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Sri Ramakrishna - A Veritable Testimony to the Existence of God

Sri Ramakrishna - A Veritable Testimony to the Existence of God

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by Swami Muktidananda (Correspondent, Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala, Yadavagiri, Mysore)
by Swami Muktidananda (Correspondent, Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala, Yadavagiri, Mysore)

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Published by: Paul Herman Lodewijk Verbert on Aug 27, 2013
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SRI RAMAKRISHNA—A VERITABLE TESTIMONY TO THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
2011 65
 Bulletin
of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Sri Ramakrishna—A Veritable Testimony tothe Existence of God
SWAMI MUKTIDANANDA
G
od’ is an enigmatic word forrational minds and a mind-boggling concept for most of thepeople who live a sense-bound life. For thereligious people, God is more real by virtueof their faith, but the impact of SriRamakrishna is such that God becomes realnot only to a seeker who is really seriousabout the idea of God’s existence, but evenan atheist or an agnostic is compelled to be-lieve in the existence of God. Nay, he mayeven be inspired to explore the possibility of experiencing the truth about His existence.While Sri Ramakrishna is a source of greatinspiration to a serious spiritual seeker, he isan oasis to the weary traveller—the so-calledrational-minded—for whom the world is aGodless desert.The unique life of Sri Ramakrishna is anauthentic record of a very inspiring spiritualphenomenon of recent history which nobodycan doubt. The biographical account of hisown spiritual experiences and many of hisdisciples who very vividly experienced thedivinity in a variety of ways, methods andforms and also the Divinity of SriRamakrishna himself should be more thanenough to convince anyone about the exist-ence of God. These monastic and lay dis-ciples virtually experienced that it was God,the divine in human form, who lived amidstthem as their spiritual Master. Such a clearexample of palpable descent of God, wholived a transparent divine life with continualexperience of exalted spiritual state called
sam
à
dhi
to the full gaze of the peoplearound, is a matchless spiritual spectacleever witnessed in modern history.Even a superficial study and scrutiny of Sri Ramakrishna drives home his centralmessage of life and amply makes it clear thatGod exists and that the meaning of life withall its struggles and strivings is to achieve anunderstanding of Him and experience Him.In fact, all holy men have stood for thisideal, but Sri Ramakrishna’s distinction liesin the uncompromising emphasis he laid onGod-realization, in the whole-hearted andundivided manner in which he pursued itand the most convincing demonstration hegives through his life about the possibilitiesof man in this direction.
A subject for debate
Whether God actually exists or not is avalid and open question and subject fordebate even to the wisest among us. Fromvery early times scholars and philosophershave been discussing and are still debatingthe proof of God’s existence. But, is it notabsurd to speak about the proof of the exist-ence of God? Establishing the proof for any-thing means deducing it from somethingwhich is more definite and permanent thanit. For a human mind rooted in individualbody identity and the ordinary sense percep-tions of the world with the earthly commonlogic, what can be a convincing proof aboutthe experience of an existence (of God) moresubtler, deeper, higher and abstract than itscapacity to perceive it? It is seeing Godby another human mind and senses and
 
SWAMI MUKTIDANANDA
66 February
 Bulletin
of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culturerealizing God as the actual core content of aconscious living experience.Nothing short of a direct heartfelt yearn-ing, coupled with clearly perceived mentalcontact and experience with God, can onlyconvince the ordinary questioning mindabout the reality of God’s existence. SriRamakrishna’s experience of God is not dia-lectical. It is a logical postulate but unques-tionable and concrete fact of experiencewhich can be intelligibly communicated tothe ordinary people of the world.Swami Vivekananda, who during hisinitial inquiry and search for the proof of God’s existence, recounts his most momen-tous interaction with Sri Ramakrishna thus:
[Sri Ramakrishna] came to live near Calcutta, the capital of India, the most im- portant university town in our countrywhich was sending out skeptics and materi-alists by the hundreds every year. Yet manyof these university men—skeptics and ag-nostics—used to come and listen to him. I heard of this man, with nothing remarkableabout him. He used the simplest language,and I thought ‘Can this man be a great teacher?’ I crept near to him and asked himthe question which I had been asking othersall my life: ‘Do you believe in God, Sir?’‘Yes’ he replied. ‘Can you prove it, Sir?’‘Yes.’ ‘How?’ ‘Because I see Him just as see you here, only in a much intenser sense.’ That impressed me at once. For the first time I found a man who dared to saythat he saw God, that religion was a realityto be felt, to be sensed in an infinitely moreintense way than we can sense the world 
.
Ability to grant God-vision to others
Sri Ramakrishna not only had the first-hand experience of God but also was able togrant this vision to others. Through the train-ing and the miraculous touch of SriRamakrishna the skeptical young Naren(Swami Vivekananda) was transformed intoone of the most powerful spiritual personali-ties of the modern world. Sri Ramakrishnaimparted his authentic spiritual experiencesand convictions to Swami Vivekananda andthe rest is history as we all know.Sri Ramakrishna’s life clearly tells ushow the quest for God can go beyond thepurview of the limited, traditional, ritualisticand theoretical academic approach and canassume the form of intense yearning thatharnesses the total energy of man culminat-ing in tangible spiritual experience. To alloutward appearances, Sri Ramakrishna’spersonality and life though look to be simplewithout religious ostentations, hisinner life is rich in spiritual content and onecan see the overflow of the power of thatspiritual content in all directions, subtly reg-istering his spiritual influence on every sin-cere and receptive person who come close tohim and need to realize him.Swami Saradananda, the author of 
SriSri Ramakrishna Leelaprasanga
, observesthat one yardstick with which SriRamakrishna ultimately judged the worthand greatness of people is the extent towhich a person has sacrificed his ambitionsand desires for the sake of realizing God.That spiritual yearning, he compared to thedesperate longing of a drowning man for airto the exclusion of everything else in life. Itwas Sri Ramakrishna’s experience that whenthis aspiration reaches its peak with thehighest intensity there is a definite responsefrom the divine realm which infuses in himblissful light, fills his being with joy inef-fable and a sense of certitude about the pres-ence of divinity dawns upon him. Thistransforms the sense-bound body-conscious-ness—the centre of the forces of 
 prakriti
into a witnessing being suffused with Divineconsciousness.When we read Sri Ramakrishna’sauthentically recorded day-to-day
 
SRI RAMAKRISHNA—A VERITABLE TESTIMONY TO THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
2011 67
 Bulletin
of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Cultureconversations with the devotees regardingspiritual life, we understand that he narratedhis exalted spiritual experiences of Godlucidly and directly in the simplest possiblemanner in a language which can be under-stood by ordinary person just as we narrateour worldly experience to the people. Thushe disseminated the godly knowledge lockedup in difficult Sanskrit texts in the utterlysimple language which could be understoodby ordinary people. Further, he has broughtdown to the realm of human consciousnessmany secrets of the divine realm and the va-riety of subtle spiritual experiences like
Kundalini,
the vision
 
of 
 
different
bh
à
vas
andforms of the path of Bhakti and the
nirvikalpa
 
sam
à
dhi
of Jn
à
na Yoga.Describing his God-experience, SriRamakrishna said: ‘The room, the templeand everything around me, vanished fromsight. I felt as if nothing existed, and in theirstead I perceived a boundless effulgentocean of intelligence. Whichever side Iturned my eyes, I saw huge waves of thatshining ocean rushing towards me, and in ashort while, they all came, and engulfed mecompletely. Thus getting suffocated underthem, I lost my ordinary consciousness andfell down. At the same time I was also con-scious, to the inner core of my being, of thehallowed presence of the Divine Mother.’Sri Ramakrishna’s words are the real evi-dence of the validity of the spiritual experi-ences that he had and thus he makes Godand the spiritual experience very real to us.
Spiritual experiences
Sri Ramakrishna’s experience of livingin the constant presence of the Divine Powerwas related to the God with form. The visionhe had of Shiva, R
à
m
à
or Hanum
à
n and of Sri Krishna in his surroundings at Vrindavanor the vision of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inreligious discourse, or that of Jesus Christand Prophet Mohammad can be seen as in-stances of divinity with form. He regardedMother K
à
li as the highest form of divinityand experienced Her presence all the time.The wide range of spiritual experiencesSri Ramakrishna had are indeed unusual.Some rationalists may even dismiss them ashallucinations of mind because these are notthe usual sensate experiences which can beunderstood with usual parameters of ordi-nary human psychology of common peopleliving on the sense plane. But we mustremember that the life and experiences of Sri Ramakrishna take us to much higherlevels of human possibilities. They are verymuch away from modern psychoanalysisconcerned only with the empirical experi-ences of man. To understand these spiritualexperiences, which are transcendental innature, we have to first purify our mind anddiscipline ourselves. The Yoga systems of Hindu psychology give us a deeper under-standing of the functioning of the differentdimensions of mind, namely subconscious,conscious and superconscious. SriRamakrishna not only had superconsciousexperiences, he lived on a transcendentalplane most of the time.To a great yogi like Aurobindo SriRamakrishna’s amazing range of spiritualexperiences seemed unique. He writes in hisown inimitable style:
In a recent and unique example, in the lifeof Ramakrishna Paramahamsa we see a co-lossal spiritual capacity first driving straightto the divine realization, taking, as it were,the Kingdom of Heaven by violence, andthen seizing upon one Yoga methodafter another and extracting the substanceout of it with an incredible rapidity, alwaysto return to the heart of the whole matter,the realization and possession of God bythe power of love, by the extension of inborn spirituality into various experienceand by the spontaneous play of an intuitive

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