How to know God’s Nature?

How to know God’s nature?

From Sri Ramakrishna’s life

On one occasion Narendra and some of his brother disciples were vehemently arguing

about God’s nature — whether He was personal or impersonal, whether Divine

Incarnation was fact or myth, and so forth and so on. Narendra silenced his opponents

by his sharp power of reasoning and felt jubilant at his triumph. Sri Ramakrishna

enjoyed the discussion and after it was over sang in an ecstatic mood:

How are you trying, O my mind,

to know the nature of God?

You are groping like a madman

locked in a dark room.

He is grasped through ecstatic love;

how can you fathom Him without it?

Only through affirmation, never negation,

can you know Him;

Neither through Veda nor through Tantra nor the six darsanas.

All fell silent, and Narendra realized the inability of the intellect to fathom God’s mystery. In his heart of hearts Naren was a lover of God. Pointing to his eyes, Ramakrishna said that only a bhakta possessed such a tender look; the eyes of the jnani were generally dry. Many a time, in his later years, Narendra said, comparing his own spiritual attitude with that of the Master: ‘He was a jnani within, but a bhakta without; but I am a bhakta within, and a jnani without.’ He meant that Ramakrishna’s gigantic intellect was hidden under a thin layer of devotion, and Narendra’s devotional nature was covered by a cloak of knowledge. We have already referred to the great depth of Sri Ramakrishna’s love for his beloved disciple. He was worried about the distress of Naren’s family and one day asked a wealthy devotee if he could not help Naren financially. Naren’s pride was wounded and he mildly scolded the Master. The latter said with tears in his eyes: ‘O my Naren! I can do anything for you, even beg from door to door.’ Narendra was deeply moved but said nothing. Many days after, he remarked, ‘The Master made me his slave by his love for me.’

This great love of Sri Ramakrishna enabled Naren to face calmly the hardships of life. Instead of hardening into a cynic, he developed a mellowness of heart. But, as will be seen later, Naren to the end of his life was often misunderstood by his friends. A bold thinker, he was far ahead of his time. Once he said: ‘Why should I expect to be understood? It is enough that they love me. After all, who am I? The Mother knows best. She can do Her own work. Why should I think myself to be indispensable?’