Saturday, January 15, 2011

From ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Volume I’ – by Mahendranath Gupta ('M') - Original in Bengali. Translation by Swami Nikhilananda

Sri Ramakrishna ………. Said………… “You see, you have certain good signs. I know them by looking at a person’s forehead, his eyes and so on. ”

“Suppose there is an error in worshipping the clay image; doesn’t God know that through it He alone is being invoked? He will be pleased with that very worship. Why should you get a headache over it?

“Repeat God’s name and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God’s devotees and holy men. Then mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities; it is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God. To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practices meditation in solitude. When a tree is young it should be fenced all around; otherwise it may be destroyed by cattle.”

MASTER: “Cry to the Lord with an intensely yearning heart and you will certainly see Him. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. They swim in tears for money. But who weeps for God? Cry to Him with a real cry.”

“It is necessary to pray to Him with a longing heart. The kitten knows only how to call it's mother, crying, ‘Mew, mew!’ It remains satisfied wherever it's mother puts it. And the mother cat puts the kitten sometimes in the kitchen, sometimes on the floor, and sometimes on the bed. When it suffers it cries only, ‘Mew, mew!’ That’s all it knows. But as soon as the mother hears this cry, wherever she may be, she comes to the kitten.”

“You may say that there are many errors and superstitions in another religion. I should reply: Suppose there are. Every religion has errors. Everyone thinks that his watch alone gives the correct time.”

MASTER (to M): “The mind of the yogi is always fixed on God, always absorbed in the Self. You can recognize such a man by merely looking at him. His eyes are wide open, with an aimless look, like the eyes of the mother bird hatching her eggs……..”

MASTER: “There are two classes of yogis: the vahudakas and the kutichakas. The vahudakas roam about visiting holy places and have not yet found peace of mind. But the kutichakas, having visited all the sacred places, have quieted their minds. Feeling serene and peaceful, they settle down in one place …….. they are happy …….If one of them ever visits a place of pilgrimage, it is only for the purpose of new inspiration.
I had to practise each religion for a time – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore I followed the paths of the Saktas, Vaishnavas and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different.”

“Once someone gave me a book of the Christians. I asked him to read it to me. It talked about nothing but sin……….. The wretch who constantly says, ‘I am bound, I am bound’ only succeeds in being bound. He who says day and night, ‘I am a sinner, I am a sinner’ verily becomes a sinner.
“One should have such burning faith in God that one can say: ‘What? I have repeated the name of God, and can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more? ………’
“If a man repeats the name of God, his body, mind and everything becomes pure. Why should one talk only about sin and hell, and such things? ………”

MASTER: “No one can say with finality that God is only ‘this’ and nothing else. He is formless, and again He has forms. For the bhakta he assumes forms. But he is formless for the jnani……….”

“Kabir used to say, ‘The formless Absolute is my Father, and God with form is my Mother’

“…….. in the light of Vedantic reasoning Brahman has no attributes. The real nature of Brahman cannot be described. But so long as your individuality is real, he world also is real, and equally real are the different forms of God and the feeling that God is a Person.”

…… Sri Ramakrishna said: “The caste system can be removed by one means only, and that is the love of God. Lovers of God do not belong to any caste. …………”

……There are certain characteristics of God-vision. One sees light, feels joy, and experiences the upsurge of a great current in one’s chest, like the bursting of a rocket.”

One cannot realize God without prema-bhakti. Another name for prema-bhakti is raga-bhakti. ……There is another kind of bhakti, known as vaidhi-bhakti, according to which one must repeat the name of God a fixed number of times, fast, make pilgrimages, worship God with prescribed offerings, make so many sacrifices, and so forth and so on. By continuing such practices a long time one gradually acquires raga-bhakti. God cannot be realized until one has raga-bhakti.

“There is another class of devotees, known as kripasiddha ……… those on whom the grace of God descends all of a sudden and who at once attain His vision and Knowledge ……… Those who lead a householder’s life should practice spiritual discipline; they should pray eagerly to God in solitude.

“One should not reason too much; it is enough if one loves the Lotus Feet of the Mother. Too much reasoning throws the mind into confusion ……… pray to God with devotion.

“With sincerity and earnestness one can realize God through all religions.

…….Intense cold freezes the water into ice, which floats on the ocean in blocks of various forms. Likewise, through the cooling influence of bhakti, one sees forms of God in the Ocean of the Absolute. …….. But when the Sun of Knowledge rises, the ice melts; it becomes the same water it was before. …… Therefore a prayer in the Bhagavata says: ‘O Lord, Thou has form, and Thou art also formless’

………. Bony people, the hollow-eyed, the cross-eyed – people with physical traits like those cannot easily acquire faith ……….

When the mind is quiet the prana stops functioning. Then one gets kumbhaka. One may have the same kumbhaka through bhaktiyoga as well ………

…….. There are certain signs of a jnani. Narendra has big protruding eyes ………..

MASTER: “Too much study of the scriptures does more harm than good. The important thing is to know the essence of the scriptures. After that, what is the need of books? ……..”

“It is good to meditate in the small hours of the morning and at dawn. One should also meditate daily after dusk.

“ …….. A man who has seen God sometimes behaves like a madman: he laughs, weeps, dances and sings. Sometimes he behaves like a child, a child five years old – guileless, generous, without vanity, unattached to anything, not under the control of any of the gunas, always blissful. Sometimes he behaves like a ghoul: he doesn’t differentiate between things pure and things impure; he sees no difference between things clean and things unclean. And sometimes he is like an inert thing, staring vacantly: he cannot do any work, he cannot strive for anything.”

Have faith in the name of God. Then you won't need even to go to holy places.

“First of all one acquires bhakti. Bhakti is single-minded devotion to God …… through such devotion one’s mind and soul merge in Him.
“Then comes bhava, intense love. Through bhava a man becomes speechless. His nerve currents are stilled. Kumbhaka comes by itself.

……. Another characteristic of God-vision is that a great spiritual current rushes up along the spine and goes toward the brain. If then the devotee goes into Samadhi, he sees God.”

……. Householder’s life …………
MASTER: …… Whenever you have leisure, go into solitude for a day or two. At that time don’t have any relations with the outside world and don’t hold conversation with worldly people on worldly affairs. You must live either in solitude or in the company of holy men.

“One must have childlike faith – and the intense yearning that a child feels to see it's mother

MASTER: “Mad! ……… One must become mad with love in order to realize God. But that love is not possible if the mind dwells on ‘woman and gold’. Sex-life with a woman! What happiness is there in that? The realization of God gives ten million times more happiness ……. When a man attains ecstatic love of God all the pores of his skin, even the roots of his hair, become like so many sexual organs, and in every pore the aspirant enjoys the happiness of communion with the Atman.

The Kundalini is speedily awakened if one follows the path of bhakti.

MASTER (to M): “One should fast on the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight. This purifies the mind and helps one to develop love of God.

MASTER: “It is said in the scriptures that only those who have been charitable in their former births get money in this life. But to tell you the truth, this world is God’s maya. And there are many confusing things in this realm of maya. One cannot comprehend them.

“There is another form of meditation known as the ‘Vishnu yoga’. The eyes are fixed on the top of the nose. Half the look is directed inward and the other half outward.

“To be able to realize God, one must practice absolute continence. Sages like Sukadeva are examples ……….. Their chastity was absolutely unbroken. ……… A man controlling the seminal fluid for twelve years develops a special power. He grows a new inner nerve called the nerve of memory. Through that nerve he remembers all, he understands all.

“Loss of semen impairs the strength. But it does not injure one if one loses it in a dream. That semen one gets from food. What remains after nocturnal discharge is enough.

“I see people who talk about religion constantly quarrelling with one another. Hindus, Mussalmans, Brahmos, Saktas, Vaishnavas, Saivas, all quarelling with one another. They haven’t the intelligence to understand that He who is called Krishna is also Siva and the Primal Sakti, and that it is He again, who is called Jesus and Allah. ……… Truth is one; only It is called by different names. All people are seeking the same Truth; the variance is due to climate, temperament, and name,

MASTER (to M): “Do you cook your own meals?”

M: “No, sir”
MASTER: “You may try it. With your meals take a little clarified butter made from cows milk. That will purify your body and mind.”

MASTER: “One should keep pictures of holy men in one’s room. That constantly quickens divine ideas.”

“The thing is somehow to unite the mind with God. You must not forget Him, not even once. …….. If you worship with love even a brick or stone as God, then through His grace you can see Him.

“ ………. One should perform such worship as Siva Puja. Once the mind has become mature, one doesn’t have to continue formal worship for long. The mind then always remains united with God; meditation and contemplation become a constant habit of mind.”

……… bhaktiyoga …….is to keep the mind on God by chanting His name and glories. For the Kaliyuga the path of devotion is easiest

“Better than reading is hearing, and better than hearing is seeing. One understands the scriptures better by hearing them from the lips of the guru or of a holy man. Then one doesn’t have to think about the non-essential part. ……….

It is true that many things are recorded in the scriptures; but all these are useless without the direct realization of God, without devotion to His Lotus Feet, without purity of heart. The almanac forecasts the rainfall of the year. But not a drop of water will you get by sqeezing the almanac ………..

How long should one reason about the texts of the scriptures? So long as one does not have direct realization of God………….

“Some souls realize God without practicing any spiritual discipline. They are called nityasiddha, eternally perfect. Those who have realized God through austerity, japa, and the like, are called sadhanasiddha, perfect through spiritual discipline. Again, there are those called kripasiddha, perfect through divine grace. These last may be compared to a room kept dark a thousand years, which becomes light the moment a lamp is brought in.

“There is also a class of devotees, the hathatsiddha …… those who have suddenly attained God-vision. Their case is like that of a poor boy who has suddenly found favour with a rich man. The rich man marries his daughter to the boy and along with her gives him land, house, carriage, servants, and so forth.
“There is still another class of devotees, the svapnasiddha, who have had the vision of God in a dream.”

MASTER (smiling): “What good is there in reading a whole lot of scriptures? What good is there in the study of philosophy? What is the use of talking big? In order to learn archery one should first aim at a banana tree, then at a reed, then at a wick, and last at a flying bird. At the beginning one should concentrate on God with form.

MASTER: “………. 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 …….. 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. ……

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

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