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Chapter 2

March 11, 1882
Master at Balaram's house

ABOUT EIGHT O'CLOCK in the morning Sri Ramakrishna went as planned to Balaram Bose's house in Calcutta. It was the day of the Dolayatra. Ram, Manomohan, Rakhal, Nityagopal, and other devotees were with him. M., too, came, as bidden by the Master.

Devotees in trance
The devotees and the Master sang and danced in a state of divine fervour. Several of them were in an ecstatic mood. Nityagopal's chest glowed with the upsurge of emotion, and Rakhal lay on the floor in ecstasy, completely unconscious of the world. The Master put his hand on Rakhal's chest and said: "Peace. Be quiet." This was Rakhal's first experience of ecstasy. He lived with his father in Calcutta and now and then visited the Master at Dakshineswar. About this time he had studied a short while in Vidyasagar's school at Syampukur.

When the music was over, the devotees sat down for their meal. Balaram stood there humbly, like a servant. Nobody would have taken him for the master of the house. M. was still a stranger to the devotees, having met only Narendra at Dakshineswar.
A few days later M. visited the Master at Dakshineswar. It was between four and five o'clock in the afternoon. The Master and he were sitting on the steps of the Śiva temples. Looking at the temple of Radhakanta, across the courtyard, the Master went into an ecstatic mood.

Since his nephew Hriday's dismissal from the temple, Sri Ramakrishna had been living without an attendant. On account of his frequent spiritual moods he could hardly take care of himself. The lack of an attendant caused him great inconvenience.

Bigotry condemned
Sri Ramakrishna was talking to Kāli, the Divine Mother of the Universe. He said: "Mother, everyone says, 'My watch alone is right.' The Christians, the Brahmos, the Hindus, the Mussalmans, all say, 'My religion alone is true.' But, Mother, the fact is that nobody's watch is right. Who can truly understand Thee? But if a man prays to Thee with a yearning heart, he can reach Thee, through Thy grace, by any path. Mother, show me some time how the Christians pray to Thee in their churches. But Mother, what will people say if I go in? Suppose they make a fuss! Suppose they don't allow me to enter the Kāli temple again! Well then, show me the Christian worship from the door of the church."

The mind's inability to comprehend God
Another day the Master was seated on the small couch in his room, with his usual beaming countenance. M. arrived with Kalikrishna, who did not know where his friend M. was taking him. He had only been told:  "If you want to see a grog-shop, then come with me. You will see a huge jar of wine there." M. related this to Sri Ramakrishna, who laughed about it. The Master said: "The bliss of worship and communion with God is the true wine, the wine of ecstatic love. The goal of human life is to love God, Bhakti is the one essential thing. To know God through jnāna and reasoning  is extremely difficult."

Then the Master sang:
Who is there that can understand what Mother Kāli is? 
Even the six darsanas are powerless to reveal Her....

The Master said, again: "The one goal of life is to cultivate love for God, the love that the milkmaids, the milkmen, and the cowherd boys of Vrindāvan felt for Krishna. When Krishna went away to Mathura, the cowherds roamed about weeping bitterly because of their separation from Him."

Saying this the Master sang, with his eyes turned upward:
Just now I saw a youthful cowherd
With a young calf in his arms; 
There he stood, by one hand holding 
The branch of a young tree. 
"Where are You, Brother Kanai?" he cried;
 But "Kanai" scarcely could he utter; 
"Ka" was as much as he could say. 
He cried, "Where are You, Brother?"
And his eyes were filled with tears.
When M. heard this song of the Master's, laden with love, his eyes were moist with tears.

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