Adhar Sen arrived from Calcutta and saluted the Master. After a few minutes he went to the temple of Kali, where M. followed him.

A little later M. was sitting at the bathing-ghat on the Ganges. The flood-tide had just set in. As he listened to the waters lapping against the bank, many pictures of Sri Ramakrishna’s divine life flitted before his mind: the Master’s deep samadhi, his constant ecstasy, his joy in the love of God, his untiring discourse on spiritual life, his genuine love for the devotees, and, above all, his childlike simplicity. Who was this man? Was it God who had embodied Himself on earth for the sake of His devotees?

Adhar and M. returned to the Master’s room. Adhar had been to Chittagong, in East Bengal, on official duty. He was telling the Master about his visit to the Chandranath Hills and Sitakunda, sacred places of Chittagong. ADHAR: “Near Sitakunda I visited a well where I saw fire in the water. It is always burning on the water with leaping tongues.”

MASTER: “How is that possible?”

ADHAR: “The water contains phosphorous.”

Presently Ram Chatterji entered the room. The Master said some kind words about him to Adhar.

MASTER: “Ram’s presence in the temple garden has relieved us of many anxieties. He searches out Harish, Latu, and the others at meal-time. Very often they are absorbed in meditation in some corner of the temple garden. It is Ram who sees that they eat at the proper time.”

Saturday, September 6, 1884

About three o’clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was seated in Adhar’s parlour on the second floor. Narendra, the Mukherji brothers, Bhavanath, M., Hazra, and other devotees were with the Master.

Arrangements were being made for Narendra to sing: While he was tuning the tanpura, one of the strings snapped, and the Master exclaimed, “Oh! What have you done?” Narendra then tuned the drums. The Master said to him, “You are beating that drum, and I feel as if someone were slapping my cheek.

Referring to the kirtan, Narendra said: “There is not much rhythm in the kirtan. That’s why it is so popular and people love it so much.”

MASTER: “How silly! People like it because it is so tender and full of pathos.”

Narendra sang:

Sweet is Thy name, O Refuge of the humble!
It falls like sweetest nectar on our ears
And comforts us, Beloved of our souls! . . .

He sang again:

O Lord, must all my days pass by so utterly in vain?
Down the path of hope I gaze with longing, day and night.
Thou art the Lord of all the worlds, and I but a beggar here;
How can I ask of Thee to come and dwell within my heart?
My poor heart’s humble cottage door is standing open wide;
Be gracious, Lord, and enter there but once, and quench its thirst!

MASTER (to Hazra, smiling): “That was the first song he sang for me.”

Narendra sang one or two more songs. Then Vaishnavcharan sang, describing the grief of the gopis at the sight of Krishna as king of Mathura:

O Hari, how shall we know You now?
In Mathura’s royal splendour You have forgotten us….

MASTER: “Won’t you sing that one —’O vina, sing Lord Hari’s name’?”

Vaishnavcharan sang:

O vina, sing Lord Hari’s name!
Without the blessing of His feet
You cannot know the final Truth.
The name of Hari slays all grief:
Sing Hari’s name! Sing Krishna’s name!
If only Hari shows His grace,
Then I shall never be distressed.
O vina, sing His name but once;
No earthly gem is half so rare.
Govinda says: In vain my days
Have passed. No longer may I float
Here in life’s trackless ocean waste!

While listening to the song, the Master became abstracted. Saying “Ah me! Ah me!”, he went into samadhi. The devotees were sitting around him, their eyes riveted on him. The room was filled with people.

The musician sang again. As he improvised new lines describing ecstatic love of God, the Master stood up and danced. He himself improvised lines and sang them with outstretched arms. Soon he went into samadhi and sat down, with his head resting on the bolster in front of him. The musician was also carried away with emotion and sang new songs. Sri Ramakrishna again stood up and began to dance. The devotees could not control themselves. They too danced with the Master. While dancing, Sri Ramakrishna every now and then went into deep samadhi. When he was in the deepest samadhi he could not utter a word and his whole body remained transfixed. The devotees danced encircling him. After a while, regaining partial consciousness, he danced with the strength of a lion, intoxicated with ecstatic love. But even then he could not utter a word. Finally, regaining more of the consciousness of the world, he sang again, improvising the lines. An intense spiritual atmosphere was created in Adhar’s parlour. At the sound of the loud music a large crowd had gathered in the street.

Sri Ramakrishna danced a long time in the company of the devotees. When he resumed his seat, still tinged with the lingering glow of divine fervour, he asked Narendra to sing “O Mother, make me mad with Thy love”.

Narendra sang:

O Mother, make me mad with Thy love!
What need have I of knowledge or reason? . . .

MASTER: “And that one — Upon the Sea of Blissful Awareness’.”

Narendra sang: 

Upon the Sea of Blissful Awareness waves of ecstatic love arise:
Rapture divine! Play of God’s Bliss!
Oh, how enthralling! . . .

MASTER: “And that one too — ‘In Wisdom’s firmament’. Perhaps it is too long. Do you think so? All right, sing it slowly.”

Narendra sang:

In Wisdom’s firmament the moon of Love is rising full,
And Love’s flood-tide, in surging waves, is flowing everywhere.
O Lord, how full of bliss Thou art! Victory unto Thee! . . .

MASTER: “And won’t you sing that one — The Wine of Heavenly Bliss’?”

Narendra sang: 

Be drunk, O mind, be drunk with the Wine of Heavenly Bliss!
Roll on the ground and weep, chanting Hari’s sweet name!
Fill the arching heavens with your deep lion roar,
Singing Hari’s sweet name! With both your arms upraised,
Dance in the name of Hari and give His name to all.
Swim by day and by night in the bliss of Hari’s love;
Slay desire with His name, and blessed be your life!

The Master improvised, “Be drunk with prema and weep, chanting Hari’s sweet name.” And, “Be mad with divine fervour and weep, chanting His name.”

Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees rested awhile. Narendra said to the Master in a low voice, “Will you kindly sing that one?”

MASTER: “My voice has become a little hoarse.”

After a few minutes he asked Narendra, “Which one?”

NARENDRA: “‘Gaur, whose beauty delights the world.'”

Sri Ramakrishna sang, describing the beauty of Sri Chaitanya:

Who has brought Gaur to Nadia —
Gaur, whose beauty delights the world?
His face, covered with ringlets of hair,
Shines like lightning against a dark cloud. . . .

Again he sang, This time about the grief of a gopi at her separation from Sri Krishna:

I have not found my Krishna, O friend! How cheerless my home without Him!
Ah, if Krishna could only be the hair upon my head,
Carefully I should braid it then, and deck it with bakul-flowers;
Carefully I should fashion the braids out of my Krishna-hair.
Krishna is black, and black is my hair; black would be one with black.

Ah, if Krishna could only be the ring I wear in my nose,
Always from my nose He would hang, and my two lips could touch Him.
But it can never be, alas! Why should I idly dream?
Why should Krishna care at all to be the ring in my nose?

Ah, if Krishna could only be the bracelets on my arms,
Always He would cling to my wrists, and proudly I should walk,
Shaking my bracelets to make them sound, shaking my arms to show them;
Down the king’s highway I should walk, wearing my Krishna-bracelets.

The music was over. The Master began to talk with the devotees.

MASTER (smiling): “Hazra danced.”

NARENDRA: “Yes, a little.”

MASTER: “A little?”

NARENDRA: “Yes. His belly danced too.” (All laugh.)

Pundit Shashadhar’s host had been thinking of inviting the Master for dinner.

MASTER: “I have heard that his host is not an honest man. He is immoral.”

NARENDRA: “That is why you didn’t drink the water he touched. It happened the first day you met Shashadhar at his house. How did you come to know he was immoral?”

MASTER (smiling): “Hazra knows of another instance. It happened at Sihore in Hriday’s house.”

HAZRA: “The man was a Vaishnava. He came with me to see you [meaning Sri Ramakrishna]. As soon as he sat in front of you, you turned your back on him.”

MASTER: “We learnt later that he led an immoral life. (To Narendra) You used to say, at first, that these were all hallucinations.”

NARENDRA: “How was I to know? Now I see that you are always right.”

Adhar had prepared a feast for the Master and the devotees, and now he invited them to the meal. The Master said to the Mukherji brothers: “What? Won’t you eat?” They said humbly, “Please excuse us.”

MASTER: “But why? You are doing everything else. Why this hesitation only about eating the meal?”

Adhar was a low-caste Hindu. Therefore some of the Master’s brahmin devotees hesitated to eat at his house. They came to their senses at last when they saw Sri Ramakrishna himself eating.

It was about nine o’clock. The Master was resting in the drawing-room with the devotees. He would soon leave for Dakshineswar.

The Mukherji brothers had arranged with a singer of kirtan to entertain the Master the following day. Ram was taking singing-lessons from this musician. Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra to come to Dakshineswar to hear the kirtan.

MASTER (to Narendra): “Come tomorrow, won’t you?”

NARENDRA: “I shall try, sir.”

MASTER: “You can bathe there and also take your meal. (Pointing to M.) He may dine there too. (To M.) Are you quite well now? I hope you are not on a diet.”

M: “No, sir. I shall come.”

Nityagopal was living at Vrindavan. Chunilal had returned from Vrindavan only a few days before, and the Master inquired about Nityagopal.

As Sri Ramakrishna was about to leave, M. saluted him, touching the Master’s feet with his forehead. The Master said to him tenderly: “Then I shall see you tomorrow. Narendra! Bhavanath! Please come tomorrow.” Then with several devotees he set out for Dakshineswar.

The other devotees returned home in the moonlit night, cherishing in their hearts the Master’s ecstatic music and dancing.