One evening Sri Ramakrishna was seated with Totapuri near his sacred dhuni. Both of their minds were almost completely absorbed in nondual knowledge as they talked about God. The Atman, as if dwelling in the flames of the dhuni, was experiencing oneness with them, smiling joyfully, and expressing that oneness through hundreds of leaping tongues of fire! Meanwhile, a servant of the garden wished to smoke, and he made his pipe ready with tobacco. Spotting the fire, he came over and began to take a piece of hot charcoal to light his pipe. Tota was so absorbed in discussion with the Master and in the nondual bliss of Brahman within that he did not notice that a man had come and was about to take charcoal from the dhuni. But when he saw the intruder, he flew into a rage and began to scold him, threatening him with his tongs. As we mentioned earlier, Naga monks worshipped and respected Agni [the Fire God] in the form of the dhuni.
Witnessing this display of Tota’s anger, the Master laughed in ecstasy until he rolled on the ground, crying, “Oh, for shame!” Surprised, Tota asked: “What are you laughing about? The man is insolent!” Still laughing, the Master answered: “Oh yes, he is insolent. But I am also observing the depth of your knowledge of Brahman! Just now you were telling me that Brahman alone exists, and all objects and beings in the universe are Its manifestation. Yet in the next moment you forget all that and are ready to beat that poor man! I laugh to see the irresistible power of maya!” Tota became very serious and was silent for some time. Then he said: “You are quite right. I did indeed forget everything under the influence of anger. Anger is a deadly thing! I shall never again be angry; I give it up this very moment.” And it is said that Tota never was angry again.