Chapter 6: Wonder and Awe
“And he said, ‘Ramakrishna, have you gone crazy? Now you can eat from the mouths of your disciples, now you can drink from others’ throats - why do you cling to your own throat?’ And that released me from my body. That’s why I cried in joy. Yes, that’s true! - all throats are mine. I can eat, I can drink from others’ throats.”
When he was dying, his wife Sharda asked him, “What am I to do when you die?” because death was so imminent and so certain. In India when the husband dies, the wife has to drop all her ornaments. In Bengal particularly, the wife has never to use any colored clothes, she can only use white, no ornaments. Sharda asked, “What am I to do? Should I wear white and no ornaments when you are gone?”
Ramakrishna said, “But I am not going anywhere! I will be here! You will be able to see me in the eyes of those who love me. You will be able to feel me in the wind, in the rain, in the sun. A bird on the wing and suddenly you will remember me, and I will be there! A beautiful sunset and you will remember me and I will be there! You are not going to become a widow; you are married to me forever and ever. This marriage is not of time, it is of eternity.”
He is talking about the marriage between a devotee and a master. Sharda was a devotee, not only his wife - that was secondary. And that’s how it happened. Ramakrishna died, Sharda never even wept; she continued her way of life as if Ramakrishna was still alive.
Every night she would prepare the bed for Ramakrishna, as she used to prepare it before. She would put up the mosquito net and she would tell Ramakrishna, “Now go to sleep, it is already too late.” She would prepare the food that he used to like, she would bring the thali, would sit by his side and tell Ramakrishna, “Look what I have prepared for you.”
People used to think that she had gone mad. No, she was not mad. People were mad. She had understood the point. When she was dying, her last words were. She told all the disciples that had started loving her as their master, in the absence of Ramakrishna - they started crying and weeping - she said, “Wait, what are you doing? Have you forgotten what Ramakrishna told me? That he was not going anywhere? I am not going anywhere either. Feel blissful, feel happy that I am also getting free of the body. Rejoice because now I can melt into Ramakrishna, into his universality.”
This is the state of the devotee. But to be a disciple is no mean achievement. It is a necessary step towards being a devotee.
One step more - then you will not say, “I am looking into your eyes,” you will say, “I am looking through your eyes.” Then you become my eyes, then you are not standing outside, you stand inside me and you start looking at existence as I look at it. And then a great transformation, a great transcendence, a great revelation.
The second question: