Beginning of Master's illness Advice to the worldly-minded Instructing Dwija's father Man's several debts Mahima's estimate of the devotees Different kinds of samadhi Awakening of Kundalini Master's intimate vision of God Master's vision of maya Master saw devotees before their arrival About Narendra Master about himself Totapuri Mathur Babu Brahman and Sakti Brahman is the innermost Reality Futility of mere scholarship Divine Incarnations act like men Jesus and Lazarus Similarities between Christ and Sri Ramaknshna Purna's letter About rebirth Girish and Master The guru and the Chosen Ideal Two classes of devotees Kitten and young monkey Worldly man's obstacles Futility of argument Master's renunciation Master could not ask God to cure him.
August 9, 1885
SRI RAMAKRISHNA was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. Rakhal, M.,
Dwija and his father, and other devotees were present. It was about
four o'clock in the afternoon.
After returning from Vrindavan Rakhal had spent a few days at home. Now he was staying with the Master. Latu, Harish, and Ramlal were also staying at the temple garden.
Sri Ramakrishna was not well. It was the beginning of the illness subsequently diagnosed as the fatal cancer. But this did not disturb the serenity of his mind. Day and night he had only one thought, and that was the spiritual welfare of his disciples. He was guiding them toward the attainment of God. He encouraged them constantly to cultivate knowledge and devotion and warned them of the snares of "woman and gold". He was completely indifferent to his own illness and devoted himself whole-heartedly to the fulfilment of his earthly mission.
Dwija was about sixteen years old. After the death of his mother, his father had married a second time. Dwija often accompanied M. to Dakshineswar; but his father did not approve of it.
Dwija's father had for a long time been speaking of visiting Sri Ramakrishna. Today he had come to Dakshineswar. He was the manager of a business firm in Calcutta and had passed his examination in law.
MASTER (to Dwija's father): "Please don't mind your children's coming here.
"I ask people to live in the world after the awakening of their spiritual consciousness. After extracting gold through hard labour, a man may keep it under earth or in a box or under water. The gold is not affected.
"I ask people to live in the world in a spirit of detachment. If you break the jack-fruit after rubbing oil on your hands, its sticky juice will not smear them.
'If the 'unripe' mind dwells in the world, the mind gets soiled. One should first attain knowledge and then live in the world.
"If you put milk in water the milk is spoiled. But this will not happen if butter, churned from the milk, is put in water."
DWIJA'S FATHER: "That is true, sir."
MASTER (smiling): "I know why you scold your children. You only threaten them. The brahmachari said to the snake: 'You are a fool indeed! I forbade you to bite but not to hiss. Your enemies would not have beaten you, if only you had hissed at them.' Your scolding of the children is really a hissing. (Dwija's father smiles.)
"A good son is an indication of his father's spiritual nature. If good water comes out when a reservoir is dug, it only indicates the virtue of the owner.
"A son is called Atmaja, 'the self reborn'. There is no difference between you and your son. In one way you yourself are reborn as vour son. In one sense you are a worldly person, working in a business office and enjoying worldly life; in another sense you are a devotee of God, in the form of your son. I heard that you were a very worldly person; but now I find it isn't so. (Smiling) You know all this. I understand that you are very circumspect. Perhaps that is why you are nodding your assent to what I am saying, (Dwija's father smiles.)
"If your children visit this place, they will be able to know what you really are. How precious one's father is! If a person deceives his father and mother in order to seek religion, he gets only worthless trash.
"A man is born with several debts: debts to his father, the devas, and the rishis. Besides, there is his debt to his mother. He also has a debt to his wife. She must be supported. If the wife is chaste, the husband must provide for her after his death.
"I could not live at Vrindavan on account of my mother. When I remembered that my mother was living in the temple garden here at Dakshineswar, I could not feel peaceful at Vrindavan.
"I ask people to live in the world and at the same time fix their minds on God. I don't ask them to give up the world. I say, 'Fulfil your worldly duties and also think of God.'"
DWIJA'S FATHER: "I tell my children that they should attend to their studies. I don't forbid them to come to you, but I don't want them to waste time in frivolities with the youngsters."
MASTER (referring to Dwija): "This boy must have been bom with some good tendencies. Why are the two other brothers different from him? Why is he alone spiritually minded? Will you be able to compel him not to visit this place? Sooner or later everyone unfolds his inborn tendencies."
DWIJA'S FATHER: "Yes, that is true."
Sri Ramakrishna came down from the couch and sat on the floor beside Dwija's father. While talking with him he touched him now and then.
It was nearly evening. Sri Ramakrishna asked M. and the others to show Dwija's father the temples. He said to them, "I should have accompanied him myself if I were well." He asked someone to give sweets to the young men and said to Dwija's father: "Let the children have a little refreshment, It is customary." Dwija's father visited the temples and the images and took a stroll in the garden.
Sri Ramakrishna engaged happily in conversation with Bhupen, Dwija, M., and others on the southeast porch of his room. He playfully slapped Bhupen and M. on the back. He said to Dwija with a laugh, "How I talked to your father!"
Dwija's father returned to Sri Ramakrishna's room after dusk. He intended to leave shortly. He was feeling hot. Sri Ramakrishna fanned him himself. In a few minutes the father took leave of the Master. Sri Ramakrishna stood up to bid him farewell.
It was eight o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna was talking to Mahimacharan. Rakhal, M., and one or two companions of Mahimacharan were in the room. Mahimacharan was going to spend the night at the temple garden.
MASTER (to Mahima): "Well, how do you find Kedar? Has he only seen milk, or has he drunk it too?"
MAHIMA: "Yes, he is enjoying bliss."
MAHIMA: "Very good. He is in a lofty state of mind."
MASTER: "Yes. Well, what about Girish Ghosh?"
MAHIMA: "He too has developed nicely. But he belongs to another class."
MASTER: "And Narendra?"
MAHIMA: "He is now in the state I was in fifteen years ago."
MASTER: "The younger Naren? How guileless he is!"
MAHIMA: "Yes, quite guileless."
MASTER: "You are right. (Reflecting a little) Let me see who else. It will be sufficient for the youngsters who come here if they know only two things. If they know these, they will not have to practise much discipline and austerity. First, who I am, and second, who they are. Many of the youngsters belong to the inner circle.
"Those belonging to the inner circle will not attain liberation. I shall have to assume a human body again, in a northwesterly direction.
"I feel peace of mind when I see the youngsters. How can I feel joy at the sight of those who have begotten children and are engaged in lawsuits and are involved in 'woman and gold'? How could I live without seeing pure-souled persons?"
Mahimacharan recited some texts from the scriptures. He also described various mystic rites of the Tantra.
MASTER: "Well, some say that my soul, going into samadhi, flies about like a bird in the Mahakasa, the Infinite Space.
"Once a sadhu of Hrishikesh came here. He said to me: There are five kinds of samadhi. I find you have experienced them all. In these samadhis one feels the sensation of the Spiritual Current to be like the movement of an ant, a fish, a monkey, a bird, or a serpent.'
"Sometimes the Spiritual Current rises through the spine, crawling like an ant.
"Sometimes, in samadhi, the soul swims joyfully in the ocean of divine ecstasy, like a fish.
"Sometimes, when I lie down on my side, I feel the Spiritual Current pushing me like a monkey and playing with me joyfully. I remain still. That Current, like a monkey, suddenly with one jump reaches the Sahasrara. That is why you see me jump up with a start.
"Sometimes, again, the Spiritual Current rises like a bird hopping from one branch to another. The place where it rests feels like fire. It may hop from Muladhara to Svadhisthana, from Svadhisthana to the heart, and thus gradually to the head.
"Sometimes the Spiritual Current moves up like a snake. Going in a zigzag way, at last it reaches the head and I go into samadhi.
"A man's spiritual consciousness is not awakened unless his Kundalini is aroused.
"The Kundalini dwells in the Muladhara. When it is aroused, it passes along the Sushumna nerve, goes through the centres of Svadhisthana, Manipura, and so on, and at last reaches the head. This is called the movement of the Mahavayu, the Spiritual Current. It culminates in samadhi.
"One's spiritual consciousness is not awakened by the mere reading of books. One should also pray to God. The Kundalini is aroused if the aspirant feels restless for God. To talk of Knowledge from mere study and hearsay! What will that accomplish?
"Just before my attaining this state of mind, it had been revealed to me how the Kundalini is aroused, how the lotuses of the different centres blossom forth, and how all this culminates in samadhi. This is a very secret experience. I saw a boy twenty-two or twenty-three years old, exactly resembling me, enter the Sushumna nerve and commune with the lotuses, touching them with his tongue. He began with the centre at the anus and passed through the centres at the sexual organ, navel, and so on. The different lotuses of those centres four-petalled, six-petalled, ten-petalled, and so forth had been drooping. At his touch they stood erect.
"When he reached the heart I distinctly remember it and communed with the lotus there, touching it with his tongue, the twelve-petalled lotus, which was hanging head down, stood erect and opened its petals. Then he came to the sixteen-petalled lotus in the throat and the two-petalled lotus in the forehead. And last of all, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head blossomed. Since then I have been in this state."
Sri Ramakrishna came down to the floor and sat near Mahimacharan. M. and a few other devotees were near him. Rakhal also was in the room.
MASTER (to Mahima): "For a long time I have wanted to tell you my spiritual experiences, but I could not. I feel like telling you today.
"You say that by mere sadhana one can attain a state of mind like mine. But it is not so. There is something special here [referring to himself]."
Rakhal, M., and the others became eager to hear what the Master was going to say.
MASTER: "God talked to me. It was not merely His vision. Yes, He talked to me. Under the banyan-tree I saw Him coming from the Ganges. Then we laughed so much! By way of playing with me He cracked my fingers. Then He talked. Yes, He talked to me.
"For three days I wept continously. And He revealed to me what is in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures.
"One day He showed me the maya of Mahamaya. A small light inside a room began to grow, and at last it enveloped the whole universe.
"Further, He revealed to me a huge reservoir of water covered with green scum. The wind moved a little of the scum and immediately the water became visible; but in the twinkling of an eye, scum from all sides came dancing in and again covered the water. He revealed to me that the water was like Satchidananda, and the scum like maya. On account of maya, Satchidananda is not seen. Though now and then one may get a glimpse of It, again maya covers It.
"God reveals the nature of the devotees to me before they arrive. I saw Chaitanya's party singing and dancing near the Panchavati, between the banyan-tree and the bakul-tree. I noticed Balaram there. If it weren't for him, who would there be to supply me with sugar candy and such things? (Pointing to M.) And I saw him too.
"I had seen Keshab before I actually met him I had seen him and his party in my samadhi. In front of me sat a roomful of men. Keshab looked like a peacock sitting with its tail spread out. The tail meant his followers. I saw a red gem on Keshab's head. That indicated his rajas. He said to his disciples, 'Please listen to what he [meaning the Master] is saying.' I said to the Divine Mother: 'Mother, these people hold the views of "Englishmen". Why should I talk to them?' Then the Mother explained to me that it would be like this in the Kaliyuga.
"Keshab and his followers got from here [meaning himself] the names of Hari and the Divine Mother. That is why the Divine Mother took Vijay away from Keshab's party. But Vijay did not join the Adi Samaj. (A sect of the Brahmo Samaj.)
(Pointing to himself) "There must be something special here. Long ago a young man named Gopal Sen used to visit me. He who dwells in me placed His foot on Gopal's chest. Gopal said in an ecstatic mood: 'You will have to wait here a long time. I cannot live any more with worldly people.' He took leave of me. Afterwards I heard that he was dead. Perhaps he was born as Nityagopal.
"I have had many amazing visions. I had a vision of the Indivisible Satchidananda. Inside It I saw two groups with a fence between them. On one side were Kedar, Chuni, and other devotees who believe in the Personal God. On the other side was a luminous space like a heap of red brick-dust. Inside it was seated Narendra immersed in samadhi. Seeing him absorbed in meditation, I called aloud, 'Oh, Narendra!' He opened his eyes a little. I came to realize that he had been born, in another form, in Simla (The section of Calcutta in which Narendra was born.) in a kayastha family. At once I said to the Divine Mother, 'Mother, entangle him in maya; otherwise he will give up his body in samadhi.' Kedar, a believer in the Personal God, peeped in and ran away with a shudder.
"Therefore I feel that it is the Divine Mother Herself who dwells in this body and plays with the devotees. When I first had my exalted state of mind, my body would radiate light. My chest was always flushed. Then I said to the Divine Mother: 'Mother, do not reveal Thyself outwardly. Please go inside.' That is why my complexion is so dull now. If my body were still luminous, people would have tormented me; a crowd would always have thronged here. Now there is no outer manifestation. That keeps weeds away. Only genuine devotees will remain with me now. Do you know why I have this illness? It has the same significance. Those whose devotion to me has a selfish motive behind it will run away at the sight of my illness.
"I cherished a desire. I said to the Mother, 'O Mother, I shall be the king of the devotees.'
"Again, this thought arose in my mind: 'He who sincerely prays to God will certainly come here. He must.' You see, that is what is happening now. Only people of that kind come.
"My parents knew who dwells inside this body. Father had a dream at Gaya. In that dream Raghuvir said to him, 'I shall be born as your son.'
"God alone dwells inside this body. Such renunciation of 'woman and gold'! Could I have accomplished that myself? I have never enjoyed a woman, even in a dream.
"Nangta instructed me in Vedanta. In three days I went into samadhi. At the sight of my samadhi under the madhavi vine, he was quite taken aback and exclaimed, 'Ah! What is this?' Then he came to know who resides in this body. He said to me, 'Please let me go.' At these words of Totapuri, I went into an ecstatic mood and said, You cannot go till I realize the Truth of Vedanta.'
"Day and night I lived with him. We talked only Vedanta. The Brahmani used to say to me: 'Don't listen to Vedanta. It will injure your devotion to God.'
"I said to the Divine Mother: 'Mother, please get me a rich man. If You don't, how shall I be able to protect this body? How shall I be able to keep the sadhus and devotees, near me?' That is why Mathur Babu provided for my needs for fourteen years.
"He who dwells in me tells me beforehand what particular class of devotees will come to me. When I have a vision of Gauranga, I know that devotees of Gauranga are coming. When I have a vision of Kali, the Saktas come.
"At the time of the evening service I used to cry out from the roof of the kuthi, weeping: 'Oh, where are you all? Come to me!' You see, they are all gathering here, one by one.
"God Himself dwells in this body. It is He who, of His own accord, is working with these devotees.
"What a wonderful state of mind some of the devotees have! The younger Naren gets kumbhaka without any effort, and samadhi too. Sometimes he stays in an ecstatic mood for two and a half hours; sometimes even more. How wonderful!
"I have practised all kinds of sadhana: jnanayoga, karmayoga, and bhaktiyoga. I have even gone through the exercises of hathayoga to increase longevity. There is another Person dwelling in this body. Otherwise, after attaining samadhi, how could I live with the devotees and enjoy the love of God? Koar Singh used to say to me: 'I have never before seen a person who has returned from the plane of samadhi. You are none other than Nanak.'
"I live in the midst of worldly people; on all sides I see 'woman and gold'. Nevertheless, this is the state of my mind: unceasing samadhi and bhava. That is the reason Pratap1 said, at the sight of my ecstatic mood: 'Good heavens! It is as if he were possessed by a ghost!'"
Rakhal, M., and the others were speechless as they drank in this account of Sri Ramakrishna's unique experiences.
But did Mahimacharan understand the import of these words? Even after hearing them, he said to the Master, "These things have happened to you on account of your meritorious actions in your past births." Mahima still thought that Sri Ramakrishna was a sadhu or a devotee of God. The Master nodded assent to Mahima's words and said: "Yes, the result of past actions. God is like an aristocrat who has many mansions. Here [referring to himself] is one of His drawing-rooms. The bhakta is God's drawing-room."
It was nine o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. It was Mahimacharan's desire to form a brahmachakra (A mystic circle prescribed in Tantra.) in the presence of the Master. Mahima formed a circle, on the floor, with Rakhal, M., Kishori, and one or two other devotees. He asked them all to meditate. Rakhal went into an ecstatic state. The Master came down from the couch and placed his hand on Rakhal's chest, repeating the name of the Divine Mother. Rakhal regained consciousness of the outer world.
It was one o'clock in the morning, the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of the moon. There was intense darkness everywhere. One or two devotees were pacing the concrete embankment of the Ganges. Sri Ramakrishna was up. He came out and said to the devotees, "Nangta told me that at this time, about midnight, one hears the Anahata sound."
In the early hours of the morning Mahimacharan and M. lay down on the floor of the Master's room. Rakhal slept on a camp cot. Now and then Sri Ramakrishna paced up and down the room with his clothes off, like a five-year-old child.
Monday, August 10
It was dawn. The Master was chanting the name of the Divine Mother.
He went to the porch west of his room and looked at the Ganges; then he
stopped in front of the pictures of different gods and goddesses in the room
and bowed to them. The devotees left their beds, saluted Sri Ramakrishna, and went out.
The Master was talking to a devotee in the Panchavati. The latter had dreamt of Chaitanyadeva.
MASTER (in an ecstatic mood): "Ah me! Ah me!"
DEVOTEE: "But, sir, it was only a dream."
MASTER: "Is a dream a small thing?"
The Master's voice was choked. His eyes were filled with tears.
Sri Ramakrishna was told of a devotee who had divine visions even while he was awake. The Master said: "I am not surprised. Narendra, too, sees forms of God nowadays."
Mahimacharan went to one of the Siva temples to the west of the courtyard and chanted hymns from the Vedas. He was alone.
It was eight o'clock in the morning. M. bathed in the Ganges and came to Sri Ramakrishna. The brahmani who was grief-stricken on account of her daughter's death also entered the room.
The Master asked the brahmani to give M. some prasad to eat.
BRAHMANI: "Please eat something yourself first; then he will eat."
MASTER (to M.): "Take some prasad of Jagannath first and then eat."
After eating the prasad, M. went to the Siva temples and saluted the Deity. Then he returned to the Master's room and saluted him. He was ready to go to Calcutta.
MASTER (tenderly): "Go home safely. You have to attend to your duties."
Tuesday, August 11
Sunday, August 16, 1885
The news of Sri Ramakrishna's illness had been reported to the" devotees
in Calcutta. They thought it was just a sore in his throat. Many devotees
arrived at Dakshineswar to visit him. Among them were Girish, Ram,
Nityagopal, Mahima, Kishori, and Pundit Shashadhar.
Sri Ramakrishna was in his usual happy mood. He was talking to the devotees.
MASTER: "I cannot tell the Mother about my illness. I feel ashamed to talk of it."
GIRISH: "God will cure you."
RAM: "Yes, you will be all right."
MASTER (smiling): "Yes, give me your blessing." (All laugh.)
Girish was a recent visitor to Dakshineswar. The Master said to him: "You have so many duties to perform. You have to face so many troubles. Come here only three times more.
(To Shashadhar) "Please tell us something about the Adyasakti."
SHASHADHAR: "What do I know, sir?"
MASTER (smiling): "A certain man had great respect for another man. The second man asked him to bring him a little fire for his tobacco. He answered humbly, 'Sir, am I fit to carry your fire?' He didn't bring the fire." (All laugh.)
SHASHADHAR: "The Primal Power alone is both the instrumental and the material cause of the universe. It is She who has created the universe and its living beings; further, She Herself has become all these. To give an example: the spider, as the instrumental cause, makes the web and, as the material cause, brings the web out of its own body."
MASTER: "It is also stated that He who is Purusha is also Prakriti; He who is Brahman is also Sakti. He is called Purusha or Brahman when He is inactive, that is to say, when He ceases to create, preserve, or destroy; and He is called Sakti or Prakriti when He engages in those activities. But He who is Brahman is none other than Sakti; He who is Purusha has verily become Prakriti. Water is water whether it moves or is still. A snake is a snake whether it wriggles along or stays still and coiled up.
"What Brahman is cannot be described. Speech stops there. In the kirtan the singers at first sing: 'My Nitai dances like a mata hati.' (Mad elephant.) As they become more and more ecstatic, they can hardly utter the whole sentence. They sing only: 'Hati! Hati!' As their mood deepens they sing only: 'Ha! Ha!' At last they cannot sing even that; they become completely unconscious."
As the Master spoke these words, he himself became transfixed in samadhi. He was standing.
Regaining consciousness of the world, he said, "That which is beyond both kshara and akshara cannot be described."
The devotees sat in silence.
MASTER : "You cannot go into samadhi as long as your worldly experiences are not finished, or as long as you have duties to perform.
(To Shashadhar) "God is now making you perform such duties as delivering lectures. You must do these things now. You will have peace when your duties are finished. After completing her household duties, the mistress of the family goes for her bath. She will not come back then even if you shout after her."
Thursday, August 27, 1885
Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. It was five
o'clock in the afternoon. There were two or three devotees with him. While
with the devotees he never gave a thought to his physical illness, often
spending the whole day with them talking and singing.
Doctor Madhu was treating Sri Ramakrishna. He frequently visited the Master at Dakshineswar, coming by country boat from Calcutta. The devotees were very much worried about the Master; it was their secret desire that the physician should see him daily. M. said to the Master, "Doctor Madhu is an experienced physician. It will be nice if he sees you every day."
Pundit Shyamapada of Antpur arrived. It was dusk. The pundit went to the bank of the Ganges to perform his evening worship; he had some amazing visions during the worship. He returned to the Master's room and sat on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna had just finished meditation and the chanting of the holy names. He was sitting on the small couch and M. on the foot-rug. Rakhal, Latu, and the others were in and out of the room.
MASTER (to M., pointing to the pundit): "He is very nice. (To the pundit) Where the mind attains peace by practising the discipline of 'Neti, neti', there Brahman is.
"The king dwells in the inmost room of the palace, which has seven gates. The visitor comes to the first gate. There he sees a lordly person with a large retinue, surrounded on all sides by pomp and grandeur. The visitor asks his companion, 'Is he the king?' 'No', says his friend with a smile.
"At the second and the other gates he repeats the same question to his friend. He finds that the nearer he comes to the inmost part of the palace, the greater is the glory, pomp, and grandeur. When he passes the seventh gate he does not ask his companion whether it is the king; he stands speech- less at the king's immeasurable glory. He realizes that he is face to face with the king. He hasn't the slightest doubt about it." PUNDIT: "One sees God beyond the realm of maya."
MASTER: "But after realizing God one finds that He alone has become maya, the universe, and all living beings. This world is no doubt a 'frame-work of illusion', unreal as a dream. One feels that way when one discriminates following the process of 'Not this, not this'. But after the vision of God this very world becomes 'a mansion of mirth'.
"What will you gain by the mere study of scriptures? The pundits merely indulge in reasoning."
PUNDIT: "I hate the idea of being called a pundit."
MASTER: "That is due to the grace of God. The pundits merely indulge in reasoning. Some have heard of milk and some have drunk milk. After you have the vision of God you will find that everything is Narayana. It is Narayana Himself who has become everything."
The pundit recited a hymn to Narayana. Sri Ramakrishna was overwhelmed with joy.
PUNDIT (quoting from the Gita): "'With the heart concentrated by yoga, with the eye of evenness for all things, he beholds the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self.'"
MASTER: "Have you read the Adhyatma Ramayana?
PUNDIT: "Yes, sir, a little."
MASTER: "The book is filled with ideas of knowledge and devotion. The life of Savari and the hymn by Ahalya are filled with bhakti.
"But you must remember one thing: God is very far away from the mind tainted with worldliness."
PUNDIT: "Yes, sir. God is far, far away from worldly intelligence. And God is very near, where that does not exist. I visited a certain zemindar, one Mukherji of Uttarpara. He is now an elderly man; but he listens only to stories and novels."
MASTER: "It is further said in the Adhyatma Ramayana that God alone has become the universe and its living beings."
The pundit was delighted. He recited a hymn to that effect from the tenth chapter of the Bhagavata:
O Krishna! Krishna! Mighty Yogi! Thou art the Primal Supreme Purusha:
This universe, manifest and unmanifest, is Thy form, as the sages declare.
Thou alone art the soul, the sense-organs, the Lord dwelling in the bodies of all;
Thou art the subtle Great Prakriti, made of sattva, rajas, and tamas;
Thou alone art the Purusha, the Lord dwelling in the bodies of all.
As Sri Ramakrishna listened to the hymn he went into samadhi. He
remained standing. The pundit was seated. The Master placed his foot on
the pundit's lap and chest, and smiled.
The pundit clung to his feet and said, "O Guru! Please give me God-Consciousness."
After the pundit had left the room Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Don't you see that what I have said is coming to pass? Those who have sincerely practised meditation and japa must come here."
It was ten o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna ate a little farina pudding and lay down. He asked M. to stroke his feet. A few minutes later he asked the disciple to massage his body and chest gently. He enjoyed a short nap. Then he said to M.: "Now go to sleep. Let me see if I can sleep better when I am alone." He said to Ramlal, "He [meaning M.] and Rakhal may sleep in the room."
Friday, August 28
It was dawn. Sri Ramakrishna was awake and meditating on the Divine
Mother. On account of his illness the devotees were deprived of his sweet
chanting of the Mother's name.
Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the small couch. He asked M., "Well, why have I this illness?"
M: "People will not have the courage to approach you unless you resemble them in all respects. But they are amazed to find that in spite of such illness you don't know anything but God."
MASTER (smiling): "Balaram also said, 'If even you can be ill, then why should we wonder about our illnesses?' Lakshmana was amazed to see that Rama could not lift His bow on account of His grief for Sita. 'Even Brahman weeps, entangled in the snare of the five elements.'"
M: "Jesus Christ, too, wept like an ordinary man at the suffering of His devotees."
MASTER: "How was that?"
M: "There were two sisters, Mary and Martha. Lazarus was their brother. All three were devoted to Jesus. Lazarus died. Jesus was on His way to their house. One of the sisters, Mary, ran out to meet Him. She fell at His feet and said weeping, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!' Jesus wept to see her cry.
"Then Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus and called him by name. Immediately Lazarus came back to life and walked out of the tomb."
MASTER: "But I cannot do those things."
M: "That is because you don't want to. These are miracles; therefore you aren't interested in them. These things draw people's attention to their bodies. Then they do not think of genuine devotion. That is why you don't perform miracles. But there are many similarities between you and Jesus Christ."
MASTER (smiling): "What else?"
M: "You don't ask your devotees to fast or practise other austerities. You don't prescribe hard and fast rules about food. Christ's disciples did not observe the sabbath; so the Pharisees took them to task. Thereupon Jesus said: 'They have done well to eat. As long as they are with the bridegroom, they must make merry.'"
MASTER: "What does that mean?"
M: "Christ meant that as long as the disciples live with the Incarnation of God, they should only make merry. Why should they be sorrowful? But when He returns to His own abode in heaven, then will come the days of their sorrow and suffering."
MASTER (smiling): "Do you find anything else in me that is similar to Christ?"
M: "Yes, sir. You say: 'The youngsters are not yet touched by "woman and gold"; they will be able to assimilate instruction. It is like keeping milk in a new pot: the milk may turn sour if it is kept in a pot in which curd has been made.' Christ also spoke like that."
MASTER: "What did He say?"
M: "'If new wine is kept in an old bottle, the bottle may crack. If an old cloth is patched with new cloth, the old cloth tears away.'
"Further, you tell us that you and the Mother are one. Likewise, Christ said, 'I and My Father are one.'"
MASTER (smiling): "Anything else?"
M: "You say to us, 'God will surely listen to you if you call on Him earnestly.' So also Christ said, 'Knock and it shall be opened unto you.'"
MASTER: "Well, if God has incarnated Himself again, is it a fractional or a partial or a complete manifestation of God? Some say it is a complete manifestation."
M: "Sir, I don't quite understand the meaning of complete or partial of fractional Incarnation. But I have understood, as you explained it, the idea of a round hole in a wall."
MASTER: "Tell me about it."
M: "There is a round hole in the wall. Through it one is able to see part of the meadow on the other side of the wall. Likewise, through you one sees part of the Infinite God."
MASTER: "True. You can see five or six miles of the meadow at a stretch."
M. finished his bath in the Ganges and went to the Master's room. It was eight o'clock in the morning. He asked Latu to give him the rice prassad of Jagannath. The Master stood near him and said: "Take this prasad regularly. Those who are devotees of God do not eat anything before taking the prasad."
M: "Yesterday I got some prasad of Jagannath from Balaram Babu's house. I take one or two grains daily."
M. saluted the Master and took his leave, Sri Ramakrishna said to him tenderly: "Come early in the morning tomorrow. The hot sun of the rainy season is bad for the health."
Monday, August 31, 1885
Sri Ramakrishna was resting in his room. It was about eight o'clock in the
evening. Though ill and suffering, he constantly devoted himself to the
welfare of the devotees. Sometimes he felt restless, like a child; but the next
moment he forgot all about his illness and became filled with ecstatic love of
God. His love for the devotees was like that of a mother for her children.
Two days earlier, on Saturday night, he had received a letter from Purna. Puma had written: "I am feeling extremely happy. Now and then I cannot sleep at night for joy." After hearing the letter the Master had remarked: "I feel thrilled to hear this. Even later on he will be able to keep this bliss. Let me see the letter." He had pressed the letter in the palm of his hand and said: "Generally I cannot touch letters. But this is a good letter." That same night, while the Master was in bed, he had suddenly become covered with perspiration. He had sat up in bed, saying, "It seems to me that I shall not recover from this illness." It had worried the devotees very much to hear this. The Holy Mother had come to the temple garden to wait on Sri Ramakrishna and was living in a room in the nahabat. The devotees, with the exception of one or two, were not aware of her presence. A woman devotee staying with the Holy Mother had begun to pay frequent visits to Sri Ramakrishna in his room. After a few days Sri Ramakrishna had said to her: "You have been here some time. What will people think about it? You had better go home for a week or so."
Sri Ramakrishna lav in bed, on his side, with his back to the room. After dusk Gangadhar and M. arrived from Calcutta. Gangadhar sat at the feet of the Master, who was talking to M.
MASTER: "Two boys came here the other day. One of them was Subodh. He is Sankar Ghosh's great-grandson. The other, Kshirode, is his neighbour. They are nice boys. I told them I was ill and asked them to go to you for instruction. Please look after them a little."
M: "Yes, sir. They are our neighbours."
MASTER: "The other day, again, I woke up covered with perspiration. I don't understand this illness."
M: "We have decided to ask Bhagavan Rudra to see you once. He is an M.D. and an expert physician."
MASTER: "How much will he charge?"
M: "His regular fee is twenty or twenty-five rupees."
MASTER: "Then don't bother about him."
M: "But we shall pay him four or five rupees at the most."
MASTER: "Listen. Suppose you say this to him, 'Sir, please be kind enough to come and see him.' Hasn't he heard anything about this place?" (Referring to himself.)
M: "Perhaps he has. He has almost agreed not to charge any fee. But we shall pay him a little. If we do that, he will come again."
MASTER: "Ask Dr. Nitai to come. He is a good physician. But what will the doctors do, I wonder? They press my throat and make my illness worse."
It was nine o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna ate a little farina pudding and had no difficulty in swallowing it. He said to M. cheerfully: "I was able to eat a little. I feel very happy."
Tuesday, September 1
After finishing his midday meal Sri Ramakrishna sat on the small couch
and talked to Dr. Bhagavan Rudra and M. Rakhal, Latu, and other devotees
were in the room. The physician heard all about the Master's illness. Sri
Ramakrishna came down to the floor and sat near the doctor.
MASTER: "You see, medicine does not agree with me. My system is different.
"Well, what do you think of this? When I touch a coin my hand gets twisted; my breathing stops. Further, if I tie a knot4 in the corner of my cloth, I cannot breathe. My breathing stops until the knot is untied."
The Master asked a devotee to bring a rupee. When Sri Ramakrishna held it in his hand, the hand began to writhe with pain. The Master's breathing also stopped. After the coin had been taken away, he breathed deeply three times and his hand relaxed. The doctor became speechless with wonder to see this strange phenomenon.
The doctor said to M., "Action on the nerves."
MASTER (to the doctor): "I get into another state of mind. It is impossible for me to lay up anything. One day I visited Sambhu Mallick's garden house. At that time I had been suffering badly from stomach trouble. Sambhu said to me: 'Take a grain of opium now and then. It will help you.' He tied a little opium in a corner of my cloth. As I was returning to the Kali temple, I began to wander about near the gate as if unable to find the way. Then I threw the opium away and at once regained my normal state. I returned to the temple garden.
"One day at Kamarpukur I picked some mangoes. I was carrying them home. But I could not walk; I had to stay standing in one place. Then I left the mangoes in a hollow. Only after that could I return home. Well, how do you explain that?"
DOCTOR: "There is a force behind it. Will-force."
M: "He [meaning the Master] says that it is God-force. You say that it is will-force."
MASTER (to the doctor): "Again, I get into such a state of mind that if someone says I am better, I at once feel much better. The other day the brahmani said. 'You are fifty per cent better. At once I began to dance."
Sri Ramakrishna was much pleased with the physician. He said to him: "You have a very fine nature. There are two characteristics of knowledge: a peaceful nature and absence of pride."
M: "The doctor has lost his wife."
MASTER (to the doctor): "I say that God can be realized if one feels drawn to Him by the intensity of these three attractions: the child's attraction for the mother, the husband's attraction for the chaste wife, and the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man.
"Please cure me of my illness."
The doctor was going to examine the Master's throat. Sri Ramakrishna was seated in a chair on the semicircular porch. Referring to Dr. Sarkar, the Master said: "He is a villain. He pressed my tongue as if I were a cow."
DOCTOR: "He didn't hurt you purposely."
MASTER: "No, he pressed the tongue to make a thorough examination."
Sunday, September 20, 1885
Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room, surrounded by devotees.
Navagopal, Haralal, Rakhal, Latu, and others were present. A goswami who was a
musician was also there.
M. arrived with Dr. Rakhal of Bowbazar. The physician began to examine the Master. He was a stout person and had rather thick fingers.
MASTER (smiling, to the physician): "Your fingers are like a wrestler's. Mahendra Sarkar also examined me. He pressed my tongue so hard that it hurt me. He pressed my tongue the way they press a cow's."
DOCTOR: "I shall not hurt you, sir."
The physician made out his prescription. Sri Ramakrishna was talking.
MASTER (to the devotees): "Well, people ask why, if I am such a holy person, I should be ill."
TARAK: "Bhagavan Das Babaji, too, was ill and bed-ridden a long time."
MASTER: "But look at Dr. Madhu. At the age of sixty he carries food to the house of his mistress; and he has no illness."
GOSWAMI: "Sir, your illness is for the sake of others. You take upon yourself the sins of those who come to you. You fall ill because you accept their sins."
A DEVOTEE: "You will soon be cured if only you say to the Divine Mother, 'Mother, please make me well.'"
MASTER: "I cannot ask God to cure my disease. The attitude of the servant-master relationship is nowadays less strong in me. Once in a while I say, 'O Mother, please mend the sheath (The Master referred to his body.) of the sword a little.' But such prayers are also becoming less frequent. Nowadays I do not find my 'I'; I see that it is God alone who resides in this sheath."
The goswami had been invited to sing kirtan. A devotee asked, "Will there be any kirtan?" Sri Ramakrishna was ill, and all were afraid that the kirtan might throw his mind into ecstasy and thus aggravate the illness.
Sri Ramakrishna said: "Let there be a little singing. All are afraid of my going into ecstasy. Spiritual emotion hurts the throat."
The goswami began the kirtan. Sri Ramakrishna could not control himself. He stood up and began to dance with the devotees. The physician watched the whole scene.
A hired carriage was waiting for Dr. Rakhal. He and M. were ready to leave for Calcutta. They saluted the Master. Sri Ramakrishna said to M. affectionately, "Have you had your meal?"
Thursday, September 24, 1885