Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna [2]

Saturday, December 3, 1881

In the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna paid a visit to his householder disciple Manomohan, at 23 Simla Street, Calcutta. It was a small two-storey house with a courtyard. The Master was seated in the drawing-room on the first floor. Ishan of Bhawanipur asked him: "Sir, why have you renounced the world? The scriptures extol the householder's life as the best."

MASTER: "I don't know much about what is good and what is bad. I do what God makes me do and speak what He makes me speak."

ISHAN: "If everybody renounced the world, they would be acting against God's will."

MASTER: "Why should everybody renounce? On the other hand, can it be the will of God that all should revel in 'woman and gold' like dogs and jackals? Has He no other wish? Do you know what accords with His will and what is against it?

"You say that God wants everybody to lead a worldly life. But why don't you see it as God's will when your wife and children die? Why don't you see His will in poverty, when you haven't a morsel to eat?

"Maya won't allow us to know the will of God. On account of God's maya the unreal appears as real, and the real as unreal. The world is unreal. This moment it exists and the next it disappears. But on account of His maya it seems to be real. It is only through His maya that the ego seems to be the doer. Furthermore, on account of this maya a man regards his wife and children, his brother and sister, his father and mother, his house and property, as his very own.

"There are two aspects of maya: vidya and avidya. Avidya deludes one with worldliness, and vidya - wisdom, devotion, and the company of holy men - leads one to God.

"He who has gone beyond maya, through the grace of God, views alike both vidya and avidya. Worldly life is a life of enjoyment. After all, what is there to enjoy in 'woman and gold'? As soon as a sweetmeat has gone down the throat, one doesn't remember whether it tasted sweet or sour.

"But why should everybody renounce? Is renunciation possible except in the fullness of time? The time for renunciation comes when one reaches the limit of enjoyment. Can anybody force himself into renunciation? There is a kind of renunciation known as 'monkey renunciation'. Only small-minded people cultivate it. Take the case of a fatherless boy. His poor widowed mother earns her livelihood by spinning. The boy loses his insignificant job and suddenly is seized with a fit of renunciation. He puts on the ochre cloth of a monk and goes to Benares. A few days later he writes home, 'I have secured a job for ten rupees a month.' In the mean time he tries to buy a gold ring and beautiful clothes. How can he stifle his desire for enjoyment?"

Keshab arrived with some Brahmo devotees and respectfully saluted the Master. He took a seat on Sri Ramakrishna's left, Ram on his right. For some time a reader recited from the Bhagavata and explained the text.

MASTER (to the devotees): "It is very difficult to do one's duty in the world. If you whirl round too fast you feel giddy and faint; but there is no such fear if you hold on to a post. Do your duty, but do not forget God.

"You may ask, 'If worldly life is so difficult, then what is the way?' The way is constant practice. At Kamarpukur I have seen the women of the carpenter families flattening rice with a husking-machine. They are always fearful of the pestle's smashing their fingers; and at the same time they go on nursing their children and bargaining with customers. They say to the customers, 'Pay us what you owe before you leave.'

"An immoral woman goes on performing her household duties, but all the time her mind dwells on her sweetheart.

"But one needs spiritual discipline to acquire such a state of mind; one should pray to God in solitude every now and then. It is possible to perform worldly duties after obtaining love for God. If you try to break a jack-fruit, your hands will be smeared with its sticky juice. But that won't happen if, beforehand, you rub them with oil."

The kirtan began. Trailokya was singing. The Master danced, Keshab and the other devotees dancing with him. Though it was winter the Master became hot and perspired. After the music he wanted something to eat. A plate of sweetmeats was sent from the inner apartments. Keshab held the plate before Sri Ramakrishna and the Master ate. When he had finished, Keshab poured water on his hands and then dried the Master's hands and face with a towel. Afterwards he began to fan the Master.

MASTER (to Keshab and the other devotees): "They are heroes indeed who can pray to God in the midst of their worldly activities. They are like men who strive for God-realization while carrying heavy loads on their heads. Such men are real heroes. You may say that this is extremely difficult. But is there anything, however hard, that cannot be achieved through God’s grace? His grace makes even the impossible possible. If a lamp is brought into a room that has been dark a thousand years, does it illumine the room little by little? The room is lighted all at once."

These reassuring words gladdened the hearts of Keshab and the other householder devotees.

KESHAB (to Rajendra Mitra, the uncle of Ram and Manomohan): "Wouldn't it be nice if you could arrange a festival like this at your house one day?"

RAJENDRA: "Very good, I will. Well, Ram, you'll have to take charge of everything."

Sri Ramakrishna was asked to go to the inner apartments, where Manomohan's mother had prepared his meal. A glass of ice-water, of which the Master was very fond, was placed near his plate.
Keshab and the other devotees sat in the courtyard and were treated to a sumptuous feast. The Master joined them and watched them eat. He danced and sang to entertain the guests.

When it was time for Sri Ramakrishna to leave for Dakshineswar, Keshab and the other devotees took the dust of his feet and saw him off in a hired carriage.

Saturday, December 10, 1881

At Keshab's request Rajendra Mitra arranged a religious festival at his home in Calcutta and invited Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees, including the members of the Brahmo Samaj.

Two days before, Aghorenath, a prominent member of the Brahmo Samaj, had suddenly passed away in Lucknow. Keshab and the other Brahmo devotees were in mourning, and Rajendra thought they could not possibly join in the festival at his house. This worried him. But Ram, the Master's devotee, said to him: "Why are you so sad? If Keshab can't come, let him stay away. Our Master will be here. He is always in communion with God. He enables one to see God. And his presence will make the festival a success."

Rajendra, accompanied by Ram and a few others, paid Keshab a visit to express their condolence for the death of Aghorenath. Keshab said to Rajendra: "Why, I haven't said I shall not join in the festival at your house. Sri Ramakrishna will be there; so how can I stay away? I am in mourning, it is true, but I shall come."

On the wall in Keshab's room hung a picture of Sri Ramakrishna absorbed in samadhi.

RAJENDRA (to Keshab): "Many people say that he (pointing to the picture) is an incarnation of Chaitanya."

KESHAB (looking at the picture): "One doesn't see such samadhi. Only men like Christ, Mohammed, and Chaitanya experienced it."

About three o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Manomohan's house. He rested there awhile and had some refreshments. Surendra took the Master in a carriage to the studio of the Bengal Photographer. The art of photography was explained to him, and he was shown how glass covered with silver nitrate takes the image. As the Master was being photographed he went into samadhi.

A little later Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Rajendra Mitra's house. Keshab had not yet come, and Mahendra Goswami was reading from the Bhagavata. The Master conversed with the devotees.

MASTER: "Why shouldn't one be able to lead a spiritual life in the world? But it is extremely difficult. While coming here I passed over the bridge at Baghbazar. How many chains it is tied with! Nothing will happen if one chain is broken, for there are so many others to keep it in place. Just so, there are many ties on a worldly man. There is no way for him to get rid of them except through the grace of God.

"One need not be afraid of the world after one has had the vision of God. Both vidya and avidya exist in His maya; but one becomes indifferent to them after realizing God. One understands it rightly after attaining the state of a paramahamsa. Only a swan can discard the water and drink the milk from a mixture of milk and water. A robin cannot do so."

A DEVOTEE: "Then what is the way for a householder?"

MASTER: "Faith in the guru's words. You should depend on his instruction. Do your duties in the world, holding fast to his words, like a person whirling round and holding fast to a pillar.

"One must not look on one's guru as a mere human being: it is Satchidananda Himself who appears as the guru. When the disciple has the vision of the Ishta, through the guru's grace, he finds the guru merging in Him.

"What can one not achieve through simple faith! Once there was an annaprasana ceremony in a guru's house. His disciples volunteered, according to their powers, to supply the different articles of food. He had one disciple, a very poor widow, who owned a cow. She milked it and brought the guru a jar of milk. He had thought she would take charge of all the milk and curd for the festival. Angry at her poor offering, he threw the milk away and said to her, 'Go and drown yourself.' The widow accepted this as his command and went to the river to drown herself. But God was pleased with her guileless faith and, appearing before her, said: 'Take this pot of curd. You will never be able to empty it. The more curd you pour out, the more will come from the pot. This will satisfy your teacher.' The guru was speechless with amazement when the pot was given to him. After hearing from the widow the story of the pot, he went to the river, saying to her, 'I shall drown myself if you cannot show God to me.' God appeared then and there, but the guru could not see Him. Addressing God, the widow said, 'If my teacher gives up his body because Thou dost not reveal Thyself to him, then I too shall die.' So God appeared to the guru - but only once.

"Now you see, because of faith in her guru the disciple herself had the vision of God and also showed Him to her teacher. Therefore I say, 'Even though my guru frequents a grog-shop, still to me he is the embodiment of Eternal Bliss.'

"All want to be the guru, but very few indeed want to be the disciple. But you know that rain-water doesn't collect on a high mound; it collects in low land, in a hollow.

"One should have faith in the holy name given by the guru and with it practise spiritual discipline. It is said that the pearl oyster makes itself ready for the rain that falls when the star Svati is in the ascendant. Taking a drop of that rain, it dives into the fathomless depths of the ocean and remains there until the pearl is formed."

At the sight of the many Brahmo devotees assembled there, the Master said: "Is the meeting of the Brahmos a real devotional gathering or a mere show? It is very good that the Brahmo Samaj holds regular devotions. But one must dive deep; mere ceremonial worship or lectures are of no avail. One should pray to God that one's attachment to worldly enjoyment may disappear; that one may have pure love for His Lotus Feet.

"The elephant has outer tusks and inner grinders as well. The tusks are mere ornaments; but the elephant chews its food with the grinders. The inner enjoyment of 'woman and gold' injures the growth of one's devotion.

"What will you achieve through mere public lectures? The vulture undoubtedly soars high, but its eyes are fixed on the charnel-pit. The rocket undoubtedly shoots up into the sky, but the next moment it falls to the ground.

"He who has renounced his attachment to worldly enjoyments will remember nothing but God in the hour of death. Otherwise he will think only of worldly things: wife, children, house, wealth, name and fame. Through practice a bird can be trained to repeat 'Radha-Krishna'; but when a cat catches it, it only squawks.

"Therefore one should constantly practise the singing of God's name and glories, and meditation and contemplation as well. And further, one should always pray that one's attachment to the world may disappear and one's love for God's Lotus Feet may grow.

"Householders devoted to God live in the world like a maidservant, who performs her duties for her master but always keeps her mind fixed on her own native village; that is to say, they do their duties in the world keeping their minds on God. Anyone leading a worldly life is sure to come in contact with its dirt; but a householder who is a true devotee of God lives like the mudfish, which, though remaining in the mud, is not stained by it.

"Brahman and Sakti are identical. One acquires love and devotion, quickly by calling on God as Mother."

Saying this, the Master sang:

High in the heaven of the Mother's feet, my mind was soaring like a kite,
When came a blast of sin's rough wind that drove it swiftly toward the earth.
Maya disturbed its even flight by bearing down upon one side,
And I could make it rise no more.
Entangled in the twisting string of love for children and for wife,
Alas! my kite was rent in twain.
It lost its crest of wisdom soon and downward plunged as I let it go;
How could it hope to fly again, when all its top was torn away?
Though fastened with devotion's cord, it came to grief in playing here;
Its six opponents (The six passions) worsted it.
Now Nareschandra rues this game of smiles and tears, and thinks it better
Never to have played at all.

He sang again:

O Mother, for Yasoda Thou wouldst dance, when she called Thee her precious "Blue Jewel":
Where hast Thou hidden that lovely form, O terrible Syama?
Dance that way once for me, O Mother! Throw down Thy sword and take the flute;
Cast off Thy garland of heads, and wear Thy wild-flower garland. . . .

As Sri Ramakrishna sang, he left his seat and began to dance. The devotees, too, stood up. Every now and then the Master went into samadhi and the devotees gazed at him intently. Dr. Dukari touched the Master's eyeballs with his finger to test the genuineness of his samadhi. This disgusted the devotees.

When the music and dancing were over, the devotees took their seats. Just then Keshab arrived with some of his Brahmo disciples. Rajendra told him about their great joy in the Master's kirtan and requested Trailokya to sing again. Keshab replied, "Since Sri Ramakrishna has taken his seat, the kirtan will sound flat."

Trailokya and the Brahmo devotees sang:

Chant, O mind, the name of Hari,
Sing aloud the name of Hari,
Praise Lord Hari's name!
And praising Hari's name, O mind,
Cross the ocean of this world.

Hari dwells in earth, in water,
Hari dwells in fire and air;
In sun and moon He dwells.
Hari's ever living presence
Fills the boundless universe.

While preparations were being made to give the guests something to eat, Sri Ramakrishna talked with Keshab.

MASTER (with a smile): "Today I enjoyed very much the machine by which a man's picture is taken. One thing I noticed was that the impression doesn't stay on a bare piece of glass, but it remains when the glass is stained with a black solution. In the same way, mere hearing of spiritual talk doesn't leave any impression. People forget it soon afterwards. But they can retain spiritual instruction if they are stained inside with earnestness and devotion."

The Master was conducted to the second floor of the house and was asked to sit on a beautiful carpet. The ladies waited on him while he ate his meal. Keshab and the other devotees were also sumptuously fed.

Sunday, January 1, 1882

Sri Ramakrishna arrived with his devotees at the house of Jnan Choudhury, in Calcutta, to join the annual festival of the Simla Brahmo Samaj. Keshab, Ram, Manomohan, Balaram, Kedar, Narendra, Rakhal, and other devotees were present. Narendra had met the Master only a few days before at the temple garden at Dakshineswar. He used to participate now and then in the worship of the Simla Brahmo Samaj and sing for the congregation.

The worship was arranged according to the usual custom of the Samaj. First the scripture was read; then Narendra sang. It was dusk. The devotees made merry. The Master looked at the householder devotees seated around him and said with a smile: "Why shouldn't it be possible for a householder to give his mind to God? But the truth is that he no longer has his mind with him. If he had it, then he could certainly offer it to God. But, alas, the mind has been mortgaged - mortgaged to 'woman and gold'. So it is necessary for him constantly to live in the company of holy men. When he gets back his own mind, then he can devote it to spiritual practice; but first it is necessary to live constantly with the guru, wait on him, and enjoy the company of spiritual people. Either he should think of God in solitude day and night, or he should live with holy men. The mind left to itself gradually dries up. Take a jar of water, for instance. If the jar is set aside, the water dries up little by little. But that will not happen if the jar is kept immersed in the Ganges.

"The iron becomes red in the furnace of a smithy. Take it out and it becomes black as before. Therefore the iron must be heated in the furnace every now and then.

"Do you know what ignorance means? It is the feeling: This is my house; these are my relatives; I am the doer; and the household affairs go on smoothly because I manage them.' But to feel, 'I am the servant of God, His devotee, His son' - that is a good attitude.

"The 'I' cannot be effaced altogether. You may explain it away through reasoning, but the next moment it reappears, nobody knows from where. It is like a goat that still bleats faintly and jerks its legs even after its head has been cut off.

"But the 'I' that God retains in His devotee after he has seen Him is called the 'ripe I'. It is like a sword turned into gold by touching the philosopher's stone; you cannot hurt anybody with it."

Thus the Master talked, seated in the worship hall, and Keshab and the other devotees listened with rapt attention. It was about eight o'clock in the evening. The bell rang three times for the worship.

MASTER (to Keshab and the others): "What's this? I see you haven't yet begun your regular worship."

KESHAB: "What further worship do we need? We are having all this."

MASTER: "Oh no, my dear sir! Let the worship be performed according to your custom."

KESHAB: "Why? We are getting on very well."

At the Master's repeated request Keshab began the worship. In the midst of it Sri Ramakrishna suddenly stood up and went into samadhi. The Brahmo devotees sang:

Chant, O mind, the name of Hari,
Sing aloud the name of Hari,
Praise Lord Hari's name!
And praising Hari's name, O mind,
Cross the ocean of this world. . . .

The Master still stood there absorbed in ecstasy. Keshab led him down very carefully from the. temple to the courtyard. The music went on. The Master danced to the music, the devotees dancing around him.

After the refreshments Sri Ramakrishna again talked with Keshab. Soon he began to sing. Keshab sang with the Master:

The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delight
To the blue lotus Hower of Mother Syama's feet,
The blue flower of the feet of Kali, Siva's Consort;
Tasteless, to the bee, are the blossoms of desire.
My Mother's feet are black, and black, too, is the bee;
Black is made one with black! This much of the mystery
My mortal eyes behold, then hastily retreat.
But Kamalakanta's hopes are answered in the end;
He swims in the Sea of Bliss, unmoved by joy or pain.

Again they sang:

High in the heaven of the Mother's feet, my mind was soaring like a kite,
When came a blast of sin's rough wind that drove it swiftly toward the earth. . . .

Both Keshab and the Master were in a state of divine fervour. The other devotees joined them and sang and danced till midnight.

The Master rested a few minutes and then said to Keshab: "Why did you send me presents when your son was married? What shall I do with them? Take them back."

Keshab smiled a little, and the Master continued: "Why do you write about me in your paper? You cannot make a man great by writing about him in books and magazines. If God makes a man great, then everybody knows about him even though he lives in a fotest. When flowers bloom in the deep woods, the bees find them, but the flies do not. What can man do? Don't look up to him. Man is but a worm. The tongue that praises you today will abuse you tomorrow. I don't want name and fame. May I always remain the humblest of the humble and the lowliest of the lowly!"

Appendix - B

(Written to M. by Aswini Kumar Dutta, one of the saintly patriots of Bengal.)

My beloved brother M.,

Three days ago I received the fourth part of the Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita sent by you, and today I have finished reading it. You are blessed indeed. What heavenly nectar you have sprinkled all over the country! ... A long time ago you wanted me to set down my conversations with the Master. Now I shall try to write them for you. But I was not born under the lucky star of an M., that I might jot down the days, the dates, and the hours of my visits with the Master and note down correctly all the words uttered by his holy lips. In this letter I am giving you as many of my experiences as I remember. Very likely I shall confuse the events of one day with another - and I have forgotten many things.

It was probably during the autumn holidays of 1881 that I met Sri Ramakrishna the first time. I arrived at Dakshineswar in a country boat and, going up the steps of the landing-ghat, asked someone where the Paramahamsa was.

"There is the Paramahamsa", was the reply. A man was pointed out on the north verandah, which faces the garden. He was sitting reclining against a bolster. He wore a black-bordered cloth. At the sight of the bolster and the black-bordered cloth I said to myself, "What kind of paramahamsa is this?"

Going nearer, I found him half leaning against the bolster with his hands clasped around his drawn-up knees. Then I thought: "Evidently he is not used to pillows as gentlemen are. So perhaps he is the Paramahamsa." At his right, very near the pillow, sat a gentleman whose name, I came to know, was Rajendra Lal Mitra, later an Assistant Secretary to the Government of Bengal. A little farther off sat some others.

After a few moments the Master said to Rajendra Babu, "See whether Keshab is coming." Evidently Keshab Sen was expected that day.

Someone walked away a few steps and, coming back, said, "No, he isn't."

After a brief interval, hearing a sound outside, he said, "Please look once more."

Again someone went out and came back with the same reply. Then Sri Ramakrishna laughed and said, quoting a popular saying, "The leaves rustle outside, and Radha says, 'Oh, here comes my Sweetheart!'" Continuing, he said: "You see, Keshab always tantalizes me like this. It is his way."

At dusk Keshab came with his party. Keshab bowed low before the Master, touching the ground with his forehead. The Master returned his salutation in the same manner.

Shortly afterwards Sri Ramakrishna said, in a state of partial consciousness: "Look! He has brought the whole Calcutta crowd. I am supposed to deliver a lecture. I won't do anything of the sort. Do it yourself if you like. Lecturing is none of my business."

Still in the ecstatic mood, he said with a divine smile: "I shall eat, drink, and be merry. I shall play and sleep. But I can't give lectures."
As Keshab Babu watched him, he became overpowered with divine emotion. Every now and then he said, "Ah me! Ah me!"

I too watched the Master and said to myself, "Can this be pretence?" I had never seen anything like it before, and you know how deep my faith is.

Coming back from samadhi, the Master said to Keshab: "Keshab, once I went to your temple. In the course of your preaching I heard you say, 'We shall dive into the river of devotion and go straight to the Ocean of Satchidananda.' At once I looked up [at the gallery where Keshab's wife and the other ladies were sitting] and thought, Then what will become of these ladies?' You see, Keshab, you are householders. How can you reach the Ocean of Satchidananda all at once? You are like a mongoose with a brick tied to its tail. When something frightens it, it runs up the wall and sits in a niche. But how can it stay there any length of time? The brick pulls it down and it falls to the floor with a thud. You may practise a little meditation, but the weight of wife and children will pull you down. You may dive into the river of devotion, but you must come up again. You will alternately dive and come up. How can you dive and disappear once for all?"

Keshab Babu said: "Can't a householder ever succeed? What about Maharshi Devendranath Tagore?"

Twice or thrice the Master repeated softly, "Devendranath Tagore - Devendra - Devendra" and bowed to him several times.

Then he said: "Let me tell you a story. A man used to celebrate the Durga Puja at his house with great pomp. Goats were sacrificed from sunrise to sunset. But after a few years the sacrifice was not so imposing. Then someone said to him, 'How is it, sir, that the sacrifice at your place has become such a tame affair?' 'Don't you see?' he said. 'My teeth are gone now.' Devendra is now devoted to meditation and contemplation. It is only natural that he should be, at his advanced age. But no doubt he is a great man.

"You see, as long as a man is under maya's spell, he is like a green coconut. When you scoop out the soft kernel from a green coconut, you cannot help scraping a little of the shell at the same time. But in the case of a ripe and dry coconut, the shell and kernel are separated from each other. When you shake the fruit you can feel the kernel rattling inside. The man who is freed from maya is like a ripe and dry coconut. He feels the soul to be separated from the body. They are no longer connected with each other.

"It is the 'I' that creates all the trouble. Won't this wretched ego ever leave a person? You see a peepal-tree growing from the rubbish of a tumble-down house. You cut it down today, but tomorrow you find a new sprout shooting up. It is the same with the ego. You may wash seven times a cup that onions have been kept in, but the wretched smell never leaves it."

In the course of the conversation he said to Keshab: "Well, Keshab, I understand that your Calcutta babus say that God does not exist. Is that true? A Calcutta babu wants to climb the stairs. He takes one step, but before taking the next he cries out: 'Oh, my side! My side!' and drops down unconscious. His relatives raise a hue and cry and send for a doctor; but before the doctor arrives the man is very likely dead. And people of such stamina say, 'There is no God'!"
After an hour or so the kirtan began. What I saw then I shall never forget either in this life or in the lives to come. Everybody danced, Keshab included. The Master was in the centre. All danced around him in a circle. During the dancing Sri Ramakrishna suddenly stood motionless, transfixed in samadhi. A long time passed this way. After hearing his words and seeing all this, I said to myself, "Yes, a paramahamsa indeed!"

Another day, probably in 1883, I visited the Master with a few young men from Srerampore. Looking at them, he asked, "Why have they come here?"

MYSELF: "To see you."

MASTER: "What's there to see in me? Why don't they look at the buildings and temples?"

MYSELF: "Sir, they haven't come to see those things. They have come to see you."

MASTER: "Ah! Then they must be flints. There is fire in them. You may keep a flint under water a thousand years, but the moment you strike it, sparks come out. They must be of that type. But it will be useless to try to strike fire out of me!"

At this last remark we all laughed. I do not recall now what other things he said to us that day. But it seems to me he told us about the renunciation of "woman and gold" and the impossibility of getting rid of the ego.

I visited him another day. When I bowed down to him and took a seat, he said, "Can you bring me some of that stuff - a little sour, a little sweet - that begins to fizz when you push down the cork?"

MYSELF: "Lemonade?"

MASTER: "Why don't you bring a bottle for me?"

I think I brought him a bottle. So far as I remember, I was alone with him that day. I asked him a few questions.

MYSELF: "Do you observe caste?"

MASTER: "How can I say yes? I ate curry at Keshab Sen's house. Let me tell you what once happened to me. A man with a long beard (Perhaps the Master meant a Mohammedan) brought some ice here, but I didn't feel like eating it. A little later someone brought me a piece of ice from the same man, and I ate it with great relish. You see, caste restrictions fall away of themselves. As coconut and palm trees grow up, the branches drop off of themselves. Caste conventions drop off like that. But don't tear them off as those fools do [meaning the Brahmos]."

MYSELF "What do you think of Keshab Babu?"

MASTER "Oh, he is a saintly man."

MYSELF "And Trailokya Babu?"

MASTER "A fine man. He sings very well."

MYSELF "Shivanath Babu?"

MASTER "... A very good man. But he argues."

MYSELF "What is the difference between a Hindu and a Brahmo?"

MASTER "There is not much difference. In the serenade we have here, one flutist plays a single note right along, while another plays various melodies. The Brahmos play one note, as it were; they hold to the formless aspect of God. But the Hindus bring out different melodies; that is to say, they enjoy God in His various aspects.

"The formless Deity and God with form may be likened to water and ice. The water freezes into ice. The ice melts into water through the heat of jnana. Water takes the form of ice through the cooling influence of bhakti.

"The Reality is one. People give It various names. Take the case of a lake with four landing-ghats on its four banks. People who draw water at one ghat call it 'jal', and those who draw it at the second gnat call it 'pani'. At the third ghat they call it 'water', and at the fourth, 'aqua'. But it is one and the same thing: water."

I told the Master that I had met Achalananda Tirthavadhuta of Barisal.

MASTER "Isn't that Ramkumar of Kotrang?"

MYSELF "Yes, sir."

MASTER "How did you like him?"

MYSELF "Very much."

MASTER "Well, whom do you like better - him or me?"

MYSELF "Oh, can there be any comparison between you two? He is a scholar, an erudite person; but are you one?"

Sri Ramakrishna was a little puzzled at my reply and became silent. A moment later I said: "He may be a scholar, but you are full of fun! There is great fun in your company."

At this the Master laughed and said: "Well said! Well said! Right you are!"

He asked me, "Have you seen my Panchavati?"

MYSELF: "Yes, sir."

He told me a little of what he had practised there - his various religious austerities. He also told me about Nangta.

Then I asked him, "How can I realize God?"

MASTER; "You see. He is constantly attracting us, as a magnet attracts iron. But the iron cannot come to the magnet if it is covered with dirt. When the dirt is washed away, the iron is instantly drawn to the magnet. Weep for God and the tears will wash away the dirt from your mind."

As I was writing down his words, he remarked: "Look here. Only repeating the word 'siddhi' will not produce intoxication. You must actually get some hemp, rub it in water, and then drink the solution. .."

Later he said: "Since you are going to lead a householder's life, create a roseate intoxication in your mind with the thought of God. You will be doing your duties, but let that pleasant intoxication remain with you. You cannot, of course, like Sukadeva, be so inebriated with the thought of God that you will lie naked and unconscious. As long as you have to live in the world, give God the power of attorney. Make over all your responsibilities to Him; let Him do as He likes. Live in the world like a maidservant in a rich man's house. She bathes her master's children, washes them, feeds them, and takes affectionate care of them in many ways, as if they were her own children; but in her heart she knows very well that they do not belong to her. No sooner is she dismissed than all is over; she has no more relationship with the children.

"Before breaking open the jack-fruit you should rub your hands with oil in order to protect them from the sticky juice. Likewise, protect yourself with the oil of devotion; then the world will not cling to you and you will not be affected by it."

All this time Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the floor. Now he got up and stretched himself on his cot.

He said to me, "Fan me a little."

I began to fan him and he was silent.

After a while he said: "Oh, it's so hot! Why don't you dip the fan in water?"

"Ah!" I said. "You have your fancies, too!"

The Master smiled and drawled out, "And - why - not?"

"Very well!" I said. "Have your full measure of them."

I cannot express in words how immensely I enjoyed his company that day.

The last time I visited him - you have mentioned it in the third part of your book (Under May 23, 1885) - I had with me the headmaster of our school, who had just then graduated. You met him the other day. As soon as Sri Ramakrishna saw him, he asked me: "Where did you pick him up? He's a fine fellow!"

Then he continued: "You are a lawyer. You are very clever. Can you give me a little of your cleverness? The other day your father came here and stayed three days."

MYSELF "How did you find him?"

MASTER "A nice man. But now and then he talks nonsense."

MYSELF "Please help him get over it when you see him next."

At this Sri Ramakrishna smiled a little.

MYSELF "Please give us a few instructions."

MASTER "Do you know Hriday?"

MYSELF "Your nephew? I know him only by name."

MASTER "Hriday used to say to me: 'Uncle, please don't give out your stock of instructions all at once. Why should you repeat the same things over and over again?' I would reply: 'You fool, what's that to you? These are my words and if I like I shall repeat them a hundred thousand times. You keep quiet!'"

MYSELF (smiling): "Exactly so!"

A little later he sat up on the bed. He repeated "Om" several times and began to sing a song whose first line is:

Dive deep, O mind, dive deep in the Ocean of God's Beauty.

Hardly had he sung one or two lines when he himself dived deep and was lost in samadhi.

When the samadhi was over, he began to pace the room and with both hands pulled up the cloth he was wearing, till it reached his waist. One end of it was trailing on the floor and the other was hanging loose.

Nudging my companion, I whispered, "See how nicely he wears his cloth!"

A moment later he threw away the cloth, with the words: "Ugh! What a nuisance! Off with it!"

He began to pace up and down the room naked. From the northern end of the room he brought an umbrella and a stick, and asked us, "Are these yours?"

Scarcely had I replied no when he said: "I knew it. I can judge a man by his stick and umbrella. They must belong to that man who was here some time ago and swallowed a lot of my words without understanding them."

A few minutes later he sat down, still naked, on the northern end of his cot, facing the west, and asked me, "Well, do you consider me ungentlemanly?"

MYSELF: "Of course not. You are a perfect gentleman. But why do you ask me that?"

MASTER: "You see, Shivanath and others don't think I am a gentleman. When they come I have to wrap a cloth or something around me. Do you know Girish Ghosh?"

MYSELF "Which Girish Ghosh? The one who is in the theatre?"


MYSELF "I have never seen him. But I know him by reputation."

MASTER "A good man."

MYSELF "They say he drinks."

MASTER "Let him! Let him! How long will he continue that? Do you know Narendra?"

MYSELF "No, sir."

MASTER "I wish very much that you could meet him. He has passed the B. A. examination and is unmarried."

MYSELF "Very well, sir. I shall meet him."

MASTER "Today there will be a kirtan at Ram Dutta's house. You may meet him there. Please go there this evening."

MYSELF "All right."

MASTER "Yes, do. Don't forget."

MYSELF "It is your command. Shall I not obey it? Surely I will go."

He showed us the pictures in his room and asked me whether a picture of Buddha could be had.

MYSELF: "Very likely."

MASTER: "Please get one for me."

MYSELF: "Very well. I'll bring one when I come again." But alas, I never returned to Dakshineswar.

That evening I went to Ram Babu's house and met Narendra. In one of the rooms the Master sat reclining against a pillow. Narendra sat at his right, and I in front.

He asked Narendra to talk with me. But Narendra said: "I have a bad headache today. I don't feel like talking."

I replied, "Then let us put it off till another day."

And that came to pass in May or June of 1897, at Almora. The will of the Master had to be fulfilled, and it was fulfilled after twelve years. Ah, how happily I spent those few days with Swami Vivekananda at Almora! Sometimes at his house, sometimes at mine, and one day on the top of a hill with nobody accompanying us. I never met him after that. It was as if to fulfil the Master's wish that we saw each other at Almora.

I saw the Master not more than four or five times; but in that short time we became so intimate that I felt as if we had been class-mates. How much liberty I took while speaking with him! But no sooner had I left his presence than it flashed on me: "Goodness gracious! Think where I have been!" What I saw and received in those few days has sweetened my whole life. That Elysian smile of his, laden with nectar, I have locked up in the secret closet of my memory. That is the unending treasure of a hapless person like myself. A thrill of joy passes through my heart when I think how a grain of the bliss shed from that laughter has been sweetening the lives of millions, even in distant America. If that be my case, you may very well understand how lucky you are.

1775    Birth of Khudiram.
1791    Birth of Chandra Devi.
1805    Birth of Ramkumar.
1814    Khudiram settles at Kamarpukur.
1826    Birth of Rameswar.
1835    Khudirarn's pilgrimage to Gaya.
1836    Birth of Sri Ramakrishna, February 18, about 5:15 A.M.
1843    Death of Khudiram.
1845    Sri Ramakrishna's sacred thread ceremony.
1850    Ramkumar opens his school in Calcutta.
1852    Sri Ramakrishna comes to Calcutta.
1853    Birth of the Holy Mother, December 22.
1855    Dakshineswar Kali temple founded. Hriday at Dakshineswar. Sri Ramakrishna appointed priest of the Vishnu temple and then of the Kali temple.
1856    Death of Ramkumar. Realization of God and first God-intoxicated state of Sri Ramakrishna.
1857    Sri Ramakrishna's treatment under Gangaprasad.
1858    Haladhari as priest at Dakshineswar. Sri Ramakrishna goes to Kamarpukur.
1859    Sri Ramakrishna's marriage.
1860    Return to Dakshineswar. Mathur's vision.
1861    Death of Rani Rasmani. Meeting with the Brahmani. Tantra practice under the Brahmani. Second divine madness.
1863    Completion of Tantra practice. Meeting with Pundit Padmalochan. Chandra Devi comes to live at Dakshineswar.
1864    Sri Ramakrishna's' practice of the vatsalya bhava under Jatadhari. Practice of the madhur bhava. Initiation into sannyas by Totapuri.
1865    Akshay replaces Haladhari. Totapuri leaves Dakshineswar.
1866    Sri Ramakrishna in the Advaita plane for six months. Illness. Practice of Mohammedanism.
1867    Sri Ramakrishna at Kamarpukur. Brahmani takes leave.
1868    Pilgrimage. Meeting with Gangama.
1870    Tour with Mathur. Sri Ramakrishna at the Colootola Harisabha. Visit to Kalna and Navadvip.
1871    Death of Mathur.
1872    The Holy Mother's first visit to Dakshineswar. The Shorasi Puja.
1873    Death of Rameswar.
1874    The Holy Mother again at Dakshineswar.
1875    Sri Ramakrishna's first visit to Keshab Chandra Sen. Last visit to Kamarpukur.
1876    Death of Chandra Devi.
1877, 1878      Intimacy with Keshab. The Holy Mother's third visit to Dakshineswar.
1879    Coming of disciples begins.
1880    Meeting with Rakhal and Narendranath.
1881    Dismissal of Hriday.
1882    Visit to Pundit Vidyasagar. The Holy Mother again at Dakshineswar.
1884    Death of Keshab. Meeting with Pundit Shashadhar. Gopal Ma. The Holy Mother comes to live at Dakshineswar for the last time.
1885    Last visit to Panihati. Illness and removal to Syampukur. Association with Dr. Sarkar. Removal to Cossipore.
1886    Treatment at Cossipore. Organization of disciples. Mahasamadhi, August 16, at two minutes past 1 A.M.


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z
abhyasayoga:    Yoga, or union with God, through practice.
acharya:    Religious teacher.
adharma:    Unrighteousness; the opposite of dharma.
Adhyatma Ramayana:    A book dealing with the life of Rama and harmonizing ing the ideals of jnana and bhakti.
Advaita:    Non-duality; a school of the Vedanta philosophy, declaring the oneness of God, soul, and universe.
Advaita Goswami:    An intimate companion of Sri Chaitanya.
Adyasakti:    The Primal Energy; an epithet of the Divine Mother.
agamani:    A class of songs invokingDurga, the Divine Mother.
Ahalya:    The wife of the sage Gautama. Because of her misconduct she was turned into a stone by the curse of her husband. The sage, however, said that the touch of Rama's feet would restore her human form.
ahamkara:    Ego or "I-consciousness". See four inner organs.
Ajna:    The sixth centre in the Sushumna. See Kundahni.
ajnana:    Ignorance, individual or cosmic, which is responsible for the nonperception of Reality.
akasa:    Ether or space; the first of the five elements evolved from Brahman. It is the subtlest form of matter, into which all the elements are ultimately resolved.
Akbar:    The great Mogul Emperor of India (A.D. 1542-1605).
akshara:    Unchanging; also a name of Brahman.
Alekh:    (Lit., the Incomprehensible One) A name of God.
Amrita:    Immortality.
Anahata:    The fourth centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
Anahata Sabda:    Another name for Om.
Ananda:    Bliss.
anandamayakosha:    The sheath of bliss. See kosha.
Anandamayi:    (Lit., Full of Bliss) An epithet of the Divine Mother.
anna:    A small Indian coin, one sixteenth of a rupee.
annamayakosha:    The gross physical sheath. See kosha.
Annapurna:    A name of the Divine Mother as the Giver of Food.
antaranga:    Belonging to the inner circle; generally used with reference to an intimate disciple.
arati:    Worship of the Deity accompanied by the waving of lights.
Arjuna:    A hero of the Mahabharata and the friend of Krishna. See Pandavas.
artha:    Wealth, one of the four ends of human pursuit. See four fruits.
asana:    Seat.
asat:    Unreal.
ashtami:    The eighth day of either lunar fortnight.
Ashtavakra Samhita:    A standard book on Advaita Vedanta.
asrama:    Hermitage; also any one of the four stages of life: the celibate student stage, the married house-holder stage, the stage of retirement and contemplation, and the stage of religious mendicancy.
Assam:    A province in the northeast corner of India.
asti:    Is, or being.
asura:    Demon.
aswattha:    The peepal-tree.
Aswin:    The sixth month in the Hindu calendar, falling in the autumn season.
Atma:    Self, same as Atman.
Atman:    Self or Soul; denotes also the Supreme Soul, which, according to the Advaita Vedanta, is one with the individual soul.
Atmarama:    Satisfied in the Self.
Aum:    Same as Om.
Avadhuta:    A holy man of great renunciation mentioned in the Bhagavata.
Avatar:    Incarnation of God.
avidya:    Ignorance, cosmic or individual, which is responsible tor the nonperception of Reality.
avidyamaya:    Maya, or illusion causing duality, has two aspects, namely, avidyamaya and vidyamaya. Avidyamaya, or the "maya of ignorance", consisting of anger, passion, and so on, entangles one in worldliness. Vidyamaya, or the "maya of knowledge", consisting of kindness, purity, unselfishness, and so on, leads one to liberation. Both belong to the relative world. See maya.
avidyasakti:    The power of ignorance.
Ayodhya:    The capital of Rama's kingdom in northern India; the modern Oudh.


baba:    The Bengali word for father.
babaji:    A name by which holy men of the Vaishnava sect are called.
babla:    A tree, the Indian acacia.
babu:    Well-to-do gentleman; also equivalent to Mr. or Esq.
Balai:    Pet name of Balarama, Sri Krishna's brother.
Balarama:    Sri Krishna's elder brother.
Banga:    Bengal.
Bankuvihari:    A name of Sri Krishna.
Baul:    (Lit., God-intoxicated devotee) Mendicant of a Vaishnava sect.
bel:    A tree whose leaves are sacred to Siva; also the fruit of the same tree.
Bhagavad Gita:    The well-known Hindu scripture.
Bhagavan:    (Lit., One endowed with the six attributes, viz. infinite treasures, strength, glory, splendour knowledge, and renunciation) An epithet of the Godhead; also the Personal God of the devotee.
Bhagavata:    A sacred book of the Hindus, especially of the Vaishnavas dealing with the life of Sri Krishna.
Bhagavati:    The Divine Mother.
bhairava:    An aspirant of the Tantrik sect; also denotes the God Siva, especially one of His eight frightful form.
bhairavi:    A nun of the Tantrik sect.
bhajan:    Religious music.
bhajanananda:    The bliss derived from the worship of God.
bhakta:    A follower of the path of bhakti, divine love; a worshipper of the Personal God.
bhakti:    Love of God; single-minded devotion to one's Chosen Ideal.
bhaktiyoga:    The path of devotion, followed by dualistic worshippers.
Bharadvaja:    A sage mentioned in the Purana.
Bharata:    A name of Arjuna; also a name of India.
Bhaskarananda:    A saint contemporary with Sri Ramakrishna.
bhava:    Existence; feeling; emotion; ecstasy; samadhi; also denotes any one of the five attitudes that a dualistic worshipper assumes toward God. The first of these attitudes is that of peace; assuming the other four, the devotee regards God as the Master, Child, Friend, or Beloved.
bhavamukha:    An exalted state of spiritual experience, in which the aspirant keeps his mind on the border line between the Absolute and the Relative. From this position he can contemplate the ineffable and attributeless Brahman and also participate in the activities of the relative world, seeing in it the manifestation of God alone.
bhava samadhi:    Ecstasy in which the devotee retains his ego and enjoys communion with the Personal God.
Bhavatarini:    (Lit., the Saviour of the Universe) A name of the Divine Mother.
bheda:    Difference.
Bhil:    A savage tribe of India.
Bhishma:    One of the great heroes of the war of Kurukshetra, described in the Mahabharata.
bhoga:    Enjoyment.
Bibhishana:    A brother of Ravana, the monster-king of Ceylon, whom he succeeded; but, unlike him, a faithful devotee of Rama.
Bodha:    Consciousness; Absolute Knowledge.
Bodh-Gaya:    A place near Gaya, where Buddha attained illumination.
Brahma:    The name by which the Brahmos invoke God.
Brahma:    The Creator God; the First Person of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Vishnu and Siva.
brahmachari:    A religious student devoted to the practice of spiritual discipline; a celibate belonging to the first stage of life. See four stages of life.
brahmacharya:    The first of the four stages of life: the life of an unmarried student. See four stages of life.
Brahmajnana:    The Knowledge of Brahman.
Brahmajnani:    A knower of Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna used the term "modern Brahmajnanis" to denote the members of the Brahmo Samaj.
Brahmamayi:    (Lit., the Embodiment of Brahman) A name of the Divine Mother.
Brahman:    The Absolute; the Supreme Reality of the Vedanta philosophy.
Brahmananda:    The bliss of communion with Brahman.
Brahmanda:    (Lit., the egg of Brahma) The universe.
Brahmani:    The Consort of Brahma.
Brahmani:    (Lit., brahmin woman) The brahmin woman who taught Sri Ramakrishna the Vaishnava and Tantra disciplines, also known as the Bhairavi Brahmani.
brahmara:    The black bee.
brahmarshi:    A rishi or holy man endowed with the Knowledge of Brahman.
brahmin:    The highest caste in Hindu society.
Brahmo:    Member of the Brahmo Samaj.
Brahmo Sabha:    The meeting of the Brahmos.
Brahmo Samaj:    A theistic organization of India, founded by Raja Rammohan Roy.
Braja:    Same as Vrindavan.
Brinde:    One of the gopis; also the name of a maidservant at the Dakshineswar temple garden.
Buddha:    (Lit., one who is enlightened) The founder of Buddhism.
Buddha-Gaya:    Same as Bodh-Gaya.
buddhi:    The intelligence or discriminating faculty. See four inner organs.


Captain:    Colonel Viswanath Upadhyaya of Nepal, the Resident of the Nepalese Government in Calcutta, and a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna. The Master addressed Viswanath as "Captain".
causal body:    One of the three bodies or seats of the soul, the other two being the gross body and the subtle body. It is identical with deep sleep.
chaddar:    An upper garment.
Chaitanya:    Spiritual Consciousness; also the name of a prophet born in A.D. 1485, who lived at Navadvip, Bengal, and emphasized the path of divine love for the realization of God; he is also known as Gauranga, Gaur, Gora, or Nimai.
Chaitanyalila:    A play by Girish Chandra Ghosh depicting the life of Sri Chaitanya.
Chaitra:    The last month in the Hindu calendar, falling in the spring season.
chakka:    A vegetable curry.
chakora:    A species of bird.
chakra:    Any one of the six centres, or lotuses, in the Sushumna, through which the Kundalini rises. See Kundalini.
chamara:    A fan made of a yak tail, used in the temple service.
chanabara:    A Bengali sweetmeat made of cheese, first fried in butter and then soaked in syrup.
chandala:    An untouchable.
Chandi:    A sacred book of the Hindus, in which the Divine Mother is described as the Ultimate Reality.
Chandidas:    The name of a Vaishnava saint.
chandni:    An open portico; the word is used in the text to denote the open portico at the Dakshineswar temple, with steps leading to the Ganges.
Chandravali:    One of the gopis of Vrindavan.
charanamrita:    The water in which the image of the Deity is bathed; it is considered very sacred.
chatak:    A species of bird.
chetana samadhi:    Communion with God in which the devotee retains "I-consciousness" and is aware of his relationship with God.
Chidakasa:    The Akasa, or Space, of Chit, Absolute Consciousness; the All-pervading Spirit.
Chidananda:    The bliss of God-Consciousness.
Chidatma:    The soul as embodiment of Intelligence and Consciousness.
Chinmaya:    The embodiment of Spirit.
Chintamani:    A mythical gem which has the power to grant its possessor whatever he may wish for; also a name of God.
Chit:    Consciousness.
Chitsakti:    The Supreme Spirit as Power.
chitta:    The mind-stuff. See four inner organs.
Chosen Ideal:    See Ishta.


daitya:    Demon.
dal:    Lentils; also a soup made from lentils.
Damodara:    A name of Krishna.
dana:    Ghost.
dandi:    A sect of sannayasis who always carry a staff.
dargah:    Burial place of a Mussalman saint, considered sacred.
darsanas, the six:    The six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, namely, the Samkhya of Kapila, the Yoga of Patanjali, the Vaiseshika of Kanada, the Nyaya of Gautama, the Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini, and the Vedanta or Uttara Mimamsa of Vyasa.
Dasahara:    A Hindu festival.
Dasaratha:    The father of Rama.
Dasarathi:    A mystic poet of Bengal.
dasya:    One of the five attitudes assumed by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal: the attitude of a servant toward his master.
Dattatreya:    The name of a great Hindu saint.
daya:    Compassion.
Dayamaya:    The Compassionate One.
Dayananda:    The founder of the Arya Samaj (A.D. 1824-1883).
deva:    (Lit., shining one) A god.
Devaki:    The mother of Sri Krishna.
devarshi:    A godly person endowed with Supreme Knowledge; an epithet generally applied to Narada.
devata:    Deity or god.
Devendra(nath) Tagore:    A religious leader of Sri Ramakrishna's time; father of Rabindranath Tagore.
devotee:    The word is generally used in the text to denote one devoted to God, a worshipper of the Personal God, or a follower of the path of love. A devotee of Sri Ramakrishna is one who is devoted to Sri Ramakrishna and follows his teachings. The word "disciple", when used in connexion with the Master, refers to one who had been initiated into spiritual life by Sri Ramakrishna and who regarded Sri Ramakrishna as his guru.
dharma:    Righteousness, one of the four ends of human pursuit; generally translated as "religion", it signifies rather the inner principle of religion. See four fruits. The word is also loosely used to mean "duty".
dhoti:    A man's wearing-cloth.
Dhruva:    A saint in Hindu mythology.
Dhruva Ghat:    A bathing-place on the Jamuna river at Vrindavan.
Dolayatra:    The Hindu spring festival associated with Sri Krishna.
dome:    One of the lowest castes among the Hindus.
Draupadi:    The wife of the five Pandava brothers.
Drona:    One of the great military teachers in the Mahabharata.
Dulali:    One of the pet names of Radha.
Durga:    A name of the Divine Mother.
Durga Puja:    The worship of Durga.
durva grass:    Common grass, used in worship.
Durvasa:    A sage with a very angry disposition, described in the Purana.
Duryodhana:    One of the heroes of the Mahabharata, the chief rival of the Pandava brothers.
Dvaita:    The philosophy of Dualism.
Dwapara:    The third of the four yugas or world cycles. See yuga.
Dwaraka:    The capital of Krishna's kingdom, situated in western India; one of the four principal holy places of India, the other three being Kedarnath, Puri, and Rameswar.


ego of Knowledge (of Devotion):    The ego purified and illumined by the Knowledge (or Love) of God. Some souls, after realizing their oneness with Brahman in samadhi, come down to the plane of relative consciousness. In this state they retain a very faint feeling of ego so that they may teach spiritual knowledge to others. This ego, called by Sri Ramakrishna the "ego of Knowledge", does not altogether efface their knowledge of oneness with Brahman even in the relative state of consciousness. The bhakta, the lover of God, coming down to the relative plane after having attained samadhi, retains the "I-consciousness" by which he feels himself to be a lover, a child, or a servant of God. Sri Ramakrishna called this the "devotee ego", the "child ego", or the "servant ego".
eight fetters:    Namely, hatred, shame, lineage, pride of good conduct, fear, secretiveness, caste, and grief.
eight siddhis or occult powers:    Namely, the ability to make oneself small as an atom, light as air, etc.
ekadasi:    The eleventh day after the full or new moon, which a devotee spends in full or partial fasting, prayer, and worship.
ektara:    A musical instrument with one string.
"Englishman":    A term often used by Sri Ramakrishna in referring to men educated in English schools or influenced by European ideas.
esraj:    A stringed musical instrument.
ether:    Akasa or all-pervading space.


fakir:    Beggar; often a religious, mendicant.
five cosmic principles:    Namely, ether (akasa), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (ap), and earth (kshiti).
five vital forces or pranas:    Namely, prana, apana, samana, vyana, and udana. These five names denote the five functions of the vital force, such as breathing, digesting, evacuating, etc.
four fruits:    The four ends of human pursuit, namely, dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (fulfilment of desire), and moksha (liberation).
four inner organs:    The four inner organs of perception, namely, manas (mind), buddhi (the discriminating faculty), chitta (mind-stuff), and ahamkara ("I-consciousness").
four stages of life:    Namely, brahmacharya (life of unmarried student), garhasthya (life of married householder), vanaprastha (life of retired householder), and sannyas (life of monk).


gandharva:    A class of demigods whoare the musicians of heaven.
Ganesa:    The god with the elephant's head; the god of success, the son of Siva.
Ganga:    The Ganges.
Gangasagar:    The mouth of the Ganges at the Bay of Bengal, considered a sacred place by the Hindus.
ganja:    Indian hemp.
garden house:    A rich man's country house set in a garden.
garhasthya:    The second of the four stages of life: the life of a married householder. See four stages of life.
Gaur:    Short for Gauranga.
Gauranga:    A name of Sri Chaitanya.
Gauri:    (Lit., of fair complexion) A name of the Divine Mother; also the name or a pundit devoted to Sri Ramakrishna.
Gaya:    A sacred place in northern India.
Gayatri:    A sacred verse of the Vedas recited daily by Hindus of the three upper castes after they have been invested with the sacred diread; also the presiding deity of the Gayatri.
gerrua:    (Lit., ochre) The ochre cloth of a monk.
ghat:    Bathing-place on a lake or river.
ghee:    Butter clarified by boiling.
Ghoshpara:    A Vaishnava sect, the members of which generally indulge in questionable religious practices.
Giri:    One of the ten denominations of monks belonging to the school of Sankara.
Girirani:    (Lit., the Queen of the Mountain) Consort of King Himalaya and mother of Uma.
Gita Same as the Bhagavad Gita.
golakdham:    A game in which the player tries to get to "heaven" by passing through different planes; on each false step he falls into a particular "hell".
Goloka:    The Celestial Abode of Vishnu.
Gopala:    The Baby Krishna.
gopas:    The cowherd boys of Vrindavan, playmates of Sri Krishna.
gopis:    The milkmaids of Vrindavan, companions and devotees of Sri Krishna.
Gora:    A name of Sri Chaitanya.
goswami:    Vaishnava priest.
Govardhan:    A hill near Vrindavan, which Sri Krishna lifted with His finger to protect the villagers from a deluge of rain.
Govinda(ji):    A name of Sri Krishna.
gram:    A kind of bean.
Great Cause:    The Ultimate Reality.
Guhaka:    An untouchable who was a friend of Rama.
guna:    According to the Samkhya philosophy, Prakriti (nature), in contrast with Purusha (soul), consists of three gunas (qualities or strands) known as sattva, rajas, and tamas. Tamas stands for inertia or dullness, rajas for activity or restlessness, and sattva for balance or wisdom.
guru(deva):    Spiritual teacher.
Gurumaharaj:    A respectful way of referring to the guru.


Haladhari:    A priest in the temple garden at Dakshineswar and a cousin of Sri Ramakrishna.
Haldarpukur:    A small lake at Kamarpukur.
halua:    A pudding made of farina.
Hanuman:    The great monkey devotee of Rama, mentioned in the Ramayana.
Hara:    A name of Siva.
Hardwar:    A sacred place on the bank of the Ganges at the foot of the Himalayas.
Hari:    God; a name of Vishnu, the Ideal Deity of the Vaishnavas.
Haridas:    A disciple of Sri Chaitanya.
Hari Om:    Sacred words by which God is often invoked.
hathayoga:    A school of yoga that aims chiefly at physical health and wellbeing.
hathayogi:    A student of hathayoga.
havishya:    Food consisting of boiled rice, butter, and milk, and considered very holy.
Hazra:    A devotee who lived at the Dakshineswar temple garden and was of a perverse disposition. Same as Pratap Hazra.
"hero":    A religious aspirant described in the Tantra, who is permitted sexual intercourse under certain conditions.
hide-and-seek:    The Indian game of hide-and-seek, in which the leader. known as the "granny", bandages the eyes of the players and hides herself. The players are supposed to find her. If any player can touch her, the bandage is removed from his eyes and he is released from the game.
hinche:    A kind of aquatic plant eaten as greens.
Hiranyakasipu:    A demon king in Hindu mythology, the father of Prahlada.
Hiranyaksha:    A demon in Hindu mythology.
Holy Mother:    The name by which Sri Ramakrishna's wife was known among his devotees.
homa:    A Vedic sacrifice in which oblations are offered into a fire.
Hriday:    Sri Ramakrishna's nephew, who served as his attendant during the period of his spiritual discipline. Also called Hridu and Hride. He was expelled from the temple garden at Dakshineswar on account of certain of his actions which displeased the temple authorities.
Hrishikesh:    A village on the Ganges at the foot of the Himalayas, where sadhus practise austerities.
hubble-bubble:    A water-pipe for smoking.


Ida:    A nerve in the spinal column. See Sushumna.
Indra:    The king of the gods.
Indrani:    The consort of Indra.
Ishan:    A name of Siva; also the name of a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna.
Ishta(deva):    The Chosen Ideal, Spiritual Ideal, or Ideal Deity of the devotee.
Isvara:    The Personal God.
Isvarakoti:    A perfected soul born with a special spiritual message for humanity. "An Incarnation of God or one born with some of the characteristics of an Incarnation is called an Isvarakoti." (Sri Ramakrishna)


Jadabharata:    A great saint in Hindu mythology.
jada samadhi:    Communion with God in which the aspirant appears lifeless, like an inert object.
Jagadamba:    (Lit., the Mother of the Universe) A name of the Divine Mother.
Jagai:    Jagai and Madhai were two ruffians redeemed by Gauranga.
Jagannath:    The Lord of the Universe; a name of Vishnu.
Jagannath:    temple The celebrated temple at Puri.
Jagaddhatri:    (Lit., the Bearer of the Universe) A name of the Divine Mother. In this form She is represented as riding a lion in the act of subduing an elephant.
jal:    The Bengali word for water.
Jamuna:    The sacred river Jumna, a tributary of the Ganges.
Janaka, King:    One of the ideal kings in Hindu mythology and the father of Sita. Sri Ramakrishna often described him as the ideal householder, who combined yoga with enjoyment of the world.
japa:    Repetition of God's name.
Jatila and Kutila:    Two trouble-makers depicted in the Bhagavata, in the episode of Sri Krishna and the gopis of Vrindavan.
jilipi:    A kind of sweetmeat.
jiva:    The embodied soul; a living being; an ordinary man.
jivakoti:    An ordinary man.
jivanmukta:    One liberated from maya while living in the body.
jivatma:    The embodied soul.
jnana:    Knowledge of God arrived at through reasoning and discrimination; also denotes the process of reasoning by which the Ultimate Truth is attained. The word is generally used to denote the knowledge by which one is aware of one's identity with Brahman.
jnanayoga:    The path of knowledge, consisting of discrimination, renunciation, and other disciplines.
jnani:    One who follows the path of knowledge and discrimination to realize God; generally used to denote a non-dualist.
Jung Bahadur:    A high official of the Maharaja of Nepal.


"ka":    The first consonant of the Sanskrit alphabet.
Kabir:    A medieval religious reformer, mystic, and writer of songs. He lived during the last part of the fifteenth and the early part of the sixteenth century. Born in the low caste of the weavers, he became the founder of a religious sect. On account of the breadth and universality of his teachings, he was revered by the Mohammedans and the Hindus alike.
kadamba:    A favourite tree of Sri Krishna.
Kaikeyi:    One of the wives of King Dasaratha and the mother of Bharata; through her evil machinations the king banished Rama to the forest.
Kailas:    A peak of the Himalayas, regarded as the sacred Abode of Siva.
kaivarta:    The fisherman caste.
Kala:    A name of Siva; black; death; time.
Kali:    A name of the Divine Mother; the presiding Deity of the Dakshineswar temple. She is often referred to and addressed by Sri Ramakrishna as the Adyasakti, the Primal Energy.
kalia:    A rich preparation of fish or meat.
Kalidasa:    The great Sanskrit poet and author of Sakuntala.
Kalighat:    A section of northern Calcutta, where is situated the famous temple of Kali.
Kaliya:    The name of a venomous snake subdued by Sri Krishna.
Kaliyadaman Ghat:    A bathing-place on the Jamuna at Vrindavan, where Sri Krishna subdued the snake Kaliya.
Kaliyuga:    One of the four yugas or cycles. See yuga.
Kalki:    The name of the next and last Incarnation, according to the Purana.
kalmi:    An aquatic creeper with numerous ramifications.
Kalpataru:    The Wish-fulfilling Tree; refers to God.
kama:    Fulfilment of desire, one of the four ends of human pursuit. See four fruits.
Kamalakanta:    A mystic poet of Bengal.
kamandalu:    The water-bowl of a monk.
Kamarpukur:    Sri Ramakrishna's birthplace.
kaminikanchan:    (Lit., "woman and gold") A term used by Sri Ramakrishna to refer to lust and greed.
Kamsa:    Sri Krishna's uncle, the personification of evil, whom Sri Krishna ultimately killed.
Kanai:    A pet name of the youthful Sri Krishna.
Kanchi:    A holy place in southern India.
Kapila:    A great sage in Hindu mythology, the reputed author of the Samkhya philosophy.
karana:    Cause; also consecrated wine.
karma:    Action in general; duty; ritualistic worship.
karmayoga:    (Lit., union with God through action) The path by which the aspirant seeks to realize God through work without attachment; also the ritualistic worship prescribed in the scriptures for realizing God.
Kama:    A hero of the Mahabharata.
karta:    Doer; master.
Kartabhaja:    A minor Vaishnava sect which teaches that men and women should live together in the relationship of love and gradually idealize their love by looking on each other as divine.
Kartika:    A son of Siva; commander-in-chief of the army in heaven.
Kasi:    Benares.
kathak:    A professional reciter of stories from the Purana in an assembly.
Katyayani:    A name of the Divine Mother.
Kausalya:    The mother of Rama.
kaviraj:    Native physician of India.
kayastha:    One of the subsidiary castes in Bengal.
Kedar(nath):    A high peak in the Himalayas; one of the four principal holy places of India, the other three being Dwaraka, Puri, and Rameswar.
Kesava:    A name of Sri Krishna.
Keshab Bharati:    The monastic teacher of Sri Chaitanya.
Keshab (Chandra Sen):    The celebrated Brahmo leader (A.D. 1838-1884).
Kha:    (Lit, akasa) A symbol of the All-pervading Consciousness.
khoka:    Baby.
kirtan:    Devotional music, often accompanied by dancing.
kirtani:    A professional woman singer of kirtan.
kosakusi:    Metal articles used in worship.
kosha:    (Lit., sheath or covering) The following are the five koshas as described in the Vedanta philosophy: (1) the annamayakosha, or gross physical sheath, made of and sustained by food; (2) the pranamayakosha, or vital sheath, consisting of the five vital forces; (3) the manomayakosha, or mental sheath; (4) the vijnanamayakosha, or sheath of intelligence; and (5) the anandamayakosha, or sheath of bliss. These five sheaths, arranged one inside the other, cover the Soul, which is the innermost of all and untouched by the characteristics of the sheaths.
koul:    A worshipper of Kali who follows the "left-hand" rituals of the Tantra.
kripasiddha:    One who attains perfection through the grace of God and apparently without any effort.
Krishna:    One of the Ideal Deities of the Vaishnavas.
Krishnachaitanya:    A name of Sri Chaitanya.
Krishnayatra:    A theatrical performance depicting the life of Sri Krishna.
kshara:    Changeable.
kshatriya:    The second or warrior caste in Hindu society.
kshir:    Milk thickened by boiling.
Kubir:    A Bengali mystic poet.
Kumara:    Sambhava A famous book by Kalidasa.
Kumari Puja:    (Lit., the worship of a virgin) A ritualistic worship prescribed by the Tantra, in which a virgin is worshipped as the manifestation of the Divine Mother cf the Universe.
kumbhaka:    Retention of breath; a process in pranayama, or breath-control, described in rajayoga and hathayoga.
Kumbhakarna:    A brother of Ravana mentioned in the Ramayana, who slept six months at a time.
kumbhamela:    An assembly of monks held every three years in one of several holy places in India.
Kundalini:    (Lit., the Serpent Power) It is the spiritual energy lying dormant in all individuals. According to the Tantra there are six centres in the body, designated as Muladhara,Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, and Ajna. These are the dynamic centres where the spiritual energy becomes vitalized and finds special expression with appropriate spiritual perception and mystic vision. These centres, placed in the Sushumna, form the ascending steps by which the Kundalini, or spiritual energy, passes from the foot of the spine to the cerebrum. When an easy pathway is formed along the Sushumna through these centres, and the Kundalini encounters no resistance in its movements upward and downward, then there is the Shatchakrabheda, which means, literally, the penetrating of the six chakras, or mystic centres. The Muladhara chakra, situated between the base of the sexual organ and the anus, is regarded as the seat of the Kundalini. The centres are metaphorically described as lotuses. The Muladhara is said to be a four-petalled lotus. The Svadhisthana chakra, situated at the base of the sexual organ, is a sixpetalled lotus. The Manipura, situated in the region of the navel, contains ten petals. The Anahata, placed in the region of the heart, is a twelve petalled lotus. The Visuddha, at the lower end of the throat, has sixteen petals. The Ajna, situated in the space between the eyebrows, is a two petalled lotus. In the cerebrum there is the Sahasrara, the thousand petailed lotus, the abode of Siva, which is as white as the silvery full moon, as bright as lightning, and as mild and serene as moonlight. This is the highest goal, and here the awakened spiritual energy manifests itself in its full glory and splendour.
kuthi:    The bungalow in the Dakshineswar temple garden, where the proprietors and their guests stayed while visiting Dakshineswar.


Lakshmana:    The third brother of Rama.
Lakshmi:    The Consort of Vishnu and Goddess of Fortune.
lila:    The divine play; the Relative.The creation is often explained by the Vaishnavas as the lila of God, a conception that introduces elements of spontaneity and freedom into the universe. As a philosophical term, the Lila (the Relative) is the correlative of the Nitya (the Absolute).
lotus:    Each of the six centres along the Sushumna is called a lotus, since they have a form like that of a lotus blossom. See Kundalini.
luchi:    A thin bread made of flour and fried in butter.


M.:    Mahendranath Gupta, one of Sri Ramakrishna's foremost householder disciples and the recorder of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
Madan(a):    The god of love in Hindu mythology; also a Bengali mystic and writer of songs.
Madhai:    See Jagai.
Madhava:    A name of Sri Krishna.
madhavi:    A creeper.
Madhu and Kaitabha:    Two demons killed by the Divine Mother; the story is narrated in the Chandi.
madhur:    One of the five attitudes cherished by the Vaishnava worshipper toward his Ideal Deity, Krishna: the attitude of a wife toward her husband or of a woman toward her paramour.
Madhusudan(a):    (Lit., the Slayer of the demon Madhu) A name of Sri Krishna.
Mahabharata:    A famous Hindu epic.
mahabhava:    The most intense ecstatic love of God.
Mahadeva:    (Lit., the Great God) A name of Siva.
Maha-Kala:    Siva; the Absolute.
Maha-Kali:    A name of the Divine Mother.
Mahakarana:    (Lit., the Great Cause) The Transcendental Reality.
Mahakasa:    The space of Infinity.
Mahamaya:    The Great Illusionist; a name of Kali, the Divine Mother.
Mahanirvana:    The great Nirvana or samadhi.
Mahanirvana Tantra:    A standard book on Tantra philosophy.
Maharshi:    (Lit., a great rishi or seer of truth) An epithet often applied to Devendranath Tagore, the father of the poet Rabindranath.
Mahashtami:    The second day of the worship of Durga, the Divine Mother.
mahat:    The cosmic mind; a term used in the Samkhya philosophy, denoting the second category in the evolution of the universe.
mahatma:    A high-souled person.
Mahavayu:    Cosmic Consciousness or the Life Force. The word is also used to denote a current felt in the spinal column when the Kundalini is awakened.
Mahavir:    (Lit., great hero) A name of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Rama.
mahut:    Elephant-driver.
Maidan:    A great field in Calcutta.
Malaya breeze:    The fragrant breeze that blows from the Malaya (Western Ghat) Mountains.
manas:    Mind. See four inner organs.
Manasoravar:    A sacred lake in Tibet.
Mandodari:    Ravana's wife.
Manikarnika Ghat:    The famous cremation ground in Benares.
Manipura:    The third centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
manja:    A glue of barley and powdered glass with which kite-strings are given a sharp cutting-edge.
manomayakosha:    The mental sheath. See kosha.
mantra:    Holy Sanskrit text; also the sacred formula used in japa.
Manu:    The great Hindu lawgiver.
Manusamhita:    A book on Hindu law by Manu.
Marhatta:    A race inhabiting the province of Bombay.
Marwari:    An inhabitant of Marwar, in Rajputana, in central India.
math Monastery.
Mathur:    The son-in-law of Rani Rasmani, and a great devotee of Sri Ramakrishna, whom he provided with all the necessities of life at the temple garden.
maya:    Ignorance obscuring the vision of God; the Cosmic Illusion on account of which the One appears as many, the Absolute as the Relative; it is also used to denote attachment.
"maya of ignorance":    See avidyamaya.
"maya of knowledge":    See avidyamaya.
mayavadi:    A follower of the Maya theory of the Vedanta philosophy, according to which the world of names and forms is illusory, like a dream.
Mimamsaka:    A follower of the Purva Mimamsa, one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy.
Mirabai:    A great medieval woman saint of the Vaishnava sect.
mlechchha:    A non-Hindu, a barbarian. This is a term of reproach applied by the orthodox Hindus to foreigners, who do not conform to the established usages of Hindu religion and society. The word corresponds to the "heathen" of the Christians and the "kafir" of the Mussalmans.
mohant:    The abbot of a monastery.
moksha:    Liberation or final emancipation, one of the four ends of human pursuit. See four fruits.
mridanga:    An earthen drum used in devotional music.
mukti:    Liberation from the bondage of the world, which is the goal of spiritual practice.
Muladhara:    The first and lowest centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
muni:    A holy man given to solitude and contemplation.
munsiff:    A judicial officer.
Mussalman:    A follower of Mohammed.


Nada:    The Word-Brahman, Om.
nahabat:    Music tower.
Naishadha:    A famous Sanskrit treatise by Sriharsha.
Nanak:    The founder of the Sikh religion and the first of the ten Gurus of the Sikhs. He was born in the Punjab in A.D. 1469 and died in 1538.
Nanda(ghosh):    Sri Krishna's foster-father.
Nandi:    A follower of Siva.
Nangta:    (Lit., the Naked One) By this name Sri Ramakrishna referred to Totapuri, the sannyasi who initiated him into monastic life and who went about naked.
Narada:    A great sage and lover of God in Hindu mythology.
Narada Pancharatra:    A scripture of the Bhakti cult.
Naralila:    God manifesting Himself as man.
Narayana:    A name of Vishnu.
Narayani:    The Consort of Narayana; a name of the Divine Mother.
Narendra(nath):    A disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, subsequently worldfamous as Swami Vivekananda.
Nareschandra:    A mystic poet of Bengal.
Narmada:    A river in central India flowing into the Arabian Sea.
natmandir:    A spacious hall supported by pillars in front of a temple, meant for devotional music, religious assemblies, and the like.
Navadvip:    A town in Bengal which was the birth-place of Sri Chaitanya.
Navavidhan:    (Lit., the New Dispensation) The name of the Brahmo Samaj organized by Keshab Chandra Sen after his disagreement with the members of the Brahmo Samaj.
nax:    A card-game.
neem:    A tree with bitter leaves.
"Neti, neti":    (Lit., "Not this, not this") The negative process of discrimination, advocated by the followers of the non-dualistic Vedanta.
New Dispensation:    See Navavidhan.
ni:    The seventh note in the Indian musical scale.
Nidhu Babu:    A composer of light melodies.
Nidhu Grove:    A sacred grove in Vrindavan, where Sri Krishna played with the gopis in His childhood.
Nidhuvan:    Same as Nidhu Grove.
Nikasha:    The mother of Ravana.
nikunja:    Bower.
Nimai:    A familiar name of Sri Chaitanya.
Nimai-sannyas:    "Chaitanya's Renunciation"; a play describing Sri Chaitanya's embracing of the monastic life.
Niranjan(a):    (Lit., the Stainless One) A name of God; also one of the intimate disciples of Sri Ramakrishna.
nirguna:    Without attributes.
Nirguna Brahman:    (Lit., Brahman without attributes) A term used to describe the Absolute.
Nirvana:    Final absorption in Brahman, or the All-pervading Reality, by the annihilation of the individual ego.
nirvikalpa samadhi:    The highest tate of samadhi, in which the aspirant realizes his total oneness with Brahman.
nishtha:    Single-minded devotion or love.
Nitai:    A pet name of Nityananda.
Nitya:    The Absolute.
Nitya-Kali:    A name of the Divine Mother.
nityakarma:    Religious ceremonies which a householder must perform every day, but which are not obligatory for a sannyasi.
Nityananda:    (Lit., Eternal Bliss) The name of a beloved disciple and companion of Sri Chaitanya.
nityasiddha:    (Lit., eternally perfect) A term used by Sri Ramakrishna to describe some of his young disciples endowed with great spiritual power.
Nrisimha:    (Lit., Man-lion) A Divine Incarnation mentioned in the Purana.
Nyaya:    Indian Logic, one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, founded by Gautama.


Olcott, Col.:    One of the well-known leaders of the Theosophical Society.
Om:    The most sacred word of the Vedas; also written as Aum. It is a symbol of God and of Brahman.
ostad:    Teacher of music.


Padmalochan:    A great pundit of Bengal, who recognized the true significance of Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual experiences.
pagli:    Mad woman.
pakhoaj:    A kind of double drum.
pana:    Aquatic plants like algae or water hyacinths, often found covering the surface of lakes in tropical countries.
Panchadasi:    The name of a book on Vedanta philosophy.
panchatapa:    (Lit., the austerity of five fires) While practising this discipline, the aspirant sits under the blazing sun, in the summer season, with four fires burning around him. Seated in the midst of these five fires he practises japa and meditation.
Panchavati:    A grove of five sacred trees planted by Sri Ramakrishna in the temple garden at Dakshineswar for his practice of spiritual discipline.
Pandava(s):    The five sons of Pandu: King Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva. They are some of the chief heroes of the Mahabharata.
pani:    Water.
Panini:    A well-known Sanskrit grammar composed by Panini.
Parabrahman:    The Supreme Brahman.
paramahamsa:    One belonging to the highest order of sannyasis.
Paramahamsa(deva):    A name for Sri Ramakrishna.
Paramatman:    The Supreme Soul.
Parashurama:    A warrior sage in Hindu mythology, regarded as a Divine Incarnation.
Parikshit:    A king of the lunar race and grandson of Arjuna, mentioned in the Mahabharata.
Parvati:    Daughter of King Himalaya; the Consort of Siva, She is regarded as an Incarnation of the Divine Mother; one of Her names is Uma.
Patanjala:    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, also known as the Yoga philosophy.
Pavhari:    Baba An ascetic and yogi of great distinction who was a contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna.
Phalgu:    A river in northern India which flows under a surface of sand.
pice:    An Indian coin, one fourth of an anna.
Pingala:    A nerve in the spinal column. See Sushumna.
Prabhas:    A holy place in Kathiawar, in western India, where Sri Krishna gave up His body.
Prahlada:    A great devotee of Vishnu, whose life is described in the Purana. While a boy, he was tortured for his piety by his father, the demon King Hiranyakasipu. The Lord, in His Incarnation as Man-lion, slew the father.
Prakriti:    Primordial Nature, which, in association with Purusha, creates the universe. It is one of the categories of the Samkhya philosophy.
prana:    The vital breath that sustains life in a physical body. See five vital forces.
pranamayakosha:    The vital sheath, consisting of the five pranas. See kosha.
Pranava:    Om.
pranayama:    Control of breath; one of the disciplines of yoga.
prarabdha karma:    The karma, or action, performed by a man is generally divided into three groups: sanchita, agami, and prarabdha. The sanchita karma is vast store of accumulated actions done in the past, the fruits of which have not yet been reaped. The agami karma is action that will be done by the individual in the future. The prarabdha karma is action that has begun to fructify, the fruit of which is being reaped in this life. It is a part of sanchita karma,inasmuch as this also is action done in past. But the difference between the two is that, whereas sanchita karma is not yet operative, the prarabdha has already begun to operate. According to Hindus, the fruit of all karmas must be reaped by their doer, and the character and circumstances of the life of the individual are determined by his previous karmas. Prarabdha is the most effective of all karmas, because its consequences cannot be avoided in any way. The realization of God enables one to abstain from future action (agami karma) and to avoid the consequences of all one's accumulated action (sanchita karma) that has not yet begun to operate; but prarabdha, which has already begun to bear fruit, must be reaped.
prasad:    Food or drink that has been offered to the Deity; also the leavings of a superior's meal. The name Prasad is short for, Ramprasad, a mystic poet of Bengal.
pravartaka:    A beginner in religion.
prema:    Ecstatic love, divine love of the most Intense kind.
prema-bhakti:    Ecstatic love of God.
Premdas:    A writer of devotional songs.
puja:    Ritualistic worship.
puli:    A kind of cake.
Purana(s):    Books of Hindu mythology.
purascharana:    The repetition of the name of a deity, attended with burnt offerings, oblations, and other rites prescribed in the Vedas.
Puri:    Situated in Orissa; it is one of the four principal holy places of India, the other three being Dwaraka, Kedarnath, and Rameswar; also one of the ten denominations of monks belonging to the school of Sankara.
purnajnani:    Perfect knower of Brahman.
Purusha:    (Lit., a man) A term of the Samkhya philosophy, denoting the eternal Conscious Principle; the universe evolves from the union of Prakriti and Purusha. The word also denotes the soul and the Absolute.


Qualified Non-dualism:    A school of Vedanta founded by Ramanuja, according to which the soul and nature are the modes of Brahman, and the individual soul is a part of Brahman.


Radha:    Sri Krishna's most intimate companion among the gopis of Vrindavan.
Radhakanta:    (Lit., the Consort of Radha) A name of Sri Krishna.
Radhakunda:    A place near Mathura associated with Krishna and Radha.
Radhika:    Same as Radha.
raga-bhakti:    Supreme love, making one attached only to God.
ragas and raginis:    Principal and subordinate modes in Hindu music.
Raghuvamsa:    The name of a Sanskrit treatise by Kalidasa.
Raghuvir:    A name of Rama; the Family Deity of Sri Ramakrishna.
Rahu:    A demon in Hindu mythology, said to cause the eclipse by devouring the sun and the moon.
Rajarajesvari:    (Lit., the Empress of kings) A name of the Divine Mother.
rajarshi:    A king who leads a saintly life; an epithet of Janaka.
rajas:    The principle of activity or restlessness. See guna.
rajasic:    Pertaining to, or possessed of, rajas.
Rajasuya:    The royal sacrifice, performed only by a paramount ruler.
Rajayoga:    The famous treatise on yoga, ascribed to Patanjali; also the yoga described in this treatise.
Rama(chandra):    The hero of the Ramayana, regarded by the Hindus as a Divine Incarnation.
Ramananda:    A devotee of Sri Chaitanya.
Ramanuja:    A famous saint and philosopher of southern India, the founder of the school of Qualified Non-dualism (A.D. 1017-1137).
Ramayana:    A famous Hindu epic.
Rambha:    The name of a celestial maiden.
Rameswar:    Situated at the southern-most extremity of India and considered one of its four principal holy places, the other three being Dwaraka, Kedarnath, and Puri.
Ramlal:    A nephew of Sri Ramakrishna and a priest in the Kali temple at Dakshineswar.
Ramlala:    The Boy Rama; also the metal image of Rama worshipped by Sri Ramakrishna.
Ramlila:    A Hindu religious festival depicting Rama's life, which is observed annually by the Hindus of northern India.
Ramprasad:    A Bengali mystic and writer of songs about the Divine Mother.
Rani:    (Lit., queen) A title of honour conferred on a woman.
rasaddar:    Supplier of provisions.
Rasmani, Rani:    A wealthy woman of the sudra caste, the foundress of the Kali temple at Dakshineswar.
Rathayatra:    The Hindu Car Festival.
Ravana:    The monster-king of Ceylon, who forcibly abducted Sita, the wife of Rama.
rishi:    A seer of Truth; the name is also applied to the pure souls to whom were revealed the words of the Vedas.
Rudra:    A manifestation of Siva.
rudraksha:    Beads made from rudraksha pits, used in making rosaries.
Rukmini:    One of Sri Krishna's wives.
Rupa and Sanatana:    Two of the disciples of Sri Chaitanya.


sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni:    The notes of the Indian musical scale, corresponding to do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si.
sabha:    Assembly.
Sachi:    The mother of Sri Chaitanya; also the consort of Indra.
sadguru:    True teacher.
sadhaka:    An aspirant devoted to the practice of spiritual discipline.
sadhana:    Spiritual discipline.
Sadharan Brahmo Samaj:    A branch of the Brahmo Samaj.
sadhu:    Holy man; a term generally used with reference to a monk.
sagar:    Ocean.
saguna:    Endowed with attributes.
Saguna Brahman:    Brahman with attributes; the Absolute conceived as the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of the universe; also the Personal God according to the Vedanta.
Sahaja:    (Lit., simple one) The term by which a certain religious sect refers to God; also the natural state.
Sahasrara:    The thousand-petalled lotus in the cerebrum. See Kundalini.
Saiva:    A worshipper of Siva.
sakhya:    One of the five attitudes cherished by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal: the attitude of one friend toward another.
Sakta:    A worshipper cf Saktt, the Divine Mother, according to the Tantra philosophy.
Sakti:    Power, generally the Creative Power of Brahman; a name of the Divine Mother.
Sakuntala:    A celebrated play by Kalidasa.
salagram:    A stone emblem of God worshipped by the Hindus.
samadhi:    Ecstasy, trance, communion with God.
Sambhu:    A name of Siva.
Samkhya:    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy; founded by Kapila.
samsara:    The world.
samskara:    The tendencies inherited from previous births.
sanai:    A wind-instrument like an oboe.
Sanaka, Sanatana, Sananda, and Sanatkumara:    The first four offspring of Brahma, the Creator, begotten of His mind; they are regarded as highly spiritual persons.
Sanatana Dharma:    (Lit., the Eternal Religion) Refers to Hinduism, formulated by the rishis of the Vedas.
Sanatana Goswami:    A disciple of Sri Chaitanya and a great saint of the Vaishnava religion.
sandesh:    A Bengali sweetmeat made of cheese and sugar.
sandhya:    Devotions or ritualistic worship performed by caste Hindus every day at stated periods.
Sankara:    A name of Siva; also short for Sankaracharya, the great Vedantist philosopher.
Sankaracharya:    One of the greatest philosophers of India, an exponent of Advaita Vedanta (A.D. 788-820).
sannyas:    The monastic life, the last of the four stages of life. See four stages of life.
sannyasi:    A Hindu monk.
santa:    One of the five attitudes cherished by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal. It is the attitude of peace and serenity, in contrast with the other attitudes of love, which create discontent and unrest in the minds of the devotees. Many of the Vaishnavas do not recognize the attitude of santa, since it is not characterized by an intense love of God.
Santih:    Peace.
Sarada Devi:    The name of Sri Ramakrishna's wife, also known as the Holy Mother.
Sarasvati:    The goddess of learning and music.
sari:    A woman's wearing-cloth.
Sarvabhauma:    A great scholar and contemporary of Sri Chaitanya.
sastra:    Scripture; sacred book; code of laws.
Sat:    Reality, Being.
Satchidananda:    (Lit., Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute) A name of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality.
satrancha:    An Indian game similar to backgammon or parchesi.
sattva:    The principle of balance or wisdom. See guna.
sattvic:    Pertaining to, or possessed of, sattva.
Satyabhama:    A wife of Sri Krishna.
Savari:    The daughter of a hunter, and a great devotee of Rama.
sava-sadhana:    A Tantrik ritual in which a corpse (sava) is used by the worshipper as his seat.
savikalpa samadhi:    Communion with God in which the distinction between subject and object is retained.
seer:    A measure or weight equivalent to about two pounds.
siddha:    (Lit., perfect or boiled) Applies both to the perfected soul and to boiled things.
Siddhesvari:    A name of the Divine Mother.
siddhi:    The eight occult powers which the yogi acquires through the practice of yoga; perfection in spiritual life; the intoxicating Indian hemp.
Sikhs:    A religious and martial sect of the Punjab.
Simhavahini:    (Lit., One whose bearer is the lion) A name of the Divine Mother.
sishya:    Disciple.
Sita:    The wife of Rama.
Siva:    The Destroyer God; the Third Person of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Brahma and Vishnu.
six passions:    Namely, lust, anger, avarice, delusion, pride, and envy.
six systems:    See darsanas.
six treasures:    Namely, treasure, glory, strength, splendour, knowledge, and renunciation; these six in their entirety are the treasures of the God-head.
smriti:    The law books, subsidiary to the Vedas, guiding the daily life and conduct of the Hindus.
"Soham":    (Lit., "I am He") One of the sacred formulas of the non-dualistic Vedantist.
Sonthals:    A savage tribe of central India.
sraddha:    Faith.
sraddha:    A religious ceremony in which food and drink are offered to deceased relatives.
Sri:    Used as a prefix to the name of a Hindu man, corresponding to Mr.
Sridama:    A devotee and companion of Sri Krishna.
Srimati:    A name of Radhika; also used as a prefix to the name of a Hindu woman, corresponding to Miss or Mrs.
Srivas:    A companion of Sri Chaitanya.
sruti:    The Vedas.
sthita samadhi:    Samadhi, or communion with God, in which the aspirant is firmly established in God-Consciousness.
subadar:    An officer in the Indian army.
Subhadra:    The sister of Sri Krishna.
subtle body:    One of the three bodies or seats of the soul. At death the subtle body accompanies the soul in its transmigration; during the dream state the soul identifies itself with the subtle body. See causal body.
Sudama:    A devotee and companion of Sri Krishna.
sudra:    The fourth caste in Hindu society.
Suka(deva):    The narrator of the Bhagavata and son of Vyasa, regarded as one of India's ideal monks.
Sukracharya:    A holy man described in the Purana, and the spiritual preceptor of the asuras or demons.
Sumbha and Nisumbha:    Two demons slain by the Divine Mother. The story is told in the Chandi.
Sumeru:    The sacred Mount Meru of Hindu mythology, around which all the planets are said to revolve.
Sushumna:    Sushumna, Ida, and Pingala are the three prominent nadis, or nerves, among the innumerable nerves in the nervous system. Of these, again, the Sushumna is the most important, being the point of harmony of the other two and lying, as it does, between them. The Ida is on the left side, and the Pingala is on the right. The Sushumna, through which the awakened spiritual energy rises, is described as the Brahmavartman or Pathway to Brahman. The Ida and Pingala are outside the spine; the Sushumna is situated within the spinal column and extends from the base of the spine to the brain. See Kundalini.
Svadhisthana:    The second centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
Swami:    (Lit., lord) A title of the monks belonging to the Vedanta school.
Swamp:    A disciple of Sri Chaitanya.
swastyayana:    A religious rite performed to secure welfare or avert a calamity.
Syama:    (Lit., the Dark One) A name or Kali, the Divine Mother.
Syamakunda:    A place near Mathura associated with Sri Krishna.
Syamalasundara:    A name of Sri Krishna.
Syamasundar:    A name of Sri Krishna.


Tagore:    An aristocratic brahmin family of Bengal.
tamala:    A tree with dark-blue leaves, a favourite tree of Sri Krishna.
tamas:    The principle of inertia or dullness. See guna.
tamasic:    Pertaining to, or possessed of, tamas.
tanpura:    A stringed musical instrument.
Tantra:    A system of religious philosophy in which the Divine Mother, or Power, is the Ultimate Reality; also the scriptures dealing with this philosophy.
Tantrik:    A follower of Tantra; also, pertaining to Tantra.
tapasya:    Religious austerity.
Tara:    (Lit., Redeemer) A name of the Divine Mother.
tarpan:    A ceremony in which a libation of water is made to dead relatives.
Tattvajnana:    The Knowledge of Reality.
teli:    A member of the oil-man caste.
tilak:    A mark of sandal-paste or other material, worn on the forehead to denote one's religious affiliation.
Tillotama:    A celestial maiden.
Totapuri:    The sannyasi who initiated Sri Ramakrishna into monastic life.
Trailanga:    Swami A holy man who lived in Benares and was a contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna.
Tretayuga:    The second of the four yugas or cycles. See yuga.
tribhanga:    (Lit., bent in three places) An epithet of Sri Krishna.
Tukaram:    The name of a saint of Bombay.
tulsi:    A plant sacred to Vishnu.
Tulsi(das):    A great devotee of Rama and the writer of a life of Rama.
Turiya:    (Lit., the fourth) A name of the Transcendental Brahman, which transcends and pervades the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep.
twenty-four tattvas, or cosmic principles:    According to the Samkhya philosophy the twenty-four tattvas, or cosmic principles, are: the five great elements in their subtle forms (ether, air, fire, water, earth); ego, or "I-consciousness"; buddhi, or intelligence; Avyakta, or the Unmanifested (in which sattva, rajas, and tamas remain in an undifferentiated state); the five organs of action (hands, feet, organ of speech, organ of generation, organ of evacuation); the five organs of knowledge (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin); manas, or mind; and the five sense-objects (sound, touch, form, taste, smell). They all belong to Prakriti, or Nature, and are different from Purusha, or Consciousness.
twice-born:    A man belonging to the brahmin, kshatriya (warrior), or vaisya (merchant) caste, who has his second, or spiritual, birth at the time of his investiture with the sacred thread.


Uddhava:    The name of a follower of Sri Krishna.
Uma:    The daughter of King Himalaya, and the Consort of Siva; She is an Incarnation of the Divine Mother.
unmana samadhi:    Samadhi in which the functioning of the mind does not altogether stop.
upadhi:    A term of the Vedanta philosophy denoting the limitations imposed upon the Self through ignorance, by which one is bound to worldly life.
Upanishad(s):    The well-known scriptures of the Hindus.
upasana:    Worship.


vaidhi-bhakti:    Devotion to God associated with rites and ceremonies prescribed in the scriptures.
Vaidyanath:    A holy place in Behar.
Vaikuntha:    The heaven of the Vaishnavas.
vairagya:    Renunciation.
Vaisakh:    The first month of the Hindu calendar, falling in the summer season.
Vaiseshika:    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, founded by Kanada.
Vaishnava:    (Lit., follower of Vishnu) A member of the well-known dualistic sect of that name, generally the followers of Sri Chaitanya in Bengal and of Ramanuja and Madhva in south India.
vaisya:    The third or merchant caste in Hindu society.
Vajrasana:    A centre in the Sushumna.
Vali:    A king who was punished by God in His Incarnation as Vamana, or the Dwarf, for his excessive charity and condemned to rule over the nether world.
Vali:    A monkey chieftain mentioned in the Ramayana and killed by Rama.
Valmiki:    The author of the Ramayana.
vanaprastha:    The third of the four stages of life: the life of retirement, when husband and wife practise contemplation and other spiritual disciplines. See four stages of life.
Varuna:    The presiding deity of the ocean in Hindu mythology.
Vasishtha:    The name of a sage mentioned in the Purana.
Vasudeva:    The father of Sri Krishna.
Vasus:    A class of celestial beings.
vatsalya:    One of the five attitudes cherished by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal: the attitude of a mother toward her child.
Vedanta:    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, formulated by Vyasa.
Vedantist:    A follower of Vedanta.
Veda(s):    The most sacred scriptures of the Hindus.
vichara:    Reasoning.
Videha:    (Lit., detached from the body) An epithet given to King Janaka on account of the spirit of detachment he showed toward the world.
Vidura:    The name of a great devotee of Sri Krishna mentioned in the Mahabharata.
vidya:    Knowledge leading to liberation, i.e., to the Ultimate Reality.
vidyadhari:    Demigoddess.
vidyamaya:    The "maya of knowledge." See avidyamaya.
Vidyasagar, Iswar Chandra:    A great educator and philanthropist of Bengal.
vidyasakti:    Spiritual power.
vija mantra:    The sacred word with which a guru initiates his disciple.
Vijaya day:    The last day of the worship of Durga, when the image is immersed in water.
vijnana:    Special Knowledge of the Absolute, by which one affirms the universe and sees it as the manifestation of Brahman.
vijnanamayakosha:    The sheath of intelligence. See kosha.
vijnani:    One endowed with vijnana.
vilwa:    Same as bel.
vina:    A stringed musical instrument.
Virat:    The first progeny of Brahman in Hindu cosmology; the Spirit in the form of the universe; the All-pervading Spirit.
Visalakshi:    (Lit., the Large-eyed One) A name of the Divine Mother; also the name of a stream near Kamarpukur.
Vishnu:    The Preserver God; the Second Person of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Brahma and Siva; the Personal God of the Vaishnavas.
Visishtadvaita:    The philosophy of Qualified Non-dualism.
Visuddha:    The fifth centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
Viswamitra:    The name of a sage mentioned in the Ramayana. He was a companion and counsellor of Rama. Though born a kshatriya, by dint of his austerities he was raised to the status of a brahmin.
Viswanath:    See Captain.
viveka:    Discrimination.
Vivekachudamani:    A treatise on Vedanta by Sankara.
Vrindavan:    A town on the bank of the Jamuna river associated with Sri Krishna's childhood.
Vyasa:    The compiler of the Vedas and father of Sukadeva.


Wish-fulfilling Tree:    See Kalpataru.


Yama:    The King of Death.
Yasoda:    Sri Krishna's foster-mother.
yatra:    A country theatrical performance.
yoga:    Union of the individual soul and the Universal Soul; also the method by which to realize this union.
Yogamaya:    The union of Purusha, the male principle, and Prakriti, the female principle, of Reality; also Sakti, or Divine Power.
yoga samadhi:    The samadhi that results when the devotee is united with God.
Yogavasishtha:    The name of a wellknown book on Vedanta.
yogi:    One who practises yoga.
yogini:    Woman yogi.
Yogopanishad:    The name of an Upanishad.
Yudhisthira, King:    One of the principal heroes of the Mahabharata, known for his truthfulness, righteousness, and piety.
yuga:    A cycle or world period. According to Hindu mythology the duration of the world is divided into four yugas, namely, Satya, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali. In the first, also known as the Golden Age, there is a great preponderance of virtue among men, but with each succeeding yuga virtue diminishes and vice increases. In the Kaliyuga there is a minimum of virtue and a great excess of vice. The world is said to be now passing through the Kaliyuga.
Yugala Murti:    The conjoined figures of a pair; generally used to denote the combined figures of Radha and Krishna.


zemindar:    Landlord.

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