AT THE STAR THEATRE
IT WAS MAHALAYA, a
sacred day of the Hindus, and the day of the new moon. At two o'clock in
the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room with Mahendra
Mukherji, Priya Mukherji, M., Baburam, Harish, Kishori, and Lātu. Some
were sitting on the floor, some standing, and others moving about. Hazra
was sitting on the porch. Rākhāl was still at Vrindāvan with
Master praises Captain's devotion
MASTER (to the
devotees): "I was at Captain's house in Calcutta. It was very late when
I returned. What a sweet nature Captain has! What devotion! He performs
before the image. First he waves a lamp with three lights, then a lamp
with one light, and last of all he waves burning camphor. When
performing the worship he does not speak. Once he motioned to me to take
my seat. During the worship his eyes become swollen from spiritual
emotion. They look as if they have been stung by wasps. He cannot sing,
but he chants hymns beautifully. In his mother's presence he sits on a
lower level; she sits on a high stool.
"His father was a
havildar in the English army. He would hold a gun with one hand and with
the other worship Śiva. His servant made a clay image of Śiva for him.
He wouldn't even touch water before performing the worship. He earned
six thousand rupees a year.
"Captain sends his
mother to Benares now and then. Twelve or thirteen servants attend her
there; it is very expensive. Captain knows the Vedānta, the Gitā, and
the Bhagavata by heart. He says that the educated gentlemen of Calcutta
follow the ways of the mlechchhas.
"In his earlier
years he practised hathayoga. That is why he strokes my head gently when
I am in samādhi. His wife worships the Deity in another form-that of
Gopala. This time I didn't find her so miserly. She too knows the Gitā
and other scriptures. What devotion they have!
"They cooked a goat
curry. Captain said they could eat it for fifteen days, but she said,
'No, no! Only seven days.' But I liked the taste of it. They serve a
very small quantity of each dish, but nowadays they give me good
portions since I eat more than they do. After the meal either Captain or
his wife fans me.
"They are very pious
souls and show great respect to holy men. The people of upper India are
greatly devoted to sādhus. The sons and nephews of the Jung Bahadur of
Nepal once visited the temple garden; before me they showed great
respect and humility. Once a young girl of Nepal came to see me with
Captain. She was a great devotee, and unmarried; she knew the whole of
the Gitagovinda by heart. Dwarika Babu and the others wanted to hear her
music. When she sang the Gitagovinda, Dwarika Babu was profoundly moved
and wiped the tears from his eyes with his handkerchief. She was asked
why she was not married. She said: 'I am the handmaid of God. Whom else
shall I serve?' Her people respect her as a goddess, as the scriptures
Mukherji and the others) "I shall feel very happy to know that you are
being benefited by your visits here. (To M.) Why do people come here? I
don't know much of reading and writing."
M.: "God's power is
in you. That is why there is such power of attraction. It is the Divine
Spirit that attracts."
MASTER: "Yes, this
is the attraction of Yogamaya, the Divine Śakti. She casts the spell.
God performs all His lila through the help of Yogamaya.
Nature of gopis' love for Krishna
"The love of the
gopis was like the attachment of a woman to her paramour. They were
intoxicated with ecstatic love for Sri Krishna. A woman cherishing
illicit love is not very keen about her own husband. If she is told that
her husband has come, she will say: 'What if he has? There is food in
the kitchen. He can help himself.' But if she is told of the arrival of
a stranger-jovial, handsome, and witty-she will run to see him and peep
at him from behind a screen.
"You may raise an
objection and say: 'We have not seen God. How can we feel attracted to
Him as the gopis felt attracted to Krishna?' But it is possible. 'I do
not know Him. I have only heard His name, and that has fixed my mind
upon Him.' "
A DEVOTEE: "Sir,
what is the significance of Sri Krishna's stealing the gopis' clothes?"
MASTER: "There are
eight fetters that bind a person to the world. The gopis were free from
all but one: shame. Therefore Krishna freed them from that one, too, by
taking away their clothes. On attaining God one gets rid of all fetters.
(To Mahendra Mukherji and the others) By no means all people feel
attracted to God. There are special souls who feel so. To love God one
must be born with good tendencies. Otherwise, why should you alone of
all the people of Baghbazar come here? You can't expect anything good in
a dunghill. The touch of the Malaya breeze turns all trees into
sandal-wood, no doubt. But there are a few exceptions-the banyan, the
cotton-tree, and the Aśwattha, for example.
(To the Mukherji
brothers) "You are well off. If a man slips from the path of yoga, then
he is reborn in a prosperous family and starts again his spiritual
practice for the realization of God."
Unfulfilled desires make one deviate from yoga
MAHENDRA: "Why does
one slip from the path of yoga?"
thinking of God the aspirant may feel a craving for material enjoyment.
It is this craving that makes him slip from the path. In his next life
he will be born with the spiritual tendencies that he failed to
translate into action in his present life."
MAHENDRA: "Then what
is the way?"
salvation is possible for a man as long as he has desire, as long as he
hankers for worldly things. Therefore fulfil all your desires regarding
food, clothes, and sex. (Smiling) What do you say about the last one?
Legitimate or illegitimate? (M. and Mahendra laugh.)
"It is not good to
cherish desires and hankerings. For that reason I used to fulfil
whatever desires came to my mind. Once I saw some coloured sweetmeats at
Burrabazar and wanted to eat them. They brought me the sweets and I ate
a great many. The result was that I fell ill.
"In my boyhood days,
while bathing in the Ganges, I saw a boy with a gold ornament around his
waist. During my state of divine intoxication I felt a desire to have a
similar ornament myself. I was given one, but I couldn't keep it on very
long. When I put it on, I felt within my body the painful uprush of a
current of air. It was because I had touched gold to my skin. I wore the
ornament a few moments and then had to put it aside. Otherwise I should
have had to tear it off.
"I once felt a
desire to eat the famous sweetmeats of different cities. (All laugh.) I
had a desire to hear Sambhu's musical recital of the Chandi. After
fulfilling that desire I wanted to hear the same thing by Rajnarayan.
That desire also was satisfied.
"At that time many
holy men used to visit the temple garden. A desire arose in my mind that
there should be a separate store-room to supply them with their
provisions. Mathur Babu arranged for one. The sādhus were given
food-stuffs, fuel, and the like from that store-room.
"Once the idea came
to me to put on a very expensive robe embroidered with gold and to smoke
a silver hubble-bubble. Mathur Babu sent me the new robe and the
hubble-bubble. I put on the robe. I also smoked the hubble-bubble in
various fashions. Sometimes I smoked it reclining this way, and
sometimes that way, sometimes with head up, and sometimes with head
down. Then I said to myself, 'O mind, this is what they call smoking a
silver hubble-bubble.' Immediately I renounced it. I kept the robe on my
body a few minutes longer and then took it off. I began to trample it
underfoot and spit on it, saying: 'So this is an expensive robe! But it
only increases man's rajas.'"
been staying at Vrindāvan with Balarām. At first he had written excited
letters praising the holy place. He had written to M.: "It is the best
of all places. Please come here. The peacocks dance around, and one
always hears and sees religious music and dancing. There is an unending
flow of divine bliss." But then Rākhāl had been laid up with an
attack of fever. Sri Ramakrishna was very much worried about him and
vowed to worship the Divine Mother for his recovery. So he began to talk
about Rākhāl .
had his first religious ecstasy while sitting here massaging my feet. A
Bhagavata scholar had been expounding the sacred book in the room. As
Rākhāl listened to his words, he shuddered every now and then.
Then he became altogether still.
"His second ecstasy
was at Balarām Bose's house. In that state he could not keep himself
sitting upright; he lay flat on the floor. Rākhāl belongs to the
realm of the Personal God. He leaves the place if one talks about the
"I have taken a vow
to worship the Divine Mother when he recovers. You see, he has renounced
his home and relatives and completely surrendered himself to me. It was
I who sent him to his wife now and then. He still had a little desire
(Pointing to M,)
"Rākhāl has written him from Vrindāvan that it is a grand
place-the peacocks dance around. Now let the peacock's take care of him.
He has really put me in a fix.
"Rākhāl has been
staying with Balarām at Vrindāvan. Ah, what a nice nature Balarām has!
It is only for my sake that he doesn't go to Orissa, where his family
owns an estate. His brother stopped his monthly allowance and wrote to
him: 'Come and stay with us here. Why should you waste so much money in
Calcutta?' But he didn't listen. He has been living in Calcutta because
he wants to see me.
What devotion to
God! He is busy day and night with his worship. His gardener is always
making garlands of flowers for the Deity, He has decided to spend four
months a year at Vrindāvan to reduce his expenses. He gets a monthly
allowance of two hundred rupees.
"Why am I so fond of
the youngsters? They are still untouched by 'woman arid gold'. I find
that they belong to the class of the nityasiddhas, the everperfect."
Narendra's first visit
"When Narendra first
came here he was dressed in dirty clothes; but his eyes and face
betokened some inner stuff. At that time he did not know many songs. He
sang one or two: 'Let us go back once more, O mind, to our own abode!'
and 'O Lord, must all my days pass by so utterly in vain?'
"Whenever he came
here, I would talk only with him, though the room was filled with
people. He would say to me, 'Please talk to them', and then I would talk
with the others.
"I became mad for
the sight of him and wept for him in Jadu Mallick's garden house: 'I
wept here, too, holding Bholanath's hand.' Bholanath said, 'Sir, you
shouldn't behave that way for a mere kayastha boy.' One day the 'fat
brahmin' said to me about Narendra, with folded hands, 'Sir, he has very
little education; why should you be so restless for him?'
Narendra are a pair. They are like man and woman. So I asked Bhavanath
to rent a house near Narendra's. Both of them belong to the realm of the
Master warns the devotees about women
"I forbid the
youngsters to spend a long time with women or visit them too frequently.
Haripada has fallen into the clutches of a woman of the Ghoshpara sect.
She shows maternal feeling for him; but Haripada is a child and doesn't
understand its real meaning. The women of that sect act that way when
they see young boys. I understand that Haripada lies on her lap and that
she feeds him with her own hands. I shall tell him that this is not
good. This very maternal feeling leads to a downfall. The women of that
sect practise spiritual discipline in the company of men; they regard
men as Krishna. A teacher of that sect asks a woman devotee, 'Have you
found your Krishna?' and she says, 'Yes, I have found my Krishna.'
"The other day that
woman came here. I watched the way she looked around and I didn't
approve of it. I said to her, 'You may treat Haripada any way you like,
but don't have any wrong feeling for him.'
"The youngsters are
now in the stage of sadhana. They are aspirants. For them the only thing
now is renunciation. A sannyasi must not look even at the portrait of a
woman. I say to them: 'Don't sit beside a woman and talk to her, even if
she is a devotee. You may say a word or two to her, standing.' Even a
perfect soul must follow this precept for his own protection and also to
set an example to others. When women, come to me, I too say to them
after a few minutes, 'Go and visit the temples.' If they don't get up, I
myself leave the room. Others will learn from my example.
Master's attraction for people
"Can you tell me why
all these youngsters, and you people, too, visit me? There must be
something in me; or why should you all feel such a pull, such
His own reminiscences
"Once I visited
Hriday's house at Sihore. From there I was taken to Syambazar. I had a
vision of Cauranga before I entered the village, and I realized that I
should meet Cauranga's devotees there. For seven days and nights I was
surrounded by a huge crowd of people. Such attraction! Nothing but
kirtan and dancing day and night. People stood in rows on the walls and
even were in the trees.
"I stayed at Natavar
Goswami's house. It was crowded day and night. In the morning I would
run away to the house of a weaver for a little rest. There too I found
that people would gather after a few minutes. They carried drums and
cymbals with them, and the drum constantly played:'Takuti! Takuti!' We
would have our meal at three in the afternoon.
"The rumour spread
everywhere that a man had arrived who died seven times and came back to
life again. Hriday would drag me away from the crowd to a paddy-field
for fear I might have an attack of heat apoplexy. The crowd would follow
us there like a line of ants. Again the cymbals and the never-ending
Takuti! Takuti!' of the drums. Hriday scolded them and said: 'Why do you
like this? Have we
never heard kirtan?'
priests of the village came and almost started a quarrel. They thought I
would take their share of the fees from the devotees. But soon they
discovered that I didn't touch a piece of cloth or even a thread.
Someone remarked that I was a Brahmajnani. So the Vaishnava pundits
wanted to test me. One said, 'Why hasn't he beads, and a mark on his
forehead?' Another of them replied, They have dropped from him, as the
dry branch from a coconut tree. It was there that I learnt this
illustration of the dry branch of a coconut tree. The upadhis,
limitations, drop when one attains Knowledge.
thronging from distant villages. They even spent the night there. At
Syambazar I learnt the meaning of divine attraction. When God incarnates
Himself on earth He attracts people through the help of Yogamaya, His
Divine Power. People become spellbound."
It was about three
o'clock in the afternoon. The Master had been conversing with the
Mukherji brothers and the other devotees, when Radhika Goswami, a
Vaishnava scholar, arrived and bowed before him. This was his first
visit to the Master. Radhika Goswami took a seat.
MASTER: "Are you a
descendant of Advaita?"
GOSWAMI: "Yes, sir."
At this the Master
saluted him with folded hands.
MASTER: "You are
descended from Advaita Goswami. You must have inherited some of his
traits. A sweet-mango tree produces only sweet mangoes arid not sour
ones. Of course, it happens that some trees produce large mangoes and
some small; that depends on the soil. Isn't that true?"
"Sir, what do I know?"
you may say, others will not let you off so easily. Brahmans, however
imperfect they-may be, are worshipped by all on account of their having
been born in the lines of great sages. (To M.) Tell us the story of the
M. sat in
MASTER: "If one of
your ancestors was a great soul, he will certainly pull you up, however
unworthy you may be. When King Duryodhana and his brothers were taken
captive by the gandharvas, Yudhisthira released them in spite of the
fact that King Duryodhana was his enemy and had banished him to the
"Besides, one must
show respect to the religious garb. Even the mere garb recalls to mind
the real object. Chaitanya once dressed an ass in a religious garb and
then prostrated himself before it.
"Why do people bow
before a samkhachila? When Kamsa was about to kill the Divine Mother,
She Hew away taking the form of a samkhachila. So even now people salute
arrived at the cantonment of Chanak. The sepoys saluted him. Koar Singh
explained to me: 'India is under the rule of the English. Therefore one
should salute an Englishman.
"The Saktas follow
the Tantra, and the Vaishnavas the Purana. There is no harm for the
Vaishnavas in speaking publicly of their spiritual practices. But the
Saktas maintain secrecy about theirs. For this reason it is difficult to
understand a Sakta.
(To Goswami) "You
are all good people. How much japa you practise! How much you chant the
name of Hari!"
"Oh, no! We do very little. I am a great sinner."
"You have humility. That is good. But there is also another way: 'I
chant the name of Hari. How can I be a sinner?' He who constantly
repeats: 'I am a sinner! I am a wretch!' verily becomes a sinner. What
lack of faith! A man chants the name of God so much, and still he talks
listened to these words in amazement.
Master's following of different paths
Vrindāvan I myself put on the garb of the Vaishnavas and wore it for
fifteen days. (To the devotees) I have practised the disciplines of all
the paths, each for a few days. Otherwise I should have found no peace
of mind. (Smiling) I have practised all the disciplines; I accept all
paths. I respect the Saktas, the Vaishnavas, and also the Vedantists.
Therefore people of all sects come here. And everyone of them thinks
that I belong to his school. I also respect the modern Brahmajnanis.
"A man had a tub of
dye. Such was its wonderful property that people could dye their clothes
any colour they wanted by merely dipping them in it. A clever man said
to the owner of the tub, 'Dye my cloth the colour of your dye-stuff.'
"Why should I be
one-sided? The idea that the people of a particular sect will not come
to me does not frighten me. I don't care a bit whether people come to me
or not. The thought of keeping anyone under my control never crosses my
mind. Adhar Sen asked me to ask the Divine Mother for a big position for
him, but he didn't get it. If that makes him think differently about me,
what do I care?
"Once at Keshab's
house I found myself in a new mood. The Brahmos always speak of the
Impersonal; therefore I said to the Divine Mother in an ecstatic mood:
'Mother, please don't come here. They don't believe in Your forms.'"
listened to these words of the Master against sectarianism and remained
Master's praise of Vijay Goswami
"Vijay is in a wonderful state of mind nowadays. He falls to the ground
while chanting the name of Hari. He devotes himself to kirtan,
meditation, and other spiritual practices till four in the morning. He
now puts on an ochre robe and prostrates himself before the images of
God. Once he accompanied me to Gadadhar's schoolhouse. I pointed out the
place where Gadadhar
used to meditate. At
once Vijay prostrated himself there. Again he fell prostrate before the
picture of Chaitanyadeva."
GOSWAMI: "What about
the image of Radha-Krishna?"
prostrated himself there too. Vijay also follows all the conventions of
GOSWAMI: "He can now
be accepted in Vaishnava society."
opinions don't count for much with him."
GOSWAMI: "I don't
mean that. By accepting him Vaishnava society will honour itself."
MASTER: "He respects
me very much. But it is difficult to reach him. One day he is called to
Dāccā, the next day to some other place. He is always busy. His presence
has created great trouble in the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj."
GOSWAMI: "Why so,
MASTER: The Brahmos
tell him: 'You mix with people who worship God with form. You are an
idolater.' Vijay is liberal and straightforward. Unless a man is
guileless, he doesn't receive the grace of God. Sri Ramakrishna
talked to the Mukherji brothers. Mahendra, the elder, had his own
business. Priyanath, the younger, had been an engineer. After making
some provision for himself, he had given up his job. Mahendra was
thirty-five or thirty-six years old. The brothers had homes both in the
country and in Calcutta.
"Don't sit idle simply because your spiritual consciousness has been
awakened a little. Go forward. Beyond the forest of sandalwood there are
other and more valuable things-silver-mines, gold-mines, and so on."
Bondage and freedom are of the mind
"Sir, our legs are in chains. We cannot go forward."
MASTER: "What if the
legs are chained? The important thing is the mind. Bondage is of the
mind, and freedom also is of the mind.
"Listen to a story.
There were two friends. One went into a house of prostitution and the
other to hear a recital of the Bhagavata. 'What a shame!' thought the
first. 'My friend is hearing spiritual discourse, but just see what I
have slipped down to!' The second friend said to himself: 'Shame on me!
My friend is having a good time, but how stupid I am!' After death the
soul of the first was taken to Vaikuntha
by the messenger of
Vishnu, while that of the second was taken to the nether world of Yama."
PRIYA: "But the mind
is not under my control."
MASTER: "How is
that? There is such a thing as abhyiisayoga, yoga through practice. Keep
up the practice and you will find that your mind will follow in whatever
direction you lead it. The mind is like a white cloth just returned from
the laundry. It will be red if you dip it in red dye and blue if you dip
it in blue. It will have whatever colour you dip it in.
(To Goswami) "Have
you anything to ask?"
GOSWAMI: "No, sir. I
am satisfied that I have seen you and have been I listening to your
MASTER: "Go and
visit the temples."
humbly): "Won't you please sing something about Sri Chaitanya?"
The Master complied.
Why has My body turned so golden?It is not time for this to
Many the ages that must pass, before as Gaurānga I appear! . .
Gora gazes at Vrindāvan and tears stream from his eyes;
In an exuberance of joy, he laughs and weeps and dances and sings.
He takes a wood for Vrindāvan, the ocean for the blue Jamuna;
He rolls on the ground for love of Hari.
After singing, the
Master went on with the conversation.
MASTER (to Goswami):
"I have sung these songs to suit your Vaishnava temperament. But I must
sing differently when the Saktas or others come.
"Herepeople of all
sects come-Vaishnavas, Saktas, Kartabhajas,Vedantists, and also members
of the modern Brahmo Samaj. Therefore one finds here all ideals and
attitudes. It is by the will of God that different religions and
opinions have come into existence. God gives to different people what
they can digest. The mother does not give fish pilau to all her
children. All cannot digest it; so she prepares simple fish soup for
some. Everyone cherishes his own special ideal and follows his own
various images for the Baroari because people of different sects
assemble at it. You see there images of Radha-Krishna, Śiva-Durga, and
Sita-Rāma-different images in different places. A crowd gathers before
each image. The Vaishnavas spend most of their time before the image of
Radha-Krishna, the Saktas before Śiva-Durga, and the devotees of Rāma
"But it is quite
different with those who are not spiritually minded at all. In the
Baroari one sees another image also-a prostitute beating her paramour
with a broomstick. Those people stand there with gaping mouths and cry
to their friends: 'What are you looking at over there? Come here! Look
at this!' " (All laugh.)
saluted the Master and took his leave.
It was about five
o'clock. The Master was on the semicircular west porch. Baburam, Lātu,
the Mukherji brothers, M., and some other devotees were with him.
MASTER (to M. and
the others): "Why should I be one-sided? The goswamis belong to the
Vaishnava school and are very bigoted. They think that their opinion
alone is right and all other opinions are wrong. My words have hit him
hard. (Smiling) One must strike the elephant on the head with the goad;
that is the elephant's most sensitive spot."
Ramakrishna told a few naughty jokes for the young men.
MASTER (to the
devotees): "I don't give the youngsters a pure vegetarian diet: now and
then I give them a little water smelling of fish. Otherwise, why should
brothers left the porch. They went to the garden for a stroll.
MASTER (to M.): "I
wonder whether the Mukherjis have taken offence at my jokes?"
M: "Why should they?
Captain said that you are like a child. After realizing God a man
MASTER: "Yes, and
sometimes he behaves like a boy, and sometimes like a young man. As a
boy he is very light-hearted. He may use frivolous language. As a young
man he is like a roaring lion while teaching others. You had better
explain my state of mind to the Mukherjis."
M: "I don't have to
do that. Haven't they the sense to see it?"
Again the Master
became light-hearted with the boys. Then he said to one of the devotees:
"Today is the new moon. Go to the Kāli temple in the evening."
It was dusk. They
heard the sound of gongs, cymbals, and other instruments used in the
evening service in. the temples. The Master said to Baburam, "Come with
me to the Kāli temple." He and Baburam went toward the temple,
accompanied by M. At the sight of Harish sitting on the porch, the
Master said: "What is this? Is he in ecstasy?"
Going through the
courtyard, the Master and the devotees stopped a minute in front of the
Radhakanta temple to watch the worship. Then they proceeded to the
shrine of Kāli. With folded hands the Master prayed to the Divine
Mother: "O Mother! O Divine Mother! O Brahmamayi!"
Reaching the raised
platform in front of the shrine, he bowed low before the image. The
going on. He entered the shrine and fanned the image.
The evening worship
was over. The devotees bowed before the Deity. It was the night of the
new moon. The Master was in a spiritual mood. Gradually his mood
deepened into intense ecstasy. He returned to his room, reeling like a
drunkard and holding to Baburam's hand.
Master's prayer to Divine Mother
A lamp was lighted
on the west porch. The Master sat there a few minutes, chanting: "Hari
Om! Hari Om! Hari Om!" and other mystic syllables of the Tantra.
Presently he returned to his room and sat on the small couch, facing the
east. He was still completely. absorbed in divine fervour. He said to
the Divine Mother: "Mother, that I should first speak and You then
act-oh, that's nonsense! What is the meaning of talk? It is nothing but
a sign. One man says, 'I shall eat.' Again, another says, 'No! I won't
hear of it.' Well, Mother, suppose I had said I would not eat; wouldn't
I still feel hungry? Is it ever possible that You should listen only
when one prays aloud and not when one feels an inner longing? You are
what You are. Then why do I speak? Why do I pray? I do as You make me
do. Oh, what confusion! Why do You make me reason?"
As Sri Ramakrishna
was thus talking to God, the devotees listened wonder-struck to his
words. The Master's eyes fell upon them.
MASTER (to the
devotees): "One must inherit good tendencies to realize God, One must
have done something, some form of tapasya, either in this life or in
clothes were being taken off, she cried earnestly, praying to God. God
revealed Himself to her and said: 'Try to remember whether you have ever
made a gift of a cloth to anyone. Then your modesty will be preserved.'
Draupadi replied: 'Yes, I remember now. Once a rishi was taking his bath
when his loin-cloth was carried away by the current. I tore off half my
cloth and gave it to him.' Thereupon the Lord said, 'Then you have
nothing to fear.' "
M. was sitting on
the small foot-rug.
MASTER (to M.): "You
have understood what I said."
M: "Yes, sir. You
spoke about inherent tendencies."
MASTER: "Repeat what
M. repeated the
story of Draupadi.
Hazra entered the
room. He had been living with Sri Ramakrishna in the temple garden for
the past two years and had first met the Master in 1880 at Sihore in the
house of Hriday, the Master's nephew. Hazra's native village was near
Sihore, and he owned some property there. He had a wife and children and
also some debts. From youth he had felt a spirit of renunciation and
sought the company of holy men and devotees. The Master had asked him to
live with him at Dakshineswar and looked after his necessities. Hazra's
mind was a jumble of undigested religious moods. He professed the path
of knowledge and disapproved of Sri Ramakrishna's attitude of bhakti and
his longing for the young devotees. Now and then he thought of the
Master as a great soul, but again he slighted him as an ordinary human
being. He spent much of his time in telling his beads, and he criticized
Rākhāl and the other young men for their indifference to the
practice. He was a strong advocate of religious conventions and rules of
conduct, and made a fad of them. He was about thirty-eight years old.
As Hazra came in,
the Master became a little abstracted and in that mood began to talk.
MASTER (to Hazra):
"What you are doing is right in principle, but the application is not
quite correct. Don't find fault with anyone, not even with an insect. As
you pray to God for devotion, so also pray that you may not find
fault with anyone."
HAZRA: "Does God
listen to our prayer for bhakti?"
MASTER: "Surely. I
can assure you of that a hundred times. But the prayer must be genuine
and earnest. Do worldly-minded people weep for God as they do for wife
and children? At Kamarpukur the wife of a certain man fell ill. The man
thought she would not recover; he began to tremble and was about to
faint. Who feels that way for God?"
Hazra was about to
take the dust of the Master's feet.
"What is this?"
HAZRA: "Why should I
not take the dust of his feet who has so kindly kept me with him?"
MASTER: "Satisfy God
and everyone will be satisfied. 'If He is pleased the world is pleased.'
Once the Lord ate a few greens from Draupadi's cooking-pot and said,
'Ah, I am satisfied.' Immediately the whole world and all its living
beings were satisfied; they felt as if they had eaten their fill. But
was the world satisfied or did it feel that way when the rishis ate
(To Hazra) "A
perfect soul, even after attaining Knowledge, practises devotions or
observes religious ceremonies to set an example to others. I go to the
Kāli temple and I bow before the holy pictures in my room; therefore
others do the same. Further, if a man has become habituated to such
ceremonies, he feels restless if he does not observe them.
"One day I saw a
sannyasi under the banyan-tree. He had put the salagram on the same
carpet with his guru's sandals. He was worshipping them. I said to him,
'If you have attained Knowledge to that extent, then why such formal
worship at all?' He replied: 'What difference does it make? Since I do
everything else, why not this too? Sometimes I offer the flowers at the
guru's feet and sometimes to God.'
"One cannot renounce
work as long as one has a body. As long as there is mud at the bottom of
the lake, bubbles will be produced.
Advice to Hazra - Scriptures and sadhana
(To Hazra) "If there
is knowledge of one, there is also knowledge of many. What will you
achieve by mere study of the scriptures? The scriptures contain a
mixture of sand and sugar, as it were. It is extremely difficult to
separate the sugar from the sand. Therefore one should learn the essence
of the scriptures from the teacher or from a sādhu. Afterwards what does
one care for books?
(To the devotees)
"Gather all the information and then plunge in. Suppose a pot has
dropped in a certain part of a lake. Locate the spot and dive there.
"One should learn
the essence of the scriptures from the guru and then practise sadhana.
If one rightly follows spiritual discipline, then one directly sees God.
The discipline is said to be rightly followed only when one plunges in.
What will a man gain by merely reasoning about the words of the
scriptures? Ah, the fools! They reason themselves to death over
information about the path. They never take the plunge. What a pity!
"You may say, even
though you dive deep you are still in danger of sharks and crocodiles,
of lust and anger. But dive after rubbing your body with turmeric
powder; then sharks and crocodiles will not come near you. The turmeric
is discrimination and renunciation.
Master's spiritual practice
(To the devotees)
"God made me pass through the disciplines of various paths. First
according to the Purana, then according to the Tantra. I also followed
the disciplines of the Vedas. At first I practised sadhana in the
Panchavati. I made a grove of tulsi-plants and used to sit inside it and
meditate. Sometimes I cried with a longing Heart, 'Mother! Mother!' Or I
again, 'Rāma! Rāma!'
"While repeating the
name of Rāma, I sometimes assumed the attitude of Hanuman and fixed a
tail to the lower end of my backbone. I was in a God-intoxicated state.
At that time I used to put on a silk robe and worship the Deity. What
joy I experienced in that worship!
"I practised the
discipline of the Tantra under the bel-tree. At that time I could see no
distinction between the sacred tulsi and any other plant. In that state
I sometimes ate the leavings from a jackal's meal, food that had been
exposed the whole night, part of which might have been eaten by snakes
or other creatures. Yes, I ate that stuff. "Sometimes I rode on a dog
and fed him with luchi, also eating part of the bread myself. I realized
that the whole world was filled with God alone. One cannot have
spiritual realization without destroying ignorance; so I would assume
the attitude of a tiger and devour ignorance.
the disciplines of the Vedas, I became a sannyasi. I used to lie down in
the chandni and say to Hriday: 'I am a sannyasi. I shall take my meals
"I vowed to the
Divine Mother that I would kill myself if I did not see God. I said to
Her: 'O Mother, I am a fool. Please teach me what is contained in the
Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures.' The Mother
said to me, 'The essence of the Vedānta is that Brahman alone is real
and the world illusory.'The Satchidananda Brahman described in the Vedas
is the Satchidananda Śiva of
the Tantra and the
Satchidananda Krishna of the Purana. The essence of the Gitā is what you
get by repeating the word ten times. It is reversed into 'tagi', which
realization of God, how far below lie the Vedas, the Vedānta, the
Purana, the Tantra! (To Hazra) I cannot utter the word 'Om' in samādhi.
Why is that? I cannot say 'Om' unless I come down very far from the
state of samādhi.
"I had all the
experiences that one should have, according to the scriptures, after
one's direct perception of God. I behaved like a child, like a madman,
like a ghoul, and like an inert thing.
"I saw the visions
described in the scriptures. Sometimes I saw the universe filled with
sparks of fire. Sometimes I saw all the quarters glittering with light,
as if the world were a lake of mercury. Sometimes I saw the world as if
made of liquid silver. Sometimes, again, I saw all the quarters
illumined as if with the light of Raman candles. So you see my
experiences tally with those described in the scriptures.
"It was revealed to
me further that God Himself has become the universe and all its living
beings and the twenty-four cosmic principles. It is like the process of
evolution and involution.
"Oh, what a state
God kept me in at that time! One experience would hardly be over before
another overcame me. It was like the movement of the husking-machine: no
sooner is one end down than the other goes up.
"I would see God in
meditation, in the state of samādhi, and I would see the same God when
my mind came back to the outer world. When looking at this side of the
mirror I would see Him alone, and when looking on the reverse side I saw
the same God."
listened to these words with rapt attention.
(To the Mukherji
brothers) "Captain is now really in the state of the sadhaka. That the
mere possession of wealth should create, attachment is by no means true.
Sambhu Mallick used to say to Hriday, 'Hridu, I have packed my things
and am ready for the journey.' I said to him: 'God forbid! Why do you
say such ominous words?' 'No', replied Sambhu. 'Please bless me that I
may cast aside all these possessions and go to God.'
"God's devotees have
nothing to fear. They are His own He always stands by them. Once
Duryodhana and his brothers were imprisoned by the gandharvas. It was
Yudhisthira who freed them. Yudhisthira said, 'If our relatives are
placed in such a plight, then it is our disgrace.' "
It was about nine
o'clock in the evening. The Mukherji brothers were ready to return to
Calcutta. The Master left his seat and began to pace the room and the
porch. He could hear the kirtan sung in the Vishnu temple. A devotee
said that Harish and Lātu were in the singing party.
Sri Ramakrishna and
the devotees went to the Vishnu temple and saluted the Deity. The
brahmins belonging to the staff of the temple garden, and also the
priests, the cooks, and the servants, were singing the kirtan. He stood
there a few minutes and encouraged the singers. On the way back to his
room he remarked to the devotees, "You see, some of them polish the
metal utensils and some go to houses of prostitution."
The Master returned
to his room and took his seat. Presently the singers came and bowed low
before him. The Master said to them: "One should perspire, dancing and
singing the name of God, as people do earning money. I had thought of
joining you in the dancing; but I found that you did everything very
well. You had flavoured the curry with all the seasoning. What could I
add? It will be nice if you sing devotional songs that way now and
brothers saluted the Master. Their carriage was ready near the verandah
north of the room. The Master stood facing the north. On his left was
the Ganges; in front of him were the nahabat, the garden, and the kuthi;
and to his right was the road leading to the gate. The night was dark,
and a devotee had brought a lantern to show the visitors their way. One
by one the devotees bowed and took the dust of the Master's feet. The
carriage seemed too heavily loaded for the horses. The Master said,
"Aren't there too many people in the carriage?"
remained standing. As the carriage rolled away, the devotees looked back
at the Master's face beaming with compassion and love.
Sunday, September 21, 1884
A large number of
devotees were in Sri Ramakrishna's room, among them Ram, Mahendra
Mukherji, M., and Chunilal. Chunilal had just returned from Vrindāvan,
where he had gone with Rākhāl and Balarām. The two latter were
still there. Nityagopal also was staying there. The Master began to talk
with Chunilal about Vrindāvan.
MASTER: "How is
CHUNI: "He is quite
well now, sir."
Nityagopal coming back?"
CHUNI: "He was still
there when I left."
MASTER: "Who will
bring your family back?"
CHUNI: "Balarām Babu
told me he would arrange it with some reliable person. He didn't mention
Master praises Narayan
Sri Ramakrishna then
spoke to Mahendra Mukherji about Narayan, a school-boy sixteen or
seventeen years old, who often visited the Master and was very dear to
MASTER: "He is quite
guileless, isn't he?"
The very uttering of
the word "guileless" filled the Master with great joy.
MAHENDRA: "Yes, sir.
MASTER: "His mother
came here the other day. I was a little frightened to see that she was a
proud woman. That day she found that Captain, you, and many others, too,
visited me. Then she must have realized that she and her son were not
the only people to come here. (All laugh.) There was some sugar candy in
the room and she remarked that it was good. That made her feel there was
no scarcity of food here. I happened to tell Baburam, in front of her,
to keep some sweets for himself and Naran. Ganu's mother said that Naran
always bothered his mother for the boat hire to come here. His mother
said to me, 'Please ask Naran to consent to marry.' I replied, 'All that
depends on one's fate.' Why should I interfere? (All laugh.) Naran is
indifferent to his studies. His mother said, 'Please ask him to pay a
little more attention.' So I said to Naran, 'Attend to your studies.'
Then his mother said, 'Please tell him seriously.' (All laugh.)
(To Chunilal) "Why
doesn't Gopal come here?"
CHUNILAL: "He has
been suffering from dysentery."
MASTER: "Is he
taking any medicine?"
Sri Ramakrishna was
planning to go to a performance of the Chaitanyalila at the Star
Theatre. Mahendra Mukherji was to take him to Calcutta in his carriage.
They were talking about choosing good seats. Some suggested that one
could see the performance well from the one-rupee gallery. Ram said,
"Oh, no! I shall engage a box for him." The Master laughed. Some of the
devotees said that public women took part in the play. They took the
parts of Nimai, Nitai, and others.
MASTER (to the
devotees): "I shall look upon them as the Blissful Mother Herself. What
if one of them acts the part of Chaitanya? An imitation custard-apple
reminds one of the real fruit. Once, while going along a road, a devotee
of Krishna noticed some babla-trees. Instantly his mind was thrown into
ecstasy. He remembered that the wood of babla-trees was used for the
handles of the spades that the garden of the temple of Syamasundar was
dug with. The trees instantly reminded him of Krishna. I was once taken
to the Maidan in Calcutta to see a balloon go up. There I noticed a
young English boy leaning against a tree, with his body bent in three
places. It at once brought before me the vision of Krishna and I went
was passing through a village. Someone told him that the body of the
drum used in the kirtan was made from the earth of that village, and at
once he went into ecstasy.
"Radha could not
control herself at the sight of a cloud or the blue throat of a peacock.
It would at once awaken in her mind the thought of Krishna, and she
would go into ecstasy."
The Master was
silent a few moments and then resumed the conversation.
MASTER: "Radha had
attained mahabhava. There was no desire behind the ecstatic love of the
gopis. A true lover does not seek anything from God. He prays only
for pure love. He doesn't want any powers or miracles.
"It is very
troublesome to possess occult powers. Nangta taught me this by a story.
A man who had acquired occult powers was sitting on the seashore when a
storm arose. It caused him great discomfort; so he said, 'Let the storm
stop.' His words could not remain unfulfilled. At that moment a ship was
going full sail before the wind. When the storm ceased abruptly the ship
capsized and sank. The passengers perished and the sin of causing their
death fell to the man. And because of that sin he lost his occult powers
and went to hell.
"Once upon a time a
sādhu acquired great occult powers. He was vain about them. But he was a
good man and had some austerities to his credit. One day the Lord,
disguised as a holy man, came to him and said, 'Revered sir, I have
heard that you have great occult powers.' The sādhu received the Lord
cordially and offered him a seat. Just then an elephant passed by. The
Lord, in the disguise of the holy man, said to the sādhu, 'Revered sir,
can you kill this elephant if you like?' The sādhu said, 'Yes, it is
possible.' So saying, he took a pinch of dust, muttered some mantras
over it, and threw it at the elephant. The beast struggled awhile in
pain and then dropped dead. The Lord said: 'What power you have! You
have killed the elephant!' The sādhu laughed. Again the Lord spoke: 'Now
can you revive the elephant?' 'That too is possible', replied the sādhu.
He threw another pinch of charmed dust at the beast. The elephant
writhed about a litle and came back to life. Then the Lord said:
'Wonderful is your power. But may I ask you one thing? You have killed
the elephant and you have revived it. But what has that done for you? Do
you feel uplifted by it? Has it enabled you to realize God?' Saying this
the Lord vanished.
"Subtle are the ways
of dharma. One cannot realize God if one has even the least trace of
desire. A thread cannot pass through the eye of a needle if it has the
smallest fibre sticking out.
"Krishna said to
Arjuna, 'Friend, if you want to realize Me, you will not succeed if you
have even one of the eight occult powers.' This is the truth. Occult
power is sure to beget pride, and pride makes one forget God.
"Once a cross-eyed
rich man came here. He said to me: 'You are a paramahamsa. That is good.
You must perform a swastyayana ceremony for me.' What a small-minded
person he was! He called me a paramahamsa and yet wanted me to perform
that ceremony. To secure welfare by means of the swastyayana is to
exercise occult power.
"An egotistic person
cannot realize God. Do you know what egotism is like? It is like a high
mound, where rain-water cannot collect: the water runs off. Water
collects in low land. There seeds sprout and grow into trees. Then the
trees bear fruit.
"Therefore I say to
Hazra, 'Never think that you alone have true understanding and that
others are fools.' One must love all. No one is a stranger. It is Hari
alone who dwells in all beings. Nothing exists without Him.
"The Lord said to
Prahlada, 'Ask a boon of Me.' 'I have seen You', replied Prahlada. 'That
is enough. I don't need anything else.' But the Lord insisted. Thereupon
Prahlada said, 'If You must give me a boon, let it be that those who
have tortured me may not have to suffer punishment.' The meaning of
those words is that it was God who tortured Prahlada in the form of his
persecutors, and, if they suffered punishment, it would really be God
"Radha was mad with
prema, ecstatic love of God. But there is also the madness of bhakti.
Hanuman's was such. When he saw Sita entering the fire he was going to
kill Rāma. Then, too, there is the madness of Knowledge. I once saw a
Jnāni behaving like a madman. He came here very soon after the temple
garden was dedicated. People said he belonged to the Brahmo Sabha of
Rammohan Roy. He had a torn shoe on one foot, a stick in one hand, and a
potted mango-plant in the other. After a dip in the Ganges he went to
the Kāli temple where Haladhāri was seated. With great fervour he began
to chant a hymn to the Divine Mother. Then he went up to a dog, held it
by the ear, and ate some of its food. The dog didn't mind. Just at that
time I too was about to experience the state of divine madness. I threw
my arm around Hriday's neck and said, 'Oh, Hride! Shall I too fall into
Master's God-intoxicated condition
"I became mad.
Narayan Shastri came here and saw me roaming about with a bamboo pole on
my shoulder. He said to the people, 'Ah, he is mad!' In that state I
could not observe any caste restrictions. The wife of a low caste man
used to send me cooked greens, and I ate them.
"I touched my head
and lips with the leaf-plates from which the beggars ate their food in
the guest-house of the Kāli temple. Thereupon Haladhāri said to me:
'What have you done? You have taken the food left by beggars. How will
you marry off your children?' These words aroused my anger. Haladhāri
was my cousin, older than myself. But could that restrain me? I said to
him: 'You wretch! Isn't it you who take pride in the study of the Gitā
and the Vedānta? Isn't it you who teach people that Brahman alone is
real and the world illusory? And yet you imagine that I shall beget
children! May your mouth that recites from the Gitā be blighted!'
(To M.) "You see,
mere study of books avails nothing. One may recite the written part for
the drum glibly from memory, but to play the drum is exceedingly
The Master continued
with the description of his divine madness:
"Once, for a few
days, I was out on an excursion with Mathur Babu in his house-boat. We
took the trip for a change of air. During that trip we visited Navadvip.
One day I saw the boatmen cooking their meal and stood and watched them.
Mathur said to me, 'What are you doing there?' I replied with a smile,
'The boatmen are cooking, and their food looks very good.' Mathur felt
that I might ask the boatmen to give me a portion of their food; so he
said: 'Come away! Come away!'
"But I cannot do
such a thing now. I am no longer in that mood. Now the food must be
cooked by a brahmin observing ceremonial purity, and be offered to the
Deity; then only can I eat it.
"Oh, what moods I
passed through! At Kamarpukur I said to Chine Sankhari and the other
chums of my boyhood days, 'Oh, I fall at your feet and beg of you to
utter the name of Hari.' I was about to prostrate myself before them
all. Thereupon Chine said, 'This is the first outburst of your divine
love; so you don't see any distinction between one man and another.'
When the storm breaks and raises the dust, then mango and tamarind trees
look the same. One cannot distinguish the one from the other."
A DEVOTEE: "How can
a householder keep on with his worldly duties if he is overwhelmed by
such bhakti-madness or Love-madness or Knowledge madness?"
Two kinds of yogis
MASTER (looking at
him): "There are two kinds of yogis, the 'revealed' and the 'hidden'.
The householder may be a 'hidden' yogi. None recognizes him. The
householder should renounce mentally, not outwardly."
RAM: "You talk as if
you were consoling children. A householder may be a Jnāni but never a
MASTER: "He may
become a vijnāni in the end. But it is not good to force oneself into
RAM: "Keshab Sen
used to say: 'Why do people go to him so much? One day he will sting
them and they will flee from him.' "
MASTER: "Why should
I sting people? I say to people: 'Do this as well as that. Do your
worldly duties and call on God as well.' I don't ask them to renounce
everything. (With a smile) One day Keshab was delivering a lecture. He
said, 'O Lord, grant us that we may dive into the river of divine love
and go straight to the Ocean of Satchidananda.' The ladies were seated
behind the screen. I said to
Keshab, 'How can you
all dive once for all?' Pointing to the ladies, I said: 'Then what would
happen to them? Every now and then you must return to dry land. You must
dive and rise alternately.' Keshab and the others laughed.
"Hazra says to me,
'You love most those endowed with rajas, those who have great wealth and
name and fame.' If that is so, then why do I love people like Harish and
Noto? Why do I love Narendra? He can't even afford salt to season his
Sri Ramakrishna left
his from and went toward the pine-grove talking with M. A devotee
followed them with water and towel. The Master was talking about his
intended visit to the Star Theatre. He said to M.: "What Ram says
applies to rajasic people. What is the use of reserving an expensive
About five o'clock
that afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was on his way to Calcutta. M., Mahendra
Mukherji, and a few other devotees accompanied him in Mahendra's
carriage. Thinking of God, the Master soon went into an ecstatic mood.
After a long time he regained consciousness of the world. He observed:
"That fellow Hazra dares teach me! The rascal!" After a short pause he
said, "shall drink some water." He often made such remarks in order to
bring his mind down to the sense plane.
MAHENDRA (to M.):
"May I get some refreshments for him?"
M: "No, he won't eat
MASTER (still in
ecstatic mood): "I shall eat."
Mahendra took the
Master to his flour-mill located at Hathibagan. After a little rest Sri
Ramakrishna was to go to the theatre. Mahendra did not care to take him
to his own house, for the Master was not well acquainted with his
father. Priyanath, Mahendra's second brother, was also a devotee of the
Sri Ramakrishna was
sitting on a cot over which a carpet had been spread, and was engaged in
MASTER (to M. and
the others): "Once, while listening to the various incidents of the life
of Chaitanya, Hazra said that these were manifestations of Śakti, and
that Brahman, the All-pervasive Spirit, had nothing to do with them. But
can there be Śakti without Brahman? Hazra wants to nullify the teachings
of this place.
Identity of Brahman and Śakti
"I have realized
that Brahman and Śakti are identical, like water and its wetness, like
fire and its power to burn. Brahman dwells in all beings as the Bibhu,
the All-pervasive Consciousness, though Its manifestation is greater in
some places than in others. Hazra says, further, that anyone who
realizes God must also acquire God's supernatural powers; that he
possesses these powers, though he may or may not use them."
M: "Yes, one must
have control over these supernatural powers!" (All laugh)
"Yes, one must have them in one's grasp! How mean! He who has never
enjoyed power and riches becomes impatient for them. But a true devotee
never prays to God for them."
washed his face. A smoke was prepared for him. He said to M.: "Is. it
dusk now? If it is, I won't smoke. During the twilight hour of the dusk
you should give up all other activities and remember God." Saying this
he looked at the hairs on his arm. He wanted to see whether he could
count them. If he could not, it would be dusk.
Master at Star Theatre
About half past
eight in the evening the carriage with the Master and the devotees drew
up in front of the Star Theatre on Beadon Street. He was accompanied by
M., Baburam, Mahendra and two or three others. They were talking about
engaging seats, when Girish Chandra Ghosh, the manager of the theatre,
accompanied by several officials, came out to the carriage, greeted the
Master, and took him and the party upstairs. Girish had heard of the
Master and was very glad to see him at the theatre. The Master was
conducted to one of the boxes. M. sat next to him; Baburam and one or
two devotees sat behind.
The hall was
brilliantly lighted. The Master looked down at the pit and saw that it
was crowded. The boxes also were full. For every box there was a man to
fan those who occupied it. Sri Ramakrishna was filled with joy and said
to M., with his childlike smile: "Ah, it is very nice here! I am glad to
have come. I feel inspired when I see so many people together. Then I
clearly perceive that God Himself has become everything."
M: "It is true,
MASTER: "How much
will they charge us here?"
M: "They won't take
anything. They are very happy that you have come to the theatre."
MASTER: "It is all
due to the grace of the Divine Mother."
was about to be performed. It was a play about the early life of Sri
Chaitanya, who was also known as Nimai, Gaur, Gora, and Gaurānga. The
curtain rose; the attention of the audience was fixed on the stage.
The first scene
depicts a council of Sin and the Six Passions. On a forest path behind
them walk Viveka, Vairāgya, and Bhakti, engaged in conversation.
Bhakti says to her
companions: "Gaurānga is born in Nadia. Therefore the vidyadharis, the
munis, and the rishis have come down to earth in disguise to pay their
respects to him."
Blest indeed is the earth! Gora is born in Nadia!
Behold the vidyadharis, coming in chariots toadore him;
Behold the munis and rishis, who come, allured by the spell of Love.
The vidyadharis, munis, and rishis sing a hymn to Gaurānga and adore him
as an Incarnation of God.
watched the scene and was overpowered with divine ecstasy. He said to
M.: "Look at it! Ah! Ah!"
O Kesava, bestow Thy grace
Upon Thy luckless servants here!
O Kesava, who dost delight
To roam Vrindāvan's glades and groves!
O Madhava, our mind's Bewitcher!
Sweet One, who dost steal our hearts,
Sweetly playing On Thy flute!
Chant, O mind, the name of Hari,
Sing aloud the name of Hari,
Praise Lord Hari's name!
Thou Eternal Youth of Braja,
Tamer of fierce Kaliya,
Slayer of the afflicted's fear!
Beloved with the arching eyes
And crest with arching peacock feather,
Charmer of Sri Radha's heart!
mighty Lifter, Thou,
All garlanded with sylvan flowers!
O Damodara, Kamsa's Scourge!
Dark One, who dost sport in bliss
With sweet Vrindāvan's gopi maids.
Chant, O mind, the name of Hari,
Sing aloud the name of Hari,
Praise Lord Hari's name!
As the vidyadharis
sang the lines, Beloved with the arching eyes; And crest with
arching peacock feather!,
the Master went into
deep samādhi. The orchestra played on, but he was not aware of the outer
Another scene: A
guest has arrived at the house of Jagannath Misra, Nimai's father. The
boy Nimai plays about, singing with his friends, in a happy mood:
Tell Me, where is My blessed Vrindāvan?
Where is Mother Yaśoda?
Where Father Nanda and Brother Balai?
Where My twin cows, black and white?
Tell Me, where is My magic flute?
My friends Sudāmā and Sridāmā?
Where My Jamuna's bank, My banyan?
Where My beloved gopi maids?
Where is Radha, queen of My heart?
The guest closes his
eyes while offering food to the Lord. Nimai runs to him. and eats the
food from the plate. The guest recognizes Nimai as an Incarnation of God
and seeks to please him with the Hymn of the Ten Incarnations. Before
taking leave of Gaurānga's parents he sings:
Glory to Gora, the Source of Bliss!
Hail Gaurānga, Redeemer of earth!
Help of the helpless, Life of the living,
Slayer of fear in the hearts of the fearful!
Age after age we see Thy play
New sports unfolding, moods ever new;
New waves rolling, new tales to be told.
Thou who bearest the whole world's burden,
Shower on us the nectar of Love!
Take away our grief and affliction:
Thou in Love's pleasure-cave dost dwell.
Hope of the suffering! Chastiser of sin!
Scourge of the wicked! Victory to Thee!
Listening to the
hymn, the Master was thrilled with ecstasy.
The next scene is at
Navadvip on the bank of the Ganges. After bathing in the holy water, the
brahmin men and women engage in worship by the riverside. As they close
their eyes, Nimai steals their food offerings and begins to eat them. A
brahmin loses his temper and says: "You scapegrace! You rascal! You are
taking away my offering for Vishnu. Ruin will seize you." Nimai holds on
to the offering and is about to run away. Many of the women love him
dearly and cannot bear to have him go away. They call to him: "Return, O
Nimai! Come back, O Nimai!" Nimai turns a deaf ear to them.
One of the women,
however, knows the irresistible charm that will bring him back. She
loudly chants the name of Hari. Immediately he repeats the name of Hari
and comes back.
M. was seated beside
the Master. Sri Ramakrishna could not control himself. He cried out,
"Ah!" and shed tears of love. He said to Baburam and M.: "Don't make a
fuss if I fall into an ecstatic mood or go into samādhi. Then the
worldly people will take me for a cheat."
Another scene: Nimai
is invested with the sacred thread of the brahmins. He puts on the
traditional ochre robe of the sannyasi. Mother Sachi and the women of
the neighbourhood stand about while he begs for alms, singing:
Drop a morsel of food, I pray, into my begging bowl;
Alone I roam, a new-made yogi, on the highways of the world.
People of Braja, you I love, and so, time and again,
I come to you; at hunger's call I beg my food from door to door.
The sun is low, and I must seek my home on the Jamuna's bank;
Into its waters fall my tears, as onward murmuring it flows.
The onlookers leave
the stage. Nimai stands alone. The gods, in the guise of brahmin men and
women, sing his praises.
Thy body gleams like liquid moonlight;
Thou hast put on man's dwarfish form.
O Lord, Thee we salute!
Bewitcher of the gopis' hearts,
Thou roamest in the shady groves
About Vrindāvan's vale.
Hail Sri Radha! Glory to Radha!
The youths of Braja are Thy friends;
Thou curbest haughty Madan's pride.
Thy love has made the gopis mad;
In ecstasy the Jamuna thrills.
Narayana, Deluder of demons!
Refuge of the fear-stricken gods!
O Lover of Braja, Thou dost beg
The love of Braja's comely maidens!
Hail Sri Radha! Glory to Radha!
Listening to the
music, the Master went into samādhi. The curtain fell and the orchestra
A new scene: Srivas
and other devotees are engaged in conversation in front of Advaita's
house. Mukunda sings:
Sleep no more! How long will you lie
In māyā's slumber locked, O mind?
Who are you? Why have you been born?
Forgotten is your own true Self.
O mind, unclose your eyes at last
And wake yourself from evil dreams;
A fool you are to bind yourself
So to the passing shows of life,
When in you lives Eternal Bliss.
Come out of the gloom, O foolish mind!
Come out and hail the rising Sun!
praised the voice of the singer highly.
Another scene: Nimai
is staying at home. Srivas comes to visit him. First he meets Sachi. The
mother weeps and says: "My son doesn't attend to his household duties.
My eldest son, Viswarupa, has renounced the world, and my heart has
ached ever since. Now I fear that Nimai will follow in his steps."
Nimai arrives. Sachi
says to Srivas: "Look at him. Tears run down his cheeks and breast.
Tell, tell me how I can free him from these notions."
At the sight of
Srivas, Nimai clings to his feet and says, with eyes full of tears: "Ah
me! Revered sir, I have not yet attained devotion to Krishna. Futile is
this wretched life! Tell me, sir, where is Krishna? Where shall I find
Krishna? Give me the dust of your feet with your blessing, that I may
realize the Blue One with the garland of wild-flowers hanging about His
looked at M. He was eager to say something but he could not. His voice
was choked with emotion; the tears ran down his cheeks; with unmoving
eyes he watched Nimai clinging to Srivas's feet and saying, "Sir, I have
not yet attained devotion to Krishna."
Nimai has opened a
school, but he cannot teach the students any longer. Gangadas, his
former teacher, comes to persuade him to direct his attention to his
worldly duties. He says to Srivas: "Listen, Srivas! We are brahmins,
too, and devoted to the worship of Vishnu. But you people are ruining
Nimai's worldly prospects."
MASTER (to M.):
"That is the advice of the worldly-wise: Do 'this' as well as 'that'.
When the worldly man teaches spirituality he always advises a compromise
between the world and God."
M: "Yes, sir. That
his argument with Nimai. He says: "Nimai, undoubtedly you are versed in
the scriptures. Reason with me. Explain to me if any other duty is
superior to worldly duties. You are a householder. Why disregard the
duties of a householder and follow others' duties?"
MASTER (to M.): "Did
you notice? He's trying to persuade Nimai to make a compromise."
M: "Yes, sir."
Nimai says to
Gangadas: "I am not wilfully indifferent to a householder's duties. On
the contrary, it is my desire to hold to all sides. But, revered sir, I
don't know what it is that draws me on. I don't know what to do. I want
to cling to the shore but I cannot. My soul wanders away. I am
helpless. My soul constantly wants to plunge headlong into the boundless
MASTER: "Ah me!"
The scene changes:
Nityananda has arrived at Navadvip. After a search he meets Nimai, who,
in turn, has been seeking him. When they meet, Nimai says to him:
"Blessed is my life! Fulfilled is my dream! You visited me in a dream
and then disappeared."
The Master said in a
voice choked with emotion, "Nimai said he had seen him in a dream."
Nimai is in an
ecstatic mood and becomes engaged in conversation with Advaita, Srivas,
Haridas, and other devotees. Nitai sings a song suited to Nimai's mood:
Where is Krishna? Where is my Krishna?
He is not in the grove, dear friends.
Give me Krishna! Bring me my Krishna!
Radha's heart knows naught but Him.
At this song Sri
Ramakrishna went into samādhi. He remained in that state a long time.
The orchestra played on. Gradually his mind came down to the relative
plane. In the mean time a young man of Khardaha, born in the holy family
of Nityananda, had entered the box. He was standing behind the Master's
chair. Sri Ramakrishna was filled with delight at the sight of him. He
held his hand and talked to him affectionately. Every now and then he
said: "Please sit down here. Your very presence awakens my spiritual
feeling." He played tenderly with the young man's hands and lovingly
stroked his face.
After he had left,
Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "He is a great scholar. His father is a
great devotee of God. When I go to Khardaha to visit Syamasundar, the
father entertains me with sacred offerings such as one cannot buy even
for a hundred rupees. This young man has good traits. A little shaking
will awaken his inner spirit. At the sight of him my spiritual mood is
aroused. I should have been overwhelmed with ecstasy if he had stayed
here a little longer."
The curtain rises:
Nityananda is walking in a procession on the public road with his
companions, chanting the name of Hari. He meets two ruffians, Jagai and
Madhai, who are sworn enemies of all religious people. Madhai strikes
Nitai with a piece of broken pottery. Nitai is hurt and bleeds
profusely, but he pays no heed, inebriated as he is with the love of
Sri Ramakrishna was
in an ecstatic mood.
Nitai embraces both
Jagai and Madhai, and sings a song to the two ruffians:
Jagai! Madhai! Oh, come and dance,
Chanting Hari's name with fervour!
What does it matter that you struck me?
Dance, dear friends, in Hari's name!
Sing the name of our Beloved:
He will embrace you in love's rapture!
Let the heavens resound with His name!
You have not tasted true emotion:
Weep as you chant the name of Hari,
And you will see the Moon of your soul.
Hari's name would I lovingly give you;
Nitai calls you to share His love.
Nimai speaks to
Sachi of his desire to enter the monastic life. His mother faints and
falls to the ground.
At this point many
in the audience burst into tears. Sri Ramakrishna remained still and
looked intently at the stage. A single tear appeared in the corner of
each eye. The performance was over.
Sri Ramakrishna was
about to enter a carriage. A devotee asked him how he had enjoyed the
play. The Master said with a smile, "I found the representation the same
as the real."
proceeded toward Mahendra's mill. Suddenly, Sri Ramakrishna went into an
ecstatic mood and murmured to himself in loving tones: "O Krishna! O
Krishna! Krishna is knowledge! Krishna is soul! Krishna is mind! Krishna
is life! Krishna is body!" He continued: "O Govinda, Thou art my life!
Thou art my soul!"
The carriage reached
the mill. Mahendra fed the Master tenderly with various dishes. M. sat
by his side. Affectionately he said to M., "Here, eat a little." He put
some sweets in his hands.
With Mahendra and a
few other devotees, Sri Ramakrishna left in the carriage for the
Dakshineswar temple garden. The Master was in a happy mood. He sang a
song about Gaurānga and Nitai. M. sang with him:
Gaur and Nitai, ye blessed brothers!
I have heard how kind you are,
And therefore I have come to you. . .
The Master and
Mahendra talked about the latter's intended pilgrimage.
"The divine love in you is barely a sprout now. Why should you let it
wither? But come back very soon. Many a time I have thought of visiting
your place. At last I have done it. I am so happy."
MAHENDRA: "My life
is indeed blessed, sir."
MASTER: "You were
already blessed. Your father is also a good man. I saw him the other
day. He has faith in the Adhyātma Rāmāyana."
bless me that I may have love for God."
MASTER: "You are
generous and artless. One cannot realize God without sincerity and
simplicity. God is far, far away from the crooked heart."
Mahendra bade the Master good-bye, and the carriage continued on its