The Master's Training of His Disciples
Dr. Sarkar on ecstasy — Master's humility — M. and Dr. Sarkar — Master's conception of Kali — Depth of Sri Ramakrishna's experiences — Futility of mere scholarship — Master on Bankim — Divine Knowledge is inexhaustible — Master's unique experience — The will of God — Dr. Sarkar and Girish — Free will and God's will — God alone is the agent — Dr. Sarkar on duty — Pure love — Narendra's poverty — Master in samadhi — Narendra's singing — On knowledge and ignorance — Brahman cannot be described — Egotism condemned — Master scolds Shyam Basu — Master's prayer — Pairs of opposites — Dr. Sarkar on expressing feelings — Cause of Master's illness.
Monday, October 26, 1885
IT WAS ABOUT TEN O'CLOCK in the morning when M. arrived at the Syampukur house on his way to Dr. Sarkar to report the Master's condition.
Proclaim the glory of God's name as long as life remains in you;
DOCTOR (to M.): "Isn't it a beautiful song? How do you like that line, 'Where is His limit, where His end?'"
M: "Yes, that's a very fine line. It fills the mind with the idea of the Infinite."
DOCTOR (tenderly, to M.): "It is already late in the morning. Have you taken your lunch? I finish mine before ten and then begin my professional calls; otherwise I don't feel well. Look here, I have been thinking of giving a feast to you all [meaning Sri Ramakrishna's devotees] one day."
M: "That will be fine, sir."
DOCTOR: "Where shall I arrange it? Here or at the Syampukur house? Whatever you suggest."
M: "It doesn't matter, sir. Wherever you arrange it we shall be very happy to dine with you."
The conversation turned to Kali, the Divine Mother.
DOCTOR: "Kali is an old hag of the Sonthals."
M. burst into loud laughter and said, "Where did you get that?"
DOCTOR: "Oh, I have heard something like that." (M. laughs.)
They began to talk about the ecstasy that Vijay and the others had experienced the previous day in the Master's room. The doctor also had been present on the occasion.
DOCTOR: "Yes, I witnessed that ecstasy. But is excessive ecstasy good for one?"
M: "The Master says that an excess of ecstasy harms no one, if it is the result of the contemplation of God. He further says that the lustre of a gem gives light and soothes the body; it does not burn."
DOCTOR: "Oh, the lustre of a gem! That's only a reflected light."
M: "He also says that a man does not die by sinking in the Lake of Immortality. God is that Lake. A plunge in that Lake does not injure a man; on the contrary it makes him immortal. Of course, he will become immortal only if he has faith in God."
DOCTOR: "Yes, that is true."
The doctor took M. in his carriage. He had to see a few patients on the way to Syampukur. They continued their conversation in the carriage. Dr. Sarkar referred to Mahima Chakravarty's pride.
M: "He visits the Master. Even if he has a little pride, it will not last long. If one only sits in the Master's presence awhile, one's pride crumbles to pieces. It is because the Master himself is totally free from egotism. Pride cannot exist in the presence of humility. A celebrated man like Pundit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar showed great modesty and humility in the Master's presence. The Paramahamsa visited his house; it was nine o'clock in the evening when the Master took his leave. Vidyasagar came all the way from the library to the gate of his compound to see him off. He himself carried the light to show the way. As the Master's carriage started off, Vidyasagar stood there with folded hands."
DOCTOR: "Well, what does Vidyasagar think of him?"
M: "That day he showed the Master great respect. But when I talked with him later, I found out that he didn't much care for what the Vaishnavas call emotion or ecstasy. He shares your views on such things."
DOCTOR: "Neither do I care very much for any such display of emotion as folding one's hands or touching others' feet with one's head. To me the head is the same as the feet. But if a man thinks differently of the feet, let him do whatever he likes."
M: "We know that you do not care for a display of feelings. Perhaps you remember that the Master now and then refers to you as a 'deep soul'. He said to you yesterday that when an elephant plunges into a small pool it makes a big splash, but when it goes into a big lake you see hardly a ripple. The elephant of emotion cannot produce any effect at all in a deep soul. The Master says that you are a 'deep soul'."
DOCTOR: "I don't deserve the compliment. After all, what is bhava? It is only a feeling. There are other aspects of feeling, such as bhakti. When it runs to excess, some can suppress it and some cannot."
M: "Divine ecstasy may or may not be explainable; but, sir, it cannot be denied that ecstasy, or love of God, is a unique thing. I have seen in your library Stebbing's book on Darwinism. According to Stebbing the human mind is wonderful, whether it be the result of evolution or of special creation. He gives a beautiful illustration from the theory of light. Light is wonderful, whether you know the wave theory of light or not."
DOCTOR: "Yes. Have you noticed further that Stebbing accepts both Darwin and God?"
The conversation again turned to Sri Ramakrishna.
DOCTOR: "I find that he is a worshipper of the Goddess Kali."
M: "But with him the meaning of Kali is different. What the Vedas call the Supreme Brahman, he calls Kali. What the Mussalmans call Allah and the Christians call God, he calls Kali. He does not see many gods; he sees only one God. What the Brahmajnanis of olden times called Brahman, what the yogis call Atman and the bhaktas call the Bhagavan, he calls Kali.
In Sri Ramakrishna one finds all the attitudes and ideals of religion. That is why people of all sects and creeds enjoy peace and blessedness in his presence. Who can fathom his feeling and tell us the depth of his inner experience?"
DOCTOR: " All things to all men.' I don't approve of it although St. Paul says it."
M: "Who can understand the state of his mind? We have heard from him that unless one is engaged in the yarn trade, one cannot tell the difference between number forty and number forty-one yarn. Only a painter can appreciate another painter. The mind of a saint is very deep. One cannot understand all the aspects of Christ unless one is Christlike. Perhaps the deep realization of the Master is what Christ meant when He said: 'Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.'"
DOCTOR: "What arrangements have you made about having him nursed?"
M: "At present one of the older devotees is assigned every day to look after him. It mav be Girish Babu or Ram Babu or Balaram or Suresh Babu or Navagopal or Kali Babu. It is that way."
It was about one o'clock in the afternoon when the doctor and M. entered the Master's room on the second Boor. Sri Ramakrishna sat there, smiling as usual, completely forgetful of the fatal illness which was eating his life away. Among the many devotees in the room were Girish, the younger Naren, and Sarat. Sometimes they were motionless, like the snake before its charmer, and sometimes they displayed great joy, like the bridal party with the bridegroom. The doctor and M. bowed low before the Master and sat on the floor. At the sight of the doctor, the Master said, laughing, "Today I have been feeling very well."
Then the Master went on with his soul-enthralling conversation.
MASTER: "What will mere scholarship accomplish without discrimination and renunciation? I go into a strange mood while thinking of the Lotus Feet of God. The cloth on my body drops to the ground and I feel something creeping up from my feet to the top of my head. In that state I regard all as mere straw. If I see a pundit without discrimination and love of God, I regard him as a bit of straw.
"One day Dr. Ramnarayan had been arguing with me, when suddenly I went into that mood. I said to him: 'What are you saying? What can you understand of God by reasoning? How little you can understand of His creation! Shame! You have the pettifogging mind of a weaver!' Seeing the state of my mind he began to weep and gently stroked my feet."
DOCTOR: "Ramnarayan did that because he is a Hindu. Besides, he is a believer in flowers, and sandal-paste. He is an orthodox Hindu."
M. (to himself): "Dr. Sarkar says that he has nothing to do with gong and conch-shells!"*
MASTER; "Bankim* is one of your pundits. I met him once. I asked him, What is the duty of man?' And he had the impudence to say, 'Eating, keeping, and sex gratification.' These words created in me a feeling of great aversion. I said: 'What are you saying? You are very mean. What you think day and night and what vou do all the time come out through your lips. If a man eats radish, he belches radish.' Then we talked about God a great deal. There was also much devotional music in the room, and I danced. Then Bankim said to me, 'Sir, please come to our house once.' 'That depends on the will of God', I replied. 'There also', he said, 'you will find devotees of God.' I laughed and said: 'What kind of devotees are they? Are they like. those who said, "Gopal! Gopal!"?'"
DOCTOR: "What is the story of 'Gopal! Gopal!'?"
MASTER (with a swile): "There was a goldsmith who kept a jewelry shop. He looked like a great devotee, a true Vaishnava, with beads around his neck, rosary in his hand, and the holy marks on his forehead. Naturally people trusted him and came to his shop on business. They thought that, being such a pious man, he would never cheat them. Whenever a party of customers entered the shop, they would hear one of his craftsmen say, 'Kesava! Kesava!' Another would say, after a while, 'Gopal! Gopal!' Then a third would mutter, 'Hari! Hari!' Finally someone would say, 'Hara! Hara!' Now these are, as you know, different names of God. Hearing so much chanting of God's names, the customers naturally thought that this gold-smith must be a very superior person. But can you guess the goldsmith's true intention? The man who said 'Kesava! Kesava!'* meant to ask, 'Who are these? — who are these customers?' The man who said 'Gopal! Gopal!' conveyed the idea that the customers were merely a herd of cows. That was the estimate he formed of them after the exchange of a few words. The man who said 'Hari! Hari!' asked, 'Since they are no better than a herd of cows, then may we rob them?' He who said 'Hara! Hara!' gave his assent, meaning by these words, 'Do rob by all means, since they are mere cows!' (All laugh.)
"Once I went to a certain place with Mathur Babu. Many pundits came forward to argue with me. And you all know that I am a tool. (All laugh.) The pundits saw that strange mood of mine. When the conversation was over, they said to me: 'Sir, after hearing your words, all that we have studied before, our knowledge and scholarship, has proved to be mere spittle. Now we realize that a man does not lack wisdom if he has the grace of God. The fool becomes wise and the mute eloquent.' Therefore I say that a man does not become a scholar bv the mere study of books.
"Yes, how true it is! How can a man who has the grace of God lack knowledge? Look at me. I am a fool. I do not know anything. Then who is it that utters these words? The reservoir of the Knowledge of God is inexhaustible. There are grain-dealers at Kamarpukur. When selling paddy, one man weighs the grain on the scales and another man pushes it to him from a heap. It is the duty of the second man to keep a constant supply of grain on the scales by pushing it from the big heap. It is the same with my words. No sooner are they about to run short than the Divine Mother sends a new supply from Her inexhaustible storehouse of Knowledge.
"During my boyhood God manifested Himself in me. I was then eleven years old. One day, while I was walking across a paddy-field, I saw something. Later on I came to know from people that I had been unconscious, and my body totally motionless. Since that day I have been an altogether different man. I began to see another person within me. When I used to conduct the worship in the temple, my hand, instead of going toward the Deity, would very often come toward my head, and I would put flowers there. A young man who was then staying with me did not dare aporoach me. He would say: 'I see a light on your face. I am afraid to come very near you.'
"You know I am a fool. I know nothing. Then who is it that says all these things? I say to the Divine Mother: 'O Mother, I am the machine and Thou art the Operator. I am the house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Charioteer. I do as Thou makest me do; I speak as Thou makest me speak; I move as Thou makest me move. It is not I! It is not I! It is all Thou! It is all Thou!' Hers is the glory; we are only Her instruments. Once Radha, to prove her chastity, carried on her head a pitcher filled with water. The pitcher had a thousand holes, but not a, drop of water spilled. People began to praise her, saying, 'Such a chaste woman tlie world will never see again!' Then Radha said to them: 'Why do you praise me? Say: "Glory unto Krishna! Hail Krishna!'' I am only His handmaid.'
"Once in that strange mood of mine I placed my foot on Vijay's chest. You know how greatly I respect him — and I placed my foot on his body! What do you say to that?"
DOCTOR: "But now you should be careful."
MASTER (with folded hands): 'What can I do? I become completely unconscious in that mood. Then I do not know at all what I am doing."
DOCTOR: "You should be careful. No use folding your hands now and expressing regret!"
MASTER: "Can I do anything myself in that mood? What do vou think of this state? If you think it is a hoax, then I should say that your study of 'science' and all that is bosh!"
DOCTOR: "Now listen, sir! Would I come to see you so often if I thought it all a hoax? You know that I neglect many other duties in order to come here. I cannot visit many patients, for I spend six or seven hours at a stretch here."
MASTER: "Once I said to Mathur Babu: 'Don't think that I have achieved my desired end because you, a rich man, show me respect. It matters very little to me whether you obey me or not.' Of course you must remember that a mere man can do nothing. It is God alone who makes one person obey another. Man is straw and dust before the power of God."
DOCTOR: "Do you think I shall obey you because a certain fisherman* obeyed you? . . . Undoubtedly I show you respect; I show you respect as a man."
MASTER: "Do I ask you to show me respect?"
GIRISH: "Does he ask you to show him respect?"
DOCTOR (to the Master): "What are you saying? Do you explain it as the will of God?"
MASTER: "What else can it be? What can a man do before the will of God? Arjuna said to Sri Krishna on the battle-field of Kurukshetra: 'I will not fight. It is impossible for me to kill my own kinsmen.' Sri Krishna replied: 'Arjuna, you will have to. fight. Your very nature will make you fight.' Then Sri Krishna revealed to Arjuna that all the men on the battle-field were already dead.*
"Once some Sikhs came to the Kali temple at Dakshineswar. They said: 'You see, the leaves of the aswattha tree are moving. That too is due to the will of God.' Without His will not even a leaf can move."
DOCTOR: "If everything is done by the will of God, then why do you chatter? Why do you talk so much to bring knowledge to others?"
MASTER: "He makes me talk; therefore I talk. 'I am the machine and He is the Operator.'"
DOCTOR: "You say that you are the machine. That's all right. Or keep quiet, knowing that everything is God."
GIRISH (to the doctor): "Whatever you may think, sir, the truth is that we act because He makes us act. Can anyone take a single step against the Almighty Will?"
DOCTOR: "But God has also given us free will. I can think of God, or not, as I like."
GIRISH: "You think of God or do some good work because you like to. Really it is not you who do these things, but your liking of them that makes you do so."
DOCTOR: "Why should that be so? I do these things as my duty."
GIRISH: "Even then it is because you like to do your duty."
DOCTOR: "Suppose a child is being burnt. From a sense of duty I rush to save it."
GIRISH: "You feel happy to save the child; therefore you rush into the fire. It is your happiness that drives you to the action. A man eats opium being tempted by such relishes as puffed rice or fried potatoes." (Laughter.)
MASTER: "A man must have some kind of faith before he undertakes a work. Further, he feels joy when he thinks of it. Only then does he set about performing the work. Suppose a jar of gold coins is hidden underground. First of all a man must have faith that the jar of gold coins is there. He feels joy at the thought of the jar. Then he begins to dig. As he removes the earth he hears a metallic sound. That increases his joy. Next he sees a corner of the jar. That gives him more joy. Thus his joy is ever on the increase. Standing on the porch of the Kali temple, I have watched the ascetics preparing their smoke of hemp. I have seen their faces beaming with joy in anticipation of the smoke."
DOCTOR: "But take the case of fire. It gives both heat and light. The light no doubt illumines objects, but the heat burns the body. Likewise, it is not an unadulterated joy that one reaps from the performance of duty. Duty has its painful side too."
M. (to Girish): "As the proverb goes: 'If the stomach gets food, then the back can bear a few blows from the host.' There is joy in sorrow also."
GIRISH (to the doctor): "Duty is dry."
DOCTOR: "Why so?"
GIRISH: "Then it is pleasant." (All laugh.)
M: "Again we come to the point that one likes opium for the sake of the relishes that are served with it."
GIRISH (to the doctor): "Duty must be pleasant; or why do you perform it?"
DOCTOR: "The mind is inclined that way."
M. (to Girish): "That wretched inclination draws the mind. If you speak of the compelling power of inclination, then where is free will?"
DOCTOR: "I do not say that the will is absolutely free. Suppose a cow is tied with a rope. She is free within the length of that rope. But when she feels the pull of the rope —"
MASTER: "Jadu Mallick also gave that illustration. (To the younger Naren) Is it mentioned in some English book?
(To the doctor) "Look here. If a man truly believes that God alone does everything, that He is the Operator and man the machine, then such a man is verily liberated in life. 'Thou workest Thine own work; men only call it theirs.' Do you know what it is like? Vedanta philosophy gives an illustration. Suppose you are cooking rice in a pot, with potato, egg-plant, and other vegetables. After a while the potatoes, egg-plant, rice, and the rest begin to jump about in the pot. They seem to say with pride: 'We are moving! We are jumping!' The children see it and think the potatoes, egg-plant, and rice are alive and so they jump that way. But the elders, who know, explain to the children that the vegetables and the rice are not alive; they jump not of themselves, but because of the fire under the pot; if you remove the burning wood from the hearth, then they will move no more. Likewise the pride of man, that he is the doer, springs from ignorance. Men are powerful because of the power of God. All becomes quiet when that burning wood is taken away. The puppets dance well on the stage when pulled by a wire, but they cannot move when the wire snaps.
"A man will cherish the illusion that he is the doer as long as he has not seen God, as long as he has not touched the Philosopher's Stone. So long will he know the distinction between his good and bad actions. This awareness of distinction is due to God's maya; and it is necessary for the purpose of running His illusory world. But a man can realize God if he takes shelter under His vidyamaya and follows the path of righteousness. He who knows God and realizes Him is able to go beyond maya. He who firmly believes that God alone is the Doer and he himself a mere instrument is a jivanmukta, a free soul though living in a body. I said this to Keshab Chandra Sen."
GIRISH (to the doctor): "How do you know that free will exists?"
DOCTOR: "Not by reasoning; I feel it."
GIRISH: "In that case I may say that I and others feel the reverse. We feel that we are controlled by another." (All laugh.)
DOCTOR: "There are two elements in duty: first, the 'oughtness' of a duty; second, the happiness, which comes as an after-effect. But at the initial stage this happiness is not the impelling motive. I noticed in my childhood the great worry of the priest at the sight of ants in the sweets offered before the Deity. He did not, at the outset, feel joy at the thought of the sweets. First of all he worried about them."
M. (to himself): "It is difficult to say whether one feels happiness while performing the duty or afterwards. Where is the free will of a man if he performs an action, being impelled by a feeling of happiness?"
MASTER: "What the doctor is speaking of is called love without any selfish motive. I do not want anything from Dr. Mahendra Sarkar; I do not need anything from him, but still I love to see him. This is love for love's sake. But suppose I get a little joy from it; how can I help it?
"Ahalya once said to Rama: 'O Rama, I have no objection to being born even as a pig. But please grant that I may have pure love for Thy Lotus Feet. I do not want anything else.'
"Narada went to Ayodhya to remind Rama that He was to kill Ravana. At the sight of Rama and Sita, he began to sing their glories. Gratified at Narada's devotion, Rama said: 'Narada, I am pleased with your prayer. Ask a boon.' Narada replied, 'O Rama, if Thou must give me a boon, then grant that I may have pure love for Thy Lotus Feet and that I may not be deluded by Thy world-bewitching maya.' Rama said, 'Ask something more.' 'No, Rama,' answered Narada, 'I do not want anything else. I want only pure love for Thy Lotus Feet, a love that seeks no return.'
"That is Dr. Sarkar's attitude. It is like seeking God alone, and not asking Him for wealth, fame, bodily comforts, or anything else. This is called pure love.
"There is an element of joy in it, no doubt; but it is not a worldly joy; it is the joy of bhakti and prema, devotion to God and ecstatic love of Him. I used to go to Sambhu Mallick's house. Once he said to me: 'You come here frequently. Yes, you come because you feel happy talking with me.' Yes, there is that element of happiness.
"But there is a state higher than this. When a man attains it, he moves about aimlessly, like a child. As the child goes along, perhaps he sees a grass-hopper and catches it. The man of that exalted mood, too, has no definite aim.
(To the devotees) "Don't you understand the doctor's inner feeling? It is the prayer of a devotee to God for right purpose, that he may have no inclination for evil things.
"I too passed through that state. It is called dasya, the altitude of the servant toward his master. I used to weep so bitterly with the name of the Divine Mother on my lips that people would stand in a row watching me. When I was passing through that state, someone, in order to test me and also to cure my madness, brought a prostitute into my room. She was beautiful to look at, with pretty eyes. I cried, 'O Mother! O Mother!' and rushed out of the room. I ran to Haladhari and said to him, 'Brother, come and see who has entered my room!' I told Haladhari and everyone else about this woman. While in that state I used to weep with the name of the Mother on my lips. Weeping, I said to Her: 'O Mother, protect me! Please make me stainless. Please see that my mind is not diverted from the Real to the unreal.' (To the doctor) This attitude of yours is also very good. It is the attitude of a devotee, one who looks on God as his Master.
"When a man develops pure sattva, he thinks only of God. He does not enjoy anything else. Some are born with pure sattva as a result of their prarabdha karma. Through unselfish action one finally acquires pure sattva. Sattva mixed with rajas diverts the mind to various objects. From it springs the conceit of doing good to the world. To do good to the world is extremely difficult for such an insignificant creature as man. But there is no harm in doing good to others in an unselfish spirit. This is called unselfish action. It is highly beneficial for a person to try to perform such action. But by no means all succeed, for it is very difficult. Everyone must work. Only one or two can renounce action. Rarely do you find a man who has developed pure sattva. Through disinterested action sattva mixed with rajas gradually turns into pure sattva.
"No sooner does a man develop pure sattva than he realizes God, through His grace.
"Ordinary people cannot understand pure sattva. Hem once said to me: 'Well, priest! The goal of a man's life is to acquire name and fame in the world. Isn't that true?'"
Tuesday, October 27, 1885
Sri Ramakrishna was seated in his room. Narendra and other devotees were with him. The Master was conversing with them. It was about ten o'clock in the morning.
NARENDRA: "How strangely the doctor behaved yesterday!"
A DEVOTEE: "Yes, the fish swallowed the hook but the line broke.'
MASTER (smiling): "But the hook is in its mouth. It will die and float on the water."
Narendra went out for a few minutes. Sri Ramakrishna was talking to M. about Purna.
MASTER: "The devotee looking on himself as Prakriti likes to embrace and kiss God, whom he regards as the Purusha. I am telling this just to you. Ordinary people should not hear these things."
M: "God sports in various ways. Even this illness of yours is one of His sports. Because you are ill new devotees are coming to you."
MASTER (smiling): "Bhupati says, 'What would people have thought of you if you had just rented a house to live in, without being ill?' Well, what has happened to the doctor?"
M: "As regards God he accepts for himself the attitude of a servant. He says, Thou art the Master and I am Thy servant.' But then he asks me, Why do you apply the idea of God to a man?'"
MASTER: "Just see! Are you going to him today?"
M: "I shall see him if it is necessary to report your condition.'
MASTER: "How do you find this boy Bankim? If he cannot come here you may give him instruction. That will awaken his spiritual consciousness."
Narendra entered the room and sat near Sri Ramakrishna. Since the death of his father he had been very much worried about the family's financial condition. He now had to support his mother and brothers. Besides, he was preparing himself for his law examination. Lately he had served as a teacher in the Vidyasagar School at Bowbazar. He wanted to make some arrangement ment for his family and thus get rid of all his worries. Sri Ramakrishna knew all this. He looked affectionately at Narendra.
MASTER (to M.): "Well, I said to Keshab, 'One should be satisfied with what comes unsought.' The son of an aristocrat does not worry about his food and drink. He gets his monthly allowance. Narendra, too, belongs to a high plane. Then why is he in such straitened circumstances? God certainly provides everything for the man who totally surrenders himself to Him."
M: "Narendra, too, will be provided for. It is not yet too late for him."
MASTER: "But a man who feels intense renunciation within doesn't calculate that way. He doesn't say to himself, 'I shall first make an arrangement for the family and then practise sadhana.' No, he doesn't feel that way if he has developed intense dispassion. A goswami said in the course of his preaching, 'If a man has ten thousand rupees he can maintain himself on the income; then, free from worries, he can pray to God.'
"Keshab Sen also said something like that. He said to me: 'Sir, suppose a man wants, first of all, to make a suitable arrangement of his property and estate and then think of God; will it be all right for him to do so? Is there anything wrong about it?' I said to him: 'When a man feels utter dispassion, he looks on the world as a deep well and' his relatives as venomous cobras. Then he cannot think of saving money or making arrangements about his property.' God alone is real and all else illusory. To think of the world instead of God!
"A woman was stricken with intense grief. She first tied her nose-ring in the corner of her cloth and then dropped to the ground, saying, 'Oh, friends, what a calamity has befallen me!' But she was very careful not to break the nose-ring."
All laughed. At these words Narendra felt as if struck by an arrow, and lay down on the floor. M. understood what was going through Narendra's mind and said with a smile: "What's the matter? Why are you lying down?"
The Master said to M., with a smile: "You remind me of a woman who felt ashamed of herself for sleeping with her brother-in-law and couldn't understand the conduct of those women who lived as mistresses of strangers. By way of excusing herself she said: 'After all, a brother-in-law is one's own. But even that kills me with shame. And how do these women dare to live with strangers?'"
M. himself had been leading a worldly life. Instead of being ashamed of his own conduct, he smiled at Narendra. That was why Sri Ramakrishna referred to the woman who criticized the conduct of immoral women, though she herself had illicit love for her brother-in-law.
A Vaishnava minstrel was singing downstairs. Sri Ramakrishna was pleased with his song and said that someone should give him a little money. A devotee went downstairs. The Master asked, "How much did he give the singer?" When he was told that the devotee had given only two pice, he said: "Just that much? This money is the fruit of his servitude. How much he had to flatter his master and suffer to earn it! I thought he would give at least four annas."
The younger Naren had promised to show Sri Ramakrishna the nature of electricity with an instrument. The instrument was exhibited.
It was about two o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees were sitting in the room. Atul brought with him a friend who was a munsiff. Bagchi, the famous painter from Shikdarpara, arrived. He presented the Master with several paintings. Sri Ramakrishna examined the pictures with great delight.
Bagchi had long hair like a woman's. Sri Ramakrishna said: "Many days ago a sannyasi came to Dakshineswar who had hair nine cubits long. He used to chant the name of Radha. He was genuine."
A few minutes later Narendra began to sing. The songs were full of the spirit of renunciation. He sang:
O Lord, must all my days pass by so utterly in vain?
He sang again:
O Mother, Thou my inner Guide, ever awake within my heart;
Then he sang:
O gracious Lord, if like a bee
It was halt past five in the afternoon when Dr. Sarkar came to the Master's room at Syampukur, felt his pulse, and prescribed the necessary medicine. Many devotees were present, including Narendra, Girish, Dr. Dukari, the younger Naren, Rakhal, M., Sarat, and Shyam Basu.
This universe, wondrous and infinite,
He sang again:
In dense darkness, O Mother, Thy formless beauty sparkles;
Dr. Sarkar said to M., "This song is dangerous for him." Sri Ramakrishna asked M. what the doctor had said. M. replied, "The doctor is afraid that this song may throw your mind into samadhi."
What matchless beauty! What a bewitching Face I behold!
O gracious Lord, if like a bee
As the doctor heard the words, "The purest wife's unspotted love", his eyes were filled with tears. He cried out, "Ah me! Ah me!"
Oh, when will dawn the blessed day
In the midst of the singing Sri Ramakrishna had regained consciousness of the outer world. When Narendra finished the song, the Master continued his conversation, keeping them all spellbound. The devotees looked at his face in wonder. It did not show the slightest trace of the agonizing pain of his illness. The face shone with heavenly joy.
Come, let us go for a walk, O mind, to Kali, the Wish-fulfilling Tree,
SHYAM BASU: "Sir, what remains after one throws away both thorns?"
MASTER: "Nityasuddhabodharupam — the Eternal and Ever-pure Consciousness. How can I make it clear to you? Suppose a man who has never tasted ghee asks you, 'What does ghee taste like?' Now, how can you explain that to him? At the most you can say: 'What is ghee like? It is just like ghee!' A young girl asked her friend: 'Well, friend, your husband is here. What sort of pleasure do you enjoy with him?' The friend answered: 'My dear, you will know it for yourself when you get a husband. How can I explain it to you?'
"It is said in the Purana that Bhagavati, the Divine Mother, was once born as the daughter of King Himalaya. After Her birth She showed Her father Her many forms. The Lord of the mountains, after enjoying all these visions, said to the Divine Mother, 'May I have the vision of Brahman as It is described in the Vedas!' Then the Divine Mother answered, 'Father, if you want to have the vision of Brahman you must live in the company of holy men.'
"What Brahman is cannot be described in words. Somebody once said that everything in the world has been made impure, like food that has touched the tongue, and that Brahman alone remains undefiled. The meaning is this: All scriptures and holy books — the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and so forth — may be said to have been defiled because their contents have been uttered by the tongues of men; but what Brahman is no tongue has yet been able to describe. Therefore Brahman is still undefiled. One cannot describe in words the joy of play and communion with Satchidananda. He alone knows, who has realized it."
Addressing Dr. Sarkar, Sri Ramakrishna continued: "Look here. One cannot attain Knowledge unless one is free from egotism. There is a saying:
When shall I be free?
'I' and 'mine' — that is ignorance. 'Thou' and 'Thine' — that is Knowledge. A true devotee says: 'O God, Thou alone art the Doer; Thou alone doest all, I am a mere instrument; I do as Thou makest me do. All these — wealth, possessions, nay, the universe itself — belong to Thee. This house and these relatives are Thine alone, not mine. I am Thy servant; mine is only the right to serve Thee according to Thy bidding.'
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.