The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-1

Chapter 52

AFTER THE PASSING AWAY

SRI RAMAKRISHNA passed away on Sunday, August 15, 1886, plunging his devotees and disciples into a sea of grief. They were like men in a shipwreck. But a strong bond of love held them together, and they found assurance and courage in each other’s company. They could not enjoy the friendship of worldly people and would talk only of their Master. “Shall we not behold him again?” -this was the one theme of their thought and the one dream of their sleep. Alone, they wept for him; walking in the streets of Calcutta, they were engrossed in the thought of him. The Master had once said to M., “It becomes difficult for me to give up the body, when I realize that after my death you will wander about weeping for me.” Some of them thought : “He is no longer in this world. How surprising that we still enjoy living! We could give up our bodies if we liked, but still we do not.” Time and again Sri Ramakrishna had told them that God reveals Himself to His devotees if they yearn for Him and call on Him with whole-souled devotion. He had assured them that God listens to the prayer of a sincere heart. 

The young unmarried disciples of the Master, who belonged to his inner circle, had attended on him day and night at the Cossipore garden house. After his passing away most of them returned to their families against their own wills. They had not yet formally renounced the world. For a short while they kept their family names. But Sri Ramakrishna had made them renounce the world mentally. He himself had initiated several of them into the monastic life, giving them the ochre cloths of sannyāsis.

Baranagore Monastery

Two or three of the Master’s attendants had no place to go. To them the large-hearted Surendra said: “Brothers, where will you go? Let us rent a house. You will live there and make it our Master’s shrine; and we house-holders shall come there for consolation. How can we pass all our days and nights with our wives and children in the world? I used to spend a sum of money for the Master at Cossipore. I shall gladly give it now for your expenses.” Accordingly he rented a house for them at Baranagore, in the suburbs of Calcutta, and this place became gradually transformed into  Math, or, monastery.

For the first few months Surendra contributed thirty rupees a month. As the other members joined the monastery one by one, he doubled his contribution, which he later increased to a hundred rupees. The monthly rent for the house was eleven rupees. The cook received six rupees a month. The rest was spent for food.

First members

The younger Gopal brought the Master’s bed and other articles of daily use from the garden house at Cossipore. The brahmin who had been a cook at Cossipore was engaged for the new monastery. The first permanent member was the elder Gopal. Sarat spent the nights there. In the beginning Sarat, Śaśi, Baburam, Niranjan, and Kāli used to visit the monastery every now and then, according to their convenience. Tārak, who had gone to Vrindāvan following the Master’s death, returned to Calcutta after a few months and soon became a permanent member of the monastery. Rākhāl , Jogin, Lātu, and Kāli were living at Vrindāvan with the Holy Mother when the monastery was started. Kāli returned to Calcutta within a month, Rākhāl  after a few months, and Jogin and Lātu after a year. The householder devotees frequently visited the monastic brothers and spent hours with them in meditation and study.

After a short time Narendra, Rākhāl , Niranjan, Sarat, Śaśi, Baburam, Jogin, Tārak, Kāli, and Lātu renounced the world for good. Sarada Prasanna and Subodh joined them some time later. Gangadhar, who was very much attached to Narendra, visited the Math regularly. It was he who taught the brothers the hymn sung at the evening service in the Śiva temple at Benares. He had gone to Tibet to practise austerity; now, having returned, he lived at the monastery. Hari and Tulasi, at first only visitors at the monastery, soon embraced the monastic life and thus completed the list of the Master’s sannyāsi disciples.

Om Namah Shivay

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God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took hold on the rope and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens.

Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet Below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it.

When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff.

She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” She thought, “Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.”

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, “Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?” Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it.

Brenda told me that when she told her father the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, “Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me do, I’ll carry it for You.” I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, “God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy.But, if you want Me to carry it, I will.”

Om Namah Shivay

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No attachments

It is said that when Buddha inducted bhikkhunis (Pali term for ordained Buddhist nuns), he was met with considerable resistance, for he had moved away from the norm and offered women an equal place as their male counterparts. Some objected and asked him to reconsider. It was not prudent to have women in such close proximity to Buddha, they argued. Unchained by the petty views of the world, Buddha, however, did what he thought was right. The number of female followers grew rapidly in his sangha and wherever he traveled, many bhikkhunis traveled with him. This did not sit well with a lot of people and rumors spread like thoughts in a restless mind.

During one of his sojourns in a village, a small group of rowdy people hurled abuses at Buddha forcing him to cut short his discourse. They were mad at him for breaking the tradition and all that. They called him names, accused him of impiety and impropriety. Unable to bear the insult, a number of sangha members rose to their feet to confront the offenders.

“Wait!” Buddha forbade the monks raising his hand. “They are behaving like this because they don’t know me.”

He looked at the faces of his spiritual children red with anger and hurt. Buddha let a few moments roll before he said, “But, you do. Therefore, follow the path of ahimsa and sit down.”

Everyone has a whole world of thoughts, emotions, desires (mostly unfulfilled), opinions, ideas and so on in their head. What comes out of anybody’s mouth is simply a glimpse of what’s in their mind. Good and loving words tumble out from a calm and compassionate mind. Gossip and harsh words from a restless and jealous mind. It’s no rocket science. Besides,  everyone is entitled to an opinion about you. Let them.

“Does that mean, Guruji,” someone asked me, “that we just listen to their blabbering? Doesn’t being silent imply that we are not just accepting but encouraging them?”

It’s a good point but I’m not suggesting that you can only choose between silence and anger. When you are dealing with a rumormonger or a criticizer, if you are going to get angry then how are you any better though? Does that kind of behavior suit you? If anything, it’ll only ruin your own peace. As I say, under all circumstances, act in a manner that befits you. It takes patience, resolve, mindfulness and compassion to do that but, it is entirely possible. At any rate, beyond silence and hostility, there’s a third option. A better one. It’s called the Three Filters Test by Socrates.

“I’ve something important to tell you,” an acquaintance of Socrates said to him while he passed through the markets. “It’s about your friend. He—”

“Stop!” Socrates reacted. “Let me run the three filters to ascertain if I want to know it.”

The man looked somewhat confounded as Socrates continued, “First is the filter of truth. Whatever you want to tell me, have you seen or witnessed it firsthand?”

“Umm… I heard it from someone,” the man replied, “but, it is from a trusted source. I’ve observed—”

“Maybe. That does not pass my first test though,” Socrates said cutting him off, “since you don’t know whether it’s true.”

“Second is the filter of goodness. Is that a good statement you want to make about my friend?”

“Not really. That’s the reason I wanted—”

“So, you want to tell me something bad about someone but don’t know if it’s true.”

“The last is the filter of utility,” Socrates added. “Your statement about my friend, will that be useful to me?”

“Probably not, I just wanted to share…”

“Well, if the information is not necessarily true, not good, and of no use,” Socrates concluded, “I don’t want to know it.” With that the Greek philosopher walked away.

This is also my way of dealing with excessive information in the present age. Mindfully, I ask myself before indulging in a conversation: do I want to know it? Will this information fill my mind with good thoughts? Would it matter if I did or didn’t have this piece of information? After all, anyone who knows you or doesn’t know you will have an opinion about you. And, it’s perfectly fine.

What people see is what they want to see. And if they don’t see what they aspire, they’ll create it. That’s the definition of a rumor. That’s how an overactive mind imagines.

Social media has fueled our appetite for gossip. It is counterproductive and unnecessary. We waste a lot of time peeking into others’ lives. One little Nemo in the vast ocean of information. At least, I should not be a contributor on social media.

A disciple asked, “Master, is it okay for a monk to use emails?”

“Yes, son,” the guru quipped, “as long as there are no attachments.”

Om Namah Shivay

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Are you proud of your Dad?

Really good one for the generations to come for the well being.

Are you proud of your Dad?????

On the first day, as President Abraham Lincoln entered to give his inaugural address,  just in the middle, one man stood up. He was a rich aristocrat.

He said, “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family .” And the whole Senate laughed; they thought they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln.

But Lincoln and that type of people are made of a totally different mettle.

Lincoln looked at the man and said, ” Sir I know that my father used to make shoes in your house for your family, and there will be many others here…. Because the way he made shoes; nobody else can. He was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul in it.

I want to ask you, have you any complaint? Because I know how to make shoes myself.

If you have any complaint, I can make another pair of shoes.

But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius, a great creator and I am proud of my father”.

The whole Senate was struck dumb. They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was.

He was proud because his father did the job so well that not even a single complaint had ever been heard.

Moral of the story

Are you proud or embarrassed of your dad and what he used to do for a living?

“No one can hurt you without your consent.”

” It is not what happens to us that hurts us. It is our response that hurts us.”

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Kindness

We can understand the pains of others only when we too face the same problems.

Our parents have painfully taken efforts to bring us up in our life. Without realizing this, we are showing anger on them.

Most of the boys and girls realize the greatness of their parents Only when they get married and face the difficulties of bringing up their children

In fact, we have to trust our parents and also support them very well to avoid guilty feeling later.

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Being in Utter Love

A dear person whom you trust lies to you and you catch him. What do you feel?

Sadness
Anger
Cheated
Disappointment
Compassion
Let down
Loss of respect
Wonder
Shock
Embarrassment

Recently when someone lied to me, I felt happy and more love, for they were not a good liar. Had he been a good liar, he would not have been caught. I thought He is so innocent that he could not even lie properly. He lied and got caught! If he had not been caught, how would ever you know he was a liar?

So you can never know a good liar.

The person you call a liar is not a good liar and he is innocent. Isn’t he? And so… (laugh), you need not go through all the above listed mental gymnastics. Instead melt and dissolve in love.

Om Namah Shivay

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हर चीज मेँ भगवान

एक गुरुजी थे। उनके आश्रम में कुछ शिष्य शिक्षा प्राप्त कर रहे थे। एक बार बातचीत में एक शिष्य ने पूछा -गुरुजी, क्या ईश्वर सचमुच है? गुरुजी ने कहा – ईश्वर अगर कहीं है तो वह हम सभी में है।

शिष्य ने पूछा – तो क्या मुझमें और आपमें भी ईश्वर है?

गुरुजी बोले – बेटा, मुझमें, तुममें, तुम्हारे सारे सहपाठियों में और हर जीव-जंतु में ईश्वर है। जिसमें जीवन है उसमें ईश्वर है। शिष्य ने गुरुजी की बात याद कर ली।

कुछ दिनों बाद शिष्य जंगल में लकड़ी लेने गया। तभी सामने से एक हाथी बेकाबू होकर दौड़ता हुआ आता दिखाई दिया। हाथी के पीछे-पीछे महावत भी दौड़ता हुआ आ रहा था और दूर से ही चिल्ला रहा था – दूर हट जाना, हाथी बेकाबू हो गया है, दूर हट जाना रे भैया, हाथी बेकाबू हो गया है।

उस जिज्ञासु शिष्य को छोड़कर बाकी सभी शिष्य तुरंत इधर-उधर भागने लगे। वह शिष्य अपनी जगह से बिल्कुल भी नहीं हिला, बल्कि उसने अपने दूसरे साथियों से कहा कि हाथी में भी भगवान है फिर तुम भाग क्यों रहे हो? महावत चिल्लाता रहा, पर वह शिष्य नहीं हटा और हाथी ने उसे धक्का देकर एक तरफ गिरा दिया और आगे निकल गया।

गिरने से शिष्य होश खो बैठा। कुछ देर बाद उसे होश आया तो उसने देखा कि आश्रम में गुरुजी और शिष्य उसे घेरकर खड़े हैं। साथियों ने शिष्य से पूछा कि जब तुम देख रहे थे कि हाथी तुम्हारी तरफ दौड़ा चला आ रहा है तो तुम रस्ते से हटे क्यों नहीं?

शिष्य ने कहा – जब गुरुजी ने कहा है कि हर चीज में ईश्वर है तो इसका मतलब है कि हाथी में भी है। मैंने सोचा कि सामने से हाथी नहीं ईश्वर चले आ रहे हैं और यही सोचकर मैं अपनी जगह पर खड़ा रहा, पर ईश्वर ने मेरी कोई मदद नहीं की।

गुरुजी ने यह सुना तो वे मुस्कुराए और बोले -बेटा, मैंने कहा था कि हर चीज में भगवान है। जब तुमने यह माना कि हाथी में भगवान है तो तुम्हें यह भी ध्यान रखना चाहिए था कि महावत में भी भगवान है और जब महावत चिल्लाकर तुम्हें सावधान कर रहा था तो तुमने उसकी बात पर ध्यान क्यों नहीं दिया?

शिष्य को उसकी बात का जवाब मिल गया था।.

Om Namah Shivay

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Mahabharata: Epic retold -3

Arjuna Versus Karna

Once inside, my brother had fought brilliantly. Ashwathma and the Bahlika prince Bhoorisravas had challenged him – only to retreat. Karna had then faced Arjuna. The two fought a dazzling duel.

Kauravas Cheer

But, as dusk approached, and Jayadratha was yet to be sighted, Krishna asked Arjuna to pretend to give up on his vow and withdraw, dejected. Seeing Arjuna turn back, the Kauravas had cheered. For a brief moment, the formation parted to reveal an ecstatic Jayadratha.

Krishna Takes A U-Turn

That was all Krishna needed. Whipping the chariot around with amazing speed, he presented Arjuna a clear shot of his quarry. The Gandiva spoke. Jayadratha fell, an arrow through his throat.

Bheema Introspects

Leaving Yudhisthira’s tent, I walk to mine. A vow fulfilled. Jayadratha killed. But has Abhimanyu been avenged? Will it return him to life? What about Kshatradharma? And Jayadratha himself? It occurs to me war is an endless cycle of revenge.

Bheema Offers Food To Drishtadyumna

Drishtadyumna is waiting for me at the tent. He must have come straight from the battlefield. I notice blood oozing from under his armour. Knowing no words to console him, I ask Visoka to bring food. Drishtadyumna eats absently. I am glad for the silence.

Drona’s Fall Certain

“Drona must fall,” he says, when he finishes. “I do not say that because of Kshatradharma alone. Drona must fall for us to win this war.” He adds as an afterthought, “I almost had him today.”

So What If Arjuna Kept His Word?

“Still, today we were lucky,”‘ I say. “Our losses weigh heavy, but Arjuna kept his word–“. “Yes, his foolish word. Though that was the work of midnight messengers. Not luck!”

What If Krishna Broke His Vow?

Seeing the expression on my face, Drishtadyumna says, “Krishna threatened to break his vow and fight if Jayadratha did not fall today.” Drona understood the danger. Krishna as charioteer was one thing, but allegiances would falter if he fought for us.

Division In the Ranks

The old brahmin knew how many under his command revered Krishna. They would find it difficult to raise a weapon against him. The Kauravas could lose divisions.

Wily Brahmin Who Bartered His Own

“The wily brahmin thought Jayadratha was a fair price to pay,” Drishtadyumna says. “Why do you think he kept away from the chakravyuha?” Ghatotkacha is right. We are worse than animals. We barter our own if it suits our purpose.

War Is Always Ugly

Seeing my troubled face, Drishtadyumna says softly, “War is ugly. There never has been one without treachery. There never will be. “The righteous war you seek exists only in Yudhishthira’s mind… Come, we must prepare for the battle at night!”

Om Namah Shivay

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Mahabharata: Epic retold -2

The Sun Sets Early

Yudhisthira looks at me anxiously when I ride up to him. Through the day, messengers have kept him abreast of news from the various fronts. “Not much time left!” he says. “The sun sets early today!”

Krishna Knows About Time

When I look at him, he adds impatiently, “Dakshinayana. Today marks the end of summer solstice!’ I realize why Krishna had summoned the astrologers the night before. At least, he has a more accurate idea of duskfall than any of us.”

Drona’s Formation

Drona has created a formation within the formation, which Arjuna is trying to break into. It is almost certain Jayadratha is inside the second formation. The Panchala princes Yuddhamanyu and Uttamaujas are with Arjuna.

Looking For A Flag

Drishtadyumna too is nearby, engaging Drona’s division, though their battle seems to be taking him away from Arjuna’s forces. Cautioning Yudhisthira to position himself securely and not do anything foolish, I ride back, telling Visoka to find Drishtadyumna’s flag.

Something Is Wrong

The light is beginning to fail when we sight Drishtadyumna’s men. Even as we approach, I sense something is wrong. Cutting through a ring of ground troops, I come to a still chariot. On the deck lies a boy, his throat pierced by a single arrow.

Who Is Responsible?

Kshatradharma, Drishtadyumna’s son. Another sacrifice to the gods of war. From the furious attack Drishtadyumna is launching on Drona, it is clear who is responsible for the death. I rush to assist the Panchala.

A Wheel Will Do the Trick

Two chariots cut across my path. My cousins. Perfect targets for my anger! I leap out of the chariot. Wrenching the wheel of a destroyed vehicle, I send it spinning at the enemy on the left

Bheema In Action

Catching it in his midriff, the Kaurava crumbles against his flagpole like a broken bamboo shoot. Roaring, I jump into the second chariot. When I crush his neck with the metal of his own bow, my cousin lets out a gargling scream. Blood spurts with his last breath.

I’m Good Enough For Two

Two more of the blind man’s sons. I do not even recall their names. How many left now? “Here!” Visoka shouts, driving up close. “We must go to Arjuna quickly!”

Arjuna’s Conch

Fear grips me as we race towards where Arjuna is fighting. The light is almost gone. The battle could end any moment. Before we get closer, I hear a roar. Then, the victorious blare of Arjuna’s conch.

The Dust Settles

When the dust settles, I see the fighting has ended. Krishna and Arjuna, followed by the rest of their contingent, are driving back. At the camp, there is celebration. Yudhisthira and Satyaki embrace the tired but triumphant Arjuna. Krishna is smiling.

Arjuna Breaks The Circle

Yuddhamanyu tells me what happened. Within the cart phalanx, Drona had created a chakravyuha to tuck Jayadratha away from harm. Arjuna had broken into the circle without trouble. Yuddhamanyu, Uttamaujas and a group of soldiers had followed him in.

Om Namah Shivay

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