Kshudiram’s nephew RamchandWe have already said that Ramachandra Bandyopadhyaya, Ramsila’s son, was a pleader. His practice in the town, of Medinipur brought him a good income. Considering the straitened circumstances of his maternal uncles, he now sent fifteen rupees a month to help Kshudiram and ten rupees each to Nidhiram and Kanairam. If Kshudiram did not hear from his nephew for some time, he would become anxious and hasten to Medinipur to see him. We were told of a strange incident which occurred when Kshudiram was once going to Medinipur, and we relate it here as an example of his deep devotion to God.An incident showing Kshudiram’s devotion to GodMedinipur is situated about forty miles south-west of Kamarpukur. Having had no news of Ramachandra and his family for a long time, Kshudiram set out one day to see him. It was probably during the month of Magh or Phalgun, when the Vilva trees shed their leaves, making the worship of Siva difficult until new leaves appear. Kshudiram had been experiencing this difficulty for some time.He started very early and walked steadily on, till he reached a certain village about ten o’clock in the morning. Finding that the Vilva trees there were already in leaf, his heart leaped in joy and all thought of proceeding to Medinipur left his mind. He bought a new basket and a piece of cloth and washed them thoroughly in a pond close by. Then he filled the basket with new Vilva leaves, covered it with wet cloth and returned home, reaching there about three in the afternoon. Immediately on his arrival he bathed and then for a long time joyfully worshipped with the leaves the great God Siva and Sitala, the divine Mother. Not until he had finished the worship did he sit down for his meal. Chandradevi thought this to be the right moment to ask him why he had not gone to Medinipur. When he told her everything, she was amazed to learn that he had come back all that distance solely on account of his eagerness to worship Siva with the leaves. Kshudiram started again for Medinipur very early the next morning. ... See MoreSee Less
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Kshudiram’s sister RamsilaAs already mentioned, Kshudiram had a sister named Ramsila, and had two younger brothers, Nidhiram and Kanairam, the latter being also called Ramkanai. At the time he lost all his property on account of the dispute with the landlord of Derepur, his sister was thirty-five and his brothers thirty and twenty-five respectively. By then all the three had married and set up their own homes. Ramsila was married to Bhagavat Bandyopadhyaya who lived at Silimpur, a village about twelve miles west of Kamarpukur. She had a son, Ramchand, and a daughter Hemangini. At the time of Kshudiram’s misfortune, Hemangini was sixteen and Ramchand, who had begun to practise as a Muktear (pleader), was about twenty-one. Born in the home of her maternal uncles at Derepur, Hemangini was a greater favourite with them than her brother. Kshudiram brought her up like his own daughter, and when she reached the proper age, he himself gave her away in marriage to Krishnachandra Mukhopadhyaya of Sihar, a village five miles north-west of Kamarpukur. In course of time she became the mother of four sons: Raghava, Ramaratan, Hriday Ram and Rajaram.Kshudiram’s two brothersWe could not find out whether Nidhiram had any children, but Kanairam had two sons, Ramtarak (otherwise known as Haladhari) and Kalidas. Kanairam was of a devotional and contemplative nature. Once he went to a drama (Yatra) which portrayed the banishment of Sri Ramachandra to the forest. The performance became so realistic to him that he took Kaikeyi’s secret plotting and scheming to be real and was on the point of striking the actor who played the part. On the loss of the ancestral property, Nidhiram and Kanairam, it appears, settled in the villages of their fathers-in-law. ... See MoreSee Less
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How the neighbours regarded ChandradeviChandradevi’s loving and guileless nature captivated her neighbours and made them look upon her as their mother. From no one else did they receive such heart-felt sympathy in their joys and sorrows. The poor knew that whenever they went to Chandradevi they would receive not only food but also such a genuine welcome and affection as would fill their hearts with inexpressible joy. To holy men living on alms her door was always open. There was nothing that the children could not coax out of Chandradevi. Thus everyone, young and old, was welcome at any time to Kshudiram’s cottage, which, in spite of poverty and suffering, always radiated a wonderful peace and joy. ... See MoreSee Less
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Kshudiram’s devotion increased and he had spiritual visions: neighbours revered himTwo or three years went by in this manner. Kshudiram depended entirely on Raghuvir and what chance brought him, and he did not lack plain food and clothing. Therefore the hard trials of these two or three years, instead of discouraging him, filled his heart with a sense of reliance on God and a continuous flow of peace and contentment such as few experience. Henceforth it was natural for him to be always indrawn, and in consequence he had from time to time various divine visions. Every morning and evening, during his prayers, he would repeat the meditation Mantra describing the Gayatri with such deep devotion and concentration of mind that his chest became flushed and from his closed eyes flowed tears of love. Early in the morning he would go, basket in hand, to pick flowers for the worship, and at such times the goddess Sitala, who received his daily adoration, would appear before him as an eight-year-old girl dressed in red and wearing many ornaments. She would accompany him smiling and help him pluck flowers by bending the branches in blossom. These visions filled his heart with joy. His staunch faith and deep devotion were reflected in his countenance and kept him always on a high spiritual plane. Seeing his calm and peaceful face, the villagers instinctively recognized his spirituality and began to venerate him with the love and devotion due to a Rishi. Whenever they saw him coming, they stopped all idle talk, stood up and greeted him respectfully. They hesitated to enter the tank when they saw him bathing, and waited in reverence till he had finished. With complete faith in him, they came for his blessings in weal and woe. ... See MoreSee Less
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Kshudram’s steadfastness and dependence on GodHis difficulties continued, but Kshudiram cheerfully bore all kinds of misfortune, strictly observing as ever the religious injunctions. On some days, when there was nothing in the house to eat, his devoted wife, Chandradevi, would grow anxious and tell him about it. But, unperturbed, Kshudiram would comfort her and say, “Never mind. If Raghuvir chooses to fast, why shouldn’t we?” At this the simple-hearted Chandra also, like her husband, would resign herself to Raghuvir and go on with her household duties. And somehow food sufficient for the day would come.The paddy field at LakshmijalaBut Kshudiram did not suffer long from this uncertainty about food. For the one Bigha and ten Chataks of land at Lakshmijala given to him by his friend Sukhlal Goswami, now, by the grace of Raghuvir, began to produce so much paddy that there was not only enough for the little family’s annual needs, but also something left over to feed guests and strangers. Kshudiram hired men to plough the field, and when the rice seedlings were ready, he would transplant a few himself, taking the name of Raghuvir, and then let the men finish the work. ... See MoreSee Less
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Kshudiram came upon the Salagrama of Raghuvir in a strange wayAn incident which happened at this time still further intensified Kshudiram’s faith in God. One day he went to another village on business. On his way back he became tired and rested under a tree. The vast, lonely field and a soft, pure breeze brought repose to his troubled mind and tired body. He felt a strong desire to lie down, and no sooner had he done so than he was overcome with sleep. He then had a dream in which he saw standing before him his chosen Ideal, Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra, in the guise-of a divine Boy, His body green like the tender blades of Durva grass. Pointing to a particular spot, the Boy said, “I have been staying here for a long time without food and without anyone to take care of me. Take me to your house: I have a very strong desire that you should serve me.” Kshudiram was overcome with emotion and said, paying homage to the Lord again and again: “O Lord, I am without devotion and am very poor. Service befitting you is not possible in my hut, and I shall lose all grace should there be any flaw in it. So why do you make such a difficult request of me?” At this the Boy Ramachandra comforted him and said graciously, “Do not be afraid. I will not take offence at any shortcoming. Take me with you.” Unable to control his feelings at the Lord’s unexpected grace, Kshudiram burst into tears. Just then his dream came to an end. When he awoke, Kshudiram wondered at the strangeness of his dream and thought, “Ah! If only such good fortune would be mine!” Then suddenly his eyes fell upon the paddy field close by and at once he recognized it as the very place he had seen in the dream. Out of curiosity he approached the spot, where he saw a beautiful Salagrama stone and a snake with expanded hood guarding it. Eager to possess the stone he hastened towards it. On reaching it he found that the snake had disappeared and that the Salagrama was lying at the entrance to its hole. Seeing that the dream had come true, his heart leaped in joy, and he felt no fear of the snake, convinced that he had received God’s command. Crying out, “Glory to Raghuvir!”,Kshudiram took the stone in his hands. He carefully examined the marks on it and, with his knowledge of the Sastras, found it to be a Raghuvir Sila (Salagrama). Beside himself with joy and wonder, he returned home, performed the purificatory ceremony of the Salagrama according to the Sastras, and installing it as the family deity, began to worship it daily. Even before he came upon the Salagrama in this strange manner, Kshudiram had been worshipping Sri Ramachandra, his chosen Deity, every day. He also worshipped daily the goddess Sitala, invoking her in a consecrated pot filled with water. ... See MoreSee Less
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The reason why Kshudiram lived like a Vanaprasthin at KamarpukurIt is difficult to imagine the thoughts that arose in the minds of Kshudiram and his wife the day they came to Kamarpukur with the ten-year-old Ramkumar and Katyayani, their daughter of four, and settled in the cottage given to them. The world, filled with jealousy and hatred, must have seemed to them a hideous place of the dead, shrouded in dismal-darkness. Thoughts of affection, love, kindness and justice no doubt occasionally shed there a dim light, raising in quivering hearts some hope of happiness, but it is blasted the next moment, leaving behind deep depression. It is natural that many such thoughts should have arisen in their minds when they compared their previous condition with the present one. Only when misery and calamity come, do men realize the transitoriness and worthlessness of this world. It is therefore not at all surprising that Kshudiram now felt detached from the world and that his profoundly religious mind was full of devotion to God and reliance on Him. For he could not forget how unexpected and unasked for was the shelter given to them. Is it then strange that, being indifferent to worldly prospects, he once more devoted his time to the service and worship of the divine Lord and surrendered himself completely to Raghuvir? From now on he was living, no doubt, in the world, but, like the Vanaprasthins of ancient times, he was not of it. ... See MoreSee Less
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Kshudiram came to Kamarpukur at the invitation of Sukhlal Goswami and lived thereWe have already mentioned Sukhlal Goswami of Kamarpukur. He and Kshudiram were of a like temperament and were old and intimate friends. Sukhlal was much moved on hearing of Kshudiram’s misfortune, and vacating a few thatched huts in a part of his homestead invited him to come and live there permanently. Kshudiram thus found a haven of refuge. He accepted the invitation, regarding it as the incomprehensible play (Lila) of the divine Lord, and with his heart filled with gratitude went to Kamarpukur, where he lived ever after. Sukhlal, who loved his friend dearly, felt very happy at his coming, and made a permanent gift to the virtuous Kshudiram of one Bigha and ten Chataks2 of land for his future maintenance. ... See MoreSee Less
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Kshudiram lost his property in a dispute with the landlordIt did not take Kshudiram long to discover how difficult it was to manage worldly affairs without deviating from the path of righteousness. Probably a short time after his daughter Katyayani was born he had to undergo a very hard test. We have already spoken of the oppression of the tenants by Ramananda Roy, the landlord of the village. Annoyed with a certain man of Derepur, Ramananda instituted a false case against him, and since someone of good reputation was needed as a witness, he requested Kshudiram to give evidence in his favour. The strictly upright Kshudiram always dreaded litigation, courts and the like, and never had recourse to them against anyone, even when he had a just cause. The request therefore came to him as a shock. Though he knew for certain that he would incur Ramananda’s bitter animosity if he did not give the false evidence, he could never agree to such a course. The inevitable happened. The landlord filed a false petition in the court against him as well, won the case and got possession of the whole of Kshudiram’s paternal property through auction. In consequence Kshudiram had not even a square inch of land left in Derepur. Although all the people of the village felt great sympathy for him in his trouble, out of fear of the landlord they did not dare help him in any way.Kshudiram left DereAt the time of his loss Kshudiram was about forty years old. The property inherited from his ancestors, together with that acquired by him over many years, had vanished like a cloud dispersed by the wind. But this calamity did not affect his upright conduct in the least. He took absolute refuge at the holy feet of Raghuvir, calmly reflected on what he should do in order to escape the wicked landlord, and finally bade goodbye for ever to his paternal homestead and village. ... See MoreSee Less
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Chandradevi, wife of KshudiramKshudiram took up management of the ancestral property on the death of his father. He performed this duty as best as he could, remaining at the same time steadfast in the path of religion. Some time previously he had married and taken up family responsibilities, but his wife had died young. When he was about twenty-five years of age he married a second time; The bride’s name was Chandramani, but in the family she was called simply ‘Chandra’. Her father’s house was in the village of Saratimayapur. She was simple-hearted, good-looking and devoted to the service of the gods and the twice-born. But her outstanding qualities were her heart-felt religious faith, love and affection, and it was these that made her dear to all. Born probably in the year 1791, she must have been only about eight years old at the time of her marriage in 1799. Her first son, Ramkumar, is said to have been born in 1805. A daughter, Katyayani, was born five years later, and she rejoiced at the birth of her second son, Rameswar, in 1826. ... See MoreSee Less
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Manikram’s son KshudiramIt is not known whether Kshudiram ever became proficient in any kind of learning that brought him money. But the Lord had blessed him with truthfulness, contentment, forgiveness, renunciation and other noble qualities, the possession of which is considered by the Sastras the mark of a good Brahmin. He was tall and strong and had a fair complexion and pleasing looks. Kshudiram showed a deep devotion to Sri Ramachandra, who had been worshipped in his family generation after generation. He was in the habit of performing Sandhya, along with his other daily routine, after which he would collect flowers for the worship of Raghuvir (Ramachandra). Not until he finished his worship would he eat anything. He never accepted gifts from Sudras and would even refuse invitations from Brahmins who performed religious rites for them Nor would he drink water touched by Brahmins who took money for giving their daughters in marriage. He was greatly loved and respected by the villagers for his faithful observance of pious customs. ... See MoreSee Less
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Ramananda Roy, the landlord of the village of DereTwo miles west of Kamarpukur there are three villages—called Satbere, Narayanpur, and Dere— situated side by side. The former prosperity of these villages can be inferred from various signs, such as the tank in the village of Dere and the temple near by. At the time of which we are speaking, the three villages were included in different estates, and Ramananda Roy, the landlord of Dere, lived in the village Satbere. This landlord, who was not very rich, greatly oppressed his tenants. When angry for some reason or other, he did not hesitate to deprive a tenant of all his possessions. None of his sons or daughters survived him It is said that he could leave behind no progeny on account of the sin of oppressing the tenants. After his death all his estate and property fell into others’ hands.Manikram Chattopadhyaya of DereAbout one hundred and fifty years ago, there lived a religious-minded Brahmin family of moderate means in the village of Dere. They were of noble descent, observed the customs of pious Hindus, and worshipped Sri Ramachandra. The temple of Siva and the adjoining tank known as the Chatujee tank still commemorate their memory. Sri Manikram Chattopadhyaya of this family had three sons and a daughter. Of these, the eldest, Kshudiram, was born probably in A.D. 1775. After him came Ramsila, the daughter, and the two other sons, Nidhiram and Kanairam. ... See MoreSee Less
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Manikraja of BhursuboA mile north of Kamarpukur there is a village called Bhursubo, where lived a very rich man named Manik Chandra Bandyopadhyaya, commonly known as Manikraja to the people of the surrounding villages. Besides the mango grove just mentioned, certain tanks named Sukhasayar and Hatisayar still remind us of him. It is said that on several occasions about a lakh of Brahmins1 were invited and fed at his palace.The fort at MandaranIn the village of Mandaran, south-east of Kamarpukur, there used to be an impregnable fort built to protect the people of the surrounding villages from the attacks of enemies. The course of the neighbouring rivulet, Amodar, was skilfully diverted to serve as a moat for this fort.The big tank of Uchalan and the battlefield of MogalmariThe ruins of the gateway, the tower and the moat of the fort, and the temple of Siva named Saileswar, not far from it, exist to this day. They indicate the importance of this part of the country during the time of the Pathan rule. It is by the Mandaran fort that the road leading to Burdwan passes. On both sides of this road are many large tanks, the largest being the one at a place called Uchalan, eighteen miles north of the fort. There is also an elephant-stable in ruins at a place along this road. This shows clearly that the road was constructed for use during wars and disturbances. The existence of the battlefield of Mogalmari by this road also attests to the same fact. ... See MoreSee Less
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The Haldar tank, the Bhuti stream and the mango grovePeople of various castes, high and low, such as the Brahmin, Kayastha, weaver, milkman, blacksmith, potter, fisherman and Dom (a low caste), live at Kamarpukur. There are three or four tanks in the village, the biggest being called the Haldarpukur. There are also many small ponds, some of them with large numbers of hundred-petalled lotuses and white water-lilies. There are still many brick houses and tombs in the village, though in earlier days there was a larger number of them. The broken temple of Ramananda Sankhari, the dilapidated Rasa-platform of Fakir Datta, heaps of bricks overgrown with jungle, and deserted shrines in various places are evidence of the former prosperity of the village. There are two burning-ghats, called Budhui Moral and Bhutir Khal, one to the northwest, the other to the north-east. To the west of the Bhutir Khal are the common grazing ground, the public mango grove planted by Manikraja, and the Amodar river. The Bhuti stream flows south and joins this river not far from the village. ... See MoreSee Less
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The worship of Dharma in that part of the countryAt one time the worship of Dharma, which was originally one of the three principal ‘gems’ of the Buddhists, was celebrated annually with great pomp and splendour. But that time is gone. Sri Dharma is now looked upon as Kurma (the second of the ten important incarnations of Vishnu) and receives only ordinary worship here and in the surrounding villages. Even brahmins are sometimes seen worshipping the image of this deity. One hears different names for Sri Dharma in different villages. Thus, the Dharma of Kamarpukur is called Rajadhiraja; the Dharma installed at Sripur is named Yatrasiddhiraja; and the one at the village called Madhuvati, near Mukundapur, is known as Sannyasiraja. The chariot procession (Ratha Yatra) of the Dharma of Kamarpukur used to be celebrated formerly with much pomp. The god’s big chariot with its nine pinnacles could be seen near the temple; but after it broke down it was never rebuilt. The temple is also falling to pieces for want of repairs, and its priest, Yajnesvara, has now removed the deity to his own house. ... See MoreSee Less
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The former prosperity of Kamarpukur and the neighbourhood and the present conditionNo words can express the atmosphere of peace that pervaded the mainly agricultural villages of Bengal before they were devastated by malaria in 1867. Surrounded by extensive fields, these small villages of the Hooghly district looked like islands floating in a vast green area. The people enjoyed health and strength, as well as happiness and contentment, since they led an outdoor life and had plenty to eat, the soil being extremely fertile. The villages were densely populated, and the villagers, besides cultivating the fields, engaged themselves in various small industries. Thus Kamarpukur is still famous in that part of the country for Jilapi and Nabat (sweets), and its people even now make a decent living by manufacturing hookah pipes of ebony and selling them in Calcutta. At one time it was famous for producing yarn, Dhotis and towels and for such other handicrafts. Well-known cloth merchants, Vishnu Chapdi and others, lived in this village and maintained a good business with Calcutta. A market is held in the village, even now, every Tuesday and Saturday, and people from the surrounding villages (Tarahat, Vadangaj, Sihar, Desra etc.,) bring to it for sale article’s of daily use, such as yarn, Dhotis, towels, cooking-pots, pitchers, baskets, fine and coarse mats etc. along with the produce of the fields. Numerous ceremonial festivals are still observed. To this day, in the month of Chaitra, Kamarpukur reverberates with songs in praise of the goddess Manasa, as well as with the Gajan (Garjana) song in praise of Siva, and in the month of Vaisakh or Jyaishtha, with songs about Hari continuing uninterruptedly for periods of three days. Moreover all kinds of ceremonies pertaining to special occasions (Pal Parvana) are performed throughout the year in the house of the landlord, while daily and special worships take place in the established temples. The poverty of the village has now put a stop to many other similar festivities. ... See MoreSee Less
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A cluster of three villages, forming a triangle, is situated in Bengal, not far from the place where the north-western part of the district of Hoogly joins the districts of Bankura and Medinipur. Although known to the villagers themselves as Sripur, Kamarpukur and Mukundapur, these three villages nestle so close together that they appear to the traveller as different quarters of the same village. The people of the surrounding villages called all the three Kamarpukur, probably because the local landlords had lived, in that village for many generations. At the time we are speaking of, Kamarpukur formed a part of the rent-free estate belonging to the family of the spiritual teacher of the Maharaja of Burdwan. The descendants of this family, Gopilal Goswami, Sukhlal Goswami and others, were living there.The town of Burdwan is situated about thirty-two miles north of Kamarpukur. A metalled road, skirting Kamarpukur, leads from there to Puri to the south-west. Many poor pilgrims and Sadhus walk along this road to Puri to pay obeisance to Sri Jagannath, the Lord of the universe, and return the same way. The famous temple of Tarakeswar Mahadeva is situated about nineteen or twenty miles north of Kamarpukur. A road passing through Jahanabad or Arambagh on the bank of the river Dwarakeswar connects that place with Kamarpukur. Moreover two highways—one from Ghata, eighteen miles to the south, and the other from Vanavishnupur, twenty-six miles to the west—enter Kamarpukur. ... See MoreSee Less
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If we think deeply, we find that there is a subtle connection between the condition of poverty and the future course of the lives of the incarnations. For unless, from their early years, they had known and sympathized with the lot of the poor, the oppressed and the miserable, how could they, in later years, have wiped away the tears of such people and brought them solace? That, however, is not all that the incarnations aimed to accomplish. We have already seen that they came into the world mainly to arrest the decline of religion. To fulfil that object they had to acquire intimate knowledge of the principles underlying religion in the past, and, to bring out by a study of the causes of its decline, new and perfected forms of religion suited to particular times and places. It is in the huts of the lowly and not in the palaces of the rich that this intimate knowledge can be gained; for it is the poor man, deprived of the enjoyment of worldly pleasures, who clings to God and His dispensation as his main support. Although, therefore, religion declines everywhere, a little gleam of the old teaching still brightens the poor man’s hut. That is perhaps why these great souls, the world-teachers, are attracted at the time of their birth to the huts of the poor. ... See MoreSee Less
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With the exception of Sri Ramachandra and Lord Buddha, all the divine incarnations were born in poverty and hardship. Consider, for example, the childhood of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the glory of the race of Kshatriya princes. He was born in a prison and spent his childhood away from his kith and kin in a community of humble cowherds; or the life of Lord Jesus, who, although born in a stable, with a manger for cradle, brought glory to his humble parents; or that of Bhagavan Sankara, born after his father’s death, the son of a poor widow; or of Bhagavan Sri Chaitanya, of common parentage; and finally, the humble birth of the Prophet Mohammad, the founder of Islam But despite this fact, none of them was born in a family where contentment did not reign supreme in the midst of want and poverty; or where the warmth of love and selflessness did not prevail over the chill of penury; or where the hearts of the parents were not adorned with renunciation and purity, and adamantine firmness and austerity were not matched with tender charity and kindness. ... See MoreSee Less
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Since the founding of the new math Sashi had devoted himself heart and soul to the worship and service of the Master. All were amazed at his devotion. Just as he had tended Sri Ramakrishna's physical body during his illness, so now, with the same unswerving zeal, he worshipped the Master in the shrine room. ... See MoreSee Less
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The next morning M. was sitting alone under a tree in the garden. He said to himself: "Sri Ramakrishna has made the brothers of the monastery renounce 'woman and gold'. Ah, how eager they are to realize God! This place has become a veritable Vaikuntha, and the brothers living here are embodiments of Narayana. It is not many days since the Master passed away; that is why all the ideas and ideals he stood for are there, almost intact. The same Ayodhya — only Rama is not there.' The Master has made these brothers renounce their homes. Why has he kept a few in the world? Is there no way of liberation for them?" ... See MoreSee Less
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RAKHAL: "Can our parents love us as intensely as Gurumaharaj [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] did? What have we done for him, to deserve all this love? Why was he so eager for our welfare in body, mind, and soul? What have we done for him, to deserve all this?"M. (to himself): "Ah! Rakhal is right. Therefore a person like Sri Ramakrishna is described as the 'Ocean of Mercy without any reason'." ... See MoreSee Less
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Sashi's father came to the math. He wanted to take his son home. During Sri Ramakrishna's illness Sashi had nursed the Master for nine months with unswerving zeal. He had won a scholarship in the Entrance Examination for his academic ability and had studied up to the B.A., but he had not appeared at the examination. His father, a poor brahmin, was a devout Hindu and spent much of his time in spiritual practice. Sashi was his eldest son. His parents had hoped that, after completing his education, he would earn money and remove the family's financial difficulties. But Sashi had renounced the world for the realization of God. Whenever he thought of his father and mother he felt great anguish of heart. Many a time he said to his friends, with tears in his eyes: "I am at a loss as to my duty. Alas, I could not serve my parents; I could not be of any use to them. What great hope they placed in me! On account of our poverty my mother did not have any jewelry. I cherished the desire to buy some for her. But now all my hopes are frustrated; it is impossible for me to return home. My Master asked me to renounce 'woman and gold'. I simply cannot return home."After Sri Ramakrishna's passing away Sashi's father had hoped that his son would come back to his family. The boy had spent a few days at home, but immediately after the establishment of the new monastery he had begun to frequent it and, after a few days, had decided to remain there as one of the members. Every now and then his father came to the monastery to persuade him to come home; but he had not succeeded.This day, on learning that his father had come, Sashi fled the monastery by another door. He did not want to meet him. ... See MoreSee Less
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M. said: "You are all indeed blessed! You think of the Master day and night."NARENDRA: "But how little it is! We don't yet feel like giving up the body because we haven't realized God." ... See MoreSee Less
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NARENDRA: "Whatever spiritual disciplines we are practising here are in obedience to the Master's command. But it is strange that Ram Babu criticizes us for our spiritual practices. He says: 'We have seen him. (Sri Ramakrishna) What need have we of any such practice?'"M: "Let people act according to their faith."NARENDRA: "But the Master asked us to practise sadhana." ... See MoreSee Less
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M: "Where did you see him(MASTER) next?"NARENDRA: "At Rajmohan's house. The third visit was at Dakshineswar again. During that visit he went into samadhi and began to praise me as if I were God. He said to me, 'O Narayana, you have assumed this body for my sake.' But please don't tell this to anybody else."M: "What else did he say?"NARENDRA: "He said: 'You have assumed this body for my sake. I asked the Divine Mother, "Mother, unless I enjoy the company of some genuine devotees completely free from 'woman and gold', how shall I live on earth?"' ... See MoreSee Less
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It was evening. Incense was burnt before the pictures of gods and goddesses and the evening service was performed. Rakhal, Sashi, the elder Gopal, and Harish were seated in the big hall. M. also was there. Rakhal warned one of the brothers to be careful about the food to be offered to the Master in the shrine.RAKHAL (to Sashi and the others): "One day I ate part of his [meaning the Master's] refreshments before he took them. At this he said: 'I cannot look at you. How could you do such a thing?' I burst into tears."THE ELDER GOPAL: "One day at Cossipore I breathed hard on his food. At this he said, 'Take that food away.'" ... See MoreSee Less
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NARENDRA: “After my father's death my mother and my brothers were starving. When the Master met Annada Guha one day, he said to him: 'Narendra's father has died. His family is in a state of great privation. It would be good if his friends helped him now with money.'"After Annada had left I scolded him. I said, 'Why did you say all those things to him?' Thus rebuked, he wept and said, 'Alas! for your sake I could beg from door to door.'"He tamed us by his love. Don't you think so?"M; "There is not the slightest doubt about it. His love was utterly unselfish." ... See MoreSee Less
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Sashi had taken charge of the daily worship in the math. The Master's relics had been brought from Balaram's house and Sri Ramakrishna was worshipped daily in the worship hall. Narendra supervised the household. He was the leader of the monastery. He would often tell his brother disciples, "The selfless actions enjoined in the Gita are worship, japa, meditation, and so on, and not worldly duties." The brothers at the math depended on him tor their spiritual inspiration. He said to them, "We must practise sadhana; otherwise we shall not be able to realize God."He and his brother disciples, filled with an ascetic spirit, devoted themselves day and night to the practice of spiritual discipline. Their one goal in life was the realization of God. They followed to their hearts' content the injunctions prescribed in the Vedas, Puranas, and Tantras for an ascetic life. They spent their time in japa and meditation and study of the scriptures. Whenever they would fail to experience the Divine Presence, they would feel as if they were on the rack. They would practise austerity, sometimes alone under trees, sometimes in a cremation ground, sometimes on the bank of the Ganges. Again, sometimes they would spend the entire day in the meditation room of the monastery in japa and contemplation; sometimes they would gather to sing and dance in a rapture of delight. All of them, and Narendra particularly, were consumed with the desire to see God. Now and then they would say to each other, "Shall we not starve ourselves to death to see God?" ... See MoreSee Less
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The new monastery became known among the Master's devotees as the Baranagore Math. Narendra, Rakhal, and the other young disciples were filled with intense renunciation. One day Rakhal's father came to the math and asked Rakhal to return home. "Why do you take the trouble to come here?" Rakhal said to him. "I am very happy here. Please pray to God that you may forget me and that I may forget you too." The young disciples said to each other: "We shall never return to the worldly life. The Master enjoined upon us the renunciation of 'woman and gold'. How can we go back to our families?" ... See MoreSee Less
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Surendra was indeed a blessed soul. It was he who laid the foundation of the great Order later associated with Sri Ramakrishna's name. His devotion and sacrifice made it possible for those earnest souls to renounce the world for the realization of God. Through him Sri Ramakrishna made it possible for them to live in the world as embodiments of his teaching, the renunciation of "woman and gold" and the realization of God.The brothers lived at the math like orphan boys. Sometimes they would not have the money to pay their house-rent; sometimes they would have no food in the monastery. Surendra would come and settle all these things. He was the big brother of the monks. Later on, when they thought of his genuine love, the members of this first math shed tears of gratitude. ... See MoreSee Less
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After a short time Narendra, Rakhal, Niranjan, Sarat, Sashi, Baburam, Jogin, Tarak, Kali, and Latu 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 Siva 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 sannyasi disciples. ... See MoreSee Less
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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.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 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, Sashi, Baburam, Niranjan, and Kali used to visit the monastery every now and then, according to their convenience, Tarak, who had gone to Vrindavan following the Master's death, returned to Calcutta after a few months and soon became a permanent member of the monastery. Rakhal, Jogin, Latu, and Kali were living at Vrindavan with the Holy Mother when the monastery was started. Kali returned to Calcutta within a month, Rakhal after a few months, and Jogin and Latu after a year. The householder devotees frequently visited the monastic brothers and spent hours with them in meditation and study. ... See MoreSee Less
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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 sannyasis.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 householders 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 a math, or monastery. ... See MoreSee Less
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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. ... See MoreSee Less
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By Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna Dev’s grace, we have posted from “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna” all these days. We have reached the end. What do you suggest we post now? Shall we repeat the Gospel? Jai Ramakrishna 🙏🏻 ... See MoreSee Less
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HIRANANDA (to the Master): "Please tell us why a devotee of God suffers." MASTER: "It is the body that suffers." ... See MoreSee Less
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The attributes of matter are superimposed on Spirit, and the attributes of Spirit are superimposed on matter. Therefore when the body is ill a man says, 'I am ill.' ... See MoreSee Less
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You all seem to me to be my kinsmen. I do not look on any of you as a stranger. ... See MoreSee Less
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Photo taken on 10.12.1881, exactly 140 years ago. 🙏🏻 ... See MoreSee Less
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Both inside and outside. The Indivisible Satchidananda — I see It both inside and outside. It has merely assumed this sheath [meaning his body] for a support and exists both inside and outside. I clearly perceive this. ... See MoreSee Less
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Keep your mind firm on God. He who is a hero lives with a woman but does not indulge in physical pleasures. Talk to your wife only about God. ... See MoreSee Less
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They say I cannot get along without 'woman and gold'. They don't understand the state of my mind.If I touch a woman my hand becomes numb; it aches. If in a friendly spirit I approach a woman and begin to talk to her, I feel as if a barrier had been placed between us. It is impossible for me to cross that barrier.If a woman enters my room when I am alone, at once I become like a child and regard her as my mother. ... See MoreSee Less
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A man forgets God if he is entangled in the world of maya through a woman. It is the Mother of the Universe who has assumed the form of maya, the form of woman. One who knows this rightly does not feel like leading the life of maya in the world. But he who truly realizes that all women are manifestations of the Divine Mother may lead a spiritual life in the world. Without realizing God one cannot truly know what a woman is. ... See MoreSee Less
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There is no harm in spending money to lead a spiritual life in the world — if one spends it, for instance, in the worship of God and the service of holy men and devotees. ... See MoreSee Less
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NARENDRA: "I want truth. The other day I had a great argument with Sri Ramakrishna himself."M. (smiling): "What happened?"NARENDRA: "He said to me, 'Some people call me God.' I replied, 'Let a thousand people call you God, but I shall certainly not call you God as long as I do not know it to be true.' He said, 'Whatever many people say is indeed truth; that is dharma.' Thereupon I replied, 'Let others proclaim a thing as truth, but I shall certainly not listen to them unless I myself realize it as truth.'" ... See MoreSee Less
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Nangta used to say, 'The world exists in mind alone and disappears in mind alone.' But as long as 'I-consciousness' exists, one should assume the servant-and-master relationship with God. ... See MoreSee Less
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