Mahabhava (To be Absorbed into Divine Ecstasy)

O Auspiciousness of all auspicious things.
O door of all actions
O refuge.
Three-eyed-one.
O spouse of shiva
O Narayani
I bow down to thee. I bow down to thee.

In tantra this is known as the Sodashi Puja, the adoration of the Divine Virgin – a rarely performed tantric ritual.

Sri Ramakrishna realized the significance of the great statement of the Upanishad: ‘O Lord, Thou art the woman, Thou art the man; Thou art the boy, Thou art the girl; Thou art the old, tottering on their crutches; Thou pervades the universe in its multiple forms.’

Companionship

Sri Ramakrishna admitted the great value of marriage in man’s spiritual evolution, and by adhering to his monastic vows he demonstrated the imperative necessity of self-control, purity and continence, in realisation of God. By his unique relationship with his wife, he proved that husband and wife can live together as spiritual companions. Thus, life is a synthesis of the ways of life of a householder and a monk.

Eight years later, in November 1874, Sri Ramakrishna was seized with an irresistible desire to learn more about the Christian religion. Therefore, soon after Sarada left for Kamarpukur, Sri Ramakrishna visited a neighbour, Shambhucharan Mallick. Gregarious, well read, devout and generous, he had virtually taken over from Mathur as provider of Sri Ramakrishna’s physical needs. Shambhucharan was Catholic in his tastes – he read all the religious treatises with equal enthusiasm, and read excerpts from the Bible to his Master.

The New Realm

Sri Ramakrishna became fascinated by the life and teachings of Jesus. One day while he was seated in the parlour of Mallick’s garden house at Dakshineswar, his eyes became fixed on a painting of the Madonna and Child. He watched it intently and was unable to tear his eyes away from it. Gradually, he became overwhelmed with emotion. The figures in the picture took on life, and the rays of light emanating from them entered his soul. The effect of this experience was stronger than that of the vision of Muhammad. In dismay he cried out , ‘O Mother! What are you doing to me?’ and breaking through the barriers of creed and religion, he entered a new realm of ecstasy. Jesus Christ entered his soul.

The Incarnation Of God

For three days he did not set foot inside the Kali temple. On the fourth afternoon, while he was meditating in Panchavati, he saw a tall fair man – serene, handsome, with a slightly semitic nose and light coloured eyes, dressed in a long white robe, coming gracefully towards him, a voice rang out in the depths of Sri Ramakrishna’s soul: ‘Behold the Christ, who shed His heart’s blood for the redemption of the world, who suffered a sea of anguish for love of man. It is He, the Master Yogi who is in eternal union with God. It is Jesus, love incarnate.’ The Son of Man embraced the Son of the Divine Mother and merged in Him. Sri Ramakrishna realised his identity with Christ, as he had already realised his identity with Kali, Rama, Hanuman, Radha, Krishna and Brahman with attributes. Thus he experienced the truth that Christianity too, was a path leading to God-consciousness. Til the last moment of his life, he believed that Christ was an incarnation of God. But Christ, for him, was not the only incarnation; there were others – Buddha, Krishna and many, many others. This state perhaps marked the climax of Sri Ramakrishna’s sahana, the period of his spiritual discipline.

As a result of his long and difficult journey, he had arrived at insights and realisations; conclusions regarding himself and spirituality in general that could now be more formally ascribed to him and represented much that he would articulate himself.

He was an incarnation of God, a person whose spiritual experiences were for the benefit of humanity. An ordinary man struggles his entire life to realise one or two facets of God, but Sri Ramakrishna had, within a few years, realised God in all His facets. Second, he knew that he had always been a free soul and that the various disciplines which he passed through were not necessary for his own liberation, but solely for the benefit of others. Thus, the terms liberation and bondage were not applicable to him.

Another phase of Sri Ramakrishna’s life was born. Every event opened out to a new one. Till now, the world knew Sri Ramakrishna as a crazy man with all kinds of visions and experiences to which only he was testimony. What relevance these experiences had was yet to be seen. Sri Ramakrishna now looked forward to his spiritual children. In anticipation he said, ‘O my children, where are you? Come! Why haven’t you come yet? My soul is wrung like a wet towel waiting for you. Mother, you told me that devotees would come’.Why have they not come Mother? What will this life be worth if they do not come? What will life be worth then?

From Thakur by Rajiv Mehrota © 2009, published in the UK by Hayhouse.

THAKUR: SRI RAMAKRISHNA: A BIOGRAPHYCygnus Code: 220314

THAKUR: SRI RAMAKRISHNA: A BIOGRAPHY
by Rajiv Mehrotra

This is the story of Sri Ramakrishna, one of the most beloved Hindu spiritual leaders. ‘All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. Infinite are the paths and infinite the opinions.’ – Sri Ramakrishna.

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