It’s beyond human intellect to comprehend in totality the attributes of a real Master. Why? Because to know Lord you have to become Lord. Sri Ramakrishna could undoubtedly be hailed as supreme incarnation of the Parabrahman. He is the perfect role model for the enthusiastic seekers who wish to merge their identity in Lord. Ramakrishna is regarded as the real Master by their disciples. While laying down the characteristic of qualified teacher Sri Aurbindo stated “The master is one who has risen to a higher consciousness and being and he is often regarded as its manifestation or representative. He not only helps by his teaching and still more by his influence and example, but by a power to communicate his own experience to others”
Sri Ramakrishna graced this divine land on February 18,1836 in a village named Kamarupkar. Ironically, the decent representatives of Lord always appear at times when the atmosphere is laden with confusion and chaos. As a matter of fact they are like gentle wind amidst the fury of demoniacal interests. Other than human garb, which they use as a mean to wonder among us like an ordinary soul, there is no other point of similarity, which allows to strike a bond with these rare souls.
Ramakrishna had a unique childhood. Even then he was in league with his “sublimity of his aim and the one-pointedness of his application to them”. Once the person who was chosen to play the part of Shiva in a play, named “Conversation between Shiva and Parvati”, was forced by the circumstance to withdraw his name at the last moment. Ramakrishna got the chance to provide colour to the role of Shiva on the stage. No need to mention that he transcended the human consciousness while playing the part and for next few hours remain lost in that particular mood. His childhood provides a glimpse into his bent of mind stuffed with extraordinary perceptions. Ideally, it allowed him to gain insight, which invariably shattered the illusions of this dreamy would.
In his village school, when others were busy in parroting the sterile instructions of the teacher, he toyed with ideal which was not normal by any standard in that age. “What purpose will it all serve-this hard study, this sitting up late at right, this rumination of the glosses and commentaries? Will this help me in attaining the truth? “Obviously, he did not wish to end up as ‘finished product’ much like his school teacher. He rebelled against this sort of teaching system which enabled man to sail in the ocean of materialism with ease. But in the process extracting a heavy price for teaching this art of deception. We are unconsciously turned into monsters that trample other human beings without any trace of remorse. It wouldn’t be out of place to observe that in our times the realistic education has come to mean the ability to laugh at the miseries of fellow beings and name it pragmatism.
One of the commonplace assumptions regarding the bent of mind of Indian saints is that they lack scientific temper. In other words, they just swallow the facts owing to their inability to discern them in rational ways. The reality is otherwise. Ramakrishna passionately followed all through life that “He shall accept anything as true only after having subjected it to close scrutiny. If it stands the test, I will reduce it to practice. And I shall not look down upon anything of the world if it is not demonstrably untrue”. This may be the reason why apparently antagonistic soul like Narendra could hardly resist from surrendering his dreams at his feet. This curious mixture of both these worlds-the earthly and the heavenly-created deep impression on Vivekananda’s mind who didn’t take much time to be the vehicle of his purpose. So much that he openly confessed that “Ever since our first meeting, it was the Master alone, and no one else, not even my own mother and brothers, who had uniform faith in me. That faith and that love of his have bound me to him forever. It was the master alone who knew how to love. He did love, while others only feign to love for the sake of their self-interest”.
How intimate was their relationship could be gauged from this hilarious incident. Once Ramakrishna offered the Hookah to Narendra. Perplexed looking Narendra could not turn down this strange offer. He stopped smoking after two or three puffs. The Master then took that Hookah and as he was about to smoke Narendra, stopped him to remind that he should first wash his hands and then carry out the smoking business. This infuriated Ramakrishna and what followed was display of ecstatic mood mired in uncontrollable anger-a familiar sight for Narendra having spent a long time with him. “You rascal, you are awfully conscious of differences” uttered Ramakrishna before gaining normalcy. The smoking session moved ahead with that very Hookah which Narendra had sealed with impunity with his lips.
In earlier year of Sadhana, the group comprising of Narendra, Kesava and others was greatly influenced by Western Philosophy. Narendra however, tried to counteract the charm of alien literature. Something so evident when he quotes Hamilton who felt that “where philosophy ends there religion begins.” It wasn’t easy for the Master to de-construct these minds shaped in convictions gathered from here and there. Even Master was bit worried about their flirtations with bogus reading material. “I hope he did not do so because some Western scholars had expressed that opinion.”
Under the influence of Western Philosophy Vevekanand held the opinion that God unknown and unknowable. Ramakrishna came to intuitively apprehend his dilemma regarding the true nature of Lord. He advised Narendra to seek the Lord’s grace which he said could result from sincere prayer offered from heart aching for Lord’s darshana. Such feelings when condensed in form of words may read like this “O God, I don’t know Thy nature, do Thou manifest Thyself to me as Thou really art”. Vivekananda, who earlier medicated on formless Brahman with attributes, decided to anticipate Lord in its real form. So he started praying “O Lord make me fit to see your real nature”.
What the Master wanted to convey through this episode was that the Lord couldn’t be governed by any particular belief. He has form and lo and behold formless as well. And thus Narendra bid adieu to doubts in this regard. Being now aware of His glory Swami Vivekananda suggests seekers to unite their heart and mind with the fountain of all bliss.” Seek for the Highest, aim at that Highest, and you shall reach the Highest.”
Sri Saradadevi, the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna, also considered the Master ‘embodiment of bliss itself’. That is why she advised seekers to rely on Ramakrishna in order to remain above the pangs of worldliness. Vindicating the fact that Ramakrishna was not an ordinary soul she said, “Really and truly Sri Ramakrishna was God himself. He assumed this human body to remove the sorrows and sufferings of others”. According to the holy mother Ramakrishna played the part of both Maheswara and Maheswari. All through her life she translated into action the will of Master. Perhaps, she has known too well that Lord alone is the real and the world illusionary. It’s really hard nut to crack to cross the ocean of desires partially owning to seeker’s bent of mind but more largely because of Mahamaya’s mysterious designs. “A person may have no relative anywhere but Mahamaya may cause him to keep a cat and thus make him worldly. Such is her play”, observed mother in lighter vein. Unmistakably it may sound pessimistic had not she sent supreme souls to show us the way amidst drama of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The moral of this whole story is that a soul must take refuge in these Mahatmas (super souls) if he truly wishes to strike an eternal bond with Lord. Such souls alone provide security blanket from the onslaught of worldly desires.
A man who is in sync with sincerity of his purpose finds himself sooner or later in company of the Lord. Let us never forget that real aim of the individual wondering on this planet is realization. Other than this all other concerns are bound to open the floodgate of misery. In this journey towards the Lord the company of godly souls acts as a catalyst. Our intrinsic nature compels us to return back to our source. It’s only matter of time when the restlessness to attain the Highest germinates in our heart. Indeed, the life goes in waste if it is not used as an instrument to establish perfect communion with the Lord. Finally, I would like to refer to statement of the Master, one surcharged with mystical undertone, which establishes his tie-up with the Lord – “All those who are living their final lives in the world will come here, and all those who have, even once, truly called on God cannot but come here.” Yes, it’s imperative for the seekers to honour those who share the platform with Lord.
Literature Published By Ramakrishna Mission