Sri Sathya Sai On: The Spiritual Experiences of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886)
The mind has to be melted out of shape in the Fire of Jnana (Jnanagni Dagdha Karmanam), in order to manifest Shiva Tattva (essential nature of Shiva). 
That was what Ramakrishna accomplished at Dakshineshwar. He transformed himself into a brilliant gem by intensive process of Sadhana.
- “Veda Vyasa”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 07, May 23, 1967, Prasanthi Nilayam 

When it is admitted that God is in all beings, one should strengthen that conviction and act on that basis. On the contrary, men who profess to believe in God do not live up to their belief because of their attachment to useless trifles. Here is an illustration from the life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
The Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, Kolkata, where Sri Ramakrishna served as a priest
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to ecstatically enjoy himself in the worship of the Goddess in the temple built by Rani Rasmani. One-night thieves broke into the temple and carried away all the jewels on the idol of Krishna in the temple. With a view to carrying on his regular priestly duties, he went to Rani Rasmani’s nephew, Mathuranath, and told him, “Sir, thieves have stolen all the jewels on the idol”. Mathuranath was angry and proceeded with Ramakrishna to the temple. Losing his temper and balance of mind, he burst out in anger, “Oh Krishna! Are You not ashamed of Yourself? If You are unable to protect Your jewels on Your own idol, how are You going to protect the whole world? Were You paralysed when the thieves were carrying away the jewels? Or were You asleep? This is a disgrace to Your Divinity”.
Hearing these words, Sri Ramakrishna said, “Mathuranath! Shut up your mouth! For the sake of your petty jewels and trinkets, is this the way you should berate God? When the Goddess of all wealth, Lakshmi, is the Consort of the Lord, why do you get so agitated over the loss of a few trivial ornaments? The Lord can have no such petty feelings. You are feeling so much for the action of a few thieves who loved some jewels and came to the Lord to get them. It is because of your love for jewels that you are getting distressed so much. But the Lord has no desires. He is ready to give Himself away. God is prepared to offer Himself. Such a One, will he be worried about this petty loss? Hence, change your vision. Don’t comment on God”. At these words Mathuranath felt ashamed of himself.
Then, Ramakrishna sat near the idol of Sri Krishna and prayed, “Oh Krishna! As long as one is caught up in the coils of the world, he will speak like an intoxicated man. Only when he gets immersed in God will he become oblivious to himself. Therefore, do not let me get intoxicated. Confer on me the boon of self-forgetfulness.” This is what is meant by the saying, ‘The knower of the Brahman becomes Brahman himself’. When one experiences the Divine, he sees the Divine in everything.  
- “Beyond the Mind”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 26, May 22, 1993, Brindavan

Andam and Anandam, beauty and truth, harmony and ecstasy are found in Ekatwam (Oneness), the discovery and experience of Unity. Unity must be as symbolised by the experience of the unity of mud and gold; the sight, the seen and the seer, that is, the search and the success. Ramakrishna prompted this yearning, promoted this agony in Vivekananda and the others who came to him. Try with all your strength; test with all your doubt, earn it the hard way and enjoy the fruit of your exertions, that was the teaching he gave.
Swami Vivekananda (center), Swami Brahmananda (extreme right) and other monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
…The key to liberation has to be cast and forged and filed and fitted by each aspirant. It cannot be gibed in one moment by one word. Ramakrishna himself sought for it through years of inexplicable anguish; how then can we short-circuit the process for another? No one can just pass it on, saying, “Take!” The flower has to yield the fruit and the fruit has to grow, ripen and fall.
- “Experience Oneness (Ekathwam)”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 02,
October 20, 1961, Prasanthi Nilayam

The Hamsa (a legendary swan) has the property of separating the milk from the water and drinking the milk only. So too, Paramahamsa (realised person, who has achieved Truth) can separate the illusory from the Real and experience the Bliss, communicated only by the Truth. Ramakrishna was a Paramahamsa; he knew how to separate milk (Truth) from the water (untruth) added to it. When he was suffering from cancer of the throat, unable to swallow food, his disciples entreated him to pray to mother Kali, that the cancer may be cured; they felt that Kali will certainly answer the prayer if he but made it. But, Paramahamsa refused to ask any such boon from God. His attention could not be diverted to any such low desire. 
“Why pray? If it is Her will, it will happen; if not, that too is Her will”, that was the reply.
- “The Tricycle”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 07, October 8, 1967, Prasanthi Nilayam 

Intensify the Prema that is within you, as a sacred gift. Expand it so that all beings can share in it. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had that Prema; when someone around him was sad, he felt sad; when someone was glad, he felt glad. He made himself one with all, in his great Prema Bhava (state of Love). Have your Prema fixed on the Lord, whether your petty wishes are fulfilled or not. Do not let slip the treasure, on some silly excuse or other.
- “Genuine Kinsmen”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 04, October 9, 1964, Prasanthi Nilayam

When you give expression to your innate Divinity, it takes the form of Love. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa could not tolerate someone walking on grass; he felt the weight of the feet and the crushing himself.
- “The Sea-Saw”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 11, September 26, 1972, Prasanthi Nilayam

Today, there is no steadiness of mind in man. Some people think of their footwear when they sit for Bhajans inside. Once, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was giving a discourse in a temple. Rani Rasmani, the owner of the temple, was sitting in the front row. All were listening to Ramakrishna’s discourse with rapt attention. All of a sudden, Ramakrishna got up, went to Rani Rasmani, and slapped on her cheek. Everyone was surprised. They thought Ramakrishna had become mad. Ramakrishna told the public, “O people, you may think it is a great mistake on my part to have slapped her. What for have you come? You are here to listen to my teachings. Whether you practice or not, at least you should listen to what is being said. If you do not like to listen to the discourse, you had better stay back at home. This Rani Rasmani is thinking of her legal disputes. Why should she come all the way to think of the court affairs?” 
A commemorative stamp of Rani Rasmani issued by the Government of West Bengal
She accepted her mistake and promised not to repeat it. In the modern age, many people attend spiritual discourses and get impressed by them. 
But they do not put them into practice.
- “Install God’ Feet in your Heart”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 31,
October 12, 1998, Prasanthi Nilayam

Elders quote the Shastras (spiritual texts) which say that the home where the floor is soaked by the tears of a woman can never see peace or prosperity. 
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa took great care to see that Saradamani Devi did not take his simple jokes and ridicules too much to heart, for then she might shed tears.
- “At Every Level of Consciousness”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 14, 
June 6, 1978, Brindavan
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and
Smt Sarada Devi (1853-1920)
You cannot sell your house to someone and later, mortgage it to another, and rent it out to a third party after some further interval. Sri Ramakrishna had to cut asunder even the form of Kali when it came across his path towards the realisation of the Nirguna (formless) aspect of God. Do not do spiritual practice off and on; do it in an unbroken disciplined way. Otherwise, it will be like watering a plant for some time and leaving it to go dry before you start again.
- “The Inner Prompting”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 02, July 17, 1962, Prasanthi Nilayam

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was an illiterate person. But he achieved worldwide fame by his pursuit of Truth and his realization of the Divine. Self-realisation is the goal for every human being.
- “Man, Mind and the Cosmos”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 26, May 21, 1993, Prasanthi Nilayam

The mother of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a noble lady. Even in dire circumstances when she had no food and drink, she developed unflinching faith and devotion to God and spent her time engaging herself in cultivating noble thoughts and performing noble deeds, thereby earning God’s grace. It is only when one respects his mother and wins her love, that he can be called a human being in the real sense.
...A person who could win the love of his mother can win everything else. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa could earn such a great name for himself only because he could win the love of his mother. How many great people are there in the state of West Bengal? How many people of noble qualities, rich and educated are there? But, they could not succeed in life due to lack of faith in God. It was only Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who could lead an ideal life by loving his mother and obeying her commands, due to his implicit faith and devotion to his mother. He used to teach people that there is nothing greater and nobler in this world than mother’s love.
…The mother of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa taught her son good things and shaped him into a great Yogi. All the mothers should take her as an example and strive to put their children in the right path.
- “Win the Love of Your Mother to Win the Love of God”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 21, January 7, 1988, Prasanthi Nilayam

You may be great scholars or intellectual giants. There are many Nobel Laureates. How many remember them? But the great benefactors of mankind, the men of noble qualities, are cherished by all mankind. For instance, there is the example of a noble soul from Calcutta. Calcutta produced many great intellectuals. After a time, they are not remembered at all. But if today Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, an illiterate person, is enshrined in the hearts of millions all over the world, is education responsible for it? Likewise, if many noble persons are enshrined in the hearts of people, what is the reason? They have earned their good name by their faith in God, their character, magnanimity and. spirit of sacrifice. God has been the prime factor in their lives.
- “Learning a Lesson from a Child”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, 
January 14, 1996, Brindavan

During Ramakrishna’s time there were many pundits. But both Ramakrishna and his wife Sarada Devi were totally illiterate. Vivekananda tried to correct Sri Ramakrishna’s pronunciation for he could not even utter the word ‘pension’ properly. But Ramakrishna is treated as a Divine phenomenon even today. What is the reason? He followed the path of truth. He could realise that Truth alone could lead him to merge with the Divinity. That is what Bhagavata preached, “You should go to the place from where you have come”. That is the main objective of life. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, though ignorant of letter followed the path of truth. But today, there are very few who respect the truth. They however perform ‘Satyanarayana Vrata’ once in year. For Ramakrishna, Satyanarayana Vrata was the holy Trinity of word, thought and deed.
- “The Mysteries of the Mind”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1993, Brindavan

Many scholars, pundits and experts flourished as contemporaries of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. But awareness of the Atma failed to illuminate them to any extent. As a result, the names of the scholars, pundits, and experts are not heard today. Only the name of Ramakrishna, who could not claim scholarship in any material or objective field of knowledge, has spread all over the world. Why? Sugar water and plain water look the same. Drink! Then you distinguish the one as sherbet and the other as just water. Paramahamsa’s words, which are full of supreme wisdom, are the sherbet; the words of scholars, which are soaked in textual scholarship, are the plain water. Pretentious pundits who have only perused the pages go after monetary gains; they don’t rush toward the Divine. 
- Chapter II, Knowledge of Self, Vidya Vahini

Didn’t Rama and Krishna incarnate because the Lord heeded the prayers of the sages? Many have read this in the Ramayana and the Bhagavata. Even Ramakrishna, though he was divinely-born, prayed to Goddess Kali (for he could not bring Dharma about) to send someone who could preach to the whole world the Dharma that would uproot injustice and selfishness. This is known to all who have read his life history.
- “The Qualities a Sadhaka should Cultivate”, Prema Vahini
Mother Kali - The idol of Bhava Tarini worshipped by Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineshwar
Towards the end of his life, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was suffering from cancer of the throat. All his disciples appealed to him to pray to the Mother, whom Ramakrishna worshipped, to relieve him of his malady. Ramakrishna said, “I have prayed to the Mother”. They asked him what the Mother’s response was. Ramakrishna said, “The Mother told me, “When I am caring so many things with so many months, does it matter very much if you are unable to eat with your one mouth? Her words opened my eyes”.
- “Dedicate Your Lives to the Divine”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 30, December 25, 1997, Prasanthi Nilayam

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