Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna [1]

FESTIVAL AT ADHAR'S HOUSE

Yoga and the six centres - The state of samadhi - Keeping individuality after samadhi - Two classes of paramahamsas - Paramahamsas as teachers of men - Master sings of divine joy - Renunciation, true and false - Prema, the rarest love of God - How to attain pure love of God - Degrees of knowledge - The time factor in spiritual progress - Master teaches M. - Master at Adhar's house - Narendra's music - Master in ecstasy.

Sunday, August 3, 1884

SRI RAMAKRISHNA was sitting in his room in the temple garden at Dakshineswar after his midday meal. A party of Bauls from Shibpur, several devotees from Bhawanipur, Balaram, and M. were in the room. Rakhal, Latu, and Harish were then living with the Master. They too were present.

The Master began the conversation by addressing the Baul musicians from Shibpur.

MASTER: "Yoga is not possible if the mind dwells on 'woman and gold'. The mind of a worldly man generally moves among the three lower centres: those at the navel, at the sexual organ, and at the organ of evacuation. After great effort and spiritual practice the Kundalini is awakened. According to the yogis there are three nerves in the spinal column: Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. Along the Sushumna are six lotuses, or centres, the lowest being known as the Muladhara. Then come successively Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, and Ajna. These are the six centres. The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: 'What is this? What is this?'

"After passing through the six centres, the Kundalini reaches the thousand-petalled lotus known as the Sahasrara, and the aspirant goes into samadhi.

"According to the Vedas these centres are called 'bhumi', 'planes'. There are seven such planes. The centre at the heart corresponds to the fourth plane of the Vedas. According to the Tantra there is in this centre a lotus called Anahata, with twelve petals.

"The centre known as Visuddha is the fifth plane. This centre is at the throat and has a lotus with sixteen petals. When the Kundalini reaches this plane, the devotee longs to talk and hear only about God. Conversation on worldly subjects, on 'woman and gold', causes him great pain. He leaves a place where people talk of these matters.

"Then comes the sixth plane, corresponding to the centre known as Ajna. This centre is located between the eyebrows and it has a lotus with two petals. When the Kundalini reaches it, the aspiiant sees the form of God. But still there remains a slight barrier between the devotee and God. It is like a light inside a lantern. You may think you have touched the light, but in reality you cannot because of the barrier of glass.

"And last of all is the seventh plane, which, according to Tantra, is the centre of the thousand-petalled lotus. When the Kundalini arrives there, the aspirant goes into samadhi. In that lotus dwells Satchidananda Siva, the Absolute. There Kundalini, the awakened Power, unites with Siva. This is known as the union of Siva and Sakti.

"When the Kundalini rises to the Sahasrara and the mind goes into samadhi, the aspirant loses all consciousness of the outer world. He can no longer retain his physical body. If milk is poured into his mouth, it runs out again. In that state the life-breath lingers for twenty-one days and then passes out. Entering the 'black waters' of the ocean, the ship never comes back. But the Isvarakotis, such as the Incarnations of God, can come down from this state of samadhi. They can descend from this exalted state because they like to live in the company of devotees and enjoy the love of God. God retains in them the 'ego of Knowledge' or the 'ego of Devotion' so that they may teach men. Their minds move between the sixth and the seventh planes. They run a boat-race back and forth, as it were, between these two planes.

"After attaining samadhi some souls of their own accord keep the 'ego of Knowledge'. But that ego does not create any attachment. It is like a line drawn on the water.

"Hanuman kept the 'servant ego' after realizing God in both His Personal and His Impersonal aspects. He thought of himself as the servant of God. The great sages, such as Narada, Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara, after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman, kept the 'servant ego' and the 'ego of Devotion'. They are like big steamships, which not only cross the ocean themselves but carry many passengers to the other shore.

"There are two classes of paramahamsas, one affirming the formless Reality and the other affirming God with form. Trailanga Swami believed in the formless Reality. Paramahamsas like him care for their own good alone; they feel satisfied if they themselves attain the goal.

"But those paramahamsas who believe in God with form keep the love of God even after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman, so that they may teach spiritual truth to others. They are like a pitcher brimful of water. Part of the water may be poured into another pitcher. These perfected souls describe to others the various spiritual disciplines by which they have realized God. They do this only to teach others and to help them in spiritual life. With great effort men dig a well for drinking-water, using spades and baskets for the purpose. After the digging is over, some throw the spades and other implements into the well, not needing them any more. But some put them away near the well, so that others may use them.

"Some eat mangoes secretly and remove all trace of them by wiping their mouths with a towel. But some share the fruit with others. There are sages who, even after attaining Knowledge, work to help others and also to enjoy the Bliss of God in the company of devotees. 'I' want to eat sugar. I don't want to be sugar.'

"The gopis of Vrindavan, too, attained the Knowledge of Brahman; but they were not seeking It. They wanted to enjoy God, looking on themselves as His mother, His friend, His handmaid, or His lover."
The Bauls from Shibpur began to sing to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument. A line in the first song was:

We are sinners: redeem us, O merciful Lord!

MASTER (to the devotees): "It is the attitude of a beginner to worship God out of fear. Please sing about God-realization - songs expressing divine joy.

(To Rakhal) "How well they sang that song the other day at Nabin Niyogi's house: 'Be drunk, O mind, be drunk with the Wine of Heavenly Bliss'! While singing religious songs one should not constantly refer to one's worries. One should rather feel joyous and ecstatic as one chants God's name."

A DEVOTEE: "Sir, won't you sing?"

MASTER: "What shall I sing? Well, I may sing when the spirit moves me."

After a few minutes the Master began to sing. His eyes were turned upward. He sang:

Behold the waves of Gora's ecstatic love;
Under them all the universe lies submerged!
And in his love I, too, long to be drowned.
O friend, Gauranga's love has swallowed me;
Who else feels for our misery like Gauranga,
Dragging us from the mire of worldliness?

He sang again:

Dive deep, O mind, dive deep in the Ocean of God's-Beauty;
If you descend to the uttermost depths,
There you will find the gem of Love. . . .

Then he sang about the Divine-Mother:

Can everyone have the vision of Syama? Is Kali's treasure for everyone?
Oh, what a pity my foolish mind will not see what is true! . . .

He continued:

The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delight
To the blue lotus flower of Mother Syama's feet. . . .

And again:

O Mother, what a machine (The human body) is this that Thou hast made!
What pranks Thou playest with this toy
Three and a half cubits high! . . .

As Sri Ramakrishna sang the last song he went into samadhi. The devotees sat speechless, gazing at his radiant figure. After some time he regained partial consciousness of the world and began to talk to the Divine Mother.
The Master said, "Mother, please come down from up there." Did he feel his mind still lingering in the seventh plane of consciousness, the thousand-petalled lotus of the Sahasrara?

"Please do come down", he said. "Don't torment me that way. Be still, Mother, and sit down.

"O Mother, everybody's future is determined by the tendencies of his previous births. What shall I say to these people? Nothing can be achieved without discrimination and renunciation."

Sri Ramakrishna had now regained full consciousness of the world, and he continued: "There are many kinds of renunciation. One of them may be called 'markatavairagya', 'monkey renunciation'. It is a false renunciation stimulated by the afflictions of the world. That renunciation doesn't last long. Then there is real renunciation. A man with everything in the world, lacking nothing, feels all to be unreal.

"It is not possible to acquire renunciation all at once. The time factor must be taken into account. But it is also true that a man should hear about it. When the right time comes, he will say to himself, 'Oh yes, I heard about this.'

"You must also remember another thing. By constantly hearing about renunciation one's desire for worldly objects gradually wears away. One should take rice-water in small doses to get rid of the intoxication of liquor. Then one gradually becomes normal.

"An aspirant entitled to the Knowledge of God is very rare. It is said in the Gita that one in thousands desires to know God, and again that among thousands who have such a desire, only one is able to know God."

A devotee quoted the text from the Gita.

MASTER: "As your attachment to the world diminishes your spiritual knowledge will increase. Attachment to the world means attachment to 'woman and gold'.

"It is not given to everybody to feel prema, ecstatic love of God. Chaitanya experienced it. An ordinary man can at the most experience bhava. Only the Isvarakotis, such as Divine Incarnations, esperience prema. When prema is awakened the devotee not only feels the world to be unreal forgets even the body, which everyone loves so intensely.

"In a Persian book it is said that inside the skin is the flesh, inside the flesh the bone, inside the bone, the marrow and so on but that prema is the innermost of all. One becomes soft and tender through prema. On account of this prema, Krishna became Tribhanga.

"Prema is the rope by which you can tether God, as it were. Whenever you want to see Him you have merely to pull the rope. Whenever you call Him, He will appear before you.

"The mature stage of bhakti is bhava. When one attains it one remains speechless, thinking of Satchidananda. The feeling of an ordinary man can go only that far. When bhava ripens it becomes mahabhava. Prema is the last. You know the difference between a green mango and a ripe one. Unalloyed love of God is the essential thing. All else is unreal.

"Once Rama was pleased with the prayer of Narada and told him to ask for a boon. Narada prayed for pure love and said further, 'O Rama, please grant that I may not be deluded by Thy world-bewitching maya.' Rama said: 'That is all right. But ask for something else.' Narada replied: 'I don't want anything else. I pray only for pure love.'

"How can a devotee attain such love? First, the company of holy men. That awakens sraddha, faith in God. Then comes nishtha, single-minded devotion to the Ideal. In that stage the devotee does not like to hear anything but talk about God. He performs only those acts that please God. After nishtha comes bhakti, devotion to God; then comes bhava. Next mahabhava, then prema, and last of all the attainment of God Himself. Only for Isvarakotis, such as the Incarnations, is it possible to have mahabhava or prema.

"The knowledge of a worldly person, the knowledge of a devotee, and the Knowledge of an Incarnation are by no means of the same degree. The knowledge of a worldly person is like the light of an oil lamp, which shows only the inside of a room. Through such knowledge he eats and drinks, attends to household duties, protects his body, brings up his children, and so on.

'The knowledge of a devotee is like the light of the moon, which illumines objects both inside and outside a room. But such light does not enable him to see a distant or a very minute object.

"The Knowledge of an Incarnation of God is like the light of the sun. Through that light the Incarnation sees everything, inside and outside, big and small.

"The mind of a worldly person is, no doubt, like muddy water; but it can be made clear by a purifying agent. Discrimination and renunciation are the purifying agent."

The Master spoke to the devotees from Shibpur.

MASTER: "Have you any questions to ask?"

A DEVOTEE: "We have listened to your words."

MASTER: "Yes, it is good to listen to these things. But nothing will happen except at the right time. What can quinine do for a fever patient when he runs a high temperature? Only when his temperature comes down through the use of 'fever mixture' or a purgative should quinine be prescribed. There are patients who get rid of their fever even without quinine. A child said to his mother, when he was put to bed, 'Mother, please wake me up when I feel the call of nature.' The mother said: 'My child, I shall not have to wake you. The urge itself will wake you.'

"Different kinds of people come here. Some come by boat with the devotees. But they do not enjoy spiritual talk. They keep nudging their friends and whispering: 'When shall we leave here? When are we going?' If the friends show no 'sign of getting up, they say, 'We would rather wait for you in the boat.'

"Those who have a human body for the first time need the experience of sense enjoyments. Spiritual consciousness is not awakened unless certain duties have been performed."

The Master was going to the pine-grove. With a smile he said to M., on the semicircular porch, "Well, what do you think of my state of mind?"

M. (smiling): "On the surface you are very simple, but inwardly very deep. It is extremely difficult to understand you."

MASTER (smiling): "True. It is like the cement floor of a house. People see only the outer surface and do not know how many materials there are under it."

It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. Balaram and several other devotees got into a country boat to return to Calcutta. It was ebb-tide in the Ganges. A gentle breeze was blowing from the south, covering the bosom of the sacred river with ripples. M. looked at the scene a long time. As the boat disappeared in the direction of Calcutta, he came back to the Master.

Sri Ramakrishna was going to the pine-grove. A beautiful, dark rain-cloud was to be seen in the northwest. The Master asked M.: "Do you think it will rain? Please bring my umbrella." M. brought the umbrella. Reaching the Panchavati, the Master said to Latu, who also accompanied him, "Why do you look so sickly?"

LATU: "I can hardly eat anything."

MASTER: "Is that the only reason? It is also a bad time of the year. Are you meditating too much? (To M.) I have a request to make of you. Please tell Baburam to stay with me a day or two during Rakhal's absence. Otherwise I shall feel very unhappy."

M: "Yes, sir. I shall tell him."

Sri Ramakrishna asked M. whether he thought that Baburam was guileless.

Presently the Master left them, going in the direction of the pine-trees. After a few minutes M. and Latu, standing in the Panchavati, saw the Master coming back toward them. Behind him the sky was black with the rain-cloud. Its reflection in the Ganges made the water darker. The disciples felt that the Master was God Incarnate, a Divine Child five years old, radiant with the smile of innocence and purity. Around him were the sacred trees of the Panchavati under which he had practised spiritual discipline and had beheld visions of God. At his feet flowed the sacred river Ganges, the destroyer of man's sins. The presence of this God-man charged the trees, shrubs, flowers, plants, and temples with spiritual fervour and divine joy.

Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room and sat on the small couch. He began to praise a medicine that a certain brahmachari had prepared for him. Referring to this man, Hazra said: "He is now entangled in many worldly anxieties. What a shame! Look at Nabai Chaitanya of Konnagar. Though a householder, he has put on a red cloth."

MASTER: "What shall I say? I clearly see that it is God Himself who has assumed all these human forms. Therefore I cannot take anybody to task."

HAZRA: "Narendra is again involved in a lawsuit."

MASTER: "He doesn't believe in Sakti, the Divine Mother. If one assumes a human body, one must recognize Her."

HAZRA: "Narendra says: 'If I believed in Sakti, all would follow me. Therefore I cannot.'"

MASTER: "But it is not good for him to go to the extreme of denying the Divine Mother. He is now under Sakti's jurisdiction. Even a judge, while giving evidence in a case, comes down and stands in the witness-box.

(To M.) "Have you seen Narendra lately?"

M: "Not during the last few days."

MASTER: "See him and bring him here in a carriage.

(To Hazra) "Well, what is his relation to this [meaning himself]?"

HAZRA: "He expects help from you."

MASTER: "And what about Bhavanath? Would he come here so frequently if he didn't have good tendencies? What about Harish and Latu? They always meditate. Why is that?"

HAZRA: "That's right. Why should they devote all their time to meditation? It is quite a different thing for them to stay here to attend to your personal needs."

MASTER: "Possibly you are right. Perhaps others may take their place now.

Hazra left the room, leaving the Master alone with M.

MASTER: "Does what I say in the state of ecstasy attract people?"

M: "Oh, yes. Very much."

MASTER: "What do people think of me? Do they think anything in particular about me when they see me in that condition?"

M: "We feel in you a wonderful synthesis of knowledge, love, and renunciation, and on the surface a natural spontaneity. Many divine experiences have passed, like huge steamboats, through the deep of your inner consciousness; still you maintain outwardly this utter simplicity. Many cannot understand it, but a few are attracted by this state alone."

MASTER: "There is a sect of Vaishnavas known as the Ghoshpara, who describe God as the 'Sahaja', the 'Simple One'. They say further that a man cannot recognize this 'Simple One' unless he too is simple. (To M.) Have I any ego?"

M: "Yes, sir. A little. You have kept it to preserve your body, and to enjoy divine love in the company of the devotees and impart spiritual knowledge to them. Further, you have kept this trace of ego by praying to the Divine Mother for it."

MASTER: "No. I have not kept it. It is God Himself who has left it in me. Can you tell me how I appear in the state of samadhi?"

M: "As you said a little while ago, you see the form of God when your mind rises to the 'sixth plane'. When you speak after that, your mind comes down to the 'fifth plane'."

MASTER: "It is God who does all these things. I do not know anything."

M: "That is why you attract people so much. Sir, I have a question to ask. There are two opinions in the scriptures. According to one Purana, Krishna is Chidatma, the Absolute, and Radha is Chitsakti, Its Divine Power; but according to another, Krishna Himself is Kali, the Primordial Energy."

MASTER: "This second view is held in the Devi Purana. According to it, Kali Herself has become Krishna. But what difference does it make? God is infinite, and infinite are the ways to reach Him."

M. remained speechless with wonder for a few moments and then said: "Oh, now I understand. As you say, the important thing is to climb to the roof. Our goal will be achieved if we can accomplish it by following any of the means - a rope or a pole."

MASTER: "It is through the grace of God that you have understood that. Without His grace doubt is never cleared up.

"The important thing is somehow to cultivate devotion to God and love for Him. What is the use of knowing many things? It is enough to cultivate love of God by following any of the paths. When you have this love, you are sure to attain God. Afterwards, if it is necessary, God will explain everything to you and tell you about the other paths as well. It is enough for you to develop love of God. You have no need of many opinions and discussions. You have come to the orchard to eat mangoes. Enjoy them to your heart's content. You don't need to count the branches and leaves on the trees. It is wise to follow the attitude of Hanuman: 'I do not know the day of the week, the phase of the moon, or the position of the stars; I only contemplate Rama.'"

M: "I now desire that my activities may be much reduced and that I may devote myself greatly to God."

MASTER: "Ah! Certainly your desire will be fulfilled. But a jnani can live unattached in the world."

M: "True, sir. But one needs special power to lead an unattached life."

MASTER: "That is also true. But perhaps you wanted the worldly life. Krishna had been enshrined in Radha's heart; but Radha wanted to sport with Him in human form. Hence all the episodes of Vrindavan. Now you should pray to God that your worldly duties may be reduced. And you will achieve the goal if you renounce mentally."

M: "But mental renunciation is prescribed for those who cannot give up the world outwardly. For superior devotees total renunciation is enjoined - both outer and inner."

Sri Ramakrishna was silent a few minutes and then resumed the conversation.

MASTER: "How did you like what I said about renunciation a little while ago?"

M: "Very much, sir."

MASTER: "Tell me, what is the meaning of renunciation?"

M: "Renunciation does not mean simply dispassion for the world. It means dispassion for the world and also longing for God."

MASTER: "You are right. You no doubt need money for your worldly life; but don't worry too much about it. The wise course is to accept what comes of its own accord. Don't take too much trouble to save money. Those who surrender their hearts and souls to God, those who are devoted to Him and have taken refuge in Him, do not worry much about money. As they earn; so they spend. The money comes in one way and goes out the other. This is what the Gita describes as 'accepting what comes of its own accord'."

The Master referred to Haripada and said, "He came here the other day."

M: "He knows how to sing the stories of the Purana, He sings melodiously about the life of Prahlada and the nativity of Sri Krishna."

MASTER: "Is that so? That day I looked into his eyes. They had an inward look. I asked him whether he meditated a great deal, but he sat with his eyes cast down and didn't answer. Then I said to him, 'Look here, don't strain yourself too much.'"

It was now dusk. Sri Ramakrishna, as was usual with him during this part of the day, chanted the names of God and turned his mind to contemplation. Soon the moon rose in the sky. The temples, courtyards, and trees were bathed in its silvery light, and millions of broken moons played on the rippling surface of the Ganges. Rakhal and M. were with the Master in his room.

MASTER (to M.): "Baburam says, 'Oh, the worldly life! God forbid!'"

M: "His opinion is based on mere hearsay. What does he know of the world? He is a mere child."

MASTER: "Yes, that is true. Have you noticed Niranjan? He is utterly artless."

M: "Yes, sir. His very appearance attracts people. How expressive his eyes are!"

MASTER: "Not only his eyes, but his entire person. His relatives proposed that he marry. At this he said, 'Why are you going to drown me?' (With a smile) Tell me this. People say that a man finds great pleasure in the company of his wife after the hard work of the day."

M: "That is no doubt true of those who think that way. (To Rakhal, with a smile) We are now being examined. This is a leading question."

Both Rakhal and M. were married.

MASTER (with a smile): "A mother says, 'I shall heave a sigh of relief if I can procure a "shade-tree" (The word means "wife") for my son. He will rest in its shade when scorched by the heat of the world.'"

M: "True, sir. But there are parents and parents. A father who is spiritually illumined doesn't give his children in marriage. If he does, his is a fine spirituality!"

Adhar Sen arrived from Calcutta and saluted the Master. After a few minutes he went to the temple of Kali, where M. followed him.

A little later M. was sitting at the bathing-ghat on the Ganges. The flood-tide had just set in. As he listened to the waters lapping against the bank, many pictures of Sri Ramakrishna's divine life flitted before his mind: the Master's deep samadhi, his constant ecstasy, his joy in the love of God, his untiring discourse on spiritual life, his genuine love for the devotees, and, above all, his childlike simplicity. Who was this man? Was it God who had embodied Himself on earth for the sake of His devotees?

Adhar and M. returned to the Master's room. Adhar had been to Chittagong, in East Bengal, on official duty. He was telling the Master about his visit to the Chandranath Hills and Sitakunda, sacred places of Chittagong.

ADHAR: "Near Sitakunda I visited a well where I saw fire in the water. It is always burning on the water with leaping tongues."

MASTER: "How is that possible?"

ADHAR: "The water contains phosphorous."

Presently Ram Chatterji entered the room. The Master said some kind words about him to Adhar.

MASTER: "Ram's presence in the temple garden has relieved us of many anxieties. He searches out Harish, Latu, and the others at meal-time. Very often they are absorbed in meditation in some corner of the temple garden. It is Ram who sees that they eat at the proper time."

Saturday, September 6, 1884

About three o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was seated in Adhar's parlour on the second floor. Narendra, the Mukherji brothers, Bhavanath, M., Hazra, and other devotees were with the Master.

Arrangements were being made for Narendra to sing: While he was tuning the tanpura, one of the strings snapped, and the Master exclaimed, "Oh! What have you done?" Narendra then tuned the drums. The Master said to him, "You are beating that drum, and I feel as if someone were slapping my cheek.

Referring to the kirtan, Narendra said: "There is not much rhythm in the kirtan. That's why it is so popular and people love it so much."

MASTER: "How silly! People like it because it is so tender and full of pathos."

Narendra sang:

Sweet is Thy name, O Refuge of the humble!
It falls like sweetest nectar on our ears
And comforts us, Beloved of our souls! . . .

He sang again:

O Lord, must all my days pass by so utterly in vain?
Down the path of hope I gaze with longing, day and night.
Thou art the Lord of all the worlds, and I but a beggar here;
How can I ask of Thee to come and dwell within my heart?
My poor heart's humble cottage door is standing open wide;
Be gracious, Lord, and enter there but once, and quench its thirst!

MASTER (to Hazra, smiling): "That was the first song he sang for me."

Narendra sang one or two more songs. Then Vaishnavcharan sang, describing the grief of the gopis at the sight of Krishna as king of Mathura:

O Hari, how shall we know You now?
In Mathura's royal splendour You have forgotten us....

MASTER: "Won't you sing that one -'O vina, sing Lord Hari's name'?"

Vaishnavcharan sang:

O vina, sing Lord Hari's name!
Without the blessing of His feet
You cannot know the final Truth.
The name of Hari slays all grief:
Sing Hari's name! Sing Krishna's name!
If only Hari shows His grace,
Then I shall never be distressed.
O vina, sing His name but once;
No earthly gem is half so rare.
Govinda says: In vain my days
Have passed. No longer may I float
Here in life's trackless ocean waste!

While listening to the song, the Master became abstracted. Saying "Ah me! Ah me!", he went into samadhi. The devotees were sitting around him, their eyes riveted on him. The room was filled with people.

The musician sang again. As he improvised new lines describing ecstatic love of God, the Master stood up and danced. He himself improvised lines and sang them with outstretched arms. Soon he went into samadhi and sat down, with his head resting on the bolster in front of him. The musician was also carried away with emotion and sang new songs. Sri Ramakrishna again stood up and began to dance. The devotees could not control themselves. They too danced with the Master. While dancing, Sri Ramakrishna every now and then went into deep samadhi. When he was in the deepest samadhi he could not utter a word and his whole body remained transfixed. The devotees danced encircling him. After a while, regaining partial consciousness, he danced with the strength of a lion, intoxicated with ecstatic love. But even then he could not utter a word. Finally, regaining more of the consciousness of the world, he sang again, improvising the lines. An intense spiritual atmosphere was created in Adhar's parlour. At the sound of the loud music a large crowd had gathered in the street.

Sri Ramakrishna danced a long time in the company of the devotees. When he resumed his seat, still tinged with the lingering glow of divine fervour, he asked Narendra to sing "O Mother, make me mad with Thy love".

Narendra sang:

O Mother, make me mad with Thy love!
What need have I of knowledge or reason? . . .

MASTER: "And that one - Upon the Sea of Blissful Awareness'."

Narendra sang:

Upon the Sea of Blissful Awareness waves of ecstatic love arise:
Rapture divine! Play of God's Bliss!
Oh, how enthralling! . . .

MASTER: "And that one too - 'In Wisdom's firmament'. Perhaps it is too long. Do you think so? All right, sing it slowly."

Narendra sang:

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

MASTER: "And won't you sing that one - The Wine of Heavenly Bliss'?"

Narendra sang:

Be drunk, O mind, be drunk with the Wine of Heavenly Bliss!
Roll on the ground and weep, chanting Hari's sweet name!
Fill the arching heavens with your deep lion roar,
Singing Hari's sweet name! With both your arms upraised,
Dance in the name of Hari and give His name to all.
Swim by day and by night in the bliss of Hari's love;
Slay desire with His name, and blessed be your life!

The Master improvised, "Be drunk with prema and weep, chanting Hari's sweet name." And, "Be mad with divine fervour and weep, chanting His name."

Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees rested awhile. Narendra said to the Master in a low voice, "Will you kindly sing that one?"

MASTER: "My voice has become a little hoarse."

After a few minutes he asked Narendra, "Which one?"

NARENDRA: "'Gaur, whose beauty delights the world.'"

Sri Ramakrishna sang, describing the beauty of Sri Chaitanya:

Who has brought Gaur to Nadia -
Gaur, whose beauty delights the world?
His face, covered with ringlets of hair,
Shines like lightning against a dark cloud. . . .

Again he sang, this time about the grief of a gopi at her separation from Sri Krishna:

I have not found my Krishna, O friend! How cheerless my home without Him!
Ah, if Krishna could only be the hair upon my head,
Carefully I should braid it then, and deck it with bakul-flowers;
Carefully I should fashion the braids out of my Krishna-hair.
Krishna is black, and black is my hair; black would be one with black.

Ah, if Krishna could only be the ring I wear in my nose,
Always from my nose He would hang, and my two lips could touch Him.
But it can never be, alas! Why should I idly dream?
Why should Krishna care at all to be the ring in my nose?

Ah, if Krishna could only be the bracelets on my arms,
Always He would cling to my wrists, and proudly I should walk,
Shaking my bracelets to make them sound, shaking my arms to show them;
Down the king's highway I should walk, wearing my Krishna-bracelets.

The music was over. The Master began to talk with the devotees.

MASTER (smiling): "Hazra danced."

NARENDRA: "Yes, a little."

MASTER: "A little?"

NARENDRA: "Yes. His belly danced too." (All laugh.)

Pundit Shashadhar's host had been thinking of inviting the Master for dinner.

MASTER: "I have heard that his host is not an honest man. He is immoral."

NARENDRA: "That is why you didn't drink the water he touched. It happened the first day you met Shashadhar at his house. How did you come to know he was immoral?"

MASTER (smiling): "Hazra knows of another instance. It happened at Sihore in Hriday's house."

HAZRA: "The man was a Vaishnava. He came with me to see you [meaning Sri Ramakrishna]. As soon as he sat in front of you, you turned your back on him."

MASTER: "We learnt later that he led an immoral life. (To Narendra) You used to say, at first, that these were all hallucinations."

NARENDRA: "How was I to know? Now I see that you are always right."

Adhar had prepared a feast for the Master and the devotees, and now he invited them to the meal. The Master said to the Mukherji brothers: "What? Won't you eat?" They said humbly, "Please excuse us."

MASTER: "But why? You are doing everything else. Why this hesitation only about eating the meal?"

Adhar was a low-caste Hindu. Therefore some of the Master's brahmin devotees hesitated to eat at his house. They came to their senses at last when they saw Sri Ramakrishna himself eating.

It was about nine o'clock. The Master was resting in the drawing-room with the devotees. He would soon leave for Dakshineswar.

The Mukherji brothers had arranged with a singer of kirtan to entertain the Master the following day. Ram was taking singing-lessons from this musician. Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra to come to Dakshineswar to hear the kirtan.

MASTER (to Narendra): "Come tomorrow, won't you?"

NARENDRA: "I shall try, sir."

MASTER: "You can bathe there and also take your meal. (Pointing to M.) He may dine there too. (To M.) Are you quite well now? I hope you are not on a diet."

M: "No, sir. I shall come."

Nityagopal was living at Vrindavan. Chunilal had returned from Vrindavan only a few days before, and the Master inquired about Nityagopal.

As Sri Ramakrishna was about to leave, M. saluted him, touching the Master's feet with his forehead. The Master said to him tenderly: "Then I shall see you tomorrow. Narendra! Bhavanath! Please come tomorrow." Then with several devotees he set out for Dakshineswar.

The other devotees returned home in the moonlit night, cherishing in their hearts the Master's ecstatic music and dancing.
 

AT DAKSHINESWAR

Signs of a perfect soul - Description of the Bauls - Different paths leading to God - Devotion to one's own path and respect for others' - The tides in the Ganges - Master in ecstasy - Advice to Adhar about renunciation - Signs of a real devotee - Master's genuine love for his disciples - God takes charge of His devotees - Living in the world after realization of God - Futility of mere study of scriptures - Futility of reasoning - Glory of God's name - Master at Jadu's garden - His worry over Rakhal's illness.

Sunday, September 7, 1884

IT WAS ABOUT ELEVEN O'CLOCK. The Master was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. He had not yet taken his midday meal.

Arrangements had been made with the musician Shyamdas to entertain the Master and the devotees with his kirtan. Baburam, M., Manomohan, Bhavanath, Kishori, Chunilal, Haripada, the Mukherji brothers, Ram, Surendra, Tarak, Niranjan, and others arrived at the temple garden. Latu, Harish, and Hazra were staying with the Master.

When M. saluted Sri Ramakrishna, the Master asked: "Where is Narendra? Isn't he coming?" M. told him that Narendra could not come.

A brahmin devotee was reading to the Master from a book of devotional songs by Ramprasad. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to continue. The brahmin read a song, the first line of which was: "O Mother, put on Thy clothes."

MASTER: "Stop, please! These ideas are outlandish and bizarre.' Read something that will awaken bhakti."

The brahmin read:

Who is there that can understand what Mother Kali is?
Even the six darsanas are powerless to reveal Her. . . .

MASTER (to M.): "I got a pain because I lay too long on one side while in samadhi yesterday at Adhar's house; so now I'll take Baburam with me when I visit the houses of the devotees. He is a sympathetic soul."

With these words the Master sang:

How shall I open my heart, O friend?
It is forbidden me to speak.
I am about to die, for lack of a kindred soul
To understand my misery.

Simply by looking in his eyes,
I find the beloved of my heart;
But rare is such a soul, who swims in ecstatic bliss
On the high tide of heavenly love.

MASTER: "The Bauls sing songs like that. They also sing another kind of song:

Stay your steps, O wandering monk!
Stand there with begging-bowl in hand,
And let me behold your radiant face.

"According to the Sakti cult the siddha is called a koul, and according to the Vedanta, a paramahamsa. The Bauls call him a sai. They say, 'No one is greater than a sai.' The sai is a man of supreme perfection. He doesn't see any differentiation in the world. He wears a necklace, one half made of cow bones and the other of the sacred tulsi-plant. He calls the Ultimate Truth 'Alekh', the 'Incomprehensible One'. The Vedas call It 'Brahman'. About the jivas the Bauls say, 'They come from Alekh and they go unto Alekh.' That is to say, the individual soul has come from the Unmanifest and goes back to the Unmanifest. The Bauls will ask you, 'Do you know about the wind?' The 'wind' means the great current that one feels in the subtle nerves, Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna, when the Kundalini is awakened. They will ask you further, 'In which station are you dwelling?' According to them there are six 'stations', corresponding to the six psychic centres of Yoga. If they say that a man dwells in the 'fifth station', it means that his mind has climbed to the fifth centre, known as the Visuddha chakra. (To M.) At that time he sees the Formless."

Saying this the Master sang:

Within the petals of this flower there lies concealed a subtle space,
Transcending which, one sees at length the universe in Space dissolve.

"Once a Baul came here. I asked him, 'Have you finished the task of "refining the syrup"? Have you taken the pot off the stove?' The more you boil the juice of sugar-cane, the more it is refined. In the first stage of boiling it is simply the juice of the sugar-cane. Next it is molasses, then sugar, then sugar candy, and so on. As it goes on boiling, the substances you get are more and more refined.

"When does a man take the pot of the stove? That is, when does a man come to the end of his sadhana? He comes to the end when he has acquired complete mastery over his sense-organs. His sense-organs become loosened and powerless, as the leech is loosened from the body when you put lime on its mouth. In that state a man may live with a woman, but he does not feel any lust for her.

"Many of the Bauls follow a 'dirty' method of spiritual discipline. It is like entering a house through the back door by which the scavengers come.

"One day I was taking my meal when a Baul devotee arrived. He asked me, 'Are you yourself eating, or are you feeding someone else?' The meaning of his words was that the siddha sees God dwelling within a man. The siddhas among the Bauls will not talk to persons of another sect; they call them 'strangers'.

"The Bauls designate the state of perfection as the 'sahaja', the 'natural' state. There are two signs of this state. First, a perfect man will not 'smell of Krishna'. Second, he is like the bee that lights on the lotus but does not sip the honey. The first means that he keeps all his spiritual feelings within himself. He doesn't show outwardly any sign of spirituality. He doesn't even utter the name of Hari. The second means that he is not attached to woman. He has completely mastered his senses.

"The Bauls do not like the worship of an image. They want a living man. That is why one of their sects is called the Kartabhaja. They worship the karta, that is to say, the guru, as God.

"You see how many opinions there are about God. Each opinion is a path. There are innumerable opinions and innumerable paths leading to God."

BHAVANATH: "Then what should we do?"

MASTER: "You must stick to one path with all your strength. A man can reach the roof of a house by stone stairs or a ladder or a rope-ladder or a rope or even by a bamboo pole. But he cannot reach the roof if he sets foot now on one and now on another. He should firmly follow one path. Likewise, in order to realize God a man must follow one path with all his strength.

"But you must regard other views as so many paths leading to God. You should not feel that your path is the only right path and that other paths are wrong. You mustn't bear malice toward others.

"Well, to what path do I belong? Keshab Sen, used to say to me: 'You belong to our path. You are gradually accepting the ideal of the formless God.' Shashadhar says that I belong to his path. Vijay, too, says that I belong to his - Vijay's - path."

Sri Ramakrishna walked toward the Panchavati with M. and a few other devotees. It was midday and time for the flood-tide in the Ganges.

They waited in the Panchavati to see the bore of the tide.

MASTER (to the devotees): "The ebb-tide and flood-tide are indeed amazing. But notice one thing. Near the sea you see ebb-tide and flood-tide in a river, but far away from the sea the river flows in one direction only. What does this mean? Try to apply its significance to your spiritual life. Those who live very near God feel within them the currents of bhakti, bhava, and the like. In the case of a few - the Isvarakotis, for instance - one sees even mahabhava and prema.

(To M.) "What is the explanation of the ebb-tide and flood-tide?"

M: "According to Western astronomy, they are due to the attraction of the sun and the moon."

In order to explain it, M. drew figures on the earth and began to show the Master the movement of the earth, the sun, and the moon. The Master looked at the figures for a minute and said: "Stop, please! It gives me a headache."

Presently the tide came up the Ganges. They heard the sound of the rushing water. The tide struck the bank of the river and flowed toward the north. Sri Ramakrishna looked at it intently and exclaimed like a child:

"Look at that boat! I wonder what is going to happen to it."

The Master and M. sat down for a while in the Panchavati, Sri Ramakrishna placing his umbrella on the cement platform. The conversation turned to Narayan. The boy was a student. Sri Ramakrishna looked upon him as Narayana, God Himself, and was very fond of him.

MASTER: "Have you noticed Naran's nature? He can mix with all, old and young. One cannot do this without a special power. Besides, all love him. Is he really artless?"

M: "I think so."

MASTER: "I understand that he goes to your place. Is that so?"

M: "Yes, sir. He has visited me once or twice."

MASTER: "Will you give him a rupee? Or shall I ask Kali (A devotee of the Master.) about it?"

M: "Very well, sir. I shall give him the money."

MASTER: "That's fine. It is good to help those who yearn for God. Thus one makes good use of one's money. What will you gain by spending everything on your family?"

Kishori had several children. His salary was too small to support his family. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Naran said he would get a job for Kishori. Please remind him of it."

The Master walked away in the direction of the pine-grove. Returning to the Panchavati, he said to M.: "Please ask someone to spread a mat outside my room. I shall lie down a few minutes. I am coming presently."

When the Master returned to his room, he could not find his umbrella and exclaimed: "You have all forgotten the umbrella! The busybody doesn't see a thing even when it is very near him. A man went to a friend's house to light the charcoal for his smoke, though all the time he had a lighted lantern in his hand. Another man looked everywhere for his towel. Finally he discovered that it had been on his shoulder all the time."

It was about one o'clock in the afternoon. The Master ate the prasad from the Kali temple. Then he wanted to rest awhile, but the devotees were still sitting in his room. They were asked to go out, and then the Master lay down. He said to Baburam, "Come here; sit near me." Baburam answered, "I am preparing betel-leaf." The Master said, "Put your betel-leaf aside."

The devotees sat under the bakul-tree in the Panchavati. Tarak, who had just returned from Vrindavan, told them stories of his visit.

A little later Sri Ramakrishna was seated again on his couch, the devotees sitting on the floor. Shyamdas was singing with his party. He sang of the gopis' grief at their separation from Sri Krishna:

Dry as a desert seemed the happy lake to them:
The chatak died of thirst, gazing toward the clouds.

The Master became somewhat abstracted, but the musician could not create a spiritual atmosphere. Sri Ramakrishna asked Nabai of Konnagar to sing a kirtan. Nabai was Manomohan's uncle. He lived on the bank of the Ganges, devoting his time to prayer and meditation, and was a frequent visitor of Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar.

Nabai began the kirtan in a loud voice. The Master left the couch and began to dance. Immediately Nabai and other devotees began to dance around him. The atmosphere became intense with spiritual fervour.

After the kirtan, Sri Ramakrishna resumed his seat. With great feeling he began to sing of the Divine Mother, his eyes turned upward:

O Mother, ever blissful as Thou art,
Do not deprive Thy worthless child of bliss!
My mind knows nothing but Thy Lotus Feet.
The King of Death scowls at me terribly;
Tell me, Mother, what shall I say to him? . . .

He sang again:

As is a man's meditation, so is his feeling of love;
As is a man's feeling of love, so is his gain;
And faith is the root of all. . . .

He continued:

This world, O Mother, is Thy madhouse! What can I say of all Thy virtues?
Setting aside Thine elephant, Thou roamest about on foot;
Putting off Thy gems and pearls, O Self-willed Mother,
Thou dost adorn Thy comely neck with a garland of human heads.
Now Thou must rescue Ramprasad out of the forest of this world.

Again he sang:

Why should I go to Ganga or Gaya, to Kasi, Kanchi, or Prabhas,
So long as I can breathe my last with Kali's name upon my lips? . . .

And again:

Dwell, O mind, within yourself;
Enter no other's home.
If you but seek there, you will find
All you are searching for. . . .

And then:

The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delight
To the blue lotus Flower of Mother Syama's feet. . . .

And then:

Cherish my precious Mother Syama
Tenderly within, O mind;
May you and I alone behold Her,
Letting no one else intrude. . . .

As the Master sang this last song he stood up. He was almost intoxicated with divine love. Again and again he said to the devotees, "Cherish my precious Mother Syama tenderly within." Then he danced and sang;

Is Kali, my Mother, really black?
The Naked One, of blackest hue,
Lights the Lotus of the Heart. . . .

The Master reeled as he sang. Niranjan came forward to hold him. The Master said to him softly, "Don't touch me, you rascal!" Seeing the Master dance, the devotees stood up. He caught hold of M.'s hand and said: "Don't be foolish! Dance!"

Sri Ramakrishna resumed his seat, still charged with divine ecstasy. Coming down a little to the normal state, he said: "Om! Om! Om! Om! Om! Om Kali!" Again he said, "Let me have a smoke." Many of the devotees stood around. Mahimacharan was fanning him. The Master asked him to sit down and recite from the scriptures. Mahimacharan recited from the Mahanirvana Tantra:

Om. I bow to Thee, the Everlasting Cause of the world;
I bow to Thee, Pure Consciousness, the Soul that sustains the whole universe.
I bow to Thee, who art One without duality, who dost bestow liberation;
I bow to Thee, Brahman, the all-pervading Attributeless Reality.

Thou alone art the Refuge, the only Object of adoration;
Thou art the only Cause of the universe, the Soul of everything that is;
Thou alone art the world's Creator, Thou its Preserver and Destroyer;
Thou art the immutable Supreme Lord, the Absolute; Thou art unchanging Consciousness.

Dread of the dreadful! Terror of the terrible!
Refuge of all beings! Purity of purifiers!
Thou alone dost rule over those in the high places,
Supreme over the supreme, the Protector of protectors.

Almighty Lord, who art made manifest as the Form of all, yet art
Thyself unmanifest and indestructible;
Thou who art imperceptible to the senses, yet art the very Truth;
Incomprehensible, imperishable, all-pervading, hidden, and without form;
O Lord! O Light of the Universe! Protect us from harm.

On that One alone we meditate; that One is the sole object of our worship;
To That alone, the non-dual Witness of the Universe, we bow.
In that One who alone exists and who is our sole eternal Support, we seek refuge,
The self-dependent Lord, the Vessel of Safety in the ocean of existence.

Sri Ramakrishna listened to the hymn with folded hands. After it was sung he saluted Brahman. The devotees did likewise.

Adhar arrived from Calcutta and bowed down before the Master.

MASTER (to M.): "We have had such joy today! How much joy Hari's name creates! Is it not so?"

M: "Yes, sir."

Mahimacharan was a student of philosophy. That day he too had chanted the name of Hari and danced during the kirtan. This made the Master very happy.

It was about dusk. Many of the devotees took their leave. A lamp was lighted in Sri Ramakrishna's room and incense was burnt. After some time the moon came out, flooding the sky with its light.

Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on his couch. He was in a spiritual mood, absorbed in contemplation of the Divine Mother. Now and then he chanted Her hallowed name. Adhar was sitting on the floor. M. and Niranjan, too, were there. Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to Adhar.

MASTER: "What! You have come just now! We have had so much kirtan and dancing. Shyamdas began the kirtan. He is Ram's music teacher. But I didn't enjoy his singing very much; I didn't feel like dancing. Later I heard about his character. I was told that he had as many mistresses as there are hairs on a man's head.

"Didn't you get the job?"

Adhar held the post of deputy magistrate, a government post that carried with it great prestige. He earned three hundred rupees a month. He had applied for the office of vice-chairman of the Calcutta Municipality. The salary attached to this office was one thousand rupees. In order to secure it, Adhar had interviewed many influential people in Calcutta.

MASTER (to M. and Niranjan): "Hazra said to me, 'Please pray to the Divine Mother for Adhar, that he may secure the job.' Adhar made the same request to me. I said to the Mother: 'O Mother, Adhar has been visiting You. May he get the job if it pleases You.' But at the same time I said to Her: 'How small-minded he is! He is praying to You for things like that and not for Knowledge and Devotion.'

(To Adhar) "Why did you dance attendance on all those small-minded people? You have seen so much; you have heard so much! 'After reading the entire Ramayana, to ask whose wife Sita is!'"

ADHAR: "A man cannot but do these things if he wants to lead a house-holder's life. You haven't forbidden us to, have you?"

MASTER: "Nivritti alone is good, and not pravritti. Once, when I was in a God-intoxicated state, I was asked to go to the manager of the Kali temple to sign the receipt for my salary. They all do it here. But I said to the manager: 'I cannot do that. I am not asking for any salary. You may give it to someone else if you want.' I am the servant of God alone. Whom else shall I serve? Mallick noticed the late hours of my meals and arranged for a cook. He gave me one rupee for a month's expenses. That embarrassed me. I had to run to him whenever he sent for me. It would have been quite a different thing if I had gone to him of my own accord.

"In leading the worldly life one has to humour mean-minded people and do many such things. After the attainment of my exalted state, I noticed how things were around me and said to the Divine Mother, 'O Mother, please change the direction of my mind right now, so that I may not have to flatter rich people.'

(To Adhar) "Be satisfied with the job you have. People hanker after a post paying fifty or a hundred rupees, and you are earning three hundred rupees! You are a deputy magistrate. I saw a deputy magistrate at Kamarpukur. His name was Ishwar Ghoshal. He had a turban on his head. Men's very bones trembled before him. I remember having seen him during my boyhood. Is a deputy magistrate a person to be trifled with?

"Serve him whom you are already serving. The mind becomes soiled by serving but one master. And to serve five masters!

"Once a woman became attached to a Mussalman and invited him to her room. But he was a righteous person; he said to her that he wanted to use the toilet and must go home to get his water-jar for water. The woman offered him her own, but he said: 'No, that will not do. I shall use the jar to which I have already exposed myself. I cannot expose myself before a new one.' With these words he went away. That brought the woman to her senses. She understood that a new water-jar, in her case, signified a paramour."

Narendra was in straitened circumstances on account of his father's unexpected death. He had been seeking a job to maintain his mother, brothers, and sisters. He had served a few days as headmaster of the Vidyasagar School at Bowbazar.

ADHAR: "May I ask if Narendra would accept a job?"

MASTER: "Yes, he would. He has his mother, brothers, and sisters to support."

ADHAR: "Well, Narendra can support his family with fifty or with a hundred rupees. Will he try for a hundred?"

MASTER: "Worldly people think highly of their wealth. They feel that there is nothing like it. Sambhu said, 'It is my desire to leave all my property at the Lotus Feet of God.' But does God care for money? He wants from His devotees knowledge, devotion, discrimination, and renunciation.

"After the theft of the jewelry from the temple of Radhakanta, Mathur Babu said: 'O God, You could not protect Your own jewelry! What a shame!' Once he wanted to give me an estate and consulted Hriday about it. I overheard the whole thing from the Kali temple and said to him: 'Please don't harbour any such thought. It will injure me greatly.'"

ADHAR: "I can tell you truthfully, sir, that not more than six or seven persons like you have been born since the creation of the world."

MASTER: "How so? There certainly are people who have given up everything for God. As soon as a man gives up his wealth, people come to know about him. But it is also true that there are others unknown to people. Are there not such holy men in upper India?"

ADHAR: "I know of at least one such person in Calcutta. He is Devendranath Tagore,"

MASTER: "What did you say? Who has enjoyed the world as much as he? Once I visited him at his house with Mathur Babu. I saw that he had many young children. The family physician was there writing out prescriptions.

If, after having eight children, a man doesn't think of God, then who will? If, after enjoying so much wealth, Devendranath hadn't thought of God, then people would have cried shame upon him."

NIRANJAN: "But he paid off all his father's debts."

MASTER: "Keep quiet! Don't torment me any more. Do you call anyone a man who doesn't pay off his father's debts if he is able to? But I admit that Devendranath is infinitely greater than other worldly men, who are sunk in their worldliness. They can learn much from him.

"There is an ocean of difference between a real all-renouncing devotee of God and a householder devotee. A real sannyasi, a real devotee who has renounced the world, is like a bee. The bee will not light on anything but a flower. It will not drink anything but honey. But a devotee leading the worldly life is like a fly. The fly sits on a festering sore as well as on a sweet-meat. One moment he enjoys a spiritual mood, and the next moment he is beside himself with the pleasure of 'woman and gold'.

"A devotee who has really and truly renounced all for God is like the chatak bird. It will drink only the rain-water that falls when the star Svati is in the ascendant. It will rather die of thirst than touch any other water, though all around there may lie seven oceans and rivers full to the brim with water. An all-renouncing devotee will not touch 'woman and gold'. He will not keep 'woman and gold' near him lest he should feel attached."

ADHAR: "But Chaitanya, too, enjoyed the world."

MASTER (amazed): "What? What did he enjoy in the world?"

ADHAR: "Scholarship! Honour!"

MASTER: "It was honour in the sight of others, but nothing to him. Whether you - a deputy magistrate - or this youngster Niranjan honours me, it is all the same to me. And I tell you this truthfully: the idea of controlling a wealthy man never enters my mind. Surendra once said, rather condescendingly, that Rakhal's father could sue me for letting Rakhal (Rakhal then was a minor.) stay with me. When I heard this from Manomohan, I said: 'Who is this Surendra? How does he dare make a remark like that? He keeps a carpet and pillow here and gives me some money. Is that his excuse for daring to make such an impudent remark?'"

ADHAR: "I understand that he gives ten rupees a month. Isn't that so?"

MASTER: "That covers two months' expenses. The devotees stay here and he gives the money for their service. It is he who earns the merit. What is that to me? Is it for my personal gain that I love Narendra, Rakhal, and the others?"

M: "Your love for them is like a mother's for her children."

MASTER: "But even behind the mother's love lies her hope that the children will support her later on. But I love these youngsters because I see in them Narayana Himself. These are not mere words.

(To Adhar) "Listen. There is no scarcity of moths when the lamp is lighted. When God is realized, He Himself provides everything for His devotees. He sees that they do not lack anything. When God is enshrined in the heart, many people come forward to offer their services.

Once, a young sannyasi went to a householder to beg his food. He had lived as a monk from his very birth; he knew nothing of worldly matters. A young daughter of the householder came out to give him alms. He turned to her mother and said, Mother, has this girl abscesses on her chest?' The mother said: 'No, my child. God has given her breasts to nurse her child when she becomes a mother. Thereupon the sannyasi said: "Then why should I worry about myself? Why should I beg my food? He who has created me will certainly feed me.

"Listen If a woman renounces everything for her paramour, she can say to him, if need be, You wretch! I shall sit on your chest and devour you.'

Nangta told me of a certain king who gave a feast to the sadhus, using plates and tumblers of gold. I noticed in the monasteries at Benares with what great respect the abbots were treated. Many wealthy up-country people stood before them with folded hands, ready to obey their commands. But a true sadhu, a man who has really renounced everything, seeks neither a gold plate nor honour. God sees that he lacks nothing. God gives the devotee everything that is needed for realizing Him.

(To Adhar) "You are an executive officer. What shall I say to you? Do whatever you think best. I am an illiterate person."

Adhar (smiling, to the devotees): "Now he is examining me."

MASTER (smiling). "Dispassion alone is good. Do you see, I didn't sign the receipt for my salary? God alone is real and all else is illusory."

Hazra entered the room and sat with the devotees on the floor. Hazra repeated now and then, "Soham! Soham!, I am He! I am He!" To Latu and other devotees he often said: "What does one gain by worshipping God with offerings? That is merely giving Him things that are His already." He had said this once to Narendra.

The Master spoke to him.

MASTER: "I explained to Latu who the object of the devotee's worship is."

HAZRA: "The devotee really prays to his own Self."

MASTER: "What you say is a very lofty thought. The aim of spiritual discipline, of chanting Gods name and glories, is to realize just that. A man attains everything when he discovers his true Self in himself. The object of sadhana is to realize that. That also is the purpose of assuming a human body. One needs the clay mould as long as the gold image has not been cast; but when the image is made, the mould is thrown away. The body may be given up after the realization of God.

"God is not only inside us; He is both inside and outside. The Divine Mother showed me in the Kali temple that everything is Chinmaya, the Embodiment of Spirit; that it is She who has become all this - the image, myself, the utensils of worship, the door-sill, the marble floor. Everything is indeed Chinmaya.

"The aim of prayer, of spiritual discipline, of chanting the name and glories of God, is to realize just that. For that alone a devotee loves God. These youngsters (Referring to Latu and the others.) are on a lower level; they haven't reached a high spiritual state. They are following the path of bhakti. Please don't tell them such things as 'I am He'."

Like the mother bird brooding over her chicks, Sri Ramakrishna was alert to protect his devotees.

Adhar and Niranjan went out on the porch to take refreshments. Presently they returned to the room.

ADHAR (smiling): "We talked about so many things. (Pointing to M.) But he didn't utter a word."

MASTER: "In Keshab's organization there was a young man with four university degrees. He laughed when he saw people arguing with me. He said: 'To argue with him! How silly!' I saw him again, later on, at one of Keshab's meetings. But then he did not have the same bright complexion."

Sri Ramakrishna sat on the floor for his supper. It was a light meal of a little farina pudding and one or two luchis that had been offered in the Kali temple. M. and Latu were in the room. The devotees had brought various sweets for the Master. He touched a sandesh and asked Latu, "Who is the rascal that brought this?" He took it out of the cup and left it on the ground. He said to Latu and M.: "I know all about him. He is immoral."

LATU: "Shall I give you this sweet?"

MASTER: "Kishori brought it."

LATU: "Will it suit you?"

MASTER (smiling): "Yes."

M. had received an English education. Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "It is not possible for me to eat things offered by anyone and everyone. Do you believe this?"

M: "Gradually I shall have to believe all these things."

MASTER: "Yes, that is so."

After finishing the meal Sri Ramakrishna washed his mouth. He said to M., "Then will you give the rupee to Naran?" "Yes," said M., "certainly I will."

The moon rose in 'the clear autumn sky and was reflected in the river. It was ebb-tide in the Ganges and the river flowed south toward the sea.

Sunday, September 14, 1884

Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room with Narendra, Bhavanath, the Mukherji brothers, and other devotees. Rakhal was staying with Balaram at Vrindavan and was laid up with an attack of fever. Narendra was preparing himself for his coming law examination.

About eleven o'clock Jnan Babu arrived. He was a government official and had received four university degrees.

MASTER (at the sight of Jnan Babu): "Well! Well! This sudden awakening of 'knowledge'! ("Jnan Means knowledge)

JNAN (smiling): "You must admit, sir, that one sees the awakening of knowledge as a result of very good fortune."

MASTER (smiling): "You are Jnan. Then why should you have ajnan, ignorance? Oh, I understand. Where there is knowledge there is also ignorance. The sage Vasishtha was endowed with great knowledge and still he wept at the death of his sons. Therefore I ask you to go beyond both knowledge and ignorance. The thorn of ignorance has pierced the sole of a man's foot. He needs the thorn of knowledge to take it out. Afterwards he throws away both thorns. The jnani says, 'This world is a "framework of illusion".' But he who is beyond both knowledge and ignorance describes it as a 'mansion of mirth'. He sees that it is God Himself who has become the universe, all living beings, and the twenty-four cosmic principles.

"A man can live in the world after attaining God. Then he can lead the life of detachment. In the country I have seen the women of the carpenter families making flattened rice with a husking-machine. With one hand one of them turns the paddy in the hole and with the other she holds a nursing child. At the same time she talks with the buyer. She says to him: 'You owe me two annas. Pay it before you go.' But seventy-five per cent of the woman's mind is on her hand lest it should be crushed by the pestle of the husking-machine.

"A man should do his worldly duties with only twenty-five per cent of his mind, devoting the rest to God."

Referring to Pundit Shashadhar, the Master said to the devotees, "I found him monotonous - engaged in the dry discussion of philosophy.

"He alone who, after reaching the Nitya, the Absolute, can dwell in the Lila, the Relative, and again climb from the Lila to the Nitya, has ripe knowledge and devotion. Sages like Narada cherished love of God after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman. This is called vijnana.

"Mere dry knowledge is like an ordinary rocket: it bursts into a few sparks and then dies out. But the Knowledge of sages like Narada and Sukadeva is like a good rocket: for a while it showers balls of different colours, and then it stops; again it throws out new balls, and again it stops; and thus it goes on. Those sages had prema for God. Prema is the rope by which one can reach Satchidananda."

The Master finished his midday meal and rested a few minutes. Bhavanath, M., the Mukherji brothers, Hazra, and several other devotees sat down under the bakul-tree and began to converse. The Master stopped there awhile on his way to the pine-grove.

HAZRA (to the younger Gopal): "Please prepare a smoke for him [meaning the Master]."

MASTER (smiling): "Why don't you admit that you want it?" (All laugh.)

MUKHERJI (to Hazra): "You must have learnt much wisdom from him [meaning the Master]."

MASTER (smilimg): "No, he has been wise like this from his boyhood." (All laugh.)

Presently Sri Ramakrishna returned from the pine-grove. The devotees noticed that he was in an ecstatic mood and was reeling like a drunkard. After reaching his room he regained the normal state.

Many devotees gathered in the room. Among them was a new-comer, a sadhaka from Konnagar, who looked over fifty years of age and seemed to have great vanity of scholarship.

The Master stood in the middle of the room and suddenly said to M., "He came here - Naran."

Narendra was engaged in a discussion with Hazra and a few others on the verandah. They could be heard from the room.

MASTER (referring to Narendra): "The chatterbox! But he is now much worried about his family."

M: "Yes, sir, it is true."

MASTER: "Once he said that he would look upon adversity as his good fortune. Isn't that so?"

M: "He has great strength of mind."

A DEVOTEE: "Does he lack strength in anything?"

Pointing to the sadhaka from Konnagar, a devotee said to the Master: "Sir, he has come to visit you. He has some questions to ask." The sadhaka was seated erect, his chin up.

SADHAKA: "Sir, what is the way?"

MASTER: "Faith in the guru's words. One attains God by following the guru's instructions step by step. It is like reaching an object by following the trail of a thread."

SADHAKA: "Is it possible to see God?"

MASTER: "He is unknowable by the mind engrossed in worldliness. One cannot attain God if one has even a trace of attachment to 'woman and gold'. But He is knowable by the pure mind and the pure intelligence - the mind and intelligence that have not the slightest trace of attachment. Pure Mind, Pure Intelligence, Pure Atman, are one and the same thing."

SADHAKA: "But the scriptures say, 'From Him words and mind return baffled.' He is unknowable by mind and words."

MASTER: "Oh, stop! One cannot understand the meaning of the scriptures without practising spiritual discipline. What will you gain by merely uttering the word 'siddhi'? (Indian hemp.) The pundits glibly quote the scriptures; but what will that accomplish? A man does not become intoxicated even by rubbing siddhi on his body; he must swallow it. What is the use of merely repeating, There is butter in the milk'? Turn the milk into curd and churn it. Only then will you get butter."

SADHAKA: "You talk about churning butter. But you too are quoting the scriptures."

MASTER: "What will one gain by merely quoting or hearing the scriptures? One must assimilate them. The almanac makes a forecast of the rainfall for the year, but you won't get a drop by squeezing its pages."

SADHAKA: "You talk about churning butter. Have you done it yourself?"

MASTER: "You don't have to bother about what I have or haven't done. Besides, it is very difficult to explain these things to others. Suppose someone asks you, 'What does ghee taste like?' Your answer will be, 'Ghee tastes like ghee.'

"To understand these things one needs to live with holy men, just as to understand the pulse of bile, of phlegm, and so on, one needs to live with a physician."

SADHAKA: "There are some people who are irritated by others' company."

MASTER: "That happens only after the attainment of Knowledge, after the realization of God. Shouldn't a beginner live in the company of holy men?"

The sadhaka sat in silence a few moments. Then he said with some irritation: "Please tell me whether you have realized God either directly or intuitively. You may answer me if you are able, or you may keep silent if you wish." The Master said with a smile: "What shall I say? One can only give a hint."

SADHAKA: "Then tell us that much."

Narendra was going to sing. He said, "No one has brought a pakhoaj."

THE YOUNGER GOPAL: "Mahimacharan has one."

MASTER (interrupting): "No, we don't want anything of his here."

A devotee from Konnagar sang a song. Every now and then Sri Ramakrishna glanced at the sadhaka. The singer and Narendra became engaged in a furious discussion about musical technique. The sadhaka said to the singer, "What is the use of such discussions?" Referring to another man who had joined in the discussion, Sri Ramakrishna said to the sadhaka, "Why didn't you scold him, too?" It could be seen that the sadhaka was not on friendly terms with his companions from Konnagar.

Narendra sang:

O Lord, must all my days pass by so utterly in vain?
Down the path of hope I gaze with longing, day and night. . . .

The sadhaka closed his eyes in meditation as he listened to the song. It was four o'clock in the afternoon. The rays of the setting sun fell on his body. Sri Ramakrishna quickly opened an umbrella and placed it near the door so that the sun might not disturb the sadhaka.

Narendra sang again:

How shall I call on Thee, O Lord, with such a stained and worldly mind?
Can a straw remain unharmed, cast in a pit of flaming coals?
Thou, all goodness, art the fire, and I, all sin, am but a straw:
How shall I ever worship Thee?

The glory of Thy name, they say, redeems those even past redeeming;
Yet, when I chant Thy sacred name, alas! my poor heart quakes with fright.
I spend my life a slave to sin; how can I find a refuge, then,
O Lord, within Thy holy way?

In Thine abounding kindliness, rescue Thou this sinful wretch;
Drag me off by the hair of my head and give me shelter at Thy feet.

Again he sang:

Sweet is Thy name, O Refuge of the humble!
It falls like sweetest nectar on our ears
And comforts us, Beloved of our souls!
The priceless treasure of Thy name alone
Is the abode of Immortality,
And he who chants Thy name becomes immortal.
Falling upon our ears, Thy holy name
Instantly slays the anguish of our hearts,
Thou Soul of our souls, and fills our hearts with bliss!

As Narendra sang the line, "And he who chants Thy name becomes immortal", the Master went into samadhi. At first his fingers, especially the thumbs, began to tremble. The devotees from Konnagar had never seen the Master in samadhi. Seeing him silent, they were about to leave the room. Bhavanath said to them: "Why are you going away? This is his samadhi." The devotees resumed their places.

Narendra sang:

I have laboured day and night
To make Thy seat within my heart;
Wilt Thou not be kind to me,
O Lord of the World, and enter there?

Sri Ramakrishna, still in the ecstatic mood, came down from his couch to the floor and sat by Narendra. The beloved disciple sang again:

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

As Narendra sang the last line, Sri Ramakrishna stood up, still absorbed in samadhi.

After a long time the Master regained partial consciousness of the world and sat down on the mat. Narendra finished his singing, and the tanpura was put back in its place. The Master was still in a spiritual mood and said: "Mother, tell me what this is. They want someone to extract the butter for them and hold it to their mouths. They won't throw the spiced bait into the lake. They won't even hold the fishing-rod. Someone must catch the fish and put it into their hands! How troublesome! Mother, I won't listen to any more argument. The rogues force it on me. What a bother! I shall shake it off. God is beyond the Vedas and their injunctions. Can one realize Him by studying the scriptures, the Vedas, and the Vedanta? (To Narendra) Do you understand this? The Vedas give only a hint."

Narendra wanted the tanpura again. The Master said, "I want to sing." He was still in an ecstatic mood and sang:

Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart,
That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake,
There should be robbery in my house. . . .

The Master said, "Mother, why do You make me argue?" He sang again:

Once for all, this time, I have thoroughly understood;
From One who knows it well, I have learnt the secret of bhava. . . .

The Master said, "I am quite conscious." But he was still groggy with divine fervour. He sang once more:

I drink no ordinary wine, but Wine of Everlasting Bliss,
As I repeat my Mother Kali's name;
It so intoxicates my mind that people take me to be drunk! . . .

Sri Ramakrishna had said, "Mother, I won't listen to any more argument." Narendra sang:

O Mother, make me mad with Thy love!
What need have I of knowledge or reason? . . .

Sri Ramakrishna said with a smile: "O Mother, make me mad! God cannot be realized through knowledge and reasoning, through the arguments in the scriptures." He had been pleased with the singing of the musician from Konnagar and said to him humbly: "Please sing about the Divine Mother. Please - one song."

MUSICIAN: "You must excuse me, sir."

MASTER (bowing with folded hands): "No, sir. I can enforce this demand."

Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna sang a few lines from a kirtan, assuming the attitude of a gopi:

Radha has every right to say it;
She has kept awake for Krishna.
She has stayed awake all night,
And she has every right to be piqued.

Then he said to the musician: "My dear sir, you are a child of the Divine Mother. She dwells in all beings. Therefore I have every right to enforce my demand. A farmer said to his guru, 'I shall get my mantra from you by beating you, if I have to.'"

MUSICIAN (smiling): "By a shoe-beating?'

MASTER (smiling): "No! I won't go that far." Again in an abstracted mood Sri Ramakrishna said: "The beginner, the struggling, the perfect, and the supremely perfect. Which are you - perfect or supremely perfect? Come along! Sing for us."

The musician complied. He sang just a melody.

MASTER: "My dear sir, that too makes me happy."

The musician then sang a song. When the music was over, the devotees from Konnagar saluted the Master and took their leave. The sadhaka bowed before him with folded hands and said, "Holy man, let me say good-bye."

Sri Ramakrishna, still in an ecstatic mood, was talking to the Divine Mother.

MASTER: "Mother, is it You or I? Do I do anything? No. no! It is You. Was it You who heard the arguments all this time, or was it I? No, not I. It was You."

Sri Ramakrishna became conscious of the outer world and began to converse with Narendra, Bhavanath, and the other devotees. They were talking about the sadhaka.

BHAVANATH (smiling): "What kind of man is he?"

MASTER: "He is a tamasic devotee."

BHAVANATH: "He can certainly recite Sanskrit verses."

MASTER: "Once I said to a man about a sadhu: "He is a rajasic sadhu. Why should one give him food and other presents?' At this another sadhu taught me a lesson by saying to me: 'Don't say that. There are three classes of holy men: sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic.' Since that day I have respected holy men of all classes."

NARENDRA (smiling): "What? Is it like the elephant God'? All, indeed are God."

MASTER (smiling): "It is God Himself who sports in the world as both vidya and avidya. Therefore I salute both. It is written in the Chandi: The Divine Mother is the good fortune of the blessed and the ill fortune of the unlucky.' (To Bhavanath) Is that mentioned in the Vishnu Purana?"

BHAVANATH (smiling): "I don't know, sir. The devotees from Konnagar did not understand your samadhi and were about to leave the room."

MASTER: "Who was it that asked them to remain?"

BHAVANATH (smiling): "It was I."

MASTER: "My child, you are equally good in bringing people here and in driving them away."

The conversation turned to the argument that Narendra had with the musician from Konnagar.

MUKHERJI: "Narendra didn't spare him."

MASTER: "That's right. One needs such grit. This is called the influence of tamas on sattva. Must a man listen to everything another man says? Should one say to a prostitute, 'All right, you may do whatever you like'? Must one listen to her? At one time Radha was piqued. A friend said, 'Her ego has been roused.' Brinde, another friend, said: 'Whose is this ego? Her ego belongs to Krishna alone. She is proud in the pride of Krishna.'"

The conversation turned to the glory of God's name.

BHAVANATH: "I feel such relief while chanting the name of Hari."

MASTER: "He who relieves us of sin is Hari. He relieves us of our three afflictions in the world. Chaitanya preached the glory of Hari's name; so it must be good. You see, he was such a great scholar, and an Incarnation too. Since he preached that name, it must be good. (Smilling) Once, some peasants were invited to a feast. They were asked if they would eat a preparation of hog plum. They answered: 'You may give it to us if the gentlemen have eaten it. If they enjoyed it, then it must be good.' (All laugh.)

(To the Mukherji brothers) "I should like to visit Shivanath. I won't have to hire a carriage if you take me in yours."

MUKHERJI: "All right, sir, we shall set a day."

MASTER (to the devotees): "Do you think the Brahmos will like me? They criticize those who believe in God with form."
Mahendra Mukherji wanted to go on a pilgrimage. He told Sri Ramakrishna so.

MASTER (smiling): "How is that? Do you want to go when the sprout of divine love has hardly come up? First comes the sprout, then the tree, then the fruit. We are so happy to have you here to talk to."

MAHENDRA: "I feel like visiting the holy places a little. I shall return soon."

It was about five o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna left his room. The devotees were walking in the garden. Many of them were about to leave.

The Master was conversing with Hazra on the north verandah. They were talking of Narendra's frequent visits to Annada, the eldest son of the Guhas.

HAZRA: "I hear that Annada is now practising austerity. He lives on very little food and eats rice once every four days."

MASTER: "Is that so? 'Who knows? One may realize God even by means of a religious garb.'"

HAZRA: "Narendra sang the agamani."

MASTER (eagerly): "How did he sing it?"

Kishori stood close by. The Master said to him, "Are you well?"

A little later the Master was standing on the west porch. Since it was autumn, he had put on a flannel shirt dyed with ochre. He asked Narendra, "Is it true that you sang the agamani?"

Accompanied by Narendra and M., Sri Ramakrishna walked to the embankment of the Ganges.

Narendra sang the agamani:

Tell me, my Uma, how have you fared, alone in the Stranger's (Siva, Uma's Husband.) house?
People speak so much ill of us! Alas, I die of shame!'
My Son-in-law smears His body with ashes from the funeral pyre
And roams about in great delight;
You too, along with Him, cover with ash your golden skin.
He begs the food that He eats! How can I bear it, being your mother?
This time, when He returns to claim you, I shall say to Him,
"My daughter Uma is not at home."

Sri Ramakrishna stood listening to the song and went into samadhi. The sun was still above the horizon as the Master stood on the embankment in the ecstatic mood. On one side of him was the Ganges, flowing north with the flood-tide. Behind him was the flower garden. To his right one could see the nahabat and the Panchavati. Narendra stood by his side and sang. Gradually the darkness of evening fell upon the earth.

After Narendra and several other devotees had saluted the Master and left for Calcutta, Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room. He was absorbed in meditation on the Divine Mother and was chanting Her holy name.

Jadu Mallick had arrived at his garden house next to the Kali temple. He sent for the Master. Adhar, too, had arrived from Calcutta, and he saluted Sri Ramakrishna. The Master asked Latu to light the lantern and accompany him to Jadu's garden.

MASTER (to M.): "Why didn't you bring Naran with you?"

M: "Shall I come with you?"

MASTER: "Do you want to come? Adhar and the others are here. All right, you may come. Will the Mukherjis also come with us? (To the Mukherjis) Come along. Then we can leave Jadu Mallick quickly."

The Master went to Jadu's drawing-room. It was a well furnished room, with everything spick and span. The lamps were lighted. Jadu was sitting with his friends and was playing with the children. Servants were in attendance. Smiling, Jadu welcomed Sri Ramakrishna, but he did not get up. He treated the Master as a friend of long acquaintance.

Jadu was a devotee of Gauranga. He had just seen a performance of Gauranga's life at the Star Theatre and told the Master about it. The Master listened to his account joyfully and played with the children. M. and the Mukherji brothers sat near him. In the course of the conversation Sri Ramakrishna told Jadu that Adhar had not been able to secure the post of vice-chairman the Calcutta Municipality. Jadu said that Adhar was still young and could try for it again. At his request the Master sang a few songs about Gauranga.

After the music was over, the Mukherjis were about to take their leave. The Master, too, was ready to go, but he was in an ecstatic mood. On coming to the porch he went into samadhi. The gate-keeper of the garden house was a pious man. Now and then he invited the Master to his house and fed him. Sri Ramakrishna stood there in samadhi, and the gate-keeper fanned him with a large fan. Ratan, the manager of the garden house, saluted the Master, and Sri Ramakrishna, returning to the consciousness of the relative world, greeted the manager and the gate-keeper, saying, "Narayana". Then, accompanied by the devotees, he went back to the temple garden through the main gate.

MASTER (to the Mukherjis, pointing to M.): "Please visit him often."

MUKHERJI (smiling): "Yes, henceforth he will be our teacher,"

MASTER: "It is the nature of the hemp-smoker to make merry in the company of another hemp-smoker. He will not talk even to an amir, but he will embrace a wretched hemp-smoker if he happens to meet one." (All laugh.)

It was about nine o'clock. The Mukherji brothers saluted the Master and went away, Adhar and M. sat on the floor in the Master's room while he talked to Adhar about Rakhal.

Rakhal was staying in Vrindavan with Balaram. The Master had learnt from a letter about Rakhal's illness. He was so worried about him that two or three days earlier he had wept before Hazra like a child. Adhar had sent a registered letter to Rakhal but had received no reply.

MASTER (to Adhar): "Naran has received a letter from Vrindavan. Why haven't you received a reply to yours?"

ADHAR: "I haven't yet heard from Vrindavan."

MASTER: "M. has also received a letter from Vrindavan."

They began to talk of Sri Ramakrishna's seeing a play, at the Star Theatre, about the life of Gauranga.

MASTER (smiling): "Jadu told me that one could see the play very well from a one-rupee seat. Very cheap! Once we were talking about going to Panihati. Jadu wanted me to go in a country boat with a whole crowd of passengers. (All laugh.)

"Formerly he liked to hear a little about God. But I don't see Jadu much nowadays. He is always surrounded by flatterers. They have spoiled him. He is a man of a very calculating nature. I would no sooner set foot in his house than he would ask me, "How much is the carriage hire?' I would say: You don't have to bother about it. You may give two and a halt rupees.' That would keep him quiet." (All laugh.)

It was late. Adhar was about to depart. The Master asked M. to bring Naran with him.

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