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Appendix A

Keshab At Dakshineswar

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Saturday, January 1, 1881

KESHAB CHANDRA SEN, the leader of the Brahmo Samaj, was expected to visit Sri Ramakrishna at the temple garden at Dakshineswar. With the Master were many Brahmo celebrities-Pratap, Trailokya, Jaygopal, and others.

It was only a few days before the annual festival of the Brahmo Samaj. The Brahmos were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their leader, who was to come by steamer. They were restless and talking rather noisily. Ram, Manomohan, and several other devotees of the Master were also there.

Keshab’s reverence for the Master

At last Keshab entered the Master’s room with 2 fruits and a bouquet of flowers. Touching the Master’s feet, he laid the offering at his side. Then he saluted Sri Ramakrishna with great reverence, bowing very low before him. Sri Ramakrishna returned in like manner his distinguished visitor’s salutation. Then he laughingly began the conversation.

You want me. But your disciples don’t. I said to them: ‘Let us be restless. Then Govinda will come.’ (To Keshab’s disciples) See, here is your Govinda! “We have been showing signs of restlessness all this while to set the stage for your arrival. It isn’t easy to have the vision of Govinda. You must have noticed in the Krishnayatra that Narada enters Vrindavan and prays with great yearning: ‘O Govinda! O my soul! O Life of my life!’, and then Krishna comes on the stage with the cowherd boys, followed by the gopis. No one can see God without that yearning.
(smiling) To open my lips here would be like trying to ‘sell needles to a blacksmith’."
(smiling) “But don’t you know that the nature of devotees is like that of hemp-smokers? One hemp-smoker says to another, ‘Please take a puff for yourself and give me one.’” (All laugh.)

They heard the music from the nahabat in the temple garden.

(to Keshab and the others): “Do you hear how melodious that music is? One player is producing only a monotone on his flute, while another is creating waves of melodies in different ragas and raginis. That is my attitude. Why should I produce only a mortotone when I have an instrument with seven holes? Why should I say nothing but, ‘I am He, I am He’? I want to play various melodies on my instrument with seven holes.Why should I say only, ‘Brahma! Brahma!’? I want to call on God through all the moods-through santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhur. I want to make merry with God. I want to sport with God.”

Keshab listened to these words with wonder in his eyes and said to the Brahmo devotees, “I have never before heard such a wonderful and beautiful interpretation of jnana and bhakti.”

KESHAB (to the Master): “How long will you hide yourself in this way? I dare say people will be thronging here by and by in great crowds.” Master’s abhorrence of public preaching

What are you talking of? I only eat and drink and sing God’s name. I know nothing about gathering crowds. Hanuman once declared: ‘I know nothing about the day of the week or the position of the moon and stars in the sky. I simply meditate on Rama.’"

KESHAB: “All right, sir, I shall gather the crowd. But they all must come to your place.” Master instructs about humility

I am the dust of the dust of everybody’s feet. If anyone is gracious enough to come here, he is welcome."

KESHAB: “Whatever you may say, sir, your advent cannot be in vain.” In the mean time the devotees had arranged a kirtan. Many of them had joined it. The party started at the Panchavati and moved toward the Master’s room. Hriday blew the horn, Gopidas played the drum, and two devotees played the cymbals.

(singing) O man, if you would live in bliss, repeat Lord Hari’s name; Then you will lead a life of joy and go to paradise, And feed upon the fruit of moksha evermore: Such is the glory of His name! I give you the name of Hari, which Siva, God of Gods, Repeats aloud with His five mouths.

The Master danced with the strength of a lion and went into samadhi. Regaining consciousness of the outer world, he sat down in his room and began to talk with Keshab and the other devotees.

God can be realized through all paths. It is like your coming to Dakshineswar by carriage, by boat, by steamer, or on foot. You have chosen the way according to your convenience and taste; but the destination is the same. Some of you have arrived earlier than others; but all have arrived.Renunciation of “woman and gold”

“The more you rid yourself of upadhis, the nearer you will feel the presence of God. Rain-water never collects on a high mound; it collects only in low land. Similarly, the water of God’s grace cannot remain on the high mound of egotism. Before God one should feel lowly and poor.

“One should be extremely watchful. Even clothes create vanity. I notice that even a man suffering from an enlarged spleen sings Nidhu Babu’s light songs when he is dressed up in a black-bordered cloth. There are men who spout English whenever they put on high boots. And when an unfit person puts on an ochre cloth he becomes vain; the slightest sign of indifference to him arouses his anger and pique.

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