International Forum for NeoVedantins

The Story of Sri Ramakrishna:  Part 8
A Long Series

Bhava and Asc continued...

It is seen from the examples cited above that in case of Sri Ramakrishna, his attachment to sense objects or organs was lost and, in stead, new relations were developed - ideas relating to God, freedom, and truth. His mind was moulded by the effect of spiritual practices to reflect different kind of consciousness. 'Stay in bhava', this command from the Mother can be interpreted as dawning of self-knowledge to stay in a state of higher evolved consciousness. As can be seen, such a state is desirable and blissful and can be achieved only by rigorous and conscious sadhana.

The mind is concentrated to dwell on one aspect of divinity in this state, and hence, that particular aspect of divinity is internalized as a dominant attitude for a variable period of time. We have to do deliberate effort to achieve this state of bhava, and that too we can achieve such state with great difficulty. For Sri Ramakrishna, however, it was a natural state -naturalized reflexive state of mind. Such organization of brain is rare in the field of evolutionary biology. The question whether this can be achieved and should be achieved in one's life is a matter of debate and discussion. We feel it should be attempted because human evolution is progressing in that direction, and moreover, it is the only source of values.

As the organism is elevated on the ladder of evolution, there develops more and more capacity to feel for and understand others. From the observations of lower animals we can see the tendency of community - living, protections of siblings, obeying the leader, and attacking the enemy, etc. In human beings also, we see some persons care for others more, they understand and act according to the emotional make of the persons they come in contact. We also see that some sensitive minds are capable of picking the mood of others much quickly than others. Accordingly they interact with different people at various levels and different planes. This capacity probably depends upon development of various brain functions, and thereby, expression of consciousness.

In case of Sri Ramakrishna this capacity to fathom the mind of others had reached to the level unheard of in the spiritual history. Not only that, Sri Ramakrishna had natural tendency to transcend his own tiny human consciousness, based on sense perception, to enter the state of intuitive super consciousness. This natural tendency to remain in a higher plane of human consciousness - nearing the divine consciousness - is known as 'to remain in bhava.'

Our ordinary actions depend upon the manifestation of our normal consciousness. Thereby, egotism, pride, selfishness, anger, and lust, all these are constituents of our ordinary consciousness. We naturally believe that the external world, progress in science, economy, learning, and sense pleasure - eating, mating, sleeping, etc. are our natural and desirable tendencies. The world as perceived by our senses is real for us. We try to find nuances and subtleties therein, and label them as art, science, literature, poetry, and so on. The Nobel Prize and such high honors are bestowed upon the persons with refined sensuality. We fail to agree that higher level of attitude -bhava- can prevail, and doubt that such attitude is progressive and desirable.

A careful and sincere study of the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna makes us think contrary, and takes us in the realm of higher truth. In his states of bhava perceptions beyond the senses used to become reality for him. Not only various visions of beatitude and God used to become manifest, there developed capacity to fathom the minds of others with ease and naturalness. A few examples of bhava in the life of Sri Ramakrishna will help make this point more clear.

"His illumining Self knowledge and his vision of the Self in all beings, both male and female, kept the minds of all near him at such a high level of spiritual elation that the ideas such as 'I am a man', 'This is a woman' etc., would not usually cross their minds as long as they were with him. That is why, like men, women also felt no shyness in his presence".

In Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the Master's "I" consciousness disappeared totally, and along with it his pulse, heartbeat, etc. also stopped simultaneously. ...At the time of practicing Sakhi-bhava the Master continually mediated on himself as a woman servant of Sri Krishna and became so much identified with that idea that womanly behavior, woman's mode of standing, walking, sitting, talking, etc., became naturally manifested in his body, so much so that Mathuranath and others who were his companions, mistook him on many occasions for a woman guest!
Continued part 9...  |   Previous Part 7...  |  Index to all Parts...
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