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Remembering Vivekananda, I recollect Swami Ramakrishna - Part IV
Bairavi brahmani, in trance, Divine madness, Totapuri the Guru!
The spiritual practices of Ramakrishna under various Gurus!
Bairavi Brahmani taught Ramakrishna, the intricate Tantra Sastra in which she is an adept. Ramakrishna practiced the poses and postures as stipulated and attained the highest goal within a short period. Bairavai Brahmani could not believe this extraordinary feat. Normally it will take many months or even years for one to adopt Tantric ways. But here, Ramakrishna could master it as if a child’s play. Tantra is a treacherous pit. If it is not properly practiced it will lead the individual to animal levels.
Since Ramakrishna was practicing and adopting bizarre ways, Mathur Babu taught that some sane people should be put in charge of temple worship. At this juncture, there came a Pundit came to Kali temple. He was an expert in ritualistic worship in temples. But what he lacked was genuine feelings of worship. He will fill the gap of Ramakrishna’s absence temporarily. But Ramakrishna worshiped the Mother in a real way though he has not cared much for perfect rituals.
Ramakrishna was steeped in the madness for God for almost six months. During the time he utterly neglected his person and he was looked after by a young man. When Ramakrishna lost his consciousness since he was one with God consciousness, his body would become still and his breathing too stopped. To the outsiders, he would look like a sitting statue. On those times, the young man used to literally beat Ramakrishna with a stout stick and when we opened his mouth a little, he used to push morsels of food into Ramakrishna’s mouth. Thus he was kept alive by the service of the young man though it may look harsh to the outside world. One day Ramakrishna has received an instruction from the Divine Mother to remain in “Bavamuka”. This means he will have God conscious but he will come down to the worldly levels to help the devotees who come to him for instructions.
Then came one great Sanyasi Totapuri, who was preaching Monism (Advaita), the non-dual philosophy. He practiced the philosophy for more than forty years. He was the head of a monastic order of Sanyasis and he hails from Punjab. He had more than 700 disciple Sanyasis in his monastery. He came to the temple and he saw the worship of Kali by Ramakrishna. Since his philosophy preaches that everything is Brahman and there is no necessity to perform any worship to any. Hence he has not relished the idea of temple worship. However after seeing Ramakrishna, he could not resist the idea to teach him the best philosophy of Advaita. Ramakrishna conceded to accept the teachings. Before that one has to renounce the world and its attractions. Hence Totapuri took him to the banks of holy Ganges and started ritual fire. Ramakrishna was asked to remove his brahminical thread and his long hair. Everything was removed and consigned to flames. Thus Ramakrishna became a recluse. Henceforth he should meditate only on the formless almighty! Ramakrishna practiced that too and he removed all attachments from his conscious. One thing he could not relinquish is the Divine form of Mother Kali. But Totapuri told him that he has to remove the last barrier. Hence he took a sharp glass piece and marked a symbol on the brow of Ramakrishna and asked him to concentrate on that. Afterwards Ramakrishna could relinquish his attachment to the form of Mother Divine! Rest in next Part.