‘We saw the Master talking to the Divine Mother in front of us. Swamiji was then 19 years old and was connected with the Brahmo Samaj. During one of his first visits, the Master said to him: "Do you know Gauranga of Nadia? I am that Gauranga." Swamiji then said to me privately, "Is he mad?" Later Swamiji preached in America and said: "Avatars are the Teachers of all teachers, the highest manifestations of God through men. We cannot see God except through them. As long as we are men, we must worship Him in man and as man. Talk as you may, try as you may, you cannot think of God except as a man."
The Master loved Swami Vivekananda and made him his main disciple. M. recalled:
‘The Master scolded Swamiji twice: first at Dakshineswar and second at Cossipore. When Swamiji first began visiting Dakshineswar, he criticized Kali a lot. Finally the Master gravely said, "Don’t come here anymore." Despite this scolding from the Master, Swamiji did not become upset. He immediately began preparing a smoke for the Master. Later in Cossipore the Master scolded Swamiji when the latter said something about the view of Tantra. The Master said, "I have seen that those who practised those esoteric sadhanas in the name of religion, went astray."
One day Swamiji came to visit the Master in Dakshineswar. His hair was beautiful and was nicely combed. The Master ruffled his hair and said, ‘My child, we have not come to this world for enjoyment.’
Swami Shuddhananda (the 5th President of the Ramakrishna Order) elaborated on this:
‘Vivekananda was then Narendranath; he was visiting Ramakrishna regularly at Dakshineswar. Pointing to Narendra’s well-combed curly hair, the Master teased him about his foppishness. Narendra was also unsparing; he pointed out to the Master his varnished shoes, hubble-bubble, mattress, bolster, and so on. Then the Master told him, "Look here, the amount of austerity I practised for God-realization, if you can do one-sixteenth of that, I shall arrange for you to sleep on a costly bedstead with mattress upon mattress."
Swamiji practised severe austerities in his life; and then when he returned from the West, his Western disciples presented him with a spring bed and mattress (which are still preserved in his room). While lying on that Western mattress and remembering those words of the Master, Swamiji would tell that incident to his disciples with tears.’
To be continued
About the author
The author is the Minister-in-charge of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis, USA. He is well-known for his numerous books in Bengali and English particularly God Lived With Them and They Lived With God. His recent English translation
of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Leelaprasanga titled Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play has received wide acclaim.