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Chapter 8: The Decisive Moment Is at Hand

As a large number of questions have been received in the last three days, I would like to briefly answer as many of them as possible.

A friend has said that when Vivekananda asked Ramakrishna, “Have you seen God?” Ramakrishna said in answer, “Yes, I have seen God as I see you right now.” And the friend wants to know if he can put the same question to me.

Firstly, Vivekananda, did not ask Ramakrishna’s permission to put the question, he put it straight. And you are not doing that, you are only wanting to know if you can do it. A Vivekananda is needed to put this question. And remember, Ramakrishna’s answer was especially meant for Vivekananda; he would not have given the same answer to anyone else.

In the world of spirituality, all answers are eminently personal, they are meant for the individuals concerned. The person who answers is, of course, important, but the person who is answered is no less important. The giver is significant, but the receiver, who has to understand the answer, is no less significant.

Many people ask me to touch them so they can have the same experience of trance as Vivekananda had on being touched by Ramakrishna. But they don’t understand why thousands of other people, whom Ramakrishna touched, did not have the same experience. For the experience Vivekananda had, Ramakrishna should have only fifty percent credit, the other fifty percent belongs to Vivekananda. It is a fifty-fifty business.

And it is not necessarily so that this experience would have happened if Ramakrishna had touched Vivekananda on another day. It happened in a particular moment, so the moment is as important. You are not the same person for twenty-four hours of the day. In the course of twenty-four hours you become many different people. In a special moment Vivekananda asks, “Have you seen God?” These words are so simple. It seems to us that we understand what Vivekananda is asking. But we don’t really understand.

The question “Have you seen God?” is not that simple, though on the face of it, it seems that even a first grade student can understand it. “Have you seen God?” is a difficult question indeed. And Ramakrishna is not merely answering Vivekananda’s question, he is really responding to Vivekananda’s thirst, his passion. The awakened ones don’t answer your questions, they respond to your thirst, your passion. Vivekananda with his entire thirst, his whole longing for God, had entered the question, and Ramakrishna is simply responding to the person behind the question.

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