Sri Ramakrishna at Balaram’s and Adhar’s houses in Calcutta
Sri Ramakrishna is on his way from the Dakshineswar Temple to Balaram’s house in Calcutta. From Balaram’s house, he will go to Adhar’s and then to Ram’s. Manohar Sai will conduct a kirtan at Adhar’s house, and there will be a reading and exposition of the scriptures interspersed with music at Ram’s house. Today is Saturday, 2 June 1883, the 20th day of Jaishtha, the 12th day of the dark fortnight.
In the carriage on his way Thakur says to Rakhal, M. and the others, “Look, all sins flee when you develop love for Him, like the water in an open pond dries up in the heat of the sun.”
Sannyasin and householder’s sense attachments
“A person doesn’t attain [the goal] as long as there is still love for sense objects, for ‘lust and gold’. A person doesn’t attain if he has attachment to sense enjoyments even if he embraces monastic life. That’s like swallowing your own spittle after spitting it out.”
Still in the carriage, Thakur adds in a little while, “Brahmos don’t believe in God with form. (Smiling) Narendra says, ‘It’s idol worship.’ He also says, ‘He [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] still goes to the Kali Temple.’”
Sri Ramakrishna’s vision of Nara Lila (divine sport as man) and enjoying it
Thakur has come to Balaram’s house.
Suddenly he goes into an ecstasy. It seems he is seeing that God has become the world and all its creatures, that He is moving around as a human being, because he says to the Mother of the Universe, “Mother, what are you showing me now? Wait! What are you are showing me through Rakhal and others? All forms have vanished. And Mother, man is nothing but a pillow-case. Man’s consciousness is Yours only.”
“Mother, the Brahmos aren’t tasting sweetness. Their eyes are dry and so are their faces. Nothing at all is achieved without love and devotion for God.
“Mother, I asked you, ‘Give me a companion just like myself. It appears that You have given me Rakhal.’”
Thakur enjoys a Hari kirtan at Adhar’s house
Thakur has arrived at Adhar’s house. Preparations are being made for the kirtan of the musician, Manohar Sai.
A number of devotees and neighbours have come to Adhar’s parlour to see Thakur. They all want him to say a few words.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “God’s will is both in worldliness and freedom. It is He who has kept you unconscious in worldly life. And again, at His will, when He calls you, you will be liberated. The child has gone out to play – its mother will call at meal-time.
“He will give you the company of sadhus when he wants to grant you liberation. And He will also give you the yearning to attain Him.”
A neighbour: “Sir, what kind of yearning?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “The yearning that you feel when you lose a job – the way you go from office to office every day to enquire, ‘Sir, is there a vacancy?’ Yearning brings restlessness: how can I attain God?
“When a dandy twirls his mustache up on the sides, sits cross-legged, and chews betel-leaf nonchalantly, he can’t attain God.”
Neighbour: “Can you develop such longing by keeping the company of holy people?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, you can. But a hypocrite can’t attain such yearning. A kamandalu is with the sadhu all the time that he is visiting the four centres of pilgrimage, but it remains as bitter as it was before.”
The kirtan has started now. The goswami sings a song of inner grief.
Radha: “Friend, I am dying! Bring back my Krishna.”
Gopi: “O Radha, the dark cloud would have brought rain, but the winds of your pique have blown the cloud away. You aren’t happy to see Krishna happy. What causes that pride?”
Radha: “Friend, this pride is not mine. My pride went away with him who makes me proud.”
Lalita [speaking a few words on behalf of Radha]: “All of you made me fall in love. Some showed him to me on the riverbank or in the open field; Vishakha showed him in a picture.”
The goswami says in the song: The companions of Radha begin to look for Krishna near the Radhakunda pool. Then he mentions meeting Sri Krishna in the company of Sridam, Sudama, and Madhumangal; Sri Krishna’s conversation with Vrinda, Sri Krishna’s conversation with Jatila in the dress of a yogi, Radha giving alms, an astrologer yogi reading Radha’s palm and speaking of a coming danger.
The humanity of avatars
Sri Ramakrishna: “The gopis worshipped Katyayani. Everybody is under that Mahamaya, the Primal Power – even the avatars’ work is performed taking refuge in maya. That’s why they worship the Primal Power. Just look how Rama wept for Sita. ‘Bound by the five elements [maya], Brahman weeps.’
“After killing the demon Hiranyaksha, Vishnu incarnated himself as a sow. Having forgotten his real nature, he lived happily as a sow, nursing the young ones. The gods consulted each other and sent Shiva down. Shiva asked the sow, ‘Why have you forgotten your real Self?’ The sow answered, ‘I am quite happy as I am.’ Shiva cut open the body of the sow with his trident. Then he [Vishnu] went back to his own abode.”
Now Thakur goes from Adhar’s house to Ram’s and there he listens the story of Uddhava. Kedar and other devotees were present. (See Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita Vol. II, Section V).
Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar with Manirampur and Belgharia devotees
Sri Ramakrishna tells his own story
Sri Ramakrishna is in his room at the Dakshineswar Temple talking to devotees, sometimes standing, sometimes sitting. Today is Sunday, 10 June 1883, the 5th day of the bright fortnight of Jaishtha, the time about ten o’clock. Many devotees are present including Rakhal, M., Latu, Kishori, Ramlal and Hazra.
Thakur is talking about his early days.
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “When I was a child, everybody in my native village was fond of me, men and women. They would listen to me sing. And I could also imitate other people’s mannerisms. They’d watch and listen to me doing this. The women in their families would set aside snacks for me to eat. Nobody distrusted me. They all looked upon me as a child of their own family.
“But I enjoyed life like a pigeon. I’d visit happy households when I saw them. And I’d run away from a house of pain and sorrow.
“When I found a happy boy or two among my companions, I’d shower great affection on them. With some, I was very friendly. But now they’re deep in worldliness. Some of them visit here and say, ‘My goodness, he’s just the same as we saw him in school!’
“Subhankari’s arithmetic problems that we studied in school made me giddy. But I could draw pictures and mould clay gods beautifully.”
Fondness for charitable houses and for Ramayana and Mahabharata
“Wherever I saw houses where holy men were fed for free, I’d stand there and watch them for a long time.
“I’d sit and listen to the readings from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata wherever I found them narrated. But if the readers were insincere, I’d mimic them before the other people.
“I understood the ways of women rather well. I’d mimic the way they spoke. A child-widow replying to her father, ‘I – am – leaving.’ The women calling from the verandah: ‘O, fisherman!’ I could recognize a woman of easy virtue – a widow parting her hair straight in the middle, her body lovingly massaged with oil, little modesty, and her way of sitting is quite different.
“Let’s not talk of these worldly things.”
Thakur asks Ramlal to sing a song. Ramlal sings:
Who is the lady dark as a cloud, dancing on the battlefield – like a fresh lily in the sea of blood.
Ramlal now sings Mandodari’s grief at the death of Ravana:
O my beloved husband! What have you done? You the beloved, the life-breath of this helpless woman – till she leaves this body, it will find no peace.
He, the Lord of the Golden Kingdom is now lying dead on the ground. How can your wife not be desperate to see this sight?
The God of Death was your slave – you had the power never before seen on earth or in heaven.
She who was most respected among the women of Indra and other gods, that very woman has become a beggar on this earth.
Taking him, the wanderer in the forest, the man with matted hair, as a human being you have lost all.
You did not see anything great in that jewel which Brahma and Shiva, who has taken abode in the cremation ground, yearn for.
Even though you had heard that the stony Ahalya had become a human being by the very touch of Rama.
Sri Ramakrishna overwhelmed with Rama’s name – ecstatic love of gopis
As Thakur hears the last song, tears flow from his eyes and he says, “When I was going to the Jhautala to answer the call of nature, I heard the boatmen singing this song. As long I sat there I cried and cried. They held me, and then brought me to my room.”
I have heard that Rama is the Saviour Brahman.
Rama with matted hair is not a human being.
Father, did you steal Sita to destroy your own family?
Akrur is taking Sri Krishna to Mathura in a chariot. Seeing him, the gopis hold its wheels tightly in their grip – some of them even lie down in front of it. They reprimand Akrur, not knowing that Sri Krishna is going of his own accord.
Don’t hold the wheels of the chariot. Does the chariot move on those wheels? Don’t hold them, please do not.
Lord Hari Himself moves the wheels – He on whose wheel the whole world moves.
These are not horses. They are magic. The game of love is over today in Gokul.
Why do you find fault unnecessarily with the charioteer? This driver is fully helpless.
Can any chariot move without the will of the master of the chariot?
Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees): “What affection, what intense love the milkmaids had! Radha drew a picture of Sri Krishna with her own hands, but she didn’t draw his feet lest he’d leave for Mathura.
“I used to sing all these songs often in my childhood. I could sing a whole act of a musical drama. Some people said I was an actor in the Kaliyadaman play.”
A devotee with a new chadar has arrived. Rakhal, who has the nature of a child, brings a pair of scissors to cut its loose fringes. Thakur says, “Why are you doing that? Please stop. It looks nice as it is. Brother, how much did it cost?” Foreign-made chadars are cheap. The devotee says, “A rupee and six annas for a pair.” Thakur says, “Oh, no! A rupee and six annas for a pair!”
After awhile Thakur says to the devotees, “Go and have a dip in the Ganges. Please give him some oil.”
When the devotee returns after his dip, Thakur takes a mango from the shelf and gives it to him. He says, “I’m giving him this mango. He has three university degrees. Well, how is your brother now?”
Devotee: “The medicine has helped him. He should be well if he makes some effort.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Can you find a job for him? That would be nice. You would become his patron.”
Devotee: “When he gets well, he will have all the opportunities.”
Sri Ramakrishna with the devotees from Manirampur
Thakur has been sitting for a while on the smaller cot after eating. He has had no time to rest and the devotees have begun to arrive. The first to come is a group from Manirampur. One of them who used to work for P.W.D. is now drawing a pension. This group has been brought by a devotee. Another group of devotees from Belgharia also arrive. Mani Mallick and a few others arrive singly.
The devotees from Manirampur say, “We have disturbed you from your rest.”
Sri Ramakrishna says, “No, no. These are rajasic words. People say, ‘He is going to sleep now.’”
Listening to Chanak Manirampur, Thakur is reminded of his childhood friend, Sri Ram. He says, “Sri Ram has a shop in your area. He was my schoolmate in the countryside [Kamarpukur]. He came here the other day.”
The devotees from Manirampur say, “Do kindly tell us how to attain God.”
Instructions to devotees of Manirampur: practice spiritual disciplines and develop yearning for God
Sri Ramakrishna: “You must practice some spiritual disciplines.
“There is butter in milk, but just saying it won’t help you. You have to turn the milk into curd and then churn the curd to get butter. And you need to go into solitude from time to time. Having lived in solitude for some days and attaining love for God, you can live anywhere you like. When you are well shod, you can walk easily across even a thorny path in the forest.
“The main thing is faith. You benefit according to your attitude of mind, but the main thing is faith. Once you have faith, there is no fear.”
Devotee from Manirampur: “Do you need a guru?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Many need a guru. But you must have faith in the words of the guru. You succeed only when you take the guru to be God. That’s why Vaishnavas say, “Guru-Krishna-Vaishnava [are one].
“You must always repeat the name of God. There is great importance of name in the Kaliyuga. Our life depends on food [which takes a great deal of time and energy to procure]. That’s why the practice of yoga is not possible by repeating His name and clapping your hands, the bird of sin flies away.
“The company of the holy is always necessary. The nearer you go to the Ganges, the cooler the breeze you will feel. The nearer you are to the fire, the greater the heat you’ll feel.
“Nothing happens by moving slowly to the beat of the drum. Those who desire enjoyment say, ‘It’ll come – we’ll attain God some day or other.’
“I said to Keshab Sen, ‘When his son grows insistent, a father will give him his share of inheritance three years early.’
“A mother is cooking food. Her infant is lying nearby. The mother has given him an artificial nipple to suck. When he throws it away and yells and cries, the mother puts down the boiling pot from the stove, takes the infant in her lap and nurses it. I said all this to Keshab.
“They say that in the Kaliyuga you can have the vision of God by weeping for a day and a night.
“Demand of God, ‘You have created me! You will have to reveal yourself to me!’
“Whether you live in the household or elsewhere, God sees only your mind. A mind attached to worldly things is like a damp matchstick. Strike it any number of times and it won’t catch fire. Akalabya learned archery by placing a clay image of Drona, his guru, before him.
“Move forward! A woodcutter, going forward, saw a sandalwood forest, then a mine of silver, farther a gold mine and then even diamonds and other gems.
“An ajnani [man without wisdom] is like a person living in a room made of mud walls. There’s not much light inside and he can’t see anything outside. But a person who attains Knowledge and then lives a family life is like a person living in a glass house. There is light inside and there is light outside. He can see things both inside the room and out.”
Brahman and Mother of the Universe are one and the same
“There is nothing but one. The Supreme Brahman who preserves the ‘I’ of man is, in the form of Primal Power, the same as He who is creating, preserving and dissolving.
“That which is Brahman is also the Primal Energy. A king said to a yogi, ‘You have to give me Knowledge in one word.’ The yogi said, ‘Yes, you will have it in one word.’ After some time a magician suddenly appeared to the king. The king noticed that the magician was waving two of his fingers round and round, saying, ‘King, see this, just see this.’ The king looked at him speechless with wonder when, after some time, he notices that the two fingers have become one. The magician says, as he revolves his finger, ‘King, see this. See this!’ That is to say, Brahman and the Primal Power appear separate from each other at first, but on attaining the knowledge of Brahman, they are no longer two. They are not separate from each other. One and the same. One without a second – non-duality.”
Sri Ramakrishna with devotees from Belgharia
Govinda Mukherji, the head of the Belgharia devotees, has arrived. Thakur had gone into samadhi when he had heard the song ‘Awake, awake!’ from the musician the day he visited his home. Govinda has brought the same musician now. Thakur is happy to see him and says, “Please sing a few songs.”
The musician sings:
- O Mother, Shyama! Nobody is at fault. I am falling into the well I myself have dug.
- Yama, don’t touch me, since I have lost my caste.
If you ask me O, Yama how I lost caste, listen.
I have been turned into a sannyasi by the All- destroying one.
(The melody – mooltana)
- O Mother, wake up, do wake up.
How long has Kulkundalini been asleep in the Muladhara?
Mother, reach the thousand-petalled lotus in the head where Shiva resides
So that all your work may be done.
O You, the image of consciousness, pierce the six mystic centres and take away my grief.
Sri Ramakrishna: “This song is about piercing the six spiritual centres. God is within and also without. Residing within, He produces the different states of mind. When the six centres are pierced, the individual soul becomes one with the Supreme Soul, leaving behind the realm of maya. This is called vision of God.
“God-vision is not possible unless maya moves aside. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are walking together. Rama is in front, Sita is in the middle, and behind her is Lakshmana. Because Sita is in the middle, Lakshmana can’t see Rama. Similarly, with maya in between, the embodied soul can’t see God. (To Mani Mallick) But by the grace of God, maya moves aside and leaves the door open. Just as a doorkeeper says, ‘If the master orders, I’ll let you through the door.’
“The view of the Vedanta and the view of the Purana. The Vedanta says, ‘This world is a web of deception.’ That is to say, the world is unreal. It’s like a dream. But the Puranas or the Bhakti Sastra says that God Himself resides in the universe in the form of twenty-four cosmic principles. Worship Him inside and outside.
“As long as He has kept the consciousness of ‘I’ in us, all this is real – we can’t say it’s a dream. When a pot is placed on the fire, lentils, rice, potatoes and vegetables jump up and down. Like they’re saying, ‘Here I am jumping around.’ The body is like the pot, the mind and intellect are like water; sense objects are like lentils, rice, potatoes and vegetables. The I-ness is their sense of ego – it’s this ‘I’ that makes them jump. And Sat-chit-ananda is the fire.
“That’s why devotional texts call this world ‘the mart of joy.’ A song of Ramprasad says, ‘This universe is a web of deception.’ But another person responded, ‘This world is a mart of joy!’ A devotee of Kali is liberated in this very life; he is ever full of joy. That devotee sees that He who is God has Himself become maya. It is He who has become the world and all its beings. He sees God, maya, living beings and the world as one. Some devotees see everything permeated with Rama – that everything is the form of Rama. Some devotees see the world permeated with Radha-Krishna, Krishna Himself residing as all the twenty-four cosmic principles. Put on green-tinted glasses and you will see everything green.
“But according to the devotional school of thought, there are different manifestations of God’s power. Rama Himself resides everywhere – but at some places there is a greater manifestation than other places. He manifests Himself in an incarnation of God in one way and in an embodied-soul in another way. But an incarnation of God has body-consciousness. Assuming a body, maya exercises its jurisdiction – Rama wept for Sita. An incarnation can put a bandage on his eyes at will, like boys playing blindman’s bluff. But as soon as the mother calls, the game is over. It’s different with ordinary souls. The cloth with which they cover their eyes is tied to their waist with eight knots, with eight bonds. Shame, hatred, fear, pride of caste, pride of ancestry, pride of good conduct, grief and secretiveness are the eight bonds. No one can free you from them but a guru.
Advice to the devotee of Belgharia – petition with a heart full of longing – signs of a genuine devotee
Devotee from Belgharia: “Please grant us your grace.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “He resides in all. But you have to send an application to the Gas Company. They will connect you.
“You have to petition with a yearning heart. When three attractions of intense love combine, you can see God – a child’s attraction for its mother, a husband’s attraction for a chaste wife, and the attraction of possessions for a worldly person.
“These are signs of a genuine devotee: he listens to the instructions of his guru with a concentrated mind. A python listens to the song of the snake-charmer without moving. But not a cobra. There is another special sign: a real devotee has great power of assimilation. You can’t impress images on bare glass – but if you paint it with a black solution, a picture can be impressed on it. Take for example, a photograph. The black solution is devotion or love for God.
“There is another sign. A genuine devotee has complete control over his senses. He has conquered lust. The gopis of Vrindavan had no lust.
“You people are householders. Continue to live a family life. It will even help you in your spiritual practices – like fighting from within a fort. When people practice spiritual disciplines on a dead body, the corpse produces the sound of hun-hun and frightens him. So they should keep rice or roasted gram with them to put in the corpse’s mouth every now and then. When the corpse is quiet, it’s possible to practice japa uninterruptedly. In the same way you have to keep the members of your family satisfied. Then alone will you be able to practice spiritual disciplines comfortably.
“Those who still have some desire for enjoyment should call on Him while living in the household. Nitai laid down this injunction: ‘Cat-fish [magur] soup, the embrace of a young woman and repeating Hari, Hari at the same time.’
“It’s different with a person of intense renunciation. A bee sits on nothing but flowers. A chatak bird has water all around but will not sip a drop of it – it keeps its mouth open only for rain water that falls when the star Svati ascends. A true renunciate likes no enjoyment but the bliss of God. A bee sits only on flowers. A real sannyasi, one who has real renunciation, is like a bee. A householder devotee can be likened to a common fly – it sits on sandesh as well as on a festering wound.
“You people have taken so much trouble to come here. You are roaming around in search of God. Most people are satisfied to just see a garden – only very few try to find out who the owner of the garden is. They see the beauty of the world only. They don’t look for its creator.”
Hatha yoga, raja yoga and the devotee from Belgharia – the six spiritual centres and samadhi
(Pointing to the musician) “He has sung about the six spiritual centres. The words pertain to yoga. There is hatha yoga and raja yoga. A hatha yogi practices physical exercises. His ideal is to attain occult powers and a long life. His aim is the eight occult powers. The goal of raja yoga is to develop love for God – ecstatic love for Him – knowledge and non-attachment. Raja yoga is better.
“The seven planes of the Vedanta and the six centres of the Yoga Sastra are very similar. The first three planes of Yoga are Muladhara, Svadhisthana and Manipura. In these three planes the mind dwells at the anus, the generative organ and the navel. When the mind rises to the fourth plane, that is to say when it reaches the Anahata or heart lotus, the embodied soul has the vision of light, like the flame of a lamp. He exclaims, ‘What is this! What is this!’
“When the mind rises to the fifth or throat plane, the person only likes to hear about God. It is the centre of the Vishuddha chakra. The sixth plane between the eyebrows and the Ajna chakra are the same. When the mind reaches there, the person attains the vision of God. But it is like the light within a lantern. You can’t touch it because there is a glass between.
“King Janaka used to teach the knowledge of Brahman from the fifth plane. Sometimes he lived on the fifth plane, at other times on the sixth.
“After piercing the sixth centre, the mind reaches the seventh plane, the Sahasrara, and is dissolved. The individual soul and the Supreme soul become one. One attains samadhi. One loses the awareness of the body. There is no outer consciousness left. All the different kinds of knowledge leave – reasoning stops.
“Trailanga Swami said, ‘You have the perception of many when you reason – you identify with different kinds of knowledge. After attaining samadhi, at last, one dies within twenty-one days.’
“But you can’t attain spiritual consciousness until the Kulkundalini is awakened.”
Signs of God-vision
“There are signs of a person who has realized God. Such a person becomes child-like, or like one mad, inanimate, or like an insentient being. He understands rightly that he is an instrument and God is the operator; that it is God who is the doer and he is a non-doer. Just as the Sikhs said, ‘It is by His will that even a leaf flutters.’ Everything happens by Rama’s will – one attains such awareness. A weaver said, ‘It is by Rama’s will that the cloth is one rupee six annas [per yard]; it is by Rama’s will that there was a theft; it is Rama’s will that the police took me away [as a suspect], and it is certainly by Rama’s will that I have now been released.’”
It is almost evening. Thakur has not rested for even a moment. He has talked continuously about God to the devotees. Now the devotees from Manirampur and Belgharia and the other devotees prostrate to salute him. They go to the temple to visit the deity and then each one returns home.
The goswami ends his kirtan after singing about the meeting of Radha and Krishna.
. A sannyasin’s water pot made of bitter gourd.
. A reference to Krishna.
. A name of Durga.
. Uddhava Samvad.
. Subjugation of the serpent by the Lord.
. Public Works Department.
. yogé yuïjéta satatamätmänaà rahasi sthitaù |
[A yogi should always try to concentrate his mind, living alone in solitude.]
. äcäryavänpuruño veda
[The need for guru.]
. mämeva ye prapadyante mäyämetäà taranti te . gétä 7-14|| […but they who take refuge in me alone, they cross over this illusion.]
. The Tantric scriptures list eight bonds or fetters: shame (lajja), hatred or contempt (ghrana), fear (bhaya), pride of caste, rank or race (jati), hesitation or suspicion (shanka), secretiveness (jugupsa), pride of family, ancestry, or lineage (kula), and pride of good conduct, character or piety (shila).
. A Tantric practice.
. Cat-fish soup means tears of devotion from singing God’s name; the embrace of a young woman means rolling on the ground in ecstasy.
back to Kathamrita Main Page