Sri Ramkrishna used to visit the religious festival at Panihati Mahatsob on the occasions of Chira Utsav held in the month of Jaistha in remeberance of the sacred event of Sri Chaitanna Deb – Nityananda in 1514. Sri Ramkrishana who was regarded as Sri Gouranga by many of his Bhaktas, had a high regard of Panihati being the place of divine act of Sri Chaitanna. This is reflected in the conversation of Sri Ramkrishna and Srimo- Mahendra Lal Gupta in “Sri Ramkrishna Kathamrita” Chapter 16″, when Panihati was placed above Dakshineswar in terms of the Punyasthan, The day was December 9, 1883.
The Master started again for the Panchavati accompanied by M. No one else was with them. Sri Ramakrishna with a smile narrated to him various incidents of the past years of his life.
MASTER: “You see, one day I. saw a strange figure covering the whole space from the Kali temple to the Panchavati. Do you believe this?”
M. remained silent with wonder. He plucked one or two leaves from a branch in the Panchavati and put them in his pocket.
MASTER: “See there-that branch has been broken. I used to sit under it.”
M: “I took a young twig from that tree-I have it at home.”
MASTER (with a smile): “Why?”
M: “I feel happy when I look at it. After all this is over, this place will be considered very holy.”
MASTER (smiling): “What kind of holy place? Like Panihati?”
Almost every year, for some time past, the Master had been attending the religious festival at Panihati.
It was evening. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch in his room, absorbed in meditation on the Divine Mother. The evening worship in the temples began, with the music of gong and conch-shell. M. was going to spend the night with the Master.
After a time Sri Ramakrishna asked M. to read from the Bhaktamala, a book about the Vaishnava saints.
Courtesy: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 16
WITH THE DEVOTEES AT DAKSHINESWAR (II)
Sunday, December 9, 1883
Chaitanya’s exalted state
SRI RAMAKRISHNA was seated on the small couch in his room with Adhar, Manomohan, Rakhal , M., Harish, and other devotees. It was about two o’ clock in the afternoon. The Master was describing to them the exalted state of Sri Chaitanya.
MASTER: “Chaitanya experienced three states of mind. First, the conscious state, when his mind dwelt on the gross and the subtle. Second, the semi-conscious state, when his mind entered the causal body and was absorbed in the bliss of divine intoxication. Third, the inmost state, when his mind was merged in the Great Cause.
This agrees very well with the five koshas, or ‘sheaths’, described in the Vedanta. The gross body corresponds to the annamayakosha and the pranamayakosha, the subtle body to the manomayakosha and the vijnanamayakosha, and the causal body to the Anandamayakosha. The Mahakarana, the Great Cause, is beyond the five sheaths. When Chaitanya’s mind merged in That, he would go into samadhi. This is called the nirvikalpa or jada samadhi.
“While conscious of the outer world, Chaitanya sang the name of God; while in the state of partial consciousness, he danced with the devotees; and while in the inmost state of consciousness, he remained absorbed in samadhi.”
M. (to himself): “Is the Master hinting at the different states of his own mind? There is much similarity between Chaitanya and the Master.”
MASTER: “Chaitanya was Divine Love incarnate. He came down to earth to teach people how to love God. One achieves everything when one loves God. There is no need of hathayoga.”
Practice of Hathayoga
DEVOTEE: “Sir, what is hathayoga like?”
MASTER: “A man practising hathayoga dwells a great deal on his body. He washes his intestines by means of a bamboo tube through his anus. He draws ghee and milk through his sexual organ. He learns how to manipulate his tongue by performing exercises. He sits in a fixed posture and bow and then levitates. All these are actions of prana. A magician was performing his feats when his tongue turned up and clove to the roof of his mouth. Immediately his body became motionless. People thought he was dead. He was buried and remained many years in the grave. After a long time the grave somehow broke open. Suddenly the man regained consciousness of the world and cried out, ‘Come delusion! Come confusion!’ (All laugh.) All these are actions of prana.
“The Vedantists do not accept hathayoga. There is also rajayoga. Rajayoga describes how to achieve union with God through the mind by means of discrimination and bhakti. This yoga is good. Hathayoga is not good. The life of a man in the Kaliyuga is dependent on food.”
Sri Ramakrishna was standing in the road by the side of the nahabat. He was on his way to his room, having come from the pine-grove. He saw M. seated on the verandah of the nahabat, behind the fence, absorbed in meditation.
MASTER: “Hello! You are here? You will get results very soon. If you practise a little, then someone will come forward to help you.”
M. looked up at the Master, startled; he remained sitting on the floor.
MASTER: “The time is ripe for you. The mother bird does not break the shell of the egg until the right time arrives. What I told you is indeed your Ideal.”
Sri Ramakrishna again mentioned to M. his spiritual Ideal.
MASTER: “It is not necessary for all to practise great austerity. But I went through great suffering. I used to lie on the ground with my head resting on a mound for a pillow. I hardly noticed the passing of the days. I only called on God and wept, ‘O Mother! O Mother!'”
M. had been visiting Sri Ramakrishna for the past two years. Since he had been educated along English lines, he had acquired a fondness for Western philosophy and science, and had liked to hear Keshab and other scholars lecture. Sri Ramakrishna would address him now and then as the “English-man”. Since coming to Sri Ramakrishna, M. had lost all relish for lectures and for books written by English scholars. The only thing that appealed to him now was to see the Master day and night, and hear the words that fell from his blessed lips. M. constantly dwelt on certain of Sri Ramakrishna’s sayings. The Master had said, “One can certainly see God through the practice of spiritual discipline”, and again, “The vision of God is the only goal of human life.”
MASTER (to M.): “If you practise only a little, someone will come forward to tell you the right path. Observe the ekadasi.
Master’s intimate relationship with disciples
You are my very own, my relative; otherwise, why should you come here so frequently? While listening to the kirtan, I had a vision of Rakhal in the midst of Sri Krishna’s companions in Vrindavan. Narendra belongs to a very high level. Hirananda too; how childlike his nature is! What sweet disposition he has! I want to see him too.
“Once I saw the companions of Chaitanya, not in a trance but with these very eyes. Formerly I was in such an exalted state of mind that I could see all these things with my naked eyes; but now I see them in samadhi. I saw the companions of Chaitanya with these naked eyes. I think I saw you there, and Balaram too, You must have noticed that when I see certain people I jump up with a start. Do you know why? A man feels that way when he sees his own people after a long time.
“I used to pray to the Mother, crying: ‘Mother, if I do not find the devotees I’ll surely die. Please bring them to me immediately.’ In those days whatever desire arose in my mind would come to pass. I planted a tulsi-grove in the Panchavati in order to practise japa and meditation. I wanted very much to fence it around with bamboo sticks. Soon afterwards a bundle of bamboo sticks and some string were carried by the flood-tide of the Ganges right in front of the Panchavati. A temple servant noticed them and joyfully told me.
“In that state of divine exaltation I could no longer perform the formal worship. ‘Mother,’ I said, ‘who will look after me? I haven’t the power to take care of myself. I want to listen only to talk about Thee. I want to feed Thy devotees. I want to give a little help to those whom I chance to meet. How will all that be possible, Mother? Give me a rich man to stand by me.’ That is why Mathur Babu did so much to serve me.
“I said further, ‘Certainly I shall not have any children, Mother. But it is my desire that a boy with sincere love for God should always remain with me. Give me such a boy.’ That is the reason Rakhal came here. Those whom I think of as my own are part and parcel of me.”