[2nd President and Spiritual Head: the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa]
[now a Centre of the international Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission]
Selected from Mother Radha's recordings of Swamiji.
Jesus Christ was not a great writer. He was a simple man, but not a simpleton – as some would say of Sri Ramakrishna. [Swamiji chuckles] But he was wisdom personified and today half the world is seeking for it, in his words. Ramakrishna is just like that. [Swami] Vivekananda [spiritual heir to Sri Ramakrishna] Maharaj was seated at Thousand Island Park, in America – and some ladies approached him. They had come there after a hard struggle [and night-time journey]. They were tired and they approached the Swami. They knelt down and said, 'Ah! Swami! You are Jesus! You are God!' Vivekananda at once said, 'Stop! No!' He began weeping, 'How can you say I am Jesus?'
Now look at the humility of this great Swami. He could have had the whole western world at one stroke worship him as God, but he refused to be equated with his Master. And he said, 'No! I am trying to be the dust of the feet of Jesus the Christ.' That is what he said. He said, 'Why do you call me that?' And they said to Vivekananda, 'But why Maharaj, you are the Great Spirit!' He said, "No – there's a vast difference between me and the Master Jesus - between me and the Master Sri Ramakrishna. The difference is this – this is the difference and you must remember the difference – an Incarnation [avatar] will say, 'Behold!' and you will see It [God]. 'Behold!' - when he says 'Behold!' it will be there, you will see It. But I give thousands of lectures to all of you, for you to simply understand, let alone behold."
"An Incarnation like Sri Ramakrishna will say it, 'Awake [Divine] Mother! – awake! and Mother will awake [in that person or those people]. I will have to repeat thousands of scriptures to say 'Awake Mother!' and still nothing happens. So how can you compare me with that great ball of fire of the Universe? Nay!" said Vivekananda.
Swamiji: But yet you find, out of ignorance we ordinary people want to equate ourselves with these great Incarnations. You say, 'I am Brahman [the One universal consciousness].' If you are Brahman, why are you looking for food? If you are Brahman why are you seeking a comfortable bed? If you are Brahman, why are you suffering from aches and pains? If you are the pain how can you feel your own pain? [i.e. when there is no longer duality - dvaita -and you claim to be 'one' - an advaitin] Now you must remember, an Incarnation may not be learned [educated] or write anything – but he leaves behind wonderful things. First of all you'll find his image for man to concentrate on. An Incarnation always leaves his image - somehow a symbol will be left.
The next is the practical method – how he trod the path will be there [as an example]. Every step of spirituality is found there. The last one will be books upon books that other people will write about that Incarnation – but that Incarnation has not written books. You'll find all three in Sri Ramakrishna Bhagawan. He left a wonderful image. Image of what? Not of pomp and glory – with many [symbolic, religious] marks on him and yellow [monastic] garb. Simple. Purity. Real. Owning nothing yet owning everything. A king among kings – a prince among princes. Simple living. High manifestation, was this great One. Yes, he left an image. What did he leave behind? You can read about it up to this day. How he trod the spiritual path from day to day. He didn't tread one path only, but all the paths that you can think of. And the information was recorded first-hand [by Mahendranath Gupta – 'M' in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna].
His humility was such that when they wanted to take his photograph he would refuse. He'd say, 'No! How can I be photographed? No!' One day somebody was trying to take his photograph and Swami Vivekananda arrived. And they said, 'Thakurji [Master] doesn't want his photograph taken. When we ask him, he won't allow it.' Vivekananda said, 'No, he'll allow it. He's fighting shy – it's not that he's against it, but he's shy of these things – any form of publicity.' There was no publicity-seeking in Master. But Vivekananda said, 'Wait, I'll put him right.' He went to Master and began speaking about [the Divine] Mother – and no sooner did he speak with Sri Ramakrishna about the Divine Mother, than Ramakrishna went into samadhi [spiritual superconsciousness]. And Swami Vivekananda said to the photographer, 'There, take the photograph, quickly!' [all laugh]
So Ramakrishna's image is not like yours and mine, where the 'I' [ego, ahamkara] is being photographed. The 'I' was completely absent. The spirit was present. In Ramakrishna's image there is no 'I'. When you come and say, 'Swamiji I want to take your picture, the 'I' will come. I'm standing there - I don't know how my smile is and how the people will worship it. Then they take the photograph. They're worshipping the 'I' and that 'I' will never take you above the 'I'. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa immediately went above the 'I'. They took photographs of him where the 'I' was absent. God was manifest. Now books – thousands of books – are being written about him, no only by the easterners but by westerners. These three things you must never forget in the life of an Avatara [incarnation].
Sri Ramakrishna spoke wonderful words to his monastic disciples, 'Don't force anyone to worship me as an incarnation.'
Swamiji: If they don't want to call him God, wonderful. But you cannot deny he was a good man. He was a God-man. That you cannot deny. So worship him if you like and thus become purified.
1) Care should be taken by the reader to understand and take Swamiji's words in these postings, in context. Every teaching or instruction that he gave was specific to the people who were with Swamiji at the time.
2) Mouse-over the words highlighted in red in the posting for further explanation or links.
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For more about the Holy Trinity, and also the founding Swamis of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa, please mouse over their names below:
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna - read online
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