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Chapter 5: How to Avoid the Ditches

But slowly, slowly he became very puzzled: the people who had been listening to him for years started going to Dakshineshwar to sit at the feet of Ramakrishna, who was uneducated, who had no knowledge of any scripture, who could not be called in any sense a man of knowledge. He could not argue, could not convince anybody about anything.

But what was happening? Keshav Chandra was puzzled that the people who had been with him for years were slowly disappearing from his gatherings and going to the gatherings of Ramakrishna. And whatever information he had collected about Ramakrishna simply showed him that Ramakrishna seems to be half mad - suddenly he starts dancing, singing; just listening to a beautiful song, he goes into samadhi. For hours, he is lost somewhere; you cannot even wake him up, he has gone so deep into himself. It is not ordinary sleep, it is almost like a coma.

Once he remained in such a state for six days continuously. Every effort was made to wake him, but all efforts failed. And finally when he awoke, the first thing he said, with tears in his eyes, was, “Why have you people forced me to wake up? I was enjoying myself so deeply, and you go on pulling me to the outside world, where there is nothing. I have known everything; I have experienced everything and found that it cannot give me lasting peace or eternal bliss or the realization of my own self. So, whenever I go inside myself, please, don’t disturb me.” Naturally his followers became very much concerned; six days is too long a period, and he remained in a coma.

All the reports that reached to Keshav Chandra proved that this man was hysterical, whimsical, a crackpot. But the people who used to come to him were intellectuals, professors, well-versed in scriptures. Why have they moved towards Ramakrishna?

Finally, he had to decide to go and see this man. Not only to see, but to challenge him to a debate. He informed Ramakrishna, “I am coming on such and such a date. Be ready, because I am going to challenge you to discuss with me matters of ultimate significance.”

Ramakrishna laughed. He said, “It will be really a great joy to meet Keshav Chandra. He is such an intellectual giant and he does not know whom he is challenging. But let him come, this is a good excuse. I will accept the challenge.”

His disciples said, “But this will be very humiliating. He will bring all his followers, and before all these people.we know you cannot argue - you have never argued in your life.”

But what Ramakrishna said is something to be remembered forever. He said, “I don’t argue because I am the argument. Just let him come. I don’t know the scriptures, I don’t need to know them. I know the truth - why should I bother about borrowed knowledge? I don’t have any education, I don’t know how to prove something or disprove something, but I don’t need to know - my presence is the proof. Just let him come.”

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