Sri Ramakrishna and His Extraordinary Life
It will take a long time for humanity to know and realize what Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda were. The world has not seen such spiritual giants manifested for the good of the world in thousands of years. The Buddha came, and after several hundred years, people understood a little of him and his liberal message spread throughout the world. Just think. What a furore was made over a tooth of the Buddha that has been carried somewhere. What a big temple was built to commemorate that tooth. And here we have the relics of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother, Swamiji and the others. When I think about these things my hair stands on end. How many people will come from distant countries to worship the ground of Belur Math! There is already an indication of that. It is not yet fifty years since the Master’s passing away and yet what a spiritual revolution is taking place throughout the world, because of his personality. We are blessed that we can see these things. You will see even greater things.
The Master’s work was in the realm of ideas—in the realm of the Spirit. The ideal that he lived will soon bring about a wholesale transformation of religious ideas in the entire world. There are already signs of that. Yogin Maharaj, Swami Yogananda, used to say: “There have always been various religious paths and countless scriptures and holy places in every country. In spite of that, why is there a decline in religion? The reason is, in the course of time all those ideals were lost. Therefore God incarnates Himself so as to explain the subtleties of religion and to show the ideal.” The Master came this time as the living embodiment of all religious paths. That is why he practised many religious disciplines and obtained illumination through them. The Master’s life is the living embodiment of every religious ideal. Now you will see that the votaries of every religion will derive new life, hope and inspiration from his divine life, moulding their own religious life in accordance with his life.
The worst evil is that by and large the Hindu race has gradually lost faith in the Vedic religion. The idea that prevails among the common people is that all that is contained in our sanatana dharma is false and imaginary, and that whatever the standard-bearers of Christianity say is gospel truth. They were out to convert the whole Hindu race to Christianity, but God willed otherwise. Had this eternal Vedic religion been wiped out, then spirituality itself would have been banished from this world. That is why the Lord Himself incarnated as Sri Ramakrishna to protect this eternal religion. He started his spiritual practice with that very worship of God in the image which the people in our country derided as idolatry. His practice of the spiritual disciplines of all the faiths and his success in all of them have struck the whole world with wonder. As a result, even the great savants of the West now humbly acknowledge the greatness and the grandeur of the Vedic religion. Consequently, the attention of even blindly imitative Indians has been drawn to the life of the Master, and with that to their own religion.
The atmosphere in this country began to change from the very day of the advent of Sri Ramakrishna. Indians are gradually regaining faith in themselves, which they had lost. As a result of the wonderful work of Sri Ramakrishna in the spiritual field, the soul-power of India has been reawakened.
Now that you believe through His grace that Sri Ramakrishna is God incarnate on earth, you need have no more worry. You are indeed blessed, for it is only as a result of the good deeds of many past lives that one comes to believe in God’s incarnation. You have that faith already. Why should you worry any more? Believe me when I say that you will certainly get freed from the bondage of this world. Go on calling on him from the bottom of your heart, and pray to him in all humility. He will make your faith all the more firm, and your heart will be filled with faith and devotion.
Mahapurush Maharaj [Swami Shivananda]