Recorded by Swami Raghavananda
Translated by Swami Prabhavananda
Almora, 1915 in an ashrama which Swami Turiyananda established with Swami Shivananda.
June 7, 1915.
Swami Shivananda: Ah, those days at Dakshineswar were like heaven itself!
From morning till one in the afternoon everyone was busy picking flowers and making other preparations for worship until the poor were fed. In the meantime, Sri Ramakrishna would discuss spiritual subjects and the devotees listened to him with rapt attention. Even fun and jokes were related to God. There was no other topic.
Everything culminated in his samadhi. After lunch, Sri Ramakrishna used to rest for a short while. Then again he spoke on spiritual matters. At vesper time he used to go to the temple of Mother Kali and fan her a little. He would become God-intoxicated and return to his room reeling in a state of ecstasy. He used to ask us, who were practicing spiritual disciplines under his guidance, ‘Tell me, do you feel divine inebriation when you mediate mornings and evenings?’ At night, Sri Ramakrishna slept very little. He used to get up and wake those who were sleeping in his room, saying, ‘Don’t sleep too much! Wake up and meditate!’ Again he would lie down a short while, then rise before dawn and chant the sweet name of the Lord. The others would sit and meditate in their own ways.
May your hearts be filled with devotion for our Lord!”
June 10, 1915.
In the evening, Swami Shivananda mentioned a devotee. He prayed for him: “Mother, may he not go away empty-handed! Give him a grain of your grace! He came to your devotees.”
June 15, 1915. After a reading of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Shivananda told the story of a dying magistrate who kept repeating, “Punish the rascal! Give him twenty lashes!” Even at the last moment the magistrate’s mind was dwelling on his profession instead of God.
Then Swami Shivananda remarked: “the last thought determines the next birth.”
June 18, 1915.
What more is needed when the mind becomes absorbed the moment you meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord?” As he uttered these words, his face became flushed with spiritual emotion. When he returned to the normal plane of consciousness, he sang a song of Ramprasad expressing the idea that devotion is the root of all spiritual attainment. He continued: “Sri Ramakrishna prayed at one time, ‘Mother, you revealed yourself to Ramprasad. Why won’t you reveal yourself to me?” All of Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings are of devotion mixed with knowledge.”
June 20, 1915.
When I first began to visit Sri Ramakrishna, I often felt like crying. One night at Dakshineswar, by the bank of the Ganges, I wept to my heart’s content. In the meantime the Master had been asking for me. When I returned to his room, he said: ‘You know, if you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.’
Another day I was meditating at the Panchavati. I was absorbed. Sri Ramakrishna was returning from the pine grove. When he looked at me, I began to sob. The Master stood beside me without uttering a word. A thrill went through my heart, and I began to tremble uncontrollably. Later I followed the Master to his room. He remarked to someone about my weeping: ‘These are no ordinary tears; they are tears of ecstasy.’ Then he made me sit near him and gave me something to eat. It was so easy for him to awaken the kundalini in us—without even a touch, just by his presence.”
June 27, 1915.
Sri Ramakrishna did not initiate disciples like an ordinary guru. He used to awaken our spiritual consciousness. He would draw something on the tongue and one would immediately have some ecstatic experience. One day, when I returned from prostrating in the Kali Temple, the Master remarked: ‘You belong to that high spiritual realm whence manifest name and form.’”
August 20, 1915.
Organized group living usually fosters tendencies toward sectarianism, institutionalism, and rivalry in leadership. Then all spirituality is lost. But where a strong spiritual current flows, such tendencies of degeneration cannot develop any more than scum can grow on a flowing river. You see, we keep ourselves aloof from everything. Maharaj [Swami Brahmananda] also keeps himself detached.”