and that, you cannot be simple or large-hearted.”
Saying this, Thakur begins to sing:
O mind, you will gain precious wealth when you become pure.
“Unless the clay is properly prepared, you cannot make a pot. If there is grit or sand in the clay, the pot will crack. That’s why a potter prepares the clay carefully.
“If a mirror is dirty, you cannot see your face in it. Unless your mind is pure, your real Self cannot be seen.
“Look, where there is an incarnation of God, there is guilelessness – Nandaghosh, Dasharatha, and Vasudeva were all simple at heart.
“Vedanta tells us that unless you have a pure mind, you don’t feel the desire to know God. Only in one’s last birth or after practicing long austerities, does one become broad-minded and guileless.”
Childlike state of Sri Ramakrishna
Noticing some puffiness in his legs, Thakur becomes anxious, like a child.
The physician, Mahendra of Sinti, comes in and bows to him.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Priya Mukherji and the other devotees): “Yesterday, I said to Narayan, ‘Please press your leg to see if it makes a dimple.’ He pressed and there was one. I was saved! (To Mukherji) Please press your leg. See if it forms a dimple.”
Mukherji: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Oh, what a relief.”
Mani Mallick: “Please bathe in the running water of the river. Why take medicine?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “No, my dear sir! You have stronger blood. Your case is different. God has kept me in the state of a child.
“One day in a grassy meadow I was bitten. I had heard that if a snake bites a second time, it sucks out its poison. So I sat there putting my hand in a hole. Someone came by and asked, ‘What are you doing? If the snake bites in the same place as before, it can happen, but if it bites anywhere else, it doesn’t help.’
“I had heard from someone that autumn dew was beneficial. Coming from Calcutta by carriage, I stuck my head out so the mist would touch it. (Everyone laughs.)
(To Mahendra of Sinthi) “Your pundit from Sinthi is good. He is well-versed in Vedanta. He has respect for me. When I said to him, ‘You have certainly studied a lot, but do give up the pride that ‘I am such-and-such a pundit,’ he was delighted.
“I discussed Vedanta with him.”
Instructions to M., pure Self and spiritual ignorance – Mahamaya and discussion on Vedanta
(To M.) “The pure Atman is unattached to things of the world. Maya, or ignorance, is in it. This very maya has three qualities: sattva, rajas, and tamas. That which is pure Atman has in it these three qualities, yet it is unattached. If you throw a blue tablet into a fire, you see a blue flame. If you throw a red tablet in it, the flame is red. But the fire has no colour of its own.
“Put a blue pill in water and the water will become blue. Then you put alum in it and it will recover its own colour.
“A butcher was carrying a load of meat when he touched Shankaracharya by chance. As soon as Shankaracharya remarked, ‘Hey, you touched me!’ the butcher replied, ‘My lord, neither have I touched you, nor have you touched me. You are pure Self, unattached to anything.’
“Jada Bharata also said the same thing to King Rahugana.
“The pure Self is unattached, and it cannot be seen. When common salt is dissolved in water, it becomes invisible to the eye.
“That which is pure Atman is Mahakarana, the cause of causes. There are the gross, the subtle, the cause, and the Great Cause (Mahakarana). The five material elements are gross. Mind, intellect and ego are subtle. Nature or the Primal Power is the cause of everything. Brahman or the Atman, the pure Self, is the cause of the cause.
“This pure Atman is our true Self. What is spiritual knowledge? Knowledge of one’s real Self, and keeping the mind in it. This is knowledge of the pure Atman.”
How long does one have to work?
“How long does a person have to work? As long as there is body-consciousness. That is, as long as one clings to the idea of the body being one’s self. The Gita says this. To cling to the idea that the body is one’s own self is ignorance.
(To the Brahmo devotee from Shivapur) “Are you a Brahmo?”
The Brahmo devotee: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “I can recognize an aspirant of the formless God by looking at his eyes and face. Please dive a little. You don’t get jewels by swimming on the surface. I accept both, God with form and God without form.”
Sri Ramakrishna and Marwari devotee – individual self – mind-stuff
The Marwari devotees from the Burrabazar arrive and salute Thakur. Thakur praises them.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “Ah, these are great devotees. They all go to the temple, sing hymns, and have prasad. The priest they have engaged this time is well versed in the Bhagavata.”
Marwari devotee: “When a person says, ‘I am Your servant,’ who is this ‘I’?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “The subtle body or individual soul. The subtle body is made up of these four: mind, intellect, mind-stuff, and ego.”
Marwari devotee: “Then what is the individual self?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “It is the Atman bound by the eight fetters. And what is the chitta? That which exclaims: ‘Oh!’”
The Marwari – what happens after death? What is maya? – the view of the Gita
Marwari devotee: “Sir, what happens after death?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “According to the Gita, you become what you think of at the time of death. King Bharata became a deer because he thought of a deer. That is why spiritual practice is essential to realize God. If you contemplate God day and night, the same thought will come to you at the time of your death.”
Marwari devotee: “Well, sir, why can’t we give up attachment to things of the world?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “This is what is called maya. It is maya that makes you perceive the real as unreal and the unreal as real. The real, in other words, is the eternal, the Supreme Brahman. The unreal is the world, the ephemeral.”
Marwari devotee: “We read holy books. Why don’t we assimilate them?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “What does reading do? You need to practice spiritual disciplines, austerities. Call upon God. What can repeating, ‘Hemp, hemp,’ do? You have to eat it.
“This world is like a thorny bush. Touch it and your hand will bleed. If you take a thorny bush and just sit before it saying, ‘This bush is burning,’ will it burn up? You have to light the fire of knowledge and set fire to that bush. Only then will it burn up.
“You have to work hard in the stage of practicing spiritual disciplines. Later on, the path is easy. Detach the boat from the bank and let it sail with a favourable wind.”
Renounce the world of maya first – then gain spiritual knowledge – realization of God
“As long as you live inside the house of maya, as long as clouds of maya exist, the sun of knowledge does not help. When you leave the house of maya and stand outside (when you have renounced ‘lust and greed’), the sun of knowledge destroys ignorance. A lens doesn’t burn paper if you bring it inside the house. If you come outside with it and the rays of the sun fall on it, the paper burns. Again, if it is cloudy, the lens can’t burn the paper. Only when the clouds disappear does it burn.
“Only when you stand a little away from ‘lust and greed’ and practice spiritual disciplines and austerities is the darkness of the mind dispelled. The cloud of ignorance and egotism is burned away. And you gain spiritual knowledge.
“Again, ‘lust and greed’ is the cloud.”
His earlier story – Sri Ramakrishna faints hearing that Lakshmi Narayan wants him to accept ten thousand rupees – difficult rules of sannyasin
Sri Ramakrishna (to the Marwari devotee): “The rules that govern the conduct of one who has renounced completely are very difficult. He must not have the least association with ‘lust and greed.’ He must not touch money with his hands, and he must not allow it to be kept near him.
“Lakshmi Narayan, a Marwari and a Vedantist used to visit me often. Seeing my dirty bed sheet, he said, ‘I’ll invest ten thousand rupees in your name. The interest from it can be used to pay your expenses.’
“As soon as he said this, it was like I had been struck with a stick and knocked out.
“When I regained consciousness, I said, ‘If you say such a thing again, please don’t come here anymore. I can’t touch money – or keep it with me.’
“He had a very sharp intellect. He said to me, ‘You still have the idea of accepting and rejecting. In that case, you haven’t yet attained perfect knowledge.’
“I replied, ‘My dear, I haven’t attained to that extent.’ (All laugh.)
“Then Lakshmi Narayan tried to give the money to Hriday. I said, ‘I will not let that happen. If you do that, I’ll have to tell him, “Give some to this man and some to that one.” And if he doesn’t, I’ll feel angry. Possession of money is basically bad. If you place something near a mirror, won’t it be reflected in it?”
Sri Ramakrishna and the essence of liberation – Puranic path, not the Vedic, enjoined for the Kaliyuga
The Marwari devotee: “Revered sir, does one attain liberation only when he quits the body on the bank of the Ganges?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Liberation comes when one has attained spiritual knowledge. Wherever one may be, whether one dies in the cremation ground or on the bank of the Ganges, a person of spiritual knowledge will attain liberation. But the bank of the Ganges is best for a person who has not attained knowledge.”
The Marwari devotee: “Revered sir, why is a person liberated if he dies in Kashi (Benares)?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “When one dies in Kashi, Shiva appears before him and says, ‘This form of mine is not real. I assume it for the sake of the devotee. Now look, I am dissolving into the Indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.’ After saying this, the form disappears.
“According to the Puranas, even a pariah will attain liberation if he develops loving devotion to God. According to this belief, only chanting His name brings salvation; there is no need for sacrifices, oblations, tantric disciplines, or mantras.
“The teachings of the Vedas are different. According to them, only brahmins can gain liberation. And if the mantra is not recited properly, the worship is not accepted. One has to perform sacrifices, oblations, mantras, and tantric disciplines as prescribed.”
Karma yoga is a very difficult path – bhakti yoga is enjoined for the Kaliyuga
“In the Kaliyuga where is the time to perform rituals as prescribed in the Vedas? So love for God according to Narada is enjoined for this age.
“Karma yoga is a very difficult path. Karma leads to bondage unless you can work without expectation of any reward. Besides, life depends on food. There is no time to perform all the rituals according to regulations. You can die by the time an ancient herbal medicine is ready. You need to take a modern fever mixture.
“The path of devotion according to Narada is chanting His name and glories. Karma yoga is not suited to the Kaliyuga. The path of love for God is the right path.”
Brahman is the very nature of existence – longing for God comes with right tendencies
Several young men from Dakshineswar village come in and pay their respects. They sit down and ask Thakur questions. It is about four o’clock.
Young man from Dakshineswar: “Sir, what is knowledge?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “The Lord is real and all else is unreal; knowing this is knowledge. That which is real is called Brahman. His other name is Kala (Time). That is why they say, ‘O brother, how many have departed and how many have come into being in time!’
“Kali, She who sports with Kala, is the Primal Power. Kala and Kali, Brahman and Shakti, are not different.
“That Brahman, the real nature of existence, is eternal. It exists in the present, it existed in the past, and it will exist in the future. It is without beginning or end. It cannot be described in words. The most you can say is that It is of the very nature of Consciousness and Bliss.
“The world is impermanent, Brahman is eternal. The world is like magic. The magician is real, but the magic of the magician is transitory.”
Young man: “If the world is maya – is magic – why doesn’t it vanish?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Because of inborn tenden-cies. Living in the world of maya for several births, one begins to think of it as real.
“Just listen to how powerful tendencies are. The son of a king was born into a washerman’s family in his previous birth. As a prince, when he played with his companions, he would say, ‘No more of these games. I’ll lie down on my stomach and you beat clothes on my back and make a splashing sound.”
Men with good tendencies: Govinda Pal, Gopal Sen, Niranjan, Hirananda – earlier story: arrival of Govinda, Gopal and the Tagore boys, 1863-64
“A number of young men visit this place, but only a few yearn for God. They are ones who are born with good tendencies. When the topic of marriage is brought up, they wince. They don’t ever think about marriage. Niranjan has been saying since childhood that he won’t marry.
“A long time ago (more than twenty years), two young men used to visit from Baranagore. One of them was Govinda Pal, the other Gopal Sen. Since their childhood, their minds were on God. They would get frightened at the very mention of marriage. Gopal used to go into bhava samadhi. He would shy away from meeting a worldly person – the way a mouse feels frightened to see a cat. When the Tagore boys came to walk in the garden here, he shut the door of his room in the kuthi, lest he would have to talk to them.
“Gopal went into ecstasy in the panchavati. In that state, he touched my feet and said, ‘I must leave. I can no longer live in this world. You still have a long time to live. But I must go.’ I said to him, also in a state of ecstasy, ‘You must come again.’ He replied, ‘Yes, I will come again.’
“In a few days, Govinda came. I asked him, ‘Where is Gopal?’ He said, ‘Gopal has passed away.’
“What are the other boys involved with? How to have money, a house, a carriage, dress, and then marriage. These are their only concerns. To get married, they first look for a girl and then go to see her to make sure she’s pretty.
“There’s a person who criticizes me a lot. He complains that I love the young men. I certainly love those who have good tendencies, who are pure-souled, who yearn for God, whose minds are not attracted by money, pleasures of life, and so on.
“If a person is married but has love for God, he won’t get attached to the world.”
Hirananda, a resident of Sindh, is a Brahmo devotee. He has a B.A. degree.
Manilal, the Brahmo devotee from Shivapur, the Marwari devotees, and the young men salute Sri Ramakrishna and take their leave.
When does one renounce work? Thakur’s promise to a devotee
It is evening. The lamplighter brings light to the southern and western circular verandahs. Thakur’s room has also been lighted and incense has been burnt.
Thakur, having taken his seat, is chanting the name of the Divine Mother and meditating on Her. M., Priya Mukherji, and his relative are sitting on the floor in the room.
After meditating for some time, Thakur resumes his conversation with the devotees. There is still time before the arati service in the shrines.
Sri Ramakrishna and Vedanta – Om and samadhi – Tat tvam asi – Om Tat Sat
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): “Of what use are rituals for one who contemplates God day and night?”
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.
“Sandhya merges in Gayatri, and Gayatri in Om.
“When just by pronouncing Om once one goes into samadhi, one has perfected himself.
“A sadhu in Rishikesh rises early in the morning and goes to stand near a big waterfall. The whole day he watches the fall and says to God, ‘Oh, how beautiful you have made it! How beautiful it is! How wonderful!’ He does not practice chanting of the name and other austerities. At nightfall he returns to his hut.
“What need is there to think about whether God has form or not? It is enough to weep with longing in solitude, ‘O God, please show Yourself to me as You are!’
“He dwells within. That is why the Vedas say, ‘Tat tvam asi (That thou art).’ And He is also outside. Because of maya He appears as various forms, but in reality it is God alone who exists.
“That is why you should say ‘Om Tat Sat’ before you describe His forms or names.
“It is one thing to have His vision and another to read about Him in the scriptures. The scriptures only give hints about Him, so there’s no need to read many of them. It’s better to pray to Him in a solitary place.
“It’s all right if you don’t read the entire Gita. You get its essence by just repeating the word gita ten times – that is, tyagi (man of renunciation). ‘O man, renounce everything and worship God.’ That is the essence of the Gita.”
Sri Ramakrishna watches the arati of Mother Bhavatarini and goes into ecstasy
While watching Mother Kali’s arati with the devotees, Thakur goes into ecstasy. He is not able to salute Her by prostrating before Her. With great care he returns to his room with the devotees and sits down. He is still in ecstasy and talks to them in that state.
Hari, Mukherji’s relative, must be eighteen to twenty years old. He is already married. For the time being he is living with the Mukherjis while he looks for work. He has great love for Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna and initiation into mantra – Sri Ramakrishna’s promise to a devotee
Sri Ramakrishna (to Hari, in the same ecstatic mood): “You must take initiation after you’ve gotten your mother’s permission. (To Priya) I couldn’t initiate him (Hari), though I told him I would – I don’t give initiation. You continue with japa and meditation just as you have been doing.”
Priya: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “And I am telling you in this state of mind – you must believe me. You see, there is no pretense here. I said to the Divine Mother in this state, ‘Mother, make perfect those who come here by sincere attraction.’”
Mahendra Kaviraj of Sinthi is sitting on the verandah with Ramlal, Hazra, and others. Thakur calls to him from his room, “Mahendra, Mahendra.”
M. goes out quickly and brings the Kaviraj to him.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the Kaviraj): “Please sit down and listen for a while.”
The Kaviraj sits down, somewhat embarrassed, and then he starts listening to Thakur’s sweet words.
Various approaches to God – Balaram’s attitude – three states of Gauranga
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “God can be approached many ways.
“A loving devotee can enjoy His presence in different ways. Sometimes he thinks of Him as a lotus and himself a bee; at other times he sees Him as Sat-chit-ananda and himself as a fish.
“He may also say to Him, ‘I am your dancing girl,’ and then sing and dance before Him. Sometimes he assumes the attitude of a gopi friend and sometimes that of a handmaid. Sometimes he feels a mother’s love for Him like Yashoda’s. And then sometimes he has the attitude of a husband or a lover like the gopis.
“Balaram would sometimes think of Him as a friend and at other times he would say, ‘I am Krishna’s sunshade or a seat for Him to sit upon.’ He served Him all different ways.”
Is Thakur talking about his own state by describing that of a loving devotee? And again, when he describes the three states of Chaitanya Deva, perhaps he is giving us a hint of his own.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Chaitanya Deva experienced three states. In the innermost state, he was absorbed in samadhi, with no outer consciousness. In the semiconscious state, he would dance in ecstasy but would not speak. When in outward consciousness, he would sing songs of devotion.
(To the devotees) “You people listen to all these things – but try to put them into practice. When a worldly-minded man goes to see a sadhu, he hides all worldly thoughts and worries. After leaving, he takes them out again. A pigeon eats dried peas. It seems that he has digested them but actually he retains them in his crop. You can feel them there.”
Evening worship – Sri Ramakrishna and Islam – japa and meditation
“Leaving all work aside, you should call on God at dusk. The feeling of God comes to mind in darkness. Only a little while ago you could see everything. You think, Who has done all this? You know, Muslims stop all work at appointed times and offer prayers.”
Mukherji: “Sir, is it good to practice japa?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, by repeating God’s name, you can realize Him. When you secretly repeat His name in solitude, God’s grace dawns on you, and it is followed by His vision.
“Imagine a thick log of wood lying under water. It is tied to the bank with a chain. If you proceed from one link to the next, you will at last reach the log and touch it.
“Japa is higher than worship, and meditation is higher than repetition of the name. Higher than meditation is ecstasy. Chaitanya Deva experienced prema. When you attain prema, you have the cord to tie God with.”
Hazra comes in and sits down.
Passionate love for God, Sri Ramakrishna and repetition of the name on a rosary – Narayan
(To Hazra) “Real love for God is passionate. Ritualistic devotion leaves the devotee as fast as it comes. Passionate love for God is like the self-created stone lingam rising out of the earth. It’s impossible to find its source. The root of the self-born lingam goes as far as Kashi. Only incarnations of God and their apostles experience such passionate love.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “One day you were doing japa. Returning from answering the call of nature, I said, ‘Mother, what a small mind. He’s counting beads on a rosary even after coming here.’ Whoever comes here will gain enlightenment at once. He doesn’t have to do much counting of beads and performing other practices like it. When you go to Calcutta, you see thousands of people counting beads, even prostitutes.”
Sri Ramakrishna now says to M.: “Please bring Narayan here in a carriage. I have told him (Mukherji) about Narayan. When he comes, I want to give him some refreshments. Feeding has great meaning.”
Sri Ramakrishna with Brahmo devotees at Nabin Sen’s house in Calootola – in the joy of devotional singing
It is Saturday today, Kojagar Purnima. Thakur has come to Calootola, to the house of the late Nabin Sen, the eldest brother of Keshab Sen. It is 4 October 1884, the 19th of Ashwin, 1291 B.Y.
The previous Thursday, Keshab’s mother had come to invite Thakur and pressed him to come.
Thakur goes to the outer room upstairs and takes his seat. Nandalal and other nephews of Keshab, Keshab’s mother, and their relatives and friends serve Thakur with great reverence. Kirtan was to be held in the room. Many ladies of the Sen families of Calootola have arrived.
Thakur is accompanied by Baburam, Kishori, and a few other devotees. M. has arrived. Sitting in a room downstairs, he is listening to the sweet kirtan of Thakur.
Thakur says to the Brahmo devotees, “The world is transitory; one must always remember death.”
Now he sings:
Consider this, O mind: no one is your own. In this world you roam about in vain.
Do not forget the beneficent Mother or be ensnared in maya’s net,
Think of those over whom you fret almost unto death: in death would they accompany you?
Even your beloved wife would deny you and shun your corpse as something impure.
Just for a day or two do people call you lord and master; they will cease to call you so when the master called Death arrives for you.
Thakur says, “Dive deep. What use is swimming on the surface? Giving up everything else, go to a solitary place for few days and call upon Him with one hundred percent of your mind.”
Thakur sings again:
Dive deep, dive deep, O my mind, into the ocean of beauty, and to the deepest depths descend: there you will find the gem of Love.
Go seek, go seek, O mind, the blessed Vrindavan within your heart, the abode of the Lord of Love. Then in your heart the unceasing light of knowledge will ever shine.
Who is it that steers your boat over solid ground? It is your guru, says Kabir. Listen, and meditate on his holy feet.
He asks the Brahmo devotees to sing the song, “You are my all in all.”
O Lord, the source of my life-breath, the essence of all essences, You are my all in all.
Besides You, there is none in the three worlds whom I can call my own.
Thakur himself sings:
As the sun would sink in the sky, Yashoda, growing restless, would entreat You, Gopala, to come and partake of milk, cream, and butter.
She would tie Your disheveled hair into a bun,
And You would dance, bent thrice, with Sridama.
The sweet jingle of Your anklets could be heard sounding to the beat of a drum, ‘Ta thaiya, ta thaiya,’
Whereupon the women of Vraja would come running.
O Mother, play that sweet melody upon Your flute,
That music which caused the gopis to forget themselves and drew the cows home from pasture,
That music which turned upstream the Jamuna’s flow.
Having cast off Your garland of skulls, You danced in Vraja with wild flowers adorned,
And having transformed Shiva into Balaram, you danced, relinquishing the sword and taking to the flute.
Pray dance, O Mother, in the same way, in the same form, once again.
Hearing this song, Keshab has new words composed. The Brahmo devotees sing the melody of that same song in accompaniment with the drum and cymbals:
O Mother, how great is Your love for Your children!
At the very thought of it, tears of joy stream from my eyes.
They sing again of the Divine Mother:
O Mother, as the Inner Controller! You are awake within, day and night.
Day and night You hold me in Your lap.
Next they sing:
O my mind! Why do you worry so, like a lowly beggar?
My Mother is Ishwari, the ruler of the universe, the all-protecting giver of spiritual perfection
Thakur now chants the names of Hari and Gauranga and dances with the Brahmo devotees. The kirtan continues with six songs:
O man, if you wish to live happily, love the sweet name of Hari …
The wave of Gaur’s love has touched my body;
By its thunder all heretics are crushed and the universe is submerged.
O Bharati, give me a loin cloth. I wish to go to Vraja disguised as a beggar …
Gaur and Nitai, you two brothers, are so full of compassion, O Lord!
My Gaur dances singing Hari’s name.
Go, Madhai, and find out who goes there singing, ‘Haribol, Haribol.’
Is it my Gaur who is going? Or is it Nitai?
They who wear gold anklets on their feet?
They with shaven heads and tattered cloths?
They who behave like madmen?
The Brahmo devotees sing again:
When will love enter me?
When will dawn that day when tears stream from my eyes as I repeat Lord Hari’s name?
Thakur sings in a loud voice and dances:
Behold, the brothers have come! The two who shed tears while chanting Hari’s name.
They, who weeping, make others weep;
They, who in ecstasy dancing, make the world dance;
They, who receiving the world’s blows, offer Hari’s love.
Then he sings:
Behold, the whole of Nadia trembles under the waves of Gauranga’s love!
Thakur chants the Divine Mother’s name.
Don’t steal away my joy, O Mother, You who are the source of all joy.
The Brahmos sing two of their own songs, first:
O Mother, make me mad with Your love.
In the firmament of wisdom, the moon of divine love rises full.
. An abstract image of Vishnu in the form of an oval stone bearing certain markings.
. Mano yoga.
. The first stage in the four stages of life according to the Vedas, that of a celibate student.
. Married household life.
. Detaching from family affairs and concentrating on God.
. Renunciation of the world.
. Kamya karma.
. Refer to Bhagavad Gita 18:2-3.
. Internal washing.
. Meaning Holy Mother.
. Caste of laborers and servants.
. Chitta, a) The mind or inner organ of consciousness in general. b) In Vedanta, the storehouse of memory.
. Bhagavad Gita 18:11.
. Linga sarira.
. Dashmul pachan.
. Indian washermen wash clothes by beating them on a stone.
- Sandhya, or worship and meditation in the morning, noon, and evening performed daily by orthodox Hindus.
. Raga bhakti.
. Vaidhi bhakti.
. The night of the full moon of Ashwin in which Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. It falls in the bright fortnight of the lunar month.
 Karalavadini, an epithet of Kali.
. Tribhangi, referring to a posture of Krishna.
. For the complete song, refer to Volume II, Section XVI, Chapter I.
. For the complete song refer to Section XVII, Chapter I.
. For the complete song refer to Section XIII, Chapter III.
. For the complete song refer to Section XIX, Chapter III.
. For the complete song refer to Volume II, Section I, Chapter II.
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