Sri Ramakrishna at the Brahmo Festival Celebrated at Mani Mallick’s
Sri Ramakrishna has kindly agreed to visit Mani Mallick’s Sinduriapatti house in Calcutta with the devotees. A Brahmo Samaj Festival is celebrated there every year. It is 4 p.m. on 26 November, 1882, the annual festival day. Vijaykrishna Goswami, many Brahmo devotees, Premahand Baral and many friends of Mani’s are there. M. is also present.
Manilal has arranged for elaborate entertainment. The life of Prahlada will be read, followed by a Brahmo worship. Then all the devotees will be served prasad.
Vijay is still a member of the Brahmo Samaj. He will conduct today’s service. He has not yet put on the ochre robes of a sannyasin.
Prahlada’s life is being narrated. Hiranyakashipu, the father of Prahlada, speaks ill of the Lord and tortures his son repeatedly. Prahlada prays to Lord Hari with folded hands, “O Hari, grant right understanding to my father.” Hearing this, Sri Ramakrishna begins to weep. Vijay and others are sitting close to him. Thakur is in a state of ecstasy.
Sri Ramakrishna advises Vijay Goswami and other Brahmo devotees – teaching mankind only after attaining vision of God and His command
After awhile, Thakur says to Vijay and other devotees, “Bhakti is the essential thing. You acquire love for God by constantly chanting His name and glories. Ah! How great is Shivanath’s love for God! Like a rasagolla.
“It isn’t good to think that only your religion is right and all others are wrong. A person can reach God by any path. Success is achieved by developing sincere yearning for God. As many beliefs – so many paths.
“Look here, God can be seen. He is beyond mind and speech – ‘aväìmanoagocara’. The Vedas say this. It means that He is invisible to a mind attached to worldly things. Vaishnavcharan used to say, ‘He is visible to the pure intellect and the pure mind.’ That’s why the company of the holy, prayer and the instruction of a preceptor (guru) are needed. They purify the chit (mind-stuff). That leads to God-vision. Muddy water can be cleaned by putting nirmali in it. So much so that you can see your own face in it. You can’t see your face in a dirty mirror.
“You attain God’s vision by His grace, after you have attained love for Him, when your chitta has been cleansed. After God’s vision, you have to receive His command before teaching people. It’s not good to lecture before that. There’s a song that says:
O mind, what are you thinking about, sitting all alone? Without deep love, can the moon of Gaur appear?
You have not dived into the love of Hari through your life.
Eleven bats are creating confusion within your temple day and night.
You have not installed Madhava in your temple. In vain do you make noise blowing on the conch.
“The temple of the heart must first be cleaned if you want to install the Lord’s image there to worship. Nothing has been done, you are only blowing the conch. What good is that?”
Now Vijay Goswami goes to the altar and sits down. He conducts worship according to the Brahmo regulations. After that, he comes and sits close to Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Vijay): “Why do you people harp so much on sin? By saying, ‘I am a sinner, I am a sinner’ a hundred times, you become a sinner. Instead, you should have such faith that, because you have chanted His name, you think, how can sin attach to me? He is our Father, He is our Mother. Just tell Him that you will not repeat the sins you have committed. Then chant His name. Purify your mind, body and tongue completely with His name.”
Conversation about free will with Baburam and others – Totapuri resolves to commit suicide
Sri Ramakrishna is talking in the verandah to the west of his room at the Dakshineswar Temple. It is evening. Baburam, M. and Ramdayal are with him. It is December, 1882. Baburam, Ramdayal and M. are going to stay for the night. They are on Christmas holiday. M. plans to stay on the next day. Recently Baburam has started visiting Thakur.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “A person is liberated when he realizes that everything is being done by God. Once Keshab Sen came with Sambhu Mallick. I said to him, ‘Not even a leaf flutters on a tree except by God’s will. Where is free will?’ Everything is done by the will of God. Such a big man of knowledge, Nangta was! But even he went to drown himself. He was here for eleven months. He was suffering from stomach trouble. Unable to bear pain of the disease, he went to drown himself in the Ganges. There was a long body of silt near the bathing steps. No matter how far he went into the water, he didn’t feel water above his knees. He then understood and came back. Once I was severely depressed. I was going to cut my throat with a knife. So I say, ‘Mother, I am only an instrument and You are the operator; I am a chariot, You the charioteer. I move as You make me move. I do what You make me do.’”
There is music in Thakur’s room. The devotees are singing:
O Kamalapati, the lover of bhakti, if you dwell in the Vrindavan of my heart, my devotion to you will be like that of chaste Radha.
My wish for liberation will be like the milkmaids, and my body will be like the village of Nanda; my love will be like that of mother Yashoda.
Play on your flute of grace and tame the cows of my mind. I pray that You remain in this pasture of my heart and that I may have a glimpse of my ideal.
Dwell now and evermore with your heart full of affection for your servant under the Vanshivatta of hope.
If you say that you are a prisoner of the love of the cowherds of Braja, then this Dasharathi, bereft of all spiritual knowledge, will become a cowherd and your slave.
Then they sang:
Sing, O bird in the cage of my heart.
Sitting under the wish-fulfilling tree of Brahman,
Sing, sing Its divine qualities,
And eat the ripe fruits of righteousness, wealth, legitimate desires and freedom.
Sreenath Mishra from Nandanbagan has arrived with friends. Looking at him, Thakur says, “I see everything within him through his eyes like you see everything through a glass door.” Sreenath, Srijnanath and the others belong to the Brahmo family of Nandan Bagan. Every year they celebrate a Brahmo festival at their house. Later, Thakur went there to take part in the festival.
After the evening arati is performed in the temple and sitting on the smaller cot in his room, Thakur meditates on God. Gradually he goes into ecstasy. When it has left him, he says, “Mother, attract him, too. He lives so very humbly. He visits You regularly.”
Is Thakur talking about Baburam?
Baburam, M., Ramdayal and some others are sitting on the floor. It is between eight and nine at night. Thakur explains the nature of different kinds of samadhi: jada samadhi, chetana samadhi, stitha samadhi and unmana samadhi.
Vidyasagar and Genghis Khan. Is God cruel? Sri Ramakrishna’s answer
They now talk of happiness and sorrow – why has God created so much pain?
M.: “Vidyasagar says, irritated, ‘What is the use of calling on God? When Genghis Khan began looting, he took a great number of prisoners, almost a hundred thousand. The commanders of his army went to him and said, ‘Sir, what shall we give them to eat? It’s great trouble to keep them all with us. What can we do? Releasing them will also create problems.’ Genghis Khan said, ‘What else can we do? Just kill them all!’ Thus were they ordered to be beheaded. Didn’t God see this massacre? He didn’t help at all. If He is there, let Him be, but I don’t find any need for Him. Nothing good has come to me from Him.’”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Can anyone understand what God is doing and for what purpose? He creates, preserves and dissolves – all of these. How can we know why He destroys? I say, ‘Mother, I have no need to understand, only grant me love and devotion for Your feet.’ The aim of man’s life is to achieve love for God. The rest of it the Mother knows. I’ve come to the orchard to eat mangoes. Why do I need to sit down and count how many trees, how many branches and how many millions of leaves there are? I just eat mangoes. I don’t need to keep account of trees and leaves.”
Tonight Baburam, M. and Ramdayal sleep on the floor in Thakur’s room.
Early in the morning, about 2 or 3 o’clock, the light in Thakur’s room is lowered. Thakur, sitting on his bed, talks to them now and then.
Sri Ramakrishna, Baburam, M. and others – compassion and maya – hard austerities and realization of God
Sri Ramakrishna (to M. and the other devotees): “Look here, compassion and maya are two different things. Maya is like attachment to father, mother, brother, sister, wife and son – love for them. On the other hand, compassion is love for everybody, the same regard for all. When you see compassion in a person, say Vidyasagar, know that it comes from God. By compassion a person serves all living beings. Maya also comes from God. He makes people serve their relatives through maya. But then, this is the point – maya makes a person ignorant – it binds. But compassion purifies the mind and gradually frees the person from bondage.
“Without purity of the mind, one cannot realize God. His grace dawns when desire, anger, greed and all that has been overcome. Let me tell you something very secret. I did many things to overcome lust. I circumambulated the ananda–asana several times, saying, ‘Victory to Kali, Victory to Kali.’
“When I was 10 or 11 years old and in my village, I experienced the state of samadhi. I saw something when I was walking across a field. I was completely overwhelmed. There are signs of God-vision. You see light, feel joy, and feel the mahavayu rising like a rocket up into the chest.”
Baburam and Ramdayal left for their homes the next day but M. stayed with Thakur through the following night. He took his meals from the temple.
Sri Ramakrishna with Marwari Devotees at Dakshineswar
Sri Ramakrishna (to Marwari devotees): “Look, ‘I’ and ‘mine’ both mean ignorance. O Lord, You are the doer and everything is Yours. This is spiritual knowledge. Then how can you say that a certain thing is ‘mine’? The guard of the orchard says: It is my garden. But if he makes a mistake, the owner dismisses him. Then he doesn’t even have the courage to take his mango-wood box with him. Desire, anger and these things don’t leave you. So turn them towards God. If you have desire, if you are greedy, have desire and greed to attain God. Reason this out and turn away from them. When an elephant begins to eat somebody’s banana plant, the mahout strikes it with his goad.
“You people are in business. You know very well that a person becomes successful only gradually. Somebody may install a castor oil factory, but when he’s earned more money, he opens a cloth shop. In the same way, a person has to proceed up the path to God. When you’ve gone higher, maybe you’ll live in solitude now and then and call upon Him more intensely.
“But then, nothing happens before its time. Some people have to experience a lot of worldly enjoyment. So it happens late. If you cut open a boil before it’s ripe, the result is the opposite of what is good. When it is ripe and oozes pus, the doctor uses his knife. A child said to its mother, ‘Wake me up when I have to go to the toilet.’ His mother replied, ‘Child, you’ll know when you have to go. I won’t have to wake you up.” (Everyone laugh.)
Telling lies in business and Marwari devotees – chanting the name of Rama
The Marwari devotees sometimes bring sweets, fruits, sugar candy and other things for Thakur. The sugar candy is scented with the fragrance of roses. But Thakur doesn’t eat any of these things. He says, “These people tell so many lies to make money.” He casually tells the Marwaris present, “You see, you can’t be absolutely truthful in business. There are always ups and downs. Nanak once said, ‘When I went to eat something at a worldly man’s house, I saw it stained with blood.’ Holy men should only be given pure things. Nothing earned by dishonest means should be given to them. Truth is attained by the path of truth.
“A person should always repeat God’s name. While working, keep your mind on Him. It’s like this: I have a boil on my back. I attend to all my work, but my mind remains on the boil. Repeating Rama’s name is good. Rama, the son of Dasharatha, is also He who has created the world and who dwells in all. He is very near to you – within and without.
Rama, who was the son of Dasharatha, dwells within all.
The same Rama has created the world, this Rama is best of all.
. A cheese ball soaked in syrup.
. mana eva manuñyäëäà käraëaà bandhamokñayoù |
bandhäya viñayäsaktaà muktyai nirviñayaà småtamiti ||
maiträyaëé upaniñad 4-10
[It is indeed the mind that is cause of men’s bondage and liberation. The mind attached to sense objects leads to bondage while dissociated from sense-objects, it leads to liberation. So do the wise think.]
. A fruit that cleans water.
. The husband of Kamala (Goddess Lakshmi).
. A name of Lord Vishnu; the vanquisher of the demon Jana.
. Krishna had lifted Mount Govardhan on his finger. So, the lifting the weight of sins means to mitigate the effects of sins.
. A banyan tree at Vrindavan under which Krishna played his flute.
. Communion with God in which the aspirant appears lifeless, like an inert object.
. Communion with God while being conscious of I-ness, aware of a relationship with God.
. Stitha samadhi means steady samadhi.
. Unmana samadhi means sudden samadhi.
. A sexual union of man and woman according to Tantra.
. A current felt in the spinal column when the kundalini is awakened.
. People of Rajasthan who migrated to Kolkata to trade and do business there.
. Meaning an object of trifling value.
. satyena labhyastapasä hyeña ätmä
samyagjïänena brahmacaryeëa nityam
[This Atman is verily attainable through truth, concentration, complete knowledge and continence, practiced constantly.]
satyameva jayate nänåtaà
[Truth alone wins and not untruth.]
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