CHAPTER 13) – SECTION 3
THE MASTER’S SELF-REVELATION AND THE BESTOWAL OF FREEDOM FROM FEAR
1. The Master felt a little better under Dr. Rajendra’s treatment
We have already told the reader how one day the Master came out of his room and walked in the garden for a short time. Feeling weak on account of it, he did not venture to do so again for about a fortnight. Although there was no change of treatment during that period, there was a change of the doctor. Rajendranath Datta, born in the family of the rich and famous Akrur Datta of Bowbazar, Calcutta, laboured hard and spent much money over a vast and deep study of Homoeopathy and its propagation in the city. The famous Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar met him and became convinced of the efficacy and efficiency of Homoeopathy and adopted that method in his profession. Rajendra Babu had heard from people of the illness of the Master. He knew that if he could cure him, the reputation of Homoeopathy would be established with many; so he selected a medicine after much study and thought. He was acquainted with Atul, the younger brother of Girish. He, as far as we remember, met Atul somewhere at this time and asked him about the Master’s illness. He then expressed his intention of treating the Master and said, “Please tell Mahendra that I have selected a medicine after much thinking. I hope to get good results with it. I like to try it once if he is agreeable.” Atul reported this to the devotees and to Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar and as no one had any objection to it, Rajendra Babu came to visit the Master in a few days, listened to the description of the disease from the beginning and administered Lycopodium (200). The Master derived much benefit from it for more than a fortnight. The devotees thought he would perhaps soon become strong and healthy as before.
2. The Master’s self-revelation and blessings to his disciples
Half of the month of Paush passed away and it was the first day of January 1886. As the Master felt rather well that day, he expressed a desire to come out of his room and have a walk in the garden for sometime. It was a holiday and the householder devotees came one by one and in groups shortly after midday. Thus when the Master came downstairs at three in the afternoon, more than thirty people were engaged in conversation in the garden under the trees, or inside the house. As soon as they saw him, all got up out of reverence and bowed down to him He came down to the garden path through the western door of the hall on the ground floor and was slowly proceeding southward to the gate when all followed him at a little distance. When he came to the middle of the path leading to the gate, he saw Girish, Ram, Atul and a few others, sitting under the trees to the west of the path. They also saw him and saluted him from there and came joyfully to him The Master addressed Girish all of a sudden before anybody had spoken a word and said, “Girish, you, I find, say to one and all everywhere so many things about me (that I am an incarnation of God), what have you seen and understood (about me) that you do so?” Girish remained completely unmoved and, kneeling down on the ground near the Master’s feet, said in a choked voice with his hands folded and face turned upwards, “What more can I say of Him, whose greatness Vyasa and Valmiki could not find words to express?” The Master was charmed at this fervent utterance of the devoted Girish and blessed all the devotees assembled there through their representative, Girish: “What more shall I say to you? May you all be blessed with the spiritual awakening.” Beside himself with love and compassion for the devotees, hardly had he said those few words when he entered into Bhavasamadhi. Those words of profound blessing, untouched by the slightest tinge of selfishness, directly entered the devotees’ hearts where they raised high billows of bliss. They forgot time and space, forgot the disease of the Master and forgot their previous determination not to touch him till he recovered, and were aware only that out of sympathy for them in their plight, an extraordinary divine Being, feeling excruciating pain at their misery and his heart overflowing with compassion, had come down to them from heaven and called them affectionately to Him for giving protection, like a mother sheltering her children against all ills by covering them lovingly with the upper part of her Sari. Then they became eager to bow down to him and take the dust of his feet and, filling the quarters with cries of “Victory to Ramakrishna”, began saluting him one after another. As they were thus bowing down to him the sea of the Master’s compassion transcended all bounds and brought about a wonderful phenomenon. We had almost daily seen the Master at Dakshineswar losing himself in grace and compassion for certain devotees and blessing them by his extraordinary potent touch in the state of divine semiconsciousness. He began touching each of the devotees assembled on that day in that divine mood. The joy of the devotees, it is superfluous to say, knew no bounds at that act of the Master. They felt that he would not henceforward keep concealed the fact of his divinity either from them or from anybody else in the world; and knowing, as they did, nevertheless, their own defects, spiritual destitution and incapability, they had not the slightest doubt that all alike, the sinner as well as the afflicted, would find a refuge at his feet, a touch of which dispelled all fear for ever. Unable to utter a single word owing to that wonderful occurrence, some were only looking steadfastly at him as if they were under the spell of a Mantra, some others called aloud to all within the house to come and be blessed by receiving the Master’s grace, and still others collected flowers and worshipped him with them, uttering Mantras. Soon the ecstasy of the Master came to an end and the devotees too were again in the normal state of their consciousness. Bringing thus to an end his walk in the garden that day, he went into the house and sat down in his room.
3. Did the Master act as the wish–fulfilling tree?
Some devotees like Ramchandra have described the happening of that day as the transformation by the Master of himself into the wish-fulfilling tree (Kalpataru). But, it is more reasonable, it seems to us, to call it the “self-revelation of the Master” or “the bestowal of freedom from fear on all devotees by revealing himself”. The Kalpataru, it is said, gives to all whatever good or bad they ask for. But the Master did not do so; he made clear through that event the fact of his being a God-man and of his bestowal of protection against and freedom from fear on all, without the slightest discrimination. Be that as it may, of all the people that felt blessed by having his grace on that day, Haranchandra Das is worthy of being particularly mentioned. For, as soon as he bowed down to him, the Master in ecstasy placed his lotus foot on Haran’s head. It is only on a few occasions that we saw him bestow his grace in this way.1Ramlal Chattopadhyaya was present there on that occasion and also received the Master’s grace. Asked about it, he said, “I could formerly see a part only of the holy person of my chosen Ideal with my mind’s eye at the time of meditation – when I saw the lotus feet, I could not see the face; again perhaps I saw the person from the face to the waist, but could not see the holy feet, and whatever I saw never seemed to be alive – but no sooner had the Master touched me that day than the form of my chosen Ideal appeared suddenly from head to foot in the lotus of my heart and moved and looked benign and effulgent,”
4. Who were present during this self-revelation
We remember the names of nine or ten only of the persons who were present on the spot during this day’s occurrence. They are Girish, Atul, Ram, Navagopal, Haramohan, Vaikuntha, Kishori (Ray), Haran, Ramlal and Akshay. Mahendranath (the writer of the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna) was also perhaps present. But it is a matter for wonder that none of the Sannyasi devotees of the Master was present there that day. Narendranath and many others of them had been engaged in Sadhana besides the Master’s service etc., in the previous night for long hours and, feeling tired, they were sleeping within the house. Although Latu and Sarat were awake and saw what was taking place from the roof of the first floor to the south of the Master’s room, they refrained voluntarily from going there. For, as soon as the Master went downstairs to have a walk in the garden, they put his bedding etc., in the sun and were cleaning the room. Thinking that it might cause inconvenience to the Master if they left their duty half-finished, they did not feel inclined to go there.
5. Vaikunthanath pestered the Master for having spiritual experiences
We asked a few others including Vaikunthanath about their experience on that day. We shall bring this subject, to a close by recording what Vaikuntha had told us. Vaikuntha met the Master at about the same time as we did. We have already mentioned something of how the Master gave him instructions, and moulded his life since then. The Master rendered his life full of bliss by initiating him in a Mantra. Vaikuntha engaged himself in Sadhana since that time and was striving his best that he might have the vision of his chosen Ideal. Knowing that he could not succeed in his attempt without the Master’s grace, he was from time to time plaintively praying to him for it, especially when the Master became physically ill and came to Calcutta and then to Kasipur for treatment. During this period also, twice or thrice, Vaikuntha got the opportunity of humbly beseeching him for the fulfilment of his heart’s desire. The Master smiled graciously, solaced him, and said, “Why don’t you wait? Let the disease of the body be cured a little and I shall do everything for you.”
6. How he felt at the touch of the Master
Vaikuntha was present on the spot of this day’s occurrence. As soon as the Master had blessed two or three of the devotees by his extraordinary powerful touch, Vaikuntha came before him, bowed down to him with devotion and said, “Sir, please bestow your grace on me.” The Master said, “But you have been given everything.” “When you say”, said Vaikuntha, “everything has been given, it is certainly so; but kindly do so, that I can understand it more or less.” Saying “So be it”, the Master touched his chest only for a moment in an ordinary way. “But”, said Vaikuntha, “as the result of it, a great revolution took place in my mind. I saw the figure of the Master lit up with a gracious smile in the sky, in the houses, trees, plants, men and in whatever else I looked. I did not know how to contain my delight within myself and, seeing then you two on the roof, I called aloud saying, ‘O you all, wherever you may be, come without delay.’ That mental attitude and vision of mine continued for some days throughout my waking state. I became amazed and charmed with the holy vision of the Master in all things. It continued to be so wherever I went, to office or elsewhere on any business.
7. Without due preparation high spiritual experiences cannot be retained
“I could not attend to the work on hand and it suffered. I tried to forget that vision for some time when I found that work was suffering, but failed. I then understood a little of why Arjuna felt afraid to see the universal form of the divine Lord and prayed to Him to withdraw it. Remembering the statement of the scriptures that liberated souls always remain in the same elevated state, I could then but catch a glimpse of the extent of desirelessness the mind has to develop to have the capacity to remain in that high state. For, hardly had a few days passed when I felt it difficult to live in the same mental attitude and with the same vision. Sometimes it occurred to me, ‘Am I going mad?’ I then prayed to the Master again with fear, ‘O lord, I am not able to contain this mental state; please ordain that it may come to end.’ I now think, ‘Woe be to human weakness and stupidity! Why did I pray so? Why did I not keep my faith firm in him? And why did I not wait patiently to see its ultimate developments? I might at most have become mad or the body might have dropped off.” But as soon as I prayed in that manner, the said vision and mental state came to an end one day. My firm conviction is that they were removed by the same extraordinary being from whom I had got them But he preserved compassionately a small part of it; perhaps because there arose no prayer in my mind for its complete removal. I felt blessed and amazed at the sudden appearance of this vision a few times daily – the vision of the gracious figure of the Master made effulgent by the divine mood.”
1. Haranchandra of Beliaghata had a job in the office of Messrs. Findlay Mayor Company. The last few years of his life he used to celebrate an annual festival in memory of the grace the Master bestowed on him on this occasion.