Swami Turiyananda and Sri Ramakrishna
One day the Master jokingly said to me, “Tell me something about Vedanta. Doesn’t Vedanta say that Brahman is true and the world is false? Or does it say something else? Then give up the false and go for the truth.” This was a turning point in my life. When I first met Sri Ramakrishna and saw his spiritual moods — his devotion and his samadhi — I knew I had found someone living the ideal. I felt like I was finally home.
Swami Turiyananda (1863-1922 was born in Calcutta, and his pre-monastic name was Harinath Chattopadhyay. He led an austere life from his boyhood. He met Sri Ramakrishna in his teens and was seen by the Master as the embodiment of abstinence as taught in the Gita. In 1887 he entered Ramakrishna Monastery, and afterwards he traveled all over India, practicing austerities. In 1899 he went to America to spread Vedanta and led a contemplative life.His life was an inspiration to all who came into contact with him.
First Meetings with Sri Ramakrishna
I first saw Sri Ramakrishna at Dinanath Basu’s house in Baghbazar. That was a long, long time ago. In those days the Master was repeatedly in samadhi. During that time, Keshab Chandra Sen had become acquainted with him. Kalinath Basu, Dinanath’s younger brother, was a follower of Keshab Sen. Coincidentally, he meets Sri Ramakrishna and was deeply impressed, so he asked his brother Dinanath to bring Sri Ramakrishna to their house. Thus it was that the Master visited Baghbazar. We were all young, about thirteen or fourteen years old. People referred Sri Ramakrishna to the Paramahamsa, as they all talked about the visit of the Paramahamsa. Some other guys and I were curious, and we went over to see him. We saw a carriage with two men in it pull up in front of Dinanath’s house. Immediately people began to notice, “The Paramahamsa has come, the Paramahamsa has come,” and began to move towards the carriage. First, one of the men got out. (This was Hridayram Mukhopadhyay, the nephew of Sri Ramakrishna.) He was well built, and had a large vermilion mark on his forehead and a gold amulet tied to his right arm. Looking at him, one felt that he was a strong and active person. He stood close to the carriage and helped the other person get out. The other man looked very thin. He had on a shirt and his clothes were tied right around his waist. One of his feet was on the step of the carriage. He was in a semi-conscious state, and it seemed as if a drunk person was taken out of the carriage. But when he was out, what a wonderful sight! There was an indescribable radiance on his face. I thought, “I have learned from the scriptures about the great sage Sukadeva. Is he the same Sukadeva? By that time many had joined him, and they were taken to the second floor of the house. I followed him. When the Paramahamsa became a little aware of the outer world, he opened his eyes and saw a large picture of Mother Kali on the wall. Immediately he greeted her and began to sing a song in a soul-bewitching manner. It brought a wave of devotion from all who had gathered there. The song expressed the idea that Kali and Krishna were equal to each other: “O Mother, for Yashoda you wanted to dance, when she called you her precious Blue Jewel… It is impossible to forget the extraordinary feeling to describe that this song evoked in everyone.
Twee of drie jaar later ging ik naar Dakshineswar en zag Sri Ramakrishna in zijn kamer. Ik heb gedaan wat een man hoort te doen. Mijn doel was om een puur leven te leven. Voorheen las ik erg veel, acht tot negen uur per dag. Ik las veel Puranas en toen Vedanta, en uiteindelijk kreeg mijn geest rust bij Vedanta was gekomen, en ik dacht, ” Als er iets is om te bereiken in dit leven, is het God. ”
Wie kan God kennen? Als hij, door genade zichzelf aan iemand bekend, slechts dan is het mogelijk. Op een dag maakte de Meester mij aan het huilen door dit lied te zingen:
O Kusa and Lava, waarom zijn jullie zo trots?
Als ik niet toegestaan had mij te laten vangen,
Had je me kunnen vangen?
Ik was diep geroerd. Diezelfde dag drukte de Meester diep in mijn geest het feit dat men God niet kan bereiken door zelf-inspanning, door sadhana (spirituele oefeningen) uit te voeren. Alleen als God zich openbaart, is het mogelijk hem te bereiken.
collected and presented by
is a Vedantist since three decades. She dedicates herself to Mother, Ramakrishna and Swamiji. She is a student of the lives of the Master, Mother and Swamiji and the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
is een vedantist sinds drie decennia. Haar leven is Moeder, Ramakrishna en Swamiji. Ze bestudeert de levens van de Meester, Moeder en Swamiji en het evangelie van Sri Ramakrishna.