Thursday, 7 July 2011

Ramakrishna Darshanam -part 1

Sri Ramakrishna’s father, Sri Kshudiram, gets a divine dream of his future son as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Kshudiram Chattopadhayaya, the father of Sri Ramakrishna, visited Gaya in 1835. He offered worship to Lord Gadadhar (Sri Vishnu). One night he had a dream. He saw himself in the holy temple, in the act of offering worship to his forefathers, at the feet of Lord Gadadhar. Pleased by his prayer and worship that Divine Being then spoke to him, 'Kshudiram, your extraordinary devotion has made me very happy. I bless you. I shall be born as your son and be the object of your loving care.' Soon after this Sri Ramakrishna was born. Kshudiram became convinced that it is Lord Vishnu as Gadadhar who has been born as his son. The boy was therefore named Gadadhar or Gadai.

<span>Gadadhar, the divine child in his birthplace Kamarpukur</span>

Gadai or Gadadhar, the childhood name of Sri Ramakrishna, was a child of unusual grace and beauty. The neighbours rushed to look at the child. Those who saw him once were filled with an indescribable joy and love for the child as their very own. They came to see him again and again, even forgetting their own children. Even the people of the neighbouring villages used to come to watch the divine child singing and dancing. Gadai would often sing songs about Shiva, Shyama and Krishna, and whoever would listen to him singing would be moved. The women of the village used to give him sweets, and then ask him to sing for them. Especially, the widows used to set aside for Gadai whatever they could procure.

Child Gadai plays with Hanumanas – the black-faced monkeys

One day, with his mother, Gadai was going to his maternal uncle's. On the way, they came to a place where a large number of hanumanas (black-faced monkeys) were seated on a tree. The child Gadai became excited seeing those monkeys. He ran towards the group of monkeys and started chasing them. Those wild beasts did not attack him; instead they came down from the branches to the ground and started playing happily with Gadai. They were playing and dancing with a three-year-old human child! Gadai was buried in the joy of dancing with them. The monkeys recognized the presence of Lord Sri Rama in the form of the child Gadai.

Sri Ramakrishna’s first divine ecstasy-samadhi-at the age of six

As a young boy, when Gadadhar was one day walking through the rice field in his village, he first experienced samadhi, which was to become the natural habitat in his future life. About this first vision he said, 'There appeared a beautiful black cloud charged with rain. I was looking at it while eating parched-rice. Very soon the cloud covered almost the whole sky, when a flock of milk-white cranes flew against that black could. It looked so beautiful that I became very soon absorbed in an extraordinary mood. I was overwhelmed with bliss and my external consciousness was lost. I fell down and the rice got scattered near the balk. People saw it and carried me home.'

Boy Gadadhar’s total absorption in Shiva on Shivaratri festiva

Once on Shivaratri, a drama on Shiva was to be staged in Kamarpukur. The boy who was to play Shiva's role fell ill. The elder people approached Gadai to play Shiva's role and he agreed. Gadai entered the stage with calm and slow steps. Then he stood motionless! The audience felt an indescribable but distinct divine emotion. They were filled with joy and wonder when they saw Gadadhar in that dress, his body smeared with ashes and his head with matted hair. He stood there with streams of tears flowing down his cheeks without external consciousness. He was carried home and he regained normal consciousness only the next day after sunrise.

The child Ramakrishna breaks caste restrictions by accepting food from a blacksmith mother

Dhani, a widow of blacksmith caste in Kamarpukur was the first person to see Sri Ramakrishna, as a midwife after his birth. To the boy Gadai she told one day that she would consider herself blessed, if at the time of his sacred thread ceremony, he would accept food from her and call her 'mother'. The boy promised to fulfill her desire. On the day of the ceremony, Gadadhar put on the sacred thread and went to his beloved blacksmith mother Dhani for food. The widow felt blessed. Her long-cherished desire was fulfilled. The blacksmith mother, Dhani was now respected as a spiritual mother of Gadadhar.

The poor villager Chinu Shankhari first worshipped Gadadhar as an incarnation of God

Chinu was a poor old man of the village Kamarpukur belonging to the caste of conch-sellers. He was extremely fond of young Gadai. One day Chinu prepared a beautiful garland of flowers. In the meantime, Gadai arrived at his place. Seeing him Chinu was overjoyed. He went to the market to buy some choicest sweets. They came to a solitary spot near a tree at the end of the village Kamarpukur. Then Chinu knelt down at Gadai’s feet in a mood of worship, and put the garland round his neck. Then with tears of joy in his eyes, his voice choked with emotion, Chinu fed Gadai with the sweets. After Gadai ate, with folded hands Chinu addressed him, 'I have grown old and my days are numbered. I shall not live to witness the divine play you are going to perform. That is my greatest regret. But keep me in your mind and bless this servant of yours.' It was Chinu, the conch-seller of Kamarpukur, who first recognized the presence of an incarnation of God in Sri Ramakrishna even when he was a child.

Sri Ramakrishna’s intense yearning brings him the vision of Kali

Kali, the black-goddess, standing on the body of Shiva, is an ancient Hindu goddess. With a severed demon head in hand, she stands victorious over evils. A chain of human hands round her waist symbolizes that mother can destroy our accumulated karmas. Her long protruded tongue destroys all the rajas or the intensity of active life. When Sri Ramakrishna became a priest of Kali temple he thought, 'is this image of Kali only stone, or is it alive?’ His passion for the Mother turned into an unbearable anguish in his heart. Then came the great moment. In Sri Ramakrishna’s words, “My eyes suddenly fell upon the sword that was there in the Mother’s temple. I made up my mind to put an end to my life with it that very moment. Like one mad, I ran and caught hold of it, when suddenly I had the wonderful vision of the Mother.’ Later on he described the great overwhelming vision, “I found a continuous succession of effulgent waves coming forward, raging and storming from all sides with great speed. Very soon the waves from a luminous sea of consciousness fell on me and made me sink to the abysmal depths of infinity. I had the immediate knowledge of the light that is Mother.” When he regained consciousness, he first uttered the word 'Mother' in a vice choked with emotion.

Sri Ramakrishna sees a living and beloved God in the stone image of Krishna
It was the end of A.D. 1855 when young Ramakrishna had just come to the Dakshineswar temple as a priest. The priest, Kshetranath, while taking the image of Krishna, suddenly fell down, and one leg of the image broke. Instantly, there arose a great commotion in the temple over the event. They created much noise and finally agreed that no worship of the deity was permissible with a broken part. Sri Ramakrishna in an ecstatic mood asked the Rani, 'Why do you discard the broken image?' Sri Ramakrishna asked her to ask the pundits this simple question, 'If a woman's husband has broken his leg, what would be the course of action? Should she then discard the leg or the husband himself or arrange for treatment?' Finally they decided to accept the decision of Sri Ramakrishna. The Rani now requested Sri Ramakrishna to mend the broken leg. Sri Ramakrishna agreed and mended the broken leg and everybody was amazed that no flaw could be detected in the image.

Sri Ramakrishna practises tantric sadhana under the guidance of Bhairavi Brahmani

Bhairavi Brahmani, whose real name was Yogeshwari, was a scholarly woman of aristocratic descent. She dedicated her life for tantric practice as a wandering nun. The Brahmani made Sri Ramakrishna undertake, one by one, all the disciplines prescribed in the main sixty-four Tantras, all difficult to accomplish. Due to this tantra sadhana, Sri Ramakrishna saw the vision of Divine Mother in every single entity of this universe, especially in all women. After the tantra sadhana, he was permanently converted to a child. Sri Ramakrishna became Paramahamsa of the highest order for whom this world with all its holy and unholy things turned into a world of purity, holiness and God.

<span>With Sri Ramakrishna’s love the stone image of child Rama becomes living</span>

There came to Dakshineswar temple a Vaishnava sadhu, Jatadhari by name. His whole soul was absorbed in worshipping a small metal image of the child Rama or Ramalala. After many years of worship the Babaji actually saw, out of devotion, that Ramalala ate or wished to eat something, or wanted to go for a walk or insisted on satisfying some fancy or other. Sri Ramakrishna was now drawn to the image, his love for Ramalala increased. He was now inspired with Rama mantra from Jatadhari. Sri Ramakrishna described his own experience, "I actually saw, as I see you before me now, Ramalala dancing, sometimes in front of me, sometimes behind. Sometimes he would insist on being carried in my arms. Again, of took him up he would not stay there. He jumped down to run here and there collecting flowers in thorny jungles."

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