The Lakshmi Full Moon Festival of the Bright Fortnight of Aswin at Dakshineswar
Thakur with Rakhal, Balaram’s father, Beni Pal, M., Mani Mallick, Ishan, Kishori Gupta and others
Today is Tuesday, 16 October 1883, 30th day of Aswin. Balaram’s father and some other devotees are here. Balaram’s father is a great Vaishnava. He continuously chants the name of Hari with his rosary.
Strict Vaishnavas do not like people of other sects very much. Balaram’s father, on the other hand, sometimes visits Sri Ramakrishna – his attitude is different from other Vaishnavas.
Sri Ramakrishna: “People who have open minds accept all deities: Krishna, Kali, Shiva, Rama and so on.”
Balaram’s Father: “Yes, one husband in different dress.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “But there is also something called single-minded devotion. When the milkmaids went to Mathura and saw Krishna wearing a turban, they drew down their veils and said, ‘Who is this man? Where is our yellow-robed Krishna with a crest of peacock feathers?’
“Hanuman also had single-minded devotion. When he came to Dwaraka in the Davapar yuga, Krishna said to Rukmini, ‘Hanuman won’t be happy unless he sees Rama’s form.’ So he assumed the form of Rama.”
Amazing state of Sri Ramakrishna – union of the temporal and the Absolute
“What do I know, brother? I’m in this state when I descend from the Absolute to the phenomenal, and then I return to the Absolute.
“Experiencing the Absolute is called Knowledge of Brahman. It is very difficult. Unless you’re completely rid of worldly attachment, you can’t succeed. When Bhagavati took birth in the house of Himalaya, She appeared before Her father in many forms.’ Himalaya said, ‘Mother, I want to see Brahman.’ Bhagavati said to him, ‘Father, if that is what you desire, you’ll have to associate with sadhus.’ You’ll have to keep the company of the holy and live in solitude from time to time, leaving behind your worldly activities.
“The One has produced many – the phenomenal comes from the Absolute. In a particular state of consciousness, ‘many’ vanishes. Then even ‘one’ also disappears, for if there is one, there is also two. It is beyond all comparison. You can’t describe It with any analogy. It’s not darkness and light. It’s not the light that we see. That light is not material light.
“And when God changes the state of mind, when He brings the mind down to the phenomenal world, I see that He Himself has become the Lord, maya, the individual soul and the world.”
God is the doer – You and yours
“And sometimes He reveals to me that He has created all creatures and the world. Just think of a garden and its proprietor. He is the Doer, and the whole of this world and all its creatures belong to Him – this is spiritual knowledge. And to say, ‘I am the doer, I am the guru, I am the father’ is ignorance. The whole house and the family is mine, and also wealth and people – this is ignorance.”
Balaram’s Father: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “As long as you don’t realize that God is the Doer, you will have to return to the world again and again – you will be born again. When you realize that He is the Doer, you won’t be born into this life again.
“As long as you do not say, ‘Tuhun, Tuhun [only You],’ He will not liberate you. You will die and be born again and again and you will not attain liberation. So what’s the use in saying, ‘My and mine?’ The servant of a proprietor says, ‘That’s our garden. This is my cot.’ But when the proprietor dismisses him, he can’t even carry away his mango-wood box.
“‘Me and mine’ has veiled the Reality and doesn’t allow you to perceive it.”
The knowledge of non-duality and vision of pure consciousness
“Without the knowledge of non-duality, you can’t perceive pure consciousness. Only after realizing pure consciousness itself is there eternal bliss. The state of paramahamsa is one of eternal bliss.
“There are no incarnations of God according to the Vedanta school of thought. According to it, Chaitanya Deva was only a bubble of non-dual consciousness.
“What is the perception of pure consciousness? Like sudden light in a dark room when a match is struck.”
Incarnation is a jewel of a man
“In the path of bhakti, or love, one believes in incarnations of God. When a woman of the sect saw the state I was in, she said, ‘Father, you have realized the truth within. Don’t dance so much. Grapes should be preserved carefully, in cotton.’ When a woman conceives, her mother-in-law gradually decreases her work. A sign of God-realization is that the person’s duties slowly drop off. There is a jewel of a man inside this person.
“When I ate, the Kartabhaja woman said, ‘Father, are you eating or feeding someone else?’
“This feeling of ‘I’ hides the Reality. Narendra said, ‘The more this “I” disappears, the more His “I” will appear.’ Kedar says, ‘The more clay there is in a pot, the less water is in it.’
“Krishna said to Arjuna, ‘Brother, if you have even one occult power, you will not find Me.’ You may gain some power, such as witchcraft or healing, and they may do some good to people. What do you say? So I prayed to the Divine Mother to grant me pure love – I didn’t ask for occult powers.”
When his samadhi is over, Sri Ramakrishna begins to sing:
I have not found Him, friend, for whom I have gone mad.
Now he asks Ramlal to sing. Ramlal begins with a song about Gauranga’s renunciation.
What an exquisite bright form of Sri Gauranga – his eyes streaming with the tears of love – did I see in Keshab Bharati’s hut!
Gauranga dances mad, like an elephant. He sings and then rolls in the dust, tears streaming from his eyes.
He calls on Hari, weeping, piercing the mortal world and heavens with his thundering voice.
Then he prays repeatedly for liberation as a slave of God, with a straw between his teeth and palms joined together.
He wears the robe of a yogi, his locks of hair shaved.
One’s heart cries to see him so charged with ecstatic love for God.
Having renounced all, he has come to distribute it to all, overwhelmed as he is by the sorrows of mankind.
Premdas wishes to wander from door to door like a slave at the feet of Sri Chaitanya.
After singing about Chaitanya Deva’s madness in ecstatic love, and with a hint from Thakur, Ramlal sings of the intoxicated state of the milkmaids:
Don’t hold it, don’t. Does a chariot move because of its wheels?
Hari is the master of this wheel – His will alone make the world move.
And then he sings:
What value is the colour of a cloud holding fresh water?
In comparison to it, the beauty of the moon of Shyam (Krishna) with flute in hand and a smile on his lips illumines the three worlds.
The untouchable caste becomes pure by Hari’s name
Sri Ramakrishna: “When you develop love for Hari, you don’t distinguish between castes.” (To Mani Mallick): “Please tell that story about Tulsidas.”
Mani Mallick: “A chatak bird is dying of thirst. It has the Ganges, the Jamuna, the Saraju and many other rivers and lakes, but it won’t drink from any of these. It only waits with its mouth open for the rain drops of the svati constellation of stars.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “That’s to say, only devotion for His lotus feet is the real thing, everything else is illusion.”
Problem of untouchables – the untouchable is purified by the name of Hari
Mani Mallick: “There’s something else, too, that Tulsidas said. By touching the philosopher’s stone, the eight metals turn into gold. In the same way all castes, even a pariah, becomes pure by repeating Hari’s name. As well, without the name of Hari, all four castes – brahmin, kshatriya, vaishnava and shudra – become impure like a tanner of hides.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “A hide which is not supposed to be touched can be taken into the temple when it is tanned.
“A man is purified by God’s name. That’s why you should practice chanting God’s name. I said to Jadu Mallick’s mother, ‘At the time of death, the worries of the world invade the mind – worries about the family, sons, children, writing out a will – come to mind. The thought of God will not come.’ The remedy is to practice chanting and singing His name. If you do this, only His name will come to the lips at the time of death. When a bird is caught by a cat, it only squawks – ‘Rama, Rama’ doesn’t come to it.
“You have to prepare for the time of death. Repeat His name and meditate on Him in solitude for the rest of your life. If an elephant is taken to the stable after a bath, it won’t get dirty again by mud and dust.”
Balaram’s father, Mani Mallick and Beni Pal are all aged. Is this why Thakur is instructing them like this, especially for their good?
Addressing the devotees, Sri Ramakrishna speaks again.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Why do I ask you to meditate on Him and repeat His name in solitude? Living day and night in the world brings restlessness. Just see how brother kills brother and becomes a murderer for only one yard of land. The Sikhs say, ‘All the confusion and lack of peace in the world are because of land, wife and money.’”
Ramachandra, the world and Yoga Vaishishtha – the mart of joy
“You’re a family man, but what is the danger in that? When Rama said he’d renounce the world, Dasharatha [Rama’s father] was very worried and he asked Vaishishtha’s advice. Vaishishtha said to Rama, ‘Rama, why do you want to renounce the world? Let’s talk about it. Is the world without God? So what will you renounce and what will you take? Except for Him, nothing exists. He appears [or reveals Himself] in the form of ‘the Lord, maya, individual souls and the universe.’”
Balaram’s Father: “Very difficult!”
Sri Ramakrishna: “During the time of spiritual practice, the world is a snare. But when you’ve attained knowledge, when you’ve had His vision, the world becomes ‘a mart of joy.’”
Seeing God in an incarnation – Chaitanya Deva, an incarnation of God
“The Vaishnava scriptures say, ‘You meet Krishna by faith. Reasoning takes you far away from Him. Faith, faith alone!’
“What faith Krishnakishore had! In Vrindavan a low-caste man drew water from a well for him. He said to the man, ‘Just say Shiva.’ As soon as he had repeated the name of Shiva, Krishnakishore drank the water. He used to say, ‘You have chanted the name of God. Why should you buy repentance by paying money? What’s this?’
“Seeing people offer tulsi leaves to cure diseases, Krishnakishore was amazed.
“When someone mentioned his going to see a sadhu, Haladhari said, ‘Why should I go see a case built of the five elements?’ Very angry, Krishnakishore reported, ‘Haladhari said this! He doesn’t know that the body of the sadhu is made of Consciousness.’
“At the bathing ghat of the Kali Temple he said to us, ‘Please bless me that I may pass my days repeating Rama’s name.’
“Whenever I went to Krishnakishore’s house, he would dance when he saw me.
“Rama said to Lakshmana, ‘Brother, wherever you find burning love for God, know that I am there.’
“For example, Chaitanya Deva. He laughed, wept, danced and sang with ecstatic love for God. Chaitanya Deva was a divine incarnation, God in human form.”
Sri Ramakrishna sings:
Sri Gauranga, a treasure of ecstasy. In ecstasy he laughs, weeps, dances, sings and cries.
Sri Ramakrishna with devotees at the Dakshineswar Temple – dance and ecstasy
Balaram’s father, Mani Mallick, Beni Pal and others take their leave. The devotees of the Harisabha at Kansaripara had arrived after twilight. Sri Ramakrishna is dancing with them like an intoxicated elephant.
After dancing, he is absorbed in ecstasy. He says, “I myself will walk a little by myself.”
Kishori wants to massage Sri Ramakrishna’s feet while he’s in ecstasy, but Sri Ramakrishna does not allow anybody to touch him then.
Ishan arrives after dusk. Sri Ramakrishna is sitting, absorbed in ecstasy. After awhile he talks to Ishan. Ishan wants to practice Gayatri purashcharana.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Ishan): “Do what you have in mind. Are there doubts in your mind any more?”
Ishan: “I’ve decided to do an atonement ceremony.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Can’t it be achieved by the path of Tantra? He who is Brahman is also Shakti, the Primal Power, and Kali. ‘Having realized the reality of Kali-Brahman, I’ve renounced both religion and irreligion.’”
Ishan: “In a hymn to Chandi, it is said that Brahman Itself is the Primal Power. Brahman and His Primal Power are inseparable.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “It doesn’t help to just say this. It’ll be true when you’ve realized it. After spiritual practice and when the heart is purified, you will clearly know that He alone is the doer. He is the mind, the vital-breath, the intellect. We are only tools.
‘You mire the elephant in mud
And make the lame cross the mountain.’
“When your heart is purified, you will realize that He makes you perform rituals like purashcharana. ‘It is He who does His work, people say that they do it.’
“When you’ve attained God-realization, all doubts vanish. The devotee sits contentedly, like a boatman with the tiller in hand who has unfurled his sail when a favourable wind blows and is now enjoying a smoke.”
When Ishan has left, Sri Ramakrishna talks with M. alone. He asks him, “What do you think of Narendra, Rakhal, Adhar and Hazra? Are they guileless? And what do you think of me?”
M. says, “You are simple and yet profound. It’s very difficult to understand you.”
Sri Ramakrishna laughs.
. Nishtha bhakti.
. Devi Bhagavata, 7th Skanda, chapters 31, and 35 to 36.
. tacchubhraà jyotiñäà jyotistadyadätmavido viduù
[It is pure, and is the light of lights, It is that which the knowers of the Self realize.]
. tvaà jäto bhavasi viçvatomukhaù
[Taking birth, You have Your faces everywhere.]
. Gutika siddhi.
. Agama: A religious philosophy according to which Shakti is usually the main deity worshipped and the universe is regarded as the divine play of Shakti and Shiva; it deals primarily with spiritual practices and ritual forms of worship.
. Lines from a Bengali song.
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