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Swami Nikhilananda (Translator)
A Devotee: "Does the body remain even after the realization of God?" Master: "The present body remains alive as long as its momentum [the actions in previous births] in not exhausted; but future births are no longer possible. The wheel moves as long as the impulse that has set it in motion lasts. Then it comes to a stop. In the case of such a person, passions like lust and anger are burnt up. Only the body remains alive to perform a few actions." The Master remained silent for a few moments... (to the pundit) "Let me tell you something. There are three kinds of ananda, joy: the joy of worldly enjoyment, the joy of worship, and the Joy of Brahman. The joy of worldly enjoyment is the joy of 'woman' and 'gold' [e.g. sex and money], which people always love. The joy of worship one feels while chanting God's name and glories. And the Joy of Brahman is the joy of God-vision. After experiencing the joy of God-vision the rishis of olden times went beyond all rules and conventions."
"What is samadhi? It is the complete merging of the mind in God-Consciousness. The jnani experiences jada samadhi, in which no trace of 'I' is left. The samadhi attained through the path of bhakti is called 'chetana samadhi.' In this samadhi there remains the consciousness of 'I' - the 'I' of the servant-and-Master relationship, of the lover-and-Beloved relationship, of the enjoyer-and-Food relationship. God is the Master; the devotee is the servant. God is the Beloved; the devotee is the lover. God is the Food; and the devotee is the enjoyer. 'I don't want to be sugar. I want to eat it.' God keeps a little of 'I' in his devotee even after giving him the Knowledge of Brahman. That 'I' is the 'I of the devotee,' the 'I of the jnani.' Through that 'I' the devotee enjoys the infinite play of God."
"It is a joy to merge the mind in the Indivisible Brahman through contemplation. And it is also a joy to keep the mind on the Lila, the Relative, without dissolving it in the Abolute. A mere jnani ia a monotonous person. He always analyses, saying: 'It is not this, not this. The world is like a dream.' "
A Devotee: "Does this 'I' of the devotee never disappear altogether?" Master: "Yes, it disappears at times. Then one attains the Knowledge of Brahman and goes into samadhi. I too lose it, but not for all the time. I pray to the Divine Mother, 'O Mother, do not give me Brahmajnana.' Formerly believers in God with form used to visit me a great deal. Then the modern Brahmajnanis [believers in formless Brahman] began to arrive. During that period I used to remain unconscious in samadhi most of the time. Whenever I regained consciousness, I would say to the Divine Mother, 'O Mother, please don't give me Brahmajnana.' "
Pundit: "Does God listen to our prayers?" Master: "God is the Kalpataru, the Wish-fulfilling Tree. You will certainly get whatever you ask of Him. But you must pray standing near the Kalpataru. Only then will your prayer be fulfilled. But you must remember another thing. God knows our inner feeling. A man gets the fulfilment of the desire he cherishes while practising sadhana. As one thinks, so one receives."
"I used to weep, praying to the Divine Mother, 'O Mother, destroy with Thy thunderbolt my inclination to reason.' " Pundit: "Then you too had an inclination to reason?" Master: "Yes, once." Pundit: "Then please assure us that we shall get rid of that inclination, too. How did you get rid of yours?" Master: "Oh, somehow or other." Sri Ramakrishna was silent awhile. Then he went on with his conversation.
Master: "God is the Kalpataru. One should pray standing near it. Then one will get whatever one desires. How many things God has created! Infinite is His universe. But what need have I to know about His infinite splendors? If I must know these, let me first realize Him. Then God Himself will tell me all about them. What need have I to know how many houses and how many government securities Jadu Mallick possesses? All that I need is somehow to converse with Jadu Mallick. I may succeed in seeing him by jumping over a ditch, or through a petition, or after being pushed about by his gatekeeper. Once I get a chance to talk to him, he himself will tell me all about his possessions if I ask him. If one becomes acquainted with the master, then one is respected by his officers too." (All laugh.)
The master was pleased with the pundit's humility. He praised him to the devotees. Master: "He has such a nice nature. You find no difficulty in driving a nail into a mud wall. But its point breaks if you try to drive it against a stone, and still it will not pierce it. There are people whose spiritual consciousness is not at all awakened even though they hear about God a thousand times. They are like a crocodile, on whose hide you cannot make any impression with a sword." Pundit: "But one can hurt a crocodile by throwing a spear into its belly." (All laugh.)
Master (smiling): "What good is there in reading a whole lot of scriptures? What good is there in the study of philosophy? What is the use of talking big? In order to learn archery one should first aim at a banana tree, then at a reed, then at a wick, and last at a flying bird. At the beginning one should concentrate on God with form."
"The way to realize God is through discrimination, renunciation, and yearning for Him. What kind of yearning? One should yearn for God as the cow, with yearning heart, runs after its calf." Pundit: "The same thing is said in the Vedas: 'O God, we call on Thee as the cow lows for the calf.' "
Master: "Add your tears to your yearning. And if you can renounce everything through discrimination and dispassion, then you will be able to see God. That yearning brings about God-intoxication, whether you follow the path of knowledge or the path of devotion.
The Gospel of Ramakrishna, 311-314
Sri Ramakrishna (1836 - 1886) practised the fundamental truths which are the basis of all religions. Attracted by his irresistible power, men and women of all classes came to him and learned about many of the intimate truths of God revealed to this sensitive and disciplined mystic. His soul-stirring conversations, in simple words and vivid stories, were recorded with almost stenographic precision by his disciple M. (Mahendranath Gupta) and later published. They bring a conviction of the divinity of man and the spiritual foundation of the universe in a deep and broad understanding. Sri Ramakrishna emerges in this book as a man of deep love and complete God-intoxication.
Last Updated Saturday, March 20, 1999
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