Ignorant of My supreme nature as the great Lord of all beings, foolish people slight Me who am in a human body.
— Gita, IX.11.

We find the mood of the spiritual teacher manifested in the Master from his childhood, though, it must be admitted, that its full manifestation took place in his youth when he attained the Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Let no one think that the above statement is an exaggeration of fact, intended to extol the Master’s greatness. If anybody critically studies the Master’s life without any bias he will see that he will never be tempted to entertain that error. Let anybody study, as much as it lies in his power, the events of this extraordinary life, and he will after all find that it is his power of judgment itself that gets baffled, bewildered and benumbed. Our own minds were not a little suspicious. Many of us doubted, tested and examined the Master more critically than it will perhaps even occur to many in the present age. It is difficult to enumerate the occasions when most of us, doubting the Master, went to test him and got defeated and hung our heads in shame. We have given the reader a little indication of this already in the second chapter and much will have to be given later. The reader then will be in a position to judge for himself.

1. “Fruits first, flowers next.” This is the peculiar trait of all divine incarnations

The Master always used to quote in connection with the lives of the eternally free Isvarakotis the saying, “Fruits first, flowers next, as is the case with the creepers called gourds.” The meaning of the saying is that whatever practice they are seen to undertake for achieving perfection in matters spiritual, is for the purpose of showing people that they will have to undertake similar practices in order to achieve similar results. From a critical study of the lives of these persons one fact stands out. It is this, that from their childhood they behave in every matter in a way which is possible only for those who are already in full possession of the knowledge for the acquisition of which they seem to work so hard. It is as if the knowledge is already theirs from the very commencement of their lives. When this holds good even in the case of Isvarakotis, it is superfluous to say that it applies to the divine incarnations. The manifestation of such knowledge in them is seen throughout their lives — so is it written in the scriptures. And it is also seen that there is a great similarity between many of the actions of the incarnations of different ages. We find, for example, the fact of transmitting spirituality to others by a touch in the lives of every one of them — Jesus, Sri Chaitanya and Sri Ramakrishna. Similarly, we find many other events of like nature in their lives. Some particularly holy men were informed in a superhuman way of the advent of these incarnations. The mood of the spiritual teacher was manifest in them from their childhood. They knew from their boyhood that they had come down on earth, out of compassion, as incarnations in order to show especial paths to the people in general. There are many other facts as well. Therefore, no one should be surprised to hear that the mood of the spiritual teacher was manifest in the Master’s life from his childhood. The incarnations are a class by themselves. One will fall into a great error if one thinks that, because such events cannot happen in the lives of ordinary men, they cannot occur in the lives of incarnations also.

2. The first manifestation of the mood of the spiritual teacher in the Master’s life. A discussion on the scriptures in a meeting of Pandits at the house of the Lahas at Kamarpukur

We find a very clear instance of the first manifestation of the mood of the spiritual teacher in the life of the Master at Kamarpukur. He had then been invested with the sacred thread and he must have been about nine or ten years of age. The well-known scholars of that part of the country were invited on the occasion of a Sraddha ceremony to the house of the Lahas, the landlords of the village. And, as is usual, when many scholars came together there started a heated controversy amongst them When no decision on a particular disputed point in the scriptures could be arrived at, the boy Gadadhar said to a scholar known to him, “Can’t the point at issue be decided this way?” Many boys of the village came to the meeting out of curiosity and they could not understand even a little of the meaning of the noisy controversy accompanied by the gesticulations of the scholars. Some of these boys took all this as a huge joke and were laughing, some others were mimicking the gestures of the scholars and were making a loud noise, while others were completely indifferent to it and engaged themselves in playing. Therefore, this scholar was not a little surprised to see that that wonderful boy had listened with patience to what they had said, understood everything and arrived at the right conclusion by reflecting on the matter. He then told the others known to him about Gadadhar’s conclusion. Knowing that it was the only possible solution regarding the disputed point, they explained it to all others. All then admitted unanimously that it was the only rational solution regarding the point at dispute and were looking for the person whose keen intellect was the first to see that wonderful solution, and when they came to know that it was the boy Gadadhar who had said it, some of them became astounded and, thinking the boy to be possessed of divine powers, remained gazing steadfastly at him; while others filled with joy, took him in their laps and blessed him

3. A similar event in the life of Jesus in the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem

It is necessary to discuss the subject a little more. There is an event recorded in the Bible,1 exactly similar to this, in the life of Jesus, an incarnation of the divine Lord and the founder of the Christian religion. He was then twelve years of age. His poor, God-fearing father Joseph and mother Mary started that year on foot with him in the company of other pilgrims from his native village of Nazareth in the province of Galilee in order to pay a visit to the deity in the famous temple at Jerusalem and offer worship, sacrifice, etc. there. This place of pilgrimage of the Jews was like the pilgrim centres of the Hindus. Here the devout aspirant felt blessed by directly experiencing the manifestation of Jehovah in the gold casket and worshipped the deity by burning incense on an altar before him and by offering leaves and flowers, fruits and roots and by sacrificing beasts and birds like sheep, pigeons, etc. The sacrificing of pigeons and other birds in the Hindu places of pilgrimage like Kamakhya and Vindhyavasini is in vogue even today. Worship, offering and sacrifices being over, Joseph and Mary started with their companions towards their village. 

4. The Jewish pilgrimage of those days

At that time the condition of the pilgrims coming from various quarters to visit Jerusalem was to a certain extent similar to that of those proceeding on foot to Puri and other places of pilgrimage before railways had been laid. That long narrow path beautified here and there by trees, wells, ponds; those places of rest called inns — it is said there was also no lack of charitable guest-houses —  those guide-priests, the inevitable companions of pilgrims, those grocers’ shops where the necessary provisions were available; that dust; those swarms of mosquitoes which rendered a friendly service to the pilgrims by preventing their forgetting their religious thoughts in sleep and idleness; that undertaking of journeys by pilgrims in great numbers so as to be of help to one another against robbers and thieves; and, last, that simple faith and dependence on God; — all were there. 

5. Jesus explained the scriptures in the temple of Jehovah

When Jesus’ parents found that he was not with them they thought that he was perhaps coming behind the party with some other pilgrim boys. But even after travelling a long distance, when they found Jesus not coming up, they were greatly perturbed; and when a thorough search in the big party revealed that he was not with them, they anxiously turned their steps towards Jerusalem again. They looked for him in various places there, but could get no information about him. At last they entered the temple in search of him and found that the boy Jesus was sitting and discussing the scriptures among the Sadhakas well versed in them and was charming all by his lucid, inspired explanations of the complicated points of dispute which confounded even the scholars.

6. The refutation of the opinion of the great orient-alist and scholar Max Muller

The great scholar Max Muller has expressed a doubt in his Life and Sayings of Ramakrishna about the truth of the incident in the Master’s life just stated above on the ground of its great similarity with the corresponding incident in the life of the Lord Jesus just mentioned. He has not even shrunk from passing the uncharitable remark that the English-knowing disciples of Sri Ramakrishna have introduced the story of Jesus’ childhood into the life of their Master in order to heighten the latter’s greatness. Although the scholar has thus displayed his keen intellect, we are helpless, and prefer not to dilate, upon it further, for we have heard of that event of the Master’s childhood from many old people of his birth place Kamarpukur; and also from the Master himself on several occasions.

7. Why did the Master marry?
(1) at the request of relatives? No

When studying the Master’s life, one is confronted with the question, why did he marry? Why did a person who was never inclined to have any carnal relationship with his wife, marry at all? It is of course difficult to find the reason.

To the suggestion that his relatives married him against his will when, on reaching youth, he became almost mad owing to his constant thinking of God, we reply, it is silly to entertain such an idea. From his childhood no one could get anything done by him against his will, on how ever trivial a matter. Again, whenever he wanted to do anything, he never failed to accomplish it by some means or other. Take, for instance, his having for his Bhikshamata a blacksmith woman named Dhani, at the time of his investiture with the sacred thread. Social rules and regulations were not observed in the villages with as much laxity as in Calcutta; so no one could act according to his own sweet will in the villages. The Master’s parents also were not a little orthodox and it was the custom of the family too to assign the duty of the Bhiksha-mata to a Brahmin, lady and all the superiors of the family of the boy Gadadhar were against his receiving Bhiksha from a blacksmith woman. In spite of all these, opposition melted away before Gadadhar’s insistence, and Dhani became the Bhiksha-mata. This was a matter for no small surprise. Thus it was with all matters. The Master’s will and words ever prevailed against the wills and desires of others. How then can we say that in such an important event in his life he merely acquiesced in the mere desires and requests of his relatives?

(2) for enjoyment? No

It might again be said, “What is the necessity of admitting that the Master had the idea of renouncing everything out of love of God from his very childhood? We can say instead that the Master at first had the desire to marry and enjoy worldly pleasures like people in general, but that no sooner had he attained maturity than there came about a sudden revolutionary change in his mind and a violent storm of detachment from the world and attachment to God raged in his heart, which overturned all his previous plans and desires. In that case all objections will be removed in a natural way. All objections are removed if it be said that the Master’s marriage took place before that storm began to rage.” We say that although this explanation is plausible, there are some irrefutable objections against this attitude. Firstly, the Master was married at the age of twenty-four; the storm of renunciation was then furiously raging in his heart. And it is quite unlikely that a person like him, who hesitated all his life to give the slightest trouble to anyone for his own sake, should have proceeded thoughtlessly to do an act which he knew full well would be the cause of lifelong suffering for a lady. Secondly, the more we think the more can we understand that no act in the Master’s life was done without a purpose. 

(3) what the Master said when his relatives were in search of a bride. “Go and see, the bride is marked with a straw.” Therefore his marriage was voluntary

Thirdly, it is quite certain that he married willingly; for he told his nephew, Hriday, and all the members of family when they were in search of a bride that it had already been divinely settled that he should be married to the daughter of Ramchandra Mukhopadhyaya of the village of Jayramvati. The reader will either be surprised to hear this or will disbelieve it and say, “Fancy, speaking of such incredible things! Can these statements be accepted in the twentieth century?” We have to say in reply, “Whether you believe it or not, it was indeed a fact. There are many still living who will bear it out. Why don’t you just investigate?” When in their search for a bride his relatives failed to get one, the Master himself said, “Go and see; such and such a girl of such and such a village has been marked with a straw”2 for the purpose. Therefore it is clear that the Master knew that he would be married; what was more, he knew also the place of marriage and the person to whose daughter he would be married. And he did not raise any objection to that. It was of course during his Bhavasamadhi that he had come to know it. What then is the meaning of the Master’s marriage? Some reader, well versed in the scriptures, will perhaps be annoyed and say, “How silly, you are raising a storm in a tea-cup. First consult some scriptures and other books and then venture to record the events of the lives of great pious souls. 

(4) for experiencing the result of his actions done in previous births that had begun to fructify? No

Scriptures say that actions accumulated in previous lives that are yet to bear fruit (Sanchita3) and those that are done after the attainment of the knowledge of Brahman (Agami3 ) are all destroyed, when God-vision or perfect knowledge is attained. But the results of the works done in the previous births that are already bearing fruit (Prarabdha3) have to be experienced in this life even when the knowledge of Brahman is achieved. Suppose there are some arrows in a quiver tied to the back of a fowler. He has taken in hand one arrow in order to shoot. He shot one a little before at a bird on a tree. Just at this moment there arises sudden compassion in the mind of the fowler and he resolves he will no more injure any living being. He throws away the arrow in his hand and also the arrows on his back. But can he withdraw the arrow he has already shot at the bird? The arrows on his back are, as it were, his actions accumulated (Sanchita) in past lives; the arrow in his hand represents future (Agami) acts which he is yet to do in this life. But these kinds of acts are destroyed on the acquisition of knowledge. But his Prarabdha acts are like the arrow he has already discharged; its result he has to experience. Great souls like Sri Ramakrishna experience the results of their Prarabdha actions only while conscious in a body. The experiencing of these results is inevitable; and they know and understand what kinds of events will happen in their lives according to their Prarabdha acts. Therefore, it was not extraordinary for Sri Ramakrishna to mention where and to whom his own marriage would take place.” 

(a) a man of absolute knowledge is free to experience his Prarabdha or not

In reply to the above objection we say that we are really quite unlearned in the scriptures. But so far as we know, we can say that a man of right knowledge has not got to experience even the results of his Prarabdha actions. For he has dedicated to God for ever the mind which feels pain and pleasure. Where then is the possibility in his mind of experiencing pain and pleasure? But if you say that Prarabdha actions are experienced in his body, how is even that possible? If he by his own will keeps a little of I-ness for some reason or other, as for instance doing good to others, he becomes conscious of his mind and body again and simultaneously experiences the results of his Prarabdha actions. Therefore, men of right knowledge can experience or abstain from experiencing at will the results of those actions; such is the power they attain. That is why they are called “the conquerors of the worlds”, “the conquerors of death”, “all-knowing” and so on.

(b) the case of the Master needs no mention; for his words are, “One who was Rama and Krishna is now Ramakrishna”

Again, if we are to believe the experience of Sri Ramakrishna himself, he cannot even be classed amongst the ordinary men of absolute knowledge. For, we have heard him say again and again, “One who was Rama and Krishna is now Ramakrishna”; that is, He who incarnated Himself as Rama and Krishna in past ages is present in the form of Sri Ramakrishna and is manifesting wonderful divine sport. If one is to believe this, one must admit that he is an incarnation of God, eternally pure, eternally awakened and eternally free. And when one admits that, one cannot say that he is under the control of Prarabdha. Therefore, we are to take a different decision about the Master’s marriage, which we give below:

(c) the Master’s joking about his marriage

The Master talked to us on the topic of his marriage on several occasions and joked about it. That was also very sweet. One day at Dakshineswar he sat down to take his food and Balaram Basu and a few other devotees sat and conversed with him. That day the Holy Mother had started for Kamarpukur for a stay of a few months, for it was the occasion of the marriage of the Master’s nephew Ramlal.

The Master: (To Balaram) “Well, just tell me why marriage for me? What was the need for a wife? Why a wife for one who does not know where the cloth he is wearing is?” Balaram smiled and kept silent.

The Master: “Oh, I see; (taking up a little vegetable from the plate and showing it to Balaram) it is for this there was marriage, otherwise who would cook for me this way? (Balaram and the other devotees laughed). Really, who would have cared to see how I took my food? They went away today, — (the devotees did not understand who went) — Ramlal’s aunt; do you understand? Ramlal is going to be married, so they have all gone to Kamarpukur. I stood and looked on, and felt nothing. Really it was as if just someone went. But afterwards there was some anxiety as to who would cook for me. Don’t you see? All kinds of food do not agree with my stomach, and sometimes there is not consciousness enough to take food. She (the Holy Mother) knows what kinds of food suit me; she makes this or that preparation; that’s why the anxiety arose as to who would do it.”

(d) for completing the ten sanctifying ceremonies which the ordinary religious teacher must undergo to have the fullest experience of the world? No

Raising the topic of his marriage, one day at Dakshineswar the Master said, “Do you know why one has to marry? There are ten kinds of sanctifying ceremonies for a Brahmin’s body, and marriage is one of them. It is only when one has performed all of them that one can become a religious teacher.” He used to say again, “One who becomes a man of perfect knowledge (Paramahamsa) has finished experiencing all states, from those of the scavengers and sweepers to those of kings and emperors. How otherwise could true dispassion come? The mind will feel eager to experience that which it has not experienced and will become restless; do you understand? A piece has to move through all the squares before it reaches ‘the home’. Have you not seen it at the time of play?4 It is similar.”

8. The purpose of the Hindu marriage is to lead man through enjoyments not incompatible with religion to renunciation

Although the Master stated this as the reason for the marriage of an ordinary teacher of religion, we shall now explain the special reason for the Master’s marriage, as we have understood it. The scriptures teach us at every step that the purpose of marriage is not enjoyment. To observe the rule of maintaining the creation of God and produce virtuous children and thereby do good to society should be the purpose of the Hindu marriage. The scriptures tell us this again and again. Will the Hindu then have no self-interest in his marriage? Do the scriptures teach such absurd things? No, they do not. The authors of the scriptures saw everything down to the innermost stratum of the character of weak human beings and knew that they do not care for anything in the world except self-interest and that they are not ready to undertake anything without calculating profit and loss. The authors of the scriptures taught what was mentioned above with the full knowledge of what they were doing; for they also knew that it would be for the good of the people if they could keep that self-interest always hitched to a high motive. Men would otherwise be entangled in the bondage of births and deaths and suffer endless pain. 

9. Experiences with discrimination lead at the right moment to the knowledge, “Pleasure comes with a crown of thorns on its head”

Man runs, after the sensuous enjoyments of sight, taste, etc., of the world and thinks them to be very pleasing and very beautiful, only because he has forgotten his own nature, which is eternally free. But, ah, how few people can ascertain that all pleasure is connected for ever with pain and that if one wants to enjoy pleasure, one will have to be simultaneously ready to suffer pain also. Swami Vivekananda used to say, “Pleasure comes to people with a crown of thorns on its head.” People who are busy enjoying pleasure only have no leisure to think that it has a crown of thorns on its head and that they will have to be ready to hug pain also if they welcome pleasure as their own. Therefore the scriptures remind them of this fact and say, “Children, why do you consider the attainment of pleasure to be your interest? If pleasure is accepted, pain also has to be welcomed. Why do you not turn your self-interest to a higher account and think that both pleasure and pain are your teachers and that true self-interest or the aim of life is to be delivered for all eternity from both of them?” The aim of the authors of the scriptures is evidently to harness discrimination between good and evil, the permanent and the impermanent, etc., with the enjoyments of the married life, and by making man go round the inevitable experiences of pain and pleasure, to lead him on to a thorough dispassion for the seeming, momentary pleasures of the world; so that he may be filled with a genuine love of God and go forward with, great eagerness to be blessed with His vision, taking Him to be the essence of all essences. 

10. The Master taught how to urge the mind to give up the pleasure of worldly enjoyments

There is no doubt about the fact that the mind will give up what it enjoys with discrimination. This is why the Master said, “Children, the discrimination between the real and the unreal is very necessary. One should always have discrimination and say to one’s mind, You, mind, are eager to enjoy many things — to eat this, to put on that — but discriminate and see that the five elements out of which potatoes, rice, pulses, etc., are made, are also the ingredients of Sandesh, Rasagolla and other delicious sweets. Again, the bodies of yourself and all other persons, as also of the animals such as a cow, a goat and a sheep, are made of the very bones, flesh, blood and marrow derived from the five elements of which the beautiful bodies of women are made. Why then do you crave and die for them? They by no means will lead you to the realization of God, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss.’ If the mind cannot desist from them then they should be enjoyed once or twice with due discrimination, and then finally renounced. Take this example: the mind persists in the desire to eat Rasagolla and by no means obeys the reins; all your discrimination is, as it were, being washed off; then bring some Rasagollas, put them into your mouth, and say to the mind when masticating and eating them and moving them from side to side inside the mouth, ‘Mind, this is what is called Rasagolla; this is also made of a combination of the five elements of which potatoes and Patols are made. This also, when eaten, will be converted into blood, flesh, faeces and urine within the body; it is sweet as long as it is in the mouth; you will not feel the taste when it goes below the throat; again, if you eat too much of it you will fall ill; and you are so intensely hankering after such a thing! Fie upon you. Now that you have taken it, don’t want to eat it again.’ (Looking at the devotees who were to renounce the world) It is only with regard to small matters that one can give them up after enjoying them with discrimination; but with regard to big things this is not possible. One gets entangled as soon as one begins to indulge in their enjoyment. That is why such desires should be driven away from the mind by discriminating and finding out their defects.”

11. The present national degradation of the Hindus is due to the non-observance of continence in married life

Oh, how few are the people who entertain that high idea in their minds at the present time, though the scriptures speak of it in glowing terms! How few are those who make themselves and society blessed by observing continence in married life according to capacity! How few are the wives who stand by the side of their husbands, urging them to undertake this high vow beneficent to the people, let alone speaking of the realization of God! How few are the husbands, again, who know so much as that the aim of life is renunciation and teach it to their wives! Alas, India, just try to think and see into what a spineless beast you have been converted by the doctrine of Western materialism which regards worldly enjoyments as the be-all and end-all of life, and which has entered into your very marrow! Was it without any reason that Sri Ramakrishna said to his world-renouncing devotees, pointing out to them the defects in modern married life, “Ah, (if it is wrong to make the enjoyment of worldly objects the summum bonum of life, then) do you think simply throwing a few flowers5 at the time of marriage will make it pure or free from all blemishes?” It is indeed doubtful whether indulgence in sensual pleasure in married life was ever so excessive as it is now in India. At the present time we have almost forgotten that, besides the satisfaction of the senses, there is a very sacred and high purpose of marriage and this is why we are reducing ourselves to beings worse than beasts. It is only in order to destroy this beastliness of men and women of modern India that the Master, the teacher of the people, was married. Like all the other acts of his life the act of marriage also was performed for the good of all.

12. The Master married for reviving that ideal by following it himself

“Whatever”, said the Master, “is done here (meaning himself) is for you all. Ah, if I do all the sixteen parts6 (the whole) you may possibly do one. Again, if I piss standing,7 you rascals will do it turning round and round.” It is for this reason only that the Master took upon his shoulders the duties and responsibilities of married life and followed in practice that very high ideal before the eyes of all, by actually discharging them to the farthest limit. If the Master had not been himself married, the lay disciples would have said, “It is only because he is not married that he is able to talk glibly on continence. It is only because he has not made his wife his own and has never lived together with her that it is possible for him to read us long sermons.” It is only in order to counteract such foolish ideas that the Master was not only married but he had his wedded wife in the days of her youth by his side at Dakshineswar. When the state of divine madness in him became normal after he had had the holy vision of the divine Mother he lived together with his wife, directly feeling the manifestation of the divine Mother in her, worshipped her as the Mahavidya, the divine Shodasi, and then offered himself to her as the Divine. He lived together with her continually for eight months, and even shared his bed with her. He himself went sometimes to Kamarpukur, and sometimes to Jayramvati to the house of his father-in-law and spent there a month or two for the training of his wife and for her mental peace and happiness. 

13. The Master’s unprecedented relation of immaculate love with his wife. What the Holy Mother said about it

Remembering the event of the time when the Master lived with her at Dakshineswar, the Holy Mother says even now to women devotees, “It cannot be expressed in words in what wonderful divine moods he passed his days and nights then. In that state of divine semi-consciousness what strange and wonderful words he spoke and with what flow! Sometimes he laughed, sometimes wept and sometimes was quite motionless in ecstasy. That was how whole nights passed. What a wonderful presence and what an ecstasy! The whole of my body would tremble to see that, and I would wish the night might soon come to an end. I did not then understand anything of ecstasy; one night when I saw that his ecstasy did not come to an end, I was frightened, and wept and sent for Hriday. He came and went on repeating the Lord’s name in his ears, when, after a long time, he regained normal consciousness. Then when he came to know of my suffering, anxiety and fear, he himself taught me how in particular kinds of ecstasy particular names and Mantras of God were to be repeated into his ears. After that I did not feel so much frightened; he would return to normal consciousness when those names and Mantras were uttered into his ears. A long time, passed that way, when one day he asked me to go to bed separately in the music room as he had come to know that I could have no sleep and remained in suspense as to when and what kinds of ecstasy he might have.” The supremely revered Holy Mother says that the Master taught her then all the domestic matters such as how to place the wick in the lamp, what sort of man each member of the household was, how to behave with each of them, and how to behave when she went to someone else’s house. He taught her also devotional exercises, the reciting of the names and glories of God, meditation, Samadhi and even the knowledge of Brahman. 

14. It is only to teach the married people that the Master enacted that play of love

O men rearing families, how many of you teach your own wives this way? How many of you can have devotion to your wives, respect and love for them all your lives this way, if for some reason or other the very contemptible physical relationship comes to an end forthwith? We, therefore, say that it was for you alone that this wonderful incarnation of the age was married, and had no physical relationship for even a single day with his wife and maintained a sweet love for her. He did it so that you might learn that it was not for indulgence in sensual pleasure that the institution of marriage had come into being, but that it carried a very high purpose with it; only that both of you, wife and husband, might keep your aim fixed at this high ideal and be blessed by observing continence (Brahmacharya) according to your capacity in married life; and only that you might prove a blessing to the modern society devoid of vigour, devoid of grace and devoid of power, by producing heroic and virtuous children of wonderful intelligence and memory. It is for your benefit that this which was not necessary to be shown to the world by its spiritual teachers of the past, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Sankara, Chaitanya or any other, has been shown in this age by Ramakrishna. This unseen and unheard-of sacred mould of married life has been cast for the first time in the world as a result of lifelong severe austerities and Sadhana. Now, as the Master used to say, “Cast your own lives into that ideal-mould and get them shaped after it.”

15. We must form our married life after the ideal of the Master and observe continence at least partially. No good will otherwise come to us

“But—” says the married householder, “But”. We see it and reply in the words of Swami Vivekananda speaking about our spiritual practices, “Do you think that each of you will become a Paramahamsa Ramakrishna? That is not to be; ‘neither will nine maunds of oil burn nor will Radha dance’.8 Only one Paramahamsa Ramakrishna is born in the world; ‘only one lion lives in a forest’.” O rearers of families, we also similarly say in reply to your ‘but’: “The Master knew very well that it was beyond your power to observe absolute continence (Brahmacharya) living with your wife like him He knew it and yet he set the exacting example to you because you might then be encouraged to do at least ‘one-sixteenth’ of it. But know it for certain that if you do not follow that high ideal, if you do not try to look upon women as the direct counterparts of the Mother of the universe and to offer, according to your capacity, the selfless love of your heart to them; if, on the other hand, you always look upon women, who are the mothers of the world, with beastly eyes, as your dependent slaves and instruments for providing enjoyments for you, then know that your destruction is certain and very near. And remember what happened to the race of Yadu for neglecting the advice of Krishna as also the sad plight of the Jews who disregarded the instruction of Jesus. Treating with indifference the incarnations of the age has been the cause of the destruction of nations at all times.”

16. A few objections to the fact that the Master had no physical relationship with his wife and their refutation

After replying to one more query we shall finish speaking about the unprecedented manifestation of the mood of the spiritual teacher through the married life of the Master and then describe other aspects of that topic. Slave to sights, tastes and other sense-objects, and strongly attached to external things, the human mind is surely thinking even now that having got married at all it would have been well if after begetting at least one child he gave up physical relationship with his wife. If he had done that perhaps it would have been proved that all men without exception have for their duty the maintenance of the divine Lord’s creation and at the same time the authority of the scriptures refutation would not have been violated. For the scriptures say that at least one child should be produced in married life, by which man is freed from the debt to his forefathers. To this objection we reply:

First, is creation really nothing more than this little, too gross globe that we see, hear, think and imagine? It is the law of creation that there should be diversity in it. It will not be very long before creation is destroyed if from this moment we all begin to think and act alike in all matters. We then ask you, “Have you known all the laws governing creation and is it a fact that only for the purpose of keeping up the Lord’s creation you have lost your continence (Brahmacharya) today? Be sincere in your reply and don’t try to deceive yourself and others; or as the Master would say, ‘Don’t commit perjury in the shrine of sentiment,’” Well, let us assume for argument’s sake that you are obeying that law of the maintenance of creation. What right have you to ask others to do the same? It is also a law within creation not to waste energy on ordinary things, so that the power of continence or other higher mental powers might be manifested. Who will manifest the higher spiritual powers, if, like you, every one were to manifest the lower powers? The manifestation of such powers will be impossible in that case.

17. It is clear from the Holy Mother’s worshipping the Master all her life as the universal Mother that his marriage took place under the impulsion of the mood of the spiritual teacher in him

Secondly, it is our habit to select from the scriptures passages that are to our liking; the injunction regarding the production of a child is also similarly quoted. For, the scriptures again say according to people’s fitness, “Yadahareva virajet tadahareva pravrajet.9 That is, As soon as one’s love for God increases and produces detachment from the world one shall renounce it.” Therefore, who would have maintained the authority of this saying of the scriptures, if the Master had followed your opinion? The same thing applies to the paying off of the debt to one’s forefathers. The scriptures say that a true Sannyasin liberates, by virtue of his spiritual merits, the seven immediately higher and seven lower generations of his family. Therefore, we have no reason to be worried on the score that the debt of the Master to his forefathers was not paid off.

It was in order to teach us, that the Master tied himself down to matrimony. We can know a little of what a high and sacred ideal he has left behind for us from the fact of the Holy Mother’s worshipping the Master all her life as the Mother of the universe. It is generally seen that a man cannot hide his weakness from his wife though he can do it from others. The Master used sometimes to say to us about it, “All the big wigs — Babus, judges, magistrates, etc., however big they may talk — are all, as it were, earthworms, slaves to their wives. When orders, even though unjustifiable, come from the ‘inner apartment’10 they have no power to overrule them” Therefore, if anybody’s wife offers sincere, heart-felt devotion to him and worships him all her life as God Himself, it becomes indubitably clear that there is no dross in the ideal which he preaches. This is what we cannot say so definitely about any person other than the Master. This is not the place to describe the story of the Master’s wonderful Lila of love with his wife though there is much to say about it. So we introduced this topic only as an indication of the manifestation of the Master’s mood as a spiritual teacher.

  1. ^Luke 2.2
  2. ^There is a custom in the villages of Bengal that a cultivator attaches, as a mark, a straw to a fruit like cucumber etc., which he considers to be very good and desires to offer to the divine Lord, so that the cultivator himself inadvertently or any one of the household unknowingly, may not pluck and sell it. The Master applied the simile to this case, meaning thereby that it was divinely ordained that he should be married to the daughter of such and such a man, that the girl had been reserved as his bride by Providence.
  3. ^Shankara’s commentary on Brahma-sutras, IV.1.13-15. — Tr.
  4. ^Game at dice etc. — Tr.
  5. ^The ceremony of marriage requires the use of flowers among other things. — Tr.
  6. ^The metaphor is from the sixteen annas of a rupee, the Indian coin. — Tr.
  7. ^This is regarded opprobrious amongst the Hindus. — Tr.
  8. ^A dancing girl of that name stipulated that she would dance only-when the stage was illuminated by lights burning nine maunds of oil. It means a thing beyond the range of possibility. — Tr.
  9. ^Jabala Upanishad, 4.
  10. ^According to the purdah, ladies live in an inner quadrangle which is called the "inner apartment”. — Tr