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




Sri Ramakrishna
(To M. and Prankrishna) "Many people talk of Brahmajnāna, but their minds are always preoccupied with lower things: house, buildings, money, name, and sense pleasures.  As long as you stand at the foot of the Monument,10 so long do you see horses, carriages, Englishmen, and Englishwomen.  But when you climb to its top, you behold the sky and the ocean stretching to infinity.  Then you do not enjoy buildings, carriages, horses, or men.  They look like ants.

"All such things as attachment to the world and enthusiasm for 'woman and gold' disappear after the attainment of the Knowledge of Brahman.  Then comes the cessation of all passions.  When the log burns, it makes a crackling noise and one sees the flame.  But when the burning is over and only ash remains, then no more noise is heard.  Thirst disappears with the destruction of attachment.  Finally comes peace.

"The nearer you come to God, the more you feel peace.  Peace, peace, peace-supreme peace! The nearer you come to the Ganges, the more you feel its coolness.  You will feel completely soothed when you plunge into the river.
"But the universe and its created beings, and the twenty-four cosmic principles, all exist because God exists.  Nothing remains if God is eliminated.  The number increases if you put many zeros after the figure one; but the zeros don't have any value if the one is not there."

The Master continued: "There are some who come down, as it were, after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman-after samādhi-and retain the 'ego of Knowledge' or the 'ego of Devotion', just as there are people who, of their own sweet will, stay in the market-place after the market breaks up.  This was the case with sages like Narada.  They kept the 'ego of Devotion' for the purpose of teaching men.  Sankaracharya kept the 'ego of Knowledge' for the same purpose.

"God cannot be realized if there is the slightest attachment to the things of the world.  A thread cannot pass through the eye of a needle if the tiniest fibre sticks out.

"The anger and lust of a man who has realized God are only appearances.  They are like a burnt string.  It looks like a string, but a mere puff blows it away.

"God is realized as soon as the mind becomes free from attachment.  Whatever appears in the Pure Mind is the voice of God.  That which is Pure Mind is also Pure Buddhi; that, again, is Pure Ātman, because there is nothing pure but God.  But in order to realize God one must go beyond dharma and adharma."

The Master sang in his melodious voice:
Come, let us go for a walk, O mind, to Kāli, the Wish-fulfilling Tree,
And there beneath It gather the four fruits of life.  .  .  .

Sri Ramakrishna went out on the southeast verandah of his room and sat down.  Prankrishna and the other devotees accompanied him.  Hazra, too, was sitting there.  The Master said to Prankrishna with a smile: "Hazra is not a man to be trifled with.  If one finds the big dargah here, then Hazra is the smaller dargah." All laughed at the Master's words.  A certain gentleman, Navakumar by name, came to the door and stood there.  At sight of the devotees he immediately left.  "Oh! Egotism incarnate!" Sri Ramakrishna remarked.

About half past nine in the morning Prankrishna took leave of the Master.  Soon afterwards a minstrel sang some devotional songs to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument.  The Master was listening to the songs when Kedār Chatterji, a householder devotee, entered the room clad in his office clothes.  He was a man of devotional temperament and cherished the attitude of the gopis of Vrindāvan.  Words about God would make him weep.

The sight of Kedār awakened in the Master's mind the episode of Vrindāvan in Sri Krishna's life.  Intoxicated with divine love, the Master stood up and sang, addressing Kedār:
Tell me, friend, how far is the grove
Where Krishna, my Beloved, dwells?
His fragrance reaches me even here;
But I am tired and can walk no farther.  .  .  .

Sri Ramakrishna assumed the attitude of Sri Radha to Krishna and went into deep samādhi while singing the song.  He stood there, still as a picture on canvas, with tears of divine joy running down his cheeks.
Kedār knelt before the Master.  Touching his feet, he chanted a hymn:
We worship the Brahman-Consciousness in the Lotus of the Heart,
The Undifferentiated, who is adored by Hari, Hara, and Brahma;
Who is attained by yogis in the depths of their meditation;
The Scatterer of the fear of birth and death,
The Essence of Knowledge and Truth, the Primal Seed of the world.

After a time the Master regained consciousness of the relative world.  Soon Kedār took his leave and returned to his office in Calcutta.
At midday Ramlal brought the Master a plate of food that had been offered in the Kāli temple.  Like a child he ate a little of everything.
Later in the afternoon several Marwari devotees entered the Master's room, where Rakhal and M. also were seated.
A MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Sir, what is the way?"

Two ways of God-realization:
MASTER: "There are two ways.  One is the path of discrimination, the other is that of love.  Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal.  God alone is the real and permanent Substance; all else is illusory and impermanent.  The magician alone is real; his magic is illusory.  This is discrimination.

"Discrimination and renunciation.  Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal.  Renunciation means to have dispassion for the things of the world.  One cannot acquire them all of a sudden.  They must be practised every day.  One should renounce 'woman and gold' mentally at first.  Then, by the will of God, one can renounce it both mentally and outwardly.  It is impossible to ask the people of Calcutta to renounce all for the sake of God.  One has to tell them to renounce mentally.

Constant practice urged:
"Through the discipline of constant practice one is able to give up attachment to 'woman and gold'.  That is what the Gita says.  By practice one acquires uncommon power of mind.  Then one doesn't find it difficult to subdue the sense-organs and to bring anger, lust, and the like under control.  Such a man behaves like a tortoise, which, once it has tucked in its limbs, never puts them out.  You cannot make the tortoise put its limbs out again, though you chop it to pieces with an axe."

MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Revered sir, you just mentioned two paths.  What is the other path?"

MASTER: "The path of bhakti, or zealous love of God.  Weep for God in solitude, with a restless soul, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Cry to your Mother Syama with a real cry, O mind! And how can She hold Herself from you? "

MARWARI DEVOTEE: "Sir, what is the meaning of the worship of the Personal God? And what is the meaning of God without form or attribute?"

MASTER: "As you recall your father by his photograph, so likewise the worship of the image reveals in a flash the nature of Reality.
"Do you know what God with form is like? Like bubbles rising on an expanse of water, various divine forms are seen to rise out of the Great Ākāśa of Consciousness.  The Incarnation of God is one of these forms.  The Primal Energy sports, as it were, through the activities of a Divine Incarnation.

"What is there in mere scholarship? God can be attained by crying to Him with a longing heart.  There is no need to know many things.

"He who is an Āchārya has to know different things.  One needs a sword and shield to kill others; but to kill oneself, a needle or a nail-knife suffices.

"One ultimately discovers God by trying to know who this 'I' is.  Is this 'I' the flesh, the bones, the blood, or the marrow? Is it the mind or the buddhi? Analysing thus, you realize at last that you are none of these.  This is called the process of 'Neti, neti', 'Not this, not this'.  One can neither comprehend nor touch the Ātman.  It is without qualities or attributes.

"But, according to the path of devotion, God has attributes.  To a devotee Krishna is Spirit, His Abode is Spirit, and everything about Him is Spirit."
The Marwari devotees saluted the Master and took their leave.

At the approach of evening Sri Ramakrishna went out to look at the sacred river.  The lamp was lighted in his room.  The Master chanted the hallowed name of the Divine Mother and meditated on Her.  Then the evening worship began in the various temples.  The sound of gongs, floating on the air, mingled with the murmuring voice of the river.  Peace and blessedness reigned everywhere.

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

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