^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ SYMBOLS OF TWELVE MAJOR WORLD RELIGIONS ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^




Nahabat where the Holy Mother lived
Narendra, M., and Priya were going to spend the night at the temple garden.  This pleased the Master highly, especially since Narendra would be with him.  The Holy Mother, who was living in the nahabat, had prepared the supper.  Surendra bore the greater part of the Master's expenses.  The meal was ready, and the plates were set out on the southeast verandah of the Masters room. 
Near the east door of his room Narendra and the other devotees were gossiping. 

NARENDRA: "How do you find the young men nowadays?"

M: "They are not bad; but they don't receive any religious instructions".

Narendra (later Vivekananda)
NARENDRA: "But from my experience I feel they are going to the dogs.  They smoke cigarettes, indulge in frivolous talk, enjoy foppishness, play truant, and do everything of that sort.  I have even seen them visiting questionable places."

M: "I didn't notice such things during our student days."

NARENDRA: "Perhaps you didn't mix with the students intimately.  I have even seen them talking with people of immoral character.  Perhaps they are on terms of intimacy with them."

M: "It is strange indeed."

NARENDRA: "I know that many of them form bad habits.  It would be proper if the guardians of the boys, and the authorities, kept their eyes on these matters."

They Were talking thus when Sri Ramakrishna came to them and asked with a smile, "Well, what are you talking about?"

NARENDRA: "I have been asking M. about the boys in the schools.  The conduct of students nowadays isn't all that it should be."

The Master became grave and said to M. rather seriously: "This kind of conversation is not good.  It isn't desirable to indulge in any talk but talk of God.  You are their senior, and you are intelligent.  You should not have encouraged them to talk about such matters."

Narendra was then about nineteen years old, and M. about twenty-eight.  Thus admonished, M. felt embarrassed, and the others also fell silent. 

While the devotees were enjoying their meal, Sri Ramakrishna stood by and watched them with intense delight.  That night the Master's joy was very great. 
After supper the devotees rested on the mat spread on the floor of the Master's room.  They began to talk with him.  It was indeed a mart of joy.  The Master asked Narendra to sing the song beginning with the line: "In Wisdom's firmament the moon of Love is rising full."

Narendra sang, and other devotees played the drums and cymbals:

In Wisdom's firmament the moon of Love is rising full,
And Love's flood-tide, in surging waves, is flowing everywhere. 
O Lord, how full of bliss Thou art! Victory unto Thee!

On every side shine devotees, like stars around the moon;
Their Friend, the Lord All-merciful, joyously plays with them. 
Behold! the gates of paradise today are open wide.

The soft spring wind of the New Day raises fresh waves of joy;
Gently it carries to the earth the fragrance of God's Love,
Till all the yogis, drunk with bliss, are lost in ecstasy.

Upon the sea of the world unfolds the lotus of the New Day,
And there the Mother sits enshrined in blissful majesty. 
See how the bees are mad with joy, sipping the nectar there!

Behold the Mother's radiant face, which so enchants the heart
And captivates the universe! About Her Lotus Feet
Bands of ecstatic holy men are dancing in delight.

What matchless loveliness is Hers! What infinite content
Pervades the heart when She appears! O brothers, says Premdas,
I humbly beg you, one and all, to sing the Mother's praise!
Sri Ramakrishna sang and danced, and the devotees danced around him.

A devotee's dream:
When the song was over, the Master walked up and down the northeast verandah, where Hazra was seated with M. The Master sat down there.  He asked a devotee, "Do you ever have dreams?"

DEVOTEE: "Yes, sir.  The other day I dreamt a strange dream.  I saw the whole world enveloped in water.  There was water on all sides.  A few boats were visible, but suddenly huge waves appeared and sank them.  I was about to board a ship with a few others, when we saw a brahmin walking over that expanse of water.  I asked him, 'How can you walk over the deep?' The brahmin said with a smile: 'Oh, there is no difficulty about that.  There is a bridge under the water.' I said to him, 'Where are you going?' 'To Bhawanipur, the city of the Divine Mother', he replied.  'Wait a little', I cried.  'I shall accompany you.' "

MASTER: "Oh.  I am thrilled to hear the story!"

DEVOTEE: "The brahmin said: 'I am in a hurry.  It will take you some time to get out of the boat.  Good-bye.  Remember this path and come after me. 

MASTER: "Oh, my hair is standing on end! Please be initiated by a guru as soon as possible."

Shortly before midnight Narendra and the other devotees lay down on a bed made on the floor of the Master's room. 
At dawn some of the devotees were up.  They saw the Master, naked as a child, pacing up and down the room, repeating the names of the various gods and goddesses.  His voice was sweet as nectar.  Now he would look at the Ganges, now stop in front of the pictures hanging on the wall and bow down before them, chanting all the while the holy names in his sweet voice.  He chanted: "Veda, Purana, Tantra; Gita, Gayatri; Bhagavata, Bhakta, Bhagavan." Referring to the Gita, he repeated many times, "Tagi, tagi, tagi." Now and then he would say: "O Mother, Thou art verily Brahman, and Thou art verily Śakti.  Thou art Purusha and Thou art Prakriti.  Thou art Virat.  Thou art the Absolute, and Thou dost manifest Thyself as the Relative.  Thou art verily the twenty-four cosmic principles."

In the mean time the morning service had begun in the temples of Kāli and Radhakanta.  Sounds of conch-shells and cymbals were carried on the air.  The devotees came outside the room and saw the priests and servants gathering flowers in the garden for the divine service in the temples.  From the nahabat floated the sweet melody of musical instruments, befitting the morning hours. 

Narendra and the other devotees finished their morning duties and came to the Master.  With a sweet smile on his lips Sri Ramakrishna was standing on the northeast verandah, close to his own room. 

NARENDRA: "We noticed several sannyasis belonging to the sect of Nanak in the Panchavati."
MASTER: "Yes, they arrived here yesterday.  (To Narendra) I'd like to see you all sitting together on the mat."

As they sat there the Master looked at them with evident delight.  He then began to talk with them.  Narendra asked about spiritual discipline. 

MASTER: "Bhakti, love of God, is the essence of all spiritual discipline.  Through love one acquires renunciation and discrimination naturally."

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

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