International Forum for NeoVedantins

Samadhi continued

Incidences of Samadhi in the Life of Sri Ramakrishna

During the sadhana of Vedanta Sri Ramakrishna tried to transcend all the limitations of body-mind duality. Under the guidance of his teacher, Tota Puri, Sri Ramakrishna took to the practice with intense zeal and determination that knew no bounds. When the effulgent form of Mother - savikalpa samadhi- obstructed his entry into the realm of super-conscious state of nirvikalpa samadhi, he put an end to It with the sword of discrimination, i.e. he transcended the mind itself. He landed into a state of highest non-dual consciousness. Continuously for three days Sri Ramakrishna was lost in that state, sitting like a stone -lifeless to outer world and stimuli. His face was calm, serene, and radiant. Functions of his heart and lungs were examined, but he was dead like a wood to the external stimuli. After three days he gradually regained his normal consciousness.

"We intently watched Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa in samadhi. His whole body relaxed and then became slightly rigid. There was no twitching of the muscles or the nerves, no movement of any limb. Both his hands lay in his lap with the fingers lightly interlocked. The sitting posture of the was easy but absolutely motionless. The face was slightly tilted up and in repose. The eyes were nearly but not wholly closed. The eyeballs were not turned up or otherwise deflected, but they were fixed and conveyed no message of outer objects to the brain. The lips were parted in a beatific and indescribable smile disclosing the glean of the white teeth. There was something in that wonderful smile which no photograph was ever able to reproduce."

"One day the Master was in a deep samadhi; seated on his bed like a wooden statue. He had no outer consciousness. Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar checked his pulse and felt no throbbing. He then put his stethoscope on the Master's heart and did not get heartbeats. Next, the Doctor touched the Master's eyeballs with his finger, but still the Master's outer consciousness did not return. The doctor was dumb-founded. After some time the Master returned to the normal plane of consciousness, and began talking about God with the doctor."

In these transcendental states, Sri Ramakrishna used to feel identified himself with both the living and non-living things. Once near Kali Temple the garden was covered with the newly grown grass in the lawn. Sri Ramakrishna in ecstatic mood (bhava samadhi), "transcended the normal consciousness and was feeling identified with that spot of grass when a man just happened to walk across that field. At this the Master felt very restless, feeling unbearable pain over his chest", as if trampled by the person walking over the lawn!

At another time, on the bank of Ganges, when there was a fight between two boatmen, Sri Ramakrishna became identified with the weaker of them, and the marks of injury were visible on his body when during the quarrel the stronger one of them beat the other.

Childhood Experiences of Samadhi

When he was six or seven years of age, one day while passing through a paddy field, Sri Ramakrishna was overwhelmed by a beautiful sight of uniform formation of white cranes seen against the dark monsoon clouds in the sky. The result was dramatic one, with loss of consciousness lasting for sometime, and he was carried home in that condition. On regaining the consciousness he was perfectly normal and there was no evidence of post-epileptic headache, deep sleep, or state of confusion. Although the parents were worried about the episode, which they thought to be epilepsy, Sri Ramakrishna himself maintained that nothing wrong had happened to him. He was shown to a doctor and treated with some medicines.

At another time, once during nighttime while performing the role of Shiva in a play in front of the local villagers, Gadadhar went in a state of trance and became speechless, profuse tears were flowing from his eyes. He was in a state of samadhi and the onlookers were speechless to see the beauty and divinity of his countenance, as if he was one with God Shiva. The play was ended and he was carried home in that state. There was no history of convulsions anytime in his lifetime although he lost outer consciousness quite frequently.

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