- Sri Ramakrishna’s Spiritual Sadhana – Part II
Jatadari & Ramlala - Sadhana of Vatsalya Bhava
It was probably about the year 1864 that Jatadhari, a great Vaishnava devotee, a wandering monk and a devotee of Sri Ramam came to Dakshineswar. Ramlala, or the Child Rama was his favourite deity. By long meditations and worship Jatadhari had made great spiritual progress. He had been blessed with a wonderful vision of Rama and the effulgent form of young Rama became a living presence to him. He nursed him, fed and played with him, and even put him to bed.
Sri Ramakrishna understood Jatadhari’s state and his love for Ramalala though Jatadhari had told none about it; for Sri Ramakrishna could himself see the divine play of Ramlala. Slowly, Ramlala became intimate with Sri Ramakrishna too. He would stay most of the time in his room and play with him. He would run into the hot sun. Ramakrishna would scold him not to do so as he would get blisters on his feet. Sometimes, Ramlala would not like to get out of the water after bathing in the Ganga. On such occasions Ramakrishna would warn him that he would catch cold if he did not come out of water. Thus Sri Ramakrishna experienced Vatsalya Bhava (the relation of parent and child).
Jatadhari stayed at Dakshineshwar for many months, for Ramlala was not willing to leave Sri Ramakrishna and go with him. One day he came to Sri Ramakrishna with tears in his eyes and said, “Ramlala has fulfilled my wish and given me his Darshan. He is happy in your company; and I am happy when he is happy. So I shall leave him with you and go my way.” Ramlala was with Sri Ramakrishna during the rest of his life. Even many years later, devotees who went to Dakshineshwar found the Ramlala image there.
Vision of Radha and Krishna – Sadhana of Madura Bhava
After this, the Master wanted to have the vision of Sri Krishna. He engaged himself in the service of the holy feet of Krishna with an undivided mind, and spent his days in eager prayer and longing. An anxious pining away for the beloved Krishna and a sort of madness, made him give up food, sleep, etc. The days and months rolled by thus and he realized that the attainment of the vision of Krishna was impossible without Radha’s grace. The Master now lost himself in the remembrance and reflection of Radha’s form, the very embodiment of love. Consequently, he was very soon blessed with the vision of the holy form of Radha. This form of Radha also disappeared into his own body like the forms of other deities when he had their visions.
This experience in Master’s own words: “Is it ever possible to describe the glory and sweetness of that incomparable, pure, bright form of Radha who renounced her all for the love Krishna? The splendor of her body was bright yellow like the pollens of Nagakesara (Mesua ferrea) flowers.”
From now on, the Master began to realize himself as Radha in ecstasy. He completely lost the consciousness of his separate existence because of his profound contemplation of the holy form and character of Radha and through his ceaseless feeling of identification with her. All signs of the Mahabhava, which is the ultimate state of the Madhura Bhava (the highest relation between two lovers), were manifested in him of the above mentioned vision.
As the Master’s practising love of God-as-husband was now purified and intensified, he experienced the grace of Radha and was finally blessed, shortly after, with the holy vision of Krishna, the embodiment of pure Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. This form of the vision also united with his holy person, like all the other forms seen before.
One day, listening to a recitation of Bhagavata on the verandah of the Radha-Kanta-Temple he fell into a divine mood and saw the enchanting form of Krishna. He perceived the luminous rays issuing from Krishna’s Lotus Feet in the form of a stout rope, which touched first the Bhagavata and then his own chest, connecting all three – God, the scripture, and the devotee. After this vision, he used to say “I came to realize that Bhagawan-Bhakta-and-Bhagawata -- God-Devotee-and-Scripture -- are in reality, one and the same.”
Illustrations by Smt. Hema Satagopan
- Sri Ramakrishna The Great Master by Swami Saradananda, Translated by Swami Jagadananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004
- The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Translated by Swami Nikhilananda (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1974)
- The Path Divine, Sathya Sai Balvikas Magazine, Dharmakshetra, Mahakali Caves Road, Andheri (East), Mumbai - 400 093
- A Short Life of Sri Ramakrishna, published by Swami Tattwavidananda, Adhyaksha, Advaita Ashrama, Uttarkhand, Himalayas from its Publication Department, Kolkata
- The Story of Ramakrishna, Published by Swami Bodhasarananda, Advaitha Ashrama, Uttarkhand, from its Publications Department, Kolkata