3. ADDITIONAL READINGS Comments on Selections From the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Bengali edition) by Swami Yatiswarananda
C46 – Wiesbaden, January 2, 1935
Bengali edition : Monday, March 15, 1886
(New York Edition: pp. 941-944u
Chapter 49 – The Master at Cossipore)
C46.01 This is a wonderful conversation for a dying man! Never forget that he is dying and suffering excruciating pain in his throat! So grand, so wonderful, so elevating, full of the highest knowledge and illumination. It is marvellous. Therefore I want to translate these passages for you. They are most important.23
C46.02 A dying man, speaking of the highest things, not in the least affected by his bodily suffering.
Meditation on vastness
C46.03 This, too, can be included in your spiritual practices: At the time of meditation we should think that our personalities and all the personalities of those we love, are melted into the Principle. By thinking like this intensely, day by day, several times, this Principle gets, as it were, into our mind, though It is always there. We can think of a space of which we are all parts. Then, forget the parts and think of this undivided vast space.
Impersonal kind-heartedness through remembrance of the Principle
C46.04 After all, all bubbles will burst one day. When we get attached to some bubble, we should at once know that it is really the ocean and cling to the ocean and not to the bubble. Otherwise there will be trouble and frustration, for there comes a day when all these bubbles will have to be separated, some, probably, never to meet
23. The passages may be looked up by referring to the page and line-addresses (New York edition) indicated at the top of each series of comments.
again. Then people are mostly silly enough to try and find another bubble to cling to and repeat the same experience over again.
Nobody is lost. When you think of the ocean, all are there, in the ocean, in the water-substance, but as bubbles they burst. Always take the Whole, cling to the Whole. Why take the part? What is there in the part that the Whole does not possess? Tenderness is not bad in itself if we have the background and only cling to the background. You can be tender and kindhearted without any danger if there is nothing personal in it – if you do not cling to the bubble, but think of the background only. Otherwise all forms of tenderness are very dangerous. Without the background, love, tenderness, affection, is something awful, hideous, one of the greatest and most fateful pitfalls of Maya.
As a boy I was awfully sentimental. I used to become terribly attached to people after two days even. Then I could no longer bear all the love and affection shown me by my parents and relations and friends and said to myself. “This will have to be changed. I cannot stand it any longer.”
Only the thought of the Principle saves us from many a trouble. And you should all consciously intensify this thought day by day until it becomes something alive, something infinitely precious that will always stand by you in the hour of need and never burst as all your bubbles will do so sooner or later.
There is too much clinging in all of you, too much personal affection and aversion which is a great obstacle in your path. But then, always remain tender and kindhearted and loving, thinking of the Principle you have to serve in all, in the saint and the sinner, in the man of knowledge and in the ignorant fool.
C47 – Wiesbaden, January 3, 1934
Thursday, April 22, 1886Bengali edition : Tuesday, April 13, 1886
(See: New York Edition: pp. 953c-953, 953l-953o, 954 Chapter 49 – The Master and Buddha)
Don’t take phenomena seriously
C47.05 Our whole trouble is that we take the outside phenomena and the phenomenon within us to be real. Then we suffer and cry
and wail. The Bhakta comes to have an attitude of the witness from his Bhakti standpoint. But neither the Bhakta nor the Jnani ever take this phenomenon seriously. If the Lord is making Himself ridiculous, that is His concern, not ours. Why should you bother yourselves about it? But we, fools that we are, take it to be real. I am So-and-so, and then everything else follows.
C47.06 We also take the phenomenon going on within us as real. You must never lose sight of the witness-aspect, but this does not advocate inertness in anyway. Passivity is something quite different.
C47.07 Once I had to do a lot of proof-reading, and my mind rebelled and made me even fall ill quite frequently, a thing that had never happened before. So I thought, [What is this? This cannot go on.” And I just stood apart, conquered my mind and did my duty without falling ill.
C47.08 All our dealings with others, all our life, all our thoughts are based on some wrong assumption, and some day we shall find out it is all humbug, all hollow, all ridiculous. Whenever there is trouble you should give a very strong injection of Vedanta.
C47.09 All is sport. All is play. Let the Lord make Himself ridiculous. That is not our concern. We must simply play our part and take it as play, as the part of an actor, never as something real. Troubles will come, but they are the troubles you see in a drama; happiness will come and pass, but it too, belongs to your parts, as well as health and illness. It is all the mad play of the Lord, Mother’s mad dance, only to be enjoyed by those who know its real nature and are willing to become Her fellow-players and companions. True dispassion comes this way. You may feel shocked when you hear all this, but then truth is always shocking to our nice minds, for we want something comfortable to lean on, something that furthers our interests, and not the truth.
C47.10 Make Mother the centre of your whole being, consciously, for She is directing you whether you know it or not, and then play your part in Her drama well. Be good actors, but actors only. Some have happy parts to play, others miserable parts, but as parts they are all equally beautiful and can be enjoyed equally the very moment they are known and felt to be parts only. Be play-fellows of the Lord, His companions! Realize the mighty fun of it all! Then alone Life becomes worth living.
C48 – Wiesbaden, January 8, 1934
Bengalli edition : Date: Friday, April 16, 1886
(New York Edition: pp. 957f-957t, 958a-958a Chapter 49 – The Master and Buddha)
The cross of the Great Ones
C48.01 She (Pagli24) meant ‘why do you not accept me’, ‘why did you push me away mentally’. It was a very strange case, but the Master had such a great tenderness and compassion for her. Always you find this in the Great Ones. We cause them endless trouble and pain, but they come to serve and do not mind all the trouble we are constantly causing them if they can serve and help us. Every Great One has his cross to bear. The physical cross of Christ is not the only cross and it is not greater than any crosses other Great Ones had to bear. Think of the Buddha preaching and helping for more than forty years, think of all the others. Theirs, too, was a life of suffering for others, of sacrifice for others, only their sacrifice took a different form. Over here (in the West) everything is seen and understood in such a crude way. As if the material cross and the material crucifixion were everything! Every word meant agony for Sri Ramakrishna, and yet he was always willing to instruct and to see people until he died. Even a few hours before his death he received a devotee who had come a long way to see him and gave him instruction. His was a wonderful life of renunciation and sacrifice and infinite tenderness and love for others. Who can understand him?
Meditation is refreshing
C48.02 People sometimes seek rest in doing nothing, in just being thoughtless. What rest real meditation means! What poise you feel through real meditation and Japam – what mental and physical poise! But people think they find rest in all sorts of diversions and dirty amusements. Meditation and Japam are natural ways of rest and of filling the mind with new freshness. Through them the mind flows in a natural way towards the source of all energy, you see, and
24. The ‘crazy woman’ who used to burst into Sri Ramakrishna’a room at Dakshineswar and Cossipore.
then mind and body are refilled by this energy. All strength, all power, all poise come from the Divine.
C48.03 If any day you feel disturbed or tired, you can just sit down for a few minutes thinking intensely of the Divine: “Thou art strength, fill Thou me with strength. Thou art purity, fill Thou me with purity. Thou art energy, fill Thou me with energy!” The whole secret of poise, of calmness, of true human efficiency, is here. In us there is the centripetal and centrifugal force. We have to make use of the centrifugal to get out. Whenever the soul asserts its freedom, the freedom that is innate, it gets out. We are only bound as far as mind and body are concerned. Once we learn how to have them under our control, we become free. This is such a marvellous life of freedom and strength. Real enjoyment lies here. All other sorts of enjoyment are so many worthless glass beads that will break again and again, but this enjoyment is constant and unchangeable.
C51-C52 – Wiesbaden, January 8-9, 1934
Bengali edition : Thursday, April 22, 1886
(New York Edition: p. 966p-t, 960r,s
Chapter 49 – The Master’s Love for His Devotees)
Pantheism and Vedanta
C51.01 I just took this passage to show you that the idea of the devilish scheme of the world is not the whole of Swamiji. Otherwise there might easily be misconceptions of his teachings and attitude. Swamiji was so many-sided, and everything he says, he says from a certain standpoint, and can only be properly understood, if we too, look at it from the same standpoint. So many people say there are contradictions in his teachings, which is not true. They simply do not know how to approach them.
C52.01 In Pantheism there may be stress on form, but in Vedanta stress is laid on that which is beyond all forms. The ocean is not the waves. That which is the substance of everything is God, God has not become all. Prof. Max Muller says, “Vedantins have been called Pantheists, though their theos or their theoi were not Pan, but the Pan was their theos”.25
25. Theos, theoi: Greek for god, gods. Pan: the seven-reed-pipe-playing Greek god
C52.02 You see, the bubble as bubble is not the water-substance. The many with all its manifoldness can never be the One, but That which is the Essence is one. Here many mistakes are made regarding the teachings of Vedanta. It is not Pantheism at all, for Pantheism implies God having become all, being all, which is not the teaching of Vedanta.
C52.03 The ideal is to reach a state where the Scriptures ceases to be Scriptures, for even the Scriptures are not the highest knowledge. Higher knowledge is that by which the Imperishable is known and experienced. The stress must be laid on experience, not on theoretical knowledge at all. Ordinarily for the beginner the rule is: apply your Advaita to everything, but not to your teacher, your guru.
Need for daily reading of passages and these notes C52.04 Simply by repeating Sankara’s Six Stanzas on Nirvana (NY Gospel: page 967), we do not feel it, but by repeating this with great intensity again and again, our mind slowly imbibes these truths, So, some passages are to be repeated always after meditation and our prayer, and also many times during the day. We should also make it a point to read some of these notes day by day, and read them attentively, thinking of what is said in them and trying to assimilate it. There should be no break in this practice at all.
Bengali edtion : Thursday, April 22, 1886
(New York Edition: 967d, 968h
Chapter 49 – The Master’s Love for His Devotees)
Two different approaches: Jnana and Bhakti C52.05 These are two different approaches, but the two will end in one. The devotee speaks of ‘Thou’, the Jnani of ‘I’. “Lord, some say, I am Thine, others say, Thou art myself.” Although there is a slight difference in the expression, the meaning, the ultimate goal is the same.
Theory and practice
C52.06 Theoretically, we can have the idea of the One. There is the iron in the dagger and the iron in the image.26 So far as the sub-of flocks and shepherds represented as half-man-half-goat in form. ‘ The Pan’: Greek for ‘The All’.[Publisher] stance is concerned, it is all one and the same: the forms are all different, but in our case forms have become so real that we forget to see the substance. So, for you, this Oneness must still remain as an ideal. There must be other steps as stepping-stones, as working ideals, and first of all you must realize the Immanent before you can realize the One without a second. None can come to the Father except through the Son. This is a great truth not to be forgotten. We very often want to soar very high intellectually, when certain ideas and ideals appeal to us, but then coming down to the practical side of the problem, we find that we must begin in a more modest way if we want to succeed at all. To many of you, Advaita appeals greatly, but then you will have to follow a dualistic Sadhana for a long time to come, until you are fit for the true monistic path. As long as you feel yourselves to be persons, or even men and women, there can be no such thing as Monism for you when you come down to hard facts and the practical forms of Sadhana. So what you all have got to do now is to persevere steadily in your Japam and attempts at meditation and your daily readings and studies, keeping the monistic ideal in the background.
End of Comments On Selections From THE GOSPEL OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA by Swami Yatiswarananda
26. Reference to an idea in the ‘Song of the Dancing Girl’ – see p.111.