After years of effort a Christian closes his eyes and Christ comes to him. A devotee of Krishna closes his eyes and Krishna comes to him. A lover of Buddha closes his eyes and Buddha comes to him. A lover of Mahavira closes his eyes and Mahavira comes to him. Christ doesn’t come to a Jaina, Mahavira doesn’t come to a Christian: only the image you project will come. Ramakrishna’s effort was with Kali, and the image became almost solid. It became so real from constant repetition, from continuous remembering, that it seemed Kali was standing in front of him. No one was standing there.
Consciousness is alone. There is no second there, no other.
“Just close your eyes,” Totapuri said, “raise the sword and strike.”
Ramakrishna closed his eyes, but as soon as he closed them his courage vanished. Raising his sword to strike Kali…? The devotee has to raise his sword and strike God! – it was too hard.
To renounce the world is very easy. What is worth holding on to in the world? But when you have established an image deep in the mind, when you have created poetry in the mind, when the mind’s dream has become manifest, then it is very difficult to renounce it. The world is like a nightmare. But a dream of devotion, a dream of feeling is not a nightmare, it is a very sweet dream. How to drop it? How to break it?
Tears would start flowing from his eyes and he would become ecstatic…his body would begin shaking. But he didn’t raise his sword – he would completely forget about it.
Finally Totapuri said, “I’ve wasted many days here. It’s no good. Either you do it or I’m going to leave. Don’t waste my time. Enough of this nonsense; now!” That day Totapuri brought a piece of glass with him, and he said, “When you begin to be absorbed in delight, I will cut your forehead with this piece of glass. When I cut your forehead, gather courage inside, raise your sword and cut Kali in two. This is the last chance – I am not staying any longer.”
Totapuri’s threat of leaving…it is difficult to find such a master. Totapuri must have been a man like Ashtavakra. Ramakrishna closed his eyes and Kali’s image appeared to him. He was about to bliss out – tears were ready to flow from his eyes, overwhelmed, joy was coming – he was about to become ecstatic when Totapuri held his forehead and, where the third-eye chakra is, made a cut from top to bottom with the piece of glass. Blood began to stream from the cut, and this time Ramakrishna found courage. He raised the sword and cut Kali in two pieces. When Kali fell apart he became nondual: the wave dissolved in the ocean, the river fell into the ocean.
It is said that he stayed immersed for six days in this ultimate silence. He was neither hungry nor thirsty – there was no consciousness of the outside, no awareness. All was forgotten. And when he opened his eyes six days later, the first thing he said was, “The last barrier has fallen!”
This first sutra says, O son, long have you been caught in the bondage of perceiving yourself as the body. You have started believing this bondage is your being. “I am the body, I am the body, I am the body!” – you have repeated this, life after life. From this repetition we have become the body. But we are not the body. This is our misperception, this is our habit. This is our self-hypnosis, and we have believed it so deeply we have become it.