Reminiscences of Sri Ramakrishna ROMAIN ROLLAND

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Romain Rolland was a French man of letters. Received 1915 Nobel Prize for literature. His works included Jean Christophe (1904-1912) and pacifist manifestos collected in An-dessus d, lamelee (1915), second novel cycle L’ame-enchante, (1922-1933); historical and philosophical plays collected in Le Theatre de la revolution and Les Tragedies de la foi (1913); biographies Beethoven (1903), Michel-Angelo (1905), Tolstoi (1911), and Mahatma Gandhi (1924), The Life of Ramakrishna, The Life of Vivekananda and the Universal Gospel.

Allowing for differences of country and of time, Ramakrishna is the younger brother of our Christ….

I am bringing to Europe, as yet unaware of it, the fruit of a new autumn, a new message of the Soul, the symphony of India, bearing the name of Ramakrishna. It can be shown (and we shall not fail to point out) that this symphony, like those of our classical masters, is built up of a hundred different musical elements emanating from the past. But the sovereign personality concentrating in himself the diversity of these elements and fashioning them into a royal harmony, is always the one who gives his name to the work, though it contains within itself the labour of generations. And with his victorious sign he marks a new era.

The man whose image I here evoke was the consummation of two thousand years of the spiritual life of three hundred million people. Although he has been dead forty years, his soul animates modern India. He was no hero of action like Gandhi, no genius in art or thought like Goethe or Tagore. He was a little village Brahmin of Bengal, whose outer life was set in a limited frame without striking incident, outside the political and social activities of his time. But his inner life embraced the whole multiplicity of men and Gods. It was a part of the very source of Energy, the Divine Sakti, of whom Vidyapati, the old poet of Mithila, and Ramaprasada of Bengal sing.

Very few go Backto the source. The little peasant of Bengal by listening to the message of his heart found his way to the inner Sea. And there he was wedded to it, thus bearing out the words of the Upanishads :

‘I am more ancient than the radiant Gods. I am the first-born of the Being. I am the artery of Immortality.’

It is my desire to bring the sound of the beating of that artery to the ears of fever-stricken Europe, which has murdered sleep. I wish to wet its lips with the blood of Immortality.54

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