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



 Wednesday, November 15, 1882
Master at the circus:
Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by Rakhal and several other devotees, came to Calcutta in a carriage and called for M. at the school where he was teaching.  Then they all set out for the Maidan.  Sri Ramakrishna wanted to see the Wilson Circus.  As the carriage rolled along the crowded Chitpore Road, his joy was very great.  Like a little child he leaned first out of one side of the carriage and then out of the other, talking to himself as if addressing the passers-by.  To M. he said: "I find the attention of the people fixed on earthly things.  They are all rushing about for the sake of their stomachs.  No one is thinking of God."

They arrived at the circus.  Tickets for the cheapest seats were purchased.  The devotees took the Master to a high gallery, and they all sat on a bench.  He said joyfully: "Ha! This is a good place.  I can see the show well from here." There were exhibitions of various feats.  A horse raced around a circular track over which large iron rings were hung at intervals.  The circus rider, an Englishwoman, stood on one foot on the horse's back, and as the horse passed under the rings, she jumped through them, always alighting on one foot on the horse's back.  The horse raced around the entire circle, and the woman never missed the horse or lost her balance.

When the circus was over, the Master and the devotees stood outside in the field, near the carriage.  Since it was a cold night he covered his body with his green shawl.

Necessity of spiritual discipline
Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Did you see how that Englishwoman stood on one foot on her horse, while it ran like lightning? How difficult a feat that must be! She must have practised a long time.  The slightest carelessness and she would break her arms or legs; she might even be killed.  One faces the same difficulty leading the life of a householder.  A few succeed in it through the grace of God and as a result of their spiritual practice.  But most people fail.  Entering the world, they become more and more involved in it; they drown in worldliness and suffer the agonies of death.  A few only, like Janaka, have succeeded, through the power of their austerity, in leading the spiritual life as householders.  Therefore spiritual practice is extremely necessary; otherwise one cannot rightly live in the world."

The Master got into the carriage with the devotees and went to Balaram Bose's house.  He was taken with his companions to the second floor.  It was evening and the lamps were lighted.  The Master described the feats he had seen at the circus.  Gradually other devotees gathered, and soon he was engaged in spiritual talk with them.

Master on caste-system:
The conversation turned to the caste-system.  Sri Ramakrishna said: "The caste-system can be removed by one means only, and that is the love of God.  Lovers of God do not belong to any caste.  The mind, body, and soul of a man become purified through divine love.  Chaitanya and Nityananda scattered the name of Hari to everyone, including the pariah, and embraced them all.  A brahmin without this love is no longer a brahmin.  And a pariah with the love of God is no longer a pariah.  Through bhakti an untouchable becomes pure and elevated."

Entanglement of householders:
Speaking of householders entangled in worldliness, the Master said: "They are like the silk-worm.  They can come out of the cocoon of their worldly life if they wish.  But they can't bear to; for they themselves have built the cocoon with great love and care.  So they die there.  Or they are like the fish in a trap.  They can come out of it by the way they entered, but they sport inside the trap with other fish and hear the sweet sound of the murmuring water and forget everything else.  They don't even make an effort to free themselves from the trap.  The lisping of children is the murmur of the water; and the other fish are relatives and friends.  Only one or two make good their escape by running away.  They are the liberated souls."

The Master then sang:
When such delusion veils the world, through Mahamaya's spell,
That Brahma is bereft of sense,
And Vishnu loses consciousness,
What hope is left for men?
The narrow channel first is made, and there the trap is set;
But open though the  passage lies,
The fish, once safely through the gate,
Do not come out again.
The silk-worm patiently prepares its closely spun cocoon;
Yet even though a way leads forth,
Encased within its own cocoon,
The worm remains to die.

The Master continued: "Man may be likened to grain.  He has fallen between the millstones and is about to be crushed.  Only the few grains that stay near the peg escape.  Therefore men should take refuge at the peg, that is to say, in God.  Call on Him.  Sing His name.  Then you will be free.  Otherwise you will be crushed by the King of Death."

The Master sang again:
Mother! Mother! My boat is sinking, here in the ocean of this world;
Fiercely the hurricane of delusion rages on every side!
Clumsy is my helmsman, the mind; stubborn my six oarsmen, the passions;
Into a pitiless wind
I sailed my boat, and now it is sinking!
Split is the rudder of devotion; tattered is the sail of faith;
Into my boat the waters are pouring! Tell me, what shall I do?
For with my failing eyes, alas! nothing but darkness do I see.
Here in the waves I will swim,
O Mother, and cling to the raft of Thy name!

Mr.  Viswas had been sitting in the room a long time; he now left.  He had once been wealthy but had squandered everything in an immoral life.  Finally he had become indifferent to his wife and children.  Referring to Mr.  Viswas, the Master said: "He is an unfortunate wretch.  A householder has his duties to discharge, his debts to pay: his debt to the gods, his debt to his ancestors, his debt to the rishis, and his debt to wife and children.  If a wife is chaste, then her husband should support her; he should also bring up their children until they are of age.  Only a monk must not save; the bird and the monk do not provide for the morrow.  But even a bird provides when it has young.  It brings food in its bill for its chicks."

BALARAM: "Mr.  Viswas now wants to cultivate the company of holy people."

MASTER (with a smile): "A monk's kamandalu goes to the four principal holy places with him, but it still tastes bitter.  Likewise, it is said that the Malaya breeze turns all trees into sandal-wood.  But there are a few exceptions, such as the cotton-tree, the Aśwattha, and the hog plum.

"Some frequent the company of holy men in order to smoke hemp.  Many monks smoke it, and these householders stay with them, prepare the hemp, and partake of the prasad."

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

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