SRI RAMAKRISHNA, MY MASTER
When by the process of time,the descendants of the Aryans deviated from proper conduct; they lost their spirit of renunciation and their sharp intelligence and became deeply attached to popular customs. They even failed to understand the import of the Puranas, thinking them contradictory to one another because each one taught by emphasizing only a particular aspect of the spiritual ideal and because each taught people of ordinary intelligence the abstruse truths of Vedanta by using concrete imagery and elaborate language. They divided the whole of the Sanatana Dharma – the sum total of all religious ideals – into many sects. They enkindled the fire of sectarian jealousy and anger and tried to throw each other into it. When the degraded Aryans had almost turned India, the land of religion, into a hell, Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna incarnated himself to demonstrate the true religion of the Aryan race. He made visible the unity among the innumerable sects and denominations of the Hindu religion that had cropped up throughout the country over a vast period of time. At that time the Hindu religion had been devastated by continuous sectarian fights, and was seemingly divided into many sects. Its various sects were overrun by hideous customs, and Hinduism had become confusing to Indians and an object of contempt to foreigners. Over time, this eternal religion had been debased, but Sri Ramakrishna incorporated its universal and eternal aspects in his own life to become a living example of the eternal religion, which he lived before all for the good of humanity. . .
This new religion of the age is the source of great good to the whole world, specially to India; and the inspirer of this dispensation, Sri Bhagavan Rama-krishna, is the reformed and remodelled manifestation of all the past great epoch-makers in religion. O man, have faith in this, and lay it to heart.
Every new religion’s wave requires a new centre. The old religion can only be revivified by a new centre. Hang your dogmas or doctrines, they never pay ! It is a character, a life, a centre, a God-man that must lead the way, that must be the centre round which all other elements will gather themselves and then fall like a tidal wave upon the society, carrying all before it, washing away all impurities.
Again, a piece of wood can only easily be cut along the grain. So the old Hinduism can only be reformed through Hinduism, and not through the new-fangled reform movements. At the same time, the reformers must be able to unite in themselves the culture of both the East and the West. Now you have already seen the nucleus of such a great movement, that you have heard the low rumblings of the coming tidal wave. That centre, that God-man to lead was born in India. He was the great Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Sankara had a great head, Ramanuja had large heart; and the time was ripe for one to be born, the embodiment of both this head and heart; the time was ripe for one to be born who in one body would have the brilliant intellect of Sankara and the wonderfully expansive infinite heart of Chaitanya. one who would see in every sect the same spirit working, the same God; one who would see God in every being; one whose heart would weep for the poor for the weak, for the outcast, for the downtrodden, for everyone in this world, inside India or outside India, and bring a marvellous harmony, the universal religion of head and heart into existence; such a man was born, and I bad the good fortune to sit at his feet for years.
It was while reforms of various kinds were being inaugurated in India, that a child was born of poor Brahmin parents on the 18th of February 1836, in one of the remote villages of Bengal. The father and mother were
very orthodox people. Very poor they were, and yet many a time the mother would starve herself a whole day to help a poor man. Of them, this child was born, and he was a peculiar child from very boyhood. He remembered his past from his birth, and was conscious for what purpose he came into the world, and every power was devoted to the fulfilment of that purpose.
While he was quite young, his father died. The boy was sent to school. He was peculiar, for after a few days he said, “I will not go to school any more.” And he did not; that was the end of bis going to school. But this boy had an elder brother, a learned professor, who took him to Calcutta, to study with him. After a short time the boy became fully convinced that the aim of all secular learning was mere material advancement and nothing more, and he resolved to give up study and devote himself solely to the pursuit of spiritual knowledge. The father being dead, the family was very poor, and this boy had to make his own living. He went to a place near Calcutta and became a temple priest.
In the temple was an image of the “Blissful Mother.”. This boy had to conduct the worship morning and evening and by degrees, this one idea filled his mind: “Is there anything behind this image? Is it true that there is a Mother of Bliss in the universe ? Is it true that She lives and guides this universe, or is it all a dream? Is there any reality in religion ?”
This idea took possession of the boy and his whole life became concentrated upon that. Day after day, he would weep and say : “Mother, is it true that Thou exis-test, or is it all poetry? Is the Blissful Mother an imagination of poets and misguided people, or is there such a Reality?” We have seen that of books, of education in our sense of the word, he had none; and so much the more natural, so much the more healthy was his mind, so much purer his thoughts, undiluted by drinking in the thoughts of others. Because he did not go to the university, therefore, he thought for himself. Well has Prof. Max Muller said in his article, ‘A real Mahatman’, that this was a clean, original man, and the secret of that originality was that he was not brought up within the precincts of a university. However, this thought – whether God can be seen – which was uppermost in his mind gained in strength every day, until be could think of nothing else. He could
no more conduct the worship properly, could no more attend to the various details in all their minuteness. Often he would forget to place the food-offering before the image, sometimes he would forget to wave the light at other times, he would wave it for hours, and forget everything else.
And that one idea was in his mind every day – “Is it true that Thou existent, O Mother? Why dost Thou not speak? Art Thou dead?” At last, it became impossible for him to serve in the temple. He left it and entered into a little wood that was near and lived there. About this part of his life, he told me many times; he could not tell when the sun rose or set, or how he lived. He lost all thought of himself and forgot to eat. During this period, he was lovingly watched by a relative who put into his mouth food which he mechanically swallowed.
Days and nights thus passed with the boy. When a whole day would pass, towards the evening, when the peal of bells in the temples, and the voices singing, would reach the wood, these would make the boy very sad, he would cry, “Another day is gone in vain. Mother, and Thou hast not come. Another day of this short life has gone and I have not known the Truth.” In the agony of his soul, sometimes he would rub his face against the ground and weep; and this one prayer burst forth: “Do Thou manifest Thyself in me, Thou Mother of Universe I See that I need Thee, and nothing else!” Verily, he wanted to be true to his own ideal. He had heard that the Mother
never came until everything had been given up for Her.
He had heard that the mother wanted to come to everyone. but they would not have Her; that people wanted all sorts of foolish little idols to pray to, that they wanted their own enjoyments, and not the Mother, and that the moment they really wanted Her with their whole soul, and nothing else, that moment She would come. So, he began to enter into that idea, he wanted to be expect, even on the plane of matter. So, he threw away all the little property he had, and took a vow that he would never touch money and this one idea I will not touch money9 became a part of him. It may appear to be something occult, but even in after-life, when he was sleeping, if I touched him with a piece of money, his hand would become bent, and his whole body would become, as it were, paralysed. The other idea that came into his mind was – lust was the other enemy. Man is a soul and soul is sexless, neither man nor woman. The idea of sex and the idea of money were the two things, he thought, that prevented him from seeing the Mother.
We have seen in Sri Ramakrishna how he had the idea of divine motherhood in every woman, of whatever caste she might be, or whatever might be her worth.
This whole universe is the manifestation of the Mother, and She was in every woman’s body. ” Every woman represents the Mother; how can I think of woman in mere sex relation?’ That was the idea. Every woman was his Mother; he must bring himself to the state when he would see nothing but Mother in every woman; and he carried it out in his life.
This illiterate boy, possessed of renunciation, turned the heads of your great old Pundits. Once at the Dakshi-nesbwar Temple, the Brahmana who was in charge of the worship of Vishnu broke a leg of the image. Pundits were brought together at a meeting to give their opinions, and they, after consulting old books and manuscripts, declared that the worship of this broken image could not be sanctioned according to the Sastras, and a new image would have to be consecrated. There was consequently a great stir. Sri Ramakrishna was called at last. He heard and asked,” Does a wife forsake her husband in case he becomes lame ?” What followed ? The Pandits were struck dumb, all their Sastric commentaries and learned comments could not withstand the force of this simple statement. That is why Sri Ramakrishna came down to this earth, and discouraged mere book-learning so much. That new life-force which he brought with him has to be instilled into learning and education.
Later on, this very man said to me, ” My child, suppose there is a bag of gold in one room, and a robber in the next room, do you think that robber can sleep? He cannot. His mind will be always thinking how to get into that room and obtain possession of that gold. Do you think then that a man firmly persuaded that there is a Reality behind all these appearances, that there is a God, that there is One who never dies, One who is infinite bliss, compared with which these pleasures of the senses are simply playthings, can rest contended without struggling to attain it? Can he cease his efforts for a moment? No; he will, become mad with longing. ” This divine madness seized the boy. At that time, he had no teacher, nobody to tell him anything, and everyone thought that he was out of his mind.
So days, weeks, months passed in continuous struggle of the soul to arrive at Truth. The boy began to see visions, to see wonderful things; the secrets of his nature were, beginning to open to him. Veil after veil was, as it were, being taken off. Mother Herself became the teacher, and initiated the boy into truths he sought. At this time, there came to this place a woman, of beautiful appearance, learned beyond compare. Later on, this Saint used to say about her that she was not learned, but was the embodiment of learning; she was learning itself in human form.
She was a Sannyasini, for women also give up the world, throw away their property, do not marry, and devote themselves to the worship of the Lord. She came, and when she heard of this boy in the grove, she offered to go and see him, and hers was the first help he received. At once, she recognised what his trouble was and she said to him,” My son, blessed is the man upon whom such madness comes. People may call you mad, but yours is the right kind of madness. Blessed is the man who is mad after God. Such men are very few, ” This woman remained near the boy for years, taught him the forms of the religions of India, initiated him into the different practices of Yoga, and, as it were, guided and brought into harmony this tremendous river of spirituality.
Later there came to the same grove a Sannyasin, of the begging friars of India, a learned man, a philosopher. He was a peculiar man; he was an idealist. This man began to teach the boy the philosophy of the Vedas, and he found very soon, to his astonishment, that the pupil was in some respects wiser than the master. He spent several months with the boy, after which he initiated him into the Order of Sannyasins, and took his departure.
When as temple-priest his extra-ordinary worship made people think him deranged in his head, his relatives took him home and married him to a little girl, thinking that would turn his thoughts and restore the balance of his mind.
But, he came back, and merged deeper in his madness. The husband had entirely forgotten that he had a wife. In her far off home, the girl heard that her husband had become a religious enthusiast, and that he was even considered insane by many.
She resolved to learn the truth for herself; so she set out and walked to the place where her husband was. When at last she stood in her husband’s presence, he at once admitted her right to be his life-partner. The young man fell at the feet of his wife and said, “As for me, the Mother has shown me that She resides in every woman, and so, I have learned to look upon every woman as Mother. That is the one idea I can have about you, but if you wish to draw me into the world, as I have been married to you, I am at your service.”
The maiden was a pure and noble soul, and was able to understand her husband’s aspirations and sympathise
with them. She quickly told him that she had no wish to drag him down to a life of worldliness; but that all she desired was to remain near him, to serve him and to learn from him. She became one of his most devoted disciples, always revering him as a divine being. Thus, through his wife’s consent, the last barrier was removed, and he was free to lead the life he had chosen.
That was the woman. The husband went on and became a monk, in his own way; and from a distance the wife went on helping as much as she could. And later, when the man had become a great spiritual giant, she came – really, she was the first disciple and she spent the rest of her life taking care of the body of this man. He never knew whether he was living or dying. Sometimes when talking, he would get so absorbed that if he sat on live charcoals, he would not know it! Live charcoals forgetting all about his body at the time.
The next desire that seized upon the soul of this man was to know the truth about the various religions. Up to that time, he had not known any religion but his own. He wanted to understand what other religions were like. So he sought teachers of other religions. He found a Mahommedan Saint and went to live with him; he underwent the disciplines prescribed by him, and to his astonishment found that when faithfully carried out, these devotional methods led him to the same goal he had already attained. He gathered similar experience from following the true religion of Jesus the Christ.
He went to all the sects he could find, and whatever he took up, he went into it with his whole heart. He did exactly as he was told, and in every instance, he arrived at the same result. Thus, from actual exper-ience he came to know that the goal of every religion is the same, that each is trying to teach the same thing, the difference being largely in method, and still more in language.
That is what my Master found and he then set about to learn humility, because he bad found that the one idea in all religions is “not me, but Thou, ” and he who says “not me”, the Lord fills his heart. He now set himself to accomplish this. As I have told you, whenever he wanted to do anything, he never confined himself to fine theories, but would enter into the practice immediately. We see many persons talking the most wonderfully fine things about charity and about equality and the rights of other people and all that, but only in theory. I was so fortunate as to find one who was able to carry theory into practice. He had the most wonderful faculty of carrying everything into practice which he thought was right.
Now, there was a family of Pariahs living near the the place. My Master would go to a Pariah and asked to be allowed to clean his house. The business of the Pariah is to clean the streets of the cities, and to keep houses clean. By birth the Brahmin stands for holiness, and the pariah for the very reverse. And this Brahmin asked to be allowed to do the menial services in die house of the pariah .
The pariah, of course, could not allow that, for they all think that if they allow a Brahmin to do such menial work, it will be an awful sin, and they will become extinct. The pariah would not permit it; so in the dead of night, when all were sleeping, Rama-krishna would enter the house. He had long hair, and with his hair, he would wipe the place, saying, “Oh my Mother, make me the servant of the pariah; make me feel that I am even lower than the pariah.
There were various other preparations, which would take a long time to relate, and I want to give you just a sketch of his life. For years, he thus educated himself. One of the sadhanas was to root out the sex idea. Having been born in a masculine body, this man wanted to bring the feminine idea into everything. He began to think that he was a woman; he dressed like a woman, spoke like a woman, gave up the occupation of men, and lived in the household among the women of a good family, until after years of this discipline, his mind became changed, and he entirely forgot the idea of sex; thus, the whole view of life became changed to him.
We hear in the West about worshipping woman, but this is usually for her youth and beauty. This man meant by worshipping woman, that to him every woman’s face was that of the Blissful! Mother, and nothing but that. I myself have seen this man standing before those women whom society would not touch, and falling at their feet bathed in tears saying, “Mother, one form Thou art in the street, and in another form Thou art the universe. I salute Thee, Mother, I salute Thee”
Think of the blessedness of that life from which all carnality has vanished, which can look upon every woman with that love and reverence, when every woman’s face becomes transfigured, and only the face of the Divine Mother, the Blissful One, the Protectress of the human race, shines upon itl Such purity is absolutely necessary if real spirituality is to be attained.
This rigorous, unsullied purity came into the life of that man; all the struggles which we have in our lives were past for him. His hard-earned jewels of spirituality, for which he had given three-quarters of his life, were now ready to be given to humanity, and then began his mission. His teaching and preaching were peculiar. This teacher had no thought whether he was to be respected or not; he had not the least idea that he was a great teacher; and thought that it was the Mother who was doing everything and not he. He always said, “If any good comes from my lips, it is the Mother who speaks; what have I to do with it?” That was the one idea about his work, and to the day of his death, he never gave it up. This man sought no one; his principle was: first form character, first earn spirituality, and results will come of themselves. His favourite illustration was “When the lotus opens, the bees come of their own accord to seek the honey; so let the lotus of your character be full-blown and the results will follow.” This is a great lesson to learn. My Master taught me this lesson hundreds of times, yet, I often forget it.
Sri Ramakrishna, too, practised the Tantra, but not in the old way. Where there is the induction of drinking wine, he would simply touch his forehead with a drop of it. The Tantrika form of worship is a very slippery ground.
The Puris seem to have a peculiar mission in rousing the spirituality of Bengal. Sri Chaitanya Deva was initiated into Sannyasa by Ishwar Puri, at Gaya. Bhagwan Sri Ramakrishna got his Sannyasasrama from Tota Puri.
Sri Ramakrishna wept and prayed to the Divine Mother to send him such a one to talk with as would have in him not the slightest tinge of Kamakanchana; for he would say, “My lips burn when I talk with the worldly-minded.” He also used to say that he could not even bear the touch of the worldly-minded and the impure.
This habit (in me) of seeing every person from his strongest aspect must have been the training under Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. We all went by his path to some extent. Of course, it was not so difficult for us as he made it for himself. He would eat and dress like the people he wanted to understand, take their initiation, and use their language. “One must learn,” he said, “to put oneself into another man’s very soul!” And this method was his own! No one ever before in India became Christian and Mohammedan and Vaishnava by turns!
Take a thousand idols more if you can produce Ramakrishna Paramahamsa through idol-worship, and may God speed you!
The world used to call him mad, and this was his answer: “My friends, the whole world is a lunatic asylum;
some are mad after worldly love, some after fame,or going to heaven. In this big lunatic asylum, I am also mad, I am mad after God. You are mad; so am I; I think my madness is after all the best.”
Sometimes, the mind is concentrated on a set of ideas – this is called meditation with Vihalpa or oscillation. But, when the mind becomes almost free from all activities, it melts in the inner Self, which is the essence of infinite knowledge, One, and Itself Its own support. This is what is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi, free from all activities. In Sri Ramakrishna, we have again and again noticed both these forms of Samadhi. He had not to struggle to get these states. It was a wonderful phenomenon! It was by seeing him that we could rightly understand these things.
It is not very difficult to bring under control the material powers and flaunt a miracle; but I do not find a more marvellous miracle than the manner in which this mad Brahmana (Sri Ramakrishna) used to handle human minds, like lumps of clay, breaking, moulding and remoulding them at ease and filling them with new ideas by mere touch.
He began to preach when he was about forty; but he never went out to do it. He waited for those who wanted his teachings to come to him.
He is worshipped in India as one of the great incarnations, and his birthday is celebrated there as a religious festival.
He never spoke a harsh word about anyone. So beautifully tolerant was he that every sect thought that he belonged to them. He found a place for each one. He was free, but free in love, not in “thunder.” The mild type creates, the thundering type spreads.
Ramkrishna came to teach the religion of today, constructive and not destructive; he had to go afresh to nature to ask for facts and he got scientific religion which never says “believe” but “see”; “I see, and you too can see” Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings are “the gist of Hinduism” they were not peculiar to him. Nor did he claim that they were; he cared naught for name and fame;
The other idea of his life was intense love for others. The first part of my Master’s life was spent in acquiring spirituality, and the remaining years in distributing it. Men came in crowds to hear him and he would talk twenty hours in the twenty four, and that not for one day, for months and months, until at last, the body broke down under the pressure of this tremendous strain. His intense love for mankind would not let him refuse to help even the humblest of the thousands who sought his aid. Gradually, there developed a vital throat disorder, and yet he could not be persuaded to refrain from these exertions. As soon as he heard that people were asking to see him, he would insist upon having them admitted, and would answer all their questions. When expostulated with, he replied, “I do not care. I will give up twenty-thousand such bodies to help one man. It is glorious to help even one man.” There was no rest for him. Once a «man asked him, “Sir, you are a great Yogi; why do you not put your mind a little on your body and cure your disease ?” At first he did not answer, but when the question was repeated, he gently said, “My friend, I thought you were a sage, but you talk like other men of the world. This mind has been given to the Lord; do you mean to say that I should take it Backand put it upon the body, which is but a mere cage of the soul ?”
So, he went on preaching to the people, and the news spread that his body was about to pass away; and the people began to flock to him in greater crowds than ever When the people heard that this holy man was likely to go from them soon, they began to come round him more than ever and my Master went on teaching them without the least regard for his health. We could not prevent this. Many of the people came from long distances, and he would not rest until he “had answered their questions. “While I can speak I must teach them”, he would say. and he was as good as his word. One day, he told us that he would lay down the body and that day, on repeating the most sacred word of the Vedas, he entered into Samadhi and passed away.
I could not believe my own ears when I heard western people talking so much of consciousness! Consciousness? What does consciousness matter! Why, it is nothing as compared with the unfathomable depths of the subconscious, and the heights of the superconscious. In this, I could never be misled, for had I not seen Rama-krishna Parmahamsa gather in ten minutes from a man’s subconscious mind, the whole of his past, and determine from that his future and his talent and powers?
Sri Ramakrishna was quite unable to take food in ‘an indiscriminate way from the hands of any and all. It happened many a time that he would not accept food touched by a certain person or persons, and on rigorous investigation, it would turn out that these had some particular stain to hide.
He used to deprecate lukewarmness in spiritual attainments; as, for instance, saying that religion would come gradually, and that there was no hurry for it.
He used to disparage the longing for supernatural powers; his teaching was that one cannot attain to the Supreme Truth if one’s mind is diverted to the manife station of the powers.
We have seen how Sri Ramakrishna would encourage even those whom we considered as worthless, and change the very course of their lives thereby! His very method of teaching was a unique phenomenon.
He never destroyed a single man’s special inclinations. He gave words of hope and encouragement even to the most degraded of persons and lifted them up.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was alive to the depths of his being, yet on the outer plane, who was more active ? This is the secret. Let your life be as deep as the ocean, but let it also be as wide as the sky.
The artistic faculty was highly developed in our Lord, Sri Ramakrishna, and he used to say that without this faculty none can be truly spiritual.
He used to say, “As long as I live, so long do I learn.
A certain young man of little understanding used always to blame Hindu Shastras before Sri Ramakrishna. One day, he praised the Bhagavad-Gita, on which Sri Ramakrishna said, “Methinks some European Pandit has praised the Gita, and so he has followed suit!”
It was no new truth that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa came to preach, though the advent brought the old truths to light, ^n other words, he was the embodiment of all the past religious thoughts of India, His life alone made me understand what the Shastras really meant, and the whole plan and scope of the old Shastras.
He was the Saviour of women, Saviour of the masses, Saviour of all, high and low.
And the most wonderful part of it was that his life’s work was just near a city which was full of Western thought, a city which had run mad after these,,accidental ideas, a city which had become more Europeanised than any other city of India. There he lived, without any booklearning whatsoever; this great intellect never learnt even to write his own name; but the most brilliant graduates of our university found in him an intellectual giant. He was a strange man, this Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the fulfilment of the Indian sages, the sage for the time, one whose teaching is just now, in the present time, most beneficial. And mark the Divine Power working behind
the man. The son of a poor priest, born in an out-of-the-way village, unknown and unthought of, today is worshipped literally by thousands in Europe and America, and tomorrow will be worshipped by thousands more. Who knows the plans of the Lord? Let me say that if I have told one word of truth, it was his and his alone, and if I have told many things, which were not true, which were not correct, which were not beneficial to the human rate, they were all mine, and on me rests the responsibility!
It requires striving through many births to reach perfection or the ultimate stage with regard to a single one of the many devotional attitudes. But, Sri Ramakrishna, the king of the realm of spirittal sentiments, perfected himself in no less than eighteen different forms of devotion! He also used to say that his body would not have endured, had he not held himself on to this play of spiritful sentiments.
To remove all the corruption in (present-day) religion, the Lord has incarnated Himself on earth in the present age in the person of Sri Ramakrishna. The universal teachings that he offered, if spread all over the world, will do good to humanity and the world; not for many a century past has India produced so great, so wonderful, a teacher of religious synthesis.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa came for the good of the world; call him a man, or God, or an Incarnation, just as you please.
From the day, Sri Ramakrishna was born, dates the growth of modern India and of the Golden Age.
In the Ramakrishna Incarnation, there is Knowledge, Devotion and Love, infinite knowledge, infinite love, infinite work, infinite compassion for all beings. What the whole Hindu race has thought for ages, he lived in one life. His life is the living commentary on the Vedas of all nations. People will come to know him by degrees.
The future, you say, will call Ramakrishna Parama-hamsa an Incarnation of Kali. Yes, I think there is no doubt that She worked up the body of Ramakrishna for Her own ends.
He was contented simply to live that great life, and to leave it to others, to find the explanation!
One drop from the full ocean of his spirituality, if realised, will make gods of men. Such a synthesis of universal ideas you will not find in the history of the world again. Understand from this who was born in the person of Sri Ramakrishna. When he used to instruct his Sannyasi disciples, he would rise from his seat and look about to see if any householder was coming that way or not. If he found none, then in glowing words he would depict the glory of renunciation and tapasya. As a result of the rousing power of that fiery dispassion, we have renounced the world and become averse to worldliness.
Of course, everybody who has come to Sri Ramakrishna has advanced in spirituality, is advancing and will advance.
When an Avatara comes, then with him are born liberated persons as helpers in his world-play. Only Avataras have the power to dispel the darkness of a million souls and give them salvation in one life. This is known as grace.
The way is to call on him (Sri Ramakrishna). Calling on him, many are blessed with his vision, can see him in a human form just like ours and obtain his grace.
Those who have seen Sri Ramakrishna are really blessed. Their family and birth have become purified by it.
Nobody has been able to understand who came on earth as Sri Ramakrishna. Even his own nearest devotees have got no real clue to it. Only some have got a little inkling of it. All will understand it afterwards.
“One should beg his food from door to door, aye, even from the house of an outcast.” But, of course, external forms are necessary in the beginning, for the inner realisation of religion, in order to make the truth of the scriptures practical in one’s life…Outward forms and observances are only for the manifestation of the great inner power of man. The object of all scriptures is t6 awaken those inner powers and make him understand and realise his real nature. The means are of the nature of ordinances and prohibitions… If you lose sight of the ideal and fight over the means only, how will it avail? In every country I have visited, I find this fighting over the means going on and people have no eyes on the ideal, Sri Ramakrishna came to show the truth of this.
In the highest truth of the Parabrahman, there is no distinction of sex. We only notice this on the relative plane. And the more the mind becomes introspective, the more that idea of difference vanishes. When the mind is wholly merged in the homogeneous and undifferentiated Brahman, then, such ideas as this is a man or that a woman, do not remain at all. We have actually seen this in the life of Sri Ramakrishna.
You study all the great teachers the world has produced, and you will see that not one of them went into the various explanations of texts; on their part, there is no attempt at “text-torturing;” no saying – “this word meins this, and this is the philological connection between this and that word.” Yet, they taught.
The Master used to say that the sapling must be hedged round.
If anyone accepts Paramahamsa Deva as an Avatara, it is all right; if he doesn’t do so, it is just the same. The truth about it is that in point of character, Paramahamsa Deva beats all previous record, and as regards teaching, he was more liberal, more original and more progressive than all his predecessors. In other words, the older Teachers were rather one-sided, while the teaching of this new Incarnation or Teacher is that the best point? of Yoga, Devotion, Knowledge and Work must be combined now so as to form a new Society… The older ones were no doubt good, but this is the new religion of the age – the synthesis of yoga, knowledge, devotion and work -the propagation of knowledge and devotion to all, down to the very lowest, without distinction of age or sex. The previous Incarnations were all right but they have been synthesised in the person of Ramakrishna.
That Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was God incarnate I have not the least doubt…but, let people find out for themselves what he used to teach.
Without studying Ramakrishna Paramahamsa first, one tan never understand the real import of the Vedas, the Vedanta, of the Bhagavata and the other Puranas. His life is a searchlight of infinite power thrown upon the whole mass of Indian religious thought. He was the living commentary on the Vedas and their aim. He had lived in one life the whole cycle of the national religious life of India
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is the latest Avatara and the most perfect, the concentrated embodiment of Knowledge, Love, and renunciation, catholicity and the desire to serve mankind. So, where is anyone else to compare with him? He is born in vain who cannot appreciate him! My supreme good fortune is that I am his servant through life after life. A single word of his is to me far weightier than the Vedas and the Vedanta. Oh, I am the servant of the servants of his servants… Certain fishermen and illiterate people called Jesus Christ a God, but, the literate people killed him. Buddha was honoured in his life time by a number of merchants’ and cowherds. But Ramakrishna has been worshipped in his life time – towards the end of the nineteenth century – by the demons and giants of the university as God incarnate… Here is a man in whose company we have been day and night, and yet consider him to be a far greater personality than any of the earlier Avataras.
Our ideal is, of course, the abstract Brahman. But as all cannot be inspired by an abstract ideal, we must have a personal ideal. We have got that in the person of Sri Ramakrishna…In order that Vedanta may be realised by everyone, there must be a person who is in sympathy with the present generation. This is fulfilled in Sri Ramakishna. So now, we should place him before everyone. Whether one accepts him as a Sadhu or an Avatara, does not matter.
He said he would come once again with us. Then,I think he will embrace Videha-Mukti (Absolute Emancipation).
The mind of those who have truly received Sri Ramakrishna’s grace cannot be attached to worldliness.
The test of his grace is – unattachment to lust or wealth. If that has not come in to anyone’s life, then he has not truly received his grace.
Sri Ramakrishna’s life is presented in the book (by Prof. Max Muller) in very brief and simple language. In this life, every word of the wary historian is weighed, as it were, before being put on paper.
We have heard the great Minister of the Brahmo Samaj, the late revered Acharya Sri Keshab Chandra Sen, speaking in his charming way that Sri Ramakrishna’s simple, sweet, colloquial language breathed a superhuman purity; though in his (Ramakrishna’s) speech could be noticed some such words as we term obscene; the use of those words, on account of his uncommon child like innocence and of their being perfectly devoid of the least breath of sensuality, instead of being somewhat reproachable, served rather the purpose of embellishment.
“Know Truth for yourself, and there will be many to whom you can teach it afterwards; they will all come.” This was the attitude of my Master. He criticised no one. For years, I lived with that man, but never did I hear those lips utter one word of condemnation of any sect. He had the same sympathy for all sects; he had found the harmony among them. A man may be intellectual, or devotional or mystic or active: the various religions represent one or the other of these types. Yet, it is possible to combine all the four in one man, and this is what future humanity is going to do. That was his idea. He condemned no one, but saw the good in all.
The life of Sri Ramakrishna was an extraordinary searchlight under whose illumination one is able to really understand the whole scope of Hindu religion. He was the object-lesson of all the theoretical knowledge given in the Shastras. He showed by his life what the Rishis and Avataras really wanted to teach. The books were theories; he was the realisation. This man had in fifty-one’years lived the five thousand years of national spiritual rife and so raised himself to be an object-lesson for future generations. The Vedas can only be explained and the Shastras reconciled by his theory of Avastha or “conditioned” stages – that we must not only tolerate others, but positively embrace them, and that truth is the basis of all religions.
He had a whole world of knowledge to teach.
He did not found a sect. No, His whole life was spent in breaking down the barriers of sectarianism and dogma. He formed no sect. Quite the reverse. He advocated and strove to establish absolute freedom of thought. He was a great Yogi.
While others, who have nothing to teach, will take up a word and write a three-volume book on its origin and use, my Master used to say: “Think of the men who went into a mango, orchard and busied themselves in counting the leaves, and examining the colour of the leaves, the size of the twigs, the number of branches, and so forth, while only one of them had the sense to begin to eat the mangoes!”
Sri Ramakrishna is a force. You should not think that his doctrine is this or that. But he is a power, living even now in his disciples and working in the world. I saw him growing in his ideas. He is still growing. Sri Ramakrishna was both a Jivanmukta and an Acharya.
It is easier to become a Jivanmukta (free in this very life) than to be an Acharya. For the former knows the world as a dream and has no concern with it; but an Acharya knows it as a dream and yet has to remain in it and work. It is not possible for everyone to be an Acharya. He is an Acharya through whom the Divine Power acts.
The Guru (Acharya) has to bear the disciple’s burden of sin, and that is the reason why diseases and other ailments appear even in the bodies of powerful Acharyas.
The highest ideal of Iswara which the human mind can grasp is the Avatara. Beyond this, there is no relative knowledge. Such Knowers of Brahman are rarely born in the world. And very few people can understand them. They alone are the proofs of the truths of scriptures pillars of light in the ocean of the world.
In company of such Avataras and by their grace, the darkness of the mind disappears in a trice, and realisation flashes immediately in the heart. Why or by what process it occurs cannot be ascertained. But, it does occur. I have seen it happen like that.
The work which the Jnani does only conduces to the well being of the world. Whatever a man of realisation says or does contributes to the welfare of all. We have minutely observed Sri Ramakrishna, he was as it were “in the body but not of it!” – About the motive of the actions of such personages, only this can be said – “Lokavattu lilakaivalyam” -” Everything they do like men is simply by way of sport.”
Stand you up, and realise God! If you can renounce all wealth and all sex, it will not be necessary for you to speak. Your lotus will have blossomed, and the spirit will spread. Whoever approaches you will be warmed, as it were, by the fire of your spirituality.
This is the Message of Sri Ramakrishna to the modern world: “Do not care for doctrines, do not care for dogmas, or churches or temples; they count for little compared with the essence of existence in each man, which is spirituality, and the more this is developed in a man, the more powerful is he. Earn that first, acquire that, and criticise no one, for all doctrines and creeds have some good in them. Show by your lives that religion does not mean words, or names, or sects, but that it means spiritual realisation. Only those can. understand who have experienced. Only those who have attained to spirituality can communicate to others, can be great teachers, of mankind. They alone are the powers of light.”
To proclaim and make clear the fundamental unity underlying all religions, was the mission of my Master. Other teachers have taught special religions which bear their names, but this great Teacher of the nineteenth century made no claim for himself.
People love me personally. But, they little dream that what they love in me is Ramakrishna; without Him I am only a mass of foolish, selfish emotions.
He finds who seeks Him! he who with intense longing weeps for God.
– SRI RAMAKRISHNA.
I do not believe in any politics. God and truth are the only politics in the world, everything else is trash.
– SWAMI VIVEKANANDA.