Ramakrishna Paramahansa, whose name means: ‘great swan of God’ -had a human life span 1836-1886) and Jesus the Christ -human life span 4 BC-33 AD -appx – are celebrated in India and America (and of course the world over). Both were fully abiding in the realization of their True Self, or Holy Spirit or what in the East they refer to as ‘Christ Consciousness’. This is a state of being that has no veils of mind/thought left to create any sense of separation, that is: no ego, no individuality or persona. God is then known through direct perception, not as abstract thing but a living presence that animates all Life.
Ramakrishna as the Patron Saint of India, kept India’s spirituality vibrantly alive during the time of 19th century British colonialism/materialism and destruction. The Brits were infiltrating and attempting to devalue and degrade the eternal and ancient spirituality that formed the true heart of India.
Jesus had to deal with the fact that most within his faith of origin, Judaism, did not accept him as a true leader or savior along with the Roman oppression of all non-Romans.
Both light-bearing beings came from humble beginnings. Jesus the shepherd’s son born in a manger; Ramakrishna, born in a rural village outside of Calcutta. Each of them spoke while in communion with God, through direct experience of Reality.
Both were saviors, in that they show man the way to live in Eternal Spirit. Each had only a small group of young men as intimate disciples and devotees who eventually spread the gospel of enlightenment, that is: the truth teachings throughout the world. The truth teachings continue to spread since Ramakrishna and Christ’s body’s perished, but their essential nature as the Holy Spirit lives on eternally.
The greatest insight I’ve read, which points to the deeper spiritual truth of so-called physical chronic illness, for one who is on the conscious spiritual path, comes from Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna embodied all the religious paths, fully living them, and said:
“I have found that it is the same God that all are directing their steps, though along different paths. Wherever I look I see men quarreling in the name of religion…but they never stop to reflect that He who is called Krishna, Shiva, Jesus and Allah are all One. Like water, where one man calls it Pani, another Jal and the 3rd man calls it water…”
The words below, carefully translated by a devotee that was present on this particular occasion in the 1880’s, feels much like what Christ would have said if we were fortunate enough to have his living words captured directly from one of those present.
Ramakrishna was visiting a dying devotee named Keshab at his house:
He was received by Keshab’s relatives, who led him and the few devotees accompanying him, upstairs. The Master seated himself on a couch.
After a long wait Ramakrishna said:
“Look here, what need is there of his coming to me? Why can’t I go in and see him?”
A relative replied: “Sir, he will come in a few minutes…
At this moment Keshab entered the room. Those present who remembered the man were shocked to see this skeleton covered with skin. He could hardly stand. He walked holding to the wall for support. With great difficulty he sat down in front of the couch. In the mean time Ramakrishna had got down from the couch and was sitting on the floor. Keshab bowed low and remained in that position a long time, touching Ramakrishna’s feet with his forehead. Then he sat up.
Keshab said: “I am here, sir. I am here.” He took Sri Ramakrishna’s left hand and stroked it gently.
Ramakrishna, finally spoke:
“As long as a man associates himself with limitations, so long he sees the manifold world of people but on attaining God, he sees only the ONE Consciousness everywhere. God, undoubtedly, has become everything…after the realization of God, God is seen in all beings. But His greater manifestation is in man. Again, among men, God manifests Himself more clearly in those devotees who are peace-filled and humble, in those that have no greed or lust.
“You understand this, don’t you?”
KESHAB: “Yes, sir. I do.”
(To Keshab, with a smile) “Why is it that you are ill? There is a reason for it. Many spiritual feelings have passed through your body; therefore it has fallen ill. At the time an emotion is aroused, one understands very little about it. The blow that it delivers to the body is felt only after a long while. I have seen big steamers going by on the Ganges river, at the time hardly noticing their passing. But oh, my! What a terrific noise is heard after a while, when the waves splash against the banks! Perhaps a piece of the bank breaks loose and falls into the water.
“An elephant entering a hut creates havoc within and ultimately shakes it down. The elephant of divine emotion enters the hut of this body and shatters it to pieces.”
“Do you know what actually happens? When a house is on fire, at first a few things inside burn. Then comes the great commotion. Just so, the fire of Knowledge at first destroys such enemies of spiritual life as passion, anger, and so forth. Then it is time for the ego to burn. And lastly a violent commotion is seen in the physical frame.
“You may think that everything is going to be over. But God will not release you as long as the slightest trace of your illness is left.” (the idea of separation from God).
Ramakrishna continued on a lighter note: “You simply cannot leave the hospital if your name is registered there. As long as the illness is not perfectly cured, the doctor won’t give you a permit to go. Why did you register your name in the hospital at all?” (All laugh.)
“All depends on God’s will.”
“In order to take full advantage of the dew, the gardener removes the soil from the Basra rose down to the very root. The plant thrives better on account of the moisture. Perhaps that is why you too are being shaken to the very root. (Keshab and the Ramakrishna laugh.)
Keshab’s mother came to the door of the room.
Sri Ramakrishna smiled. “Please bless Keshab that he may be cured of his illness.” The mother said.
MASTER (gravely): “What can I do? God alone, blesses all. ‘Thou workest Thine own work; men only call it theirs.’
“God laughs when the physician says to the mother weeping bitterly because of her child’s desperate illness: ‘Don’t be afraid, mother. I shall cure your child.’ The physician does not know that no one can save the child if God wills that he should die.”
(All are silent.)
Three weeks later Keshab passed on. It was said that he spoke only of God and was radiant with inner light even as his body was deteriorating.