There is no God
BHUPEN (YOUNGER BROTHER OF NAREN)
(Naren is meditating in his room. Enter Bhavananda.)
NAREN (stands up): Come in. Come in, please. I am so glad to see you. I have not seen you for a long time. I have many things to discuss with you. The first thing I would like to ask you is this: does God exist, brother? It seems to me that there is no God. And even if He exists, it makes no difference to me. He never hears, He never feels the excruciating pangs of the poor. He never feels the suffering of bleeding humanity. The God who cannot feed the hungry with a piece of bread is an indifferent God, a cruel God. Who can believe he will have all happiness, all satisfaction in the other world from that kind of God?
BHAVANANDA: Naren, have you gone crazy? What is wrong with you? What nonsense are you speaking? Why do you talk like this?
NAREN: Why not? Why not? Do you know, brother, what happened this morning? Early in the morning as I got up I was uttering the name of God most soulfully. My mother said to me, “Shut up. Since your childhood you have been praying to God and meditating on God. And now look what God has done to us. Your father has left this world, and misery, suffering and poverty have embraced us. We have no food, no money, no means of supporting the family. My heart is breaking into pieces. I cannot even feed my little children, my sweet children. I will have nothing to do with a God who cannot take away our sufferings.” Now tell me, brother, what am I supposed to say to my mother?
BHAVANANDA: Naren, let us not find fault with God. If you find fault with God, then some serious calamity will take place in your family. I am warning you.
NAREN: I am not afraid of anything. Let the worst possible calamity take place. I don’t give a damn. I don’t care.
BHAVANANDA: Naren, please go to Thakur from time to time. Thakur will be so sad to hear what is happening in your life. He is the only one who will be able to console you.
BHUPEN: Brother, please bring me some candy today. I am so fond of candy. Please don’t forget.
NAREN: Please, Bhupen, do not bother me. We are having a very serious conversation. Please, please go away, Bhupen. Don’t bother us right now.
BHUPEN: I will go away, but first you have to promise to bring candy for me. You have to bring candy without fail.
NAREN: So, brother, you see? I am his elder brother, and I will not be able to fulfil his loving demand. I have no money at all, not even enough to buy a piece of candy for him. He who cannot fulfil such a simple desire of a younger brother is not worthy of being called an elder brother. His life is a real disgrace. So why should I care for God? No! We Hindus worship stone gods, so our God has become stone-hearted.
BHAVANANDA: Don’t say so, Naren. God is all Compassion. I see that what I have been hearing from people is true: you have become an atheist.
NAREN: A real friend, indeed! He came here to test me. He came here not to show his concern, but to know what kind of life I am leading. He came not as a friend, but as a critic, as a rogue, as a detective. No, I shall not go to Thakur any more. (Pauses.) But alas, what am I doing? What am I doing? Is not God-realisation the sole object of my life? To earn money, to feed a family, can never be the aim of my life. I must renounce the world. There is no other way. I must renounce the world and search for God. There can be no other way.
Tamasa rate nayan pate
he dayamoy karuna dane
duhate more jariyedharo
bhasiyejenana jai srote
(In the dark and dense night,
You cast Your benign Eyes upon me.
Take me and make me Your very own, offering Your Compassion.
I am Your innocent child. Alone do I walk on a thick, dense path.
With Your two Arms, embrace me.
Allow me not to be drowned and washed away by the turbulent currents of life.)
My Naren can never be an atheist
(Sri Ramakrishna with his disciples at Dakshineshwar.)
RAKHAL: Have you heard about our Naren recently? Everybody is speaking ill of him. Everybody says that he has become an atheist. But I don’t believe it.
BHAVANANDA: You don’t believe it? I suspect him. This morning I was at his house. He speaks like a real atheist.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Shut up! Shut up! My Mother Kali has told me that this can never be so. My Naren can never be an atheist. If I hear once more from you people that my Naren has become an atheist, I shall never again see your faces! Never!
TARAK: Our Naren can never be an atheist. I know him.
JOGIN: Impossible! Our Naren can never be an atheist. Even if I see any defect in Naren, I will not believe it. I will think it is the fault of my own eyes. If I hear anything bad about Naren, I shall think it is the fault of my own ears. Our Naren can never do anything wrong.
TARAK: Certainly, certainly. That should be our attitude. He is our real friend. Our Naren is pure. It is very rare to have a God-like character like Naren’s.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Excellent, excellent. (Pointing to his own body.) It is for Naren that I have come here into the world. You try to recognize Naren. One day he will conquer the whole world. I see in the spiritual Master Keshab Sen only one knowledge-sun. But in my Naren I see eighteen knowledge-suns.
(Enter Naren. He prostrates himself before Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna places his hand on Naren’s head.)
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: May Mother bless you.
NAREN: Today I have a special request.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Is there any request of yours that I will not fulfil?
NAREN: Then please fulfil this request. My mother and my little sisters and brothers are practically starving. We have become absolutely poverty-stricken. After the death of my father, all our relatives turned against us. Now my family has no means of support. I am the eldest member in my family and I can do nothing for them. If you make a special request to the Mother to save me from this financial difficulty, she will listen to you. I am sure that if you ask the Mother, she will definitely listen to your request.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Naren, I am ready to beg from door to door for you. Do you think that I have not yet asked my Mother about you? But what can I do? You do not believe in her; that is why she does not pay any attention to my request. All right. I have an excellent idea. It is Tuesday. Go to the Temple of Mother Kali today and invoke her. Pray to the Mother. Whatever you want, I assure you, she will grant to you.
NAREN: All right. Today I shall test your stone-hearted Mother, Thakur.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: My child, don’t say that. She is not stone-hearted. She is all love. She is all compassion.
Mother, give me the Light of Knowledge, the Light of Discrimination and the Light of Renunciation
NAREN — VIVEKANANDA
DISCIPLES OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA
(It is night. Inside the Kali Temple, Naren is meditating. After a while, he prostrates himself before the statue of Mother Kali.)
NAREN: Jnana viveka vairagya de ma. Mother, give me the Light of Knowledge, the Light of Discrimination and the Light of Renunciation, so that I can always see you.
(Enter Sri Ramakrishna hurriedly.)
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Naren, have you asked Mother Kali for money for your family? What have you been doing?
NAREN: What a surprise! I forgot all about it.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: No harm. I shall give you another chance. Ask her for money, for material wealth. Mother will give it to you.
(Naren turns to the statue and begins meditating again.)
NAREN: Mother, give me the Light of Knowledge, the Light of Discrimination and the Light of Renunciation. Mother, Mother of mine, Mother of my heart and soul.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Again the same thing? Why do you forget that your mother and brothers and sisters are all starving? Ask the Mother to save your family from poverty. This is the only time that you can ask the Mother for that. I will not be able to give you the same opportunity every day. I am ready to give it to you any time. But Mother will not allow it. Today I have promised you because Mother has told me that she will fulfil your prayers today, no matter what you ask of her. Now you have lost your second chance. But I wish to give you another chance. Please, my son, this time don’t forget. Remember, you must ask the Mother for material wealth. That is what you need. Right now you don’t need spiritual wealth.
NAREN: No, I won’t take any more chances. I do not need material wealth. I want nectar from the Mother, and not anything else. For gourds and pumpkins I will not ask. I can ask only for the nectar-fruit.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Since you cannot ask the Mother for material wealth and prosperity, then I wish to say that you will never have a comfortable life. But from now on you will be able to manage. You and your family will not starve. You will be able to live at least from hand to mouth. Mother will do that much for you. (He shouts.) Come, all those who are here! No matter where you are! Come! All my disciples, come!
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: You people have told me that my Naren has become an atheist. Look! He could not ask for material wealth from my Mother. Do you know that he starves? His mother and his sisters and brothers have no food at home. Yet he could not ask Mother Kali for material wealth. Nowhere on earth will you find anyone who can equal my Naren. He is your leader. He will lead and guide you. He will preserve you. This body of mine is completing its role. Soon I will belong to the other world. (To Vivekananda.) Naren, my child, sing a song. I shall meditate while you sing.
(Naren sings. Sri Ramakrishna meditates in deep trance.)
Sundara hate sundaratumi
tumichhara mor nayanandhar
chaudike mor bishwabhubane
bedanar sur baje
(You are beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful,
Beauty unparalleled in the garden of Eden.
Day and night may Thy image abide in the very depths of my heart.
Without You my eyes have no vision,
Everything is an illusion, everything is barren.
All around me, within and without,
The melody of tenebrous pangs I hear.
My world is filled with excruciating pangs.
O Lord, O my beautiful Lord,
O my Lord of beauty, in this lifetime, even for a fleeting second,
May I be blessed with the boon to see Thy Face.)
Ask him if he serves me or controls me
VIDYASAGAR (A SCHOLAR AND SAGE)
VAISHNAB CHARAN PUNDIT (A FRIEND OF VIDYASAGAR)
HRIDAY (NEPHEW AND ATTENDANT OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA)
(Vidyasagar’s house in Calcutta. Vidyasagar is studying most attentively in his room. Enter VaishnabCharan Pundit. They bow to each other and exchange greetings.)
PUNDIT: I have been here in Calcutta for a few days. I am sorry that I was not able to come and pay my respectful homage to you earlier.
VIDYASAGAR (smiling): I am so glad, so proud, that you have come to my home at last. Is everything going well with you? Please have a seat.
PUNDIT (taking a seat): Everything is fine, by God’s Grace. How is your health, Vidyasagar?
VIDYASAGAR: Not good. My body is not functioning well. I am old. Now I am preparing myself for the other world.
PUNDIT: Don’t say that, Vidyasagar. Don’t you know that in your absence thousands and thousands of people will be fatherless? This health, this body you have to maintain for at least one hundred years.
VIDYASAGAR: Don’t curse me, brother, don’t curse me. Already things have started to go wrong in my family. My son has become disobedient. He has cast a slur on our family. I do not know how much more suffering is in store for me.
PUNDIT: Ungratefulness is the order of the day. Bengalis have become an object of pity just because they have become totally ungrateful. The other day we had a special meeting of Pundits, and at that meeting the Pundit Panchanan said that you have ruined the Hindu religion. He said that with the help of a number of Hindu youths you are destroying the whole country. He said that there is nothing divine in your activities, no true feeling or self-sacrifice in your selfless service for Bengal. He feels it is all for name and fame. I am so sorry to tell you this. You have no idea how I suffered, and how I have been suffering for the past few days, since I heard Panchanan, of all people, speaking against you.
VIDYASAGAR: There is nothing to feel sorry about. Everything is God’s game. I do nothing, my friend. It is God who works in and through me. I am just an instrument: Nimittamatram. But I feel that you have made a mistake. I feel that you have heard something wrong. (Pauses.) I have never done any service for that Pundit. How is it that he speaks ill of me? I have come to the conclusion that only those whom I have helped in some way will criticise me. Those whom I have not helped in any way will never criticiseme. And I clearly remember that I have not helped Panchanan in any way. I am sure he was speaking of somebody else.
HRIDAY: O sage, my maternal uncle is constantly praying to God and meditating on God. By thinking and praying all the time he has become insane. Today he feels like seeing you, Vidyasagar.
PUNDIT: Your uncle? The Thakur of Dakshineshwar?
HRIDAY: Yes, he is outside.
PUNDIT: Outside! Why didn’t you bring him in? (VaishnabCharan Pundit goes out and brings Ramakrishna in. He then speaks to Vidyasagar.) Today Paramahansa, the great liberated soul, the realised soul, has come to you. You can be extremely proud that he has come to you.
(Sri Ramakrishna bows to Vidyasagar. Vidyasagar in turn bows and offers Ramakrishna a seat.)
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: For so long I have been living in a small pond. Today I have come to the ocean.
VIDYASAGAR: Since you have come to the ocean, please accept some saline water. It is all I can offer you.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Vidyasagar, you are doing well. It is good to show love and compassion. But attachment is very bad. When someone loves only the members of his own family it is attachment. One has to see God in everyone. When a person sees the presence of God in everyone, that is called compassion. I have come to visit you because I see that you serve God in everyone. I have come to appreciate your divine wisdom. Do you think that you have grown horns, and that that is why I have come to see you?
VIDYASAGAR: Today any home has been sanctified by your feet. Today my home becomes a place of pilgrimage.
PUNDIT (to Vidyasagar): He is all divine Love. His madness is the intoxication of divine Love. Like Sri Chaitanya, he enters into the great samadhi, the transcendental trance.
VIDYASAGAR: Yes, I know it. I can see it. I can feel it. (To Ramakrishna.) This boy, does he serve you? (Indicating Hriday.)
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Ask him if he serves me or controls me. I am terribly afraid of him.
HRIDAY: Uncle, it is very bad on your part to say so. Have I ever disobeyed you? Have I ever governed you’? Do you ever listen to me? You do not pay any attention to the outer world. You forget about the weather; you forget about food. That is why I take care of you. Sometimes I kindly command you to do a few things, but it is only for your health. Don’t make me feel ashamed whenever we go places, or I shall go away. I do not have to help you, and if you don’t care for my services I shall not remain with you any longer. (He begins to leave.)
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Oh, don’t go, don’t go, Hriday. Don’t leave me alone. (To Vidyasagar and Pundit.) My nephew is so nice. He loves me day and night. If he had not been with me, who would have taken care of me? I even forget to put on my clothes. If he did not control me, then how could he show his face in respectable society? I would shame him and all my family. (Hriday comes back and sits down, appeased.) Vidyasagar, again I wish to tell you that you are doing the right thing. You are serving God in humanity. You are serving God with utmost Love. That is why God is pleased with you. Your life of sacrifice will be remembered by the world forever.
(Ramakrishna rises. Vidyasagar and Pundit both rise and bow to Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna bows to them. Exeunt Ramakrishna and Hriday.)
PUNDIT: He is really a great spiritual Master. I have heard much about him, and I inwardly feel what he is.
VIDYASAGAR: I also feel what he is. He is really great. He is not only the pride of Bengal and India, but the pride of the entire world. (Pauses.) Work, work, work! Alas, my days are numbered. Yet I have not been able to serve God devotedly and soulfully. I am unable to think of my Inner Pilot because I am constantly thinking of other people and helping others. And people don’t even speak well of me. They don’t even appreciate me. If I do not bring my Inner Pilot into my life, my service to mankind will be of no use.
PUNDIT: Vidyasagar, you are really great. Your sincerity has touched the very depths of my heart. You are playing your role most devotedly, most soulfully. The creator in you is truly great, but unfortunately the critic in you is creating problems. Do not be the critic, but be the lover of humanity. You are the creator, creating love in mankind. Perfection you want, and perfection God will give you. It is the constant dedicated service you are doing for Him and for humanity that will give you perfection. You act. In your action self-perfection will dawn. Self-criticism will never give you perfection. Vidyasagar, I am advising you, but it is you who should advise me every second of my life.
VIDYASAGAR: No, God is speaking in and through you. I am so grateful to you, Pundit. From now on, now that I have seen Ramakrishna, I will pay more attention to my spiritual life. My spiritual life and my life of dedication to mankind will go together. My life of realisation and my life of dedication, which is the manifestation of Love and Light on earth, will go together from now on.
PUNDIT: Vidyasagar, a man like you is very rare. Bengal is blessed because she can claim you as her own. Mother Earth is blessed because she has you as her chosen son.
The synthesis of all religions
SRI RAMAKRISHNA — THAKUR
HRIDAY (NEPHEW AND PERSONAL ATTENDANT OF THAKUR)
NAREN, RAKHAL, BABURAM, TARUP (DISCIPLES OF THAKUR)
(Night. Thakur is walking in the Panchavati grove under the trees in a contemplative mood. Enter Hriday.)
HRIDAY: Uncle, let us go home. It is cold, and the wind is blowing very hard. I see fog being formed. You are not taking care of yourself.
THAKUR: You go. I am coming.
(Exit Hriday. Thakur meditates. Re-enter Hriday.)
HRIDAY: Don’t delay, Uncle, don’t be late. You forget everything, and then it is I who suffer afterwards.
THAKUR: What can I do? My Mother has called me here. The moment she asks me to go home, I will go. Do you think that I don’t suffer when I make you suffer for me?
HRIDAY: I am going, but don’t be late.
THAKUR (to himself): The synthesis of all religions, the union of East and West, self-dedication, self-sacrifice: these are all big, big words, big theories, big ideas, big ideals. But where are they, Mother? Mother, you are talking to me about all these things. These are such high ideals. But where are your dedicated soldiers? Mother, you never tell me lies. Where are they? Where are your chosen children? O chosen children of my Mother Kali, my heart is crying for you. Come. Come. Do Mother’s work. You have to fulfil the Mother. You have to manifest the Mother on earth.
THAKUR (with all affection and love): Ah, Naren, you have come. You have come to me after such a long time. I have been talking to worldly people for so long. I have become practically deaf from hearing the complaints and unaspiring chatter of ordinary people. People are throwing all their worldly desires into me. Now I have nobody I can speak to about my inner life. I have nobody to tell what is going on in my heart. Naren, tell me, when are you going to come again?
NAREN: The moment I get an opportunity I will be back again. Why do you think of me so much? Why do you speak to others all the time about Naren, Naren, Naren? Don’t you know the story in the Puranas about King Bharata who always thought of his deer? Then, in the following incarnation, he became a deer.
THAKUR: You are right. But what can I do? I can’t keep my mind away from you. All the time I think of you. When I don’t see you I feel miserable. (Closes his eyes and speaks to Mother Kali.) Mother, listen to what Naren is telling me. (After a few moments he opens his eyes and speaks to Naren.) I will not listen to you. You are not saying the right thing. Mother says that I see you as Narayan, I see you as the incarnation of God. The day I don’t see you as the incarnation of God, I will not even look at your face.
NAREN: If that is true, then why have you ignored me for such a long time? I have come to you and you have avoided me, ignored me mercilessly. You have shown me such contempt the past few times.
THAKUR: Mother, Mother, listen to this fellow! (To Naren.) Can I avoid you? Can I ignore you? Can I show contempt to you? Impossible! You do not know; you cannot fathom my inner workings. Naren, tell me one thing. Granted, I have not been nice to you. I have been very unkind, very rude to you. So why do you keep coming to me?
NAREN: I come here to listen to you. I adore you. I worship you. I want to see you, Thakur, even if you are unkind to me. I love your presence. I love your meditative mood. I love your trance. I love everything you do because I love you.
THAKUR: My son, I have been testing you. I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t show you affection and love — whether you would stay with me or not. It is only you who can bear such indifference and contempt from me. Had it been somebody else, he would not have come to my place any more. Nobody else would have stayed with me. Whoever got that kind of treatment from me would have hated me to the end of his life.
NAREN: It is all due to your compassion, to your love, that I stayed. You know that my anger is of the quickest. But you gave me shelter in your heart. You brought me into your soul and made me your true son.
THAKUR (smiling): Naren, I have occult powers, abundant occult powers, all occult powers. But what do I do with them? I don’t even wear clothes. Who is going to use these powers? I am thinking of telling Mother that I would like to give you everything, all my occult powers. You have to do much work for the Mother. If I give you these powers you will be able to work most effectively for the world. What do you think of this idea?
NAREN: Please tell me, will these occult powers help me in realising God?
THAKUR: No, they can’t help you in realising God. But when you start working for God, they will be of great help to you.
NAREN: Then I don’t want them. I want God first. After God-realisation it is up to you and God to give me occult powers.
THAKUR: Excellent, excellent. Oh, my Naren, who else is like you? Who is free from greed, but you? Most seekers cry for occult power, but I am eager to give you my occult power and you do not want it. You want God, my son, not occult power, and God is the only thing that we all need.
(Enter Rakhal, Baburam and Tarup. They bow to Thakur.)
THAKUR: One has to be a hundred per cent devoted to God like Naren. Only then can one realise God.
RAKHAL: I know that. His sincerity has impressed me greatly. My brother is all love for you, all love for God. May I ask you a question today?
THAKUR: Of course, of course. If I don’t answer your question, then whose question shall I answer?
RAKHAL: Please tell me the essence of the Vaisnava philosophy.
THAKUR: The Vaisnava philosophy is very simple. Love humanity and serve humanity: this is the philosophy.
RAKHAL: Please explain it to me further. It is not clear to me.
THAKUR: Remember the name of God. The Truth and the possessor of the Truth are one. Lord Krishna and his true devotee are one. The devotee’s whole world is nothing but Lord Krishna. It is Krishna who has become everything for him. This is what a real Vaisnava thinks and believes, and it is absolutely true. We have to show compassion to all human beings. (Pauses.) No, I am wrong. Who are we to show compassion to all human beings? We are feebler than ants. What right, what capacity do we have to help mankind? We have to serve all human beings and know that we are then serving God, for they are all manifestations of God. This is the right attitude. We have to serve all human beings, knowing and feeling that they are all manifestations of God.
TARUP: Please tell me how I can have purity.
THAKUR: Love mankind and serve mankind as devotedly as possible. Then automatically you will have purity. You have to see God in every human being. Only then will you have devotion. And when you have devotion, real devotion for God, then your heart will be pure.
NAREN: If ever God gives me the opportunity and capacity, I shall preach before the whole world. I shall speak to the whole world; the rich and the poor, the Brahmins and the Chandalas will hear your message from me. I wish to offer your message to the entire world. Please bless me so that my desire will be fulfilled.
THAKUR: My blessing is already there. It is for you, for all of you. It has been raining down on you for the last few years. The Mother is playing her own game in and through you all. You are all just instruments of the Mother.
HRIDAY: Uncle, I can’t bear you any longer. I can’t. You have really become insane. Now I know you will suffer from this cold and I will suffer even more.
THAKUR: Oh, I had forgotten. Hriday, forgive me, forgive me. Come, come, all of you, come.
(Exeunt all except Naren, who sits down on the ground and sings with folded hands.)
jago, jago, jago
jagoamar sei chetana
bishwatiteshesh ja noy
jago, jago, jago
jago, jago, jago
(Arise, awake, O Friend of my dream.
Arise, awake, O Breath of my life.
Arise, awake, O Light of my eyes.
O Seer-Poet in me,
Do manifest Yourself in me and through me.
Arise, awake, O vast heart within me.
Arise, awake, O consciousness of mine,
Which is always transcending the universe
And its own life of the Beyond.
Arise, awake, O Form of my meditation transcendental.
Arise, awake, O bound divinity in humanity.
Arise, awake, O my heart’s Liberator, Shiva,
And free mankind from its ignorance-sleep.)
Drink, drink my Mother’s Nectar
CAPTAIN (A DISCIPLE)
(Ramakrishna with his disciples. Enter Captain.)
RAMAKRISHNA: Come in, Captain. (Captain bows to Ramakrishna.) I know you have read the Bhagavad Gita many, many times. I wish to hear from you about the Gopis.
CAPTAIN: When Krishna was at Vrindavana he had no wealth, but the Gopis loved him more dearly than they loved their own lives. Their love for Sri Krishna was so pure, so genuine, so divine. They gave him their vital desires and their psychic aspiration. They gave him their all.
RAMAKRISHNA: Krishna, Krishna … (Enters into trance.) Captain, tell me more.
CAPTAIN: Not to speak of ordinary yogis, even the great yogis cannot have free access to Krishna’s heart. But because of their devoted love and unconditional surrender to him, the Gopis always had free access to Krishna’s heart.
A DEVOTEE: Thakur, our greatest novelist, Bankim Chandra, recently wrote an excellent book on Krishna.
RAMAKRISHNA: I see. Do you know that Bankim does not believe in Radha? He believes only in Krishna.
CAPTAIN: That means he does not believe in Krishna’s divine lila.
RAMAKRISHNA: But Bankim also says that sex life is necessary.
CAPTAIN: It is very strange that on the one hand he thinks and feels that sex life is necessary, while on the other hand he does not believe in the divine lila, the divine game. I see in him nothing but contradictions.
RAMAKRISHNA: You call it contradiction and I call it lack of realisation. Mere book learning and God-realisation are never, never the same thing. For God-realisation you have to pray, you have to meditate. You have to cry like a child. A child cries for his mother and he gets her. If you cry for the Divine Mother’s Nectar, you will get it without fail. Drink, drink my Mother Kali’s Nectar as much as you want to. Be immortal, my sweet children.
This body will not last very long
OTHER SELECTED DISCIPLES
(Sri Ramakrishna with some of his selected disciples.)
RAMAKRISHNA: My health is failing very rapidly.
RAKHAL: Please tell us how we can restore your health.
RAMAKRISHNA: That depends on the Will of God.
NAREN: I know your will has become inseparably one with God’s Will.
RAMAKRISHNA: In this body two persons live: God in the form of an Avatar, and God in the form of a devotee. An Avatar’s devotees come with him and go away with him.
RAKHAL: So you must not go away alone, leaving us behind.
RAMAKRISHNA: The religious mendicants appear quite unexpectedly out of the blue. They sing and dance, and again they disappear quite unexpectedly. Hardly anyone recognises their aspiration. Similarly, spiritual Masters appear and disappear without being recognised. (Ramakrishna closes his eyes for a minute.) I tell you all that a life without renunciation is no life at all. Renounce your ignorance. Renounce your knowledge. Renounce what you have and what you are.
NAREN: When I talk of renunciation some people get terribly annoyed with me.
RAMAKRISHNA: Naren, don’t be afraid of them. Say what you must say. It is through renunciation that you can and you will realise God. (Caresses Naren.) Much.
NAREN (with a smile): What do you mean by “much”?
RAMAKRISHNA: Much renunciation has been accomplished by you. Naren, I have told you many times that you have come into the world for me.
NAREN: I don’t quite understand what you say. Please explain it to me.
RAMAKRISHNA: You are here on earth to manifest me. I have already given you all that I have. I have nothing left.
NAREN: Do you mean that I have to believe all that you say to me?
RAMAKRISHNA: You will not only believe me but make all of humanity believe who I am.
NAREN: You talk. I listen.
RAMAKRISHNA: True. But in the near future you are going to act.
NAREN: From the very dust of your feet you can give birth to millions of Narens like me.
RAMAKRISHNA: Stop, stop. From the very Heart of God, from the very Breath of God you have come. Naren, my Naren, with you I am complete.
NAREN: Thakur, in your heart I am fulfilled. At your feet I am perfect. (Prostrates himself at Ramakrishna’s feet.)
Sri Ramakrishna’s passing
(The day of Sri Ramakrishna’s passing. His disciples and consort, Sarada Devi, are standing by his bedside. Three disciples are standing a little apart from the others.)
FIRST DISCIPLE: It pains me to see our Master like this. His frail frame seems less dependable than a storm-tossed raft.
SECOND DISCIPLE: By going deep within, still one can discover his true divine personality. Even now one can never doubt his greatness. In his teachings abides a colossal Will that can shake the world.
THIRD DISCIPLE: No Indian youth of the rising generation can dream of escaping the subtle influence of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.
FIRST DISCIPLE: Ramakrishna will appear to one person as a man of overflowing emotion, to a second as an ardent aspirant, to a third as a man of philosophical wisdom, to a fourth as a man of unique sincerity.
SECOND DISCIPLE: It is inevitable that different persons should hold different opinions regarding his personality. For in a matter like this, a flawless intellectual analysis is impossible, and all our human judgement will sadly fail to yield any useful answer.
THIRD DISCIPLE: But nobody will ever hesitate to call him the most beloved child of the Divine Mother Kali. His sole aim in life was to have nothing save and except a constant union with Mother Kali. This aim he fulfilled. In one word we can sum up the message of his life: Mother.
FIRST DISCIPLE: It is Ramakrishna, too, who has shown the greatest reverence for women that the world has ever known. He feels that women are the embodiment of the Divine Mother and he treats them as divinities. His own consort, Sarada Devi, he worships as the Divine Mother Herself.
SECOND DISCIPLE: The higher consciousness that constantly floods the mind and heart of Sri Ramakrishna exerts a unique influence not only on us, his disciples, but also on all persons around him. It lifts everyone above the ordinary plane to partake of the divine sweetness of Heaven. His very life is in itself the most effective refutation of the half-believer and the unbeliever in the Divine.
THIRD DISCIPLE: Here is a man whose authoritative voice declared that he had not only seen the Omnipotent, but could show Him to his beloved disciple, Naren.
(Hearing Naren’s name mentioned, Ramakrishna opens his eyes.)
RAMAKRISHNA (pathetically): Naren … Naren, why are you silent? You look confused, almost baffled. I have read your mind. Still you doubt me, Naren?
(Naren comes closer to his Master, but remains silent.)
RAMAKRISHNA: He who is Rama, He who is Krishna, in one form is Ramakrishna.
(Shedding tears, Naren bows to Sri Ramakrishna and touches his feet.)
NAREN: I shall not doubt you any more, Thakur. In your presence, I have found that man can be perfect even in this body. The descent of Avatars like you, O Master, is for the purpose of uplifting and furthering the progress of mankind in the evolutionary process. You go on doing good for mankind in your earthly body as long as it serves the interest of humanity. You are free from the results of your actions, good or bad, big or small.
SARADA DEVI: Now that my Kali — Ramakrishna — is about to pass behind the curtain of Eternity, an excruciating pain is torturing my heart.
(She begins to cry bitterly. To everyone’s surprise, Ramakrishna raises himself slightly.)
RAMAKRISHNA: Why do you weep so bitterly? I leave your Naren with you.
SARADA DEVI: Yes, my Divine Lord, it is true. You are the seed sown in the world-soil, and our Naren is the bumper crop which humanity shall reap. Thakur is the Inspiration, his Naren is its Expression. So humanity will have both Inspiration and Expression as its peerless possessions. (She bows down to Ramakrishna.) Glory to you, O Thakur. In you we find a triumphant living example of the truths that you preach. To you we offer our deepest homage. Our hearts feel that what you possess is the Infinite, and that the Infinite is your heart’s Eternal Home.
(Sri Ramakrishna leaves the body.)
Vivekananda waits for the inner message
(Madras. Vivekananda is in his room.)
VIVEKANANDA (to himself): Not to satisfy my mental curiosity have I decided to sail for America. No, not to make a noise in the world. My Master’s silent blessing has kindled the inspiration-fire in me to share his light with the soil and soul of America. No country is superior in all spheres of life. As regards spirituality, the Americans are far inferior to us, but their society is far superior to ours. The East has become lost by moving away from materialism; the West, by keeping clear of spirituality. I deeply feel that a happy marriage of the two is the supreme need of the world. Life without spirituality is as poor as life without material power. Hence the East must be surcharged with the dynamism of the West, and the West must be inspired with the ancient wisdom of the East. We will teach them our spirituality and assimilate what is best in their society. Sri Ramakrishna has synthesised most of the major world religions by his direct and immediate realisation of the Truth in each of them. He has pierced the core of each religion, extracted its essence and become the perfect embodiment of that particular path to the Supreme. His precepts are couched in the simplest language, in words that fly straight into the hearts of the people. The blessings that not only India but the entire world has received and will receive from him, from his unique universal sympathy, stand matchless. I look upon the world as my dear Motherland, and upon mankind as my true brothers and sisters. Come what may, to serve them with my Master’s soul-stirring message is my cherished religion.
But now, on the eve of my departure for America, I have decided that I will cross the seas only after receiving some concrete indication from my Master. I am sure my Thakur would sanction my going to America were he still alive. But let me wait for a sign from him.
(A week later.)
VIVEKANANDA: For the past week I have waited and waited for some concrete sign from my Master, but all in vain. (Pauses.) Since my spiritual Mother and my Master are one and the same, I shall seek her permission to go abroad. I shall write a letter to Sri Sarada Devi from here in Madras.
(He sits and begins writing the letter.)
(A few weeks later. Naren sings:)
Ore mor kheya ore mor neye
niyejao mor trishitakshudhita
(O my boat, O my Boatman,
O Message of Transcendental Delight,
Carry me. My heart is thirsty and hungry,
And it is fast asleep at the same time.
Carry my heart to the other shore.)
VIVEKANANDA: Still I have not received a reply from my divine Mother. But just last night I had a most significant dream in which I saw Sri Ramakrishna proceeding to the West over the waves and waters. This I have taken as approval of my plan.
(Enter a peon. He hands Vivekananda a letter.)
VIVEKANANDA: Thank you.
(Exit the peon.)
VIVEKANANDA: Ah! From my divine Mother! (Reads the letter.) I have received wholehearted permission from my spiritual Mother. Now with redoubled faith I am able to undertake the voyage to America. A spiritual force of Sri Ramakrishna’s power will forever retain its dynamism. It will spread beyond the narrow limits of one little province, of one country, of one continent. The renown of my Master’s spiritual teachings shall travel far and wide, touching the heart of the world and awakening its slumbering soul.
Naren, you are Thakur’s promise
A FEW BROTHER DISCIPLES
(Naren has just arrived at the railway station. He has come back from a triumphant visit to the West. Rakhal has come to meet him with a few brother disciples. They are all extolling Naren to the skies. Rakhal and brother disciples sing:)
premer shikha bahankarehesehese
ek halo ajasimpathe
(From country to country we roam,
Carrying the flame of Love Divine,
Smiling and smiling.
The secret thought of each country
And the yearning of each life
Here become one.
On the road of Infinity,
In the embrace of the covenant
Of the Light Supreme,
O Boatman of our Heart-Boat,
By loving You, we do all this.)
(Rakhal offers Naren a garland.)
NAREN: Rakhal, it is you who deserve this garland. You are the son of Thakur. Thakur has called only you his son. Guruvat guru putreshu. [The son of a Guru is like the Guru himself.] So it is you who deserve this garland.
RAKHAL: Jaishthavratasama pita. [An elder brother is like one’s own father.] You are older than I. You are like my father. It is you who deserve this garland, and I shall put it on you.
NAREN: No, Rakhal. Thakur used to say that you had the highest experiences. Your experiences have surpassed all our experiences. You are the Raja, the King. I am so proud of you, of your spiritual attainments.
RAKHAL: Naren, Thakur told us that you would be our leader. We shall always look upon you as our dearest leader. We shall always be at your command. To serve you, to please you, to listen to you will be the one thing that will give us joy.
NAREN: Rakhal, with your soul’s height and with my soul’s dynamism we shall manifest our Lord, Sri Ramakrishna, in every corner of India. And not only in India, but over the length and breadth of the world. In you is Thakur’s poise and peace.
RAKHAL: In you is Thakur’s pride and fulfilment. You are Thakur’s promise.
Naren, you are my joy; you are my pride
A FEW OTHER CLOSE DISCIPLES
(Sarada Devi with some of her close disciples.)
SARADA DEVI: I am so anxious to see my Naren. I am told that he will be here soon. You know how hard he has worked for Thakur in America. Because of him Thakur will be well known all over the world. I am so proud of my Naren.
FIRST DISCIPLE: Mother, it is all your Grace, all Thakur’s Grace. Because of your Grace, Naren has succeeded in America, in the West. He was nothing, absolutely nothing before he came into your life.
SARADA DEVI: No, he was everything. Thakur brought him from the highest world. Thakur gave him everything before he came into this world. And Thakur’s name is known throughout the length and breadth of the world only because of my Naren’s ceaseless dedication and aspiration.
NAREN: Mother, I have come. (He prostrates himself before Sarada Devi’s feet.) Mother, I shall not touch your feet, and I shall not allow anybody else to touch your feet from now on. We touched Thakur’s feet and gave him all our impurities and all our vital desires. He accepted our impurities and ignorance unconditionally and he died from them. Now I don’t want to touch your feet, and I don’t want anybody else to touch your feet. If we touch your feet I know that you will immediately take away all our sins, as Thakur did. And if you take away all our sins, then we shall lose you soon. Mother, I don’t want to lose you.
SARADA DEVI (blessing Naren): You are Thakur’s dearest son. You will forever remain his dearest son.
NAREN: Mother, many, many times I have doubted Thakur. Even the day he left the earth-scene I doubted him. But out of his infinite bounty he convinced me, on his deathbed, of who he is. Mother, I am the tiniest drop of the infinite sea of compassion which is Sri Ramakrishna. Mother, I am so proud that I have never doubted you or your realisation, even for a second. Mother, Mother, in this lifetime it is you who will be the sole object of my adoration. Only your devotees, your disciples, your children, shall be the chosen instruments of God. I feel in you the living presence of Mother Kali. I see you as the Mother of the Universe. I see you as the Goddess Supreme. I see you as our Thakur. You carry the banner of Thakur’s Light. Mother, you have kept yourself hidden. But how can you hide yourself from all your loving children? You cannot. In you is the purest and most perfect manifestation of God. In you, Mother, is my realisation.
SARADA DEVI: Naren, Thakur gave you his infinite love and infinite concern. He gave you his All. I give you, my Naren, my infinite joy and my infinite pride. I give you my All.
He karuna sindhu
charan tale thai
(O Ocean of Compassion,
I am Your tiniest drop.
At Your Feet my haven I always seek.
I know, Mother, I know,
You I strike, You I hurt,
O my Moon of Light-Delight.)
Two mothers and a son
SARADA DEVI (DIVINE CONSORT OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA AND SPIRITUAL MOTHER OF VIVEKANANDA)
BHUVANESHWARI (PHYSICAL MOTHER OF VIVEKANANDA)
A FRIEND OF BHUVANESHWARI
(Sarada Devi and Vivekananda are outdoors at Belur Math.)
SARADA DEVI: Naren, tell me something about your mother.
VIVEKANANDA: Mother Divine, your infinite compassion is illumining my life of ignorance. You want me to speak of my physical mother. In my childhood I found my confidante in nobody but my mother. I disclosed everything to her. Only on rare occasions, in very trying times, did she lose her patience and faith. I have often exploited her kindness and sweetness as I now exploit your compassion and forgiveness.
SARADA DEVI: Naren, sweeter than the sweetest is the smile of our physical mother. Deeper than the deepest is her affection. Mightier than the mightiest is the power of her blessing. Vaster than the vastest is her hope for her children. From your physical mother you inherited not only moral purity and an aesthetic sense, but also many intellectual faculties and a unique memory. Her influence moulded your life considerably, and your influence is shaking the world.
VIVEKANANDA: Mother, my dearest spiritual Mother, Mother of my soul and eternal Life, however great the earthly mother may be, her love is no match for the disinterested love of the spiritual Mother. It is absolutely necessary to feel that our spiritual Mother is our real Mother and that we are her real children and divine warriors.
(Enter Bhuvaneshwari and one of her friends. They stroll towards Vivekananda and Sarada Devi, but do not notice them.)
BHUVANESHWARI: I am glad you have come with me to Belur Math to see my son Naren’s work, his great accomplishments.
FRIEND: Yes, all these newly constructed buildings, and such beautiful surroundings.
BHUVANESHWARI: My Naren has done all this.
(Vivekananda overhears his mother and immediately turns to her.)
VIVEKANANDA: Mother, I must correct you. Not your Naren, but hers. (Points to Sarada Devi, who is meditating.) Your Naren is by no means capable of such achievements. I am seated between two extremes: an utmost incapacity and an omnipotent power. Your Naren is all incapacity. He could not even support his mother and the younger members of his family after his father’s death. My divine Mother’s Naren is all capacity. It is her unconditional blessing alone that has made me what I am now. My real source is her heart. My only goal is her feet.
Eklaamitomarkachhejabona ma jabona
eklaamitomaikabhubandhbona ma bandhbona
eklaamitomarkachhejabona ma jabona
sabarsathetomaipaboeishudhu mor sadhana
(Alone I shall not go to You, Mother,
I shall not go.
Alone I shall not bind You,
I shall not bind You.
Your Heart’s silence-language
and the illumined hope of this world,
and Your Heart’s nectar-flow,
Are always boundless for us.
Alone I shall not go to You, Mother,
I shall not go.
With all I shall get You:
this is my life’s only aspiration,
only meditation, only Goal.)
(Sri Chinmoy, Drink, drink my Mother’s Nectar, Agni Press, 1973)