This is the Third Part of Sri Ramakrishna The Great Master. The events of the Master’s life from the time he completed his Sadhanas to the time he became well known to the public have been in the main recorded here. We have not merely recorded the events and activities of the Master at that time, but have also discussed, as far as possible, the moods that prompted and the purpose that guided those actions. For, the history of the life of a man, who is an aggregate of body and mind, cannot be had only from a detailed study of his insentient body and its activities. When writing a biography or a history, the materialistic West exhibits its ability mainly in recording events, while the spiritualistic Hindu applies his mind to a careful depiction of the mental functions only. It is our conviction that a true biography or history should be a combination of both and that the actions of the unconscious body should be recorded with a view to unfolding the history of the mind.
Moreover, we have discussed the extraordinary life of Sri Ramakrishna in the light of the scriptures in many places. We have been led to study the unique functioning of his mind, his experiences and activities in comparison with those of great souls like Krishna, Buddha, Sankara and Chaitanya of India and Jesus and others of other countries. The Master said to us in unambiguous language again and again that “the one who, in the past, became Rama and Krishna is (showing his own body) in this sheath now” and that “the spiritual experiences of this (meaning himself) have gone beyond those recorded in the Vedas and Vedantas.” As a matter of fact, in discussing impartially, as far as possible, the life of Sri Ramakrishna established in Bhavamukha, we have been constrained to confess that such an uncommon life in the spiritual world was never seen before.
Again, when we discuss the full implication of the new truth, viz., “As many faiths, so many paths”, discovered and proclaimed by him for the benefit of mankind when he reached perfection in a remarkably short time in all the spiritual practices according to the faiths preached by previous incarnations, we are inevitably led to accept him as the summation and consummation of all the incarnations who have gone before. The more we have discussed the unprecedented holy life of Sri Ramakrishna, the greater has grown our conviction that he is the unique product of the universal and eternal spiritual ideas of the Vedas—the totality of their essence. When the revered Swami Vivekananda had preached Sri Ramakrishna’s ideas and the public became eager to know the facts of his life, many people published many accounts of him But none of them pointed out clearly the hidden relation that existed between that unique life and the Vedic or eternal religion. Consequently, from a study of these books an impression has grown in the mind of people that Sri Ramakrishna was a man cut off from the tradition of the eternal Hindu religion and has left behind him a particular sectarian doctrine of his creation. Further, many of those stories contain errors regarding the life-history of the Master and lack appreciation of the real import of the events of his life and their relation with events before and after. In order to meet to a certain extent that demand of the public, we have, following in the footsteps of Swami Vivekananda, attempted in this book a description of that great, noble life as it presented itself to us and a little of that state of being, the realization of a particle of which has made Swami Vivekananda and others, including ourselves, dedicate their lives at the lotus feet of the Master. Let the reader know that if even a small part of the noble ideal of the Master’s life, unintelligible to ordinary man, has been correctly portrayed in this book, it is due to his greatness; and whatever defect or incompleteness has remained in it is due to our lack of proper understanding and expression. We intend to present to the reader a description of the first and last part of the precious life of the Master later.1 Before we start, we intend to prefix the verses and the aphoristic article by Swami Vivekananda who has discussed therein the hidden relation of the eternal Vedic religion with the unfathomable life of Sri Ramakrishna abiding in Bhavamukha.
1. In writing this biography the author began by writing this part first. Then he wrote in succession parts IV, II, I and V,—Tr.