At the Shyampukur House with Narendra, Dr. Sarkar, and Other Devotees
Dr. Sarkar and comparative religion
Thakur is sitting with Narendra, Mahimacharan, M., Dr. Sarkar, and other devotees in the second storey room of the Shyampukur house. It is one o’clock, 24 October 1885, 9th of Kartik.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Your homeopathic treatment is good.”
Doctor: “We need to compare the symptoms of the patient with those mentioned in the book. It is like English music – you read and then you sing.
“Where is Girish Ghosh? Never mind. Don’t bother him. He didn’t sleep last night.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Well, when I’m in ecstasy, I feel inebriated, like I’ve taken hemp. Why is that?”
Doctor (to M.): “The action of the nervous system stops, so one is benumbed and staggers. All energy has gone to the brain. Life is nothing but the nervous system. The medulla oblongata is near the nape of the neck. If it is injured, life may be extinguished.”
Mahimacharan Chakravarty talks about the kulakundalini power in the sushumna nerve. “The sushumna nerve, which none can see, and being subtle, runs through the spinal cord. That’s what Mahadeva says.”
Doctor: “Mahadeva examined man in maturity. The Europeans have examined all stages, from the embryo to maturity. It’s good to know comparative history. A study of the Santhal history has revealed that Kali was a Santhal woman. She was a great fighter. (All laugh.)
“Please don’t laugh. Listen to what great good comparative anatomy has done. Earlier one could not distinguish between pancreatic fluid and bile. Then Claude Bernard examined the stomach, liver, and other parts of a rabbit and showed that bile had a different action from pancreatic fluid.
“It proves that we should examine lower animals as well. It will not do to examine man only.
“Similarly, a study of comparative religion is also highly beneficial.
“Why does what he (the Paramahamsa) says touch the heart so? He has examined all religions. He himself has practiced Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Shakta, and Vaishnava faiths. Bees gather honey from different kinds of flowers to make a beautiful hive.”
M. (to the Doctor): “He (Mahima) has studied science a great deal.”
Doctor (smiling): “Did you mean Max Müller’s Science of Religion?”
Mahima (to Sri Ramakrishna): “What help can doctors give you for your illness? When I heard that you were sick, I said to myself that you were only boosting the pride of the doctors.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “He is a very good doctor, and very learned.”
Mahima: “Yes sir! He is a ship and we are only small boats made of a single tree-trunk.”
The doctor folds his hands humbly.
Mahima: “But here (with Sri Ramakrishna) all are equal.”
Thakur asks Narendra to sing.
I have made You the pole star of my life…
Next he sings:
Ever intoxicated with pride am I, and with the unending cravings of my heart….
O Lord! The creation of your universe is infinite and wonderful;
This whole world is a mansion of beauty…
Then he sings:
O Lord of the universe, seated on Your great throne,
You listen to the music of the universe, Your creation.
I, born of the dust of the earth, come to the portal of Your house with a feeble voice.
O Lord! I ask for nothing but Your vision.
I have come to sing to You in Your great hall,
where the sun and the moon praise you with hymns.
where from a far corner I too would sing Your praise.
O King of kings, reveal Yourself to me.
At Your feet I dedicate my soul and my life,
Seared by the fire of this world,
And a heart stained with wrongful acts.
O compassionate Lord, entangled in maya, I live as one who is dead.
Revive me by Your life-giving glance.
Finally he sings:
O my mind, be drunk with the wine of divine love;
Rolling on the ground, weep and chant the name of Hari…
Sri Ramakrishna: “And sing, ‘You are all that exists.’”
The singing over, the doctor is almost spell-bound.
After a few minutes he folds his hands devotedly and says to Thakur, “May I take your leave now? I shall come again tomorrow.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Stay a little longer. I’ve sent for Girish Ghosh. (Pointing to Mahima) He is a scholar, but he dances when the name of Hari is chanted. There is no pride in him. He went to Konnagar just because we were there. Besides, he is independent. He’s rich and doesn’t have to work under anyone. (Pointing to Narendra) What do you think of him?”
Doctor: “A very good man!”
Sri Ramakrishna (pointing to a devotee): “And him?”
Mahima: “If one has not read some Hindu philosophy, one cannot claim to know philosophy. Europeans don’t know the twenty-four cosmic principles of the Samkhya philosophy. They cannot even grasp them.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “What are the three paths that you talk about?”
Mahima: “The path of Sat, or existence, is the path of knowledge. The path of Chit is the path of yoga, the path of karma yoga, which includes the duties of the four stages of life. And the path of Ananda, or the way of bliss, is the path of love and devotion for God. You know all three paths and give information on all of them. (Thakur laughs.)
“What more can I say? Janaka is the teacher and Sukadeva the listener.”
The doctor takes leave.
In samadhi after dusk – Nityagopal and Narendra – perfection through japa
The moon rises after dusk. Today is the second day of Kojagar Purnima, Saturday, 9th of Kartik. Thakur is standing, in samadhi. Nityagopal stands nearby devotedly.
When Thakur sits down, Nityagopal gently strokes his feet. Devendra, Kalipada, and many other devotees sit close to him.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Devendra and others): “It has come to my mind that these states of Nityagopal’s will pass away and his whole mind will be concentrated on me – that is, on Him who dwells inside me.
“Don’t you see how Narendra’s whole mind is also becoming fixed on me?”
Many devotees are leaving. Thakur, standing, says to one of the devotees, “Japa is sitting quietly in solitude and repeating His name. Repeating His name with a concentrated mind – performing japa – one gets the vision of God’s form and realizes Him. Think of a chain tied to a wooden log submerged in the Ganges, its other end fixed to the bank. Proceeding along each link of this chain, you enter the water and eventually reach the log. In the same way, by repeating God’s name, you become absorbed in Him and realize Him.”
Kalipada (to the devotees, laughing): “Our Thakur is wonderful! We don’t have to practice austerities – japa or meditation.”
Suddenly Thakur exclaims, “Something’s not right!” His throat is troubling him.
Devendra says, “We aren’t fooled by your words.” His idea is that Thakur is only acting ill to fool the devotees.
The devotees leave. A few of the younger men have decided to stay for the night so they can nurse Thakur by turns. M. will also stay the night.
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