THE MASTER IN VARIOUS MOODS
Thursday, October 2,
SRI RAMAKRISHNA was
sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. Lātu, Ramlal, Harish, and Hazra
were living with him at the temple garden. Baburam spent a day or two
with him now and then.
Priya Mukherji and his relative Hari, a bearded Brahmo devotee from
Shibpur, and several Mārwāri devotees from Calcutta were in the Master's
room. Manilal was an old member of the Brahmo Samaj.
MASTER (to Manilal
and the others): "It is wise to salute a person mentally. What need is
there of touching his feet? Mental salutation doesn't embarrass anybody.
"The attitude that
my religion alone is right and all other religions are false is not
good. I see that God Himself has become all these: men; images, and
salagram. I see one alone in all these; I do not see two. I see only
"Many people think
that their opinion alone is right and others' opinions are wrong; that
they alone have won and others have lost. But a person who has gone
forward may be detained by some slight obstacle, and someone who has
been lagging behind may then steal a march on him. In the game of
golokdham one may advance a great deal, but still somehow one's piece
may fail to reach the goal.
Inscrutability of God's ways
"Triumph or defeat
is in the hands of God. We cannot understand His ways. You must have
noticed that the green coconut remains high in the tree and is exposed
to the sun, but still its milk is cool. On the other hand the paniphal
remains in the water, but when eaten it heats the body.
"Look at the body of
man. The head is the root, and it is at the top."
Two ways of Yoga
MANILAL: "What then
is our duty?"
MASTER: "To remain
somehow united with God. There are two ways: karmayoga and manoyoga.
Householders practise yoga through karma, the performance of duty.
There are four
stages of life: brahmacharya, garhasthya, vanaprastha, and sannyās.
Sannyāsis must renounce those karmas which are performed with special
ends in view; but they should perform the daily obligatory karmas,
giving up all desire for results. Sannyāsis are united with God by such
karmas as the acceptance of the staff, the receiving of alms, going on
pilgrimage, and the performance of worship and japa.
"It doesn't matter
what kind of action you are engaged in. You can be united with God
through any action provided that, performing it, you give up all desire
for its result.
"There is the other
path: manoyoga. A yogi practising this discipline doesn't show any
outward sign. He is inwardly united with God. Take Jadabharata and
Sukadeva, for instance. There are many other yogis of this class, but
these two are well known. They shave neither hair nor beard.
"All actions drop
away when a man reaches the stage of the paramahamsa. He always
remembers the ideal and meditates on it. He is always united with God in
his mind. If he ever performs an action it is to teach men.
"A man may be united
with God either through action or through inwardness of thought, but he
can know everything through bhakti. Through bhakti one spontaneously
experiences kumbhaka. The nerve currents and breathing calm down when
the mind is concentrated. Again, the mind is concentrated when the nerve
currents and breathing calm down. Then the buddhi, the discriminating
power, becomes steady. The man who achieves this state is not himself
aware of it.
Efficacy of bhakti-yoga
"One can attain
everything through bhakti yoga. I wept before the Mother and prayed, 'O
Mother, please tell me, please reveal to me, what the yogis have
realized through yoga and the jnanis through discrimination.' And the
Mother has revealed everything to me. She reveals everything if the
devotee cries to Her with a yearning heart. She has shown me everything
that is in the Vedas, the Vedānta, the Puranas, and the Tantra."
MANILAL: "And what
hathayogis identify themselves with their bodies. They practise internal
washing and similar disciplines, and devote themselves only to the care
of the body. Their ideal is to increase longevity. They serve the body
day and night. That is not good.
"What is your duty?
You should renounce 'woman and gold' mentally. You cannot look on the
world as crow-droppings.
"The goswamis are
householders. Therefore I said to them: 'You have your duties in the
temple; how can you renounce the world? You cannot explain away the
world as māyā.'
that the duties of householders were kindness to living beings, service
to the Vaishnavas, and the chanting of God's holy name.
"Keshab Sen once
said about me: 'Now he asks us to hold to both-God and the world. But
one day he will sting us.' No, that is not true. Why should I sting?"
"But, sir, you do."
"How so? You are a householder. Why should you renounce?
Complete renunciation for religious teachers
renunciation of the world is needful for those whom God wants to be
teachers of men. One who is an Āchārya should give up 'woman and gold';
otherwise people will not take his advice. It is not enough for him to
renounce only mentally; he should also renounce outwardly. Only then
will his teaching bear fruit. Otherwise people will think, 'Though he
asks us to give up "woman and gold," he enjoys them himself in secret.'
prescribed medicine for a patient. and said to him, 'Come another day
and I'll give you directions about diet.' The physician had several jars
of molasses in his room that day. The patient lived very far away. He
visited the physician later and the physician said to him: 'Be careful
about your food. It is not good for you to eat molasses.' After the
patient left, another person who was there said to the physician: 'Why
did you give him all the trouble of coming here again? You could very
well have given him the instructions the first day.' The physician
replied with a smile: There is a reason. I had several jars of molasses
in my room that day. If I had asked the patient then to give up
molasses, he would not have had faith in my words. He would have
thought: "He has so many jars of molasses in his room, he must eat some
of it. Then molasses can't be so bad." Today I have hidden the jars. Now
he will have faith in my words.
"I have seen the
Āchārya of the Adi Brahmo Samaj. I understand that he has married for
the second or third time. He has grown-up children. And such men are
teachers! If they say, 'God is real and all else illusory', who will
believe them? You can very well understand who will be their disciples.
Hard rules for a sannyāsi
"Like teacher, like
disciple. Even if a sannyāsi renounces 'woman and gold' mentally, but
lives with them outwardly, he cannot be a teacher of men. People will
say that he enjoys 'molasses' secretly.
Kaviraj of Sinthi gave five rupees to Ramlal. I didn't know about it.
When Ramlal told me about the money, I asked him, 'For whom was the
money given?' He said it was for me. At first I thought that I should
use it to pay what I owed for my milk, But will you believe me? I had
slept only a little while when I suddenly woke up writhing with pain, as
if a cat were scratching my chest. I went to Ramlal and asked him again,
'Was the money given for your aunt?' 'No', Ramlal answered.
Thereupon I said to him, 'Go at once and return the money.' Ramlal gave
it back the next day.
"Do you know how it
looks for a sannyāsi to accept money or to be attached to an object of
temptation? It is as if a brahmin widow who had practised continence and
lived on simple boiled rice and vegetables and milk for many years, were
suddenly to accept an untouchable as her paramour. (All look stunned.)
"There was a
low-caste woman named Bhagi Teli in our part of the country. She had
many disciples and devotees. Finding that she, a sudra, was being
saluted by people, the landlord became jealous and engaged a wicked man
to tempt her. He succeeded in corrupting her and all her spiritual
practice came to nothing. A fallen sannyāsi is like that.
"You are leading
householders' lives. It is necessary for you to live in the company of
holy men. First of all, the company of holy men; then sraddha, faith in
"How can people have
reverence and faith in God if the holy men do not sing His name and
glories? People respect a man if they know that in his family there have
been royal ministers for three generations.
(To M.) "Even if one
has attained Knowledge, one must still constantly practise
God-Consciousness. Nangta used to say: 'What is the use of polishing the
outside of a metal pot one day only? If you don't polish it regularly it
will get tarnished again.' I shall have to go to your house some time.
If I know your house I can meet other devotees there. Please go to see
Ishan some time.
(To Manilal) "Keshab
Sen's mother came here the other day. The young boys of her family sang
the name of Hari. She went around them clapping her hands. I noticed she
was not very much stricken with grief over Keshab's death. She observed
the fast of ekadasi here and counted her beads. I was pleased to see her
devotion to God."
About Keshab and Vijay
Sen, Keshab Babu's grandfather, was a devotee of God. He used to sit in
a tulsi-grove and repeat God's holy name. Pyarimohan, Keshab's father,
was also a Vaishnava devotee."
MASTER: "The son
could not have been so devoted to God if the father had not been like
that. Look at Vijay. His father would become unconscious of the world in
divine ecstasy while reading the Bhagavata. Vijay can hardly control his
emotion: while uttering Hari's name, he sometimes stands up from his
seat. The forms of God that Vijay sees nowadays are all real. Speaking
about the different aspects of God, formless and with form, Vijay said
that God sometimes appears with attributes and sometimes without
attributes. He gave the example of the chameleon, which sometimes turns
red, sometimes blue, sometimes green, and sometimes remains colourless.
Praise of guilelessness and purity
"Vijay is really
guileless. One cannot realize God without being guileless and
liberal-minded. Yesterday Vijay was at Adhar Sen's house. He behaved as
if it were his own place and those who lived there his own people. One
cannot be guileless and liberal-minded unless one is free from
Then the Master
You will attain that
priceless Treasure when your mind is free from stain. . . .
He continued: "You
cannot make a pot without first carefully preparing the clay. The pot
will crack if the clay contains particles of sand or stone. That is why
the potter first prepares the clay by removing the sand and stones.
"If a mirror is
covered with dirt, it won't reflect one's face. A man cannot realize his
true Self unless his heart is pure. You will find guilelessness wherever
God incarnates Himself as man. Nandaghosh, Daśaratha, Vasudeva -all of
them were guileless.
"The Vedānta says
that a man does not even desire to know God unless he has a pure mind.
One cannot be guileless and liberal-minded without much
or unless it is one's last birth."
Sri Ramakrishna was
worrying, like a child, because he thought his legs were slightly
swollen. Mahendra Kaviraj of Sinthi entered the room and. saluted the
MASTER (to the
devotees): "Yesterday I said to Naran, 'Just press your leg and see if
there is any dimple.' He pressed it and there was one. Then I
gave a sigh of
relief. (To Mukherji) Will you please press your leg? Is there any
MASTER: "Ah, what a
MANI MALLICK: "Why
should you worry about it, sir? Please take your bath in the river. Why
should you take medicine?"
MASTER: "No, sir.
You have strong blood. Your case is different. The Divine Mother has
placed me in the state of a child. One day I was bitten by something in
the jungle. I had heard people say that, in case of snakebite, the
poison would come out if the snake bit again. So I put my hand in a hole
and waited. A man passing by said to me: 'What are you doing? You will
get rid of the poison only if the snake bites again in the same place.
You will not be cured if the snake bites another part of your body.'
"I was told that the
autumn dew was good. One day, while coming from Calcutta, I stuck my
head out of the carriage and exposed it to the damp air. (All laugh.)
(To Mahendra of
Sinthi) "That pundit from Sinthi is very good. He holds a title for this
scholarship. He respects me. I said to him, 'You have read a great deal;
but give up the vanity that you are a scholar.' That made him very
happy. I discussed Vedānta with him.
Nature of Brahman
(To M.): "That which
is Pure Ātman is unattached. Māyā, or avidyā, is in It. In māyā there
are three Gunās:
sattva, rajas, and tamas. These three Gunās
also exist in the Pure Ātman. But Ātman Itself is unattached. If you throw
a blue pill into the fire, you will see a blue flame. If you throw a red
pill, you will see a red flame. But fire itself has no colour of its
"If you put a blue
pill in water, the water will turn blue. Again, if you put alum in that
water, it will regain its natural colour.
"A butcher was
carrying a load of meat when he touched Sankara. Sankara exclaimed:
'What! You have touched me!' The butcher replied: 'Venerable sir,
neither have you touched me nor have I touched you. You are pure Ātman,
unattached.' Jadabharata said the same thing to King Rahugana.
"The Pure Ātman is
unattached, and one cannot see It. If salt is mixed with water, one
cannot see the salt with the eyes.
"That which is the
Pure Ātman is the Great Cause, the Cause of the cause. The gross, the
subtle, the causal, and the Great Cause. The five elements are gross.
Mind, buddhi, and ego are subtle. Prakriti, the Primal Energy, is the
cause of all these. Brahman, Pure Ātman, is the Cause of the cause.
This Pure Ātman
alone is our real nature. What is jnāna? It is to know one's own Self
and keep the mind in It. It is to know the Pure Ātman.
"How long should a
man perform his duties? As long as he identifies himself with the body,
in other words, as long as he thinks he is the body. That is what the
Gitā says. To think of the body as the Ātman is ajnāna, ignorance.
(To the bearded
Brahmo devotee from Shibpur) "Are you a Brahmo?"
DEVOTEE: "Yes, sir."
MASTER (smiling): "I
can recognize a worshipper of the Formless by looking at his face and
eyes. Please dive a little deeper. One doesn't get the gem by floating
on the surface. As for myself, I accept all-the formless God and God
The Mārwāri devotees
from Burrabazar entered the room and saluted the Master. He began to
MASTER (to the
devotees):"Ah! They are real devotees of God. They visit temples, sing
hymns to God, and eat prasad. And the gentleman whom they have made
their priest this year is learned in the Bhagavata."
"Who is this 'I' that says, 'O Lord, I am Thy servant?' "
MASTER: "This is the
lingasarira, or embodied soul. It consists of manas, buddhi, chitta, and
DEVOTEE: "Who is the
MASTER: "It is the
Ātman bound by the eight fetters. And what is the chitta? It is the
'I-consciousness' that says, 'Aha!'"
What happens after death
sir, what happens after death?"
to the Gitā, one becomes afterwards what one thinks of at the time of
death. King Bharata thought of his deer and became a deer in his next
life. Therefore one must practise sādhanā
in order to realize God. If a man thinks of God day and night, he will
have the same thought in the hour of death."
Māyā hides Knowledge
DEVOTEE: "Why don't
we feel dispassion toward worldly objects?"
MASTER: "Because of
māyā. Through māyā one feels the Real to be the unreal and the unreal to
be the Real. The Real means That which is eternal, the Supreme Brahman;
and the unreal means that which is non- eternal, that is to say, the
DEVOTEE: "We read
the scriptures. Why is it that we can't assimilate them?"
MASTER: "What will
one accomplish by mere reading? One needs spiritual practice-austerity.
Call on God. What is the use of merely repeating the word 'siddhi'? One
must eat a little of it.
'The hand bleeds
when it touches a thorny plant. Suppose you bring such a plant and
repeat, sitting near it: 'There! The plant is burning.' Will that burn
the plant? This world is like the thorny plant. Light the fire of
Knowledge and with it set the plant ablaze. Only then will it be burnt
"One must labour a
little while at the stage of sādhanā.
Then the path becomes easy. Steer the boat around the curves of the
river and then let it go with the favourable wind.
"As long as you live
inside the house of māyā, as long as there exists the cloud of māyā, you
do not see the effect of the Sun of Knowledge. Come outside the house of
māyā, give up 'woman and gold', and then the Sun of Knowledge will
destroy ignorance. A lens cannot burn paper inside the house. If you
stand outside, then the rays of the sun fall on the lens and the paper
burns. Again, the lens cannot burn the paper if there is a cloud. The
paper burns when the cloud disappears.
"The darkness of the
mind is destroyed only when a man stands little apart from. 'woman and
gold' and, thus standing apart, practises a little austerity and
spiritual discipline. Then only does the cloud of his ego and ignorance
vanish. Then only does he attain the Knowledge of God. This 'woman and
gold' is the only cloud that hides the Sun of Knowledge.
(To the Mārwāri
devotee) "The rules for a sannyāsi are extremely hard. He cannot have
the slightest contact with 'woman and gold'. He must not accept money
with his own hands, and he must not even allow it to be left near him.
Mārwāri, a Vedantist, used to come here very often. One day he saw a
dirty sheet on my bed and said: 'I shall invest ten thousand rupees in
your name. The interest will enable you to pay your expenses.' The
moment he uttered these words, I fell unconscious, as if struck by a
stick. Regaining consciousness I said to him: 'If you utter such words
again, you had better not come here. It is impossible for me to touch
money. It is also impossible for me to keep it near me.' He was a very
clever fellow. He said: 'Then you too have the idea of acceptance and
rejection. In that case you haven't attained Perfect Knowledge.' 'My
dear sir, I said, 'I haven't yet gone that far.' (All laugh.)
Lakshminarayan then wanted to leave the money with Hriday. I said to
him: 'That will not do. If you leave it with Hriday, then I shall
instruct him to spend it as I wish. If he does not comply, I shall be
angry. The very contact of money is bad. No, you can't leave it with
Hriday.' Won't an object kept near a mirror be reflected in it?"
sir, is a man liberated only when he dies on the bank of the Ganges?"
MASTER: "It is the
Knowledge of God alone that gives liberation. The Jnāni will certainly
attain liberation wherever he may die, whether in the charnel-pit or on
the bank of the ,Ganges. But the bank of the Ganges is prescribed for a
sir, why does a man dying in Benares become liberated?"
MASTER: "A person
dying in Benares sees the vision of Śiva. Śiva says to him: 'This is My
aspect with form, My embodiment in māyā. I assume this form for the sake
of the devotees. Now look. I am merging in the indivisible
Satchidananda!' Uttering these words, Śiva withdraws His form and
enables the dying person to see Brahman. "The Puranas say
that even a chandala endowed with love of God achieves liberation.
According to this school the name of God is enough to liberate a soul.
There is no need of such things as worship, sacrifice, the discipline of
Tantra, and the recitation of mantras.
Path of devotion for Kaliyuga
"But the teachings
of the Vedas are different. According to the Vedas none but a brahmin
can be liberated. Further, the worship is not accepted by the gods
unless the mantras are recited correctly. One must perform sacrifice,
worship, and so on, according to scriptural injunction. But where is the
time in the Kaliyuga to perform the Vedic rituals? Therefore in the
Kaliyuga the path of devotion prescribed by Nārada is best. The path of
karma is very difficult. Karma becomes a cause of bondage unless it is
performed in a spirit of detachment. Further, the life of man nowadays
depends on food. He has no time to observe the rituals enjoined by the
scriptures. The patient dies if he tries to cure his fever by taking the
decoction of herbs prescribed by the orthodox native physicians.
Therefore he should take a modern 'fever mixture'.
"According to Nārada
the devotee should sing the name and glories of God. The path of karma
is not the right one for the Kaliyuga. Bhaktiyoga is the right path. Do
your duties in the world as long as you need them to reap the fruit of
the actions of your past lives. But you must develop love for God and be
passionately attached to Him. The singing of the name and glories of God
destroys the effect of past action.
"You don't have to
perform duties all your life. As you develop unalloyed love and longing
for God, your duties become fewer and fewer. After the realization of
God they completely drop away. When the young daughter-in-law is
pregnant, her mother-in-law lessens her duties. After the birth of the
child she doesn't have to do any household work."
Several young men
from the village of Dakshineswar entered the room and saluted Sri
Ramakrishna. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. They sat down
and began to talk with the Master.
YOUNG MAN: "Sir,
what is Knowledge?"
MASTER: "It is to
know that God is the only Reality and that all else is unreal. That
which is the Real is also called Brahman. It has another name: Kala,
Time. There is a saying, 'O brother, how many things come into being in
Time and disappear in Time!'
"That whieh sports
with Kala is called Kāli. She is the Primal Energy. Kala and Kāli,
Brahman and Śakti, are indivisible.
"That Brahman, of
the nature of Reality, is eternal. It exists in past, present, and
future. It is without beginning or end. It cannot be described in words.
The utmost that can be said of Brahman is that It is of the very nature
of Intelligence and Bliss.
"The world is
illusory; Brahman alone is real. The world is of the nature of magic.
The magician is real but his magic is unreal"
Power of inborn tendencies
YOUNG MAN: "If the
world is of the nature of illusion-magic-then why doesn't one get rid of
MASTER: "It is due
to the samskaras, inborn tendencies. Repeated births in this world of
māyā make one believe that māyā is real.
"Let me tell you how
powerful inborn tendencies are. A prince had, in a previous birth, been
the son of a washerman. While playing with his chums in his incarnation
as the prince, he said to them: 'Stop those games. I will show you a new
one. I shall lie on my belly, and you will beat the clothes on my back
as the washerman does, making a swishing sound.'
come here. But only a few long for God. These few are born with a
spiritual tendency. They shudder at the talk of marriage. Niranjan has
said from boyhood that he will not marry.
"More than twenty
years ago two young men used to come here from Baranagore. One was named
Govinda Pal and the other Gopal Sen. They had been devoted to God since
boyhood. The very mention of marriage would frighten them. Gopal used to
have bhava samādhi. He would shrink from worldly people, as a mouse from
a cat. One day he saw the boys of the Tagore family strolling in the
garden. He shut himself in the kuthi lest he should have to talk with
"Gopal went into
samādhi in the Panchavati. In that state he said to me, touching my
feet: 'Let me go. I cannot live in this world any more. You have a long
time to wait. Let me go.' I said to him, in an ecstatic mood, 'You must
come again.' 'Very well, I will', he said. A few days later Govinda came
to me. 'Where is Gopal?' I asked him. He said, 'He has passed away.'
"What are the other
youngsters about? Money, house, carriage, clothes, and finally marriage.
These are the things that keep them busy. If they want to marry, at the
outset they make inquiries about the girl. They want to find out for
themselves whether she is beautiful.
"There is a person
who speaks much ill of me. He is always criticizing me for loving the
youngsters. I love only those who are born with good tendencies, pure
souls with longing for God, who do not pay any attention to money,
creature comforts, and such things.
"If married people
develop love for God, they will not be attached to the world. Hirananda
is married. What if he is? He will not be much attached to the world."
Hirananda, a member
of the Brahmo Samaj, was a native of Sindh. He had met the Master in
Calcutta and become devoted to him.
Manilal, the Mārwāri
devotees, the Brahmo devotees from Shibpur, and the young men from
Dakshineswar saluted Sri Ramakrishna and took their leave.
It was evening.
Lamps were lighted on the south and west verandahs. A lamp was lighted
in the Master's room also, and incense was burnt. He was repeating the
name of the Divine Mother, absorbed in contemplation of Her. After a
while he talked again to the devotees. There was still some time before
the evening worship in the temples.
MASTER (to M.):
"What need of the sandhya has a man who thinks of God day and night?
What need of rituals has a man, what need of devotions any more,
If he repeats the Mother's name at the three holy hours?
Rituals may pursue him close, but never can they overtake him.
Charity, vows, and giving of gifts do not appeal to Madan's mind;
The Blissful Mother's Lotus Feet are his whole prayer and sacrifice.
"The sandhya merges
in the Gayatri, the Gayatri in Om. A man is firmly established in
spiritual life when he goes into samādhi on uttering 'Om' only once.
"There is a sādhu in
Hrishikesh who gets up early in the morning and stands near a great
waterfall. He looks at it the whole day and says to God: 'Ah, You have
done well! Well done! How amazing! He doesn't practise any other form of
japa or austerity. At night he returns to his hut.
"What need is there
even to bother one's head about whether God is formless or has a form?
It is enough for a man to pray to Him, alone in solitude, weeping, 'O
God, reveal Yourself to me as You are.'
"God is both inside
and outside. It is He who dwells inside us. Therefore the Vedas say,
'Tattvamasi-That thou art.' God is also outside us. He appears manifold
through māyā; but in reality He alone exists. Therefore before
describing the various names and forms of God, one should say, 'Om Tat
"It is one thing to
learn about God from the scriptures, and quite another to see Him. The
scriptures only give hints. Therefore to read a great many scriptures is
not necessary. It is much better to pray to God in solitude.
"It isn't necessary
to read all of the Gitā. One can get the essence of the Gitā by
repeating the word ten times. It becomes reversed and is then 'tagi'.
The essence of the book is: 'O man, renounce everything and worship
The Master went into
an ecstatic mood while watching the evening worship of Kāli in the
company of the devotees. He was in no condition even to salute the
image. Very carefully he returned to his room with the devotees and sat
down; he was still in an ecstatic mood. He spoke to them while in that
In the room was
Hari, a young man about twenty years of age, who was a relative of the
Mukherjis and very much devoted to the Master. He was married. At that
time he was living with the Mukherjis and looking for a job.
MASTER (to Hari, in
an ecstatic mood): "Take your initiation after getting your mother's
permission. (To Priya, referring to Hari) I couldn't give him the mantra
though I said I would initiate him. I don't initiate people. Continue
with your own meditation and japa as you have been doing."
PRIYA: "Yes, sir."
MASTER: "And I am
saying this to you in this state of my mind. Believe my words. You see,
there is no show or deceit here. I just said to the Divine Mother in my
ecstatic mood, 'O Mother, may those who come here [referring to himself]
through sincere attraction obtain perfection!' "
Mahendra Kaviraj of
Sinthi was seated on the verandah conversing with Ramlal, Hazra, and
others. The Master called to him from his room. M. went out quickly and
brought Mahendra in.
Mahendra): "Sit down and listen to my words."
Mahendra was a
little embarrassed. He sat down.
Various forms of divine love
MASTER (to the
devotees): "God can be served in different ways. An ecstatic lover of
God enjoys Him in different ways. Sometimes he says, 'O God, You are the
lotus and I am the bee', and sometimes, 'You are the Ocean of
Satchidananda and I am the fish.' Sometimes, again, the lover of God
says, 'I am Your dancing-girl.' He dances and sings before Him. He
thinks of himself sometimes as the friend of God and sometimes as His
handmaid. He looks on God sometimes as a child, as did Yaśoda, and
sometimes as husband or sweetheart, as did the gopis.
looked on Krishna as a friend; sometimes he would think he was Krishna's
umbrella or carpet. He served Krishna in all possible ways."
Was Sri Ramakrishna
hinting at his own state of mind while thus describing the different
attitudes of a lover of God?
Chaitanya's spiritual moods
Next he described
Chaitanya's three spiritual moods.
"Chaitanyadeva used to experience three moods. In the inmost mood he
would be absorbed in samādhi, unconscious of the outer world. In the
semi-conscious mood he would dance in ecstasy but could not talk. In the
conscious mood he would sing the glories of God.
(To the devotees)
"You are listening to my words. Try to assimilate them. When worldly
people sit before a sādhu, for the time being they completely hide all
worldly thoughts and ideas. But once away from the holy man they let
them out again. You have seen a pigeon eating dried peas. You think he
has digested them, but he keeps them in his crop. You can feel them
"At dusk put aside
all duties and pray to God. One is reminded of Him by darkness. At the
approach of darkness one thinks: 'I could see everything a moment ago.
Who has brought about this change?' The Mussalmans put aside all
activities and say their prayers at the appointed times."
Practice of japa
sir, is it good to practise japa?"
MASTER: "Yes. One
attains God through japa. By repeating the name of God secretly and in
solitude one receives divine grace. Then comes His vision. Suppose there
is a big piece of timber lying under water and fastened to the land with
a chain; by proceeding along the chain, link by link, you will at last
touch the timber.
"Higher than worship
is japa, higher than japa is meditation, higher than meditation is
bhava, and higher than bhava are mahabhava and prema. Chaitanyadeva had
prema, When one attains prema one has the rope to tie God."
Hazra entered the
MASTER (to Hazra):
"Love of God, when it is intense and spontaneous, is called raga-bhakti.
Vaidhi-bhakti, formal devotion, depends on scriptural injunctions. It
comes and it goes. But raga-bhakti is like a stone emblem of Śiva that
has sprung up out of the bowels of the earth. One cannot find its root;
they say the root goes as far as Benares. Only an Incarnation of God and
His companions attain raga-bhakti."
HAZRA: "Ah me!"
MASTER: "One day I
was returning from the Pine-grove, when I saw you telling your beads. I
said to the Divine Mother: 'Mother, what a small minded fellow he is! He
lives here and still he pratises japa with a rosary! Whoever comes he
[referring to himself] will have his spiritual consciousness awakened
all a once; he won't have to bother much, about japa. Go to Calcutta and
you will find thousands telling their beads-even the prostitutes.'
(To M.) "Please
bring Naran here in a carriage. I am making the same request to
Mukherji. I shall give Naran something to eat when he comes. There is
great significance in feeding boys like him."
Saturday, October 4, 1884
It was the day of
the first full moon after the Durga Puja. Sri Ramakrishna arrived at the
Calcutta house of Nabin Sen, the elder brother of Keshab Chandra Sen. On
the previous Thursday Keshab's mother had begged the Master to pay her a
visit in Calcutta.
The Master seated
himself in a room on the upper floor of the house. With him were
Baburam, Kishori, and a few other devotees. Nandalal and Keshab's other
nephews, Keshab's mother, and other relatives of his, waited on the
Master. It had been arranged to have devotional music performed in the
room. M. was sitting in a room downstairs, listening to the kirtan.
Master with Brahmo devotees
Sri Ramakrishna said
to the Brahmo devotees: "The world is impermanent.One should constantly
remember death." Then he sang:
Remember this, O mind! Nobody is your own:
Vain is your wandering in this world.
Trapped in the subtle snare of māyā as you are,
Do not forget the Mother's name. . . .
The Master said to
the devotees: "Dive deep. What will you gain by merely floating on the
surface? Renounce everything for a few days, retire into solitude, and
call on God with all your soul"
The Master sang:
Dive deep, O mind, dive deep in. the Ocean of God's Beauty;
If you descend to the uttermost depths,
There you will find the gem of Love. . . .
At Sri Ramakrishna's
request the Brahmo devotees sang:
Thou art my All in All, O Lord!- the Life of my life, the Essence of
In the three worlds I have none else but Thee to call my own.
Thou art my peace, my joy, my hope;
Thou my support, my wealth, my glory;
Thou my wisdom and my strength. . . .
The Master sang
O Mother, for Yaśoda Thou wouldst dance, when she called
Thee her precious "Blue Jewel":
Where hast Thou hidden that lovely form, O terrible Syama? . . .
The Brahmo devotees also sang to theaccompaniment of cymbals and drums:
O Mother, how deep is Thy love for men!
Mindful of it, I weep for joy.
Almost from the day of my birth
I have transgressed Thine every law,
And still Thou lookest on me with love,
Comforting me with sweetest words.
Mindful of it, I weep for joy.
O Mother, the burden of Thy love
Is far too great for me to bear;
My soul gives a heart-piercing cry
At Thy love's touch. To Thee I come,
Seeking a refuge at Thy feet.
They again sang of
the Divine Mother:
O Mother, Thou my Inner Guide, ever awake within my heart!
Day and night Thou holdest me in Thy lap.
Why dost Thou show such tenderness to this unworthy child of Thine'?
Ah! It seems Thou art mad with love: now caressing, now with strong
Holding me firm, Thou givest me to drink
Thy nectar, pouring in my ears Thy words of loving tenderness.
Unceasing is Thy love for me, a love that cannot see my faults ;
Whenever I am in danger, Thou dost save me.
Saviour of sinners! I know the truth: I am my Mother's and She is mine.
Now I shall listen to Her alone, and follow the path of righteousness;
Drinking the milk that flows from my Mother's breasts,
I shall be strong and sing with joy: "Hail, O Mother! Brahman Eternal!"
The Master and the
Brahmo devotees sang several songs about Hari and Gaurānga.
Sunday, October 5, 1884
Sri Ramakrishna was
sitting in his room after the midday meal, with M., Hazra, the elder
Kāli, Baburam, Ramlal, Hari, and others. Some of them sat on the floor
and some stood about. On the previous day the Master had visited
Keshab's mother at her Calcutta house and had made her happy with his
Hazra had been
living with the Master at Dakshineswar a long time. He was a little
conceited about his knowledge and even criticized the Master now and
then before others. Again, he would sit on the verandah of the Master's
room and tell his beads with apparent concentration. He spoke
slightingly of Chaitanya as a "modern Incarnation". He would say: "God
gives not only pure devotion but also wealth. He has no lack of it. By
attaining God one obtains the eight occult powers as well." Hazra had a
small debt to clear up, about one thousand rupees. He had incurred it
for the building of his house and was worried about paying it.
The elder Kāli had a
position in an office, from which he received a small salary. He had a
large family to maintain. He was devoted to the Master and visited him
now and then, even absenting himself from the office.
KALl (to Hazra):
"You go about criticizing people; you are like a touchstone, testing
what is pure gold and what is impure. Why do you speak so much ill of
others?" HAZRA: "Whatever I say, I say to him [meaning Sri Ramakrishna]
MASTER: "That is
Hazra began to
HAZRA: "The meaning
of Tattvajnana is the knowledge of the existence of the twenty-four
tattvas, or cosmic principles."
He was wrong about
the meaning of the word.
A DEVOTEE: "What are
HAZRA: "The five
elements, the six passions, the five organs of perception, the five
organs of action, and so forth."
M. (to the Master,
smiling): "He says that the six passions are included in the twenty-four
"Listen to him! Notice how he explains Tattvajnana! The word really
means 'knowledge of Self'. The word 'Tat' means the Supreme Self, and
the word 'tvam', the embodied soul. One attains Supreme Knowledge,
Tattvajnana, by realizing the identity of the embodied soul and the
After a few minutes
Hazra left the room and sat on the porch.
MASTER(to M. and the
others): "He [meaning Hazra] only argues. This moment perhaps he
understands, but the next moment he is his old self again.
"When the angler
hooks a big fish and finds it pulling hard, he releases the line;
otherwise it will snap and the angler himself will be thrown into the
water. Therefore I do not say much to him.
(To M.) "Hazra said
that a man could not be liberated unless he was born in a brahmin body.
'How is that?' I said. 'One attains liberation through bhakti alone.
Savari was the daughter of a hunter. She, Ruhidas, and others belonged
to the sudra caste. They were liberated through bhakti alone.' 'But
Dhruva's spiritual greatness, but not as much as he recognized
Prahlada's. When Lātu said, 'Dhruva had great yearning for God from his
boyhood', he kept still.
"I said that there
was nothing greater than the bhakti that sought no end and had no
selfish motive. Hazra contradicted me. I said to him, 'A wealthy man is
annoyed when a petitioner comes to him. "There he comes", he says
angrily. "Sit down", he says to him in an indifferent voice, and shows
that he is much annoyed. He doesn't allow such a beggar to ride with him
in his carriage.'
"But Hazra said that
God was not like such wealthy people of the world; did He lack wealth,
that He should feel pinched to give it away? Hazra said further: 'When
rain falls from the sky, the Ganges and all the big rivers and lakes
overflow with water. Small tanks, too, are filled. Likewise, God out of
His grace grants wealth and riches as well as knowledge and devotion.'
(To the devotees)
"But I call this impure devotion to God. Pure devotion has no desire
behind it. You don't want anything from me, but you love to see me and
hear my words. My mind also dwells on you. I wonder how you are and why
you don't come.
"You don't want
anything of God but still you love Him. That is pure bhakti, love of God
with no motive behind it. Prahlada had it. He sought neither kingdom nor
riches; he sought Hari alone."
M: "Hazra is a
chatterbox. He won't achieve anything unless he becomes silent."
MASTER: "Now and
then he comes to me and becomes mellowed. But he is a pest; again he
argues. It is very hard to get rid of egotism. You may cut down an
Aśwattha tree, but the next day a sprout will spring up. As long as the
roots remain, the tree will grow again.
"I said to Hazra,
'Don't speak ill of anyone.' It is Narayana Himself who has assumed all
these forms. One can worship even a wicked person. Haven't you observed
the Kumari Puja? Why should you worship a girl who has all the physical
limitations of a human being? It is because she is a form of the Divine
Mother. But God dwells in a special way in His devotee. The devotee is
His parlour. If the gourd has a large body then it makes a good Tānpura.
It gives a nice sound."
Two monks had
arrived at the temple garden in the morning. They were devoted to the
study of the Bhagavad Gitā, the Vedānta, and other scriptures. They
entered the Master's room, saluted him, and sat on the mat on the floor.
Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the small couch. The Master spoke to the
sādhus in Hindusthani.
MASTER: "Have you
had your meal?"
SĀDHU: "Yes, sir."
MASTER: "What did
SĀDHU: "Dal and
bread. Will you take some?"
MASTER: "No, I take
only a few morsels of rice. Well, your japa and meditation must be
without any desire for results. Isn't that so?"
SĀDHU: "Yes, Sir."
MASTER: "That is
good. One must surrender the result to God. What do you say? That is the
view of the Gitā."
One sādhu said to
the other, quoting from the Gitā: "O Arjuna, whatever action you
perform, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you
give in charity, and whatever austerities you practise, offer everything
MASTER: "If you give
God something, you receive it back a thousand times over. That is why
after doing meritorious deeds one offers a handful of water to God. It
is the symbol of offering the fruit to God. When Yudhisthira was about
to offer all his sins to Krishna, Bhima warned him: 'Never do such a
thing. Whatever you offer to Krishna you will receive back a
(To one of the
sādhus) "Well, sir, one should be de- sireless; one should renounce all
desires. Isn't that so?"
SĀDHU: "Yes, sir."
MASTER: "But I have
the desire for bhakti. That is not bad. Rather, it is good. Sweets are
bad, for they produce acidity. But sugar candy is an exception. Isn't
SĀDHU: "Yes, sir."
MASTER: "Well, sir,
what do you think of the Vedānta?"
SĀDHU: "It includes
all the six systems of philosophy."
MASTER: "But the
essence of Vedānta is: 'Brahman alone is real, and the world illusory; I
have no separate existence; I am that Brahman alone.' Isn't that so?"
SĀDHU: "That is
MASTER: "But for
those who lead a householder's life, and those who identify themselves
with the body, this attitude of 'I am He' is not good. It is not good
for householders to read Vedānta or the Yoga-vāsishta. It is very
harmful for them to read these books. Householders should look on God as
their Master and on themselves as His servants. They should think, 'O
God, You are the Master and the Lord, and I am Your servant.' People who
identify themselves with the body should not have the attitude of 'I am
The devotees in the
room remained silent. Sri Ramakrishna was smiling a little, a picture of
self-contentment. He appeared happy in his own Self.
One of the sādhus
whispered in the other's ear: "Look! This is the state of the
MASTER (to M.): "I
feel like laughing."
smiled like a child. The monks left the room. The devotees were moving
about in the room and on the porch.
Master ( to M.)
:"Did you go to Nabin Sen's house?"
M:"Yes, sir. I
listened to the songs from down stairs."
MASTER: "That was
well done. Your wife was there. She is a cousin of Keshab Sen, isn't
M: "A distant
strolled up and down with M. No one else was with them.
MASTER: "A man
visits his father-in-law's house. I, too, often used to think that I
should marry, go to my father-in-law's house, and have great fun. But
see what has come of it!"
M: "Sir, you say,
'If the boy holds his father's hand, he may slip; but he doesn't if the
father holds his hand.' That is exactly your condition. The Mother has
taken hold of your hand."
MASTER: "I met
Bamandas at the Viswases' house. I said to him, 'I have come to see
you.' As I was leaving the place I heard him say: 'Goodness gracious!
The Divine Mother has caught hold of him, like a tiger seizing a man.'
At that time I was a young man, very stout, and always in ecstasy.
Master's attitude toward women
"I am very much
afraid of women. When I look at one I feel as if a tigress were coming
to devour me. Besides, I find that their bodies, their limbs, and even
their pores are very large. This makes me look upon them as
she-monsters. I used to be much more afraid of women than I am at
present. I wouldn't allow one to come near me. Now I persuade my mind in
various ways to look upon women as forms of the Blissful Mother.
"A woman is, no
doubt, a part of the Divine Mother. But as far as a man is concerned,
especially a sannyāsi or a devotee of God, she is to be shunned. I don't
allow a woman to sit near me very long, no matter how great her devotion
may be. After a little while I say to her, 'Go and see the temples.'
If that doesn't make
her move, I myself leave the room on the pretext of smoking.
"I find that some
men are not at all interested in women. Niranjan says, 'A woman never
enters my thought.' I asked Hari about it. He too says that his mind
does not dwell on woman.
three quarters of the mind, which should be given to God. And then,
after the birth of a child, almost the whole mind is frittered away on
the family. Then what is left to give to God?
"Again, there are
some men who shed their last drop of blood, as it were, to keep their
wives out of mischief. There is the gate-keeper, an old man, whose wife
is only fourteen years old. She had to live with him. They lived in a
thatched hut with walls made of dry leaves. People made holes in the
wall to peep in. Now she has left him and run away.
"I know another man.
He doesn't know where to keep his wife. There was some trouble at home,
and now he is greatly worried. Let's not talk about these things any
"If a man lives with
a woman, he cannot help coming under her control. Worldly men get up and
sit down at the bidding of women. They all speak highly of their wives.
"Once I wanted to go
to a certain place. I asked Ramlal's aunt about it. She forbade me to
go; so I could not. A little while later I said to myself: 'I am not a
householder. I have renounced "woman and gold". If, in spite of that,
this is my plight, one can well imagine how much worldly people are
controlled by their wives.'"
M: "One who lives in
the midst of 'woman and gold' can't help being stained by it, even if
only slightly. You told us about Jaynarayan. He was such a great
scholar. When you visited him he was an old man. You found him warming
pillows and blankets in the sun."
MASTER: "But he had
no vanity of scholarship. Further, what he said about the last days of
his life came to pass. He spent them in Benares, following the
injunctions of the scriptures. I saw his children. They were wearing
high boots and had been educated in English schools."
By means of
questions and answers Sri Ramakrishna now explained to M. his own
MASTER: "At first I
went stark mad. Why am I less so now? But I get into that state now and
M: "You don't have
just one mood. As you said, you experience various moods. Sometimes you
are like a child, sometimes like a madman, sometimes like an inert
thing, and sometimes like a ghoul. And now and then you are a natural
MASTER: "Yes, like a
child. But I also experience the moods of a boy and a young man. When I
give instruction I feel like a young man. Then there is my boyishness:
like a boy twelve or thirteen years old, I want to be frivolous. That is
why I joke and make merry with the youngsters.
"What do you think
M: "He has good
MASTER: "Yes, the
shell of the gourd is good. The Tānpura made out of it will give good
music. He says to me, 'You are everything.' Everyone speaks of me
according to his comprehension. Some say that I am simply a sādhu, a
devotee of God.
"If I forbid Naran
to do something, he understands it very well. The other day I asked him
to pull up the curtain, but he didn't do it. I had forbidden him to tie
a knot, to sew his clothes, to lock a box, to pull up a curtain, and
similar things. He understood it all. He who would renounce the world
must practise all these disciplines. They are meant for sannyāsis.
a man should regard a woman as a raging forest fire or a black cobra. But
in the state of perfection, after the realization of God, she appears as
the Blissful Mother. Then you will look on her as a form of the Divine
A few days earlier
Sri Ramakrishna had spoken many words of warning to Narayan about women.
He had said: "Don't let yourself touch the air near a woman's body.
Cover yourself with a heavy sheet lest the air should touch your body.
And keep yourself eight cubits, two cubits, or at least one cubit away
from all women except your mother."
MASTER (to M.):
"Naran's mother said to him about me, 'Even we are enchanted by the
sight of him, not to speak of you, a mere child.' None but the guileless
can realize God. How guileless Niranjan is!"
M: "True, sir."
MASTER: "Didn't you
notice him that day in the carriage on the way to Calcutta? He is always
the same-without guile. A man shows one side of his nature inside his
house and another to the outside world. Since his father's death
Narendra has been worried about his worldly affairs. He has a slightly
calculating mind. How I wish that other youngsters were like Niranjan
"Today I went to the
village to see Nilkantha's theatrical performance. It was given at Nabin
Niyogi's house. The children there are very bad; they have nothing to do
but find fault. In such a place a person's spiritual feeling is
restrained. During a performance the other day I saw Doctor Madhu
shedding tears. I looked at him alone.
(To M.) "Can you
tell me why people feel so much attracted to this place [meaning
himself]? What does it mean?"
M: "It reminds me of
an episode in Krishna's life at Vrindāvan. Krishna transformed Himself
into the cowherd boys and the calves, whereupon the cows began to feel
more strongly attracted to the cowherd boys, the gopis, and the calves."
MASTER: "That is the
attraction of God. The truth is, the Divine Mother creates the spell and
it is that which attracts people.
"Well, not as many
people come here as used to go to Keshab Sen. And how many people
respect and honour Keshab! He is known even in England. Queen Victoria
spoke with him. It is said in the Gitā that God's power is manifest in
him who is honoured and respected by many. But so many people do not
M: "It was the
householders who went to Keshab Sen."
MASTER: "Yes, that
is true. The worldly-minded."
M: "Will what Keshab
has founded remain a long time?"
MASTER: "Why, he has
written a samhita, a book of rules for the guidance of the members of
his Brahmo Samaj."
M: "But it is quite
different with the work done by a Divine Incarnation Himself-Chaitanya's
work, for instance."
MASTER: "Yes, yes.
That is true."
M: "You yourself
tell us that Chaitanyadeva said, 'The seeds I have sown will certainly
bear fruit some time or other.' A man left some seeds on the cornice of
a house. Later on the house fell down and trees grew from those seeds."
MASTER: "Many people
go to the Samaj founded by Shivanath and friends. Isn't that so?"
M: "Yes, sir. People
of that sort."
"Yes, yes. The worldly-minded go there, but not many of those who long
for God and are trying to renounce 'woman and gold'."
M: "It will be fine
if a current flows from this place. Everything will be carried away by
its force. Nothing that comes out of this place will be monotonous."
MASTER (smiling): "I
keep men's own ideals intact. I ask a Vaishnava to hold to his Vaishnava
attitude and a Sakta to his. But this also I say to them 'Never feel
that your path alone is right and that the paths of others a wrong and
full of errors. Hindus, Mussalmans, and Christians are going to the same
destination by different paths. A man can realize God by following his
own path if his prayer is sincere.
mother-in-law said to me, 'Why don't you tell Balarām that it
unnecessary to worship God with form; that it will be enough if he prays
to the formless Satchidananda?' I replied, 'Why should I say such a
thing, and why should he listen to me even if I should say it?' "
M: "That is true,
sir. There are different paths to suit time, place, and the fitness of
the candidate. Whatever path a man may follow, he will ultimately reach
God if he is pure of heart and has sincere longing. That is what you
Sri Ramakrishna was
sitting in his room. Hari, the relative of the Mukherjis, M., and other
devotees were on the floor. An unknown person saluted the Master and
took a seat. The Master remarked later that his eyes were not good. They
were yellow, like a cat's.
Hari prepared a
smoke for Sri Ramakrishna.
MASTER (to Hari):
"Let me see the palm of your hand. This mark is good sign. Relax your
He took Hari's hand
into his as if to feel its weight.
MASTER: "He is still
childlike. As yet there is no blemish in him. (To the devotees) From the
hand I can tell whether a person is deceitful or guileless. (To Hari)
Why, you should go to your father-in-law's house. You should talk
to your wife and have a little fun with her if you like. (To M.) What do
you say?" (M. and the others laugh.)
M: "If a new pot
becomes bad, one can no longer keep milk in it."
"How do you know that it is not already bad?"
The two Mukherjis,
Mahendra and Priyanath, were brothers. They did not work in an office,
but had their own flour-mill. Priyanath had been an engineer. Sri
Ramakrishna talked to Hari about the Mukherji brothers.
MASTER: "The elder
brother is nice, isn't he? He is artless."
HARI: "Yes, sir."
MASTER: "Isn't the
younger brother very miserly? I understand that since coming here he has
improved a great deal. He once said to me, 'I didn't know anything
before.' (To Hari) Do they give anything in charity?"
HARI: "Not much, as
far as I can see. Their elder brother, now dead, was a very good man. He
was very charitable."
Physical signs indicating character
MASTER (to M. and
the others): "Whether a person will make spiritual progress or not can
be known to a great extent by his physical marks. The hand of a
deceitful person is heavy. A snub nose is not a good sign. Sambhu had
that kind of nose; hence he was not quite sincere in spite of all his
wisdom. Pigeon-breast is not a good sign either. Hard bones and heavy
elbow-joints are bad signs too; and yellow eyes, like a cat's.
"A man becomes very
mean if he has lips that are thick, like a dome's. A brahmin was here
for a few months acting as priest of the Vishnu temple. I couldn't eat
the food he touched. One day I suddenly exclaimed, 'He is a dome!'
Afterwards he said to me: 'Yes, sir. We live in the dome quarters. I
know how to make wicker baskets and such things, Just like a dome.'
"There are other bad
physical signs: one eye and squint eyes. It is rather better to have one
eye, but never squint eyes. Squint-eyed people are wicked and deceitful.
"A student of Mahesh
Nyayaratna's came here. He described himself as an atheist. He said to
Hriday: 'I am an atheist. You may take up the position of a believer in
God and argue with me.' Thereupon I watched him closely and noticed that
his eyes were yellow, like a cat's.
"Whether a person is
good or bad can also be known from the way he walks."
paced the verandah. M. and Baburam walked with him.
MASTER (to Hazra):
"A man came here. I saw that his eyes were like a cat's. He asked me:
'Do you know astrology? I am in some difficulty.' I said: 'No, I don't.
Go to Baranagore. There you will find astrologers.'"
Master and Nilkantha
Baburam and M.
talked about Nilkantha's theatrical performance. Baburam had spent the
previous night at the temple garden after his return from Nabin Sen's
house. In the morning he had attended Nilkantha's performance with the
MASTER (to M. and
Baburam): "What are you talking about?"
M. AND BABURAM:
"About Nilkantha's performance."
While pacing the
verandah Sri Ramakrishna suddenly took M. aside and said, "The less
people know about your thoughts of God, the better for You," Saying
these words the Master abruptly went away. A short time afterwards he
began to talk with Hazra.
told you he would pay you a visit. It would be good send for him."
MASTER: "No, he
didn't sleep at all last night. It will be different if he comes here
through the will of God."
asked Baburam to visit Narayan at his house. He looked on Narayan as God
Himself, and so he longed to see him. The Master said to Baburam, "You
may go to him with one of your English text-books."
About three o'clock
in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room. Nilkantha
arrived with five or six of his companions. The Master went toward the
east door as if to welcome him. The musicians bowed before the Master,
touching the ground with their foreheads.
Sri Ramakrishna went
into samādhi. Baburam stood behind him. M., Nilkantha, and the musicians
were in front of him, watching him in great amazement. Dinanath, an
officer of the temple, looked on from the north side of the bed. Soon
the room was filled with officers of the temple garden. Sri
Ramakrishna's ecstasy abated a little. He seated himself on a mat on the
floor, surrounded by Nilkantha and other devotees.
MASTER (still in an
ecstatic mood): "I am all right."
folded hands): "Make me all right too."
"Why, you are already all right. Adding the letter to 'a', one gets
'ka'. By adding another 'a' to 'ka', one still gets the same 'ka'." (All
sir, I am entangled in worldliness."
"God has kept you in the world for the sake of others. There are eight
fetters. One cannot get rid of them all. God keeps one or two so that a
man may live in the world and teach others. You have organized this
theatrical company. How many people are being benefited by seeing your
bhakti! If you give up everything, then where will these musicians go?
"God is now doing
all these works through you. When they are finish, you will not return
to them. The housewife finishes her household duties feeds everyone,
including the menservants and maidservants, and then goes to take her
bath. She doesn't come back then even if people shout for her."
MASTER: "Yaśoda went
mad with grief because she was separated from Krishna. She went to
Radhika, who was meditating. Radhika said to her an ecstatic state: 'I
am the Ultimate Prakriti, the Primal Power. Ask a boon of Me.' Yaśoda
said to her: 'What shall I ask of You? Please bless me, that with all my
body, mind, and speech I may think of God and serve Him; that with my
ears I may hear the singing of God's name and glories; that with my
hands I may serve Hari and His devotees; that with my eyes I may behold
His form and His devotees.'
"Your eyes fill with
tears when you utter the name of God. Why then should you worry about
anything? Divine love has grown in you.
"To know many things
is ajnāna, ignorance. To know only one thing is jnāna, Knowledge-the
realization that God alone is real and that He dwells in all. And to
talk to Him is vijnāna, a fuller Knowledge. To love God in different
ways, after realizing Him, is vijnāna.
"It is also said
that God is beyond one and two. He is beyond speech and mind. To go up
from the Lila to the Nitya and come down again from the Nitya to the
Lila is mature bhakti.
"I love that song of
yours about aspiring to reach the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother. It is
enough to know that everything depends on the grace of God. But one must
pray to God; it will not do to remain inactive. The lawyer gives all the
arguments and finishes his pleading by saying to the judge: 'I have said
all I have to say. Now the decision rests with Your Honour.' "
After a few minutes
Sri Ramakrishna said to Nilkantha: "You sang so much in the morning, and
now you have taken the trouble to come here. But here everything is
NILKANTHA: "Why so?"
MASTER (smiling): "I
know what you will say."
NILKANTHA: "I shall
get a precious gem from here."
MASTER: "You already
have that precious gem. What will you gain by adding again the letter
'a' to 'ka'? If you didn't have the gem, should I like your songs so
attained divine realization; that is why his songs appeal so much.
"I had already
planned to hear your music. Later on Niyogi, too, came here to invite
The Master was
sitting on the small couch. He told Nilkantha that he would like to hear
a song or two about the Divine Mother.
Nilkantha sang two
songs with his companions. When the Master heard the second song he
stood up and went into samādhi. Presently he began to dance in an
ecstasy of divine love. Nilkantha and the devotees sang and danced
around him. Then Nilkantha sang a song about Śiva, and the Master danced
with the devotees.
When the singing was
over, Sri Ramakrishna said to Nilkantha, "I should like to hear that
song of yours I heard in Calcutta."
M: "About Sri
MASTER: "Yes, yes!"
Nilkantha sang the
song, "The beautiful Gaurānga, the youthful dancer, fair as molten
Sri Ramakrishna sang
again and again the line, "Everything is swept away by the onrush of
love", and danced with Nilkantha and the other devotees. Those who saw
that indescribable dancing were never to forget it. The room was filled
with people, all intoxicated with divine joy. It seemed as if Chaitanya
himself were dancing with his companions.
Manomohan was in an
ecstatic mood. He was a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna and a brother-in-law
of Rākhāl . Several ladies of his family had come with him. They were
witnessing this divine music and dancing from the north verandah.
Sri Ramakrishna sang
again, this time about Gaurānga and Nityananda:
Behold, the two
brothers have came, who weep while chanting Hari's name. . . .
He danced with Nilkantha and the other devotees, improvising the line:
Behold, the two brothers have come, they who are mad with love of Radha.
Hearing the loud
music, many people gathered about the room. The verandahs to the south
and north, and the semicircular porch to the west of the room, were
crowded with people. Even passengers in the boats going along the Gauges
were attracted by the kirtan.
The music was over
Sri Ramakrishna bowed to the Divine Mother and said,
"Bhagavata-Bhakta-Bhagavan. My salutations to the jnanis, my salutations
to the yogis, my salutations to the bhaktas."
The Master was
seated on the semicircular porch with Nilkantha and the other devotees.
The autumn moon flooded all the quarters with light. Sri Ramakrishna and
NILKANTHA: "You are
none other than Gaurānga."
MASTER: "Why should
you say such a thing? I am the servant of .the servant of all. The waves
belong to the Ganges; but does the Ganges belong to the waves?"
NILKANTHA: "You may
say whatever you like, but we regard you as Gaurānga himself."
MASTER (tenderly, in
an ecstatic mood): "My dear sir, I try to seek my 'I', but I do not find
it. Hanuman said: 'O Rāma, sometimes I think that You are the whole and
I am a part, and sometimes that You are the Master and I am Your
servant. But when I have the Knowledge of Reality, I see that You are I
and I am You.'"
shall I say, sir? Please be gracious to us."
"You are ferrying many people across the ocean or the world. How many
hearts are illumined by hearing your music!"
NILKANTHA: "You talk
of ferrying. But bless me that I may not be drowned in the ocean
"If you get drowned, it will be in the Sea of Immortality."
Sri Ramakrishna was
delighted with Nilkantha's company. He said to the musician: "For you to
have come here! You whom people see as a result of many austerities and
prayers! Listen to a song."
The Master sang a
song, two lines of which ran:
When the Blissful Mother comes to my house, how much of the Chandi I
How many monks will come here, and how many yogis with matted locks!
He said, continuing,
"As long as the Divine Mother has come here, many yogis with matted
locks will come too."
laughed. To M., Baburam, and the other devotees he said: "I feel very
much like laughing. Just fancy, I am singing for these musicians!"
NILKANTHA: "We go
about singing; but today we have had our true reward."
'when a shopkeeper sells an article, he sometimes gives a little extra
something to the buyer. You sang at Nabin's house and have given the
extra something here."