Stories of Some Young Men and Sri Ramakrishna
In one house to which Sri Ramakrishna went often, there was a lawless youth who resented the special privilege accorded this unknown Sadhu. The man was a fraud, he declared, merely pretending to be a Sadhu in order to gain access to the inner quarters of the house. And so he determined to get rid of him. He proposed to his associates that they teach him a good lesson to frighten him away. Not long after, Sri Ramakrishna came again to the house and the boys gathered in a room beside the entrance and awaited their opportunity. Sri Ramakrishna was taken at once to the inner court where forty or fifty ladies were assembled.
Yogin-ma (one of Sri Ramakrishna’s prominent lady disciples) was one of those present. She said that after the Master had talked for a while, suddenly he rose, left the room and walked hurriedly towards the outer court. After a time he returned and without comment resumed his teaching. Later they learned that he had gone straight to the room beside the entrance door where the boys were watching for him and, laying his hand on the arm of the leader of the band, he had said quiet tones : “So you mean to give me a good thrashing, do you?’ The boy, she said, startled, turned and saw Sri Ramakrishiia. As he looked into the gentle eyes and at the smiling face, all his resentment melted away and a shadow of shame fell over him. He paused for a moment, then raising his arm with clenched fist, he called out : ‘If any boy here dares to lay a hand on this man, I will give him a sound beating.”
Sri Ramakrishna went back to the inner court and remained for more than an hour. When he came out again he found the boy standing by the carriage. He helped Sri Ramakrishna in, closed the door, and ran beside the carriage for a long distance. When Sri Ramakrishna protested that he was tiring himself unnecessarily, the boy explained that his companions, angry at the unexpected swing of events, might still try to carry out their plan and he wished to be near to protect him. From that day he was a staunch defender and admirer of Sri Ramakrishna. He did not come to the Temple as others did, but he lost all the lawlessness which had muked his nature and his whole life was remoulded.
This boy — then a young man — came to visit the “Master while he lay dying at Cossipore. He had dressed himself as a Zamindar in great elegance that he might gain surer admission, but he was not allowed to enter. No word about it was carried to the Master, but suddenly Sri Ramakrishna began to weep, saying : ”Why do you keep my devotee from me? I must see him.” Then he was told of the visitor.
“When he heard who it was, he had him brought in at once,” Swami Ramakrishnananda related. He who was in the room at the time. He continued: “But Guru Maharaj sent me out and the two were alone for a long while. Then the Master called me back and told me to bring one of his photographs. This he took and with his own hand gave it to the gentleman. The gentleman took it and without speaking a word to any one, ran out of the house as if he was mad. From that moment he lost all consciousness of the world, of everything, and day and night he sat repeating ‘Priya Nath, Priya Nath’ (Beloved Lord, Beloved Lord). When all the rest of the community was sleeping, one could hear those words sounding out in the silence of the night. He did not even remember to eat unless his wife pnt food into his mouth. He never returned to Guru Maharaj. Like the oyster he had got the drop of Swati rain and needed nothing more. But after Gurumaharaj passed away, he used to com often to our Math (monastery) at Baranagore. For several months he came every evening. He would go straight to the Shrine, sit and meditate there for some time, then go away without even coming to the part of the house where we lived. Sometimes he would sing and he had a very beautiful voice. There was one song of which Sri Ramakrishna was particularly fond of, and he would sing it again and again.”
Such was Sri Ramakrishna’s method of trainsforming a life. Said Swami Ramakrishnananda ; “He never condemned any one. He was ready to excuse everything. He used to tell us that the difference between man and God was this : If a man failed to serve God ninety-nine times, but the hundredth time served Him with even a little love, God forgot the ninety-nine times he had failed and would say : ‘Oh ! my devotee served me so well today.’ But if a man serves another man well ninety-nine times and the hundredth time fails in his service, then man will forget the ninety-nine good services and say: ‘That rascal failed to serve me one day.’ So Sri Ramakrishna, if there is the least spark of good in any one, sees only that and overlooks all the rest.
“Just by looking at a man Sri Ramakrishna could tell wliat he was fitted for. If he saw that someone was falsely leading a religious life, he would say to him: ‘Go and get married.” If he saw that a man was ready to renounce, he would not ask him directly to give up, but he would direct his mind in such a way that the man would of his own accord give up. He used to .say that by seeing even one corner of a man’s toe, he could make out just what sort of man he was.
“At one time there was a very poor boy who used to come almost daily to Sri Ramakrishna, but the Master would never take any of the food he brought. We did not know why. Finally one day Sri Ramakrishna said : ‘This poor fellow comes here because he has a great desire to be rich. Very well, let me taste a little of what he has brought,’ and he took a small quantity of the food. The boy’s condition began to improve immediately and to-day he is one of the most prosperous men of Calcutta.
‘‘He had the power by a word or a touch to transform the whole life and character. Something went with the word or touch which lent it impelling power. There was a certain young man who came often to Sri Ramakrishna. He was a great devotee, but being the son of a rich man, he had been brought up in luxury and his body was as soft as butter —beautiful to look at, but with no strength or endurance in it. One day, while speaking of him to some one, our Master said, ‘He is a good boy and has true devotion, but his body is against him. With that body he cannot do much in this life.’ The boy overheard the remark and at once he began a regular course of training, which in two years made his muscles like iron.
“There was another boy who came often to Dakshineswar to see Guru Maharaj. One day he took him into the Kali Temple and touching his heart, gave him a vision of the Divine. Afterwards he explained that the boy would not be able to realize God in this life, but he wished to show him what he would attain in his next birth, that he might be encouraged to struggle for it. I remember once he took the Karma of a certain devotee on himself and suffered from a serious bodily disorder for six months.”