Sri Ramakrishna in Joyful Singing at the House of Govinda Mukherji in a Village in Belgharia – With Narendra and Other Devotees
Sri Ramakrishna is visiting Govinda Mukherji in Belgharia. Today is Sunday, 18 February 1883, the 7th day of Falgun, the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Magha, the constellation of Pushya. Narendra, Ram, other devotees and a neighbour are also there. By seven or eight o’clock in the morning, Thakur dances with Narendra and others during the kirtan.
Advice to people in Belgharia – why salute? Why the path of devotion?
When the singing is ended, everybody sits down. Many of them salute Thakur. Now and then he says, “Offer your salutations to God.” And he adds, “It is He Himself who dwells in all forms, though there is greater manifestation of His power in some – for example, in holy people. You might say there are wicked people as well as tigers, but you don’t have to embrace God in the tiger. Just salute him from a distance and then go away. Think of water. Some water is fit for drinking and some fit for offering worship. But some is used for bathing. Also, there’s water to gargle with and water used for the toilet.”
Neighbour: “Sir, what are the doctrines of Vedanta?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Vedantists say, ‘So ‘ham, I am He’ – Brahman is the Reality, the world is an illusion. The ego is also an illusion. Only the Supreme Brahman exists.
“But this I-ness doesn’t go away. So it’s good to have the feeling, ‘I am His servant,’ or ‘I am His child,’ or ‘I am His devotee.’
“For the Kaliyuga, the path of devotion is especially good. God can be realized by love and devotion. As long as you have body-consciousness, you are conscious of objects – form, taste, smell, sound, and touch. These are all sense objects. It’s very difficult to get rid of the consciousness of sense objects. As long as you are conscious of objects, you can’t say, ‘I am He.’
“People of renunciation have less consciousness of worldly things, but worldly people are always thinking about them. So the attitude, ‘I am Thy servant’ is good for them.”
The theory of sin and the residents of Belgharia
Neigbhour: “We are sinners. What will happen to us?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “When you chant God’s name, all sins of the body fly away. The bird of sin is perched on the tree of the body. Chanting His name is like clapping your hands. As you clap, all the birds on the tree fly away. Sin flies away when you chant His name and glory.
“Look, water in a reservoir dug in a dry field dries up by the heat of the sun. In the same way, the water of the reservoir of sin evaporates by chanting His name and glories.
“You have to practice every day. At the circus I saw an English woman standing on the back of a horse on one foot while it galloped around the track. How much practice was necessary to achieve that!
“Weep at least once to see God.
“There are two ways: practice and love for God – that is to say, yearning to see Him.”
Singing of the six spiritual centers by the resident of Belgharia and Sri Ramakrishna’s samadhi
Thakur is having his meal with devotees on the verandah of the parlour on the first floor. It is one o’clock. No sooner is the meal over than a devotee begins to sing in the courtyard below.
Awake, awake Mother.
How long have you been asleep in the Muladhara, O Mother Kulkundalini?
Hearing the song, Thakur goes into samadhi. His whole body is stiff, his hand remaining on the plate as in a picture. There is no more eating. After a long time, when his ecstatic mood has somewhat passed, he says, “I want to go downstairs. I want to go downstairs.”
A devotee takes him down with great care.
It was in this courtyard this morning that Thakur had danced joyfully in ecstasy while God’s name had been chanted. The carpet and seats are still there. Thakur is still in an ecstatic mood. He walks over and sits close to the singer, who has by now stopped singing. In a most humble way, Thakur says, “Sir, I would like very much to hear the Mother’s name again.”
The singer sings:
Awake, awake Mother,
How long have you been asleep in the Muladhara, O Mother Kulkundalini?
Accomplish Your work. Rise to the head where the Supreme Shiva sits on a thousand- petalled lotus.
O my Mother, piercing through the six spiritual centres, O Mother, the image of consciousness, erase the pain of my heart.
Listening to the song, Thakur goes into ecstasy again.
Thakur with devotees at Dakshineswar on the new moon day – his maternal love for Rakhal
Thakur Sri Ramakrishna is sitting in his room with Rakhal and some other devotees. Today, Friday 9 March 1883, the 26th day of Falgun, Amavasya in the month of Magha, time about 8 or 9 in the morning.
Thakur is always inspired by the Mother of the Universe on a new moon day. He says, “‘God alone is Reality, everything else is unreal.’ The Divine Mother has enchanted everyone with Her spell. Of men, most are bound. They suffer so much pain and sorrow. But they remain attached to ‘lust and greed’. Blood streams from the mouth of a camel when it eats thorny bushes. But it doesn’t stop eating them. When a woman in labour pain says, ‘My sister, I am not going to be with my husband again’ – she forgets.
“Look, nobody seeks God. Leaving aside the fruit of the pineapple, people eat the leaves.”
Devotee: “Sir, why does God keep us in worldly life?”
Why the world? To purify the mind through selfless work
Sri Ramakrishna: “The world is the field of action. A person attains spiritual knowledge through work. The guru says, ‘Do this work but don’t do that.’ He advises you to perform work without expectation of any reward. The mind is purified through work. Whatever disease you may be suffering from will be cured when you take the medicine prescribed by a good doctor.
“Why doesn’t He free you from the world? He will do so when you are cured. He’ll free you when you have rid yourself of the desire to enjoy ‘woman and gold’. Having been registered as a patient in the hospital, you can’t run away. As long as your disease is not fully cured, your doctor won’t discharge you.”
These days Thakur, like Yashoda, overflows with motherly love. That’s why he has kept Rakhal with him. Thakur has a mother’s love for Rakhal. Just as a child sits close to the lap of its mother to suck milk from her breast, Rakhal leans onto Thakur’s lap.
Sri Ramakrishna watches the flood-tide of the Ganges with the devotees
Thakur is in the same mood when someone comes to give news that the flood-tide of the river is about to rise. Thakur, Rakhal, M. and all the others run toward the Panchavati to see it. They stand at the edge of the Panchavati to watch. It is about half past ten.
Seeing a boat in distress Thakur says, “Look! God knows what’s going to happen to that boat.”
Now he sits on the path to the Panchavati with M., Rakhal and the others.
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): “What causes the flood-tide?”
M. draws a diagram on the ground and tries to explain the position of the earth, moon, sun, gravitation, flood-tide, ebb-tide, the full-moon day, the darkest day, an eclipse, and so on.
Sri Ramakrishna in school during his childhood – a yogi is beyond all finite relationships of number, quantity, cause and effect
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): “Stop it! I can’t understand. It makes me feel giddy. My head is aching! How can they know things so far away?
“You see, in childhood I could draw good pictures, but Subhankar’s arithmetic confused me. I couldn’t learn arithmetic.”
Thakur now returns to his room. Looking at Yashoda’s picture on the wall, he says, “This picture isn’t done well. She looks like a flower-girl.”
First meeting with Adhar Sen – talk about animal sacrifice
After the midday meal, Thakur rests awhile. Adhar Sen and other devotees gradually assemble. It is Adhar Sen’s first visit to Thakur. His home is in Benetola in Calcutta. He is a Deputy Magistrate, 29 or 30 years old.
Circumstances and non-violence
Adhar (to Sri Ramakrishna): “Sir, I have a question to ask. Is it all right to sacrifice an animal to the Deity? This involves killing.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “The scriptures say that sacrifices can be made on special occasions. There’s no harm doing it according to injunctions. For example, the sacrifice of a goat on the 8th day of the lunar month. But it can’t be done in all situations. I’m in the state now when I can’t stand the sight. I can’t eat the meat offered to the Divine Mother. So I touch it and make a tilak mark with it on my forehead so She won’t be angry with me later.
“And sometimes I’m in a state when I see God in all beings – even in ants. In that state when I see someone die, I have the consolation that only the body is destroyed, that there is no death of the soul.”
Advice to Adhar – don’t reason too much
“It isn’t good to reason too much. It’s enough to have love and devotion for the lotus feet of the Mother. Too much reasoning leads to utter confusion. If you take water from the surface of the pond here, you will get very clean water. But if you dip your hand deep into it and stir it, the water becomes muddy. So pray to God for love and devotion. Dhruva’s devotion was motivated – he practiced austerities to gain a kingdom. But Prahlada’s devotion was motiveless, ahetuki bhakti.”
A Devotee: “How can you attain God?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Through this very love for Him. But you have to force your demands on Him. ‘Grant me Your darshan, or I will cut my throat!’ This is called the tamas of bhakti.”
The Devotee: “Can God be seen?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, certainly God can be seen. It’s possible to see both God with form and God without form. You can see God with form as Spirit Personified. But He can also be seen as manifest Himself. Seeing an incarnation of God is the same as seeing God Himself. God incarnates in human form in every age.”
. The 8th of the twenty-seven stars according to Hindu astronomy.
. avyaktä hi gatirduùkhaà dehavadbhiraväpyate ||
[for the goal of the Unmanifest is very hard for the embodied to reach.]
. Daso ’ham [So ‘ham means “I am He”; Daso ‘ham means “I am the servant of God”].
.mämekaà çaraëaà vraja | ahaà tväà sarvapäpebhyo mokñyayiñyämi
[Take refuge in Me alone; I will liberate you from all sins.]
. Karmaëyevädhikäraste gétä 2-47 [Your right is to work only.]
. Bhagavad Gita 2:20.
. Bhagavad Gita 4:8.
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