The Master’s vow of Sadhana was completed with the worship of Shodasi. The holy fire of passion for God-inebriation, which was burning constantly in his heart, keeping him restless for twelve long years and engaging him in practices in various moods without allowing him any rest even after a mood was over, received now the Purnahuti, the completing oblation, and ceased to burn. And what else could it do? For, was there now anything left which he might call his own and which he had not already offered as oblation to it? He had long ago sacrificed to it all the desirable things of the world —wealth, honour, name, fame, etc. He had offered as an oblation to the terrible flames, one after another, his heart, vital forces, mind, intellect, memory, egoism, etc. The only thing that had still been there was the desire to see the Mother of the universe in various relations and forms by travelling along different paths of discipline. That desire also he now offered to the fire, to the last particle, so to say. What, therefore, could it do, but subside?
2. For, what was left for him to do after finishing the Sadhanas according to all faiths?
Knowing the eagerness of the Master’s heart, the divine Mother, he saw, had bestowed on him first the blessing of Her vision and afterwards brought him into contact with persons of extraordinary noble qualities with whose help he could tread along various scriptural paths, thus giving him the opportunity of comparing his first vision of Hers with the ultimate results of all the Sadhanas. So, what could he ask of Her now? He also saw that the practices prescribed in the sixty-four Tantras had all been practised by him one after another; and that all the disciplines connected with the five moods of the Vaishnava faith prevalent in India had been gone through by him according to scriptural methods; that, following the eternal Vedic path and being initiated in Sannyasa, he had had the vision of the formless and attributeless divine Mother; and that, by Her inscrutable play, he had had the sure result of the practices according to Islam, which had sprung into existence outside India. So what could he now ask the divine Mother to show or tell him?
But, a year after, the mind of the Master again looked forward to the vision of the divine Mother through another path. He had by that time become acquainted with Sambhuchandra Mallick who read the Bible to him Thus he came to know of the pure life of Jesus and of the faith he founded. Scarcely had that desire arisen in his mind when the divine Mother fulfilled it in a marvellous way and blessed him He had, therefore, no need to make any special effort for it. The event happened thus: The garden house of Jadunath Mallick is situated to the south of the Kali temple at Dakshineswar; the Master used to go there now and then for a walk. Jadunath and his mother had great devotion to the Master from the time they first had seen him Therefore, even if they were not present in the garden at the time of the Master’s walk there, the officers would open the door of the parlour and ask him to sit and rest there for some time. There were some good pictures hanging on the walls of that room. One of those pictures was that of the child Jesus in his mother’s lap. The Master used to say that he sat one day in that parlour and was looking intently at that picture and thinking of the extraordinary life of Jesus, when he felt that the picture came to life, and effulgent rays of light, coming out from the bodies of the mother and the Child, entered into his heart and changed radically all the ideas of his mind! On finding that all the inborn Hindu impressions disappeared into a secluded corner of his mind and that different ones arose in it, he tried in various ways to control himself and prayed earnestly to the divine Mother, “What strange changes art Thou bringing about in me, Mother?” But nothing availed. Rising with a great force, the waves of those impressions completely submerged the Hindu ideas in his mind. His love and devotion, to the Devas and Devis vanished, and in their stead, a great faith in and reverence for Jesus and his religion occupied his mind, and began to show him Christian padrees offering incense and light before the image of Jesus in the Church and to reveal to him the eagerness of their hearts as is seen in their earnest prayers. The Master came back to Dakshineswar temple and remained constantly absorbed in the meditation of those inner happenings. He forgot altogether to go to the temple of the divine Mother and pay obeisance to Her. The waves of those ideas had mastery over his mind in that manner for three days. At last, when the third day was about to close, the Master saw, while walking under the Panchavati, that a marvellous god-man of very fair complexion was coming towards him, looking steadfastly at him As soon as the Master saw that person, he knew that he was a foreigner. He saw that his long eyes had produced a wonderful beauty in his face, and the tip of his nose, though a little flat, did not at all impair that beauty. The Master was charmed to see the extraordinary divine expression of that handsome face, and wondered who he was. Very soon the person approached him and from the bottom of the Master’s pure heart came out with a ringing sound, the words, “Jesus! Jesus the Christ, the great Yogi, the loving Son of God, one with the Father, who gave his heart’s blood and put up with endless torture in order to deliver men from sorrow and misery!” Jesus, the god-man, then embraced the Master and disappeared into his body and the Master entered into ecstasy, lost normal consciousness and remained identified for some time with the Omnipresent Brahman with attributes. Having attained the vision of Jesus thus, the Master became free from the slightest doubt about Christ’s having been an incarnation of God.
4. How the Master’s vision of the form of Jesus was proved to be true to fact
When we were visiting the Master long after this event, one day he raised the topic of Jesus and said, “Well, boys, you have read the Bible; can you tell me what is written in it about the physical features of Jesus? How did he look?” We said, “Sir, we have not seen this mentioned anywhere in the Bible; but as he was born a Jew, he must have been very fair in complexion, with long eyes and an aquiline nose to be sure.” When told so, the Master said, “But I saw that the tip of his nose was a little flat; I don’t know why I saw him like that.” Though we did not then say anything about what the Master said, we thought, “How could the form seen by him in ecstasy tally with the actual form of Jesus? Like all the Jews he too must have had an aquiline nose.” But we came to know, shortly after the Master passed away, that there were three different descriptions of Jesus’ physical features; and according to one of them the tip of his nose was a little flat.
5. What the Master said about Buddha’s being an incarnation of God and about his faith
Knowing the Master to have been perfected according to all the main religions prevalent in the world, the reader may wonder within himself what his idea about Buddha was. It is therefore but fair that we record here what is known to us about it. The Master regarded Buddha as what the Hindus in general believe him to be; that is, he always offered his loving worship and reverence to Buddha as an incarnation of God and believed that the incarnation of Buddha continued even then to be manifest in the image at Puri of “the three gems” in the forms of Jagannath, Subhadra and Balaram. When he heard that the glory of the above-mentioned holy place, was that, by the grace of Jagannath, it obliterated all feelings of difference and thereby all distinctions due to caste, he felt an intense desire to visit it. But he gave up that idea,1 when he came to know that he would not survive the visit and understood, with the help of Yogic powers, that the will of the divine Mother in that respect was against his going. We have already spoken of the Master’s unalterable faith in the purifying power of the waters of the Ganga, which he looked upon as being Brahman Itself in the liquid form (Brahma-vari). He had an equally firm faith that the mind of a man attached to worldly objects becomes immediately pure and gets fit to grasp spiritual ideas when he takes food offered to Jagannath. When compelled to be in the company of worldly people for some time, he took, immediately afterwards, a little water of the Ganga and the “Atke” Mahaprasad, the cooked rice offered to Jagannath, and asked his disciples also to do the same. Besides what has been said above about the Master’s faith in Buddha as an incarnation of God, we came to know of another fact about this matter. When the great poet, Girishchandra Ghosh, the highly devout follower of the Master, published his drama, Buddhacharita, depicting the divine play of Buddha, the Master witnessed it staged and said, “It is certain that Buddha was an incarnation of God. There is no difference between the faith founded by him and the Vedic path of knowledge.” Our conviction is that the Master came to know this through Yogic vision, and so said this.
6. The Master’s faith in the Jaina and Sikh religions
The Master heard from the Jainas and the Sikhs, in the latter part of his life, many things about the Tirthankaras, the founders of the Jaina religion and the ten Gurus from Nanak to Govinda, the founders of the Sikh religion and had much love and respect for them Besides the pictures of deities, there was a stone image of Mahavira the Tirthankara, and a picture of Jesus on one side of his room The Master offered every morning and evening burning incense before them both, as before all other pictures. But, although he thus showed great love and reverence for them, we did not hear him describing any of the Tirthankaras or any of the ten Gurus as an incarnation of God. About the ten Gurus of the Sikhs, he used to say, “They are all incarnations of the Rishi Janaka. The royal Rishi Janaka, I have been told by the Sikhs, had a desire in his mind on the eve of his liberation, to do good to the people. He, therefore, was born ten times as a Guru, from Nanak to Govinda, and having established religion among the Sikhs, became eternally united with the supreme Brahman. There is no reason why this saying of the Sikhs should not be true.”
When he became perfect according to all Sadhanas, the Master had a few unique experiences. Of these experiences (1) some were concerning himself and (2) some were about spiritual matters in general. Although we have already told the reader some of them we shall mention here the principal ones. While dwelling constantly in the Mother in Bhavamukha at the end of the period of his Sadhanas, he seemed to have understood perfectly the meaning of those experiences. Although the Master had them with the help of his Yogic vision, we shall here give a rational explanation of them.
8. Experiences about himself:
Firstly, the Master had the conviction that he was an incarnation of God, an Adhikarika Purusha, all of whose spiritual efforts were for the sake of others. Comparing the Sadhaka-life of others with his, he could see a great difference between them with the help of his reason. He saw that an ordinary aspirant practised one spiritual mood all his life and that when he realized the vision of God according to that mood, he had complete satisfaction in his mind. But his own case was not like that. He required a very short time for being successful in the discipline according to each mood and could have no satisfaction in his mind till he practised disciplines according to all moods and faiths. An effect can never be produced but by a cause; a search on his part for the cause of the above-mentioned fact led him to profound meditation and showed him the reason given above. It showed him that his condition was unique because he was an especial incarnation of God the Almighty, who is ever free, ever pure and ever awakened. It made him realize, further, that all his extraordinary spiritual practices had brought a new light from the spiritual world and that they had all been practised for the good of others and not for the satisfaction of his own personal wants.
(2) there is no liberation for him
He was convinced that, unlike the Jivas, he would not attain liberation. It does not take one long to understand this even with the help of ordinary reasoning. How can there be any talk of liberation for one who is eternally non-separate from God being an especial part of Him—who is always free, pure, and awakened and who has no want or limitation at all? As long as God’s work of doing good to Jivas continues, he will have to incarnate himself from age to age and do that work. So how can he have liberation? The Master used to say, “An administrator has to run to wherever there is any disorder in the estate.” This was not the only thing about himself that the Master knew with the help of his Yogic vision. Pointing to the north-western direction, he told us over and over again that he would have to come to that region on the next occasion. Some1 assert that he gave them the time of his next advent and said, “I shall have to come to that side in two hundred years. Many will be liberated then. Those who do not get liberation at that time, will have to wait very long for it thereafter.”
and (3) he knew when he would pass away
The Master came to know in Bhavasamadhi the time of his passing away long before it happened. While under a spiritual inspiration one day at Dakshineswar, he said to the Holy Mother, “When you will see me taking food out of the hands of anyone and everyone, passing nights in Calcutta, and taking the food a part of which has been already taken by someone else, know that the time of my passing away is near at hand.” The aforasaid words of the Master proved to be literally true.
On another occasion there, while in a spiritual mood, the Master said to the Holy Mother, “I shall not take anything except porridge during my last days.” We have elsewhere said how this came true.1
9. Experiences about spiritual matters in general:
After attaining perfection according to all the faiths, the Master had the firm conviction that all religions were true; that all the faiths were but so many paths. It can be said that the Master realized it both by his Yogic powers and by reason. For, performing Sadhanas according to all the faiths, he realized in his life the ultimate result of each kind of discipline. It does not take one long to understand that the purpose of the advent of the Master, the incarnation of the present age,, is to promulgate the truth mentioned above and stop the decline of faiths and end the quarrels among them. For, no other incarnation of God had fully realized this truth in his life with the help of Sadhana and taught it to the world heretofore. If the positions of the incarnations of God are to be determined on the basis of the liberality of the spiritual doctrines they held, the highest place must undoubtedly be accorded to the Master for preaching that doctrine.
Secondly, the doctrines of dualism, qualified non-dualism and non-dualism came of themselves to each man with his spiritual progress. The Master, therefore, said that they were not contradictory to one another but depended on particular stages of evolution of the human mind. A little thinking makes it clear what immense help man can derive in understanding the vast religious literature through this realization of the Master. Words cannot express adequately what an endless confusion has been produced and how intricate the path to spirituality has been rendered by the three aforesaid doctrines discovered by the Rishis and recorded in the Vedas, Upanishads and other scriptures. Unable to find out their proper harmony with one another, the followers of each of these doctrines did their best to prove by torturing the texts, that all of them preach the doctrine, as interpreted by them The result of that attempt of the commentators is that there arises a dread in the minds of the people at the very name of religious discussions for the determination of the Sastraic truths. And this fear has produced a lack of faith in the Sastras, leading to the spiritual degradation of India. It was, therefore, necessary for the Master, the incarnation of the age, to realize all the three doctrines in different stages of his own life and propagate among all men their wonderful harmony. The only way that will lead us to the understanding of the Sastras is to remember always this conclusion of the Master. Remember what the Master said on this topic:
“Only the states up to qualified non-dualism can be understood by mind and intellect and expressed in words. In that state both the absolute and the relative are equally eternal. The Lord Himself, His name and His abode—all are of pure consciousness.
“For ordinary human beings, in whom the attachment to worldly objects prevails, dualism is commendable. For them the loud singing of the Lord’s name, His glory, His powers, etc., as directed in the Narada Pancharatra, is advisable.”
(3) people in general will progress by resorting to Karmayoga
The Master put limits to the performance of actions also for the spiritual development of man and said, “ The actions of a man with a predominance of Sattva naturally drop off. He cannot perform them in spite of his efforts to do so—to put it in another way, God does not allow him to do so. Take for example a householder’s daughter-in-law; the more she approaches confinement, the more do her household duties drop off and when the child is born, she has nothing more to do except nurse it. But, all other people should depend on God and perform all actions like the maid servant1 in a rich man’s family, in the parable. To perform actions in this way is what is called Karmayoga. To repeat continuously God’s name, together with meditation on Him, and to perform all actions in the aforesaid manner—this is the path.”
(4) a community given to this liberal view is to be founded
The Master realized that, as an instrument in the hands of the Mother of the universe, he would have to found a new communion especially fit for the liberal faith revealed in his own life. The Master realized all this during the life-time of Mathur Babu. The Mother told him, he said to Mathur, that many devotees would come to him to attain spirituality. It is superfluous to add that it turned out to be literally true. Once at the Kasipur garden, the Master looked at his own photograph and said to us, “This is a picture showing a very high state of Yoga. It1 will be worshipped hereafter in every house”.
Having known, with the help of his Yogic power, that those who were in their last birth would come to him to attain spirituality, he had quite a firm conviction about it. We have given the reader our own opinion about it elsewhere.2 It is, therefore, needless to repeat it here.
Three eminent Sadhaka-pandits, well versed in the scriptures, came to the Master during three important periods of his Sadhana, saw with their own eyes his spiritual states and had the opportunity of having discussions on them. Pandit Padmalochan saw the Master after the latter had attained perfection in the Tantric practices. Pandit Vaishnavacharan met him after his success in the Vaishnava disciplines, and Pandit Gauri had the privilege of seeing the Master possessed of the divine splendour produced by the Sadhana when the latter had finished all his spiritual practices. Padmalochan saw the Master and said, “I see in you divine power and manifestation.” Composing a hymn in Sanskrit, Vaishnavacharan sang it to the Master in ecstasy, describing him as an incarnation of God. Similarly, Gauri, when he saw the Master, said to him, “I see tangibly realized in you all the high spiritual states recorded in the scriptures read by me. Besides, I see in you the manifestation of such exalted states as are not recorded in them. Your state has far transcended those mentioned in the Vedas, Vedantas, and the Sastras. You are not a mortal being. The Reality from which incarnations originate, is there in you.” When we study the extraordinary story of the Master’s life and his wonderful experiences mentioned before, we can clearly comprehend that those prominent Sadhaka-pandits did not speak the aforesaid words by way of flattery. The dates of the coming to Dakshineswar of those scholars have been ascertained in the following way:
11. The time of the coming of the Pandits ascertained
While she was staying at Dakshineswar for the first time, the Holy Mother saw Pandit Gauri there. Again, we were told by the Master that the Pandit came to Dakshineswar when Mathur Babu was alive. Therefore, he seems to have come to Dakshineswar some time in 1871 and stayed with the Master there till 1873. The Master always cherished a desire to see those Sadhaka-pandits who tried to carry into practice the scriptural knowledge acquired by them in their lives. As Bhattacharya Sri Gaurikanta Tarkabhusan (for, that was his full name) belonged to this class of Sadhakas, the Master had the desire to see him, and had him brought to Dakshineswar through Mathur who invited him to come there. The Pandit was an inhabitant of the village of Indesh near the Master’s birthplace. Hriday’s brother Ramratan went with Mathur’s letter of invitation to Gaurikanta and brought him to the holy temple at Dakshineswar. We have elsewhere1 told the reader about the wonderful power which came to him from his Sadhana and the way in which he renounced the world after he came to Dakshineswar, saw the Master and had intense detachment growing gradually in his heart.
The date of the Annameru, the gift, of a “mountain of food”, has been ascertained to be 1864 in the book entitled “The story of the life of Rani Rasmani”. We were told by the Master about the eagerness of Mathur to have Padmalochan brought to Dakshineswar by invitation and to make him accept gifts at that time. Therefore, the year 1864 may be said to be the time when Bhattacharya Sri Padmalochan Tarkalankar, the Vedantic scholar, came to the Master.
The time when Pandit Vaishnavacharan, the son of Utsavananda Goswami, came to Dakshineswar, can easily be ascertained. For, we have heard from the Master about his discussion at Dakshineswar of the supernal nature of the Master, at first with Yogeswari, the Bhairavi Brahmani, and, afterwards, with Gaurikanta Tarkabhusan. Like the Brahmani, Vaishnavacharan saw manifested in the Master’s mind and body all the signs of the Mahabhava spoken of in the Vaishnava scriptures, and he got lost in astonishment and agreed with the Bhairavi in her conclusion that the Master was a reincarnation of Gauranga. When one hears the above-mentioned words of the Master, it becomes clear to one that Vaishnavacharan came to the Master in 1865 after the latter had become perfected in the discipline of the Madhura Bhava. Vaishnavacharan frequented Dakshineswar now and again till 1873.
12. The Master’s desire to see his devotees of the inner circle. He cried out for them
As he was inspired by God, a new and strong desire arose in the mind of the Master after he had had the experiences mentioned before. He became very anxious to meet his devotees, previously seen in his Yogic visions, and to impart his own power of spirituality to them “That anxiety,” said the Master, “had no limit. With great difficulty I put up with that constant anxiety throughout the day-time. Hearing the vain worldly topics of the worldly people which verily seemed to be poison to me, I used to think that, when they would all come, I would have pleasant conversations on God with them, which would pacify my mind and heart and refresh my ears. I would then tell them my own spiritual experiences and lighten the burden of my heart. The idea of their coming got associated with everything in and around me and led me to think incessantly of them. I kept myself in readiness regarding what I should say or give to each one of them. When the day ended and evening came, I could no longer control that surge of anxiety by any amount of patience; the thought arose that another day had passed away and none of them had come. When the temples rang with sounds of conchs, bells, etc., I got up to the roof of the ‘mansion’ of the proprietors. Being restless on account of the anguish of my heart, I called out at the top of my voice and with tears in my eyes, ‘Where are you, my children? Do come, one and all. I cannot do any more without seeing you’, and I filled the quarters with loud cries. So great were my anxiety and restlessness that it is doubtful whether a mother desires so intensely to meet her child; nor had I ever heard of a pair of lovers or friends behaving that way in order to be united with each other. A few days after this, the devotees began to come one by one.”
A few important events took place before the devotees came to Dakshineswar at that anxious call of the Master. As they are not directly connected with the present part of the book, we record them in the appendix.
1. IV. 3.
1. The great poet Girishchandra Ghosh and others.
1. III. 2.
1. “A maid servant serves in a rich man’s family, attends carefully to all her duties, takes care of all the articles of the house, brings up the children as her own, fondles and suckles them, behaves with other people and families in a manner befitting a member of the family and she serves and even quarrels with others for the sake of the family. But she knows all the while that she is not one of the family and that a word from the master or the mistress is enough to send her away from there and that her real home and her own people are in a far-off village.
Similarly, O man of the world, live in the world, mix with the members of your family, and serve them as dutifully as you can, but know in your heart of hearts that they are none of yours and that your home and your real relatives are there in the kingdom of heaven, God being the very centre of them all, their life and their being.” — Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. (Collected from various parts of the book and adapted)—Tr.
2. IV. 4.
1. III. 1.