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Transcendental Nature of Brahman: Selections from "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna" – Chapter 3, Visit to Vidyasagar, Part 1 of 2

2021-11-03
Lingua:English

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In His teachings, Sri Ramakrishna emphasized the unity of all religions in leading to the ultimate goal of knowing God. Many of His lectures were recorded and later published as a book by one of His prominent disciples, Mahendranath Gupta. Its pages are filled with spiritual wisdom that is imparted in parables, clear explanations, and caring dialogues with disciples. We now present to you an excerpt from Chapter 3, “Visit to Vidyasagar.”

“‘The world consists of the illusory duality of knowledge and ignorance. It contains knowledge and devotion, and also attachment to “Woman and gold”; righteousness and unrighteousness; good and evil. But Brahman is unattached to these. Good and evil apply to the jiva, the individual soul, as do righteousness and unrighteousness; but Brahman is not at all affected by them.’ ‘One man may read the Bhagavata by the light of a lamp, and another may commit a forgery by that very light; but the lamp is unaffected. The Sun sheds its light on the wicked as well as on the virtuous.’ ‘You may ask, “How, then, can one explain misery and sin and unhappiness?” The answer is that these apply only to the jiva (the individual soul). Brahman is unaffected by them. There is poison in a snake; but though others may die if bitten by it, the snake itself is not affected by the poison.’”

“‘In samadhi one attains the Knowledge of Brahman - one realizes Brahman. In that state reasoning stops altogether, and man becomes mute. He has no power to describe the nature of Brahman.’ ‘Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. It wanted to tell others how deep the water was. But this it could never do, for no sooner did it get into the water then it melted. Now who was there to report the ocean's depth?’ A DEVOTEE: ‘Suppose a man has obtained the Knowledge of Brahman in samadhi. Doesn't he speak any more?’ MASTER: ‘Sankaracharya (heads of monasteries in the Advaita traditions) retained the “ego of Knowledge” in order to teach others. After the vision of Brahman a man becomes silent. He reasons about It as long as he has not realized It. Just so, a man established in samadhi comes down to the relative plane of consciousness in order to teach others, and then he talks about God.’”

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