Ramakrishna’s Birthday Kirtan

Mahayogini’s house was the scene of  a lovely kirtan last Saturday celebrating the birthday of Sri Ramakrishna, the Guru Dev of the Universal Independent Asram. While he was still in the body Swami Ambikananda always ensured that these birthday kirtans were particularly joyful occasions, and they continue to be a key event for all the devotees. Saturday  was no exception – the music was lovely, the food fantastic, the hospitality unstinting, and the general vibe entirely delightful.

In addition to the music, bhajans  etc., there  were interesting readings from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and from various books, especially a book-in-preparation by Shiva Shakti. There should also have been a reading of notes from one of Swamiji’s discourses (18 Feb 1986), but this was left behind. By a ‘coincidence’ one of the passages read at the kirtan was from exactly the same time as this discourse, which has been edited to include material omitted from the passage in This My Unknown Life. So here it is now.

‘Water is the liquid form of God, and when vapourized by the sun of knowledge, it becomes subtle and  practically unseen. It’s so fine, but you can feel it. So is the silence of the inner spirit, the garment of the body of love. Through that silence, intuition of expression dispels the confusion and misunderstanding of the devotees gathered together. …So observe silence, which is peace. Observe silence while OM peace is chanted. Think of Ramakrishna and say, “Om Namah Shivaya.” Ramakrishna is your father, Ramakrishna is your mother, Ramakrishna is also Christ.

‘ … I breathe God, I exhale God, I retain breath in  Kumbhaka God, I sleep God, and I belch God. Not only what you eat but what you think, that’s where your subtle consciousness is, your real inner self… That  self in you is unheard, unseen, but  in unison with  the Father Mother God. …God stays in disguise in the world, among his people. He plays hide and seek. God is spirit, it is very difficult to comprehend what we are saying unless you are breathing Spirit.

‘…So live in the world and don’t be affected by what is happening. God is a mystery, and so are his real devotees. He who meditates on the real becomes real. When it touches the real, the unreal is transformed in a shock of reality. Therefore there is transformation  going on; step by step you will reach your goal. When God says “yes” everything comes to pass. With God the impossible becomes possible. He may even yield, not to everyone but He may yield to His true devotees…

‘ …Think of the Master, Sri Ramakrishna, our Guru Dev. He meditated on nothing but the Real. It’s a good tip. The Master was God, we believe, and I hope you still do… What is lacking in us is due to the glass of darkness in front of us,  so we can’t see further. We hear something, we feel it, but we are too short-sighted to go through this to the light. So we need the help of those who have crossed the barriers of space and time, and who are invisibly with us – mystic guides, prophets, sages, seers, or gurus. You must invoke, you must make invocation of the spirit.

‘In the original place God created you in His image, immaculate, pure, Brahman. But now falling here into the free will of this world, you don’t want to know God because there is too much imposition of discipline, laws, hundreds of  things one shouldn’t do. We can’t control our senses, we like our enjoyment, and we ignore reality as it is. Even if God has come we are not very deeply interested to see Him lest He asks something of us, and we are deprived of our pleasures.That goes without saying, for hundreds of years, it’s not just today that you are hearing that. Therefore people are put on test and trial.

‘Those  who are detached and aloof from the world alone are aloof after the destruction of the body, so says Sri Shankaracharya in Vivekachudamani. For them God is at hand. They have no attachment to anything, it is their sport, their sweet will. God Himself sports in the world, so they sport, not in the world but with people. Ordinary people sport together. They kick a ball. But we don’t, we withdraw our game and we sport naturally with you. You become the game, as it is. What is this sport? To win you, and make you likened to your original. We are here to get you ready. If you are not willing (God has given you free will) we send the seed of thought. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, which means one life, another life and another life. But we will get you ready, that’s why we are meeting, that’s the point of it…

‘Listen to the yogi, listen to your preceptor, listen to the voice of reality, the voice of silence, the voice of detachment, listen to the teacher, listen to the one who is detached. And cultivate detachment, for attachment is suffering, it is said. But if you are attached to God attachment to that Reality is of course exempt. So you can suffer from what is happening in the world or you can suffer for God.

‘You may say these things, but you are not there yet, therefore there is a vast difference in the scale. The word is there, but the person is heavier than the word. The mind may attain, for mind is subtle and the soul is God – but the body is pleasure, the body is paying tax for the soul occupying it. Your body is different from the atmic consciousness. Whatever is happening is the speeding of karma. You don’t want to come back again and again, and God wants to liberate you, so suffering also is Him. But He is just and fair, He cannot go by bribery – one minute you call on Him and the next you are indifferent. but God wants words, deeds, and thoughts to tally.

‘… You are suffering, you can’t deny it, you are suffering all the time, not just for a little time, but on and on. Yet your nature is divine, there is a soul in you. What is suffering is the body; the body is paying tax because he is not recognizing someone who is there, occupying, witnessing every single activity and thought.

‘Make a decision. Money won’t help you to travel in the astral sphere. It’s given not for you but for others. We have to love our own people first: first your very own, then your neighbours, then your country, then abroad. But first your very own. …So sing, meditate, and clap hands. Wash away sin. Today you are born in Sri Ramakrishna’s antar jyoti [inner light] consciousness. That is the Indweller. “Know, Arjuna, I dwell in every man.” He has declared it in Bhagavad Gita. It’s not new but you have forgotten it.

‘If you believe in the omnipresence of God, you must do something, my friend. If God is omnipresent, all the time, He must not be denied. He has said, ‘Whatever you do, if possible think of Me. I am everywhere. I watch, I witness the very depth of your thought. But do you heed me?”  When you are in a hurry, when you tangle with the world, God is denied. But Love begs. How God begs His devotees!

‘Meditation is to bring all these scriptures into the library of your spine. God dwells in His word, and the scripture is not different from God. Bring these into your vertebrae. It will be a liniment. Say: OM NAMAH SHIVAYA. This is mystical love, this “Om namah Shivaya”. It must not be done just by individuals but to join all people who have realized God through this greatest mantra which can save the world. So join in your reading and dedicate,”‘Acharya Om namah, Rishi Om namah, Brahmarshi Om namah, Devarshi Om namah, Om Bhu, Om Bhuva, Om Swaha, Om Maha, Om Jana, Om Tapa, Om Satya.”

‘So my bones are scripture, word of God, that’s why without reading you can squeeze the almanac for the  water of consciousness. …  Love is too pure to hurt the beloved. Gospel says, ‘The mind of a worldly man dwells among the three lower planes. With great difficulty he can raise it.”  So we have taken the birthday of God today to describe attachment and continuation and  progressive enlightenment in knowledge, awareness, and bliss. Birth without labour. As you think so you become. The caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I am talking to you as a friend and also as what I have experienced besides the Gospel.

The book is burned, it is thrown in the Ganges, but the word stays, it remains in the bones, in the eyes, in the light of consciousness. Truth is the tapsya [austerity] of this age.  There are many ways to cross the ocean: clapping the hands, beating the drum, through words, through observance of silence, through gazing, without interference. Think of the Mother: “May you and I alone behold Her, letting no one else intrude. In solitude, O mind, enjoy Her…” Let there be no interference between our gaze. Love is the thread that binds the two ends, that holds it. And God pulls it like elastic. India rubber elastic.

‘Another procedure of meditation is to become the antaryami  itself. Identify with the light, the lamp, no body consciousness at all, just light. And this light is offered to Light, that which is Light.  But the spiritual life has to be on a good foundation. The spine, the lower centres, are full of stones, you have to till the soil, remove the stones of the lower mind… God is the doer through subtle inspiration. When inspiration comes you pick it up and harp on it and print it. The real thing is somewhere  else  and the person happens to pick it up and he prints it. The real doer is subtle, it’s spirit, and the spirit waits for the obedience of the second performer – the “I” who pretends to be the doer.

‘You  have to  be an instrument, you have to be calm in your mind when you meditate, calm in your music, self-composed, detached. Then be the receptacle to receive, to receive not only God but angels – automatic writing, talk, vision – someone is giving something to you beyond your capacity. There is a subtle guardian angel, a personal God for him. All these are here incognito .’

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