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> Feb 1882: First Visit of M to the Master
Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna: Feb 1882: First Visit of M to the Master
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
It was on a Sunday in spring, a few days after Sri Ramakrishna's birthday, that M. met him the first time. Sri Ramakrishna lived at the Kailibari, the temple garden of Mother Kali, on the bank of the Ganges at Dakshineswar.
M., being at leisure on Sundays, had gone with his friend Sidhu to visit several gardens at Baranagore. As they were walking in Prasanna Bannerji's garden, Sidhu said: "There is a charming place on the bank of the Ganges where a paramahamsa lives. Should you like to go there?" M. assented and they started immediately for the Dakshineswar temple garden. They arrived at the main gate at dusk and went straight to Sri Ramakrishna's room. And there they found him seated on a wooden couch, facing the east. With a smile on his face he was talking of God. The room was full of people, all seated on the floor, drinking in his words in deep silence.
M. stood there speechless and looked on. It was as if he were standing where all the holy places met and as if Sukadeva himself were speaking the word of God, or as if Sri Chaitanya were singing the name and glories of the Lord in Puri with Ramananda, Swarup, and the other devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna said: "When, hearing the name of Hari or Rama once, you shed tears and your hair stands on end, then you may know for certain that you do not have to perform such devotions as the sandhya any more. Then only will you have a right to renounce rituals; or rather, rituals will drop away of themselves. Then it will be enough if you repeat only the name of Rama or Hari, or even simply Om."
Continuing, he said, "The sandhya merges in the Gayatri, and the Gayatri merges in Om."
M. looked around him with wonder and said to himself: "What a beautiful place! What a charming man! How beautiful his words are! I have no wish to move from this spot." After a few minutes he thought, "Let me see the place first; then I'll come back here and sit down."
As he left the room with Sidhu, he heard the sweet music of the evening service arising in the temple from gong, bell, drum, and cymbal. He could hear music from the nahabat, too, at the south end of the garden. The sounds travelled over the Ganges, floating away and losing themselves in the distance. A soft spring wind was blowing, laden with the fragrance of flowers; the moon had just appeared. It was as if nature and man together were preparing for the evening worship. M. and Sidhu visited the twelve Siva temples, the Radhakanta temple, and the temple of Bhavatarini. And as M. watched the services before the images his heart was filled with joy.
On the way back to Sri Ramakrishna's room the two friends talked. Sidhu told M. that the temple garden had been founded by Rani Rasmani. He said that God was worshipped there daily as Kali, Krishna, and Siva, and that within the gates sadhus and beggars were fed. When they reached Sri Ramakrishna's door again, they found it shut, and Brinde, the Maid, standing outside.
M., who had been trained in English manners and would not enter a room without permission, asked her, "Is the holy man in?"
Brinde replied, "Yes he's in the room."
M: "How long has he lived here?"
BRINDE: "Oh, he has been here a long time."
M: "Does he read many books?"
BRINDE: "Books? Oh, dear no! They're all on his tongue."
M. had just finished his studies in college. It amazed him to hear that Sri
Ramakrishna read no books.
M: "Perhaps it is time for his evening worship. May we go into the room? Will you tell him we are anxious to see him?"
BRINDE: "Go right in, children. Go in and sit down."
Entering the room, they found Sri Ramakrishna alone, seated on the wooden couch. Incense had just been burnt and all the doors were shut. As he entered, M. with folded hands saluted the Master. Then, at the Master's bidding, he and Sidhu sat on the floor.
Sri Ramakrishna asked them: "Where do you live? What is your occupation? Why have you come to Baranagore?"
M. answered the questions, but he noticed that now and then the Master seemed to become absent-minded. Later he learnt that this mood is called bhava, ecstasy. It is like the state of the angler who has been sitting with his rod: the fish comes and swallows the bait, and the float begins to tremble; the angler is on the alert; he grips the rod and watches the float steadily and eagerly; he will not speak to anyone. Such was the state of Sri Ramakrishna's mind. Later M. heard, and himself noticed, that Sri Ramakrishna would often go into this mood after dusk, sometimes becoming totally unconscious of the outer world.
M: "Perhaps you want to perform your evening worship. In that case may we take our leave?"
SRI RAMAKRISHNA (still in ecstasy): "No - evening worship? No, it is not exactly that."
After a little conversation M. saluted the Master and took his leave.
"Come again", Sri Ramakrishna said.
On his way home M. began to wonder: "Who is this serene-looking man who is drawing me back to him? Is it possible for a man to be great without being a scholar? How wonderful it is! I should like to see him again. He himself said, 'Come again.' I shall go tomorrow or the day after."
Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna - Chapters:
- Feb, 1882: First visit of M to the Master
- 1882: Second visit of M to the Master
- 1882: Third Visit of M to the Master
- 1882: Fourth Visit of M to the Master
- Mar 11, 1882: Master in the house of Balaram
- 1882: Visit of M at Dakshineswar
- Apr 2, 1882: Master's visit to Keshab
- Sun, Apr 9, 1882: Master in Prankrishna Mukherji's house
- Aug 5, 1882: Master's visit to Vidyasagar
- Aug 13, 1882: Conversation in the Temple Garden
- Aug 24, 1882: Conversation in Dakshineswar
- Oct 16, 1882: Before Durga Puja
- Oct 22, 1882: Durga Puja Vijaya
- Oct 24, 1882: Visit of M at Dakshineswar
- October 27, 1882: Master's boat trip with Keshab
- October 28, 1882: Master with brahmo devotees
- November 15, 1882: Master at the circus
- November 16, 1882: Master at Calcutta
- November 19, 1882: Jagaddhatri Puja
- November, 1882: Master at Calcutta
- December 1882: Master at Dakshineswar
- December 1882: Master at Dakshineswar
- December 14, 1882: Master and Vijay Goswami
- January 01, 1883: Master at Dakshineswar
- February 18, 1883: Master's birthday celebration at Dakshineswar