Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday kirtan, Feb 22, 2014
This kirtan took place at the house of Mahayogini and Rohan, who provided delicious food and drink, and immaculate service. The beautiful shrine featured a life-size photograph of Sri Ramakrishna in samadhi, and many people felt his tangible presence. Songs and bhajans were offered by Tryambaka, Mahayogini, Sanjana, Gayatri, Shiva Shakti, Marian, Sri Lakshmi and others, and the atmosphere was both convivial and devoted. Satchitananda provided a tape of an address that Swamiji gave many years ago, probably in the early seventies, stressing the need for change! There were many of the younger generation present, the youngest being Leonard, the very recently arrived son of Bala Krishna and Jade. A notable guest was Parvati Young from Taos, New Mexico, who had been told of our group by Sambhu.
From notes taken during a discourse by Swamiji at Ramakrishna Loka, March 24, 1986
Kirtan is the mother of the devotees. Mother talks there, at kirtan. So become the child. You are God, spirit encased in a temple of flesh. God is spirit encased in body, and spirit defies the gross, it’s beyond. The body is a temple, so be good to your body. Be ye holy as your Father is, be perfect, Jesus said it. We are reminding you how true it is. We have so degraded, engrossed, entangled [ourselves] in the mire of this thing that we have forgotten what we have learnt. So when Jesus says, Be ye holy, be ye perfect, it reminds us to be good to everyone. Holy people talk to all, not just to devotees. Who are these others? They’ve got stomachs to feed, they feed themselves, they work for themselves. They don’t feed God. They don’t even think of the hereafter. It’s all for body and possessions. You have to work for your child, your wife, you have to work for each other, but here again, all this is transient, we have been here before. There is a reason why we are here, there must be a reason. Do you think it’s only to eat? We are not here just to eat, make merry, get some money.
…There is one God. That suffices me. I don’t know all the names, just God is God. There is one God, take Him as such. Simple. From that, I’m going. If you love me, follow me. Why complicate it, if you want to be reaching beyond? Sri Ramakrishna says you have come to the orchard to eat mangoes, so why be happy counting the leaves and twigs, and waiting for the four seasons. Then, when I come back to the relative plane I’ll say, “Hullo there, are you still counting the leaves and twigs and [ignoring the] mangoes? I hope one day you’ll have a desire to taste the juice, the essence.”
Make Ramakrishna your charioteer, and all his words a chariot. And he says, ” O Mother, all is done after Thine own sweet will, I move as Thou movest me.” Let that go on all day long [in your mind], until it becomes a cause, an effect. Ruminate, digest, ponder what we have said. There is realization – and repentance. When I was a child I did as a child; when I was a youth I fledged right and left. But now I am in middle age I think the words of the wise people are right. They said: “Repent.” I know what that means now. “Be [in] truth.” Truth is the tapasya, the spiritual practice of this age, as Ramakrishna said. Truth is God. Truth is the guru itself. Truth, words, deeds, honesty. This is liberation. On top of that, practice is beyond.
Everyone is getting something, but slowly. Hurry makes curry. [Go] steadily, slowly, [with] complete detachment. You have got it, you don’t have to eat it straightaway. Be detached as well. You must develop these habits of detachment. What you are eating now will become your mind. [But when] you are eating, your mind is on car papers and business papers. So the food is also going on that business. And how much can you dedicate your mind to God while you’re going on business? There’s not much dual consciousness, you’re saying, but you are not practical, you have to walk your mind, develop your mind. “Come, let us go for a walk, O mind, to Kali the wish-fulfilling tree.”
Repentance is realization to me. It’s very vital. I’m getting more, I’m buying truthful repentance. God sees the true heart. He dwells in the heart. He sees true repentance…You will not know what I am telling you now. All is still in confusion and maya. [But] to stitch up maya, you [must] use the thread of love. Knit in the heart with the vein of the heart. Every breath is like a stitch in the heart, with the heart’s blood pumping.
I am repenting, not just my mind and intellect. True repentance is the light of God. It’s unspeakable. It’s God, for me. Though still in darkness, I can tell you that much. Keep away the dust and lust and water of worldliness. It may not work now, but one day you may play the tape [and think:] “That was missing in me. I tried hard, but never repentance, personal.” This [repentance] is a personal thing. Conscience.
We don’t want scientific ways, we want natural. If I touch my eyes when I bow, I see hundreds of little things, not artificial, that exist – psychic things. But I don’t want all this, because I’ve given up the psychic to get love. [Krishna said] “Know, Arjuna, if you possess only one of the eight psychic powers you cannot realize Me.” My form is love. So I don’t want the artificial, forcing thing. Everyone has to be natural. Fruit that ripens of its own accord has a different sweetness. I see the Form of Love. How can I explain it to you? You have to be the artist to read the aura.
True repentance is [in the] heart. There’s a virgin forest, you are cutting the thorns from the good trees. Thorns and brambles have been wrapped into the heart. Now you are going in with glove and sickle, removing the thorns that have been hurting. Now there’s nothing but orchard.
True repentance is [in the] heart. But if the thorn of bad deeds is in my heart, I take another thorn, take it out, and throw both away – and go beyond them. [Ramakrishna said] with flowers in hand: “Take Thy good, take Thy bad, give me pure love alone…”
Nothing is wasted, but I wish all were in one hand, in one voice, in one heart, in one wing. Too much worldliness. Money has interfered a bit too much. And worry, work and all this, worry of possessions, of position. Householders have to work, but don’t give too much mind to it. Your state is to be healthy, wealthy enough, and good and not crazy. Keep a firm footing in the world, like a lotus in water. So says Sri Ramakrishna. I am only repeating. With this Guru Dev it’s fun. It has become so serious that it’s funny as well. After you have enjoyed the loose rope [of free will] you don’t want any more. So let us have some repentance now: O Durga Mai, I will not do it again, now I am calling on you, I make a vow.
Man is weak; a hundred times he will fall. [But] what is there in temporary pleasure? So conquer all these things. It’s not easy, it takes lives, realization takes lives, and you need the grace. Repentance brings grace, true repentance and deeds in your daily life. God cannot resist. And a little natural singing. Time [factor is important], and work, and place, and rest – so that you can feel and reform yourself. Christian devotees can help a lot. Our Guru Dev realized Christianity as well. And Hindu wings and Hindu hands are helping Christianity. So you are fencing with these two swords.
What I practise I tell you. If you practise reality you will know what a mine of truth there is in it, how much depth in one word. But how can I go further, how can I take another step? I have to tell people what I have got, and come and share. When they have shared what I am saying, when they also have repented, reformed, we can make a second step into next door. Let’s clean the first room first: this room was sooty, so clean it – how clean can you keep in a sooty room? So says Sri Ramakrishna. Guru Dev is Guru Dev. He has put everything in the dictionary of our life, in his GSR. Sarada Devi has said: “Whatever you want to know, read the Gospel.”
He may have been mad, but he’s good enough for me. I don’t want anything else. My master was pure. I have never seen anyone like him. For the year 1986 or 1886, he is still live with me, with us.
God is not seen by everyone. Some people don’t want to see God in anything. But nothing can exist without something. He came from it, and goes back to it. There is a creator, call it nature, call it That – thou art That – but at the end you realize everything is Brahman and you keep silent. You can’t say anything to anyone because it is all there. You don’t have to tell someone, “This is a tree, this is a car, this is grass.” It’s ridiculous!
But you must practise. I practise in my bed, a thief in my bed snatching time. That’s not enough, I have to be ready. That’s my mind working, my conscience, my repentance. One minute of deeds with pure love works like hundreds of japa. And if you meditate on God you develop a pure mind, a pure heart, a pure sight, a pure love, a pure body …
What you are eating you will belch. If the grace is given, the grace is given. Eat your cake and have it as well. Or share it left and right.
J A I G U R U D E V