Amazing student

Amazing Student, Swami Turiyananda

In my early twenties I was an extreme Vedantist. My only ideal at that time was to achieve nirvana. I thought that was the highest goal. But Sri Ramakrishna scolded me and gave me a different ideal. He pointed out that the path of knowledge was not my path. Instead, he made me a devotee. I still remember how the Master disciplined me.

I considered myself a follower of the path of knowledge and studied the scriptures, thinking, “I will immediately attain samadhi (union with God).” After I came to Sri Ramakrishna, I learned what spiritual realization and samadhi meant.

Sri Ramakrishna example solved all the problems of my life. I no longer have a problem to solve.

When I was in the West, whenever someone would ask me a question, I would look at the person and see their problem and the answer would immediately come to mind.

“Be a devotee, but don’t be a fool!” One must be alert at all times. Sri Ramakrishna used to say: “Look at me! The Divine Mother has put me in such a state that I can hardly keep clothes on this place, yet I forget nothing. The Master told us: “He who is careless is a fool.” (Sri Ramakrishna said instead of my physical body: “this place”)

Sri Ramakrishna reprimanded anyone who was careless. Carelessness is a character flaw. The Master was never slow in his advice, but at the same time he did not like haste or busyness.

To be human is to be alert, aware. If one has to lose consciousness, he should do so with full consciousness (in samadhi)—–like Sri Ramakrishna. The Master lost external consciousness in ecstasy when someone sang a devotional song. But even a small mistake in the music would hurt him and return him to normal consciousness.

The Master taught some in various types of sadhana (spiritual disciplines). However, he told me to only practice meditation and japam. But he told me to meditate at midnight and completely without clothes. The Master was never satisfied with merely teaching. He keenly observed each student to see how well his instructions were being carried out.

A few days after giving me the specific instruction, he asked me, “Well, do you meditate without clothes at midnight?” “Yes, sir, I do,” I replied. “How are you feeling? “Sir, I feel as if I am free from all bondage.” “Yes, continue practicing. You will benefit greatly from it.”   On another occasion he told me that sadhana was nothing but the unification of mind and speech.

In those days I intensively studied Shankara’s Vedanta. The Master said to me, “Well what is the use of just saying that the world is false? Naren can say that.

Because if he says that the world is unreal, it immediately becomes unreal. When he says ‘there is no thorny plant for him; the thorny plant cannot affect its body.

But if you lay your hand on the thorns, you will immediately feel their prick.”

In the early days I seriously practiced a spiritual mood for a while. Once I practiced with great intensity the mood to be the Lord’s instrument: “I am the machine and He is the operator.” He would pay careful attention to whether my every thought and action was inspired and filled with that mood. I practiced this for several days. Then I practiced “I am Brahman” for a while.

We have to put what we know into practice at least once. But Sri Ramakrishna practiced everything three times. With practice you gain new knowledge. DO SOMETHING. PRACTICE! Bondage and freedom both reside in the mind. Atman goes beyond the mind.

collected and presented by

Mary Saaleman


Mary Saaleman

is a Vedantist since three decades. 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.