SRI RAMAKRISHNA was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. Latu, Ramlal, Harish, and Hazra were living with him at the temple garden. Baburam spent a day or two with him now and then.
Manilal Mallick, Priya Mukherji and his relative Hari, a bearded Brahmo devotee from Shibpur, and several Marwari devotees from Calcutta were in the Master’s room. Manilal was an old member of the Brahmo Samaj.
MASTER (to Manila 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 one.
“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 golakdham one may advance a great deal, but still somehow one’s piece may fail to reach the goal.
“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 (A kind of aquatic fruit.) 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.”
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 sannyas. Sannyasis 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. Sannyasis 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.
“One can attain everything through bhaktiyoga. 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 Vedanta, the Puranas, and the Tantra.”
MANILAL: “And what about hathayoga?”
MASTER: “The 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 maya.’
“Chaitanyadeva said 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?”
MANI MALLICK: “But, sir, you do.”
MASTER (smiling): “How so? You are a householder. Why should you renounce?
“But the renunciation of the world is needful for those whom God wants to be teachers of men. One who is an acharya 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.’
“A physician 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 acharya 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.
“Like teacher, like disciple. Even if a sannyasi 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.
“Once Mahendra 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?’ (The Holy Mother, his wife.) ‘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 sannyasi 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 sannyasi 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 God.
“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.”
MANILAL: “Ramkamal 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.
“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 worldliness.”
Then the Master sang:
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 or 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, Dasaratha, Vasudeva — all of them were guileless.
‘The Vedanta 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 tapasya 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.
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 dimple?”
MUKHERJI: “Yes, sir.”
MASTER: “Ah, what a relief!”
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 snake-bite, 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 his 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 Vedanta with him.
(To M.) “That which is Pure Atman is unattached. Maya, or avidya, is in It. In maya there are three gunas: sattva, rajas, and tamas. These three gunas also exist in the Pure Atman. But Atman 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 own.
“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 Atman, unattached.’ Jadabharata said the same thing to King Rahugana.
“The Pure Atman 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 Atman 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 Atman, is the Cause of the cause.
This Pure Atman alone is our real nature. What is jnana? It is to know one’s own Self and keep the mind in It. It is to know the Pure Atman.
“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 Gita says. To think of the body as the Atman is ajnana, 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 with form.”
The Marwari devotees from Burrabazar entered the room and saluted the Master. He began to praise them.
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.”
MARWARI DEVOTEE: “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 ahamkara.”
DEVOTEE: “Who is the embodied soul?”
MASTER: “It is the Atman bound by the eight fetters. And what is the chitta? It is the ‘I consciousness’ that says, ‘Aha!'”
DEVOTEE: “Revered sir, what happens after death?”
MASTER: “According to the Gita, 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 sadhana 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.”
DEVOTEE: “Why don’t we feel dispassion toward worldly objects?”
MASTER: “Because of maya. Through maya 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 world.”
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 up.
“One must labour a little while at the stage of sadhana. 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 maya, as long as there exists the cloud of maya, you do not see the effect of the Sun of Knowledge. Come outside the house of maya, 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 a 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 Marwari devotee) “The rules for a sannyasi 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.
“Lakshminarayan Marwari, 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?”
DEVOTEE: “Revered 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 jnani 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 bound soul.”
DEVOTEE: “Revered sir, why does a man dying in Benares become liberated?”
MASTER: “A person dying in Benares sees the vision of Siva. Siva says to him: ‘This is My aspect with form, My embodiment in maya. I assume this form for the sake of the devotees. Now look. I am merging in the indivisible Satchidananda!’ Uttering these words, Siva 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.
“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 Narada 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 Narada 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 which sports with Kala is called Kali. She is the Primal Energy. Kala and Kali, Brahman and Sakti, 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.”
YOUNG MAN: “If the world is of the nature of illusion — magic — then why doesn’t one get rid of it?”
MASTER: “It is due to the samskaras, inborn tendencies. Repeated births in this world of maya make one believe that maya 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.’
“Many youngsters 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 samadhi. 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 them.
“Gopal went into samadhi 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 Marwari 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 samadhi on uttering ‘Om’ only once.
“There is a sadhu 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 maya; but in reality He alone exists. Therefore before describing the various names and forms of God, one should say, ‘Om Tat Sat.’ (“Om. That alone is Reality.”)
“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 Gita. One can get the essence of the Gita 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 God.'”
The Master went into an ecstatic mood while watching the evening worship of Kali 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 state.
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.
MASTER (to Mahendra): “Sit down and listen to my words.”
Mahendra was a little embarrassed. He sat down.
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 Yasoda, and sometimes as husband or sweetheart, as did the gopis.
“Sometimes Balarama 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?
Next he described Chaitanya’s three spiritual moods.
MASTER: “Chaitanyadeva used to experience three moods. In the inmost mood he would be absorbed in samadhi, 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 sadhu, 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 there.
“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.”
MUKHERJI: “Revered 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 room.
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 Siva 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 practises japa with a rosary! Whoever comes here [referring to himself] will have his spiritual consciousness awakened all at 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.
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 maya 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 essence;
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 again:
O Mother, for Yasoda 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 the accompaniment 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 boldest 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 grasp
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 Gauranga.