Festival at Panihati — Different states of bhakti — Essence of the scriptures — Ideal of the Gita — Nitya and Lila — Different forms of divine manifestation — The ways of God are inscrutable — Body-consciousness produces duality — Everything is possible for God — Maya is the cause of ignorance — Different psychic centres — Master's visits to various devotees — Dogmatism condemned — Oneness of God — Shallow faith of the worldly-minded — Various classes of devotees — Signs of God-vision — Knowledge and ignorance — Difficulty of the Vedantic method — Charity and attachment — The three gunas — Nature of Brahman cannot be described — Parable of the four friends — God and religious organization — Two kinds of ego — Man's inordinate attachment — Black complexion of the Divine Mother — Seeing God in everything — Mystery of Divine Incarnation.
Monday, June 18, 1883
Behold, the two brothers1
have come, who weep while chanting Hari's name,
The brothers who dance in ecstasy and make the world dance in His name!
Behold them, weeping themselves, and making the whole world weep as well,
The brothers who, in return for blows, offer to sinners Hari's love.
Behold them, drunk with Hari's love, who make the world drunk as well!
Behold, the two brothers have come, who once were Kanai and Balai of Braja,
They who would steal the butter out of the pots of the gopi maids.
Behold, the two have come, who shatter all the rules of caste,
Embracing everyone as brother, even the outcaste shunned by men;
Who lose themselves in Hari's name, making the whole world mad;
Who are none other than Hari Himself, and chant His hallowed name!
Behold them, who saved from their sinful ways the ruffians Jagai and Madhai, 2
They who cannot distinguish between a friend and an enemy!
Behold the two brothers, Gaur and Nitai, who come again to save mankind.
Again the Master sang:
See how all Nadia is shaking
Under the waves of Gauranga's love! . . .
The crowd, with the Master in the centre, surged toward the
Radha-Krishna. Only a small number could enter. The rest stood outside
the portal and jostled with one another to have a look at Sri
a mood of intoxication he began to dance in the courtyard of the
Every how and then his body stood transfixed in deep samadhi. Hundreds
of people around him shouted the name of God, and thousands outside
caught the strain and raised the cry with full-throated voices. The
travelled over the Ganges, striking a note in the hearts of people in
boats on the holy river, and they too chanted the name of God.
When the kirtan was over, Mani Sen took Sri Ramakrishna and Navadvip Goswami into a room and served them with refreshments. Afterwards Ram, M., and the other devotees were also served with the prasad.
In the afternoon, the Master was sitting in Mani Sen's drawing-room with the devotees. Navadvip was also near him. Mani offered the carriage hire to Sri Ramakrishna. Pointing to Ram and the others, the Master said: "Why, should they accept it from you? They earn money." He became engaged in conversation with Navadvip.
MASTER: "Bhakti matured becomes bhava. Next is mahabhava, then prema, and last of all is the attainment of God. Gauranga experienced the states of mahabhava and prema. When prema is awakened, a devotee completely forgets the world; he also forgets his body, which is so dear to a man. Gauranga experienced prema. He jumped into the ocean, thinking it to be the Jamuna. The ordinary jiva does not experience mahabhava or prema. He goes only as far as bhava. But Gauranga experienced all three states. Isn't that so?"
NAVADVIP: "Yes, sir, that is true. The inmost state, the semi-conscious state, and the conscious state."
MASTER: "In the inmost state he would remain in samadhi, unconscious of the outer world. In the semi-conscious state he could only dance. In the conscious state he chanted the name of God."
Navadvip introduced his son to the Master. The young man was a student of the scriptures. He saluted Sri Ramakrishna.
NAVADVIP: "He studies the scriptures at home. Previously one hardly saw a copy of the Vedas in this country. Max Müller has translated them; so people can now read these books."
MASTER: "Too much study of the scriptures does more harm than good. The important thing is to know the essence of the scriptures. After that, what is the need of books? One should learn the essence and then dive deep in order to realize God.
"The Divine Mother has revealed to me the essence of the Vedanta. It is that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. The essence of the Gita is what you get by repeating the word ten times. The word becomes reversed. It is then 'tagi', which refers to renunciation. The essence of the Gita is: 'O man, renounce everything and practise spiritual discipline for the realization of God.'"
NAVADVIP: "But how can we persuade our minds to renounce?"
MASTER: "You are a goswami. It is your duty to officiate as priest in the temple. You cannot renounce the world; otherwise, who would look after the temple and its services? You have to renounce mentally.
"It is God Himself who has kept you in the world to set an example to men. You may resolve in your mind a thousand times to renounce the world, but you will not succeed. God has given you such a nature that you must perform your worldly duties.
"Krishna said to Arjuna: 'What do you mean, you will not fight? By your mere will you cannot desist from fighting. Your very nature will make you fight.'"
At the mere mention of Krishna and Arjuna the Master went into samadhi. In the twinkling of an eye his body became motionless and his eyeballs transfixed, while his breathing could scarcely be noticed. At this sudden transformation Navadvip and his son and the other devotees looked at the Master in mute wonder.
Regaining partial consciousness, he said to Navadvip: "Yoga and bhoga. You goswamis have both. Now your only duty is to call on God and pray to Him sincerely: 'O God, I don't want the glories or Thy world-bewitching maya. I want Thee alone!' God dwells in all beings, undoubtedly. That being the case, who may be called His devotee? He who dwells in God, he who has merged his mind and life and innermost soul in God."
The Master returned to the sense plane. Referring to his samadhi, he said to Navadvip: "Some say that this state of mine is a disease. I say to them, "How can one become unconscious by thinking of Him whose Consciousness has made the whole world conscious?'"
Mani Sen said good-bye to the invited brahmins and Vaishnavas with suitable gifts of money. He offered five rupees to Sri Ramakrishna. The latter said that he could not possibly accept any money. But Mani insisted. The Master then asked him in the name of his guru not to press him. Mani requested him again to accept the offering. Sri Ramakrishna asked M., in a distressed voice, whether he should take the money. The disciple made a vehement protest and said, "No, sir. By no means."
Friends of Mani Sen gave the money to Rakhal, requesting him to buy some mangoes and sweets for the Master. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "I have definitely said to Mani that I would not accept the money. I feel free now. But Rakhal has accepted it. His is now the responsibility."
Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by the devotees, took a carriage to return to Dakshineswar. They were going to pass the temple garden of Mati Seal on the way. For a long time the Master had been asking M. to take him to the reservoir in the garden in order that he might teach him how to meditate on the formless God. There were tame fish in the reservoir. Nobody harmed them. Visitors threw puffed rice and other bits of food into the water, and the big fish came in swarms to eat the food. Fearlessly the fish swam in the water and sported there joyously.
Coming to the reservoir, the Master said to M.: "Look at the fish. Meditating on the formless God is like swimming joyfully like these fish, in the Ocean of Bliss and Consciousness."
Monday, June 25, 1883
Sri Ramakrishna was at Balaram Bose's house in Calcutta.
Rakhal and M
were seated near him. The Master was in ecstasy. He conversed with the
devotees in an abstracted mood.
MASTER: "Let me assure you that a man can realize his Inner Self through sincere prayer. But to the extent that he has the desire to 'enjoy worldly objects, his vision of the Self becomes obstructed."
M: "Yes, sir. You always ask us to plunge into God."
MASTER (joyously): "Yes! That's it. Let me tell you that the realization of Self is possible for all, without any exception."
M: "That is true, sir. But God is the Doer. He works through different beings in different ways, according to their capacity to manifest the Divine. God gives to some full spiritual consciousness, and others He keeps in ignorance."
MASTER: "No, that is not so. One should pray to God with a longing heart. God certainly listens to prayer if it is sincere. There is no doubt about it."
A DEVOTEE: "Yes, sir. There is this 'I-consciousness' in us; therefore we must pray."
MASTER (to M.): "A man should reach the Nitya, the Absolute, by following the trail of the Lila, the Relative. It is like reaching the roof by the stairs. After realizing the Absolute, he should climb down to the Relative and live on that plane in the company of devotees, charging his mind with the love of God; This is my final and most mature opinion.
"God has different forms, and He sports in different ways. He sports as Isvara, deva, man, and the universe. In every age He descends to earth in human form, as an Incarnation, to teach people love and devotion. There is the instance of Chaitanya. One can taste devotion and love of God only through His Incarnations. Infinite are the ways of God's play, but what I need is love and devotion. I want only the milk. The milk comes through the udder of the cow. The Incarnation is the udder."
Was Sri Ramakrishna hinting that he was an Incarnation of God? Did he suggest that those who saw him saw God? Did he thus speak about himself when speaking of Chaitanya?
It was a hot day in June 1883. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the steps of the Siva temples in the temple garden. M. arrived with ice and other offerings and sat down on the steps after saluting the Master.
MASTER (to M.): "The husband of Mani Mallick's granddaughter was here. He read in a book3 that God could not be said to be quite wise and omniscient; otherwise, why should there be so much misery in the world? As regards death, it would be much better to kill a man all at once, instead of putting him through slow torture. Further, the author writes that if he himself were the Creator, he would have created a better world."
M. listened to these words in surprise and made no comment.
MASTER (to M.): "Can a man ever understand God's ways? I too think of God sometimes as good and sometimes as bad. He has kept us deluded by His great illusion. Sometimes He wakes us up and sometimes He keeps us unconscious. One moment the ignorance disappears, and the next moment it covers our mind. If you throw a brick-bat into a pond covered with moss, you get a glimpse of the water. But a few moments later the moss comes dancing back and covers the water.
"One is aware of pleasure and pain, birth and death, disease and grief, as long as one is identified with the body. All these belong to the body alone, and not to the Soul. After the death of the body, perhaps God carries one to a better place. It is like the birth of the child after the pain of delivery. Attaining Self-Knowledge, one looks on pleasure and pain, birth and death, as a dream.
"How little we know! Can a one-seer pot hold ten seers of milk? If ever a salt doll ventures into the ocean to measure its depth, it cannot come back and give us the information. It melts into the water and disappears."
At dusk the evening service began in the different temples. The Master was sitting on the small couch in his room, absorbed in contemplation of the Divine Mother. Several devotees also were there. M. was going to spend the night with the Master.
A little later Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to a devotee privately, on the verandah north of his room. He said: "It is good to meditate in the small hours of the morning and at dawn. One should also meditate daily after dusk." He instructed the devotee about meditation on the Personal God and on the Impersonal Reality.
After a time he sat on the semicircular porch west of his room. It was about nine o'clock.
MASTER: "Those who come here will certainly have all their doubts removed. What do you say?"
M: "That is true, sir."
A boat was moving in the Ganges, far away from the bank. The boatman began to sing. The sound of his voice floating over the river reached the Master's ears, and he went into a spiritual mood. The hair on his body stood on end. He said to M., "Just feel my body." M. was greatly amazed. He thought: "The Upanishads describe Brahman as permeating the universe and the ether. Has that Brahman, as sound, touched the Master's body?"
After a time Sri Ramakrishna began to converse again.
MASTER: "Those who come here must have been born with good tendencies. Isn't that true?"
M: "It is true, sir."
MASTER: "Adhar must have good tendencies."
M: "That goes without saying."
MASTER: "A guileless man easily realizes God. There are two paths: the path of righteousness and the path of wickedness. One should follow the path of righteousness."
M: "That is true, sir. If a thread has a single fibre sticking out, it cannot pass through the eye of a needle."
MASTER: "If a man finds a hair in the food he is chewing, he spits out the entire morsel."
M: "But you say that the man who has realized God cannot be injured by evil company. A blazing fire burns up even a plantain-tree."
Saturday, July 14, 1883
Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Adhar's house in Calcutta. Rakhal,
other devotees were with the Master. Adhar had arranged to have
the famous singer, and his party, recite the Chandi.
Rajnarayan began the recital in the worship hall. He sang:
I have surrendered my soul at the fearless feet of the Mother;
Am I afraid of Death any more? . . .
As the Master listened, he became filled with divine fervour
and joined the
musicians. Now and then he improvised an appropriate line. Suddenly he
went into samadhi and stood still.
The singer sang again:
Who is the Woman yonder who lights the field of battle?
Darker Her body gleams even than the darkest storm-cloud,
And from Her teeth there flash the lightning's blinding flames!
Dishevelled Her hair is flying behind as She rushes about,
Undaunted in this war between the gods and the demons.
Laughing Her terrible laugh, She slays the fleeing asuras,
And with Her dazzling flashes She bares the horror of war.
How beautiful on Her brow the drops of moisture appear!
About Her dense black hair the bees are buzzing in swarms;
The moon has veiled its face, beholding this Sea of Beauty.
Tell me, who can She be, this Sorceress? Wonder of wonders!
Siva Himself, like a corpse, lies vanquished at Her feet.
Kamalakanta has guessed who She is, with the elephant's gait;
She is none other than Kali, Mother of all the worlds.
Sri Ramakrishna was in deep samadhi.
Saturday, July 21, 1883
Thy name, I have heard, O Consort of Siva,
is the destroyer of our fear,
And so on Thee I cast my burden: Save me! Save me, O kindly Mother!
Out of Thy womb the world is born, and Thou it is that dost pervade it.
Art Thou Kali? Art Thou Radha? Who can ever rightly say?
Mother, in every living creature Thou dost have Thy dwelling-place;
As Kundalini Thou dost live in the lotus of the Muladhara.
Above it lies the Svadhisthana, where the four-petalled lotus blooms;
There also Thou dost make Thy home, O mystic power of Kundalini,
In the four petals of that flower, and in Vajrasana's six petals.
At the navel is Manipura, the blue ten-petalled lotus flower;
Through the pathway of Sushumna, Thou dost ascend and enter there.
O Lady of the lotuses, in lotus blossoms Thou dost dwell!
Beyond them lies the Lake of Nectar, in the region of the heart,
Where the twelve-petalled lotus flower enchants the eye with scarlet flame.
When Thou dost open it, O Mother, touching it with Thy Lotus Feet,
The age-long darkness of the heart instantly scatters at Thy sight.
Above, in the throat, is the sixteen-petalled lotus flower, of smoky hue:
Within the petals of this flower there lies concealed a subtle space,
Transcending which, one sees at length the universe in Space dissolve.
And higher vet, between the eyebrows, blossoms the lotus of two petals,
Where the mind of man remains a prisoner and past controlling;
From this flower the mind desires to watch the sportive play of life.
Highest of all, within the head, the soul-enthralling centre is,
Where shines the thousand-petalled lotus, Mahadeva's dwelling-place.
Having ascended to His throne, O Spouse of Siva, sit beside Him!
Thou art the Primal Power, O Mother! She whose senses are controlled;
The yogis meditate on Thee as Uma, great Himalaya's daughter.
Thou who art the Power of Siva! Put to death my ceaseless cravings;
Grant that I never fall again into the ocean of this world.
Mother, Thou art the Primal Power, Thou the five cosmic principles;
Who can ever hope to know Thee, who art beyond all principles?
Only for Thy bhaktas' sake dost Thou assume Thy various forms;
But when Thy devotee's five senses merge in the five elements,
Mother, it is Thyself alone that he beholds as formless Truth.
As Ramlal sang the lines:
Above, in the throat, is the sixteen-petalled lotus flower, of smoky
Within the petals of this flower there lies concealed a subtle space,
Transcending which, one sees at length the universe in Space dissolve,
the Master said to M.: "Listen. This is known as the vision of
the Formless Brahman. The Kundalini, rising above the Visuddha chakra,
enables one to see everything as akasa."
M: "Yes, sir."
MASTER: "One attains the Absolute by going beyond the universe and its created beings conjured up by maya. By passing beyond the Nada one goes into samadhi. By repeating 'Om' one goes beyond the Nada and attains samadhi."
Adhar served Sri Ramakrishna with fruits and sweets. The Master left tor Jadu Mallick's house.
Sri Ramakrishna entered the room in Jadu's house where the Divine Mother was worshipped. He stood before the image, which had been decorated with flowers, garlands, and sandal-paste, and which radiated a heavenly beauty and splendour. Lights were burning before the pedestal. A priest was seated before the image. The Master asked one of his companions to offer a rupee in the shrine, according to the Hindu custom.
Sri Ramakrishna stood a long time with folded hands before the blissful image, the devotees standing behind him. Gradually he went into samadhi, his body becoming motionless and his eyes fixed.
With a long sigh he came back to the world of the senses and said, still intoxicated with divine fervour, "Mother, good-bye." But he could not leave the place. He remained standing there. Addressing Ramlal, he said: "Please sing that song. Then I shall be all right."
O Mother, Consort of Siva, Thou hast deluded this world. . . .
The Master went to the drawing-room with the devotees. Every now and then he said, "O Mother, please dwell in my heart!" Jadu was sitting in the drawing-room with his friends. The Master sat down, still in an ecstatic mood, and sang:
O Mother, ever blissful as Thou art,
Do not deprive Thy worthless child of bliss! . . .
Mother, am I Thine eight-months4
child? Thy red eyes cannot frighten me!
My riches are Thy Lotus Feet, which Siva holds upon His breast;
Yet, when I seek my heritage, I meet with excuses and delays.
A deed of gift I hold in my heart, attested by Thy Husband Siva;
I shall sue Thee, if I must, and with a single point shall win.
If Thou dost oppose me, Thou wilt learn what sort of mother's son I am.
This bitterly contested suit between the Mother and Her son —
What sport it is! says Ramprasad. I shall not cease tormenting Thee
Till Thou Thyself shall yield the fight and take me in Thine arms at last.
Coming down nearly to a normal state, the Master said, "I
shall take some
of the Divine Mother's prasad." Then he ate a little of it.
Jadu Mallick was sitting near him with several friends, among whom were a few of his flatterers.
MASTER (with a smile): "Well, why do you keep these buffoons with you?"
JADU (with a smile): "Suppose they are. Won't you redeem them?"
MASTER (smiling): "The water of the Ganges cannot purify a wine-jar."
Jadu had promised the Master that he would arrange a recital of the Chandi in his house. Some time had elapsed, but he bad not yet kept his promise.
MASTER: "Well, what about the recital of the Chandi?"
JADU: "I have been busy with many things; I haven't been able to arrange it."
MASTER: "How is that? A man gives his word and doesn't take it back! 'The words of a man are like the tusks of the elephant: they come out but do not go back.' A man must be true to his word. What do you say?"
JADU (with a smile): "You are right."
MASTER: "You are a shrewd man. You do a thing after much calculation. You are like the brahmin who selects a cow that eats very little, supplies plenty of dung, and gives much milk." (All laugh.)
After a time he said to Jadu: "I now understand your nature. It is half warm and half cold. You are devoted to God and also to the world."
The Master and his devotees were served by Jadu with sweets and fruit, and then the party left for the home of Khelat Ghosh.
Khelat Ghosh's house was a big mansion, but it looked deserted. As, the Master entered the house he fell into an ecstatic mood. M., Ramlal, and a few other devotees were with him. Their host was Khelat Ghosh's brother-in-law. He was an old man, a Vaishnava. His body was stamped with the name of God, according to the Vaishnava custom, and he carried in his hand a small bag containing his rosary. He had visited the Master, now and then, at Dakshineswar. But most of the Vaishnavas held narrow religious views; they criticized the Vedantists and the followers of the Siva cult. Sri Ramakrishna soon began to speak.
MASTER: "It is not good to feel that one's own religion alone is true and all others are false. God is one only, and not two. Different people call on Him by different names: some as Allah, some as God, and others as Krishna, Siva, and Brahman. It is like the water in a lake. Some drink it at one place and call it 'jal', others at another place and call it 'pani', and still others at a third place and call it 'water'. The Hindus call it 'jal', the Christians 'water', and the Mussalmans 'pani'. But it is one and the same thing. Opinions are but paths. Each religion is only a path leading to God, as rivers come from different directions and ultimately become one in the one ocean.
"The Truth established in the Vedas, the Puranas, and the Tantras is but one Satchidananda. In the Vedas It is called Brahman, in the Puranas It is called Krishna, Rama, and so on, and in the Tantras It is called Siva. The one Satchidananda is called Brahman, Krishna, and Siva."
The devotees were silent.
A VAISHNAVA DEVOTEE: "Sir, why should one think of God at all?"
MASTER: "If a man really has that knowledge5 then he is indeed liberated though living in a body.
"Not all, by any means, believe in God. They simply talk. The worldly-minded have heard from someone that God exists and that everything happens by His will; but it is not their inner belief.
"Do you know what a worldly man's idea of God is like? It is like the children's swearing by God when they quarrel. They have heard the word while listening to their elderly aunts quarrelling.
"Is it possible for all to comprehend God? God has created the good and the bad, the devoted and the impious, the faithful and the sceptical. The wonders that we see all exist in His creation. In one place there is more manifestation of His Power, in another less. The sun's light is better reflected by water than by earth, and still better by a mirror. Again, there are different levels among the devotees of God: superior, mediocre, and inferior. All this has been described in the Gita."
VAISHNAVA: "True, sir."
MASTER: "The inferior devotee says, 'God exists, but He is very far off, up there in heaven.' The mediocre devotee says, 'God exists in all beings as life and consciousness.' The superior devotee says: 'It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become maya, the universe, and all living beings. Nothing exists but God.'"
VAISHNAVA: "Does anyone ever attain that state of mind?"
MASTER: "One cannot attain it unless one has seen God. But there are signs that a man has had the vision of God. A man who has seen God sometimes behaves like a madman: he laughs, weeps, dances, and sings. Sometimes times he behaves like a child, a child five years old — guileless, generous, without vanity, unattached to anything, not under the control of any of the gunas, always blissful. Sometimes he behaves like a ghoul: he doesn't differentiate between things pure and things impure; he sees no difference between things clean and things unclean. And sometimes he is like an inert thing, staring vacantly: he cannot do any work; he cannot strive for anything."
Was the Master making a veiled reference to his own states of mind?
MASTER (to the Vaishnava devotee): "The feeling of 'Thee and Thine' is the outcome of Knowledge; 'I and mine' comes from ignorance. Knowledge makes one feel: 'O God, Thou art the Doer and I am Thy instrument. O God, to Thee belongs all — body, mind, house, family, living beings, and the universe. All these are Thine. Nothing belongs to me.'
"An ignorant person says, 'Oh, God is there — very far off.' The man of Knowledge knows that God is right here, very near, in the heart; that He has assumed all forms and dwells in all hearts as their Inner Controller."
Sunday, July 22, 1883
If you should find the task too hard,
Call upon Ramprasad for help.
The mind must completely merge itself in Knowledge. But that
enough. 'Ramprasad', that is, the principle of 'I', must vanish too.
alone does one get the Knowledge of Brahman."
A DEVOTEE: "Sir, is it possible then that Sukadeva did not have the ultimate Knowledge?"
MASTER: "According to some people, Sukadeva only saw and touched the Ocean of Brahman; he did not dive into It. That is why he could return to the world and impart religious instruction. According to others, he returned to the world of name and form, after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman,. for the purpose of teaching others. He had to recite the Bhagavata to King Parikshit and had to teach people in various ways; therefore God did not destroy his 'I' altogether. God kept in him the 'ego of Knowledge'."
DEVOTEE: "Can one keep up an organization after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman?"
MASTER: "Once I talked to Keshab Sen about the Knowledge of Brahman. He asked me to explain it further. I said, 'If I proceed further, then you won't be able to preserve your organization and following.' 'Then please stop here!' replied Keshab. (All laugh.) But still I said to Keshab: '"I" and "mine" indicate ignorance. Without ignorance one cannot have such a feeling as "I am the doer; these are my wife, children, possessions, name and fame".' Thereupon Keshab said, 'Sir, if one gave up the "I", nothing whatsoever would remain.' I reassured him and said: 'I am not asking you to give up all of the "I". You should give up only the "unripe, I". The "unripe I" makes one feel: "I am the doer. These are my wife and children. I am a teacher." Renounce this "unripe I" and keep the "ripe I", which will make you feel that you are the servant of God, His devotee, and that God is the Doer and you are His instrument.'"
DEVOTEE: "Can the 'ripe I' form an organization?"
MASTER: "I said to Keshab Sen that the 'I' that says, 'I am a leader, I have formed this party, I am teaching people', is the 'unripe I'. It is very difficult to preach religion. It is not possible to do so without receiving the commandment of God. The permission of God is necessary. Sukadeva had a command from God to recite the Bhagavata. If, after realizing God, a man gets His command and becomes a preacher or teacher, then that preaching or teaching does no harm. His 'I' is not 'unripe'; it is 'ripe'.
"I asked Keshab to give up this 'unripe I'. The ego that feels, 'I am the servant of God and lover of God' does not injure one. I said to him: 'You have been constantly talking of your organization and your followers. But people also go away from your organization.' Keshab answered: 'It is true, sir. After staying in it several years, people go to another organization. What is worse, on deserting me they abuse me right and left.' 'Why don't you study their nature?' I said. 'Is there any good in making anybody and everybody a disciple?'
"I said to Keshab further: 'You should accept the Divine Mother, the Primal Energy. Brahman is not different from Its Sakti. What is Brahman is also Sakti. As long as a man remains conscious of the body, he is conscious of duality. It is only when a man tries to describe what he sees that he finds duality.' Keshab later on recognized Kali.
"One day when Keshab was here with his disciples, I said to him that I would like to hear him preach. He delivered a lecture in the chandni. Then we all sat by the bathing-ghat and had a long conversation. I said to him; 'It is Bhagavan alone who in one form appears as bhakta, and in another as the Bhagavata. Please repeat "Bhagavata — Bhakta — Bhagavan".' Keshab and his disciples repeated the words. Then I asked him to repeat 'Guru — Krishna — Vaishnava'. Thereupon Keshab said: 'Sir, I should not go so far now. People will say that I have become an orthodox Hindu.'
"It is extremely difficult to go beyond the three gunas. One cannot reach that state without having realized God. Man dwells in the realm of maya. Maya does not permit him to see God. It has made him a victim of ignorance.
"Once Hriday brought a bull-calf here. I saw, one day, that he had tied it with a rope in the garden, so that it might graze there. I asked him, 'Hriday, why do you tie the calf there every day?' 'Uncle,' he said, 'I am going to send this calf to our village. When it grows strong I shall yoke it to the plough.' As soon as I heard these words I was stunned to think: 'How inscrutable is the play of the divine maya! Kamarpukur and Sihore (Hriday's birth-place.) are so far away from Calcutta! This poor calf must go all that way. Then it will grow, and at length it will be yoked to the plough. This is indeed the world! This is indeed maya!' I fell down unconscious. Only after a long time did I regain consciousness."
It was three or four o'clock in the afternoon. M. found Sri Ramakrishna seated on the couch in an abstracted mood. After some time he heard him talking to the Divine Mother. The Master said, "O Mother, why hast Thou given him only a particle?" Remaining silent a few moments, he added: "I understand it, Mother. That little bit will be enough for him and will serve Thy purpose. That little bit will enable him to teach people."
Did the Master thus transmit spiritual powers to his disciples? Did he thus come to know that his disciples, after him, would go out into the world as teachers of men?
Rakhal was in the room. Sri Ramakrishna was still in a state of partial consciousness when he said to Rakhal: "You were angry with me, weren't you? Do you know why I made you angry? There was a reason. Only then would the medicine work. The surgeon first brings an abscess to a head. Only then does he apply a herb so that it may burst and dry up."
After a pause he went on: "Yes, I have found Hazra to be like a piece of dry wood. Then why does he live here? This has a meaning too. The play is enlivened by the presence of trouble-makers like Jatila and Kutila.
(To M.) "One must accept the forms of God. Do you know the meaning of the image of Jagaddhatri? She is the Bearer of the Universe. Without Her support and protection the universe would fall from its place and be destroyed. The Divine Mother, Jagaddhatri, reveals Herself in the heart of one who can control the mind, which may be compared to an elephant."
RAKHAL: "The mind is a mad elephant."
MASTER: "Therefore the lion, the carrier of the Divine Mother, keeps it under control."6 It was dusk. The evening service began in the temples. Sri Ramakrishna was chanting the names of the gods and goddesses. He was seated on the small couch, with folded hands, and became absorbed in contemplation of the Divine Mother. The world outside was flooded with moonlight, and the devotees inside the Master's room sat in silence and looked at his serene face.
In the mean time Govinda of Belgharia and some of his friends had entered the room. Sri Ramakrishna was still in a semi-conscious state. After a few minutes he said to the devotees: "Tell me your doubts. I shall explain everything."
Govinda and the other devotees looked thoughtful.
GOVINDA: "Revered sir, why does the Divine Mother have a black complexion?"7
MASTER: "You see Her as black because you are far away from Her. Go near and you will find Her devoid of all colour. The water of a lake appears black from a distance. Go near and take the water in your hand, and you will see that it has no colour at all. Similarly, the sky looks blue from a distance. But look at the atmosphere near you; it has no colour. The nearer you come to God, the more you will realize that He has neither name nor form. If you move away from the Divine Mother, you will find Her blue, like the grass-flower. Is Syama male or female? A man once saw the image of the Divine Mother wearing a sacred thread.8 He said to the worshipper: 'What? You have put the sacred thread on the Mother's neck!' The worshipper said: 'Brother, I see that you have truly known the Mother. But I have not yet been able to find out whether She is male or female; that is why I have put the sacred thread on Her image.'
"That which is Syama is also Brahman. That which has form, again, is without form. That which has attributes, again, has no attributes. Brahman is Sakti; Sakti is Brahman. They are not two. These are only two aspects, male and female, of the same Reality, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute."
GOVINDA: "What is the meaning of 'yogamaya'?"
MASTER: "It signifies the yoga, or union, of Purusha9 and Prakriti.10 Whatever you perceive in the universe is the outcome of this union. Take the image of Siva and Kali. Kali stands on the bosom of Siva; Siva lies under Her feet like a corpse; Kali looks at Siva. All this denotes the union of Purusha and Prakriti. Purusha is inactive; therefore Siva lies on the ground like a corpse. Prakriti performs all Her activities in conjunction with Purusha. Thus She creates, preserves, and destroys. That is also the meaning of the conjoined images of Radha and Krishna. On account of that union, again, the images are slightly inclined toward each other.
"To denote this union, Sri Krishna wears a pearl in His nose, Radha a blue stone in hers. Radha has a fair complexion, bright as the pearl. Sri Krishna's is blue. For this reason Radha wears the blue stone. Further, Krishna's apparel is yellow, and Radha's blue.
"Who is the best devotee of God? It is he who sees, after the realization of Brahman, that God alone has become all living beings, the universe, and the twenty-four cosmic principles. One must discriminate at first, saying "Not this, not this', and reach the roof. After that one realizes that the steps are made of the same materials as the roof, namely, brick, lime, and brick-dust. The devotee realizes that it is Brahman alone that has become all these — the living beings, the universe, and so on.
"Mere dry reasoning — I spit on it! I have no use for it! (The Master spits on the ground.) "Why should I make myself dry through mere reasoning? May I have unalloyed love for the Lotus Feet of God as long as the consciousness of 'I' and 'you' remains with me!
(To Govinda) "Sometimes I say, 'Thou art verily I, and I am verily Thou.' Again I feel, 'Thou art Thou.' Then I do not find any trace of 'I'. It is Sakti alone that becomes flesh as God Incarnate. According to one school of thought, Rama and Krishna are but two waves in the Ocean of Absolute Bliss and Consciousness.
"Chaitanya, Consciousness, is awakened after Advaita-jnana, the Knowledge of the non-dual Brahman. Then one perceives that God alone exists in all beings as Consciousness. After this realization comes Ananda, Bliss. Advaita, Chaitanya, and Nityananda.11
(To M.) "Let me ask you not to disbelieve in the forms of God. Have faith in God's forms. Meditate on that form of God which appeals to your mind.
(To Govinda) "The fact is that one does not feel the longing to know or see God as long as one wants to enjoy worldly objects. The child forgets everything when he plays with his toys. Try to cajole him away from play with a sweetmeat; you will not succeed. He will eat only a bit of it. When he relishes neither the sweetmeat nor his play, then he says, 'I want to go to my mother.' He doesn't care tor the sweetmeat any more. If a man whom he doesn't know and has never seen says to the child, 'Come along; I shall take you to your mother', the child follows him. The child will go with anyone who will carry him to his mother.
"The soul becomes restless for God when one is through with the enjoyment of worldly things. Then a person has only one thought — how to realize God. He listens to whatever anyone says to him about God."
M. (to himself): "Alas! The soul becomes restless for God only when one is through with the enjoyment of worldly things."
August 18, 1883