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(Translated from Bengali)

To Balaram Bose
Salutation to Bhagavan Shri Ramakrishna


February 1890


I have received an anonymous letter which I have been unable to trace back to the gigantic soul who wrote it. Indeed, one should pay homage to such a man. He who considers a great soul like Pavhari Baba to be no more than water in a hoof print, he who has nothing to learn in this world and who feels it a disgrace to be taught by any other man — truly, such a new incarnation must be visited. I hope that if the government should discover the identity of this person, he will be handled with special care and be placed in the Alipore garden [zoo]. If you happen to know this man, please ask him to bless me, so that even a dog or a jackal may be my Guru — not to speak of a great soul like Pavhari Baba.

I have many things to learn. My master used to say: "As long as I live, so long do I learn". Also please tell this fellow that unfortunately I do not have the time to "cross the seven seas and thirteen rivers" or to go to Sri Lanka in order to sleep after having put oil in the nostrils.1

Your servant,


P.S. Please have the rose-water brought from Ishan Babu's [Ishan Chandra Mukherjee's] residence if there is delay [in their sending it to the Baranagore Math]. The roses are still not in bloom. The rose-water has just been sent to the residence of Ishan Babu.

  1. ^Here the Swami is referring to Kumbhakarna, the brother of the villain Rāvana of the Rāmāyana. He was of such a lethargic and evil nature that Brahmā granted the boon that he should sleep for six months at a stretch. Putting mustard oil in the nostrils is considered an aid to sleeping soundly.
    "Crossing seven seas and thirteen rivers" is a Bengali phrase meaning to travel a great distance. Sri Lanka is the ancient name for the island of Sri Lanka and was the capital of Ravana's kingdom.