Sri Ramakrishna with Hariballav, Narendra, Mishra, and Other Devotees at Shyampukur House
Thakur’s anxiety for Balaram – Hariballav Basu
Sri Ramakrishna is staying in the Shyampukur house with the devotees for treatment. Today is Saturday, 31 October 1885, 16th Kartik, the eighth day of the dark fortnight of Ashwin. The time is 9 o’clock.
The devotees are living here day and night to nurse Thakur. None of them has yet renounced the world.
Balaram and his family are serving Thakur. Balaram was born into a family of great devotees. His father, now old, lives alone in Vrindavan at Shyam Sunder Kunj, which he had built. His cousin Hariballav Basu and other members of the family are all Vaishnavas.
Hariballav is the Chief Advocate at Cuttack. He did not approve of Balaram’s visits to the Paramahamsa Deva, especially his taking the women of the family with him. Balaram had said to him, “Go see him once. Then you can say whatever you like.”
Hariballav has come today. He salutes Thakur with great devotion.
Sri Ramakrishna: “How shall I get cured? Do you think that it’s a serious illness?”
Hariballav: “Only the doctors can say, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “The women take the dust of my feet. Then I think that God dwells in this form. That’s how I take it.”
Hariballav: “You are a holy man. Everyone salutes you like that. What harm is there in that?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “That would be true with Dhruva, Prahlada, Narada, Kapila, and saints like them. But what am I? Do come again.”
Hariballav: “Sir, I will come because you attract me. You don’t have to urge me.”
About to leave, Hariballav salutes Sri Ramakrishna and advances to take the dust of his feet, but Thakur pulls his feet back. Hariballav does not give up but takes the dust of Thakur’s feet anyway.
Hariballav rises. Thakur also stands up, to show him courtesy. He says, “Balaram is very sad [that I haven’t gone to his house]. I thought that I should one day go to his house and meet you all. But I was afraid you’d say, ‘Who brought him here?’”
Hariballav: “Why do you say that? Please don’t worry about such things.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): “He has love for God. Otherwise, why would he take the dust of my feet forcibly?
“I told you the other day that in divine ecstasy I saw the doctor and someone else. He is the other person. That’s why he has come.’”
M.: “Yes, sir. He certainly has great devotion to God.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “How guileless he is!”
M. has gone to Sankharitola to give a report on Thakur’s illness to Doctor Sarkar. The doctor is coming again today to examine Sri Ramakrishna.
The doctor talks about Thakur, Mahimacharan, and other devotees.
Doctor: “He (Mahimacharan) hasn’t brought the book he promised to show me. He said he had forgotten to bring it. That’s possible. I’m forgetful too.”
M.: “He has read a great deal.”
Doctor: “He is in such a plight in spite of it?”
Talking of Thakur, the doctor says, “What use is mere love and devotion for God if there is no knowledge?”
M.: “Why? Thakur says love for God comes after knowledge. But his meaning of knowledge and devotion is different from yours.
“When he says, ‘Love and devotion follow knowledge,’ he means the devotion that comes after attaining ultimate knowledge, Knowledge of Brahman – first knowledge of God, then love for Him. What you mean by knowledge is information acquired through the senses. Ultimate Knowledge is not verifiable by our standard; it can’t be arrived at through knowledge acquired through the senses. The latter can be verified.”
The doctor is silent. Then he talks about the incarnation of God.
Doctor: “What is this idea of the incarnation of God? And why should one take the dust of a man’s feet?”
M.: “Why, you yourself say that you feel ecstatic seeing God’s creation when you’re doing scientific experiments. And also when you think of man. That being so, why shouldn’t we bow before God? There is God in man.
“The Hindu religion says that God is present in all existence. You haven’t studied this subject very much. Since God resides in all beings, what’s wrong with saluting a man?
“The Paramahamsa Deva says, ‘There is greater manifestation of God in some things than in others.’ The sun is reflected in water and in a mirror. There is water everywhere, but more apparent in rivers or lakes. It is God whom one salutes, not man. God is God – not man is God.
“God can’t be known by reasoning. It all depends on faith. All these are Thakur’s words.”
As a token of brotherly regard, the doctor today presents M. with one of the books he has written, Physiological Basis of Psychology.
Sri Ramakrishna and Jesus Christ – manifestation of Christ in Sri Ramakrishna
Thakur is sitting with devotees. It is eleven o’clock. He is talking with Misra, a Christian devotee. Misra is about thirty-five years old. He was born in a Christian family in northwestern India. Though he is wearing European clothes, he wears ochre clothes under the Western dress. He has renounced the world. He was born in west India. Two of his brothers died on the day fixed for the marriage of one of them. Misra renounced the world that very day. He belongs to the Quaker sect.
Misra: “The same Rama dwells in all beings.”
Sri Ramakrishna whispers to the younger Naren within Misra’s hearing, “There is but one Rama, though he has a thousand names.
“He who is called God by the Christians is known by the Hindus as Rama, Krishna, Ishvara, and so forth. There are many drinking ghats at a reservoir. Hindus take water from one spot and call it ‘jal,’ or Ishvara. Christians take water from another spot and call it ‘water,’ that is to say God or Jesus. Muslims go to yet another spot and call it ‘pani,’ or Allah.”
Misra: “Jesus was not the son of Mary, he was God Himself. (To the devotees) He (Sri Ramakrishna) appears this way now – at another time, he is God Himself.
“You (the devotees) don’t recognize him. I saw him before in a vision. Now I see him in person. In my vision I saw him seated on a raised seat in a garden. Another person was sitting on the ground. He wasn’t as spiritually advanced.
“There are four doorkeepers in this country. Tukaram in Bombay and Robert Michael in Kashmir. Here it is he [Sri Ramakrishna], and there’s another person in the eastern region.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Do you see visions?”
Misra: “When I lived at home I used to see light. Then I had a vision of Jesus. How can I describe his beauty? What is the beauty of a woman in comparison with his!”
After a while, when talking to the devotees, Misra takes off his coat and trousers and shows his gerua loincloth.
Thakur comes in from the verandah and says, “It is not external. I saw him (Misra) standing in a heroic pose.”
While he is saying this, Thakur goes into samadhi. He stands facing west.
Returning to the normal state somewhat, Thakur looks at Misra and laughs. Taking his [Misra’s] hands, he laughs again. He says, “You will achieve what you are seeking.”
It seems that Thakur is in the mood of Jesus. Are he and Jesus the same?
Misra (with folded hands): “I have surrendered to you my mind, heart, and soul since that day.”
In an ecstatic mood, Thakur smiles.
He sits down. Misra tells the devotees about his earlier life. He tells how two of his brothers were killed when the canopy fell during the marriage.
Thakur asks the devotees to take care of Misra.
Thakur in the joy of devotional song, with Narendra, Doctor Sarkar, and others
Doctor Sarkar comes in. When he sees him, Thakur goes into samadhi. After the intensity of his ecstasy has decreased a little, Thakur says, “Sat-chit-ananda follows karanananda – He is the Karana of karana (the cause of the causal).”
Sri Ramakrishna: “I have not become unconscious.”
The doctor realizes that Thakur is full of God-consciousness. He says, “No! You are very conscious.”
Thakur recites with a smile:
I drink no ordinary wine, but the nectar of everlasting bliss, as I repeat “Jai Kali – to Kali, victory!”
Seeing me drunk on this wine of the mind, by drunkards am I taken for a drunk.
But my mind is drunk on drops of wine by knowledge distilled from the molasses of the mantra, the guru’s gift, and by the ferment of my own determination.
Filled full with the Mother’s nectar is the vessel of this body, which I purify by uttering Tara’s name.
Drink of this wine, says Prasad, and the four fruits of life shall be yours.
Listening to the song, the doctor is almost overwhelmed with feeling. Thakur also becomes ecstatic and he puts his foot in the doctor’s lap. A little later he comes out of ecstasy and pulls his foot back. He says to the doctor, “Oh, what a nice thing you said the other day. You said, ‘We are sitting in the lap of God. If we don’t tell him about our illness, whom shall we tell? If we have to pray, we should pray to Him.’”
While saying this Thakur’s eyes are filled with tears. He goes into an ecstatic mood again, and in that state he says to the doctor, “You are very pure. Otherwise, I could not have put my foot in your lap.” And then he adds, “Only he is at peace who tastes the bliss of Rama.”
“What is there in sense-enjoyment? What is there? And what is there in money, name, fame, and comforts of the body? If one has not known Rama, what has he known?”
The devotees are worried to see Thakur going into ecstasy during his serious illness. Thakur says, “I’ll rest if someone sings that song, ‘The wine of divine love.’”
Narendra is in another room. They ask him to come. He sings in his sweet voice, rare even among the gods:
O my mind, be drunk with the wine of divine love;
Rolling on the ground, weep and chant the name of Hari.
Fill the sky with the solemn roar of Hari’s name.
Sri Ramakrishna: “And that song, too, ‘On the sea of the bliss of consciousness.’”
The waves of ecstatic love for God rise on the sea of the bliss of consciousness.
Meditate upon Hari, O my mind! He is the essence of consciousness. He is free from all impurity!
Without equal is His glory, beautiful is His shape, how very beloved is He in the hearts of His devotees!
Behold, His beauty is enhanced by fresh manifestations of love! It casts into shadow the effulgence of a million moons!
Verily, lightning flashes out of His glorious beauty! His blessed vision causes the hair to stand on end.
Worship His holy feet in the lotus of your heart. Gaze upon the matchless beauty of that Beloved Form.
Now that the mind enjoys peace and the eyes are filled with love, be immersed in divine love. Inspired with your devotion, remain merged in the joy of love.
The doctor listens to the song with rapt attention. When it is over, he says, “That was very good – ‘on the sea of the bliss of consciousness.’”
Noticing how full of joy the doctor is, Thakur says, “A boy said to his father, ‘Father, just taste a little wine. Then if you ask me to give it up, I will do so.’ The father tasted it and said, ‘Child, you may give it up, I have no objection – but I won’t give it up.’ (The doctor and all others laugh.)
“The other day the Divine Mother showed me two men. He was one of them. I saw that he would have immense knowledge – but dry knowledge. (To the doctor, smiling) But you will become succulent.”
The doctor remains quiet.
. His father’s younger brother’s son.
. Jnana, knowledge of God.
. Dharma (righteousness), artha (material comfort), kama (enjoyment), and moksha (liberation).
. For the complete song refer to Section XVII, Chapter I.
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