courtesy of Sri Ramakrishna & Co.

The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna by Mahendranath Gupta in five volumes of Bengali under the name "M" was finished in 1932. Swami Nikhilananda translated these into a comprehensive biography in English by 1942, NYC, drawing in part upon one other biography of Shri Ramakrishna, this by Swami Saradanada (Saratchandra Chakravarty of a Calcutta brahmin family, one of 17 trained for monastic life by Shri R). The devotees came to the Master at Dakshineswar, a few miles north of Calcutta, with its Kali and other temple complex on the Ganga embankment, with gardens. The early ones from 1879, Narendranath Dutta (Swami Vivekananda) in 1881, M in 1882. Shri Ramakrishna's conversations from March 1882 for four years, then, are the subject of The Gospel by M. Shri Ramakrishna's mother was Chandra who married Khudiram Chattopadhaya of Dereypore in 1799; she also lived at Dakshineswar, long outliving her husband, their dates of life being 1775-1843 & 1791-1876. Their second son, born under great auspicious portents, was Gadadhar (Bearer of the Mace), epithet of Vishnu, on February 18, 1836, about 5:15 a.m. Gadadhar was married in 1859 to the five year-old Saradamani from a village near his home village of Kamarpukur, Bengal. In 1861 a great Vaishnava and Tantrik teacher initiated Gadadhar--the Brahmani was from East Bengal, slightly over fifty, wearing the ochre robe at the time. In 1864 Totapuri from Punjab came and initiated Gadadhar into Advaita (Non-dual) Vedanta with its emphasis on Brahman (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute). Dakshineswar was and is a natural crossroads for pilgrimage to Puri on the coast, so many sadhus would stop and were welcomed at Dakshineswar; in fact, many also passed Kamarpukur during Gadadhar's boyhood. Eight years after Shri Ramakrishna's passing in 1886, Vivekananda introduced Vedanta into Chicago. Elizabeth Clare Prophet, attaining initiation under Padmasambhava and others, she has taught since the early 1970s in America a synthesis of East and West very like that of Shri Ramakrishna; in fact, Akbar and his grandson Shah Jehan in the 1500s A.D. were also demonstrating this synthesis in India; Mark L. Prophet was initiated by El Morya of India to continue this development. Thru this pair, then, I found both Ramakrishna and spiritual life. India has been a root of spiritual life since at least the fall of Atlantis; great strength and many lessons generate from the root. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna contains many traditional songs of India, devotionals are called kirtan, often accompanied by dance. Tell us, O Radha of comely face: Tell us what it is that ails you. Why has your mind wandered away? Why claw the earth in frenzy? Tell us why your golden skin looks ashen. From your body the scarlet cloth has dropped unheeded to the ground; Ah, Your eyes red with tears, your lovely lotus face withered. Tell what ails you, lest our hearts break with grief. (to her friends Radha says:) I long for the sight of Krishna's face. Who is the Sorcerer that dwells in the kadamba grove? His flute-notes suddenly enter my ears and strike a chord in my heart; Piercing my very soul, they slay my dharma and drive me mad. With restless mind and streaming eyes, alas! I can scarcely breathe: How He plays His magic flute, whose music thrills my soul! Because He is out of my sight, my heart expires; I cannot stay home. My soul yearns for Him; racked with pain, it longs to see Him once more. Says Uddhava Das: But you will die, O Radha, when you behold Him! First I heard His magic flute from the kadamba and the next day the minstrel told me of Him and thrilled my soul; Another day, o friend of my heart, you chanted his blessed name. Ah, the blessed name, full of honey! The wise men, too, described to me his virtues without number. I am a weak and simple girl, and stern, alas! are my elders; My love for my Beloved grows; how can I live any longer? After reflecting long, I find that I must die at last: Can you not tell me a way, friend, by which I may meet my Krishna? I see the picture of Him whom I beheld on the Jamuna's bank; the name Visakha spoke is the name of Him painted here. He who played on the flute is the Beloved of my soul; his virtues the minstrel sang; He has bewitched my heart. It is none other than He! Thus, Radha falls in a swoon. Restored to her senses by her friends, at once she says Show me Him, o friends, whom I saw reflected in my soul. They promise her that they will. Dakshineswar, where Shri Ramakrishna lived in a little room and performed austerities, later became the rendez-vous for his own disciples and for many seekers of the way. Ramakrishna himself sang well and Narendra both sang and played musical instruments, among his various accomplishments. At Balaram Rose's Calcutta house in May 1885 Narendra sang: Sweet is Thy name, O Refuge of the humble! It falls like sweetest nectar on our ears and comforts us, Beloved of our souls! The priceless treasure of thy name alone is the abode of immortality and he who chants it becomes immortal. Falling upon our ears, thy holy name instantly slays the anguish of our hearts, thou Soul of our souls, filling heart in bliss. Again: Why, o mind, do you never call on Him who takes away all fear of danger? Tricked by delusion you forget yourself, enamoured of the world's bleak wilderness. Alas, what mockery is here! Comrades and wealth you cannot ever keep; take care lest you forget Him quite. give up the false, o mind! Adore the Real; and all the grief will vanish from your life. Keep my good counsel in your heart. With sounding voice proclaim Lord Hari's name (Krishna/Vishnu) and cast off your false desires, if you would cross the ocean of this life; surrender to Him body, mind and soul, and worship Him with trusting love. Again: When I behold thy peerless face, beaming with love, O Lord, what fear have I of earthly woe or of the frown of sorrow? As the first ray of dawn dispels the dark, so too, Lord, when thy blessed light bursts forth within the heart, it scatters all our grief and pain with sweetest balm. When on thy love and grace I ponder, in my heart's deepest part, tears of joy stream down my cheeks beyond restraining. Hail, Gracious Lord! Hail Gracious One! I shall proclaim thy love. May my life-breath depart from me as I perform thy works! (thus entering samadhi) Again: Meditate, o my mind, on the Lord Hari, the stainless, pure spirit thru and thru. How peerless is the light that in Him shines! How soul-bewitching is his wondrous form! How dear is He to all his devotees! Ever more beauteous in fresh-blossoming love that shames the splendor of a million moons. Like lightning gleams the glory of his form, raising erect the hair for very joy. Worship his feet in the lotus of your heart; with mind serene and eyes made radiant with heavenly love, behold that matchless sight. Caught in the spell of his love-ecstasy, immerse yourself for evermore, o mind, in Him who is pure Knowledge/Bliss.