BEGINNING OF HIS ILLNESS
In April 1885 the Master's throat became inflamed. Prolonged conversation
or absorption in samadhi, making the blood flow into the throat, would
aggravate the pain. Yet when the annual Vaishnava festival was celebrated
at Panihati, Sri Ramakrishna attended it against the doctor's advice. With a
group of disciples he spent himself in music, dance, and ecstasy. The illness
took a turn for the worse and was diagnosed as "clergyman's sore throat".
The patient was cautioned against conversation and ecstasies. Though he
followed the physician's directions regarding medicine and diet, he could
neither control his trances nor withhold from seekers the solace of his advice.
Sometimes, like a sulky child, he would complain to the Mother about the
crowds, who gave him no rest day or night. He was overheard to say to Her;
"Why do You bring here all these worthless people, who are like milk
diluted with five times its own quantity of water? My eyes are almost
destroyed with blowing the fire to dry up the water. My health is gone. It is
beyond my strength. Do it Yourself, if You want it done. This (pointing to
his own body) is but a perforated drum, and if you go on beating it day in
and day out, how long will it last?"
But his large heart never turned anyone away. He said, "Let me be condemned to be born over and over again, even in the form of a dog, if I can be of help to a single soul." And he bore the pain, singing cheerfully, "Let the body be preoccupied with illness, but, O mind, dwell for ever in God's Bliss!"
One night he had a hemorrhage of the throat. The doctor now diagnosed the illness as cancer. Narendra was the first to break this heart-rending news to the disciples. Within three days the Master was removed to Calcutta for better treatment. At Balaram's house he remained a week until a suitable place could be found at Syampukur, in the northern section of Calcutta. During this week he dedicated himself practically without respite to the instruction of those beloved devotees who had been unable to visit him oftener at Dakshineswar. Discourses incessantly flowed from his tongue, and he often went into samadhi. Dr. Mahendra Sarkar, the celebrated homeopath of Calcutta, was invited to undertake his treatment.