Master’s injured arm — Yearning for God — Master’s prayer to the Divine Mother — Prayer and discrimination — The power of God’s name — Ego separates one from Brahman — Warning about lust — Hard discipline for sannyasi — Four stages of life — Master’s childlike impatience — God’s manifestation as man — Trailokya’s songs — Process of negation and affirmation — God Himself has become everything — The world does not exist apart from God — Three classes of devotees — Vision of God destroys doubts — Master’s sympathy for Narendra’s suffering — God’s ways are inscrutable.
Saturday, February 2, 1884
IT WAS THREE O’CLOCK in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna had been conversing with Rakhal, Mahimacharan, Hazra, and other devotees, when M. entered the room and saluted him. He brought with him splint, pad, and lint to bandage the Master’s injured arm.
One day, while going toward the pine-grove, Sri Ramakrishna had fallen near the railing and dislocated a bone in his left arm. He had been in an ecstatic mood at the time and no one had been with him.
MASTER (to M.): “Hello! What was ailing you? Are you quite well now?”
M: “Yes, sir, I am all right now.”
MASTER (to Mahima): “Well, if I am the machine and God is its Operator, then why should this have happened to me?”
The Master was sitting on the couch, listening to the story of Mahimacharan’s pilgrimage. Mahima had visited several holy places twelve years before.
MAHIMA: “I found a brahmachari in a garden at Sicrole in Benares. He said he had been living there for twenty years but did not know its owner. He asked me if I worked in an office. On my answering in the negative, he said, ‘Then are you a wandering holy man?’ I saw a sadhu on the bank of the Narmada. He repeated the Gayatri mentally. It so thrilled him that the hair on his body stood on end. And when he repeated the Gayatri and Om aloud, it thrilled those who sat near him and caused their hair to stand on end.”
The Master was in the mood of a child. Being hungry he said to M., “What have you brought for me?” Looking at Rakhal he went into samadhi.
He was gradually coming down to the normal plane. To bring his mind back to the consciousness of the body, he said: “I shall eat some jilipi. I shall drink some water.”
Weeping like a child, he said to the Divine Mother: “O Brahmamayi! O Mother! Why hast Thou done this to me? My arm is badly hurt. (To the devotees) Will I be all right again?” They consoled him, as one would a child, and said: “Surely. You will be quite well again.”
MASTER (to Rakhal): “You aren’t to blame for it, though you are living here to look after me; for even if you had accompanied me, you certainly wouldn’t have gone up to the railing.”
The Master again went into a spiritual mood and said: “Om! Om! Om! Mother, what is this that I am saying? Don’t make me unconscious, Mother, with the Knowledge of Brahman. Don’t give me Brahmajnana. I am but Thy child. I am easily worried and frightened. I want a Mother. A million salutations to the Knowledge of Brahman! Give it to those who seek it. O Anandamayi! O Blissful Mother!”
Uttering loudly the word “Anandamayi”, he burst into tears and said:
Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart,
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake,
There should be robbery in my house.
Again he said to the Divine Mother: “What wrong have I done. Mother? Do I ever do anything? It is Thou, Mother, who doest everything. I am the machine and Thou art its Operator.
(To Rakhal, smiling) “See that you don’t fall! Don’t be piqued and cheat yourself.”
Again addressing the Mother, Sri Ramakrishna said: “Do I weep because I am hurt? Not at all.
Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart,
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake,
There should be robbery in my house.”
The Master was again talking and laughing, like a child who, though ailing, sometimes forgets his illness and laughs and plays about.
MASTER (to the devotees): “It will avail you nothing unless you realise Satchidananda. There is nothing like discrimination and renunciation. The worldly man’s devotion to God is momentary — like a drop of water on a red-hot frying-pan. Perchance he looks at a flower and exclaims, ‘Ah, what a wonderful creation of God!’
“One must be restless for God. If a son clamours persistently for his share of the property, his parents consult with each other and give it to him eve though he is a minor. God will certainly listen to your prayers if you feel restless for Him. Since He has begotten us, surely we can claim our inheritance from Him. He is our own Father, our own Mother. We can force our demand on Him. We can say to Him, ‘Reveal Thyself to me or I shall cut my throat with a knife!'”
Sri Ramakrishna taught the devotees how to call on the Divine Mother.
MASTER: “I used to pray to Her in this way: ‘O Mother! O Blissful One! Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must!’ Again, I would say to Her: ‘O Lord of the lowly! O Lord of the universe! Surely I am not outside Thy universe. I am bereft of knowledge. I am without discipline. I have no devotion. I know nothing. Thou must be gracious and reveal Thyself to me.'”
Thus the Master taught the devotees how to pray. They were deeply touched. Tears filled Mahimacharan’s eyes.
Sri Ramakrishna looked at him and sang:
Cry to your Mother Syama with a real cry, O mind!
And how can She hold Herself from you?
How can Syama stay away? . . .
Several devotees arrived from Shibpur. Since they had come from a great distance the Master could not disappoint them. He told them some of the essentials of spiritual life.
MASTER: “God alone is real, and all else illusory. The garden and its owner. God and His splendour. But people look at the garden only. How few seek out the owner!”
A DEVOTEE: “Sir, what is the way?”
MASTER: “Discrimination between the Real and the unreal. One should always discriminate to the effect that God alone is real and the world unreal. And one should pray with sincere longing.”
DEVOTEE: “But, sir, where is our leisure for these things?”
MASTER: “Those who have the time must meditate and worship. But those who cannot possibly do so must bow down whole-heartedly to God twice a day. He abides in the hearts of all; He knows that worldly people have many things to do. What else is possible for them? You don’t have time to pray to God; therefore give Him the power of attorney. But all is in vain unless you attain God and see Him.”
ANOTHER DEVOTEE: “Sir, to see you is the same as to see God.”
MASTER: “Don’t ever say that again. The waves belong to the Ganges, not the Ganges to the waves. A man cannot realise God unless he gets rid of all such egotistic ideas as ‘I am such an important man’ or ‘I am so and so’. Level the mound of ‘I’ to the ground by dissolving it with tears of devotion.”
DEVOTEE: “Why has God put us in the world?”
MASTER: “To perpetuate His creation. It is His will, His maya. He has deluded man with ‘woman and gold’.”
DEVOTEE: “Why has He deluded us? Why has He so willed?”
MASTER: “If but once He should give man a taste of divine joy, then man would not care to lead a worldly life. The creation would come to an end.
“The grain-dealer stores rice in huge bags in his warehouse. Near them he puts some puffed rice in a tray. This is to keep the rats away. The puffed rice tastes sweet to the rats and they nibble at it all night; they do not seek the rice itself. But just think! One seer of rice yields fourteen seers of puffed rice. How infinitely superior is the joy of God to the pleasure of ‘woman and gold’! To one who thinks of the beauty of God, the beauty of even Rambha and Tilottama (Two celestial dancing-girls of exquisite beauty) appears as but the ashes of a funeral pyre.”
DEVOTEE: “Why do we not feel intense restlessness to realise Him?”
MASTER: “A man does not feel restless for God until all his worldly desires are satisfied. He does not remember the Mother of the Universe until his share of the enjoyment of ‘woman and gold’ is completed. A child absorbed in play does not seek his mother. But after his play is over, he says, ‘Mother! I must go to my mother.’ Hriday’s son was playing with the pigeons, calling to them, ‘Come! Ti, ti!’ When he had had enough of play he began to cry. Then a stranger came and said: ‘Come with me. I will take you to your mother.’ Unhesitatingly he climbed on the man’s shoulders and was off.
“Those who are eternally free do not have to enter worldly life. Their desire for enjoyment has been satisfied with their very birth.”
At five o’clock in the afternoon Dr. Madhusudan arrived. While he prepared the bandage for the Master’s arm, Sri Ramakrishna laughed like a child and said, “You are the Madhusudan (Also a name of Krishna.) of both this world and the next!”
DR. MADHUSUDAN (smiling): “I only labour under the weight of my name.”
MASTER (smiling): ‘Why, is the name a trifling thing? God is not different from His name. Satyabhama tried to balance Krishna with gold and precious stones, but could not do it. Then Rukmini put a tulsi-leaf with the name of Krishna on the scales. That balanced, the Lord.”
The doctor was ready to bandage the Master’s arm. A bed was spread on the floor and the Master, laughing, lay down upon it. He said, intoning the words: “Ah! This is Radha’s final stage. But Brinde says, ‘Who knows what is yet to be?'”
The devotees were sitting around the Master. He sang:
The gopis all were gathered about the shore of the lake.
Sri Ramakrishna laughed and the devotees laughed with him.
After his arm was bandaged he said: “I haven’t very much faith in your Calcutta physicians. When Sambhu became delirious, Dr. Sarvadhikari said: ‘Oh, it is nothing. It is just grogginess from the medicine. And a little while after, Sambhu (Sambhu Mallick died in 1877.) breathed his last.”
It was evening and the worship in the temples was over. A few minutes later Adhar arrived from Calcutta to see the Master. Mahimacharan, Rakhal, and M. were in the room.
ADHAR: “How are you?”
MASTER (affectionately): “Look here. How my arm hurts! (Smiling) You don’t have to ask how I am!”
Adhar sat on the floor with the devotees. The Master said to him, “Please stroke here gently.” Adhar sat on the end of the couch and gently stroked Sri Ramakrishna’s feet.
The Master conversed with Mahimacharan.
MASTER: “It will be very good if you can practise unselfish love for God. A man who has such love says: ‘O Lord, I do not seek salvation, fame, wealth, or cure of disease. None of these do I seek. I want only Thee.’ Many are the people who come to a rich man with various desires. But if someone comes to him simply out of love, not wanting any favour, then the rich man feels attracted to him. Prahlada had this unselfish love, this pure love for God without any worldly end.”
Mahimacharan sat silent. The Master turned to him.
MASTER: “Now let me tell you something that will agree with your mood. According to the Vedanta one has to know the real nature of one’s own Self. But such knowledge is impossible without the renunciation of ego. The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. When the ego disappears in samadhi, then one knows Brahman to be one’s own inner consciousness.
“One must renounce the ‘I’ that makes one feel, ‘I am Mahima Chakravarty’, ‘I am a learned man’, and so on. But the ‘ego of Knowledge’ does not injure one. Sankaracharya retained the ‘ego of Knowledge’ in order to teach mankind.
“One cannot obtain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one is extremely cautious about women. Therefore it is very difficult for those who live in the world to get such Knowledge. However clever you may be, you will stain your body if you live in a sooty room. The company of a young woman evokes lust even in a lustless man.
“But it is not so harmful for a householder who follows the path of knowledge to enjoy conjugal happiness with his own wife now and then. He may satisfy his sexual impulse like any other natural impulse. Yes, you may enjoy a sweetmeat once in a while. (Mahimacharan laughs.) It is not so harmful for a householder.
“But it is extremely harmful for a sannyasi. He must not look even at the portrait of a woman. A monk enjoying a woman is like a man swallowing the spittle he has already spat out. A sannyasi must not sit near a woman and talk to her, even if she is intensely pious. No, he must not talk to a woman even though he may have controlled his passion.
“A sannyasi must renounce both ‘woman’ and ‘gold’. As he must not look even at the portrait of a woman, so also he must not touch gold, that is to say, money. It is bad for him even to keep money near him, for it brings in its train calculation, worry, insolence, anger, and such evils. There is an instance in the sun: it shines brightly; suddenly a cloud appears and hides it.
“That is why I didn’t agree to the Marwari’s depositing money for me with Hriday. I said: ‘No, I won’t allow even that. If I keep money near me, it will certainly raise clouds.’
“Why all these strict rules for a sannyasi? It is for the welfare of mankind as well as for his own good. A sannyasi may himself lead an unattached life and may have controlled his passion, but he must renounce ‘woman and gold’ to set an example to the world.
“A man will have the courage to practise renunciation if he sees one hundred per cent renunciation in a sannyasi. Then only will he try to give up ‘woman and gold’. If a sannyasi does not set this example, then who will?
“One may lead a householder’s life after realizing God. It is like churning butter from milk and then keeping the butter in water. Janaka led the life of a householder after attaining Brahmajnana.
“Janaka fenced with two swords, the one of jnana and the other of karma. The sannyasi renounces action; therefore he fences with one sword only, that of knowledge. A householder, endowed with knowledge like Janaka’s, can enjoy fruit both from the tree and from the ground. He can serve holy men, entertain guests, and do other things like that. I said to the Divine Mother, ‘O Mother, I don’t want to be a dry sadhu.’
“After attaining Brahmajnana one does not have to discriminate even about food. The rishis of olden times, endowed with the Knowledge of Brahman and having experienced divine bliss, ate everything, even pork.
(To Mahima) “Generally speaking there are two kinds of yoga: karma-yoga and manoyoga, that is to say, union with God through work and through the mind.
“There are four stages of life: brahmacharya, garhasthya, vanaprastha, and sannyas. During the first three stages a man has to perform his worldly duties. The sannyasi carries only his staff, water-pot, and begging-bowl. He too may perform certain nityakarma, but his mind is not attached to it; he is not conscious of doing such work. Some sannyasis perform nityakarma to set an example to the world. If a householder or a man belonging to the other stages of life performs action without attachment, then he is united with God through such action.
“In the case of a paramahamsa, like Sukadeva, all karmas — all puja, japa, tarpan, sandhya, and so forth — drop away. In this state a man communes with God through the mind alone. Sometimes he may be pleased to perform outward activities for the welfare of mankind. But his recollection and contemplation of God remain uninterrupted.”
It was about eight o’clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna asked Mahimacharan to recite a few hymns from the scriptures. Mahima read the first verse of the Uttara Gita, describing the nature of the Supreme Brahman:
He, Brahman, is one, partless, stainless, and beyond the ether;
Without beginning or end, unknowable by mind or intelligence.
Finally he came to the seventh verse of the third chapter, which reads:
The twice-born1 worships the Deity in fire,
The munis contemplate Him in the heart,
Men of limited wisdom see Him in the image,
And the yogis who have attained samesightedness
Behold Him everywhere.
No sooner did the Master hear the words “the yogis who have attained samesightedness” than he stood up and went into samadhi, his arm supported by the splint and bandage. Speechless, the devotees looked at this yogi who had himself attained the state of samesightedness.
After a long time the ‘Master regained consciousness of the outer world and took his seat. He asked Mahima to recite verses describing the love of God. The latter recited from the Narada Pancharatra:
What need is there of penance if God is worshipped with love?
What is the use of penance if God is not worshipped with love?
What need is there of penance if God is seen within and without?
What is the use of penance if God is not seen within and without?
O Brahman! O my child! Cease from practising further penances.
Hasten to Sankara, the Ocean of Heavenly Wisdom;
Obtain from Him the love of God, the pure love praised by devotees,
Which snaps in twain the shackles that bind you to the world.
MASTER: “Ah! Ah!”
On hearing these verses the Master was about to go again into an ecstatic mood, but he restrained himself with effort.
Mahima read from the Yativanchaka:
I am She, the Divine Mother, in whom the illusion of the universe of animate and inanimate things is seen, as in magic, and in whom the universe shines, being the play of Her mind. I am She, the Embodiment of Consciousness, who is the Self of the universe, the only Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss.
When the Master heard the line, “I am She, the Embodiment of Consciousness”, he said with a smile, “Whatever is in the microcosm is also in the macrocosm.”
Next Mahima read the Six Stanzas on Nirvana:
Om. I am neither mind, intelligence, ego, nor chitta,
Neither ears nor tongue nor the senses of smell and sight;
Nor am I ether, earth, fire, water, or air:
I am Pure Knowledge and Bliss: I am Siva! I am Siva!
I am neither the prana, nor the five vital breaths,
Neither the seven elements of the body nor its five sheaths,
Nor hands nor feet nor tongue, nor the organs of sex and voiding:
I am Pure Knowledge and Bliss: I am Siva! I am Siva!
Neither loathing nor liking have I, neither greed nor delusion;
No sense have I of ego or pride, neither dharma nor moksha;
Neither desire of the mind nor object for its desiring:
I am Pure Knowledge and Bliss: I am Siva! I am Siva!
Neither right nor wrongdoing am I, neither pleasure nor pain,
Nor the mantra, the sacred place, the Vedas, the sacrifice;
Neither the act of eating, the eater, nor the food:
I am Pure Knowledge and Bliss: I am Siva! I am Siva!
Death or fear I have none, nor any distinction of caste;
Neither father nor mother nor even a birth have I;
Neither friend nor comrade, neither disciple nor guru:
I am Pure Knowledge and Bliss: I am Siva! I am Siva!
I have no form or fancy; the All-pervading am I;
Everywhere I exist, yet I am beyond the senses;
Neither salvation am I, nor anything that may be known:
I am Pure Knowledge and Bliss: I am Siva! I am Siva!
Each time Mahima repeated: “I am Siva! I am Siva!”, the Master rejoined with a smile: “Not I! Not I! Thou art Knowledge Absolute.”
Mahima read a few more verses and also a description of the six psychic centres of the body. He said that in Benares he had witnessed the death of a yogi in the state of yoga.
MAHIMA: “There are fine passages in the Rama Gita.”
MASTER: “You are speaking of the Rama Gita. Then you must be a staunch Vedantist. How many books of that kind the sadhus used to read here!”
Mahima recited the description of Om:
It is like the unceasing flow of oil, like the long peal of a bell.
About the characteristics of samadhi he read: “The man established in samadhi sees the upper region filled with Atman, the nether region filled with Atman, the middle region filled with Atman. He sees all filled with Atman.”
Adhar and Mahima saluted the Master and departed.
At noon the following day, after his midday meal, Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch, when Ram, Surendra, and a few other devotees arrived from Calcutta. They were worried about the Master’s injured arm. The arm was bandaged. M. was present.
MASTER (to the devotees): “The Mother has put me in such a state of mind that I cannot hide anything from anyone. Mine is the condition of a child. Rakhal doesn’t understand it. He covers my injured arm, wrapping my body with a cloth lest others should see my injury and criticize me. He took Dr. Madhu aside and reported my illness. But I shouted and said: ‘Hello! Where are you, Madhusudan? Come and see. My arm is broken!’
“I used to sleep in the same room with Mathur and his wife. They took care of me a if I were their own child. I was then passing through a state of divine madness. Mathur would ask me, ‘Father, do you hear our conversation?’ ‘Yes’, I would reply.
“Once Mathur’s wife became suspicious of his movements and said to him, ‘If you go anywhere, he (The Master.) must accompany you.’ One day Mathur went to a certain place and asked me to wait downstairs. He returned after half an hour and said to me: ‘Come, father, let us go now. The carriage is waiting.’ When Mathur’s wife asked me about it, I reported the thing correctly. I said to her: ‘We went to a certain house. He told me to stay downstairs and himself went upstairs. He came down after half an hour and we left the place.’ Of course she understood the thing in her own way.
“A partner of Mathur’s estate used to take fruits and vegetables stealthily from the temple garden. When the other partners asked me about it, I told them the exact truth.”
Sunday, February 24, 1884
Sri Ramakrishna was resting in his room after his midday meal, and Mani Mallick was sitting on the floor beside him, when M. arrived. M. saluted the Master and sat down beside Mani. The Master’s injured arm was bandaged.
MASTER (to M.): “How did you come?”
M: “I came as far as Alambazar in a carriage and from there I walked.”
MANILAL: “Oh, he is so hot!”
MASTER (with a smile): “This makes me think that all these are not mere fancies of my brain. Otherwise why should these ‘Englishmen’ take so much trouble to come here?”
Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to them about his health and his injured arm.
MASTER: “Now and then I become impatient about my arm. I show it to this or that man and ask him whether I shall get well again. That makes Rakhal angry. He doesn’t understand my mood. Now and then I say to myself, ‘Let him go away.’ Again I say to the Mother: ‘Mother, where will he go? Why should he burn himself in the frying-pan of the world?’
“This childlike impatience of mine is nothing new. I used to ask Mathur Babu to feel my pulse and tell me whether I was ill.
“Well, where then is my faith in God? Once I was going to Kamarpukur in a bullock-cart, when several persons came up to the cart with clubs in their hands. They looked like highwaymen. I began to chant the names of the gods. Sometimes I repeated the names of Rama and Durga, and sometimes ‘Om Tat Sat’, so that in case one failed another would work.
(To M.) “Can you tell me why I am so impatient?”
M: ‘Tour mind, sir, is always absorbed in samadhi. You have kept a fraction of it on your body for the welfare of the devotees. Therefore you feel impatient now and then for your body’s safety.”
MASTER: “That is true. A little of the mind is attached to the body. It wants to enjoy the love of God and the company of the devotees.”
Mani Mallick told the Master about an exhibition that was being held in Calcutta. He described a beautiful image of Yasoda with the Baby Krishna on her lap. Sri Ramakrishna’s eyes filled with tears. On hearing about Yasoda, the embodiment of maternal love, his spiritual consciousness was kindled and he wept.
MANILAL: “It you were not unwell, you could visit the exhibition in the Maidan.”
MASTER (to M. and the others): “I shan’t be able to see everything even if I go. Perhaps my eyes will fall on some certain thing and I shall become unconscious. Then I shall not be able to see the rest. I was taken to the Zoological Garden. I went into samadhi at the sight of the lion, for the carrier2 of the Mother awakened in my mind the consciousness of the Mother Herself. In that state who could see the other animals? I had to return home after seeing only the lion. Hence Jadu Mallick’s mother first suggested that I should go to the exhibition and then said I should not.”
Mani Mallick, about sixty-five years old, had been a member of the Brahmo Samaj for many years, and Sri Ramakrishna gave him instruction that would agree with his mood.
MASTER: “Pundit Jaynarayan had very liberal views. I visited him once and liked his attitude. But his sons wore high boots. He told me he intended to go to Benares and live there, and at last he carried out his intention; for later on he did live in Benares and die there. When one grows old one should retire, like Jaynarayan, and devote oneself to the thought of God. What do you say?”
MANILAL: “True, sir. I don’t relish the worries and troubles of the world.”
MASTER: “Gauri used to worship his wife with offerings of flowers. All women are manifestations of the Divine Mother. (To Manilal) Please tell them that little story of yours.”
MANILAL (smiling): “Once several men were crossing the Ganges in a boat. One of them, a pundit, was making a great display of his erudition, saying that he had studied various books — the Vedas, the Vedanta, and the six systems of philosophy. He asked a fellow passenger, ‘Do you know the Vedanta?’ ‘No, revered sir.’ ‘The Samkhya and the Patanjala?’ ‘No, revered sir.’ ‘Have you read no philosophy whatsoever?’ ‘No, revered sir.’ The pundit was talking in this vain way and the passenger sitting in silence, when a great storm arose and the boat was about to sink. The passenger said to the pundit, ‘Sir, can you swim?’ ‘No’, replied the pundit. The passenger said, ‘I don’t know the Samkhya or the Patanjala, but I can swim.'”
MASTER (smiling): “What will a man gain by knowing many scriptures? The one thing needful is to know how to cross the river of the world. God alone is real, and all else illusory.
“While Arjuna was aiming his arrow at the eye of the bird, Drona asked him: ‘What do you see? Do you see these kings?’ ‘No, sir’, replied Arjuna. ‘Do you see me?’ ‘No.’ ‘The tree?’ ‘No.’ ‘The bird on the tree?’ ‘No.’ ‘What do you see then?’ ‘Only the eye of the bird.’
“He who sees only the eye of the bird can hit the mark. He alone is clever who sees that God is real and all else is illusory. What need have I of other information? Hanuman once remarked: ‘I don’t know anything about the phase of the moon or the position of the stars. I only contemplate Rama.’
(To M.) “Please buy a few fans for our use here.
(To Manilal) “Look here, pay a visit to his [meaning M.’s] father. The sight of a devotee will inspire you.
(To M.) “Since my arm was injured a deep change has come over me. I now delight only in the Naralila, the human manifestation of God. Nitya and Lila. The Nitya is the Indivisible Satchidananda, and the Lila, or Sport, takes various forms, such as the Lila as God, the Lila as the deities, the Lila as man, and the Lila as the universe.
“Vaishnavcharan used to say that one has attained Perfect Knowledge if one believes in God sporting as man. I wouldn’t admit it then. But now I realise that he was right. Vaishnavcharan liked pictures of man expressing tenderness and love.
(To Manilal) “It is God Himself who is sporting in the form of man. It is He alone who has become Mani Mallick. The Sikhs teach: Thou art Satchidananda.’
“Now and then man catches a glimpse of his real Self and becomes speechless with wonder. At such times he swims in an ocean of joy. It is like suddenly meeting a dear relative. (To M.) The other day as I was coming here in a carriage, I felt like that at the sight of Baburam. When Siva realises His own Self, He dances about in joy exclaiming, ‘What am I! What am I!’
“The same thing has been described in the Adhyatma Ramayana. Narada said, ‘O Rama, all men are Thy forms, and it is Sita who has become all women.’ On looking at the actors in the Ramlila, I felt that Narayana Himself had taken these human forms. The genuine and the imitation appeared to be the same.
“Why do people worship virgins? All women are so many forms of the Divine Mother. But Her manifestation is greatest in pure-souled virgins.
(To M.) “Why do I become impatient when I am ill? Because the Mother has placed me in the state of a child. The child depends entirely on its mother. The child of the maidservant, when he quarrels with the child of the master, says, ‘I shall tell my mother.’
“I was taken to Radhabazar to be photographed. It had been arranged that I should go to Rajendra Mitra’s house that day. I heard that Keshab would be there. I planned to tell them certain things, but I forgot it all when I went to Radhabazar. I said: ‘O Mother, Thou wilt speak. What shall I say?’
“I have not the nature of a jnani. He considers himself great. He says, ‘What? How can I be ill?’
“Koar Singh once said to me, ‘You still worry about your body.’ But it is my nature to believe that my Mother knows everything. It was She who would speak at Rajendra Mitra’s house. Hers are the only effective words. One ray of light from the Goddess of Wisdom stuns a thousand scholars.
“The Mother has kept me in the state of a bhakta, a vijnani. That is why I joke with Rakhal and the others. Had I been in the condition of a jnani I couldn’t do that.
“In this state I realise that it is the Mother alone who has become everything. I see Her everywhere. In the Kali temple I found that the Mother Herself had become everything — even the wicked, even the brother of Bhagavat Pundit.
“Once I was about to scold Ramlal’s mother, but I had to restrain myself. I saw her to be a form of the Divine Mother. I worship virgins because I see in them the Divine Mother. My wife strokes my feet, but I salute her afterwards.
“You salute me by touching my feet. But had Hriday been here, who would have dared to touch them? He wouldn’t have allowed anyone to do it. I have to return your salutes because the Mother has placed me in a state in which I see God in everything.
“You see, one cannot exclude even a wicked person. A tulsi-leaf, however dry or small, can be used for worship in the temple.”
Sunday, March 2, 1884
Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch in his room, listening to devotional music by Trailokya Sannyal of the Brahmo Samaj. He had not yet recovered from the effects of the injury to his arm, which was still supported by a splint. Many devotees, including Narendra, Surendra, and M., were sitting on the floor.
Narendra’s father, a lawyer of the High Court of Calcutta, had passed away suddenly. He had not been able to make provision for the family, which consequently faced grave financial difficulties. The members of the family sometimes had to go without food. Narendra was therefore passing his days in great anxiety.
Trailokya sang about the Divine Mother:
O Mother; I hide myself in Thy loving bosom;
I gaze at Thy face and cry out, “Mother! Mother!”
I sink in the Sea of Bliss and am lost to sense
In yoga-sleep; I gaze with unwinking eyes
Upon Thy face, powerless to turn away.
O Mother, I am terrified by this world;
My spirit, trembles and cries out in fear.
Keep me, sweet Mother, in Thy loving bosom;
Cover me with the spreading skirt of Thy love.
The Master shed tears of love and cried out, “Ah me! Ah me!”
Trailokya sang again:
O Lord, Destroyer of my shame! Who but Thyself can save
The honour of Thy devotee?
Thou art the Ruler of my soul, my very life’s Support,
And I am Thy slave for evermore. …
Seeking a shelter at Thy feet,
I have for ever set aside
My pride of caste and race, O Lord,
And turned my back on fear and shame.
A lonely pilgrim on life’s way,
Where shall I go for succour now?
For Thy sake, Lord, I bear men’s blame;
They rail at me with bitter words
And hate me for my love of Thee.
Both friends and strangers use me ill.
Thou art the Guardian of my name;
Thou mayest save or slay me, Lord!
Upon the honour of Thy servant
Rests, O Lord, Thy name as well;
Thou art the Ruler of my soul,
The glow of love within my heart;
Do with me as it pleases Thee!
Once more he sang:
Lord, Thou hast taken me from home and made me captive with Thy love;
Shield me for ever at Thy feet, O Thou Beloved One!
Upon the Nectar of Thy love, feed me both day and night,
And save Premdas, who is Thy slave.
he Master again shed tears of joy. He sang some lines from a song of Ramprasad:
Glory and shame, bitter and sweet, are Thine alone;
This world is nothing but Thy play.
Then why, O Blissful One, dost Thou cause a rift in it?
Addressing Trailokya, the Master said: “Ah! How touching your songs are! They are genuine. Only he who has gone to the ocean can fetch its water.”
Trailokya sang again:
Thou it is that dancest, Lord, and Thou that singest the song;
Thou it is that clappest Thy hands in time with the music’s beat;
But man, who is an onlooker merely, foolishly thinks it is he.
Though but a puppet, man becomes a god if he moves with Thee;
Thou art the Mover of the machine, the Driver of the car;
But man is weighted down with woe, dreaming that he is free.
Thou art the Root of everything, Thou the Soul of our souls;
Thou art the Master of our hearts; through Thine unbounded grace
Thou turnest even the meanest sinner into the mightiest saint.
The singing came to an end. The Master engaged in conversation with the devotees.
MASTER: “God alone is the Master, and again, He is the Servant. This attitude indicates Perfect Knowledge. At first one discriminates, ‘Not this, not this’, and feels that God alone is real and all else is illusory. Afterwards the same person finds that it is God Himself who has become all this — the universe, maya, and the living beings. First negation and then affirmation. This is the view held by the Puranas. A vilwa-fruit, for instance, includes flesh, seeds, and shell. You get the flesh by discarding the shell and seeds. But if you want to know the weight of the fruit, you cannot find it if you discard the shell and seeds. Just so, one should attain Satchidananda by negating the universe and its living beings. But after the attainment of Satchidananda one finds that Satchidananda. Itself has become the universe and the living beings. It is of one substance that the flesh and the shell and seeds are made, just like butter and buttermilk.
“It may be asked, ‘How has Satchidananda become so hard?’ This earth does indeed feel very hard to the touch. The answer is that blood and semen are thin liquids, and yet out of them comes such a big creature as man. Everything is possible for God. First of all reach the indivisible Satchidananda, and then, coming down, look at the universe. You will then find that everything is Its manifestation. It is God alone who has become everything. The world by no means exists apart from Him.
“All elements finally merge in akasa. Again, at the time of creation, akasa evolves into mahat and mahat into ahamkara. In this way the whole world-system is evolved. It is the process of involution and evolution. A devotee of God accepts everything. He accepts the universe and its created beings as well as the indivisible Satchidananda.
“But the yogi’s path is different. He does not come back after reaching the Paramatman, the Supreme Soul. He becomes united with It.
“The ‘partial knower’ limits God to one object only. He thinks that God cannot exist in anything beyond that.
“There are three classes of devotees. The lowest one says, ‘God is up there.’ That is, he points to heaven. The mediocre devotee says that God dwells in the heart as the ‘Inner Controller’. But the highest devotee says: ‘God alone has become everything. All that we perceive is so many forms of God.’ Narendra used to make fun of me and say: ‘Yes, God has become all! Then a pot is God, a cup is God!’ (Laughter.)
“All doubts disappear when one sees God. It is one thing to hear of God, but quite a different thing to see Him. A man cannot have one hundred per cent conviction through mere hearing. But if he beholds God face to face, then he is wholly convinced.
“Formal worship drops away after the vision of God. It was thus that my worship in the temple came to an end. I used to worship the Deity in the Kali temple. It was suddenly revealed to me that everything is Pure Spirit. The utensils of worship, the altar, the door-frame—all Pure Spirit. Men, animals, and other living beings — all Pure Spirit. Then like a madman I began to shower flowers in all directions. Whatever I saw I worshipped.
“One day, while worshipping Siva, I was about to offer a bel-leaf on the head of the image, when it was revealed to me that this Virat, this Universe, itself is Siva. After that my worship of Siva through the image came to an end. Another day I had been plucking flowers, when it was revealed to me that the flowering plants were so many bouquets.”
TRAILOKYA: “Ah! How beautiful is God’s creation!”
MASTER: “Oh no, it is not that. It was revealed to me in a flash. I didn’t calculate about it. It was shown to me that each plant was a bouquet adorning the Universal Form of God. That was the end of my plucking flowers. I look on man in just the same way. When I see a man, I see that it is God Himself who walks on earth, as it were, rocking to and fro, like a pillow floating on the waves. The pillow moves with the waves. It bobs up and down.
“The body has, indeed, only a momentary existence. God alone is real. Now the body exists, and now it does not. Years ago, when I had been suffering terribly from indigestion, Hriday said to me, ‘Do ask the Mother to cure you.’ I felt ashamed to speak to Her about my illness. I said to Her: ‘Mother, I saw a skeleton in the Asiatic Society Museum. It was pieced together with wires into a human form. O Mother, please keep my body together a little, like that, so that I may sing Thy name and glories.’
“Why this desire to live? After Ravana’s death Rama and Lakshmana entered his capital and saw Nikasha, his old mother, running away. Lakshmana was surprised at this and said to Rama, ‘All her children are dead, but still life attracts her so much!’ Rama called Nikasha to His side and said: ‘Don’t be afraid. Why are you running away?’ She replied: ‘Rama, it was not fear that made me flee from You. I have been able to see all these wondrous actions of Yours simply because I am alive. I shall see many more things like these if I continue to live. Hence I desire to live.’
“Without desires the body cannot live. (Smiling) I had one or two desires. I prayed to the Mother, ‘O Mother, give me the company of those who have renounced “woman and gold”.’ I said further: ‘I should like to enjoy the society of Thy jnanis and bhaktas. So give me a little strength that I may walk hither and thither and visit those people.’ But She did not give me the strength to walk.”
TRAILOKYA (smiling): “Have all the desires been fulfilled?”
MASTER (smiling): ”No, there are still a few left. (All laugh.)
“The body is really impermanent. When my arm was broken I said to the Mother, ‘Mother, it hurts me very much.’ At once She revealed to me a carriage and its driver. Here and there a few screws were loose. The carriage moved as the driver directed it. It had no power of its own.
“Why then do I take care of the body? It is to enjoy God, to sing His name and glories, and to go about visiting His jnanis and bhaktas.”
Narendra was sitting on the floor in front of the Master.
MASTER (to Trailokya and the other devotees): “The joys and sorrows of the body are inevitable. Look at Narendra. His father is dead, and his people have been put to extreme suffering. He can’t find any way out of it. God places one sometimes in happiness and sometimes in misery.”
TRAILOKYA: “Revered sir. God will be gracious to Narendra.”
MASTER (with a smile): “But when? It is true that no one starves at the temple of Annapurna in Benares; but some must wait for food till evening.
“Once Hriday asked Sambhu Mallick for some money. Sambhu held the views of ‘Englishmen’ on such matters. He said to Hriday: ‘Why should I give you money? You can earn your livelihood by working. Even now you are earning something. The case of a very poor person is different. The purpose of charity is fulfilled if one gives money to the blind or the lame.’ Thereupon Hriday said: ‘Sir, please don’t say that. I don’t need your money. May God help me not to become blind or deaf or extremely poor! I don’t want you to give, and I don’t want to receive.'”
The Master spoke as if piqued because God had not yet shown His kindness to Narendra. Now and then he cast an affectionate glance at his beloved disciple.
NARENDRA: “I am now studying the views of the atheists.”
MASTER: “There are two doctrines: the existence and the non-existence of God. Why don’t you accept the first?”
SURENDRA: “God is just. He must look after His devotees.”
MASTER: “It is said in the scriptures that only those who have been charitable in their former births get money in this life. But to tell you the truth, this world is God’s maya. And there are many confusing things in this realm of maya. One cannot comprehend them.
“The ways of God are inscrutable indeed. Bhishma lay on his bed of arrows. The Pandava brothers visited him in Krishna’s company. Presently Bhishma burst into tears. The Pandavas said to Krishna: ‘Krishna, how amazing this is! Our grandsire Bhishma is one of the eight Vasus. Another man as wise as he is not to be found. Yet even he is bewildered by maya and Weeps at death.’ ‘But’, said Krishna, ‘Bhishma isn’t weeping on that account. You may ask him about it.’ When asked, Bhishma said: ‘O Krishna, I am unable to understand anything of the ways of God. God Himself is the constant companion of the Pandavas, and still they have no end of trouble. That is why I weep. When I reflect on this, I realise that one cannot understand anything of God’s ways.’
“God has revealed to me that only the Paramatman, whom the Vedas describe as the Pure Soul, is as immutable as Mount Sumeru, unattached, and beyond pain and pleasure. There is much confusion in this world of His maya. One can by no means say that ‘this’ will come after ‘that’ or ‘this’ will produce ‘that’.”
SURENDRA (smiling): “If by giving away money in a previous birth one gets wealth in this life, then we should all give away money now.”
MASTER: “Those who have money should give it to the poor and needy. (To Trailokya) Jaygopal Sen is well-to-do. He should be charitable. That he is not so is to his discredit. There are some who are miserly even though they have money. There is no knowing who will enjoy their money afterwards.
“Jaygopal came here the other day. He drove over here in a carriage. The lamps were broken, the horse seemed to have been returned from the charnel-house, and the coachman looked as if he had just been discharged from the Medical College Hospital. And he brought me two rotten pomegranates!” (All laugh.)
SURENDRA: “Jaygopal Babu belongs to the Brahmo Samaj. I understand that now there is not one worth-while man in Keshab’s organization. Vijay Goswami, Shivanath, and other notables have organized the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.”
MASTER (smiling): “Govinda Adhikari, it is said, would not keep good actors in his theatre lest they should claim a share of the profit. (All laugh.)
“The other day I saw a disciple of Keshab. A theatrical performance was being given in Keshab’s house, and I saw the disciple dancing on the stage with a child in his arms. I understand that this man delivers ‘lectures’. He had better lecture to himself.”
Upon the Sea of Blissful Awareness waves of ecstatic love arise:
Rapture divine! Play of God’s Bliss!
Oh, how enthralling!
Wondrous waves of the sweetness of God, ever new and ever enchanting,
Rise on the surface, ever assuming
Forms ever fresh.
Then once more in the Great Communion all are merged, as the barrier walls
Of time and space dissolve and vanish:
Dance then, O mind!
Dance in delight, with hands upraised, chanting Lord Hari’s holy name.
Sri Ramakrishna requested Trailokya to sing the song beginning, “O Mother, make me mad with Thy love”.
O Mother, make me mad with Thy love!
What need have I of knowledge or reason?
Make me drunk with Thy love’s Wine;
O Thou who stealest Thy bhaktas’ hearts,
Drown me deep in the Sea of Thy love!
Here in this world, this madhouse of Thine
Some laugh, some weep, some dance for joy:
Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga,
All are drunk with the Wine of Thy love.
O Mother, when shall I be blessed
By joining their blissful company?