At Dakshineswar with Devotees
Sri Ramakrishna is sitting in his room at the Dakshineswar Temple with the devotees. Rakhal, M., Ram and some other devotees are present. Hazra is outside on the verandah. Today is Sunday, 23 September 1883, the 7th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadra.
Nityagopal, Tarak and a few other devotees are staying at Ram’s house. He treats them with great affection and regard.
Sometimes Rakhal stays with Adhar Sen. Nityagopal is always absorbed in a spiritual mood. Tarak’s mind is also indrawn – he does not talk to people very much these days.
Sri Ramakrishna’s worry about Narendra
Thakur is now talking about Narendra.
Sri Ramakrishna (to a certain devotee): “Narendra doesn’t like even you. (To M.) Why? Why didn’t he come to Adhar’s house?
“There are so many qualities all in the one person, Narendra. Singing, playing instruments, studying. The other day when he was in Captain’s carriage, Captain asked him so many times to sit next to him. But Narendra sat on the other side and didn’t even look at Captain.”
Pundit Gauri, a Shakta, and Sri Ramakrishna
“What is the use of mere learning? Practice of spiritual disciplines are what is necessary. Gauri Pundit of Indesh was a spiritual seeker – and a scholar. Sometimes he would become absorbed in the ecstasy of the Divine Mother, now and then chanting [a Vedic hymn to the Mother], ‘Ha re, re, re. Niralamba lambodar janani kam yami sharan.’ The other pundits would sit there like earthworms. I also would become overcome with emotion. Seeing me eat, he would ask whether I’d practiced spiritual disciplines with a bhairavi.
“At first he was a bigoted Shakta. He would pick up a tulasi leaf with two sticks – he wouldn’t touch it. (Everybody laugh.) Then he went home. When he returned, he didn’t behave like this.
“I planted a tulasi plant in front of the Kali Temple. It died. It is said that tulasi plants don’t grow where goats are sacrificed.
“Gauri used to give very nice interpretations. He would say, ‘O this!’ explaining, ‘O disciple! This is your ideal deity.’ He would say that the ten heads of Ravana are the ten senses. Kumbhakarana was a man of tamas, Ravana of rajas, and Bibhishana of sattva. That’s why Bibhishana was blessed by Rama.”
Ram, Tarak and Nityagopal
Thakur is resting for awhile after his midday meal. Ram, Tarak [later Swami Shivananda] and some other devotees arrive from Calcutta. Having saluted Thakur, they sit on the floor. M. is also sitting on the floor. Ram says, “We’re learning to play the mridanga.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to Ram): “Has Nityagopal learned to play?”
Ram: “No, he plays it just a little bit.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “What about Tarak?”
Ram: “He plays a good deal.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Then he wouldn’t sit so downcast, with his eyes on the ground. “If you give your mind to something else, it doesn’t dwell on God that much.”
Ram: “I’ve been learning the drum only to play kirtan.”
Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): “Are you learning to sing.”
M. (smiling): “No sir, not exactly. I just hum like a drone.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Have you learned the song, ‘I have no use for knowledge or reason. Only make me mad in Your love?’ My attitude is exactly this.”
Hazra shows malice toward some.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Ram and other devotees): “In Kamarpukur I used to visit one house almost every day. The boys were my age. They came here the other day and stayed for two or three days. Their mother used to dislike everybody, like Hazra. One day her foot was dislocated and gangrene set in. The room smelled so bad nobody could enter it. So I said to Hazra, ‘Don’t find fault with other people.’”
It is now about four o’clock. Thakur goes to the Jhautala slowly for a wash. A cotton carpet has been spread on the verandah southeast of Thakur’s room. He will sit there when he returns from the Jhautala. Ram and others are present. Adhar Sen belongs to the caste of goldsmiths. Ram Babu comments that Rakhal had eaten at his house. Adhar is a great devotee. This is the topic of conversation.
A devotee jokes about the disposition of some of the goldsmiths. He said they like to eat bread with dry roasted vegetables. It doesn’t matter if they have anything else to eat. They eat high quality rice, and they must have fruit as snacks. They like hog plum. If they receive hilsa fish or sandesh as a present from someone, they send the same to the father-in-law of their daughter or son. Who would send the same present to his own daughter or son’s father-in-law? In this way one hilsa fish would be eaten in fifteen to twenty houses. The women do all the work, but the cooking is done by a brahmin from Orissa. He spends an hour or two in every home. Sometimes one Oriya brahmin cooks at four or five places. Thakur laughs but offers no opinion of his own.
Thakur in samadhi – he talks to the Mother of the Universe
It is evening. While standing in the northwestern corner of the courtyard, Sri Ramakrishna goes into samadhi. After a long time his external awareness returns. What an amazing state Thakur is in. These days he almost always remains absorbed in samadhi. The slightest suggestion can make him unconscious of the outside world. When devotees come, he talks for awhile; otherwise he remains absorbed within. He cannot attend to worship, japa or any ritual.
Sri Ramakrishna in the state in which one cannot perform work of any kind
Coming out of samadhi, Thakur remains standing and talks with the Mother of the Universe. He says, “Mother, worship has left me and also japa. Look Mother, don’t make me so inert. Let my attitude be that of a servant of God. Mother, I should be able to talk, and chant Your name, and sing. And please, Mother, give some strength to this body so I can walk a little on my own. And be able to go to all the places where they talk about You and where Your devotees are.”
This morning Sri Ramakrishna came to the Kali temple and offered flowers at the feet of the Mother of the Universe. Now he is talking to her.
Sri Ramakrishna says, “Mother, this morning I offered a few flowers at Your feet. I thought I had done well and that my mind was going to external worship. But Mother, why did this happen? Why are You making me inert again?”
It is the seventh day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra. The moon has not yet appeared. It is a dark night. Sri Ramakrishna remains in ecstasy. He returns to his room and sits on the small cot in his room, still abstracted. And he talks again to the Mother of the Universe.
Advice to Ishan – Vedic injunctions don’t suit the Kaliyuga – carry out spiritual practice taking God as Mother
He seems to be talking to the Divine Mother about the devotees. He is talking about Ishan Mukherji. Ishan had said, “I’ll go to Bhatpara and practice the Gayatri purashcharana.” Sri Ramakrishna had said to him that Vedic injunctions did not suit the Kaliyuga because people have to work hard for food, are short lived and their body and sense consciousness can’t be completely given up. He asked Ishan to carry out spiritual disciplines according to the Tantras instead, in the filial attitude. And he also said, “The Mother is none other than Brahman and Brahman is also the Primal Power.”
Absorbed in ecstasy Thakur now says, “What, the Gayatri purashcharana! Leaping from this thatched roof to another … Who has told him this? Is he doing it himself? … Well, let him do a little purashcharana.”
(To M.) “Well! Is this all real, or fancies of my mind?”
M. is amazed watching Thakur talking to the Mother of the Universe in this way. He is speechless. God is very near to us. He is both outside and inside us. If that is not so, how can Sri Ramakrishna talk with Him in whispers?
Sri Ramakrishna with Rakhal and other devotees at Dakshineswar
Sri Ramakrishna is sitting on the platform in front of the Kali temple at Dakshineswar. He is seeing the Mother of the Universe in the image of Kali. M. and other devotees are sitting near him. It is 26 September today, 1883, the 10th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra. It is afternoon.
A short time ago, Thakur had said, “No calculation can be made about God. His glory is boundless. What can man say in words? An ant went to a sugar hill and ate a grain. Its stomach was filled. Then it thought to itself, The next time I come, I’ll bring the whole hill into my hole.
“Is it possible to understand Him? That’s why my attitude is like a kitten’s. The mother cat can keep it anywhere and it doesn’t care. A little child doesn’t know all the riches of its mother.”
Sri Ramakrishna sings while he sits on the platform of the Kali temple, “O Mother, O Mother, You, the embodiment of Omkar. Mother, how much these people talk. I understand nothing, Mother. I know nothing. I take refuge in You, in You I take refuge! I pray only that I may have pure love at Your lotus feet. Please do not bewitch me with Your world-enchanting maya, Mother. I take refuge in You, in You I take refuge.”
The arati is over in the temples. Sri Ramakrishna is seated on the small cot in his room. Mahendra squats on the floor.
Earlier Mahendra  was a regular visitor to Keshab Sen’s Brahmo Samaj. Since meeting Thakur, he doesn’t go there any more. Sri Ramakrishna is always talking with the Mother of the Universe. Mahendra becomes speechless to see it. He is charmed by hearing about the harmony of religions and Thakur’s yearning for God.
Mahendra has been visiting Thakur for almost two years. Not only does he have his darshan, he is also blessed by his grace. Thakur is always telling him and the other devotees that God is both formless and also with form, that He takes up a form for the sake of the devotee. To those who believe in God without form, he says, “Please stick to your belief. But you must remember that everything is possible for Him. He can be both with form and formless, and so much besides.”
Sri Ramakrishna and Mahendra – God with form and formless – sense of duty – for the devotee, the world of spiritual ignorance is the pain of death
Mahendra: “Yes, sir. But as you say, everything is possible. Forms of God are also possible.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Beautiful. And remember that He is residing in the world of both animate and inanimate in the form of consciousness.”
Mahendra: “I think of Him as the Consciousness of the conscious.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Stick to this attitude for the time being. There’s no need to strain and change your attitude. Gradually you will know that He Himself is consciousness and that consciousness is His consciousness only. He is the very nature of consciousness.
“Well, are you attracted by money and power?”
Mahendra: “No. But, for the sake of contentment [freedom from worry]. I want to meditate on God without anxiety.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “That’s only natural.”
Mahendra: “Greed? No, I don’t have that.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, that’s all right. But who will look after your children? If you feel that you are not the doer, who will provide for your children and others?”
Mahendra: “I’ve heard that as long as there is the sense of duty, you can’t attain knowledge. Duty is the burning sun!”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Live in this state of mind now. It will be different later when the sense of duty leaves you by itself.”
Everybody is quiet for awhile.
Mahendra: “If you have partial knowledge in worldly life, it’s like death in full consciousness – like cholera.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Rama! Rama!”
If a person has awareness at the time of death from cholera, he suffers great pain. Perhaps this is what Mahendra is referring to: the world of ignorance is like a forest fire. Maybe that’s why Thakur exclaimed, “Rama, Rama.”
Mahendra: “Other people are like delirious patients. They go into a state of unconsciousness and don’t feel the pain of death.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Look, what good is money anyway? Jaygopal Sen has so much money, but he’s not happy because his sons aren’t obedient.”
Mahendra: “Is poverty the only suffering in this world? We have six enemies. Add to it disease and grief.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “And then name and fame – the desire to earn a name.
“Well! What do you think about the state I’m in?”
Mahendra: “The state in which one finds oneself on waking up. You are ever united with God.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Do you see me in dream?”
Mahendra: “Yes, sir. Many times.”
Sri Ramakrishna: “How? Do you see me giving instruction?”
Mahendra doesn’t reply.
Sri Ramakrishna: “If you see me giving instruction, know that it is Sat-chit-ananda.”
Then Mahendra tells him everything that he had seen in dream. Sri Ramakrishna listens attentively.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Mahendra): “This is very good. Don’t reason any more. You are a Shakta.”
. Nirakara: Sanskrit word for the Formless God.
. A bigoted worshipper disdains anything to do with any other sect. Tulsi leaves are sacred to Vishnu.
. The 10 indriyas: 5 sense organs and 5 organs of action.
. An earthen drum.
. A delicacy of West Bengal.
. yastvätmaratireva syädätmatåptaçca mänavaù |
ätmanyeva ca santuñöastasya käryaà na vidyate ||
[But the man who is devoted to the Self, and is satisfied with the Self, and content in the Self alone, has no obligatory duty.]
. The repetition of japa, increasing and decreasing the number according to the moon.
. tadviñëoù paramaà padaà sadä paçyanti sürayaù divéva cakñurätatam |
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.]
. M., who used many names for himself, to humbly hide himself.
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