This is the Fourth Part of Sri Ramakrishna The Great Master and is the second half of “AS THE SPIRITUAL TEACHER”. Acquainted so far with the middle part of the life of Sri Ramakrishna, the reader may ask why we have adopted an unchronological method and why the story of the perfected state of the Master’s life has been told before the events of his life from his birth to the time of his Sadhana. We reply:

Firstly, we had no previous plan of writing the life of this extraordinary personage. We were not bold enough to cherish the high hope that it was ever possible for puny creatures like ourselves to write properly the story of his highly catholic life. It was by force of circumstances that we intended to set our hand to it and tell the readers of the Udbodhan1 a few events of the life of Sri Ramakrishna. We did not then know that we would have to proceed so far. It is, therefore, no wonder that later events came to be described before the earlier ones.

Secondly, many tried before us to record the wonderful events of the life of Sri Ramakrishna and the story of his extraordinary Sadhana. Although those records are seen to contain a few errors in some places, almost all the events of the Master’s life on the whole have been published through them Instead of wasting our energy in recording the same facts over again, we thought it reasonable to explain to the reader the Master’s extraordinary divine ideas and ideals, which were not explained before. Again, if one does not understand what is meant by his being established in Bhavamukha or by the natural manifestation in him of the mood of the Guru, one cannot at all understand his wonderful character, uncommon actions and unique ideas and ideals. This was why we tried at the very beginning to explain them to the reader.

Some will perhaps raise an objection and say, “But, in setting about to explain in different places of your book, the Master’s particular ideas and actions, you have tried to describe them to the reader in the way you yourself have understood them Consequently, your own intelligence and discrimination have been made the standard of his incomprehensible character and ideas. Have you not lowered him in the estimation of people by thus admitting indirectly that your intelligence and discrimination can comprehend the incomprehensible Master? Would it not have been better if, instead of doing so, you had stopped after accurately recording the facts? In that case, the record would not have lowered the Master in any one’s esteem and people could have understood the meanings of his ideas and actions in their own way.”

This is a statement which is plausible but contains no substance, for man has been taking and will ever take the help of his senses, mind and intellect in understanding and comprehending all matters. He has no alternative. But this does not prove that his mind, intellect, etc., are greater than the object they try to comprehend. Although man knows that time, space, universe, self, God and other unlimited entities are beyond mind and intellect, he has always been trying to grasp and understand them through these faculties. But we do not consider this effort to understand all that to be wrong or to be a limitation. This endeavour will broaden his mind and intellect and do him immense good.

Therefore, if we study in this way the extraordinary ideas and actions of great personages, we are ourselves benefited and they are by no means limited or dwarfed. In accordance with the degree of purity and power of penetration of their minds and intellects, produced by Sadhana, people can more or less understand and explain the divine ideas and actions of those great souls. A person, with greater spiritual Sadhana will be able to understand the character of Sri Ramakrishna more deeply than we. There is, therefore, nothing wrong in applying our minds and intellects to the understanding of that divine character. It will be sufficient if we guard ourselves against one mistake, viz., the notion that we have fathomed the whole depth of the Master’s character. All possibility of vain doubts will thus be guarded against if only we can keep this fact constantly before our minds.


  1. ^A Bengali monthly published by the Ramakrishna Mission, from 1, Udbodhan Lane, Baghbazar, Calcutta, in which the whole of this book was published as articles before it came out in the form of a book. — Tr.