Sri Ramakrishna with the Devotees in Ram Chandra’s Garden House
Today Sri Ramakrishna is going to visit Ram Chandra’s new garden. It is Wednesday, 26 December 1883.
Ram adores Thakur and considers him an incarnation of God. Every now and then he goes to Dakshineswar to see Thakur and worship him. He has bought a new garden close to Surendra’s garden house. Sri Ramakrishna is going to see it.
Manilal Mallick, M. and one or two other devotees are seated in the carriage with Thakur. Manilal Mallick is a Brahmo devotee. The Brahmos don’t believe in divine incarnation.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Manilal): “If you want to meditate on God, you should first try to meditate on the attributeless. He is without attributes, beyond mind and speech. But it’s very difficult to become expert in such meditation.
“He incarnates Himself as a man. It is very easy then to practice meditation – Narayana in man. The body is only a veil, like a lantern with a light burning inside. Or like seeing valuable things in a glass case.”
Alighting from the carriage, Sri Ramakrishna first goes with Ram and the devotees to see the tulsi grove in the garden.
Standing there, Thakur says, “O, it’s a beautiful place. You can meditate on God very nicely here.”
Now he goes to a room south of the pond and sits down. Ram Chandra has grapes, oranges and some sweetmeats on a plate for him. Thakur enjoys them with the devotees.
In a little while he walks around the whole garden.
Next he starts toward Surendra’s garden, which is nearby. He walks a little, and before he climbs into the carriage to continue on, Sri Ramakrishna notices a sadhu sitting alone on a cot under a tree in the next garden. As soon as he saw him, he went to the sadhu and talks happily with him in Hindi.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the sadhu): “To which order of sadhus do you belong? Are you from the Giri or Puri Order?”
Sadhu: “People call me a paramahamsa.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Very good, great indeed. It’s nice to have the attitude ‘I am Shiva.’ But then, it’s also true – creation, preservation and dissolution go on day and night by His power. The Primal Power and the Absolute are inseparable. Without Brahman there is no Power, as there cannot be a wave without water, or music without an instrument.
“As long as He keeps us in the phenomenal world, we have a feeling of duality. But when you speak of power, you speak of Brahman – like being aware of day when you are aware of night.
“In another state, He shows us that the Absolute is beyond knowledge and ignorance. This cannot be expressed in words. What is, is.”
It is after this nice conversation that Sri Ramakrishna goes back to the carriage. The sadhu accompanies him, arm in arm, like a long-time friend. When Thakur gets into the carriage, the sadhu returns to his place.
Next Sri Ramakrishna comes to Surendra’s garden. Sitting with the devotees, the first thing he talks about is the sadhu.
Sri Ramakrishna: “He is a very good person. (To Ram) When you come to Dakshineswar the next time, bring him. He’s a superior sadhu. There’s a song that says that unless you’re simple yourself, you can’t recognize another simple man.
“He believes in God without form – that’s all right. God is both formless and with form – and much more! The Absolute belongs to the same One that the phenomenal belongs. That which is beyond mind and speech takes different forms, incarnates and enters into various activities. From the same Om have come ‘Om Shiva’, ‘Om Kali’ and ‘Om Krishna’. The master of a house sent a small boy of the family to invite people for a feast. What respect they showed him because he was the son or grandson of an important person.”
After having refreshments at Surendra’s, Sri Ramakrishna proceeds toward Dakshineswar with the devotees.
Thakur in Dakshineswar among devotees, Tantrik and others
Today is Wednesday, 2 January 1884, 19th day of Pausha, the 4th day of the bright fortnight, 1290 (B.Y.).
Sri Ramakrishna is in the Kali Temple at Dakshineswar in the company of devotees. Staying with him at the time are Rakhal, Latu, Harish, Ramlal and M.
It is 3 o’clock. Returning from the bel tree, Mani walks toward Sri Ramakrishna’s room to see him. He is sitting on the western verandah with a Tantrik devotee.
Mani comes and salutes him by prostrating on the ground. Thakur asks him to sit near him. Perhaps he wishes to teach him while he talks to the Tantrik devotee. Mahima Chakravarti has sent the Tantrik devotee to Thakur. The devotee wears ochre.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the Tantrik): “It’s part of Tantrik discipline to drink wine from a human skull. Isn’t the wine called karana?”
Tantrik: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Eleven cups – isn’t that right?”
The Tantrik: “Three tolas for spiritual discipline with a corpse.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “But I can’t even touch wine.”
Tantrik: “You have spontaneous bliss. Attaining such bliss, a person needs nothing else.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “And please note that I don’t even like japa and austerities. But I have constant remembrance and recollection of Him. Well, what are the six spiritual centres?”
Tantrik: “Sir, they are like places of pilgrimage. Shiva and Shakti reside in each spiritual centre, though they are invisible – you can’t take them out by cutting into the body. The stalk of the lotus is the Shivalinga. The Primal Power is in the pistil of the vulva-shaped lotus.”
Mani listens to the conversation silently. Glancing at him, Sri Ramakrishna asks the Tantrik devotee, “Well, can a person attain perfection without being initiated with a seed mantra?”
Tantrik: “It’s possible by faith – faith in the words of the guru.”
Sri Ramakrishna (turning to Mani and calling his attention): “Faith!”
After the Tantrik devotee has left, Jaygopal Sen, a Brahmo, comes in. Sri Ramakrishna talks with him. Rakhal, Mani and other devotees are seated near them. It is afternoon.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Jaygopal): “A person shouldn’t entertain malice toward any person or belief. Believers in the formless as well as believers in God with form are going toward Him – whether it’s a jnani, a yogi, or a devotee, they’re all looking for Him. On the path of knowledge, He’s called Brahman. Yogis call Him Atman, Paramatman. Devotees call Him Bhagavan, Lord. And then also ‘eternal-god’, ‘eternal-servant’.”
Jaygopal: “How can we know that all paths are true?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “A person can attain God by following any one path properly. Then he can learn about all the other paths. It’s like climbing up to a roof, whether you do it by a wooden ladder or brick steps or even by a rope.
“When God’s grace descends, a devotee can know everything. You will know everything once you realize Him. You have to meet the landlord by whatever means possible – you have to talk to him. The he himself will tell you how many gardens, ponds and company securities he has.”
The way to realize God
Jaygopal: “How do you receive God’s grace?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “You have to chant His name and glories constantly. You have to renounce worldly thoughts as much as possible. You may have brought water to your field to irrigate it with great difficulty, but it is lost if there are holes in the ridge of the field – all the labour of digging a channel to the field is wasted.
“When your mind is purified and you are rid of attachment to the world, you will feel yearning for God and your prayer will reach God. If a telegraph wire is damaged by something or there is a break in it, you can’t send a message.
“I used to weep all alone, full of yearning. I’d cry, ‘Where are You Narayan?’ While I cried, I would lose consciousness – and get merged in the Mahavayu.
“How can union with God be attained? If there is no damage to the telegraph wire – no break – you achieve union. You must rid yourself of worldly attachment completely.
“You must not entertain any desire. If you have a craving, your love for God is selfish. Devotion without desire is love for its own sake – whether or not you love me, I still love you. This is called love for its own sake.
“The basic thing is to love God. When you’ve developed intense love, you will see God. When these three things are combined into one – the attraction of a chaste wife for her husband, the love of a mother for her child, and the attachment of a worldly person for things of the world – you will have the vision of God.”
Jaygopal is a businessman. Is that why Sri Ramakrishna thinks these instructions might be useful to him?
Sri Ramakrishna tells Mani not to reason any more
Today is Friday, 4 January 1884. It is four o’clock. Sri Ramakrishna is sitting at the Panchavati smiling. With him are Mani, Haripada and some others. He is talking with Haripada about Hiranda Chatterji and about the spiritual practices of the Ghoshpara sect.
Sri Ramakrishna returns to his room. Mani, Haripada, Rakhal and other devotees are there. Mani has been spending a good deal of time under the bel tree.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mani): “Don’t reason any more. It harms you in the end. You must assume one particular attitude when you call on God – the attitude of a friend, of a maidservant, or a child or a hero.
“I have the attitude of a child. When the goddess of maya notices this attitude, she moves out of the way in shame.
“The heroic attitude is very difficult. The Shaktas and the Vaishnava bauls practice this attitude. It is very difficult to remain correct with this attitude. Besides, there are the attitudes of serenity, of a servant or friend, as well as the filial attitude.
(To Mani) “Which attitude do you like best?”
Mani: “I like all of them.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “It’s only in the state of perfection that a person likes all these attitudes. In that state, there is no trace of lust. The story of Chandidas and the washerwoman Rajakini is in the Vaishnava scriptures. Their love had no trace of lust.
“In that state a man has the disposition of a female – he no longer has the feeling of being a man. Rupa Goswami refused to see Mirabai because she was a woman. Mira sent the message: ‘Sri Krishna is the only male, everyone else in Vrindavan are his maidservants. Was it right for the Goswami to nurse the ego of a male?’”
At dusk Mani sits again at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna. A message has been received that Keshab Sen’s disease has taken a turn for the worse. In connection with this, the subject of the Brahmo Samaj comes up.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mani): “Well, are there only lectures there? Do they also practice meditation? Maybe they call it worship.
“Earlier in his life Keshab studied the Christian religion and faith deeply. At that time and before that, he was associated with Devendra Thakur (Tagore).”
Mani: “If Keshab Babu had come here from the beginning, he wouldn’t have been so busy with social reform. He wouldn’t have given so much thought to removing the caste system and widow remarriage, inter-caste marriage, female education and such social concerns.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Keshab now believes in Kali – the embodiment of knowledge and consciousness – the Primal Power. He chants Her name and glories crying, ‘Mother, Mother.’
“Well, do you think the Brahmo Samaj will continue to exist as a sort of social reform movement?”
Mani: “This isn’t the tradition in this country. The correct thing will take root here.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, the Sanatana Dharma – that which the rishis taught – will last. But the Brahmo Samaj and other such sects will also continue in some form. Everything comes and goes by God’s will.”
A number of devotees came from Calcutta in the afternoon. They sang many songs for Thakur. One of the songs says:
Mother, You have made us forget by giving us a red pap. When we throw away the pap and cry for You, You will certainly come running to us.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mani): “They only sang about red paps.”
Mani: “Sir, you talked about them with Keshab Sen.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes. But I also talked about the Sky of Consciousness and many other things. We enjoyed ourselves singing and dancing.”
. Cosmic Consciousness or the life force; a word also used to denote the spiritual current in the spinal column when the Kundalini is awakened.
. Nishkama bhakti.
. Ahetuki bhakti.
. Shanta, dasya, sakhya and vatsalya.
. The Eternal Religion.
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