Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar with Manilal and other devotees
Today is Sunday, 9 March 1884, 27th day of Falgun. Sri Ramakrishna is sitting in his room at the Dakshineswar Temple with several devotees – Manilal Mallick, Mahendra Kaviraj of Sinthi, Balaram, M., Bhavanath, Rakhal, Latu, Adhar, Mahimacharan, Harish, Kishori Gupta, Shivachandra and others. Girish, Kali and Subodh have not yet arrived. Sashi and Sarat have visited Thakur only once or twice, Purna and the Younger Naren have not yet met him.
Sri Ramakrishna’s arm is in a splint. He broke it when he fell down near a railing in a state of ecstasy. It was only a short time ago and his arm is giving him constant pain. But even in this condition, he is often merged in samadhi or speaks to the devotees of deep eternal truths.
One day while he was crying with pain, he suddenly went into samadhi. When he returned to the normal state of consciousness, he said to Mahimacharan and some other devotees, “Babu, if you haven’t realized Sat-chit-ananda, you have achieved nothing. It can’t happen without deep longing.” I used to weep and call out, “O friend of the humble, I am without spiritual effort – but you have to grant me Your vision!”
Mahimacharan, Adhar, M. and others are now sitting with Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mahimacharan and the others): “There is a kind of love for God that is completely unselfish. You can perfect it in your life – if you can practice it!”
(To Adhar): “Can you stroke this arm a little?”
Manilal Mallick and Bhavanath talk about the exhibition which took place near the Asiatic Museum in 1883-84. They say, “So many kings had sent precious things to it – golden bed and so on – worth seeing.”
Sri Ramakrishna, wealth and splendour
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling, to the devotees): “Yes, a person can gain a lot by going to exhibits. Seeing such valuable articles and other belongings of the rajas and maharajas, you develop repulsion for them. This in itself is a great gain.
“When I used to go to Calcutta, Hriday would show me the residence of the Governor General. He’d say, ‘Uncle, just look at the palace of the Viceroy with its big pillars.’ The Mother showed me that it was just clay bricks placed one on top of another.
“The Lord and His splendour. Splendour only lasts two days or so. Only God is true. Think of a magician and his magic. Seeing the tricks, everybody is amazed – but it is all illusion. The magician alone is true. Or take a rich man and his garden. Seeing the garden, you should try to meet its owner.”
Mani Mallick (to Sri Ramakrishna): “And what an amount of electric light they’ve put in it! Seeing it, you feel how great whoever invented electric light is.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Manilal): “One idea is that He Himself has become everything that you see. And the person who says it is also He – God, maya, the individual soul, and the universe.”
Now they talk about the museum.
Sri Ramakrishna and the company of the holy – the picture of a yogi
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “Once I went to the museum. I saw that everything there had turned into brick or stone – animals had become transformed into fossils. I saw what can happen as the result of company. Like that, by keeping the company of holy people, a person becomes like them.”
Mani Mallick (smiling): “By going there (to the exhibition) only once, you have material to teach us for ten to fifteen years.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “What, for example?”
Balaram: “No. If you go around here and there and everywhere, your arm won’t heal.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “I’d like to have two pictures – one of a yogi sitting near a sacred fire. And the other of a yogi pulling deeply on a chillum of hemp, with the coals of his pipe blazing up.
“Such images are very inspiring. Like an imitation custard apple. Seeing it, you’re reminded of a real one.
“But there are obstacles to union with God – ‘lust and greed’. When the mind is purified, it attains union with God. The seat of the mind is in the forehead – but attention remains tied to the organs of generation and evacuation – in other words, to ‘lust and greed’. Through spiritual practices, the mind turns upward.
“What spiritual practice turns the mind up? You come to understand this by keeping the constant company of holy people.
“The rishis lived either alone or in the company of sadhus. That’s why they could renounce ‘lust and greed’ and unite their minds to God effortlessly. They rid themselves of fear and fault-finding.
“You must pray to God to give you the ability to renounce – to enable you to give up immediately what appears to be an illusion.
“The rishis had this ability. They conquered their senses because of it. When a tortoise pulls in its limbs, it doesn’t let them out even if you cut it into four pieces.
“A worldly man is a hypocrite. He’s not guileless. He’ll say, ‘I love God,’ but he doesn’t give God even the least attraction he has for worldly things, the love he has for ‘lust and gold’. All the while saying he loves God.
(To Mani Mallick): “Give up hypocrisy.”
Manilal: “About men or about God?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “In every way. Regarding everything, man as well as God. You must not be hypocritical.
“How guileless Bhavanath is! After his marriage he came to me and said, ‘Why do I have so much affection for my wife?’ Oh, he is so guileless!
“Why wouldn’t a man feel love for his wife? She is the world-bewitching maya of the Mother of the Universe. A man begins to think of his wife as if no one in the whole world is equal to her – she is one’s own in life and death, in this life and hereafter.
“How much a man suffers because of his wife! Even then, he thinks she has no parallel. What a terrible thing! A salary of twenty rupees a month and he already has three children. He doesn’t have the means to feed them properly. The roof of his house leaks, but there is no money to repair it. He can’t afford a new book for his son. He can’t celebrate his son’s sacred thread ceremony, but has to beg eight annas from here and another eight from there.
“Only a wife with spiritual qualities is a real partner in life. She helps her husband to advance toward God. They live like brother and sister after having one or two children. Both are devotees of God – His servant and His maid. Their family is a spiritual family. They know that God alone is one’s own – one’s own for eternity. Don’t ever forget Him, in happiness or in sorrow – like the Pandavas.”
Worldly devotee and devotee who has renounced
“For worldly people, the love of God is only momentary, like water dropped on a burning pan. It dries up right away, pssht!
“The mind of worldly people is attached to sense pleasures. So it doesn’t have that love, that restlessness for God.
“The ekadashi fast on the eleventh day of the lunar month is of three kinds. One, without water, – even water is not drunk. This is the fast of an all-renouncing mendicant. He has completely renounced all enjoyment. Second, a person can take milk and sweets made of milk. It’s like a devotee who keeps a few things of enjoyment in his house. Third, the devotee eats luchi and vegetables to his fill. He may even keep two chapattis soaked in milk to eat later on.
“People practice spiritual disciplines, but their minds remain tied to ‘lust and greed’. That’s why they don’t get results from their practices.
“Hazra used to practice a lot of japa and austerities here. But he had a wife and children in the country, and a piece of land. While he practiced japa, in his mind he was engaged in the business of a broker. Such people can’t stick to their word. One minute they may say they won’t eat fish, but then the next minute they eat it.
“What won’t a person do for the sake of money! He can even make a brahmin and a sadhu carry a load for him.
“Sandesh may become rotten, but I couldn’t give it to such people. I can use water from the toilet can of other people, but I can’t touch the can of worldly people.
“Seeing a rich man, Hazra would welcome him. He’d call out to him and talk to him. And he’d say to him, ‘You see Rakhal and the others. They don’t practice austerities or japa. They just wander around talking.
“There may be a person living in a cave in the hills with his body covered with ashes, and he may observe fasts and practice different kinds of austerities, but if his mind is on worldly things inwardly, on ‘lust and greed,’ I say ‘fie on him!’ On the other hand, if a person eats, drinks and wanders around here and there but his mind is not on ‘lust and greed,’ I call him blessed.”
(Pointing to Mani Mallick) “He doesn’t have a picture of a holy man in his house. Pictures of sadhus awaken divine feelings.”
Manilal: “Yes, I do. Nandini has a picture in her room of a European woman praying. And there’s another picture. A man is holding to the Rock of Faith. There’s a bottomless sea below him. By losing hold of faith, he’d fall into the water and drown. And there’s another picture. Some girls are keeping vigil with their lamps filled with oil, waiting for the bridegroom. Anyone who falls asleep will not be able to see the bridegroom when he arrives. Here, the bridegroom stands for God.”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “That’s very good.”
Manilal: “There are other pictures too – one of the Tree of Faith and the other of Sin and Virtue.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Bhavanath): “These are all beautiful pictures. You must go see them.”
After awhile Sri Ramakrishna says, “I think about these things sometimes, and then I don’t like all that. In the beginning you can talk about sin and how to be free from it. But, if by God’s grace, you begin to feel love for Him, you develop devotion, you forget all about sin and virtue. Then you go beyond injunctions and scriptures. You no longer feel you have to bother about penance and repentance.
“It’s like reaching your destination by a winding river, taking a long time and with great difficulty. But if the water rises in flood, you reach your destination by a straight path, without difficulty and in a short time. Then there is pole-deep water even on dry land.
“In the early stages you have to go around and about and face a lot of difficulties. But when you develop intense love for God, the path becomes straight. It’s like choosing any direction to cross a field after the paddy has been harvested. Before, you had to go around and along the ridge of the field, but now you can go any way you like. Even if there is stubble, you can put on shoes to walk across. If you have discrimination, non-attachment and faith in the words of the guru, you won’t have any trouble.”
Sri Ramakrishna and Dhyana Yoga, Vishnu Yoga – meditation on the Formless and God with form
Manilal (to Sri Ramakrishna): “Well, what is the rule for meditation? Where should one meditate?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “The heart is the most well-known place. You can meditate either there or in the Sahasrara. These are rules for meditation according to the scriptures. But you can meditate wherever you want. Every place is filled with Brahman. Where is Brahman not present?
“When Narayana, in Vali’s presence, covered the heavens, the earth and the nether-world in three steps, did any place remain uncovered? Whether it is the bank of the Ganges or a dirty place, they are equally holy. Besides, it’s said that everything you see is His Universal Image.
“Meditation on the Formless and on God with-form. To meditate on the Formless is very difficult. In that meditation whatever you may see or hear will melt away; then you will contemplate your true Self. Contemplating his own Self, Shiva dances. He dances, exclaiming, ‘Who am I, who am I?’ This is called Shiva Yoga. While meditating, your gaze should be fixed on the forehead. You must give up the world and meditate on your real Self after confirming, ‘Not this, not this.’
“And then there is Vishnu Yoga. You fix your sight on the tip of your nose – half within, the other half on the world. Meditation on God with form is like this.
“Shiva sometimes dances when meditating on God with form. Then he exclaims, ‘Rama, Rama!’”
The state after realization of God
Manilal Mallick is an old member of the Brahmo Samaj. Bhavanath, Rakhal and M. sometimes go there. Sri Ramakrishna is explaining ‘Omkar,’ and the stage after the knowledge of Brahman and the vision of Brahman.
The anahata sound and the supreme state
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “Sound Brahman. Rishis and sages used to practice austerities to hear this sound. When you attain perfection, you hear it rising automatically from the navel.
“Some ask, ‘What is the use of just hearing this sound?’ You can hear the sound of waves from a distance. If you follow the sound, you will reach the ocean – when there is the sound of waves, the ocean must be near. By following the anahata sound, you reach Brahman, which is what it indicates. That is called the supreme state. But as long as you are conscious of your I-ness, you cannot have this kind of perception. It is possible only when there is neither ‘I,’ nor you, nor many.”
Union of individual soul and supreme soul
“Just imagine the sun and ten pitchers of water. You see the reflection of the sun in every pitcher. At first you see one sun and ten reflected suns. If nine pitchers break, there remains only one sun and a reflected one. Each of the pitchers is like an individual soul. Following the reflection, we can reach the true sun – from the individual soul to the supreme soul. The individual soul can have the vision of the supreme soul if he practices spiritual disciplines. But if you break the last pitcher, what remains cannot be described.
“At first the embodied soul is ignorant – it is not aware of God, but is aware of many things. When knowledge arises, it feels that God is in all things. It’s like taking out a thorn that’s stuck in your foot by finding another thorn to take it out. It’s taking out the thorn of ignorance with the thorn of knowledge. And when you attain vijnana, you throw away both thorns – the one of ignorance as well as the one of knowledge. In that state you don’t merely have a vision of God, but you converse with God day and night.
“A person who has only heard about milk is ignorant. One who has seen it has acquired some knowledge. But the one who has become strong after drinking milk has attained vijnana.”
Perhaps Thakur is now explaining his own state of mind to the devotees. By describing the state of a vijnani, he may be describing his own state.
Sri Ramakrishna’s state of mind, told by himself – the state after attaining God’s vision
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “There is a difference between a sadhu who is a jnani and a sadhu who is a vijnani. The way a jnani sadhu sits is very different. He twirls his moustache. When somebody comes to see him, he says, ‘What’s brought you here, sir? Have you any questions?’
“Those who see God constantly and talk to Him are vijnanis. They have a different nature. One moment they are inert, another moment they act like a ghoul, and sometimes childlike, other times like a madman.
“Such a person loses all outward consciousness when he goes into samadhi. He becomes inert. He sees everything filled with Brahman, so he behaves like a ghoul. He’s not conscious of purity and impurity. He can eat a plum at the same time he defecates – like a child. When he soils himself at night, he doesn’t feel polluted, knowing that the body is made from semen.
“He’s not aware of urination and defecation. For him everything is filled with Brahman. Rice and dal become filthy like faeces to him when they turn bad.
“Then again he acts like a madman. Noticing his conduct, people think he’s insane.
“And sometimes he acts like a child, free from all bonds – shame, hatred, hesitation, and so on.
“This is the state that comes with God-realization. It’s like a ship sailing near a magnetic hill. All the screws and nails of the ship are loosened. With God-realization, lust, anger, etc. vanish.
“I noticed that the screws lost their heads when lightning hit Mother Kali’s temple.
“A person who has seen God is no longer able to continue creation by begetting children. When you sow rice you get plants, but boiled rice won’t yield plants.
“Those who have realized God retain their ‘I’ only in name. It can’t do any harm. It exists only in name, like the mark left by a fallen coconut branch. The branch has fallen – only its mark remains.
The ‘I’ when God is realized – Sri Ramakrishna and Keshab Sen
(To the devotees) “I said to Keshab Sen, ‘Give up your “I” – renounce the consciousness that you are the doer, that you teach men.’ Keshab Sen said, ‘Sir, then I will lose my organization!’ I said, ‘Renounce the rascal ‘I’.’
“You don’t have to give up the feeling that you are God’s servant, that you are God’s devotee. But as long as the rascal ‘I’ remains, you can’t do this.
“When there is a man in charge of the storeroom, the master doesn’t take responsibility for the food in it.”
Sri Ramakrishna – God’s play as a human being and the essence of an incarnation
(To the devotees) “Look, because I’ve hurt my arm, my temperament is changing. Now I see that God is more manifest in man. It’s as if He’s saying, ‘I reside in human beings. Enjoy yourself in their company.’
“He is more manifest in pure devotees – that’s why I long so much for Narendra, Rakhal and others like them.
“You find small holes at the edge of lakes. Fish and crab collect in those holes – just as God is more manifest in man.
“They say that a man is even greater than the Shalagram, Nara-Narayana. If God manifests Himself in an image, why can’t He manifest Himself in man?
“He appears as a man to play as a human being – for example Ramachandra, Sri Krishna, Chaitanya Deva. When you meditate on an incarnation, you meditate on God.”
Bhagavan Das, a Brahmo devotee, arrives.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Bhagavan Das): “The rishis followed the Eternal Religion. It has existed since eternity and will continue forever. Whether with form or without form, it is the Eternal Religion. There is the path of knowledge and the path of devotion. Other modern religions will last for a few days and then disappear.”
. Ahetuki bhakti.
. The ajna chakra, between the eyebrows.
. The widowed daughter of Mani Mallick and a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna.
. St. Matthew 25:1 – “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lantern, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”
. The thousand-petalled lotus at the top of the head.
. yatra nädo viléyate [where the nada ends.]
tadviñëoù paramaà padaà sadä paçyanti sürayaù
ågaveda saàhitä 1-23-20
[Just as the eye perceives the universe in the vast expanse of the sky, the illumined souls too have the clear perception of that supreme state of Vishnu, the all-pervading Reality.]
. An emblem of Vishnu.
. Sanatana Dharma.
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